failing like never before


Dollhouse at the NSA

Over the previous summer, I rediscovered Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and watched some old episodes at hulu. (And let me just say, think you hulu for throwing my resume aside so nonchalantly after you read the second line. Electrical engineering major I may be, but I know RoR, SQL, Unix C, and just as much crap as any other CS guy out there.) Anyhoo, some of you Joss Wheedon fans may have heard that Wheedon has a whole new series out by the name of Dollhouse, not nearly as popular as some of his other shows, but still pretty cool. Or at least it started out cool, lately, its just been getting a little kinky and weirdish.

But I digress, I'm not here to discuss the merits of Dollhouse (I'll save that for another time) but rather to point out a few odd little facts about episode 9 (A Spy in the House of Love).  Theres a part in episode 9 where Sierra knocks out some Japanese chick on a train, steals her identity, and walks into some big NSA facility. Now as I was watching Sierra traipse through the sparse halls of the NSA, I had a strange feeling of deja vue. But it wasn't until the part where she checks in with a security guard to access some giant government database, that I realized what I was seeing: the building that they used for the NSA in episode 9 was none other then UCLA's infamous Boelter Hall, (aka my third home (the first being my real home, and the second being my dorm room)) and the room that Sierra and the security guard were in was none other then Boelter 6426. I know Boelter quite well, having spent far too much of my time there (or rather, here, since I'm in Boelter right now), and I know the building's appearance right dsown to the ugly water fountains, square black digital clocks, distinctive green flecked staircases, and blocky gold door numbers.

There are of course people that still doubt me, I know. So go to hulu and watch the section from episode 9 again, and then look at these pictures that I took at 7:30 on Monday morning.


Request for a Change

Hauling out my change of major request essay...

Prior to UCLA my knowledge of anything vaguely associated to the field of electrical engineering was essentially nil, so it should come as no surprise when I say that I cannot for the life of me begin to remember why I chose electrical engineering as a major. And now, the more electrical courses I take, the more tiresome I find the subject matter to be. So the question I should be answering isn't "why do I want to change majors," but rather, "why did I wait till now to change?"

Over the last two years, I have trudged my way through the required introductory math and physics courses, never particularly excited by the material but always telling myself that it was going to get better when I reached the EE courses and that then, everything would be worth it. So it came as somewhat of a surprise to me, that I found the electromagnetics in EE 1 to be as unexciting as the materials in all the prerequisite courses. But after having spent the better part of two quarters convincing myself that "it was going to get better," I continued to drag myself through another uninteresting class, and during my second year, I proceeded to take EE 2, 16, 116L, 10, and 102, continually hoping that things would get better. Happily, they did.

It was during second quarter of this year while I was doing EE homework one night, that I realized that the only EE classes that I have ever actually enjoyed were the multi-departmental classes (16, and 116L) shared by the EE and CS departments, and that CS 35L (informally called “intro to Linux) was without a doubt my most enjoyable class ever. Shocked by my newfound epiphany, I stood up from my desk and declared to my roommates that I did not like electrical engineering and that instead, computer science was the field for me. My roommates were unsurprised by my sudden realization, saying that they had always noticed that I liked computers more than electrical engineering, and that the energetic mannerisms that I adopted when talking about Linux or computer architecture deeply contrasted the dull and tiresome attitude I exhibited when I approached my EE homework. Indeed, during my past two years at UCLA, I have probably spent as much time tinkering with Linux and reading essays like Neal Stephenson’s In the Beginning was the Command Line, and Fred Brooks’ The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, as I have dedicated to my EE classes.

I am, however, not choosing to switch into computer science, but rather computer science and engineering since my enthusiasm for all things computer related extends below (so to speak) the software level. Now lately, numerous people have pointed out to me the similarities between electrical engineering with the computer engineering option, and computer science and engineering, and asked why I simply do not stay with EE CE. A question to which I can only respond to by saying that the differences between the two majors is quantitatively quite small (That is to say, the difference in course requirements between the two is almost negligible.), but that the content of the almost negligible difference is quite significant to me; I would much rather take a compiler class rather than another electromagnetics course.

Having now realized what subjects I enjoy the most, I am loath to continue in a major I find no pleasure in. Though perhaps over-dramatic, it would not be inaccurate to say that this change of major could have the potential to dictate my future happiness.


Three Weeks of Biking

Because I've had these numbers on a post-it-note for almost a month now...

Distance Traveled: 16.529 miles
Elapsed Time: 1 hour and 17 minutes
Average Speed: 12.9 MPH
Max Speed: 30.4 MPH

Distance Traveled: 10.18 miles
Elapsed Time: 44 minutes and 39 seconds
Average Speed: 13.7 MPH
Max Speed: 29 MPH

Distance Traveled:  10.692 miles
Elapsed Time: 49 minutes and 51 seconds
Average Speed: 13.2 MPH
Max Speed: 29.7 MPH

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Daily Biking

Numbers from last week...

Elapsed time: 44 minutes and 20 seconds

Distance traveled: 9.542 miles

Average Speed: 12.9 MPH

Max Speed: 28.5 MPH

I guess alot of high schools have been on break the past week, and as a result we've had  a lot of tour groups roaming campus and a lot more cars driving around. Last week, I got pretty fed up with Asian high schoolers and their parents that drive at insanely slow speeds, so I started passing cars on my way to class. Probably not the smartest thing to do since the streets around the campus are single lanes.

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