April 1 I've been spending a lot of time reading and a lot of time sleeping. But heck, I haven't been sick in a while, and a little extra rest never hurts. Of course, this has to be during the last major vacation of the school year, but if it were any other time, it would likely be even less convenient. Watched a movie in the evening and came to the stunning conclusion that old movies actually had a lot more going for them than most of the new stuff you see these days. Case in point: Breakfast at Tiffany's.
April 2 Today was supposed to be hike day. Unfortunately, due to unforseen circumstances, something went wrong with my friend's car about 15 miles out of town, and coming back, having just crested the top of a hill, there was a loud bang and a lot of smoke very suddenly started pouring out from under the hood. Needless to say we pulled over immediately, but the car had had enough. It was Toyota Corolla, but it had had about 200,000 miles, and it decided that was plenty. So instead of a hike in the redwoods, we had a hike in the coastal hills. No big loss so far as I'm concerned, although my friend is temporarily down a car. Temporarily I say, because the vehicle in question had been expected to die for a long period.
April 3 Made a valiant attempt to get homework done in the morning, but ended up going out for lunch instead. Eventually came back to do more homework, only to discover that there was a LAN party tonight. Picked up my 40+ lbs. computer and necessary accessories, and went off to a friend's shed for the night. We were 6 until about 11:30PM. Of course it took me almost an hour to fully set-up, but once I had, I had a pretty good time. My reflexes are a little slow for Unreal Tournament, but I had a good time running people over in Grand Theft Auto 2 (possibly the coolest game ever, IMNSHO). Finally ambled off to my sleeping bag around 4AM.
April 4 I felt surprisingly well after only 6 hours of sleep. I was a bit slow, in the sense that I didn't realize another person had left, until I discovered their computer was gone. Of course the person in question was generally a lot quieter than their computer, so I can't be blamed too much. Everyone else cleared out pretty fast, and after breakfast, I tried to go home, only to discover that Pacific Gas & Electric had effectually blocked my one-lane road, and I couldn't possibly get home before 2:30PM, when they would be done with their work on the powerlines. I rather effectively killed 2 hours, and got home, just in time to do a little homework, and collapse directly after dinner, largely dead to the world.
April 5 I know something happened today. Only I can't for the life of me remember what. Must've been memorable I guess. The only thing memorable now is the poor quality of my essay on Hamlet. Fortunately that has until Tuesday to rectify itself. What an unexciting day.
April 6 Nice, sunny day, with a nice pleasant flute lesson to start it off. Unfortunately, my nose started running around 1:30PM and hasn't really stopped since. More's the pity since it was actually a nice day to do something. In the end, I did some research into community service opportunities around the area. I'm not a civic minded individual, but if I don't get 35hours in by May 1, I'm liable not to graduate so I figured it was time to be a bit proactive. In the evening, some friends and I went off to see "Death to Smoochy." Despite the fact that one friend didn't make it, and the didn't have a realistic plot, it wasn't too bad. There were a number of good lines, a lot of good laughs, and as always, it sure beat doing nothing.
April 7 Owing to the fact that I was a little bit groggy, and had a lot of homework to complete for Monday, our trip to Mount Tamalpais has been delayed indefinitely. Instead, I spent a large solid amound of time doing homework. That was nice because I had a lot of homework to get done for tomorrow. True to form, I discovered at 8:30PM that I had forgotten a few things, but that's nothing special. I did have a nice pleasant walk in the afternoon, which climaxed when I discovered a large quantity of poison oak growing near where I had been standing and taking a picture. If I start to turn red and itchy over the next week, I guess I'll know why. I also learned that poison hemlock is a nonindigenous species. Seems I have even more of a reason to want to kill them.
