June 29, 2007

Oh the Humanity!!!

Recently came upon two brand new Rubik’s Cubes to add to my collection. I brought them to work today so I could demonstrate my mad skillz and give the people who walk by my cubicle something to do. Towards the end of the day I decided to take one of the cubes apart and discovered something that practically blew my mind. . .

Every Rubik’s cube I’ve ever owned has had at least one thing in common: The axel on the inside has always been white. Always.

Well, when I took a couple of pieces off of one of my new cubes today, I was greeted by this sight:

PINK?!?!?! HUH?!?!?! What’s going on?! (btw, fyi, a “!?” is known as an interabang) I thought I had life all figured out when Rubik had to just flip everything upside down and give a Rubik’s cube a pink axel! I finished taking it apart and was left with this:

I was completely caught off guard and didn’t know what to do. I figured I’d take my other new cube apart and see if it was pink or if it had maintained the color of its descendants. I took it apart and saw this:

PURPLE?!?!?! OH MY GOD!!! WHAT IS GOING ON!!??!!?? DID RUBIK’S OUTSOURCE TO THE POWERPUFF GIRLS OR SOMETHING?!?!?! Ok, and all of this is while completely ignoring the fact that the Rubik’s logo is on the yellow sticker instead of the white one. I’m pretty much able to cope with that, but pink and purple axes are completely out of line. I see the world spinning before my very eyes, I’m getting dizzy! The colors, the colors. . .

Some of the best VG music out there

Sorry, not a whole lot of time to chat because my lunch break is almost over. I did, however, find a great video of a Japanese Big Band playing Nintendo music and felt obligated to share.

June 28, 2007

My Summer Schedule

Well, summer has been going on for about 3 weeks now and I realized that I haven’t really shared what I’ve been doing! That’s just unacceptable for an avid blogger such as myself, so here I am to dish out some info on the FAQs about my summer.

MIT has this cool system that makes it mandatory for me to pay $1,500 dollars at the end of the summer towards my tuition. Me, as in not my parents. This particular transaction has to be under my name. I’m guessing that this is to prevent my parents from paying for all of my college and just coasting through without contributing some moolah. That means that I need to do something that earns some money this summer…like get a job. More specifically, I ended up with two jobs.

I applied for (and received) an internship at ODOT (Oregon Department of Transportation). While it may not be printers, Pixar, or satellites, it’s still a decent time and I’m getting paid pretty well. I work full time (8-5, Monday through Friday) and get paid $1,673 every month. I started out with very little to do. It turns out that the office I was placed in only found out that they were getting me the day before I showed up. They had a cubicle for me, but now work. Luckily I have this fancy laptop and was able to keep myself occupied for about the first week. I had to resort to a puzzle book at one point, those were desperate times. This week, my third week of employment, they finally realized that I was doing nothing and decided to remedy it. Before I knew it I had several huge projects dumped on me (enough to last several weeks). This is when I get to talk about the project from hell.

The project from hell is quite complex and will probably be hard to explain, but here’s the just of it. ODOT’s new way of keeping track of finances divides things up into three categories: Pre-Engineering (PE), Right of Way (RoW) and Construction (Constr). ODOT’s old way of keeping track of finances did some of this separation, but never actually grouped it into these three categories. My job is to go through thousands of project listings (all on paper because they neglected to save the spreadsheets that the original records were kept on) and write down all the numbers from these three categories, which are in turn grouped into 6 more categories. These new 6 categories forced me to get creative about organization. I had been using three colored pens for PE, RoW, and Constr, but now I had to sort those too. I dug around the office and found 6 brand new highlighters! I started writing and highlighting and cross referencing and spreadsheeting and crying and complaining and shuffling papers and sorting and calculating. I’ve been doing this for 4 days now and am almost halfway done.

There’s my cubicle with my laptop and my papers and highlighters. I have to go through these charts

and write down numbers (while color-coding)

and then shove all the numbers into several spreadsheets.

It’s laborious, but it pays.

I’m also working at the Carousel again this summer. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned that I work at a Carousel, even though I’ve been working there for over a year now. Funny how these things don’t make it into blogs. I work there on Sundays from 10-6:30.

