Archives: 'School'

Blog Movements, Reslife Tours, F1, CounterStrike, Rock Band, Hall Band, and Lottery

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Blog Movements
I spent most of Saturday Morning moving things between my two blogs. My favorite part about blogging is reading old entries, and this was a wonderful excuse to do so. Some highlights of merged posts for me include coming out in high school, telling someone via the internet, a random picture, coming out to my parents, and why I’m gay. All posts from my old blog are tagged with the x-posted category.

Reslife Tour
After working on some homework Saturday morning, it was time for a tour of all the upperclassmen housing options RPI has to offer. First up was Warren hall: identical in shape to my current dorm, yet with a completely different configuration inside. Rooms are quite a bit larger than my current double, and they are split in half with a privacy barrier. Each room also has its own bathroom. Warren also apparently has a reputation for gamers, anime fans, and sci-fan fans. Supposedly it’s one of the more social dorms. If I were looking for a double, Warren would probably be on top of my list.

After Warren was Nugent. Nugent features the Ground Zero music club in its basement. As such, its home to a lot of musicians. Nugent had a similar room setup to Nugent (doubles with privacy wall), but the building and its interior look a lot older, 70s style. After Nugent was Sharp. From what I’ve heard, Sharp is one of the hardest halls to get in to, due to a high rate of squatting and high demand. Sharp has the most desirable setup for our group: 6 bedrooms, a bathroom, and a common area per suite! It was also recently renovated.

After finishing the on-campus portion, it was time for the far-from-campus portion. This required an approximatley 20 minute walk down Burdett avenue to the Colonie Apartments. Colonie has three different setups. We got to see Colonie B, which features large (330 sq ft) singles divided into a sleeping room and a living area. Apart from their distance from campus, these looked like highly desirable singles. After Colonie we walked up the hill to the Stackwyck apartments. Each of the 5 buildings contains 12 suite style apartments with 4 bedrooms. I was impressed with the size of the living area, however the size of the individual bedrooms was rather small. I also believe these are rather highly squatted, in fact one entire building is being squatted by a sorority. These are our backup plan if our Polytech aspirations fall through. More on that later.

The tour concluded with a brief look at the RAHPs. While the housing style is similar to Stackwyck, the buildings are not. These are double story units, with each suite occupying two floors. The ground foor features a common area and kitchen, and the second floor has 4 singles. These felt really small, and I’ve only heard bad things about them. Our last resort.

Formula 1
After sleeping and eating, it was time for the opening race of the Formula 1 season, the Australian Grand Prix! The race started off with a bang! Barrichello’s extremely slow start resulted in a clusterfuck as the field approached the first corner. Barrichello, Webber, Kovalainen, and Sutil were damaged. All continued but Kovalainen. Button ran away with it from the poll. There was much quabbling behind him. I’ve never seen a non-wet race so up-in-the-air. Mid-race, Nakajima crashed (FIRE HIM ALREADY). Safety car. Massa ran 3rd most of the race before something died. Raikkonen spun off into a wall, but continued until something else died. With 3 laps to go, the fucking moron Kubica tried to pass Vettel on the outside of a right-left corner. While he was alongside Vettel, he left Vettel nowhere to go. The resulting collision damage all sorts of bodywork and suspension. They both attempted to continue, but both spun out again. This we terminal for Kubica. Vettel continued under the safety car with a completely broken left front, wheel dragging along the ground, until it came to a halt a lap and a half later. The race ended under safety car, with Barrichello taking second thanks to Raikkonen, Massa, Vettel, and Kubica’s fail. Brawn 1-2 on their debut…

Jeff, Ryan, and I played CounterStrike for the first time this year early Sunday morning. We played on a pub server, some 24/7 de_dust2. Twas good fun. I went rougly 1.1:1, using almost exclusively the FAMAS as CT and Dualies as T.

Rock Band
Sunday evening I played guitar a bit by myself. I tested out some of the newer DLC that I hadn’t played on Guitar before, and filled in some gaps in scores from RB1 songs I’d never played in RB2. Nothing too hard, nice and relaxing.

Hall Band
At some point, I decided that a longer headphone cable would give me more mobility about the room. I attached a couple cables together, and quickly I was able to play guitar from the hall way, and even in Joe’s room! When Peter returned and saw the nonsense, he decided to join in. A couple 3.5mm to RCA adapters and some RCA lesbians later, we had a cable that stretched down the entire length of our hallway. However, since the screen was in my room, the headphone long cable proved pointless. Besides, the wireless on the guitar couldn’t reach anyway. 4 USB extender cables daisy-chained together allowed the wireless receiver to be placed in the hall way. This didn’t solve the screen problem, however. No matter, I can play songs by ear no problem! The song: Blitzkrieg Bop, which mostly consists of GY chords intersperesed with some YB and YO. Unfortunately, I failed when the song did some unexpected stuff with some RB chords…