April 8 This being the first good Monday in a long time, I'll try to not to moan and complain. Aside from a wasted and worthless drive to a scholarship workshop in Palo Alto, things went pretty darn well. Turned in all my homework, did O.K on the biology test, and learned all the college news that came over the break. Seems like this year, a lot of people from our school got into UC Berkeley (more than 10). We also have a few acceptances to Stanford, NYU, and others. I guess we must not be such a bad senior class after all. I also learned that film can be put in the tank even when you don't have a dark room. It's a matter of closing all the doors and waiting 'til after dark in the hallways (actually the order was reversed, but who cares). Anyhow, a good was had by all, and if I'm still alive by May 7, having survived the latest bombardment of activities, all will be well.
April 9 Today was just a day which left me bone-weary and wishing for the summer. It's not that I did a whole lot today. It's just that I feel exhausted with school in general. I also put in a good 6 hours helping at the library, which explains my aching legs. I shouldn't be too glum, since I did quite nicely on both the last biology and government tests, and because I developed 2 rolls of film tonight successfully (ie no unexplained reddish tinge to the film, and no large grainy dots). Seems as if I was wrong to say that everyone's college plans have worked out, since two of my friends are still in limbo, and another has appealed. Otherwise today was pretty much like every other day, except it began at 5AM and ended near 11PM, and careful scientific observation shows I have a very irregular heart beat, and rather bizarre blood pressure. At times like this though, I think a medical emergency might even be a welcome diversion from the daily grind, so I'm not keeping any fingers crossed, at least on that account.
April 10 Yay, I have low blood pressure! At least I did when I woke up at 5AM and measured it. Maybe that explains why when sitting up suddenly, I get kinda dizzy. School was its usual charming self. I discovered that among other things, 7 hours of sleep a night leaves me on auto-pilot for most of the day, and makes thinking quite difficult. Good thing that one of my classes requirer heavy thinking! I did get to make proof sheets of both the film rolls I developed which was nice, although a number of my pictures look better on the proof sheet than they did when I enlarged them, in particular a rather underexposed picture I took at the exploratorium about a month ago. The afternoon was spent pleasantly enough, mainly shelving books in the library. About the only downside is that my leg muscles aren't quite used to the constant bending and straightening which is needed to shelve books that are low down, while maintaining reasonable posture. Strictly speaking, standing up and sitting down are now slightly painful procedures, but I guess that shows how pathetically unathletic and out of shape I am. Makes me almost wish I'd continued cross country in high school (except that I'd have been far and away the slowest kid on the team, a dubious honor I would've had in 8th grade had it not been for someone who joined us rather late).
April 11 Whatever happened today is highly irrelevant. The massacres continue in Israel. I do not see an end to the conflict. The Jews mean to push the Palestinians out once and for all. The Palestinians, although most know that it is unrealistic, hope to do the same to the Israelis. Meanwhile the innocent pay for the sins of the guilty. Neither Sharon nor Arafat will do anythig to help the situation, for they have committed themselves to mutual destruction. Meanwhile, we Americans sit here, impotent and for the most part uninterested, save where our interests coincide with those of the combatants. We had better hope that there is no such thing as justice, or a god, else we would be in many ways as culpable as those doing the killing on the ground.
April 12 Hooray, I managed to actually make time to make photographic prints. Of course the contrast is poor and the prints are extremely badly centered, but its better than nothing. I finally gave up on the 5th failed print. I don't deal well with failure, and it seemed I would do better elsewhere. In the afternoon, I got to admire a nice sunset, go out to dinner, and sleep like a corpse. I don't like sleeping like a corpse because waking up the next morning, I have the feeling that time is playing tricks on me. Still, deep sleep does have its virtues.
April 13 Band went to the Great America theme park today. Despite my dislike for rollercoasters, and my refusal to actually get on any of them, I had a good time. The reason why the band went was for a playing competition. I'd have to say that the playing reminded me an awful lot of 7th grade, at least in terms of % of right notes and rhythms, but unlike 7th grade, this fact didn't distress anyone. Although things did degenerate toward the end of the day, as people daubed each other with flavored ice (or played basketball with little chunks, aiming for god knows where), a good portion of it was spent walking around or standing in the sun, which is an activity I generally like, although no doubt my sunburn is an indication something didn't quite work out seemlessly.