That means that I work Sunday through Friday and have Saturdays off. It’s a very busy summer! I’m ending all of my working in preparation for college on August 12th. That will be my last day at the Carousel, and my last day at ODOT will be August 10th. I leave for MIT on August 18th. That’s my summer in a nutshell. Anybody else working a lot this summer? Let me know!

A Must Download

About 3 days before school ended I was introduced to a band I’d never heard of and I found that I absolutely loved them. The cool part is that the band’s sound and lyrics are popular with geeks, skaters, stoners, and any other kind of person (except for perhaps emos). I’ve been thinking about how to describe the sound and the flavor of the music. I’ve created a nice little recipe for you:

Take 1 part “Queen”
Mix with 3 parts Transiberian Orchestra
Bake for 7 minutes
Crumble up some popular RPGs (Role Playing Games (Video Games)) and sprinkle on top
Serves everybody!

The name of the band? Dragonforce! One of their songs is all over the internet, so I figure posting it here won’t break all that many copyright laws, seeing as you can go download it somewhere else if you want. Click the pic for the mp3.

In my opinion, the word that best describes this song is “epic.” Honestly, how epic would it be to ride into battle or lead an army with this music blasting in the background? I’m downloading the rest of the album (14 songs) from iTunes this weekend, let me know if you want me to burn you a CD or e-mail you the songs (ssshhhhhhhh, this isn’t illegal!) If I don’t know you, you’ll need to e-mail me your address or leave it in the comments if you want a CD.

This has been your daily bit of culture, courtesy of Michael Snively. Rock on.

June 25, 2007

Bottle Rockets are Dangerous

I am reminded of a tale from my past. I believe that it was the summer between my 8th grade and freshman year. My aunt had a high school reunion and was taking her son (my cousin) with her. The only problem was that the high school reunion was in a town called Lewiston in Idaho, land of the boring. To prevent my cousin (Devon) from going insane from boredom and talking to himself, I was asked/forced to go along. The 6 hour car drive consisted of A LOT of Harry Potter on tape and some napping.

I’d like to take this brief opportunity to warn anybody planning to drive across Oregon and into Idaho that the roads are long, flat, sunny, and dull. There is very little to look at.

We eventually got to Idaho and got all settled into our hotel. Did I mention that this was the Fourth of July weekend? That meant fireworks!

For all of you individuals that don’t live in Oregon, let me explain a little bit about Oregon Firework laws. It’s relatively simple: if it shoots into the air it’s illegal. The result is a hoard of Oregonians ooh-ing and ahhh-ing over ground-blooms and showers of sparks. Oh, and those little snake things, which are AWESOME! Oregonians don’t get roman candles, bottle rockets, or anything that goes up. It’s sad, I know, but we deal. Idaho is a completely different story; they embrace flying balls of sparkling goodness. If you want the best fireworks, we learned, you had to go to Indian reservations, so that’s what we did. We drove all over looking for Indians and eventually, sure enough, found some. They had fireworks! I’ll never forget the name of the firework stand either, it struck me as creative. Ill-Eagle was its name, and it had a picture of a very scary looking bald eagle with fireworks in its mouth. We went crazy and bought a ton of little bottle rockets and flying bee things (those things are SO dangerous) and shooting things and roman candles and just about everything under the sun.

Now, remember, Devon and I had never used a bottle rocket before, so we didn’t quite know what to do. We assumed that you put the bottle rocket in a, shocker, bottle. That would keep it up right and give it a place to shoot from. I urge you to take a look at the title of this entry really quick. Perhaps, if you’d like, you can modify it to “Bottle Rockets Shot from Bottles are Dangerous.” Here’s what happened:

We took all of our fireworks to a huge gravel pile (we’re talking 50 feet tall, 60 feet long and wide) and got ready to light a bunch off. We started with some fire crackers, which were exciting. We realized that they were great for blowing stuff up with. Then, we moved on to bottle rockets. We decided that if the rocket was in the bottle you’d be able hold the bottle and kind of aim it where you want it to go. We put the rocket in the bottle so it looked like this:

As you can see, there are several things wrong with this. The first is that the only thing keeping the rocket from falling into the bottle is the fuse. Guess what goes away when you light a bottle rocket . . . the fuse! The second thing wrong is the fact that the body of the bottle is much bigger than the neck, so when the rocket falls into the bottle it can fire but won’t necessarily leave the bottle. I think most people know what bottle rockets do eventually after firing (they explode).

