At least I'm thankful for what I've got

Home for Thanksgiving. This gives me a chance to write a bunch of journal posts I've been meaning to. Some of them are backdated so if you really care about me you'll need to look a little deeper than your friends page. A smaller crowd this time for dinner this time. I ran the Feaster Five again as usual. This time my Mom joined us which was fun. Although the snowing was a new twist. It was good to see Missy again. Was my mom's b-day too, and so I gave her Apples to Apples which we all played and Enjoyed. I won.

Cheezy Sentimentality )
Keywords:Family | Travel
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Heading Back

The summer is almost over. Where'd it all go? I didn't get as much done this summer as I had hoped. I had all these person projects I wanted to work on. My websites and self improvement stuff. I didn't run or work out. There's only 1 website project (on a list of dozens) that got done. I had all these school related projects I wanted to work on. BVW prep, panda stuff, Animateering and Dome improvements. None of it happened. I'll also miss it here. PlayMotion! has been so much fun. I'll miss working on this stuff. I'll miss being productive and busy without being as stressed and overloaded as I will be in the fall. I'll miss games night and the bonds I've made here.

Never-the-less, I'm excited to go back. I'm excited to be out of this mess and back into my house. I'm excited for ABTech, orientation, AEPi, rush, new ETC students, BVW, welding, Alex, and everything back in the burgh. I'm also really psyched for the trip that will get my back there. Just before I came down here, Carly and I had been talking and she said she wanted to come visit. She wants to see my house and my car. We planned it so that she'll fly down here. She can see PlayMotion! Then she'll keep me company as we do a road trip together back to Pittsburgh. Then she's going to hang out with me there for 2 days before flying home. I haven't seen her since the beginning of the summer because she's been on an internship in CA and I won't see here again until winter break because she's studying abroad in the Turks and Caicos.

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Keywords:Travel | Family | Summer
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Passover with my Family

This weekend I spent with my family for passover. I was expecting a bigger group but it was just one set of cousins, at their house. It was very relaxing. After the work I've had to do over the last two weeks I needed it. I was able to sleep through the morning. Other than that we ate, hung out, played boardgames, and ate some more. I was really glad to be a member of my family this weekend. Just the fun we had playing Taboo and Upwords and the discussions we had at our seder. After a couple of years of spending passover elsewhere, it was a treat to be back with my family and the seder that I'm used to.
Keywords:Family | Judaism
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Disney Vacation

This past week, Sunday through Tuesday, I went on a little vacation to Disney World. My Mom was going down for a business trip. Carly and Missy were going along too. They were there all week, but I just came down for the first part beause I was missing school. This was my 8th time there. It was fun to spend some time with family and enjoy the warm weather. Being with Missy meant that we did a lot of the kiddie rides, but I like those anyway.

Some highlights. On monday we were at the magic kingdom but after noon it got very crowded. Carly and I headed over to MGM to ride Aerosmith's Rockin' Rollercoaster, my favorite rollercoaster. We didn't have too long at the part but we were willing to wait in the hour and 40 min line. We were in line not two minutes when someone came up and gave up their fastpass, for right then! We were able to get in in no time and could do other things at that part. Later that night it was drawing Donalds and writing a song, When I Rule The World, with Carly at DisneyQuest.

On Tuesday, Turtle Talk with Crush was fun to do with Missy. When we went to leave at noon I throught to check the fastpass time for TestTrack since I knew we were coming back later. The time we got was 7:30-8:30, which fit in perfectly with our evening plans. My mom was hosting a function where she had arranged for us all to cut the line and ride Misssion:Space. Due to some trouble with watching Missy, I was actually able to ride it twice in a row without waiting. By the way, my mom rode on it and wanted me to mention that. Then we had dinner, Carly and I went over to TestTrack, and then headed over to MGM for Fantasmic, an excellent water,fireworks,video,live action show.

It was a good trip. It was fun being able to go around knowing all the little inside things I know know from my classes. In fact, in Entertainment Engineering, last Thursday, we had a guest speaker who was a ride and show engineer at Disney.
Keywords:Travel | Family
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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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5 points

A couple days ago I got back from a family vacation to Universal Studios, Orlando. We were there for six days, Mom, Pop, my 3 brothers, Missy, and me. We stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel, right on the Universal property. The advantage of that is that your room key allows you to cut all the lines in the 2 parks. It was really worth it. Without waiting in any lines, I can definately say there was no bad part of the trip.

Five points, refers to a little game my brothers and I had going. We'd give each other made up point any time one of us said or did something really stupid. We weren't really keeping track but quite a number of points were given out. Some of the more memorable awards were for artificial water, the distribution ride, January following September, and others.

Missy is just the cutest. She wasn't the best at all times, but she makes things fun. She really talks a lot now, and is almost a whole real person. We had a lot of fun, even jumping on the trampoline with her before we left. I'm sorry that I'm leaving and won't see her more often. I can't wait to see what she'll be like a year from now.

We spent most of our days on the trip either at one of the two Universal parks or at the pool. Most evening we were at the hotel or CityWalk. One night we went out to eat at a fondue restaurant, something I didn't think I'd like but I did (it wasn't even mostly about cheese). Another night we went to SkyVenture, the vertical wind tunnel, the sky-diving-like experience that I did with Desney and Jason last time I was in Orlando.

