Posts Tagged ‘USAMTS’

Nightmare before Christmas (on December 15th)

October 27th, 2011

Naively, I thought that after I finished applying early to a certain East Coast academic institution, the rest of my senior year would be a thrilling downhill ride that I would breathtakingly enjoy every scenic moment of. Well, breathtaking, yes, but not quite scenic, and definitely not enjoyable.

First of all, yes, I do need to also apply to a certain West Coast academic institution that I fell in love with this summer. I’m evidently quite tired of college apps, so I’ll put that off at least for a week or two. I still have competitions — Intel STS is going to be fun, especially — and I plan to put a lot of time into studying physics and seriously aiming for IPhO ’12 as US Team. Also, yes, I plan to miraculously jump from AIME to Red MOSP (pronounced “mop”), and that is going to take some serious mathematical work. Studying for competitions is actually quite fun (especially in comparison with college essays). Math competitions have been a frustrating area for me since freshman year, but that’s why I want to put in a final spurt. Unfortunately USAMTS conflicted with my early app this year, so I’m not participating and aiming for a gold (after all these consecutive years of silver and coming so close to gold… sigh). But yes, nationally speaking, I am quite dumb at math.

For the near future I guess I’ll review the Lagrangian and attempt to teach it to physics team — the Lagrangian is fun and I expect it to be fun to teach. Oh, but I guess not all of them know calculus.

My overbooking is especially apparent looking at my calendar (which I’d love to post a screenshot of, but no), it’s almost like one of those strange works of modern art that go in every direction with all these abstract arrangements of color and shape. Well, I appreciate my calendar, and I’ve become a bit better at following it (just a bit). I’ve gotten into the habit of entering my sleep times in there too. Later on in senior year I’ll have fun reminiscing on how little I slept.

Just to put it out there, yes, I am writing this blog post in lieu of working on my Chaucer essay. Also, I love my APENG teacher. I’d like the class if it wasn’t first period, but hopefully caffeine supplements will be able to remedy that.

My seat partner in English, Kenny, has been very good to me (despite my frequent sick leave — bad immune system, it’s true). In the last few days we’ve been discussing Asian music, and I’ve found I really don’t know much about Asian music, even J-Pop. It’s because I’m too contrarian, of course, but I definitely felt I needed to get out there and explore mainstream J-Pop and Mandarin music. I’m Chinese, after all.

I haven’t been following anime at all during the month of my college application internment. Coincidentally, Fall 2011 has many series that I thought I would be very eager to see, but now that I have had time available to watch anime, I find that I’ve only been keeping up with the series I’ve been watching previously (Beelzebub, Fairy Tail pretty much). Looking back at Shana, I don’t really want to watch Shana III (and that movie has been sitting on my hard disk somewhere, too). Mirai Nikki is great (beyond great, loved every page of the manga) but I feel absolutely no compulsion to watch it. In fact, I feel no compulsion to watch any new series, and I only forced myself to watch Fate/zero because… well, it’s Fate/zero and by all accounts THE anime of the season. Oh, it was epic all right, but I don’t feel eager to watch the next episode. For some reason, I don’t feel eager to watch anime. I guess it’s what a month without anime does to you.

So yes, I’ve only watched one episode of one series of Fall ’11 strangely, considering how many non-dumb stories this season has. By request, I’ll check out Guilty Crown soon.

Not watching anime has definitely freed up a lot of time, but somehow I still feel much busier. Most of the work is AP Mandarin, which I think I somehow still have an A- in despite my utter failure in every realm. I think I’m really learning a lot in this class, though, and I hope I can read 95% of a newspaper by the time I get out of high school. Still, I don’t feel AP Mandarin is really worth the effort, and I’m afraid college adcoms will frown on me for being Chinese and “taking the easy route” by taking Chinese in school. In this regard, I truly should have gone for French or Spanish (both languages I am very interested in anyways). Japanese would also be easy and fun.

