New Talents

I ran again on Monday so it looks like I might be sticking with it. I don't know about tomorrow, it's pretty late now. On Monday, though, I did even even better than Friday.

I'm learning to juggle. I probably mentioned that, but it is starting to go really well. First of all, I am practicing, I haven't given up yet. That in itself is a big achievement for me. I was kind of stuck until Matt Kusic gave me a tip yesterday. Now I am really starting to do something that could actually be considered juggling. It's not quite continuous, but it feels that way, if only for a second.

Also, I had fun exploiting my artistic side again. For Visual Story, we had to write up a director's paperwork for a scene out of the movie, Psycho, including drawing storyboards. Drawing 36 scenes, even if I could pause the video to draw it, was a lot of fun. I won't say mine look good, but the fact that you can tell what they are is a real accomplishment for me. Particularly the part where I had to repeat these 2 frame each 9 times (it cut back and forth very quickly) I got to practice learning to draw something, figuring out the essence of it, and drawing many times quickly.

Finally, tomorrow there are on campus tryouts for Jeopardy. I love that show and would love to be on it. I couldn't be on any other quiz show because I'm trained to answer in the form of a question. I hope I'll be able to make it to the tryouts, even if I don't make it on the show or anything.

All in all, I really feel that I'm getting the value out of college in a way I may never have before. Really broadening my horizons, the way college is meant to. Taking advantage of all these options to do something different. It feels good.
Keywords:Art | Athletics
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This Week

Plenty of interesting stuff has happened this week. For starters, I've been running. I actually was able to get up and run 4 miles Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which was my goal. Today my time really impressed me. I ran it in aproximately 32:30 which is a better than 8:30/mi pace. If 3 times is a tradition then hopefully I'll be able to continue doing this every week. It is tough but enjoyable.

I had some late nights but we're moving forward on the AIBO. Some BVW groups are working with it this week and I've been helping. It is tough work but rewarding. I really like helping out. Maybe that's why I also agreed to help another group with an input device issue. I'm probably spreading myself too think. After all I have my classes and projects to do also. Perhaps the reason I want to be so involved with BVW now is because I never really liked any of my worlds all that much.

On Wednesday we went to see the Pirates lose to the Cubs. I don't mind losing, but the game was really boring. Not much happened. I feel bad for people who wouldn't normally go to a game who came with us. They didn't have a good opinion of watching the sport before and this didn't help, I'm sure. When in fact a baseball game can be very exciting. I'm sure I'll put that in my write-up.

Today my animateering group had its quarter presentation. It went really well. Now we seem to know exactly what we need to do. The faculty mostly thought we were on the right track. The tough part is how busy our group is with other things and now it looks like one of us may be leaving.
Keywords:ETC | Classes | BVW
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Rosh Hashanah

A new year. On Wednesday night I went to Phil's house, a fellow ETC first year. He made a very nice holiday dinner. Since I can't cook, that is a skill I really respect. It was a great social event. There were 5 of us there, not all Jewish though. The discussion was interesting. Stuff like that makes me think the ETC would be cooler without as much busy craziness.

Their house was really nice. It was big, clean, in a nice neighborhood, near stuff, closer to the ETC than where I live, and cheaper. I'm jealous. I like being near campus though. Oh well.

I went to services with some friends. Had lunch at AEPi. Went to tashlich in Schenley park. That's about it for jewish stuff. It went well.

The new year also makes me think about resolutions and what I want to do. A friend has inspired me to try to go running again. I also want to try to be more proactive about work so I can really enjoy my free time. I want to practice juggling and actually get good at it. I never practice anything and I want to do it this time. Excercising would be good. And then there's the perpetual resolution. If you don't know what I mean then you don't need to. If any good comes of any of those this next year I'll be impressed.
Keywords:Judaism | Friends
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This titles had a two-fold meaning: literal and figurative. Today, after Visual Story, Jesse held a juggling workshop at the ETC and taught all the first years how to juggle. I thought it was impossible for me to learn, but I am starting to getting. I was very surprised that in a hour and a half I could consistantly throw and catch 3 balls. I have started working on the forth throw (4th throw is the first ball again, still only 3 balls). Once I get that I think continuous juggling will be the next step (since 4 returns me to the initial position) and won't be too hard.

