Sunday, October 28, 2007

New Phone + ACT

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 25, 2007


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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 22, 2007

Life Without Music

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

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

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



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

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

Is it late October yet?

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

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

Thursday, October 11, 2007


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


Sunday, October 7, 2007


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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