Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday, July 29, 2007 - Great Weekend

YouTube nostalgia in the cluster for hours; some highlights include:
-watching random people dancing
-Mulan II clips
-I'll Make a Man Out of You (IN MANDARIN) 4 times
-I'll Make a Man Out of You in every other language
[Run back to Hamerschlag to get Lucci's that we ordered]
-half of the Lion King
-random music videos from the '90s
-old Disney shows
-TV themes

There was an earlier curfew 11 instead of 12 since there was another SAT on Saturday. Then there was a message on the board stating a floor meeting at 11. Ugh, what did we do now? They opened up the spare room, and then the RAs appear, disappear, and then a bad attempt at sneakily reappearing with freshly baked cookies and icing to decorate them with! Jessica and Aimee are indeed awesome.

An amazing mall/plaza, but quite an interesting trip to get there. Right after the SAT (same long boring thing as usual), we go back to the dorm and put our stuff back before heading out to the bus stop. There are only three 59U's that make the full route out to Century, otherwise, it just circles back around at the Waterfront. Taking the 2:20 was cutting it close for leaving at 2:18, but there were a few others out there going to the same place earlier than us. Okay, we missed the bus, no worries, because we can take any other bus out to the Waterfront, and then catch the 55M or another 59U or something else from there. Only problem is that another bus didn't come for about an HOUR. A bunch more people show up that are going to Century III too, but however packed that next bus was, we were ALL getting on. Eventually one shows up...

We get to the Waterfront and wait at the bus stop for a few. A 55M passes by on the other side of the street. Someone suggests that perhaps we are on the wrong side of the street. Perhaps? we ask one of the guys that is "from around here" and he says that we are definitely in the right place, and if not, the 55M should still pass us again anyway. Another bus that says "Century III via Waterfront" goes by, again, on the other side of the street. After that, while debating whether to go back to the other side of the street about 15 minutes later, we see a 55M and make some sort of hopeless attempt to wave at the bus driver. She just smiles at us and drives by. So we run to the other side of the street, after missing THREE buses. Less than 5 minutes later, we see the same 55M coming back around, but going the other direction. We had enough time to run back across, and we did. It was kind of hilarious seeing about 15 kids run across. There was only 1 car in the way, but she did that "I'm going to slow down so that you can't cross in time thing". We still went, and made it to the stop in time so that we were all standing there when she would pull up. It looked like the driver was laughing, like "haha you guys ran across the street and I came back, hop on!" BUT NO! She laughs AT us as she speeds by. No fair. It's about 4:15, so the 2nd 59U of the day should be coming around at 4:23 that we decide to wait for, on our original side of the street. We're all sitting on the curb/grass looking really sad and depressed, having half of our day wasted, when someone suggests that if the bus doesn't come by 4:30, we should all just stay at the Waterfront and then see Hairspray. Sounds like a great plan. 4:30 rolls around and they are getting up to leave. I suggest that we wait a few minutes, since all of the other buses were late, but they begin walking toward the theater, and what do you know... the bus comes less than 2 minutes later. We applaud the bus as it pulls up to the curb, and then a huge group of other SAMS/Pre-College people get off of the bus. They must have thought that we were insane, but they went along with the "Hey!" "Hey!" etc. thing. The bus was about empty, and nice and cool by the time we got on. Did I mention that in the midst of all of this, this must've been the hottest day since I've been here.

About an hour later, we arrive at Century. It was a LONG ride. Through the city, through the country, on the highway, through some weird neighborhoods, and then finally there. I try to remember rides in case we get lost, but I forgot after about 5 minutes. You really can't tell that you're there until you're right at the mall, as there are tons of other huge plazas surrounding it on the hilly plain. There is a huge Wal-Mart (of course), a Super-DUPER Target, and then a bunch of other places clustered together. Because it was so hilly, we really couldn't see a mall and were like "Why did you guys tell us this mall was so huge and awesome? All I see is an effing Wal-Mart!" One of the Pre-College kids asks the bus driver if this is the mall, and he just tells him to sit down and be patient, as we are there. Hmmm. A few curves later, and indeed, we are there. The bus stop is on the FAR side of the parking lot, convenient.

The inside of the mall looks like Aventura. Three floors, a sky lit center, 2 Macy's, and 3 other department stores. The food court was pathetic for the size of the mall, and so was the crowd. We worked up an appetite with that exhausting trip, so we headed to the food court first. Nothing too excited, except for the fact that I've never seen a mall Arby's. Ended up eating at Manchu Wok, where they give the hugest portions in the smallest containers. I played a few games of DDR on their crappy machine before going to find where everyone else had gone. There were a ton of incredible sales going on, Rave was closing and had $1.99, $2.99, etc., boxes of clothes to dig through, but I didn't find much that was interesting.

I left them to dig through boxes of tangled clothes at Rave while I explored the rest of the mall. I wandered into Old Navy somehow and they were having a pretty amazing sale too. I ended up getting a pair of $2 flip flops (you can never have enough!) and a small messenger bag for $9. After meeting back with everyone else, we found the Champs store with the amazing sale that everyone was talking about. It was incredibly amazing. $10 Nikes, $5 Jerseys, $0.99 T-Shirts, $4 Pants, $20 Pumas, $25 Jordans, was unbelievable, except they were out of Js, of course. Most people left with at least a pair of shoes and $30 in savings. Others left with 4 full bags of clothes and shoes with $700 in savings...yeah, that made an interesting bus ride back. Let's just say we voluntarily missed the bus we planned to take, and we will def. be back next week.

In the midst of shopping we completely forgot that the Black Light Party was that night. There was about a half hour of it left by the time we got back, and we made it there right before it was over. If they were aiming for a rave, they missed. Not enough techno.

A few of us went back to Baker to go YouTubing again. A large portion of that was spent watching Beyonce fall off the steps on stage during the Orlando concert. I don't know how many times we watched that video. It was hilarious every time.

MANDATORY trip to the Carnegie Science Center. Amazing how everything that is somewhat mandatory is stressed so much around here.

Viewing in omnimax was pretty cool, except Deep Sea was boring, the chairs were reclined, and I was tired, so I ended up falling asleep, along with a portion of the rest of the audience.
A family with two antsy children comes and sits down next to us a few minutes after it starts.
Quote of the day: "Mommy, this is boring!"
I couldn't agree with him more.

Look, it's me:

This is pretty awesome and this is pretty hilarious.

More pictures from this weekend are here and here.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday, July 27, 2007 - TGIF...Again

This week flew by entirely too fast. I didn't mind though. I do mind the busy weekend to follow:
  • Saturday
    • SAT #3 (9-1:30pm)
    • Taste of Pittsburgh Tour (2-?)
    • Movies?
  • Sunday
    • Mandatory Carnegie Science Center Trip (12-4pm)
    • Movies?
    • Physics Review
I would love to recap on the week, but unfortunately I can't really recall everything in detail since my dear love has departed. Expected Delivery: 8/1/2007. It seems SO far away. AND I STILL HAVEN'T GOTTEN PLANET EARTH! Although I know for a fact (spoiled the new CD thing and listened online) that it is, indeed, awesome!

Auntie Pam (NTP) is so cool that she is officially a Kelvin! I accidentally punctured one while trying to open the box, so there are only 3 here. And Cherry LifeSavers! The only thing was that an RA told me "oh yeah BTW, Noelle you have a package." and I got excited because I thought that it was Planet Earth. This is suitable compensation.

OH YEAH! I got an A on the last math project that I just presented a few minutes ago. Finally! And although he said it was the hardest, it seemed to be the easiest.

gotta run to SAT Prep now...

I just had the best lunch since I've been here. Ever since that terrible pizza at Skibo, I didn't want to go back, but I decided not to ruin my great day with horrible Cafe' food, so I went to try something else at Skibo instead. They have a nice selection of sandwiches, paninis, salads, and other stuff, but I'm not much of a sandwich person. Nonetheless, I decided to try their BBQ sandwich. How bad could it be? Not bad at all! It was delicious, well, besides the fact that there were two huge tomato slices on top. But if I was a tomato person, the tomatoes did look ripe and juicy. It came with chips too, another bonus.

So my day has been going great thus far, until I get to the cluster. Log in to account, open Firefox, plug in headphones, go to music site, gmail - login, tab, blogger, tab, facebook - login, tab, back to gmail, blah blah scan FastWebs scholarships, CollegeBoard, Urban Dictionary, HP, Mother, UCF, Jessika, Rhino, wait,.... HP?