Ignoring all of this, I held the bottle and lit the rocket. It took about 3 seconds before all of these rather dangerous realizations made themselves known to me and I entered “Oh My God, this is SO not safe!” mode. Not knowing what to do, I just dropped the bottle and ran.

Bad idea.

The bottle fell, and in a twist of fate comparable to the worst game of spin the bottle known to mind, managed to spin on the gravel until the neck of the bottle was aimed right at me. I had no idea, mind you, because I was running away as fast as I could. Devon was somewhere else just laughing hysterically, stupid Devon. Suddenly the fuse was gone and the bottle rocket fired. Luckily, it didn’t get stuck in the bottle. Unluckily, the bottle was still aimed right at me. The rocket shot from the bottle, skipped along the ground, and slammed right into my leg. Realizing that this was REALLY not a good thing, I started running to my left and the bottle rocket went to the right. When we were about 10 feet away from each other it exploded, graciously avoiding blowing my foot off.

Overall, a very enlightening/terrifying experience. I know now that you just shove the stick from the rocket into the ground and light it off that way. It’s much safer.

I hope you enjoyed laughing at my expense, I know I do.

June 22, 2007

Kelly James Fredinburg

Kelly James Fredinburg was remembered Thursday as a dedicated husband, father, son, brother, friend and deputy.

More than 1,000 people filled the Salem Armory Auditorium; hundreds more lined a procession route in his honor and scores of officers stood at attention for a final goodbye to the the Marion County sheriff's deputy.

Fredinburg, 33, is the first Marion County deputy to die in the line of duty. He lost his life Saturday night in a head-on crash on Highway 99E near Gervais while responding as backup to a physical dispute. A 19-year-old passenger in the other car also died.

Dozens of law enforcement agencies from around the state and the Northwest sent representatives to salute one of their own.

The service

Inside the Salem Armory Auditorium, during a two-hour, 15-minute memorial service, Fredinburg's family, colleagues and friends described a man who had achieved what he wanted most -- to be a cop.

"He served with pride, dignity and distinction," Marion County Sheriff Raul Ramirez said. "We at the sheriff's office were proud to serve with Kelly.

"The loss impacted all of us who knew him a little or a lot."

Several of Fredinburg's family members, including his wife, sister, brother and father, took turns at the podium and shared funny stories and memories.

His wife, Chris, a former law enforcement officer herself, read from "A Deputy's Prayer," interjecting examples of how her husband lived up to the prayer's requests of courage, strength, dedication and concern.

Several fellow deputies shared professional and personal stories about Fredinburg, who started his law enforcement career with the Polk County Sheriff's Office. He joined the Marion County Sheriff's Office in 2006.

A theme throughout the testimony was that Fredinburg -- the man with the goofy smile and red cheeks -- would have wanted everyone to laugh on this day, not cry.

He would have been pleased, because there were as many chuckles as there were tears.

Several dignitaries attended the service, including Gov. Ted Kulongoski, Marion County Deputy District Attorney Walt Beglau and several Marion County judges.

"He was doing what was in his heart," Chaplain Todd Pynch said. "He was going to back up someone in need."

Many of the officers in attendance wore a shroud -- a black band -- over their badges.

"Kelly has truly touched so many lives," Polk County Sheriff Bob Wolfe said before asking the crowd to stand and give Fredinburg a round of applause "for a job well done and doing it right."

Linda Adams, a teacher at Judson Middle School, attended the service because she wanted to show support to Fredinburg's wife and his daughter, who's a student at the school. Adams said the sheer volume of law enforcement present was overwhelming.

"They do a great service for us and protect us. We need to give them that support," Adams said.

The service wrapped up with a video tribute that included photos of Fredinburg as a baby and of him as a father cuddling his two daughters.

The procession

As early as 2:30 p.m., well wishers were lining streets along a 10.5-mile procession route from the Armory to downtown Salem and then southeast to the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training.

Even with the procession starting nearly an hour late, people of all ages dotted 17th Street NE between Sunnyview Road and State Street.

