December 31, 2006

PS3 News

Do you remember back when people were shooting each other in order to get a PS3? Waiting for weeks in line? Crushing others in the rush to get in the store? Seems like just yesterday!!!

Of course, people only waited a day in line for the Wii, nobody was shot, and people actually kept the Wii to play at home. There were plenty more Wiis than PS3's, yet the Wii sold out just as fast. Here's the difference. . . the Wii is still selling out. Nintendo has produced 5 times as many Wiis as PS3's, yet you still CAN NOT get a Wii unless you're really lucky or you manage to get news of a second launch (stores sometimes horde consoles until they have a bunch and then release them on a set date).

"But PS3's are impossible to find! They're selling on ebay for hundreds above sticker price!" Um, no and no. Don't believe me?





Huh? 4 PS3's? Just sitting there? According to the guy working there they had been sitting there all day. Of course, there were no Wiis to be seen, still selling out. PS3'? 2 60 Gigs and 2 20 Gigs. Unsold. Unwanted. A guy actually came up to the cabinet when he saw them, here's what I heard:

Guy: Good Lord! PS3's! I need to buy one!
Guy (after approaching the case and seeing the price): *groan* No way! (walks away)

Here's the Ebay listings for a few PS3's. I boxed the ones of interest with red and then put the retail price to the right. Some are earning a couple of bucks, others are selling for less than retail! Sorry Sony, you just can't cut it. Nintendo Pwns!

The Pursuit of Happyness

I saw a great movie the other day, it was called "The Pursuit of Happyness". No, I didn't misspell "Happiness", that's how the movie's title is spelled. Anyway, it has Will Smith in it and is definitely a feel good movie. Here's why I mention it (other than urging you to go see it). Will Smith has to solve a Rubik's Cube in the movie. In fact, it plays a quite important role in the film. Now, not only was I wearing my Rubik's Cube shirt at the theater, but I was also fully expecting the whole Rubik's Cube thing to be somewhat of a joke, I didn't expect him to actually solve it. I thought he'd twist it for a bit and then all of a sudden the scene would cut and then it would cut back and he'd finish up. Nope! Apparently Will Smith actually learned how to solve a Rubik's Cube for the movie and can solve it in about 2 and a half minutes. That's not too bad! There were two things that really impressed me about the cube in the movie:

1) The movie was set in the 80's, right when the Rubik's Cube came out. Whoever was in charge of props actually took the time to go out and buy an original, 1981 Rubik's Cube with the original logo in the center white square. Kudos to that person, give them a raise producer peoples!

2) I was watching the method he was using to solve it and recognized it! Will Smith solves the cube the SAME EXACT WAY I do! That means, he went to the same website I did to learn! Which website is that? Do you really want to be as cool as Will Smith and Michael Snively? If you want to be able to solve the cube the same as both of us, go here. Enjoy!

Ssee the movie, solve the cube, have a nice day!

Saddam's Full Execution Video



Here it is guys, the whole thing on video. Enjoy!

December 29, 2006

DRAG Paper

This post is essentially a post-mortem on something that died a fiery, painful, exceptionally delightful death in June of last year. It's called the DRAG paper. DRAG isn't an acronym, it's simply a description of the paper itself. . . . It's a DRAG. Many people believe it should be called the "This motherf---ing son of a B---- piece of s--- paper sucks and I hate it with the relentless loathing that not even the most crazy psychopathic killer could hate his worst enemy", but TMSOABPOFPSAIHIWTRLTNETMCPK is a really long acronym that's too hard to remember and swearing isn't allowed at school. So, we stick with DRAG.

Allow me to explain: There is a class at my school called American Humanities. It meets every day for an hour and a half and last year had 63 students in it. The curriculum is split between two classes: Honors American Literature and AP US History. The AP US History class has the AP test as its major project for the year. Honors American Literature (abbreviated as HAMLIT by the nerdy "I can easily get an A in this class because I'm a suckup" people) has the DRAG paper, which was invented back when the class was first began. It's a 4, almost 5 month long research paper on a book that is decided upon by the teacher. Our teacher decided that the book would be The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. We were to spend 2 months researching a thesis that we developed and then 2 more months constructing the paper. We were to have, if I remember correctly, at least 15-20 sources, endless amounts of note cards, and in the end, a finished paper.

So, from the beginning now. This was our teacher's first year teaching this particular class so she was inexperienced with the DRAG, ergo, she decided to restructure the entire thing and make it up as she went. That turned out to be a very bad idea. Ask us to do something that, when we asked clarifying questions, resulted in her saying "I don't know, let me think about it" and then never getting back to us.