HP Service Notification:

Dear Customer:

At HP our products are designed, manufactured and serviced, to meet our high standards.
We apologize for the possible delay in delivery of your service; however, we are diligently working on expediting your order.

Thanks for ruining my day, HP! I hope it gets here before I leave.

...ahhh gotta run to Physics

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Progress on weekend to do:
  • finish Latin
  • backup computer (doing that now)
  • Ship it! (not excited about shipping it, just the saying)
  • get to Cog Unit 18 (only on 15 now) (done)
  • World History
  • Master Student essay
  • read SAT essays
  • Laundry?
  • Lucci's
  • barbecue/picnic thinger tomorrow (didn't feel like going)
  • SLEEP! (still need more)
  • new: go to Physics review tonight
I didn't do about half of that stuff until today, but whatever, it's done. Most importantly Latin.

I'm really hungry. I haven't eaten meat in like 5 days. Well, I had those chicken fingers at the Underground on Friday night, but otherwise, nothing else substantial. It's not because there isn't any meat, it's just that I don't want it, and I can't eat hot dogs everyday for the next 3 weeks as I did for the first two. I suppose I can go find something out in Pittsburgh. ::growl growl:: - says my tummy

Note to Mother: Fajitas! Please please please! August 11th. I'll send you a reminder to marinate the steak in the Mojo sauce on Friday. Thank you! (I hope that is enough time to prepare, lol)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007 - TGIF

I have never been so happy for a Friday to come. I'm in SAT Prep now. The project sucked just like I expected....grr C.

It's over! I can sleep! The week is done!

Electronics ended on an interesting note. We tested the probability of the dice to see if it was a fair dice or not. Turns out that JD and I will presenting about the results and the actual device at the Symposium. ECE starts next week. Yay robots!

We didn't get our Physics homework today as usual, so that means that it isn't due until next Tuesday!

To do for the weekend:
  • finish Latin
  • backup computer
  • Ship it! (not excited about shipping it, just the saying)
  • get to Cog Unit 18
  • World History
  • Master Student essay
  • read SAT essays
  • Laundry?
  • Lucci's
  • barbecue/picnic thinger tomorrow
  • SLEEP!

I think I'm going to go to Lucci's later on today and then come back and SLEEP. For a looooong time. I have had 18 hours of sleep this past week, including Sunday. Time to make up for 102 hours of awake-ness. Well I better sign in first!

These weeks are surely FLYING by... week 4 coming up already, before you know it i'll be back in Ft. Lauderdale and going back to...ugh...I won't dare say it. D for Ddd...

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thursday, July..uh, um - I don't even know what day it is anymore

The days are slowly beginning to merge together. I don't know what is day or what is night. It is so weird. I pulled an all-nighter last night to finish the Cog requirement. 30 hours awake so far (-2 hours of sleeping/inactivity). I stayed in the Baker cluster last night until I absolutely HAD to go back, but I made little progress. I was only on 7-5 by the time I left. It wasn't until late when the gold bars began to move and the lesson numbers when up. Talk about tedious and ridiculous, check out this screen that I got when I pressed "Hint" on the first of a new kind of problem (click to see a larger image):
I don't know how many times I've wanted to slam my head on the desk, or throw something at the screen, in addition to the many expletives muttered over the past 24 hours. I went to one of the clusters every free set of 20 minutes (it takes so long to get over there that it's not worth going if I can't stay at least 20 minutes) that I had. I went to "sleep" at 5am when I finally reached Unit 12, and figured that I could get to Unit 12 by 10:30am if I got there early and worked diligently through the class. I barely made it. 12-2 is a bitch, especially with 12-3 as the last one before the deadline. It was easy, but nitpicky in unnecessary areas. I finished at 10:05 with 10 minutes to spare!

Next Deadline: Unit 18 - Tuesday, 9:00am

I just came back from Si Senor for lunch. Cheese fries! Just like the ones from West Deli or New York Deli West, or whatever it was called...that little place in the fashion mall food court that had the good bagels and delicious cheesy fries or whatever you wanted. I hadn't had fries like that, with a perfect mixture of melted cheese and ketchup-dippage, in a while.

So it turns out that I'm not the only complete dork already thinking about next summer. I thought that I was a trader or something for considering applying to MITES as a priority over SAMS or AP/EA next year, but some other people just discovered it a few minutes ago. They're applying next year too. Grrr competition!

In electronics we get to finally solder together our dice games after a pathetic attempt to put them together on the protoboards. It's going to be fun going back to the airport with that in my luggage, whether carry-on or checked. I can imagine the whole situation playing out.

[At the airport on 8-11-07]
TSA screener: Who's bag is this!
Me (again, nervous): um...mine
TSA: well something looks funny in here, we need to run it back
[2 rescans later]
TSA: excuse me, ma'am, we'll need to search your bag
[pulls out a bag of wires, books, electronic dice game, etc.]
Me: um, that's nothing to be suspicious about, it's a dice game..see, just press the red button!
TSA: DO NOT touch that!
Me: No, it's okay, I swear it's not a..uhm..uh, it's safe, okay
TSA: we're going to have to confiscate and further investigate this
Me: but...but...
[walks away sadly because there is nothing left I can say]

I doubt that will happen, but it'll probably cause some suspicious looks. It doesn't even have a red button! My button is blue, so there. The flashy red lights do not signal the preparation of explosives.

Off to Junior Assembly, toodles!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 - I thought that school didn't start until Aug. 20?

current view of a Baker cluster
Currently updating from a Baker cluster on a short self-induced break from Cog. Its freezing, but I can concentrate better here than on my own computer, regardless of how many people are in and out.

Yet another group project. Every Monday there is a new one. This time, something else involving banks and CDs. Not as interesting this time, but just another thing to get over with.

So work work work work work work work SURPRISE BANG BANG BANG ON YOUR DOOR work work work work work work work

12:40am last night, BANG BANG BANG on my door, it's an RA! "Letter from the assistant director for you and your roommate. If you have any concerns you can speak to Damian or bring it up at the Junior Assembly kthnxbye" ::slight panic:: huh!? Ripping it open seconds later, it appears that I have signed in late on Friday, July 13th? Sure. I don't think so, but the tone of the letter was somewhat insulting, especially for something unlikely true. "Blah blah this is an official warning you ungrateful brat without focus that doesn't care about this wonderful opportunity!" That was a bit of an exaggeration, but it was something like that. A bunch of other seemingly innocent people received letters too. There is a floor meeting tonight, supposedly with this issue as the topic matter, so let's see what they say...

This is turning out to be more like school that I originally thought. The whole 9-5, like a job, thing can get tiring, although it's worth it. But it is a school where you actually learn stuff! Wow! I've never been to one of those! Nonetheless, there is still fun, like in electronics today:

there are even worse pictures to match
In spite of all the fun, we still get work done too. I was the second person to get my op-amp and speaker working, so I got it to play music from my iPod and show the output on the oscilloscope. I started the dice game today, but I should be finished by Friday, well I kinda have to be.

It seems to be the point in the program where the workload has come to a constant state and everyone is always working. Sure, most of the people in the cluster now have Facebook and YouTube open in another tab, but I'm sure they're working hard on Cog and their essays and such. Suuuure.

So...Gustavo introduced me to Mika, this guy that is pretty popular in Europe now, and I've heard one of the songs before, but now I can't get it out of my head! And that stupid Satisfaction song! Oh well...that's what iPods are for. The iPod that happens to be dying. All of those Apple rumors were true. iPods tend to begin to act funny JUST as the warranty expires. My warranty expired July 3, 2007. Coincidence? There have been false battery indicator warnings for a while, even though I have reloaded the firmware several times. Naturally, the battery life has decreased greatly too, but I don't know if they even make iPod mini batteries anymore. Apple no longer supports the Mini, so I'm a bit screwed when it finally croaks. Christmas?

Back to the Cog! 6 units down, 6 to go!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sunday, July 15, 2007 - Relaxing Sunday

I feel just as the title says. This song by The Postal Service perfectly describes how I feel today. It's one of my favorites.

Don't wake me I plan on sleeping. Don't wake me I plan on sleeping in. Don't wake me I plan on sleeping. Don't wake me I plan on sleeping in. Again last night I had that strange dream, where everything was exactly how it seemed... ♪

I went to sleep at like 4:30am and woke up around 1:30pm today. It was nice to sleep without being interrupted by construction trucks, vacuums from the cleaning service, and alarm clocks.

I think I will leave today to be a relaxing day. I might take a little ride to Lucci's pizza in Squirrel Hill later, but otherwise I think that I'll spend the day inside doing some Cog and getting an early start on Physics.

