Tuesday, August 28, 2007


...is detrimental to my mental health.

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 24, 2007

deep breath...hold it...sigh

The first week of school is over. Yay!

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 20, 2007

First Day as a Junior

bleh...school sucks

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

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

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

A brief synopsis of the day...

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Sugar High

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh no, hiccups!

Sunday, August 12, 2007


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Wednesday, August 8, 2007 - [Title?]

...from ECE!
so hungry that I could eat a whole robot

It really does look like a sandwich. And it really is boring. FIRST has turned me into a robot elitist. This robosandwich is inferior.

Everything is pretty much over now as far as the classes go. Its pretty much prep prep prep for the symposium until Friday. I just want it to be over already. I'm like dead tired.

You know what else. I'm not eating brownies right now. I should be. AND it is still hot outside. I feel like I can't breathe outside, where you would go to get fresh air. It's like you have to go to a super super cold room, which is rare, instead to breathe clearly.

I feel like I have nothing positive to say anymore. Blah blah the old saying didn't your mother ever tell you "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all!" Well, so what...this is my blog, so I can say whatever the hell I please about absolutely nothing! Eh, I'm just tired. Whatever...

I feel so cheap. Clipper Ship is tomorrow, and I don't really want to pay $15 to go. Actually, I really don't want to go at all because I'm tired. But something tells me that it's going to be one of those things that I will regret if I don't go. Sandcastle was worth missing, but I suppose this'll be fun.

OMG I KEEP FORGETTING! I need to pack. Like tonight. Like right now. But I want to sleep :(

Monday, August 6, 2007

Monday, August 6, 2007 - %&#$

((((((((((((((((((((((((((((Radiating Stress))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

I can't think of a title, but I hate Mondays.

It's the last week of SAMS. There is SO much going on. I really shouldn't be wasting time writing this, as I have to finish Cog (almost there!) by tomorrow morning, have an outline of my electronics project board by tomorrow afternoon, finish the PowerPoint for the MIT project for Wednesday morning, finish all of the Physics experiments for Wednesday, make the poster for the MIT project by Thursday, finish the poster for electronics by Thursday, AND pack. Clipper Ship on Thursday evening and the Symposium on Friday and goodbye Pittsburgh on Saturday.

I'm really relaxed though. I feel slightly stressed on the inside, but I still have that "No problems, mon!" feeling.

On a lighter note, my robot is finished for ECE, almost 3 days early. Now I get to play with it and leave somewhat early.

Eh, I'm not really that stressed, I just have a lot to do, specifically tonight. AHHH STOPPIT NOELLE GET OFF BLOGGER/FACEBOOK!!! (<--sez my conscience)

I'm coming home! Does Florida miss me?

Friday, August 3, 2007

Friday, August 3, 2007 - T-minus 8 Days

This is somewhat a reversal of this post. 8 days left until I am back in sunny probably rainy and humid Florida. It is HOT in Pittsburgh. The cool breezes just suddenly dissipated and this hotness is the only thing left. I went to Lucci's earlier today and stopped by Rite Aid to get some batteries for my iFan. Batteries are expensive! I had no idea, since I rarely use them, but 5 bucks for some generic AAs seemed quite ridiculous.

In Physics a few days ago we got these cool little desktop electronics kits to work with for the next chapter out of our new "textbook". We're doing little electricity experiments, stuff that I did in 3rd grade, but it is more conceptual now instead of just conducting the experiment. Amazing how many people don't know how electricity works...at all...and are amazed by the concept of lighting a light bulb with batteries and few wires. WOW ::rollseyes:: We get to make a motor out of the parts in the end, so that should be cool. More suspicious items to take to the airport!

Man I need to pack! I just realized how much stuff I have, so much stuff I have gained. SO MANY BOOKS. BIG BOOKS. And I still haven't bought my obligatory Carnegie Mellon T-Shirt. At Junior Assembly they suggested that we all take the 28X if we're flying out, regardless of how much luggage we have, and they'll try to coordinate something to help us (and our luggage) get over there to the bus stop ALL the way on Forbes & Morewood. Hmmm...should be interesting. I have to figure out a way to get all of this stuff to the post office. They close at 5. Projects end at 5. Interesting.

Speaking of projects, A+ on the latest math project. The only A. I worked hard, well not really, it just took some time. Group work/projects still suck. I could have done it lightyears faster, with better structure, but whatev, it's still an A. I tried editing, but I stopped myself a few times from rewriting the whole thing. The thing that gets to me about these projects is the simplicity of ALL of them. Most of them require little math. It is just a matter of properly displaying the information and analyzing it. It's not that hard, but apparently a ton of people miss it! Frustrating. But I don't care anymore :). It's over! I just have to finish Cog now and do that final MIT project thinger (with the group, maybe).

AHHH 1 more week, so much work...I wanna go to the beach!

To Do Before I Leave:
  • finish Cog
  • start/finish MIT Powerpoint/Poster/Presentation
  • work on Electronics project
  • get a CMU T-Shirt
  • go back to the Waterfront
  • get Lucci's once more
  • find out where the Post Office in the UC is
  • become a Master Student (oh wait, I can't...it's a journey! -_-)
  • pack!
  • go to Century III and get more shoes
  • eat at the Cafe as little as possible
  • ::irony:: start my MITES '08 application (jk, but I will do it in Oct.)
Oh yeah, the last SAT is tomorrow. I wish there was a smilie for the expression that is on my face right now.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Wednesday, August 1, 2007 - Wacky Wednesday

So today is Wacky Wednesday, deemed with the theme "Dress a Mess". Indeed, most people that participated did dress a mess. Check it out.

Oh yeah, I also turn 16.5 today. Lovely, isn't it?. Only 1.5 more years left until I'm an official adult. Wow. And I still don't know how to drive. I wonder if I'll ever learn? I haven't been in a car for like 4.5 weeks. I don't want to grow up :( CUZ I'M A TOYS R' US KID!

You know, I've run out of things to call cool people. You can't get any lower (or higher on my spectrum) than a Kelvin, so ultimately, I should have paced my cool nomenclature a little better. But I must say, there are two other very cool people that I know. Cooler than ice! I just realized that with the money from Auntie Toni, I was able to get 2 pairs of shoes this weekend! (Thanks!) AND another huge surprise was the not one, but two packages on the weekend from Barned & Noble. Sure, I was expecting Planet Earth, but what else? PULSE! Finally! We saw it like 3 years ago, but it is finally in my hands! I think I'll have to wait get home to watch it though.

Surely enough, most would think "You have a laptop, you can watch it whenever, wherever." But I don't! HP has my laptop. The service was delayed, so I got another email, and I should get it back (in Florida) on the 9th. Which means that I won't see it until the 13th!

There are less than 2 weeks left of SAMS. 1 week and 3 days to be exact. Everything we're doing now is in regards to the Symposium and wrapping everything up. These weeks surely flew by. I don't feel like I've been here for 6 weeks, and I sure do not want to go back to Dillard any time soon. Like that Mary Kate & Ashley show/movie, So Little Time (so much to do)!