Emily Lam

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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Almost Everything

[I'm not a writer. But I am an imaginer with a wicked imagination. And sometimes I can't help but jot down some of the random stories that cross my mind. And often, I will forget about these stories. The stories at the forefront of my mind are usually the grand epic adventures, the escapist ones. But looking through my files on my computer this morning, I came across this very short story and I like it. I don't remember ever writing this story so for all I know I could have copied and pasted it from the internet. But that's unlikely. From the date of the file creation, this story was also probably the first thing I wrote on this laptop, precollege. All my other stories from my last laptop are on a flash drive. So from the mind of emily on August 14th, 2010: "Almost Everything."]

Kurt read the tombstone one last time before walking toward his family: R.I.P. Elaine Guardfield 1915 – 2010.

"Father, tell them the story of Lily, Lily White." Katrina said to her father.

Kurt nodded in agreement.

"Lily White or White Lily as she later became known was a very dear friend of mine. She was an orphan. And by some miraculous fate, she was adopted into a military family at the same base my father was stationed. We basically grew up together since I was an only child and she was the first companion I had that was the same age as me. We fought invisible pirates together, attended school together, survived the awkward teenage years together, and when we were of age, joined the army together. She was very intelligent, the smartest person I knew, and advanced quickly, becoming one of the militaries best nurses in a span of two years. I, on the other hand, advanced very slowly. But even when I failed to run the laps as fast as the rest of the men and shot bullets with awful aim, she supported my efforts in one day becoming a lieutenant. She even whipped some sense into me and convinced a then chicken me to ask Elaine out. And then one day, after I had become a successful lieutenant, after I married Elaine, but before your mother was born . . .

There was a knock on the door.

I remember the day clearly. Elaine had peered out the window to see a man in uniform and mumbled, 'What does the military want with you. You're on your vacation, honeymoon.'
I shrugged, and walked to open the door. 'Admiral,' I saluted with complete military bearing.
'Lieutenant Guardfield,' the Admiral said, returning the salute. 'A fellow officer has died in battle yesterday and left all her possession to you.'
'Sir, are you sure?' I had said dumbfounded, who would leave me all her possessions?
'Yes sir,' the Admiral pulled out a will, 'Lily White has left you everything that was hers.'
I was speechless. I couldn't believe his words. Lily White. I never expected Lily to die before me. She was the one who was always there. I remember completely losing my military bearing and not being able to talk. I crumbled into myself. Thank goodness for Elaine, she continued the conversation with the Admiral."

"Gramps, you loved her."  Vanessa said in awe. "Didn't you?"
Kurt chuckled to himself in a deep low hearty laugh and blinked away his tears. "You're Gram said something similar."
"Well!" Jeffery demanded, "Did you?"
Noah didn't say anything but Kurt could tell his eldest grandson was just as interested in his answer. His daughter, accompanied by her husband, walked over to him and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Go on," she whispered.
Kurt closed his eyes and held back tears as he recalled his conversation with his then newlywed wife.

'You love her, don't you?' Elaine asked with a tinge of jealously.
'I don't know,' I admitted, lifting my head from her shoulder, blotting tears from my eyes with the sleeve of my shirt. 'I don't think I do. I feel so overwhelmed, Elaine. I loved my parents. And when they died, I cried, but I didn't feel like this. And I've seen men and women I've come to respect and befriend die in war but again I didn't feel the way as I do now. It's like I've lost a part of me, like a part of me has died. I loved her like I loved myself." I laughed, a meek forced laugh. "The irony that is life. Lily left me everything that was hers and I feel as though everything of me has been lost. No, not everything. Almost everything, I still have you.'

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Rambled Jumble


It's Christmas Eve! That means Christmas is less than twenty-four hours away. Oh my, that means the new year is in a week plus some minutes. =O I fell asleep during this post and well, it's now Christmas and the new year is indeed in seven days. Wow! Time really flew by these last couple of weeks of 2011. Having had finals up until the 21st, I really haven't had time to think about the holidays until the break. And well, Christmas crept up on me!

I'm drawing a blank. My brain is still fried from finals. Ironically, despite this semester being the semester I've felt I've learned the most, I've earned the lowest grades of my university career. It's funny how the world works. Next semester will be even tougher: 1 hard science course, two math courses, and two engineering courses – I've decided not to take a non-engineering related course. So we'll see how I come out of next semester.

Major-wise, I'm still torn between electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. It's problematic since I need to decide by the end of next semester. Well, I could always change afterwards. But I rather not and I really do need to make a decision. Next semester, I think I'm going to start a tally of what my guts tells me I should major in as my roommate suggested.

Also, there are a couple changes I want to slowly implement on my blog. First, I'm going to change my blog url. I think it's time to shed my founded in middle school username and usher in a new and more mature, formal name: lamemily. Well, that's if you read it lam emily and not lame-mily. ; ]  Never mind, that url was not available. The other changes I'll post about them when and if I implement them.

(This is just some rambled jumble to get back into the blogging mood. Bleh, a good portion of it is crossed out.)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Quirks, Likes, Flaws, and All Things Unique

I've been thinking about what makes me me or you you. It's a hard question and I don't really have an answer.

First, I'm human. But you're also human, I think. So what makes us different? Are we different? Why do some of us strive to be unique while the rest of us strive to be similar? The reason is because we think different, right? Why? (I know, I sound like an naive, inquisitive kid.)

Physically, we are a lot similar than we are different. We're just different sizes, like similar triangles – did I really just make a math reference? Our chemical make up is pretty similar. There's this fact scientists toss around about how all human DNA is 99% the same or something like that? I'm no good at biology. But the point is that we are pretty similar. So what makes us different?

Our likes? Quirks? Philosophy? Flaws? Experiences? Personality?

Is personality constant?

I don't really have an answer for all the questions I've posed. But here are some thoughts going through my head somewhat related to those questions.

Over Thanksgiving break, I went shopping at the generic mall. And it hit me hard like a brick that I didn't like the same things I used to. Things I used to want to buy, I didn't want. Actually, I didn't really want anything at the mall. It was a rather empty feeling, not knowing what I liked anymore. So that poses two conclusions: I've either changed or my previous self was a lie. And I think it's a combination. I think my younger self strived more to fit in with society than my current self. And because of that some of my likes weren't really my own inception. But then again, video games was something I used to genuinely enjoy and now I find it terribly sad that I don't play. It's a realization: I've changed. This leads me to believe that yes, our likes do determine to some degree who we are. But again, not all Harry Potter fans are alike or all people who like the color yellow.

