5000 Hits, milestones

I had my 5000th hit on my website at 4:27 (Pacific) today! (I first created my site sometime in late January or early February 2004, but had less than 300 hits, including my own, when I moved to Statcounter in May 2004.) Not bad, considering the ammount of content on my site! And I just discovered I have another e-milestone coming up! < This is my 99th blog post, which means (obviously), that whatever I post next will be my 100th! Edit: Upon recounting, I realized that I counted one post twice, and messed up the mental math by one, and this is only my 97th post. I guess I have a bit more time to think up something fitting.

Next Year

Well, it’s official. I’ve signed a contract for my room next year. WE ended up with the room I wanted. I would say “room we wanted”, but Cean decided that it was my decision to choose the particular room. I had been pretty open about which wing, and he declared that he wanted to room in 2B/C. He said several times “I picked the wing, you pick the room”, and “I’ll be happy with whatever you pick”. It wasn’t so bad when he was planning to be gone, but plans changed and he was there after all. I had a signed form naming me as his proxy, which would have allowed me to sign his contract for him, and thus pick a room on my own. (All roommates are required to be present when picking a room, unless they have a proxy.) I feel like he would have preferred a different room, but didn’t want to say anything. I was thinking that we wanted a room in B wing, with the modular furniture, which allows more flexibility in how the room is arranged, and allows changes any time you feel like dragging the furniture around. He said something about wanting a river view, but when I asked him if he wanted one, he backpedalled and left the decision to me. As the view is not particularly breathtaking, and would have required a C wing room, I decided to go with room 227, which happens to be the room directly above Cean’s current room. Because I felt like it, here’s a diagam of Villa:

Villa layout.This year, I live at the green star, on the first floor (which is actually one story above ground level in C wing. The red letters are the wing designations, and I marked where the RA rooms are. The hall director is on the first floor, the AHD on the second. Next year, I will live at the blue star, on the second floor. If you hadn’t guessed, the front door is right where it says lobby. There is another door you can enter downstairs by the parking lot. The river runs roughly parallel to C wing, and off the bottom of the image. Obviously, scale is a bit off, as the halls are all about the same width.

I expressed an interest in being on the welcoming crew, and will find out about that next week. The welcoming crew moves in a week early, and assists the freshmen in getting their stuff to their rooms, as well as doing all the decoration for the move-in. There is a contest among all the dorms to have the most/best decorations at move in, and welcoming crew is a coveted position. I suppose it is partly because you get to come back (or leave home) earlier.

Not much new to report.


Housing Selection

The other day, I mentioned to Celtic that I was in the process of picking my room and roommate. Earlier this evening, she left me this comment:

wait – you get to choose rooms and stuff? You’re going to know before you even leave for the summer? Huh? How does that work? Is it one of those schools where every single student lives in residence the whole entire time they’re a student there?

This sounds so incredibly odd to me.

If the process is confusing to her, it is undoubtedly confusing to others, too, so I will attempt to explain it here.

The process begins a few weeks ago, when everyone decides where they will be rooming next year. If you will be off campus, then you are done with the process. Those who wish to room in the row housing (townhouse style) submit their applications just before spring break, and choose rooms the week they get back. You choose the group you would like to room with, and each group gets a point total, based on the number of credits passed, the number of transfer, AP, and IB credits, and the number of semesters previously lived in the row housing or on campus. There is a big selection night, and the group with the highest total picks first, until all the rooms are filled. Anyone who didn’t fit, or anyone left over (if a group of 7 winds up with a room for 6) can go for singles there, and anyone left over at the end has about 2 days to fill out an application for the traditional halls (dorms). Again, points re awarded, 50 for coming back to the same hall the first year, and 25 for each additional year you come back, as well as 10 points for each semester lived in University owned housing, one point per credit passed, and per IB or AP credit, and half a point per transfer credit. It is heavily weighted to people who are returning to the same hall, and to upperclassmen living on campus. Tomorrow night is selection night. They go down the list of people in order of points, (which has been posted, along with a map of rooms that are available), and when your name is called, you and your roommate(s) choose a room. It is done by highest individual point total, not group total.

If you are going to be a Junior or above, you have the option to “squat”, which means that if you can find enough roommates to fill your room, you can keep it out of the general pool.

