March 1 Can it be March already? Mebbe. Promised I'd help scorekeep at the HMBHS Quiz Bowl tournament. Saw a lot of familiar faces from older matches. Was surprised by one of the new teams. Was less surprised by the late start. Maybe if we moved Half Moon Bay out to San Mateo, people could find it easier! Managed to avoid score-doctoring on behalf of the home team. Would've been a bit obvious if their score jumped a few hundred points (though in all fairness, they won all other matches save one) :-). Returned for a second go at Stravinsky with the SSO in the evening. Feeling eminently bored, I ended up having an excellent walk around campus with old friends discussing the benefits of "Urban mobility skills." No, just don't ask!
March 2 How do you spell wasted? No not the one which involves imbibing lots of alcohol, the one which means you didn't get anything really done. Only a Sunday tradition though. Actually I can't quite boast that. Else my paper would've magically rewritten 2/3 of itself, and improved to the point of quasi-coherence. Not that a self-writing paper isn't a neat idea... Managed to intersperse mailing list reading with e-mails, and playing with MacOnLinux. I admit, I'm officially addicted to gcc-patches (a mailing list tracking patches to gcc. Some people'd probably call that "lame." I prefer unorthodox myself.
March 3 Houston. Monday. Incoming. Supreme effort of mind and soul needed to make it to Physics class. Made it through the morning more or less, but by the mid-afternoon, landed in a state of "material sleep." No I don't know what the is either, ask Colin Powell... Somehow, managed to print out my paper. Trying to turn it in demonstrated that sleepiness impacts my reading skills. The envelope was almost right in front of my nose. Following the blur that was the afternoon came dinner and flute choir. Flute choir actually managed to wake me up. To the point that I went to the library and actually began my reading for History class.
March 4 I could go to class. If only I knew where I left my damn bike. Found it, but not 'til well after my first (and interesting) class had finished. So I visited the library instead. A nice visit. Complete with a lot of reading, some writing, and occasional spurts of original thought. Most of the reading was Josiah Strong's Our Country. The man can be best described as a socially minded nativists. He clearly sees the social problems of his time, and just as clearly prescribes evangical Protestantism as a solution. Would be the first known case of God putting bread directly on the table, if he was right. In the evening, back to the library, for more math. Discovered the wonders of the whiteboard. Makes explaining much easier. I want one!
March 5 Today is "Books not Bombs" day. I really should be participating. Unfortunately, I slept through the beginning of it. Had a productive morning nonetheless. 150+ pages of reading done. Ate an early lunch, and then went off to see what the peace rallies were up to. I was impressed by the number of people attending. Good to see that the university isn't wholly composed of reactionary arch-conservatives. After IHUM section, made another pilgrimage to the library, and had dinner. Went looking for a warm quiet place to Get Work Done(tm). Ended up in Stern dining hall. Yawn. If only inspiration were so easy to find.
March 6 Up early and off to the music practice rooms. Practicing occasionally definitely doesn't seem to cut it. Oh well... History discussion was a bit slow. Oddly enough, when I do the reading, I don't have too much more to say. Well, then again, what can you say about Carnegies, "The Gospel of Wealth." Absurd pretty much sums it up. After flute lesson, I ran off for lunch. Afternoon was pretty uneventful, as I scrambled to try and start the physics homework of the week. That too is catching up with me... Oh and I have the usual collection of ruminations. Take with grain of saltpeter.
March 7 Made it to physics today. See, I really do make it to class most of the time. Math lecture was fun, especially since I hadn't been there in a week. Actually made a lot of sense though. That's what I like about math: it usually makes sense, and if it doesn't, a brief look at the textbook will fix that. Having barely started reading Equiano's Interesting Narrative I was pretty quiet for IHUM. Which didn't matter, since one guy managed to personally take up about half the classtime with his comments. Not that I'm saying anything against him. The evening was supposed to be the Junipero Dorm Party. Unfortunately, we sort of did a lousy job publicizing it. So attendance, was, errrm, light. Watched "Requiem for a Dream," in the late evening. A curious movie. Too many outakes from reality... Began trying to write a program to implement the RSA encryption algorithm (on a small scale), but didn't quite succeed.
