blog.raydenuni.com

Philosophical Ranting of an Engineer

Canada is a strange place.

The first trouble my friend Josh and I had was traversing the border crossing. The road split several times with no signs indicating which way to go. Fortunately we passed this test with flying colors. We later theorized that this was all part of an elaborate ruse by the Canadians to keep idiots out of their country. This theory has been supported through several further experiences.

This land has trolley. Trolleys are trains that drive on the road. Or you could call them buses that run on rails. They are big and scary and obey street lights. Cue foreshadowing.

Shortly after we arrived at the hotel. We both agreed this was a sketchy part of town. The hotel employee could not believe my friend’s name was “Josh? As in J.O.S.H.? As in Joshua?” He was astounded. Apparently no one in Canada is named Josh. This employee informed us that parking was two blocks away in an underground garage. Thus begins our adventure. We immediately drove down the wrong road and found a hospital parking garage. We drove some more and did not find any underground garage. We circled around again and drove into an area filled with trolleys. We turned down the alley and were greeted with traffic signs unintended for motor vehicles. It was not until the “TTL Personnel Only” sign that we realized we were not where we should be. Unable to turn around due to the incoming trolleys, we continued on. Employees gave us strange looks, we were unfazed. We would escape this trolley land.

We did and then circled the area a couple more times before returning to the hotel for a map. Armed with directions to the parking garage we made it to a nearby apartment complex with an underground garage. We drove down into the garage and parked the car. As we began walking out a man sitting in a van a couple parking spots down from us beckoned us over. He asked us if we were staying at the hotel. He then told us that we should take any valuables out of the car because a vehicle had been broken into the night before. He then elaborated saying cars had been broken into several nights in a row and he was sitting down there to catch people. Josh and I quickly decided we didn’t want to park in that garage and took the man’s advice that parking on the main street was safer.

Due to all this excitement, Josh and I plan on finding a different hotel to stay in tomorrow and Friday night.

Pictures of the hotel room will be coming shortly, but for now a checklist of features:

  • missing light bulb
  • old computer
  • no walking space
  • very loose bathroom doorknob
  • air conditioning unit covered in plastic
  • electrical cord duct taped to the floor
  • and free wireless internet (which we are using to find a different hotel)
  • broken deadbolt (edit)

Social Being

June 8th, 2007

I am a social person.

You might not guess that if you just met me. You might not guess that if you don’t know me well. Even if you do know me well that statement may come as a shock to you. I despise social rituals; I don’t enjoy small talk or meeting new people. I find spending time with most people boring. Don’t misunderstand me and think that I am an elitist jerk. I simply recognize that I have little in common with many people and have no desire to interact with them.

It may come as a surprise then that I received my diploma almost two weeks ago and I am bored because my days are spent alone. As an introvert, and I have done a bit of research in this area and consider myself an extreme introvert, I can enjoy time alone. It is exhausting to socialize and interact with people I do not know. Nothing is as tiring or stressful as attending a party largely populated with strangers. But in the last two years I have lived with a small group of people and grown close to them. When I got home from class sometimes my roommate would be there and more often than not there was someone across the hall I could briefly socialize with. At any time in the evening I could wander the dorm and find someone. We didn’t engage in activities every night, we were too busy with studies, but they were there.

Now that I am at home I find myself wanting to hang out with friends every night or else I am bored. I haven’t played computer games since I got back except when at a friend’s house. I bought three board games to play with my friends. Yet my friends have their own lives. They have spent the last three years living in this city and they have other friends to hang out with and other responsibilities. I have my small group of friends which is growing smaller with one person moving up towards San Jose to work and another living in LA and going to school. Used to living in the dorms and after spending my time alone all day, I could hang out with my friends every night but they can’t.

I could make new friends. I don’t do that easily and in three months I will be gone again. I could spend all my time working. This may end up happening but my current project is something I’ll be working on alone. For some reason, working with other people is one of my greatest enjoyments and yet I always end up working alone. In my three years at school I found some people I thoroughly enjoyed working with, but no one perfect. I dream of making games, but more so I dream of working alongside friends to make those games. Maybe I will find some of those people at RIT.

So here I am at home doing a little bit of programming, wasting time, and reading.

I’m sure you were all holding your breath. I just heard back from my recruiter today and I didn’t get the job.

