January 1 Hellooo 2003! New year arrived as yours truly set up his computer at a friend's house for the LAN party. Briefly cheered. Clapped. Went back to trying to swap out my video card. Spent a good 2 hours getting slaughtered in Unreal Tournament. One friend (who will remain nameless for security reasons) suggested we take a break from video games. So we played Rummikubs for a bit. Then onto Risk, the mother of all boardgames. The game took 3 hours, lasting well into the morning, but remaining quite exciting to the end. Memorable quote of the night: "This is almost as much fun as video games." So there's hope for humanity after all... Then back to fragging in UT for a few more hours. Spent much of the time in negative frag territory (killed myself more times than I killed anyone else). Around 8AM, packed up and went to breakfast. Arrived home around 10, and after a completely unproductive half hour trying to organize classes, I decided on a nap. Awoke in the midafternoon much refreshed. Ate lunch (though with much less appetite than I used to, stomach where art thou?). Took a walk up behind the house. Sun set while we watched, so coming back was a little dark. Dinner, and then sleep.
January 2 Woke up a bit late. Seem to have fallen in love with a good solid 10 hours night's rest. Went to a friend's house in the late morning. Went out to lunch at San Benito's. Spent the afternoon finishing The Fellowship of the Ring (DVD, started on December 18). Realized that the cut scenes weren't really all that crucial, but definitely were nice to have. Samwise's poetry was much appreciated. In the evening, went over to another friend's house for a nice friendly battle of Risk. Didn't do too well 'til the very end. I'm very addicted to Risk at this point. Had pizza for dinner, and then tried a game of Trivial Pursuit. Geez, there's a lot of trivia I don't know. Made it home with most of my ego intact...
January 3 Went over to friend's house in the morning. Pattern, anyone? Helped with errands, talked, and had lunch. Returned home and tried to clean the windows of the living room. Managed to scrape some of the more egregious cobwebs off, but left pretty big smudges nonetheless. My dad and I then went on a walk at the beach. I've never seen such a low tide, nor such a clean beach. Guess we all get lucky sometimes. The sunset was absolutely amazing, lasting well over an hour, and ending in silky grey fog shrouding a coastline pockmarked with lots of twinkling little lights. After the walk, went and helped a friend install Jaguar on her iBook. Should've probably mentioned how slow the install was in advance. Around 9, went off to dinner at Round Table with ex and current Quiz Kids. College football finals explained the absence of one member, and the presence of the AP government teacher on the other side of the room. Once everybody showed up, we had a great time reminiscing about the old days, and throwing good taste to the winds. When we left, two members were attempting to take a shopping cart through the McDonald's drive through... Spent the next few hours in a Risk game, which became far too exciting, lasting 'til nearly 2AM. In addition to being exciting, the game was a trifle raucous. Hope we didn't keep too much of the neighborhood up. Me. Sleep. Late.
January 4 Hard time waking up. Finally managed to around 10AM. Headed over the hill with my dad, where we did some errands, namely buying a walking stick, a broiler element (for the oven) and some chocolate. No wrong turns, so my navigation skills must be improving. We went with an old friend to lunch. Reminisced about the days when we lived on Canyon Road, outside of Los Altos. Seems like everybody's gradually moving along in life. Ah well. Afterwards, went for a walk at Stanford. Had an acute attack of nausea, brought on by reminders of last quarter's less pleasant moments. Nonetheless, had a nice walk to the radar dish and back. Sunsets this week have really been something. Came home and ate dinner, after stopping at Safeway. Need to stay away from Safeway, I keep on recognizing people there... Spent the evening watching a movie at a friend's house. Don't remember it too well. This week's really starting to take it's toll...
January 5 So I was going to pick up my roommate at the San Jose airport. Cleared out the car, and drove over with plenty of time. Arrived and realized my cell-phone had been off all morning. Oops. Messages. Turns out the flight made an unscheduled stop in Salt Lake City owing to a medical emergency. Left and drove around downtown San Jose for over an hour while listening to A Prairie Home Companion. Came back, and plane finally arrived. So did roommate, and another Stanford student. Chatted for a long time as the luggage took its time materializing. Tried to grab lunch en route to Stanford, but made so many wrong turns, that I doubt it was en route to anywhere. Finally made it to Stanford. Then headed home and started packing my bags. I must be the only person who isn't absolutely thrilled going back to college. Guess I really did enjoy my break after all, especially seeing all my friends. Picked up another friend from the airport in the evening from San Francisco, and deposited him safely at Stanford. Came home, made a few phone calls, and went to bed.
