Saturday, June 30, 2007


I'm at my grandparents' house now and I'm leaving for the airport in about an hour.

Dillard is a D school again. Why would I expect any different? Duh, D for Dillard! That has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with my scores. Oh well...they never seem to help anyway. I wonder what's in store for next year. Wait...I don't care...I'm done with the FCAT..."Triple 5s + 6"...whatever haha those scores don't matter anymore either

So...I'm psyched. A little anxious/nervous...but I won't rush anything...

Just checked FLL's site, looks like my flight is on time. They sent me an email so I guess I should go do the whole online check-in thing now...maybe

I suppose I'll update later today when I get to Pittsburgh after all of the interesting/awkward stuff happens.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Packing...Packed...I guess

Ever just finish packing, but you feel like there is still a ton of stuff left to pack? That's how I feel about now. My suitcases are stuffed, the boxes are full, but I still feel like I don't have everything that I need. It's quite an uncomfortable feeling.

I could write about all of the random packing/preparation things that I did today, but that would be boring. I'm sure packing is packing, just never changes. You put clothes and your stuff in a bag or whatever, and then you take it somewhere. Not that interesting at all. Uh, that was weird.

I don't think I'll be sleeping at all on Friday. I think I've figured out the root of the problems with my grandparents' computers, so we purchased an external HD that was on sale and I'll back everything up and wipe the laptop. Shouldn't take too long. We have to leave for the airport at 3:45am to get there 90 minutes ahead of time, although I doubt that there will be that much airport traffic at 5:30. Called AirTran today to confirm some stuff and we ended up getting a gate pass for my mother so that she can see me off, more so because I'm a minor and we asked nicely.

This week started off weird. I knew it would be weird, but really is. My mommy will be all alone, but I hope that she won't miss me too much. It's been nice having her here this week though. I hate to rush things, but when will it finally be Saturday?!

Friday, June 22, 2007

On Wednesday night we planned to go to the beach in the morning. I didn't go to sleep at all on Thursday night to avoid having to wake up early. So I ended up waking up my mom instead of her waking me up. We pack a few snacks, books, iPod, etc., and head out. Less than 30 minutes later we are at the beach. It was a lovely day. We went to Primanti Bros. pizza first, but it just didn't taste as good as it used to. They have 14 locations in Pittsburgh, where they are from, so perhaps I'll find some real pizza up there. Turns out we forgot our sunscreen, so $5.99 for a 3oz. bottle was our penalty for skin cancer prevention. When we crossed the street to get to the beach, I felt like "Is this really it?!" It had been a while since we'd been to Sunrise beach. Beach erosion and hurricanes surely have changed the place.

My mom loves to put her chair right by the shore with a book where the waves crash at her ankles. I regret bringing a towel and not a chair too. The sand was too lumpy from ATV tracks or whatever. I spent a while hopping around in the waves, as I did when I was younger, but I felt lonely. That same lonely feeling from one to play with :(.

I went to the 7-11 across the street to get a Slurpee, but to my luck...just as I switched the lever, nothing was of an icy consistency. I tried every flavor, but nothing but liquid. The only thing left was the new Full Throttle energy one, which was almost completely empty, and Fanta Banana...tons of banana. So I had a banana slurpee. How thrilling. -_- Walking back to the beach, the liquid and iced part of my drink evolved into some disgusting combination that I couldn't bear to drink any longer. I never thought that I would have to say this about my love, but that was the most disgusting slurpee that I've ever had.

So we're relaxing at the beach for maybe another half our and my grandmother calls. She says it's storming over by her, but there wasn't a single dark cloud in sight by the beach. Not even 5 minutes after my mom hangs up assuring my grandmother that it wouldn't pour over by the beach, there is a torrential downpour. It wouldn't stop. A few drops, a consistent stream of rain, and then seconds later we are soaked. And no, it wasn't just passing. But of course it was lovely and clear as soon as we got home.

I could continue the countdown thing until I leave, but, eh...I don't think so. I'm at the point where I am excited, but too much excitement it draining, so I'll just ignore the excitement until I start packing on Monday. Oh, I can't resist...8 days!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Battle with Laziness

I have come to face it, I am a lazy teenager. I'd like to make that a thing of the past. I hate this aspect of myself. I really am a good student. Everyone thinks so, but I could do SO much better. Of course this was inspired by my horrible report card. This 3.8 isn't sitting too well with me, and neither is sinking to #22. Out of the top ten, out of the top twenty, sunken into mediocrity. Yeah, it's bothering me. I am not incompetent, I am capable of great success, I am Noelle. I don't feel like Noelle. At least this Noelle is ashamed of that Noelle.