March 8 Saturday morning is always a nice time to sleep. Actually as it happened though, I ended up phoning a friend on the other side of the country, and we had a good long conversation. Managed to avoid reminiscing about "the good old days." Well almost. Sniff. I think I've got me a good case of "rose-colored glasses syndrome." In the afternoon, went to see the Quiz Kids of HMBHS battle Crystal Springs uplands. Looks like I'm becoming a regular attendee. It was a terrific match. We were down 100 points at one point, and had an amazing comeback, but not quite enough alas. Second year in a row that HMB has made it to the "elite 8," but not beyond. Friends came by in the evening, and after a demonstration of running 4 MacOSes simultaneously on Linux, we went off and saw "Tears of the Sun," at the Century 16. For a Bruce Willis film, it had a remarkably strong plot, and excepting the firefight at the end, violence was actually not that gratuititous. Admittedly when you're outnumbered 400 to 8, things have to get colorful, if the good guys are going to win.
March 9 I started researching for my paper today. Yeah, I know it's a bit late, since the paper's due in less than a week. Am supposed to research a civil war family from a preset source list. I chose the Cochran family, because they seemed to have the most interesting letters, ie John was a "fireeater" in the fullest sense of the word. Spent most of the day reading through 1859-1861 Virginia newspapers (online of course, nobody has the time for _real_ research these days...). Aside from that, you could call today pretty dull. In a bid to increase productivity, I took Mr. Laptop on a tour of the library, and was impressed with his battery life. Unfortunately, I researched public opinion on the "war" with Iraq that'll be starting pretty darn soon. Learned a good bit, but my paper's not much longer than it was.
March 10 It's a bit unfair to call this the week from hell. But I can't get that damn paper out of my mind. Makes it awful difficult to concentrate on anything else. As a result, instead of IHUM or history reading, I stuck to paper-writing. Blargh. At the rate I'm going, there'll be a democratic Middle East before that happens. Sole bright spot was flute choir rehearsal. Actually, dress rehearsal. Went very well, all things considered (like the amount of practicing I've managed to fit in).
March 11 Must. Write. Paper. Did enjoy a good lecture on the Populists in History. Probably my favorite bit of American history, even though they failed. One more reason to hate our two-party system. Nonetheless, did some paper writing. In the evening, had our quarterly concert. Aside from the usual pitch problems, that went very well.
March 12 Today was pretty much a haze. The whole day went into the paper. By midnight, I realized, I hadn't figured out to quote sources properly, so I kinda made up a method. What to do with e-documents? Dog tired.
March 13 Time to wake up and smell the coffee. Got up. Did a final review of das paper. Printed. Done. Yes! Immediately felt relieved after turning it in. What to do with the afternoon? Ah the luxury of time. Somehow managed to spend most of the afternoon playing with Linux. Sadly, I suspect a functional KDE 3.1 installation is not worth 5 hours. But why have time, if not to waste it?
March 14 Morning of physics and math. Afternoon of French Revolution discussion. Whee. Guillotines and French politics make for contentious debates. After determining to do something useful with the evening, I managed to start reviewing for Monday morning History final in the afternoon. Looking back, I didn't realize how quickly we covered most things. Whew. Became embroiled in a typically illogical evening discussion that ended up in watching "Shanghai Noon," a remarkably silly movie which was all the more entertaining for that fact.
March 15 I did succeed in getting _some_ review done. Operative word some. Perhaps less than brilliant given finals on Monday. Also had a delayed flute lesson which turned out the better for being at noon and not 10AM like I originally thought. Also spent an unseemly quantity of time wrestling with distcc, and gcc. Probably not the smartest idea, but I finally have an effectual way of doing MacOS X cross builds (not fully, but I can offload the compilation at least...). Stayed up far later than was good to do.