The first step was to create a thesis. Simple enough! What should my paper be about? Well, unfortunately, this was the thesis from hell. It consisted of two parts: the "observation" and the "importance" (holy cow, just typing this entry is bringing back very bad memories). The observation is simply something you noticed in the novel. The importance is some contrived and philosophical meaning that this detail in the novel had. Once you had your two parts of the thesis, you had to word you thesis in such a way that it made sense. Nobody could. I kid you not, more than half of the 63 students were still rewording their thisis in the days leading up to the due date, even though they had written the thesis 4 months earlier. In order to get an acceptable thesis it was almost mandatory to go in after school and have a one on one session with the teacher. I opted out, there was no way I was going to go in after school in order to succeed, school is for school time. It's not like I missed class and had to make something up, she was essentially extending class time into the afternoon. Not ok. Anyway, the thesis sucked. End of thesis story.

Then we got the format for our paper. In Oregon schools we have this thing called the "Five paragraph essay". I don't know if that's standard everywhere, if it is then you know what I'm talking about. Basically, the paragraphs are 1) Intro, 2-4) Body paragraphs, 5) Conclusion. Well, I seem to remember this conversation happening:

Teacher: I've decided on a format for our "research paper" (she hated the name DRAG) that I think will work well for us.
Students: *Brace themselves*
Teacher: I think we need 8 paragraphs.
Students: *groan, gasp, pound fists on tables, yell "what?!", "No!"*
Teacher: Now hold on! It'll be ok! Your just replacing your normal body paragraph with two, one for your observation and one for your importance!
Students: *GAAAAAH! Some students are startled when they actually see flames dancing in the eyes of the students sitting across from them*

This was the day when everybody in the class began to hate the words "Observation" and "Importance".

Now since our teacher was developing this entirely new way of constructing the paper, she needed to give us examples of what to do. So, she decided to write portions of a mock DRAG paper as an example. Her thesis was something along the lines of "Mark Twain depicts Huck as a vampire in order to symbolize the way slaves were mistreated in the South before the Civil War". It was a lot more wordy and fluid, but that was the jist of it. Ridiculous, right? Well, most examples, in any class, are kind of "out there" and unrealistic, just so that kids can get an idea for the format and not any ideas for the paper itself. Well, here's the crappy part. We all felt like garbage every time we learned something new because we couldn't, for the lives of us, construct a paragraph that made sense or find the right quotes in the novel to support our thisis, yet she would just up-and-write a masterful chunk of DRAG and actually prove that Huck was a vampire. We had no excuse then! If she could prove that Huck was a vampire then we were expected to prove anything! It sucked. . . gauranteed failure.

So, the research began. Libraries, online databases, novels, blogs, anything under the sun! I read countless pages of literature on Huck Finn. Countless. TONS! Hundreds, I kid you not, of pages, all about a novel that I didn't even really enjoy. I took all my sources and put them in a zip folder so I could share them with you.

http://jzzsxm.googlepages.com/Research.zip

Go ahead, download it. Open it up, look inside, maybe even open a file or two! I read all of it. Multiple times. Some of the files are upwards of 50 pages. Booooo! Anyway, research began and digging out sources started. I'd have to say that was the easiest part was simply finding tons of crap and reading it all.

Then came the actual writing. Ever just sat down and written something? Then, looking back, thought "Wow, that was really good!" because it showed character and was actually fun to read? That's how I feel about my blog. . . if I'm bored I'll go back and actually read entries I wrote because I enjoy them. Well, this paper was not like that. It was the most structured, unforgiving thing in the world. Every word had to be carefully planned. Every sentence needed a transistion word into another sentence (transistion words were given to us in a huge list), each sentence needed a certain amount of analysis and a certain word order. No sentences could have "to be" verbs (the words "is am are was were be being been has have had do does did shall will should would may might must can could"), nothing could be in passive tense, and on top of all of this, we were supposed to use style that would make our paper interesting to read and convince our readers that our thesis was true. In other words, we were supposed to bore people whilst entertaining them and prove that we were right while not sounding like egoists. Not possible.

Each paragraph, when the structure was followed correctly, ended up being about a page and a half to two pages, normally closer to two pages. The writing continued, on and on. We would turn in chunks at a time and we would get them back graded. We'd cry for a little bit, compare the notes we got on our papers and laugh at how much we sucked, and then rewrite the whole thing again. One of my favorite comments I got on my paper was when my teacher circled an entire paragraph and wrote in capital letters "NEVER!" Yeah, that was my favorite. Another was when she circled my thesis and wrote "This makes no sense at all. Come see me." There were a lot like that. Anyway, everytime I submitted my thesis it always came back as wrong, so I just kept rewriting it until the paper was due.

So, finally, after all the dust had settled, we'd written our papers. Each person's research paper (with citations) was about 20 pages long. 63 kids in the class. 1260 pieces of paper. Throw in the staple in each bundle and the pile of papers was about 2 feet tall, no joke. We were all kind of hoping that our teacher would try to pick up the stack and hurt her back, but she didn't.

