Audiobloging, take 1

I discovered that I had a cell phone with free long distance, and that blogger offers free audioblogging. Just an intro, but this could be the start of something regular…

this is an audio post - click to play

EDIT: AudioBlogger stopped hosting the files, and I never did get around to downloading this one, so I guess it’s lost to eternity.

Drunken Idiots, Retreat!


I just got back from the retreat this afternoon. I had a good time, and talked with several of the people there. We stayed in on of those summer beach houses that the people rent out while they’re not using them. Nice place, it was big enough for the ten of us students who went. The adults (Ryan Hendricks, the Assistant Hall Director (AHD), Fr. Pete, the HD, Fr. Brad, the pastoral resident, and Tom, who is in his last year before becoming a priest came too, but slept in another rented house.

There were several talks, and some small group discussions, as well as general reflection periods. I’m not going to go too deep into the details, but the way they had it set up seemed to work well. There was enough free time to do stuff, too. Friday night, several of us walked down to the beach. Someone had brought a light-up frisbee, so we played frisbee in the dark. Well, not exactly dark, with the light from the city, but it was pretty dark. You could usually see the darkness created by a person, but if they moved to the wrong spot, so they appeared near a light source, they disappeared. It was fun, and then we ended up playing a game of 500. Some of us waded a bit, and then we all walked back up to the house. It was up a road, about 5 blocks from the beach. Jake had walked down the hill barefoot, and declared it not too bad, so as we had all taken off our shoes to keep the sand out, we all walked up barefoot. Turns out Jake’s feet are a bit tougher than most, as there were a few parts of the road that had some gravel that kinda hurt. The road, and the sand before it, was pretty cold, so I really couldn’t feel it that much.

I stayed up talking for a while that night, but I went to bed quite a bit earlier than I did last night. Saturday, there were sessions in the morning, and then we had the better part of the evening to ourselves. Drew, Korte, Luis, and I rode down to the main part of town (1/4 to 1/2 mile) with Ryan, who was driving Jake to go talk to his dad. (His dad is a contractor, and is working on a house very near to the retreat.) The four of us walked around town a bit, stopping at a boarding shop to browse, and then getting an ice cream cone. We walked/ played frisbee down the beach to the house. When we got back, Tom, Ryan, Fr. Brad and Andy were playing a game of “Settler of Catan”. I’d never seen the game before, but it’s really fun.

It’s a strategy game, and the board has several different types of spaces. The represent different types of land, that produce different resources. Each space as a number placed on it, and any player that owns a ‘settlement’ bordering a space that contains the number just rolled by the dice gets one ‘resource card’ of the appropriate type. For example, if I had 2 settlements bordering the clay fields, and the space had a 8 on it, every time an 8 was rolled, I would get two brick cards, one for each settlement. Resources were used to build more settlements, roads between them, and Cities (larger settlements). Whoever accumulated 10 ‘victory points’, wins the game. Settlements, cities, and a few other things counted towards the points. All in all a rather challenging game. The spaces are re-arranged every game, too, so you can’t just memorize the best locations to start out.

They were just starting their second game when I got there, and I watched to the end, where Tom won. I joined in the next game, and made a good showing, but Tom had his third victory. Later last night, the game was again played, and Tom again swept it. He’s really good with analyzing things–he says that he often plays risk with a friend in the seminary, and he’s never lost. Tom then went to the other house to go to sleep, helping Drew get started before he left. I watched that game, because I wanted to get in on the next round. The game ended going on over two hours (one hour is normal) and they finished around 3 in the morning. I’d long before given up on playing, but kept watching to see who won, certain that it had to end soon. By the end, Hendricks was helping Andy get whatever he needed just so the game would end. He was in a good position, except that he got blocked in, and then developed a bad trade relationship with the person who had a monopoly on the grain. HE may have been able to win, but it wasn’t worth it to him.

I called home and talked for an hour, but somehow, I didn’t tell them most of what I just wrote. I bet when they end up reading this, someone will complain that they learn more about me through my blog than they do in person. Such is life.


Teige W. came up on Saturday afternoon, he’d hosted a friend from his school overnight. He talked about the things that had happened Friday night. Between what he knew, and what I heard after I got back, it seems to have been quite a weekend here. Apparently, last year, during the hall retreat was the biggest amount of drinking in Villa. It actually makes sense, as the HD, AHD and some RA’s are gone. This year was no different.

Last weekend, we had a ‘Phantom Puker’, who puked all over the hall in A wing, down the stairs, and then on the carpet from the stairs to the door. It was not cleaned up, and discovered in the morning. Hendricks and a resident cleaned it up in the morning, but the stench was left, and an emergency steam cleaning had to be done. The fellow that cleaned it got called out, and gets double pay, so the cost of the cleanup was in the ‘hundreds of dollars’ according to the e-mail Fr. Pete sent out. As no one has come forward, there will likely be a hall fine to pay for the cleanup

Apparently, Public Safety (often called P-Safe) decided to check out Villa for drinking. I don’t know if it was related to the puker, the hall retreat, or something else, but they sealed off the dorm, blocking all the exits, and must have searched the dorm or something. I understand that the word of the party got out to the other 5 dorms, and something that big probably tipped of Public Safety.