Of course, I didn’t intend to give up! A small crowd was going, and we discussed methods to get the screen into the hall. Mirrors? No one could find one. What about a couple of zoomed in video cameras? We only had one. What about the video camera connected to a laptop? So crazy, it might just work! And it did. With ~600ms of video lag. Unfortunatley, Rock Band only allows calibration of 300ms of lag, leaving the other 300 ms to screw with us. Oh well, it was worth a shot. Once camera and laptop were positioned properly, I attempted to avenge my fail on Blitzkrieg Bop. And I did! With a paltry 3 stars 88% notes hit! 300ms of video lag is a bit much for anyone! Hungry for more, I attempted to complete That’s What You Get, however that ended badly about 80% of the way through the song. Hoping to prove that it was really hard, I offered my guitar to Kevin. Kevin accepted the challenge, but not before I decided to bring the drums out in the hallway as well!

Now, there were two of us, struggling with 300ms of lag. Since we didn’t have a headphone splitter, I turned up my speakers. This, however, introduced a bunch of audio lag, as I sound travels at 1 ms per foot, the game was callibrated for headphones, and we were ~50 feet away from my speakers around a corner. Thus, our venture on Maps went poorly. I failed on drums at about 30% the first time. Unfazed, I adjusted for the perceived audio lag, and we made it much further: 55%. A song with less drum notes would’ve probably helped things. Due to the advent of quiet hours, and complaints from the RA, we packed everything up, and most of us went to Fathers. Peter took some pictures of the setup, which I’ll link when they become available.

Campus Housing Lottery
Upon return from Fathers, the hall was in an uproar. Lottery numbers had been posted a bit early, and everyone was checking them. Quickly, a whiteboard with everyones names and numbers was produced. Things didn’t look good; our top 3 were #122, #225, and #231 (out of 767). After several more visits from the RA, we moved headquarters to a vacant study room. The mood was fererent. I haven’t seen so much action and excitement of out Crock 3 before. I began spreadsheeting away. Turns out that while our first three numbers were much higher than a statistical average, the remaining 8 numbers fared far better than statistics and probability would predict. Unfortunately, it’s only the top 3 that really matter for us. More spreadsheeting produced the number of occupants of each of the Suite style housing options: Sharp, Polytech, Stackwyck, and RAHP. Estimates of the current number of squatters were produced (from my ass), resulting in the approximate number of open suites available. More spreadshetting, more voodoo math, and more estimates resulted in an approximate total number of rooms available on campus of all varieties. From this, I produced a breakdown of what would happen next Monday, on the room choosing day. The last Polytech apartment would be chosen by number 258. Since our top 3 numbers were below this, I declared our chance of getting 3 polytechs to be “workable”.

Now that a bit of our concern had diminished, we turned to the Roommate problem. 11 people to be split between 3 rooms. First problem: we needed a 12th. No one could think of anyone right away. People will be asked throughout the week if they’d like to join in our coop. Then, the actual roommate choosing. I rigged up a little graphical tool to drag-and-drop people into rooms in Fireworks. Initial configurations were selected by the room “captains”; those with the lowest numbers. Swaps and adjustments were made. People’s futures were converted into pixels and molested by the cursor. I was rather unsatisified with the result, but nothing was declared anywhere near final. The brouhaha wound down, and people we to bed. Afterward, I printed “Create your own housing setup” forms to gather more input from the denizens of Crockett 3.

We’ll see how it goes. I’m quite excited about next year, and the opportunity to live together once again. The thought of Polytech still excites me. Hopefully it’ll become a reality.


Saturday, August 30th, 2008

My roommate and I set up all 7 of our screens to loop the “Never Gonna Give You Up” video. It was loud, annoying, but pretty sweet.

My setup

Peter's setup

WRPI Advertisements

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

These sprung up on campus last week, and I think they’re complete genius!

RPI Schedule!

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

Classes start tomorrow, and I still haven’t even memorized my schedule! So, posting this is benefitting me just as much as you!
Reilly's Schedule

It’s a screenshot of the RPI scheduler program, which is quite handy. It lets you choose the classes you want, then it calculates all the possible schedules using those classes. In my case, it found 72 schedules (!), which I narrowed down with a couple of filters: no 8:00 classes, and no classes from 12:00 to 1:00. What came out was my perfect schedule!

DDR Tournament FAILURE!

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

For all those that thought I was insane at DDR, you may still be right. But compared to others at RPI, I’m not that good =/.

