May 1 What, it's May now? By god, I'd figured it'd be June at least by now. I have been finding it extremely difficult to stay motivated, and this morning pretty much encapsulates the reason why: 1st, 3rd and 4th periods were all spent either doing nothing at all, or doing something the value of which did not exceed the creation of a small paper airplane. Keep in mind that the plane in question was never launched. After lunch things took a turn for the better. I did a good stretch of work in the dark-room, and it looks like payoff may be starting: 4 reasonably good pictures in one day! Now if only I could get them centered... Also began reading A Brave New World. How can you not love a book in which the quotes of Henry Ford are considered scripture (e.g. "History is bunk.").
May 2 Sigh. I was really, really sleepy. In point of fact, I slept through the first 3.5 periods of school today. Aside from the fact that a couple of phone calls interrupted my slumber around half-past-9, it was very good sleep. Spent most of the afternoon preparing for tomorrow's two tests. Flute choir was a dress rehearsal for tomorrow's concert. I really hope we sound better tomorrow though.
May 3 Hmm... Whoever decided to organize senior cut day didn't do a very good job. I didn't even know today was senior cut day. Oh well. Finished my last government test of the year, which was a nice feeling. Now the government book can take up residence in my locker (instead of my backpack). My intent to spend 3 hours in the darkroom was thwarted, first by art teacher (who wasn't there, so I couldn't get in to the darkroom), and then by fellow students (who kept interrupting, going in and out, etc.). Still, I made more prints today than I think I ever have in a 2 hour period. Not too shabby. The flute concert went reasonably well, the only glitch being the comment: "If you're going to perform, you need to get a black tie." All in all a good day, ending around 11:15PM.
May 4 Despite initial misgivings and a good amount of running around, today worked out more or less. In order of operation: my flute lesson worked out, the laundry was done, I picked up my tuxedo (rental), the car got washed, and my girlfriend and I went to the prom. Not too shabby for a single 24 hour period, considering, the first 7 hours were sleeping and the last 7 hours were spent getting to and staying at the prom. Things began on a sour note, with thanks to poor organization, but they improved progressively, so despite the fact that I had never danced before, I had fun, and didn't injure too many nearby people. Still, it was long, and the music was distinctively not to my taste. Admittedly, I favor pre-19th century music usually, but all the people I talked to seemed to share the view that if there wasn't anything already wrong with the DJ, we were jolly well going to make sure there was by the end of the night. Oh, and before I forget, a number of the people looked really good in their outfits, including the person I went with (well duh!), the two gay guys (one in a black tux, one in a white one), the friend who took the two gay guys as guests (wearing the skank-whore red dress), and many others, too numerous to indentify...
May 5 Instead of journal entry, I'd like to dedicate today to all the sleep deprived seniors who are going to take the AP English Literature exam tomorrow. Guys, I feel your pain. After four (or was it three?) hours of sleep, the term "studying" seems to have lost its meaning. No I won't explain why I only had four hours of sleep (hint: didn't get to a place to change out of prom clothes 'til 2:15AM). Just remember, this is good practice for when college comes around...
May 6 What did I say about taking tests early in the morning? The first AP test didn't quite go smoothly. Not only was their a little difficulty locating the answer sheets, on the part of staff, but my brain wasn't quite working in English mode. Oh well... Went out to lunch with a bunch of friends, and later off to the beach. The day was really quite nice, although I was pretty thoroughly soaked at the beach. Spent the afternoon doing some last minute studying for tomorrow's Calculus AP exam...
May 7 ... Which was an utter waste of time. Owing to an error by either me or the school, no calculus BC exam was actually available, so I took the AB exam instead. That's annoying for the simple fact that it's worth 5 fewer math credits. After school, took some pictures and did some biology review. Also spent a few minutes learning how to scan photos into PhotoShop. Although the quality was sometimes bad, it was an interesting experience. Looks like I'll be posting pictures of the day from now on too. My photography site, alas, languishes, waiting for time/attention.
May 8 That was a pretty miserable day. Aside from the photographic prints I made, very little was accomplished. I was in pretty foul humor anyway, owing to the fact that the biology test went badly and the final is tomorrow. This fact wouldn't be so important, save that almost nothing else happened today. I did work out an arrangement to make up the Calculus BC exam, so that was nice. I also got to sleep before 10. That was nice too.