So that was it, the DRAG paper was finally done. . . or so we thought! Oh no, there was more! Two weeks later our teacher dropped this little beauty:

Teacher: So I have some news on your "reasearch paper"s.
Students: *Would've braced except that they were tired of bracing and just decided to take it in the gut*
Teacher: I'm going to need photocopies of all your sources stapled and highlited. They'll be due on Monday of next week (it was Thursday).
Students: (There really aren't words to describe the reactions of everybody in the class. Honestly, I'm not even going to try to make up an analogy. Instead, I'll just post a snippet of a conversation I had with Truman where we were griping about it. Enjoy!)

SwingWitDaBlues: i think the photocopy bit was the straw that broke the camel's back
SwingWitDaBlues: and by break I mean turned it to dust in the most horrifically painful way imaginable
DinjackPD: hahaha
DinjackPD: I keep looking back on that day and kind of wishing we'd all had rotten fruit and vegetables
DinjackPD: or torches and pitchforks
SwingWitDaBlues: omg, we would've used them!
DinjackPD: or a gigantic rail on which to ride her out of town on
SwingWitDaBlues: it was one of those "just sit and laugh in disbelief at how much it sucks" moments
DinjackPD: I wish I would've yelled 'Oh, that is BULLSHIT!'
SwingWitDaBlues: all of us, at the same time
DinjackPD: even Melissa Schutz and Emily
SwingWitDaBlues: yep!
DinjackPD: ah, god
DinjackPD: man, that class blew goats

Get the picture? That was a rough day. Very rough. Terrible in fact. Yes, quite terrible.

Here's the fun part! After I had turned my paper I went home and shot my copy of Huck Finn with a BB gun repeatedly (at least 200 rounds). Then I taped bottled rockets to it and blew it up. Then I burned it. It was dead. Of course, that was before I knew I was going to need photocopies from it, that exact edition so that the page numbers would match my bibliography. Of course that wasn't the edition the school had. It was the edition that the bookstore had run out of and that I had to drive an hour to a different city to purchase for $15, only so that I could photocopy 6 pages and then never use it again. GAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!

All in all, the DRAG paper sucked. Here's a link to my final paper.

http://jzzsxm.googlepages.com/DRAG.doc

I got an A, thank god, but it wasn't a high A, but it was an A. The paper was an entire semester's grade. That's half the year. I needed an A. I leave you now, with some parting words from me and Truman:

SwingWitDaBlues: we should make a facebook group
DinjackPD: there's already a group I've seen called 'APUSH Sucks' or something
SwingWitDaBlues: but it wasn't called "Honors American Literature with McElliott, the scariest woman ever, sucks!"
DinjackPD: I wouldn't call her scary
DinjackPD: unless you mean scary as in 'child with a loaded gun' scary
SwingWitDaBlues: yeah, that one!
DinjackPD: her childishness being her lack of knowledge of how to teach the class
DinjackPD: and the loaded gun being the drag
SwingWitDaBlues: :)
SwingWitDaBlues: we're the dead little brother
DinjackPD: hahahha
DinjackPD: she shot all 63 of us
SwingWitDaBlues: with one bullet
SwingWitDaBlues: through and through
SwingWitDaBlues: in fact, it turned in mid-air and came back through our bodies a second time

Hope you enjoyed!

December 28, 2006

Guitar Hero


The latest craze sweeping the Xbox360 and PS2 circuit is a game called "Guitar Hero". The game consists of playing a guitar controller in a similar fashion to the way the dance mat is used in the game "Dance Dance Revolution". 5 different colored buttons on the guitar correspond to different colored prompts on the screen that are to be "played" in time with music. Having a hard time understanding? Well, just go to Wal*Mart, they have a playable demo you can try out. Anyway, here's why I mention all of this.


The company that produces Guitar Hero was founded by an MIT alum. MIT is everywhere people, just to let you know. It has even invaded one of the most popular video games everywhere, so there!

December 25, 2006

Legends of the Hidden Temple

I think we all remember this show from Nickelodeon. The kids were on different teams and at the end of the show the winning team had to run through a temple to get to an artifact and return it to the host? Well, recent events have made me remember aspects of the show that I haven't thought about in a long time. The first is a rant I found on facebook about the shrine of the silver monkey. Profanity has been edited:

Every 10 year-old dreamed of being on "Legends of the Hidden Temple," making it to the Temple Run and winning the coveted trip to Space Camp--even if it meant having a 17% chance of being called a purple parrot.
.
But how PISSED OFF did you get when kids--who are CLEARLY less worthy of lmec's time than you--struggled for a large portion of the allotted three minutes rying to put together the Shrine of the Silver Monkey???
IT'S ONLY MADE UP OF THREE F---ING PIECES!!!! HOW UNINTELLIGENT, IGNORANT, AND SILLY ARE THESE KIDS???
.
I scream a lot at the television for various reasons—poor playcalls, bad moves by anagers—but I have NEVER, EVER screamed as much as I do when those f---ing ids CANT PUT THE F---ING MONKEY TOGETHER!
.
It’s bad enough when the b--ch in the temple can’t climb ladders, jump, crawl, or do anything that involves athletic ability. Or when the guy is so retarded he gets stuck in the caves. But with a minute to go, somehow they still have a chance…then the kid gets to the shrine. It’s over. “uhhhh…what do I do? What do I do, Kirk?” WHAT THE F--- DO YOU THINK YOU DO!! PUT THE F---ING MONKEY TOGETHER!
.
If you’ve ever suffered a coronary over this disgusting lack of coordination and intelligence, you know where I’m coming from.

The second is a conversation that I had with a friend of mine whom I co-author another blog with (http://leftatheistrightatheist.blogspot.com). I found it funny enough to get blogged! If you prefer to see the original conversation, go here: http://jzzsxm.googlepages.com/legendsoftemple.htm
.
DinjackPD: I'm in
DinjackPD: and watching videos from the show on YouTube
DinjackPD: good christ, did these kids ever even WATCH the show before they went on?
SwingWitDaBlues: you know what it's talking about, yes? (refferring to the Shrine of the Silver Monkey)
DinjackPD: if I got on I'd be in the hotel with a VHS player, watching tapes and training nonstop
SwingWitDaBlues: lol
SwingWitDaBlues: they are so clueless about the monkey
SwingWitDaBlues: that's the one thing that always bugged me about the show
DinjackPD: yeah, I know all about the monkey
DinjackPD: I'm watching a video right now
DinjackPD: the damn kid can't seem to find the button to push to get out of the Pit of Despair
DinjackPD: and the host keeps going 'YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO PUSH THE BUTTON IM... YOU'RE GOING- KIM, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO PUSH THE BUTTON! THE BUTTON, KIM!'
SwingWitDaBlues: lol!
SwingWitDaBlues: yeah, he had to scream at the kids a lot
DinjackPD: fo' sho
DinjackPD: I mean, god
SwingWitDaBlues: lol
DinjackPD: she's stuck in the shrine now trying to figure out which button to push SwingWitDaBlues: stupid kids
DinjackPD: I swear, I should count how many times the host tells her she needs to find a button
DinjackPD: for god's sake
DinjackPD: she is just standing there! SwingWitDaBlues: truman, relax
DinjackPD: oh good god
DinjackPD: one of the native people just grabbed her
SwingWitDaBlues: truman
SwingWitDaBlues: are you calm?
DinjackPD: hell yes I'm calm, she's out now
DinjackPD: and her partner went in after her to continue in her place
DinjackPD: and man, let me tell you
DinjackPD: this kid is a regular pimp
DinjackPD: he's done his homework
DinjackPD: he blazed through the whole damn thing
SwingWitDaBlues: did they win?
DinjackPD: no, sadly
SwingWitDaBlues: too bad
DinjackPD: he lost a lot of time in the spider web room
DinjackPD: he was trying to climb up to the top level, but eventually gave up and went along the ground
DinjackPD: if he'd just gone through there he could've made it
DinjackPD: he wound up in the mine shaft
SwingWitDaBlues: bummer
SwingWitDaBlues: well
SwingWitDaBlues: not everybody is a winner
DinjackPD: I'm wtching a YouTube video now which is enthusiastically labeled 'one of the most incredible temple runs EVER'
DinjackPD: "Amazing effort and probably the best post-game celebration I've ever seen!"
SwingWitDaBlues: lol
SwingWitDaBlues: merry christmas

.

Here is the YouTube video that accompanies this conversation:




December 24, 2006

LOL

I was all done blogging for the night, I swear! There's only an hour left until tomorrow and I was going to just surf facebook for the rest of today. Honestly! But, when one comes across a picture that actually makes them laugh out loud, it begs posting. There's a story behind this picture.


Last year I was in Honors Physics. It was a standard physics class, with friction, mass, acceleration, magnets, all that jazz. It also came pre-fabbed with the worst text book ever! With the worst chapter questions ever! Ever! This made for some very frustrating physics class periods and even more frustrating physics tests. Many of us just got so helplessly lost and confused that we started laughing at the pure hilarity of it all. There was no hope, and we didn't care. I think the pinnacle was either when after hours of work on a mousetrap car somebody backed over it on their way to school, or when somebody else brought a home-made rocket (black powder included) to class. It was one of those two moments, not sure which, that pretty much made me realize that physics was no longer physics. I, in my mind, re-christened it "Survival Class". If you make it out of the class alive with all limbs/mousetrap cars intact, you win.