April 14 Began today off with volunteering, this time helping dig up and remove non-native plant species for the beech. Although a seemingly futile task, it was some fun. Unfortunately, it was also strenuous work, and while I can't claim it was backbreaking, my back and the rest of me, for that matter, ache like an abscessed tooth. Then I came home and did homework for a while. Community service hours +=5.
April 15 Perhaps I should explain that the reason why I'm doing the volunteering has absolutely nothing to do with being civic-minded or altruistic. It has a lot to do with having a 35hour community service requirement for senior Government class. If you don't do community service, you don't graduate. While I'm not overfond of school, graduation certainly would be a plus. Thus, there is a rational explanation for the 4 hours I spent at the library today. I also kinda like it, or would, if I wasn't so darn sore from yesterday.
April 16 I knew school was gonna get a little hectic. Even so, I still haven't gotten over the shock of two essays per night, and two major tests per week. It wouldn't be a big problem if it weren't for my 4 hours at the library, and my participation in jazz band. This confines homework/study time to 6PM-7AM plus whatever I can scrounge up in classes where we're not doing much. I did do some scrounging today. 5 English essays done, 2 to go, thusfar this week. 2 tests tomorrow, consisting each of a multiple choice and essay portion. 120 pages of material to study. Blech! Well, you get the idea. Probably these journal entries would be a lot more interesting if I was producing them after getting more than 6 hours of sleep. But that would be too logical.
April 17 Now that I'm in jazz band, late start Wednesday's aren't. Took a Biology and Government test today. This fact is more important than it would seem, for there are only 2 more Biology tests and 1 more government test for the rest of the year (not counting finals). I made the mistake of trying to grab make-up work for the next few days. Five essays later, I realize the error of my ways: never volunteer to do work, wait until the teacher volunteers to fail you unless you do the work. After school, I had the opportunity to see one of my favorite teachers from middle school. Some things change, but a lot hasn't. I guess middle school is now the good old days for me. Also did some packing for tomorrow.
April 18 Today was a bit hazy at times, but I don't think I've had more fun in a real long time. Went to jazz band before school, then went home, finished packing (sans camera, unfortunately) and drove off to Stanford's admit weekend. My first drive in a stick-shift car in months actually resulted in only one unplanned stall (I actually try to stall the car a few times in the beginning, to gauge the pickiness of the clutch). Spent the morning on a quick tour of Stanford's campus and art gallery, and discovered a number of Mac fanatics (ah, I remember those days. Kinda deja vu now that I have a TiBook). Wandered around to a number of seminars in the afternoon (Computing at Stanford, Overseas study programs, etc.) and finally was shown to the dorm where I'd be spending the night. I am actually very impressed by the dorm life I saw, so much so, that I intend to apply for an all-freshman dorm.
April 19 Aside from the usual difficulties rising after 4hours of sleep, the morning went nicely. Stanford President John Hennessy hosted a Q/A session for President's scholars. I am becoming more and more impressed, as not only is he the president, but he also teaches a freshman seminar and seems very directly involved in university life. He was also very well-spoken, and he and I discussed the future of MIPS briefly! Then came his formal address to all the ProFros (prospective freshman) and an incomparable performance by the LSJUMB (Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band). Then came lunch, a seminar on Engineering at Stanford, a lecture by a nobel-prize winning physicist on what really happens at absolute zero (and no, everything doesn't just stop), and a trip up to the San Francisco Greyhound station. There, I discovered that the bus I wanted to take was full, and so, being that the next bus to Reno would arrive at 1:30AM next morning, me and my dad drove the 200+ miles to Reno, arriving 30minutes before the bus I would have taken did. To my utter amazement, everybody in jazz band was asleep when I arrived.
