the novanet

Archive for the ‘Smarts’ Category

I Made A Website

Well, a webpage.

Well, a landing page. You can see it over at

And this is what I think it looks like! If it looks pretty different from these shots, please let me know eh? I built it with flexbox, which is a semi-new web technology that may cause it to look funky on older phones. However, I put some “fallback” code in there so that it will still look reasonable and be useable even on the old ones.

Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 12.52.06

Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 12.51.50

Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 12.52.31

Screen Shot 2014-08-23 at 12.52.19

The links go to GitHub, Twitter, this blog, this blog’s photo-journal category, and finally my workplace’s site.

Oh, and the code for this is up on GitHub, for you nerds out there.

PS: Yes, I took that photo

Written by Matt

2014/08/23 at 12:59 pm

Knees, Shoulders, and Gore


I mentioned at the bottom of this post that I dislocated my knee, and that it was the inspiration for my kayaking a month later. Another month after that, I was out climbing with Sam and AJ, Figuring Out Jackson Life.

A week after that, I went on my first mountain bike ride since November on slickrock, or to put it how I thought of it, for the first time since my knee surgery. At the very end of that ride, turning sharply and with speed (how else would I be riding?), my front tire blew sideways on me and I took a fall. I was in my drops when this happened, and so there was no “rolling” with the fall. I was already at ground level when the falling started. There was no preparation, no time to plan how my body would react.


My roommate and bike guide was just around the corner, and his cheers of “Yeah buddy!” switched to “Dude! Are you alright?” I was back on my feet nearly instantly, riding on adrenaline, psyched to have taken my first fall of the year. It was hard, and I had set down with a solid THUMP directly on the back of my right shoulder. There was pain there, but nothing sever.

Still, something didn’t quite feel right. “I think my shoulder’s dislocated,” I said, reaching across my body with my left, grabbing my triceps and seeing if I could pop it back in. “No, that’s not it, I–” and here, I broke off, and screamed as something at the front of my shoulder crunched and grated under the surface. At least I knew it wasn’t dislocated.

Smocks and Gurneys

An hour later, at the ER, my arm in an impromptu sling Matt fashioned from an old shirt, Matt was busy filling in my paperwork. Five minutes into this, I let out a great sigh of relief, released the tension in my body, and sat back. The Percocet prescribed to me for my knee surgery, and which I had popped just before the trip to the hospital, had just kicked in.

More time passed, and I was wheeled around from place to place on a lovely bed. After being at rest for some amount of time, I met a man, and he showed me a picture. It was this.

broken collarbone xray

As he showed me this, he was speaking, but most of it was muted behind the word “surgery”. Surgery, again. This was a monumental word to me.

The surgery on my knee had been exhausting, frustrating, and handicapping. I’m writing this post four months out from my knee surgery, and I still flinch at the pain it generates as I walk up stairs. At the end of June, just two months out of my knee surgery, I had just earned freedom from a full leg brace. Now, my mountain biking celebration sounded like it was sending me back to another two months of nothing.

I called my friend (and, coincidentally, physical therapist) John, and tried to leave him a voice mail telling him what had happened. I never managed to say anything, as the exhausting, anxiety, fear, and drugs choked away any attempt at making words into an aborted sob. I texted him instead.

All of that happened on a Saturday. The OR wasn’t open until Monday, but it did look like they’d fit me in. Sunday night, arm held in a sling and working it for all I could (free beer for the broken guy!), I saw a very butch woman I’d met that same morning. I said hello, and she proceeded to give me a great, great bear hug, on my right side. I could hear the ragged edges of my collarbone scrape and grind against each other, and had to walk to a dark corner and cry for a little bit. ‘ware inebriated women that weigh more than you when you’re broken.


On Monday, I went in for surgery. When I came out, my shoulder looked like this instead.

collarbone plate

The sun was also much lower than when I had gone in. If you look at the first photo in this post, you’ll see my collarbone broken into three separate pieces. Before the surgery, this was the operative word for my shoulder: “broken”. After the four hour surgery, where my surgeon had to take a break to call my pickup ride and let him know I had “messed it up real bad”, after he had picked out some of the fifteen plus pieces of my collarbone and reassembled the remainders into something he could force together with eight screws and a plate, well, the operative word changed to “shattered”.

I found out all of this later: I was far too stoned that day to remember much about it. I do remember a phone conversation with an excited two year old telling me she had made icecream she wanted to share, and that it was delicious when I actually got to have it. The surgery was a mystery to me though – for a week, all I saw was this.

Pardon the blur

Pardon the blur

Bandages Come Off

Two days after the surgery, I was out of the sling and moving my arm normally. Range of motion was limited, and so was the amount of weight I could hold (none, more or less), but my god. Living in the future is fantastic. By Friday, I was off of the pain meds. I had discovered that soft tissue and hard tissue surgery can be very different things, and this is something I’m beyond grateful for. I don’t know if my psyche could’ve handle two simultaneous long-term injuries.