I’ve picked up trying to read Japanese light novels again. After giving up reading untranslated manga. It’s just too difficult trying to look up words you don’t know. In light novels on the computer, all I need is a mouse-over or middle-click, and my definition is right there (courtesy of Yomichan or Rikaichan or any other member of this inordinate family of tools with -chan inexplicably tacked on). One more click, and a flash card of the word is added to my flashcard deck on my computer (I worshipped Anki).

Speaking of which, I haven’t had a chance to add AP Mandarin words to my Anki deck that I haven’t reviewed in half a year. Anki was even convenient for learning physics — it was quite useful memorizing facts and formulae for my physics competitions back in the day. I have a server set up to host the LaTeX notation rasterized into PNG files, and I can review my flashcards from anywhere on the globe with a web browser, or the awesome Anki Android app on my phone. So yes, I am plugging Anki for all your memorization needs. I have a cool Needs Statements flashcard deck with Precalc/Calc A and Calculus BC versions, if anyone wants. With really cool LaTeXed math notation, and word-for-word from the Needs Statement sheets. Ahhh, calculus feels so nostalgic. I also have my Mandarin 4 deck, but they changed the textbooks after my year.

With all this language-learning, physics, math, college applications, research, and much miscellaneous matter, I haven’t had a time to code, work on projects, and fix up my Linux servers. I need to put Altair to good use as my backup mail server. This summer I put lighttpd on Altair (Reverie has Apache2), and — by god — the performance is astounding! I have a fully-functional web server on maybe 30MB of RAM with Debian 6. I put nginx for Windows on Mizu (pretty much just used to host my flashcard media), and it’s been a snap to use as well. Apache is definitely going out of business. Well, I guess it’s open source, so that’s technically not possible.

Yes, I did set up FCGI on Apache (and suexec since I plan on doing shared hosting). Messing with Apache is not fun. PHP loads a lot slower than mod_php, but I can squeeze a lot more httpd processes out of my precious RAM. I wish people wouldn’t spam, so I wouldn’t have to run spamd. It eats like >70MB whether there is mail or not. It’s been great at blocking spam though, and I have it configured to automatically delete mail with a spam score over 15. It pained me incredibly, but recently I added the Spamcop and XBL blacklists to my Postfix configuration. I don’t like blacklists, but the spam volume annoys me. I purposely held off on the PBL list, because I am in support of people running private mail servers on their home ISP networks. I remember when I was running my copy of hmailserver on my Windows box through a crappy AT&T (those are synonyms, I checked the thesaurus) DSL line. Haha, good times. Fellow computer enthusiasts for the win!

My east coast college’s interview is coming up as well. I’ve been increasingly noticing the unpleasant, slightly nasal quality of my voice. Besides generally improving my speaking skills, I really need to train myself to not make that noise. From what I’ve read online, the key to getting rid of the nasal quality is to act like you’re about to yawn when you talk. The reason for the nasally noise is because the soft palate is not completely blocking the path to the nose, so some the sound from your vocal cords also passes into and reverberates through the nasal cavity. And when you yawn (and you can feel it yourself), your soft palate completely closes the passage to the nose so this problem is solved. I know close to nothing about anatomy, but this makes a lot of sense to me. Unfortunately, making sense does not make it any easier to put this into practice…

I’m thinking of getting this book or this from Amazon. The reviews are very laudatory, of course. Speech tutors/therapists must be expensive.

Rather than doing nothing but waiting for the nightmarish announcement coming on December 15th (and groundlessly hoping/praying for a fat envelope), I’m up to my nose.

I’ve spent too long ranting. Time to get back to work on that essay.

Edit: Amusingly, this blog post is longer than my essay.

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.]

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

Spring Break

April 10th, 2010

After months of ignoring my precious blog, I randomly felt it was about time I posted. About what? Everything.