January 6 Last day of freedom. Pretty much. Had to hurry to school. High school that is. Went to visit my U.S. History teacher to pick up textbooks, and ended up in an hour-long conversation. I have the necessary textbooks now though. Hopefully they'll see me through American History 165B. Went out to lunch with a friend (last opportunity to do that for a while, since both the friend and restaurant will be pretty inaccessible). Went home and actually did a bit of packing, before running off to another friend's for an engrossing game of Risk. I really am getting addicted. In the evening, came home for dinner, only to discover that no one else was home. Oh well... Final activity was going bowling, with an eclectic group of friends. I wasn't in that great form, but I did have a good time. I'm gonna miss a lot of folks tomorrow...
January 7 Went to school first thing in the morning. I'm quite ambivalent. On the one hand, I'm hoping for a good quarter (better than the last one anyway), but on the other, I now know what I've been missing... Oh well, not too much choice in the matter. Dropped my stuff off in the dorm room, and ran off to class. First class was 19th Century American History, with the same professor who lecture in my humanities class last quarter. I'd forgotten how good a lecturer he was. Looks like this'll be a great class! Next class was humanities, and for the next two quarters that'll be The Rise and Fall of Europe. I don't know if the nonfunctional projector played a significant part, but the lecturer was quite disorganized. Not impressed. Next came lunch. Dining hall hasn't improved much, but that's no surprise either. Spent the afternoon organizing my stuff. Had a relaxed, but late, evening.
January 8 Ouch. Time to get used to waking up at 7:30AM. Not as easy as it sounds. Managed to move myself to physics. Was pleasantly surprised by the number of familiar faces, the organization of the professor, and the fact that I actually understood 90% of the lecture. A definite improvement from physics last quarter. Then U.S. History. Then math. Morning's definitely are busier than last quarter. After lunch, tried to go to IHUM (Intro. to Humanities) section and somehow accidentally ended up in Applied Physics 281. No matter. Turns out IHUM section was canceled today. Ran off to the library after this to try and figure out my schedule more completely. Went off to Persian class, before realizing it was now a Tuesday-Thursday class. Organization could definitely use a little help... Spent the evening teaching friends Risk. During the house meeting, did a lot of Risk playing. I'm almost feeling comfortable.
January 9 Began the morning with a jog. Not a bad way to start, but the sore muscles indicate I should be doing this more often, or not at all. First class of the morning was IHUM. Today's lecture was much better than Tuesday's. It actually followed a logical outline... Weather turned nasty in the afternoon. Following lunch, I had math section. I needn't have gone. The TA is the same one I had in 51H last fall, and he's just as unintelligible as then. Owing to an odd chain of events, I got myself an audition for the orchestra around 5PM, so, having not practiced in a while, I was off to the music center. Practiced for a good two hours. Then went to the room for the audition. Nobody was there. Nobody and I waited there for a good 20 minutes before giving up. Later I find out that the director was delayed by traffic. Come back to the dorm for dinner. Spend the rest of the evening in a bad mood. Funny how quickly that changes.
January 10 Rushed off, first to Physics, then math. Was supremely bored in math. Halfway through, I began to muse about programming. I think I have a better way to do Ackermann calculations now! Rushed back to the dorm and packed for the ski trip. At the last minute, decided to take my backpack, instead of the duffle bag, and had to repack. The bus to Tahoe filled up fast, but we still didn't leave until half an hour late. On the way up to Tahoe, we watched 2 movies: Zoolander and Oceans 11. Trip was a pretty uneventful 5 hours. Unfortunately, we arrived before the RAs. So we sat in the bus depot for over an hour. Along the way, we learned that the house we were in was in fact, designed with 12, not 70, people in mind. Hope nobody objects to tight quarters. When we finally got to the house (which was in South Lake Tahoe, very near the Heavenly ski resort), we discovered exactly how large it wasn't. Dinner was an interesting proposition. After dinner, to stave off boredom, me and a few other bored vagabonds took a walk. It was a beautiful night, though the roads were a bit icy. We ended up wandering right up to the ski resort! Returned and went to sleep. 14 people in one room. Only issue was the person who kept kicking my pillow as I slept.