Considering my goals of wanting to work in the game industry and weighing working at Microsoft on something unrelated to games for two years versus going to grad school learning how to make games for two years, I’m not sure I would have accepted a job at Microsoft. But, I was a little excited about it and disappointed I didn’t get it.

Also, I would have very disappointed if I couldn’t be friends with Tim anymore

So now I’m waiting on RIT to see if I get a graduate assistantship position. I should hear within a week hopefully.

Post Spring Break

April 16th, 2007

I spent my last spring break on a mission trip with thirteen other people going to New Orleans where we helped with the continuing cleanup and rebuilding from hurricane Katrina. While I could summarize the whole trip and tell you what we did each day, my friend Jonathan who organized the trip has already written this up. So I quote him.

Here’s a day-to-day breakdown of our trip from April 8th to April 14th.

The daily schedule is as following: 6:30 – Breakfast 7:30 – Devotional/Worship 8:45 – Leave for work site 12ish – Lunch at work site 3-4 – Return to Crossroads and shower 5:30 – Dinner 7:00 – Worship (MWF) 10:00 – Lights out

Sunday, April 8th (Easter): We met at the Triplet’s Circle at 5:30 AM to load the vehicles, pray for the trip, and leave. By 6 we were all fueled up and on the road. Ross Heskett was driving his family’s Honda Pilot (4 people), Eric Brysnvold was driving his car (4 people), and I was driving Tank (6 people). We had a pretty good trip down, but we arrived almost two hours late due to us eating at Chiles for dinner. We got there around 9:30 local time (CST). After unpacking and getting a brief run down of the building and our daily schedule we went to bed. The girls had to share a room with another organization and had to sleep on cots while the guys had a room to ourselves and we had regular beds with mattresses. It turns out that the building received power about a month ago so we were off the generator – good news.

Monday, April 9th: After breakfast we all met in the devo room to have orientation. There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary but we did get our first assignment – actually two. We were to send half of our group to help with a local church and the other half needed to stay at Crossroads and help around the building. We split into two groups – I took one group to Joy Church while the other half stayed and cleaned up the building. As it turns out Crossroads tries to have each group stay for at least part of a day to help with building maintenance, we just got the first day. Joy Church (still under construction) is led by a guy who looks like Austin Powers – same hair, same glasses, similar personalities. Here we helped clean up the property, compiled hygiene packs for the 9th Ward, compiled food packs for those in need, finished some drywall, caulked things that needed caulking, mopped/buffed floors, etc. The people running the church we not your ordinary pastor and staff but instead were younger individuals with nontraditional personalities :) The crossroads group did a variety of tasks which included but are not exclusive to cleaning bathrooms, cleaning/helping in the kitchen, constructing furniture, etc. After work/showers we played frisbee until it was dinner time. After dinner we socialized and went to devo. We worshiped then gathered in the guys room for a debriefing and game time. We each talked about what we did that day, what was the most fun, and what was the most challenging. We then prayed for the rest of our week, those who we were going to help/meet, and Crossroads Missions. After that we played an awesome game that John O’Grady knew. It was a combination of Catch Phrase, Charades, and one word. The teams were guys vs. girls with guys coming out on top – but we all had a blast.

Tuesday, April 10th: Breakfast then morning devo. Praising the Lord is a great way to start the morning – it would be nice if we could have morning devos everyday at Rose. Back on topic, our assignment for today was to go “street cleaning.” New Orleans has an ordinance that fines people $100 a day if they have grass over 12 inches or trash in their yard. Since a lot of people have not returned since Katrina they have not been able to mow or cleanup their yard. So we went to a neighborhood and trimmed people’s lawns and removed trash from their yard. This is good and all but it rained on Tuesday… and it wasn’t very ward so we were out in the rain while picking up trash. After lunch we went back to Crossroads due to lightning. There we helped around where we could but there wasn’t much to do. Most of the guys went to scout out a house with one of the interns – we were mainly there to provide protection. Once we got back we played footbag… then ate… then played more footbag until about 9. We then met in the guys room again to play the game mentioned on Monday. We had a blast again and, oh, the guys pwned.

