Skip to main content

Personal blog posts (old posts, page 2)

Amelia's blog posts

Odds, ends, and...OMG WTF?!?

Much better rested today. Sleeping actually helps, it turns out.

So, reading my friends page this morning, I saw this particular WTF. Yes, that is a hard disk drive. Yes, that platter there, has been cut all the way through by (presumably) the read/write heads. No, I have no idea how the hell that happened, but I cannot imagine ever having one of my drives do that. First of all, it would make an awful racket, something akin to tying a small animal to the timing belt of your car's engine. Second, it would take a really long time to do it, as the heads are not, in fact, made of titanium carbide, and the platters are made of something more solid than butter. Third, the drive would not, in fact, work while this was going on. Actually, the drive wouldn't be considered functional as soon as the head crashed the first time (that small click that tech people so dread).


Kid writing on chalkboard:
"I will not stay up until my alarm goes off.
I will not stay up until my alarm goes off when I have an 08:00.
I will not stay up until my alarm goes off when I have an 08:00 and an evening exam and a recruitment event to which I need to be at least halfway functional."

Yes, folks, I screwed up bad last night, got caught up in the work I was doing and literally did not notice the time until my 07:30 alarm went off. THe one that signals that I need to wake up...

I could just kiss the people who developed Mountain Dew...caffeine...

Like, I feel like one of the characters in Garfield right now. Know how they frequently have those strips where Jon and Garfield are like "COFFEE..."? Yep, that's me right now. Bubbles drawn popping over my head and exaggerated bleary look and all.

On a positive note, um, well,, there is no positive note this morning. I now add the amazing feat of not having slept last night to my repertoire of Really Fucking Dumb Stuff to Do. Bugger it all...


...I guess I'm in trouble...according to

I don't understand the part involving brightly-colored clothes...we they hackers tend towards darker clothes, in my experience. Darker than black, in fact. And certainly no glo-sticks...

Heh. Made me laugh too hard. Apparently, the girls who were, um, studying on the couch in the kitchenette found my bursts of laughter disturbing. /me doesn't know why...

Oh, and, by the way, yes, is completely and utterly serious. No, it really isn't a joke. Really. I'm actually not kidding around when I say this. is as serious as the websites that promote the Confederacy and Nazism (that last one at the risk of being Godwinned...). Which is, in and of itself, hilarious in that sort of sickening way, that you have to laugh at first because it seems so fucking ridiculous, and then you kinda realize that it's serious, but you have to keep laughing because you're already laughing at it. Y'know, like seeing a guy getting hit in the nuts, or watching a YouTube video of someone being hit in the head from behind with a shovel or sledding off a jump into the side of a moving bus.

Initial reaction, "LOL, that can't possibly have just happened! ROFLMAOOL".
Second reaction, "Um, oh, wait, WTF? LOL"
Third reaction, "Ah. Hm. Damn. (lol...?)"
Fourth reaction, "Posting this on my $current_site_to_talk_on, so others can have the same pleasure to continue the cycle."

Fun stuff.

Almost as fun as getting goatse'd or tubgirl'd. NO, DO NOT GOOGLE THESE IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE SCARRED FOR LIFE!
Queue obligatory link to webcomic that explains sorta what I mean: QC #942.


February 27 2008, 23:05:05

No, if you want to be scarred for life you go find an EMT textbook and find the entry for "degloved penis"

February 27 2008, 23:07:19

Also the glow-sticks and pacifiers are a reference to the rave/drug subcultures.


/me feel sicky...had a reaction to something I ate tonight. On top of my roommate apparently forgetting that 01:30 in the morning is not the time to play Flash games on his dorm-room jet engine, esp. until 03:00. And then locking me out of the room this morning. Ugh.

/me sleepy too, but there's stuffs to be done. Gonna try to get to sleep in :30.

I suppose it sounds like I'm awfully whiny these days. That's mainly because this is my outlet for the crap that accumulates in my life, but I suppose some joy might bring some colour to these dark pages.

So today went up to almost 0C. Walking around without a jacket 'cause it's too warm. Damn, that was a complaint, wasn't it? /me tries better.

Hmm...I took some pictures a few days ago of some good things, but I can't remember what they are, so I'll have to post them later.

Oh, Installathon was good. We somehow attracted at least eight (2^3) non-LUG members to at least show up, and I had some fun trying to install Ubuntu on a blue-&-white G4 Mac, PowerPC vintage complete with Mac mouse and keyboard. That was enjoyable, even if we didn't end up getting it on there.

