July 1 Day 1 of school. Got up at the less than godly time of 5:30AM. My dad has the week off work, so we went to school together. School in this case is De Anza community college. I made it to my 7:30AM Discrete Mathematics class a bit late, but there were others after me. It seemed to be an interesting enough class, and logic is a topic of interest to me, so I'll probably stay. After class ended at 9:40AM, it was off to Administration of Justice. Being somewhat interested in the legal system, especially at this juncture, I though it would be an interesting class. However, it took only about half an hour for me to conclude that the instructor and I had not "clicked" as it were, and I'd best be off to somewhere else. Lunch was eaten in the cafeteria, and after a truly awful burrito, we went and bought my textbook for the math class. They were out of used copies, so there went $120. I sincerely hope they use the same textbook at Stanford. Next, we went off to Foothill College, where I did math homework in the library for 2 hours. Next was my evening Intro. to C++ class. The instructor made it amply clear that the class was directed toward those who'd never seen a compiler, so during the break I left. My dad suggested taking a look at the C programming course, which I did. This was a much more pleasant experience, and the teacher seemed competent, so I am tentatively going to take that class. Finally got home around 10:30PM and slept the sleep of the dead.
July 2 Day 2 of school. Got up somewhat later than yesterday, but after even less sleep. Nearly was late to Math class, owing to temporary amnesia as to where the class was located. After a quiz, there was a good solid two hours of logic. After yesterday, I decided I'd give World History 1500-1900 a try, since Administration of Justice just wasn't working. Aside from being late, the World History teacher seemed quite a personable fellow, and so I ended up deciding to take that class, more on the basis of liking the professor than anything else. Drove home after class, but having no functional air-conditioning made matters hot. Spent the afternoon off in the redwoods with girlfriend, which was quite pleasant, and then came home for dinner, homework, and sleep.
July 3 Day 3 of school. This is the first day in which I have all 3 classes during the course of the day. Drove over to De Anza for math, stayed for World History, which was a bit slow starting, and drove home. Tried to begin some of the preparations for the camping trip I hope to leave on tomorrow. Also managed to convince a friend to come along to the evening programming class (it's Monday and Wednesday, 6:00-9:40PM). Having two there made it a lot more fun, especially the drive to and from. We discovered in the process that no eateries are open at 10:15PM on a Wednesday night, not even the Jack-in-the-box drive through. Got home late, and continued preparations for the trip.
July 4 Day 1 of camping trip. I don't know why I preface things like this, but I guess I just like to categorize my time. Must have something to do with the fact that I can never remember where any of it goes. Got up at 8:00AM, and spent the next 2 hours feverishly putting together camping gear. I think we managed to remember most things. Left home around 10 with a car laden to the brim with sleeping bags, tent, clothes, and food. Stopped briefly for gas and mail, and then headed north to San Francisco. From there, we took Interstate 80 east, in the general direction of Sacramento. Just about the time the temperature started to heat up, we got bogged down in a traffice jam, and so it was at 1:30PM that we stopped in Vacaville. There we picked up a few quarts of badly needed motor oil, and some almost equally necessary cold lemonade. From there, we drove north on I-5 to Red Bluff, where we took a brief break, before heading up highway 36 to Lassen Volcanic National Park. At the entrance we received the unpleasant news that every campsite in the park was full. We tried a number of campgrounds outside the park, but these all proved to be full, and so, at length, we decided to drive to the town of Susanville. Following advice at a gas station, we made one final attempt to find a campsite, which took us 10 miles up dirt roads to land us at a campground near the Caribou Wilderness. To our utter astonishment, they had space, and so, disregarding the mosquitos, we quickly pitched a tent (and discovered we had no tent pegs), and went to bed.
July 5 Well, I'll try to keep Day 2 a little more brief. We decided that since we were about a mile from the Caribou Wilderness, we might as well explore it for a day. Admittedly, the mile was dirt logging roads, and a dustier experience I hope never to have. The whole scene was of scattered pine forests, small manzanita bushes, and lakes reflecting the brilliant blue sky. All in all, quite nice, save fore the dust and the mosquitos. We did a nice loop which led us up to and around Triangle Lake. Arriving back at the campsite at 6PM, we had an early dinner, and went to sleep early as well.