That being said, the following picture struck a chord with me. It reminds me of almost every test I took in that class. I wish I were creative enough to do this on a test, because I would have had I thought of it. I'm glad somebody did though! Enjoy, don't try to contain the laughter. I know that if you were in my physics class, you will be laughing after seeing this picture:

December 23, 2006

Amazing LineRider

Remember that LineRider game I posted earlier? Have any of you done anything this narly on it yet?


Night at the Museum

I saw "Night at the Museum" (Ben Stiller) last night and definitely urge you to see it. Very very funny, good times. It also introduced me to my new favorite movie character. My previous favorite was Mongo from "Shrek 2". This character is similar, but better. Meet "Easter Island Statue" (aka Dum-Dum, but not really):


Granted, this isn't a picture of the actual character from the movie because the movie just came out yesterday and there are no screenshots online yet, but it looks exactly the same. Allow me to describe what makes "Easter Island Statue" so cool. . .
a) He talks
b) He speaks in a very simple, yet condescending tone
c) He loves "Gum-Gum" (bubble gum)
d) He can blow a bubble that's like 6 feet in diameter!
e) When it pops on his face he doesn't have hands to get it off, so he just kind of groans
If for no other reason, see this movie so that you can see "Easter Island Statue" because he is the best movie character ever.

Christmas Carols

Merry Christmas! Here's a little Christmas goody for ya! Enjoy. . .


December 21, 2006

Duck + Cannon

Played with my pneumatic cannon today. Decided to shoot the Aflac Duck!


I can practically hear him scream as he flies through the air! Here's the video:



Notice that he flies. . . bounces. . . hurdles through the air. . . and lands in a flower bed (sans flowers). Here's how he landed:



Fairly anticlimactic, but just try to picture the screaming as he tumbles through the air at 8 million mph.

December 20, 2006

Cool Website of the Day


I've been hearing a lot of buzz about this game online called Linerider, so I decided to check it out. Couldn't have anything to do with the fact that Nintendo just bought the rights to it and is going to publish it on Wii and DS, nope, has nothing to do with that! Anyway, I enjoyed it, so you should too! Give it a try, please?

Click the Pic to Play the Game!

[Update] Pi. . .or is it?

Ok, the pi question has been answered. Ready for it? Here's the e-mail I got in reply:

Michael Snively,

Your comments on pi were passed on to me from customer service. Others have pointed this out as well. The artist is not a mathematician and mistakenly took selected pages from a book of pi, resulting in the error. His concept was to intentionally depart from standard kinds of time line facts and the pi was one among many pieces of somewhat random and quirky pieces of information intended to give a sense of scale to geologic time. I hope you were able to enjoy the piece despite the error and appreciate you taking the time to write.

Sincerely,
Mary Priester


So there you have it, artists have no mathematical abilities at all. Although it was nice to get a reply, I was left feeling incomplete. Which book wrote pi like that? Was it an early approximation? Who's approximation?

I did some more digging and found this website:



http://www.o4r.org/publications/pf_v4n3/PiUnderground.htm



This website was MUCH more helpful in describing the discrepancy. I've highlighted the important bits on the following website:



http://jzzsxm.googlepages.com/O4RUndergroundPi.htm



Don't understand the thing about alcohol at the bottom? Well, you're not g33ky enough I guess. I'll give you a hint, look at the number of letters in each word. . .

MIT Class of 2011 Profile

There's a fancy little guestbook for all of the admitted students at MIT. I kind of obsess over it because I like numbers and data, so I of course made a spreadsheet. This post probably is of no interest at all to my regular blog readers, but that's because I'm putting it online for people that want MIT numbers/data that don't have access to the guestbook. I've compiled it into a spreadsheet for y'all, feel free to mess around with it and sort/calculate whatever you want. I've removed first and last names from it for privacy's sake. Note: These are only 252 of the 390 admitted since only 252 have signed the guestbook.

http://jzzsxm.googlepages.com/MITData.xls

Enjoy!

December 19, 2006

[Update] Pi. . . or is it?

I sent a question to the TriMet: MAX place, here's what I said:

I'm from Salem and don't normally ride MAX. That being said, when I went to Zoo Lights on MAX I was very excited to see a certain mathematical number etched into the wall at the underground stop right by the zoo. Forgive me, I don't know the official number/name of this stop except that it's right next to the entrance of the zoo. Here's my concern. A number that appears to be Pi is etched into the wall. It begins: 3.1415926535 -- which is correct, however the next 8 lines aren't contained anywhere within even the first 200 million digits of pi, either as a group of 8 lines or as individual rows. Here's a picture so that you can verify this:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Ji6WxBECHV8/RYV1oojX8yI/AAAAAAAAABg/IuTjUoJcnOI/s400/Pi.jpg


Here's the website I used to check for the wall-number's inclusion in the actual value of pi:

http://www.angio.net/pi/piquery


Why spend so much time etching a number into a wall only to get the first line correct? I really want to know why, please respond!

