When Christmas spirit pours from
Everywhere. And how!
It's been pretty amusing to watch the transformation in stores. Some started Christmas in October, and it seems like prices are getting slashed in anticipation of the holiday season even more rapidly this year, probably due to the fact that consumer spending is expected to drop dramatically. I just read an article in the New York Times about Saks Fifth Avenue and how they're cutting some of their prices up to 80% already. Amazing.
I haven't actually done any Christmas shopping yet, myself, but it's looking like a pretty easy season. The internet now offers more gifts than ever, and I have some extra time to spend making creative gifts (i.e. spending less money). :)
I was pretty excited today; I busted out my Jack Skellington earmuffs for the first time this season and got lots of compliments on them. :D Winter is a fun season to dress for, haha. I'm also excited because I was talking to one of the guys from Dresden who was on the CC team, and he has promised to send me a Christmas care package with more chocolate. What he wants in exchange is... barbecue sauce?
Classes are winding down, which is nice. One of my profs has canceled all his lectures for next week, and I had two classes with him, so that frees up my schedule a lot. I also won't be (I don't think) teaching the lab that I generally teach, since there won't be any new work to do. The only nagging thing for me now is calculus. It seems like that work never ends. I can't say that I'm terribly excited about Calc IV next semester, but we'll see how it goes. Hopefully we'll be learning a lot more; I feel like this term I didn't pick up a lot of new material from 311. Meh.
Oh, did you hear that "meh" was added to the dictionary? It's a very recent thing. I was pretty excited. :3
Anyway, that's about all for the moment. I have calculus to do!
To Seattle? Or am I
Destined for elsewhere?
I just got a response from MS, and it turns out that both teams that I interviewed with have extended internship offers to me for next summer So..I could definitely go out to Seattle and make monies like I need to, if I want. But I desperately want to intern abroad! I need an opportunity, like, now...
Also over the weekend was ridiculous amounts of working on the programming project due yesterday. Instead of building a game, we were instructed to build a game builder, which was... er... complicated. During our presentation, my team didn't choke as badly as I expected, haha.
Oh, man! The VP debates! I haven't had a chance to comment on them yet. I was fairly impressed with Palin. Not impressed in such a way that I'd want her to be the VP of my country, but from what I'd seen of her previously she was totally incapable of forming coherent sentences. She did a pretty fair job of that in the debate. Her issue was, instead, that she only had a few answers, and there were more than a few questions. So she continually fell back on things that she new that were laughably unrelated to the queries at hand. There were a few things that I learned about Biden, too. I have to admit that I was woefully undereducated on their positions at the start of the debate. But I didn't realize that he was opposed to gay marriage. I'm actually not sure that he is, even though he said that; his phrasing seemed to imply that he actually understands that there should be a separation of church and state. Wow! It's like our founding fathers designed it that way!
I spent a nonnnegligible amount of time working to get ready for my visitors next weekend, too. Shopping! Woot! And I found a place to get free-range turkey for the thanksgiving dinner I'm setting up. I'm so excited! And I just got wind of an interesting opportunity for Saturday night shenanigans when they arrive. Wouldn't want them to think that BTown is boring. ;) I've actually managed to convince myself of that this semester; it's kinda nice.
Oh, and what up with this bizarre heat wave? 80 degrees is way too hot for October.
Where is my city?
The Midwest has so little.
I can't wait to fly.
And school is started. So much work! I was sad, but I didn't try out for the Spanish play. It would just be too much, I think. :( This grad class is keeping me on my toes, for sure.
But there's still time to kill on weekends. And it's a total bummer that there isn't much to do around here. I miss all the crazy stuff that happened in and around San Francisco all the time. There isn't really an audience for it here, though. I talked to Kam about a thing Evan had mentioned to me: a rave in the forest called "Dance of the Primes." His comment? "You know, Val, if we had a 'Dance of the Primes,' nine people would show up and six of them would be wearing capes."
I want to get something like that started for Btown, though. Just, you know, anything really cool. The dance party last year ("People are Still Having Sex") was a lot of fun; I hope that it happens again in the not-too-distant future. I think our first comedy club is opening sometime soon.