July 6 Day 3 begins at 6:20AM. We decamped in about 40 minutes, and set about driving to Butte lake for the day. We arrived there around 8AM, and were simply going to go off on our hike when we found some people leaving, so we snagged a campsite too (Butte Lake is in the northeastern corner of Lassen park). Our hike up Prospect Peak was to put it mildly strenuous. The view from the top was interesting, but hardly panoramic, for the mountaintop was as wide as a large village. Upon returning rather early, we decided a little more was in order, and set about going up Cinder Cone. Making the mistake of going around the cone to the other side for a loop of sorts, we discovered just how strenuous climbing 600 vertical feet in coarse sand. The view from the top was amazing, but I was a bit tired to appreciate either the surroundings or the barren mountain itself. We returned exhausted, quickly ate dinner, and went to sleep.
July 7 Up at 5:40AM. Took down the tents and started driving toward Lassen Peak. It was well we started then, for the sun was already well on its way up when we finally arrived at the trailhead for the peak around 7:45AM. 20 minutes later we were on the trail. 75 minutes and no breaks later, we were on the top of the peak. 2,000ft. in 75 minutes. Not bad for an out-of-shape couch potato entirely lacking in altitude conditioning. The view was amazing, but a persistent haze and smog from the valley obscured parts of it, and Mt. Shasta poked above a few clouds, 70 miles to the north, while to the west 90 miles distant the coastal range was a faint bluish outline. The return to the car was uneventful, as was the drive back, save for the fact that everybody else seemed to have similar ideas about returning. Net result: lots of campers, trucks towing boats and SUVs clogging up the interstate. Also, temperature of 98 degrees (F) and no air-conditioning, so small wonder I had an ear-splitting headache a good portion of the way back. Arrived home around 8PM, did some brief preparation for Monday, and slept...
July 8 Getting up at 6AM this morning wasn't as bad as usual, since it's become almost routine over the last few days. Drove off to school immediately after getting up. Just math class in the morning today, so I returned well before the weather started really getting out of hand. Spent the afternoon cleaning camping gear out of the car and reading more Robert Jordan fantasy. Also managed to finish my programming homework in the nick of time. Then went and picked up my friend who is also taking the class. We stopped at Safeway to pick up food for dinner, so we ended up sitting outside the classroom at Foothill on the grass in some mercifully provided shade, him eating a sandwich, me a large loaf of bread. Following this slightly unorthodox dinner was class which dealt primarily with looping. When given the task to create a least-common-multiple program, my friend and I came up with one so obscure that the teacher suggested that it would be great if it worked, but if it didn't, we'd probably be better off starting over. It did work. After class, we drove back, discovering in the process that 280 was now only a 4 lane road instead of an 8 lane one, due to construction for about 15 miles. Hmm...
July 9 Up at 6 as usual. I had the remarkable luck to wake up just as the radio was announcing that a tree was blocking highway 92, important information since that is the only practical route over the hill toward De Anza. I left early as a result, but it didn't appear necessary since the tree was long gone by the time I passed by. Discrete math covered proofs today. World history covered largely the Renaissance and reformation. Upon coming home, I finished my Robert Jordan book and began working on the programming problem set for the week. Finally, I went out for dinner in the evening. Perhaps I should learn not to have 4PM lunches normally. Ah, what the heck...
July 10 They say its going to be hot today. By the time I left math class at twenty to 10, it was quite hot. By the time our discussion of the slave trade in World History had concluded, it was positive stifling. True, we don't have much humidity, but 96 degrees is not the type of temperatures we're used to around here. Today my dad and a number of former coworkers had a meeting for lunch, so I got to hear all sorts of interesting technical talk. I like to style myself a geek, but I admit that when the discussion turned to strength-reduction and loop invariance, I was out of my element. After lunch, I did some more programming homework before going to Foothill for programming class. Dinner was had after class finished at Fresh Choice, the first time I've been there since searching for a tuxedo for prom (about 3 months ago). Hurrah for their salad bar.
July 11 Another hot day. School today was full of exam tips. First came those for the Math test Monday, then those for the History test Tuesday. Heigh-ho. Came home in the early afternoon, and had a fun time resuming my old hobby of computer benchmarking. This primarily involved the running of various pi programs on various computers. Moral of the story is that Itaniums are good for something: very fast calculations with gmp. I also did still more work on my C class problem set. Day ended with my poor PowerBook submerged in a build of kde 3. Moral of the story: C++ compilations of that magnitude take a long, long time. I gave it more than 9 hours, and it still hadn't finished when I went to bed.