The last few weeks before spring break were quite challenging — although judging by some of the juniors, I was still pretty well-off. Our PSA project on self-esteem turned out pretty well. My Mandarin grades are somehow still staying afloat even though I never spend any time on it. Math homework is so teeth-grinding. It’s completely pointless, and it’s such a waste of our precious time.

Funny thing is, on Monday I have like a test in every class. Every teacher’s thought process went something like this: “Oh, no other teacher is going to give a test on Monday, the day right after everybody gets back from spring break, so I’ll give a test on Monday. They’ll only have this one test, no big deal.” So that’s why I have like five tests on Monday.

As for my spring break, my family flew to Seattle, drove up to Vancouver, and had a generally marvelous time up in Canada. I was able to have a lot of fun while still keeping up with my physics. I saw snow falling from the sky for the first time in my life up in Grouse Mountain, overlooking Vancouver. Unfortunately, the snow and fog prevented me from actually seeing Vancouver from tens of thousands of feet above, but I don’t mind. I loved how wonderfully cold, Canadian, and awesome Vancouver was. The awesome British-ish (Canadian?) accents, the Canadian dollars and coins and the French… which reminds me, Vancouver was not as fantastic as Montreal. Montreal was French. Really French. And it was cold. Really coold. Oh, and Toronto was cool too. CN Tower isn’t the highest building in the world anymore, though (sadly).

After returning to my smoggy hometown, I went with Hank and Jason to the movies at the mall on Friday. We watched How to Train Your Dragon and Clash of the Titans. As expected from Dreamworks, Dragon was brilliant and fully enjoyable. Clash was… uninteresting. The overusage of unintelligible action scenes makes no sense to me. Greek mythology isn’t interesting to me anymore, also, for some reason. I would’ve rather watched some horrible anime than Titans.

Oh, right, and Thursday… Orchestra Spring Tour. Busy busy. I bought a mute in Vancouver, one of those shiny metal ones because… um, it was shiny. I can’t figure out how to open it… I can’t even fit it onto a sheet of paper, so how will it slide onto my bridge? Sneaky Canadians…

As for math contests, I seem to have gotten a silver in the USAMTS, which… was expected, I suppose. I’m not going to have enough time to try for gold next year, with junior year and all. Oh, and today is… was… ARML Local, which I’m staying home from because the math tutoring industry suddenly is disgusting me. Don’t ask, because I don’t know myself.

Most importantly, the 2010 Physics Bowl competition is going to be held on Tuesday. Today I have an extra-credit Physics Bowl session with my physics teacher. Monday I have a Physics Bowl review/cumulative test. Monday afterschool the Physics Team is probably planning some sinister examination to torture us all into getting high scores. And… Tuesday is the competition. That leaves me with only… gasp, two days!! Oh no, I don’t have time to prepare! Back to watching anime.

Haha, seriously that’s what my life is like. “Oh no, I forgot to do my homework! Oh well, it can wait until I finish this episode.” Which brings me to speak about Spring 2010 animes, and my pile of unfinished Winter 2010 animes, and all the stuff I’ve been watching lately, and how awesome Ueki no Housoku / The Law of Ueki is, and how EPICx3 the To Aru Majutsu no Index novels are (especially compared to the not-really-epic-enough anime)…….

Yeah, so that’s why I’m unwilling to go off and on about anime.

Yesterday I stayed up the whole night playing a stupid MMO video game. Sometimes my lack of sanity astounds me.

After all, wouldn’t that all-nighter have been much better spent watching anime?

Protected: 17/25 = 76% (C)

November 16th, 2009

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A Haystack of Words

October 20th, 2009

The Organized Blog Post of Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Tagline: “This is not a wall of text!”


Recently, I’ve been omega-obsessed with Shugo Chara. オメガオメガ obsessed. It’s… stupid at times… but the non-stupid parts are either super-amazing, or super-moralistic, or super-hilarious.