Time, and time, and time. There were some complications and weirdness (like when I bled through two shirts having dinner with a friend), but here and now, 6 weeks out, things are looking good. There was some big bruising, and some very cool steristrips, but it’s all just ended with a high-sex-appeal large scar.


For the ladies

For the ladies


To my dad, sitting on the gurney after discovering I would be having surgery, I wrote a text message with three words: “Climbing, yoga, guitar.” These were the things I thought I would lose after having just gotten back climbing and yoga (guitaring was my one activity my knee didn’t take from me). Well, the same Sunday the woman bear hugged me, I played Blackbird and Dust In The Wind on a friend’s beautiful guitar, until my arm went completely numb. I’m hoping to climb the Grand within the month. I started yoga again a week ago.

Written by Matt

2014/08/11 at 9:52 pm

Function Recipes

I was looking for some inspiration for what to cook up tonight, and while browsing through my recipes noticed something that stuck out just a bit. Apparently, I made up this zoned (!) quesadilla recipe while sitting in a class.


Edit: Looks like hints on solving some induction problem.

Written by Matt

2014/03/25 at 5:21 pm

Posted in Smarts

Editing Arches Photos

When a photo isn’t worth rescuing, it can be pretty dang fun to just blow it away.





Written by Matt

2013/12/02 at 6:36 pm

Rttr – Learning jQuery

Rttr "ritter" source code

Rttr “ritter” source code

I was in Cheyenne for work things this last week and walked into Barnes & Noble for the first time in years. It took me a while to find where the technical books had gotten moved to, but once I did I decided to buy a jQuery book. jQuery is a powerful Javascript library that helps empower front-end web developers (the guys who program what you see on your browser).

I spent an evening skimming the book, and then got to work on an actual project today. You can see the results at the top of this very blog.

Using jQuery, the fancy title box at the top of the site embeds and cycles through any images (of appropriate dimensions, that are locally hosted) already on the site. You may notice as you scroll down that it also has a funky way of moving on its own, to try to give you tantalizing peeks through the small view-port. On a post like this, you won’t see any cycling (there’s only one image, after all) but go check out the main site or any post with lots of images and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Back when I bought this domain I told myself I’d use it for learning to develop for the web. Glad I finally am.

Written by Matt

2013/07/25 at 4:13 pm

Facebook Integration


So, I just spent the afternoon getting facebook like buttons and facebook comments on my site. The downside to this is, any old comments will appear nuked to anyone that can’t trawl through the comments database (in other words, everyone who isn’t me).

So, that’s too bad, but hey, shiny! Oh, and if all went well, this post’ll show up automagically on my facebook timeline. The gratuitous Baltar shot is to test some image tie-ins back on the FB side.

Let me know if you find any problems on the site.

Written by Matt

2013/02/18 at 2:27 pm

Backpacking Partners

The wilderness is vast but a two-person tent is not.

-Ken Hilton, on poor backpacking partners.

Written by Matt

2013/02/12 at 6:01 pm

Published – A Follow Up

Awhile ago I had a post celebrating my getting published. A year later there’s finally a pdf up on the web, so for my own sake, here’s a link to that as well, and the abstract below.

Lossless 3-D reconstruction and registration of semi-quantitative gene expression data in the mouse brain

Matthew A. Enlow, Tao Ju, Ioannis A. Kakadiaris, and James P. Carson

As imaging, computing, and data storage technologies improve, there is an increasing opportunity for multiscale analysis of three-dimensional datasets (3-D). Such analysis enables, for example, microscale elements of multiple macroscale specimens to be compared throughout the entire macroscale specimen. Spatial comparisons require bringing datasets into co-alignment. One approach for co-alignment involves elastic deformations of data in addition to rigid alignments. The elastic deformations distort space, and if not accounted for, can distort the information at the microscale. The algorithms developed in this work address this issue by allowing multiple data points to be encoded into a single image pixel, appropriately tracking each data point to ensure lossless data mapping during elastic spatial deformation. This approach was developed and implemented for both 2-D and 3-D registration of images. Lossless reconstruction and registration was applied to semi-quantitative cellular gene expression data in the mouse brain, enabling comparison of multiple spatially registered 3-D datasets without any augmentation of the cellular data. Standard reconstruction and registration without the lossless approach resulted in errors in cellular quantities of ~ 8%


It’s been quite a while since I did the work that resulted in that paper. That summer I decided research was what I wanted to do, but I also learned that I didn’t want to do it in computational biology. The work was fun and interesting, but it just wasn’t for me. I’ll leave the organics to my folks.

So, I started looking for what I would go to grad school for. I had been studying Japanese for a year back then, and thought, if I was lucky, I might just find a field that would let me combine my budding passion for language with what I’d spent all my time at university doing, computer science. Trawling the wikipedia computer science page I saw a magical field within the domain of computer science with a key word in it: “language”. A few clicks later I had the Ph.D. thesis of some Australian guy entitled “Making Lexical Sense of Japanese{English MachineTranslation: A Disambiguation Extravaganza“.