July 12 The great search for a sunny beach continues. Today began auspiciously enough, with my house submerged in a fog bank. Morning was spent taking care of odds and ends, but for the afternoon, the goals were a little less precise. Went over the hill with my girlfriend who objected to the 88 degree heat, so we returned after a walk by Crystal Springs reservoir. Then following lunch, we (paradoxically) searched for a sunny beach. I'm positive their was such a one, but it did not exist in the 25 miles south of Half Moon Bay. Ah, well, that's luck. Still, Friday's have their charm, and I did manage to finish a fair number of the tasks of the day, including an installation of gnome2 on the PowerBook (in Linux, not MacOS X).
July 13 Today began with a flute lesson. Somehow, I managed to sound even worse than usual, but who knows, maybe it was the weather acting up. Let's just say that the ratio of squeaks to notes ran a bit on the high side. In the afternoon, my dad and I did an ascent of Montara Mountain. While it may not have been Lassen peak, it was still quite a work-out, especially since we made it up in about 70 minutes. Guess staying in shape isn't quite my thing. Much of the evening was spent trying to finish my programming homework. Owing to some misconceptions of how scanf worked, that job took about four times longer than it needed to.
July 14 Yay, study day. That's to say, study math and world history. I'm more concerned about the math, since my average quiz grade is a 75%. Concentrating was, as usual, tough. So many other interesting things to do, like talk with grandmother, or install kde 3.1 alpha, or whatnot. The last task of the day, giving the car an oil change, proved a somewhat more complicated task than expected. The oil change was straight-forward enough, but as we (dad and I) were putting the oil cap back on, I bumped my head on a hanging sensor. Turns out some sensor is loose, and has been hanging for a while. We can just hope that it wasn't an important one. Next, we discovered the fan of the car was stuck into the front section of the hood. Half-an-hour with a hack-saw rectified that, but I hate to think of the car going through 100 degree temperatures, in traffic, with no fan. In short, complications continue to arise.
July 15 Yummy. A nice 90 minutes of test to start the day off. To the credit of Math 22 exam 1, it wasn't that bad, and aside from a brief moment of panic, when I wasn't sure of the symbols of the "and" vs. the "or" circuit, things went well. I went to HP with my dad in the early afternoon, where I hastily completed my programming homework, printed it out, got into a prolonged battle with lpd, and finally manually broke any lines > 80 characters long. Programming class this evening was extremely interesting, with discussions of dynamic memory allocation, strings, pointers, and all that's great about C. Had dinner afterwards at Fresh Choice, and came home in good time. Ah, a full 9 hours sleep!
July 16 Well, well... Can't say I though the math teacher could grade 50 exams in a night, but he did. We all got the tests back today, and had a good long discussion of it, before moving on into the realm of proofs by induction. History test was a bit more challenging than expected, partly due to my poor study habits, but even more so, due to my poor essay writing skills. My writing skills really languished last year, especially my ability to say things concisely, so the essay was a challenge. I came home for the afternoon, which I spent most of trying to write a determinant calculator for arbitrary sized matrices. The difficulties caused by all the pointer arithmetic were great, byt miraculously, the thing actually worked the first time I compiled it (no major bugs). That's a first for me.
July 17 Seems as if both history and math have their good and their bad days. Today's discussion of Japanese history was far more exciting than the discussion of sets in math. Admittedly, Russell wrote a really nice paradox about sets, but that still didn't make matters much better. I think with classes, I generally find them much more interesting when I don't know much of the material ahead of time. Thus my preference for Japanese history over sets, I guess. Programming class introduced bubble sort, which I finally understand. Also pointers to pointers, which I understood less well. Indirection may have its uses, but it sure is damn confusing at times.
July 18 Thursdays feel a lot like Fridays used to, mainly 'cause there are no classes on Friday. I was not feeling at all awake during most of the day, and can hardly remember most of it. The high-point came when I got lunch, to-go, from the HP cafeteria, and proceeded to take over an hour to eat it, as I perused my history book. This is also probably the first time I willingly left the computer to read. Programming really can be frustrating though. Visited Fry's Electronics before returning home, and discovered that wireless LAN/traditional LAN router combos were a dime a dozen. I see wireless in my future. Also the friendly little fight I'd been involved in since last Sunday night seems to be blowing over...
July 19 Where did the day go? Morning, I spent on minor tasks and flute practice. Most of the afternoon I spent writing a program to simulate an ordering system for a grocery store. I personally think it's a pretty silly assignment, but others probably think determinants are just as useless (untrue: nothing is more important than a determinant). Went out to dinner and then to a movie with my girlfriend in the evening. Getting to the movie required something akin to an act of god, considering we had no directions, and were quite late. We saw "The Road to Perdition," which I thought to be quite good. Coming back might have required an act of god too, but that act failed to happen, and I spent 45 minutes waiting to get past road construction on highway 1. Argh.