And then there are the little quirks of an individual. It's only been recent that I've consciously recognized my quirks. I can't seem to recall one but I certainly have quirks. I just forget them almost instantaneously after I've recognized them, that is until that quirk shows up again. (I just rested my head on my pillow and realized that one of my quirks is that I vary my sleeping orientation, i.e. my head is sometimes at the "post" of my bed and other times at the "end" of my bed. I've known this one for awhile but see, it's a prime example of me forgetting until the quirk shows up again.)

People I admire. Why do I admire then? I'm fascinated by Angelina Jolie. But I'm not fascinated by all actresses. Actually, there aren't many actress similar to her. And that's why I admire her. She's different. Of course all I know of her is from interviews and wikipedia. This post really isn't about why I like Angelina Jolie, so I won't go further into it. But I bring up Angelina Jolie because the primary reason I admire Angelina Jolie is because she took life into her own hand. She realized she was self-destructive and that it wasn't good for her. She rose from her flaws. To be able to take control of your life, I admire that trait. So her flaws somewhat define her, definitely her experiences. Yes, she's no longer the same person, but they make her different. And that I believe also defines a person.

I don't think I'm making any sense anymore . . .

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Blog Update


It's the end of the semester and everyone's stressed! It's awful. What a terrible way to end the semester. Stressed and everything. I'm putting Christmas/Holiday music on. That seems to always calm me.

It's been a while since I've blogged. I was planning a more thoughtful post but I really just need to blog so I'm just going to do just that.

Um, hmm, I changed the layout to my blog slightly. I don't think you've noticed but I got rid of the categories and added five random posts to the right margin. It was always difficult for me to just categorize my posts. And it makes so much more sense to just use the search function. And when it comes to labeling, all that matters is the labels below, where anybody can label it.

BLAH BLAH BLAH. I'm not really cohesive right now. I'm also thinking in triples! I think I'm going to pull a late night tonight. I don't really have anything really important tomorrow that needs attention until later in the day, and I'll be awake by then.

I'm doing Facebook friday again. I don't know if I mentioned that last year, but it's when me and my good friend, my roommate, gave up Facebook except for fridays. Hence, Facebook friday. Last year, we just trusted ourselves not to go on. This year, we changed each other's password. It's terrible how reliant we are on Facebook. I applaud people who don't use Facebook – they do exist, I know one or two.

Well, I'm going to shower and then do some work.

What a pointless post.

My roommate did a fantastic job making our room ready for the holidays. Here's a pic of some of the lights. There's a lot of it. It goes all around our room.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Inheritance Cycle

I have a bone to pick with Inheritance. So this post will be me ranting. Oh well!

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been reading Inheritance, the last book of the Inheritance Cycle. Well, I've finished. And I am deeply disappointed. I don't know if it's because I'm much older now — I started the series when I was in sixth grade — or the book was really just subpar compared to the previous books.

Spoiler Alert!!!

First, Inheritance dragged. It really did. There was too much of Roran's point of view. And the chapters spent supposedly "developing" Roran were pointless. It's not like Christopher Paolini ended up making him a plot contributing character. He didn't help defeat Galboratoeix, nor did he become king. And when I read a fantasy novel, like Eragon, I read it for magical fun, not boring no magic Roran.

Second, the plot was a mess. Paolini seemed to have written himself into a corner: his antagonist, King Galbortorix, was too strong and had no weaknesses. So in order to have Eragon defeat him, absurd advantages were given to him. Absurd even on fantasy standards. They suddenly found a magical dragon slaying weapon and eldunari, hearts of dragons, not in Galbortorix's control, and dragon eggs hidden from Galbortorix? What? And the final battle was almost as anticlimactic as sucky twilight. And the conclusion was a fail.

Although I was shipping Eragon and Arya a lot, I'm not too upset that they did not end up together – I probably would have done the same thing if I was in Paolini's position. I am, however, very upset that their relationship almost didn't develop at all. Yes, Arya finally warmed up to Eragon and I guess they did share their true names – something done only when one knows another for a long time. But come on, none of that spells LOVE. And you really can't not have an epic romance when Eragon has been longing for her for three books.

Oh and the green dragon, I forgot about that. Oh wait, I think Paolini did too. The green dragon didn't appear until the end, kind of as an afterthought, a mate for Saphira for about a week. And this brings us back to Eragon and Arya. They just stand by idly while their dragons mate, not at all gonna give that romance thing a go? And why? oh why? Why, Paolini, did you decide to take the magic and dragon spectacular away and replace it with boring super magic? That's why we all read Eragon to begin with. For the dragons and magic. This book was meant to entertain and entertain it did not.

Finally, supporting cast development was nonexistent. Paolini had such a rich character lineup to work with. But he chose to develop NONE of them. Except for Roran. I do not consider Roran a main character. Eragon and Saphira and Arya were basically the only main characters. Orik just about disappeared. Nausuada had some development when she was kidnapped but that lasted about 50 pages of the 800ish pages of Inheritance. And when Queen Islanzadi died. What? She's the almighty elf queen. How does she just die so casually and easily. And I wasn't saddened by her death. Her death felt just the same as another random soldiers death, except I felt a tinge of sadness for Arya losing her mother. But not Islanzadi. And that's cause Paolini didn't develop her! Agh! Paolini!

There's more to hate but that's borderline nitpicky so I'll just leave it at what I have written.

I guess I'll mention the one tiny part I liked: the nausauda and murtaugh scenes. It was cute that Murtaugh had fallen for her. And the scenes in the prison were touching. But I guess Paolini could have improved that part by showing instead of telling. He just told us they were having moment. I would have liked to read a moment they were having. And the romance was so short-lived, Here I go, hating, again. Oh! I did like the introduction of werecats, but like the rest of the supporting cast, there was too less of them.

Argh, why did Inheritance suck so much. The characters saved it from completely sucking. Well, actually just Arya, Eragon and Saphira were getting boring. I really like Arya, she has a lot of characteristics I admire: self-discipline, virtue, loyalty, poise, courage, intelligence, and skill. She ranks high on my mental list of favorite fictional characters. I really had liked the Inheritance Cycle. Maybe my tastes have changed or I've grown, matured. But I hate to think that's true. I borrowed The Gril With the Dragon Tattoo from my friend. So I will read that next. I hope it doesn't suck. I would hate to have read two sucky books in one week.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Home: Word, by Magnetic North

It feels great to be home! My home is modest in size but having the whole house to wander barefoot feels great. Walking on the cold hardwood floor. Waking up at night and walking to the kitchen for a drink: 100% strawberry, banana, and orange juice — I'm spoiled. A nice firm bed. And home cooked food! Oh, and no work! I'm resting, resting, and resting. And resting. Did I mention I'm resting? November has been rough (and it's not over!). I practically gave up on Nanowrimo. So I'm just going to rest this break. And check the time as much as I can. I've noticed time slows down when I keep checking it. I need all the rest I can get.