It seems to become more and more common that comedies aren't really funny anymore. Maybe I have just changed my perception, but doesn't it seem like the when you go to see a comedy film, the only funny parts are the ones shown in the commercial? License to Wed was like that. Every scene with Robin Williams was, of course, hilarious. Otherwise, I could have taken a nap in between. I actually did for about 5 minutes. And then I woke up and was like "Woah! How did they get to Jamaica?!"

The Waterfront is quite a mall/plaza/shopping center. I finally bought How To Read Literature Like A Professor from Barnes & Noble in preparation for AP English Lang next year. I love Barnes & Noble. It is such an amazing store. I can't say that about all bookstores though, it is just BN. Every time you go in, no matter what location, the smell of billions of pages of literature mixed with the aromas from the coffee shop just captures you. I wish I had time to just go in there and read all the books that I desire. I wish I had time to read all of the books that I buy from there, lol. B & N giftcards for Christmas, anyone?

On another note, I need to go out and buy some more cherry Lifesavers. They make me happy!

Just got back from Squirrel Hill. It's a nice little district. I may go back later on this week.

Lucci's was great again. Turns out that they have a $4.99 Wednesday Spaghetti special which includes a pasta dish, salad, and bread. And it is not only eat-in. Carry-out, delivery, and too! That is a much better deal than anything that I can find around here. You can get something like that at the Underground at Morewood for like $7.50. And I bet it tastes GOOD! I know where I'll be eating Wednesday. One major thing that I noticed while out and about today is that Pittsburghers are rude. No one seems happy here. Everyone looks so mean when walking down the street, and if they don't, then they aren't from here. I suppose that is big city mentality.

I went to the Giant Eagle across the street afterwards and got a few snacks and a half-case of water. I realized a few days ago that I haven't been drinking any water at all for the past 2 weeks. Maybe only once. So I got some. They didn't have any cherry Lifesaver packages, so I had to settle for the 5-flavor package. I love the color orange, oranges, and orange juice, but hate orange lifesavers. The smell of the produce section reminded me of what produce sections used to smell like. Giant Eagle is a cool little supermarket.

One more thing to get accustomed to is the bus system. All that I know now is that the 59U and the 61C go to the Waterfront, passing Squirrel Hill on the way, and that the 64A picks up from the waterfront but DOES NOT go back to Carnegie Mellon. Some drivers want you to "pay" when you get off, others want you to "pay" when you get on. It is confusing! If I show my card early, they yell to "PAY WHEN YOU GET OFF" but other times, if I don't show it before boarding, they say "AND YOUR PASS IS WHERE?!" Sheesh, soooorrry! I know how to solve it. Just get all of the buses equipped with RFID, so if you aren't really "paying" then the bus will know, and if your are paying with cash, then you can just do so. Or a smaller step could be to make all of the passes swipe-able. But all the drivers do say "Have a nice day/afternoon/evening!" when each person gets off. Also, in order for the bus to stop, you have to be standing on the street when the bus comes, or else it will pass you by. I can't even count how many people buses have whizzed by this weekend. I like riding the bus here though, it feels different that doing so at home.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Friday, July 13, 2007 - Again

Noelle HATES groups projects. Let me say it louder. I HATE group projects. There aren't many, if any, other things that I truly hate, but group projects are definitely on my list. I knew that I disliked them a lot, but today really confirmed that I hate them.

So my brilliant concept of Little Hollywood gets what? A FUCKING B!!

Yes, it may seem like I am overreacting or going over board or whatever, but at this point, I don't care what it looks like. I stayed up until TWO THIRTY working on this alone. Now, if I knew that "we" were going to get a B, I would have done the power point this morning, as it wouldn't have mattered. This working as a collective unit thing isn't fair. I hate to be bratty and say it, but it's not fair! Why should I suffer and be responsible for someone else's lack of initiative? After the second pointless "meeting" that we had, we really didn't get much done, so I started it by myself, hoping that they would pull themselves together and we could use my additional idea as a backup, but by Thursday, the day before, we were pretty much going with everything that I had originally planned on Wednesday night. They were all freaking out thinking that we didn't have much to present, but oh little did they know about me! They wrote a few good key things, but generally, it was pointless to work as a group.

Mr. Baker pulled each group out after the presentations to review, and goes over each person individually, in addition to the whole concept. Bottom line: the loan was approved, and he thinks that it is a great business venture.......BUT!......of course everyone has flaws. He didn't like that each person didn't present all of their slides at once, and that someone didn't know the material well enough (duh!), and that someone else didn't explain clearly, and for me, well shame on me, I was standing at an angle instead of straight ahead.

Mr. Baker: So okay guys, I thought it was great, you get a B!
Group: OH WOW great!
Noelle: (silence)
Group: Noelle, aren't you glad, we got a B!
Noelle: No.
Group: Why! Oh come on, it is the first project, it is okay!
Noelle: So! It doesn't matter. A B is a B. Not an A. I put in effort for an A, not a B.
Group: Oh you're just overreacting, it is just a B, a B is good.
Noelle: Don't you guys understand how easy this was? And to get a B? It is a let down to myself. Perhaps you have different standards. It just doesn't sit well with me, okay. Enjoy your B!
Group: We can always do better next time!
Noelle: (thinking to myself) yeah, you can.
(A little later)
Group: Oh, I think no one got an A, everyone got a B
Noelle: okay
Group: See, so we did just fine!
Noelle: um, okay...great

Okay, so I am an elitist. THERE I SAID IT. Regardless of common interpretation, elitism isn't always that bad. I don't discriminate or anything or make it too apparent. I can't help what my outlook is and how I think. I don't think I've hurt anyone, so deal.

I finished up my Physics homework during lunch and then made it there a little before being just on time. The test wasn't that hard, although I wasn't 100% on everything. I am pretty sure on several of my answers though. It always worries me when I finish tests early, even though I actually looked it over at least 5 times front to back before it was collected.

Electronics was again weird. I didn't enjoy it, but the 2 hours always seem to slowly pass. It began to rain, and then pour, and then hail, so we all stood at the window for a minute watching it. Towards the end everyone got bored or finished and began arm wrestling. JD lost every time! Even to Mr. Peterson AND Kevin (the TA)! They got Kevin to arm wrestle. I never would have guessed it.
the view on the way from Doherty to Hamerschlag today
This was so creepy and eerie. It was chilly outside and pretty dark to be only 5. We saw this suspicious bright white cloud nestled in between the trees and behind the dorms on the hill. It was moving really oddly. At a different speed from the rest of the clouds nearby and like it could turn into a tornado any moment, although that isn't how tornadoes are formed. It started to drizzle on the way up, but I don't think that it started raining again, although there was a little thunder. For some reason it never rains lightly in Pittsburgh. It is either just drizzling or pouring.

I split a delicious pizza XL between 4 people from Lucci's. We ordered it on and they delivered in less than an hour. It was great. The pizza was kind of runny, and they were cut into long slim slices, but it was still good, no matter how greasy.

So after sitting in the lounge for about an hour, maybe 2, on my computer, the charging icon goes away. Goodbye to this AC adapter. It has lived a short life. 2 months. I decided to chat with HP, but my computer died midway through the chat. I went upstairs to get my other one, when I got caught in there tape of foolery. After explaining my situation about the warranty and repairs in an a simple question, the guy investigated my case and then offered to have it shipped back and repaired at no cost. He then said that a case/work order was filed and that I would receive a confirmation call in 5-10 minutes. 20 minutes later I get a call from India. "Hello? Is this Ms. Manning?" Haha, Ms. Manning. Hey that's me! So the checks all of the addresses and details and such, and then mentions something about buying the warranty. I mentioned that the first guy told me that I didn't have to get the extended one since I contacted them 2 months ago and they didn't properly address the problem and it returned. SECONDS later I get another message from the chat guy asking if I got the call. I tell him that they guy on the phone is asking me to purchase the warranty, and I also ask if that was part of the deal, even though he said it was completely free. So then he goes into some spiel about how it is a good idea although it is $119 for a year. The guy on the phone goes and speaks to his supervisors and then comes back with "Okay the box will be at CMU on Monday to ship back! Bye." I end the conversation with the online guy and he gives me the tracking numbers and sends the email verification. Minutes later, I get another call from India about purchasing the extended warranty. What is their problem. Did I not say "no, I don't think so" like 40 times already. So two hours wasted, and I have finally come to a conclusion.

