Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye 2007!

I almost forgot that today was the last day of the year. Winter Break (or any other break for that matter) completely throws of my sense of time. With 2008 quickly approaching, I'd like to take a little time to reflect on this past year. 2007 was an interesting year for me. Full of firsts, overcoming struggles, challenges, depression, new people, new places, victory, and even some fun. It's funny that "I'm Coming Out" is playing on shuffle right now lol. They played it at the symposium at the end of SAMS this year and it seemed so perfect. I think it'll be my theme for 2008 (not a resolution, I hate resolutions). But I think I'll be a little more open, personable, and happy; break out of my shell, perhaps? Here are some highlights of the past...

February: 16th Birthday, somewhat of a milestone

March: FL Regional Finalists

April: FRC Championship

July - August: SAMS @ Carnegie Mellon

September: 108 wins Mission Mayhem and went to Tempest N' Tampa off-season

November: Moved to new place

December: Best Christmas Ever, took ACT, got scores

This will be my last blog post of the year. Starting off the year with FRC Kickoff on January 5 before all of the school-related chaos should be exciting, as usual. I'm looking forward to start off refreshed and progress through 2008 smoothly :)

Happy New Year (again)!

"Get Serious" Week

As much as I have enjoyed playing Guitar Hero III hours on end, it's time to get back in the swing of things academically, which is why I have deemed this week "Get Serious Week". I have a bunch of stuff to do, and I think only organization will help me finish all of these tasks. So far, I have:
  • AP Psych Packets
  • Interactive Design Project
  • Study for Calc Final
  • Study for AP Psych final
  • Prepare for robotics kickoff
  • MITES application
  • WTP application
  • CMU AP/EA application
I'm in a positive and very optimistic mood, so I'm ready to get to work and get all of this done. I've relaxed and played around enough. Another reason that I'm probably so relaxed is because my hair isn't that of a wild beast. This is the straightest that my hair has ever been, and I love it. The only thing is that if there was one day where I wish that I could've understood Spanish, today would have been that day. Doesn't it always feel as if you're being talked about when people are conversing in another language right in front of you? Regardless, we'll be back there next month because my hair looks great and I'm happy with it! It feels so light and airy. Most of you probably won't recognize me at kickoff on Saturday or at school on Monday. Goodbye poofy ponytail!

On Thursday night my family went out to Grand Lux Cafe. For those of you that don't know, Grand Lux is The Cheesecake Factory's more sophisticated cousin. We have been several times in the past, and there has never been a single thing about that restaurant that I have disliked. I wasn't that hungry when we arrived, but even getting something as light as a salad was a huge meal.

ARGGH! feed me!

Their Caesar salad consisted of an ENTIRE head of romaine lettuce with grilled chicken and thinly sliced and toasted pieces of bread tossed with a generous load of creamy dressing. It was delicious, but too awkward to eat in a restaurant. I barely finished 1/4 of it, and I took the rest home to enjoy barbarically with my fingers. If we're going for a special occasion, we usually order their delicious Rustic Apple Pie, but this time we ordered to go from their dessert bar. They have these huge mini (quite the oxymoron, eh?) lemon meringue pie/tarts that are amazingly delicious. They have to tape two boxes together in order to delicately fit it in. The meringue is 6 inches high!

absolutely delicious

I suppose tomorrow marks the unofficial end of my Winter Break. It was fun while it lasted! See everyone in 2008; Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Obligatory Christmas Post

Christmas was indeed a whole 3 days ago, but I've been enjoying my free time and awesome gifts too much to blog. This looks like it's going to be pretty lengthy:

Early Christmas Morning
I wake up at 4:30, go back to sleep, and then get up around 6:30, my room is still somewhat of a mess. There is the same amount of presents in the living room as there were the previous night. I managed to sneak in a picture after this fictitious character the I refuse to believe in supposedly arrived.

I look to see if my mom is awake, but she makes me go away since my presents weren't ready yet? A few minutes later she calls me into the living room and presents a very nicely wrapped and decorated box. Guess what was inside?

A lump of coal!
Haha, funny joke, right? Nope. My mother maintains her serious expression. I ask what was the reasoning behind such a gift, and the only reply was "well maybe you can go in your room and think about it for a while? or perhaps you can write a 500 word essay on why [i don't remember]" This sounds funny in text, but it wasn't at the moment. I asked "are you serious?" several times, only to get the same response. I went back to my room and tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn't. How could I have been on this imaginary "Naughty List"? What have I done in the past year that was oh-so naughty to ruin my Christmas? I felt like a brat thinking only about presents, but come on! I finished cleaning up my room, threw some junk in the closet and watched boring TV specials for a while when my mom came in to comment on my great cleaning skillz. This was about an hour after the lump of coal incident when she asks if I had been crying since then. NO! I was just confused, only to find out that it was some sort of terrible joke. I still don't think that it's funny at all.

We finished setting up stuff around the house and I vacuumed -- it is so much more fun now for some reason. After the lump of coal incident, I wasn't as excited about presents anymore. This maturity thing sucks, it's ruining my joy of Christmas!

Later Christmas
Once everyone came over, it seemed like everyone was dragging their feet to open presents. There was a beautiful tree with dozens of lovely gifts under it that no one seemed to care about. Maybe I was just uber-antsy because I was anticipating a specific gift, though I would have noticed the oddly shaped packaging, and it wasn't there under the tree, so my hopes were down a bit. Gift-opening was interesting, same ol' same ol'. I got some pretty cool stuff:
  • The Simpsons Movie
  • Evan Almighty
  • a very nice wireless mouse
  • Lupe Fiasco's new CD (still haven't opened it, not sure if I'll like it)
  • clothes
  • a shelf
  • Best Buy Gift Card
  • Cash
  • a little silver giraffe
  • the book Mentally Flossed Presents: Condensed Knowledge
  • a hat/gloves/scarf set for NJ
  • a Kipling bag
After all of the gift opening was done, my mom asked me to take out the trash bag with the wrapping paper in it. I argued for a second about why it couldn't wait until later, but I ended up going. On the way to the dumpster, I thought about how I didn't get a single thing that I asked for, and I was a bit disappointed. Then on the way back I wondered if this was another trick where my anticipated gifts would be waiting upon my arrival. This was less than a 1 minute walk, mind you. When I got back, 2 cameras were pointed at the door...I was right, something was definitely up. There was a box on the floor, my mother exclaimed "there's one more gift for you". There was a white box, with another wrapped box inside. I immediately knew what it was and gave a short speech about how I knew it all along. Tearing off the wrapping paper, I discovered another air mattress box. That disguise trick never gets old in this family. Inside that box was my PS2 Singstar Edition! I was psyched, even though I didn't have Guitar Hero.

Where it Gets Good
After completely opening the PS2, I told my mom that perhaps I could purchase Guitar Hero 3 with the money I got. Funny. Seconds later my grandmother said "Hey, you never showed me your new room!" Making nothing of it, I lead her into my room, and as soon as I turned the corner, I saw Guitar Hero 3 sitting on my desk. I squealed like toddler and jumped up and down. I was just so shocked. GH3 is such a gift that it doesn't even need to be wrapped, the box itself is enough! I really thought it was sold out, and couldn't believe that they all managed to keep a straight face after my statement seconds earlier. I did the whole Nintendo 64 impression, which I promised, and it's on video somewhere. My mom disappeared into her room for a second--I didn't notice at the time, and returned with a small box saying "you're not getting anything else until you graduate!" Inside was a copy of the Guitar Hero 1 and 2 Dual Pack. I was still completely in awe. In a matter on minutes, my emotions transitioned so greatly. I felt so spoiled, yet so appreciative, yet so excited and barely able to concentrate.

the loot

The Rest
I tried to play Guitar Hero in the living room, but something just wasn't right -- I knew that I didn't suck that much. I found out later that you have to calibrate the lag on HDTVs I didn't suck at all! I tried Singstar instead and I have to say that I'm probably the most amazing singer that you'll ever hear! My aunt and I tried a few songs, it was hilarious, entertaining, and loads of fun. I'll probably acquire Karaoke Revolution Party and Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol in the next few weeks, it should make for some great fun on the robotics trips. Sometime later in the day I went in my room and played more GH. I definitely did not suck. At the time, I could play any song on Medium with about 75% accuracy, but today, only 3 days later, I can 5 star almost any song on Medium with 90+% accuracy and play a few songs on Hard.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007



Playstation 2 Singstar Edition...Guitar Hero 3...Guitar Hero 1/2 Dual Pack...Money...Best Buy Giftcard...Kipling Bag...Clothes...Hat/Scarf/Gloves Set...Music...Giraffe..DVDs....YAY!