May 9 Multiple choice half of the biology final today. This was actually a mock AP exam, consisting of 120 questions to be completed in 90 minutes. The good news: I did pretty well. The bad news: now people are pestering me, asking me why I still have to study for the AP exam. Made a lot of prints this afternoon, but then discovered that they were all kind of grey. I blame the developer. Attended flute choir this afternoon where my tendency to cross my legs while standing prompted an annoyed "What?" from the director. I wish more attention would be played to people who are out of tune, or having rhythmic difficulties, rather than having difficulties standing upright, but never mind that...
May 10 Yuck. I think I woke up today. That said, the details are still pretty hazy. I remember doing a few essays, arriving in English class with 10 minutes left in the period, and driving donw the hill at lunch to pick up donuts. Beyond that, the specifics of the day largely escape me. I did get to watch an old movie in the evening, which was nice, except for evening came a bit late, and before I knew it, it was almost 11:00PM.
May 11 Did I complain about 11PM? I guess I must be spoiled. Flute lesson at 10AM. Flute choir performance from 2-4PM (spent the interim time taking pictures and rambling around Coyote Point. Off with friends for minigolf and dinner from 6PM-10PM. Eventually wended my way home at 10 of midnight. Final verdict: a fun day, but long. Heigh ho...
May 12 Can't say as Sundays appeal to me too much in general. Spent most of the morning playing with the flute choir at Filoli mansion. Got caught in the usual unpleasant traffic coming home. Spent part of the day doing homework, part of it studying, and part of it trying to convince fink to be productive on my system. Fink basically puts debian on MacOS X. However, I chose to use the "unstable" version, so of course I ran into snag after snag. Maybe better luck tomorrow...
May 13 Monday morning blues as usual. Turnout at school was extraordinarily light (in my classes, anyway). Spent the morning in two classes preparing for AP tests, then two classes preparing for nothing, and finally, a single class taking pictures. Spent the afternoon doing last minute studying for tomorrow's AP Biology test.
May 14 That could have been worse. The biology test took nearly 4 hours all told, but heck, if I passed, it was probably worth it. Then I spent the afternoon printing photographs. I printed rather a lot, although the quality seems questionable. For one reason or another, contrast an I are not such very good friends. Did a bit of studying for the government test in the afternoon, but did rather more monkeying around with fink on MacOS X. Oh well, it's not like 4 hours of studying usually makes much of a difference in the grand scheme of things.
May 15 Had it not been for a slight mistake, today would've been my last AP test. Guess not. The government test was, to put it mildly, not nearly as difficult as I had suspected. This means, I either knew what I was doing, or I hadn't a clue, and was thus unaware of my ignorance. I left directly after band to take pictures, and managed to get a nice walk in Montara into the bargain. Then came home, did a little bit of math work, and rushed off to the Morrison Planetarium in San Francisco for the 50th Anniversary of the SF Amateur Astronomer's society. No I'm not an astronomer (in any sense of the word). But my flute choir played there as its final performance. Came back around 10:30, and developed a roll of film while eating dinner.
May 16 Dull day. No AP tests. 3 of my classes consisted of doing nothing. Only two consisted of doing anything (and in one, "anything" is interpreted loosely). 2 out of 5. Not too good. Made a few photographic prints in the afternoon, but was disappointed in the quality. Came home and did nothing (or nearly nothing). A long dull day...
May 17 Yay. Gotta love Fridays. My evil plan to make photo prints was foiled, since the Art class whose room adjoins the dark room was out on a field trip. The first two periods of the day both involved watching movies, although in the second case, the movie (on the migration of people out of Africa over the last 100,000 years) was actually germaine to the class in question (biology). Band teacher was off with the choir in Anaheim, so naturally, band class was spend sitting out in the sun, watching people play frisbee.
May 18 Busy day. First a flute lesson. Then 5 hours in the darkroom, printing photos (a good portion of the time was spent cleaning the place up, too). Finally, a LAN party in the evening. I enjoyed playing flute, printing photos and seeing friends. But the bottom line is: sleep is a blessing. In between all this, I also had the opportunity to take pictures at the local graveyard, eat a 5:45PM lunch (probably a new record for lateness), and realize that I'm not the only one with trouble driving a stick-shift car. The last fact made itself apparent when a friend and I were called upon to give someone a ride on short notice. Let's just say that the hills in Montara are not good places to practice starting uphill. Burning clutch smells funny...
