Archive for December, 2010

towards clearer skies

December 26th, 2010

(edit: 275th post!)

Dear Diary, (hm are you supposed to capitalize Diary or not)

Today I solved a USAMTS problem from start to finish in one hour. Feel so good about myself!

Anyways, that’s what compelled me to post. I thought I would write about something, since it is the very midpoint of my precious winter break time. Let me inform my audience of what I have accomplished: started 5 animes and 2 mangas, finished a few, obsessed over Android 2.3 Gingerbread until 4am (multiple nights…), plotted terrorist acts over Skype, watched a Civil War movie (OMFG American movie WTFBBQ), and probably lots of other miscellaneous tidbits I’ve forgotten. Oh, I did manage to finish all my winter break homework (except ACS… wtf how am I supposed to do chem stuff we haven’t even learned) by Christmas Eve, so I met my goal. I admit my goal was initially to finish it by the first weekend, but you know, postponements happen. A lot. Ehehe.

So my main obsession these days is Android 2.3. The Nexus S came out… and disappointed everyone by being identical, or well, worse, than the nearly year-old Galaxy S series. It’s missing an SD card slot… only losers like Apple do that. And the processor… wasn’t dual core or anything fancy at all. And no 720p camcorder… I don’t even see why they removed that. But there are two sides to everything. The good thing is, because the Nexus S is so identical to the Galaxy S, porting Gingerbread is relatively easy. Easier, at least. Working builds of “Nexus SGS” have been out since a day after the release of the Nexus S, but it seems wifi and 3G are a bit flaky, GPS and camera functionality are missing, and something is generally unstable (apparently a wifi sleep problem) that causes the device to randomly reboot. I’m sure the non-losers at xda will get it all sorted out soon though. I worship the gingerbread thread >.<

Also apparently I found out something interesting about my anime habits. I absolutely despise anime in which the protagonist is a loser. I can’t even bear thinking about them =_=. That and my dislike of female characters that wear glasses (a few, extremely rare exceptions exist) are probably why I don’t like highly acclaimed anime like Dennou Coil (glasses… ugh). I’m currently dealing with Albert’s loser-ness in Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo, an adaptation of the novel. I haven’t seen the movie or read the book, but it’s pretty captivating. And usually I’m extremely picky about serious animes. In fact, I can say that I rarely watch serious serious anime. However, when I do, I almost always stand back amazed at the creative beauty animators put into making the audience contemplate deeply. However, I like to use anime to relieve stress and provide a break from thinking, rather than to make me think more. But still, good serious anime, rare gems as they are, are the best of the best.

I realize my grammar was all over the place in that last paragraph. Please don’t read it. Pretend it was never there.

Oh yeah, speaking of grammar… for the December 4th SAT, there was a fire drill during the exam, interestingly. (Two, in fact. We just ignored the second one.) It didn’t really affect me, because I was on a math section, and I really couldn’t care less, even if the proctor hadn’t given us time to make up for the evacuation. In the end, they let all the kids who took the December SAT at our school make it up if we wanted. Of course, whether or not to take the makeup must be decided before viewing the score. But… I’m mad that the fire drill denies score-viewing even to those who aren’t intending on taking the makeup. The make-up should be opt-in, not opt-out. In the end, we made a phone call to the SAT people… or rather, the SAT automated phone system =_=. Eventually we got a hold of a real person (omfg/probably outsourced to India), and they got me my score within 2 days. Which was too long. It should have been instant.

Oh yeah, my family has a relative staying over for the two weeks of winter break. He goes to a boarding school in Indiana, apparently a military boarding school. I can’t imagine going to a military school at all. I have enough trouble waking at 7:50am every day to get to school and listening to the annoying bell schedule ordering me around my classes. I really don’t want to imagine what it must feel like being confined in such a rigid environment. I guess it works wonders, though. I wish I could be as self-disciplined and well-mannered as he is. You know how normally rich kids that come over from China play video games all day, grow fat, talk fobby, and act all spoiled making you wipe their asses for them? (Sorry for my cruel stereotyping >_<;;;;;) Well, his accent is probably less than mine, and he’s so much more polite to my own parents than I am. Maybe it’s just because he’s one generation higher up than I am (even though I’m older, I think). What was the relation again… he’s my… mom’s uncle’s son? Something like that.