I printed it off immediately, right there in the middle of my shift at a government job, and read it all. The descriptions of the algorithms tried and tested in the Ph.D. had me excited to jump ahead to the results; I wanted to see that data with the same thrilled anxiety that has you wanting to skip ahead in the latest chronicle of your favorite fictional character’s adventures. Clearly, this was the field for me. I was getting off reading the Ph. D. thesis of some stranger published ten years before.

That summer, I decided what I would do with my life for the next few years. The next summer the Critical Language Scholarship(CLS) would take me to Japan and finally give me real instruction in Japanese. After that, I would do a year at Tohoku University in a program that lets you focus the majority of your time on research. I’d work under Professor Inui Kentarou, who just happened to go to school with that Auzzie guy from earlier. This seemingly random fact, along with the amazingly fruitful results from my year of research at Tohoku, would be my key into the University of Melbourne for graduate school, where that Auzzie just happened to be head of the Natural Language Processing lab. Six years (more, knowing me) of my life, figured out over a few hot summer days in a desert in Washington.

CLS had over 600 applicants to their Japanese program; some thirty odd hopefuls got in. Of course they took me, they had to. After all, I had a mission. I got in to Tohoku without any problem, and was so caught up in my dream I was reading definitive texts on NLP while my friends were climbing rocks.

Reading at the belay station

But things stopped going quite the way I had planned for them to. Nothing really came of my ambitions at Tohoku, and now that it’s two years after I hatched my Plans a very different Matt is making decisions. The hardest depression spell I’ve ever had wrecked a semester, depression and your grades but I’ve somehow made my way out of it with an appreciation for life I’ve never felt before.

Graduate school no longer seems as immediate. Even with graduation within sight no applications filled with the fevered writings of a man with a Vision have been put in my mailbox. I’ve been offered a job in a town where I’ve learned how to love my life, which is so full of loving friends, adventures, fun, and beautiful sites that I’m rather at a loss as to how I came to have it.

Maybe the day will come that I’m giving as much time to my noggin as I currently am to my climbing rack and skis, but it’s somewhere out on the horizon. Give it two years, when a new and changed Matt is in the wheel again.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got four days of skiing to attend.

けやけやそりゃどうせな  けやけやそりゃどうせだめだ  やめられないやめられない  どうせだめだけどやめられない

Written by Matt

2013/01/10 at 10:45 am


Ken in Boulder Canyon

Finals week came and went. Since I dropped half of my class-load back in October it was hardly stressful times for me. Ken and I talked about taking a trip at the end of the week and climbing for a few days to celebrate the end of school, but one of my two finals lay on a Thursday. Unperturbed, I sent an email to the class’s instructor asking if I couldn’t take it a few days early.

From: Matt Enlow | To: Professor X

Professor X,

Would it be possible for me to take the final exam early on Monday, or, failing that, Tuesday?
Matt Enlow
From: Professor X | To: Matt Enlow
An alternative final exam is only allowed for an extreme situation. Can you provide me a reason for your request?
Professor X
From:  Matt Enlow | To: Professor X
Rock climbing is certainly extreme. I’m just not sure if it’s quite the sort of extreme you’re looking for.
From: Professor X | To: Matt Enlow
See you Thursday.

So it was that Ken and I climbed in Boulder Canyon on Wednesday, spent time eating and drinking with his cousaunt (sic) in Boulder proper afterwards, and I studied not one bit for my final exam at ten the next day

Priorities, baby.

Me in boulder canyon

(Oh, and count ‘em — that’s two days of T-shirt climbing in December)


Written by Matt

2012/12/18 at 2:42 pm

Sick, Brah: The Ineloquence Of Talking About The Outdoors (from

I spent two hours this morning without a shirt pulling on plastic rocks screwed into boards canted out fifty degrees in a small room on the fifth story of an old, beat up building in downtown Laramie with my Thailand-bound climbing partner Ken (also shirtless). In those two hours of chalk, sweat, and demon snarls I expressed a vocabulary not exceeding fifty words, with the three most frequent being “rad”, “gnar”, and “sick”.

Ken is a graduate student in French, I’m a hobbyist linguist seventh-year college student, and I feel both of us would rank “conversating” intelligently not too far under climbing on our list of Things We Enjoy. What I’m saying is, there’s no excuse for the way we talk when we’re “getting our bro on”, as it were. We discussed our habit of bro-speak (and in particular, a growing fear that the word “gnar” was working its way into every-day life) during noontime coffee, and later in the day he sent me an email with the link I’m putting below.

Next time you’re standing around a campfire, count the number of friends you have who are smart enough to potentially climb the corporate ladder, but dumb enough to climb mountains for “fun,” able to talk in the jargon of business, but prefer to talk in the dialect of radness, at least on weekends. You probably know lots of people like that. Or maybe you are people like that.

via Sick, Brah: The Ineloquence Of Talking About The Outdoors |

Written by Matt

2012/11/10 at 8:14 am