Saturday was the RPI Freshman Olympics! I competed in the DDR tournament (what else would I do) at the heavy level. The tournament consisted of the same 3 songs, played be everyone, and the highest score won. The songs were Silent Hill (7 feet), Spin the Disc (8 feet), and Burning Heat (9 feet). Things started off pretty bad, somehow right in the middle of Silent Hill I managed to get off rhythm (or, the song switched off rhythm and I didn’t notice), and got 8 misses/almosts in a row… I did basically the exact same thing during Spin the Disc, which is very out of character for me. Usually, I’m much more reliable. Burning Heat gave me a shot at redemption, however most of the other “serious” players used a bar (actually a chair) to hold on to while playing. This basically sealed my fate. While I nailed the first 3rd of the song, there was some pad slippage and I basically floundered through the rest of the song.

The result? 6th place. But! Of the non bar users, I finished 2nd. Perhaps I should practice more with the bar…

New Laptop

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

As part of being an RPI student, I am required to have a new laptop! RPI’s laptop program this year chose the Lenovo Thinkpad T61p to be the laptop of choice for distribution! I received my laptop yesterday, and slowly but surely it’s becoming “my laptop”.

Full specs on the “My Computers” page.

Here’s a meta-pic!

Lenovo Thinkpad T61p meta picture

College Application Results!

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

In approximate list of desirability.

School Location Accepted?
Stanford University Palo Alto, CA No
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA Priority Wait Listed (Withdrew)
Cornell University Ithaca, NY No
Harvery Mudd College Claremont, CA No
California Institute of Technology Pomona, CA No
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY Yes (Attending)
Oregon State University Corvallis, OR Yes

Update 3/29:
No Stanford. While I didn’t expect to get it, it was still my dream school (literally, I had a couple dreams about the campus!). I’ll hear from Cornell on Monday, very excited for that!

Update 3/31:
No Cornell or Harvey Mudd, and priority wait listed at Carnegie Mellon. I still feel pretty good about the Mellon, as I can apply to different sub-colleges, and I’m on the priority wait list. And, things always seem to turn out pretty good for me! Regardless of what happens, I’ll have Rensselaer to fall back on, and they’ve given a me a TON of money, so that’s still a very good option. Though its last on my list (OSU doesn’t count), I still regard it pretty highly and would still like to go there!

Update 4/1:
I took a virtual tour of the RPI campus using Google StreetView and Microsoft Live Local. It looks nice! And bigger than I thought. I also checked out their full list of clubs, and needless to say, I’m quite excited about their DDR club. Lots of fun things to do at Rensselaer! I think I’ve successfully rationalized not being accepted anywhere else.

Update 4/27:
After visiting both Rensselaer and Carnegie Mellon, I decided I liked RPI much better. As such, I’ve withdrawn from the CMU wait list, and have alerted RPI that I intend to attend! I’m very excited, and can’t wait for the fall!

Mr. Spartan

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

Somehow, I lost some posts from my blog. Reposting them now…

I’ve had a really exciting last couple of weeks, and I figure its about time to try and catch up!

First, Mr. NWOC! Or actually, I suppose I need to talk about Mr. Spartan first!

The entire Mr. NWOC process began in February after Cami pressured me into becoming a candidate for Mr. Spartan. The whole Mr. * program is a fundraiser for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. I campaign for Mr. Spartan by selling KrispyKreme donuts during lunch. I ended up making about $150 dollars for the cause, an amount I was quite proud of.

On March 8th, the Mr. Spartan pageant was held at Hilhi. The pageant consisted of Spirit Wear, a Talent, an Endorsement, a Trivia question, and a short answer question. For spirit wear, I went all-out and wore a suit with a blue tie and a corny Spartan helmet thing. I explained that my blue and white tie was color symbolism that represented the boldness and audacity of the Hilhi student while the helmet signified our fighting spirit. Yep, I think I read far too into the “describe your spirit wear” question.

The second event was the trivia question. Which I failed horribly. My question was “Name the president and vice president of the student body”. I was able to name Cami Tran as the president, but completely forgot about vice president Austyn. Sorry Austyn! I pointed out to the crowd that 50% on the IB scale would be a 5 out of 7, which is a very good score.

Next, it was time for talents! For my talent, I chose to do a couple DDR songs. Other talents performed included singing, dancing, comedy, gymnastics, and rapping. But I can’t do any of those things, so I did some DDR! It started out wonderfully. I chose Twilight Zone (apparently a crowd pleaser) and passed the song easily. But for my second song, I chose Afronova! I forgot that on heavy there’s a very hard section about half-way through the song. I failed after my pad kept slipping around under me. OH WELL.

After talents, it was time for endorsements. About 3 hours earlier, I alerted my dad that I’d need someone to endorse me. He prepared a quick speech, and man was it amazing! He started off by talking about how I resembled a spartan. Except that (as he said) I didn’t really, as the Spartans were strong, fearless warriors, and I most clearly was not. According to him, I spent much of my time on a computer killing Warlocks in WoW. I was pretty amused by this point, and a bit embarrassed. But my dad continued, illustrating how the Spartans of today would use technology, and how I used technology to my advantage often. He summed up many of my accomplishments and even threw in a bit about the War in Iraq. Needless to say, it was absolutely amazing. I think it was my dad’s endorsement that really enabled me to win!