I suppose that this is only bothering me because I know that it is my fault, and my fault is the result of laziness. Straight A's 1st semester, 4.56 GPA. Absolutely amazing. A D is now burning, imprinted into my 2nd semester report card, along with a 3.8. A fucking B+ in Chemistry. SOO close to an A, what the fuck happened! It was supposed to average out into an A! Let's just say I hate group projects, especially when there is a presentation involved. I can only blame myself for the Pre-Calc grade. Lack of homework really hurt grades during Jan-March. This whole situation is all my fault, and it sucks, major.

It's time to re-prioritize. Robotics is no longer #1. No extra-curricular will ever be, never again. I will no longer let the constant January - April stress caused by this...thing, effect my academic performance. It's really not worth it. Procrastination is a bitch. A bitch that deserves to die! I think I might kill her. There's no time for her interference. Priority ranking has greatly shifted:
  1. Academic Concentration - in school stuff, actually do all homework this year
  2. SAT & ACT Prep - starting this summer, hopefully I'll be prepared for the November SAT and ACT in the Spring
  3. Extra AP Practice/Prep - also starting this summer, continuing year round
  4. Robotics - I'll try to put forth the same effort, but I'll no longer sacrifice school work for this
  5. Any other EC/activity - SECME, NTHS, and whatever else I'm involved in
  6. Free time - with 4 AP's and robotics...HA!

I'm not too worried about Junior year at all. I learn from my mistakes and try not to make the same ones again. I hate being a disappointment to myself more than anything else. I think everything will be fine for next year. Except for Calculus, my only worry. I've been good at math forever, then I get to Pre-Calculus and die. Same teacher, not too fond of the teaching approach, but it's what I have to deal with for the next two years. I plan to review my precalc work later this summer, and then get a head start on Calc for next year. I've been doing some Physics prep for the past few weeks, and hopefully the course at CMU will be a great intro for the year. Everything else should be a breeze.

On a lighter, less stressful note, I leave for CMU in 11 days. Less than 2 weeks! Wowzers! I have indexed most of the clothes that I own. I know that I'm missing a ton of stuff though, as I've only categorized the 4 loads that I washed this weekend. This should help with my packing/organizational lists. It's as simple as Drag & Drop, or Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V. I should have the boxes ready to ship for Monday or Wednesday, the latest. Still need to buy a fan and a laptop sleeve. Maybe a small mirror if I see one. Only 10 days, 22 hours, and 9 minutes until my 5:38am flight to Atlanta, then Pittsburgh, takes off!!!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

T-minus 13 days

Yes, less than 2 weeks left. Still a ton of stuff to do. Everything is slowly starting to come together. My mother has taken off quite a few days in the next two weeks to help me prepare, so I get to spend time with my mommy. Yay! 4 loads of laundry done in the last two days, 2 more to go. I've washed almost ALL of my clothes. Amazing.

Target is absolutely an amazing place. Although I didn't expect to find a laptop lock in there (which I didn't), they have everything. And anything. I can never leave target with only one thing. There is always a need. "Shampoo on the clearance rack? With a bonus travel conditioner free too!? Oh I just have to get that! Wait...they have conditioner on sale too? 2.50!? Hell yeah!" WOAH WTF!!...I'm at my grandparents' and the newspaper just arrived. Scared the hell out of me. It took me a few seconds to realize that it was the newspaper and not someone trying to break in. Enough to get my heart rate up a bit. But I finally got that metal ruler that I wanted. Now I can make decent perspective drawings!

My mother bought me new luggage on Tuesday. Killer sale. Nice $200 5-piece luggage set for only $50. I really like bags. Bags of all types. I was the kid with 1000 bookbags. I'd get a bag in the summer, promising to use it the whole school year, only to find another cool one around January. I've had my current book bag for a whole year and a half now, which is a long time for me, but I actually like this one. It's gotten the most mileage, by far, from the store to my house to Ft. Lauderdale(school) to Orlando to South Carolina to Atlanta to Jamaica to Grand Cayman to Las Vegas and to Pittsburgh next! Besides the good ol' trusty Jansport, my new luggage is great. Most people could care less about luggage, but I could care more, if that sounds right? It's a dark gray color and has great wheels, zippers, handles, and everything! It even has that new luggage smell! I don't know why simple things are so exciting to me. I'll just bask in my luggage loving alone, since no one else cares. I still need a nice beach/pool/outside/wherever tote bag. Target had some nice ones, but I'll see what other stores have to offer before the indecisive Noelle can make a final purchasing decision.