April 20 Up at 6. Jazz band performed at 8. I thought we sounded quite good, but the judges must have disagreed, since by the end of the day we received 6th place overall (out of 20). I'll admit that the 7 other bands I heard had some which were also quite good. Following 3+ hours of listening to jazz band, I went back to the hotel to drop of my stuff, only to discover my room key no longer worked. So me and my dad had a nice walk in downtown Reno instead. I'll say this much for Reno: if you keep within 50ft. of the Truckee River, it's actually a pretty pleasant town. Listened to more bands in the afternoon, before finally going back to the hotel around 6. Can't say as I remember too much of the evening. Toward 9PM, a guy mentioned I should try on the cheerleading outfit he'd brought (and yes, for the record, I'm a guy too). I did. He has pictures to prove it. Unfortunately he made me give them back, after complaining I was hitting on him. Finally went to bed around 1AM (now you understand why everyone being in bed at 11PM last night was so remarkable).
April 21 Woke up. Packed. Drove home. This pretty much approximates the sequence of events from 6AM to 1PM. After that, I started working on English essays, but eventually gave up, seeing as I was supposed to write 7 and still had 5 to go. I was pretty tired too. I also visited my computers, checked to make sure they were all right, and eventually migrated off to bed, following an altercation in which I sent the wrong person the wrong e-mail (when you're tired, there's not a big difference between the send and close button.
April 22 Ouch. I'm not sure if I hate school or not in general, but coming back after a 4day hiatus does raise a few interesting questions. The good news is I have 30hours of available time this week. The bad news is that counting committments, currently assigned homework, and community service, I have 29.5 hours of homework. Oh well, only 3 more weeks of this stuff. Community service hours += 5. # English essays complete += 0. Damn. Looks like tomorrow will start early. In slightly better news, the French anti-immigrant bigot candidate came in second place in the first round of their presidential election, Israel is continuing to launch rockets at Palestinians in cars, and I'm going to the high school prom in a week-and-a-half. I'm not sure if I'll be hiring a look-alike to go in my place or actually go myself, but I have enough homework to do now to put off that decision for a good while, or at least until the Palestinians are finally herded out of the West Bank and Gaza for good.
April 23 I was halfway to school before I realized my car window was slightly open. By the time I got to school it was a lot more open. This would have been fine, except the window is broken, and the electric motor to close it won't. Looks like this weekend will include a visit to the mechanic. School was slow and unexciting. My community service status is 32 of 35 hours completed, so that's not so bad. Despite promising myself not to discuss politics, especially Arab-Israeli politics, with my relatives, I couldn't resist. Then came the news that GCC 3.1 has hit prerelease, so it looks like I'll be doing a lot of benchmarking once AP tests are done. Finally, an after-dinner attempt to put film in the tank for developing was disastrously affected when I bumped into a light switch. Looks like I probably ruined an entire 36 roll my dad took. $*@#!
April 24 Long, exhausting day. Began with studying for biology at 5AM. Spent nearly a half hour trying to get my car window to close; ultimately I didn't quite succeed. Took two essay tests and one multiple choice test at school. Was informed I was a potential valedictorian based on previous semesters. Would have to be semesters, since I got a C+ in math last quarter, and that sure won't leave me a 4.0 GPA. Weather was actually amazingly nice: a warm, clear, sunny spring day, with just the hint of a breeze (last year, the winds seemed to be almost gale-force). Went for a really nice walk on the beach after school. Also developed the films we put in the tank yesterday. Process took a good solid hour, with dinner interspersed within. I must say that stopbath smells and tastes a lot like vinegar though, so my salad had extra strong dressing. Oh, and my girlfriend thought that fact that I was going to prom with: her, two gay friends, and a good not-gay friend in a skank-whore red dress, was noteworthy. The other noteworthy part is I need to rent a tuxedo. Oh Sunday, whither hast thou gone?
April 25 Whew. Today was just another schoolday to make me want to the drug store, get a good sedative, and live peacefully through the next 3 weeks with a minimum of hassle. Spent over an hour in the morning doing just the multiple choice section of an old AP English exam. Was pretty glum about the whole thing until I realized that we were getting more points for the mock test than for the 5 essays I still haven't gotten around to writing. After school, completed the last stretch of my 35 hours of required community service, so I'll probably be graduating after all. Went to flute choir, in the evening, and came to a sudden realization that our concert is the night before prom, and dress rehearsal is the night before that. Looks like next week may not be so relaxed after all. Concert's on May 3 at Canada college at 7:30PM in case anyone actually wants to come. I'm trying to pressure various friends to go, but I haven't been nearly forceful enough.
