May 24, 2007

Catapult: End of Days

As an engineering project, Dylan and I had to build a catapult, and we decided on a Scoop-A-pult. Our report is here. But, since our project ended a couple of weeks ago, we had to get rid of our catapult, otherwise we'd lose points based on how long it remained in the classroom. Have I mentioned that our catapult weighed 80 pounds?

SO, after school one day, Dylan and I took our catapult to get rid of it. We couldn't figure out what to do with it because neither of our parents wanted it at home and we didn't have cars, so we just took it into our school's auditorium (known as the Pantheon) and set it on center stage, facing towards the audience. We stripped all the pulleys, ropes, and metal parts off of it because they were expensive, but we left the majority of the catapult just sitting there. Mission Accomplished!

The next day after school we walked by the auditorium and saw the catapult sitting in the hall. Mission Not-So-Much-Accomplished. Oh well, we figured we could just leave it in the hall and nobody would mind.


The next day I was hunted down by the theater teacher and told to get rid of the catapult . . . or else.


Dylan and I took the catapult, went outside, and carried it down a flight of stairs towards a courtyard that our school has. We set it near the middle of the courtyard and left it there, figuring that somebody was bound to take it. The next morning, sure enough, we looked outside and it was gone. Mission Accomplished.

Two days ago I walked into my engineering class and the catapult was sitting there.

Mission Not-So-Accomplished v2.0

I couldn't believe it! To use Dylan's analogy, it was like The Mask! It just kept coming back! Apparently, from the courtyard it was taken into the gym (which is nearby). The junior class had a recess the other day (don't ask) and found the catapult to be quite amusing, so they started shooting stuff in the gym. The administration didn't like that, so they hauled it all the way back to the engineering class.

At this point we realized that we couldn't get rid of it. Our teacher told us to rip it apart and throw it away. We decided that that'd be the best course of action, so we whipped out the drill and started taking the screws out, only to find that all the screws were stripped.


CROWBARS! It took 45 minutes, a lot of noise, and some yelling, but in the end, here's what our catapult looked like:

Carnage! It was so fun tearing it apart though! A nice stress reliever, because the end of senior year is stressfull (not academically, more of in a dealing with underclassmen way). We did keep one part of the catapult, the swing arm, which Trevor played with.

Our catapult is now a bunch of wood chunks in a dumpster. God rest its soul.

May 23, 2007

Sprague Wind Ensemble State Recordings

Ok, I promised recordings of our state performance, so here it is. Enjoy!

La Fiesta Pacifico

Homage to Machaut


Research Paper Pile

Yesterday my College Writing class turned in our research papers. What I've discovered about research papers is that no matter how miserable the students were when writing them, it's nothing compared to how miserable the teacher must feel when she sees the stack of papers she has to grade. The following is just the pile from our class, there are two other piles that look exactly like it. She has until June 14th, do you think she'll be able to grade them all?

I'm just glad I don't have to ever see mine again. I like my topic (Scientology), don't get me wrong, it was just a long drawn-out process that is finally over. I may post my paper here, but I'll have to figure out how much danger I'll be in from Scientologists if I do. No sense putting my self in danger! (and no, I'm not kidding about the danger thing)

May 22, 2007

My Stapler

I decided to make a stapler the other day in CAD. Not sure why, figured that I could, so I should. Here's a quick video of it rotating, letting you see all the details.

May 21, 2007

Story from Long Ago

The following is a story from Sophomore year during All-City:

Ok, so it was sophomore year during All-City. Towards the end of All-City (leading up to the concert) we have several all-day rehearsals. These rehearsals can get a bit long, but luckily we get breaks every so often. Well, during one of those breaks, a friend of mine (named Ian) went down into the commons of the school we were in to buy some water. We bought our water and left, passing another fellow clarinet player going the opposite way. Just as we were about to exit the commons we heard a thud, followed by a blood-curdling "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!, subtended with severe beating of a vending machine. Ian and I run back over to the machine to see what happened. You're not going to believe it.

Our friend was simply trying to buy a bottle of milk. This is what the milk machine looked like.

This particular milk machine was empty on the bottom row because obviously milk on the bottom row tastes so much better and people bought it first. The bottom row is indicated here.

Unlike other vending machines which just drop the product into the bottom of the machine, the milk machine actually ejects the milk with quite a bit of force. Here's what prompted the screaming. Our friend paid his $2.00 and selected which bottle of milk he wanted. It was near the top. The machine ejected the milk, which fell to the bottom of the machine at a high velocity.

