Archive for the ‘Tech’ category


June 28th, 2011

Today, a very, very sad thing has come to pass. I filled up my 1TB external hard drive.

One thing I have to say on the topic of hard drives: at the pace of technology today, hard drives usually become out of date long before they fail. This is a wonderful, thing, I suppose.

Unfortunately, the pace of technology today still can’t keep up with my rate of anime consumption.


Growing up is overrated

June 24th, 2011

Productivity is so much more difficult than entertainment.

Case in point: these first two weeks of summer. Swamped with invitations, banquets, potlucks, decisions, requests, favors, startups, plans, and whatnot. Keeping up with events on my calendar, following up on emails, managing and leading people, making decisions and planning meetings. It’s all so… productive. I’ve never felt so productive.

Productivity takes a surprisingly large amount of time. I see now why there are people whose jobs are just to “manage people” — it’s a lot of work!

Being productive and managing felt so grown-up, yet it really wasn’t that fun. Like, when you’re a kid you look up to grown-ups so much, and when they do their work on the computer you’re like “wow, so mature.” And now it’s like “wow, so retarded.” Growing up is overrated.

free food Physics Team Potluck

Major event that I wanted to talk about was our potluck. I was burned out after junior year, looking forward to the inactivity and lazy days that supposedly lay ahead.

Sucks for me that I have so much going on. Well.

Vincent, my longstanding role model, among many — there are so many respectable people in the world (I never thought I would hear myself say that — I’m usually way more cynical than that. I guess my personality must be different in the summer. Or maybe it’s just that junior year’s over.) suggested that I plan a Physics Team potluck to celebrate our achievements this year and let everybody get to meet each other.

I, in lazy mode, was initially annoyed at his eagerness to spend time that I would normally find wasteful. I was also kind of annoyed that it would be held at my house.

I had this cool back-and-forth with my parents, and the conclusion we reached at the end was that Vincent was lending me a friendly helping hand by nudging me onstage to manifest my leadership, because I wasn’t normally the type of person to arrange social functions. My idea was that the only reason the Physics Team would ever need to meet together would be to discuss Physics or Team. Groups are complicated.

Society is complicated.

Vincent had selected three hopefuls, the brightest sophomores from this year’s AP Physics B, and the last, as Arcadia High School would be phasing out AP Physics B for sophomores (which makes little sense). I’d petition the administration, but there’s basically no chance of restoring the class.

Oh, on a tangent, Calculus D was also killed. It especially sucks for me. I was really looking forward to taking that class.

There was an overage of food, of course, as Asian parents coursed in with armfuls of eatery munitions. We played badminton, basketball, ping-pong, Wii, and even a little soccer. The best part, I think everyone could agree, was our Ultimate Frisbee game.

Usually I don’t have fun during social functions. But maybe, just maybe, they’re tolerable.

Startup, Inc

As much as I try to learn from Vincent and his outgoing persona, social command isn’t all it takes. You do get places by telling people what to do, and having people work for you, but that’s somewhat dissatisfying and unsettling.

Our hush-hush project began with a clang– with a hotpot. Jason Jong loves hotpots, and I see why now. Hotpots are the perfect meal to eat at business meetings. It totally fosters a sense of eating out of the same bowl, and working together to cook the meat. Symbolism aside, it also tastes really good.

The hotpot restaurant we went to (next to the 99 Ranch Market, the leftmost one– for some reason there are two hotpot restaurants in the same plaza right next to each other) wasn’t very good, but I still enjoyed it.

I found myself unfamiliar with the teenager hangouts of Arcadia as we later went to that tea shop next to 99 Cents on Duarte and I ordered my first tea shop snack.

Life’s good. To be specific, mildly spicy with a numbing aroma (麻辣). Sweet potato fries.


That was all… two weeks ago. It’s all stuff that should have been blogged in detail, but weren’t, and only now get a brief amount of coverage.

I missed talking about the various gatherings of my Skype group, LSG. Happy really belated birthday, Hanchan!

Aeris dies.

Because of various circumstances, one week ago (hey, we’re making progress!) I started playing Final Fantasy 7.

Now, don’t be mistaken. By “play,” I don’t mean I was playing the game.

My ineptitude at gaming is legendary.

One of the most vital points towards my college application will be the claim that I have never once completed a game in my life. I’ve never beat any of my Pokemon games. Never beat Sonic Adventure 2. Never beat Crash Bandicoot 3. Never beat Ocarina of Time — I’m actually at Forest Temple, roughly the halfway point. That’s a record for the farthest I’ve ever gone in a game. And that was with cheats (load/save state on emulator). My two little siblings beat me constantly at Wii Sports.

I was reading synopses, character bios, game walkthroughs, scripts, and watching YouTube videos. I’ve given up on “playing” games. It’s impossible for me.

FF7 is so deliciously complex.

I also like the name Mint. It’s brilliant.


Today (wow big timeskip) I visited my new office.

Yes, you heard right. I was amazed too. I get my own office? …

Turns out I had to share it with this other guy, but that makes me feel less bad at getting my own office.

Wow. I get my own half office.

Looking forward to starting my research with spacecraft fault protection and interconnection on Monday.

Dang, I feel so privileged.

Coffee makes me sick

I hate coffee.

This morning I was at a coffeeshop waiting for someone, and, being considerate of the coffeeshop, decided to buy something. I was thinking of getting one of those cold milk-coffee drinks — Frappiccinos or something?

I don’t know coffee terminology.

Well, “cappuccino” sounds like “Frappiccino” so I ordered one. I expected sweet, I got freakin’ bitter. I expected milky, I got freakin’ black. I expected iced, and I got hot.

Stupid coffee.

College Apps

Let’s not talk about this.

Strawberry Shortcake Post

June 21st, 2011

Alright, alright, I haven’t had a real post in weeks. The last two “posts” were just me passing on an interesting article (it’s almost like Twitter now– retweeting! heavens, what is this world this blog coming to?), and posting some lame quotes that nobody cares about.

Even my last “real post” was just me complaining about my life. Oh wait, that’s what I always post about anyways, isn’t it? Just kidding.

God, that wasn’t even funny. I’m losing my touch here.

Oh yeah, I’ve started using the Senior Year (10-11) tag on my posts since summer started. It really gives out a good vibe — I feel like a senior already because I’m using that tag. Uwaahh.