March 16 Finally got most of the history essay questions outlined. Realized they weren't as bad as they first appeared. Just leave out the "doctrine of separate spheres" and I'll be set. Hopefully. My treat of the day was a 2:30PM James Galway concert at MemAud. Wow. It's one thing to listen to a recording, but it's quite another to see him for oneself. He's such an unassuming, yet interesting guy. Very Irish. Two of the pieces and both of the encores I recognized. One was "57 seconds of A minor" which was actually Rimsky Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebees." Whew! An amazing concert. Afterwards, though, it was back to the grind. Did some last minute history stuff...
March 17 Woken up by the soothing voice of Noah Adams on NPR. At 7:30. Oh, I have a final in an hour. Blargh. Oh, and Saddam has a war in 48 hours. Greeeat... Went into History realizing I really should have taken better notes throughout the quarter. Left in considerably better mood than I entered. Dealing with Bellamy is something I can do. I'm only sad, 'cause I couldn't fit the populists in somehow. The afternoon was spent on a math review crash session. Not quite enough, unfortunately, 'cause I almost crashed in the test. Guess sometimes learning lessons the hard way is the best way.
March 18 Up early for physics review. Concluded that water waves are much more fun than sound waves. Or pendulums. Ah well. Spent my post-test daze in the evening reading Poullain de la Barre on feminism. Charmant. For a man who makes so many good points, he has some major issues with following assertions to their logical conclusions. Still, given that he wrote in the 17th century, I suppose one must cut him a little slack. So I did and went in search of practice rooms.
March 19 War is begun. Although as Noam Chomsky says, in a case where the disparity of forces is so great, and the outcome so assured, that calling it a war is a misnomer. But I digress. Spent most of the day reading. Finished the Poullain and managed to read all of Equiano's Interesting Narrative which actually was, well, interesting. What was very uninteresting was the ungodly amount next quarter's textbooks cost. The scary part was over $100 was just on reading books for IHUM. Not textbooks or anything. Also ran into an old friend from math last year. Seems like some people are good at everything. If it was only true for me too :-) Learned much to my dismay that I could qualify for Israeli citizenship. Yikes!
March 20 Up early. Roommate went back home this morning, and I saw him off. Almost managed to lock myself out in the process. Smooth! Flute practice paid off with a lesson in which I almost sounded okay. 'Bout time. I've got a concert in a month or so. My heroic self-denial kinda broke down in the afternoon. Ate too much sushi and candy. Need to learn the values of eating regular meals of reasonable quantity. Sadly, the dining hall's hours make this tricky. Realized two hours before IHUM final that I'd forgotten to read 4 of the articles necessary. Oops. Managed to finish in time. IHUM final was, well, an IHUM final. Which makes for 4 essays in 3 hours. By the last one, the mind was going on about 2.5 cylinders, but things went otherwise. And I am done. Yeeehaw. Came back to the dorm and watched a good chunk of "Band of Brothers" while eating pizza. Physics and math scores came in. Both less than stellar, but better than they might've been. Hell, I was doubtful about getting more than half right on Physics. Someone must've answered my prayers to the god of partial credit.
March 21 Now is the time for all good men... to clear out from the dorm? Seriously though, this place feels like a ghost town. Spent the morning busily redecorating the room. I have an irrational prejudice against white walls, so mine are thankfully covered with all manner of posters again. Everything from Lord of The Rings to Absolut Mixed Company a cappella. After lunch, made another obligatory trip to the bookstore. Whee, gouging is fun. On used textbook sales, 70% of the price is profit. And I thought used books were actually a good deal... Shame on me. Spent afternoon mucking around with gcc command lines, trying to create a wrapper program that would translate gcc -c foo.c -o foo.o into distcc gcc -S foo.c -o foo.s; as -o foo.o foo.s. Clearly I have much to learn in this arena, since it took over 2 hours to get something functional. In the evening, went with my dad to his photography final. It's amazing how many different ways there are to capture the same subject, and how different they can look. Made it home at about 11PM. Good old foggy Half Moon Bay. Where the temperature rarely tops 60, and one sweater's never enough!