Let's see. Recontracting is coming up soon. I wanna get into the CSLC next semester, because I know ninety percent of the people over there, and it helps that Ben is gonna be PC and Dan is gonna be one of the RAs. However, I heard that there was a waiting list already, so...I might just end up recontracting into my current room. Which is fine, really, because Tim's gonna be the RA for 4D again, and I'm pretty much OK with my room. I will have to see, though.

I did most of my CS2321 homework last night, and am just running long simulations on WOPR to gather data for the plots. /me feels rather accomplished. (Though, to tell the truth, I only did it because I was bored...)

Ugh...I need sleep now...


So, the post from the 14th (the one that was posted yesterday because I forgot to set it to public when I originally posted it) was a bit whiny in my opinion. I was frustrated with the programming assignment that I was (supposed to be) working on, and my empathy was kicking in pretty badly.

This is not an unusual occurrence. I have found, over the last few years, that I am highly sensitive to outside emotions. People often tell me that I'm a good listener because I always seem to be able to relate. This is because, when I'm listening, I absorb the speaker's emotion, making it my own. It does help me understand where they are coming from, but it has distinct downsides. I often pick up excess emotional energy, sometimes simply by walking by someone in the hall, which I then have to dissipate somehow.

My usual method of doing this is to pour the energy into something constructive, whether it be mechanical (building something, fixing my bike, rearranging my room), computational (technical homework, programming, computer customization), or literary (writing a short story, a LiveJournal post, or forum-hopping). If I'm not able to do this, I have to try to dissipate it through other means. This usually entails one of my brief meditation sessions, which essentially consist of slow, controlled breathing and a clearing of my mind of everything. This tends to bring a short-duration catharsis, and I can function in normal ways again.

However, the occurrence of this issue has been increasing of late, and is starting to become an issue, as I sometimes can't sleep or focus (my eyes, or on work). My hypothesis is that, in high school, I had creative outlets which allowed me to dissipate this emotional energy that I continually absorb, and it didn't build up to a damaging level. Here at college, on the other hand, and especially this semester (boring, dull classes for the most part), I have little creative outlet and thus I'm building up too much of a charge, if I may perpetuate the metaphor.

My proposed short-term solution is actually scheduling a regular meditation into my schedule. This will help, but I'm not sure it will be able to maintain my catharsis. Thus, I need a creative outlet, and so I propose long-term solution as picking up a musical instrument. Currently, I'm leaning towards one of either guitar or keyboard/piano. Guitar would be more flexible for my lifestyle, but keyboard would fit much more of my music, as it tends to be more versatile. Guitar will be cheaper to enter into, but on the other hand, I have some sources into musicians' discounts through some of my friends up here, so keyboard might be feasible.

I have thus decided to forgo the purchase of a new computer (which I had been thinking of up to this point, as my lappy is beginning to wear, badly) in the interest of repairing my mental health, and restart my musical creativity.

Happy (Belated) Single's Awareness Day!

Not sure where the term for this holiday came from. It's usually celebrated by the watching of exchanges of kisses, candy, and other things between others whilst thinking thoughts that fail to distract one from what one is watching, and mostly not partaking in.

Oh, I know, that sounds bitter. It isn't meant to. Honest. No, really, I'm more than happy to be single on Valentine's Day. I figure, I'm in better shape than the guy down the hall who found out that the reason his girlfriend didn't answer her phone for his V-Day call was because at that moment she was in his brother's car, um, well, celebrating the holiday. I think. No, about the /me being better off than him, not about the story. She sent him a picture at midnight of her day's activities. He was a bit distraught, understandably, but he decided to be better than her and did not send the picture to her father, as has been done in the past on such occasions.

Gah. So, here I am on SAD (the official acronym for the holiday), just doing my normal routine, working on my computers and homework and listening to music, when Avril Lavigne's beautiful voice rings out from my iPod and catches my ear:

If I could say what I want to say,
I’d say I want to blow you...away.
Be with you every night,
Am I squeezing you too tight?
If I could say what I want to see,
I want to see you go down...
On one knee.
Marry me today.
Yes, I’m wishing my life away
With these things I’ll never say

--Avril Lavigne, "Things I'll Never Say"

I think, "Dammit, I was doing so well." I decide then to change the music to something more apropos to the holiday, and soon the sweet sounds of her "Get Over It", followed by my "Power" playlist, including Evanescence, Foreigner, and (most important) Green Day (the suite from "Jesus of Suburbia" to "Are We The Waiting?") wash over me, letting my empathy find a different, better emotion to latch onto than longing.