What tag would I use in college? Meh.

If I go to an East Coast school I’ll probably have to relocate my server, eh? Ping from Dallas to Boston has got to be over 100ms, even with those top-tier university networks I’m so excited about getting my hands on.

I wonder if there are people who go to college just for the impossibly-fast internet connection.

Also, I was thinking of doing something about those old anime posts. They’re extremely embarrassing. Every time I click on “Random Post” and see one of them I cringe shamefully. I want people to click on “Random Post” and go to one of the many deep and thoughtful posts written by me and my one-person staff who hasn’t been posting lately (*semi-threatening glare*).

Time to start focusing on an actual topic for this post

Recently I’ve begun using headers like these to divide my emails into topics. It makes long emails less tedious to read, I believe. I’ve been writing a lot of long emails lately. It’ll probably become like a running joke this summer. Ben and his long, elaborate emails. Oh no, I got off topic again.

I think I’ll change my posting style from long, elaborate posts (why is everything I do lately long and elaborate?) to short and sweet. Like… strawberry shortcake. It’s short. And sweet.

The pun on “short” in shortcake was totally not intentional. I was trying to think of something sweet, and I happen to love those strawberry shortcake ice cream bars. Ugh. What I would give for one right now.

So here’s my first strawberry shortcake post of the summer. Ta-da!

What, that’s it, Ben? You’re ending here? You didn’t begin a single topic! You didn’t talk about anything specific at all!

Shush. It’s a strawberry shortcake post.

still trying to hold on

May 15th, 2011

Here’s to my well-intentioned resolution to post every day. May it rest in peace.

I thought I should at least keep to posting once per week. So here’s my post for the week. I’m really looking forward to writing this post. It was an eventful week, full of delicious food, tender pride, sore elbows, childlike excitement, and broken gestures.

Thing about Jenglish… I have a really mixed opinion of it. She gives us more work than Villalobos did for Honors English last year. She’s very anal about my doing physics or other homework in her class, something I am very annoyed at her for. Her class activity on Friday was brilliant, however. We made Mother’s Day cards! She bought dozens of reams of pretty, flowery, expensive, professional design paper in all sorts of colors and variations, and a vast supply of scrapbooking supplies. We made beautiful cards. I made 3, one for me, and two for each of my siblings, to give to my mom. When I told Ms. Jeng about my 3 cards, she thought it was so kind of me that I almost felt like she was going to hug me.

One thing I have come to feel about Ms. Jeng — her goal in life seems to be “to bring happiness to as many people as she can.” She brings us food, candy, treats out of her own pocket money; makes us write down something that happened each day that has made us thankful. This Mother’s Day activity illustrated it best — Jeng wanted to bring happiness to hundreds of mothers that day. I’m sure she succeeded. My mom was very happy to recieve the 3 cards, although she figured out that I had made all 3 myself, in English class (Ms. Jeng had instructed us to tell our moms that we had made the card of our own intiative and not because she told us to).

My typical weekend goes through like this. The night before, I set my alarm for some outrageously early morning ear torture. The morning of, I sleep through all the alarms. Or, I get up, defuse the infringing eardrum explosive, and lie back down dreamily.

At sometime after noon, I sit up in my bed with a start. Oh no! Half of my precious day has drifted off into the silence! “What to do?” I think to myself, as I hastily brush my teeth and organize my thoughts. “So much stuff to do today!”

I sit down at my computer and turn on my 3 monitors. Oh yeah, I should check today’s anime. While I do that, I’ll flip through my email. OH, this week’s episode of THAT anime is out! Gotta download asap. Wonder what’s up on xda. Look, my ROM has been updated. I plug in my phone and prepare to load a new ROM, backing up my apps. Cool, my anime download finished. Wonder if there are any cool blog posts on Google Reader. Hey, there are five new chapters of manga! Google has a cool new product — I gotta check it out. Wow, that anime ep was epic. I wonder if there are any related anime. Gonna do a search on MAL. Oh wow, this anime was made by the same studio that did this other anime! And I’ve been wanting to watch that other anime since forever! I’ll download it immediately. While the torrent is running, why don’t I check up on Mabi?

Repeat for nine hours, with intermittent breaks for food and such.

By 9 or 10pm, I’m desperately trying to resuscitate the day’s productivity. This is sounding awfully like today. Huh.

I had a nice Mother’s Day. We went out to lunch at Zen Buffet — they were having a Mother’s Day special event. The venue was packed; if my mom hadn’t gotten a seat early we would have waited outside for hours. I haven’t had a buffet in months — long months filled with the void of non-buffet food. I’ve been dreaming about the food I had on Sunday ever since.

Breaded cheesesticks. They have pervaded my dreams for a week. I spent my early morning classes for the past week thinking about them. I’m not even sure what they’re called. Mozzarella sticks? Intensely craving them for days.

Monday was AP Physics C. I had a lot to say about my adventurous invasion of Alhambra High School, and I was completely planning on dedicating a post to their queer customs and savage rites. A paragraph will have to suffice for this topic.

Since over a month before the actual exam, I had been calling them every week to try and find out where, exactly, on campus the test was going to be held. I never found out before the actual day. Nobody knew (or cared enough to get out of their seats to find out for me). Finally, the receptionist just told me to give up on trying to find out, and just ask around on test day. Unsatisfied, but left without a choice, I agreed.

So I strolled into the gatekeeper’s lounge on Monday. When I say gatekeeper, I’m serious. The entire campus is completely fenced down. Nobody can escape. I felt like a visitor to a jail complex, almost, what with all the guards and patrolmen– “proctors.” Oh yeah, about the “proctors” — there was one proctor every 30 meters. It was during a class period that I came in (extra-early… at 9am or so), and I initially thought the proctors were… I don’t know, photographers documenting the school or something. There were so many! And they were everywhere! And they weren’t doing anything, because there weren’t any students outside anyways!

I’m sure if some student suddenly bolted out from their classroom door, thirty proctors would chase after him, tie him down and restrain him while others take down his prisoner student ID number to extend his sentence for another two years.

Luckily for me, all the proctors had a radio on them (like real prison guards! oh my god!), so they asked on the radio where my AP exam was, and I was directed to the library. Alright, cool. Let’s see. Three hours until the exam. Woo-hoo. I stare at the locked library door, where like two people are taking AP Biology.

