Returning and Clearing the Dust

After two years since I last regularly updated this blog, I am back! I stepped over some cobwebs on the way, give me a second to turn on the fans and open the windows…

All right, let me get my grand plan posted up here on this wall.

I am envisioning a revitalized blog in this space, with a new beautiful theme. The blog would have useful, relevant content such as “web app development stories.” I would like to continue using this site as a place for creative and thoughtful posts, as time and my unpredictable mind permit. Luckily hopefully my writing style and music preferences have improved somewhat, depending on your genre of preference (sorry Carly Rae!)

Even when this area is sparsely visited, I have found that posting my goals online helps me feel accountable to an audience, as invisible as it may be while I’m just starting up the generator and getting some light back on here. So I’ll take a moment and list some of the projects that I am working on, which may be the subjects of future posts:

  • Recapping setup and database design challenges for websites I made in Django and Ruby on Rails
  • Designing their front-ends (semantic HTML, responsive CSS)
  • Creating games in Android and finishing games in HTML5 and Unity
  • Reading the 10 books on Computer Game theory that I got from the MIT Press loading dock sale last weekend
  • Learning to drive (!!!)
  • Doing NANOWRIMO (yes, I am procrastinating at the moment)

That’s a good preview of what’s to come. To the west coast: Happy Halloween!

Lastly, let me tune the radio… hmm, this is only picking up foreign frequencies for some reason, I’ll have to fix that >.>

Hawaii Trex 2012… Video!

Hey all, happy belated New Year! Since I’m running short on time I’m just going to post this video I made of my class at Hawaii’s Day 4 water testing adventures… I’ll post more about what’s happening now, and the trip, later this weekend! =) Enjoy!

Crush Crush (again)

What is there to dislike? There’s his voice, which many argue is the most beautiful thing about him. But… but… look at those EYES! Are they like solid black? And that hair! Maybe I’ve been obsessed with Andy Samberg recently – not to say that guy looks like him otherwise – but that HAIR! And his FACE! And his SONGS! The guy I imagine in stories – I’m not completely sure what he looks like, but he does the same thing in each one – cheers the other characters up. And maybe sings ‘You Raise Me Up’ to them. In another music video I just made in my head. Yup yup. Well since I can’t play videos from my head here you’ll have to be satisfied by this oh-not-inspiring-at-all video of Josh Groban. While all the girls jump on Twilight actors and Johnny Depp I’ll be over here.

May I point out 2:44, 3:16 on… for your viewing pleasure?

And of course I can’t just mention this modern classic singer/crush without showing more videos…

In the one below you get a LOT of footage of Josh Groban, which makes me even happier…

This type of music is just what I needed. Just submitted an important assignment and am now ready to recharge and tackle more important assignments today. Thank you, Josh!

One more song, which is him singing my current favorite of his live… and flooring me with that performance even more than I already was, if possible…

But one more thing… why are all of my crushes so TALL? Well, I’ve gone from 6’5” to 6’3” to 5’11”… maybe eventually I’ll get them down to where they can see me without needing to kneel, or without me on a chair. Ahhh the joys of five feet flatdom. On the upside, they can’t sneak into buildings through air vents and all. Wait. I’m not saying I have…

How to Major in Comparative Media Studies

The environmental engineering students I asked long ago said that the term I’m in (junior fall) is supposed to be the easiest out of the curriculum, and the next term (junior spring) is supposed to be the hardest. Given that I’m a week behind (which means 6 term paper or lab or pset-type assignments give or take) in schoolwork and have been stuck on just one of those working as productively as I have ever been before and after that Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, I’m thinking of just saying to hell with it and trying out what I’m thinking of doing anyway after college: film, video game design – comparative media studies. Honestly I can’t handle another term like this. I know my term is harder than the typical junior fall term (adding two CI classes including Ecology I that made sophomore fall ‘the hardest’ according to those environmental engineering alums and a course 12 class without knowing matlab well enough which is just masochism), but I am not doing this again. Nope. No way. Two science classes (or maybe 2.5) and THAT. IS. IT.

