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Nov. 30th, 2007 | 04:06 pm

Anyone got a phoenix down? I may have fallen into a swoon.

On a related note: Ness's Guts went up by 126!

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Ness's Guts went down by 6!

Nov. 27th, 2007 | 03:24 am

I sure wish they'd go up once in a while for a change.

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(no subject)

Sep. 7th, 2007 | 10:52 pm

Prologue
So I started trying to write this on Tuesday night, but my computer died. And by died, I mean really truly died, appropriate county colloquialism goes here, it's dead. We took it to the Apple Store Genius Bar today, he tried the same things I'd tried, and then we signed off to send it away. If I'm lucky, what they send me in the mail a few days or weeks from now will still have my hard drive and all my settings.
The points are that that's newsworthy in and of itself, and that on top of everything when I first tried to write this, I've got all the frustration at losing my computer, which I'd grown quite fond of in the short time I had it, swirling around. I didn't get far the first time I tried, so most of this is what I'm writing right now - all of it is, in fact, because the sentences I wrote in take 1 are lost, probably even more permanently than the rest of my stuff might be. (All of this is a good reminder of the importance of backing up, which is a lesson I have now learned and will try to remember in the future.)
--------------
The other day I was thinking about how no story, not even the ones I've really loved, has had a protagonist with whom I really felt I could personally identify. Spider-Man, as we all know, was supposed to be so important in comic books because the kids really felt they could identify with Peter Parker: supposedly, a teenage geek with as many or more real problems than superhero problems, and all of them ones recognizable to us. (Understand this is based on the Spider-Man I've read: mostly the Ultimate line, with Spider-Man: Blue and a few other things thrown in for good measure, and that I'm not saying I dislike Spidey, because he remains one of my favorites.) Spider-Man's problems? Doc Ock and the Green Goblin want to kill him. And Peter Parker's problems? Maybe he doesn't have enough free time to be a super-hero because he has to work, but mostly it's that his relationship with Kitty Pryde's not going as well as he'd like, or he's not sure if he should go after Gwen Stacy or Mary Jane Watson, both of whom, as true believers know, are beautiful and interested in him. And you know, maybe some people who've held down jobs during the school year know what that's like, but mostly, those don't sound so much like the problems I had during high school. I don't see myself in Peter Parker; maybe if I'd been a teenage geek in 1962, things would be different - I'd have been a different person, and I'd be reading different Spider-Man - but as it is, he's just one example among several heroes I'm perhaps expected to identify with, but don't. (See also: Harry Potter.)

So I was thinking about that, and having just finished Spook Country, I decided I ought to read Ender's Game, it being a classic, and recommended to me on many occasions. There were some small things I liked about it; I've been thinking for years that space sf needs to really examine the implications of zero-g, rather than persistently showing us Star Trek episodes that take place, basically, with all ships oriented the same way, and the battle room touched upon that. Also, there's Card's 1985 prediction of not only the internet, but blogs, and their relevance in politics, well before either. That was all cool stuff to see - aliens with whom we can't communicate are also nice, but not such a big deal to me.

The big thing, though, was that all of a sudden, I had someone I identified with. It doesn't really matter that the stuff Ender worries about didn't really show up in my life until I was older than he ever is in the book, that I was never actively picked on at school, that I have no history of violence, or that I would never claim to be the genius he is. What matters is that for the first time, I had someone I could relate to. Ender's problems? He's under too much pressure, and the older he gets, the lonelier he is. And well, increasingly, that's me, too.

It's not just that, either; as I read, I had a strong sensation that I was in some way far more ready to leave than I had been before, indeed, than I had known I could be. I'm not going to try and put it into words; the feeling itself faded almost as quickly as it came.

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(no subject)

Aug. 8th, 2007 | 12:57 am

It's not so much that I can't do it as it is that I shouldn't be made to in the first place.

Anyway, I'm fluctuating between anxious and excited, and I've still got weeks and weeks and weeks of waiting to do.

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No one escapes angst

May. 22nd, 2007 | 11:42 pm

It is hard to be happy, even though I should be, would be, when I have friends who are unhappy.