The Saturday after next, this time, I should be on a plane to Atlanta, which should connect me to another flight to Pittsburgh. 13 days! It's oh-soooo close. Anticipation is a bitch.

Monday, June 11, 2007

'Tis Indeed a Lovely Day

Today has been such a beautiful day. I woke up around 1 and just looked outside and admired the wonderful-ness of the day thinking "Why am I inside?" Wispy, white clouds were floating so gently in the clear blue sky, the sun was shining brightly, but not too hot, and it was quiet and peaceful. I've been breathing artificial, stale, inside air for the past week, only going outside (in and out of a car) to go fix my grandparents' computers. So after eating delicious corn muffin pancakes, and after lazying around for about an hour or so, mother and I took a little walk to the gas station to pick up the Sunday paper and some ice to make smoothies. No Sunday periodicals left for us, only El Nuevo Herald.

So we get home and I pull my Magic Bullet out of the garage, which I haven't used since around Christmas and start crushing the ice. Turns out that it isn't the best ice crusher. Now I really want one of those neat-o ice shavers. I have this thing with ice. I love the restaurants that have the tiny tiny ice cubes! So...I stick the ice in a baggie and smash it with a hammer, and then put it in the Magic Bullet to finely shave it, mix the rest of the ingredients in, and enjoy my delicious icee. Upon tasting it, my mother exclaims that I didn't follow the instructions for Mock 7-11 Slurpees at all, which I didn't, but it was still delicious. She went on to make her own with the leftover ingredients, following the instructions exactly...but mine was still better!

Much to her surprise, I actually washed all of the remaining dishes from the morning, without being asked. Yeah, I don't know where the weird behavior came from, but it felt good to do something that was appreciated. I meant to do some laundry and other stuff too, but eh...that's too much laboring for one day.

19 days 'til I leave for CMU!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Lack of Productivity = Relaxation?

...Simple Response: No.

One would think that getting almost nothing accomplished means that you are just kicking it, doing nothing, right? Ha! I wish. I've been home for the past 3 days, and I have gotten little to nothing done. Only 5 FLVS assignments completed and barely a dent in the oh, about 8 loads of laundry that I need to sort and wash, and my brain is still tense. No relaxation at all. I haven't gotten much sleep either. What have I been doing?! I think my clocks are my house is like the Bermuda triangle or something. I say goodbye to my mother around 8:30 every morning, and then I see her again around 6:30, but I have no idea of what happens in between. As much as I sleep, I still wake up tired. The same thing happened last summer, but that was because I was only sleeping and doing nothing else. I don't know what this is :(. Once I get this World History course out of the way I'll have a clearer mind. I've been skipping around, as they discourage you from doing, but it works for me. Hopefully I'll be done by next Wednesday the latest.

My time in Florida is slowly ticking away. Can't wait to get away. 22 days! I've got quite a bit to do before I leave. A course to finish, clothes to wash, lists to make, things to buy, boxes and bags to pack, a movie to film...oh yeah, and that list of 50 SAT words to memorize (that's what 4.5 hour plane rides are for!)

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Another Boring Tuesday

Only an hour and 47 minutes into Tuesday and it is already turning out to be quite a boring day. All of the excitement and energy from the last few days has packed themselves into a car and drove home this morning, arriving there about an hour ago. It's the loner's corner for me for the next month or so...

My level of internal excitement has been at it's highest for the last week or so. The end of the school year always brings a great amount of stress, yet there are still mixed feelings. Goodbye to all of my senior friends; Evan, Matt, and Shara, you will be missed. I'm a junior now ('09 w00t w00t! I totally lack spirit lol), which brings on the excitement (or not) of 5 AP courses and exams, and of course the lovely ACT and SAT! Robotics has died temporarily. I doubt anything will happen over the summer since a lot of people will be traveling and such. I guess I'm officially the team leader now, but that won't matter until August. We'll start doing CPR and turn on the defibrillator then. None of the other positions have been released yet. That leaves me all summer, uninterrupted, to brew up more sinister plans for next year!

