Happy Holidays

26 December 2018

Well, it’s that time of year where things start to get crazier than normal. Rushing around, trying to come up with holiday recipes, making sure that the apartment is clean just in case someone drops by, coming up with ideas for presents for friends and family members while staying within my budget ($0 USD) and so on.

In the meantime, I try to keep busy writing for Full Circle Magazine (more on this in a moment), trying to continue working on my Page book, helping out my son, and trying to live with my spinal injuries.

Officially, I am retired, but I consider myself “semi-retired”. I often wonder what people think that means. Am I transforming into a Tractor trailer that only goes out when a job comes my way? Do I work some at a part time “Day Job” and do everything else when I can fit it in?

Reality is not as attractive as that all sounds. I am, for the most part, a shut-in, due to a problem with my spine. I go out to the store to get groceries when they are needed and every once and a while, my Son and I take short trips into the Texas Hill Country, just to get out of the apartment. When I am at home, I try to do my articles for Full Circle Magazine, write on my book on Page and if the opportunity arises, I will do a book review or something like that. I do help Don Rozenberg with Page by testing potential releases of Page and throw together an occasional tutorial on some kind of programming subject for a friend in Norway. I have been blessed with the ability of being “technical reviewer” (that term used to be called technical editor) for an upcoming book on Python and Machine Learning. Basically I read the book on chapter at a time and make sure that everything is correct, that the author has explained things correctly and completely, and that the code works as described and that, if the code is entered into the chapter, it is complete.

I don’t get any kind of compensation for this, other than a copy of the book once it is published and maybe a free book or three from the publisher.

So, I suppose the *REAL* definition of semi-retired, at least in my case, is trying to survive on my Social Security check and to be able to mentally keep busy.

This is also a time to reflect on the last year and remember those people in our lives that make life worth living. In my case, that is a fairly short list. The list includes my 32 year old son, who is kind enough to let me live with him, sharing expenses and giving me company and love when I most need it. Also on the list is Ronnie Tucker, the publisher of Full Circle Magazine, who many years ago took a chance on a beginning author that wanted to write a few articles on learning Python. So far, we are at 88 articles and still going. Don Rozenberg who created and maintains Page, the GUI Designer for Python, has been a great friend to me since I first decided to write an article on Page, way back in 2012. Bruce Frary, who was a friend when I had no one in my life and continues to be a friend. And last but not least, Halvard, who lives in Norway. I’ve never actually met him face to face, but has been a source of inspiration and friendship. He has his own medical issues (in many ways worse than mine), but keeps plugging away at life and learning Python and does a wonderful job of keeping me going when days get tough.

Now, onto Python related things. Don has recently released version 4.19 of Page, that includes many new features and bug fixes. I’ve been spending time with a Python library called Pandas, which is geared towards Data Analysis. It’s a wonderful tool that makes manipulating data almost painless. You can find my first article on Pandas in the December issue of Full Circle Magazine, and will be the subject of at least two more articles. I’m also starting to focus on Machine Learning using Python as well as more scientific subjects with Python.

I have an appointment with a spinal surgeon in mid January, so we’ll see what happens with my back and neck issues. Hopefully, he will be able to get things more comfortable for me without being too invasive.

Until next time, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and god jul.