At 17th and Grant streets NE, scarcely two blocks from the procession's inception, Susan Moss and Audrey Broeke walked their dogs from nearby and awaited the spectacle, which drew hundreds of patrol cars from departments in almost every corner of the state.

"This is something different, a lot like a parade, but with a lot more meaning to it," Moss said.

"I don't normally like going to funerals," Broeke added. "But I'll pay respects and watch as it goes by; that's the least I can do."

Across the street Gail Coulson and her daughter Joy and son Zachary had walked over from 18th Street NE.

"We wanted his wife and children to know that we appreciated the sacrifice," Coulson said, holding back tears. "It just seems so senseless ... and that poor man who was trying to help him -- I can't imagine."

Many along the route shared Coulson's sentiments.

"I felt so sorry from reading that article about that young man who tried to rescue him," said Ellen Holden, holding back tears, from a shady perch on a rock at the 17th and Grant intersection. "Oh, what nightmares he is going to have."

Susan Hegdal of north Salem agreed.

"When I read this morning about how that 22-year-old guy tried to save him, I thought about how he's going to have such a scar with him," said Hegdal, who witnessed the procession from 17th and C streets. "If only he had a fire extinguisher. I would have been thinking the same thing."

Further south at 17th Street and Nebraska Avenue NE in front of Englewood Church, Lynnette Yoder sat on the corner with her three kids Grant, Allie and Elijah and nephew, Zion.

"My husband (Mike Yoder) is at the funeral," Yoder said. "He works in corrections and asked that we come here and show our respect. It is really important to their dad that they see this."

In the span of a few minutes, Yoder had informed several inquiring passerby's of the procession, a few of whom stopped to pay their own respects.

"I heard about it from that lady, and I actually saw people with the flags," said David Moraga, who stopped with his girlfriend to watch. "It's part of the patriotic spirit, you know? With law enforcement, they protect us so we should show our respect."

In front of the Capitol, unaware of the upcoming procession, a woman read the bible in Russian into a microphone. The Bible Reading Marathon of Salem, which began at 6 a.m. Wednesday and will end at 3 p.m. Saturday, is an 8-year-old, non-stop event traditionally held there.

The blaring narrative was clear to pedestrians rounding the block to Court Street NE. Queny Ekpezu, an event coordinator, didn't know about Fredinburg's death or the procession.

Because the marathon is supposed to be continuous, he said, the group would lower the volume but not silence the reading as the procession passed.

When the procession reached the Capitol, workers from inside the building overtook the steps. The crowd on the sidewalks stood up and leaned over the curb with hands clasped behind backs to watch the somber motorcade.

From across the street, the reading became inaudible.

But Ekpezu changed his mind.

"We stopped totally to pay respect to the deputy. I think it was the wise thing to do," Ekpezu said.

"I felt it is a loss. He was serving his community."

At the normally busy intersection of Lancaster Drive and State Street, Deedra Harp couldn't come alone for the procession.

She was on the sidewalk near the Walgreen's parking lot with her three children and her mother.

"My heart hurts," Harp said, fighting tears. "My uncles were police officers. I took everything and put it aside to be here."

Harp had a message for the Fredinburgs.

"God bless his family, from the Harps," she said.

A few blocks away at State Street and 49th Avenue SE, Bend police officer Eric Hagan waited patiently. He'd made the almost three-hour trip on his motorcycle from Bend to Salem Thursday morning.

It was worth it.

"It feels good to see there's a camaraderie and brotherhood," Hagan said. "Although we don't work in the same agency, we understand -- we have the same job."

The final radio call

The procession concluded with a ceremony at the Oregon law enforcement training facility, where bagpipers and drummers from the Portland Highland Guard slowly played and led in the hearse and family vehicles on foot.

A REACH air ambulance hovered above, making several fly-bys while mounted officers from a joint law enforcement posse stood at attention at the top of a hill overlooking the ceremony.

Sheriff Ramirez said a prayer for Fredinburg and asked for a moment of silence.

"Never forget our fallen brother," Ramirez said.

An urn containing Fredinburg's remains was placed before a memorial dedicated to fallen law enforcement members. Officials said Fredinburg's name will be added to the wall.