I like how it took longer to write this post than it did to solve the problem that compelled me to write the post.

Also, concerning the name of this post, I spent a long time debating “toward clearer skies” vs “towards clearer skies”. According to some, “towards” is British English, and “toward” is more American. Another source says “towards” refers to direction, while “toward” implies “with respect to” or “on the verge of”. Either way, I like the British, and I’m referring to direction.

Post name refers to incessant rain we’ve been having lately, as well as being a metaphorical representation of our futures as high school juniors.

Woops, crossed the 1000-word mark. I should really get back to being useful. (1191 wtf)

I found so many typos correcting this post… and SO MANY grammar errors… and ugh my writing just sucks. apologies to all those who have read this post.

» Read more: towards clearer skies

Re: Five Reasons Why You (yes you) Should Drop AP English

December 17th, 2010

…or possibly not.

Risk: Get put into Bishop…

1. Time Wasting. You are stuck listening to your teacher talk about something completely useless or waiting for your teacher to figure out a student’s name.

2. Uneducational. You are in the class learning nothing about English, just watching an out of place movie or writing “smart-sounding” Rhetorical Precis(es?).

3. Boredom. Half the time, your teacher is randomly absent from school, so you have to sit and do packets that over half the class doesn’t do anyway. (And if you’re Hanning or Ben, you have completed your math homework already.

4. Desruptive/Annoying. You are stuck in an nearly dead classroom, as half the class is screaming random crap because they think they’re cool.

5. Being Unaware. Your teacher will randomly tell you that you hav a test/in-class/project/packet assigned/due at the very last moment, when you have absolutely no time to prepare for it.


Also, responding to this from Animation. Easy class is too easy.

Five Reasons Why You (yes you) Should Drop AP English

December 17th, 2010

Sunsets are red, the sky is blue, and skylight is polarized (at least partially).

Giancoli Physics, Sixth Edition
  1. Stickers. When you do your (five minutes of) homework, instead of giving it a D, or perhaps no credit for having your name on the wrong side of the paper, or having your margin too large by one millimeter, your Normal English Teacher will show you her fantastic smile and reward you with a glittering sticker on your homework sheet. You feel good all the way through the rest of the school day.
  2. Background music. Instead of spending fifty-four dreary minutes wallowing in the silent cacophony of stumbling minds and fumbling pencils as you struggle to complete your in-class, why not indulge in popular music and rock along with the beat while chillin’ in Regular English?
  3. Candy. For answering a question correctly, or making a valiant effort at doing so, Regular English Teacher will reward you with a sweet treat. Perfect for those with a sweet tooth.
  4. Love. Your Regular English Teacher enjoys imbuing students with knowledge and the impulse to learn, and it shows in her day-to-day attitude. Her smile is contagious, and soon the whole classroom can’t help but become infected. It’ll stay on for the rest of the day.
  5. Victory. You feel like you have surpassed the losers who are still drowning in homework and suffocating from the high-pressure environment of a non-Regular English class. You can even fix their code in your free time.

Yes, I am writing this blog post instead of doing my Regular English homework. Yay me, I’m so fantastic.

GPA? SAT? SES? crap. lolwut.

December 17th, 2010

interesting quotes.

moral: don’t go to good schools. go to bad schools, take it easy, and be valedictorian, and get into a better college than your loser friends who are going to arcadia.

Does the low level predictive effect reported in the study mean that only high HSGPA students who come from high SES schools with rich academic offerings follow that up with collegiate success? Or does it mean that a kid from a poor school district who has the ambition to get straight A’s, and the work ethic to achieve that goal, can also succeed in college despite not having taken calculus in high school? I don’t know the answer to that; I suspect it might be a little bit of both. UC will offer admission to the kid from the poor school district (there’s a specific added admissions “boost” for students from the lowest-performing high schools at the UC campuses with specific admissions formulas; I believe that much the same happens at Berkeley and UCLA, if less formally.) So the opposite of what you surmise is actually true: All else being equal, UC will extend an offer of admission to a student with a high grade point average from a low-performing school over a student from a top public high school with the same GPA.

Deeper thought provocation.

I think that you are operating on the assumption that college achievement is influenced by the quality of academic preparation the student has previously — i.e., those kids arrive with a better education, with a more comprehensive store of knowledge and more experience thinking and interacting in a demanding academic environment.