(yes, I did do the "Nintendo Sixty FOOOOUUURRR!!!!one!111shift+one!! impression)

Monday, December 24, 2007


(click to enlarge)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Time for a Change

I was sick of looking at that old maroon and gray page, so I decided to change my blog layout a bit. This one, Snapshot Tequila, is a bit more interesting. There isn't much to choose from in terms of pre-made layouts, but I like this one for its clean cut lines and the white background gives a sense of openness. I don't know why I chose green though...its interesting, I guess.

Speaking of sick, I am sick. I thought I could go a whole year without the sickness! Playing doctor, I predict that it is just some sort of upper respiratory congestion or the common cold or sinus congestion or something of that sort. My throat feels like someone is rubbing sandpaper along it every time I swallow or speak. Why would this choose to come on the first day of winter break? It was enough to keep me in bed all day yesterday, missing out on the epic LAN :(. Hopefully I'll be better by Christmas...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Winter is Here

Today marks the first day of Winter...wait, what is that? It still feels the same as September here in Florida. Nonetheless, I will not have to wake up at 5am for another 2 weeks, and for that alone I am greatly relieved. Christmas is four days away. (That should have been an exclamation point, but I would have been lying about my enthusiasm.) Perhaps it is a sign of getting old or growing up that Christmas is so close and I am showing such a lack of eagerness for such a once highly anticipated holiday. It still feels so strange that it is December so soon. I'll be 17 in 41 days, which makes me 16 and 324/365, or 16.88767. Tomorrow it'll round to a nicer fraction of 65/73. I don't know why using a calculator gives me such a thrill...especially that Math>Frac function. We've been using the TI-89 Titaniums in Calc for the past few weeks. I want one!

Academically, I ended the year pretty solid. Not straight A's, but I feel comfortable with my level of accomplishment and how much material I've learned and comprehended. I learned a lot in 2 classes alone for this half of the year, which means that is a lot of information that I can forget in 2 little weeks. I still have to work on my Interactive Design project, but I think I'll crack open the Calculus textbook and my AP Psych notebook in between Guitar Hero breaks [again, just assumptions and wishful thinking ;)]. This has been an interesting week of ups and downs with my ACT and PSAT scores being released only one day apart. I improved 16 points on the PSAT, but I am probably still more than 20 points short of qualifying for National Merit Semifinalist status, or even National Achievement Scholar. Oh well. My ACT scores are "fantastic" according to guidance counselors, national averages, and Dillard's population, but they're still not good enough for me. I've decided that I'll retest on the June test date, so I'll have had time to get up my English skills with AP English. I haven't had time to read a book for pleasure for almost 6 months now, but my reading comprehension scores are still the highest? What's done is done, now I must focus on making the most of my summer program apps regardless of silly numbers that supposedly determine my artificial-on-paper-intelligence.

Getting past all of that serious school-related nonsense, today was an awesome day at school. It seemed like it couldn't end fast enough, but it brought back those feelings that I had on the last day before break in elementary school. Too much candy, no work gets done, it's pretty much a pointless day to show up. In first block we actually did work, some problems from past AP exams, but nothing was too difficult. Second block was party hour. It seemed like every classroom across the school was having some sort of unofficial party. In our class and the one across the hall there was Halo 3 going on, people were bringing in food from various sources, and one probably would not believe that this was a school, an institution of learning, if they were to randomly walk in. I wasn't too into Halo, so I made a short stop-motion film of a paper folding itself. I plan on working on a more interesting and complex one over the break. In AP Psych, Mr. Lacroix offered 1 whole point of extra credit to anyone that would get up in front of the class and sing holiday songs, so of course everyone did it -- heck, even I did. Yes, I have video. Check for all of them on my YouTube channel later on tonight. Later in 4th block most people left to go play Halo elsewhere, while Young Frankenstein was playing in our class. It seemed like 4th block couldn't end soon enough!

So now, I'm free to do absolutely nothing until January 5th. DJ's LAN party is tomorrow, so that should be interesting. I'm not much of a gamer, but it should be fun anyway, and we'll be making our extra credit AP Psych video. FIRST just released a second game hint. I'm not even going to bother with the speculation this year. I'll wait until about 10:30am on Jan. 5 to find out.

Happy Holidays!

edit - videos are up on my channel

Sunday, December 16, 2007

ACT Scores Released Early!

There was a little hack on College Confidential on how to access your scores early. It wouldn't work through the normal login, but there was a little workaround involving adding your registration number to a different link. I was so shocked to see the thread "December Scores Are Out!!!!111one1!!" My heart was racing from the time I saw it, until about 45 minutes later, which was five minutes ago. Yes, I have just calmed down.

edit: writing scores added

The Verdict:
English: 29
Math: 27
Reading: 32
Science: 25
Writing: 10
Combined E/W: 29
Composite: 28

All of these scores are out of 36. I got exactly what I expected, but the distribution was a little different than what I thought it would be. I hoped to do better on English, but apparently Reading is where I shined. Gotta bring up math and science! Writing scores have yet to be released. Actually, the site said that all Multiple Choice scores should be out between Dec. 19-21, so perhaps that's when I'll receive my writing score. Definitely must retake. Now back to those summer program apps...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Impossible Quiz!

Is impossible. I've been playing for almost 45 minutes. So stupid, yet so awesome at the same time, yet so irresistible! My friends, you have been warned: The Impossible Quiz. is a horrible, horrible site.


MIT Early Admissions decisions were posted today. Yes, I am a junior, why should I care? Today signifies the beginning of my own journey. There is exactly (almost) one year until I will be in the same boat that the 3,900 other seniors that applied EA are in now. Hopefully I'll be one of the lucky 500 that were accepted early. Now that they're out of the way, it's my turn! I have one year to get all of my ducks in a row. It seems like it's so close, yet so far away...scary, eh?

Also along the category of decisions, I have decided to apply to MIT's WTP (Women's Technology Program). Applying only to MITES for this summer would be a huge risk, as I would be left with nothing productive to do for my last summer of high school if I was rejected. I planned on enrolling in AP Calculus AB with FLVS in the fall, but if I don't have anything to do this summer, I'll start in the summer instead. I'm not sure if I'll go to SAMS again if I'm invited back. There seemed to be just too much free time in the senior curriculum, and the courseload just seemed too easy to be a 'rigorous summer experience'. Perhaps I'll apply to AP/EA for CMU Pre-College and take Calculus and Physics. WTP is four weeks and you are selected for 1 of two tracks, EECS or MechE. The purpose of the program is to introduce girls to technology and stuff -- girls with no experience, which probably makes me over-qualified. I was going through the application and its almost clear that I'll be over-qualified, but it's worth a try. It's also $3000, but I'm sure if i do get accepted, I'll get at least partial tuition covered...cuz' we ain't rich! It won't hurt to apply to all of these, it'll only cost me postage of 3 small packages to Boston and Pittsburgh. MITES is definitely my first choice, but if I'm not accepted, hopefully I'll have four other options to consider when all of these decisions come out in the early April. Just trying to be realistic...

There is only one week of school left. I am SO ready for winter break. I have a little agenda planned out of things that I'd like to accomplish, but I'm sure that half of the stuff won't get done. Christmas is only 10 days away, though it still feels as if it could be September. Florida does a horrible job of getting me into the holiday spirit. The lowest temperature this season was a measly 60 degrees. Is it really December? Wow.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


♫And the way he rolled, just a rebel in the world with no place to go...♪

So at some point in 2006, I missed out on the whole Lupe Fiasco thing. He's got some pretty amazing stuff. I don't know what exactly has attracted me to his music, but I like it. It seems a little different from everything else. Kick, Push is probably a new favorite of mine now. I could take these lyrics and somehow metaphorically apply it to whatever may be on my mind now, but I think for once I'll pass on the over-thinking. At least not at 1:45 am.

I've been thinking for the past few days that I would start writing again, perhaps carry around a notebook to jot down all of my thoughts during the day. I think it will help me spice up my MITES essays and unleash a little creativity in my responses. I've tried to write stories for fun in the past few months, but they've all sucked. If I just write down every idea that comes to mind, I should be able to come up with something interesting eventually. I'll probably create another blog under this account for some of the material that I choose to share. Maybe I'll dig up some old stuff to sprinkle in with the new. Maybe I'll start writing a story in mini-installments. Maybe I'll actually do something that I say I'll do. Starting with the journal -- going into my bookbag right now.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Booo Standardized Testing

Actually, it wasn't that bad at all. I actually think that I did pretty well. It is no where near as exhausting as actually studying for the test. The test went very smoothly, except for the fact that there were two people in my testing room using TI-89s, though I think there were only 1-2 problems where the calculator would give you an advantage. Plantation High is quite a maze.

English - OWNED! I strongly believe that I will get a 30+ on this section. THANK YOU MS. THEISS!

