A new beginning; same old place

Orientation is just around corner. That's pretty literal. It's 3:15am now and it begins at 9am, practically now, and the university is physically around the corner from where I live now. As of today the summer is really over. This whole past week has been the beginning of the end, though.

I've been setting up for orientation with ABTech. I've been excited for the usual traditions: Tech, move-in, BBQs on the porch, meeting freshmen, playfair, etc. I worry that the reason I'm still stuck here doing the same old thing is because I don't know how to let go. I've always hated change and loved doing the same things I've loved before. But things do change. As much as I enjoy every tradition, every traditional thing I do also hurts. I have to consider every time that it might be the last. Also, every time might not be just as good as before.

Even though I was gone, I've still spent all my contiguous summers in Pittsburgh, but maybe this really is the last. I'm too old to care about the freshmen even if I do still want to participate in orientation to help them out and give them a good start like I had. I was looking forward to the beginning of this year, but now I'm not so sure.

Some of my close friends returned to Pittsburgh today. I've learned to get along without them: the year in Boston and this summer. Seeing them now, though, makes me realize that doing it with them, my friends, my brothers, was one of the things I loved about move-in. This year they won't be there, most have left town and the ones that are here have moved on past doing it.

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Keywords:Orientation | Nostalgia | Friends | Depression
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Clearing the Stack

This entry is sort of about everything. I don't write often enough, but the reason I write at all is to release all the things I don't say that get stuck inside my head. If I've got an idea I haven't shared with anything, it is just going to stay there until I do. This can be bad in conversations where I can't keep up because I really want to bring up a subject long past to add something I felt I wanted to say. But my rambling point is that I'm going to clean up my brain from the summer so that I can move on with this new year. (chronological)

I didn't talk at all about my job this summer. I had lots to say. So much that I'm not going to. I came back to Pittsburgh to finish a Stage3 DARPA project just before Stage3 was dissolved. The project was an experiment whose goal was to use people's brain activity to predict when they are busy and use that to mitigate when information is presented to them in order to improve their performance. We were testing for a soldier in VR. It was tough but interesting. The experiment itself wasn't so great and didn't work all that well, but it was a good experience. It's over now. The rememants of Stage3 moved to the ETC and left the name behind.

I've also been preparing for BVW that I'll be TAing this fall. I've been learning Panda, building VR demos, and working with the ETC's new AIBO. His name is Peanut. Unfortunately I did not get a full-time staff position in the fall, so I'll be in serious debt, but I'll live. I did write a whole entry about this.

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Keywords:Summer | ETC | Family
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Transportation Part 2

A month ago I wrote about Transportation. I wanted to follow up. I mentioned that I was thinking about getting some HypnoSkates, rollerblades where the bottoms come off. I got them as a birthday gift from my dad. I am pretty happy with them, but they definately have their disadvantages and limitations. They work very nicely as rollerblades. I haven't been on rollerblades in a long time and it is much better than the shoes with wheels I had a couple of years ago. They are very easy to use and it is much more natural than the scooter, especially for uphill. My biggest problem is stopping, or slowing down. It's not easy to control my speed which is really annoying. Going downhill should be fun on wheels. it is the best part of the scooter. It is the worst part of the rollerblades. I can use the break, but it seems to wear down really fast. The other disadvantage is, while taking the blades off is very easy, it isn't as easy as just stepping off the scooter for things like stairs, hills, or when going indoors. Also, I feel less inclined to ride indoors than I do on the scooter, which is part of what makes it great. Wearing the helmet also makes them less appealing. And finally, as shoes, they aren't the most comfortable. They are tight and hot, and even if I'm ok walking around in them, I am definately limited in what else I'd do. I'm sure occasionally they will be fun or usefull. They are no worse than regular rollerblades which is worthwhile to have, even if it isn't my primary transportation.

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Keywords:Quirks | ETC
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Thought Repository » August 2004