My blog has been moved from www.leafwood.net to blog.leafwood.net.
It’s not like anyone linked to my posts anyways, so it’s fine (but links should be correctly redirected).
Oh yeah, I’m a college sophomore now. Hi!
My blog has been moved from www.leafwood.net to blog.leafwood.net.
It’s not like anyone linked to my posts anyways, so it’s fine (but links should be correctly redirected).
Oh yeah, I’m a college sophomore now. Hi!
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.
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 Organized Blog Post of Sunday, October 24/29th, 2010
Tagline: “Efficiency — a month of blogging in a single post!”
So Tim commented on this post from over a year ago, which sent me an email alert reminding me of the existence of my blog. From there I wandered into this post. Among all the other amazing posts from a year ago that stemmed from my illustrious genius (sarcasm).
I wish I could return to my prolific blogging habits from my sophomore year. It felt really good to bring out my thoughts, and at the end of the day, it gave me a feeling of having contributed to society — a feeling of general productivity, I suppose, which I can’t attain from games or anime or television.
As I return to this half-completed post, two days ago I got my computer infected with a virus (I knoww! ME, the total computer geek, with a virus?!), and life has generally been sucking. Well, that’s to be expected. Perspective, Ben, perspective. Your life rocks.
I have had no time for anime. And although this Fall 2010 season is a major exception, modern anime has been uninteresting for the most part. And of course the one interesting anime season would happen when I’m at the busiest point in my life. Tsk.
That was my short two-line spiel on anime. I won’t bother going into more detail (no time + no interest). However… anime music lately has been beyond awesome. Faylan’s last vision for last (if you remember, they did the remarkable OP for CANAAN a few seasons ago) is number one here. I was immediately obsessed with the TV-size version; however, upon hearing the full version it didn’t seem that great anymore. It is still a good song, nevertheless. My favorite part is when all the drums, guitars, etc all die out and leave just the piano and her singing. Maybe the animation that accompanied the song in Hyakka Ryouran was the reason for this.
Speaking of opening sequences, the opening of Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai / The World Only God Knows is the best this season. I usually hate english lyriced songs, but everything just fits together so perfectly in that intro sequence. I especially like the logo at the end, where the kanji “kami” (god) does that uhh weird thing (sry for dropping out of ap english o_O).
I also like irony by ClariS, from Ore no Imouto ga Konna Kawaii Wake ga Nai (the anime about Tim and Dorothy’s daily life). I can’t quite put my finger on what I like about the song. It’s cheerful, both in melody and in lyric, and somehow deep (even without trying to interpret the lyrics into native byte-code). I really love the name. It’s not very often that Japanese artists name their songs well (SERIOUSLY. UGH. one of my biggest gripes with asian music.) so it’s nice to see a short, sweet name for this just-as-sweet song. I feel like translating the lyrics for this song (but it’s probably already been done twice overby Words of Songs lol).
eufonius’s new song for Yosuga no Sora is nice, but it’s too similar to all of their previous works (Apocrypha, Mag Mell come to mind, along with the ef songs). They use the same instrumentation on all of their songs, and the same melodic phrases/chord progressions. The original conception was brilliant, but repeating the same formula over and over again wins them no points in my book.
New Fairy Tail songs are okay, but I’m saddened at the removal of Mikuni Shimokawa’s outro song. Sora no Otoshimono‘s opening isn’t as catchy as ring my bell, but I remember it was okay (can’t remember anything about the actual song).
I am very dissappointed in To Aru Majutsu no Index II ‘s music. I was looking forward to an outro song bu IKU more than I was looking forward to the actual anime. I’m saying that seriously. The OP by, whoever it’s by, was nothing special either. I guess I was impressed by the content of the actual anime, though. Since I read the novel, and know what will happen, I’m actually more excited after each cliffhanger/episode.
I know there are many brilliant animes this season, but I am already being crushed by what I have on my watchlist right now, so I will put most of this season off until last year. Yes, that includes Bakuman.