At the bottom it BOUNCED BACK UP and landed in one of the empty spots on the bottom row! In order for this to have happened, the milk would have had to stay perfectly aligned with the rows as it fell, and had to have been traveling so fast that it could bounce the 5 inches straight back up, and landed perfectly in the bottom row, ready to be sold again. Our friend was miserable. We, however, were laughing absolutely hysterically and to this day still tell this story (which is why I'm blogging it). He spent another $2.00 to get his milk, and this time it didn't bounce back up. I hope it was great milk, because it cost $4.00, but the story was priceless.

May 20, 2007

My New Laptop

Alright, it's official, I know which laptop I'll be getting. My grandma is coming to town on June 7th and we're ordering it then (she's helping pay for it). I'll have it about a week after that.

I'm getting a Dell Latitude D820 with my MIT 12% discount.

I decided to go all out and just put everything into it I could. I figured that I will only have this one chance to get my laptop with this discount and with my grandma's help, so I might as well make it as amazing as possible. Here are some specs (I bolded the important bits):

Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T7600 (2.33GHz) 4M L2 Cache, 667Mhz Dual Core

Genuine Windows Vista™ Ultimate, with media

15.4 inch Wide Screen WSXGA+ LCD Panel


512MB NVIDIA® Quadro NVS 120M TurboCache™

60GB Hard Drive, 9.5MM, 7200RPM

Touchpad with UPEK® Fingerprint Reader

24X CD-RW/DVD for Vista Ultimate

Dell Wireless™ 1390 802.11g Mini Card

Dell Wireless® 350 Bluetooth Module for Vista

9 Cell Primary Battery

Additional 9 Cell Primary Battery

For the full list of specs, check out this website.

What it doesn't have is Microsoft Office for Students 2007, which has OneNote, Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. I'll be buying that separately, along with a 500 gb portable hard drive, BlueTooth mouse, and case. Know what that means? I need a lot of BestBuy gift cards, so if you're so-inclined to purchase me a graduation present (or just a present), make it a blue box with a yellow bow ;)

I'll download SolidWorks shortly after getting my laptop, and then with my new video camera, I will be a modeling and blogging king! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

Jazz Cabaret

This last Friday (the 18th) Sprague High School hosted its 3rd annual Jazz Cabaret and Silent Auction. We had a new venue this year (as opposed to the commons at our school). Our local is known as the "Trinity Ballroom" and was amazing. Bamboo dance floor, brick walls, and chandeliers all around. I got there a bit early to help set up for the auction and get the sound equipment ready. After that it was an evening full of serving drinks and listening to live jazz.

There were three groups performing: The Sprague band, the local middle school band, and then a combo group made up of the directors from the two schools. Here's a nice shot of some of the Sprague band members. . .

And here are Dylan, Emily, and Ethan (my fellow drink servers) deep in thought. Not sure what they're thinking about.

Our director, Mr. Howard, was pressed into service for the Crossler Jazz Band because they were without a bass player. While he was warming up and tuning I took, in my opinion, an incredible picture. Perfect backdrop and everything. He even said that he wished he could go back in time and have it be his senior picture.

I also got a nice picture of Conner Plant playing a tenor sax solo.

And now for the "Michael Snively is a klutz" story. I was collecting empty plates and dirty dishes on my tray about halfway into the evening. As I turned to walk back to the kitchen I got bumped and one of the dessert cups from my tray fell off. It managed to fall in such a way that it poured desert all down the top of my leg in a perfect line of bright red strawberry goodness. I was wearing khakis. I looked down at my leg and sighed. I tried to wipe it off but it was really obvious that the syrup was going to be on my leg for the remainder of the night. Trying to avoid embarrassment, I entered problem solving mode. Soon enough, I got a brilliant idea. The centerpieces of the tables consisted of floating candles and glass sitting on a red square of fabric. I took the red fabric from one of the tables and folded it in half. Then. . .

Voila! Instant waiter attire! I was so proud of myself, you couldn't see the spill at all and I looked very official. I guess I'm just cool like that.

Overall, the evening went very well. A few of us went out afterwards to eat some french fries and pie before I went home and fell asleep almost instantly. I give the evening a 5/5 for coolness.

May 16, 2007

State Band Championships

Last Saturday was the 2007 OSAA State Band Championships. Let's get the nitty-gritty out of the way first: We got 6th place out of 20 schools. Now for the good stuff!

Nintendo DS
Yep, just like I said in the last post, Nintendo DS was designed for bus rides. MarioKart FTW!