I ended up figuring out the problem with the laptop myself. I realized that there wasn't a problem with any of the AC adapters. It was the computer. Specifically the pin or power jack. I touched it with a pen lightly and it wiggled. Not good. That means that there is a loose connection, electricity is not being transfered well, and there could be a short soon. This explained a lot. It was getting hotter and hotter until the contacts were burned/melted off of the inside of the adapter. The chill pad really couldn't help this. I hope that they actually fix it this time, or else I hope that spare adapter lasts me until August when I can get it back to CompUSA.

The second full length SAT Diagnostic is tomorrow, oh, at 9am. Perhaps I'll do better with 2 weeks of SAT prep? I can actually go to sleep early! A bunch of people are going to go see Harry Potter tomorrow as one of the organized trips, but I think I'll just go along and see Licensed to Wed instead. Sleep! Before 2am! Wow.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Friday, July 13, 2007 - Sleep...haha, yeah right!

This has been the craziest week ever. For no apparent reason though. For the past, oh, 4 nights I have gone to sleep at 3:30am. Why the fuck hell non-expletive can I not go to sleep at a reasonable hour?! Ironically, this whole sleep issue has come up twice today. First in Master Student. On Tuesday, like 6 people fell asleep during that class. I don't blame them, it's boring. But that is the reason why curfew got pushed back. Coincidentally, we happened to read Chapter 2 - Planning for Thursday. So yesterday I had to listen to how much of a bad, non-master student I am/will be because I don't use a planner, write down everything, and get 8 hours of sleep. There was this study tip of studying TWO hours for every hour in class. That would mean 14 hours of studying EVERY day, except weekends, this summer. Apparently the writers of Master Student are writers because they aren't good at math. 7 hours in class, 14 hours of studying, 8 hours of sleep. Sounds like 29 hours to me. What planet is that? I couldn't ever imagine studying for 14 hours in one day. I couldn't imagine doing anything for 14 hours in one day, maybe sleeping. So we filled out all of these time management and to do list charts, but it seems like a waste of paper to me. I don't think I really need an extensive planner, but just something to write everything down in by date so I won't forget.

After Master Student, I was headed to lunch as I ran into Imani and Bonvincent, who told me that the line at the Cafe was long, like almost out the door, so we headed over to find somewhere in the University Center to eat. Si Senor had a decent sized line, so we headed over to Skibo. Now I have heard about this Skibo place before but never really knew where it was or what they had on their menu. It was hidden in some corner on the upper level of the UC. This place wasn't small or deserted or anything either, just somewhat off the beaten path. By the time we got there, half of our Master Student class was already there! We looked over a menu while in line and it looked like they had better food than in than anywhere else on campus. It was reasonably priced, and everything looked and smelled good as people walked by. I wanted an Amp SOO bad. But I really didn't want to pay $3.00 for it when I can get it for $1.75 elsewhere. I ended up going the safe way and just getting a 9in cheese pizza + fountain drink. $5.75. A pretty decent price, although I could get a 12in pizza and a can of soda somewhere in the city for that price. Nonetheless, we went to sit down and waited for our numbers to be called. The dining area was really nice. There were traditional chairs and tables, and then couches and such. I guess because it is the Skibo Coffeehouse, although they sell way more than your typical Starbucks. While waiting, interesting topics came up, such as a small random balcony over the dining area, which we concluded was for public suicides after CMU became too much. Numbers were called before and behind all of ours. Everyone that got a sandwich or soup or salad of some sort got their food first, but all of us pizza-eaters were last! I was 238, Richard was 224, Imani was 231, and Bonvincent was 233. I remember when 242 was called a LOUD sigh was heard. But as soon as anyone's number was called, they leaped up before confirming the last digit completely. It was like eating at the Cafe like forever had turned us all into raging (vicious plural noun) that couldn't wait to eat real food. The pizza was okay. It wasn't bad, just not amazing or anything. It tasted like a DiGiorno, even though it was fresh.

I made it back to my room with enough time to take a 20 minute nap before Junior Assembly and exchange books. It was quite refreshing. In Junior Assembly one of the first issues that they brought up before the main topic was the sleeping issue. People were falling asleep in classes and such and this program costs $400,000 total, so you are an expensive risk, blah blah THIS IS NOT SUMMER CAMP blah blah YOU ARE HERE TO LEARN and have fun blah blah we care about you and your education this is a great experience so don't mess it up or we'll kick you out! Even though I don't go to sleep at a reasonable hour, I don't fall asleep in class. Honestly, I think people fall asleep in class because they think that it's boring. I'm sure everyone knows that, but it's just one of those unmentionables. So anyway, during this lovely session, there were REAL LIVE CMU students. They basically told us stuff about CMU that they encountered and whatnot, and then we got to ask them questions. Of course there was no one there with anything close to my major of interest, so I just listened while they spoke about architecture, economics, studying abroad, statistics, and some other stuff that I really wasn't interested in. They did bring up something about CMUs involvement in the DARPA Grand Challenge, but there wasn't much for them to elaborate on. I didn't chime in, even though I knew ALL about it.

Haha, they also explained the "communication issue" from last Saturday in Junior Assembly. Apparently while in a class or lab or something, someone, who writes crazy stories all the time, decided to write a horror/murder/mystery story involving SAMS people with unique ways for each of the characters to die around CMU. Someone looked over their shoulder and mistook it for a hit list and anonymously reported it. I think it is hilarious now, but it of course in the post-911, VT, blah blah dangerous world that we live in we must take the necessary precautions. She said that they confiscated her notebook for evidence, but I want to see the story lol!

On to, yeah. Major suxors! Interesting how I like this class some days and how I hate it others. I never really love it though. Only 1 week left! We'll probably be working on that dice game sometime next week.

So off to dinner and then to the lab, after an interesting situation with TJs cake, and we are off to Baker. Group projects REALLY don't work well. Like, ever. I ended up doing all of the work, but the presentation looks beautiful, so it is okay, I guess. I still have some work to do for tomorrow. But I'm ssssssssllllllllleeepppyyyyyy......

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tueday, July 10, 2007 - Interesting

Physics was cool today. This just proves it. The last 1:30 minutes are the best.

Electronics was also cool. I finished up my counter yesterday. It uses a 555 and 4017, which counts from 1-10, and the LEDs flash accordingly. We finished up working with the sirens and started with transistors today. In the video below, notice how the it counts faster when I switch out the capacitor.

Yesterday I re-Googled Quizno's and found out that there was another one on S. Craig St., and 1 street over from Forbes. This was a much shorter walk. I find Quizno's with no problem, but just to my luck, they have made recently made made changes to their menu. There is only one thing that I like a Quizno's. The delicious meatball sub. Guess what is off of the menu? S. Craig St. just happens to have tons of restaurants though, so I went back to Maximum Flavor again and got popcorn chicken and fries for only $4.95. About the same portions that Zuccarelli's gives, but almost half the price. Besides the fries being soggy from sitting in the heat trapped styrofoam container for the 10 minute walk back, everything was pretty good. I might try the Noodley place over there one day.

After I got back I did some homework and all of that good stuff, but I always save Cog for last. I don't know why. It happened to be the day before the first deadline, Unit 4, was due. I was on Unit 3, Section 2, the last one before 4. But for some reason, it didn't like my answers and wouldn't give me gold bars :(. Eventually...around 2:30am, I just gave up, accepting that I might get a B or something. In the morning I decided to go to the lab a little early, and within 5 minutes...just like that...I finish the unit. It is a miracle, because he walked in and checked the progress like 15 minutes later.

I knew that SAT prep would suck, and it still does. I honestly just want to read the book, do the examples alone, and see what I can do from there. But no. I have to cover the words with my fingers, wait for everyone else to get the answer, and use time wasting method. Now they do have some pretty good methods, but I think I can adapt them to my learning/test taking styles better. There is another diagnostic this Saturday. Let's see if I can raise my score 200 points like they said by using POOD, POE, ballparking, hiding the answers, and plugging in! -_-

Speaking of learning styles...everyone is really hating Master Student. It is okay, but still kind of boring. So boring that apparently 6 people fell asleep during class. So boring that because of this, curfew was pushed back an hour to allow everyone more time to sleep! Yeah right, as if everyone will now go to sleep immediately as they get to their rooms right after 10. The RAs were disturbingly happy about this. Apparently a bunch of people already drink tons of Bawls, and I guess Kool-Aid & Coke is the new (or just something that I haven't heard of) recipe for an intense sugar high, so they'll be awake anyway. I don't really need any assistants, for some reason I am just naturally awake late, regardless of what time I went to sleep or woke up the night before. As in, I woke up at 6:40 this morning, and it is now 1:01am. I could stay awake for another hour or two with no troubles. But I won't. Not tonight.