Math - I did okay. Most of the material was a breeze. The Matt & Jill question was when the 5min. warning was called and I started to panic a little about time. I managed to get two more answers in and christmas tree'd the last 4 or 5 :/

Reading - Not too bad either. Some of the questions were annoying with their vagueness, but otherwise, I'm sure I did well on this section too. The stories are always SO weird. Where do they get this stuff from?

Science - terrible, terrible, terrible. I don't think that I did too bad, but I didn't get to the last experiment at all, thus forcing me to randomly guess for the last 5. Most of the other experiments were really confusing and I had to look at the graphs 3 or 4 times. It was weird because you actually had to look at 3 graphs to understand what a single column in the first one meant most of the time. It was awesome though that the last thing I read in my ACT book last night was a science graph-reading strategy. I was a little irked by the fact that all of the material was completely irrelevant to anything that you'd learn in school. The test was solely based on graph interpretation, related to science -- I'd call that reading comprehension, not necessarily science. You probably would never learn about the phi of different rock formations formed 27km and 405km away from a volcano or the amount of geese fecal coliform in your nearby lake at school. I had no idea what people referred to as the 'Fighting Scientists' question until I approached it...scary stuff. I did a lot of "educated guessing".

Writing - OWNED! This was the first time that I was really able to finish a whole well planned and thought out essay in less than 30 minutes. I used 2 minutes to read and plan, then the other 28 to write! write! write! I filled two pages exactly, then had a little under a minute at the end to read over everything. I was a little disappointed that I found a few grammatical errors before I was able to correct them ( writing ritualist instead of ritualistic, random misspellings) Hopefully those few little things won't hurt too much. 10-12 maybe? Hopefully.

I'm still hoping for my 30+ composite. I went on College Confidential a little after I got back, and I'm glad to know that everyone had the same issues that I did with certain questions. Really, did they think we would know that geese are endothermic without outside knowledge?! From other more experienced test-taker's responses, I still got the question right. What is done is done! Multiple Choice scores are released in ten days...

Friday, December 7, 2007

ACT Tomorrow

At school today they held a little thinger for the A Honor Roll students. Around 2:15 they called for everyone from the list to be dismissed from their classes and report to the black box. There were about 100-200 people in the recital hall. The principal spoke, saying the same ol' stuff about the best of the best, etc. We all proceeded to the black box where we were given cookies and ribbons with loud music playing in the background. Everyone was in little groups along the walls, it was so stereotypical. Lovely.

I really haven't studied much for the ACT, but I think I'll do well enough. I went through one practice test and all of their little strategies, also doing a few questions out of my huge book every now and then. I got a 41/45 on the last English review I did, so I have a little confidence, but I'm not overconfident (good, that always fails). I need to have a bonfire at the end of my senior year to get rid of all these SAT/ACT/AP prep books. Plantation High at 8am tomorrow...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bored with Life

I don't know if it's just that I've been exceptionally tired lately, but every little thing seems to be getting to me somehow in a way that I dislike. I hate these blogs that all sound so depressing, but I have nothing better to write's just my boring life.

School started off okay, it was interesting at first, it came to a slow drift, and then reached a point of just bearable-ness. Now, it is completely intolerable. I cannot stand the place one bit. There is no more to explain than that. Every class sucks. AP Psych is okay (especially since I'm sure I did very well on the test today), but nothing seems worth it. I don't know why I'm here. But there is nowhere else to go...

Robotics isn't getting any better. I was excited for the new season and kickoff, everything seemed to be coming together so well, but I realized that we haven't been really moving at the pace I expected. No one really knows anything yet. Evan reminded me of something important this weekend -- you're only as strong as your weakest member. I really didn't want to hear that, even though I know that it is painstakingly true. Perhaps I'm not really fit to be a leader, just a great organizer...I don't know how to get people to do things. No one really seems interested.

All of this has just been bothering me for a while, and there is nothing that I can do about it except hope that the future brings something better...

Monday, December 3, 2007

Autonomously Peddling Through

I feel like I'm wading in a deep pond through the rest of this year on some sort of autonomous vehicle. Time seems to move so slowly, yet when it has passed it seems like it was all a blur. This seems masochistic, but I am ready for the second semester. School is boring --half of the week, I go to school and do pretty much nothing. I'm ready for a change. I love the feeling of the new semester, it feels like starting school all over again. Unfortunately, we'll be plagued with finals upon return from Winter Break and new classes won't start until mid/late-January. Of course build season coexists. The uncertainty of my physics situation is driving me insane. I really don't know who to go to in order to find out about the status of things or how to change anything. The guidance counselors seem pretty much useless at this point. I would prefer to do AP Physics or Dual Enrollment, but that's impossible at this point because of transportation. If anything, I just need a block so that I can take FLVS Physics Honors. I feel as if in January I can get out of this wading pond and switch from autonomous mode to user-operated mode, almost as if things will speed up naturally. Here is my schedule for next semester. Graphic Design II? I don't think so.


I've been working on my MITES application for the past few days. I hate writing these personal essays where I have to describe myself in 300 words or less. I never really know if I'm highlighting the right areas, or if I'm leaving something really important out, or if I'm bragging too is about me after all. When I look back on previous essays that I've written, I hate them. Because I've learned so much in the past two years, and I still am, everything is better than what existed in the past. I am almost ashamed of a lot of my old writing even though I take a slight amount of pleasure in reading my older material, such as those profound essays from late 9th grade. I suppose I have my writing ups and downs. I don't see how those essays even worked for SAMS. I'm glad that I still have a lot of time left to work on these MITES essays. February 1 is pretty far away (I should know, it's my birthday!) I should have better PSAT scores by that point, and my ACT scores from next weekend will be out. I'd like to be finished by early January before build season gets too intense. Right now this one essay is really perplexing.

How has your racial or ethnic identity affected your academic development? How has it influenced your aspirations?
Hmm...has it? This is one that I'll really have to think about for a while. I have an inkling of what direction I'll go in with this one, but I feel like I am working around the question. Perhaps I'll post whatever I have when I'm done with the whole application.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

(Last) Weekend

Lego League
As far as competition went, we (the crew) all encountered the same ol' issues with parent and coach confrontations. Seriously, they need to back off and let the kids have fun. It's still great to return year after year and see what younger minds have been inspired, in spite of their little-league-esque coaches. I really need to mentor a team for next year. Pictures here. (I was too lazy to upload or link all of them to blogger)

Marcus' Party
Mmm DS Cake!

Everyone was so surprised to hear that I'd never been to Dave & Busters before. It's a cool place, but for some reason I still like Gameworks better. D & B has a better everything-in-one atmosphere with the large food/bar and restaurant scene, billiards, and party rooms galore. Perhaps I'm just more used to Gameworks and disappointed that D & B didn't have DDR, but Pump It Up instead and no other rhythm games. Though D & B has more ticket yielding games and a much larger selection of prizes to choose, I couldn't find a single thing with my 612 tickets from the night. One highlight of the night was the 'Super Triva' game. Of course a group full of dorks was attracted to it! We probably played more than 10 matches, finally managing to synchronize our swipes to get a full amount of 6 people playing. It was hilarious to hear the moans when the spinner landed on the 'Sports' category, yet the cheers when it landed on 'Science'. Plus, it was an very high ticketing game. I won two matches, one worth 100 tickets, and the other only worth 70 because of a tie. I can make up for my lack of gaming skill with knowledge! Though I still own at Super Shot basketball. Good times. I need to get out more. Pics here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mixed Feelings

It's been a pretty good semester so far, but I have these really odd mixed feelings about school in general. I'm doing really great, I just got my report card today and I have a 4.325, weighted, for the quarter, though it didn't effect my cumulative very much. Calculus is great. Shockingly, I got A's on the last two quizzes. Not enough to recover my grade from that one time I completely blanked out and forgot even how to add, but it was enough to give me a significant boost. I don't think I've gotten any smarter, I guess it's just the way the stars align...

(no, I don't really care about astrology, I just don't have an explanation for my ups and downs in Calc)

So everything sounds like it's going great, right? Well, last Thursday I received news from my wonderful guidance counselor that AP Physics was canceled due to low enrollment. WHAT?! Yeah, it's gone...forever! Being my normally calm self, I didn't react in that manner. I simply asked what other options I had and also had a backup plan in case they decided to throw some bullshit in my face. Of course, going to Dillard, scenario two was a given, and I was told "there are no more science classes, there is nothing we can do. How about another elective? A nice easy A, huh?" Yeah, that's what type of guidance department we have. I'm deprived of a science credit needed for graduation, and they offer GPA-lowering-filler courses instead? After that, I suggest the possibility that I can receive a study block the time that I would have AP Physics and complete the Honors Physics (crazy easy!) online with FLVS, or I could do the same thing, and they could code the class as Research VI, which I could test out of easily, and still have plenty of time to complete my online course. DJ was also in the same situation since he has ALL of my classes. A little side story with study blocks. They just do not do them. People have left the school because they couldn't get a block because of their Dual Enrollment classes and whatnot. Just the mentioning of that is so taboo around here and gets a huge automatic no, so of course I expected that to be immediately rejected and for them to have to accept my original proposal. It requires little effort on the school's behalf, I planned everything out! Of course they said no to the study block, fine. But the next answer was appalling, completely silencing. Do you know what answer we were given? "That is impossible! There is no way that you could ever do that." ::confused looks:: I can register for a course right now and start working on it, they can enter a stupid filler code for AP Underwater Basketweaving in the system, and it would work! But at that point, there was nothing left for me to say. As of right now, I have Graphic Design II listed in place of AP Physics. There is no way that I'm taking that in addition to Physics online if it'll just be a waste of my time. It still hasn't been solved, but supposedly he's "working on it" Mhmmm....

