IAAPA Wrapup

This past week I went with 14 other people from the ETC to the IAAPA convention in Orlando. IAAPA is the international association for amusement parks and attractions. The show floor was absolutely enormous. They had everything from the tickets and tokens, prizes, arcade machines, roller coasters, 4D theaters, animatronics, consessions, and everything else you could imagine. One of the most interesting things we saw was a live lobster tank crane game. Another excellent idea was the ice-cream hotdog. Take a stick of ice-cream, wrap it in a shortcake bun, and top it with chocolate sauce or caramel and wipped cream. Yum. Also up there were the Mini Melts (a competitor of Dippin' Dots) with Pop Rocks in them.

The ETC was exibiting the Jam-O-Drum there. We had a small little booth where we showed people a little taste of what our program does. We were well received. The Jam-O-Drum was fairly unique among things there. People actually wanted to buy it and they were impressed that it was just one of the things done by the students in this program.

A big part of the show for me at least was going around trying to figure out where I'd like to work and get an internship. I didn't do all that well of being able to talk to the companies. Later in the week, I got better at it and had a few good conversations. I got some business cards that I have to follow up on.

While we were there we did more than just the show. We had dinner with several Disney Imagineers and ETC alumni. It was good talking to them even if I might not get to work there.

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Keywords:ETC | Travel
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Simon and the Chipmunks

We won! Ok, well we came in second place over all, first from CMU. Most importantly we beat the other AEPi teams, and we beat Aaron Tarnow's team by 36 seconds.

Ok, if you don't already know what I'm talking about, I'm refering to Puzzle Royale. It was a 12 hour long (noon to midnight) competition of puzzle solving. Unlike last year or the year before, this year was between 3 schools: CMU, University of Michigan, and University of Toronto.

Our team was Simon and the Chipmunks for which I was the captain for the 3rd year in a row. This year the team consisted of me, Linda, Dave Mason, and Dan Cartoon. We solved 13 of the 15 puzzles plus we solved the metapuzzle 2nd of anyone. We were beat by one team from the University of Michigan.

One of my personal objectives was beating the 3 teams I mentioned above which we did. Also I had wanted to beat all the other schools, particularly the Canadians. We beat all the Canadians and all of the UMich teams except for one of course. Finally a goal was for CMU to beat the other school. Overall we dominated but unfortunately they were fast to solve the metapuzzle.

The grand prize team received personal media centers. Being in first place, we won $75 gift certificates to Best Buy. It is a real shame to lose by only 3 minutes. Mostly because we could have been the heros that beat the other schools for CMU. But the optamistic way of looking at it would be that we were only 36 seconds from $50 gift certificates to Gullifties, the 2nd place prize.

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After your bedtime

Tonight I attended the After Your Bedtime party. It was a opening party for the new wing of the Pittsburgh Children's Museum. At $50 a person it didn't quite match the $250 black tie dinner preceding it, but it was still one of the more expensive/fancier affairs I've been to. I got to go the ETC dime as part of the Animateering group since the fruit of the previous Animateering project was installed as part of the new exibits. It was good to see the museum but the whole party experience was something else.

I thought, through my mom, that I knew was wealth and class was, to some degree, but our upper middle class coming from below does not compare to the true upper class who would spend the kind of money on tonight's events. As fun as it was, I don't think I took full advantage of it.

I'm speaking of meeting girls. I don't know how to talk about it even, really. I'm always on the lookout for girls. I'm really at the point in my life that it is all I need, but I do need it badly after 23 years or so of waiting.

Today was a long day, after class, and work, and a party with another masters program that was also supposed to introduce us to women, and The Incredibles which was a great movie where Pixar has outdone themselves again, I went to this party, and now I have to go to bed but be ready for an early and long day of Puzzle Royale puzzle solving tomorrow.

And so I get to the part of this story that is important after 4 paragraphs. There was a girl there. Well, there were lots of girls there, and several that seemed around my age or so.