March 22 Struggled with severe nostalgia attacks, and a slight cold. First time in recent memory that I've had a full 10 hours of shut eye. Almost went in for more, but reflected that doing other things wouldn't hurt either. My program continues to evolve, as I hit a new snag with the shell mangling of quoted strings. Ditched system() for execpve(), wait() and fork(). Waiting was the hardest, since it didn't always. Neither do I in many situations so I s'pose it's not a big deal. In the evening, a friend picked me up, and we went to the school play. This year was "Anything Goes." Oddly enough, 2 of the leads were in my AP bio class last year. Coincidence? Mebbe. Production was quite lively, and pretty entertaining. Although the band had an unfortunate tendency to drown out the singers, a good time was still had by all. Returned home a lot later than expected. Whew those 3 hours sure flew fast!
March 23 Stupid (expletive deleted) program. Though I suppose a program's only as smart as its creator, which is to say that mine isn't very (smart). Mozilla was the crucial testcase, which was still failing by the end of the evening. Revamped the program even more, to deal with c++ and later objective c++ (now there's a language, two types of objectivity!). In the afternoon, went out to dinner with friends. Indulged my love of Thai cuisine for the first time in a good bit. Nothing like a little red curry to get you in the mood for... GTA3. Grand Theft Auto 3 for the uncorrupted may well be the reason why I get a new video card. Life just doesn't seem the same after you've used a tank to run down police cars on the highway... For those who consider this immoral, I assure you it is. But it's awfully fun too.
March 24 Procrastinating on housekeeping chores. Well, other chores too. In the early afternoon, went over the hill to pick up my physics book. Well, also my Risk board too. Hopefully, that'll see good use over the next few days! Managed to drag a friend along. To the response that "your room is huge," I can only say, it doesn't feel like it. But I am a bit spoiled in general. After showing off a bit of Stanford ("showing off" is a bit misleading, given my penchant for portraying things in unfavorable light). Returned following lunch on California street. In the evening, had to get gas before going to a LAN party. $2.15 a gallon? Somebody must be kidding! Well, admittedly the folks doing the nation's foreign policy do tend to be quite humorous at times, but... LAN party commenced with my being slaughtered continuously in CounterStrike for a good hour. Still, I am getting better (ie I get at least a shot in before getting sent through a veritable meat grinder). Tried C+C Generals at around midnight. Took 'til one before the game was functional for network play (and my poor Matrox G400 was unable to rise to the occasion, reason #2 for a new video card). Then, a nice 3 hours of attempted world domination. Nothing gets your spirits up like watching the U.S. and terrorists allied against the Chinese. But war makes strange bedfellows (hey, the we've got all the former Warsaw Pact countries supporting us in Iraq). Game finally terminated around 4AM. But I don't have any class in the morning!
March 25 Today officially began after noon. It would've begun earlier, but I did need some sleep after last night. Became enamored of Command & Conquer (the original), and so replayed the demo a few times. Discovered that the commando mission was a lot easier than I'd thought. Instead of destroying 10+ SAM sites, I only needed to take out the airfield. In the late afternoon, I began looking into camping plans. Making reservations at Yosemite online proved extremely simple. Almost too simple! Listened to old band music a good bit too. Nostalgia strikes again! Even (surprise) did a bit of thinking that made it into words.
March 26 Still catching up on sleep from Monday night. Started to collect maps and materials for camping. Realized that camping isn't as simple as I might have hoped. Phooey. Played still more of C+C. Not really a great use of time, but it sure was quite relaxing! In the evening, got together to plan the weekend's camping. Managed to come up with a good long list of items needed in an astonishingly short time. True, food suggestions seem a bit dry, but one can't always be choosy. Not sure if the 2-way radios are truly essential. Guess we'll find out.