Wednesday, April 11th: We had french toast for breakfast – very good. After morning devo we went back to the neighborhood to do some more yard cleanup. It was sunny out. It was really cool to see everyone just attack the neighborhood (in a pleasant manner of course). We cleaned up a great many houses some of which had not been touched since Katrina. We also met an awesome Katrina survivor who told his story of, well, survival. Everything was fine during the first part of the storm, but after the eye passed the water overtook the levee. In ten minutes ten feet of water had covered the neighborhood. He cut his pets free and either got to the room or grabbed onto something (can’t remember). After riding out the storm he made his way to the levee where quite a few people had tied their boats together. As it turns out this is a great way to survive a hurricane as not a single boat was lost. In fact one of the boats was a shrimp boat so the owner was providing food to whoever came by. Some of the other groups we were with helped conquer his back yard while the rest of us continued around the neighborhood. For lunch we ate at a house in the neighborhood (Amy’s I believe) – she was connected with Crossroads. We had hot dogs, hamburgers, and brownies :) We continued through the neighborhood until three. After showers was the usual game of frisbee, dinner, then devo. That night we gathered again to discuss the day and our thoughts on the situation.

Thursday, April 12th: Today was a half day by design. For the first half of the day we gutted a house :) It was partially gutted to start with but we took out the drywall, ceiling, and cabinets in two to two and a half hours. Unfortunately Tank’s car battery was dead. Ross Heskett jumped it and we went to Auto Zone (recently renovated). Their test equipment showed that the battery was “bad” but it showed signs of a “good” battery. So we tried to start the van again and it worked! Hallelujah! After making it bad to Crossroads we showered and left for Cafe Reconcile. The cafe was started six or so years ago and takes “at risk” individuals and teaches them life skills as well as cooking/waiter skills. Oh, and the food was amazing! It had an awesome bowl of white beans, rice, and shrimp – and the smothered okra was fantastic! From here we went into central city and found where Crossroads had completed two houses. We took a tour inside of one and it looked very nice. Since Crossroads is providing labor for free they are selling these houses for much under the standard price point – thus helping those with low incomes. The neighborhood was in shambles though. We passes many, many “You shall not kill” signs in the neighborhood. Apparently the place is not safe at night due to drug activity. We then went to the French Quarter. The place looked pretty much the same as it did when I went before the storm. It was very apparent that the city/companies had put a lot of effort into cleaning up that area due to tourism. We walked around most of the quarter including Bourbon Street. I had no idea that it was that horrible. The street was entirely composed of bars and adult entertainment facilities. We continued around the quarter until we decided to get something to eat. We grabbed a snack of french donuts (B-somethingerother) and then tried to find a Pizza Hut. We left downtown and headed back in the direction of Crossroads hoping to find one along the way. We actually found two… but they were both destroyed. After about an hour of search for food (just about everything was destroyed) we stumbled upon a local pizza place. We grab a bunch of pizzas and returned to base. It was getting late so we ate, played some pool, then went to sleep.

Friday, April 13th: We were really hoping to go finish gutting the house from yesterday but we were assigned to help out at a junior high school. Once we arrive it turned out that we were not helping to restore a school but to instead transform the body of the school (damaged as it was) into both a church and a youth center. We did general clean up, tree removal (thanks to David Loughry), and renovation. Our project leader (Aaron Johnson) was actually quite familiar with Rose-Hulman and the surrounding are. Let me refine what tasks we performed. Both Sara Hong, Rachel McHenry, and Sarah Smebak painted the inside of the old gymnasium (two coats), David Loughry used a chainsaw to dispose to some trees, everyone (except the painters) cleaned out the upstairs of one of the buildings – we dumped a lot of stuff and moved cabinets and desks to another building, and performed general cleanup to the upstairs of the newest building. In the newest building Crossroads plans to house interns, maintain an office, and house individuals who plan to work on the weekends… among other things. So we were trying to cleanup and furnish the rooms with furniture that was not damaged by Katrina. It was hard work but we got it done. Before we were completely done all the guys but me (I had to drive the girls around) went to help finish a house. We joined them later but there wasn’t anything for us to do. We left after getting some cold snacks from an ice cream truck. Once the day was over we played even more frisbee, had dinner and devo, then met in the guys room to discuss what we had done that week and why we had done it. We talked for well over an hour concerning why we came, what touched us this week, and how we had grown as a group. It was amazing. Pretty much no one wanted to leave, but alas Rose was calling.