Bagpipes played "Amazing Grace" and the joint honor guard presented a gun salute. A bugler closed the ceremony with taps.

Over a loudspeaker system, police radio emergency dispatchers relayed a final radio call as a special announcement to Fredinburg's badge number, 185.

"Salem dispatch to Alpha 185."


"Salem dispatch to Alpha 185."

"Alpha 185, end of shift."


"Gone, but not forgotten."

The Motorcade Passing the Capital

June 20, 2007


MIT has a a series of cool programs proceeding the school year called the "Freshman Pre-Orientation Programs" or FPOP (because everything at MIT is an acronym). There's an application process (which of course involves essays) for each program. Some of the essays are quite entertaining though! I applied for several FPOPS, which included Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Kayaking, and Leadership. I found out today that I was accpeted to one! And it was my first choice! YAY!

Which one?


Rat Trap Car

Back during first semester of last year my engineering class was asked to build a self-powered car with the following features:

• Had to be self powered
• Had to fit in a 1’x1’x1’ cube
• Had to be able to drive 10’, stop, and then fire a marble 10’ into a garbage can

After building a car to these specifications we then had to

• Render it using Autodesk Viz
• Animate it shooting a marble
• Make a video of the actual car completing a test run
• Film it up close while firing.

Here’s my account:

I had a nifty piece of Plexiglas that I wanted to use for the base because it was light. I drilled holes in the four corners, bolted on some I-bolts, threaded dowels through the bolts, and then attached wheels to the ends of the dowels. The next step was to drill a small hole through the Plexiglas near the front. The plan was to mount two rat traps to the top of the platform: one for power and one for shooting the marble. I’ll explain how each worked.

Power Rat Trap
A small nail was put into the back axel. A piece of fishing line was attached on one end to the rat trap and was tied in a loop on the other end. The loop was placed around nail in the axel. When the axel was turned it pulled the rat trap back, ready to be released. When the rat trap is released, it unwinds the back axel, propelling the car forward. When the line runs out, the loop simply slips off the nail and the car continues to coast forward under its own momentum. Here’s a quick video that demonstrates this whole process:

Marble Shooting Rat Trap
Before discussing the role of the second rat trap it’s important to explain how the car stops after ten feet. A string was attached to the front axle. The other end was threaded up through the small hole near the front of the Plexiglas I talked about earlier. Now I can describe the marble shooter. It consisted of a bottle cap attached to a mousetrap. The mousetrap was set and the marble placed in the bottle cap. When the trap snapped the marble was shot forward. What snapped the trap? The string attached to the front axle. One end is attached to the front axle and the other end is threaded up through the base and tied to the trigger. When the string is pulled taught after wrapping around the front axle it pulls the trigger and fires the marble. I’ll try to draw a picture in Paint that demonstrates what happens.

So now the car goes, stops, and fires marbles. The last step was aiming the marbles at the garbage can. That was up to trial and error, adjusting the angle of the bottle cap. Here’s a video of a successful run:

Here’s the close-up of it firing:

Then it was time to do the computer bit. Here are some pictures of the rendered car.

June 19, 2007


Finally! A Graduation Blog! Graduation day (June 8th 2007) was absolutely insane! So much happened, it just wouldn’t be fair to try to describe it. Soooooooo . . . I used my new video camera to make a little movie that covers the day’s events. The first video is the time spent leading up to graduation, and before you skip it because you think it’ll be boring, just know that you’ll be skipping night vision, grand theft auto, high speed chases, and near deadly senior antics in the middle of the street.

Didn’t that look like fun?! Ok, after our screaming at cars experience, we ran back over to the line we had been waiting in for 3 and a half hours so we could be let into the stadium. In case you didn’t catch it from the video, seating on the field is first come first serve, and if you have a specific spot in mind, you need to get their early to nab it.