This is one of those moments where I am tempted to leave Dillard. Why am I even here? Oh yeah, for, that's not going to great either! But then again, I have no transportation to BCC for Dual Enrollment, my mother would never let me become a full-time online student, and it's too late to do College I'm stuck here until May 2009. Hmmpf! My other option would be to take AP Calculus 1st block, but I don't think that I'm prepared enough yet, and I'm not sure if I want to add more stress on top of what already will exists second semester, as the robotics build/competition season and having to take Physics online regardless of what I have 1st block won't go away. I could probably manage a 3 on the AP Calc exam, but I'd like to do a little better than that, and I really don't want to be forced into it.

On a less stress-inducing note, the Junior Experience College Fair is tomorrow. I get to miss 1st and 2nd block to go down to the convention center and look at some schools that I'm barely interested in. We were given a list of the participating colleges and universities, and it turns out that only 1 school from my list will be there. Lame. At least I get to leave school, not that I really want to miss Calculus...

School should NOT be this stressful. Especially when it's so easy. People are difficult.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Dorky Moments

I was just thinking about some of the ridiculously dorky things that I've done in the past few years. I think that I've finally embraced my inner-dork, well, I always have, but I's just gotten so severe in the past 2 years! Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order:

Last Weekend: I was at Publix pushing a shopping cart down the aisle. Every now and then, the shopping cart would veer off the straight path and make jerky movements when trying to turn it. My first thought: "Man the software on this cart sucks! It needs a new gyro or some better software!"

Always: Most 2-4 digit numbers always equate to FIRST team numbers in my head. I don't know why, but once in Chemistry last year I balanced an equation to have 19O2 on one side, and yelled out "Exploding Bacon!" Also, anytime the word 'first' it used, I see it as FIRST.

Today: My mother said that there was a new processor on sale somewhere. I asked her why she needed new computer parts. She was actually talking about a food processor.

There is a thread on Chief Delphi titled "You know you're overdosed on FIRST when..." and is like 49 pages long, going on since May 2006! I've posted on it twice already. Here are some of my posts:

...when the only jokes that you talk about are inside jokes from robotics
...when there is a multiple choice question on a test and you are very inclined to bubble your team number or a familiar team's number even though it is the wrong answer
...when you annoy people by reciting team names when you see their numbers realize that you wore all FIRST shirts the week after the Championship for no apparent reason
...your family alerts you when they see anything remotely related to robotics on the news do the math!
...when explaining something you can always somehow relate it to robotics are already planning on how to revolve your schedule next year around robotics
...when you have two years left and you are already sad about having to leave spend half of your Pre-Calculus class talking about robotics with the teacher and the rest of the class hoping to recruit new members
...the next week, you again spend about 15 minutes of the same class comparing why students should come to robotics in the fall rather than hassling with marching band tryouts/workouts all summer realize that you wrote all of your essays for a summer program about robotics and weirdness...and it worked! can finally talk about robotics in your German/English class without annoying the teacher insert "If you were in robotics, you would know what we were talking about..." regularly into conversation to spark interest

Okay, I've got an interesting one...

This past weekend I was booking travel accomodations for when I go to CMU this summer. After booking my plane ticket I was searching for ground transportation from the airport to campus on the Port Authority website. Under the bus section I see Rack N' Roll under their customer info section and immediately think "OMG they have a FIRST bus! I must get on it! I don't care where it takes me!!" I click on the link...turns out that it is just the name of their program where you can put your bike on the front of the bus.

Daily: I read A LOT of tech blogs/feeds, MIT Admissions Blogs, College Confidential, various college websites, Wired, Robot, and PopSci magazines with a passion. I find guys with glasses attractive, I like measuring things, origami, and I build robots...'nuf said.

This summer: I spent a few days youtubing topics like 'Math Rap', 'Science Song', 'AP Classes', 'Physics Experiments', 'MIT' and of course 'FIRST Robotics' everyday. As of last week, I can now understand everything in the amazing 'This is Calculus' video!

A few weeks ago I discovered nerdcore, as a genre. I knew of some dorky songs, but I didn't know that there was a WHOLE GENRE! Best thing is that that most of the music is free, and I actually understand it!

And the fact that I actually thought "Hmmm, I should make a post about how dorky I am!" a few days ago...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


can't go anywhere...stuck in Electronics. Escaped prisoner on the loose and all Broward schools are locked down. UGH!

Monday, November 5, 2007

::ding dong::

Get the's Domino's.

I love ordering Domino's pizza online. I get great offers to my email, and as I expected, the two free Coke Zeros with the 'blitz' promotion could be changed to any type of soda instead of that diet stuff. It's on the way now.

I recieved an interesting piece of mail today from Apparently I'm a semi-finalist in one of their monthly competitions for a chance to win $1,000 or $10,000! Along with being a semi-finalist for competition, the poem is also being published (with a whole page to itself!). I didn't really plan to enter the contest, I was doing it out of boredom as a step as a part of a larger contest (which I eventually gave up on). I think I wrote this one in like less than a minute, and completely forgot afterwards. It was titled "Free Money" and was about how I longed for finally winning one of those contests and doing so by some way of getting beyond the advertising tricks. OH THE IRONY! In the back of my mind something tells me that this is some type of scam, but it seems legit. It's on their site, but I've reproduced it here:

Oh I wish I could have free money
Some of the offers on this site are rather funny
When my prizes arrive
It was worth the strive
Haha I tricked those stupid advertising dummies!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

From a Different Perspective

...with new glasses! Decided to forgo the contacts this time around. My optometrist was SO cool. I've finally gotten to the bottom of my woe with safety glasses. Apparently, the safety glasses push on your regular glasses, thus slightly altering your prescription and vision and causing headaches. It makes so much sense now. How could clear safety glasses ever do any harm? I guess I'm stuck with the big bulky ones for now. No fashionable neat shaped, blue-tinted safety glasses this year. My new glasses are cool though. They're semi-frameless and pretty lightweight. I like 'em.

We went to Sawgrass (for the first time in months!) after picking up the glasses, and I must say that I still hate everything that I used to hate about that mall. There are amazing sales and discounts that you can't find anywhere else, but I can't deal with the people. SO MANY PEOPLE. Not to mention the fact that half of the people weren't speaking English. It makes me really nervous sometimes. But of course, we still walked away with bags full of amazing deals.

So besides getting completely owned by the AP Psych quiz on Friday, everything else in school is great. I started off Calculus with a pretty good start (B+ on the first quiz) and things look to be going well, at least for now. Apparently AP Psych is going to take a nasty turn into one of those dreadful AP classes that you hear horror stories about. Mr. Lacroix says that he was being too nice before and that when he went to the AP teachers' conference, he decided that he needed to be meaner and more strict. Just great for us :/

On another note, robotics sucks to the nth degree. I don't like the team anymore. I don't see anything that I can do to make it better without the cooperation of both sides. Both sides meaning students vs. students, Dillard vs. Motorola, students vs. mentors, and all of these conflicting goals and expectations. A team shouldn't have these types of problems. I shouldn't have to concern myself over dumb shit like this. It would be naive of me to once again think that "things will surely get better with time". I have a feeling that we'll be approaching the 2008 season with a completely different attitude...for the worse. It's horrible of me to say this, but something really horrible needs to happen for things to get better.

Ending on a happier note, the application for MITES 2008 was released on the 31st, or Nov 1? (they really meant late when they said late October) I'm going to wait until my ACT scores and updated PSAT scores are released, but I think I can start on the essays and getting those recommendation letters together. Decisions won't be out until April, but it gives me something to look forward to, hopefully.

Friday, November 2, 2007

So my iPod thinks that it's Jesus...

It's been resurrected, except this time, it is being really buggy, with sudden shut-offs, random low-battery warnings, daily freezings, and syncing issues every 5 seconds. Oh still plays music.

Oh Noel, why did you disappoint me? You were supposed to be the one that came and gave us at least one hurricane day this season. It doesn't look like there'll be any more hurricane days for 2007. If so, it better get itself here in the next 29 days. What a tease.