Ah...much better. Hitting the play button on the iPod to set it playing from the collection as a whole, I'm dismayed to hear what it has chosen for its first track:

This morning I woke up with this feeling
I didn't know how to deal with.
And so I just decided to myself I'd hide it to myself
And never talk about it and didn't I go and shout it
When you walked into the room?
I think I love you!

--David Cassidy and The Partridge Family, "I Think I Love You"

"DAMMIT!" So, I turn on U2's "Numb", and feel better again. I'm telling you, this empathy thing, definitely got some downsides to it, but it's kinda nice to be able to absorb the emotion from music...

...and then after a while of listening to various things, my iPod decides to play TSO's _ Beethoven's Last Night_, an album which ordinarily I'm delighted to hear. However, one of the tracks near the end, "After The Fall", is sung by Beethoven's former girlfriend/fiancee/significant female presence, Theresa, whom he cast off due to his perceptions as to how she would feel if he instead told her that he was going deaf. The song takes place as Theresa gazes upon Beethoven coming out of a bar, many years after the event, and, well, dammit:

You can live your life in a thousand ways,
But it all comes down to that single day
When you realize what you regret,
What you can't reclaim but you can't forget.
If I could just fall back into my life,
And find you there inside this night,
And let eternity just drift away.

--TSO, "After The Fall"

So, I did the only thing that's been known to me to turn off, even if only temporarily, my empathy: I went along with it and slowly turned it to my own purposes (namely, figuring out this devilishly-hard programming assignment).

Ah...catharsis at last.

Then Tim took us on a trip through the girls' houses, handing out candy and taking pictures.


/me needs to get someone, or figure out how to moderate his empathy better.

One of Those Days

So, you ever have one of those days? You know the ones. I get them all the time.

Woke up this morning, saw that it was 07:30, figured that I could sleep another couple hours (had a group meeting at 10:00), set my alarm as such, and went back to sleep. Woke up to the alarm at 09:00, and decided to get up. I blinked, and the clock said 10:40. Fucking A, eh? Turned on my computer and sent an apology to the group I had just slept through, an email to FRE because I just remembered that I had a physics exam at 18:00, an email to PSG for same reason, and headed out the door to my next group meeting.

Things went pretty well after that, until I remembered that I had left my calculator (and bag, but that's OK) at the ATDC last night. My TI-89. The one that I frequently need to do basic arithmetic, not to mention kinematic equations with calculus. Bugger all. After the group meeting, I went to my room, resurfaced my skis, and skied up to the ATDC. I got my calculator, and skied back down. Note: don't try using cross-country skis to ski downhill over ice. It doesn't end well for the rider of said skis...

Got back to the room, fiddled about online for a few hours, and went to my exam. It was 30 questions worth four points each, with 90 minutes allotted for the whole. I went through, carefully studied each question in full, even derived an equation for one of the problems (I kinda forgot the equation sheet attached to the back of the test booklet for a few minutes), and finished the exam. I looked at my watch, and saw that it was only 18:30. I checked everything over, and turned the exam in, and walked (well, limped a bit, see above note re: ice) up to the ATDC for the 857 build meeting. I got there, and the electronics team was humming along with the list of things I gave them to do (I had planned on using 90 minutes, plus a 15-to-30-minute walk up, not knowing the calibre of PH2100 exams). They finished quickly, then went and extorted a decision out of the lift team as to how many motors they needed on their winch. Of course, it turned out that they needed a second one, so we went in search of another Victor (speed controller unit). Found one on an old robot up on a shelf, so I tied myself to the shelf and went to work on it for an hour to get the blasted thing off. We mounted the Victor on the board, connected it to everything, and all was well. The electronics team was finished with everything we could possibly do until the lift was reassembled.

I was in great spirits! It was one of those really good days right about that point. The meeting was over, the kids were leaving, and things were finally done. Chris (one of the programming kids) tells me to look at the 2008-1-29 Team Update because there's a problem with the gear-tooth sensors. I figure, "OK, no problem. Errata sheets are fine, I can fix it no problem." I open up the PDF and scroll down to the third page of four, where "Section 10--The Kit Of Parts" is. There, the following "errata" is posted:

Gear Tooth Sensor Boards We would like to thank the teams that brought the Gear Tooth Sensor board issue to our attention. We are grateful to the industrious teams that discovered the misplaced resistors and tested the solution! You, the FIRST community, continue to impress and humble us. $SUPPLIER the donor and manufacturer of the boards has graciously offered to repair any boards that have this issue. To have your board repaired, please send the boards to $ADDRESS. For questions, you can contact $SUPPLIER_CONTACT_GUY directly at $PHONE_NUMBER. The $SUPPLIER crew will repair the board and return it to you promptly. If you have the resources, skill sets, and are comfortable making the repair yourself, you're more than welcome to do so. Thank you again for your gracious response to this challenge!