-Michael Snively

Bored in Calc: Part [however many calculus stories I've told]

It seems like I'm always telling stories about stuff that happens in calculus other than calculus. Trust me, I do learn stuff in that class, it's just never as interesting as the other stuff that happens. Take for instance, what happened recently when my teacher passed out holiday pencils for everybody. My friend (applying to MIT regular decision) was feeling creative and decided that instead of using his pencil for its intended purpose, he would (logically) build a trebuchet. So. . . .he did. It was made out of pencils and electrical tape and flings the roll of electrical tape about 6 feet. Quite impressive if I do say so myself. I did not donate my pencil to the cause, I instead decided to color an entire piece of binder paper black. It was beautiful. Oh, here's a pic of the trebuchet. It didn't have a counterweight because nothing was dense enough to do it, so where his finger is at is where you push down in order to launch the tape.

December 17, 2006

Pi. . . or is it?

I was in Portland the other day waiting for the Max train. It was a tunnel one, so I had to wait. . . in a tunnel (go figure). Well, on the wall, lo and behold, was pi! I quick snapped a pic on my camera phone before I had to hurry off and join my group. This morning I was all excited to blog my pi adventure so I uploaded the picture to my computer and looked at it. To my shock/amazement/horror/disgust, only the first line is pi! The other lines have nothing whatsoever to do with pi! WTF?!?!?!? I'm going to write a letter to the Max train people and pursue it, I'll keep you updated. . .

December 16, 2006

Snowflake

Got a letter from MIT today in the mail. It was very nice, a snowflake card signed by all the admissions staff. Signed, not copied digitally. Awww. . . they really go to great lengths to make ya feel welcome. I'm not sure any of the other colleges I was going to apply to would have done stuff like this. Something I didn't mention earlier is that every official admissions decision letter has a hand-written note at the bottom from an admissions person. They're really into making the admissions process personal, it's very nice. Kudos MIT!



December 15, 2006

CalTech

Mmmmmm, CalTech decision came back today. Deferred. Eh, w/e, I'm going to MIT! W00t!

December 12, 2006

The Tube

Some colleges are lame and just send you a letter if you get accepted. MIT rocks because they send you "The Tube". If you get "The Tube" then basically MIT is giving you permission to freak out and run around with said tube while either hugging it or caressing it because it's so awesome! Here's what the tube looks like (note the dancing penguin in the background):
Inside the tube was a variety of things. The first thing was confetti, lots of confetti! You empty the tube out and it's like a small party!

The next thing is the MIT Poster. It's different every year, customized for each class. This year's looked like thus:

It's a very sexy blue and has a picture of the great dome. In the background is a campus map while in the foreground you can find a submarine and some people rowing crew, as well as the year "2011" (my graduation year!).

Other goodies in the tube include my official acceptance letter, my fancy acceptance certificate, a magnet, and a coupon for 10% off my purchase at the MIT store (the coop). I plan on using that really soon! I'm buying MIT gear baby! Finally, there was a letter from the president trying to persuade me to attend (just because I am admitted, they can't assume I'll attend, they're still recruiting) and a letter from the financial aid director. Those are the boring papers. I'm partial to the poster and the glitter!


There you have it, a glimpse inside "The Tube".

December 11, 2006

O Holy NIIIIIGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHTTTTTTT!!!! *croak*

Here's the story. After school I walked into the band room only to be greeted by the sound of a cat being run over by a car. Horrified, I looked around only to see everybody in the room laughing hysterically! I couldn't believe it! Then, to my horror, I realized that the noise was not a nearly deceased feline but somebody's voice! "O Holy Night" was being played on the sterio and I kid you not, it was the most God-awful thing I'd ever heard ever. So what did I do? I e-mailed it to myself so that I could publish it on my blog. Now, rumour has it that Marilyn Manson is doing the singing, but I don't listen to Marilyn Manson normally, so I can't confirm this. Nor do I even know how to spell his/her/it's name, so "Marilyn Manson" may not be right, sorry. What I do know is that although when listening to this song, you may at first be horrified. Give it a sec, soon you'll be laughing so hard that it hurts and you'll think you ruptured your pancreas. I've got it in two file formats, one for iTunes and one for any other type of mp3 player. Enjoy (if that's the right word to use)!

iTunes (m4a): http://jzzsxm.googlepages.com/01OHolyNight.m4a
Windows Media (mp3): http://jzzsxm.googlepages.com/01OHolyNight.mp3

December 10, 2006

Geeks

I feel like I should blog something not MIT related, because beating dead horses is bad (I may come back and take a whack or two though). So, here's a copy of another paper I wrote for college writing, this time about "Geeks"

Geeks
People develop the traits they will maintain for much of their adult lives during their time in high school. As such, it is often times appropriate to use groups of students in high schools to generalize about an entire population. While most groups are understood for what they are, the high school geeks are often unfairly judged as social outcasts while they should be considered powerful tools. No longer the starched shirt, slicked hair, black dress shoe sporting, female repellers of old -- geeks have come a full π radians to take the high school culture by storm. Although many forms of geeks appear to exist, whether theater geeks or band geeks, in reality there is only one true form of geek. A true geek is something special, but often underappreciated, sometimes even labeled a “nerd”. Although they used to share similar definitions, the nerds have ceased to evolve to the highly advanced state the geeks have achieved.

