This feed contains pages in the "real-life" category.
I've always worn a helmet, but have still been sort of sympathetic to those who say that it's not necessary and won't necessarily help you that much in an accident. Maybe. Depends on the accident.
A couple weeks ago I slid on some black ice making a turn onto the street where I live and BAM, pavement-kissing time. It had been rainy that day and the night temperatures had fallen just below freezing, making it prime weather for unexpected ice.
This poor helmet's been retired now after a job well-done. Note the crack in the foam and the road-imprint above it. I had a headache the next day, but was back up to 100% normal within 36 hours. One of those things that could have been way worse.
If I wasn't a helmet evangelist before, I am now.
The usual suspects apply: too expensive for me especially without a guarantee of sponsorship, etc. Maybe next year!
It turns out that due to a weird collision of circumstances I am going to GUADEC, however. I will probably be doing more Istanbul-exploring than talk-attending, but I will certainly be around for evening socialization.
I am also currently in Cambridge, UK, and will be here until mid-August.
This is the summer of last-minute plans, apparently.
I live in a cooperative living group, and during the fall semester a person who we'd invited to live with us who is a dwarf and relies on a scooter for most of his transportation decided he'd like to move in. Unfortunately, while he can get out of his scooter and come inside by himself, we had no stepless entrances such that he could bring his scooter inside to protect it from the angry Cambridge winter. Mmm, frozen batteries.
So, we're a coop and we maintain the house ourselves--so we decided to build one, of course. A ramp up to the back porch! Nevermind the fact that we need to sink four-foot foundation holes in the ground in January.
We got started right away at the beginning of IAP, while people were still trickling back into town from all over the country.
First we surveyed out where the posts should be sunk:
Then it was time for excavating the holes where concrete would eventually be poured. This involved a power auger of DOOM:
It's advertised as a 2-man tool. Two 200-pound construction workers, that is. We had to put four people on it plus one person with a shovel clearing dirt to make it manageable, and even then it was a pain. There's a delicate rhythm you have to get into to avoid getting the bit stuck--DOWN. UP. CLEAR. And inevitably there are rocks and roots that have to be dealt with.
We lucked out with a fairly warm weekend to do the digging on, but on the first day we still had to deal with a couple inches of frozen ground:
There was also some fun stuff involving having to clear away our (frozen) mulch containers and use a concrete cutter on a weird old concrete pathway that used to run through the same area:
Next we mixed and poured concrete:
And placed hardware in the concrete to hold the posts:
Eventually it became functional, woo:
And done! (except for metal handrail):
This all took place over the course of about three weeks. And now our scooter-bound housemate can bring his wheels inside! The house still isn't totally accessible to wheelchairs/scooters, but at least the first floor is. It really brings me pride to see things like this go from start to finish here. We can do it! This guy who is moving in has really influenced my life--he's really good at making people feel comfortable talking to him, and for me it's gone from "wow this is awkward, I have no idea what to say" to "talking to a person with different physical abilities and characteristics seems normal". And that's made me a better person.
Dear Warner Brothers,
As a poor hosed college student, I have spent many a month where I have not bought any movies. Finally, I got some money for my birthday and decided to buy the film March of the Penguins. However, I did not read the very fine print, and when I got home I found that it crashes mplayer, and totem will only play the previews; it is completely unable to play the feature title. I don't want to copy this goddamn DVD, I only wanted to be able to play it on my computer since the TV room downstairs was full of LARPers at the time. However, due to your ridiculously anti-consumer copy protection, I had to borrow my roommate's Powerbook in order to accomplish this. I don't like Macs. I already paid you for the movie; why does my software need to pay you to play the movie? Maybe next time I will download your movie instead of paying you for it.
No love, Christine
Someone asked me today if I was 21. I'm not sure where that idea came from, but no, I'm not 21.
Friday - The Party
Good times. (Though, I have to admit it was considerably more interesting when it got dark and the torches were lit and we tried to avoid melting the beach ball.)
Helpfully labelled drinks.
Saturday - The Graduation
Good speeches. (<plug> yes, this is me </plug>)
Saturday - After We Are Graduated
In which I pose with the superintendant.
In which I pose with my brother outside in the blinding sunshine and blazing heat, while thinking about the cool water that happens to be behind us.
In which I pose with my parents and brother in a moderately more forgiving environment at home.
In which I pose with my brother and grandparents, who could probably stand in for an alternate Matrix cast, and kick your [posterior]. At least in this picture.