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Keywords:Travel | Family
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What a day to be outside. Today is the Massachusetts holiday Patriots Day. With classes cancelled, I took the T downtown to meet up with Mom, Pop, and Missy for the Boston Marathon. We went to a John Hancock brunch. It was really nice and I even saw the mayor of Boston there. We went to see the kids in the Kenja project that Mom had helped out with. Last Wednesday they took these inner-city 3rd and 4th graders to the zoo and talked about why Kenyan runners are the fastest. Catherine Ndereba met with them and answered questions. She is the 2nd fastest woman ever and was a 2 time winner of the Boston Marathon. Today we got to see the news footage that channels 4 and 5 aired about the program. Then we went down to the finish line where Catherine won the Boston Marathon for the 3rd time. It was a great morning, although maybe a little hot for the runners.
Keywords:Family | Spring
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The Last Few Days

My first semester at MIT is finally over, but it didn't end easily. Never before have I wanted so much to go home, but never before have I had such trouble doing it. I didn't finally get home until two days ago, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Our story begins two and half weeks ago...

The weekend of the 6th and 7th I visited Pittsburgh. As soon as I returned on Monday the 8th, it was all fab class (How to Make Almost Anything), all the time. Really it had begun before the weekend. I had been up all night before my flight in the lab. All the week of the 8th students from the class invaded and took over the Physics and Media lab. The weekend just got even more intense. We were there 24 hours a day. That whole time was great, working on really cool electronics projects and bonding with my classmates. Monday the 15th was the class open house where we presented our projects. My project turned out great. Miraculously every part of it came together just like I wanted it at the last minute. Neil really enjoyed point out my project as the kind of thing you could really build in 2-3 days. I had written the software ahead of time and experimented with sensor circuits on a breadboard most of that week, but all the components of the final object, the schematic, the layout, the board, and the package, were build and put together that weekend. You might want to check out my fab class project page or some pictures from that week.

Once that project was over it was time to focus on my project for Context Aware Computing.

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Keywords:Classes | Projects | Family
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Day Awesome

Today has been dubbed, Day Awesome, for no particular reason. In the history of following up a down entry with an upbeat one, I shall follow one of the longest with a rather short one.

For starters I got my Razor scooter today. It was incredibly hard to find but now I have it and my commute is much faster. I got a late start though my morning at home was productive. When I stopped for lunch (it was good) I bumped into Carly. That was nice and I sat with her while she ate lunch (I was already done). We talked about classes and such and then she had to go to one. I think this will be fun, both being here.

At the Media Lab, although I got in very late, I stayed somewhat late, never sitting around or being bored, but actually getting things done. Brad and I rearranged our office and I'm really happy with the new setup. The place actually feels like some place I'll be happy to live and a place where work could actually get done.

In the middle of all of that we had a recitation for fab class (how I will refer to How to Make (Almost) Anything). Being the web guru seems like it is going to be a lot of fun. Even if it will be a lot of work it shouldn't be too bad as a job. It's something to do. I'm excited to start learned Blender to do 3D modelling for this assignment. I'm still not sure what I'm going to model and animate but it should be fun once I think of something.
Keywords:Family | Media Lab | Classes
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Eat, Sleep, Live Booth

Preamble )
It only took most of the week but the structure for the booth is finally up. Got that done on wednesday. When I climbed up on the 10 ft roof I realized that was the highest anyone had been above our porch while I've been here. It is a nice view of campus and Oakland. The game is going really well. We've rigged up a neat little mechanical device to raise and lower the targets. I'm looking forward to carnival, but worried about all the things I have to do in the next two weeks. Now that spring break is ending people will be coming back. Nate is already back and I'm glad. When Noah gets back I'll feel a lot better. As much as I wanted to do it all by myself, I like having someone else to rely on to a point.

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Keywords:Family | Booth | Anecdotes
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Ghost of XMas Past

A picture of the snow fence was used on the CMU winter break resources website. Too bad it didn't make the Tartan, but this is still cool.

The BVW show went very well. First year that there was no worlds that crashed. Only took 6 years to get here. Making tapes this time was much worse than the past 2 times. This time, because the show was after classes, we had to make special arrangements to have the class meet to get the tapes and do the end of semester wrap up stuff. Unfortunately it was on Wednesday, the next day. I barely had enough tapes made, which involved me going back to Stage3 during the meeting to get the last batch for the class minus 2. This was after staying at Stage3 all night to make them and missing a party (which I didn't even know about). Things eventually turned out ok and I was able to have fun the following day.


Finals went pretty well. I must have done pretty well on all of them based on the grades I got. B in OS, A in Intro to Intelligence, and the highest grade in the class in Computer Engineering, pretty sweet. I also think I was the first one to leave that final. Makes me wish that I'd worked a little harder in OS, because I don't think it would have been that much harder for me to get an A, giving me the 4.0 I've never had, and this would have been an impressive semester to get it in, what with BVW and all. It was funny, on the last day of class, when we were filling out faculty/course evaluations, Kesden mentioned how they like getting feedback because OS was probably one of the most time consuming classes for both students and staff, besides BVW.

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Keywords:Classes | Family
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Thought Repository » Family