The career fair was yesterday. It's amazing the looks you can get from people if you dress sharp. I walked around with my friend Stuart (or maybe Stewart, I don't actually know), who was in a nice suit with a tie and all, and I was wearing my suit, and we got pulled over by the NSA and some other people. It was exciting. I actually got an email today from Microsoft offering an interview. I wonder if I'll do it? I mean, it can't hurt to practice technical interviews, eh? Plus that's kind of cool.
What is it? Political
Squalor. And unresolved.
Today marks the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. And what? We still have a useless administration? Oh, terrific. At least November is on its way.
Anyway, I'm keeping busy. Homework is piling up like crazy, as are funsies (parkour, Math Club, etc.). Oh, social calendars!
I'm really enjoying the math courses I'm taking. Evan totally made me a nerd. But I'd be lying if I said I'm not having fun proving things about matrices. :)
Animal, the tastier
It is grilled. Me: Oh.
Talk about culture shock. I went to RibAmerica with my folks today (well, technically yesterday, now), and it was a trip. The sheer... midwestern-ness of it astonished me. There were some things I was okay with: the, like, twelve different booths harping their award-winning barbecue were pretty cool (I tried the BBQ sauce at several, and I have to say that it was delicious). The booth devoted to grilled, butter-dipped sweet corn, which had one of the longest lines at the event, was pretty quaint. And their corn was awesome.
No, it was Ted that did it. And he's from Detroit! I guess that counts as the Midwest. Anyway, I had multiple crazy laughing fits during his concert. A few things that set them off:
Ted: *raises two machine guns from nowhere into the air high above his head* ...and we should give machine guns to every child! And to skinny girls, too! Fat bitches can reload 'em. Gotta keep them busy! And I know you're wondering, "does Ted have a permit for giving machine guns to kids?" Well, I got your permit right *drops the machine guns and flips the bird* HERE!!! That's for you, Obama!
Drunk guy next to me: *shakes my shoulder* This part is AWESOME!! Watch!
Ted: *wearing a ridiculous Native American headdress, pulls a hunting bow from behind a speaker, loads it, sets the arrow on fire, poises his white guitar across the stage, and proceeds to shoot it* I sacrificed my Great White Buffalo!
Drunk guy next to me: RIGHT IN THE X!! YEAH!!!
Ted: And I love huntin' season! The cuter the animal is, the tastier it is when you grill it! That's why I love vegetarians; vegetables are fuckin' ugly and that's all those sonuvabitches eat! *continues talking about killing animals*
Ted: Now they don't know it yet, but all my boys (he was talking about the players, sound guys, etc. for his band) have 12-gauge, riot shotguns waitin for 'em at the end of the night! Because I think that with more guns and ammunition, they'll do an even more kickass job!
In addition to those times, it was pretty excellent to hear him adlibbing his own songs to include lines about BBQ. Bahahahahaha!
Oh, the Midwest.
How Bloomington sits, awaits
School with bated breath.
Now that I've been in here for a week, I've finally grown accustomed to the rhythm of this town. As the last freshmen are moved in and the moving trucks are driven away, it's settling back into what it really is: the #5 party school in the nation (according to Playboy). It's interesting. Watching all these silly kids walking around, trashed, in the middle of the afternoon, I've had some ample time to wonder about things like our drinking age and why it's so high (I feel like that leads to more people binge drinking during their early years of college because they simply haven't been taught how to drink responsibly), as well as what it is that makes some parents try to control their kids' lives to such an extent that college is a time when they simply go crazy. I'm glad that my maw and paw saw fit to let me gradually take control of my own time. It's helped me immensely since starting college.
Things in this apartment are slowly working themselves out, too. I feel like we're not all around very much, but I guess that's okay. Post-its and whiteboards have become useful means of communication. Maybe we'll settle in together a little more once school starts for real.
Anyway, my adventure for today is that Ted Nugent concert. \m/ Rawk!
Some far more notably so,
Others seem inert.
I went to a breakfast this morning with WIC (Women in Computing), and was then whisked away to a little seminary thingy held for the direct admit kids to CS and Informatics. It was pretty interesting. I guess I have a little bit of a different perspective on things after spending the summer in Cali, but once I got back into talking with Suzanne and Laura it felt like I hadn't left. I'm super excited about a few things now:
1) Being a UI for the Goofy Giggles class! I talked to Prof. Brown today about it briefly, and he seems excited to have me. Working for him last summer was great, so I'm assuming that this experience will be as good.