That's my cue. Goodnight. Ugh IT IS SO HOT. I feel like I'm in a sauna or something 24/7. Well not 24/7, but a large part of the 24. It actually feels like it did a few days after the hurricane with no power. You can't even stay cool by remaining still. I don't look forward to going to sleep. And YES, hot air does rise...I feel it!

OH YEAH! Tomorrow, well today, is 7/11! Do you know what that means? Free slurpees!

edit: I did it again! It is 3:05am and I am not asleep! What is wrong with me! And to comment on Emile's comment, these are not Dillard people. Different, very very a good way. And you're the one that IMed me at 2:15am...yeah...I'm going to try to go to sleep again now

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Saturday, July 7, 2007 - First Weekend, Fun?

Started off the day with a whodunit. There were flyers around stating that there was a meeting for everyone at noon, starting in the lounge, moving over to a small auditorium in Margret Morrison. Apparently there were some "communication" issues. Some sort of problem I guess. Everyone was confused, I guess except for the people in the know. People were asking questions for clarification, but the same vague responses were given. "Um, lets just say there are some really bad com-mun-ication issues." And then it was revealed that it was something that was either really serious or just a really bad practical joke or misunderstanding. Then comes the detective of CMU Police. Uh-oh, this is serious. He explains the reason why police officers have been roaming our dorm halls and staircases and lounge, and that his door is always open blah blah serious confusion. By the time I got back from the Waterfront there were signs everywhere saying that this issue had been resolved and that it was just a misunderstanding. Still confused.

The public transportation system in Pittsburgh is quite different than that of Broward County. You pay when you get off, and then buses have plushy seats. The buses run frequently and are really clean too. The first 59U going to the Waterfront was completely full, so we had to take the 61C instead, which wouldn't drop off AT the waterfront, but close enough. Similar to taking a bus and getting off on Sunset Strip compared to 56th.

[Interruption]There is a Musical Movie Marathon tonight, starting um...NOW. Rent, Purple Rain, and Dream Girls. I am SO there. Do these people know me?!
OMG THEY SUCK! They turned off Purple Rain and now we are watching The Wiz. What ADD people...not even 20 minutes into The Wiz and that is turned off to watch Dreamgirls [/Interruption]

I saw Transformers at the Waterfront on Saturday. It was a great movie. I was surprised that I actually liked it, being that it was all action-adventury. There was a bit of comedy too. I want Bumble Bee! The waterfront is a beautiful shopping center. The selection of stores, restaurants, and entertainment is as extensive as Sawgrass, but it is outdoors and beautiful. I ate at Panera Bread, as I had heard great things about it before. There was a great selection of soups, salads, and sandwiches, but nothing much that grabbed me. Individual breads looked good, but I'm still not much of a sandwich person. I had the Chicken Caesar Sandwich, which was great. We coincidentally all met up at the bus stop at the same time and went back on the 59U, and the RAs and most of the people that came back on this ride stopped and got off at Boston Market. 2 others and I continued the 5 minutes back to campus.

Sunday was a slow, peaceful...well somewhat, day. After waking up late, and then having the town hall meeting, I went over to the Baker cluster to do some Cog so I wouldn't get distracted by my laptop around 2ish, and then around 3-4ish, I went for a search of Quiznos. Google Maps said that there was a Quiznos on Forbes Avenue, just past Banquet Street. Now little did I realize that this was a mile away. It didn't feel like a mile going there, but coming back in the sweltering heat it felt like 3 times as long. By the way, I never found Quiznos. I settled for a McDonalds instead, realizing that I had already crossed Banquet St. with no Quiznos in sight. I ordered the usual, 2 Snack Wraps, a medium fry, and a Barq's (no Dr. Pepper!). I chose to eat inside, and there was only one small table at the front(back?) near the window. There was a woman sitting at a nearby table that seemed to be staring at me almost every time that I looked up, occasionally taking a drink from her small beverage. Now, everything on her tray was completely empty, including the drink after a few minutes. I began reading my physics book to distract myself from getting too creeped out, but I would occasionally look up to dip a fry in ketchup or get a sip of my drink, and I'd see her...looking directly at me! I was finally finished and left...quickly. Less than 3 seconds after I got up, she got up too! I dashed out before she could even make her way to the trashcan and was already halfway down the block when she walked out. Luckily, she went the other direction.

I stopped at 7-11 and got a Slurpee on the way back. Hawaiian Punch slurpees are the shiznit! It's carbonated, sweet, icy, and just delicious. I think the best flavor yet. I mixed the top with the Mountain Dew flavor, but it was better alone. The walk back was pure bliss with my slurpee, but when it was gone, the heat and sloping streets and stairs started to bother me. I got back a few minutes before the marathon began, but I didn't get back downstairs in time for the beginning, so I missed the opening scene, Seasons of Love, of RENT.

The movie marathon wasn't much of a marathon, but everyone definitely enjoyed singing along to Dreamgirls. Especially "Listen" and "And I Am Telling You". I think almost the whole lounge was singing along, and there was more of a crowd in front of the TV every time a sing-a-long song came up. I was sitting on the floor, in front of the couches, so I was just absorbing everything in. It was the same sensation that people used to get when an old Michael Jackson song would come on. "Oooh I'm gonna be Deena!" "You're Effie in this scene!" "OHH this is the gooood part!" "Who's gonna be Curtis?!" "Shutup shutup I want the mic(brush)!" The RAs were even more into it. No one left until after the credits stopped completely, ending the movie with a standing front of a large, very large TV screen.

I did all of my homework (well, most) on Friday night, so I didn't have much to do except for some Cog after the movie.

In the meantime, I uploaded some more pictures here.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Friday, July 6, 2007 - First Week

I've been here for almost a week, not quite, although the week of class isn't over yet. I still have to go to Physics and Electronics today. Everything is pretty easy so far, including Conceptual Mathmatics and "The Cog". Cognitive Tutor for all of you out of the know. SAT Prep is so dreadfully SLOOOWWW. I wonder if real college students really have to carry around SO many big heavy books at one time? My bookbag was insanely heavy today, good thing Jansports are forever!

I came up here during lunch to drop off my books and possibly do some work, but um...yeah pulling out my computer was a bad idea. I have plenty of time though. No procrastination yet...well, not much. I guess I should leave tor Physics now...

Electronics is getting a little cooler, though still a bit fuzzy.


should soon look like


edit: awesome, originally posted at 1:08!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Thursday, July 5, 2007 - A Soggy Day in Pitt

view from my window today
It was very foggy and odd outside when I woke up this morning. I woke up with the worse sinus headache ever, but it went away within an hour. Everyone from away seems to wake up really uncomfortable around here. The birds are REALLY noisy in the morning, and there is construction going on at the surrounding residence halls, so my alarm clock is almost unnecessary now.

I got up and went to breakfast later today, as I arrived way to early to class the previous day. No plain bagels. I tried a wheat bagel instead AND used the bagel slicer. Now either they have a shitty bagel slicer, or I am just stupid. It came out better than yesterday, but it still wasn't sliced to perfection. The wheat bagel wasn't too bad, except for the pieces of random wheat stuff I guess that I could distinctly separate from the bready part.

It was 8:50 when I left the Cafe, with 10 minutes left to get to Baker, almost clear across campus. I walked fast, as did everyone else, with most of the classes start at 9. I made it there in about 5 minutes, but there were a few others that came in after. I remember Mr. Baker saying at the first class don't bother to come in early, as it doesn't matter because he won't be there, so I'll try to arrive right on time. Maybe I'll leave at 8:15 to go to breakfast instead of 8:30.

Conceptual Math was great today. I wasn't expecting to like the course at all, but the Cognitive Tutor CD is great. WHY couldn't I have had this in Pre-Calc last semester?! I would have had an A. When Mr. Baker ended the class, no one wanted to stop. Those moving green and finally gold bars were addictive! The program caters to your individual reactions to problems, so if you miss a specific aspect of a problem, such as finding h in a translation like me, you will most likely get the same problem over and over with different numbers. The concepts are really beat into you.