If you think this is about you, I hope things turn around, and I hope I can be there for you somehow, but it is not about you.

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I <3 Caltech

May. 4th, 2007 | 11:39 pm

1. And it came to pass, that Jack did
run forth and through the temple of the
Giant, that he might bring salvation unto
Goose and Harp.

2. But, lo, then did the Giant, with a
sharp ear and short wit, hear them, and
even as unto a hammered thumb did he
pronounce great oaths, and did call upon false
idols, among these, Elvis, that He should bring
evil unto them.

3. And fe fi fo fum said he unto
them, though he knew not what it meant,
nor has anyone known before or since,
not even God or Elvis.

- Exodus: 31.1-3

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For anyone who hasn't already seen on Facebook, primarily, I guess:

Apr. 25th, 2007 | 12:26 am

It's decided. I'm going to Caltech.

I might write about this later.

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(no subject)

Mar. 31st, 2007 | 11:13 pm

In a couple of ways, this isn't the post I'm supposed to be writing right now. I want to say, "Well, the bad news is, I got rejected to Stanford, but the good news is that we won the Lone Star Regional." Or I want to say, "Well, we didn't quite win the regional, but I got into Stanford." Obviously, I'm saying neither. I got rejected Friday afternoon. We got finished off in the semifinals by 118 and company, who went on to win the regional (putting us in technical third place). I even want to say, "But the thing is, none of it bothers me." But I can't say that either.

Don't be sorry about Stanford. That actually doesn't bother me. But... well, I'll steal the words of my dad. It's like winning the Nobel Prize for the photoelectric effect and getting no recognition at all for the theory of motherfucking relativity. Our robot last year was, except for the drive train, just a few steps above total crap. The build and the competition events weren't marked by internal strife, they were defined by it. The build was badly organized and barely anything like finished, and we won. We won the whole damn thing and we wasted a trip to Atlanta on a machine that was, frankly, barely short of worthless.

And then there's this year. The drive train has had two years to be refined and it has never been better. No one could do anything to us unless we let them. We had the best single robot ramp at the event. The arm, excepting one screw-up of mine that came back and bit us at a bad time, could have been no better. It was robust and it was effective. More than that, it's mine and Henry's and we've proved that we've got the right stuff. In Randy's words: "We had personalities this year, but never conflicts." That's it exactly. We never had any real fights. Everyone got along great. Most everyone did their job. We scouted, we repaired, we cheered. We've never been more of a team than what we had this year. We lost. We didn't lose the whole thing - as I said, third place. But why'd we lose? Our alliance partner drove one lousy inch too far off our ramp in the first match and dipped below the 1' line for 15 points instead of 30. We couldn't manage to score just ONE MORE tube in the third match (we won the second.) And in the fourth match of three, the tiebreaker match for the victory, another robot wheelied on top of us, earned us a disqualification red card and 30 points of penalties when we "rammed them" trying to free ourselves, and disconnected our battery trying to free themselves.

I can keep myself kind of happy with one realization: the team is new every year, and past performance is only partially related to current performance. In other words, this time, I earned them myself.
I'm falling asleep. Goodnight.

Edit: Fixed a few-sleep deprived spelling errors. Continuing the post Sunday morning (now).

The point is that last year was last year, and the year before was the year before, and last year's drive train was a winning drive train. That didn't mean this year's would be, but in fact, it was. The arm from two years ago was a winning arm, but that was someone else's arm, not mine. This arm was mine, and even if it didn't win, it was better than most of the arms there, and it was mine.

So I feel okay about it, but it's a frustrating way to end my career with 418, and I'm still pissed off that we didn't win any engineering awards.

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(no subject)

Mar. 19th, 2007 | 05:06 pm
What Kind of Eyes:: wtf. no icon for euphoric.

HOLY FUCKING SHIT.

I got into Cal Tech.

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I'm going to college somewhere, that's for sure.

Mar. 15th, 2007 | 12:06 am

I got into the University of the Pacific. Woohoo!

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