Jake's Music "Issue"
State this year was at Oregon State University, and my friend Jake just so happened to be there for a state math competition in the morning. Apparently his music never made it. That was quite the shocking moment when he walked up to our director and said "Mr. Howard, I have no music." Jake is our lead trombone player. No music is a BAD thing! Everybody entered survival/problem solving mode. It was decided that with an extra second trombone part and a score that Jake could quickly write out his music, or at least the key parts, in the half hour we had before our performance. All the trombone players rushed off with scores and began the frantic transcription. Luckily, our favorite people in the world were there. . . Reporters! Reporters are the bane of the band member's existence. We hate them! They are constantly in the way, asking us about if we think we'll win, and taking flash photography at inopportune times. Thank God they found Jake during his moment of crisis. Luckily, nobody told them what was actually happening, so the story they ran looked like this:

A Sprague High School band member makes some last minute notes on his music sheets before the band performs at the OSAA 2007 6A Band State Championships at Oregon State University on Saturday May 12, 2007

My favorite part of the picture is Kevin with his hand over his mouth thinking "Oh My God, What Are We Going To DO!?!?!?"

Luckily it turned out alright and Jake did great, even though half of his performance was muscle memory.

The Performance
Our performance sounded absolutely Amazing! I have the recording of it, I will work on getting it uploaded and will post a new entry when they are available. We played so well that a 6th place finish, honestly, didn't bother us at all. We knew that we sounded just as amazing as any professional recording we had, and that was enough. There was an issue with a jealous saxophone player who thought he was too important to listen to our band director, but we'll skip that story (it'll turn into a long rant). Let's just say, it's the same saxophone player in this post. Here are some candids of us in warm up and on stage!

Sight Reading
The thing that a lot of people don't know about band championships is that the performance on stage is only half the battle. After exiting the performance hall we head directly into a small room where we are handed a brand new piece of music and then play it. We are then judged on how well we can just pick up a piece and read it. Let's just say, sight reading wasn't good this year. We, um, scored quite badly, which contributed to our 6th place A LOT. Meh, whatever, it happens.

Panda Express Part Two:
After our performance we went to, you guessed it, Panda Express, where we got even more fortune cookies. Just like last time, simply add the words "in bed" to the end of each fortune to laugh (a lot).

-You will live a long and prosperous life
-Do not let your instincts run right over your reason
-Accept the next proposition you receive
-You will soon change your present line of work
-You are a fun-loving person and will find much happiness
-You will be successful in your career
-You have an ability to sense and know higher truth
-You savor the challenge of satisfying your high goals
-Get to the nitty-gritty of things in all dealings
-You have an ambitious nature and will make a name for yourself
-A wish will be granted after a long delay

And now, for the funniest one ever:

-You could prosper in the field of wacky inventions

Strange Games
A bunch of people left early to go to prom, but about 10 of us stayed for awards. To kill the several hours before awards, we developed some fun time-passing activities out in the courtyard. One consisted of walking and then just freezing in a strange position as people walked by. Another consisted of pointing and insisting that there was something in a tree, convincing everybody around you to look.

There was a short-ish wall in the courtyard that provided some fun as well. If you perch on the corner you can pretend to be a gargoyle! Also, if you stand on one side of the wall and put your arms behind your back, somebody can stand behind you and stick their arms through yours. That way, the person with their arms behind their back can talk, but the other person is the arms. Apparently I tell good jokes or something, and I had a good hands-partner, because the laughing was uproarious. Good times at the band concert! We all felt VERY mature!

It's tradition that the seniors go up on stage to get the trophy. Before awards, the 4 seniors that were still there planned our approach to the stage. We had this very elaborate plan that, alas, wasn't afforded with a 6th place finish.

While the first place band was on stage, celebrating, we started to leave the auditorium, when we heard the announcer come onto the microphone. He was holding a stool.

"This stool belongs to Sprague High School. If we could have a representative from Sprague please come up and get the stool, that would be great!"

The seniors looked at each other: "YES! WE WON SOMETHING!!!" We all ran against the flow of people to get to the stage, cheering and screaming the whole way. People patted us on the back and congratulated us. When we got to the stage we shoved our way through the winning band to the stool. We grabbed it and held it above our heads, high-fiving each other and jumping up and down. The audience cheered for us and they took our picture. Then we ran out of the auditorium, cheering the whole way. We love that stool, we were so proud! Here are the seniors with our stool. . .

We rock.

After all of this excitement we finally had to head back home. More Nintendo DS, but I also managed choke on some bottled water and almost died. That's not really an exciting story, so I'll skip it. In the end, I had so much fun at State, it was worth not going back for Prom. Yes, Prom conflicted with State, but it worked out in the end.

May 12, 2007

State Symphony Championships

Hi all! Yesterday was the state symphony championships and today is the state band championships. I'd like to take this opportunity to say that the band members of our symphony don't really, well, like symphony. That being said, we did manage to have a very good time. Why?