Master Student was again boring interesting. We did a Learning Style Inventory and a Discovery Wheel chart. It basically identified your strengths and weaknesses in reference to common study, school/work, social related habits. I thought I would like this class a lot, but I really don't like group work and this class is really group-oriented. Something else to just deal with, as I've already gotten used to it. Dr. Tinsley seems like a cool instructor, she makes everything understandable, but I've done a lot of things in the book before on my own. We did some goal setting activity today, with prioritizing and such, if only I had my blue notebook from last semester where I did all of this extensively one day. I'll play along with a positive outlook. For some reason, this class has a negative connotation because it reminds me of FLVS Health SO much.

Lunch is almost the same every day, they just alternate between some sort of noodly or cheesy or seafood dish in addition to everything else. I had a hotdog and fries, but again with the ketchup tragedy, the hot dog was cold by the time I could properly adorn it, but the fries were okay. There was cantaloupe! And it was mighty delicious. I went back up to my room after eating lunch in less than 30 minutes. It started to drizzle on my way up, but it was tolerable "Like a midget spitting on your shoulder" as Damian mentioned yesterday before leaving for Kennywood. I read a few things for various classes and sorted my notebook and desk again as the rain increased. It was pour, and then slow down, and then pour, and then slow down, and then the duct tape fell off the sky and let it all out. See, that is Noelle's Storm Cloud Theory. The atmosphere is similar to a large, almost plastic-like, movable bag. Some holes in the atmosphere has been patched with duct tape, which is why it looks dark when it is about to storm. The water presses on the bag, forcing it down into visible sight on the earth. When it rains, the duct tape gives slowly, with a few drops leaking out, and then finally the whole thing falling off. The rest is difficult to explain with other weather phenomenons. Ask me some other day if you are interested.

I repacked my bag and changed into sneakers because of the rain for Junior Assembly, which was in a small auditorium in the basement of Baker. I walked under the canopy near Hamerschlag, wagering to wait if the rain would let up. It didn't, so I ended up walking out in the rain, getting soaked almost instantly. I walked as fast as I can, but it was tricky going down a slippery incline. Squeaking down the large sloping hall and down 2 flights of stairs, I arrived to the freezing cold room soaked, followed by more dripping-wet people. I don't know why everyone [the staff] thought it was so funny, being perfectly dry with their large umbrellas! The assembly is hosted by the CMARC staff to review whatever and anything for the first part, and also to bring in guest speakers from around CMU and wherever to talk about leadership, college, planning, management and all of that good stuff. A guy from CMU Student Services came to talk about leadership, just what I needed. I don't know why everyone in my group thought that my answers were brilliant, I honestly thought that it was obvious.

It was all clear, yet still foggy/cloudy outside after Junior Assembly ended a little late. Electronics was right across the patch of grass in Doherty Hall, so it was a short walk, not enough time to soak in the sun, or lack thereof. This is the coldest classroom ever, yet there is some concept of turning on another fan to allow warm air in? The instructor presented a brief introduction to 555 chips as the TA passes out some reading material. I understood the schematics better today, and was able to get mine working, although smoking 3 LEDs in the process. I thought that it was my fault, but when Kevin came over to check, he noticed that the chip was bad. Mocking the Mac thing "It's not my fault." I had everything right. My fingers smelled like burnt electronics for a while after though. The only good point of being in this freezing classroom was that I finally dried off, although still freezing.

Dinner was the same as lunch, except that I had a Sierra Mist and salad too. I wanted more cantaloupe, and there was plenty, but it looked like it had been sitting there since lunch. After lunch I went back to my room, but ended up falling asleep instead of doing whatever I planned to do. A nap never hurts. Internet surfing and blogging does. That's my cue.
Um.. there is a hall meeting in an hour, so I'll head down there in a few and "hit the books" until then. Gah, I hate that term. ::SMACK:: to you SAT Prep!

OMG I just exploded my Coke! At least it's still cold after 3.5 hours.

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007 - The 4th @ Kennywood

I woke up late today, as the buses didn't leave until 11am. Kennywood was a short drive away, no more than 30 minutes. The park is kind of like Six Flags, as they promote traditionalism. I think they are ranked for several different things. The rides and coasters were all pretty great. I went on all of them, except the water rides and Exterminator, which I didn't come across. I went on Phantom, their biggest and only steel coaster, twice. It doesn't beat the Hulk.

I also had a funnel cake, I don't even recall how many years ago I had one, maybe at Lake Lanier that summer? I still can't eat a whole one, regardless of how delicious it was. I also didn't know that LifeSavers made slushees. Delicious, but unfortunately not carbonated.

I took some more pictures of the room and such, but I really need to read these 60 pages of chapter 1 for Master Student and finish up the physics stuff.


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Pics from the Past Few Days

The Room

My Cave
My Desk
The Closet

Tuesday, July 3, 2007 - Quite Eventful

What a day!

Started off the morning as usual. Left Hamerschlag around 8:15am and ate my regular bagel in the Cafe as usual, toasted exactly to my liking today, as they were self serve. Too bad I mutilated my bagel, only to find out that there was a bagel slicer on the other side when I got to the toaster.

Conceptual Math was in the computer cluster in Baker Hall for the lab. Of course, there was an issue with everyone's login information and passwords, as the numbers printed on the sheets were ALL incorrect. We tried every combination. Finally giving up, he sent us all over to the Tech Help Desk in Cyert Hall, where there was another batch of students looking to get their passwords corrected. They knew the issue right a way and could change it within a matter of seconds. Getting back to Baker in like 5 or so minutes, there was only 15 minutes of class left, so he quickly gave us the Cognative Tutor CDs and walked through the first problem and how the program works.

We ended up being just on time to the Master Student class, which was in Margret Morrison. We started off with a non-verbal communication activity, which involved sorting everyone by birthday month and date without speaking. Amazing how flawless some were, and others - clueless. After analyzing and reviewing, there we were split into 6 permanent groups. From there, it was like kindergarten again, we got to draw our names and pictures on a name plate to introduce ourselves. Actually, we were introduced by someone else after they asked a set of designated questions. Then reviewing what everyone had in common, she went into what the course would be about blah blah's an okay class, no sweat, nothing much to think/worry about. It should get interesting.

Lunch was pretty good today. Well, everything except for the Nachos. They looked a little better today, but the cheese was just so weird. It's indescribable. I had fries and a salad otherwise, which there was no problem with. Well, except for the fact that they ran out of ketchup as soon as I got up there. Tragic. I just went back about 5 minutes later and got some when it was refilled. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, there is an hour and a half lunch, so I had a ton of time to enjoy the Internet and catch up again.

Physics was cool again today as Frankie warmed up to the class, and we warmed up to him. It didn't move quite as fast as yesterday, but fast enough not to get bored, yet still keep you on your toes. Chris came in and mentioned that he would have the rulers and such for the activities from 6-8, and that today would be a good day to go, so most of us agreed to go.

Electronics was pretty much the same as usual, but I kind of did something more understandable today, measuring the frequency and amplitude of a circuit with a resistor and capacitor. Still a little lost, like everyone else.

Dinner was also pretty good today too. I had a hot dog and fries, along with a cookie that I should have gotten more than one of. After dinner I went to my room, interneted a little while, and then went in search of Schaife Hall for the review session.

I found it rather quickly, although it takes FOREVER to get there, and it really does look like a potato chip. It took me more time than it should have to find the elevator/stairs, but I eventually did, thinking that it was a restroom at first. Schaife Hall is actually the MechE building, but it just seemed so small. There were about 7 people already in the classroom when I arrived around 6:30, and they had already measured the distance across the room for one of the activities. I reviewed some of the material quickly to see if there was anything that I had a question about, but it was pretty clear. I recorded the measurements and times for someone else, and they did the same for me. After gathering all of my info, I listened to the TA finish reviewing some more formulas, wrote them down, and left, as I could probably work faster at my desk, not in a cold classroom with a 12"x8"desk.

Jessika walked back with me, but we ended up getting somewhat lost going back. We thought that we could cut across somewhere, yet there was construction, so a lot of the pass-throughs were closed. We found the back on Wean Hall, got on an elevator, but it turns out that there really aren't any exits accessible from that elevator. So, hiking back up the windy incline, we see the back of Hamerschlag Hall. Entering the building, there is no apparent way out. I decide to turn back around and walk all the way through Porter and Baker, as I know those ways will at least lead my back the right way, and I didn't feel like getting lost again. Jessika goes the other way. She ended up beating me by like 2 minutes, but I still wouldn't have wanted to take the risk of getting lost.