I sat down next to a flower bed. Immediately, the nearest proctor aggroed me. He was a nice guy after finding out I was a visitor (not a prisoner student), and he helped me find a place to sit while waiting for my test. We went to the Career Center, and they gave me a nice table to sit at.

I did bring a backpack with some stuff. I wasn’t planning on studying for the AP Physics C exam though (psh, how hard can it be?) but I did print out a copy of the 2010 free-response questions. I took those out, and worked through the problems. The difficulty really surprised me, but I was able to figure out all of the questions. “Al-righty,” I thought to myself. I’m set.

Flash forward three hours. The library doors finally come unlocked to let us unsuspecting College Board victims in. I was surprised at their library. Shelves upon shelves of manga, comics, graphic novels. I would have loved it if our library had half of what they had. I’d go to the library every day. I’d never eat lunch anymore.

They made us rip the labels off of our water bottles. That was just… odd. They didn’t want us to cheat by writing formulas on our water bottle labels? Really…

We were sat down in a small corner of their fantastic library. Only about five people taking Mechanics, and that would dwindle to only about two other people taking E&M two hours later. It was the reference corner, and I was sitting next to some fifteen-volume World Cultures set that I’m sure nobody has ever touched since it was purchased by the school. All the manga in the library seemed well-used.

About the test… I found it difficult. On AP Chemistry, Comp Sci, and Calculus BC, I always had time (sometimes even more than a half hour) left after I finished questions. On all four sections of the AP Physics C exam, I was strapped for time. I found that odd, because I’m supposed to be like, the very best at this, or something. Oh, by the way, at this time I didn’t know that you only needed a 50% to get a 5. I’m still WTFing at that statistic. I mean, you’d actually have to TRY to not get a five if the curve was that low. But yeah, at the time I thought I had failed the test or something. I hate how the College Board made us pay twice for AP Physics C — it’s a shorter test, so come on!

I missed something rather important that was happening. As you might or might not know, my blog was hosted on my home PC (which is on 24/7 anyways). I had Apache, PHP, and MySQL running on it, along with an SSH server, hMailServer to serve SMTP and IMAP, and various other goodies. I’ve got lots of RAM, and not a lot of people visit my site, so it was fine, but I wanted a dedicated server in a real datacenter to play with and to put to use in my future endeavors.

I spent most of my Sunday researching virtual private server (VPS) services. Initially, I searched through big-name sites like HostGator, and the cheapest prices were $20 per month. I thought, “alright, my dad will be okay with that,” but of course, being me and suffering from chronic Refusal-to-spend-money-unnecessarily Syndrome, I furiously set out to find cheap VPS servers.

I was overjoyed when I found servers at $15, then $11, then– wow! six dollars! My amazement turned to awe when I discovered servers at $3 per month… $2.50… $2… $1.67! That’s twenty dollars per YEAR — as opposed to my original price of twenty dollars a month! God, sometimes my strange Syndrome does pay off as opposed to annoying people around me.

I made a brilliant Google Doc comparing the best VPS offers I could find. Here, I’ll even share it with my beloved readers. I decided that 128MB of RAM was too low for me. There was a really good offer for a server with brilliant specs, but only a 10M uplink. I thought to myself, even my home download speed is faster than 10M! So I decided on at least a 100M uplink (preferably gigabit). After sorting through more and more deals, I decided to go with my new friends at HostFolks. On Monday morning before I left for my AP exam, I sent them an email asking whether or not their RAM was dedicated (as some retailers oversold their RAM), and whether or not their servers had a gigabit uplink.

To my glad surprise, the man replied five minutes later! I was expecting him to reply in like, two days, one day at the best. But wow — what great service! Instant reply! The RAM was indeed dedicated, and the uplink was in fact gigabit! HostFolk’s deal was pretty perfect. I shot off another question that night, and again — near-instant reply. Late at night. What kind of customer service representative was awake at 1am in the morning? Outrageous.

I bought the VPS from them, and I spent my Tuesday and Wednesday setting it up. Took a break from school. School is tiring. Also, we wouldn’t be doing anything in most of my classes, especially on Wednesday when everybody would be gone for AP English. I actually kind of really regret not taking AP US History and AP English, even at some other school.

All the guides pointed to one thing — Apache sucks. It spawns fifty threads that take dozens of megabytes of precious RAM each. I was going to install lighttpd or nginx as my webserver, but my server had 512MB of RAM — plenty of RAM to waste. I still haven’t used up all 512MB of RAM yet, even with KDE running on top of vnc3server.

The thing that took me the most time to set up was email. By default, sendmail was installed. I installed exim4 and unsuccessfully attempted to set it up following some guide. Eventually I gave up and removed exim4, opting for a guide that was dedicated to my operating system (Debian 5 “Lenny”). I installed postfix, dovecot, various administration tools, following the guide. I ran into so many problems I won’t even document them.

I still need to lock down many parts of my system. Security is really a big thing these days, and it would piss me off if some lame script kiddie got into my hard-earned system with everything set up, and blew it up, and I had to start all over (and waste another week…).

On Thursday, Justin somehow convinced me to let him come over. Oh, it was also Ms. Jeng’s birthday. Hanchan had taken all of her leftover cake and cupcakes, interestingly, and brought them over to my house. No, I didn’t invite him. One thing I absolutely can’t resist speaking up about is how Hanning always sits on my bed (without asking) when he comes over. I sleep there. After showering every night. It’s clean. Your pants have been in six different chairs in six different classrooms throughout the day. They touch the pee-stained floor when you use the restroom at the high school. I wish you would refrain from rubbing them all over my blankets and my sheets. Also, please don’t put your socks on top of my pillow. My head goes there every night.

I’m really stuck on the topic of “friendship,” especially in the superficiality of society as it is, and even more especially in the superficiality of Arcadia High School. It’s troublesome. I think too much. Thinking is troublesome. Moving on, leaving this topic for another post on another day.

Yes, I am anal about cleanliness. Dust pisses me off. And there’s always so much of it in my room. I can never get rid of it all. I can remove every speck of it in my room, and tomorrow it’ll be just as dusty as it was before. I hate dust. It’s my mortal enemy.

I even bought a air purifier for my birthday present. Yes, instead of asking for a game or a car for my birthday, I asked for an air purifier. Really shows you how much I hate dust.