The gate to the field was supposed to open at 8, but come 8:05 it still hadn’t opened. Everybody was getting antsy and we were ready to go. Soon they opened the gate, but we still weren’t allowed to go in because they were letting the kids with disabilities in first (so that they could have seats near the front). There were two teachers and our head security officer (Mr. Tomlin) at the gate, and another security guy farther up the line. While the security guy farther up the line was telling everybody not to move the chairs and to not break anything when they ran to get their seats, Trevor, Dylan, and I were poised to begin the sprint for our seats. The only problem is that we didn’t know who was going to say go or when it was going to happen, so we were getting nervous. Then, Mr. Tomlin walks by me and as he walked by he leaned over and whispered into my ear “Run Snively, just run!” That was all it took! I clapped Dylan on the shoulder and yelled “Let’s go!” and we booked it. I mean, seriously, we’d never run that fast ever! Dylan, Trevor, and I were the first to the seats and we dumped our stuff all over an entire row (to save it for more friends who were farther back in line). That was it, we were ready for rehearsal to begin. I’ll spare you the bore of rehearsal, but I will say that instead of marching in to “Pomp and Circumstance” we marched in to the “Imperial March” from Star Wars. That was SO cool! After rehearsal it was time to go home, entertain some family who came to graduation, get dressed and head off to graduate. That’s where this next video comes in.

Before we start, however, I’d like to mention another tradition at our school. The seniors sneak inflatable beach balls into commencement every year so that we have something to play with between all the speeches and name calling. This year was no exception. When you enter staging for commencement they make you give them your cap and gown, which they proceed to shake. They then check you for any visible bulges. If you’re clean then you get to put our gown on and wait to graduate. I found about a gazillion ways around this system, and thus managed to get 9 beach balls and 2 inflatable dolphin rafts into graduation. The 9 beach balls were on my person, smashed flat under some Under Armor shorts and some baggy khaki pants. The dolphin smuggling was a bit more covert. There was no way to sneak them in on me, so I had to organize a hand-off. The graduates walk right by the band on the way to their seats, so I gave a percussionist a small packaged that contained two dolphins, wrapped in masking tape. As we marched by he just pulled it out of the cymbal bag, held it under the roped off area, and Dylan grabbed it, hid it under his robes, and got it all the way to our seats. If you watch in the next video, towards the end of the processional clip, you can see a percussionist look back at us to make sure we’re coming. It was a beautiful thing! Enjoy the next video (it's long, and streams from CCTV. I talk at 23:00)

Graduation Video

So that was graduation, it was a blast! The one bit of advice I have for everybody graduating is to have fun and not be stiff. Graduation happens once, never regret what you do or don’t do during it.

Did I Mention We Name Our Trees?

As you may or may not know, I live on 5 acres of land comfortably somewhere between everyday life and the middle of nowhere. We have tons of trees on our place, but there are a few that hold a special significance to us, so we decided that we needed a way to remember them and how we got them. The best way to do this, we decided, was to name them. So, without further delay, here are our trees, their names, and why we like them.

Stuart Little

This is Stuart Little. He got his name because he used to be quite small, but one year just exploded and is now quite large. You’ll note that he has a face because he’s the personality of all the trees.

Blazer Tree

This little guy is named “Blazer Tree” because we got him at a Blazer game almost a decade ago. They were handing out small sticks wrapped in plastic because it was “Free Tree” night at the Rose Garden. While most people threw their trees away, we took ours home and planted him. His growth was stunted quite a bit, because as you can see he’s still only about 3-4 feet tall. I can’t help but wonder how many other Blazer Trees are still alive?

Eileen and Tim

We have some family friends named Tim and Eileen who gave us some baby trees one day, so after they grew up to be nice big trees we decided to name them after their parents, Tim and Eileen.


This is my tree! He’s a Giant Sequoia and only about 5 years old. He started out tiny, maybe 2 feet tall, and is now pushing fifteen feet tall. We planted him in a spot that wouldn’t pose any type of threat over the next couple hundred years because we want him to grow just as big as any redwood or sequoia in California. He’s doing great!

So those are our trees. No, I’m not weird for naming my trees, everybody should do it!