When I get back I go back to more computing, still catching up on what I've missed in the world, with no TV or Internet for 3 days. At 8:30 there was a staff talent show, The 43rd Annual Staff (NO) Talent Show. The Spice Girls reunited first on our stage, with Shorty Spice replacing Sporty Spice. Then there was Bangra (sp?) dancing, a very odd monologue, The Pre-College Counselor band, composed of a guy with a guitar and a guy with drums made with garbage cans, a collapsible shopping cart, a footstool covered in foil, and a few other odds and ends, which was actually didn't sound too bad, except for the song that seemed like it was made up on the spot. Two of the SAMS RAs sang "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" to Jessica, very dramatically, but entertaining. Then came the Backstreet Boys, also singing to two of the other Pre-College RAs, performing their hits "Larger Than Life" and "I Want It That Way". The host made a ton of jokes about the mentalist guy from the first night. Probably the funniest part.

After the (UN)Talent Show, the after party was held in he lounge of Hamerschlag for both SAMS and Pre-College. It was pretty cool, I stayed for the whole thing. I don't feel like as much out of the loop anymore, as I knew most of the songs and dances to go along (although I couldn't do them). Gemma is a great DJ. I REALLY need to learn how to now. A few guys were like "Noelle, you better be at the next one...on the floor! Or else I'll drag you out there!" Yeah right. Maybe? No. Eh...we'll see. I'm not pop locking and dropping it, that's for sure! I'm content with people watching and listening to the music, but dancing might be fun?

I paid for my Kennywood ticket at some point during the night while signing in. Then back to people watching. The Pre-College kids left to go back to Morewood to make their curfew, but the party still went on! It ended with some Reggaeton, and then finally a few old school songs (candy girl and some 80's rap) before it was all over around 12ish.

Kennywood tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Monday, July 2, 2007 - It's Like The First Day of School Again

Started the day to the sound of “Speedy Way”, or for those of you that aren’t LG C3100 owners, my cell phone alarm, which was shortly followed by my regular alarm clock. Record bed-jumping out of time. I really can’t stand the sound of that as an alarm, so it always makes me get up. Showering in a stall was an, um…unique experience. I could barely move, and my bathrobe almost got wet trying to take it off. I thought that there would be some form of competition to get to the shower, but I guess they are all lazy goats that don’t care to wake up early since there was no one there when I got there. About an hour later I am walking to breakfast, not too bad today. If they have bagels everyday, I’ll be happy.

Off to the first class, Conceptual Mathematics, or Integrated Math III. I barely remembered anything from the tour, but I assumed that it was on the second level since the number started with a 2. All of the schedules stated “2258”, yet the classroom was 225B. Even the teacher, Mr. Baker, was confused at first. He plops down two boxes and a book on top. The book looks to be the teacher’s edition of something, but it was actually the students’. That book is almost like 3 inches across the spine. There really wasn’t any math or anything academic today, but just general/introduction review instead. He is a pretty down to earth guy. Labs are every Tuesday and Thursday, which means that we don’t have to lug around those huge books every day. We are supposed to be receiving some sort of interactive CD to go along with the Cognitive Tutor course. He ended up letting us out really early, as there was nothing left to discuss.

SAT Prep was in Porter Hall, C18A. Somehow we landed in A22, thinking that it was the right place. There was a whole number mixup before anyway. We were there early, so it didn’t really matter, as several others also realized that we were in the wrong room. She was nice and helped us find the instructor of the other class, and from there she lead us to the room. We received two Princeton Review SAT books. The Manual for the SAY and 11 Practice Tests for the SAT & PSAT. The instructor told us that the test scores from yesterday would arrive some time during the class, and from there we could review. She talked a bit about the actual test and introducing some basic SAT, non-knowledge required information. Then, someone walked in with a large envelope…our scores. People started clapping and cheering, although I don’t know why. I don’t think anyone had thrilling scores. She called everyone up one by one to pick up their score reports, and congratulated me on my essay score, although I don’t consider a 9 that impressive, especially being that I didn’t finish the essay. I had a 1535 total, which isn’t much, but I can only work harder and study more to improve my score. I want over 2100, but I will be content with 1950 or higher, I guess. There was commentary on my essay, things that I already knew like, work faster, end paragraphs better, and to stress the topic more. Yeah, I didn’t finish, they can stop rubbing it in. We went over some of their patented techniques, such a POE (Process of Elimination), POOD (Personal Order of Difficulty), Ballparking, and another one. There was also the tale of Joe Bloggs, the average student that falls into all of ETS’ traps. The whole story has a sarcastic overtone. It’s somewhat of a lighten-upper. I can think of better ways to spend 2 hours a day, or even self studying faster with these books now, but if what they promise, at least a 200 point increase in all levels, is true, then it would be worth it.

Skipped lunch at the Café today and looked to see if Pepperazi, the pizza place in the University Center was open. It wasn’t and only Taste of India was. But downstairs Si Senor was open. I was going to get the chicken fingers + fries, but something told me to try the tacos. They were cheaper too. The way that they were arranged looked tasty, but it really wasn’t. We went to sit outside, since it was such a beautiful day. When I open up the container, there is a mote of greasy stuff surrounding my tacos. The first bite in and my fingers are orange with more greasiness. It was okay, I’m sure better than whatever they were serving for lunch today, but still not satisfying. I have yet to eat something that has been more than just okay since I’ve been here. Their tacos are weird too. A ton of cheese goes in first, followed by a little lettuce, and then a ton of low grade beef. I chose to opt-out on the sauces. When I was finished, the bottom of the container was completely covered with like a .25 inch layer of that stuff. I think I’ll get the chicken fingers next time. I stopped at Entropy to buy a soda because it was 11 cents cheaper than buying it from Si Senor or from a vending machine.

Off to Doherty Hall for Physics. It took a while to find A200, but when we did, it was nothing like expected. First, I thought it smelled a little smoky, and the hallway was very dusty, but it turns out that there was construction being done, and there was a small fire. Very close to, maybe even in, the hallway. Therefore, this meant that we could not go to class until they finished blowing all of the smoke/dust out and cleaned up. We waited in front of the door in the dusty hallway for like 10 minutes until a TA told us to go to the other Physics class for a few minutes until they could clean up everything. The class moved pretty quickly when we got to it, starting off with vectors, velocity, speed, and acceleration. Mr. Frankie Li, still don’t know exactly what to call him, had to leave, so the TA, Chris, took over and assigned a few fairly simple review problems.

Electronics was in A200 also, as I could already see with the oscilloscopes, multimeters, protoboards, and signal generators already set up. He started off with an odd, brief introduction, and then drew a circuit on the board, explained it a little bit, and told us to create it on the protoboard. Most, probably all, people didn’t have a clue what they were doing, including me. The teacher and TA (I forgot their names) go around and help everyone individually, but it is still a really awkward learning environment. I figured it out somewhat with the help of the Lab Sheet, which could have practically been in Japanese, but the class finally ended.

I didn’t feel like going to dinner and eating soggy food, so I ventured out into the city looking for something. Found a pizza place, Maximum Flavor, but the flavor definitely wasn’t maximum. It was okay, and I’ll probably be returning, because it is cheap, and they have a pretty good selection of everything.

I return, read a few chapters of Physics and SAT Prep, do a few things on my computer, and then retire for the night early. 11:30. I haven’t been to bed that early in like forever.

Sunday, July 7, 2007 - What's Next?

I woke up before my alarm sounded this morning. Very uncomfortable sleep, I don’t know how I’ll make it through the next 6 weeks waking up like that every morning. I was still as tired, maybe even more, than I was when I went to sleep. There isn’t anything scheduled for Juniors today until the SAT Diagnostic at 2. I don’t think that there is much additional studying that I can do besides reading a dictionary or something. The seniors had a math diagnostic today to place them into either pre-calculus or calculus. It was pretty quiet around here after 9:40. Around 10:15 I decided to take a stroll to the bookstore, not realizing that it didn’t open until 11am today. So I had to walk all the way back to the dorm, passing by at least 100 or so other Pre-College kids. CMU has been taken over. On my way out of Hamerschlag, a parent was leaving the dorm and asked me if I could wait and open the door for her because she forgot something in her car. Sure, just because I’m that nice of a person. On my way back up the stairs, I misjudged the distance between the step and my foot, thus slamming my first two toes on my right foot into a nice slab of concrete. This hurts more than the fall yesterday. I’ve stumped my toes on the chairs in the room at least 4 times since I’ve been here. At this rate, I won’t have any feet by the time I get back.