I’ve been depressed, because Shugo Chara has been depressing after the first quarter-mark (26th episode). After the villain was defeated (or… reformed and became a good guy. it’s a shoujo anime, after all…), many of my favorite main characters left the main cast… and then the new characters are all stupid… and the new episodes are annoying. Hinamori-chan is being bullied and people are being mean to her, and her depression in the anime somehow carried over to me. However, now it’s getting better, and you start to see how all the new stuff ties together.

Anyways, sorry for ranting about Shugo Chara for two paragraphs. It’s taken up about at least 3 hours per day, every day, since I started it. I don’t know why Amu’s emotional state affects my emotional state in real life. Hmm. *science project topic!*

As for Fall 2009, things are going slow. Usually I only have one new episode to watch a day (of course, more on Friday-Sunday), so it’s not taking up much of my time, either.


Busy, busy! English H is a beehive of homework. Antigone questions, some annotation thing, Mists of Avalon essay, Antigone speech… Pleasantville extra credit, and the “signs” extra credit. For your information, I’m not doing this for your benefit. I’m just typing it out again so I don’t forget anything. (If you think that sounded “tsundere” you have been watching too much Japanese media.)

I find not logging into MSN or gTalk saves about 2~3 hours of time per day. Especially since 95% of the conversation involves “life sux” or some variant thereof.

Anyways, P.E. is awesome because we’re not swimming today or tomorrow (we will be swimming Thursday, but the weather will be nice by then). Orchestra 3 I have long since stopped caring about or worrying about, but we have a concert on Monday. Mandarin homework I finished in class, but I need to lookup a couple of words *note to self*.

Finally, AP Physics — we got our tests back, and ALL OF MY MISTAKES were stupid careless mistakes. I forgot to divide in half for the radius (when given the diameter)… and I lost like 12 points (out of 100) for that…

Luckily, Mr. Zhang is awesome! He immediately understood, and I think he’ll give me back most of my points on the free-response. As for my multiple-choice mistakes… しょうがないな?

Tomorrow — Precalc test, as well as Math Team. And~~ that makes six classes. Onwards!


TIME FOR LONG WORDY PHILOSOPHICAL REFLECTION! No, just kidding. Like hell I have that much time.

… actually I do. Or, well, I would. If I could reduce my anime watc– no, wait, that’s not possible.

Also, people, somebody at least try the really really easy math problem from like Sunday. Because… it’s really really easy…

Lol, I always go on math-problem-posting-sprees after an ARML practice. I love getting a fresh set of problems to think about for a month. Except… well… I already have USAMTS… speaking of which, my Round 1 scores are not out yet (I’m now thinking I got more like 15/25… ;______;)

If you were to plot the hours of my life onto a blueberry pie graph, I want the “anime” slice.

On the other hand, I don’t like cheesecake.

-turned-emotional rant

I miss composing. Lol, it was something I was obsessed with for spontaneous periods of time up until high school. Yeah, I know huh? High school ruins childrens’ dreams and aspirations. All your pleasures, all your desires– your hopes, the personality you wish you had, the things you want, the things you want to become. Why must it all be forsaken, all in the name… no, all under the guise of “seeking knowledge”?

If school was truly a venture meant for children to “seek knowledge”, why do they punish us if we don’t want to? Knowledge is a PRIVILEGE! If school truly wanted us to become great, healthy contributors to society, why do they make us sleep two hours a day? Why do they bar us from taking classes we are interested in?? What with “prerequisites”? What with “placement exams”? Let us take our own education, our own acquisition of knowledge into our own hands!!

—— STOP. Whew! Almost went out on another rant.

for real

God Knows will always be a classic for me. If only Aya was a better person. What else is new in my iTunes… um, Sora no Manimani character songs. They were average, not too bad, but nothing amazing or anything. Other than those albums, and arrival of tears, I don’t really have anything new. This is mostly because I never have time to add anything to my library, nor do I ever have time to listen to my existing music. When doing math homework, I like to do it in another room, away from my computer (mostly cuz of MSN), and away from my iTunes too, as a side effect.

