October 1 Up at 7AM. I'm still working on the whole breakfast thing, but at least I now know to avoid the granola. IHUM section is first thing in the morning, which isn't bad, save that I'm barely awake. Managed to learn the names of a majority of those in my section. There are 17. Yay! Next went to math class. Whew. 75 minutes of definitions, theorems and proofs. I'm not sure that Math 171 is really a good idea. We'll see. Afternoon spent doing a number of things, including extensive flute practice, and excluding anything too close to schoolwork. Dinner, followed by odds and ends, followed by bed. Somewhere in there, I attended the first session of Physics lab in which we did nothing. I'm not complaining, mind you, since I've developed an enjoyment of doing nothing too.
October 2 Couldn't get up at 7AM. Have now decided that a 9AM Physics class is a bad idea, when I can take the exact same one at 10AM. How we do change in college. The IHUM lecture was more comprehensible than the Physics, but not by much. I actually rather liked Monday's IHUM lecture, but today's I though somewhat less of. Had lunch and a good long break before Farsi class. More letters today. I'm not sure if I fully approve of all the different 's'es, 't's and 'z's, let alone the weird connecting rules, but anything different requires adjustments I guess. Came back to discover that my Flute class has finally been scheduled, for tomorrow in the middle of Math 171. Straightened that out. Made a desperate attempt in the evening to do Physics and Math homework. Ohmygosh. Guess engineering is really not for me. Math even more so. I hate physics. I hate math. Most importantly, I hate being made to feel like a complete imbecile. Oh well. C'est la vie.
October 3 O.K. So I'm having a bad day. Couldn't get up at 7AM. Then realized I'd forgotten to do my IHUM homework. Quickly finished that in the library. IHUM section was actually surprisingly good. Math wasn't. Whoosh. Definitely time to move on. Had lunch in a sort of daze. Then ran off to flute class. That went much better. Can't say that my abilities are much to boast of, but I think I'm in good hands. Did a lot of desperate Physics reading. Managed to solve almost half the problem set. Yay! Not. Went to Physics section, and with significant aid, solved another problem. Professor's Q/A session was 7-9PM. That was actually quite helpful. Looks like some of those problems really weren't as bad as I'd made them out to be. Worked on more physics before going to bed.
October 4 Wha..at? Oh yeah. Trouble getting up. More trouble paying attention in Physics. Had a quick and cheerless lunch, and then retreated to the computer. I hate technology. Went to Math 51 at 1:15PM, taught by the same Prof. White I had last year for Math 51H. Kind of ironic, but I explained to him, and he seemed to understand (or at least, was polite enough not to say anything). Seems I've found a math class I can both stand and understand! Felt very good about myself, especially after I turned in my Physics homework. A group of people wanted to go up Hoover Tower, so I joined. The view was amazing. I then decided to make my final visit to the bookstore. Returned 3 math books in return for 2 books + $5. Hmmm... Got tempted by MacOS X.2 (Jaguar), and so bought that too, as a toy. Spent the evening fiddling with Jaguar. Later watched a bad movie in the lounge, and did some odd things between 11PM and 1AM. No, I won't say exactly what!
October 5 Saturday. Got up fairly early. My dad picked me up in the morning. Our first order of business was locate a cleaning swab for the bass flute I've been trying to learn how to play. Ended up going to California St. to find it. Hope an alto sax brush will do the job. Next visited Fry's Electronics and picked up an external keyboard and mouse for my laptop. Expensive (explained by the fact that the mouse is wireless, while the keyboard is Apple branded...). After the shopping, hiked up to the radar dish above Stanford. Well, maybe not quite hiked, but in the 90+ degree weather, it sure felt like it. Returned to the dorm in the afternoon, where I hooked up my new acquisitions. After dinner, a number of us went to a performance of La Boheme at Memorial Auditorium. Production was well done, but like all operas, it struck me as melodramatic and distinctly "over the top." Anyway, came back quite late and didn't sleep 'til even later.
October 6 Woke up late and with a sore throat. I hope I'm not coming down with anything major. Spent the morning trying to reorganze my music collection which iTunes so kindly scrambled for me. Also tried to get my MacOS X.2 environment working, although I have still yet to locate the ideal e-mail client. Settled on Eudora for the time being. Was drafted into correcting someone's essay, which wasn't really a bad thing (since it was in fact one of the few useful things I did all day), but left me somewhat grumpy. Grumpiness was added to when my attempt to get an early start on math homework was repeatedly put off as I struggled with Jaguar's mail program. I just don't feel good about days which I effectively get nothing done in.
