Emily Lam

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mid-July Update

Today's blog post is just going to be an all update kind of post, sort of like a filler post. Anyway, I told myself aloud: I am determined to blog today. And guess what? It worked. I find that when I audibly tell myself to do things I actually do it. I know it sounds a little crazy or lame to talk to yourself but hey no harm no foul right?

So what have I've been doing?
I've been working a 40 hour per a week job and it wears me out. I'm an assistant teacher at an engineering camp, Design Camp, and I teach middle school students. The students have so much energy and being around them truly makes me feel old. So after a day of Design Camp, I'm usually really tired, but in denial that I'm tired. Like I try to sleep at my usually time of post midnight but I just end up passing out completely pre-twelve. It's so weird! There are also some nights where I can't even make it through a movie – my youngest sister and I have been watching movies before bed – before falling asleep on the sofa. Hopefully, the reason I'm so tired is because teaching is repetitive and tires me out and not because my youthful energy has run dried.

So does that mean I haven't done anything at all besides the necessities and work?
Some days, that's true. But I have managed to do a couple things. For one, I've worked on my goal of making a floating lantern. And for now, let's just say attempt one did not float. I've also been to the movie theater twice and watched a couple movies at home. I'm not exactly sure which movies I've watched at home but basically after July 4th, I've watched almost all the Miyazaki films, How to Train Your Dragon, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows Part 1. The two movies I saw at the theater were Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Winnie the Pooh. The release of the last Harry Potter movie kind of snuck up on me. As you may have noticed, I haven't posted any Harry Potter related news in a while. Not even about Pottermore, which I really should of. (I had woken up early for J. K. Rowling's annoucement of Pottermore and then refreshed the page for 53 minutes until the website successfully took my email.) I didn't even go to the midnight premiere like I did for the last film or see it on opening day. I'm still kind of bummed I didn't see it opening day. (When I was pre-ordering tickets way back in June – IMAX tickets regardless of which movie and especially for Harry Potter are hard to come by – I had opted to see it in IMAX 3D with my sisters, one of which we had to pick up from camp, instead of opening day.) And while I have so much to say about the final Harry Potter film, I'll just say it was great but I wish there was more especially with the Lupin and Tonks (my favorite character) subplot and the Snape and Lily flashbacks montage. (I am particularly peeved that while they emphasized Harry having Lily's eyes. Lily neither had the green eyes of the novel Harry or the blue eyes of blue-eyed Daniel Radcliffe Harry.) The other movie I saw at the theater, Winnie the Pooh, I saw with my youngest sister. I'm an animation fan so that was my reason for going and my sister just likes Pooh. Winnie the Pooh was what I expected: nostalgic, well animated, and well, a Winnie the Pooh story.

Is there anything else I want to discuss?
Yes! Remember Apple's Think Different campaign I talked about in my last post. Well, I was so inspired that I decided I wanted to purchase one of the posters from the campaign to hang for inspiration. I was thinking of the Amelia Earhart poster. (Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. I'm not exactly sure why I picked Amelia Earhart. It was an unconscious pick that I will have to think more about what the reason was, because there has to be a reason why I chose Amelia Earhart when I had the way more innovative Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison and the likes to choose from.) So I googled the posters. Turns out these Think Different posters are collector's items. Most posters if original sell for $200 upward! Yup, there goes that idea. But wait. Remember how I saw these posters first at work. So I talked to my boss, the executive director of Design Camp, and he offered to give me one of his! I picked the Amelia Earhart one! So now I have a $200 poster sitting on top my electric fireplace propped against the wall. VERY COOL! Thank You, Mr. Design Camp Executive Director for the poster, my job, and more.

You can see on the right corner a copy of Apple's Think Different "To the Crazy One's" message.
Final Words?
It's been really hot and because I'm still not yet used to the central air – we have non AC friendly windows so I've never had AC in my house until now – I feel like it's not summer and I'm cheating Mother Earth.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Apple: Think Different

Today was my first day at work. And at work I read a message off a poster from Apple's Think different campaign back in 1997. I've read it before. But this is the first time it's really made an impression on me. (This year particularly has been a year where I've finally grasp the meaning of a lot of things I've read or seen before.) I really liked Apple's message. It's inspiring.

Anyway, here's the message:

To the crazy ones.

Here's to the crazy ones.
     The misfits.
         The rebels.
             The troublemakers.
                  The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.

They're not fond of rules.
     And they have no respect for the status quo.

You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them,
     disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can't do is ignore them.

Because they change things.
     They invent.     They imagine.     They heal.
     They explore.   They create.        They inspire.
They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
     Or sit in silence and hear a song that's never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.

Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can
change the world, are the ones who do.

Apple Logo
Think Different

I'm a huge Apple fan, but reading this today really solidified my admiration for Apple. And you know, I really would like to be one of those crazy ones.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Pre-project Ramble

It's July. That means lantern time! So I've been thinking about how I'm going to make this floating lantern. Logically it seems simple. Hot air rises and if you can contain that hot air in the lantern, the lantern will rise. I've googled and talked to my mother about the materials I could use. And this is what I've come up with.

For the balloon part I'm thinking of fireproofing tissue paper. Keep it light. That should work, right?

For the ring, my mom has suggested bamboo but where's one to find bamboo. I'm actually thinking of using copper wires. Just strip the plastic off and it shouldn't melt. And copper wires, if you twirl a few together, are malleable and light. My only concern is that it won't keep it's shape. If it doesn't work then I will need to go find bamboo. Then again, who says it has to be circular. It could be a polygon. That way I could use the bamboo sticks commonly used for kabobs. 

I will definitely be using copper wires to tie the fuel into place though. And maybe when the fuel burns at the copper wire intersection, it will give my lantern a green tint. How cool would that be!