Luckily even if I don’t minor in energy (which has technical requirements up the gazoo) I can still double major in Comparative Media Studies (CMS)! Provided that I take 10 CMS classes and finish my major. Here’s the schedule I’m thinking of, and my excitement about each…

Junior Spring
Environmental Chem and Bio (…)
Environmental Health Engineering (..)
Environmental ChemBioHealth Lab (…….)
Spanish IV (=DD)
The Film Experience (=DDDDDDDD CMS Rec)
Writing for Videogames (=DDDDDDDDDDD CMS Rec that may or may not fit in…)

Summer: MISTI Chile???

Senior Fall
Thermodynamics and Kinetics (at least a useful science class… that I need for the following one?)
Global Change Science (=D…)
Making Public Policy (=DDDDD)
Intro to CMS (=DDDD CMS Rec)
A Media and Methods Class (Performing? =DDD CMS Rec)
Media in Cultural Context (CMS!)
Junot Diaz’s Writing Class if he’s teaching that term (=DDDDDDD)

Senior Spring
Ecology II
Capstone Class
6 more CMS Classes

… You know what, maybe that isn’t so possible after all.

Well, you never know. All I know is I’ll just keep working as long as it takes and as teachers give me to learn the most from these assignments that I can, figuring out how to get them done myself – that’s why I’m taking the classes that I’m taking now, anyway – somehow pass most and hopefully all of them, and find some way to have a better semester next term. I could already work full time at a company – and did last summer – with my mad and normal-speed but MIT-sloth-slow data analysis and problem solving skills. Yup yup.

Going out to refuel, though no food is better than what my sister makes for Thanksgiving, or the oatmeal my mom makes me at home =) Visiting family is such a great way to return things to perspective!

Before I go… with my high speed MIT internet I can now post some video video videos =DDDDDD Lonely Island always makes my day.

“Hakuna Matata!” *bang bang bang*


Break Break Bawk Bawk

No, while I have several assignments due and in progress, I’m not stuck at MIT for thanksgiving. Right now I’m on… a TRAIN! A TRAIN train. Back to NYC. This is why I need to graduate from MIT. So I can make enough to ride trains. all. the time. They’re fast, comfy, no creeps – or at least less creeps – no annoying sitting on the floor for at least half an hour in the crowded station with the bus running late, no sulky bus station food that isn’t rabbit friendly (especially in DC Greyhound stations and below)… Don’t remind me of my two 15 hour bus rides between Boston and Birmingham for last year’s habitat for humanity spring break. I paid my dues, all right? Sitting next to creeps that talked about how they beat their kids and picked up girls and oh would I friend them on facebook.

We really need to get those train subsidies going so everyone can start doing it. Who’d believe that a train from Boston to NYC could be no less expensive than a flight? How about carbon emissions? Where does that factor in, huh? Not that I’m learning about exactly what high carbon emissions mean in all of my classes or anything. (Note to self – take classes learning about how to research and propose policies like subsidies, not just 4 at first 5 STRAIGHT SCIENCE ones… what ever made that sound like a good idea?)

In the spirit of the break I present to you some of my favorite SNL shorts. Or I will, once I get off this train and back home, since this train wireless is not allowing me to go onto sites with ‘streamed media’. OR the iTunes store. Now this kind of blocking would have been helpful at MIT… but it’s the start of BREAAAAAAAAK! =( And I’d just been trying to decide on Enter Shikari songs to buy! (Got ‘Sorry You’re Not a Winner’ earlier – and ALREADY have a plot and music video idea roughly storyboarded out for it… this is what I do with my oh so valuable brain cells, no kidding)

Well in lieu of Andy Samberg for now I’ll give you this slower song which was already open on Safari – take that Acela wireless! Booo YAH!!!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sometimes I imagine…