July 20 An interesting day. Began with flute practice, and flute lesson. Looks like I'm firmly back in the Baroque era for the time being, so no more weird French music to practice. We then did the laundry for the first time in over a month. Needless to say, there was a lot of it. Came home in the afternoon where we lunch, and I began to try to work through the pile of "junk" mail Stanford has sent me. Yeah, there's a lot of it. Unfortunately, my record with getting forms done on time is pretty poor. For the evening, I went out bowling with friends. Let's just say that my expertise in bowling is quite limited. Still, I did do fairly well in the second game, before my thumb began swelling up and made launching the ball straight difficult. Final verdict: bowling is fun, but only if you can borrow someone else's hands.
July 21 My hands are still a bit sore from bowling. Nonetheless, the first order of the day consisted of typing in comments for my programming project. I've long since learned that what may seem intuitive to me isn't to someone else, and so the more explanation, the merrier. In order to finish of the milk, which was beginning to decline, I had two bowls of granola for breakfast instead of the usual one, resulting in a stomach ache for much of the morning. I also made a belated attempt to catch up with my college mail. Stuff keeps falling through the cracks, like the French placement test I didn't take two weeks ago. It's not so much that I didn't want to take the test, more a matter of not realizing the test was to be taken. Spent the afternoon watching the movie version of War and Peace with girlfriend. I keep getting asked if they stayed true to the book, but honestly, I barely remember the names of the characters from the book, let alone the plot.
July 22 Back to school. Ah, the joys of short weekends. Morning math class was a reintroduction to "counting" aka permutations, combinations, and the handy, dandy factorial. The only thing the amazes me is the number of times I've had to go through the same discussion (it's like it's the math teacher's favorite topic). Oh well, we'll probably be finished with it in a week. Spent the early afternoon trying to adequately comment my programming project. Everybody was supposed to write a program for entering supermarket orders. A seemingly simple task which somehow morphed out to take about 400 lines of code (and 200 lines of comments explaining what the heck I was doing). Tonight's C class topic was structs, which I didn't know much about to begin with, so that was nice. Now I can write (&(a->b))->c and more or less understand what's going on! Yay! \ Okay, well maybe that's not exciting to everybody, but, well that's just too bad.
July 23 Sleep is good. When I'm in college, I'll never take another class before 9:00AM. Well, maybe not, but I've found that I do consistently worse in classes where I'm almost asleep. We will not discuss today's quiz score. As for World History, we had the second test today. I was significantly less pleased than with the first one, but religious wars in Europe are ever so much more exciting than the intrigues of the Japanese daimyos. Okay, maybe not, but I knew more about them. I spent much of the afternoon installing Linux onto a stubborn Sony Vaio. For an 800MHZ machine with 14.1" screen, I was not impressed. The disk was slow, the system frequently would not reboot (had to yank the power cord a few times). Still, the deed is done, and I now realize that even major name-brand machines have problems with Linux. How I love my TiBook.... I'm still not entirely sure why I let someone affix me with a sticker that read "Windows98 ready." Am I really as dumb as I look? I also went out for dinner at a funky little Mexican restaurant nearby (I won't name names, I don't need any lawsuits about the legal definition of the word "funky"). Aside from the sour cream deteriorating into milk-colored water, it was a pretty good dinner.
July 24 Sleep is still good. Fortunately I had a bit more of it than last night. Admittedly, there's one fellow in my math class who sleeps almost every day during the latter half of lecture. He sits in the front, too. Today's quiz was made much less positive by the fact that all the problems from it were in the book, and so I could check just how wrong my answers had been. World History dealt with the enlightenment primarily, although the majority of class time was actually occupied by a description of the American Revolution from the British perspective. Suffice it to say that Americans were then, as now, conservative, and it seems that they were actually fighting more against change than for it. Hmm... Did some last minute work on my determinant calculation program before class today. I think I worked out all the bugs, but I'm not positive. It's almost as long as the grocery program, but it actually does something useful (if you happen to need to calculate huge determinants, and don't have a graphing calculator on hand).