I'm also reading. Currently, I'm finishing the Inheritance Cycle, by Christopher Paolini. I started this series when I was in middle school and I like it. It's fun fantasy. So I want to finish it before I return back to school. And I think I might read another book, if I have time that is.

And I'm watching the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie, as I type this. One of my favorites. First, I'm a fan of Roald Dahl (I read a lot of his books when I was younger. Witches was my favorite by him.). Second, I love old movies. I really like the aesthetics of technicolor for some odd reason. And another thing about old movies: the score. I like the musical style of old movies. Annie, Sound of Music, and the likes – those are all musical movies but I like non-musical movies too. I was talking to my sister how I missed old cartoons where special effects were just different instruments and natural sounds, nothing digital. You know what I'm talking about: a Tom and Jerry episode or Fantasia or the likes. There are still great scores nowadays: Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean to name a few, but it's a different feel, a more grand feel.

I want to watch How the Grinch stole Christmas during the holiday break, either version.

Pretty nostalgic now. But home is great!


Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11 11:11

It's 11 o'clock and 11 minutes, November 11th, 2011.

Make a wish! =]

I wish basically for the same one wish every time I get a chance. And I hope it comes true, really.

Clara C: Shaking Off Silence Concert

I went to a concert tonight, err, last night, with friends. And it was great. Clara C is really talented and her opener New Heights was just as talented as well as the various local acts. Clara C's music I would describe as singer-songwriter, acoustic pop. But unique at the same time. She plays various instruments and loops and harmonizes her voice with her voice in her songs. It's great, and she has such a nice voice. I definitely recommend checking her out. New Heights, I would describe more as rock. They're a classic band: lead vocalist, lead guitarist, lead bassist, lead drummer, and rhythm guitarist. They sound great live. It's nice to hear a well put together band. I'll link favorites form each: Offbeat and Til We Go (I couldn't find a non-live version. But this is my favorite song of hers. So I linked a video from her Takeout performance. Takeout was a great concert.) by Clara C and  Take Me On and Peaches by New Heights. And while you're checking them out, you might as well check out the Jubilee Project, they were the emcees. They make videos for charity. Love Language is a particularly good video of theres and New Height's song Peaches is featured in the video.

Clara C performing with New Heights. Did I mention we sat in the front row?
I really like up and coming artists. There's a genuine delight in performing. And they really care about their fans – I got to take a picture with New Heights.

Great music, great night.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Exams! D8

Quick Update: Foliage, foliage foliage. It's starting. And with my view of the esplanade and Charles River, it will be beautiful. =] And yes this post was not written on today but a day previous to today.

Okay, so my first rounds of midterms are over. Yeys! And each exam was pretty different, format wise, from the other. Rather than a post about all the different types of exams in general, I thought I could blog about the five midterms I took and some pros and cons of each my exam's style and how I did on the exam.

Midterm 1: Physics.
Format: Physics midterm are probably the same nationwide. You are provided with a formula sheet with basically every equation you will need plus more. Part of the exam is figuring out which equations you need. And the exam consists of basically open response type questions and maybe one or two multiple choice concept questions. For the open response questions, you can get partial credit.
Advice: As a general rule of thumb, you should probably write down everything you know. You can usually earn points for copying the equations you need to use from the formula sheet. However, most problems will require analysis and manipulation of the formulas to get the correct answer.
Pros: Partial credit.
Cons: Typically difficult.
Class average: Low, 56.
Me: Thumbs up, I like the exam style. Pretty run of the mill and as expected. My grade: 70.

Midterm 2: Electric Circuit Theory
Format: This exam was all open response. We are given a circuit and we have to solve for a certain element, whether it be current, voltage, Thevenin resistance, etc. However, unlike the physics exam, we are allowed to bring in a single sheet of notes. However, there was no partial credit at all. Graded solely on answers.
Advice: Write as small and as much as you can on your notes sheet.
Pros: Notes sheet.
Cons: No partial credit.
Class average: Medium, 62.
Me: Eh, I don't really like that there was no partial credit but I do like the fact that we can bring a sheet of notes. My grade: 75

Midterm 3: Mechanics
Format: Multiple choice but not really. The exam was multiple choice but if you did not show work, you wouldn't get points for the right answer. Also, most of the answers for the multiple choice was none of the above and you had to provide your own answer. There was also an open response.
Advice: Solve the problem first without looking at the answers and then pick the answer that matches your answer.
Pros: Um . . . not your run of the mill exam.
Cons: Exam style made you doubt yourself.
Class average: High, in the 80s. The high class average I think is more reflective on the professor than the students. Other mechanics classes with different professors did not have as high a class average.
Me: Hmm, the exam style really messes with you but I like that it's different from other exams. My grade: 96.

Midterm 4: Design and Manufacture
Format: Take home exam. Most questions asked you to identify a certain material or technique and to distinguish it from another. There were some calculation questions, such as finding thermal expansion of a certain metal at a certain temperature. And there was a lot of questions on how you would make so and so. I haven't received the exam back yet so I'm not sure how it was graded.
Advice: Use the index of your book.
Pros: Take home exam
Cons: Tedious
Expected class average: High
Me: Eh, it just took up time. Some questions didn't have a clear-cut answer and some answers weren't in the book. My grade: Not yet received.

Midterm 5: Arts of Asia
This was an exam type I was not expecting. It was a powerpoint exam which I guess is the standard for art history exams. But this being the first art history course I've ever taken, I was shocked. Basically, an artwork is projected on a slide, and you have to identify the artwork and write its significant or answer the question on the slide. Each slide was shown for about 4 minutes.
Advice: Memorize themes attributed to certain time periods.
Pros: Memorization
Cons: Time constraint.
Class average: Slightly High, 82.7
Me: Eh, this was new to me. The time constraint really messed with me. I felt I did not have time to adequately write a significance for each artwork. My grade: 94.6 (A)

This doubles as my "update on my classes" post I like to post each semester. And overall, I'm doing okay. Above average, but not great. I'm aiming for great.

Wow, what a boring post.

Friday, November 04, 2011


Is the title hard on your eyes? Yeah, I thought so. But I'm channeling my inner youth for this blog post.

First, November is going to be challenging: NaNoWriMo, three midterms, and thanksgiving break. Those three things come to mind right now, but I'm sure more challenges will prop up as November progresses.