We watched Denpa Teki na Kanojo, and I’m worried that they didn’t enjoy my choice that much. I really should have shown them Bungaku Shoujo, since I still haven’t seen it yet, and it was sitting on my hard drive, but I stupidly didn’t think of it. I also seem to tend to get excited about anime and disrespectfully spoil things. I would imagine that most people enjoy anime more when watching with someone else, but for me it’s rather awkward, because I have to worry about whether or not the other watchers are enjoying the anime I chose or not, and whether or not that part was appropriate for them to see (Denpa Teki had some pretty adult parts).

Thursday was a tiring night. I conveniently had a history project due the very next day. When finally Hanchan and Justin left, and I was done with the other business I had that day, I sat down with Alfred and began working on the powerpoint. I showed Alfred our song (the version sung by me on both parts), and he approved. He found us videos, and wrote half of the powerpoint. He even wrote a rap, and printed out the lyrics as a review sheet. I loved the pun he made — the rap was a “wrap-up” to our presentation: a “RAP-UP”! Ahahaha~

I had written the song sproadically over the week before. Usually I procrastinate on things like these, but bashing Bush is fun, and I even chose writing the song over watching anime on several occasions. I was originally planning on finding a good MIDI file of the song (“A Whole New World” from Aladdin) and repeating the verses that needed repeating, and then rendering, but Sibelius refused to cooperate, so I ended up taking an instrumental backing recording and cutting it raw in Audacity. It turned out pretty horrible, but I guess that added to the hilarity of our presentation.

I found Alfred to be the perfect partner — we basically finished everything in one night besides the song and rap editing. Less than one night, really — we started at 8 or 9pm.

Friday was quite fun. Here’s period one. Originally I had planned on finishing my entire Game Project in one day (to demonstrate my brilliance as an act of defiance, or in an attempt to seek self-satisfaction), but I didn’t quite finish it on Thursday. I spent Comp Sci on Friday mostly preparing presentation stuff with Alfred, and not doing Comp Sci (not that anyone was doing Comp Sci, really).

Here’s period two. Alfred and I talked about stuff for maybe five minutes, I turned in my math team app, and I did the annoying Formal Logic homework. Period three was orchestra — Smooth sounded so good with full orchestra+percussion! Danzas Cubanas wasn’t bad either. And I had LesMis stuck in my head for the rest of the day. Ah, it’s moments like these when I love Orchestra.

In period four, I explained my leave of absence to Jeng. “Too cool for school, aren’cha?” I didn’t assume she would let me off on writing the narrative essay I heard about, and she didn’t, of course. I really wish my teachers would let me off on classwork and homework for these two weeks. I’m already stressed out enough. Well, teenagers aren’t supposed to expect adults to understand anything.

We also have a presentation in English next week. I really don’t see the point in wasting my time doing these things. This brings me to my convo with Andy last night, but I’ll get to that at the end of this huge post.

My dealings with Jeng took quite a while. I was originally planning on making an illegal trip to El Pollo Loco for some mmmmm– yummy cheese quesadillas. In fact, I had planned the trip a day before. I didn’t get to go, of course, and I ended up having a delicious chicken taco for $2. It was delicious. Seriously. Unexpected.

But of course, what I was really craving were mozzarella sticks. Ugh. Still dreaming about them every night.

In Period 5, I finished the lab I had started on Thursday with this bright man whose name I have yet to request. A lot of work in this class that usually gives no work. Why does it all have to be this week?

Finally, our presentation came to be on a clear Spring day in a classroom.

It was great.

Next up, I had an appointment with Mr. Zhang, my AP Physics B teacher last year. Sometimes I feel that he’s the person who understands me best in this world. If I were to make a list of the people who understand me the best, I would put these four people: my parents, K, and Mr. Zhang. In fact, K would be at the top of the list, actually. (It’s awkward reminding myself not to type K’s full name.)

He had invited me a few days before to do a new  “oscilloscope lab” and I, of course, accepted gladly. I didn’t expect him to also invite two sophomore girls as well, one of them Lucy Chen, who had scored only two points less than me on PhysicsBowl 2011. My impression of her was different from the actual her. I expected her to be similar to me, but she was in fact a talkative, cheerful kid. She completely reminded me of Rose, including her voice. I don’t think anything bad of her, it’s just that her personality didn’t match what I had imagined.

We were soldering circuits. The two girls worked on a frequency generator circuit, while I worked to repair a voltage regulator circuit. I like Mr. Zhang’s soldering gun. It heats up instantly, and its shape is so much more maneuverable than a conventional soldering iron. I failed to fix the circuit, and we tried many, many times to diagnose the problem, including replacing the voltage regulator chip twice, and replacing the resistor twice. Eventually we gave up on the circuit, and he brought out another one, which I was able to set up perfectly. I think there was either something wrong with the chip specifications, since it didn’t match the chip on the working circuit, or that the potentiometer’s range was too low. It was probably the latter — we measured currents of 2.0 A! That’s outrageously high current. It heated up the circuit so much I gave myself a pretty bad burn touching the voltage regulator chip.

We took Mr. Zhang out for dinner that night. Both girls had left, and I was having an extremely enjoyable conversation with him. We talked about biology, school, the future of the Physics Team, math, computers, his future plans, his tutoring program, setting up a website, and my experience with computers. We were interrupted by my mom, who dropped in because my phone was off. We decided to go out for dinner, and Mr. Zhang expressed his desire to eat at a buffet. Zen Buffet was packed to the max, for some reason, so we went to Hometown Buffet. The last time I had gone to Hometown was on Hanchan’s birthday. (I wonder if he dislikes me because of something his dad said that day. We talked a lot, and maybe he got the impression that his dad thought I was his perfect son. Maybe at home his dad gave him a painful lecture. Blah, now I’m overrationalizing.)

Naturally, the conversation drove towards college and my career. I hate talking about that. I hate it. I’m not even going to describe the conversation.

But the food. THE FOOD! I had been craving buffet ever since last Sunday on Mother’s Day. BUT NO! THEY HAD NO MOZZARELLA CHEESE STICKS! I will hate Hometown Buffet for all of eternity.

The other food was quite good, though. I liked the “dirty rice” — I’ve always liked variants of Spanish rice, and this rice was especially good. They also had some New Orleans something-or-other Chicken that was absolutely delicious. God, I want to eat buffet again tonight.