Lastly was the short answer question. I forgot exactly what I was asked, but I talked about Politics or something. Regardless, it went quite well.

The 9 of us who were competing for Mr. Spartan stood up on stage. First, the runners up were announced. I didn’t win 4th. I didn’t win 3rd. I didn’t win 2nd. By this point, I was pretty expectant that I was going to win. And sure enough, Cami read my name off the ballot. I was completely blown away by the whole thing. I received a scepter (pimp staff), a crown, and a sash!

Winning Mr. Spartan meant that I was able to compete at the next level in the Mr. NWOC pageant! A summary of the Mr. NWOC pageant is the next item on my list of things to blog, so check back soon!


Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

As foreshadowed in the last entry, by winning Mr. Spartan I was eligible to compete in the next level of Mr ____, Mr. NWOC!

The Mr. NWOC pageant was held in a similar, but simpler format. It consisted of spirit wear, a question on “what makes your school special”, the talent, a serious question, and a funny question.

Here’s the rundown of things went down!

I approached the Spirit Wear piece in much the same fashion: a simple suit with a blue tie. But I took it one step further: I wore the head from our Spartan Mascot, Sparty. I presume I looked like a fool, but I was told it was awesome anyway.

Next came the question about our school. I thought the question was “What makes your school unique”. But instead the host asked me “What makes your school great”. As you’ll shortly see, my answer didn’t fulfill this second question very well. I started by briefly talking about our academics (the IB program) and athletics (swimming and wrestling) before hitting my main talking point: the location and design of our campus.

“If you’ve ever been to Hilhi, you’d know that its located between a water treatment plant and a landfill. So you can imagine the all sorts of wonderful aromas that drift onto our campus when the wind blows just right. Aside from the geography, our campus is unique as well. It was designed by a California architect, who apparently didn’t realize that not only is Oregon rather cold, but that it also rains a lot too. Each subject area has its own building, and we have to walk outdoors between classes. Up until around 10 years ago, the school didn’t even have covered walkways!”

Yep, it went something like that! There was much applause, laughter, and cheering.

Third in line was the talent. Again, I was doing DDR. But I learned from my previous mistakes. I brought a different pad that didn’t slide around as much, and I chose to dance Burning Heat rather than Afronova as my second song. Burning Heat is a cooler song anyway, and it has arguably more impressive steps. What really made my talent awesome this time around is the ending to Burning Heat. It ends with two <- -> jumps, and for these notes, I spun around and faced the crowd, not even looking at the screen. It was epic, and everyone went nuts.

Finally, it was time for the part that worried me most: the interview questions. First up was the serious question “If you could meet any president, who would it be?” “That’s simple,” I responded, “But the president I’d meet isn’t president… yet. If I were to meet any president, it would definitely be Barack Obama.” I launched into a “why I love Obama” type speech throwing in the key words hope, change, audacity, and YES WE CAN! I ended by reminding everyone to take part in America’s political process. I couldn’t have imagined a better question. Except there was one better. The funny question. “If America were to add a 51st state, what would you name it?” Without a pause whatsoever, I answered “Iraq.” I backed this up by explaining that making Iraq a state would solve a multitude of problems, including ending the war, and serving as the launch point to acquire the 52nd state, Iran. The crowd loved it, and I couldn’t have imagined two better questions.

Once the judges deliberated, the result was in! I had won! Easily, I imagine. In total, all the Mr ___ events raised $38,000 for Doernbecher! Congratulations to everyone in the NWOC league, and a big special thanks to all those from Hilhi who turned out to support my venture!

Invention project for Physics!

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

We were assigned the following in our physics class about a month ago:

Design and construct a device which will most accurately and precisely find the mass, in grams, of an object having a mass between 50 and 500 grams.

I finally got around to working on this on Friday. My first design used springs as the basis for measurement and pulleys to amplify the distance traveled by the object to be weighed in order to enhance precision. My first goal was to find some suitable springs. I had some that I’d bought a couple weeks earlier, but none of them were sensitive enough to move when 50g was hung from them. I found different springs at Ace Hardware that were sensitive enough on the low end, but had trouble on the higher end. I ended up using them anyway, though in my brief tests they stretched a bit too far and no longer functioned like new. But I think they would’ve still worked good enough to get a semi-accurate reading.

While the design may have been good in theory, the pulleys created too much friction and the scale was not accurate. I found that I could pull the weight bucket further down, and the friction caused the springs to be unable to pull the bucket back up to where it was. I ditched the idea and tried to move on.

My new idea is still secret (I have to win after all), but it involves this somehow:

And earlier today it spilled and got me all wet =(