So apparently I have astigmatism, which makes switching over to contacts a little* more expensive. We went to get glasses on Wednesday, too late for an appointment, so I am rescheduled for Saturday. When she pulled up my records when we asked about contacts, the nurse/assistant/desk person said "oh, she has astigmatism, so it'll cost more!" Um, I don't remember ever being told that at the last eye exam. Whatever. I like glasses. The ones that I am getting are more square and silvery with pink on the inside. Yes, pink.

*a lot

Yay, it's Friday! I just need to get through that AP Psych test and my school day will be over. Not really, but no more hard thinking after 3rd block.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

New Phone + ACT

Samsung SYNC
It's finally here. Arrived on Tuesday, but we didn't activate them until Thursday. Apparently, I'm about to have another common phone, as it's on the front page of AT&T's site, and promoted with almost every new offer. It is a little bigger (length wise) than I thought, but I still like it. There aren't any overwhelming features, just the standard 3G camera phone with video, bluetooth, built in music player, and all that jazz. The interface reminds me of using a Mac with the animated icons, gradients everywhere, and a fluid display, though it may get annoying after a while. Hopefully not.

One downside to my new phone is that it doesn't come with all of the wonderful things to make it function as an iPod replacement. Silly Noelle, did I really think it would? Newegg has 2GB MicroSD cards for $19.99, so I'll order that from there, but I still have to get my headphones directly from Samsung or AT&T since the phone has a Samsung exclusive jack. Lame. I even can't use my lovely Sony ones anymore, oh well.

My ACT book should also be on the way soon. It shall consume my interest until Dec. 8 or I until master all of the material, which ever comes first. I'm not really worried about the ACT, but I would like to do well on my first try and get it over with.

Under 'What to Take to the Test Center', the ACT site states that mechanical pencils are prohibited. WHAT!? I asked my fellow compulsive College Confidential community and many people reassured me that it was okay, though there are some myths about cheating and scanning tests with special mechanical pencils. Sure.

I haven't bought regular pencils in a few years. I remember early on in like 1st grade I was one of the only kids with a mechanical pencil and everyone though it was so cool. Now I've developed a strong preference and I love the constant sharpness, the different styles of pencils, and the even and lightweight feel when I am writing (even though I still prefer pen over pencil). Pencil sharpeners seem so inconvenient now. I think I'll at least use a mechanical pencil on the writing section.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I've just earned two complete credits, .5 credits in 4 classes. That means the semester is halfway over in AP Psych, Calculus, Interactive Design, and Electronics 2. Exams were okay I guess...

Calculus - ugh...don't want to think about it. I'm sure I passed at least.

Electronics 2 - annoying exam. The first page contained completely irrelevant crap that wasn't even in the book. I asked Mr. Euler about it to make sure that it wasn't an error and he told me that it was supposed to be "common computer knowledge". I knew 3/4 of the answers on that page, but still...there shouldn't be that many irrelevant "mystery bag" questions that are extremely specific. After that he made some analogy to the GREs and how hard it is. Well, this is a high school midterm, not a graduate examination. Then we had to do a stupid essay about FCAT. Why? I left the class with a sour note.

AP Psych - I think I did pretty well on the exam. I was drinking a Monster before the test, and Mr. Lacroix brought donuts for the class, so about 10 minutes into the exam, the extreme rush kicked in. I was already breezing through the multiple choice, but when I got to question 76, I felt SO much energy in my hands, yet I could do nothing with them. It was weird. Ironically, I scored 76/100 on that section. Not too bad, assuming the lowest score was 41 and the highest was 86, well above the class average of 63.8. I finished the MC around 8:25, and class ended at 9:40, so I had plenty of time to do the two essays. They were questions from the 2004 and 2006 AP exams. I think my first essay was perfect, but I didn't get to finish the second one. I outlined it pretty thoroughly, so perhaps I'll get more credit on the second one since I had the answer actually written down.

Interactive Design - He told us the assignment for the midterm approximately 2 weeks ago. There were 6 topics written on the board (1. Inspiration, 2. Problem, 3. Solution (non-technical), 4. Solution (technical), 5. Plan to accomplish, 6. Timetable -- GO!) It was really ambiguous, it took lots of really vague questions and weird (yet very interesting!) Standford and MIT lectures to somewhat get the point through. I kind of caught on, but the rest of the class was lost until about, oh...Monday. The project outline was supposed to be done and presented today, in preparation for spending the next semester working on our independent projects. After Mr. Calder used me as an example once, people began coming up to me asking to see mine or what I did or to help them. The truth was, I took a stab in the dark, and I just so happened to land somewhere. I encouraged everyone else to take a risk also, that's the only advice I could offer. I was done a week ago, so I spend 5 minutes refining some points and I presented first. You can read the presentation here. I got an A. Now for the hard part...making all of this work.

Just when I thought I was done, I remembered that I had to write a sponsor letter and business plan for robotics by Friday. I really didn't feel like thinking about robotics this week with exams and all, but deadlines are deadlines...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Life Without Music

My new phone should be here in a few days, so I'll have something to listen to, but for now I feel as if my ears have been muted.

Today included one of those things that will probably be on the "Top 10 List of Odd Things That Have Happened at Dillard". DJ and I were walking back from the guidance office after lunch, right before 4th block when a huge splash of red punch came flying right before our feet. Apparently someone was seeking revenge against someone else with a gallon of Very Red Publix Punch, and decided to do so in a very crowded spot. No one moved until the bottle was empty, afraid of being stained in the middle of warfare. After the huge splash that we dodged, they preceded with dumping the rest of the container on to the other person's head, completely covering them in the sticky red liquid. But the guy was rather soaked too, so I assume it was a fair battle. Nonetheless, there wasn't an adult in sight. ::sigh:: Typical Dillard...

Midterm reviews all day tomorrow. I have a very very slight chance of getting a B in Calc if this next HW/Quiz grade bumps me up to a 79. There's hope.



No music tomorrow. How will I ever survive on the bus?

edit: I tried all of my skillz to resurrect it, but there is no hope. The first time it looked like it would start reloading songs again, but then it froze and did the same thing that it did a few minutes ago. The second time it started to sync, then refused to sync anything, and when I turned it on, it was completely empty again. For some reason, when I unplugged it, the case was really hot and I couldn't turn it off immediately. It's gone. No music.

Is it late October yet?

I'm anxiously waiting for the MITES 2008 application to be released. Their site has had the same message since June/July.
2008 Program Dates: June 18, 2008 - August 2, 2008
Applications will be available in late October.
Midterms are this week, blegh. I've calculated that I should have a 3.625 unweighted GPA and 4.325 weighted GPA at the end of this semester. At least Calculus (and everything else) is halfway over! I'm not stressing.

I haven't blogged in a while. I've been thinking of things to post, but for some odd reason I just haven't felt like writing anything, sorry. So I'll give a quick recap of what might have happened:
  • I can now 'Crank Dat Soulja Boy'. Not really, but I got $10 for a horrible attempt.
  • I went to my first (and possibly last) football game. It was homecoming and Dillard won. Yay, I guess?
  • I finally figured out an independent project to do for the rest of Interactive Design.
  • Carnegie Mellon came to visit Dillard on Friday. Nothing special, except I "coincidentally" wore my SAMS shirt and the admissions officer pointed it out. I was shocked that she actually knew all about DARPA Grand/Urban Challenge and FIRST Robotics
  • I narrowed down my college list a bit. 5 schools confirmed (MIT, WPI, UF, Tufts, Olin), 3 pending (Boston, Northeastern, CMU).
  • Registered for the Dec. 8 ACT+Writing
  • I still have a C+ in Calc :(
  • Robotics Parent Meeting and regional registration and stuffs (Chicago --> Orlando --> ATL). Taught Autodesk Inventor to the noobs in mech.
  • Previous Week: Rock Star Day and Superhero Day @ Dillard for a barely spirited Spirit Week
This should be a good week I guess. Hopefully the MITES application will come out in the next 5 days, I only have to go to school for a few hours on Wednesday and Thursday, and no school on Friday. Woah its late! Only 3.5 hours of sleep tonight...

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Every fucking soda machine in the school is filled with all diet beverages...even diet water!


Sunday, October 7, 2007


There's a lot to talk about involving Tempest N' Tampa so it'll be a long post with pictures and videos and stuff. I've been avoiding blogging because of'll be the next post, stay tuned!

