March 1-8 I'm just stressed out and working on bunnyworld (the CS 108 final project). Nothing all that exciting I'm afraid.
March 9 Prepared for history class for much of the day. Finished the readings leastways. Had history class, and then dinner, and our final set of 2 movies for the end of class. Interesting stuff... Starting working again on bunnyworld at midnight. Was told by another group member that he had a final the next day, could I please take over his part for the time being. Said yes and discovered he'd taken 5 days to write about 150 lines of nonfunctional code. I am not pleased.
March 10 The day from hell. Work on bunnyworld, have lunch, more work on bunnyworld, go to class, still more work on bunnyworld, meet with group, and finally turn in bunnyworld. Of course, we had to hit several nasty last minute bugs on the Sun machines that simply didn't show up on the others. Well that's over now, as of 11:59PM anyways. Bye bye CS 108. Whew.
March 11 Back to the business of flute, CS 103A and Math. And following world events. Somehow I wonder if ETA really was behind the bombings in Madrid. Could they be that stupid? Time will tell.
March 12 Happy Birthday Adam! Class in the morning. Almost forgot to hand in my CS103A homework (skipped lecture as I usually do on Fridays). Celebrated Adam's birthday in the evening by blindfolding him and throwing water balloons at him. Well, there was more to it than that, but...
March 13 Began the math final this morning. Hit a roadblock very quickly. I have some highly unpleasant suspicion about this final. Spent a good chunk of the day on unproductive pursuits too.
March 14 A beautiful Sunday outside. So worked outside. Realized halfway through the day that I working on the wrong vocab. list for Farsi. Shoot. Ah well, got something done at least.
March 15 Spent all morning working on Farsi, and all evening working on Math. Farsi final was less difficult than expected. In particular, none of the vocab. that I couldn't spell was there. If only the same could be said of math concepts on the 109 take-home final.
March 16 Alternated between working on my math final and trying to find relevant bits for my history paper. Accomplished surprisingly little on either front.
March 17 Finally got going on my paper. Finished digging up sources, and began to work on the actual writing part. Which was slow. Very slow.
March 18 Worked on my history paper from 8 to 3. It has improved considerably, though nowhere near what it should be. Oh well, turned it in on time, and went back to the dorm a break, and dinner. Then off to study CS103A, which I discovered didn't need much studying. So I tried going to sleep ealry. Didn't work. Worked on math instead. Blah.
March 19 Finished. In more ways than one, as my old band director might add. Woke up early, ate a quick breakfast, said bye to my roommate, and hurried off to my CS103A final. Panicked slightly when I had trouble finding the building, but managed nonetheless. Final was pleasantly easy. Would have been even more so had I studied the lecture on modular arithmetic more. Oh well. As it was, finished a bit early, and went back to the dorm for a second goodbye to my roommate, and lunch. Spent from after-lunch 'til 4PM in the library working on Math 109. Turned in the final at 4 sharp, and went back to the dorm. So ends finals. Decided to try and finish off my dining hall points, and so got 2 flats of Martinellis. Hope to put them to good use next quarter. Went out to dinner, in honor of the end of the quarter, to one of the Thai places on University. Then went on to Border's where I indulged myself by getting a collection of Respighi's music I'd first heard on the radio 4 or 5 years ago. Spent the evening enjoying doing nothing. Ah, the luxury...
March 20 Packing up was almost too easy. Mainly because I'm only going to be home for 4 days. The dorm was absolutely deserted, but the weather was its usually sunny self, so I sat in the sun and read for a bit. A surprisingly pleasant activity, especially when one's not reading with any particular deadline in mind. Took a walk up to the dish where I finally finished the roll of film I started at Tahoe during the dorm ski trip. Had lunch with a family friend, and then did laundry at a laundromat in Menlo Park. Haven't done laundry in an embarassingly long time. Got a phone call from a friend I hadn't seen in months, so we went out to dinner. Realized after the fact that we'd gone to the same place last time I'd seen him too. Weird. Saw "Dawn of the Dead", a less than impressive Zombie movie, after. At some point along the way, I came to the conclusion that there version of humanity wasn't really worth saving, and started rooting for the zombies.