Saturday night was another stereotypical weekend. I didn’t attend ARML, and after much angst, decided to not travel to Las Vegas for the competition. I’m suffering from low self-esteem regarding math (been suffering it ever since 9th grade). One facet is due to the intense competitiveness of mathematics.

The reply to Dr. Merryfield’s email took me six hours to consider. My efficiency has been steadily dropping ever since — I don’t even know when. I haven’t watched anime for days, either.

Besides three weeks of homework that I have to finish, I also have to study physics for camp on Friday. It’s stressing me out. I need to keep up with those crazy academic monsters. I need to. I need to, in order to rescue my blurred self-confidence from a watery death.

The final brick in my tower of stress and worry was a conversation with Andy late at night. I had promised myself I would sleep early. I seriously needed every second I could save. I needed every minute of sleep I could salvage, because I know how hard-pressed I will be for sleep during camp. Yet, I stupidly allowed myself to be drawn into a Skype conversation at night. I told myself I was multitasking, but really.

I don’t know what I feel about Andy anymore. He was my best friend from fourth to fifth grade. We lost contact after that. I’ve always admired him, respected him for his uprightness. I’ve always looked up to him. Yet I feel something wrong, something distasteful about him now. It’s not that he rejected our idea. Now that I consider it, he’s quite right in many ways. It was one line, specifically. One idea that he conveyed during the conversation last night. He said this. He said that he was enjoying his high school life. He said that he wasn’t doing anything for his college apps. He said he was enjoying his high school life, and that his goal wasn’t college.

I can provide a probable reason for this answer, for this statement. His parents probably told him not to do anything for selfish, corrupt reasons like college apps and beating others at this college game. His parents probably told him to do everything for self-improvement, self-enjoyment, and that if he did that, he would naturally surpass others. And it’s really what you’re supposed to say to college admissions officers. You’re supposed to tell them that you learn because you love to, you did all that stupid APENG homework that had no contribution whatsoever to your education because you had fun doing it…

It’s just fishy. It stinks. It’s worse than admitting that you hate the system, and your teachers, and all the pointless work that you have to do every day. It’s very bad that you’re not only putting on the facade to admissions officers, but also to your friends. We’re his friends, right? I probably don’t have the right to say “best” (at least not anymore). I considered him my best friend since fourth grade. He understood me, understood the joy of tinkering with computers, and learning how things worked. I suppose back then, our motivation for learning was criminally sincere. We loved learning.

Maybe he’s still desperately trying to cling to that elementary school sense. Still trying to hold on, long after I had let go.

the lonely hypocrite

March 27th, 2011

This post will be an incoherent conglomeration of various, possibly-related-but-more-likely-not thoughts.

Today some of my relatives from China came over. It was so fun when we visited them in China, and I hope they had fun visiting us in the United States.

I just reversed the i and the t in United States. Untied States. To the contrary…

Oh yeah, the rest of the day I spent trying to get SongBird to sync with my Samsung Captivate. The iTunes sync is perfect. Excellent work, SB team. However, the device sync needs work. Besides taking forever, it crashed every single time I tried to sync. Also, for some reason the only conversion options were Ogg Vorbis and Windows Media Audio (!!). Not that I mind as my phone supports both, but for some reason Vorbis caused SongBird to crash instantly every time it began trying to convert. After messing with a lot of stuff (I didn’t know it was Vorbis that was messing things up), I can now sync my iTunes with my SGS through SongBird… in WMA ^^”.

At least it’s better than DoubleTwist/iSyncr/iTunesAgent, which suck/don’t work/lag/can’t do anything for shit, and MediaMonkey which lags slightly more than SongBird (which by the way takes up 500MB of RAM for some crappy reason) and can’t seem to figure out how to sync with anything (both iTunes and my phone).

I lost my blue earphones. Those were the ones that Eric’s parents brought back with them as a souvenir when they went to Japan and put Eric under our care. Geniune Japanese earphones. The stuff REAL Japanese people use to listen to their J-Pop and anime music. I do remember having them (on) while I was opening the front door on Friday… where could they be?

I seem to be getting a lot of emails. My sudden popularity or something annoys me. I’m busy. Go away. Unless you have something interesting to say.

Messing with SongBird got me to reorganizing my iTunes library; something I haven’t done in a LONG TIME. It’s very relaxing organizing your music, setting everything up just the way you like it. Of course, it’s very time-consuming to go through all 7330 songs of mine, but somehow I went through halfway.

Or well, to the “M” mark. Currently listening to the Mabinogi music I have in my iTunes. Sweet. Especially since I never have music on while playing — it makes me appreciate the music more for some reason.

All my instrumental music is rated too high now. This is because I have (not that recently) adopted a new, MUCH stricter rating system for instrumental tracks due to the awesome influx of amazing Touhou music. I simply can’t categorize all Touhou music as five stars, after all, and I end up having no music rated 1 to 3 stars. So “average” has become 2 stars… meaning most of the 4-5 star instrumental tracks in my library need to become 2-3 star tracks. That’s basically everything.

By the way, my vocal music system still hasn’t changed… ehehe. ~90% of vocal music I add is four or five stars. And I basically never use 1 or 2 stars.

This is one of the reasons I wanted to switch (completely) to MediaMonkey — half-star ratings. I wish iTunes would support that.

Now that I think about it, does SongBird support half-star ratings? Probably not, because then it wouldn’t be able to sync back to iTunes. Meh.

MIUI player on Android is pretty awesome, by the way. You really can’t beat that simple yet ingenious interface… and lyrics support! Scrolling lyrics! Wow. That wows me to no lesser extent than the interface, albeit the feature is pretty useless.

Oh yeah, last episode of Beelzebub was awesome. It’s awesomeness is quickly approaching Hayate levels (my favorite anime when someone asks me, I guess… although not really). Other stuff have been sucking. Don’t get me started on IS or KoreZom, but even Index… blame the earthquake?

I played Touhou (Imperishable Night) yesterday. I suck, obviously, but it was fun. I think it was at like 3am, and I was pissed at Mabinogi for having such a sucky cooking dungeon mini-game. More Americans should get into danmaku games. It’s thrilling, grazing bullets and laughing at the horrible art.