October 7 Mondays are rotten. Well, at least this one was. Physics and IHUM were difficult, maily 'cause I was so drowsy. Lunch was no fun at all (a fact not aided by the greasy chinese food I ate, which gave me indigestion). Math class was at least easy to follow, but I had a tough time staying attentive. Farsi class was even worse, as the room is on the 3rd floor, and so gets a great deal of sun. Also realized midway through the day that my physics lab time needed to be moved to sometime tomorrow. Of all the day's "classes." flute ensemble went the best... Went to bed around 11PM, which is definitely earlier than usual.
October 8 I don't care for Tuesdays either. This one began auspiciously, with a good discussion in IHUM, but steadily degenerated leaving me feeling like a soggy, worn-out sweater. I'm definitely coming apart at the edges. Spent the midday doing very little, and felt awful as a result. Math section was the high point of the day, since we have a really cool TA (hey Eric!), but then there was Physics lab, where I felt utterly incompetent as usual. It'll be a miracle if any of the data comes out right. Back to the dorm after the lab, and a generally unexciting evening. The one good thing that occurred was that I finished the math homework for the week. Haven't touched physics yet, though.
October 9 The week seems to finally be looking up. A bit. Physics was vaguely comprehensible. It seems I was supposed to read the first 160 pages of Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle last night. Yeah. Right. That made IHUM lecture a bit odd, but I managed. Then came lunch, and Math class. Worked on the physics lab writeup in the library before Farsi class. We finished the alphabet today. I'd be a bit more enthusiastic if I had any idea how one goes about choosing the right letter to represent a given sound. Take 's' for example. There's se, sin, and sad, all pronounced identically. Blargh. Returned to the dorm in the evening, before going off to the library to try and get some work done. Did get "some work" done, if one considers the operative word "some." To bed late, as usual.
October 10 Thursday is the longest day. Or if it isn't, it sure seems like it sometime. Got up later than usual. Breakfast, then IHUM section, then break, then flute lesson, and we're on our way. Well, IHUM was slow (mainly a function of everybody's sleep-deprived state), but the flute lesson went well. The break would have gone well too, but as usual I got sidetracked. God, I love pouring time into a bottomless pitcher. Made it late to math section, but learned quite a bit more than expected. Spent the remained of the afternoon working on physics homework, which understandably left me in a rather sour mood. Even Professor Osheroff's Q/A session didn't enable me to understand the homework fully. Guess I have 'til next week's midterm to figure it out. Didn't finish Physics, but was tired enough to go to bed anyway.
October 11 A day of reckoning. I am awakened at 7:10AM by the news that the Senate (and House) have passed a bill approving the use of force against Iraq. 27 Democrats in the Senate voted for the bill. For me, that's the last straw. I will never vote for a candidate who voted 'yes' on that bill, and I sincerely doubt I'll vote for a single Democrat this November, even in close races. They've sold us out, and we owe them nothing.
Following the morning's somber news came Physics. I started my work on the homework after that, but had to abandon the effort to go and try to pick up tickets to a talk that Ehud Barak will be giving next week. Imagine my chagrin when I find the line already several hundred long when I arrive (in point of fact, > 500 long, according to my estimates). 2 hours later I have tickets. I end up missing math class. As I left, they began running out of tickets. Rather unfortunate given that probably 150 people were behind me.
Returned to Physics basement where I attempted to finish the homework. 2 flashes of inspiration did occur, but I still wasn't able to finish the last problem. Oh well. Returned to the dorm afterwards to relax. Learned that Jimmy Carter got the Nobel Peace prize. Good to see that there's still some hope for the world. After dinner, I met my dad, and despite some complications in meeting, we make it to a concert given by a Persian music group of the strange sounding name. "Axiom of Choice." The first half of the concert was spent ~2m from the speakers, and thus was a bit to loud to properly enjoy. We moved back for the second half, and I enjoyed it much more then, but the concert was long and it was past 11PM when I finally got back to the dorm. Of course, I didn't go to sleep for a while after that...
October 12 Yesterday's entry got a bit lengthy, so I'll try to practice a little brevity. Got up late, and went off for a walk with my dad at the Arastradero Open Space area. Aside from the obscenely large houses within viewing distance, it's quite a nice area, great for a little morning ramble. Had my first avocado and cheese sandwich in over 3 weeks. Boy did it taste good. Returned to the dorm in the afternoon, and discvored I was too late for the football game. Oops. Made a desultory attempt to start on homework, before giving in to the inevitable and updating this page. Not easy to remember what happened 2 weeks ago. Fortunately, not much did happen, so remembering isn't that tricky. Went to bed exceedingly late on account of trying to make the web-update process a little more automated. Hopefully, it worked.