July 25 Yawn. "I never could get the hang of Thursdays" (shamelessly plagiarized from Douglas Adam's infamous Hitchhiker's Guide) about sums up today. I'm sure I did something in math class. Unfortunately, I think my mind wandered rather too much. I have the notes to prove it (all of about a page for an hour of lecture). World History was a little better. We had a film, so my mind wandered even farther, even going so far as to come up with new ideas for my determinant program. Then I came home. I would have even managed to clean up my room (for the first time in a few weeks), but someone called, and so I disappeared off into the wild green yonder for awhile, not returning to reality until dinnertime when I realized that compiling GNOME applications is a rather poor sort of a hobby, especially when I don't even like the applications (read: GNOME2 is ugly, unfinished, and unstable, KDE3 is beautiful, polished, and unstable- that's a heck of a choice). Yawn.
July 26 Harrumph. Looks like I went a little too far trying to install RedHat Rawhide on my PowerBook. Somehow, I broke pango, and after that everything gnome2 related failed. I am not impressed. Spent a good bit of time cleaning my system of broken bits of gnome. Also made a valiant attempt at the clutter in my room, which largely succeeded. I was less successful getting answers to my questions about immunizations from Stanford. Oh well. Nothing like a "shot in the arm" to get my going I suppose. Went to the zoo in the evening. They were having a sort of "open-house" if you will, primarily directed at kids, but two friends work there, and so free tickets were forthcoming. First stop was feeding the giraffes. I discovered just how long and wet a giraffe's tongue is. Then there was feeding the rhino. An enormous mouth here, instead of a tongue, but quite a wet experience as well. My girlfriend refused to touch my hand afterwards. After rambling about the zoo for a while, we returned, driving through some pretty thick fog. Bottom line: I need new windshield wipers, or I need a new set of eyes.
July 27 Saturday! Had a flute lesson in the morning before going on a shopping spree of sorts. Places visited included the photography store Keeble and Shuckatt, the Apple Store in Palo Alto, and Trader Joes. Those stops, combined with lunch and driving from place to place took the best part of the day. By the time we finally did get home, I was noticably under the effects of some charming cold I picked up last week. That, plus a little impromptu argument that I became involved in made Saturday a long day. The good news is that the argument seems to be over. The bad news is I'm a very poor arguer.
July 28 I could put a summary of the day here. But I won't, owing both to the fact that today was an ordinary day, and I have something of more importance that bears mentioning.
We all live on a small, blue-green planet, approximately 93 million miles from a really hot ball of gas. To date no one has found a place where we can move conveniently, should this current habitation become unavailable. Seems like we're stuck here at least for the forseeable future. So what do we do? Pour filth in our water and filth in our air. When a few people finally get together (in our fine state of California) to do something about the filth in the air (namely, require more efficient automobiles), our companies accuse us of restricting choice. Choice! I just want to say, on behalf of those of us who, unlike our fine president, cannot just buy a bigger air conditioner and move north as the planet warms, that when in a few decades people look back on our behavior, they will wonder how we could have been so utterly ignorant and stupid. Of course, that's assuming people aren't extinct by then.
July 29 Looks like I do have a tendency to rant after 9PM. Nothing personal... Today began a math test that ran almost 2 hours. Rather tiring. Spent the early afternoon doing a little programming, and then doing almost nothing at all. There's a beautiful little program called mhz by Larry McVoy, which is part of the lmbench benchmark. It does, you guessed it, calculate the mhz of a given machine. Very handy when I try to build and run pi calculations on systems I don't know the specifications of! Computer class went pretty well today as I was exposed to the wonders of linked lists. Well, actually, they're not that wonderous.
July 30 Oh god, it's only Tuesday. Actually, I don't object that much. While the day might have been a much more pleasant one were it not for the return of math tests at, oh, about 7:30AM, but that's life. In history class, we had a test today, althought that went somewhat better. I think I may have even written a fairly acceptable essay, although I can't remember what topic it was on. Much of the afternoon was spent programming. I first tried to do my programming homework for the week (which didn't work: linked lists and I are have a rather stormy relationship at the moment), and then, extremely frustrated, I started the programming project. So far, I'm about 300 lines of code into, but I have absolutely no idea whether it will work. All hail determinism.
July 31 Do you like pigeonholes? I do. They provided the basis of one of the more amusing sections in my math class. Did you know that there are, at minimum, 11 people with exactly the same number of hairs on their head in the city of New York? That's just a rather bizarre application of the Pigeonhole principle. Whee. I did some more work on the programming project this afternoon, before heading off to computer class. My favorite activity of the night was a discussion of stacks, queues and binary trees. I finally know what FIFO and LIFO stand for (after seeing them referenced on the linux-kernel mailing list for years).