March 21 Hiked Montara mountain today in the morning. Weather was somewhat cloudy and cool on the whole, but around 1,200 feet up, we broke through the clouds. Temperature immediately rose to mid-70s and the sky was as blue as could be imagined. Nice weather. Sent in some nearly 3 month old film to be developed. Hopefully the pictures are worth the wait. Spent the afternoon backing up my machine. Time to be paranoid again. After dinner, went over to a friend's house and played (ineffectively) pokey. At least I have a basic grasp of the rules now. And since the stakes were pennies, I ended the night down only 6 cents. Not too shabby. Also caught up on the last 2 months, since I last saw them. It has been a while, and naturally many things have happened.
March 22 Spent the morning doing odds and ends, including reacting to the Israeli assassination of Hamas leader and founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Then went out to lunch with a friend at San Benito's for the first time in quite a while (both). Discovered how the world had changed (and not). Then drove over to Stanford where I picked up a friend and did some errands. We went to the SF airport around 4PM to pick up another arriving friend (the third of our camping trip group) and helped him move in, since he'd taken the quarter off. Dinner was at a little Italian restaurant in Mountain View in the process of which I nearly ran out of gas. Finally, ended the day going bowling with friends up in Pacifica. Topped out the second game with 125, which was pretty respectable for not having played in around 3 months.
March 23 Did a variety of packing for the camping trip. This included trying to put together a list of stuff, grabbing all our relevant equipment and finally going over to Stanford in the afternoon to drop stuff off. This I did, returned home for dinner, and finally went to play Risk with friends for the rest of the night. Also picked up my photos (which have been developed) and surprised to discover that our mystery roll was in fact from last year's Spring break Yosemite trip with friends. Odd.
March 24 Today our trip to the Ventana Wilderness begins. Added some last-minute stuff to the car, had breakfast and drove over to Stanford. Our final group member had arrived with all of the equipment he promised, so we're in pretty decent shape. Went to Safeway and Trader Joe's to buy food. I guess choosing what one's going to eat always takes time. Went back to the dorm, where we finishing packing the packs, and somehow, miraculously, fit most of the food and 3 of the 4 backpacks into the car's trunk. The 4 of us left Stanford around 2PM. Our first stop was in Saratoga: REI. Added 2 freeze-dried dinners and continued on our way.
We took 101 going South. Somewhere after Gilroy, I saw a sign for "Aromas" and "Watsonville" so I exited. Apparently about 6 miles too early, for instead of smooth-sailing on route 156, we spent the next 40 minutes on Monterey county roads and agricultural access roads. Reached highway 1 nonetheless, and continued to Monterey. In Monterey, we stopped and took a walk near the wharf. The evening was cool and very placid on the wharf, and we ended up having dinner in a seafood restaurant overlooking the harbor. From Monterey, we continued down the coast seeing mile after mile of cliffs and spectacular surf. We reached Andrew Molera park, near Big Sur, just before sundown. They have walk-in campsites, and after learning that all but 2 were full, we decided to get one.
All the stuff was carried out in backpacks, which made things moderately easy. In fact, we only made one trip from the car that night. Most of the walk was in near darkness, and we had a little trouble finding our campsite. The tent was cinch to set up though, so after doing that, we all took a walk down to the beach. The moon was out and provided a lot of light, but in the shade it was pretty dark, and we didn't use our flashlights much. As a result, the walk was somewhat more complicated than might have been, and I managed a couple of near falls over tree roots and the like. Still, the beach under the moonlight was very nice, so it was a worthwhile trip. Afterwards, we returned to the tent and called it a night.
March 25 Awoke shockingly early. So got up, walked back to the car (which didn't seem nearly as far in daylight) and grabbed my camera. Came back when on other person was up, so we had a little (cold) breakfast, and walked off to the beach. Unlike last night, I did not trip over any tree roots. The beach was a bit less idyllic though in the daylight, and the fact that the river separated us from the beach proper was annoying. Still, we scrambled around on a few boulders, took pictures, and arrived back as the other guys were taking down the tent. Ran into a deer at the edge of the camp. This turned out to be the largest piece of wildlife seen on the whole trip (and the only such deer). Loaded stuff into the car, and drove a couple miles south to the Big Sur ranger station. There I got a fire permit, and paid to be allowed to use their parking at the trailhead.