I guess I’ll list the contents of my “to be added” folder. I have… the four new Haruhi character songs… Bakemonogatari intro… Hashimoto Miyuki’s newest album (Double Flower)… a bunch of random albums I haven’t bothered adding, from things like CANAAN, Rozen Maiden, etc…

A couple of Hayate2 character songs (of characters I don’t really like, so…), a couple of OSTs… Kanamemo stuff that I don’t care about… Princess Lover! character songs… Gendai Mahou stuff… and ooh! Da Capo music. There’s something that needs to be added soon.


Public Service Announcement: don’t drink tea after dinner, unless you’re going to sleep at 3am anyways. I’ve been doing that every day lately, for maybe half a week (recently got back into being obsessed with tea), so I was wondering why I couldn’t sleep at 10pm… haha!

Anyways, time for Ben’s Tea Corner! According to my parents, the tea they sell here in America sucks really bad. My family brings back a suitcaseloadfull of tea every time we visit our home in China, normally I would lol, but tea is good.

Lol… I was about to add a tag named “tea”…

Personal Project(s)

You’ve heard Justin running around campus hollering “CAN YOU DRAW?? CAN U DRAWW???” right? Wondering what that was about? Interested in programming? Love art? Play games a lot? How would you like to be involved in creating, designing, and producing a real 3D computer game?

Basically, from what Justin and I have come up with during PE classes while waiting for O’Brian to wake up and come to school, the plot looks something like this:

  • Post-apocalyptic Arcadia High School. (?)
  • Teachers are zombies (?) or otherwise badguys (“DOOO YOOOUURRRR HOOOMMEEEWOOORRKKKK!!!!”)
  • Use pencils, pens, erasers, whiteboard markers, etc as projectiles (“Weapon Throwing” skill).
  • Baseball bats, binders, etc. as normal weapons.
  • “Skill system” that can be trained — e.g. train “Sprint” skill at track; can be used every 2 minutes (e.g. 120sec cooldown), doubles running speed or something
  • Inventory/item system of course.
  • The setting is Arcadia High School, of course. Construction still going on (?) or all/some buildings knocked down/destroyed?
  • We still need a plot/script writer! We need somebody to come up with a reason why Arcadia High School has become like this (time-space separation causing AHS to become separated from the real world? Zombie/alien invasion? 2012 apocalypse? Government disease quarantine, and the disease causes people to become zombies?) It’s all up to you! (no salary provided)

There are more details, but this is more than you need to know. We need a good artist to design the characters (that’s why Justin has been… yeah), and preferably a good programmer to help me with the framework, game engine, and all the techy stuff. Of course, a scriptwriter, as well, like I said above. I’m not sure if Justin wants help with his 3D work, but if any of you have any idea about Maya, he might appreciate the help.

Summary of needed positions looks something like this:

  1. 3D design, level design, cutscenes, animation, rigging, texturing, lighting, rendering, etc etc etc: Justin Yong (help would be appreciated)
  2. Program design, game engine design and integration, gameplay and gameplay system, controls, IT/tech support, etc etc etc: Ben Li (help would be greatly appreciated)
  3. Music: Ben Li (help would be appreciated)
  4. Art direction, character design: [available, preferably multiple people]
  5. Scriptwriter, plot, story, tone: [available]
  6. Menial chores: [available]

Justin is actually the one who will be doing the most work, even though it looks like I have a lot. I have a lot to do at the start of the project; after everything is up and running, I only need to add the new maps, characters, items, animations, and cutscenes. Of course, I’m in charge of music too, but if you have some compositional skills (like… Hanchan?), perhaps you could consider helping us.

This will be a single-player game (not definite yet however), not an MMO. We will produce demo versions at first, and then when we have a substantial product, we will meet together and consider the option of starting a company and selling the game. (However, we will need the permission of Arcadia High School to commercially use their name and school design, probably. We may have to pay those dirty counselors some royalties.)