I've decided that the Nintendo DS was designed for bus rides. There's nothing better than having four people in completely different parts of the bus all screaming at each other and racing around some classic MarioKart tracks. The best is when there's a moment of complete concentration and all racers are completely silent, driving intensely, until something completely ridiculous breaks the concentration and all you hear is somebody shout as loud as they can "WHAT?! A RED SHELL AND A BLUE SHELL!!!!???? THAT'S NOT EVEN FAI- BANANA!?!?!?"

After playing. . .

We were starving, so we wandered around until we found food, and find food we did. I've never eaten at a Panda Express, but I must say that I'm impressed. The food was actually quite good, but the best part fortune cookies. There were 5 of us eating and we discovered that fortune cookies become absolutely gut-wrenchingly hilarious when you add "in bed" to the end of the fortune. Here are the fortune cookies we got last night, I'll let you add the funny bit to the end of each:

-People who expect nothing will never be disappointed
-Don't be hasty, prosperity will soon knock on your door
-You create enthusiasm around you
-You will overcome difficult times
-If you have hope you have everything
-Your road to glory will be rocky, but fulfilling
-Soon, a visitor shall delight you
-New financial resources will soon become available to you
-You will find happiness in mind & heart
-Luck will be yours when you least expect it
-You have found good company - Enjoy
-You will receive some prestigious prize or award

As you can see, we may have bought a few extra cookies just for the sheer joy of laughing.

We decided to head back from Panda Express for awards, but started to realize as we got there that people were flooding out of the auditorium and talking about awards and trophies. Oops, missed awards! We stood there, looked around a bit, and then started asking around. Apparently we took second place in full symphony and string orchestra, so overall it was a good showing. Yay Sprague!

Today is band, we'll see how it goes! I predict a top 3 finish. . .

May 11, 2007

Mario Frustration

Some of the funniest things are often the most innapropriate. "Blue Streak" with Martin Lawrence, "Nothing to Lose" with Martin Lawrence, basically anything with Martin Lawrence.

I found a video online of a guy playing some of the hardest mario levels ever, and he tends to swear. . . a bit. Just a warning before you watch the video, and laugh hysterically.

May 09, 2007

AP Tests Laugh At Me Behind My Back

I've just finished my third and final AP test during the course of my lifetime, and I'd like to reflect about my experiences with AP tests. First off, my school doesn't offer many AP tests, so three is actually a respectable number for anybody at my school. I've taken AP US History, AP Statistics, and now AP Calculus BC.

US History = 3
Statistics = 4
Calculus BC = ?

As you can see, I'm not one of those people that takes 15 AP tests and gets 5's on all of them. In fact, that 3 in history is fairly miraculous considering I'm terrible at history and fudged my way through all the essays, as well as the multiple choice.

But why is the title what it is? Why do AP tests laugh at me behind my back? I discovered today that every AP test I seem to take goes quite smoothly, right until the last question, which proceeds to kick me in the groin, punch me in the face and then run off with my kidney. Honestly, those of you who took stats and APUSH last year know what I'm talking about.

My first AP test ever was Statistics, and that was exciting. I blazed through the multiple choice without a problem. I went through the short answer with relative ease, but know that I have to have missed several small details (because that's what I do). Then I got to the last free response question, NUMBER 6, the really long one that is weighted heavier than the others. It was a monster of a problem, and introduced an entirely new concept to be analyzed, interpreted, and manipulated. It's hard to explain how hard it was, but I'll let the following details help explain:

- People online still complain about Number 6 to this day on forums.
- Teachers are warning their students about last year's problem.
- Average spread at my school for Stats scores is about 15 5's, 25ish 4's and a scattering of 3's and lower. Last year the distribution was 2 5's and 40 4's. That means that everybody that was on track to get a 5 was knocked down by that last question to a 4. It was the weakest showing in statistics scores at my school in years!

Needless to say, I'm still peaved about that question, because statistics was the one AP test that I was pretty much gauranteed to get a 5 in, and I got screwed.

How about US History? What happened there? Well, like I said, I'm not a big history fan, but I will say that I had a fairly decent grasp on everything from the time period of 1800 to 1945. I flip to the last essay which is 45 minutes long, the DBQ (document based question). Here was the topic:

Discuss the changing ideals of American womanhood between the American Revolution (1770’s) and the outbreak of the Civil War. What factors fostered the emergence of “republican motherhood” and the “cult of domesticity”? Assess the extent to which these ideals influenced the lives of women during this period. In your answer be sure to consider issues of race and class. Use the documents and your knowledge of the time period in constructing your response.

