If this blog was a child I would be in prison for gross negligence. During my absence, a few interesting things of note have occured. Firstly, my apartment building burned down several months back. Which has lead to me discovering three new things:
- I should have gotten renter's insurance.
- Exposing a hard drive to high heat, dropping a roof and bucketfuls of ash on it, and then dousing it with water, will do nothing positive for said hard drive's longevity.
- Eating pizza and relaxing in front of the dying coals of your burning apartment is a great way to meet the neighbors.
And now, a few pictures.
I consider myself lucky, all things considering, in that I (nor anyone else) was not hurt in the fire, and having not owned too much, I lost relatively little. Now as far as potentially life altering events go, having my apartment burn down barely noted as even a slight blip in my day to day life. The day after the fire, I was buying a new toothbrush and some clothes at Target, by the end of the week I had a new place to stay and was allowed to pick through the remains of my apartment, and within a month life had returned mostly to normal, save for the fact that I only owned one pair of jeans.
Although my hard drives gave up the ghost in the fire, the non-moving components of my desktop, choking in ashes, bravely survived for a few more weeks of operation before finally surrending to death with a high pitched squeal. So I salvaged what I could from "wolfgang" and built myself a new computer, based around an Intel Sandy Bridge Core i5, and named it "phoenix" (because it was reborn from the ashes). My trusty IBM x61s (aka 'archpad') also fell victim, although I was still able it's recover the hard drive. In a nice turn of events, I used the fire as an execuse to buy myself a gloriously large 27 inch monitor that now bathes my room with more light than the sun, and a mechanical keyboard (very) vaguely reminiscent of the IBM model M.
Finals week; that wonderful time of the season characterized by late nights, early mornings, hours of unbridled fun in the library, and most of all, incredible amounts of procrastination. I recently decided that every time I get too restless to study, I should get up and run a few miles. Monday turned out to be a particularly restless day, as I ended up running ten miles in the afternoon (two full perimeter runs (four miles each), and a truncated north-campus loop (two miles)). The end result was that I got very little work done and utterly failed at curing my restlessness, as each successive trek through the outside world only served to fuel my desire to be away from my studies. Obviously, I have since abandoned that failure of a studying technique.
But onto other more exciting news. My roommate started the process of moving out yesterday and so today I learned that he owned all the knives in our apartment. Which is why I made lunch today using nothing but a pair of chopsticks, and an ancient pocket knife. Presumably, for the next few days I will be eating a lot of instant noodles. Which is fine, because that was essentially my plan anyway.
I was wandering through the deluge of old data that I've accumulated on my disks and discovered a high school recording of me playing Gershwin's "I Got Rhythm" piano concerto, accompanied by the community orchestra (which was, to put it nicely, not a very good orchestra). I was initially mildly impressed by the solid skill and slight bravado with which I performed, but then immediately became extremely depressed when I realized how much my piano skills have atrophied over the last four years.
I bought a new phone recently (Nexus One) and have been discovering the joys afforded by the marvels of modern technology. Perhaps the most shocking of its features (when compared to my previous phone), is that it doesn't lock up every time the screen is touched. The Nexus One, being a rather older model, superceded by various other phones including the Nexus S, was relatively quite cheap (only $260 unlocked and without contract), compared to the ~$600 it might cost to buy a current, unlocked, contract-free, top-of-the-line model. Nevertheless, $260 is still $20 more then what I paid for the stolid and trustworthy IBM x60s that I'm currently typing away at. There's been a lot of complaints on the tubes (i.e. from guys like ESR) about how American cellular providers are racking up exorbitant profits by locking consumers into unfair contracts that span several years. But the fact of the matter is, modern smart phones are prohibitively expensive and the only way most Americans are even going to consider buying them, is if they don't have to realize the full price of the product up front. Thus contracts that appear to partially subsidize the cost of the phone, but in reality simply act as a payment plan. Its the American way; buy crap you don't really need with money you don't have right now.
But I digress. Yesterday night, we realized that the window in our room opens. This idea, which has apparently been gestating in our minds for the past year, only to hatch a few days before we move out, was still quite welcome as it served to ventilate our every-so stuffy room.
I'll be doing undie-run tonight, despite the looming presence of two more finals in the very near future. But I figure it'll be worth it since I've never gone and this will be my last chance. Amusingly enough, they have yet to change the picture for the undie-run Facebook group in several years. It remains a picture someone took my first quarter here, containing a streaming mass of humanity with my then-roommate in the middle, wearing nothing but his underwear and for some inexplicable reason, a tie.
And with that, I return to other acts of procrastination.