2) The Cluster Challenge in Austin! Laura informed me that it is, indeed, going to happen, and that I'm welcome to participate. Should be a lot of fun. Except it's getting restructured this year, I guess. I liked the format last year (learning all the random interesting things about supercomputing was great), but I guess this year we're in it to win it. Hmm.
3) Tae Kwon Do! I just changed my schedule so that I'm in Tae Kwon Do instead of Yoga. I feel like it will better suit my tastes, perhaps.
4) The Putnam! It's been a long time since I've done real, interesting math. I noticed this when I was going through the book Evan got me for my birthday (A Mathematical Mosaic, Ravi Vakil). I hope that I do better than average, but average on this exam is a 0, and I'm pretty sure I can get at least a point someplace. We shall see!
5) Parkour/getting back into shape! Jeff said that he'd be interested in trying out parkour-y things with me. Plus I need to lose all this fat that I got from the friggin amazing food at Google. Which shouldn't be hard since I'm living on a student budget now!
6) Cooking! I realize that this is in direct conflict with my last item, but I don't care! I just got a new set of pots and pans from Gram & Gramps, and I can't wait to use them for the first time. Hopefully this weekend!
Anyway, back to productivity (or some rendition thereof). I have to finish some stuff up before I go laking this afternoon. ;)
At last, internet!
But I can live without it,
Er…umm… well, kind of.
The Comcast guy finally appeared today to connect 664 to the Interwebs. It was pretty damned inconvenient to not have internet in our apartment this past half week. I’ve been journeying to the library (a couple miles, maybe? not bad on a bike) to get my fix every day. And it’s a good thing, too. I’ve gotten a couple emails that required responses within 24 hours. It’s interesting to me that people are always, now, expected to be so unremittingly connected and “on the grid.” Even as a CS major, I find it’s nice to drop off once in a while, but, here I am, blogging about it. Ironic.
Anyway, those emails. One of them was an offer for the UI job I wanted for this semester! I’m super excited about the class; it’s CSCI-C335: Computer Structures, which is better known as the Goofy Giggles class. I had tons of fun taking it last semester. I think I’ll probably be better suited to being a UI for this class, anyway, considering I’ve actually taken it (I felt a little useless trying to explain the details of the Ants project that I’d never done to the kids in C212 last semester). Plus it’ll help me keep my hardware skillz fresh, which should serve well for hacking that DEFCON badge. :D The other email was a reminder about a lunch with Albert Chen, sponsor of the Telamon Informatics Scholarship, which I’m currently getting. He was a super nice guy, actually. We had a nice lunchtime chat about his company, traveling, the Olympics, Google, and CS in general. The food at the place we went (Mandarin House in Carmel, IN) was terrific. I guess Albert knew the owner/is a regular there, and he organized a table of special dishes that weren’t on the menu for us. And they were all friendly to my happy meat requirements. :)
The apartment is all painted, now, so huzzah for that. Roy came over (lured by cookies and the Wii that I now have) and helped me finish off the kitchen, which is now a cheery yellow. I was dumb when we bought the paint and didn’t think about how much we’d actually need for such a small space, so we have a lot of leftover now. I think the doors stand a good chance of being the next surfaces to be afflicted with acrylic jaundice.
The Wii has been a lot of fun the past couple days. Also a lot of fun is Nick and his lake house. I hadn’t been tubing in ages, so that was a fun thing to get back to. And one of his neighbors has a rope swing, which made me feel totally oldskool. I’m a little bummed that my tummy didn’t get tanner over my summer in Cali, but maybe I’ve got a chance to tan it yet here in Indiana. :P
I’m trying to decide if I can do anything epic for Labor Day weekend. The past two long weekends I’ve taken trips (Los Angeles for Memorial Day and Lake Tahoe for 4th of July), but it looks like I’m just gonna be chillin here in Btown for this one. Maybe I’ll find some friends and go camping for Friday or Saturday night. Ribamerica is a concert that’s going to be happening up in Indianapolis this weekend, and Mr. Ted “Cat Scratch Fever” Nugent is going to be playing there. The tickets are only 5 bucks, which is pretty wicked. My dad called me up two nights ago and asked if I’d like to go see Ted with him and my mom. This is definitely the first rock concert they’ve ever invited me to. :D Should be fun!