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Keywords:Animateering | ETC | Girls | Depression
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Trouble with group work

Well, the Music Video Saga continued. Ben and I did the initial edits like we were supposed to. Kyle wanted to help tweak the editing at the end. He has a better sense of rhythm for syncing to the music as well as it being a good idea to get more opinions now that we're doing the creative part, unlike the American Beauty scene. I was totally find with that. I thought we needed some other input and I know that Kyle would be able to match the sound better than I could anyway. I thought that the best way to do this, though, would be for him to direct and me to drive. That way I could work within the framework of what had already been done so that I wouldn't ruin anything Ben and I had spent a long time on that didn't need to change. I would have done everything he wanted making our video a combination of his tweaks and ours. However, I found him editing it himself. I suggested that I do it, but he claimed that he knew what our video was supposed to be. I guess I probably just didn't get the point across clearly of why I thought I should do it. I think one editor is more the standard of the way these things are done. I got really upset and felt as if I had lost my identification with the work. It came out pretty good, most of the stuff Kyle put in was important stuff that should have been done, but I still felt kind of pushed aside.

Perhaps I should have said something earlier instead of getting mad and blowing up later. I hold my tongue no not be difficult. I don't want to be hard to work with or to cause group arguments. I put the cohesiveness of the group before myself. I'd rather be angry than difficult. I'd rather exclude myself than giving my team a change to overrule me. But maybe if I'd be able to state things correctly they'd have listened, I'd have been happy, and we'd have had a better product. I'm not sure when I should question our process and when I shouldn't. When is it helpful and when is it being difficult?
Keywords:Classes | Depression
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Today was election day. Pennsylvania makes it really hard to vote. I'm convinced that they were actually trying to prevent me from voting, and they did a good job. I registered to vote in PA back at the end of August. I wanted to vote here because it is a swing state as opposed to voting in Massachusetts. I filled out the registration for with one of those people on campus. I don't know how but my registration was lost. I never received a registration card like they said I would. I don't know if this was the fault of the person I filled it out with or the state. Maybe I should have taken care of it while there was still time, but I didn't.

I decided I should at least try to find where my polling place ought to be so that I could at least cast a provisional ballot so that I could say I tried. All the websites that try to tell you where your polling place is just pointed me to Pennslyvania's page that doesn't let you look it up online. All it gives you in the phone number for one guy for the whole Alleghenny County. At night his phone doesn't have an answering machine and during the day it is always busy. I'm convinced that he must just take is phone off the hook because I used *66 and I didn't get through even after waiting an hour and a half.

After I'd given up I just happened to be stopping in Wean Hall to pick up a key on my way to work. I saw a poster for yet another find your polling place site. This one was run by CMU students. I went to the cluster to give it a try and actually found the place. I went there and it turned out that my next door neighbor was the judge of elections. I suppose I should have asked him where to vote. Anyway, I guess that meant there could be no question of my residency, i.e. registration eligibility. Of course since I wasn't actually registered I was only able to fill out a provisional ballot. I guess it won't really count but at least I can say that I tried and I did vote, sort of.
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I'm just a kid

My group's latest visual story project was to shoot a music video. Our last project was to reshoot a specific scene from American Beauty. We ended shooting it with sock puppets for actors. It was kind of tricky but it came out pretty well. Mike and Kyle did the editing for that one, but Ben and I were doing the editing for this music video.

We chose the song, "I'm just a kid" by Simple Plan. It was really Mike's suggestion, I know he likes them, but I also like that song. I really identify with it because it is about a kid feeling lonely and left out. I have felt that way much of my life. I often spend a lot of time with myself and find myself excluding from doing things with others, even those I consider my friends.

The plot of our video shows him committing suicide which turns out to be a dream. The video is suppsed to be a journey. The rest of the video shows his loneliness and his journey. At first you might not know where he is going, and it isn't clear if he does. He ends up back at the Cathedral of Learning (where he had jumped in the video) and he climbs out to the same ledge. In the end we have someone stop him just in time, because we didn't actually want him to die.

I really wanted to play the part, because of how I identify (except of the suicide). My group complained that my hair was too bright to be depressed and we wanted someone a little younger (i.e. no facial hair). Mike also wanted to play the role. I went out of my way to shave and dye my hair black.

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Keywords:ETC | Depression
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Thought Repository » November 2004