Sitting on a bench, with a ball of white fluff on my lap and licking my fingers, already sticky from the sorbet I had eaten earlier, with a book just turned over on my right and a writing notebook just behind it. Quite a few of my friends, my New Yorker friends, some of them from my elementary school Churchill, are at the park, grinning and laughing and talking about the new show that just came out or that crazy movie, or what’s going on downtown, with ice cream that we’d splurged on but eccentric clothes that scream to the passerby around us, ‘West Village. People right in that creative niche of New York. May or may not be starving artists.’ And we laugh and talk about plans. Three of us want to do that 5K fundraiser next weekend, so we use our phones to sign up right there so we don’t forget. One of my friends might be living in Vermont, and I’ve roped another friend to come see her with me over a rare long weekend, at the end of the month. We talk about hiking and skiing a bit, and I tell them about the winter vacation I’ve planned as a large backpacking and backcountry skiing trip. They share their own adventures and plans, and when we all have to leave for the night we wave and I head to a cafe overlooking the park, one of those with vegan goodies, biscotti, and tea, and go back to my writing, or my book if I was just at a cliffhanger.

At work the area is nice, the buildings are clean, and people nod and say hi as I walk to my desk. I have a lot of control as a project leader and it excites me whenever we complete something, or get praised by our clients. The reports we do periodically record the economic and environmental impacts of our work. The work could be environmental consulting, new product design, documentary making, or video game design – but in any case the atmosphere is inspired yet not cutthroat, and long nights come during a busy week leading up to a final project but aren’t a regular thing.

I’ve tried out many classes each week, including photography, guitar, acting, and singing, so now I walk around with a digital camera looking for interesting colors on the water or puppies and post them to my photoblog as often as I’d like. Sometimes I make digital illustrations for my story or just for fun. I’m lucky that I have a well-enough paying job, because my musically-inclined friends tell me whenever a concert is happening and we go. Not all of them are high profile ones, but I’ve been impressed by many of them. I’ve really gotten into the music scene in New York, and I’ve actually been fortunate enough to meet some of the performing artists. I’m always adding bands to my playlist. I make it a point to see a movie or a show once a week. Or shopping – I no longer need or really want to limit my shopping trips to four times a year, whenever I would freeze or burn if I didn’t make them, and some of my friends really love going.

My editor has been calling me, sending me edits and questions and working with me a lot, although it’s a bit slow because I’m not a writer full time. But her enthusiasm helps keep me going through this long editing process. There are so many deadlines, but if I make them all I might get my epic novel published by mid next year. I’m lucky that my job is mostly a 9 to 5 one that gives me some extra time to think and write.

I head back to the train to commute home. I either have a place in the city like Brooklyn or someplace like Westchester. Wherever I am, the neighborhood is warm and inviting and has its fair share of crazy progressives.

Besides almost every moment in and around the city, I love getting to travel. I’ve done the Peace Corps and had my eyes opened quite a bit more from that experience. I can also speak Spanish almost fluently after all of that time – almost. Afterwards I’ve visited many areas of southern Africa and even spent a week with an indigenous tribe there – and got to write all about it. I’ve got goals on my life list that I am just now planning out – taking months off eventually to hike the Appalachian trail, completing an ironman, writing a song.

That’s more than enough to keep me smiling as I walk down the street. My phone goes off. It’s a text from him saying he can make it to the cafe and movie tonight, and that the last concert was even better than last week’s. And should he buy the new fiction book that’s on sale that I’d reviewed. He’s at the store now.

I text him back ‘NOOOOOO’ and then ‘Well I won’t drag you out of there but…’ and then an ‘It’s YOUR money…’ and grin because I was walking to the same place. In ten minutes I round the corner to the bookstore, look inside, and see him near the front of the line. I can’t see what he’s buying but he’s at the register, so I go around. As he’s leaving I jump on him and yell ‘GOT YOU!’ in front of the whole store.