What I did this weekend:
- cooked enough food to last me to the middle of the week
- ate all the food I cooked (I was hungry)
- tried to sleep in but failed miserably (I ended up waking up at 7:50am)
- rode my bike 25 miles, stopped and stared at the houses in Brentwood that probably cost more money then I'll ever make in ten lifetimes
- procrastinated by looking at various electronic gadgets on-line that I have no need for and couldn't possibly afford
- tried to work on my lab but was distracted by food
- sat in the computer lab for about three hours, wrote two lines of code, and tried unsuccessfully to help someone with his Linux troubles
- procrastinated by doing laundry and then sewing up the holes in my black jeans (there were a lot more holes the I realized)
- tried to study but somehow ended up watching old Justice League Unlimited episodes on youtube
- finally got my butt in gear around 7pm on Sunday night and hit the library
On another note, I added a basic captcha to the comment box on this blog in order to reduce the amount of spam Akismet had to handle (Akismet is great, but it does occasionally mark stuff incorrectly). Amazingly enough, a few spam bots are making their way past my captchas! Modern image processing is impressive stuff...
When I created this blog, I gave it the sub-heading "failing like never before," although at the time I had no idea how apt the name would become. You see, I recently come to realize while reflecting on my life, that my intellectual capacity and mental abilities peaked at around the beginning of eighth grade, and that since then I've been on a steady and slow decline. Every day of my life is, in short, more of a failure then the day that preceded it.Therefore, I am indeed failing like never before.
My grades in college have been lackluster and far from impressive, my transcript is peppered with Cs and there is a noticeable dearth of strong achievements on my resume. Once upon a time, a long time ago, I was a bright and attentive student who was always "on top of the ball." But now I have trouble focusing in class and cannot seem to bring myself to care as much about studying as I once did.
So my university has a policy that students in the school of engineering cannot drop a class after the Friday of the fourth week of the quarter. But a few weeks ago, just a day after the drop deadline for classes had passed, I suddenly realized that I was in some pretty deep trouble. As a result of my procrastination and difficulties in focusing on studying, I was severely behind in my circuits class and my midterm was just a few days away. Meanwhile, I still had a lot of work to do on my A.I. homework. Long story short, I couldn't drop my circuits class so I ended up flunking the midterm (although I did finish my A.I. homework and did a pretty good job on it). No matter how badly I've ever done a test in high school or college, I've never failed a test before, at least up until now. I was so depressed, that after the midterm, instead of riding my bike home I ended up riding for over an hour in a straight line away from campus; I think a part of me just wanted to run away from my problems.
There was a time when I could have banged out a seven page paper in a few hours, assuming that I knew enough about the subject matter. But a few weeks ago, I ended up staying up until four in the morning writing a seven page paper on air pollution. FOUR IN THE MORNING!!! And it wasn't even a well written paper at that. The worst part, was that I then proceeded to sleep through my class (which was from 9-12) and ended up turning my paper in late. When I was in high school, I woke up at 6:30 sharp everyday, regardless of what time I had gone to sleep or what day of the week it was. And up until this year of college, I had never turned in a late paper.
More on the failures of my life to come later...
Distance Traveled: 6.475 Miles
Max Speed: 29.2 MPH
Average Speed: 12.7 MPH
Time Traveled: thirty minutes
I walked to class twice last week, and Monday was MLK day, so I didn't bike very much.
Happy New Years!
I've noticed that the number of visitors to my blog have dropped significantly over the last half of December. Hopefully it'll start picking up again with the new year.
I'd also like to tell everyone about the super-fun-exciting things I did on New Year's eve:
- Watched Batman: The Dark Knight with my sister
- Showered at about 11:50 and got out just after midnight
- Went to sleep
So just last week, I got an old IBM Thinkpad T21 from my uncle, because it was broken (screen backlight was dead), and today I finally got a really laptop for school! Now I have something that doesn't take up butt-loads of space, and I can also take to class and the library! Woot!
Its a HP dv2910us, that I bought from Circuit City for $780, with a $50 rebate. Details and a review will be forthcoming.
On another note, yesterday, I made it to the library and back without a flat tire, a first for this summer. I'm not really sure how long the route is, as I travel across some very strange dirt paths, but I put the one-way trip at about ten miles long.
I have a lovely article in the process of being written right now. Unfortunately, I'm too tired to finish it up now so I'm putting it off until tomorrow morning or afternoon.
A few things of note that have happened to me lately:
- I hit my head three times while helping my uncle move on Saturday; once on the garage door while walking down the moving truck's ramp, once on a low-hanging ceiling light, and once on a very expensive Buddhist table thingum. So yes, my head hurts very much and sadly enough I'm still not exhibiting any sort of psychic powers, stupid kiddy pulp-fiction books.
- I booted my desktop into Windows XP, the first time in several months.
- Something else thats really cool, that I will mention tomorrow!