June 18, 2007


The end of senior year provided me with some shinies, which I'd like to show you. Some are serious, some are funny, and others are just plain shiny! We have them all spread out over our dining room table. I’ll show you pictures, but I won’t list them, because that’s a little bit too conceited. Here are my winnings:

Booyah Hill

Recent events have made me realize that a Booyah Hill account was in order. What's a "Booyah Hill?" Well, as you turn right into our school parking lot, there is a huge/massive/immense hill in front of you. It's known as Booyah Hill because when you go down it on a skateboard (if you're an idiot) there's really nothing you can yell but "BOOOOOOOYAH!" *crunch!*

Any skateboard attempt usually results in either smacking into a car, the ground, or a tree. Hey, at least there are options!
In 1997 a tradition amongst Sprague High School seniors began. Towards the end of each year, the Sprague seniors sneak onto the hill at night and paint the year of their graduation in huge letters. Every year since then you could expect to see some type of orange and yellow artwork on the street. It’s so big that satellites can see it when they do imaging for Google Maps.

As you can see, the class of 2000 is located higher up on the hill and the class of 2005 is located in bigger writing about midway down the hill. As you look even closer, below the class of 2005 is the mark from the class of 2002. It’s a tradition at our school, senior love to do it. Unfortunately, there was an issue last year (class of 2006). It seems that instead of just adding to the previous years, they decided to start with a clean slate. By clean slate I mean they painted the entire street white. All white. With Latex-based paint. Bad!!!

Everything in that rectangle was painted white, and the paint was slow-drying and slick. Drivers started to complain about sliding down the hill and paint flecking off the street and hitting their cars. Members of the class of 2006 were caught on another night finishing the painting and arrested. They were forced to pay to repave the road and were made examples for the rest of us. From then on out, during every senior assembly we were threatened upon pain of death not to paint the road. We were threatened with fines, felonies, and diploma withholding. We pretty much gave up on Booyah hill. Then, all of a sudden, the following newspaper article got published:

Click here for the article.

Wow, that was fun to talk about the next day! We spent a good part of the day trying to figure out who this anonymous 17 year old girl was, but rest assured that we did figure out who it was. Her story was slightly more detailed than the article, but I think I’ll keep it to myself because that’s not the most important part of the story. The most important part is what happened next. On June 11th, this article appeared in the newspaper:

Click here for the article.


After all the hype of the car chase and the felony, the cops let down their guard and some Sprague seniors still managed to paint the hill. The cops are, as to be suspected, perturbed. Luckily, everybody has their bases covered. The school can say they didn’t condone it, the cops caught the student who instigated it, and the rest of the kids who finished, well, their identities are a secret. I could tell you who it was, but then I’d have to kill you! Oh, and a quick side-note, you’ll notice the chunk of road that’s newly paved. That’s the entire area that was painted white. Yeah, it was a lot of white paint. Also, you’ll note in the caption of the picture in the article they define “Booyah”. The newspaper doesn’t seem to know exactly why it says “Booyah”, but now you do!

So, that’s the story behind Booyah Hill. A tradition that is becoming more and more epic as the years progress!

June 17, 2007

My Brand New Laptop!

I figured that my first post from my brand new laptop should be made from, *gasp*, my brand new laptop! That’s why even though I received my laptop on Monday the 11th I was, unfortunately, unable to post until today (no internet at my house, I had to go on a Wi-Fi hunt).

I’d like to start off by complimenting Dell on their quick build and delivery times! I ordered my laptop the evening of Thursday the 7th, meaning that they built and shipped my laptop by Saturday. Then, through the miracle that is DHL, it was sitting in a big brown cardboard box on my front doorstep on Monday.

This was after my first day at my new job (I’ll blog about that later) and I was exhausted. In fact, as we turned down our driveway, I mentioned to my mom that I was highly considering just going to bed the instant got inside the house (it was 6:15 pm). That was before I saw the box on the front doorstep. I leaped out of the car, ran over to the box, and then just wandered around the house hugging it for a while. I eventually opened it, believe it or not. This is what I saw:

I soon plugged it in, and booted it up. It was quite possibly the best thing I’d ever seen in my life. Here’s what greeted me:

The only problem was that I ordered software and a mouse to come with the laptop and they hadn’t arrived yet. That meant no word processor, spreadsheet, OneNote, or Minesweeper (it’s REALLY hard to play Minesweeper without a mouse). I made due however buy finding an old mouse lying around in my house, allowing me to do some standard “new laptop” things.

