Monday, December 31, 2007

Goodbye 2007!

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

February: 16th Birthday, somewhat of a milestone

March: FL Regional Finalists

April: FRC Championship

July - August: SAMS @ Carnegie Mellon

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

November: Moved to new place

December: Best Christmas Ever, took ACT, got scores

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

Happy New Year (again)!

"Get Serious" Week

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

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

ARGGH! feed me!

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

absolutely delicious

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

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Obligatory Christmas Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the loot

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

Tuesday, December 25, 2007



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

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

Monday, December 24, 2007


(click to enlarge)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Time for a Change

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

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

Friday, December 21, 2007

Winter is Here

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

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

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

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

Happy Holidays!

edit - videos are up on my channel

Sunday, December 16, 2007

ACT Scores Released Early!

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

edit: writing scores added

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

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

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Impossible Quiz!

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


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

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

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

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


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

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

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

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Booo Standardized Testing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 7, 2007

ACT Tomorrow

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

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

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bored with Life

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 3, 2007

Autonomously Peddling Through

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


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

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