We took a fair bit of time organizing the packs. When we'd finished, everything fit in the packs, but one person's pack wasn't fitting too well, so I ended up switching (since my pack was the smallest), and carrying their stuff for the duration of the trip. We started off at around 11AM with a somewhat overcast sky. The trail took us down, and across the Big Sur river, before beginning an ascent the lasted the next 2 hours. The vegetation was pretty lush, and the clouds kept things reasonably cool. Still, I wasn't exactly "in shape" to begin with, and when we stopped at Terrace Camp around 1PM for lunch I was pretty tired. Still, less than an hour's rest, plus an avocado, cheese and turkey sandwich does wonders so that I managed to go on for another 4 hours, up about 1,500 total in ascent, and down even more. After passing Barlow Flat camp, it started drizzling. To get to Sykes camp (our destination) required wading across the Big Sur river (only 2.5 feet deep or so, but still...). Once we were reassembled on the other side of the river, it started raining. So we picked the first campsite that had a flat spot for a 4 person tent, and pitched it and the rainfly immediately. Then we ate freeze-dried chicken with rice for dinner under a neighboring tree (which kept us somewhat dry). Hurriedly dragged everything under the tent's rain fly, and spent the rest of the night in the tent listening to the pitter patter of the rain, and the roaring of the Big Sur river. Despite this, I had no trouble sleeping. Ten miles with a pack will do that to you.
March 26 No rain when I woke up. Nobody else seemed excited about getting up, so I did alone, and took a walk to look for the sun. Met it about 200 feet up the trail beyond the tent. Warmed myself for a while, then set about pumping water and getting breakfast stuff out. Also tried to put all the stuff that had been soaked by the rain out to dry. Once everybody finally got up (which took a while), ate some suprisingly tasty instant oatmeal, and determined we'd day-hike up the trail leaving our campsite. Used my pack to carry stuff (it was the smallest). With lunch and water for 4 people, it proved a good solid 20 pounds. So much for a light day. We left around 11:00AM.
Since I started out carrying the pack, most of my efforts were directed simply at keeping moving. As a result, I didn't pay attention to the trail a whole lot. We ascended around 600 feet, mostly in shade along the hillside, and then dropped down a bit to Redwood Camp, which was aptly named for the large number of redwood trees growing around a pleasant little creek. Crossed over on a log, switched the pack over to the next victim, and contained up toward the south facing ridge. After what seemed like ages, but was probably less than an hour, we hit a junction up about 500 more feet. In one direction was Cienaga and Rainbow camp, in the other was Pine Ridge Camp and Tassajara Road (10 miles). Pine ridge sounded nice, so we continued.
Up to that point the trail had been somewhat overgrown and in a few places, the edge had started sliding down the hillside. We soon hit bushes well over 8 feet tail though, not mention pretty much every inch of trail was overlaid with sage. It was somewhat rough going, so when we finally cam out of the brush for a view, and saw not Pine Camp, but a couple more miles of the same before reaching a ridge with pine trees, decided to call it good. Thus we had lunch atop the ridge at around 3,200 feet. We began our return right after, and reached our tent at Sykes camp around 4PM. Since dinner was to be hotdogs roasted over the fire, I spent a good chunk of time collecting firewood, and even long trying to get the fire to stay lit (green wood that's just been rained on really doesn't burn too good). Dinner was fortunately a success, even though the fire continued to be uncooperative until we finally gave up on it, and went to bed.
March 27 Got up in the morning with blisters on my feet. Decided it was a good day for a hike anyways. So after breakfast, headed off toward Redwood Camp again. Two of us decided to take the day easy and visit the hot springs, and the other guy with me wanted to go bushwhacking, so when we reached Redwood Camp, we split, and I was on my own. This was of course a bad idea, since I am easily confused when it comes to not losing the trail. Thus, after crossing over the creek via log, I went right instead of left, taking what looked like a trail into a dead end near some fire pits. Retraced my steps and retried with no difference in results. Confused (since I had most definitely taken the trail the day before), I hiked up the hillside about 100 feet, and traversed, hoping to see the trail from above. Found no trail, but much poison oak. Finally, in disgust, I tried going left after the log and of course, there was the trail. Continued.
The Pine Ridge trail was pretty much identical to the day before. I took a breather at the junction, then pushed on in the direction of Pine Ridge Camp (again). I was reasonably tired when I reached the point we had lunch the day before, but decided to press on and try to find the camp. Beyond our lunch point the trail hopped over the ridge-line, and went through some incredibly dense sagebrush to finally resurface on top of a ridge covered with dead trees and brush. Must've been a major fire there not too long ago. Right around the time I began having doubts about the trail, I ran into 2 hikers coming the other way. They reported the view was magnificent. So on I went, and reached a junction shortly thereafter. Took the fork which claimed to go to the camp, which I found. A rather small and unimpressive affair. More interesting was the hillock above it which contained the remnants of a pine forest (partly living) and some very curious lava formations, not to mention a view over quite a large distance.