Let's tackle that list in reverse:

Thanksgiving break will not be challenging in the sense that it will be a lot of work. It will in fact be no work. And that's the challenging part: to do work during thanksgiving break. I have this terrible habit of doing NOTHING when I go home. It's gotten to the point where I question why I bother bringing work home when I end up not doing it. And really, because of the next two things I'm about to discuss, I don't have the time to do nothing.

Three midterms. Well, they're midterms. Nothing much to say about them that I won't cover in my next blog post – I'm writing two blog posts tonight and trying out that post according to schedule feature. Part of the reason why I'm writing two blog posts tonight is that I really do not want to not reach my quota of at least five posts a month. And because this month is going to be challenging, I might not have time to blog later on this month. So since I'm taking a mental break right now, I'm just going to write blog posts – I really just can't think right now. My brain is mush. Because of that, these posts probably won't make much sense.

NaNoWriMo!!! Now that's the real topic of this posts. It's National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or nanowrimo). Basically, I've been participating in this challenge since I was in high school – but now that I think about it, I might have participated in eight grade. Nope, I started freshmen year in high school – I just checked my nanowrimo account. So what is nanowrimo? It's basically a writing challenge where you ignore the world and aim at writing 50,000 words in one month. The nanowrimo site covers it's "About Me" pretty well, so I'll just link it here. And for the four years that I participated in nanowrimo, I've never won the challenge. I didn't do nanowrimo last year – freshmen year was overwhelming. But this year, I'm going to try again. I'm already behind though. I've only written 500ish words and they don't really make much sense. The only reason I wrote them was to start my story. Because now, I can't say I didn't do nanowrimo this year. I can only say I failed again at nanowrimo or I won nanowrimo.

So that's my plan for this month: write a story.

Also, you should do nanowrimo with me! We can ignore school and go insane together. Yay! Join now: Click. =]

Oh, and the title of this blog post is in honor of the time when I started doing nanowrimo, a time in my life where I awkwardly capitalized words. I use to think of it as creative stylization on a computer, sort of like bubble letters on paper. But now I see that idea is flawed: capitalization has a purpose outside of stylization. But I still like awkwardly capitalizing things. (I remember a joint story I wrote with my friends where I forced my friends to awkwardly capitalize the title. Good times!)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Car Accidents Still a Novelty

I just saw a five car bumper to bumper accident on Storrow Drive. Well, I heard the first crash and then saw four cars slam into each other. Storrow Drive is right outside of my window and generally, cars are driving really fast on it. So if one car hits another, there is barely enough time to stop, which is why a five-car collision is possible. In the picture below, you can only see four of the five cars. The last white car took off pretty quickly after the police arrived. So my guess is that maybe as the fifth car in the chain of collisions, there was minimal damage, if at all, and the driver was a busy person and needed to go. And no one seems to be seriously injured, so that's good!

The front of the second car is pretty deformed and a good portion of the third car, the blue car, is underneath the second car.
And you know what I realized, there's still a novelty in a car crash. When I heard that first initial slam, I immediately thought it out of the ordinary and looked out my window, to see the other four cars hit each other. And you know what, it's nice that car crashes are still a rarity. Storrow Drive is always full of cars and I've kind of gotten used to the sound of a constant traffic. I don't look out the window when I hear a car drive by. Living in Boston in general has made me not as mindful of traffic. Now imagine if I was accustomed to hearing car crashes to not look out the window? That would be AWFUL! Gah! Something would have to be seriously wrong with our society if accidents weren't out of the ordinary.

As I'm looking out my window now, I notice a black SUV. And a woman dressed in black with high heels getting out of it. Maybe she's a detective. She looks to be examining the scene. Yes,  I will call her a detective. Now, wouldn't that be a cool job! A detective. Solving crimes.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Nerdy Evening

No, tonight was not a nerdy evening. Tonight hasn't even occurred yet. But rather than a nerdy evening, I anticipate tonight to be a scary evening. I am going to a haunted ship tonight for some early halloween celebration – we're trying to avoid the crowds. Yesterday night, a couple hours ago, was also not a nerdy one. Well, I did spend my time grading homework – I'm a grader – and prepping for my midterm on Wednesday. But it was not nerdy in the sense friday was. Friday evening was nerdy in that I spent it at a puzzle shop.

I spent friday night at a puzzle shop with my engineering friends. Usually, I hang out with a core set of friends – I call these people core friends because I spend a lot of time hanging out with them – and we usually spend our time exploring, adventuring, walking, and you know, active activities, however we also do like to watch movies. But that core set of friend was busy friday night and my engineering friends – I call these people engineering friends because I know them through classes, engineering classes – had invited me out. So I took up their offer and joined them for dinner at Anna's Taqueria. After dinner, I showed my engineering friends around Coolidge Corner – they hadn't ventured out into the city as much as I have. And one of the places I took them to was a puzzle shop, Eureka's Puzzles and Games, I had stumbled upon while exploring with my core friends. And we spent a good chunk of time there. And it was fun! We explored the shop, and then the shopkeeper was kind and patient enough to let out try out several of the demos there. I ended up solving four puzzles! I'm actually pretty proud. Among the four puzzles I solved was the Raketti Puzzle, which had puzzled us for the majority of the time we spent at Eureka's. And when I solved it, I was genuinely, really happy. I was kind of in shock, because I didn't expect the happiness that followed solving the puzzle. And that's when I realized I was, in fact, a nerd. And also that I'm capable of thinking outside of the box. I am more proud of the latter. It reminded me of my youth, when I was smarter.

Now, I really want to purchase a puzzle. I probably will for Christmas. I like to buy myself a gift for Christmas. It's something I do. But the puzzle I buy has to be challenging. Part of the reason I was so happy when I solved the Raketti Puzzle was that it stumped me for a good period of time. The other three puzzles I solved took less than ten minutes to figure out so it wasn't as satisfying as the Raketti Puzzle.

I don't consider myself a nerd because I don't always behave nerdy. But there are occasions where I am nerdy and last friday evening was one of them. And even then, I'm not that nerdy. It takes me well over a minute to solve the rubix cube. (After our Coolidge Corner adventure, which included foryo for half of us and ice cream for the other half and a stationary store, my engineering friends returned to work on a class project. I, however, went to watch one of my core friend's concert – I had told her I would go – and then out with her to get ice cream. I didn't get any this time around. I can only handle a limited amount of diary products a day. See, I am not that nerdy. =])

Monday, October 17, 2011


It's apple season in New England! And you know what that means? Real, fresh apples. Farm-picked fresh. There are many places here in New England you can go apple picking. I went to Parlee Farms, in Tyngsborough, MA, to pick my apples. I'm not really an apple person, but when it's apple season, I am. Today, I ate one of those fresh apples, in a rather odd way. Sometimes putting more effort into something makes it more enjoyable.