Saturday, April 14th: We were packed, fueled, and on the road by 8 AM. The trip back was not too bad. We had our bout with car sickness but we made it back. I’d like to say thanks to everyone who came on the trip. Thank you so very much. I hope that you were touched by what you say and learned. I’d also like to thank all the freshman girls for coming along – it wouldn’t have been the same without you. Drivers, thank you very much for your transportation and your cheerful attitudes.

Thanks you all, thank you!

That was the trip. I had a blast. One of the most fun things I’ve done all year. This trip meant a lot to me for a couple of reasons.

There were fourteen people in our group, seven men and seven women. If you know anything about my school you will know that that is a very odd ratio. The school’s male-female ratio is about 4-1. I knew most of the guys, with one guy I had met only once, but there were five freshman girls, all who lives on the same floor, that I had never met before. It’s unfortunate I hadn’t met them because over the week I got to know each one of them and they are all cool people. I enjoyed talking and getting to know each and every one of them. I’m excited about graduating, but it makes me sad that I will only be here five more weeks when I just made some new friends. Fortunately the group seems intent on continuing our relationships through future activities.

Seeing all the other volunteers on the mission trip and seeing all of the fulltime workers as well as interns, some of whom were younger than I was, was really inspiring. It could be fun to spend a summer or a year down there working and leading other groups.

I had more to say, but everything I write turns to rambling so I’m just going to stop here. Some of the pictures taken on the trip are publically available, the rest are currently on Facebook and will hopefully be public soon.

More pics.

Spring Break + New Orleans

April 7th, 2007

Spring break is this next week and I’m going to New Orleans! I’m going with some friends from InterVarsity to gut houses and do some clean up from the hurricane a few years back.

I will see you all next Sunday.

My Writing

October 26th, 2006

While I have been royally ignoring this blog the past few weeks, I have actually been engaged in quite a bit of writing. It is mostly emails, but includes some other things. Today for example I sent an email to a former RIT student asking him about his experience. RIT is a school I’m looking at for grad school. I also sent an email to the graduate school admissions department asking about setting up meetings with faculty and various people for a visit I hope to pay them. And on top of that I sent an email to an InterVarsity member at RIT inquiring about staying with someone while I am there! Lots of emails there. As far as grad schools go, I also sent an email to someone at SMU asking for some info on their grad program.

Yesterday I wrote a long email to a professor about some aspects of our school that could be better. The day before I wrote an email to the Microsoft recruiter asking about getting on their interview schedule, which I did.

And that’s pretty much it for semi-long emails. I have also been working on my resume an explanation of who I am as a programmer. Two weeks ago I spent a bit of time organizing my portfolio and writing descriptions of projects I have worked on, which can be found in new the portfolio section of my site.

On top of all that I wrote an A paper for game theory last week.

If this isn’t enough evidence to convince you that I’ve been writing a lot lately, then I don’t know what is.

Why am I telling you this? I’ve been told I write well and this blog is partially to blame for that. It motivates me to write about a variety of topics from the woes of losing my hard drive to the philosophy of designing games to rants like this one. My ability to express myself through words and my confidence allows me to write emails to professors of prospectful schools, Microsoft recuiters, and write two page long self promotion.

I just thought I’d share that with you guys.

Fall Conference 2006

October 20th, 2006

Lots of stuff is going on in my life and someday I’ll write about it, but not today. Today I’m going to InterVarsity fall conference. I will be gone until Sunday.

Back to School

August 27th, 2006

So I fly out of here tomorrow morning at 10:15am. I will arrive in Indiana at 5:15pm. And then its off to beging the next school year.

I’ll catch you all on the flip side.

Ever have a joke that you think is absolutely hiliarious and you feel you must tell someone about it so they can enjoy it with you and if you don’t you’ll explode? So you try to tell someone but you get interrupted and they don’t hear the whole story. Then later you try to explain it again, but no one is listening to you at that point so you stop halfway through. Maybe you try once more, but your delivery is flat because this is the third time you’ve told them and its coming out all wrong and you know its not funny so you stop and forget it. The joke is still funny and you still think your friends would be better of hearing it, but you know you lost your chance.