But I miss California.
At least I'm not bored.
So now all my stuff's in the apartment, which is pretty cool, I suppose. My room is massive (yay!), and Mom and Dad managed to help me get a box spring and a desk in just our little Matrix. I was pretty impressed.
We're all here now, too, which is nice. I don't know how Georgia survived the last week here by herself. I guess she had her newts? Anyway, we haven't had much time to catch up about our summers yet. I was woefully out of contact with them, and everyone else back here. Mary didn't get in until this evening, and then she went over to Colin's, so it was short-lived. Georgia's already abed.
We did get to have dinner together, though. The first meal I cooked in the apartment! It was just pasta and sweet corn, but that's the stuff that college is made of, right? I think Georgia and I are going to make spring rolls together tomorrow, which is pretty exciting. I'm curious how my social life will be different now that I'm living off-campus.
Tomorrow we're going to get paint for the living room (green) and the kitchen (yellow). I want to paint my room, but I wasn't sure exactly how I wanted it done. I'm pretty sure--enough that I already bought spray paint--that I want to reserve the back wall of my room for graffiti. I've never actually graffitied (sp?) anything before, so that should be interesting. After making the stencil for and spray painting my DEFCON laptop this summer, I wanted to try the real deal. I'm toying with the idea of letting visitors graffiti, too. I think that would be fun. I mean, you can write on a Facebook wall, why not write on a real wall? Hmm. I'm concerned about ventilation in my room, though.
Man, I feel so silly and girly saying this, but I really miss the friends I made in California. :( It's going to be excruciating waiting until October to see them. I need to find new people to adventure with, I guess. But every time someone says, "Delicious!" and I think, "and nutritious!", it's a pretty sad reminder. Ditto hearing the word "goat," seeing Segway lawn mowers, thinking about math, using my DEFCON laptop, holding Kung Fu Panda, riding my bike, wearing my Google apparel, ... Maybe I'll forget some of it as the year wears on and I find other entertainments for myself. I don't know whether I hope for that or not.
Ummm... yeah. I got a Wii this morning, which was pretty exciting. With Mario Party 8! ^___^ Now we just need a TV to play it on, haha. We're not getting internet until Wednesday morning, so it's going to be a few more days of biking back and forth to campus to get my fix. I've been keeping busy with unpacking and decorating and reading, though, so I guess it's not all bad.
Anyhow, it's been a pretty long day. I sleep with my shades up, so the sun woke me up pretty early. And I've still got 10 minutes or so of bike ride to get back home.
Move in, my nerves are singing,
I'm fairly (or unfairly) convinced that this year is going to rock. After a long summer of R&R in sunny California, I'm ready to get back and hit the books like a madwoman. My schedule this semester could potentially kick my ass, but that would be okay. The college experience, right? Anyway, the classes I'm taking this semester:
S403 - Honors Modern Algebra
S311 - Honors Calculus III
M490 - Putnam Seminar
B403 - Some kind of algorithms class I don't remember the name of
B490 - Graduate Design Patterns
E190 - Yoga
I'm thinking of adding in another class (that's only 15 hours there, so I'm really, really tempted): Graduate Operating Systems. And I'm also considering the possibility of changing yoga for something more adventurous... like... umm... I dunno, actually. Maybe rock climbing. That would be pretty sweet.
Some of my stuff is moved in to the apartment, and I'm going to do the rest of the move tomorrow. Things have been complicated by the fact that our minivan drowned in the flood, but c'est la vie. From what I've seen of the apartment so far, it's going to be pretty nice. Hopefully a step up from what comes to mind when one thinks of "college apartment." But I guess that remains to be seen.
But I'm hoping for a healthy amount of diversion from classes this semester. This summer taught me a lot about kicking back and enjoying life, and those are lessons that I intend to continue following. I'm planning an Election Day party that I'm pretty excited about, as well as a visit from some of the Canadians (Evan, Jeff, Pat) and a visit to them sometime later on.
:D Bring on the year!