The following night, last night, the procedure was repeated. This time, two keg were found in the dorms. From what I hear, there were kegs Friday night, but P-Safe missed them. The kickers–the kegs were in the Hall President’s room, and were purchased by an RA.

Not only were these people stupid enough to pull this off one night, but even after Public Safety sealed off the dorm, and managed to miss them, they kept them and had a party again the next night. I guess there was even a root beer social in the lounge, some say as camouflage for the party.

(I should note, that while the RA was over 21, the legal age, and the President may be, there seems to have been several (minor) residents at the parties. Not that having a keg is allowed in the dorms anyway, but these people were really trying to break as many rules/laws as possible!)

Seeing as the crackdown has become serious, chances are that UP will soon have two fewer students. The general consensus is that those in charge will make an example of them.

So that was what happened this weekend!

Busy, Busy, Busy

While we’re doing un-productive stuff in English, like learning how to use a the website to submit our essays (which takes all of 3 minutes) and reading a NY Times article about something related to the story we’re reading in class, I can’t help but think of all the things I still have to do.

I need to finish my Physics homework, get packed for the retreat, and take a shower. I’m in class until 12:20, then back to Physics at 2:40. It’s just lab, so I’m going to skip out early, because I need to be back in Villa at 3:45 so I can leave for the retreat. I’ll be gone all weekend.

Really, the only thing that’s a problem is that I didn’t finish my Physics last night. That threw off my plans.

Now off to the next class.

I started writing this post on Monday, now it’s Wednesday afternoon. No, I haven’t been writing the whole time…

I made a GoAway update the other day, for those of you who know what that means. If you don’t, no worries, chances are I don’t want you to.

Classes seem be going well. Physics and Calculus are definitely going to be harder this semester than last. Phys 2 is Electricity and Magnetism, which in itself is harder than traditional Newtonian physics, because you have experience with gravity and the normal force (what keeps you from falling through the floor), but not much experience in terms of electric particles. It’s just harder to wrap your head around. Plus, it’s a totally new concept to me. I hadn’t really learned any new concepts in Calc or Phys since I got here, although we did go into more depth, and I understood them better than I did in Physics, and with a proper math background. But now I’m on to new stuff, so it becomes a bit more difficult.


I did my laundry on Tuesday. I hadn’t done it since I’d gotten back from break, and I was to the point where I had one clean pair of underwear, and no socks that I liked. I still had a pair of the footie type socks, which I wore today–they don’t keep your ankles very warm when you’re outside.

Speaking of which, the last few days, I would have believed you if you told me it was Spring. We even got to the 60s last week! Not bad for January. I bet we’ll get some more weather before spring.

We had an ice storm a week ago last Saturday. It kind of came on through the day. Some ice was there in the morning, and by the end of the day, there was probably half an inch of ice on most flat surfaces. Not really that much, but it’s enough to make things pretty slippery. Going up hills is the trickiest part.

The way the campus lays, to get from my dorm to the Commons, in a straight line, you have to go down a set of stairs, about 3 stories, and then back up the other side, because there’s a big gully between them. The physical plant is down there. Or you can go around Mehling, and then you still have a slope, but it’s only about a difference of one story. I walked to dinner, and thought that it would be a better option to take the stairs than to try and slide down the hill. It took about two stairs before I realized that I really needed the railing to keep my balance. I was able to get there with no major mishaps. The way back, I went the other way, down and up the hill. I was walking with Nik, at this point. We made it down the hill ok, as there was grass alongside the sidewalk, and it wasn’t ice coated. Coming back up, you just had to walk slowly, and I ended up holding Nik’s arm for the last bit, as he broke his collarbone over break, and really didn’t want to fall. I went back out to try and take some pictures, but my camera really is no good with night shots. I was trying to shoot how the light from the lamppost shone off the icicles on the trees, but my camera insisted that the light was too bright, and couldn’t get the icicles. I did get one shot of someone’s tire that turned out ok, though.

While I was out there, I saw that several people had taken trays from the cafeteria, and were sliding down the hill using them as sleds. That looked interesting enough, and then they decided to hold on to the person in front of them, as go toboggan style. Turned out pretty interesting, with several crashes. I tried to walk down the hill to take another picture, and discovered the only way to keep your footing while going downhill was to practically run, and then hope you didn’t slip on the way down–which I did, but nothing but a wet spot on my pants and a bruised ego. I went back in, and a few of us ended sitting near the fire in the Villa lounge, just watching the fire for a hour or two. A few people came in later, and were playing music, and the whole thing was actually not nearly as boring as it sounded.