In which my cousin Mark discovers that my stole is kinda fun.
In which a good friend of mine gives me a freaking awesome shirt.
I will now proceed to summarily disappear off the face of the 'net from sometime tomorrow until late Monday or so, in which I Move To Cambridge.
It's occurred to me that I haven't ever actually blogged that yes, I accepted enrollment at MIT. Hence the preparing to move from Camillus, New York, a little suburb outside of Syracuse, to Cambridge, Massachusetts. (I.e. the Cambridge where you get to pick your email!)
Not only that, but I have a job. A job at the MIT Media Lab, Tangible Media Group. They use Gentoo (on cygwin...), but I forgive them at least for now since it's a heck of a lot more interesting a job than the crap retail jobs that my friends are queueing up for the summer. Though it means that I won't be able to party with them for the last summer before university, since I won't be home.
Why I have the job is mostly Mako's fault. So, I was staying at him and Mika's place when I was down visiting MIT, and I met him outside the Media Lab the night I arrived since it's right across the road from East Campus, where my undergrad student host lives. I got an awesome tour, got to check out the shiny toys, and got introduced to a few people. A day after I get home, I have forwarded email from Mako in my inbox from one of the people I was introduced to (another grad student at the Lab), who's looking for people to hire this summer. Zing, nifty. The position's basically a temporary UROP, hence the post title.
A month and a bit later, I've paid my June rent for my sublet in Cambridge and am making lists of stuff to go shopping for. If you want to be helpful, tell me something you took to college and never used. Though keeping in mind that I'm in a small, rented house for 2.5 months until I move into my dorm in late August. Or, point me to quick and easy recipes. I've never really done a lot of cooking before, so I'll be using the kamikaze "cook or don't eat!" method here.
I have 9 days of high school left until classes let out for exams, and I'm pumped. I'll only have one final exam this year since the only classes I'm taking that have 'em are Economics and AP Physics, but I managed to cut through the numerous layers of red tape necessary to get out of taking the New York State physics regents exam since it's given on the very last day of testing, and I am leaving before then. (I'm heading down on June 19th; it was supposed to be the 22nd.) Seriously, red tape. Talk to guidance counselor, talk to academic dean, talk to guidance counselor again, talk to admissions officer from MIT whom I'm acquainted with, give guidance counselor his phone number so she can fulfill the school politics requirement of having official confirmation of okay-ness, get the go-ahead from guidance counselor afterward.
The economics exam is on the first day of tests, w00t (June 12th, IIRC). Commencement is June 17th. Walk across the stage (I'm giving a speech!), then drive across the Northeast to the rest of life.
Today was Physics Day. I.e. all the physics students around Central New York took a field trip to Six Flags Darien Lake and pretended to do a lab while riding roller coasters. Some of them may have actually done the lab at the amusement park. Others only attempted to. Still others didn't even attempt.
It was fairly nice out, albeit really, really cold. It definitely did not hit 60 ever during the day, and we almost had frost the night before (is it really late May?).
The AP (advanced placement) classes made T-shirts for the trip (note the hoodies underneath):
On the back they have physics-ish greek letters on them, though some of them are combined in strange combinations that have absolutely no relevance whatsoever to actual physics. E.g. picking one's initials, or spelling out "pow".
Mine's a sort of joke on my second-in-the-class-ranked GPA:
Here are a few people in the "attempted to do lab while in park" category:
I definitely had a good time. It sort of felt like the weekend never ended; tomorrow's going to seem strange. Plus, with our Fine Arts Department end-of-the-year concert on Thursday with small ensembles getting out very early to rehearse at the Syracuse Civic Center, and Friday being a snow day give-back, this week is incredibly short. Word.
In productivity news, I finally finished P&P part II this weekend after putting it off for an entire month-ish. Don't I feel accomplished.
Now that's a bike lock and a half. <ticks off on checklist>
The room is silent, except for the quiet scuffle of papers being shifted on the tiny desk that's too small for even the average kids to be comfortable in, or pencils rolling onto the floor and being left there. Thoughts run through students' heads; not I'm so screwed on this test, but my hand is starting to cramp up from writing for so long, or when's lunch? Though, sometimes all of these at the same time.
Finally, the sharp voice of the proctor cuts through the gym. Place your test booklet on your desk, fold to the left. Everyone rises, stretching. Cell phones are reclaimed. Quickly, no one is left. Nothing but silence, once more.
Silence, and the pitter patter of quiet feet as they slip through the unguarded music wing door to fly across a sea of black.