May 19 Today was the antithesis of yesterday (ooh, big English word, too bad I already took the AP test). The morning was supposed to include marching around in the Chamarita parade (as part of the band). Instead, it rained. Quite heavily. So at 9:45AM, we were all told to return at noon, to possibly march as the parade retraced its route. At noon it was still raining heavily. So we were told simply to leave. What was annoying about the whole proceeding was that I left the LAN party early last night, so I could wake up early enough to make the parade. Bad prioritization I guess.
May 20 I received compelling evidence today that Mondays don't have to have to be rotten. On the contrary, aside from a little quarrely over how one should spend one's summer, today was quite pleasant. My dad showed me a number of ways to improve my techniques for printing pictures, so most of the stuff I did on Saturday turned out very well. I also received an interesting reminder that there is a Jazz Band concert tomorrow night and I'm expected to attend. 30hour notice is all very well, but I was planning on doing some last minute studying for calculus.
May 21 A bad day for people who applied to Harvard and ended on the wait list (not me, I didn't apply there for reasons which must not be repeated). Looks like absolutely no one from the wait-list was accepted. Ouch. In the afternoon, I also helped my teacher develop his film (medium format film, no less). We did a very complete job. There was only one problem: the film had never been exposed (in the camera). I did make a good number of prints (including, my first ever successful 8x10). Then came the Jazz Band concert, which sounded pretty good. I only played on three songs, but it was still fun.
May 22 It's over. "What is?" you ask. AP tests. Took the AP Calculus BC test today (which was by the way, in violation of the Collegeboard's pronouncement that you can only take one of the calculus tests per year, oops). Today began with doing the SF Commuter crossword puzzle in government class, continued with preparing to clone plants in biology, and culminated around 10:30AM in 3rd period English when the teacher canceled the 7-10 page essay we all had to write, saying we are busy enough as it is. My response: indeed! The calculus test started right after lunch, and finished at about half past four. Considering that a 67% usually corresponds to a 5 (the highest possible score), I'm pretty confident. Oddly enough, more confident than after I took the AB test (AB corresponds to first semester, BC to first and second semester). Oh, and I hosed MacOS X on my laptop with an ill-considered "sudo rm -rf /sw" which really shouldn't, in theory, have caused any damage. Ah, the disparity between theory and practice bites again!
May 23 Odd times. Odd days. Began this morning by attempting the crossword puzzle. Continued well into 3rd period, working on it, enlisting the help of just about anyone that I could. Alas I didn't quite succeed. Then came the yearly awards assembly, the last one I'll be attending. My hopes for a longer than usual lunch were dashed, but it didn't matter, as I spent all the additional time printing pictures for the portfolio I hope to have done tomorrow. In the afternoon, I began rebuilding my fink setup, and there was a band concert. Somewhere in there, I also had occasion to meet one of my all time favorite teachers (7th grade world history: to this day, I still like history).
May 24 Busy Friday. Got to school early to take a look at my prints, but discovered the room was locked. Spent first period typing up instructions for developing film and doing the crossword (again). Spent second period mostly doing the crossword. Spent third period (when I should have been in English) trying to clone plants. The illogical progression continued until lunch, when my backpack finally broke completely and things went back to normal. Spent the afternoon first being disappointed in the darkroom, and then in Quiz Kids practice. Finally, I saw Star Wars Episode II with a bunch of friends (I wasn't really that impressed, although it had its good points).
May 25 Packed frantically this morning. Managed to be only 5 minutes late to my flute lesson. Following the lesson, we went out to lunch with an old friend and former neighbor in Los Altos. We had a 4:30PM flight out of San Jose International airport. I think in the future, I'll fly out of San Jose more often. Smaller airport = shorter lines, smaller walks, and a generally simpler trip than at, say, San Francisco International. Arrived in LA around 6PM. Then met uncle and aunt from Isfahan, Iran, as well as a cousin (who I've never met before) who's living in Dusseldorf, Germany, and of course the other cousin who was married in LA two years ago (and whose wedding I attended). We went out for a good dinner of Persian food, before finally going to sleep at around 11:00PM at a hotel.
May 26 Spent the first part of the morning systematically wandering the grounds of the largest Mormon church in North America. Discovered they also have a very convenient payphone. Went with relatives up to the Huntington gardens for most of the day. The scenery was quite nice, even though my legs were not quite up to the task. After systematically wandering the gardens for 5 hours, we returned and I met with another uncle, aunt and (this time) 5 year-old cousin. Dinner was some rather gourmet Chinese food, but I'm not complaining. Also read my cousin a bed time story before attempting to drive back to the hotel and getting quite successfully lost (or, if you prefer, taking a series of wrong turns resulting in a 40 minutes detour).