Our first “demo” version will only be one level/map. I believe Justin has tentatively decided on modeling J building first, and we probably won’t be able to finish character design in time for the release of this alpha.

Justin, I hope you don’t mind if I come up with a tentative timetable:

November 2009 to End of December, 2009: Release of Alpha 1 (single map; testing game engine and controls)

February 2010: Release of Alpha 2 (single or multiple maps, testing character model, character rigging, and animation, as well as gameplay system)

May/June 2010: Release of Alpha 3 (multiple maps, connected, testing multiple characters/character select (possibly), weapons and projectiles system, enemy gameplay, HP, attacks, and animation, as well as advanced gameplay system (skills, HP/MP/SP, inventory). This may possibly be a public release.)

Summer 2010: Release of Beta 1 (fully functional: multiple connected maps, multiple selectable characters, weapons+projectiles+skills system, NPCs, enemies (various types), attack system + damage calcuation, death+penalties, special items (HP potions food, water, Gatorade, textbooks, etc), fully functional gameplay system)

Justin, does this timetable look too rushed?

Anyways, come join our project! And, along the way, come up with a smart name for us.

USAMTS 2009-10 R1: Question 2

October 13th, 2009

The ordered pair of four-digit numbers (2025, 3136) has the property that each number in the pair is a perfect square and each digit of the second number is 1 more than the corresponding digit of the first number. Find, with proof, all ordered pairs of five-digit numbers and ordered pairs of six-digit numbers with the same property: each number in the pair is a perfect square and each digit of the second number is 1 more than the corresponding digit of the first number.

This is the second question from this year’s USAMTS, round one. Contest is over now, so post and discuss all you want.

It’s been like a month since I’ve last posted a math problem, so take some time to ponder upon this problem. It’s actually not that hard, and there’s a simple, systematic way of finding the solutions.

Title Obtained: Master of Centripetal Acceleration

October 13th, 2009

Today was a really nice day.

I slept ’til 10am, skipped most of school.

Then I woke up and went “oh shoot it’s 10am… and I still haven’t finished my USAMTS!”

So I had fun cramming it in for two hours. In the end, I wasn’t able to come up with a non-BS solution to number 4, but I think I still deserved some partial credit for it. I expect to score a 20~23ish at best.

… I can just see my perfect score. Out the window. Whoosh.

Maybe I’ll post one or two of the questions later. USAMTS R1 is over now, after all. Note to self: do not procrastinate for the next round.

Seriously… I submitted it at 11:59 am. One minute before the deadline =p


After that, I had lunch and went to school.

IT WAS RAINING! Awesome-est day ever.

Did my Mandarin HW during lunch (as usual), and went to Mandarin and had a really nice time. And I’m really happy that I got 49.5 out of 50 on my last test. I kinda needed a 99% in Mandarin, but now that class is at a safe, stable A.

After Mandarin was the AP Physics test. Uniform Circular Motion (UCM) was the chapter tested here, and obviously I didn’t study (never have for this class). At least I actually read the textbook chapter, which I didn’t do last test.

So, I took the test, and it was SO freakin’ easy. I probably got 100% even if he doesn’t curve the test. There wasn’t a single question I didn’t know, and I had plenty of time for all the problems. (In AP Physics, to me the biggest challenge is the time constraint.)

After my wonderful test, my mom picked me (and Eric) up, and it turns out Eric’s parents will be visiting Bryan (his brother) in San Francisco for the weekend, so Eric will be staying over at my house on Sunday! Awesome, we’ll spend the whole day fooling around and having fun!

I feel like inviting whoever wants to come over to my house on Sunday, to come over. Hanchan and I can watch anime, and Kevin can make Kevin-ic comments. Andy and I can work on our website and do random things, and Justin or Tim or Imouto can come entertain us~~

I’m in such a great mood, it feels quite unnatural. Well, I suppose it is unnatural for an AHS student to be having a good day. Well.