I’m thinking of moving the leafwood.net servers off of my home network. First of all, bandwidth and cpu/disk access from site visitors often hinders my normal computer usage. It’s annoying when suddenly the computer freezes up while I just had a good idea for my english paper, et cetera. Next, I would like to reduce the power consumption of my computer and increase its operating lifetime by not keeping it on overnight or while I am at school. Seriously, my computer is pretty new, and it already feels like it’s five years old. Things are breaking and crashing every other day. Finally, a dedicated server would provide faster access/ping times and high speed bandwidth, which would be nice to have in case we ever need to upload, say, large music files or video files (e.g. for songwriting or moviemaking).
I’m not quite sure how I’d pay for the server usage though. I would ideally want a package at less than ten dollars a year. I don’t need much bandwidth, and PHP and MySQL are pretty much the only server features I need. I wouldn’t even really need SSH access (although it would be nice). Any donation offers? :D
I can’t frick-ing (LOL Frick… sry inside joke) get enough of Touhou music. It started from a random post on an anime blog with a random link to a lame Touhou fan video (it was a parody stand-up comedy thing… very wtf weird). And then I heard the ending song at the end of the video, and it was all downhill from there~
One gripe is that not all Touhou music is equally good. In fact, most songs suck incredibly. But it’s very fun picking out the awesome ones and listening to them on repeat for five hours.
The Touhou characters and the setting of Gensokyo is also extremely compelling. I read one of the mangas, Silent Sinner in Blue in one night. Well, it was short. But I’m amazed at Touhou, and more amazed at Japan and its Touhou fans that have brought the game to such international fame.
I know this post was a bunch of meaningless crap. And I still posted it like four days late. Good thing all anime-containing posts are hidden from the front page o_O
June 10, 2010
Los Angeles, California — I have confirmed this fact thoroughly and definitively. Allow me to start you off, reader, with a detailed explanation of the circumstances surrounding my internet connection. AT&T, partnering with Yahoo!, offers an ADSL service in my area of residence for thirty-or-forty-some dollars a month. The speed is abysmal. The advertised speed is 3 Mbps, which is already bad enough, but I only ever got 1.5 Mbps. The upload speed was less than 300 Kbps. Also, the modem liked to randomly disconnect and die on us every few days, and when the modem wasn’t dead, the phone-line DSL signal was to corrupted to connect. As a result, I often had no internet for days in a row, and even when I did, it wasn’t even up to half the advertised speed.
Then my dad switched to Time Warner Cable’s offering of 10Mbps RoadRunner cable internet service. Interestingly, at the same price as AT&T’s crappy ADSL, we got speedtest results of up to 30Mbps! Other RoadRunner customers reported speeds of up to 40Mbps… which is pretty astounding. This is 20 times the speed of our AT&T service… for the same price. It’s amazing, isn’t it.
On like the third day we got RoadRunner cable, the modem like completely crashed and we had no internet for like the entire day. It turns out that it was just some really infrequent service outage, and that many of my friends also went without internet on that day.
July 29, 2010
It turns out that the “infrequent” service outages are actually pretty frequent. We seem to get one every month, often lasting for a whole day. It’s pretty annoying, although if/when I get an Android phone I won’t care as much.
Also, the previous claim I made about speeds at up to 40 Mbps is partially invalid. Although burst speeds can reach up to 40 Mbps, after a second or two of letting you think you’re downloading at 40 Mbps, Roadrunner caps your speed and cuts it down to what you pay for, 10 Mbps. So basically, they trick speed-test websites into thinking your speed is fast, while in reality only providing a quarter of the speed. I’m pretty disappointed; it would be awesome downloading all the crap I download at 40 Mbps. And speaking of that, I download way too much crap.
Anyways, speaking of AT&T’s internet service… AT&T’s wireless service does horrendous things with its Android phones. As the iPhone is its biggest cash cow, AT&T completely locks down most of Android’s functions. They don’t let AT&T Android owners install third-party applications on their phones, and heavily censors the Android Marketplace. Basically, you can’t install any program on your phone that AT&T doesn’t want you to install.
AT&T bloats its phones with random useless crap like AT&T Navigator, among others. The service costs like $5 a month for GPS navigation service… but I wonder if AT&T has ever heard of Google Maps, which does the same thing, better and for free? Additionally, there is no way to remove the app from your phone (without rooting it).
September 4, 2010
Why did I waste my precious summer writing this post. Ugh rage.