May 27 Plans for the morning were a bit hazy, but we all ended up ultimately at Venice beach. Having not been there for a good bit, I was amazed by how much it hadn't changed. All the aforementioned relatives were there, so we had a good time plodding along the beachfront. My little cousin had a razor scooter, which led inevitably to races, but given how much exercise I usually get, I was greatful for the activity. After nearly an our of running around, I was quite tired, and at length we retired to lunch (c. 3:00PM PST). After lunch we all dispersed gradually, and following a large number of goodbyes, proceeded to go to a number of Farsi book stores, almost lose the car, and finally have an extremely large dinner complete with pomegranite juice (canned, not fresh, unfortunately). We went to be relatively early.
May 28 The primary reason for going to bed early was to get up at 4:45AM. Did this, rushed to the airport, got dropped off at the wrong terminal, embroiled in long security lines (at 5:30AM, no less) and finally, miraculously, boarded the plane. Which did not leave the gate until 7:00AM due to malfunctioning equipment. Touched down in SJ at 8:00AM, took a cab to where we left the car, and drove home (me only). Made it to school 2 minutes before the end of second period. Had a long, quasi-eventful day at school, did some last-minute photo-prints, found out some last minute info. about tomorrow's trip to New Orleans, and finally came home to start packing. Barely managed to finish unpacking before I had to leave to pick up my dad (having taken the car and left him at work. Then drive back, and have dinner at a friend's house. Finally, come home and pack. I have now driven 110 miles, drunk a pint of chocolate milk and found myself successfully locked out of my dad's office for almost half an hour in the course of the day.
May 29 Up early to finish packing. Go to school and am picked up with other 4 members of the school's Quiz Bowl trivia team, plus coach and chaperone, in a limousine. To clarify: this is a trip of the Quiz team to compete in a tournament in New Orleans. We had a very relaxed drive to the airport. At the airport, security was tight, but not tight enough to catch the knife (Swiss Army) and mace that we later discovered we had brought. Oops. Plane left SF at 10:45AM, arrived Houston around 3. Our connecting flight left Houston at 4PM and took about an hour to make it to New Orleans. There, a cab took us all to the Loyola University (a Jesuit school) campus where the tournament and accomodations were. The dorm rooms were Spartan, but each one housed two persons, and each two shared a bathroom in between. We took the streetcar to a Lebanese restaurant for dinner and returned quite late. My roomate was from another school, but as of 11PM, he hadn't arrived, so I drifted off to sleep.
May 30 Up around 8AM. Roommate arrived around 2AM or so, but I didn't really notice. Tried to dress for the humid and generally hot weather, but with limited success. Had breakfast in a little cafe and watched one match before we had our first, against Plano West, Texas. They won both the first and second rounds. In the third, though, we were allowed to choose from a number of categories. The one we picked was California. With this, we picked up a slim lead, and in the finally round, managed to eke out a win by three questions. After the nailbiter, we relaxed until lunch and then took the streetcar into the central city. We spent a few hours at the aquarium (which is not worth $11), returned to the dorms to change into more respectable clothing, and went to a jazz club for dinner. The trolley trip each way was a good half-hour, so we spent many a happy hour on it. After the jazz club (which was ridiculously loud) we wandered about Bourbon street for a while, before returning and going to bed. All I can say of Bourbon street: the bar to non-bar ratio is somewhere between 1:1 and 2:1, even including the many strip clubs and cabarets in the non-bar category.
May 31 We had an earlier match today. Our opponents, Dorman of South Carolina, were a very talented team from South Carolina. These two facts combined netted us a loss of more than 200 points. Oh well. After that we went on a stroll to the zoo. By the time we'd come back, rested, eaten lunch, and rested some more, we had our third match (overall) against Wallenpaupack, Pennsylvania. This match was the same as this morning, save for the reversal of the roles. We are now 2-1. Following our match, we had dinner, and went into the central city for a ghost-tour walk, which consisted of some very bizarre stories about ghosts, criminals and voodoo. Although a skeptic, the walk was still quite interesting, and we returned tired, but satisfied. Went to sleep past midnight.