Forgetting school and such, CMU is really the increment factor in internal excitement levels. I get to learn over the summer. Yay! I rarely get to learn at school. Perhaps more than actually getting accepted and being there, I am flattered with the process of going there. I LOVE airplanes and airports. A new airport at that! I've never been to Pennsylvania before. State #8 (hey that rhymes!) for me. Airports are so fascinating. I have this thing with people on a mission, going know, like seeing a row of school buses pull in a school, people driving around before a hurricane. The underground train in ATL is cool...and fast. Too bad I probably won't get to ride it. If I get a chance during my layover I'll ride it to one concourse over lol. The part to top it all off is walking through the jet way. Flying is fun, but there is so much more to the experience than just sitting in a plushy chair in a pressurized metal tube a few thousand feet in the sky for a few hours. The smell, sounds, and the sights of walking into the terminal is more than exciting. It's impossible for me to remember my first time on a plane, but I can remember always taking notice to these things. Every trip has always been amazing, more so the weird trips, like when we were on standby passes in Miami and we ended up going all the way to West Palm Beach, or when Santa Claus was on the plane back in 93. In Las Vegas this year with robotics when we were playing Home Alone coming back, with all of the confusion thinking that we would miss the plane, I was most alert. I noticed everything as we ran by. The slot machines next to the coffee shop, the odd placement of the stairs, the security lines and the people checking and going through them, the doors on the train, the walls, the ceiling...everything. Haha, yeah I looked like a tourist. Aside from my little air travel aside, I also have been making lists. Tons of lists, with sublists. Like 12. Packing lists, shipping lists, washing lists, purchasing lists, organizational lists (a bit redundant, eh?), a list of lists, and the oh-so infamous to-do list. They have yet to be digitized. Some time this week I'll sit down for about an hour, put them in Excel, color code everything, print them out, stick 'em on the wall, and begin actually accomplishing the tasks on the lists.

Yesterday my 9-year-old little cousin called me boring. She was saying it out of spite at first because I felt like reading Gizmodo on my computer instead of playing Disney Channel games. Then she started rambling on about how "Noellie sits at the couch all day with her headphones on and her computer only doing boring stuff like reading stuff and typing fast and being boring!" I played along sarcastically, though it kinda got to me. Am I really boring? Is increasing the depths of your knowledge considered to be boring by the standards of a 9 year old? When I was 9 I wished for more to learn, if only I knew then how much more I could find on the internet than those lame kiddie science sites. Whatever. Maybe I am boring by society's standards of an average teenager. Haha do I get any penalties for infraction?

25 days 'til I leave for SAMS! 76 days 'til school starts.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Summer: Yay or Nay?

So, summer is here, but what does that mean for me? School ended yesterday, but it still hasn't set in. I still have to finish my online classes, hopefully I'll wrap everything up next week. Oh yeah, and I forgot...I'm going to CMU this summer. (Of course I didn't forget!)

I actually sat back and thought about everything that happened this year earlier today. I started the year off really confident, almost cocky, I'd lived in the shadows too much the year before. Academically, everything was fine...I had straight As. The clubs were okay. I really cared about robotics, but I was always hoping for something better. I still am. Still jealous of all of the wonderful teams that can hold events, gain members, deal with problems, keep people interested, and just be happy and successful. We planned out a lot of stuff, but everything fell through. I can say that it was a little better last year, as far as productivity, organization, and success goes, but we're still in the same place that we started. You always want to say that there is no one to blame to remain diplomatic, but there are several to blame, somewhat including myself, and I am still unable to justify all of the actions and situations. I remember all of the meetings. No one was really into everything, yet everyone was always extremely opinionated. The meetings were absolutely pointless, why didn't we just have a huge chat or something without wasting all of our time. It just doesn't make sense. There were problems, and we planned to fix them, but it just didn't happen. I won't bring myself to say why, even though I know exactly why. The reoccurring problems started off early with confrontation, deadlines, commitment, organization, and lying. January comes along and we are a mess. I have to say that it is a great thing that we didn't have a lot of freshmen this year, or else we would have been screwed, well, more screwed. This was all apparent at kickoff when only 30 people showed up, yet there were almost 70 names on the roster, yet everyone "agreed" at the meetings for the past month to show up and bring an essay. Yes, the essay was pointless, we had to write one at the beginning of the year, and now we must write one again stating almost the same thing. Redundancy: One thing that 108 knows nothing about. Err Er! this looks like "a delicate situation". It has been for the past bajillion years. Whatever though. Build season progresses slowly, frustration continues, and lets just say it was all a huge disappointment. The only thing that I got to keep for myself was chairman's, which could have been better, but we lacked the material and proof to support the words. Sure, that sounds horrible to say and exclude, but at this point, I really don't care. The Florida regional was fun, better than last year and we were this close to winning. Curse you BaneBots! 2nd Place ain't so bad though. This is where the tension escalates, but it is overshadowed by our close victory. Off to Las Vegas we go! Everyone is so pumped. Everything is justified by "Hey, but's Vegas!" Harhar, no excuse. The tension is ridiculous at this point. That Broward Schools' poster is right, Silence Hurts! Nothing really comes out, but everyone is scheming in the background, and there is so much that is misunderstood that it is just a headache. I actually left the venue quite a few times and walked around UNLV during scouting breaks when I just couldn't stand to be around it anymore, it was just too frustrating. Being in dead last place didn't make anything better. We played horribly. No one wanted to admit the real problem. I had fun with some team mates, but the whole time I was thinking "I don't believe I traveled all the way to the other side of the country, Las Vegas at that, for this!" We did win a design award. Yay. After all of the drama at the airport on the way back, we barely plan/prepare for ATL, which we should have been doing for months. I decided to buy a pass to the FIRST Conference that I shared with Gustavo. Well worth it. It was a great distraction from the team, and a learning experience. I was not needed at all in ATL, so I didn't take any guilt in walking around for hours talking to FLL teams, other FRC teams, and just wandering around. I stopped by for a few matches and to have lunch with some, but otherwise, I enjoyed the Championships more without 108, rather than if I participated fully with, whatever that might encompass. Right after alliance selection Shara called me down because they needed help with SOAP, so I did the elimination matches on Curie and went back up to the stands to watch the Finals on Einstein. We cheered for 1902, 233, and 179, I was happier for them! The 2007 Season ended with a sour taste, financially, organizationally, and just overall. That meeting about the manager selection still haunts me. The environment was uncomfortable and uncalled for. Especially the elitist, stuck-up bitch part. I say that I'm over it, but it still bothers me a bit, even though I know it doesn't matter. I felt bad for everyone else that didn't expect all of the pressured questioning, I didn't either, but I was prepared for whatever. I had hope last year. There's still hope, but the future just doesn't look quite as bright.