I want to play a Touhou fantasy RPG. It wouldn’t make a good fantasy MMORPG, but it would make a really good JRPG. I’m thinking along the lines of Tales of the Abyss since that’s the JRPG I’ve been exposed to recently.

I bet you were wondering about the post title.

Me too.


March 21st, 2011

Yeah, so there’s a lot of stupidity in the world. So much that it’s probably not even worth it to write a post criticizing it. But yeah, whatever. The first part of this consists of stupidity on facebook, which there is way too much of to write about, but there are a few specific cases that I guess are stupid in a way that have some more meaning than just random stupidity, and thus can be analyzed. All the parts after that are whatever random crap I remember I wanted to rant about, but that probably won’t be much because I forgot all of it.

So starting off, one of my fb friends posted a story on his blog (the same one I quoted last time, actually), which then got posted on his facebook. It was about how he had an encounter with a random racist as he was pulling out of McDonalds, and described the yelling confrontation that occured between random racist and the guy’s dad. So, yeah, clearly, that guy is an idiot, both for being a racist, and for being a racist that lives in Arcadia. That’s like, I don’t know, a vegetarian entering a steakhouse. Or an epileptic going into a disco nightclub that also happens to be showing that episode of Pokemon. Or George W. Bush attending Harvard (Oh wait, that last one actually happened, stupid education system).

Well, that isn’t the main part I was talking about, it was actually one of the comments on it.

”  These are the time when people clash, but almost 100% of the time, those Whites are the problem. drivers are mostly legal, pulling up is included. those guys cursing at you doesn’t have particular reason to say those stuff. It just that the…y want to satisfy their needs of raging to others to satisfy themselves, even though it makes others to rage. Chinese aren’t the only one. Japanese Koreans, Chinese, Taiwanese,………. there are too many people who are affected by these unforgiving words. But you have to remember, that you are proud to be Taiwanese, because once you lose that mind set, you won’t survive in this country. This country was said to be free, but when you look back at the history, you know the truth.”

Ok, uh, where to start…well, first off, “Chinese aren’t the only one…Chinese also!”. But yeah, beyond that, I see a bunch of flaws. First, clearly, that he seems to blame racism exclusively on white people. Even if “almost 100%” of racial conflicts in America are sparked by whites (highly doubtful, just look at how much violence resulted from Black vs. Hispanic conflicts, in addition to other cases), the reason for this is only because whites are the only group in America that can be so blatantly racist, because they are the majority. But they are by no means the sole proprieters of racism; lots of other groups express this racism as well, even if it isn’t as apparent. I know for sure that a lot of it exists within our Asian community. In fact, to blame racism purely on whites is, it seems like, a form of racism itself.

Quick kind-of-related sidetrack story. Kinda, not really related, but I want to tell it because it’s a great story. I heard this from my dad, who heard it from my grandma, who was told this from one of the people involved, so I can’t guarantee 100% accuracy, but it’s true to my knowledge.

So, this person my grandma was talking to, she’s a first generation immigrant, but speaks some English, I guess just from being here a while. She’s trying to help her mother-in-law get American citizenship. To do this, people have to pass a test, consisting of questions like, “Who was president during WWII.” The mother-in-law doesn’t speak English, but she is allowed a translator, in this case, the daughter-in-law. She had already failed the test twice before, but wants to try it again. They enter the place (Idk where these tests are, lol) and enter the room for the test. They see that the test-giver is an African-American man, and then the mother-in-law tells her daughter-in-law, in Cantonese “It’s this [derogatory Cantonese term for blacks] again”. The test-giver, I’m not sure if he speaks Chinese, or just knew that phrase, somehow understands, and immediately fails her, putting a note to not allow her to take the test again, as she displayed behavior not appropriate for a  citizen.

Wow, that was kinda long. Anyway, back to the facebook comment…the other part of his post says that you “must remember to be proud of being Taiwanese to survive in the country.” Maybe this is just my belief on heritage (Tim knows what I’m talking about), but I argue again that this comment seems to consist of the same seeds of racism that it attempts to condemn. I don’t know exactly what the guy meant, if he just wanted to say that you should be proud of who you are, then that’s a good belief to have, but if he meant what I thought he meant at first glance, isn’t this kind of cultural/ethnic superiority the kind of thinking that causes the racial conflicts in the first place? There’s a difference between being comfortable with who you are, and feeling like you are better than others because of your descent. Maybe that specific post was not quite there yet, but the whole “I’m really proud that I’m Taiwanese!” thinking seems to be an origin of racism.

I guess racism is an issue that may never truly die down. We’ve definitley made a lot of progress over the years, and I hope I live to see even more, but I guess it’s still always a natural instinct of humans to reject those that are different. At least now, very few actually discrmininate or act out on their prejudices, and, like I said, I hope this one day is gone entirely, but I doubt we can ever be totally free of any prejudice within our thinking.

Ok…uh…still on facebook…

The earthquake in Japan was a terrible tragedy, and I could mourn the victims here, but much of that has been done already, and this blog isn’t really the appropriate forum for it. What I want to discuss is the facebook response to it.

Apparently there were some group(s) where people apparently joined to “support Japan.” I don’t know how these worked, because upon slightly closer inspection, the group seemed to have no actual point, other than getting people to join. I didn’t see how it in any way actually supported the victims in Japan. Maybe the only point of it was to allow people to feel like they were doing something. This kind of thing seems to be quite common now, in this connected technology age, with people all joining up to apparently demonstrate something, whether it actually supports that thing or not.  I guess our school “wear pink” thing could be an example, though it is already on the better side, since the teaches/administration could actually see the demonstration.

A more concerning response to the disasters on facebook, however, came through a comment thread on a post from one of my religious fb friends. He usually is pretty cool and not preachy in real life, but about half the posts he comments on or likes involve some religious comment by his friends/family. I would just block it, but it’s not that space consuming, and he has some interesting non-religious posts.  Well, anyway, some friend of his, on some post about the earthquake in Japan said, “All you can do is pray.”

And yeah, I would think that even religious people agreee that that statement doesn’t make much sense. You could also, you know, donate money to relief efforts. I don’t have too much of a problem with religion in cases where the person keeps it to themselves and doesn’t allow it to lead them to stupid beliefs actions. What I am against is when people use religion as justification for atrocities (KKK, Al Qaeda, pedophile Catholic priests)  or to press forward their stupid ideas (“America’s government should be based around Christianity”,  “global warming isn’t real because it isn’t in the bible”, Westboro Baptist Church [look it up if you feel like getting angry]), or in this case, leading them to not do anything except “pray”.