Um yeah, so that life stuff. In the next post you'll see how I became addicted to Guitar Hero. I have been watching Guitar Hero videos for the past 5 days and obsessing over anything related to it or Rock Band. It is horrible, since I don't even have the game, but SArmstr0ng's Channel on YouTube gets me through the day (or months until I'll get it, maybe :/ ). So, for the past 2/3 years, I really haven't wanted anything for Christmas. Well technology has sure had a great year or two, and it has finally caught up with me. No, I do not want an iPhone. No, I do not want an iPod. And no, I do not want a car. But here is what I would like:

The List - Christmas/Birthday '07
  1. PlayStation 2 Slim - Black
  2. Guitar Hero 3 w/Guitar
  3. Guitar Hero 1 (Game Only)
  4. Singstar Pop w/Microphones
  5. Singstar Rocks (Game Only)

All of this totals to $329.95, which is quite expensive. I would be a happy camper with any combination of 1 and 2, or 1 and 4, or of course, just an air mattress would be nice too...har har.

Aside from my selfish wants, I finally like Calculus again. I went through a brief period of completely hating the subject (which I'm sure will happen again), but I actually like this unit. Textbooks should focus more on application of concepts, such as related rates in Calculus, for example. Most people cringe at the though of word problems in math, yet I was flying right through these. If I didn't get derivatives and implicit differentiation a few weeks ago, I definitely understand it now. All of those silly geometric formulas that you have to memorize in middle school actually make sense now. Ooooh derivatives...deriving where something comes from. I think if more people understood why they were actually using a specific formula to do something, rather than just memorizing some path to the solution, we would have a lot more educated and not so many math-paranoid people in the world. Newton is surely an awesome guy. And just when I though Archimedes took the win...

This whole Calculus epiphany has brought me to reflect back on myself. Math is not my best subject. I AM "weak" in math. Not according to Broward County and the State of Florida Department of Education though. According to them I am like...a genius or something, but For some reason I am more conceptual. I understand the concept, but when it comes to solving a ton of problems...I'm often left clueless. I know what they want me to do, I know what the answer should look like, and I know kinda how to get there, but I am never 100% concrete about the process, only in some Calc/Physics cases. But with the trig identities...they make no sense? I understand most of the theories with triangles, and I think that they're really cool, but its like the trig functions came out of fucking nowhere and now they're haunting me. Memorization will only save me. Nonetheless, this is pretty much the reason why I hate that I'm so good in English and writing. I know for a fact that I am very left brained, possibly middle, but this still rather baffling. Science is usually never a problem...I end up getting it somehow, but ugh. It's an unexplainable internal debate that I have no idea why I'm blogging about it.

I don't think I'll take the SAT. If I get a 30+ on the ACT, I will NOT take the SAT at all. I take the PSAT in a week and half to see if I can qualify for National Merit or National Achievement Scholars or something like that, but I really don't like the style of the SAT at all. It is a fucking game. I ridiculous game in which the CollegeBoard screws every college-bound high schooler and they always win at the end with the big bucks. There is no winning for us. After reading numerous SAT books full of hints and strategies and gaurunteed-tips-to-2400 books and guides, I'm sick of trying to figure out their game. It is not a test of basic knowledge. I KNOW that I have basic knowledge. I won't let a stupid assessment prove that against me or ruin my chance of reaching my dream. Neither will I let CollegeBoard cash in on my attempt to reach that dream. Sure they'll get a few hundred out of me, but I think that I'll be better off with the ACT. It seems more realistic. I hate that there is a stereotype behind it involving success rates vs. demographic, but whatever...colleges supposedly look at the two tests in the same light. I still have to take the SAT IIs as admissions requirements for some of the major schools that I'm applying to, but I have no problem with the Subjet Tests. Actually, I've taken a few pre-tests and they're not so bad. So...up next on my yearly dosage of standardized testing (yay more lists!):

(edit:will do later...blogger editor is being weird and I don't feel like bothering with the html)

Friday, September 28, 2007

I feel like I'm on something

I just drank a Monster, ate some candy, and I'm listening to all of this crazy awesome techno.
Really, I don't need drugs.

TAMPA TOMORROW! (well actually today) This is probably the last good night's worth of sleep I'll get until Sunday.

LMAO @ this vid.

Early release days are awesome. Kept up the tradition of being the first to McDonalds. The only thing that sucks about Early Release is that school ends in the middle of the day, the peak of hotness. It was like 90-something degrees. But no rain and no homework!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Blurry Rain in My Frosty

Random title. Somewhat symbolic, but I shall explain.

The rain part is self-explanatory. It has been pouring for the past week. I have gotten drenched everyday walking home, with or sans Umbrella. It gets depressing after 5 days of this constant moisture-ridden journey. Okay, maybe I'm just bitter because I had to take off my glasses because the rain droplets further impaired my vision. I stepped in a huge puddle soaking my entire foot and lower leg without noticing until I took the next step...TWICE! Curse you, occipital lobe! Turn on that stupid 'Depth Perception' switch!

Now for the Frosty. Wendy's makes this delicious dairy product, not quite your typical soft serve. If you didn't know, I happen to be very lactose intolerant. Me + Dairy = BAD! It just doesn't work! Unfortunately, I really want a Frosty. Usually when I take part in these dairy indulgences, I forget the mostly useless Lactaid and deal with the abdominal discomfort. I had dairy today with no digestive supplements. Ugh, whhhyyyy. (I know, it's my fault, I shouldn't complain)

So, how does all of this relate? Well as we all know, Frosties are already crammed with artificial this and that and all of those chemicals that you can't pronounce. Rain is filled with pollutants. Imagine that you were trying to eat a frosty while it was raining, not being able to see 4 feet in front of you, attempting to dodge puddles, and of course not thinking about how this thing will never digest into your body. Sounds fun, huh? Rain exacerbates* everything.

Random thought: Why can't my school sell those lovely sounding Cherry Popsicle things that Rich's advertises on their site? No dairy? [gasp!]

::Smash Mouth's "Story of My Life" begins playing in the background::

On a lighter note, school is interesting. Barely. That's about it. I've compiled some of my favorite quotes thus far this week:

(before a test) "Clear your desks so the people next to you have a clear view of your paper" - Lacroix

"Windows is a horrible operating system. Everyone still uses it." - Calder

"BAT Testing will be administered ON TOMORROW" - Morning Announcements

"You know this thing can make grades go down to negative values?" - Euler
Minutes later: "HOW THE HELL DO I HAVE A -10 IN THIS CLASS!?" - someone in my class

(After hearing two people suddenly burst into laughter) "Oh don't worry Noelle, I was just using you as a point of reference" - Lexa

In the End, I still have to work Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger, because it really wasn't a Bad Day and I'm Walkin' on the Sun. So Much I plan on Sleeping In, but Don't Stop Me Now because I Drive Myself Crazy and I find it Hard to Concentrate. Against All Odds, In My Life there is always Big Shit Poppin' and I Can't Stop, though I'm always Under Pressure. Here It Goes Again...

(lol ^ how many song titles can I use in a single blog post, much less a single sentence)

coolPoint++ to whoever knows all of the songs in that last blurb

I didn't have to take Benchmarks today because I don't have to!

Tampa in less than 2 days!

Early release tomorrow!

Yay! (Amazing how the tone of a post can change drastically within a few paragraphs.)

*See Emile, even normal people like me (HA!) use "big" words.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

xkcd always has something fitting...

FIVE (5) Calc quizzes next week

AP Psych Ch. 4 Test

The rest of WH

Tampa on Friday/Saturday


edit: Why is it that blogger tells me that my request cannot be processed? I go and check my blog and whaddayakno...the update is there. Weird.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Stand Tall for Eric Shun!

"This is my little friend here, his name is Eric Shun. I want you to vote him for Mr. Dillard. He will try his very hardest, the hardest, to be as best as he can be!"

Best lunch ever!

The Story
In the cafeteria during lunch today, the security guy that makes loud, obnoxious announcements over the microphone allowed the students campaigning for various Miss this and Mister that to make announcements for themselves, or their promoters to do so rather. Mr. Jackson announces "Anyone that wanna announce they positions fo Homecomin' and Mista and Miss dis and dat can come up here right now and represent they candidates!"

Getting annoyed with the silly announcements, we pondered some interesting things to do with such free will over the microphone. DJ suggests we say something funny. We all begin exchanging weird names. Ben Dover, Ivana Fugalot are the first ones to come to mind. Then I remember a T-Shirt that I saw a while back "Eric Shun Moving Company" displayed along a long tractor-trailer. Everyone loves the idea and DJ literally takes it an runs with it. After debating the possibilities...either everyone will get it or no one will...he takes Emile and runs up to the podium.

After letting a few other real candidates go ahead, Mr. Jackson hands DJ the mic with no questions, and after only a few words, the whole cafeteria goes wild. Maybe it was just because DJ was white? Maybe it was because they actually got it? Nonetheless, Eric Shun got the loudest and most eventful cheers out of any of the candidates. Marc and I just sat there at our table, anticipating every moment, not believing that all of this actually happened.

We left before lunch was over to go to Mr. Calder's class as usual, telling everyone we knew along the way. They didn't believe us at all, but after a quick realization "Duh, it's Dillard!" everyone got a nice little chuckle. It was fun explaining it to people, watching the quizzical looks on their faces, and then waiting for the "OHHHH HAHA LOL!"