I haven’t been writing on here lately. Sorry about that. I’m not driven to write. That is not to say I don’t have anything to say or tell you. I find something everyday I think I should post on here because its really cool, or its enlightening, or it will just brighten your day. Or I’ve thought of something that I think would be worth writing down. Or I’ve done something interesting or something interesting has happened to me but I’m not at a computer and I forget later and its lost. I do interesting things, in my opinion, and I think about important stuff, I just am not compelled to write it down in the same way I am not compelled to take pictures of what I’m doing. Look at almost any friend’s Facebook account. I would be that they have numerous pictures on their account, either that they took, or someone else tagged. I haven’t uploaded any, and only recently has someone tagged me. I enjoy pictures. I’m glad those pictures are up there, I just have little desire to take the pictures and upload them.

Among other news, I turned 21 two days ago. I had my first and second beer in the last two days. Beer tastes like carbonated water and I didn’t feel any effect. I’ve decided I must do a scientific test to see how many beers it takes me to get drunk. I started by drinking one last night, tomorrow I’ll drink two, and so on. My friends think this is a stupid, nerdy, plan.

Summer Update 2

July 22nd, 2006

Work

So I found work since I last posted. I’m writing a Rails app for a guy in Van Nuys. Its fun and challenging. Hopefully it won’t take me much longer. Once It gets close to production state I’ll let you guys know more about it.

Since I began working on this new project I haven’t touched Showcase. This isn’t to say I have forgotten about it, I just feel that I’m learning more by working on this new project. It is similar in many ways and I’ll be able to use the more sophisticated methods I’m learning from it to make a better Showcase.

Speaking of learning new Rails stuff, I watched David Heinemeier Hansson’s keynote address at RailsConf 2006. DHH is th e creator of Ruby on Rails. He had a lot of ineresting things to say, mostly concerning CRUD and using it to design your software, but he also spoke of some new Rails stuff that would be revolutionary, as well as some bleeding edge stuff he had only been working on a few days. If you have an hour to spare and want to learn about programming, not only Rails, I suggest you watch it. Follow along with a pdf of his slideshow.

I was able to directly use some of his CRUD ideas in my project. Approaching design from a CRUD point of view made my many-to-many relationship more manageable and more elegant.

All this thinking about CRUD has got me thinking.

Creating an Engine on Rails

I still want to write a 3D engine, although it is put on hold while I am doing a lot of Rails. It has always struck me that writing an engine seems like a sloppy thing. There is no agreen on organization, no framework for how an engine should be organized. Of course this means that I get to do all that for my engine, but why is this? Perhaps it is because all 3D engines have to be very specific and thus not much can be generalized. Or so few engines are written that putting forth the effort of writing a framework is pointless. I think neither of those is true. I look forward to really thinking about building a framework for my engine. Most likely I will be basing a lot of it off of Rails, as it is what I know, and I think it is organized very well. I can’t wait.

Sailboat

My dad and his good friend Scott bought a Coronado 15. This is a 15ft dinghy with a mainsail and a jib. It is designed for two people. My dad used to own one a long time ago and one of his favorite stories is of when he and a friend found the “ultimate wave” for a C15. The boat isn’t dog slow, nor is it as quick as something like a laser. I have not yet been out on the water, Scott took it out for the first time today, but I hope to sail it a lot before I go back to school.

Summer Update

June 28th, 2006

So I’ve been home for a while now and haven’t posted much here. After my blog broke and I was unable to post for so long, I got in the habit of not posting. So here is a post in my traditional style, half schizophrenic, half update, half philosophy, and half bad math.

Job

I still don’t have a job. After a week of relaxing and goofing off I began looking for remote Ruby on Rails work and despite receiving several responses telling me they were very impressed with my resume, and my well written cover-letter, I only had one company interested in me. Unfortunately the man I spoke to was supposed to get back to me a week ago and has not. I have been doing a little bit of part-time work at Haverly, the company I worked last summer. The application I developed needed a few upgrades, but I want to do something more substatial this summer. Looking for work is depressing. It is much more fun to learn about stuff and work on my own projects!

Subversion

During my time at Rose, I have used CVS and Subversion on various projects. Most prominently SVN was used on the CMS I wrote winter quarter. Now it seems stupid to work on any significant project without some sort of version control and SVN is what everyone is using these days. Dreamhost, my web host, recently installed SVN but I was busy with school and never got around to installing it, thinking it would be difficult to administrate. I finally decided to play with it, bought a book, and have been learning a lot. If things go well, I will be giving some employees at Haverly a demo of SVN and trying to convince them they need to jump on the version control bandwagon. Fun stuff.