I personally feel that the individual’s level of motivation and work ethic is more significant — since UC’s draw from the top 10% of California high schools, and strongly favor the ELC (top 4%) — they are by definition getting the students who are the most serious about their studies and focused. This is especially true of students who manage to get top GPA’s and complete the required UC courses in a poorer, inner city high school — because it is much more difficult to focus on studies when the peer environment is not supportive. That is, it is one thing to be working hard for A’s when the parents are constantly pushing, there is an older high-achieving sibling to emulate, and the friends and acquaintances are all competing to get into the AP courses. It may be hard work, but it is hardly remarkable to see a kid coming out with a good record and top grades from that setting.

But the kid who manages to keep afloat with almost all A’s when being raised by a grandparent because one parent is in jail and the other is a drug addict, when no two siblings have the same father, when all the other kids in the neighborhood are running in gangs, when most of the teachers at the high school seem inept and the best ones don’t seem to last very long…. that’s an accomplishment. It is a kid who has succeeded in an environment where everything seems designed to make the kid fail.

Of course the contrast is not always so stark, but my experience sending an ambitious, focused kid from a public high school with so-so academic standards off to an elite college is that the attitude is key. Given that success in college is as much about avoiding the temptations of newfound freedom and budgeting time — I think that the high GPA from the high school of many distractions has turned out to be great preparation.

Again — GPA tells a lot because it represents the result of sustained effort over time. Mid-range GPA’s at mediocre high schools might not mean much more than that the kid regularly showed up for class, but no one gets all A’s anywhere — even at the crummiest high school — unless the kid is at least a serious and conscientious student. And serious and conscientious combined with reasonably bright is really all it takes to succeed at just about any college.

Do extracurriculars and leadership and “well-roundedness” really necessarily correlate with a successful career?

I have been sitting in a lot of “info sessions” this summer with son #2 and frankly sit there wondering how many potential Einsteins and Madame Curies are being kept out of the elite schools for lack of ECs or because they exhibit a “reclusive” personality at l6 (they are not leaders of a club or team captains!). I also wonder – where we are going to get our brilliant but dedicated and content workforce from in the future? Some fields require brilliance and tenacity over “well-roundedness”, congeniality and leadership skills. I sure hope our future cancer researchers, for example, can sit there and get excited about looking through a microscope fpr 12 hours/day and reading esoteric journal articles. Having worked in healthcare for many years I know we really need these people too! I think it would be great to hear some great schools say……give me your brilliant, shy kids, we’d love to see what they can do and what we can do for them. And, I think it would be great if admissions didn’t see kids as finalized at l6 – some of them still haven’t finished growing physically – why do they think their potential is determined already?

i’m so busy and yet… how the hell do I have time for crap like this.


Random thoughts and/or rants

December 14th, 2010

I hope this doesn’t turn into one of those super long posts, it’s supposed to be just a few brief topics…

That’s not politically correct, that’s correct correct. -Larry Wilmore, The Daily Show

It seems like now, many people are talking about political correctness, and how society has gone overboard, and how we need to stop. Maybe this is somewhat true, but now people are using it as an excuse to do or say something stupid. “It may not be politically correct, but…”, “I know those politically correct people will disagree, but…” This is followed by something that is ridiculously stupid and/or offensive. There’s probably a reason why society frowns upon what you are about to say. These people not only say something stupid, they try to make themselves look cool or like a nobel anti-conformist fighter while doing so. It’s getting quite annoying.

Next…In honors chem, like with most classes, our teacher does not disclose other people’s test grades. However, to make up for a quiz that many people failed, she was giving out a partner exam. Instead of letting people choose, and having some people get free A’s, she organized it by the grade people got on that quiz. So the top 2 worked together, then the next 2, and the two worst students worked together. So, she had to reveal the grades.

 It ended up that on the quiz, there were 2 perfect scores. Both girls. And they both decided to work alone instead of together, which was kind of funny. But anyway, that’s not the point. This happens all the time. People end up doing better in the class than other people. Also, this was just one quiz. But still when people do significantly better than everyone else, such as scoring perfect on a quiz that half the class failed, they’re supposed to be ugly, antisocial, outcast nerds. That’s just how things are supposed to work, right? But in this case, both girls were very outgoing, popular, athletic, and in my opinion, the two most attractive girls in the class. Thanks for being fair, life.