The burning fuel is where I'm running into problems. I'm trying to think of something that is light, will burn slow but with large flames and create lots of heat. I was thinking paper but that burns way too fast. Maybe paper saturated in alcohol. But then paper isnt really absorbant. Maybe cloth soaked in oil (my mom suggests cooking oil) but that I'm thinking is too heavy. I'm also thinking a cotton ball, since it's way more absorbent then paper, saturated in rubbing alcohol. I've googled around and some have used paraffin wax. But that's slightly on the heavy side. I will try a couple of things out. 

And then there is the string I want to tie to the lantern to keep it from flying away. I need it to not add to much weight though. Maybe a regular piece of string fireproofed. Or again copper wire. Or steel fishing string or something.

Hmm, I'm going to take this project slowly and in steps. First figure out the fuel, then the ring part, next the actual lantern, then how to mount the fuel, and finally the string to keep it from flying away. I'll try to document everything as best as I can. A couple steps of the engineering design process complete!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Yesterday's Yesterday: July 4th, 2011

Yesterday's yesterday was the fourth of July, Independence Day. And I had an adventure well worth blogging. (Did you notice I kind of half gave up on blogging about my adventures?) I wanted to blog yesterday but my mind was just not up to putting words into coherent sentences – I actually wanted to blog immediately when I returned home early morning on the 5th but my body was physically exhausted and barely made it through a shower.

So here's to today, the day I finally pull myself together and blog.

The 4th started out just like any other day I am excited for: I woke up without the use of my alarm and turned off my alarm before it woke the whole family up. This 4th would be the first 4th I would not be spending with my family. So after readying myself, I ask my dad to drive me to the train station. There I get into line to buy a ticket for the train ride into Boston only to realize they don't accept debit cards. o_O Fortunately, I had enough cash in my wallet to cover the ride to Boston. I would deal with the ride home later.

I arrived in Boston and met up with my friend, Jessica, at the Oval area of the esplanade. It was nice seeing my future roommate again! There we got wristbands for the evening concert with the Boston Pops. At the security check, Jessica's sunscreen was taken away because it was arsenal. I understand why but still lame. After, we checked out where her fraternity had set up tarps for the fireworks – they had ventured out to the esplanade at 5 AM to get those spots and prime spots they were. The fireworks were right above us, but more later on that. After that, we walked to Jessica's fraternity house to check out where I would be staying for the night. Jessica was staying at a fraternity house for the summer. Next, we met up with another friend, Kathy, at her dorm – she's staying in a BU dorm. I miss Kathy's energy. There we realized Kathy was roommate-less so I asked to stay with her since I rather sleep on a bed then a couch. We were all starving at this point so we decided to walk to Panera. There we ate and talked for a good chunk of time.

Next, we decided to head to Newbury St. On Newbury St. we basically AC hopped. It was brutally hot outside and every chance we had to enter an AC building we took advantage of it. We even sat in a Best Buy for a while looking at televisions. Jessica and Kathy wanted frozen yogurt so we ended up at Pinkberry. As much as I like frozen yogurt, I'm not a fan of Pinkberry's ridiculous prices and did not have any. There we waited for my next friend to arrive, Mariam. However, there was miscommunication and we were at different Pinkberry. We ended up meeting her at the Mass Ave. Newbury St. corner, aka inside Best Buy. It was really nice to see my HB (Hug Buddy) again. I had texted my friends, Aneena and Huot, from home and they too were going to meet up with us. So between now and meeting up with them, we went to a BBQ at another friend's fraternity house.

Huot and Aneena arrived around 6 PM and we had heard rumors that the esplanade was closing at 7 PM. So we set off to the esplanade. There we also met up with my friend Jenna and her roommate. Jessica and I ended up not going to the concert physically but we still enjoyed it very much over the speakers organizers placed around the esplanade. Jessica's fraternity had set up their tarp right next to speaker nine. We played cards, ate food, sung patriotic songs, and just hung around until the fireworks. I'm glad my home friends and my college friends got along chummily. Two of them even collaborated in swiping Cheese-Its from a nearby tarp (don't ask).

The fireworks were amazing!! I love fireworks. (If I fail at becoming an imagineer, I will become a pyrotechnician.) The fireworks were choreographed to music including Katy Perry's Fireworks – of course, right? Like I said earlier we were in prime fireworks watching spot. The fireworks were overhead and so close. So close that during the fireworks a firework shell had actually fallen onto my friend Huot. What an experience! I recorded the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. But it's like a 1.3 GB video and would take way to long to upload. So a picture will suffice.

"And the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air . . ."

After the fireworks, my home friends and I booked it. (Oh yeah, I decided to go home instead of staying the night – the train ride was free.) We needed to get to North Station to catch the 11:45 PM train in 45 minutes. Seems like a lot of time but it's not when North Station is at the outskirts of Boston and there were approximately half a million people at the esplanade. Our first instinct is to take the T. It was free after the Fourth of July celebrations. We climbed and jumped over rails cutting hundreds, maybe a thousand, of people. We half ran and half fast walked to the nearest T stop. There we slipped onto the last step of the T at the last second, with the door barely closing. We had made it, we thought. But after a couple of stops, somebody fainted. There was nothing we could have done. An EMT, I think, was already attending to the person. Seeing the T was not gonna move anytime soon, we bolted! Huot later commented that we looked sketchy as fuck but there was nothing we could have done to help the person. At this point we had like twenty minutes to get to North Station. I whipped out my iPhone and had the GPS guide us to North Station. Thank You Technology! We made it just on time. But of course the train was delayed a good 15 minutes making her efforts futile. But it was a good adventure! (I felt drawing it. Click!)

Yay for adventures!