ETC Acceptance

I found out on Monday that I got into the ETC, again. Pattie had asked me if I had made a decision because she needed to know whether or not to accept another student. I emailed the admissions coordinator and found out that they too were mailing letters on Monday and that I had gotten in. So now I'm back the big decision again.

I've talked with many people about it. Alex, Steve, Sabrina, Pattie, and Dad so far. Originally, I was wondering if it was still worth it. I have been feeling a little better here. Although, the more I think about it, I realize I've been feeling better as in I don't feel as strongly about wanting to leave, but I don't really feel much more excited by the stuff I'm doing than I did before. The past few days were sponsor meetings and I wasn't very enthusiastic about my demo. What's more next year the group is really going to be focusing on ambient intelligence. I'm pretty convinced that the ETC is entertainment and that's what I want to be doing and MIT is not. My talk with Sabrina was probably the most helpful. Not so much because of anything she said, but I think I just started really seeing what I wanted to do. Also because I was able to ask her some questions and alleviate some concerns and uncertainties about the ETC. I'm not 100% but at least 80% I think. I still have to talk to Mom at least.

This may be a good time to mention the email I got from someone at Sun. Seems he is an MIT alumnus and that he is looking to fill some openings on the Java team. Pattie and Bruce had both recommended me. I was flattered that they thought of me, especially Bruce, who I don't feel I know that well. Still, I think I should at least finish some grad school. Plus, while I may be right for the job, I don't know if it is something I want to be doing, at least not long term. Maybe a summer internship. Something to consider.
Keywords:ETC | Grad School
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Reapplying to the ETC

I'm back at school now. Have been for a week. Every other year I have been dying to get back to school. I would make my break at short as I could. Not that I don't love my family and enjoy being home, but it is crowded and crazy especially compared to the calm of school during the break and there are always project I want to get back to. This year it was not so. My time at home, by neccessity this time and not choice, was about as long as it ever is but it felt longer. Maybe that was because I cherished every moment. Last semester was tough and I wasn't enjoying myself very much. Most of my problem revolved around finding a project that interested me. I wasn't looking forward to going back, though I do have to be here for IAP.

I thought a lot about the possibility of leaving the Media Lab. Often last semester I had wished I had gotten a job. I've been talking to a lot of people about it lately. Upon reflection, I've done well so far, but haven't really gotten into it. Reexamining the choice I had to make last year, the more the ETC seems like the place that I belong.

Now that I've spent a semster at MIT the differences between the two programs are really clear. I think I based my decision to go to grad school based the ETC as my idea of grad school. Since my freshman year, when I heard about the ETC, I knew it was what I wanted to do when I graduated. If it hadn't been for that, would I even have considered grad school? I don't know that really expected the Media Lab to be like that, but I think I seriously discounted the difference in subject material and methodology.

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Keywords:ETC | Media Lab | MIT | Carnegie Mellon | Grad School
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I don't doubt my ability to do the Media Lab. I know that my acceptance wasn't a mistake. They accepted me because they liked what I had done before and knew that I have what it takes to succeed here. My problem is that just because I can doesn't mean I should. Each day I have wondered if I wouldn't be better off somewhere else.

At the ETC I would have my friends in Pittsburgh. I think those students are more like me, I know what that program involves and that I would not only succeed but also enjoy it. Of course I question what value it would have for me but that is a different issue.

Here at the Media Lab I don't feel like I fit in. I haven't done as intellectual stuff as other first years. I've never been published, I came straight from my undergrad, and I wasn't doing real research. In this context the stuff I've done before seems even more childish. I wasn't doing research I was just a programmer. And I don't think there is anything wrong with making games, maybe that's what I should be doing.

The realness of this place scares me. I have always been good at coming up with clever solutions to problems. I feel I would have an adequate ability to perform experiments on the solutions to measure their impact or to iteratively improve them. Within a give domain I could probably even identify what might be needing an improvement. But what I am not good at is coming up, out of thin air, "interesting" problems to work on. This is a factor both in my research, where we need to decide what to work on, and in my classes, where my first assignments have been to come up with ideas for class projects with no further guidance.

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Keywords:Media Lab | Grad School
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as it really been another month? The time flies and I've been really busy. Well, that just means there is more to talk about and I should've been getting it out in small bits, but here goes....

The Big Decision and The Future

I decided to go to MIT. I didn't get the deal I talked about last time, but I was about ready to decide MIT anyway. So I'm very excited for my move. I'll mist things there. The most recent one that I remembered is the spring afternoons as the sun is setting and bagpipe music drifting over the hills.

I've applied to live in MIT graduate student housing. My top choice was some unfurnished apartments. It will be good because we have plenty of furniture at home for me to get, and that'll be nicer than dorm crap, and more mine. I don't find out what I get until May 19, that's the day after graduation, this Sunday, but I'll get to that.

Carly also decided to go to MIT, so that will be cool, being able to hang with my sister. I think we get along pretty well. The 4 years has been a big deal so we've never really been at the same place. I'm excited, because she can give me the low down on the stuff the undergrads learn that they don't tell me.

As far as the summer goes, I've got either this ILM internship or just chilling in Pittsburgh. I won't know until the same day, May 19, about that. I don't know whether I want it or not. On the one hand, ILM would be awesome and it is a great opportunity. Experiencing San Fransisco would be cool. On the other hand, it wouldn't be as a relaxing break as just staying here would be.