In  a kind-of-not-really related note, maybe I should stop liking girls that are better than me in everything…

Moving on…

I don’t remember exactly how this came up, but I was talking to my dad, and we started talking about WWIII. Oh right, I think it was because I apparently have a residence card to Hong Kong, which my dad said my mom wanted me to have in case the U.S. ever got into a war and I was drafted or something. I thought about it,  and this didn’t make sense to me, because if America were in a war big enough for a draft to be reinstated, it would likely be with China. And hiding in a colony of the other side doesn’t seem smart because

a. You wouldn’t be accepted back into your own country

b. There’s a good chance it would get bombed

So, this led to what happens if I stayed. And this led me to this whole thing I’m about to write abotu Asian-Americans and World War III.

First off, these are the two most likely outcomes.

1. Humanity is smart, and we avoid such a war.

2. Humanity is stupid, and we all just nuke each other and the world ends.

But, if somehow, these two were avoided, and we ended up going to war with China, a war involving fighting and invasions, and bombings, rather than nukes, what would this mean for us?

As we all know, Santa Anita Race Track was used as a Japanese internment camp in WWII. It’s one of the dark parts of our nation’s history, when we discrminated against a whole people because of an attack. They avoid talking about it in elementary school, then later tell us about how bad it was. But what’s stopping this from happening again? If we went to war with China, would Asian-Americans/Chinese-Americans be imprisoned like the Japanese were?

I think that with Obama as President, this wouldn’t happen. I think maybe even George W. Bush wouldn’t have do something like that if he were still in office. But if this war were to happen sometime later, with someone like Sarah Palin or Newt Gingrich in charge? I would be very afraid. Look at how much Muslim-Americans are being discriminated against now. And this is when our war is on terrorism, not a specific group. If it were a very clear, U.S. vs. China war, with the large amount of idiots in this country, with someone like that as commander in chief, history could repeat itself, with us as the victims.

In this scenario, I don’t know what I would do. I’m definietly not going to just allow this discrmination to happen. But any resistance would just be used to prove their point about the possible disloyalty of Asian-Americans. This wouldn’t be helped by some Asian-Americans who perhaps would actually defect to the other side (Hm, I really wonder where you guys, and other Arcadians stand on this…are we going to be trying to kill each other?).  I’m loyal to this country, but if something like this were to happen, I don’t know what I would do.

Running to Hong Kong is definetly out of the question, for the reasons above. Being a traitor, plus putting yourself right in a war zone. Going into a camp or whatever sucks too. Rebellion would probably just fail, plus look terrible in the public eye. Honestly, I might just join the military, if I could, despite my parents’ objections. Hopefully they wouldn’t be stupid enough to put me on the front lines, hopefully I could help somewhere. But if that weren’t an option, I don’t know. Switzerland is always neutral, right? American refugee sounds so weird.

Um, yeah…I think that’s all I have to say about that for now…this discussion should be really interesting….

And Japan would be allied with the U.S., and thus a major target of China and/or N. Korea and/or Russia, since I know you’re going to say that.


I’ve noticed how almost everyone at this school seems to be really, really arrogant. I guess it’s logical, with all the high academic competition and achievments. But still, I don’t know if this will be a problem when we leave. People getting pissed off at these rich, stuck-up, Asian nerds. Or maybe it’s just human nature, and everyone is that arrogant.

We are a capitalist society, money comes first, second, and third.

December 14th, 2010

Why are Asian-Americans outperforming everybody else on SAT? Could it be because SAT doesn’t pay? Michael Jackson could make more money in one song than Einstein could in his lifetime. Despite Einstein’s contribution to mankind is many times more than Michael Jackson did, our reward system favors art and entertainment. Tiger Woods makes more money in one day than arithmeticians make in their lifetime. When the day we reward highly on math and science comes, say around the year 5,000,000, I guarantee we will out perform Asians and everyone else. We are a capitalist society, money comes first, second, and third.

Interesting USA Today comment. [Oct 29, 2010]

I dug this up from my unpublished-posts archive. Discuss.

Protected: uh anime post

December 13th, 2010

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below: