failing like never before


Run Run Run

This past quarter, I've been trying to go to the track at least a few times a week and run at least two miles. Up until last week, I didn't bother to time myself, figuring that I was running "fast enough." I was surprised to find out after a two mile run on the track, that I was averaging almost eight minutes a mile. Not good. Not good at all.

So the next night that I went running, I pushed myself a little harder and managed to average about seven minutes and thirty seconds per mile (for three miles) which is significantly better, but still not as good as I would have liked; I could manage six minutes and fifteen seconds fairly regularly when I was in high school.

Now today (the day of my two killer finals) I wasn't planning on doing any running, and was hoping instead that after my two finals over, I could just grab something quick to eat and then be able to go to sleep early. And after my last final of the day got out, this seemed like a great idea, as my head was pounding and I was having trouble focusing and keeping my eyes open. But the line for food was ridiculously long and my lack of recent physical activities was starting to make me feel like a fatty, so I dropped my notes in my room and ran to the track, where I proceeded to run a mile at high speed (or at least my highest speed) and then do twenty minutes or so of stairs. My mile time for today was six minutes and forty seconds, significantly faster then last weeks, but still on the slow side. Lets hope it gets better.

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Weekly Biking

And then this past week's numbers:
Average Speed: 13.4 MPH

Elapsed Time: 52 minutes and 19 seconds

Distance Traveled: 11.643 miles

Max Speed: 32.0 MPH (!!!!)

Thats a new record high max speed for comuting to class (I can and have gone faster before, but this is for going to class)! Although in retrospect, I shouldn't be going that fast when the speed limit is 25 MPH.

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Weekly Biking

I'm a week behind on these numbers. As though anyone actually cares.

Distance Traveled: 12.202 miles

Elapsed Time: 55 minutes and ten seconds

Average Speed: 13.3 MPH

Max Speed: 29.2

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Wrong Way

I just got stopped by a bike cop because I was riding my bike going the wrong way on a one-way street. A very long, straight, double-lane, one-way street. The same one-way street that a lot of cars go the wrong way on.


Oh well...

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One Last Try

I hate comparing other blogs to mine, because the conclusion I'm bound to reach is almost inevitably the same almost-painful answer. The problem is twofold: firstly, I'm not a very good writer and I never was, and secondly, I have almost nothing to write about.

Now the first problem I can live with, I will never be an amazing writer and it is not my goal to become one; I can live with being passably decent (being mediocre is something that college has introduced me to). But the second issue bothers me. And I wonder sometimes if its because my life is so monumentally boring that I have absolutely nothing exciting to write about, or if its merely that I'm incapable of turning mundane events into something that others might find interesting (like some bloggers are able to do). (I do so hope that it is the latter, because that would seem to imply that I'm not a total loser.) I tried over the summer, to keep a brief daily log of what was going on in my life, and it didn't take me long to realize that the only thing duller then my daily logs is a grocery list. But what the hey, I'm going to try again to write about my life, and see what happens again. So here goes:

About two weeks ago, one of my suitemates discovered the amazingness that is Heroes, and so after he finished with his midterms, he sat down with another of my suitemates and watched all of the first season of Heroes in one day, all twenty-three episodes (each one about 45 minutes long). Now if only our study habits were that good... But of course my roommate and I couldn't ignore the television extravaganza that was going on in our living room, and so by the next day we had watched two episodes and were hooked. My roommate and I finished the last episode of season one two days ago (and what a terrible and unsatisfying conclusion it was; they should have just shot Peter in the head, he would have healed anyways) and we've vowed not to start on season two until finals for this quarter are over. It remains to be seen of course, whether or not we'll be able to hold to our vows.

I managed to get an internship earlier this quarter, and though I enjoy it, its only another testament to my loser-ness. No other engineer that I know of, besides myself of course, has an unpaid internship, (companies are always looking to hire good engineers and engineers tend to be in short supply, so most companies are willing to fork over large sums of money to hire undergraduate engineers). But of course, I managed to find myself an internship at an internet startup that doesn't have the money to pay its interns, and I took the position because it seems that at the rate things are progressing, no other company is bound to hire me. On the plus side, I actually enjoy my internship position (as compared to some of my previous positions), I only have to go to the office once a week at the very most, and I get to polish up on my Ruby skills. With some luck, I may be able to turn this into a paying gig, although I think that would first require that the startup start making some money first. I spent a good chunk of time this weekend putting some work into knocking together some Ruby code, and was able to produce a new class for fetching and performing operations on e-mails using POP3. Since our web application will occasionally send a user a new e-mail (for forgotten passwords, registration confirmations, etc), I had to have a way to test if the e-mails were coming through OK. So I wrote a class that would grab an e-mail from some arbitrary e-mail account, find the newest e-mail matching a subject line, scan it to check its OK, and then extract the pertinent URL from the message body and follow it. It wasn't a very long class, but the regular expressions took me absolutely forever since I've never been much of a regex expert. I've also been writing a class that will extract data from a CSV file and then return the values from each line as an array.