It's now halfway through 4th block, and the funnies have barely slowed down. And Emile's new name is now Eric, lol.

Calder: DJ you have to stop with this stuff
DJ: But it just keeps coming!

Random Person: Eric Shun? He's running? For what?
Emile: Your mom!

Great ending to a boring day!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Mission Mayhem!

We won!

After a horrible start, missing our first match and then losing EVERY SINGLE match except for our second to last, we made it to the elimination rounds. While standing waiting to possibly be picked, I was talking to a guy from 168, with both of us commenting on the first four pickings. We both thought that there was no way that either of us would be picked. They got rid of the serpentine draft, so after the #4 seed picked their first partner it went back to #1 to choose their second alliance partner. When Arefin asked the pink guy who they would be choosing to complete their alliance, he stumbled over his words, sending our team into crazy excitement mode. "Teams 233 and 108 [sudden screams from 108], (pause) oops, I mean 180, would like to invite team 108 to join our alliance!" There were 8 teams left to choose from, and we got picked by the #1! In true off season event fashion, I omitted the "team 108 graciously accepts" from our acceptance with a "Heck Yes!" instead.

I assumed that they picked us for defense, and indeed, I was right. We were all pretty much on the same page as far as strategy went. 233 would attempt to go for the most ringers as possible, with SPAM doing the same, except rushing back about 30 seconds before to deploy their ramps, while we kept the main two scorers on the blue alliance away from the rack.

Despite a field reset during an amazing match (a row of six with a vertical row of three and us and 233 preparing to go up 180's ramps), we didn't lose a single match of the elimination rounds, making us, along with PINK and SPAM, Mission Mayhem 2007 champions!

I can say that it was an exciting and fun event, but there were still a few spoiling factors. There was a point around 9:45am where I really wanted to quit the team right then and there. Pointless arguments over simple tasks, confusion, arrogance, conflicting doesn't matter that we brought home the win at all. A LOT will have to change before I can truly enjoy my experience with 108, if I ever get a chance to. At least we've got spirit, yes we do!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

blink blink

In the past 24 hours, I have had 2 totally insane dreams. boat races, Diarrhea Island, robotics recruiting, the cast of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, grape Kool-Aid, familiar faces from school, cop chases, waffles made with Special K and eggs, racism, support from the administration, Froot Loops -- now 3 times larger, underwater breathing was all crazy. I woke up so disoriented, thinking that all of this stuff was actually true. And for some reason I still think that I can make a waffle by cracking an egg over the waffle maker and mixing special K and milk with it. WEIRD!

The right transmission on the robot gave out right before the PTA meeting. BaneBots definitely sucks; I don't care how many hardened D plates and replacements we get. We may or may not get to play during Mayhem. :/ The only good to come out of it was that there might be a few more supportive individuals and the principal might see the team in a non-elitist way now. WHY does everything have to suck so much?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Thinking detrimental to my mental health.

So basically, I blame robotics. I don’t know why, but every meeting seems to frustrate me in some sense. Whether relating to the team itself, or some personal thought resulting from something robotics-related, I can never walk away from a meeting completely satisfied. Reading ChiefDelphi regularly doesn’t help either; I just long to be one of those teams! There is always something to be improved and it always feels like we’re SO far away from reaching those goals. Am I rubbing off my habit of setting almost unreachably high goals on the team? Too bad, I have trouble settling for less. I keep telling myself things will get better; I’m not wasting my time at all. My stupid conscience (which is usually right) thinks otherwise.

Nonetheless, this type of thinking always tends to bring a sense of unsettledness to me, and disrupts my whole thought process. I begin questioning my reasoning for staying at Dillard, why I come to robotics week after week, why I care so much, why isn't this the great program that I thought I was coming to, why have I not left for Stranahan yet. Then this leads to extremities, finally resulting in confusion, to the point where I need to go watch cartoons to numb my mind or read every single one of my feeds on Google Reader. The weird thoughts are still brewing, but the amazing daily technological advancements and cool gadgets and quirky articles deliver a great sense of relaxation. This just blew my mind…1 TERABYTE of data on a single disc. Is there a word above amazing to describe this? It seems so unimaginable, the possibilities are endless. And a 5TB disc on the way? Insane! I wonder when it’ll be available, and how long it’ll take me to generate that much data, and what kind of equipment you’ll need to get that. Oooh! Ahhh!

xkcd has recently become my newest source of humor. A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language? That sounds just too right. I was never into web comics and such, but I used to read Questionable Content until I couldn’t keep up any longer.

Eh, I need to stop reminding myself about that depths of patheticity (yes, I just invented that word!) that I’ve dropped to now that I enjoy the College Board SAT Question of the Day, MIT Admissions Blogs, Chief Delphi, xkcd, and hundreds of daily news/blog feeds as my daily thrills.

Enough of this depressing emo stuff. Just venting...again. I'm off to do Calculus, fun! (no sarcasm there, seriously)

Friday, August 24, 2007

deep breath...hold it...sigh

The first week of school is over. Yay!

I saw house 3121 on the bus the way home from school today. Pretty awesome, I might try to snap a picture one of these days.

School is moving along pretty quickly. It's becoming monotonous so quickly though. We've gotten through Chapter 1 in AP Psych already -- exam on Tuesday, and through Chapter P in Calc. with a little quiz today. There haven't been any ridiculous happenings's still early.

Yesterday Mr. Calder briefly mentioned this new programming environment for kids, Sketch Scratch. It was absolutely absurd that I kept calling it Sketch for most of the day, even spending 10 minutes googling it and not finding anything until I remembered that it was called Scratch. There were a few of us that looked it up today and got hooked. They have a cool community set up on the site for developers to interact and evaluate each others' material. That basically meant that we played stupid games that some elementary school kids probably made for about a half hour. Eventually I downloaded the program and see what I could make myself. Inspired by Gustavo's spinny cat, I made something similar, basically purposeless. It was fun to play with, but realistically, this is a great tool. It is a basic programming environment that can help link to something much bigger. Also heard that it's going on the OLPC.

Yeah, so why are we playing with kiddie software and games? Yesterday Calder offered us the option of designing a whole module of tutorials, etc. for extra credit, or an A in the class or something if it was good quality and then something about submitting it to Nick Negroponte or who ever that guy with the OLPC is... it seems interesting.

Robotics is starting up soon. I wonder how big the turnout will be this year...

Monday, August 20, 2007

First Day as a Junior sucks

The Schedule:
1st Semester
Trigonometry (Duoyon); Calculus (Simmons)
Electronic Tech 2 (Euler)
Multimedia Productions (Calder); AP Psychology (Lacroix)
Interactive Design (Calder)

2nd Semester
AP Physics B
AP Eng. Lang & Comp
Research V
AP US History

There are only two things that need to change this time. Since I've already taken Algebra II and Pre-Calculus, Trigonometry is just like a step back. Calculus is offered that block, so I'll switch to that instead. Uh-oh, there looks to be a repeat. I took Multimedia Productions, the second level Multimedia class, last year, but it appears to be on my schedule again. I found out from Emile and Gustavo that AP Psychology is offered 3rd block, so I'll take that instead. I was going to wait until my senior year, but why not now. Yup, that means 5 APs. I think I can handle it. I suppose I'll need to learn the time management/study skills for college. But the 3 APs during the robotics season just makes me cringe every time I look at my schedule.

A brief synopsis of the day...

Trig - This class pretty much sucked all around. If this was two years ago, I might have enjoyed it, but the fact that I knew every answer, and possibly all the material in the book made it a bore. I like triangles, but not enough to do a whole class on them when the material was already covered in Geometry and Pre-Calc. We did some work from an Algebra II book that I did in 7th grade. Gotta get out of this class.

Electronics 2 - Euler was being himself again. Looks like an interesting course, hopefully the stuff I learned in Electronics during SAMS will help. We didn't really do anything today because all of the computers weren't completely set up, so we ended up just talking about politics and current events and news stuff.

Lunch - There are only 2 lunch blocks this year instead of 3, so of course it seemed more crowded than usual. The Freshmen didn't look as lost this year, but they always seemed to be in the way just wandering around lol. Hopefully it'll settle down as the year progresses. DJ and I went to visit Ms. Theiss, but our visit was almost foiled by security. One of the ladies puts out both of her arms and stops us in our tracks, "Yall in lunch now?" "Yeah." "Well this ain't last year. Yall ain't finna be walkin' 'round here like dat no mo. Uh-uh!" So we turn around, walk through the cafeteria, and around the other side of the school to another staircase. A very effective security plan they have there. We catch up with Ms. Theiss and time flies by so quickly before 3rd block begins.