He’s still laughing when we get to the movie. I’ve got his hand in mine. We’re going to talk about our trip and our future a bit together tonight. It’s almost been two years. I squeeze and don’t let go.

That last part might all be in my imagination. Even more than my job is. But getting eight hours of sleep a night and making money to keep my dreams alive and loving my job would be more than enough to keep me smiling every day as I walk through the street.

I’m not in a great place at this very moment, but I will be. One day.

Song song songs!

Cause I feel like posting them! What what?

Maybe when I finish my two assignments tonight (one 22 pages and at least that many hours in the making, the other 9-10 pages that I have not quite started yet) and review tests and material I didn’t do so well on, I’ll write a substantive post.

And my story. It’s still playing out, up here in my head, and fast – I seem to like to plot the most when I’m working, strangely enough – but no words are going down until this shit gets done.

And exercise. Last run was last Saturday. What happened to exercising every day? Oh, that thing? That starts with an M and ends with a T?

And shopping. I need new pairs of pants and shoes. And fall clothes in general. And more food.

And sleeping sometime that’s not from 10 AM to 1 PM.

And going to class.

But before this shit somehow gets finished so I can somehow pass my classes like a zombie that thinks that there’s a difference between a “hard curriculum that will get you great skills and jobs” and an “impossible curriculum that requires that you cut out anything extraneous including exercise or pursuing your own clubs or interests and hope of more than five hours of sleep on a weeknight if you’re not even procrastinating, in a school where you’re not taken seriously as someone that ‘works hard’ if you’re not doing a UROP for 2 or 3 hours a day or a varsity sport or course 6 or 18,” I’m posting some MUSIC.

This song never fails to make my day. Or early morning as it is. Sounds very much like the average day in the life of…

I think this is my favorite AAR song.

And here is my huge celeb crush. Back when he had his LONG HAIR. Still think he looked best in Snakes on a Plane…

And who knew that rockers from the 2000’s could introduce you to classic songs on their blogs? I love this song and this video so much. Should really give more of these types of songs a listen… did not like Come Undone though (I did love Unchained Melody, but that’s a different kind of ‘old song’, isn’t it?)

And here is my crush again, covering that song, sadly with shorter hair =(

I would totally post Saturday here again from Fall Out Boy, but I’ve posted it before. Time to get to work!

The Perfect School Day

A perfect school day in a perfect world:

6 AM – Wake up, throw on exercise clothes
6:15-8:30 AM – Exercise, maybe a morning run on a good day, 1-2 hours, + travel time + shower + change
8:30 – Breakfast + read books, fiction or non-fiction
10:00 – Policy-making Class/War Psychology Class
11:00 – Computer Game Writing Class/Music Theory Class
12:00-2:00 – Lunch + write LIKE AN AUTHOR
2-4 – Global warming related Classes/Computer game + website design
4-6 – Study and learn shit
6-7 – Dinner
7-9:30 – Chorus/Practice playing for a real BAND
9:30-11 – Write like an AUTHOR
11 – Go to BED

The weekend: Replace class time with study time or free time
The weekend(2): Do a morning run AND afternoon run to prepare for a marathon


In case you’re wondering a perfect non-school day would look like…

(In the forest)

3 hours – writing
7 hours – hiking in the jungle, maybe taking pictures/film for a documentary
3 hours – reading
2-3 hours – cooking and whatever
8-9 hours – SLEEP

Stories and Songs

Man, it might be a really bad thing that I found out who William Beckett was almost mid-semester instead of say seven years ago. (Wait… seven years ago I was in eighth grade? What happened to you, time? That’s SO LONG! And here this story I’m writing started in like sixth or seventh grade… *hides in shame because it’s not nearly halfway written YET*)

Anyway William Beckett has this blog and whenever I go there he’s doing things like posting awesome music (Taking Back Sunday? Gotye?), posting awesome books (1984??), or having this Friday Night MOVIE CLUB where he recommends a movie and then watches it… with everyone online who’s virtually ‘watching along’ from their own homes. Haven’t done that yet, but dang! So far have to say that he has good taste.