I diced the apple, and put the pieces in a mug. =]
And then because I don't have a toothpick, I used a dental floss pick as my utensil of choice. I am weird, I know.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I'm more of a dabbler.

I would just watch from 2:25 onward if you don't really want to watch Sonny With A Chance. (I have to admit though that Sonny With A Chance was one of my favorite Disney Channel shows. Good humor. It's too bad they had to cancel it – I believe they had to cancel it because Demi Lovato was unfortunately admitted to rehab.) Anyway, I just really like this song: "Me, Myself, and Time." Maybe it's because I, too, am trying to find my way.

Dabbler. Dabbler. Dabbler.

Yeah, I think I'm more of a dabbler, not really good at any one thing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why I blog?

(Best read not as a mobile version.)

Have you noticed what day today is? It's my blog's birthday, anniversary of my blog's creation.
A year ago, confused and directionless about life, I created this blog.
Perhaps one of the the weirdest part of this is that I made it to the anniversary.
Prior to this blog, I've attempted to blog, but it would always just fade away. But this is different.
You know, I really have become fond of this little piece of the interweb.

Furthermore, I have a confession:
I blog for myself, really.
Reading my past posts, I realize that I also blog for you but it's mainly for me.
Sorry. But this blog helps me a lot more than it helps you. I am sure of that.
The stuff I include on my blog sometimes just helps me think. And at all times, tracks me.

And what do you mean by "tracks me?"
Namely, my blog preserves myself for my future self to read. Kind of like what my myspace became.
Now that I don't update my myspace – I haven't updated for years –
I can go on there and find a preserved high school me. And read about myself, who I was.
Very weird, indeed! Everything on myspace is exactly the way I left it.
Even the simple layout, with colorful but simple font. And my hidden goals . . .
Reading this blog in a couple of years, I feel, will be just as weird and introspective.
Some blog posts already feel like they are from a much younger, distant me.
Although, other posts feel just as current as they did last year.
Really, I am still lost and unsure about my future. And my personality is pretty much the same.
Yet, I am finding my way. And at least for now, I can feel it: the sense of a direction.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

R.I.P. Steve Jobs

Yesterday, Steve Jobs died. I'm in a bit of disbelief, because people like Steve Jobs feel god-like, immortal. Their existence has affected the world so much that you feel they will always be around to guide the world. But they are not supernatural beings, they're human. And it's a fact of life: people die. But I guess Steve Jobs' death is especially sad because Steve Jobs represents much more than the face of Apple. He represents visionaries, counter-culture folks who think different and believe they can change the world. And he did just that, he combined creativity with aesthetics and technology to push the world forward and bring the world what they wanted before they knew they wanted it. He was a true visionary and innovator.

R.I.P. Steve Jobs. I wish your family well.

Also, Macrumors has a nice compilation of reactions to Steve Jobs' death.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

New Phone

So here's the story:

I noticed something annoying on my iPhone yesterday, a shadowy spot on all the pictures I took. The shadowy spot would get larger when I zoomed in and smaller when I zoomed out, but nevertheless always present. From that, I concluded it wasn't something wrong with my phone display but rather the lens. I tried cleaning the lens, you know, there could have been a smudge. But that was futile. I know what you're thinking, it's just a smudge, not the end of the world. But I use my iPhone as my principle camera, so I thought it was worth having the Geniuses at Apple check it out. So that's what I did after my first class today. And well, they gave me a new iPhone. Apple has excellent customer service, and no one disputes that.

But it is slightly weird to have a new phone. First, it's empty, aside from my contacts. I haven't been home yet, but once I do, it'll be restored from my backup. But for the time being, it's empty. What do I mean empty? Well, no songs, no pictures, no notes, no apps, games and utilities alike. My calendar is empty, my email isn't synced. And those are some of the things I've come to appreciate about the iPhone. It was my agenda, plus more. So that's different. But all that can be remedied when I get home.

But the weirdest part? It's new! What are you talking about? Isn't that nice that you received a new phone? Yes it is nice, but the battle scars are gone. The what? You know, The places I've scratched the phone or dropped it or whatever it. You're not making any sense. See as oppose to receiving a new phone, I was actually just hoping they fixed my old phone. This new phone hasn't hiked Mount Monadnock or gotten me home when lost. This new phone is uncanny! D8

I don't know exactly what I'm trying to say. I guess maybe that I've always been fond of my scars and the same way I wouldn't want the scars on me gone, I wouldn't want the scars on my phone gone. And also, I feel materialistic for caring but I guess I'm not too materialistic because I'm only mildly, if any, upset that my old phone is gone. If this were my scars that were gone, I would be extremely downcast right now, maybe borderline hysterical.

Well, back to homework.

Post Script: I'm at Boston Public Library (BPL) right now, because well, it was only down the street from the Apple store and when will I make the time to study here, again? And the BPL really is beautiful. It puts Mugar to shame. Actually, many libraries put Mugar to shame.

I really love high ceilings.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dining Alone

If I was normal, I'd probably blog about my adventure to the Arnold Arboretum yesterday — it was awesome! But instead I'm going to tell you how albeit getting bitten by dozens of mosquitoes, I'm still sitting here, at the edge of BU beach, staring at a constant flow of cars on Storrow Drive and the Charles River.

See, today, I had dinner by myself. I don't usually eat dinner alone. Lunch yes, but not dinner. But everyone had their own plans tonight. And well, I was hungry and didn't want to deal with or think about the work I have to do — there's a lot of it. So I grabbed a sandwich and dined alone at BU Beach. Normally, during the day, I pick a spot where I don't see the cars. But tonight I'm sitting on the bump, and staring at the cars and the Charles River. It grew dark quick, and the mosquitoes wasted no time coming out and targeting me. But nevertheless, I sat through the mosquitoes, doing the fending mosquito jiggle, and ate my sandwich. And I realized I wouldn't mind just sitting here alone for the rest of my life. Just me, my thoughts, and the world. I know, it's not the ideal sanctuary: that mountain peak or stream in the woods, but it's still really nice. The noise of the cars driving by really isn't bad. There aren't any obnoxious horns. And you basically just experience the Doppler Effect over and over again. Occasionally, there will be an ambulance, and that's when you really get to experience the Doppler Effect. And the Charles! It's beautiful, especially for such a polluted river. The reflection of the headlights of passing cars on the other side of the Charles just glimmer so prettily in the Charles. And I am at peace.

