April 10, 2007

A Whole Host of Goodies Before I Leave for Boston

I'm leaving tomorrow morning (Wednesday, 4 am) for Boston for MIT's Campus Preview Weekend (CPW). As such, I'd like to fill my blog with exciting goodies for you before I depart. Enjoy!

"Chariots of Fire" Music Video

Here's the official music video for Chariots of Fire. Notice that it's performed entirely by one person. He plays one instrument, records it, and then records himself on another instrument while listening to the previous recording. He plays all the parts, and the video does a nice job of showing him playing all the different instruments.

"Overture to Candide" Berlin Philharmonic Performance

Anybody who has played Overture to Candide can appreciate how amazingly fun it is, and anybody who hasn't can just check out the following video to get a feel. This is the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra's rendition, and it's flawless. My favorite part is at 3:20 when all the flutes and oboes totally get into it and then the camera pans out right when it all explodes. Totally amazing!

R2D2 Remote Control Action Figure

ThinkGeek.com has done it again, this time featuring a small remote controlled R2D2 action figure with a lightsaber controller.


Perfect Attendance Irony

You'll remember that I said I was going to be gone for CPW. That means I won't be at school this Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday. That being said, let me share with you one of the essays I wrote to get into MIT.

No admission application can meet the needs of every individual. If you think that additional information or material will give us a more thorough impression of you, please respond on separate sheets.

The year was 1995. My dad drug me into the living room and practically strapped me down to watch TV. I had no idea what was going on but my dad kept saying "You are about to see history -- just watch, you'll thank me later." I went on to watch, at the time quite unwillingly, some guy named Cal Ripken play a baseball game. Yay. Woo-hoo. "Does he have to hit a home run? Does he have to get on base? Does he have to get struck out? What does he have to do?" I remember asking. My dad's reply? "He just has to play." That didn't quite do it for me, but I shut up when I saw the fireworks and the ticker tape, because that was cool.

In the next several days I began to understand. Cal Ripken was so devoted to what he did that he played 14 seasons, 2,131 games, of baseball without missing a single game. Cal Ripken became my hero. "Ok," I said to myself, "if he can do it so can I!" So it began, my dad's five little words spurring me on "He just has to play."

School would be my baseball, and I would not miss a day, no matter what. It began in kindergarten and has continued ever since. Not one skip, not one injury has held me back. Four very angry orthodontic receptionists, some very stubborn moments, and enduring high school bubonic plagues, (some of which I may have started, on accident of course, since I couldn't miss school!) are all obstacles overcome and feats accomplished in my quest. I e-mailed Cal Ripken, telling him my story, asking if he'd be willing to write a letter to the admissions committee over at MIT. He responded that although he was absolutely amazed by my feat and admitted to having a less than stellar academic attendance record himself, he was unable to write the recommendation.

Reactions to my streak vary from "Freak" to "Wh- you mean- huh?!? Since kinderg- Wow." People ask me why I do it, which elicits even more entertaining reactions. I do it because it can be done. Because dedication isn't always recorded by short term
achievements. Because anybody can get a 150 on the AMC and a 15 on the AIME if they study long enough. Anybody can take 15 AP tests and get 5's on all of them, it just takes a little studying, that's it. What I set out to do shaped my entire academic career, 12 going on 13 years of work. That's dedication, and whenever it gets hard or I wonder why I do it, I just think back to those five words: "He just has to play." Dedication, endurance, and having something to believe in.

Dedication only leads to more success and I plan to keep the streak alive through college. Some people have difficulties dealing with the challenges of higher education, I plan to use those challenges to propel myself upward.

Inspiration leads to dedication, strive for excellence.


Are we seeing the irony? Perfect attendance got me into MIT but MIT destroyed my perfect attendance. Tomorrow will be the first day in 13 years that I've missed a day of school for something other than a required school field trip. 13 years of perfect attendance is over tomorrow, and it's sad.

"Yellow Submarine" Lego Music Video

'nuff said.