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Keywords:Grad School | Carnegie Mellon | Projects
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Booth Addendum

There was so much in the last entry but so much happened and I left a few things out. The first story was when Ben came up to me and asked "What booth needs booth?" I didn't intend to give a nonsense answer (and that is probably what made it so funny) but the ridiculousness of the question caused me to answer, "That's good true." I don't want to put the next story in here but for those who know, lauan:wood::gold-plated:jewlery. The bush we had to be the burning bush in the booth was a real bush. I took it back and planted it in our yard. I think I did a good job. It looks good where it is, even though it isn't in a place that we've had a bush before. I hope it lives. I think it is nice that it blesses our house. Unlike people who did small things such as hieroglypic tiles or beanbag frogs, there wasn't anything for me to take away from the booth, but the fact that I was able to plant and leave something from the booth makes me feel good. It will hopefully be there for a few year and I'll be able to come back and say, "that's the burning bush." The last thing I forgot was a pointer to my carnival pics.


Booth really put me in the right mindset for passover. When we said, "Because of what God did for me when I was a slave in Egypt," I feel as if I really was. After all building a booth is hard labor and we were even building pyramids.

At one seder I went to, instead of cups of salt water, they had spray bottles of it. It seemed like a good idea until a little kid got hold of it and decided to give me a shower and no one thought they should stop him.

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Keywords:Booth | Anecdotes | Nostalgia | Judaism | Grad School
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Batting Cleanup

I've wanted to write a journal entry about every day the past week, but I've been so busy and there has been so much to say I haven't. Let's see how long it takes to get it all in here.


There was a lot of hard work put in. People were working around the clock. It was great being booth chair when instead of me having to go bug people to help, I had people who wanted to help me and nothing to give them. Every time we carried over a new big piece, like Mt. Sinai or the waterfall walls, it felt really cool. I think I learned a lot about management. Initially, I felt bad that I was asking people to work and do stuff and I wasn't doing anything myself. Later I realized that management and keeping the big picture in mind is worthwhile, and if 1 less person is working on it, but they are making sure it all gets done, then that is worth it.

On Monday it rained. The booth leaked and we were worried about electrics. I think it was a real set back. Out of tragedy was born the squigibro. A Squigibro is a combination broom and squigie. We bought hte squigies a while ago but they didn't have a handle and I couldn't find an empty handle so I screwed it onto a small broom.

Everything was coming along great. Wednesday night Noah and I met and made the master list of all things that still had to be completed. I stayed up all night and managed the list and the people to do it. I got the waterfalls working. In the morning I took a break to go to Schatz for breakfast, continuing a tradition I started last year.

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Keywords:Booth | Grad School
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Leading the Charge


Tonight was move on for carnival. In a very uncharacteristic move, AEPi move'd on whole. Basically, instead of breaking the booth down to walls, we just took it apart into 2 large sections plus the platform. Bringing the platform on we blew out one of the wheels on the cart, so I'll have to replace it again, and I don't remember where I got the wheels last time. Oops. We got the platform in place and we were almost ready to carry part of the booth, but it started thunder and lightening. I looked up and started cursing at the heavens. Then it started raining. Midway was closed for close to 2 hours. We waited around in the house and didn't think we were moving on tonight at all.

Finally around 10:15 we were allowed to go. The big section we moved first was 9 ft by 15 ft by 11 ft tall. It took all of us to lift it but I think it went pretty well. It didn't ever threaten to tip over and there weren't really any other major problems. We had to take 2 break, on right inside the morewood lot and one half way from there to our plot. Moving on whole like that made me feel very manly. I think it really puts us in the same league as DU or PhiKap. Maybe getting in their league for move will help us get in their league of placing come trophy time. The best part for me was being booth chair. I got to lead the charge. I had to round people up, make sure stuff was happening, and coordinate with our escorts. Running the show and managing 30 people on a project like move on is incredibly fun.

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Keywords:Booth | Grad School
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Meltdown and Reboot

I haven't written in a while. It was because I had a really rough emotional rollercoaster ride that left me unable to care about anything as trivial as my website. Oh, and I had a lot of class work. So the situation, for the curious, was this thing with this girl, and it sucked and wasted my time, but I'm over it now and ready to move on.

So back on the update scene here's what's been going on. Class are keeping me busy. Got my first OS assignment back. I wasn't too pleased with the grade despite the fact that ours was the most efficient shell our grader had seen. Efficiency, that is definately one of my things. Still waiting to get into 240 but I figure that if it makes it to the end of the semester I can just say, "Hey, I did all the work, I got an A on the final, now give me my credit and let me go on my way."

TAing is a lot of work. More than I expected but the pay and helping people make it worth it. Today I did 4 hours worth of motion capture, but it came out surprisingly well for my first time. I can't wait to see how it turns out in the worlds. Mocap makes me really feel important. Like I have something special going for me. Let's hope that carries though.

Speaking of things going for me, GRE's went well, so now it must be time to apply to grad schools. This is going to be a tough choice to make if I have to. Free and in Boston, or with my friend where I think would be more my style?

But what do I really want to say today. I feel on top of the world. I used to hit pits and stay down.

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Keywords:Depression | Classes | Grad School | Website Projects | TV
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