Ate lunch at the top, and not having a watch to tell time with, decided I'd better head back, rather than climbing the higher hill next to the one I was on. A pity, since a later glance at the map showed that one to be South Ventana Cone. Nonetheless, had a nice view from where I was perched, around 4,600 ft. up. The return was uneventful, save for the blister on my left foot which got progressively worse. Was quite surprised to arrive back at 4PM (I though it was closer to 6), and so spent a good while cooling my heels and doing nothing. I designed the fire that night, so, with the help of some dry firewood generously collected by others, we not only had a nice fire, but even warm legs for a while. Went to bed sometime after putting out the fire.
March 28 Woke up around 6AM in the tent. My feet are cold again. Got up, pumped about a gallon of water from the river, and ate breakfast. Decamping mainly consisted of putting our backpacks back in order. We finally left Sykes Camp a bit before 9AM. Wading cross the river was cold as expected, but the nice long bit of grueling uphill afterwards fixed that particular problem. Although the sun was out and the sky was blue, the trail was shaded, so we were spared for the time being. It took us nearly an hour to make the two miles/500 feet up and down to the Barlow Flat trail split. Terrace Creek camp was another mile and half an hour. We had a quick bite, and I soaked myself with river water, hoping that'd keep me cool for later. We made no major stops for the next 6 miles, arriving back at the trailhead in the middle of a horribly sunny and hot 1PM sun.
Since we were still lunchless, we loaded up the car, and stopped at the first "coastal access" sign we found. This proved quite a piece of good luck, for while the trail was very steep involving scrambling down gullies and across boulders, we had a full beach all to ourselves and even some shade from the cliff to eat in. Sadly enough we could not finish all the food that was left in the car, but we made a pretty fair dent in it, so when the tide finally came in, nearly submerging the path back to the car, we carried back almost as much stuff as we brought down. From there, we drove straight back, taking Highway 1 through Monterey, cutting over on 156 at Castroville, and finally following 101 (and 280) back to Stanford. Curiously enough, 101 now has a "San Jose city limit" sign at a point far enough south that there is actually no city (or even housing development in sight. Oh, and the population jumped to 923,000 since when? I got a kick out of both... Back at the dorm around 5, we all took advantage of the shower pretty much immediately, before going out to dinner for Thai food, since pretty much the entire draw group was there. Then came home, finished unloading the car, checked my math grade (I passed, yay!), and called it a night. Long week.
March 29 The blister on my foot is still there, but I don't have any new bumps. Maybe I magically missed the poison oak? Good times. Spent the morning at Stanford doing errands. For the afternoon, ended up dropping of our camping equipment and getting somewhat lost. Guess I don't know the south bay all that well :-) Went out for dinner (becoming a rather expensive habit) to celebrate John's birthday. Everything went well, aside from a little mixup over the birthday cake.
March 30 First day of the quarter. Tried out Math 171 for kicks. Prof. seems good, but I'm not sure how much pain I'll be up for this quarter. Had History at 11AM, which was complicated, since the class was in the earth sciences building's basement. Intro. to Islamic Civilization. Was surprised a bit at the size of the class too. Had lunch before spending the afternoon feeling sleepy and sick. Fell asleep at 9PM while trying to read a book. That's how sick I am.
March 31 Second day of Spring classes. Weather improved, but I'm still leaking vast quantities of mucous out of my nose. Tried math 116. Ran into a good number of familiar faces. CS 103B was fun. The professor is a really entertaining guy, so that class at least should be good. Was not too excited about the class though. History lecture was awfully general, though I guess it was a reasonable background. After lunch, had E14 (statics). Walked in a minute late, just as the professor was describing how much she dislikes having late people stream into the room. Auspicious. The history seminar I wanted to take on the modern Middle East proved a major disappointment. 35 people showed up for what is ostensibly a 16 person course. So anyone who wasn't a senior or junior wasn't allowed in. Pity, since it was the one class, I actually really wanted to take. Anyhow, dropped into CS 154 as a possible alternative. Looks like it might work. Automata and Complexity Theory, here I come.