The past weekend has been a special kind of code monkey hell for me. I’ve woken up, gotten on my laptop, debugged a few things, grabbed some kind of sustenance, gone back to my laptop, debugged a few more things, Google’d a bunch of incomprehensible error codes, and reinstalled three different operating systems no less than three times each. And in between the finagling I was LaTeXing an essay, writing up my implementation of the EM algorithm, choosing my Junction mentees, and working on fixing some dependency annotations for my UROP.

Several of those things in that list were very preventable. In fact, if I really went down to the root of it, it could be very easily said that all of my problems this past weekend stemmed from last Thursday afternoon, when I looked at my 6.036 project, my two 24.900 essays, and my Japanese interview test on Monday, and I said, “Man. I should really install Arch Linux.”

Kids, don’t install Arch Linux.

As with most things, it didn’t start out that badly. I had tried once before to install Arch Linux, way back in October of last year, and while things hadn’t gone swimmingly then, I had at least gotten myself up to the point where I had to install a GUI before giving up. Having gotten much more comfortable and gained much more experience in console commands since then, I figured on Thursday that if I just followed the Arch Linux Beginner’s Guide closely this time, stopping to troubleshoot and Google things when the need arose, I would have my new operating system running by the end of the day and all of my work done by the time Sunday rolled around.

(It also helped that the free Windows 10 preview had just come out along with an opportunity to restore my original Windows 8 OS using the OEM key hidden in my BIOS — and I really need some kind of Windows in order to run SolidWorks next year.)

So Thursday afternoon, I logged into my laptop on Ubuntu 14.04 GNOME and saved everything into my Dropbox account. I then partitioned my external drive for a Windows 10 installation disc and rebooted my computer.

The Windows 10 installation worked about as well as one would expect a Windows installation to work, with a few modifications to save some space for later installations of Ubuntu and Arch Linux. Next came the Ubuntu installation, which also went swimmingly but overwrote the Windows boot loader and would have to be dealt with later. I then plugged the external drive back in to begin the manual installation of Arch Linux. With the Arch Linux Beginner’s Guide open on my phone, I had a feeling that I could not fail.

This obviously turned out to not be the case, as last Saturday morning I found myself sitting at desk and reinstalling Windows 8 for the third time.

(By this point, Ubuntu 14.04 wasn’t even a thing anymore because its bootloader would not cooperate with Windows and Arch.)

After much Googling and finagling with the options in the Windows 8 installer, I finally found the option that would let me open a command line and manually create some sensible partitions. The Windows installer, though it complained at me for a bit, allowed me to install everything the way I wanted it on the disk. I then went back to reinstalling Arch Linux, this time installing Intel rather than Nvidia open-source drivers and just sticking with the GNOME display manager instead of trying to keep my command line.

Somehow the stars aligned just right this time and everything worked out of the box, except for the Lenovo Ideapad Fn multimedia keys. But after fiddling with those for much of Sunday and thinking about all the work I could be doing in the meantime, I gave up on trying to fix those and went back to installing python2 and latex instead, which would allow me to complete my 6.036 project and the myriad of other assignments that were all still due despite my attempts at completely ignoring them.

So I still have some things to figure out about my Arch Linux installation, preferably after term is over. And I still have to go back and fix my Windows installation, which currently believes that it is operating somewhere in Europe and does not yet have a copy of SolidWorks.

And then at some point, I need to get in touch with my Junction mentees and plan a course for summer. And then I have to come up with several seminar classes I can teach this summer and continue annotating those sentences for my UROP, and then get back to Daniel P. ’18 over at ET about housing this summer.

And then I really have to study for the upcoming final exams, and buy a plane ticket in order to come back some time in June. And then, because it’s almost completely slipped my mind, I’ll need to make the Random Hall Clickable Tour nicer and less sad for all the excited prefrosh who will be looking into housing for Fall 2015.

See, I don’t really think I’m that busy most of the time, so I take on more and more exciting work. And then I realize that holy crap I’ve done too much of that and now I have no summer break at all, and any of the fun stuff I was going to do this summer will have to be punted until later. And then I find myself wondering if maybe I should be doing more things, and I take on even more work.

And the cycle continues, ad infinitum, and eventually I look back on my life at 86 years old and I wonder where all the time has gone.