Sigh, back to the real world. Ahh! I'm so itchy! I'll be sure to bring incense next time; mosquitoes hate smoke. Oh, and if you're really interested about my adventure to and at the Arnold Arboretum, I uploaded several pics and wrote a short post about it on my google+.

Update: On my way home, I stopped at COM Lawn and just laid down next to the fountain and star gazed.  And I figured out a phrase that I think will always bring me out of a slump. It's an action phrase. I won't tell you what it is though. This is for myself. And if you can guess it, I think you might actually know me better than I do, which is definitely possible since I don't know myself well at all. Maybe I should get it engraved on a river rock . . . so I won't ever forget. =]

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Rainbow Connection & Do Re Mi

This is kind of random, but I started humming this song in the shower. Maybe I'm just unconsciously dreaming of something, longing for something . . . Anyway, without further ado, "The Rainbow Connection," by Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson), from The Muppets Movie.

And then I started to listen to Julie Andrews! I love her voice! Aaaa, I'm very nostalgic now! I need to stop. No more songs from the past. Homework time. I'll leave you with one of my favorite childhood songs, ever! "Do Re Me!" (I think I just overused the exclamation point!)

Isn't she great!? And then I remember Julie Andrews may never be able to sing like that again. And I realize, I have yet to suffer.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Napping In The Sun

Granted, I didn't actually fall asleep. So really, I can't call it napping, more like baking in the sun. =]

See, I have this 5 hour gap in my schedule on Mondays and Wednesdays. And because I have so much work this semester, I usually spend it outdoors, in multiple locations, doing work. And it's really nice: productive and relaxing. But today, I got most of the work I allotted for this 5 hour gap finished. So instead of going back to my dorm to get more work, which is more time lost walking than time gained for work, I "napped." I "napped" in Marsh Plaza, for all of BU to see. And one of my friends did see me napping. She recognized me by my backpack, which is something all my friends seem to recognize me by. *shrugs* Is it that unique?

I took this picture, while laying down.

I can feel the cold fall air coming. I don't even want to think about how I'm going to have to spend 5 straight hours indoors! I need natural light! Ah! Okay, class time.

Post Script: After ranting that there was no iPhone app, I discovered that Google released a Blogger app just a couple days previous so yeah . . . This post, by the way, was composed on the Blogger app and then edited on my laptop.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

BU Beach

Quoted entirely from my google+ page:

"I spent the good majority of the day at BU Beach today! And it was fantastic! =] The weather was perfect, T-shirt and shorts weather with a slight breeze. BU Beach, for those who don't know, is one of the few green spaces we have at BU. It gets it's name from a ridiculous myth BU tells us every chance it can, i.e. open house, college tours, information sessions, Wikipedia, etc. Basically the myth is that if you close your eyes, the cars passing by on Storrow Drive sound like waves crashing on the beach. I can't tell you whether it's true or not, since I haven't been to the beach enough times to remember it's distinct sound. But as far as I am concern, it's a peaceful green space, where you can't see any of Boston's skyscrapers or the cars on Storrow Drive – there's a little bump that blocks the view, but you can see the cars on the other side of the Charles, but they're quite a distance. And that makes me happy."

So why did I post it on google+ and not here first? Well, it's really inconvenient to post on Blogger from my phone. And I can't upload pictures onto Blogger from my phone. So, as the lazy person I am, I just post it to google+ because if I don't, I'll lose the appeal to post about it. Seriously, because there's no option to upload pictures on Blogger, I've posted quite a few short posts on google+. I rather have those posts here though, in one central location. So really, Blogger/Google, we need an app for the iPhone! Thank You!

Monday, September 05, 2011

My View

My view is quite amazing. All in one glance, I see geese, cars, water, and a university. The geese are on the esplanade, the cars are on Storrow Drive, the water is in the Charles River, and the university is in Cambridge, Massachusetts. And every morning, I wake up to this view, give or take the geese. And it's amazing. I really love it.

I snapped this earlier, focusing more on the Cambridge skyline than Storrow Drive.
And it's all thanks to my amazing friends who pulled me into their spacious triple. Spacious enough for me to do cartwheels in the center. I also have my own little corner, nook so to write. It has it's own ceiling light. And it'll definitely come in handy when I do some late night studying while my roommates sleep. I really do love and appreciate my living arrangements. Oh, I almost forgot to mention, but, my dorm is on Bay State Road, which is where all the Brownstones are. The Brownstones, one of Boston's iconic architecture, have so much character, each with their own unique detail. While I'm not living in a Brownstone, I do get to walk up and down Bay State Road everyday, instead of Commonwealth Avenue, and take in the Brownstones and the serene, as Boston can be, atmosphere of Bay State Road. It's really nice.

It's going to take some time, though, to get used to the constant roar of Storrow Drive – I've heard it quiet maybe once, and it wasn't at night. But you know, there's a rumor that if you close eyes, it sounds like the ocean.

Classes start tomorrow . . . So yeah . . .

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Falling Asleep to Music

Falling asleep to music has to be one of my most favorite activities ever. It puts me in such a happy mood. =]

And with the clock app on my iPhone, I don't have to worry about
turning off the music when I fall asleep.

Remember those goals?

This summer felt perfectly paced. I guess that's because my mindset all summer was I miss Boston, I want to go back. So that longing gave me the sense of slowness. But then because I worked, had fun, and relaxed. I feel summer doesn't need to end yet – plus, I still have goals to finish. And the two feelings balanced out, so I neither feel this summer went by fast or slow. I had a Goldilocks summer.

Anyways, I wanted to assess my summer goals before September starts.

5. Learn a skill.
      Okay, I didn't learn a skill. I didn't really try. But I did dabble in HTML so there was an attempt. I also worked at an engineering camp, so I honed my previous skills. I'm not sad at all that I didn't make this goal.

4. Complete a puzzle!
      =] I did make this goal. Check the post about it.

3. Read/Write.
      Since, I was really vague about this goal – I didn't specify how many books I wanted to read or how much writing I wanted to write – I will deem this goal a success. I did read and write. All the writing I did is in this blog. So yeah, nothing impressive. What I read was also not impressive. I read the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. It's kind of like a merge of 1984 and Lord of the Flies. The first book was pretty good, it was believable, but it just went downhill from there. And it really started to drag by the end of the trilogy. I guess I judge a book in part by how well I can emerge myself in it. (Thought provoking is a plus!)  Books, like the Hungers Games, really highlight how disgusting totalitarian governments can be. In that situation, I would probably go insane or not conform and be one of the ones they put down as an example to the rest. J. K. Rowling is right, we as human beings can imagine the situations of others. And we should use that ability to help the world. I will admit that I'm in a bubble, a bit naive, and that I don't realize how bad it is in some parts of the world. But that's something I personally need to work on. And I am optimistic about the human race. And that's all I read, book-wise. I know, weak.