Multimedia Productions - As usual, it doesn't matter what the course title says in Calder's class. There are always these crazy discussions about something that pertains to the Internet, usability, open source, Web 2.0, or something else of the sort. Today was no different. Mr. Calder is still hilarious lol. Although I already took the course, it wasn't like a repeat of anything old. I'm still switching out, as the credit would be useless.

Interactive Design - This was pretty much a continuation of the discussion from Multimedia Productions but with a different twist and another source of material. Towards the end, guess who shows up? Gustavo. I hadn't seen him all day since the missing-from-the-list situation in the morning, and I thought he disappeared into the Abyss of Dillard Confusion or something. Talking to enough people today and we've finally "cracked" the schedule, basically figuring out what is when and taught by whom...all within the first few hours of school. Last year it took about a week, but we're getting better lol.

I hope I can get my schedule changed ASAP tomorrow. Can't stand another minute in Trig and I can't wait to get to AP Psych.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sugar High

Looking at the back of this Wild Cherry Lifesavers Hard Candy package, the Nutrition Facts state that the suggested serving size is four pieces. I might have surpassed that value by a few. There is still more than 3/4 of the bag left though. Regardless of how many are left, I think it's time to stop, I'm getting antsy and jittery.

...shouldn't have drank so much Sweet Tea. (but it's sooooo good)

It's that time of year again...the last weekend of summer and two days before school starts. Normally, I would be really excited, as I have been for the past 10 years around this time of year. Unfortunately, I have been plagued with a dose of reality. These days preceding the first day aren't so anxious anymore. It's time to get it over with. 2 years left. I just hope my schedule isn't terribly fucked up again. Hmmpf, two years at Dillard have surely made me quiet jaded.

Let's see how excited I am for the first day:
Will I go to sleep early on Sunday night? No.
Will I put more than a single folder, eight sheets of paper, and a pen in my backpack? No.
Will Monday be a worthwhile and eventful day? Probably not, who knows what Dillard will bring.
Do I think that I will learn much/anything on Monday? Nope.
Is Monday still going to be hectic? Yup!

Contrary to the general pessimistic overtone in this post, I am indeed excited for AP English Language and Composition...maybe not for the workload. 4 AP classes. WOAH what was I thinking. Luckily, unlike the rest of my Dillard peers, I'm on a journey to becoming a Master Student; I can handle this...cuz Dr. Tinsley said so! I do actually plan on using a planner/organizer this year though. It has proven to be a successful tool this summer. Maybe I'll take time to use it and it'll actually help? Who knows.

Even though this year has suffered from a mild and watered-down back-to-school rush, partially due to my lack of interest and me being away, I still get to go shopping! It wouldn't be the first day of school without new clothes, right? New York & Company coincidentally had a fabulous sale this weekend. 2 pairs of jeans and 2 shirts for me. I've already got the new Pumas from Pittsburgh - a few more shirts to complete the week and I'm happy. Well I'll still be happy in any event because I love the jeans that I got today.

I am really enjoying having my laptop back. More so my music collection. I just made the most amazing playlist of all of my favorite songs and I've played it nonstop so far. For the past 6 weeks I could only listen to my music through headphones, though now it feels great to hear the sound that fills the whole room. I still don't like blasting music super loud though. Never understood that.

Oh no, hiccups!

Sunday, August 12, 2007


The title is pretty self-explanatory, but I'm now back home in hot, humid, and sticky Florida.

The last days of SAMS were quite busy. Thursday was an insane day. It poured like crazy, but I still had to mail off my boxes. So I stuck one of the boxes in my suitcase, covered my suitcase with my poncho, and put on my big yellow rain jacket and rolled it down to the Post Office in the UC. For the second box, Jehrmel gave me a ride over to the Post Office since he had to drop off his dry cleaning, which I was so thankful for. But of course, then it stopped raining. Clipper Ship ended up getting cancelled due to weather.

They planned a semi-formal in Rangos with Pre-College, though I opted out and spent most of my time in the CMARC office finishing up the electronics project. Later on there was supposed to be food and movies around 11 in the lounge, so I packed until then, not really getting much done. Around 11, people started trickling back into the dorm and getting anxious. They said that there would be pizza, but we had no idea. Around 11:30 a few delivery guys walked in with 8 HUGEMONGOUS pizzas. I have never seen a pizza so large in my life. We had to wait until about 12 until we could eat though because there were wings and other stuff on the way. The pizza was pretty good to have been such a large size, but the wings were really spicy and ended up burning my mouth like crazy; it still stings now. We watched a few movies too. Shooter was better than I expected. Muhammed announced curfew for the last time after the movie, although it was something like 2am anyway. I went back up and attempted packing, but I didn't finish because I was really tired.

The Symposium went really well. The luncheon was very nice, with way better food. Did they do this to provide some type of false image to the parents? Imani gave a rather humorous introduction and Jordan gave a very touching speech, starting the rolling of tears for the day. I don't know how many times the word "profin" was used throughout the day. They played a slideshow towards the end, which was a mixture of sentimental and funny, very funny, memories. And stole some of my pics from Facebook! But as Damian said later, "Anything you put on the Internet is..." They gave out the awards and T-Shirts last before the closing remarks and acknowledgement of the instructors and RAs.

My electronics project was first, which went very smoothly. JD was in and out since he had another project, but I was able to hold down the fort. The math projected ended early, within like 15 minutes, and there were a few light questions, but overall still great. After the Symposium came to an end, everyone gathered in the hallway saying their goodbye to those that were leaving early. It was unbelievable seeing some of the people that cried, including a few tears from myself, but I suppose it is natural. It was kind of hard to let go.

Back at the dorm after everyone that was leaving that day left, we sat around the lounge looking depressed and tired. A bunch of people went out to see Rush Hour 3, and a few of us stayed in and ordered Chinese. I wouldn't say it was the best, but it was free and it wasn't from the Cafe. We watched Deja Vu, which turned out to be a pretty awesome movie. Pride and the Matrix were on later, but I only saw bits and pieces as I would often run upstairs and pack for a few and then come back down.

Saturday morning was a pretty depressing. There were messages written in chalk all over the walls from the previous day and lots of empty rooms. In the lounge, a bunch of people were still sleeping in chairs all over the place, even on a matress parked right in front of the TV on the floor. Some were half awake watching Deja Vu again. As I was leaving, about 5 other people were leaving. A large group of people gathered to say goodbye and help us out before we left, and the hallway was just the saddest thing, especially with all of the tears and people on each side giving their last hugs and goodbyes. I can't really explain well, but it was just...sad. It was depressing just to walk through there.

About 4 of us were taking the 8:30am 28X to the airport, and Sheun and Wilburg helped us carry/roll our things out to the bus stop across campus. The bus was already parked there, about 10 minutes early, and we left right on time, although a few Pre-College kids almost missed it. The bus became pretty crowded, but not packed, and it was about an hour ride to the airport. I was loving my pillow then, as I fell asleep for a large portion of the ride. When we got there we saw TJ going through security, and another group of about 3 others that left a little while before us. Check in was no problem, except the fact that my bag was 11 pounds overwieght. $25 charge. Oh well, life goes on. That reminds me that I never got my $15 refund from Clipper Ship. Maybe they'll mail it back?

The security looked really long, but we got through there in less than 15 minutes. We met up with Jennifer and her mom around the same time. A fun train ride over and we were at the airmall. A quick lunch a McDonalds with their delicious Sweet Tea (a new favorite) and we were all on our seperate ways. My flight was 30 minutes after most of theirs, so I just hung out in their concourses for a while and we rode the people movers a few times.

When I got to my Gate, C54, who do I spot again? Tommye and Indy. Turns out that they are on the same flight back. There was another offer since the flight was overbooked, but with only 1 free roundtrip ticket, soon upgraded to 2, although I wouldn't get back to Ft. Lauderdale until 10:30pm and I'd be trapped in Pittsburgh until 6:30. The 3 people ended up not checking in and the offer was taken away. Smooth flight to ATL, I slept most of the way. When I got there, I got to ride the train over to concourse D, although it took me a while to figure out that you have to walk behind the esalators to get to the concourse going the other direction. They started boarding for the flight to FLL almost as soon as I got there, even though it was like an hour before take off. I was so tired that I fell asleep right after talking to Gustavo before taking off. I missed takeoff! I was sitting next to a family with a baby, who was a good baby at first, then a temporarily stinky baby, then a playful touchy baby, and then a loud singing baby. I pretended not to mind being touched. Perhaps I should be more personable?

It was HOT in Florida. I could feel all 96 degrees when I stepped off the plane. We got $25 for the missing rivet/hole/tear in the luggage, but nothing for the rip in the larger bag. Whatever, it was still half the price of the luggage set.

I'm glad to be back home, but I still miss SAMS. Now there are other things on my, ugh.

Pictures from Thursday are here and pictures from the Symposium and the rest of Friday and Saturday are here.