Students who show a slight over-devotion towards a particular activity are often referred to as geeks. Spend every waking moment in a particular music room? Often found quoting Tolkien? Memorized the periodic table? All very impressive feats indeed, and performing such actions may get one labeled a geek, but only superficially. An often misleading definition of “geek” allows anybody who spends excessive amounts of time devoted to an activity to be a geek. This definition, therefore, allows multiple geek subsets. At first this may seem to bolster the way of the geek because there is power in numbers, but in reality it tarnishes the image of the geek. A real geek does not hear a perfect fifth or a minor third. A real geek doesn’t know Frodo’s middle name. A real geek doesn’t know the Latin name for iron. When copious amounts of individuals are all brought together under the label “geek”, chances are that some are social outcasts, stupid, or just plain irritating. One renegade from some geek subset can destroy the reputation of a true geek.

So what makes a true geek? The two most important aspects of a true geek are an interest in computers and math. If you know nothing about computers and/or math, you are not a geek. End of story. A true geek is the one that has no games on their calculator, only programs they wrote. A true geek is the one who not only can recite pi but can also derive it and explain why it is important. A true geek is the one who scoffs at school firewalls and simply uses a proxy to anonymize their IP address, or better yet, simply disables the firewall on the computer they happen to be using! Geeks can convert any situation into a joke about math, computers, or HTML. Geeks know what HTTP stands for, not just that it goes in front of Amazon in that little bar thing above where the pictures show up on that computer thing. Geeks interpret statements differently than non-geeks. For example, when a non-geek hears somebody say “I can’t find that sweater I want online!”, they think “That’s too bad, do you think they’ve tried ebay yet?”, whereas a geek hears “~~~~irritating noise~~~~” and then continues hacking away at websites that think they’re protected. Geeks know that the real 2 is 10. Geeks see a shape and can name the equation of the curve that matches the shape. Geeks know what happens on the last level of pacman. Geeks know what happens when “Hidden Test” is typed while playing pinball on Windows. Geeks know what the degauss button on the computer monitor does. Geeks understand the circle and line that appear on every power button ever created.

Geek or nerd? The easiest way to pick out the difference between a geek and a nerd is the outfit. A nerd’s shirt will be tucked in, their pants will be ironed, their hair will be slicked, and they will more than likely be walking with their head down to their next class, in rare occasions running and darting through the halls. Geeks, on the other hand, wear blue jeans, rarely ironed, and most likely tennis shoes. A geek’s t-shirt will often contain a math joke, computer joke, or some other type of humor that is unlikely to be understood by others. Nerds play Dungeons and Dragons, read fantasy books, think they know a lot, but never know when to say it. Nerds believe they are funny but oftentimes simply create awkward situations for themselves. Nerds have very little friends outside of their D&D groups and absolutely do not have a girlfriend. Geeks on the other hand, impress the opposite sex with their creative application of math and computer skills. They don’t waste time with foolish endeavors such as pretend and reading, instead preferring to find an interesting new website or some neat opensource code. Nerds never read the news online and don’t know what a blog is. Nerds have Myspaces in an attempt to gain friends. Geeks read blogs and publish their own as well. Geeks realize Myspace for what it truly is and constantly plot ways to bring it to its knees. A geek knows when to shut up, can tell good jokes, and is accepted by society as a powerful asset. A nerd is shunned, only to be called upon by the geeks to do the grunt work.

The next time somebody mentions offhand that somebody is a geek, do not take their word for it. Consider the context, is the person in question a geek or in a subset? Are they actually a nerd? Most importantly, do they have a girlfriend? Yes? Definitely not a nerd. Don’t casually throw around the word “geek” or “nerd”, you never know who you’ll insult.