(information removed because I don't feel like acknowledging them right now, you can look up the info on the PDF yourself)

So...I am welcome to fix the issue, but I need to find the error, if my boards have it, and fix it, if I can. Or, I can send these guys my boards, six days before the robot ships, and before the code monkeys have tested code to work with said sensor boards. So much for my happy feelings. Katie, bless her soul, is going to call $SUPPLIER_CONTACT_GUY tomorrow to ask whether all boards are borked, and what exactly the problem is.

/me pounds head on table and cries.

OK, done with the sob story. I should have expected issues, of course, given FIRST's talent for fux0ring things late in the build season. Or, rather, finding out about fux0red things late in the build season. It all works out to the same thing...oh, well.

Winter Carnival

Well, Winter Carnival is over. However, it was a lot of fun, and I even took some pictures!

I think it was easily the most sleep-deprived few days of my life, seeing as I essentially got about four hours' sleep over the time span from Wed. night to Sat. night. I think. The math at the time wasn't so hot, so I may have slipped a few hours either way.

However, I survived (non-inebriated, to boot!), and am looking forward to the next few weeks.

We got a bit more hardware for the LUG server, and are finally going to put together the rackmount case that GZPhreak gave us. Say ya to breaking 4TB! (maybe)

Also, just as a side note, James, you got me hooked on American Idiot, damn you! ::shakes fist in mock rage, then flicks his lighter out for "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"::

Life, Love, and Other Stuff Like That

So, I just watched Dan in Real Life, which is a pretty good movie, actually. I like Steve Carell a lot, as he's a funny guy, but more importantly, he is one of the few "everyman" actors that I've really seen the last few years.

However, as has been my wont after watching a movie, I took a short stroll in the balmy weather (no irony, actually--it was 24F when I left Fisher, which is much warmer than it has been. I got too hot and took off my jacket.) and thought about things. I have said, many times to many people on many occasions, that I am not interested in romantic relationships with anyone, either gender. I'm pretty much the inverse of bisexual. Lately, though, /me has been feeling that he wants to have something. I'm not sure, but then, of course, does anyone. I have no one in particular that I am thinking about, just that I may not be who I once thought I was. I want to belong to someone. Well, OK, that sounds a little odd, but I hope you know what I mean. Words are too clumsy, but I want someone that can say to me:

I have the only key to your heart
I can stop you falling apart
Try today, you'll find this way
Come on and give me a chance to say
Let my love open the door
It's all I'm living for
Release yourself from misery
There's only one thing gonna set you free
That's my love

and have it be true in full. (Pete Townshend, "Let My Love Open The Door")

It seems cliché to say that a movie or a song has changed my life, and so I won't say it. It's also not true. I have been working my way towards this conclusion for a while. There have been other instances of this slow thought process finally followed by an epiphany of sorts in my life, and this isn't even the biggest one I've had. However, it does change the fact that, perhaps, when I meet someone, or am talking to someone, I may just see what could be.

I have, as some may know, at one point or another in my life, written short stories. The latest of these was written shortly after another one of my epiphanies in late October last year. No story ever has been told without any trace of the author in it, and most have more than a little vested therein. I will leave it to the reader to see what is and is not true to life in "Appartenenti".

I have played with the idea of starting a webcomic based on "Appartenenti", but as usual, this decision is taking a while to come to. We'll see when it comes.

Farewell for now, and live, love, and try.

(hell yeah!)

The Frustration of Electronic Media


::intense bashing of head against wall::

::Daft Punk turned on to calm the rage::

Ah...better. So, I have been trying to get this video via torrents. It comes down as a ~650MB *.avi file, pretty standard file, and well within the capabilities of at least one of my media players to handle...or so I thought.

Turns out, every time I download it, from various trackers and (I thought) various different uploaders, it's actually the same file apparently, which will not play. Well, that's not quite true. It plays, and the audio is there, but...the video is definitely fux0red.

So, then I tried to sync my iPod with my AmaroK library...and the "Transfer" button is greyed out...

So, now /me is using gtkpod to sync my iPod, AmaroK to listen to music on my lappy, cRARk to break the password on a *.rar archive I made a few years back (and the password isn't what i thought it was--oops!), Thunderbird to catch the flurry of pre-post-break messages. Firefox to take up memory, a remote IRSSI instance to be connected with the LUG IRC channels, and Transmission is working on some other, more obscure torrents of the file I'm trying to get...