ShowCase

After mentioning working on my own project, I can’t forget to mention it. I finally found a Ruby on Rails project that is both interesting, not too large, yet challenging. Well, I don’t know about challenging. Mostly I just want a project I can work on and finish and have to show people. And that is what this project is, a web application for displaying your work. You could say it is a portfolio app. I don’t have anything to show yet, but I’m working on it. Probably the most difficult part of it would be creating a nice layout, but I managed to find a decent theme off OSWD.

Game Development

I can’t remember if I had written on here about a game I wanted to start developing. Well, I started learning some DirectX at the end of winter quarter and did a little at the beginning of spring quarter, but PLC took over my programming life and I stopped. I did buy a book with a couple of tutorial projects and I’m partway through the first one. I haven’t forgotten about this; I really need to get on the ball and start making games. It drives me crazy that I haven’t, but I never end up getting started. Once I finish working on ShowCase I hope I will begin working on this again. I’ll keep you posted.

Guild Wars

Speaking of games, I’ve been playing a few with friends now that I’m back home. Last summer we played Guild Wars and beat it. Guild Wars: Factions came out around the same time this year and we decided to play it again. Unfortunately this means it came out about two weeks before I finished finals and came home, so again, every bought the game before me. That’s ok, I don’t hate you guys for doing that to me TWICE.

Factions is very different from Prophecies, the name that everyone is calling the original. The campaign itself is shorter, by about half I think, and you level much faster. By the time I did the third mission I was level 20, the cap. At first we all thought this was a lot better than prophecies where you don’t usually hit level 20 until you reach the area where you ascend. But as we played I think we began to realize that the plot is pretty stupid. I don’t like it as much as the first one. And without the incentive to level up, we have began losing interest. From what I hear there are a bunch of new PvP options, including a 16v16 Alliance vs Alliance mode. This sounds like a LOT of fun, but you can’t ally with anyone until you’ve beaten the campaign I believe. Also, the campaign is very difficult. The last couple missions, as in the 3rd and 4th, have taken us several attempts to beat. Where has the magic gone? The missions in Factions are much more linear. You can’t get past certain places until you’ve complete your primary quests or beaten the next mission. This means that you can’t jump again and grab the elite skill you want and elite skills seem to be the only reason to complete the campaign I think. Like I said, the plot is boring, the cutscenes are terrible, and there is little reason to care about it.

I still feel that Guild Wars is a great game. I love the variety of skills available to you. Choosing skills from both professions and trying to come up with an effective build is a lot of fun. Doing everything as a party of 8 is great. The interaction between players is good. Factions just doesn’t seem to present well, in my opinion.

Hockey

I’m playing hockey again! Woot! Unfortunately its at an outdoor rink on unfinished cement. The floor is more slippery than… um… (insert imagined slippery object here). I can barely accelerate hard without losing grip and a hockey-stop is out of the question. This is really frustrating because the whole game slows down as people don’t bother to skate a little harder and grab the puck that is behind them. Instead they circle around and let someone else grab it. It is still a lot of fun to play though, even if I was terribly out of shape when I began to play. I’m doing better now after 5 weeks. I scored last game! Playing once a week is not enough though. I won’t say that I had forgotten how much I enjoy the game, but now that I’m playing again I am throughly enjoying myself and wish I could be playing more. There need to be more rinks close by.

Camping

I went hiking and camping with Todd, Lem, and Daniel up at the Punch Bowls last week for two days. It was a lot of fun. It was hot, sunny, there were bugs, and we were all very tired. But we had fun hiking and swiming in the pools. We followed the river all the way up climbing over rocks most of the way, and then climbing UP rocks at the very end. On the way back, we followed the trail the whole way and it took us less than 3 hours instead of the 7 we took going up. Understand that we had a long lunch and took a lot more breaks going up, but it was still impressive. It took us two hours to climb the last stretch going over large rocks and it took us 15 minutes to get back on the trail.