I had a bunch of video from graduation that needed editing and compiling, so I started off by doing that. Now, on my old desktop PC, something like this would have been nearly impossible. Adding sound, transitions, and effects to 30+ minutes of video was like a death sentence. New laptop? It took it in stride, even managing to play music for me with Windows Media Player. I copied a bunch of videos and music to my new portable hard drive (I’ll blog about that later too) and soon discovered that through the miracle that is High-Speed USB I can play videos and music straight from the hard drive with no lag at all! Have I mentioned that I absolutely love this computer?! Here’s a quick shot at the specs:

Yesterday I arrived home only to see two more boxes sitting on my front doorstep. SOFTWARE AND MOUSE!!! The boxes were actually quite funny. Here’s what I mean, check out this box:

Big box, right? The Rubik’s cube is there for scale (because honestly, what else would I use to measure all things against?).

Now, look at this mouse:

It’s beautiful, I know. It’s got an aluminum back, four-way scrolling, and four buttons. Did I mention that it’s Bluetooth so there are no wires connecting it to my laptop?

Now, look at the box and the mouse together.

That small mouse came in that huge box, and the mouse was the only thing in it! I laughed. So, I unpacked both the mouse and the software

Here’s the happy trio, doing their part to make my laptop the most amazing bit of electronic gear I’ve had in my entire life. I’m in g33k heaven. Bring it on MIT, even if you do kick my butt, I’ll be the bloggingest kicked butt ever!

June 09, 2007

I'm graduated!

First off, I'd like to explain why I deleted my Facebook account. With the creation of the "Top Friends" list, fortune cookies, and embedding videos, I've decided that Facebook has become too much like MySpace. I joined Facebook with reservation and only to talk to future classmates. Now that Facebook has grown out of control, I dumped it, I don't want to have to deal with a site that's going to slip into the land of emo sophomores. I'll continue to blog regularly and you can always get to me through this blog. I read every single comment, they are all automatically e-mailed to me. I hope deleting my account doesn't bug anybody, because I just had to do it. Now, to my regularly scheduled blog entry.

This entry is kind of a continuation of the last one. It's to the point now where I REALLY want to blog what's been going on lately, but I simply don't have the ability! I have all sorts of pictures, videos, and ideas for great jokes, but dial up internet and the computer I'm using simply can't handle the amount of media and editing I'm going to need. So, here's my plan: My new laptop was shipped today. I should get it midway through next week. Once I get it I will compose and organize all my pictures and videos (edit edit edit) and funny jokes into blog entries.

On Saturday I will try to find some Wifi in this great city (Salem) of mine and upload all the videos to YouTube. On Sunday I'll actually post entries during lunch and you will experience a flush of backlogged entries from the last week or so. Until then, I'm sorry, I have very little to post, but I will tell a joke I recently heard and I'll show you a couple of pictures from my graduation.

What does DNA stand for???
National Dyslexia Association.

Presenting my speech to almost a thousand people. That was really fun!

It's tradition to sneak beach balls in. I smuggled in 9 beach balls and 2 inflatable dolphins.

Man this Valedictorian medal is heavy!!!

June 06, 2007

Yes, I'm alive

Alright, a forray into "Understand Michael Snively" land is in order. Towards the end of every school year I slip into my "just finish Michael, just get to the end" shell. I stop using the internet and start organizing my affairs (debts, tickets, events, slideshows, responsibilities). What happens when I stop using the internet?! No blogging, and I'm very sorry. Fortunately, there's good news!

I'm ordering my new laptop tonight!!! That means uber blogging and a happy Michael. Oh, and did I mention that I got my brand new video camera last friday?! It's amazing, I've been filming a bunch of stuff to show you all when I get a chance. Here's a sneak peak at what you're in for in the coming weeks:

Coverage of our awesome band banquet
Coverage of the senior awards banquet
A play-by-play of my last day at school.
Coverage of graduation.
Talking about my new job with ODOT (Oregon Department of Transportation)
Blogging about my laptop, with my laptop!
Probably some ranting about how cool my laptop is!
The MIT Housing lottery

So there it is folks, that's what's coming! I'll be blogging soon enough, so while not reading my blog just relax, enjoy the end of school, and have a good day. Oh, and did I mention that today was my last day of high school!? It was soooo nice, *sigh*