40 of us were in the library when we took this test and almost every single person either:

a) groaned
b) sighed
c) smacked their head on the table

Not only did our teacher tell us that women's rights were probably not going to be covered on the test, but these were women's rights that we learned/forgot during the 3rd week of school. THERE WASN'T A SNOWBALL'S CHANCE IN HELL THAT WE REMEMBERED ANY OF IT! Oh, and the prompt even gave us two pieces of jargon that we HAD to use, whether we knew what they meant or not. Lovely. Did I mention that the nearly all the documents were from the American Revolution and not the Civil War?

SO this year was calculus. Again, smoked the multiple choice and kind of waided through the short answer. In fact, it was a lot like statistics, and like statistics, the last question proceeded to bash my brains in. It was material that we "learned" last week and that nobody in the class understood. In fact, we were all joking before the test that it would be amazing if they just left all of those particular problems out. Turns out they didn't.

So here's my dilemma. I had no idea how to do the problem. . . at all. I kinda fudged my way through the first of four parts, but I wasn't even close to correct. The next three parts weren't even imaginably achievable, so I took it as an opportunity to be creative. There were four boxes in which to write the answers to the four parts. The first box had some math scribbled in it out of desperation to get at least 1/9 on the problem. The last three boxes were prime space for Answer Sheet Artwork. Here's what my answer sheet looked like when I turned it in. Oh, the boxes are in this order:


Yep, I drew a comic with stick figures. That question was a complete loss.

THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is how I KNOW that AP tests laugh at me behind my back.

May 05, 2007

Crazy Cool Stunt

I'm not generally a fan of stunts because it makes me slap my forehead with my hand and go "d'oh!" out of frustration. People are generally pretty stupid when it comes to stunts, but I saw something tonight on the Discovery Channel that just amazed me. It was a reverse bungee jump into a BASE jump. Basically, shoot yourself up into the air with a giant rubber band, float in the air completely untethered for a horrifying second or two, and then drop. I dug around on YouTube and found a clip of it to share with you!

Intense, eh?

May 03, 2007

I like what?!

A quick summary of the last minute of my computer class that I'm in now.

The room is quite, everybody typing away and working hard. All of a sudden from the corner of the room we hear:

"I like big butts and I cannot lie, you other brothers can't deny, when a girl walks in. . ." playing really loudly.

Apparently somebody forgot to turn their phone to silent before class and also happens to have the most embarrassing ringtone ever. The class started laughing so hard! Complete silence into Baby Got Back, gotta love it.

Ultimate Nintendo DS Mod

I've shown you the ultimate Nintendo Wii Mod here, and it looks like our favorite modder is back at it with his latest creation: The Ultimate Nintendo DS Mod.

As before, I'm not going to show all the pictures on this entry, but I've set up another site for you to drool over. Just click the following link to view all the pictures.

May 02, 2007

My New Blogging Tool

It's no secret that I like to blog, but several things are holding me back. The first huge obstacle I have is that I blog from a dialup connection, which is kind of a pain. I find ways around it, uploading all my pictures from broadband computers and then blogging from home, or blogging into word documents and then publishing from faster computers, but dialup is definitely a pain. It's a pain that will be remedied next year at MIT when there is wifi everywhere!

Another thing that holds me back is a lack of laptop. A laptop would allow me to liveblog from events, or to blog during class if I get bored. Again, a problem remedied next year at MIT when I'll have my new Dell laptop (graduation present from Grandma!)!

Things that don't hold me back? I have a great Sony Cybershot 6 megapixel camera that I absolutely love. It cost me $100 (which is amazing for 6 megapixels) and is really durable. It's been dropped several times and still works great.

The final blogging tool that I crave (I'm actually getting around to the title of this post now) is a video camera. I want to be able to make videos of the events around me, put them on YouTube, and blog those! Plus, it'll be nice to be able to share the goings-on at MIT with people back home next year, kind of a video diary (I hate the word diary). Guess what my graduation present from my parents is! A Sony Handycam!

Brand new, it just came out in April, and it's kurazy cool. My dad picked it up at Best Buy yesterday and I'm not allowed to have it until June 1st (we're going to record my graduation), but I'm eagerly anticipating making my first video. I've never had a video camera before, nor has my family, it's a first for all of us.

Here's a quick video I find that talks about it. Although the lady mentions a bunch of cameras, the one I get is the one she actually holds up and talks about for quite a while.

40 Gig internal Hard Drive
4 megapixel still camera
2 megapixel screenshot camera (takes a picture while filming)
High-speed camera mode (spreads 3 seconds of film smoothly over 12 seconds)
Infrared filming
Straight to DVD burning capability