I don’t really get the whole point of prayer, and how it’s supposed to somehow influence God or whatever. Well,  I guess I don’t really get religion. I could go on a whole rant right now about religion/prayer, but let’s not. I’ll just say that the even more stupid religious idea related to the earthquakes was that somehow this is part of God’s plan and Japan deserved it and is getting punished. Yeah…I know there are reasonable religious people out there, but I’m starting to get really sick of the idiotic ones. Enough said. For now.

So, onto local news…it’s a bit late, but the big topic in Arcadia has been the pink slips and teacher lay-offs. Now, I’m sure I’ve been quite vocal on here about the incompetency and stupidity of many Arcadia teachers, so it might seem to you that I would support teacher lay-offs (Actually, it probably won’t seem to you that way, but assuming a stupid audience allows me to use sentences like that to set up the argument). However, I, like everyone else, oppose the layoffs, because these teachers being given the pink slips are in most cases the good ones. They are competent, and more importantly, they actually try and do their job. As much as I hate the bad teachers, it makes me appreciate the good ones more.

However, I cannot completely take the teacher’s side on this, that everything is fine, and they should continue to be paid the same, and education should not be messed with. As I said before, and as we all know, and I think even the teaches all know, there are many that are incompetent and don’t do their job. They must be eliminated. Some sort of performance review must be put into place, at the very least, and not just the “let’s look at how your students do on this stupid standerized test!” performance review. You could put a dead walrus as a teacher, and AHS students would still do well on anyone tests thrown at them.

Of course, that isn’t going to solve all the education problems. As we’ve mentioned many times on here, education is a complex issue. I would like to mention one point though, that a city council member at the Gov Team meeting made (Also mentioned by Obama in the State of the Union, and I’m sure many others). He said that there is no better, no more honorable and helpful  profession teaching. This is true-if the teacher is a good teacher. But, if like many, the teacher chooses to abuse this position of such great power and responsibility, nobody deserves more shame. With that much influence over the future, teachers have a duty to do their job, and those that do so, or beyond, should be rewarded. Those that don’t, shouldn’t.

Hm, I’m sure I had a lot more stuff to rant on…I can’t really remember though. And this is starting to get close to 2000 words. I really should learn to write more concisely.


Sadie’s Matrix of Fate Results

February 1st, 2011


Direct from Hanning’s computer…the reveal of destiny… (Color coded for your convinience):

timL will not be asked
hanning will be asked
calvin will not be asked
andy will not be asked
alfred will not be asked
hank will not be asked
justin will not be asked
timC will not be asked
ben will not be asked
dun will not be asked
kevin will not be asked
paul will not be asked

Epic computer results FTW.

If anybody cares…here’s the code.

import static java.lang.System.*;
import java.util.Arrays;

public class Test
 public static void main(String[] args)
  /*Test1 test = new Test1();
  double data[] = new double[5];
  double timL = Math.random();
   out.println(“timL will be asked”);
  else out.println(“timL will not be asked”);
  double hanning = Math.random();
   out.println(“hanning will be asked”);
  else out.println(“hanning will not be asked”);
  double calvin = Math.random();
   out.println(“calvin will be asked”);
  else out.println(“calvin will not be asked”);
  double andy = Math.random();
   out.println(“andy will be asked”);
  else out.println(“andy will not be asked”);
  double alfred = Math.random();
   out.println(“alfred will be asked”);
  else out.println(“alfred will not be asked”);
  double hank = Math.random();
   out.println(“hank will be asked”);
  else out.println(“hank will not be asked”);
  double justin = Math.random();
   out.println(“justin will be asked”);
  else out.println(“justin will not be asked”);
  double timC = Math.random();
   out.println(“timC will be asked”);
  else out.println(“timC will not be asked”);
  double ben = Math.random();
   out.println(“ben will be asked”);
  else out.println(“ben will not be asked”);
  double dun = Math.random();
   out.println(“dun will be asked”);
  else out.println(“dun will not be asked”);
  double kevin = Math.random();
   out.println(“kevin will be asked”);
  else out.println(“kevin will not be asked”);
  double paul = Math.random();
   out.println(“paul will be asked”);
  else out.println(“paul will not be asked”);

If you notice any coding errors, well, too bad, fate compensates for java errors.

Ok, now that you guys know the result of fate, I ran it a few times on my computer. These are not what will happen, as destiny gave the results above. But yeah, here are the next 5 runs of it…

The Alternative Result

timL will not be asked
hanning will not be asked

calvin will be asked
andy will not be asked
alfred will not be asked
hank will not be asked
justin will not be asked
timC will not be asked
ben will not be asked
dun will not be asked
kevin will not be asked
paul will not be asked

The WTF Result

timL will not be asked
hanning will not be asked
calvin will not be asked
andy will not be asked
alfred will not be asked
hank will not be asked
justin will not be asked
timC will not be asked
ben will not be asked
dun will be asked
kevin will not be asked
paul will not be asked

The Logical Result

timL will be asked
hanning will not be asked
calvin will not be asked
andy will not be asked
alfred will not be asked
hank will not be asked
justin will not be asked
timC will not be asked
ben will not be asked
dun will not be asked
kevin will not be asked
paul will not be asked

The “I swear, we did not rig this” Result

timL will not be asked
hanning will be asked
calvin will not be asked
andy will not be asked
alfred will not be asked
hank will not be asked
justin will not be asked
timC will not be asked
ben will not be asked
dun will not be asked
kevin will be asked
paul will not be asked

The Realistic Result

timL will not be asked
hanning will not be asked
calvin will not be asked
andy will not be asked
alfred will not be asked
hank will not be asked
justin will not be asked
timC will not be asked
ben will not be asked
dun will not be asked
kevin will not be asked
paul will not be asked

[2:19:56 AM] Hanning: “can i get an extension for my packet because I was trying to code fate”
[2:20:00 AM] Hanning: lololol
[2:20:43 AM] kc32815: lol
[2:20:48 AM] kc32815: that’s the best exuse ever
[2:20:50 AM] kc32815: she has to accept it
[2:20:50 AM] Hanning: haha

This is another one of those “sorry for not posting in forever, let me summarize my fantastic life” posts.