December 09, 2006

Acceptance Letter

So, here's how this worked. This morning I woke up at about 8 am. I wandered downstairs and Jake had spent the night. He was playing wii and I meandered over to the computer to hop online and wait for an MIT decision. At 8:47, even though the decision was supposed to be anounced at 9:00, when I refreshed my screen, something different than "Decisions will be released later" popped up. Here's what it was:

http://jzzsxm.googlepages.com/MITOnlineDecisionNotification.htm

I read the first line and then freaked out. The first thing I said was "I GOT IN!" and then my mom came screaming running into the living room and Jake had no idea what to do with himself, it was all really happy. We then proceeded to call everybody we know, even people we hadn't talked to in years. My dad got home about a minute and a half later and started to actually cry when he found out. My mom had to go get her nails done but when she came back she brought the MIT shirt I have after having "Accepted" emblazened on the back. I'll wear it on Monday. Now I have to leave the house and run errands with my MIT shirt on, my mom wants to show me off. I'll blog again later! Ciao! (today is a good day! sorry that the formatting on my blog is screwy, it's because of the color change, I'll change it back when the excitement has died down a bit!)

MIT Class of 2011

I am officially attending MIT for college. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Blog Colors

My blog colors have changed in honor of the fact that today the MIT Early Action decisions are being released. Believe me, I will post if I get in. Until then, just enjoy reading my blog and enjoy the new colors, hopefully the colors of my future school! 9 hours ladies and gents. It's midnight right now, so just 9 more hours!

December 08, 2006

If Only It Were REAL!!!!

A friend sent me this video. At first I thought it was real, but as you watch you'll realize that it's impossible. Too bad! Just enjoy it I guess, would be my advice, don't try to analyze it, and pretend it's real.


December 07, 2006

PS3s are easy to get!

Here's a story to make any PS3 fanboy cringe. It's completely true, so no complaining about it being fake you losers.

A friend of mine has a father. That father went to Best Buy the other day to just kinda look around/shop. This was about noon or one in the afternoon. As he was finishing up, he went up to the counter. The following occurred:

Dad: "You guys have any PS3s in stock?"
BestBuy: "Sure"
Dad: "60 Gig?"
BestBuy: "Yep"
Dad: "Ok, I'll take one."
BestBuy: "Anything else?"
Dad: "No, that's ok."

Boom! In, out, and PS3-laiden. So, for all you guys that decided to get shot or trampled for a week before the PS3 launch, yall just got pwnd by a dad who walked into BestBuy at noon and bought something for his son. HA!

Site Counter

I have just installed a hit counter on my blog. . . w00t.

In the right margin you will see a Rubik's cube and a number. Keep in mind, the number isn't entirely accurate because my blog has existed for over a year without a hit counter. Meh, now's as good a time as any to get one. So, come to my blog a lot and make the number bigger!

December 06, 2006

Pancreas

Weird Al has many interesting songs. I've been listening to his "Straight Out of Lynwood" album for a while now, and one particular song intrigued me. It's called "Pancreas", and is basically a love song from a man to his pancreas. Even for Weird Al, this is a stretch, and I realized this when I listened to the lyrics. Allow me to demonstrate why I believe Weird Al is strapped for lyrics. The following is the equation for Gravitational force:



The M's stand for the masses of the two objects. The "d" stands for the distance between the objects.


The following link is a quick bite from the pancreas song. It's not high quality, I had to compress it, but it shouldn't be TOO painful to listen to (dial-up friendly).




Notice something? Did Weird Al actually work in the equation for how his pancreas is gravitationally attracted to every other pancreas? Does this seem weird to anybody else but me?

December 05, 2006

Luigi A Fake?

A copy of an article I found on another blog:


Employees at Japanese store Akiba Yodobashi mistook one excited Nintendo fan, dressed in an incredibly accurate and high quality Luigi suit as an actual Nintendo representative. He was invited up onto a stage and conducted the opening ceremonies - handing the first Wii console to the first customer.

Shortly after the opening ceremony, store employees realised the Luigi was in fact not from Nintendo and just an eccentric cosplayer - at this point he was whisked away out of the store.


Better than shootings, that's for sure.



Snively speaking now, here's the sad part about all of this. I watched a news broadcast online covering the Japanese Wii launch and saw this Luigi handing out the Wii and hamming for the camera and doing all sorts of promotional stuff. The next day at school I mentioned to a friend that it was kind of weird that it was Luigi and Mario was nowhere to be seen. It would just figure that the Luigi I saw was a fake, just goes to show how plugged into the video game news world I am!

Timothy

All comments left by Timothy and all comments in reply to Timothy have been deleted.

This is my blog and I am the boss.

December 02, 2006

Picture from the Wii Saturday

So I mentioned that Lacey and I made a pizza on Saturday. Well, buried in the deep and scary recesses of my digital camera, I found a couple of pictures of us making said pizza. Unfortunately my blog software is being particularly retarded today and will not allow me to upload OR embed a picture from elsewhere on the interweb, so I have to just give you a link, is that ok? I'll try embedding the picture later!

http://jzzsxm.googlepages.com/PB190001.JPG

December 01, 2006

Early Christmas Present

I got an early Christmas present today, and I liked it so much that I made a video of it to share with you. Here's why I love it:

a) It's a penguin.
b) It sings Sleigh Ride.
c) It hops!