2. Practice Piano.
      I failed this goal. Yeah, I only relearned one or two songs. =[ But at least I attempted right. Aw, well. I'll still hold on to the list. Maybe a new deadline, by next summer? This failure I am sad about.

1. Build A Lantern.
      I failed. And I think this is the saddest failure of the three failed goals. And it's not because I didn't try but because every attempt was a failure. =[ But you know it wasn't all for nothing. I learned a bunch of things. As Thomas Edison once said: I didn't fail to make the incandescent lightbulb 1,000 times but learned 1,000 different ways to not make an incandescent lightbulb. (I couldn't remember the exact quotation, and google wasn't helpful, it was showing me multiple versions of the quotation. So I just paraphrased what I remembered in my head. Besides most people have heard of this quotation in some form.) First, I want to say that I wanted to make a lantern without fireproofing the tissue paper, so a major challenge was preventing the lantern from catching on fire. Because my first two attempts caught on fire, I learned to line the bottom of the lantern, near the flame, with plastic tape. Plastic doesn't catch on fire, it melts. And on that note, because plastic melts, I learned to not seal the balloon part of the lantern with tape because when you light the lantern, the hot air will melt the plastic, therefore leaving holes in the lantern and letting hot air escape. Hot glue will also melt, but it won't leave holes and will also cause a stronger seal. And by all measures, I successful made a gleaming lantern. I like to sing to my little sister, "I've Got a Dream" from Disney's Tangled switching two of the words in Rapunzel's verse. Rapunzel sings, "I've got dream. I just wanna see the floating lanterns gleam." While I sing, "I've got a dream. I just wanna see my gleaming lantern float." (I know Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream about integration and mine is about a lantern. See what I mean about being in a bubble.) So why didn't my lantern float? It's too heavy. And I need more volume . . . so yeah. I might add more fuel too. I will try again today, in-between packing. But I want to leave you with a picture of my gleaming lantern.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Jumbled Mind

There's a lot on my mind right now. And it's really jumbled. Although not all my thoughts end up on my blog, right now, I feel like I need to write them out in order to make sense of them. So bear with me as I ramble through this post.

First, Steve Jobs is no longer CEO of Apple. What does that mean? Well, for one it's really sad. I mean Steve Jobs is the kind of guy who sleeps, breathes, and lives his company and would step aside only if he couldn't perform as CEO. So it really is sad that his health has deteriorated to this. I'm willing to bet his resignation was a really difficult decision for him to make. Yes, the man is still alive and still has an active role in Apple as chairman of the board. But it's still sad when the visionary of a company takes a backseat. It's no longer his company. I'm not saying Apple is on a downward slope. It's just I guess a loss of authenticity.

That's another thing I've been wrestling with. The authenticity of a company. I feel it leaves when the founder/visionary leaves. Once the visionary leaves, the company becomes a company by all means and profits and stocks become the most important details in decisions. Steve Jobs is famous for ignoring market research and just going with his guts, bringing people what they want before they know they want it. I really just hope the innovative nature of Apple remains. Apple used to be counter-culture, but now it's culture. How well Apple handles it's popularity is to be seen.

I relate all this to when Walt Disney left his company. The Disney Company is by all measure capable of producing top quality entertainment after Walt Disney's death. But, really what is the motive? Profits? Or genuine vision? I'm not saying that there aren't visionaries at Disney, but they are surrounded by businessmen that sometimes these visionaries are limited. I guess I just really like genuine things. You know, the feeling that hey, you put yourself into this product just so I could enjoy it. Thanks. I believe Pixar is very genuine in that way, which is why their films always touch my heart. Although like Apple, Pixar isn't as counter-culture as it used to be. (Interesting enough, Pixar was helmed by Steve Jobs until Disney bought Pixar, making Steve Jobs the biggest Disney shareholder, and a Disney board member.)

In light of all this, I watched Steve Jobs' commencement speech at Stanford University. I don't know why, but I have difficulty remembering commencement speeches, even right after I watch it. But I do remember him talking about connecting the dots and how one could only connect them backwards and that dropping out of college and being fired from his company was the best thing to happen to him. How failure/rejection, so to say, set him on the right path. He also discussed that one must love their job. And to never give up on finding that job if one hasn't found it yet. This made me think of the other two commencement speeches I've watched. Katie Couric at BU and J. K. Rowling at Harvard. I admittedly don't remember anything Katie Couric said. All I remember is that she quoted a bunch of people and answered tweets in her speech. I think she also barked. J. K. Rowling's, I do remember. She talked, like Steve Jobs, about failure, and how it was alright to fail. How her own failure set her free to write and eventually succeed. This is similar to Steve Jobs' outlook on failure. J. K. Rowling also talked about imagination. How we, as human beings, can imagine other's life, good or bad. And that we should use that to better the world. Jobs and Rowling are different. One is in the field of literature and the other is in the field of technology. But they're both creative visionaries of some sort. And for that, I admire them.

But of course, where does this put me? What is my vision? What do I want? I realize, I know a lot more about what I don't want to do than what I do. I know for sure I'm not a medical or business or law person. I guess that cuts down on a lot of options. But still . . . Looking at my list of inspirational people on Facebook, I see Walt Disney, J. K. Rowling, Angelina Jolie, and Steve Jobs (recent addition). They're all creative. And different from their peers. And visionaries. And I guess that's what I want: to be creative, different, and visionary. But in what form do I want it? And is what I want who I am? And am I capable of what I want? Or in other words, how am I to be visionary if I don't have a vision?

I've also, recently, come across the Disney Legends Award Ceremony during the D23 expo. I started to watch it but then I just couldn't. Something inside of me just didn't want to see it. I watch award shows all the time, Oscars, Grammys, VMAs, etc. But you know those are awards are given to people that yes, I admire, but no, I do not aspire to be. It was very weird that I didn't want to watch the Disney Legends Award Ceremony. I don't quite understand why. It puts my life into perspective, I guess. Like they are being awarded for things I want to do. And I'm force to realize oh wow, I lack so many things. I don't know. It's just something. I did though watch the performances: the original voices of Disney Princesses, Paige O'Hara (the voice of Belle), Lea Salonga (the voice of Mulan and Jasmine), Anika Noni Rose (the voice of Tiana), and Jodi Benson (the voice of Ariel), singing their songs. (Here's a link to an article with all five performances. The author is of the article is on the ranting side though.) While I'm not a fan of the pedestal the Disney Princess are on, I can't say anything except that I loved their performances. It's like a blast from the past. Although Princess Tiana is a lot recent and younger than the rest. And they're REALLY talented singers.