It seems ironic that the ETC would want to teach me to juggle since it is also what they require me to do with all the work I have. In fact I'm not sure which is harder and which is easier. I've been ok keeping up with my 3 classes so far (although I'm worried about where improv and particularly visual story is going). The tough part is TAing BVW, being on an ETC, and balancing the rest of my life.

BVW has been going ok. The struggle for me is to manage all the VR equipment. This are kind of crappy and I don't have a lot of time to invest the hard work to make stuff good. Also I don't really have the tools and equipment at the ETC. At Stage3 at least everything was there and semi organized (or at least in a small space). In addition, I'm supposed to prepare the AIBO and I'm not sure what I should be doing.

On Animateering, the project I was assigned, we only recently decided what we wanted to do. We have a quarter presentation due in a week (has it really been a quarter of the semester?).

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Keywords:ETC | Busyness | Worries
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Comcast is evil

Words cannot begin to describe how much I hate the Comcast cable provider. They have of course got a monopoly on the cable service in my area and a disturbingly large part of cable service nationwide. Their prices are absolutely outrageous. The lowest plan they have that includes any strictly cable stations (not broadcast) costs $42. I don't watch a lot of TV, not nearly the amount I would get for the $42, but some. $20-$30 seems reasonable to me for what I want, but to get it I must subscribe to their $42 plan. They make no attempt to serve their customers; it is one of the most blatenly self-serving businesses that I can think of. There's no way I can do anything about it. I feel I need to take some action, but the only action I can see is cancelling my subscription outright in protest. Unfortunately that wouldn't even be noticable to such a large company. Rather, it would hurt me by taking away the programs I want to see. I'm really mad because I'm addicted to the stories in the shows I like to watch. I need to see them, so I feel I must subscribe against my will. I don't even think I can afford it. In a way I blame MIT housing for getting me addicted to TV with their free cable (even as sparce as it was).
Keywords:TV | Rants
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No, not the Continental Sports Channel, the Carnegie Science Center. Yesterday the ETC first years took a field trip there. We spend the better part of the day and saw a lot of stuff. First we toured the USS Requin, a historical US Navy submarine. We had some time to look at the giant model railroad they have. Much more intense than the cheesy one in my old room. Then we visited the Works Theater for a show called Frankenscience, based on Frankenstein by Mary Shelly. The theater was neat but the show wasn't very good. It seems the story got in the way of the storytelling and the science. After dinner we went to the planetarium, which we had all to ourselves, to see what sort of things they could do both as a planetarium and a laser light show. There was a lot of interesting technology in there with a lot of potential. The laser show was really spectacular. Then we watched Spiderman 2 in the Omnimax. This was unfortunate because you don't really feel the true power of an Omnimax if it wasn't a film specifically shot for it.
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Graduate Studies

Orientation happened. It was fun. Both for the freshmen and for me, a new grad student. The ETC is definately intimidating but exciting also. There are a lot of cool first years so hopefully we'll have some fun.

Classes. The first day of improv didn't really amount to much. Brenda Harger was out of town so we just watched some movies. Today was the first Visual Story class. I'm a little worried that it's going to be tough. We had to fill out these sheets that asked us some things about ourselves, I think just so they can get to know us. It probably wasn't supposed to be hard, but one of the questions was "What are the 3 best movies you've seen in the last year or so and what makes them good?" I hate answering questions that ask me to list something. In fact it was the only OkCupid profile question I refused to answer. And it made me realize that I haven't seen any really good movies this year, that I can remember.

I got assigned to a ETC project. I'm on Animateering. I think my first choice would have been Panda since I actually use it and I'm teaching it so I'd like the chance to make it better. All things considered Animateering is a pretty good place to be. Today we had our first meeting. It sounds like our goal is to take the simple puppeteering interface that was developed before and turn it into a mega narative storytelling and movie recording station for kids, to be installed at a bunch of different children's museums around Pennsylvania. That could be really cool.

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Keywords:ETC | BVW | Animateering | Sick
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Thought Repository » September 2004