January 11 Up and bleary eyed at 7:30. A quick breakfast, and then off to rent ski equipment. There being 35 of us, rentals took awhile. Finally, after a nice long wait, it was off to the slopes. I spent the morning trying to help other people ski, probably a bad idea considering I was having difficulties myself. Had an overpriced lunch, and then an adventurous afternoon. After braving one intermediate slope, I joined a group trying to go down along the edge of the ski area. Unfortunately, we missed the run down, and ended up on the Nevada side of the mountain. We met a ski patrol guy, who suggested we continue down to the Boulder Lodge, since going back was less than practical. One hour, 3,000 vertical feet, and one sunset later, we made it to the bottom of the Nevada side. Enough adventure for one day. With luck and a lot of cellphone communication, we made it back to the house. Dinner took a while. Rather than watch a third bad movie, we made a short expedition down to the lake (which looked quite impressive at night), which degenerated into a philosophical discussion by the time we had returned. Sleeping room now has 18 people in it. No, it is not any larger than last night.
January 12 I woke up on my own account. Navigating past all the other people to exit the room was tough. Quick breakfast, then off to the ski slopes. After seeing the magnificent views yesterday, I brought the camera too. Fortunately, no major falls, so the camera is still intact. Began with the easier slopes, and then gradually worked my way up. I spent much of the morning looking for the slope called "Powder Bowl," only to discover it one of the bumpiest, most difficult sloped I'd been on. First time down: 14 minutes, no falls. Last time down: 5 minutes, no falls. Did a few more runs in the afternoon, before my legs started to give. Equipment was returned, and we headed back toward "home." Stops on the way back were limited to Kragen (to return snow chains) and In-N-Out Burger, so I was quite happy to arrive at 112 Junipero around half past nine. Primary task of the evening was rehydration.
January 13 This, like most Mondays, was a mixed day. Waking up was a challenge, but after that, things steadily improved. Physics. U.S. History. Math. Ate a late lunch, before running off to practice flute. My audition was rescheduled for tomorrow, so I have urgent need of practice. Attended Farsi class in the afternoon, where we reviewed what we'd learned last quarter. Surprisingly little, all in all. Ate a relatively early dinner, before running off to flute choir. More music playing. With the exception of the Satie piece, all the music this quarter looks interesting.
January 14 The days roll along steadily. A morning of history, both American and European. My good intentions regarding math and physics problem sets have gradually diminished. Having failed to learn my lesson last quarter, I gave myself a nice case of indigestion by eating too much sweet+sour chicken. There definitely is a learning curve. After lunch was math section. I'm amazed that after last quarter, where most of the TAs were competent, if not actually cool, none of the ones this quarter seem to be either. Guess I should've counted blessings while I had them. After math section, I went back to the practice room, and practiced for my audition. The audition, mercifully, went well. I am now in the Stanford Symphony Orchestra, although only for one piece (two flutes are apparently plenty on all the other pieces). Discovered 2 other people from the dorm were auditioning too. We've now got 7 in the orchestra. Ate a quick dinner, and then off to orchestra. Looks like the piece I'm playing means a good bit of time in the practice room. Quasi-chromatic triplets in the third octave at march tempo... I definitely hope I'll get to play more with the orchestra as time goes on.
January 15 I really shouldn't write an entry for today. Partly because I can't fully remember what happened, and partly because the most interesting activity of the day revolve around topics the MPAA likes to burn people at the stake for. Censored? Awoke at my usual time, and dragged myself to class. Not that I mind Physics, it's just that I'm seldom at my best around 9AM. Still, I made it through, and history lecture was excellent. It is a supreme irony that of all the principles of Jefferson's Democratic Republicans, none are fully supported by the Democrats or the Republicans. Just take the military for instance. Jefferson considered a standing army the last step in the road to monarchy and federal tyranny. Hmm... After lunch I went to my first IHUM discussion which I was pleasantly surprised by. Rather than dealing with abstractions, the discussion stayed mainly on factual or nearly factual questions. Farsi class was less encouraging. I spent the first part of the evening finishing up my math homework, fell into a bit of a depression, and then spent the next few hours trying to set up another user and FTP access to my machine. A bit tough when the user account control panel keeps "unexpectedly quit"ing. Also did a bit of testing of the bandwidth of the Princeton - Stanford network. Not good. 80 ms and 17 hops and throughput of ~ 15-20k/sec. Only 790mb to go...