April 26 Another longish sort of day. Regular class stuff, combined with 2 English essays, combined with band leaving early (and me not with it). I though things had taken a turn for the better by lunch, but then I broke a mercury thermometer in the dark room, and spent all of an hour trying to clean it up. I still feel proud, since I helped two poor souls miss an entire day of calculus. Went to a brief Quiz Kid practice, in preparation for tomorrow at the Berkeley tournament. Then drove over to the CMEA band festival at Gunn High School in Palo Alto. Realized that everyone who left with the band had had a good 3 hour wait, so I guess the mercury spill had its advantages. We played around 5, sounded pretty bad, had our pictures taken, got out scores, and left. Despite my brief detour to get gas (and believe me, $20 just doesn't go as far as it used to), I passed the buses with the band going home, got home around 7 and that was that. Still looking for the sedative.
April 27 Talk about a weird and crazy day. It began regularly enough with my flute lesson. But then, it just sort of went nuts. I went over to Berkeley for a quiz bowl competition. Unfortunately, I didn't quite remember to bring the little piece of paper telling where the event was to be held. Oops. Spent the better part of 3 hours searching the UC Berkeley campus for the event. Eventually gave up, went out lunch, and visited a photography store. After I got home, learned that the event was supposed to be in one of the building's we'd checked, except that it seems to have been canceled. Next went out for a movie with friends. Went to see High Crimes (R). They refused to let one person in, because she lacked ID. So the oldest friend presented his, and they let her in. Hmm... Movie was all right, although the plot had a good number of holes. Then went to Johnny Rocket's for dinner, and in the process of going home, managed to take the long route. Oh, did I mention that two friends are having car problems, and I was bitten (though not severely) by a dog?
April 28 That was way too easy. I figured finding a tuxedo for the Prom would be a long, drawn-out affair. In point of fact, it took all of 25 minutes. A good thing, since I get a little nervous in shopping malls anyway. Despite the 6 hours of sleep last night, I managed to have a generally alert and productive day. It was only after half an hour in the ungodly traffic generated by the annual airshow that I became really tired. Of course, my cure for tiredness is concentrating on driving, and seeing as how the fuel needle had sunk to a hairsbreadth above empty, I had plenty to concentrate on. How I did the 10 miles home in stop-and-go traffic with no gas, I don't know. I do know that my tank holds more than 14.7 gallons though. If today's report seems a bit disjointed: it is. Mostly a function of lack of sleep, I guess.
April 29 Blargh. Tried to get up early to do homework, but failed. Finally did get up, but ate breakfast instead. Spent the first hour of school assiduously doing the work I hadn't gotten done over the weekend. That accomplished, spent most of the rest of the day trying to stay awake. Didn't see any more mercury on the floor in the photography darkroom, whih could be either a good or a bad thing, since it means either that it evaporated, or we got all of it out. Spent a few hours at the library, and got all my paperwork squared away. Was less productive once I got home. I still have a good backlog of English essays. Oh, and my PowerBook G4 was officially obsoleted today. Not that I mind. Cygnus is a good little laptop...
April 30 Today was what yesterday should have been. Got up real early, and wrote 4 English essays. Then wrote 2 more while I was at school. Net effect: I'm finally (for the first time in 2 weeks) fully caught up. Turned in my community service hours, so I am officially going to graduate now. Also spent some time printing photos in the darkroom. I can't say I like playing with chemicals in near darkness, but I like it even less when people open the door while I'm playing with the chemicals. That's a great way to ruin photo paper. After I got home, spent the afternoon first reviewing calculus, then getting Linux booting on my laptop. Seeing as how XFree86 is borked, I will just have to do a full installation.