All of this robotics drama really fucked with my 3rd quarter grades too. Only one A. I wish I could go back and fix it all. So much time spent on robotics, sacrificing school, all for nothing. Why did I bother? Something that I definitely regret. I cleaned up pretty well for 4th quarter, but it took more effort. I usually never have to put forth any effort, but I needed to definitely prove to all of the teachers that loved me so dearly that I wouldn't sacrifice my academic success for another EC. Sure, my knowledge proves that I'm competent, but as much as we like to push the matter to the backburner, actual grades and test scores matter more than anything else. The FCAT is over for me, except science. 6 writing, 5 math, 5 reading. Highest in all levels. Good enough for me! Exams were pretty easy, I did better than I expected in PreCalc, although a C+ is still pretty low. I'll just have to live with the fact that I'll never get an A on a Theiss exam.

I've been having trouble with my laptop for the past two weeks, and it is finally somewhat back to normal. The first issue was with the burning/melting/scorched connection to the computer. The insides of the cable were scorched, yet the pin on the laptop looked unharmed. I talked with an HP technician and they mailed me an extra AC adapter for free because I still had 12 days of warranty left. In the meantime, we took the computer to CompUSA, where I have a 2 year warranty, 1 year left, to check to see if there was an internal problem. The associate that handled our issue was apparently high. After going in circles for about 15 minutes, he took my computer into the back and said that the computer was burning up his charger. No duh! I figured the problem was internal, so I chatted with HP again, and they arranged to have my computer shipped to them, for free again. I kissed my love goodbye and dropped it off at FedEx, and less than 4 days later, it is sitting at my UPS box! They sent another AC adapter back with the computer, and everything was in the condition that I sent it. But when I turn it on, I get a weird Windows error. Startup files are missing. Uh-oh! I talked to HP again to see if they would send me some recovery disks for free. Nope! 28 bucks! Turns out I was supposed to make my own recovery disks from the recovery partition when I first got the computer. I tried, but the computer kept eating up my DVDs, so I left it alone. I got the disks within 2 days ran through the repair utility, and now everything is just dandy. The connection is still very, very hot, almost too hot to touch, but nothing has gone wrong, except for a little scorching, and only once, but at least it's not melting. But hey, I have two extra AC adapters if anything else happens. HP says that everything is okay, and my warranty is now up with HP, so we'll see what happens...

I really don't have anything planned for my extra time this summer. I don't know if that is a good or a bad thing. I'll do the things that I do naturally, like college research, SAT, ACT, and AP prep, but I still need to do something else. Who knows what CMU will bring! Otherwise, I still need to find something else to occupy myself for the next 29 days!