January 16 Damn. Stupid ftp client. Went to bed with 150/700mb, woke up with 35/700mb. Clearly the FTP client on the other end has some resume issues. Managed to make it to IHUM lecture without too much trouble. Lecture was pretty good too. Ran off for some flute practice after that, since I've gotten a bit behind this week. Looks like the old fingers need to start moving a bit quicker. After flute practice, I ran off to Physics section. Seems like that should go pretty well, assuming I read the material and start the homework early. Had my flute lesson right after, which went much better than I expected. Did physics homework before dinner. After dinner, didn't do much for about two hours. Then decided to watch The Fellowship of The Ring for a while. Then discovered someone had a a copy of The Two Towers. Looks like no need for large file transfers now. Ended the night by helping someone install VirtualPC w/ Win2K. I like the name he assigned to the config: WinSucks2K. My thoughts precisely.
January 17 I generally have issues with Fridays. This one was no exception, though this morning's 2AM bedtime may have something to do with it. I managed to wake up in time to shower, and eat breakfast before physics. However, I gave in to laziness after that, failing to make it to 11AM math lecture. A bad sign only 2 weeks into the quarter. I also managed to miss lunch, and barely made it to IHUM section on time. There we had a fascinating (or as close to fascinating as an IHUM class discussion can get) debate over Machiavelli's morality and ideas. In giving credit where credit is do, I must say I am a bit disappointed that Machiavelli's not the cynic I thought he was. Little bits of mindless idealism keep rearing their ugly heads from behind his otherwise pragmatic statements. I returned to the dorm in the afternoon with a vague idea of reviving my Ackermann programming project, but quickly became sidetracked trying to find (softwar) DVD players for Linux/PPC. A particularly silly pursuit given the DVDs play fine under MacOS X. What can I say, I like to fiddle with things. Somehow managed to miss dinner, without really noticing. Met my father and discovered to our surprise that the Stanford Theater had reopened. Had dinner at a Thai restaurant on University Ave. before going to the theater. I saw Casablance for the first time all the way through. What was the term used by the Captain? Ah yes, "rank sentimentalist." I wonder if it applies to those of us who enjoyed the film as much as I.
January 18 Feels good to sleep at home. Decided to go one a walk in the morning. Various little things delayed our departure. Finally we headed up to McNee State Park (below Montara mountain). Instead of going all the way up though, we took a trail leading off to the left toward the hills above Devil's Slide. Although slightly hazy, the view of the ocean was magnificent. There are times when it's just nice to be alive and about in the world. We continued along the trail until it became clear that we'd be dumped onto highway 1 before we'd get a full view of the cliff and ocean. I suppose, owing to physics and all the, we weren't too likely to actually have a view of the road below the cliff either, but... After the hike, I ran off with some friends to go minigolfing. It was a very interesting game, especially when one player hurled his ball into a pond in frustration, and another promptly hit his into the same pond by accident. No I will not name names ;-) Afterwards, everyone wanted dinner, so we ended up going to The Olive Garden, which would've been fine, save for the 45 minutes we spent waiting to get in. The result was a couple of near thefts owing to general boredom (and a narrowly missed attempt to redesign the building). Dinner was fortunately plentiful and tasty enough to make up for the wait. After dinner, someone proposed returning and playing a game of Risk and watching a movie. So my plans of spending the night back at the dorm were neatly overturned. We had a pleasant little war while watching Michael Moore's "The Awful Truth." Gameplay finished around midnight with no winner, but as one of the members of the game had a 9AM flight to catch, we stopped nonetheless. A brief and frantic hunt for carkeys later, we went our respective ways.