We're using Selenium RC at work to do our unit testing of the web application, and although I think Selenium is pretty awesome, I've found it to be pretty freakin' slow. One very simple test cases, with only a few button clicks, assertions, and wait-for-page-to-loads, took about eleven seconds to run. Considering that we're going to be dumping over a hundred different sets of data into the CSV files for the test scenarios, running a whole series of test cases is going to be my new favorite excuse for slacking off. The biggest bottlenecks right now, appear to be the setup and tear-down times since Selenium has to start and stop Firefox for every new test case, the amount of time it takes to fetch a new e-mail using POP3, and the page refresh-times.

One of my friends is on the school's triathlon team, and recently proposed that I should join. I thought at first that our triathlon team does the full-out "Ironman" triathlon with a 26ish mile run, 113 mile bike-ride, and similarly long swim, and I immediately threw the idea out as ridiculous. But as it turns out, our school does a ridiculously short version of the triathlon that is more of an all-out sprint then anything else (seriously, their run is what I do every other night for my brief work-out). Its something that I could imagine myself being able to complete without too much of a problem, but I doubt that I'd be able to sprint that long. Of course I'd need a real racing bike first, something that isn't a twenty year-old chromoly steel mountain bike with friction shifters and a knocking headset.

Oh, and I've just checked my enrollment times for classes and have found that my second-pass is today at 4:30, and I have no idea what classes I should take. Woot.

(I guess this wasn't too bad of a write-up, certainly it couldn't be called an instant sleep-inducer for every living person.)


Weekly Biking

I've had this sticky-note with my biking stats for the previous week sitting on my desk for a while now, so here it is:

Distance: 9.634 miles
Average Speed: 13.4 MPH
Max Speed: 28.8 MPH
Elapsed Time: 43 minutes and 10 seconds


Current Biking Events

Over the weekend I managed somehow to lose the cable that I use for locking my bike up. I could have sworn that I brought my bike, cable, and padlock into the room before it started to rain again, but for some reason I just cannot find my cable. So of course, I haven't been riding my bike lately since I can't afford to leave it unlocked outside of my classroom. And since one of my roommates leaves his shiny new Trek 1.7FX in the room at all times, all my other roommates have been getting a little annoyed by the presence of two bikes in the living room, which was never that large to begin with. Today, I decided to just borrow one of roommates cables, and use it until my cable decides to show its ugly mug. So today was the first time I have ridden my bike in several days. But on to something a little more exciting...

Almost two weeks ago, I got out of class and it was pouring rain (unusual weather for lovely Southern California, even in Winter). The padded seat on my bike was soggy with absorbed water and my cheap Wal-mart brakes were squeaking like mad canaries. I wasn't on my bike for even a minute before I realized that one of my toe-clips felt a little loose, and a closer examination revealed that one of the screws holding the toe-clip to the pedal was missing. Figuring that it wasn't too huge of a deal, as long as I kept excessive force off of that clip, I remounted my bike and continued on my way. About two minutes later, the second and last remaining screw on that toe-clip fell off along with the little metal bracket. Even better, the straps that went with the toe clip were rotting through and the metal buckle for adjusting the straps were rusted completely solid, which meant there was no way for me remove the straps and clip from the pedal without some pliers or a pair of scissors. Apparently the fates were against me on that day. And so, I pushed my bike all the way back to my room, in the pouring rain, with one of toe clips flapping around and dragging against the ground.

I ordered some strapless toe-clips from Amazon (my roommate was ordering a few things, and needed a few extra dollars to get free shipping) a few days after my toe-clips debacle. Full toe-clips are nice for riding longer distances without stopping, but I've found that they're a pain in the butt to get in and out of while riding through town. I figured that some strapless toe-clips would give me a little more power then riding with just platforms, while allowing me to avoid some of the annoyances of full toe-clips.

The strapless toe-clips arrived last night, and I've spent a few minutes in them already. They seem fairly effective at allowing me to put a little more power in, and they're fairly easy to get in and out of. I'll write a little more about them once I've given them some more street time.


Weekly Biking

Distance Traveled: 8.38 Miles

Max Speed: 29.2 MPH

Average Speed: 14.4 MPH

Time Traveled: thirty five minutes

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