I’m semi-bored even though I have a truckload of homework to do over Thanksgiving break. My stores of willpower have been thoroughly depleted by now, however. (By the way, if you haven’t heard this line from me yet: “You can accomplish ANYTHING with sheer willpower.” Recently I revised this to “sheer willpower and enough time”.)
The problem with humans in general: “willpower” is exactly what we lack. Figures.
So like, here’s how my Thanksgiving went in one sentence: Guests came over, turkey was horrible, I would rather have had a Cup Noodle. Actually that was a run-on; sorry.
On Black Friday my mom and dad made $125, interestingly. My mom went at 4:00am to shop for deals and spent like $100. When she came home, my dad told her to return everything she bought because it was worthless junk that we already had too much of anyways. It just so happens that the store’s sale ended at 1pm… and when we returned it, they refunded us at the non-sale price (about $200). So we made $100 there. Also, they gave us a free $25 gift card that they didn’t bother taking back. Modern retailing is interesting, but they made so much net profit from Black Friday, I doubt they really care.
My dad’s “excuse” for the money we walked off with was especially interesting: “We can’t tell them that we walked off with $125 from them! If we told the sales associate, she would surely have been fired! We’re not telling them about the money because we care about the sales associate’s welfare!”
Fast forward to Saturday: my family went with some Asian family friends to Newport Beach. The problem was, there were 6 “children under five” and only one “teenager” (along with everybody’s parents). I’m sure my dear little siblings fully enjoyed the trip — we rented a 14-person boat and drove around the harbor, and we even let each of the little children take a turn at “driving” the 5mph hunk of a boat. I, however, didn’t get much done, so I consider it a waste of a day.
Here I am, day 3/5. Mists essay: 0%. Oh, I forgot to talk about something.
I’ve ranted about AT&T before, right? Well, our 2wire modem (2701-B or whatnot) must be AT&T’s secret plan to sabotage our home networks or something. Seriously, nothing works. That damn innocent-looking white box’s “firewall” is truly a menace. It doesn’t let any of my legitimate traffic through, yet it gives AT&T and 2wire full remote control access to it. They don’t let me, the OWNER of the router/modem… more like brick… set the settings on the router… what a user-friendly design. Anyways, I spent all of Friday night messing with it because I was only getting 30kbps download on my anime, and one small attempt to fix it resulted in my whole network borking out… leading me to stay up until 3am messing with this conglomeration of bricks and wires.
Luckily my dad randomly bought a new router online on Thursday, so I’ll just set the 2wire to bridge mode and use my Linksys as our gateway — and actually have control over my home network. Sigh.
Anyways, now here I am. Reading Seitokai no Ichizon manga and pretending I know Japanese because I can read the furigana; waiting for my Railgun to finish transferring at snail-pace; and finally… blogging in place of the essay I should be writing at the moment.
600 word post. These 600 words would probably be better spent on Mists of Avalon, but when I rule the world I will ban that book from the face of the Earth. All copies shall be burnt, and anybody found in possession of it will be tortured, then killed, then tortured some more.
I worship follow a lot of anime blogs. One of the best I’ve encountered is Random Curiosity, hosted by animeblogger.net (maybe I should move there). His (/her, to be politically correct) posts are so detailed, pictureful, and delightful to read…
Mine are probably as fun and easy to read as shining a pen laser on the moon and trying to find the dot through a telescope.
I liked, for example, his (/her) Sora no Otoshimono post for the first episode. (Political correctness is tiring. Oh, wasn’t there a WordPress plugin that automatically made your posts politically correct? ><)
He (/she) writes, like, a full essay-length blog post for every single anime episode that’s coming out. And he (/she) does it like five minutes after it’s out. Actually, I don’t get how that’s possible, because you need at least 30 minutes to watch it in the first place. Okay, maybe like thirty-five.
Anyways, I need to move to a faster host and work out how to set up that cool screenshot thing, if I want more people to visit me. Actually, on second thought, I don’t want more people to visit me.
Actually, after reading my “corresponding” post on Sora no Otoshimono 01 (along with the premire episodes of like every other Fall 09 anime bundled together into one long, mostly pictureless post), it wasn’t that bad, the text. I think my blogging/writing proficiency has deteriorated, even though theoretically, since I blog and write essays like every night, my skill level should be going up. Or maybe I just paid special attention to that post because it was the “first-episode first-impression” post and I wanted to be able to refer back to it when I Fall 2009 was over.