Arriving back to the dorm empty handed, I stop in the lounge instead of going straight up to my room to watch some guys play pool. Someone picked up a table tennis paddle, so I made my way over there, securing next. It was a pretty good game, especially with the guy saying that he never played before…suuuure. I got tired of playing, and still dead tired from the day before, so I went back up to my room to rest for a few and ended up taking an hour nap. I actually slept well and it made up for the lack of sleep in the last 72 hours.

Waking up refreshed, I headed back out to the bookstore, since it was now around 12. I trekked back over there, and once I got inside, I was completely lost. A lot of nice stuff, but nothing that I needed at the moment. I’ll go back over there later this summer and buy a t-shirt or something. I figured out that the books must be downstairs, since there was only clothing and school pride-ish stuff upstairs, so I went down there, and sure enough…books! I found the Conceptual Physics book right away, and had to ask for help to find the Master Student book. $141.71 - $100 in PlaidCa$h. I stopped by Entropy, like a convenience store, on the way back and bought a Mountain Dew and Fritos. That has to be the best Mountain Dew that I’ve ever had. I think I am addicted to carbonation, and not really the flavor…I don’t really know, just that sodas have brought be much pleasure in the last 2 days.

I think I’ll head downstairs now, as something should be starting soon…ahh Lunch


There is something that I would like to introduce as the CMU Diet. Now this has nothing to do with actual exercising or restricted eating, but simply the environment here at CarNAYgee Melin. I know that the school is old and whatnot, but they’re supposed to be on the cutting edge of technology…weren’t elevator installations big in the mid-20th century? I haven’t seen a single one yet. I guess the hilly terrain is partially to blame, but there are stairs everywhere! So trekking across campus each day, up and down many sets and flights of stairs, combined with the gagalicious food from the Carnegie Mellon Café, I should lose at least 5-10 pounds within the next 6 weeks. I can’t even begin to explain how bad the food is there, but I can’t complain…because it’s free. For brunch I had mushy, soggy, cold potatoes that were beyond disgusting and weirdly seasoned, which I soaked in ketchup to make it palatable, and then cold, soggy/stale waffles that even the most syrup couldn’t help. I ate some to just eat something and not have it go to waste, but there was no way that I could finish any of it. They have Pepsi fountains (eww), so I guess I’ll be drinking Mountain Dew or Wild Cherry, if they have it, all summer.

The SAT practice test was long. The test experts are right when they say that most of the test is not knowledge, but the ability to concentrate for like 4 hours of monotonous examinations. I didn’t get to finish my essay, I had like two sentences left, but I hope that it won’t affect my score too badly. I was a bit uncomfortable with the topic…darn those lofty-worded SAT-style questions, but I came up with something and managed to use a few metaphors, quotes, and real life examples. I wrote almost a page about how the common saying “the early bird gets the worm” is symbolic of how people create barriers for themselves because of competition. Math was the first section after writing, and it was really the first time that I’ve had to think since exams in May. I was a bit slow and rusty on the first part, and didn’t finish, but I finished, to the best of my ability, almost every section after once I got into the swing of things. I got really freaked out after the first part because there were 40 multiple choice spots, but I only got 16 done. But then when I went back and looked at the test, I realized that there were only 20 questions in that section. A bit of relief. The writing/grammar section was fun. With each question I could hear Theiss’ voice or Gustavo correcting someone as if they had the answer wrong, in the background, and then followed by a reason. Something like “You have to use a comma twice because it’s a parenthetical expression!” for Theiss and “It’s has, not have BITCH!” for Gustavo. I giggled a few times, but I’m pretty sure about most of my answers in that section. Reading parts were boring as usual, but I got through it. Some were a bit tricky, but they’re supposed to be, right? I know most of the material, but I just have to work on pacing and speed. During the last sections, 9 & 10, this music started blasting from outside all of the sudden. First some reggae, and then something that sounded like hip hop. It was the type of annoying sound that is similar to a car going by that is blasting music, but you are curious of what it really is. I’ll explain this later.

A few more flights of stairs and a 5 minute walk later accompanied by O Fortuna and the Sesame Street theme song coming from somewhere out of the blue, and I am in line at the Café. I made conversation with a few girls from the 1st floor, and I actually wasn’t being anti-social or reclusive or everything that people think that I am. There is a long line for dinner, a little out of the door, but it moved pretty quickly. We made it to the front, grabbed a tray, fork, knife, napkins, straw, set my SAT book and calculator on the tray only to find that it was wet. Well, not anymore. Another long line, passing the untouched Nachos, Sandwich Bar, stale pizza, and untouched looks-in-the-process-of-changing-form toppings. There was a fresh pizza square as soon as we got up to the line, so luckily I got the first piece. The main courses were pasta and some other pasta-ish casserole thing, along with hot dogs and hamburgers as usual. The meat looked funny in the pasta with meat sauce, so I just got the watery marinara instead. I saw that there was a nice chocolate cake in the desserts section and grabbed a piece, and topping it all off with the usual Dew. Next time, I’ll get a piece of fruit or something from the bin in the middle.

Starting off with the pizza, I figured that it couldn’t be that bad, and nothing worse than Royal Caribbean’s pizza. It wasn’t. Definitely not the best I’ve had…but it’s near the bottom. The pasta was watery and tasteless just as I expected, with a weird spicy, sour kick occasionally. And the cake was okay, it just tasted like chocolate pudding for some reason lol.

A few of the Pre-College counselors stood up on tables and announced that everyone must come to Playfair immediately following dinner or else they will die and regret the opportunity, so unaware of what was to come, we headed back to the dorm and changed into comfortable, movable clothes. We headed back to the lounge and waited until everyone was ready to go and headed out to the College of Fine Arts lawn in a huge SAMS group, as usual. When we arrived, music was blasting (that’s where it was coming from before) and most of the other Pre-College students were already there, some still trickling in. All of the RAs got together and started cheering and dancing a lot for no apparent reason and started this huddle tunnel thing. Basically it was a long line where everyone had to run through, high-fiving and screaming with everyone that you pass, and then standing at the end being on the opposite end of the high five. The line/tunnel started to get really long by the time we got to the “entrance” and we had to stop a few times because of the congestion. About 500-600 students made quite a huge line to get through. When everyone made their way through, we were asked to join hands…tightly. From the end with the RA’s, they ran inside the circle, everyone else following through. It’s really hard to explain, but it was crazy keeping up. It somehow ended with the main chain clashing into another end, even though there really wasn’t an end any longer.

There were a few ice breaker type games, most about finding people with common interests and such. I met a few people from Facebook and someone from Team 25. The highlights included the standing ovation, the chair circle, various chains, and the backwards dance thing. The standing ovation is some sort of CMU tradition where if you are anywhere on campus, and anytime, and you are feeling down, or you need to be recognized or feel special, you can yell out “I WANT A STANDING OVATION” and everyone around you, regardless of what they are doing, stands up and claps for you, along with the 5 nearest people around you hoisting you up in the air on their shoulders. This should be interesting at random moments. The circle chair involved getting into a group with all of the people from your birthday month, and forming some type of interlocking circle where you sat on the person behind you, somewhat squatting, and the person in front of you sat on you. It actually worked. Because it is a circle, the weight it supposed to be distributed equally. We did it in both directions, but it was…well weird…how often does some complete stranger sit on your lap? Cool nonetheless. Finally, the backwards dance was when you found a partner through having something random in common, and then standing back to back, joined locked at the elbow/arms. Then, music came on and you would have to dance. It was really awkward and weird, especially when there is a 6ftsomething tall guy standing behind you with their butt protruding into your back, but it was still kind of fun. Every so often they would yell out switch, and you would find a new partner, never being “alone” and untangled. Therefore it took 4 people to switch.

There was an ice cream social afterwards, but all of the SAMS students went on an academic building tour first. We were split into two groups, Juniors and Seniors, and one group was almost exponentially, well not quite exponentially, but quite a bit larger than the other. 33 to 69. Since our group was small, we got to know each other fairly quickly. The buildings were, well just buildings and classrooms. A lot of the hallways are sloped and interestingly designed. Very cool architecture. We were showed where all of our classrooms were, but after Porter Hall ( only the second one lol) I could barely keep track of the different classes and such. Then, after numerous other building and running around, I could barely keep track of where we were. SO MANY STAIRS! It eventually ended and we went to the Underground, under Morewood for ice cream. A few of us just ate and headed back, as it had already been quite a long day, although it is 2:14am and I’m not exactly sleeping, as I should be. There is a full day of classes tomorrow though, so I guess I should…

Ugh, I have to climb all the way up to my bed. I suppose that’s another unintentional part of the CMU Diet Plan. It’s going to be a fun summer after all! Hope has been restored.