The Gotye song is one that I particularly LOVE, and that I can relate to in terms of friendships rather than romance (seeing as I’ve never HAD a romance… my life is quite boring). There are some people that I just knew for a long time, maybe even a year at this school, but even after all that time they treat me like a stranger when I see them. Or even if we just had a two week trip together, or an entire class together – some people smile at me and say hi like they are happy and surprised to see me, recognizing me like I recognize them, and we even do a bit of small talk or more before heading on our separate ways.

But sometimes I would try to engage in conversation, say the right thing, ask the right questions, realize no one else was participating or really paying attention, and then be quiet. It was less of an embarrassment to be quiet than rambly, anyway; but more boring. Or sometimes people that I knew and that I would do something late for, whether cleaning my room or arriving to a meeting for a project, would smile and treat me cordially for the next few months but go bad-mouthing me all the while. As if, like in the song, I’d ‘screwed them over’, right?

There are so many cliches and tropes out there, you’d think every possible scenario would be covered in every song you hear or story you listen to, right? But I feel like there are few songs or stories that really capture my experience – haven’t broken up with anyone, haven’t really fallen in love with anyone. The fitting in alt rock songs come close, maybe, but for the most part they assume you’ve already been invited to the party (‘Dance Dance’, ‘The Middle’ from the MV, well…). But getting painted into the wall… now THAT’S something I can remember.

Without further ado here is the wonderful Gotye.

Now one more thing about stories…

I’m FINALLY doing this 750 word a day thing, on I’m focusing on my story now. I’m really excited because I’ve finally got most of the first three or so parts (parts probably equaling thirds of plot of one… or two books) outlined in my notebook and visualized in my head. I’ve got the beginning, the first protagonist’s background, the escape, the problem with society, the magic, the missions, the subplot mystery behind a villain, the truth behind it, the problem with ANOTHER society and a new villain, the injury, the betrayal, the showdown with major water boss, the rescue, the meeting, the attack…

Aaand that’s just part number 1! We haven’t even introduced protagonist #2!

I have parts 2 and 3 much more ‘thought out’ (all the stuff before them is plot I’ve developed over the last year) and my main issue now is fleshing out my villains. I have at least three – maybe four. But they definitely need to be fleshed out.

I am breaking one major rule for fiction. But I’m sure there has to be a quote somewhere out there like this: If you’re going to break a rule, break it boldly. So that’s what I’m doing. I accidentally typed my own name where one of my character’s names was, where a guy was talking to them like ‘Stop asking questions, … (my name)!’ I guess I just thought back to those scenarios I had been in and wrote my name from memory. But that doesn’t change the fact that…

The main character is almost like my avatar.

Almost. For one hideous first draft I had a class look over, one person said, ‘This girl is too perfect. It’s obvious that she’s the hero type. You can’t have perfect characters.’

I’ve realized while brainstorming this that the imperfections that I want to explore in the heroine are… my own. My insecurities. And it’s not cliche at all because no one’s written about them like I’m going to write about them.

And both my protagonist and I have a big crush on the second protagonist. But that’s in part 2. Faarrr away from where I am now, writing wise.

Bottom line: I’m going on a fantasy adventure and no literary or couch potato critic is going to stop me.


P.S. A freshman on my floor wants to start a band! We’re going to learn guitar in the fastest time EVER!

4 Day Weekend… from HELL, in HELL

To say that last week was busy would be putting it mildly.