As you can tell, I’m mad.
Suddenly, at like 12pm today, my internet completely died?
Why? Because AT&T decided to upload a firmware upgrade to my router. WITHOUT MY CONSENT.
Needless to say, that is troublesome.
More frustrating was that the firmware upgrade f***ed up my entire network configuration. It started telling me that “ooh ooh! You have a second router behind me! I DON’T LIKE THAT! *blocks internet*”
Ugh! I like my WRT54G with DD-WRT custom firmware installed! It’s the awesomest router ever! I don’t want this piece of c*** 2wire router that AT&T almost wanted to charge me for!
And now they’re complaining about my second router and not letting me use the internet… guess what?
THEY ERASED ALL MY SETTINGS!
I have a complicated set up that allows me to host a webserver behind two NAT routers (lol, extra extra firewall XD)… and does AT&T Yahoo care? No, of course not.
So, long story short, got everything working again after hours of messing with stuff (and not having internet… meaning webserver down). Thank goodness for DD-WRT. I can get a tunnel set up for my HTTP server within 2 seconds. Click, click, done.
Guess what? I can’t even set up ANY type of redirection/tunnelling on the 2wire router anymore. WHY? BECAUSE THE INTERFACE IS NOW COMPLETELY BROKEN. Well, not that it wasn’t broken before, but now it’s completely unusable. AT&T must have f***ed something up while adding their logo to every single page, and broke every useful function on the router.
Okay, I’m tired, and tomorrow I need to wash cars that I paid for myself. Basically, we pay the Music Club for getting our cars washed, and then we go out and wash our cars ourselves.
I just got that sudden urge to blog again. Ahaha~.
Okay, before I answer the question, PHP/wordpress is acting up on me o_O and even Apache!
PHP randomly crashes, and my entire webserver is very VERY slow and sometimes pages don’t load…
Mmh, so right when I got home Friday I collapsed on the bed and slept through to Saturday.
On Saturday, I woke at 6 am o___O (that is SO rare.)
I spent most of Saturday watching and finishing Macross Frontier (and trying to fix the subtitle timing x_____x that actually took more time than I spent actually WATCHING it.) I will (hopefully) write a big awesome post about Macross F sometime later, but hmm, it’s like Code Geass in space (although the conclusion wasn’t as epic as I expected… ?)
[note to self on what to write in post so I don’t forget because I forget too many things nowadays:]
I’m probably just going to copy+paste this into a new post tomorrow, lol, and put it in paragraph form.
um anyways, on Sunday I woke late(ish) for violin (and I forgot to get my audition thing so I’m probably going to fail mine), and wasted the rest of my day… at my dad’s coworker’s housewarming party. ugh.
Monday we went to the LA County Fair (cuz of discount, tickets were $1 until 1pm, when they became like $17 or $20). It was HOT. And boring-ish. And kind of expensive. But mostly… *can feel weekend time draining out of fingers*
soooooooo here I am wasting MORE weekend time/sleep time writing this.
no, I don’t deserve your pity, so g’night.
Alright, well, here I am. I have too much stuff to talk about, yet I can’t think of what to talk about. Yes, my whole life is like that, in a way. Well… since the most recent happening in my life was starting a blog, I shall talk about it.
First of all. I love WordPress. It JUST WORKS! You just dump the folder onto your web server and IT JUST WORKS! I love software. I LOVE SOFTWARE when it WORKS. Aaugh.
Well, for comparison, I installed Plogger a while ago for an open-source web gallery. Maybe it’s just that most people don’t run apache servers on top of Windows Vista (I shall leave the Vista bashing for a later post), but either way, NOTHING WORKED. I had to rewrite code for about five hours before I fixed most of their bugs. (Luckily, PHP is my specialty.) And then I decided to be nice and give them my fixes (to save other people out there a bunch of work), but even using their website to report these fixes was a large waste of time and energy.
Well, I did get it working. If anybody needs a copy of Plogger that works on apache/windows, send me an email; I’ll give you a copy of mine.
Edit: If any of you still care, I added a link to the old website on the right.