And I've also been thinking of my skills. Because, I believe I have creativity hidden somewhere in me. And for the time being, while my creativity is hidden, I should work on my skills. Because no matter how creative your mind is, you need skills to make them come to life. So that's what I'm working on. College will give me most of my skill set but I can try on my own. Today, I dabbled in HTML programming. And well, I didn't make an effort to remember all the coding. But HTML is pretty logical.

And as an afterthought, for some reason, I feel like I neither fit in with the outcasts or the mainstream. I'm like an inbetweener. And aren't those really the people who are least accepted?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ride Concept Competition

Today, I think was pretty productive. I mailed my Calculus book to Amazon for $105. I had bought it for $150ish. So net loss of $50 dollars or so, not bad at all. And! I finally put together my ideas for the Ride Concept Competition hosted by the Imagineering Disney Blog. The contest ends today, the 20th, so yeah I'm kind of on the late side. The worst part is that I follow that blog so I knew about the competition when they announced it roughly a month and a half ago. And it took me that long to put my ideas together since I had the idea, coincidentally enough, only several hours before I found out about the contest. So I guess I am deadline oriented after all. I need one to get stuff done.

But anyway, I wanted to share my idea. (There's no rule against it, I hope.)

The ride is called The Unheimlichs' Soundwave.

Here's the concept summary:

The Unheimlich brothers, as their surname suggest, are uncanny. They're also misnomers: Professor Liquid Unheimlich is on the stern and rigid side while Professor Solid Unheimlich is a go with the flow kind of guy. Together they are among the best professors in the field of audiology. They are continually nominated for teaching awards – occasionally, Professor Liquid will win one more award than his twin brother. But they wanted something more for their students. They wanted them to experience the unique properties of the sound wave. So they teamed up with Disney to imagineer a way to turn the invisible sound wave into a very visible coaster their students could experience. The Unheimlichs' Soundwave is the result of years of work and offers guests a way to simulate the unique properties of sound unlike any other experience. From a distance, guests can identify The Unheimlich's Soundwave, from it's unique appearance as giant waves. Right next to Test Track, The Unheimlichs' Soundwave lies on the edge of Epcot. The waiting queue circles the exhibit hall. And as guests wait in line, they have the opportunity to look into the exhibit hall and witness the latest audio facts, technology, and experiments. In line, they also get to meet the Unheimlichs in person and learn their story. Once aboard the coaster, guests are launched forward at transonic speeds rivaling actual speeds of sound into a enormous first hill that represents the high decibels sound can reach. At the bottom of the hill, guests zip through water demonstrating sounds ability to travel through all mediums, including water. Immediately after, guests are sent into four inversions that represent the longitudinal waves sound waves are made up of. During the homestretch, guests take on another medium sound travels through. They twist through a tunnel with very small head and feet choppers to emulate the rigid solid sounds travel through. After the ride, guests exist into the exhibit hall to further explore and purchase photos taken underwater of their experience traveling through water.

Disclaimer: I do know a coaster will not reach the actual speed of sound, 768mph. But a coaster can reach 130mph. And with speeds that high, propaganda can spin it to sound "close" to the speed of sound. I also do realize that it's highly dangerous to zip through water, even for seconds. But that's for the Imagineers to figure out. This is just some blue-sky thinking. But I really do think it could be a possibility in the future. Maybe masks? Maybe just simulate the experience? Or Maybe something else.

I included the disclaimer because some of the ideas are indeed blue sky.

And I also included a flyer of some sorts with my entry. It's pretty simple because all I had to use to create it was Microsoft Word. I know, what kind of lame engineer to be I am. I will learn CAD soon though, don't worry. The flyer took several hours. And I don't know why the lab coats have spots on them. They're a fluke that I didn't think looked too bad and also made no effort to fix. Overall, I'm happy with my flyer.

I really do like it. The color scheme fits well too. Tell me what you think.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Playing Music

(Sigh, it's been almost one month since the last time I blogged. I don't know what happened to me. I just stopped. Hopefully, I'm back on track.)

Yesterday, I went hiking. It was grand and at times adventurous – we were chancing thunderstorms. We rambled – I believe that's British English for hiked – Mount Monadnock in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. Mount Monadnock has a summit of 3,166 ft and is part of the White Mountains section of the Appalachian Mountains. We made it up with no rain and lunched at the summit with intense fog, chill, and wind. Down, we nearly made it back dry. We were fortunate to have already passed the rocky section when the rain came.

Here's a view from the summit.
While the rain was only a light shower, I think that was enough to make me slightly despondent for the rest of the day and into today. Today, I woke up relatively early, 7AM. And I just moped around. I felt so unlike myself. After lunch and some laundry, I decided to play the piano – of course I can't play anything now, it's all muscle memory. But it really soothed me. It brought me back to myself. I'm just really happy that I have the piano to go to. I know that when I'm feeling unlike myself, I can always throw myself into the piano and expect to feel better afterwards, even when I play at a subpar level. There's a real joy when playing the piano. Even when I struggle to learn a piece, I am still enjoying it, although I am also frustrated.

It's not just the piano. The other day, I pulled out my old recorder from when I was in elementary school. It's true when people say you don't forget the things you learn when you were little. Because I remembered every note I learned on the recorder. Compare to the piano, the recorder is very limited. I can play seven octaves on the piano while I can only play a mere octave and some on the the recorder. The piano is also capable of playing more than one note at the same time but the recorder can't. But playing both instruments is the same, joyful. And I realize the joy is in the playing. It's the same joy for all instruments. Even when I play the only song I know on the guitar over and over again, I feel content. Singing I guess is also another form of playing music. The instrument is your voice.

Listening to music in general is soothing. I guess that's probably why so many people invest in music: purchasing music and music players. There are also so many types of music out there that everyone has something they like to listen to. People connect to their music, and music at times can inspire people and also help create one's identity. That's probably why when I play the music I like, it soothes me. It reminds me of who I am or was. And let's me return to myself when I am in a despondent and vacant state. Playing the music you enjoy really adds an extra oomph of enjoyment, personal accomplishment, into the already enjoyable music. I highly recommend learning how to play any instrument because it's truly a wonderful experience.

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!