January 19 Good thing the Sabbatarians aren't still around, or they'd be picketing my door by now... Woke up to sunlight streaming through the windows of my room. Ate breakfast, and prepared to leave home for home. I'm starting to call both home, which isn't a good sign. Blue skies, sunlight, and the sweet scent of narcissus. If there was ever a time when home-home was appealing, it was this. My dad dropped me off at Stanford, so I could start whittling at the nice "todo" pile. Bogged down reading the Cabez de Vaca's Chronicles of the Narvaez Expedition, which I would not recommend as light reading. Hopefully not all this quarter's readings will be this painful. Left the library finally well after sunset. Learned some folks were going to see "The Pianist" and joined them. Discovered that Palo Alto Square's CineArts theater's only about a 10 minute ride from campus. The movie was one of the very few really good movies I've seen in the last 9 months. After riding back, took a late dinner, and became bogged down with computer stuff, namely trying to get BeOS to work under VirtualPC. Tips anyone?
January 20 Copying VCDs isn't as easy as I thought. So it is that I spend a good half of the morning trying to figure out how to duplicate them. Not good, when I need to be doing a considerable amount of homework. Time to start hoping that Toast's in my future. Afternoon was primarily spent doing small mindless tasks, which, with the exception of a little bit of reading, was the day's primary accomplishment. BeOS under VirtualPC 6 still isn't cooperative, but then again, I suppose it's even less cooperative on my non-virtual machine (ie it doesn't boot). In the afternoon, I finally got around to updating my weblog. Discovered to my dismay a lack of interesting content. Hope to be able to remedy that somehow. Flute choir was fun but exhausting. Stamina isn't the first trait that comes to mind when I think of musicianship, but it sure doesn't hurt. Managed to miss dinner as usual, so ended up picking up a pizza at Stern late night. Was very disappointed. Not much pizza for $4.50 and definitely not worth the 20 minute wait. Back to sushi I guess.
January 21 First, today's the 1st anniversary of my web journal. Looking back, I just have to wonder: was it really only one year ago? Seems like ages ;-) Though I'm usually given to reminiscing I have to concede that over the last year, life has definitely had some positive changes. Nonetheless, began the day feeling gloomy. History lecture, as always cheered me up. Particularly, the discussion of banking in the 19th century was fascinating. And in case you're wondering, creative accounting began far before Enron. Under the assumption that I'd get math homework done, I went to the library instead of afternoon classes (or lunch). Wound up back at the dorm for a quick dinner, the first I've had in the dining hall in a while. Practiced a bit before orchestra, realizing that third octave eighth note triplets at half note equals 80 don't just happen by themselves. Apparently they don't happen with only an hour of practice either. For someone who dislikes high-pitched noise, I sure make enough. Back at the dorm, math homework continued. My room's become a little homework haven for the night, but after 1AM, we did finally give up and turn in for the night. When addition becomes error prone, it's definitely time for bed.
January 22 Holy cow am I tired. Oh, and did I mention I'm now 19 :-) Don't know if that's a good thing. Anyway, getting up was a major exercise of willpower. Most of the time I sat through Physics, I was struggling valiantly to stay awake. By 10:00AM U.S. History I was awake, enough to appreciate the tale of Andrew Jackson's duel with Charles Dickinson. Talk about vengeful, geeze! After history, skipped math to do homework. IHUM section was spent trying (for failure of his mission) the author of the book we'd just read. I'd have put him on trial for bizarre writing style myself. This concluded, I spent much of the afternoon doing more homework. If planning and I got along better, living and I just might too. After dinner, went to a film screening for IHUM. The movie "Aguirre: The Wrath of God" was interesting, but not entertaining, at least until all the character save Aguirre die, leaving him on a raft in the Amazon, alone, insane, with only a couple dozen monkeys for company. House meeting was in the evening, which I went too. Not only did I get a pink hat to celebrate the day, but the Stanford Improvisers did a hilarious set of shows. Those guys definitely know how to have too much fun. R dr d theta. Must. Sleep. Soon.
January 23 Happy unbirthday. Actually, I woke today feeling a lot of uns. Unhappy and unrested being the two most prominent ones. Still, once I managed to drag myself to American History, things looked up. Nothing like arguing about Jacksonian vs. Jeffersonian Republicanism to get the creative juices going. Then came IHUM. Pause. My flute lesson was pretty successful. Aside from violent prejudices against 3rd octave G#, A#, and B, plus general disargreements with 32nd notes, all was well. Visited the mailbox, picked up two packages, went back to the dorm., and procrastinated for the better part of the afternoon. Evening was devoted to Physics homework, CD duplication, and trying to reorganize my desk. Rediscovered headphones, bike light and a number of apples in the process.