There were four problem sets, three lab reports, and a presentation due over five days. One of those lab reports was 20% of our grade in one class. Needless to say, I only made it to class on Monday (3/3), Wednesday afternoon (so 1/2), Thursday afternoon (so 1/4), and Friday (1/1). Tuesday was just a no go. And Wednesday, I hadn’t eaten before my four hour lab class, so by the time it was 6 PM my stomach was literally tearing a hole in me or something. I have never starved, like three days no food living in poverty starved, but I think I might start buying extra food or something to give to those people on the street. It’s a horrible place to be in.

(It was really strange when I started eating though – couscous – and then try some chickpeas and suddenly the stomach pain gets worse and this feeling like might-faint feeling comes over, like while you’re eating? There’s probably something wrong with that. Never again…)

This happened partly because of my meal plan, which gives me one meal a day, but also leads to me buying less food for myself in the dorm… and then during a busy week, when’s there time to go for a grocery run?

No time to go buy clothes for the fall – no pants other than these lounge-type sweatpants and no wearable sweaters after two days in one of them. No time to thoroughly organize my room, take out the vacuum from the front desk, wash my dishes completely, buy utensils after the last ones broke – I’m up till four working on school. No time to go to my exercise classes in the morning, to go running outside or inside, to wash my face and mouth before rushing to class after three hours of sleep. No time to work on the web design commitments that I had made and wanted to do. No time to find friends and karaoke or just talk with again. No time to read new books, finish Catcher in the Rye, and do my 750 words a day of writing for my novel.

I had time for all of this back working full time. Complain complain complain, right? Is that all I’m doing? I just don’t want a repeat of my ceasefire of passion and activities and constant lateness like last year. I started out well, trying to be on time and make it to every class. I moved to a single in a calm dorm and visited helpful offices at MIT for strategies to manage my time and work effectively (like S^3) in my first few weeks. I was writing down tasks and putting things on a calendar and whatnot. Last week I didn’t even have a phone, headphones, or facebook; and it was still hard to finish everything on time (and most thing got done late).

Enough, enough, there’s work to do, let’s not get stuck in the neverending cycle of IHTFP. I don’t really understand what ’emo’ means, but since there are some bands I enjoy listening to at these times that are called ’emo’, I suppose I might be going in that direction a bit late (after middle and high school…) MUST STOP NOW – Optimism time!

I do have a resolution for the three days of class that I have upcoming…

– Attend them ALLLLLLL
– Eat 2.5-3 meals a day (even a freaking 9 AM APPLE/cereal)
– Be prepared for those two tests coming up
– Get ahead on the next 20% lab report, ecology research paper, and psets (like THIS WEEKEND)
– Kick myself off youtube for REAL (like, seriously)

Hey guess what else I’m doing this weekend?

Web design!

In fact, that’s all I should be doing tonight! For a job! (And then there’s a club that needs a site too… ahhh)

There are other things I could write about, such as

– FINALLY getting a new phone after ~ 2 weeks, as in the iPhone 4 (no S) + the included headphones that ROCK THE BASS OUT

– Two weekends (and one ‘cannot work any longer’ weeknight) of obsessing over “The Academy Is…”, TAI TV, and William Beckett even if my friends call him ‘effeminate’ (and his oh so cool BLOG!), only for him to announce on Saturday that The Academy Is BREAKING UP…….! =( =( =(

And I just got these new headphones that make their songs sound SO MUCH BETTER TOO!!!!!! Even ‘About a Girl!’ Now I love the musical arrangements 1000x more! 😡 😡 (Except the non-chorus part that sounds a bit like Disney. But Will’s awesome vocals make up for it. But with these headphones I’m hearing this song more as a sad song than a purely poppy song, and I LOVE IT MUCH MORE that way. I thin)

– Getting my bicycle free from its rusted lock after MONTHS

But no time to expound because it’s time to perfect four web site designs!

Woo hoo!

Time for my current favorite celeb EVER to cover the song above!

(He cut his hair, and I wasn’t sure what to think until he started singing… He looks AWESOME either way! William Beckett, I’ll follow you and the others wherever you all go after The Academy Is…!)