Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Return from Brief Blogging Hiatus

I wouldn't exactly call my lack of blogging over the past two months a hiatus, but it was close enough. I couldn't pull together any reason to write anything quirky or interesting about my pathetic life without it seeming too bitchy or depressing all the time, so I just didn't write anything. As someone's mother said, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all!"

The last two months have been extremely stressful. I felt as if there was no place to find relief or relaxation, for even a short period of time, not even weekends. It was depressing, as if I was suffering through something beyond my means. I thought that some of the stress would be relieved after the robot shipped, but that was only a naive dream; schoolwork only became a larger burden. Yesterday was insane. I can't even begin to think about all of the excitement (a fire at school), the worry (tornadoes, bad weather, nuclear plant shutdown, widespread power outages), and the confusion (robotics). Usually, the day before a robotics trip is awesome, and we're all horrible at school. Take this typical scenario:

Teacher: ok, Chapters 4-6 are due by Friday, along with 2 essays and a poster
Class: [moans]
Kids on Robotics Team: HAHA WE'RE NOT GONNA BE HERE!
(this doesn't remove any obligation to do the work, it just extends our time a bit)
Class: [dirty looks]

It is such a gratifying experience to be able to do that once in a while -- I mean, not to be a jerk or anything, but PA kids miss tons of schools for their shows and trips and such, athletes always have games and events and stuff to leave early for, so balances out somehow. Unfortunately, I didn't get to do that at all this year. With the AP classes that I have, it's like "hmmm, you're going to be gone? oh's due on figure it out." More than any other day, I really couldn't wait for school to be over.

After all of that, I am really looking forward to getting away, kinda. I leave at 4:30 this afternoon to go to New Jersey for our first competition of 2008. It should be around 17° when we get there, with snow flurries. From 70° to 17°...should be interesting. I'm prepared though. I'd love to see snow again. Besides all of the cool traveling and just being away from home with friends stuff, I'm really looking forward to the New Jersey Regional. It's pretty competitive, and I'm not sure how we'll fair in the competition, but I'm sure it'll be a blast anyway.

I'm a bit off as far as my Noelle-like habits. I would've make a packing list by the beginning of last week, did all my laundry over the weekend, and then have been packed by yesterday, spending today relaxing and such. This year? Not quite. I made my list yesterday. I'm doing laundry right now, I still have to pack, shower, and be out of my house by 3:30pm. I should get to that...

Next post will be from New Jersey!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I'm over my head in school work.

I'm excited ecstatic.

I'm tired exhausted.

I'm running on energy drinks and candy.

I have 2 projects, 4 poems, a major works data sheet, book work, and loads of reading due tomorrow.

I'm the arm operator for the robot this year.

I will not sleep tonight.

I have spent almost 40 hours at Motorola over the past 3 days.

I'm done with build season.

I'm wide awake.

I'm going to New Jersey in 8 days.



(more details and less disjointed talk later)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


There's been so much going on this week that I just realized that I haven't blogged in about a week. Oh no, no documentation of my life! No fear, I'll recap (caution, this will be a long, media-enhanced post):

Friday - 17th Birthday
I expected this to be a horrible day. I had a ridiculous amount of of work to turn in, I had to design something for robotics at the last minute that ended up not being used, and most importantly, the MITES application was due. I'm one hell of a procrastinator, so this involved me pulling an all-nighter to get it done, but I was satisfied with my work by the time I had to leave for school at 5:40am. I spread out all of my stuff across the living room floor, and this is what it looked like at some point during the night.

I always get this weird high/rush after staying up for almost 24 hours. Around noon I got extremely tired, and then I suddenly bounced back energetically, as if I just woke up from a 10-hour night sleep. It's really weird how sleep deprivation can lead such a surplus in energy. My mom made me cupcakes around 1am, so that was my first celebration of the day. I really didn't expect anything at all, btw. When I got to school, it was the same as usual, I even forgot that it was my birthday on occasion...that's how much I cared about turning 17, nothing significant. For lunch, Dominique brought cupcakes! I was really surprised, I didn't expect anyone to even remember. We had a little celebration in Mr. Euler's class:

So I had about 2 dozen cupcakes...these in additions to the ones that my mother baked for me! Interestingly enough, I learned to share :o ! DJ and Dom went outside under the garage door to air out the crumbs from the table cloth, little did I know they had a surprise for me when they got back inside. Sure, it looks like they're trying to fold it...

One thing about birthdays that I really happen to dislike is the "Happy Birthday" song. I really, honestly, hate it, and everyone knows that. Did it stop them from singing it? Of course not...

I don't know what it is about that song that just ticks me. It's extremely awkward, with the second verse requiring the "Birthday Boy/Girl" to respond and everyone else to point and stare. Whatever, it's just me. That's the most eventful stuff that happened at school, except for the bus ride back, involving some serious Om-Nom-Noming of the rest of the cupcakes and fun with frosting and sprinkles.

My grandparents always take me out to dinner for my birthday, this year was no different. I decided to go to Benihana, since I've wanted to go for since like forever. I took a short nap in the car and was carrying on like a zombie when we got inside. Not even our flamboyant waiter that served us drinks could wake me up. When we finally got to our table, it was absolutely freezing, though we figured out why once they turned on the grill. The whole dinner was amazing, except for the shrimp, which I don't eat because I don't eat seafood. I definitely woke up when the cheft started tossing and flipping food around on the grill. That was the most amazing fried rice that I've ever had in my entire life, and the teriyaki steak was definitely awesome. Being a restaurant and it being my birthday, there was ice cream and that song again. We also shared a table with another family that was celebrating a birthday, though like 30 or so years older, but it took some of the attention off me. My candle wouldn't stay lit, it was hilarious....

It ended up being not as horrible of a day as I expected it to be, but I was dead tired when I got home and absolutely exhausted on Saturday.

Saturday - Robotics
This weekend signified the end of week 4 and the beginning of week 5, aka crunch time, in no reference to Team 79, Krunch, at all lol. This is where everything starts coming together, almost magically. Perfect proof is when we were working on the base for a few hours, finally got it done for the most part and moved on to the arm. It went up in less than 5 minutes with the turn of only four bolts. When all of the software guys walked back in the shop, they exclaimed "WOW you guys sure got a lot done". I couldn't help but to chuckle. If you look at it now, as a bystander, it looks like we have an almost complete robot, HA!

what does this look like?

There is still a ton of work to be done. Hopefully some more magic will occur this week. Saturday was one of the most productive build days that I've ever experienced since I've been on this team. I even learned how to use the mill and modify a section on our side panels! It was a long day, I was there for almost 12 hours. We have this theory that there are no windows or clocks in there for a reason! It's amazing how you walk outside going "woah, it's dark!" not even keeping track of time until someone mutters that they're hungry or has to leave. When the majority of the work was done for the day, we managed to squeeze a little fun in before we left. I mean, how can you not play with a huge-mongous blue ball? Introducing, EXTREME hacky sac...

NOW - Everything Else
This week has been overloaded with school stuff. We're working on ROVs in Research V for a little competition at FAU in May, which I'll talk some more about later. I can't believe how I've adjusted so quickly to having 2 work-intensive AP classes in addition to build season going on, but I feel as if I can possibly handle a little more load...not that I'll try to juggle anything else. FLVS is having a little science fair. I usually don't enjoy required science fairs, even though I've won numerous, but I actually want to do something for this since it's optional. I'm thinking of building a Van De Graaff Generator and conducting (lol conduction) a few experiments. Even if I don't get to do it in time for the fair, I still want to make once since they're really cool.