Pandora

Just this last week I began listening to Pandora. My roommate introduced me to it while at school but I never really listened to it. It is a web radio station built on top of the Music Genome Project. Some experts tag songs with certain attributes. When you create a station you pick some songs, or artists, and Pandora tries to pick songs with similar attributes. This is different than other web radio stations that try to pair what other people like to what you have said you like. Pandora shows no preference for more popular bands, it is simply based on what songs sound like. It is really quite excellent and its free to listen to. Supposedly by subscribing you can get rid of advertisements, but I haven’t seen or heard any ads yet. Go check it out.

Conclusion

That’s about all I have to say right now. Todd and Daniel are in South America on a mission trip so its a little lonely here right now. They will be gone for another two and a half weeks. This will give me time to work on my projects though.

P.S. I left my razor in Indiana so I haven’t really shaved since I got back. I think I must look pretty wild, but I keep getting positive comments about my beard. Odd.

Personality Type

June 14th, 2006

I am looking for work this summer and am sending out a copious amount of resumes. One company requested that I send them a “flavor of your personality.” This is a first draft of that flavor.

I am a introvert who believes that interaction with other people is one of the most important things in life. I consider rules to be exciting because creating them is an opportunity for design, and they give a foundation for creativity.

Design and theory are what I most enjoy about academic topics, preferring to focus on high level concepts than to dwell on details. Designing an application is more interesting than writing low-level algorithms, however if creative design is a part of writing the algorithm, then it can be just as interesting.

I have spent nine years playing roller hockey and through this I have come to realize why I enjoy the sport so much. It is not the action or the speed or the complexity, though I do enjoy those aspects, it is the interaction and coordination between teammates. I am however motivated to independantly learn things that interest me. It was my desire for weirdness and departure from the norm that interested me in juggling and unicycling, but it was my discipline and self-motivation that allowed me to enjoy these activities, despite never having any companions.

If a more boring description is necessary, you might want to look at this description of the INTJ personality type, as it describes me well.

I have been depressed for the last few days. While I can’t pinpoint this to any single event, or even a series of events, I believe I may have come across some ideas why.

Saturday was really my first “free” day since the beginning of the quarter. Until then I have had multiple projects going on at all times. So Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and today I have been doing very little work and generally slacking off. However instead of enjoying this time, I have been depressed and have not felt like doing anything.

Sure I’ve played some video games, played some ping pong, hung out with friends and laughed, but life has been fairly unsatisfying these last few days. And I haven’t played video games because I really want to play them; I don’t. I play them because its something to do. Like I said, nothing that has happened to me has been a primary contribution to this. I think the lack of accomplishing anything I care about is the primary reason. I find great satisfaction in accomplishing things and ever since the quarter started, I have been unable to do any of these things. School, while very important, does not give me this satisfaction.

I want to work on my computer game I have begun developing. Unfortunately due to my school work I haven’t had time to work on it since the quarter started. I need to find a job. Working for a computer game company would be ideal, but what can I show them? My computer game I haven’t finished?

So I have been doing too much schoolwork and that has prevented me from doing anything I consider “worthwhile.” It is getting to the point where I feel that I could be accomplishing more by not being in school. What if I dropped my cryptography class? The stress of it being difficult would be gone. I would have four hours a week I am not in class that I could be working on my game as well as the numerous hours working on homework.

So often it seems as though I could be accomplishing a lot more if I didnt have any classes. I feel as though I am only taking one really worthwhile class right now, PLC. Technical communications is a bogus class where we learn exceedingly stupid stuff that should be common sense. Computer Architecture II would be a useful class if I were ever to work with hardware, which I never will. I hate the material; I don’t understand it; it is boring and wasting my time.

So what do I do? This weekend I will have two papers due, homework for cryptography, and a PLC assignment due. This means I will have little free time between now and Sunday night. After that? I will be too drained from all the work and stress to accomplish anything fun, like working on my game. I will again spend my time doing nothing and feeling depressed because of it.

Ferrets

February 5th, 2006

For a long time I have had a desire to own a ferret. Unfortunately, they are illegal in California.

Here is an awesome video that starts out with a cute puppy, and then shows the puppy playing with a ferret.

Click more to see the video…

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Gone For the Weekend

February 3rd, 2006

I will be gone this weekend at an InterVarsity conference, so I will not be seeing any of you until Sunday evening at the earliest.