October 13 Did I ever mention that I loathe Sundays? Okay well maybe loathe is going a bit too far, but you get the idea. Anyway, I spent an entirely inordinate quantity of time putting up my pictures from Mt. Whitney. True, they're nice pictures, but after getting up around 9:30, and spending 3 hours on this, I feel like most of the day disappeared. Oops. In the afternoon, the theory was I would study Physics. Instead, I had a little practive-theory mismatch. Very unsatisfying day. Accomplished almost nothing.
Monday October 14 Monday! Eek. Something must have happened. Something that I can't remember now...
October 15 Uneventful morning. Afternoon included a Physics lab, a lot of physics review and finally, a Physics midterm which I didn't do too well in. Okay, I think I did terribly. Only question is how terribly. Lovely feeling.
October 16 Today was spent trying to catch up. Desperately. But having 4 1/2 hours of classes isn't really conducive of that. IHUM lecture was on Darwin though, and I thought it was extremely good. The lecturer, a Prof. White (from the history department, no relation of my math professor, also a real cool guy) dealt with the topic in a very well orchestrated and enjoyable manner. In the evening I had the opportunity to hear Ehud Barak, former prime minister of Israel. He was a very interesting speaker, but I disagree completely with much of what he said. I also found myself clapping at odd times, and not clapping at others. It seems he actual believes the drivel coming out of the White House about Iraq. That, or he is involved in making it up. I'm sorry, but you just cannot agree "100%" with Bush and expect to be taken seriously.
October 17 Had the pleasure of leading the IHUM discussion for a bit this morning. Fortunately, I was caught up on my Darwin reading, so I actually knew what I was talking about. We veered off topic quickly anyway, so it didn't matter too much. I then took the opportunity to get in a solid 2 hours of flute practice. Whew. Then came my flute lesson, and my math section. And then there was my physics section. We got back midterms. Yeah. The bad news is I got less than half right. The worse new is I was a full standard deviation below the mean. Finally, I managed a bit of studying for math. Math midterm was at 8PM, but went pretty smoothly, save for a slight time crunch at the end.
October 18 Everybody was tired today, me included. Between Physics and Math lectures, I can't remember much happening. The evening too was only a depressed blur, me feeling a combination of boredom, loneliness and anger. A loud party going on next door didn't help either, as I couldn't go to sleep before 2AM. Harrumph.
October 19 Still tired, but getting up at 10AM has its virtues. Made 2 attempts at studying, of various success. Managed to finish my Physics lab writeup quite late and so finally turned it in. Intended to go and practice flute but couldn't manage to motivate myself enough. In the evening, went out to a meeting about Astronomy. That was pretty cool, and in the process, met with 2 French grad students and had a nice conversation. That lasted about 3 hours. Whew. Went to bed around 2AM again. Bad habit.
October 20 Is it really Sunday? Guess it must be. Up late. Eventually forced myself to go to the library and start physics homework. Ouch. 2 hours of getting nowhere on a single problem convinced me that it was time to drop Physics. So I did. That should make my schedule a little more livable. Around 3:30PM, friends from Half Moon Bay came by. I took advantage of the opportunity to go to Fry's electronics and pick up a few odds and ends. Next was dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Palo Alto. That's the first tea I've had in ages. We did a lot of chatting about old times, which was nice. After dinner, we went to the Aquarius theater where we saw Michael Moore's new film Bowling for Columbine. It was really well done: a hard-hitting quasi-documentary about America and guns.
Monday October 21 A fairly busy day. Unfortunately I made a bad start, and after wasting most of the morning, barely made it to IHUM. The discussion was hardly worthwhile though, so I might not have missed much. Then came math, then a pause and then Farsi. Farsi is becoming quite tough, especially without a real book to review from. Hopefully things will improve. Had a quick dinner afterwards before going off to flute ensemble. Stayed up late, but didn't really get too much done. Not such a great day.
October 22 Up at the less-than-godly time of 6:30. Went for a jog immediately. I hope to make a habit of this. Got lost somewhere around Kappa-Epsilon, but managed to recover myself. Went off to IHUM section, and nearly went to sleep again. Then went off to the library. Almost finished my math homework completely. Had a late lunch before math section. Finished math homework, before returning for dinner. Spent the evening doing more math homework. Basically, my method of procrastinating my IHUM essay.
October 23 Another early day. Did my run, and then read Walden for about an hour. Good book. I like Thoreau quite a bit. The IHUM lecture was pretty good too, although it became awfully abstract. I suppose everything dealing with Transcendentalism has that sort of problem. Then came math class, 2 hours in the library, Farsi class, flute practice, dinner (which was unusually good), and trying to write my IHUM essay. All but the last of these were successful, and so feeling very tired, I actually went to sleep before 11PM.