January 24 Brevity and wit theoretically have some correlation. Let's see how well I can do. Morning classes = me is sleepy. Ate lunch for first time in about a week. Greasy Chinese-style chicken makes for a very unsettled stomach. Met with a very nice Physics professor after getting lost in the Material Sciences building. Turns out he is directly responsible for the picture on the front of my physics book. Wow! Relaxed for the afternoon. After dinner, decided to watch The Fellowship of The Ring. So we found a nice auditorium that wasn't being used, and made use of it. Projector was much nicer than the TV in the lounge.
January 25 Up bright and early. Started the week's math homework, and was utterly appalled. Time to add math to the list of things I used to be good at but aren't any more... Wrestled with polar integration for much of the morning, before meeting my uncle for lunch. Had a nice chat, before running off to an "Intramural Quiz Bowl Competition." We were slaughtered in the first game 400-45. Second game was a bit better: 310-85. Third game, one of the scorekeepers wanted to play. So we let him join our team. Yay, our team one a match! Even scored high enough to make it into the playoffs, where we were unceremoniously booted 350-130. Ended up watching all the way up to the finals. Next, went home with my dad. Had a nice post-birthday celebration. I'm doubly 19 now. Went to bed before 11PM. Heresy!
January 26 Not up early. Lazed around for the morning. Out of milk. Pancakes for breakfast instead. Then on to work. Figured I'd get more math work done at home than in the dorm. And so I did. Four hours before lunch. Four hours after lunch. By the end of the day, finished more than half the homework. Still, I have to wonder if there's a better way. I mean, 8 hours for 11 problems?
January 27 My dad dropped me off at my first class. Fought off sleep successfully through physics. Morning classes uneventful as usual. Spent much of the early afternoon in the library doing,..., yup, you guessed it, math homework. Finished as of 4PM. Started immediately reading Utopia. Thomas More is definitely a cool guy. He takes practicality and makes it an art form. If I had to bet, I'd say distopia will happen before Utopia though. Evening dinner was followed by flute choir. Tried to read more in the evening, but failed to finish.
January 28 Muddled through today as best I could. Managed to finish Utopia, attend all my lectures, and make it to math section for the first time in a while. Not that I need have bothered. Wasted most of the afternoon. Yawn. Orchestra in the evening. Getting high G in tune is a challenge. Must remember to buy a tuner. When I should've been going to sleep, I finally got around to making the SCLU webpage (that's Stanford Civil Liberty Union). No it ain't pretty. But it does exist, and function. Ah, progress!
January 29 Should've studied today. Instead, focused on reading about the Dred Scott case. Taney really was an absolute idiot. Not only did he make a deliberately extreme verdict, he also made sure it lacked any shred of legal legitimacy. Harrumph. History lecture turned from Andrew Jackson to sectionalism. IHUM section discussed the More's intentions and message. Learned that being constantly skeptical is a real challenge.
January 30 I really need to get more sleep. Not gonna happen, but would be nice. Dragged myself out of bed for morning flute practice. Flute lesson at noon saw me play the worst I've played in years. Need to do something about that. Then spent the afternoon cramming for the math midterm. The actual midterm wasn't nearly as bad as I'd expected. Went back to the dorm and studied physics right afterwards.
January 31 A good day, until 10:00AM. Physics midterm went awfully. Even worse considering I actually knew how to do most of the problems, but completely ran out of time. Ouch. Skipped math lecture to do physics homework. Did not improve my opinion of the topic. After IHUM lecture in the afternoon, tried to be productive. Failed miserably, but did design a nice logo for the SCLU. Plan to watch The Two Towers got screwed up by a late start, an inability to find a VGA cable (we were running it off a laptop onto a projector), and finally a hard crash of said laptop. Used mine instead. Aside from occasional audio skippage, worked quite well. Narrowly avoided another bike light ticket. Then played Risk in the dorm. 'Til very late.