January 27th, 2011

Here’s the compulsory apology. Sorry for not posting in forever; let me fill you in on what’s been up.

So my last real post was back on the midpoint of winter break. The week after that I told myself, “Okay, gotta write a post summarizing my winter break.” Never happened. Then a week later “Ugh I should post about my awesome week.” Never happened either. “Crap this week sucked I need to pour my grief out onto my blog.” Nope.

So here’s Ben on the Thursday of finals week, reporting live. Let’s jump back three weeks. Latter half of winter break. One of my favorite things to do was to sit on the dinner table next to the window and read my chemistry book. My only gripe was that there wasn’t wifi there (that place is the southwesternmost part of my house). So I took one of my family’s old routers and put it in my parents room (right above the dining room). Set up some weird Windows tunnel thing that didn’t work 90% of the time. Yeah, so basically it was a waste of time. But it would’ve been cool. Well, it kind of works. When the computer is on (cuz basically the computer connects to my room’s router and shares it with the router through the ethernet port). But only sometimes. Sometimes. Yeah.

Oh, another high point of my break was watching The Count of Monte Cristo. I think I’ve talked about that before, however, so I’ll leave it at that.

Next week, the week after finals, for some reason every day that week I woke before 6; usually at 4:30 or 5am. That’s amazing, considering how I usually woke up at 7:50am, ten minutes before the late bell for first period, with a 15-minute drive and dash through campus. I think it had something to do with my setting the alarm to play classical music on Pandora at 4:30am, but I haven’t been able to reproduce it. Seriously, after that last Friday, I have never been able to wake before 7am again, up to the moment. (In fact I’m writing this at 3am…)

Another event in that first week after break was my persuasive essay speech in Jeng. I think I thought I was good at speech-making (I mean. I did win the SC presidency in middle school. Right?). Well, I didn’t do too bad. I didn’t prepare much, but I tried to put my very best into delivering the speech (which is on a VERY RELEVANT TOPIC and I have yet to post the essay that goes with it). I hope Ms. Jeng was able to fully receive my feelings towards the topic.

Other stuff also happened that week, like me doing math contests and wasting time. The next week I tried (LOL “tried”) to focus on something very important to me. My focus didn’t completely narrow until the following week though. I think this was dead week. Anyways, I think I got more work done in class (hiding it from the teacher) than I ever did at home. Too many distractions. Do you know how annoying Skype is when you’re trying to work? No wonder our lives suck… j/k.

Then it’s finals week. That week was so unproductive, counterintuitively. However, I enjoyed going out to lunch on Thursday and Friday with my dad. On Thursday we went to the Korean BBQ restaurant next to the CVS on Baldwin and Naomi, and on Friday we went to a Thai restaurant that was extremely cheap and extremely good. Oh yeah, I was going to talk about my Monday of perfection.

So the Monday of finals week was like the perfectest day ever. (I like how spellcheck didn’t catch “perfectest”. Spellcheck also caught the world “spellcheck” as wrong, although I guess technically it’s “spell check”.) Anyways, everything that day went splendid. Just wanted to throw that out there. (This paragraph is so short because, due to my short term memory loss, I remember no particular details of why that Monday was so fantastic, except that it just was.)

Oh, on the Friday of that week I did something interesting, I applied for an internship in less than one hour. Or maybe one and a half, if you were timing. Seriously… an entire internship in one hour! Essays and all! My mom and I are amazing, and I felt so good about that, even though that day was the deadline for the application, and the post office wouldn’t accept the package at 4:30, so the postmark was after the deadline. But I still felt good about it. It felt good.

The last Saturday and Sunday were spent working on USAMTS problems (I wasn’t able to completely finish #6 due to one last annoying step in the proof that I could just never figure out) and studying physics for the F=ma competition to select the members of the US International Physics Olympiad Team. So yeah, I ditched my friends and studied. Like a loser. Haha, but no regrets.

Competition was on Monday. I know I got at least one question wrong (source: Alfred). It was quite a simple question too… I’m a fool. After the competition, I did absolutely no work at all. None. Nada. Nil. I messed around and watched anime (A LOT OF ANIME) and did cool stuff like that in celebration of my hard work (cough).

I had an ortho appointment yesterday (Tuesday). It hurt a lot, but hopefully my braces will be off within a half year. That’s, what, four years of braces? *frown*

Oh, and today’s Math Team meeting was interesting. Hank and I (and Calvin and a bunch of freshmen) did Research, and I explained a problem with Calvin. Ate three bags of chips (very satisfying). Then we spent a long time discussing the next meet at Arcadia.

And I went home and refrained from doing work, and Mr. Zhang came by and gifted me a ticket ($40 worth!) to the Chinese Parents Whatever Club and their annual Spring Festival Whatever Dinner. I just KNOW what’s going to happen there… swarms of Asian moms are going to mob me, and I will be assailed by countless questions on how they can torture their kids more effectively. I’ll just hide in the bathroom and play with my phone, I guess. Hopefully the food is good. Maybe I’ll flash a ROM or two in the stall, just for kicks. Hopefully AT&T has signal in the community center. Think they have WiFi?

[end at 3:41am.]


January 16th, 2011

school internet by AUSD, in partnership with CSU.

$10,000s of taxpayer money/yr.

home internet by TWC/RoadRunner.


mobile internet by AT&T Wireless.


there are some things nonexistent bandwidth can’t download. for everything else, there’s AT&T.


AT&T. So bad, it’s (somehow) less than zero.

(Phenomenal ping, though. Faster than the speed of light.)

Technology Elitist Post-This was totally written by Ben

January 8th, 2011

Ben wanted to write a post but was too lazy to. So I’ll ghostwrite it for him.

You didn’t see those last two lines, this is Ben typing.

Those iThing users are technolgy illiterate idiots that feel superior but are actually loser posers. They use their products for the sake of looking cool, while they are actually showing their idiocy. This is just like this part of this anime I watched last summer. (Insert 20 lines of anime analogy here)

Verizon LTG thingy is awesome. AT&T sucks.

My awesome google image skills have produced a convinient picture to sum up everything

My awesome google image skills have produced a convinient picture to summarize everything.

Um…pink bunnies.

This is Ben signing off.

Yeah, that satire imitation sucked. Oh well.