March 27 Visited the high school in the morning. Somebody's been spreading rumors that I'm "in trouble." Don't quite know what that's supposed to mean, unless I'm missing something obvious. Still, enjoyed the visit. Makes me almost feel like I know what I'm doing with life. Just so long as nobody asks me about a major, I think I'm good to go. Returned home briefly to put together necessaries for camping. So long as I remember the hiking socks, I should be okay. We (ie me and two friends) finally left around noon. Thus began my first non-family camping trip. Buying stuff like food, water, and batteries meant we didn't leave until nearly 2PM. Still, we made excellent time driving to Yosemite, arriving just after sunset at Upper Pines in Yosemite Valley. Aside from glitches with the stove (refused to light), cold weather, and a daring attempt by raccoons to steal a bag of marshmallows, all went perfectly.
March 28 My down sleeping bag needs a little help. Somewhere in the last 20 years it seems to have lost most of its insulation. Woke up many times in the morning, finally rising around 8AM. Sat in the sun reading of Hitler's proposed invasion of Britain for a good while. Companions eventually awoke in time for a late breakfast. Then off on the trail. Realized the utility of digital cameras as one friend proceeded to outshoot me by about 5 to 1. No film or processing costs definitely has its advantages. Went to Vernal Falls for a late lunch. Hike proved to be beautiful as always, but in a downhill stretch I twisted my ankle, and so my original hope of visiting Nevada Falls had to be dropped. The evening was spent relaxing, playing cards, manipulating the fire, and chatting of this and that. Sleeper in a nearby tent snored so loudly that it took me quite a while to fall asleep.
March 29 Yet another beautiful day. As befitted such a postcard day, we hiked up to the bottom of Upper Yosemite Falls. Weather was almost too beautiful, since all the sun had a nasty habit of baking us when tree-shelter was lacking. We found a great place for lunch, where the mist from the falls and shade from surrounding shifts provided a very welcome and cool spot. Was slightly dismayed that most of the food carried up had to go back down. Darn it. Eat more, people! Ankle proved a bit troublesome returning. Carryover from yesterday no doubt. Spent another evening devoted to stirring up the fire, while playing cards. I've finally learned a couple of games, though I occasionally forget the rules and goof up. I'd probably do a bit better if someone wouldn't keep shuffling the cards in such bizarre and statistically improbable ways!
March 30 Over and out. Sadly, we had to go home today. Packed up everything, realized just how much we'd overpacked in the food and milk department, and headed out. Central valley was extremely cool compared to usual, never surpassing 80 degrees. Our primary excitement was dealing with an empty gas tank, which fortunately had enough in it to get us to Groveland. The last leg of the trip I hijacked with a discussion of the war. Good arguments are hard to have when everyone agrees, but by playing devils advocate a bit, things got a lot more interesting. Arrived home finally just before 5PM. Unpacked, and had a very late lunch. My quarterly haircut, courtesy of the barber upstairs was also managed. Spent the evening attentively catching up on the world. Not that there was anything truly worth catching up on, but it was worth a try.
March 31 Oh dear, oh dear. Seem to have overslept. Do bad habits rub off? Rushed up to the high school in the morning. Managed to spend all of 2nd period in a discussion of the war with my former history teacher. Interesting discussion. I guess I finally do see the point on the other side, even if I still wholeheartedly disagree. Had a few less contentious discussions with other teachers about previous quarter(s). Hindsight being 20/20, all in all things weren't too bad. After spent on scholarship paperwork, and began collecting my scattered belonging for tomorrow's return. Boy have I made a mess of my room. Investigation shows I even almost lost my university bill. Aha, there's my ballot. Guess it's a bit late for this year's march elections!