I’ve been working with the tech genius down the hall, Neil, to install Linux (Fedora) on my computer. I’ve long been hearing about how great it is, and figured that once I got my own computer, I’d try it out. So far, I’ve booted it twice, and figured out how to make the trackpad work. I’ll get into the system stuff later, I think. For now, I’m still using Windows as my primary OS. Anyone that has any cool Linux stuff that I need to do, or see, let me know.

Speaking of which, I got my e-mail set up properly, so I can now be contacted at nathan AT nathanoliver DOT net.


I’d better get going If I’m going to make lunch!

I have returned

Yesterday, I returned to my online life. I’m going to try and limit it a bit, though. I had the realization that rather than sit at my computer and complain that I didn’t have any real friends, and that there was nothing to do, I should try and spend more time out of my room, making new friends. Or making better friends out of my acquaintances. I’m still not very good at making new friends, but I can try.


It’s looking like I’m attending the Villa Retreat on the weekend of the 30. It sounds like it should be a rather neat experience. It takes place on the coast, as good place for a retreat. I just need to remember to get my homework in shape before the weekend.


Classes are looking decent this semester. 17 credits. I have Calc 2 and Physics 2, which look to be difficult, but Intro to CS (Java Programming) looks like it could be rather fun. We’ll see if I like programming for people other than myself.
Intro to Engineering Lab is entirely programming with another piece of software called MatLab, we’ll see how that goes. The professor underscores his key points by shouting them, and is prone to other fluctuations in volume, so class could be interesting.
That leaves Intro to Lit. Another class that looks to be a bit difficult. The professor I have is supposed to be pretty good. He tends to talk a bit quietly, though. On the first day of class, he told us he is getting professional help for a problem with muttering. Actually, with the engineering teacher and the CS teacher, who has Turrets, I have a fairly interesting bunch of teachers this semester.


I still have Calc homework that’s due tomorrow, but it’s my first class, and it’s at 12:55. Then I have CS lab, and am done by 6. Not a bad day, really. I think I’ll go to bed now and finish the homework in the morning.


Possible hiatus

Something that I went to caused me to start thinking; and I’ve become a bit burned out on the website business. (Or more busy-ness) Between the two, I think I will cease work on the site for a while. Things may still happen, but only because I want them to happen, not because I feel like I should. I may be a bit less active online, that is uncertain. I’m hoping that I’ll be a bit more satisfied with things when I return.

Needing a title

I realized today that “My Blog”, while descriptive, is rather bland. I don’t re ally have that many ideas, so if you have a better one, let me know.

So far, in about two minutes of thinking, all I’ve come up with is The Adventures of…[SOMETHING WITTY]. Any suggestions? I’ll post back in a few hours, if I think of any more.

Having loads of fun!

Yes, that last post was completely random, but true. I’m in the habit of wearing my slippers barefoot, and sometimes my feet sweat….


As I write this on my laptop, I’m sitting here waiting for the other computer to finish reformatting so I can begin to reinstall Windows. I had the bright idea that I could reinstall it and make the computer run faster. So far, I’m having a tough enough time making the computer run as well as it did before I started. When I re-installed this morning, I hadn’t set it to boot from the CD first, and thus was unable to reformat the hard drive. I tinkered with the bios this evening, and got it to reformat, and now it’s copying setup files back to the hard disk.

My biggest concern right now is getting the antivirus installed. Earlier today, it refused to be installed, citing some sort of error. I think that was due to the fact that I hadn’t re-formatted the disk. We’ll soon see.

I’ve got a few days to tinker with it if things still don’t work, as it is now Wednesday evening, and I don’t need to be back until Monday morning. The dorms open on Sunday, though. Of course, if I don’t get it figured out by Sunday, I doubt that another few hours will help.

Now it estimates that I have about half an hour left until the install is complete. I’ll keep you posted, as I’ll likely be online for quite a while, downloading new updates. SP2 is HUGE!

[EDIT 1/16: I forgot that I hadn’t updated the status of the home computer. I was able to download SP2 on the broadband connection at the High school–I visited, and asked one of the teachers if they minded me leaving my laptop in a corner for a while, connected to the network. 30 minutes is sure better than 45 hours! Everything else came together in the end, except that Norton support seems incapable of transferring our subscription from the old installation to the new one. They asked for the new ID, which I sent, they wrote back saying they needed the old one, which I didn’t have anymore, but sent in the order #. They wrote back, saying they now had our old ID, but I needed to send in our new ID. Seems they don’t read old e-mails. Now, the program refuses to show any ID# at all… I guess my parents will just have to figure it out. At least the computer came with a 90 day trial, which works again now that I reformatted.]


All today, I’ve been listening to music from an artist called Fishtank. It’s ambient music, written by a guy I know from online, who lives in England. It’s all written digitally. I really like it. Go check out the site, and pump up his ego, will you? He’s always complaining that no one likes his music, so if you feel inclined, leave him a comment on his forum.