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Ventura Highway

December 22, 2015

This is the starting point for a long discussion, I expect, about the opportunities I have/had in my life.  I chose the title, because the song “Ventura Highway” has a line about ‘purple rain,’ which is where Prince got the name of the song/album. I found this out when I heard the song again about a year ago. It seemed like a strange coincidence at that time.

I am currently in training for a government program that helps many, not most by a long shot, in my situation. My life has had no strange coincedences for a few years now. I had hoped something more than a facility in a government building would come out of my training, but it was a bit too much to ask. After years not getting any help in finding a job from my counselor, I took this leap based on the recommendation of some friends. I wish they would have looked at the resume I have included below. It doesn’t seem too odd for someone with a great deal of experience writing code/crunching numbers. It doesn’t say anything about working with my hands or selling food.  Another song I would cite is “Blasphemous Rumors” for the line about God having a sick sense of humor, or maybe it’s my friends who have the sick sense of humor. God knows, the people in the class I’m taking don’t have any sense of humor. They don’t seem to have any hope either.

We’re currently on Winter Break. The class starts again in January with on-the-job training. It was indicated I could document some of my OJT as well, but I will check with the facility manager. As I wake up more, I have to get up around 5:30am to make it to class on time, I find myself getting more and more disappointed.  I have learned something from this experience, but I don’t think it’s what everyone thought I would.


Bruce C. Paul

 In training to run a small business with help from the Federal Government.

My background includes computational physics with broad experience in numerical analysis, specifically techniques pertinent to simulations of physical/real-world systems

•   Numerical Analysis with C/C++, FORTRAN, MatLab, Python, and Scala

–  Numerical integration, matrix algebra, optimization, and data reduction,

•   Extract relevant processes in systems near phase transitions

•   Analysis of financial data  CAPM/portfolio optimization

•   RESTful web services with ASP.Net in C# and Flask in Python

•   Data engineering with Transact-SQL, Microsoft SQL Server and PostgreSQL

•   Functional programming with Scheme and Scala

•   Fluent in German


2014      Progress Center   Forest Park, IL

Staff Associate

•  Understand laws, programs, and services available to people with disabilities

•   Assist Progress Center in membership outreach

•   With other staff associates, present information about job seeking to staff and customers

2013-2015         Chicago, IL


•   Participated in design and development of open source app to make science education social

•   Brain stormed on user stories, personas, and data model

•   Connected PostgreSQL databased to RESTful web service with Flask microframework and Python

2001-2009    Aon Re Services   Chicago, IL

Senior Financial Analyst

•   Constructed an ASP.Net web service to automate cost allocation/rate making

•   Provided actuaries with cost-of-capital indications derived from placed reinsurance treaties and modeled client data

•   Created a data warehouse to hold modeled client data and test portfolios

•   Priced reinsurance treaties

•   Formulated an index to track the cost-of-capital in the treaty reinsurance market

•   Monitored the losses generated by different versions of third-party software

1991-2000    University of Florida    Gainesville, FL

Research Assistant

•   Performed dissertation research in condensed matter theory

•   Developed numerical description of system in C

•   Calculated low-temperature physical properties of system based on numerical renormalization group

Teaching Assistant

•   Taught undergraduate labs and recitation sections

•   Graded problem sets of students in advanced physics classes

1991     University of Chicago   Chicago, IL

Software Engineer

•   Administered a set of Aix RS-6000 in several labs at the university

•   Benchmarked the different machines and operating systems used in these labs


2000    University of Florida    Gainesville, FL


Dissertation: “A Study of a Three -Impurity Kondo Model”

•   Predicted novel low-temperature behavior in heavy Fermion materials

1990   University of Chicago    Chicago, IL


•   Senior thesis sought to describe energy dissipation due to friction in a simulated  atomic force microscope experiment

Awards & Honors:  Dissertation Fellow, National Merit Scholar, Illinois State Scholar

Identity and Meaning

July 12, 2014

Even though I don’t think we have done the human intellect any service by prefering short attention spans in our media, I will admit to enjoying a well crafted short-story. I enjoy short stories in the same way I enjoy haiku, as an attempt to summarize a single idea in a well defined form, using as few metaphors as possible. As such, it seems perfectly appropriate to discuss my newest idea for my free-time here:

I thought I could write some short stories to capture people as they appear to me. The idea, of course, is to obscure any identifiable details and focus purely on the personality, or apparant personality presented to me in these interactions. I will start with my own personality in a few different scenarios. I don’t know how I will publish these stories. I won’t publish them in a blog, though some technology designed to perform a similar task might work.

This idea does have a higher purpose, I find very often my personal interactions rely on snapshots of an individual or myself as the main character. I can’t imagine most people have as few internal degrees of freedom as many of the characters I interact with do, so I thought I would write some stories based on the characters people present. I also want to write stories about how I perceive the world, but in my case I would prefer to develop the character to reflect my internal dialogue. I would say, “I’m trying to humanize the people I barely know,” though I have known them for years in some cases. This seems like something a good manager would do, a role I would like to perform some day, in some context.

As I point out above, this does have relevance for this blog. The lack of substance I want to fight against feels like the exact opposite of what a good short-story does. The stories I have read and enjoy the most don’t just add depth to people, they add depth to their situations. They don’t excuse the character’s failings but make their character palpable, as another living soul inside oneself would feel.

Some in Direction

October 3, 2009

The purpose, if not the exact type of content, of this blog has started to come into perspective.  I have an interest in how information technology has affected culture.  An example of what I mean lies in societies migration to the Internet without cultural metaphors to describe this medium.  I would also like to explore how cultural expectations have formed into new idioms that serve as placeholders for these absent metaphors.  The implications of these idioms seem to drive much of the societal mistakes we have made over the last quarter-century.  In short, I would like to provide a curatorial voice for contemporary technology.

Pop Culture and Rayguns

March 3, 2009

“I think we have a very nice quality.”
-From the album Rayguns Are Not The Future

Some Dogma

February 27, 2009

In an attempt to define the rules that will form this blog, I will use this style guide to compensate for a lack of substance.  Any similarity to Lars von Trier is purely intentional, though this does not void the license included below and in no way seeks to compare my work with his: 

  • Each post must stand on its own merits
  • This blog can be self-derived, but must reflect the general culture it seeks to describe with appropriate attribution
  • One cannot consider any entry complete, the dates only reflect when the original idea was formulated

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.


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