October 24 Day of reckoning? Maybe. Too tired to get up early and run. IHUM section was pretty interesting. Evidently Walden is pretty controversial. Flute lesson went pretty well, and I attended an anti-war gathering in White Plaza. It's good to know that we're not alone, but I admit I would have liked more people and more militancy, but you can't have it all. Math section was all right, but not exactly exciting. Then came 6 hours of trying to write an IHUM essay. I did manage to finish, so no complaints, but I wish I didn't always manage to get distracted. Would have taken so much less time.
October 25 Not a whole lot worth saying about today. I got up a bit later than usual. First order of business was delivering my IHUM paper. Heehee. Once I turn it in, I can't possibly revise it. Next thing was spending time on math homework. Then came lunch, math class, and finally, four hours that I spent in the library not doing much. Ugh. Became steadily more agitated and depressed. Reading the news and discovering that Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota, one of the few politicians I can actually respect, was killed in a plane crash didn't help my spirits in the least. My dad came by in the evening, so I had the opportunity to go out and eat Thai food. Odd. My memories were that it tasted better. Rushed back to a concert given by my flute instructor, with a guitarist. The last piece, which was by Ravi Shankar, was quite neat. Went home for the first time since I came to college (more thoughts on that forthcoming), and discovered that, no, things by and large haven't changed a lot.
October 26 Up fairly late. Oh it's so nice to sleep in my real bed. This visit has definitely made me a bit homesick. Took care of a few loose ends before going to Crystal Springs for a morning walk. Simple things are so nice now. I really think I'm beginning to appreciate things I used to take for granted. Next met my uncle and gave my cousin a tour of the area. She's six, and she made quite an impression on the dorm. We had lots of fun, and eventually went off to dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant. Next I returned to the dorm to go off and visit a French grad. student met the previous weekend. He was a really cool guy, and we had quite a discussion, which didn't finish until well into the morning. But who needs sleep anyway? Besides, it's good to have an opportunity to chat. I talk so rarely to people these days...
October 27 Got up late, as might be expected. Managed to reset all the clocks within easy reach. Whose stupid idea was daylight savings, anyway? Spend the morning trying to come up with a coherent plan of action for the day. Gave up rapidly. Instead played with the computer and felt blue. I've written a nice little compendium of my college thoughts here. Anyhow, didn't really do much. In the afternoon, I managed a little Farsi review, but then had dinner and went to Flicks where they were showing signs. Not a particularly good movie, by any stretch of the imagination. Came back to the dorm, and still felt not good. I hope this passes eventually. Otherwise I really will have to become a misanthropist, a sky diver, or both.
October 28 Up early. Early isn't as early as it used to be though, thanks to the time change. Did a nice run around the campus, including Lake Log. Next, went off to Braun to practice flute. I'm gradually learning all my minor scales, and some of my chords. Next, read Walden whilst sitting in the sun in the Quad. The IHUM lecture mentioned my favorite nature writer, Edward Abbey, which was a pleasant surprise. Went back to the dorm for lunch, where I discovered that either my appetite's shrunk, or my salad was large, 'cause I barely finished it, and had real trouble with the pizza I got. A boring afternoon followed, terminating with an early sunset sometime around 5:30PM. Then more flute practice, and finally 2 hours of rehearsal. Came back and discovered the dorm. was pretty quiet. Odd. Guess everyone has better things to do on Monday night...
October 29 Not a good day. Began with me having a hard time waking up. Then survived IHUM section for 90 minutes. Went back to the dorm. for lunch, and forgot about doing anything constructive for a while. Eventually ran off to the library where I first did real reading and math homework, but gave up and read Edward Abbey's Hayduke Lives. Not the greatest of his works, but certainly fun as hell. Managed to go to bed fairly early.
October 30 Quasi-busy day. IHUM lecture this morning was absolutely great. I can't remember enjoying an in-class lecture so much since junior year of high school. Did some Farsi and math, but nothing too exciting afterward. Pretty slow day.
October 31 Halloween. Yippee. Notice the lack of exclamation points. Began the day with IHUM section. Funny. The first half I could barely keep awake. The second half I could barely keep my mouth shut. Odd. Went off for some flute practice and a flute lesson in the early afternoon. Then came math section. Our TA dressed up as the professor. The other TA dressed up like Morpheus from "The Matrix." He had some pretty good lines, including: "But if you take the purple pill, you will wake up tomorrow in an Art History classroom..." Pretty clever if you ask me... I didn't participate in actual Halloween festivities, and so felt pretty down for the evening. Next year I am definitely getting a costume.