This leads to quite a bit of figuring how high you (or your roommate) are on the list, and who is going for triples, and who wants to room in which wing, and so on. Cean, my roommate, probably had quite a few AP credits, as he has 10 more points than I do. He is ranked 19, and the list starts at 6, (due to people wanting singles and squatters), and counting out triple contenders, we are ranked 8 or so. We have our eyes on a few rooms in particular in B wing, and would certainly like to be in 2B/C. It is rumored that Jake will be in that wing next year. He is my RA now, and I really like him. In honesty, though, it’s not that I dislike the other RA’s, just that I don’t know them very well.

So by this time tomorrow, I will know which room I am in next year, and will have signed a contract and meal plan. I think we have a good shot at one of the better rooms, but if everyone else is looking at one of the same rooms, then we’ll have to go somewhere else. Cean wants to go to another event that night, and has signed a letter to let me choose our room for the two of us. We’ve come to the conclusion that we’ll room somewhere in 2B/C, and that any room is okay with him. I’ll try and get one of the ones in B wing, because they are the modular rooms, and if that fails, one of the larger ones in C wing, where the desks are built in. This means that if you want to loft/bunk the beds, you need to build the loft yourself, which means that re-arranging the room later in the year is out.

On the off chance that someone is really interested in the process, the Office of Res. Life has a website devoted to explaining the details.

I started a post today in CS lab, while I was waiting for the professor to get a chance to verify that my code worked correctly, but about that time, she finally got there, and I only wrote a sentence or so. It turns out that the lab instructions were written for an older version of the program, and part of the lab involved selecting an option that was no longer on the “Tools” menu. She was trying to figure it out, but ended up giving up. She had done it successfully on the computer her office, but she must have had a different version. I eventually did figure it out, with a bit of experimenting, and some help from Google, but it didn’t matter anymore. Oh well, I showed her that I’m capable of figuring things out, I guess. You know, half of the computer stuff I learn is from Google. I don’t know what I would do without it.

Being a Catholic school, we get a 4 day weekend for Easter, which is next Sunday. Classes end at 4pm Thursday, and don’t resume until Tuesday. I’m going home for the weekend, but were I not, I’ve had 2 other invitations to Easter dinner, one specifically to me, and one blanket invitation. But I want to go home, and we’re having some company over there. Not that I have to go home, but that’s always nice, at least for a few days. I can see why some people are so anxious to get back, though.

I’d better get back to work, so that’s all for now.



Time for another content update. I know that if I don’t do it tonight, I won’t get to it for another quite a while. There’s a bunch of stuff going on this weekend, and I need to sit down and finish an essay for a scholarship application. I’ve already got someone working on a letter of recommendation, so I definitely have to get this off. That and my mom is threatening me if I don’t. I need to get a good quality essay, too. There’s also an all hall (but optional) service project tomorrow morning, which I may attend, and my uncle has invited me to his house for dinner Sunday. Which reminds me, I need to remember to call him back about that. I told him that I was interested, and he mentioned picking me up here, but we never finalized a time or location.

I’ve been doing a lot of writing this week. I have a partial draft of the scholarship essay, and Monday, I got my first essay back from my English class. He didn’t like the paper terribly well, partly due to paragraph structure, partly due to a thesis he thought was too specific, and partially because it was about 4 lines short of filling the third page. I got a C-, with instructions to resubmit the paper on Wednesday. He suggested I visit the writing center to get help on the paper, which I did Monday evening. Rewriting the paper was made more difficult by the fact that I got the paper back exactly one month after I last turned it in. On the flip side, I was able to look at the paper from a new angle.

I turned it in Wednesday, and I now have the potential to score as high as a B-. The paper is one of two shorter ones for the class, and there is one longer paper for as the take-home final. He has said that a good second paper and final leaves open the possibility of an A- in the class, but it looks more likely that I’ll get a B or lower. While I’m told is not unusual for college, I still prefer getting an A to a B.

As a side result of all this thinking and writing, every time I tried to answer Kitten‘s five questions I just didn’t feel like doing them. So no, they aren’t forgotten, just greatly delayed.

The last few weeks, I’ve been suffering from some sort of laziness disease. Sometimes, I just don’t want to do my work, and I feel like I should just go to bed. This happens more often in the afternoon, so perhaps, I’m just down on sleep. It’s not spring fever, because I don’t want to go outside, although I do like getting out in the nice weather. It can’t possibly be senioritis, as I’m nowhere close to graduating. It’s spilling over to other things, too. I would like to get a decent blog post going, but I just don’t feel like it. Midway through this post, I just got up and left, going to the Cove for a snack. Then I got back, and talked to people for a few minutes, and finally got back. All I can muster the urge to write is this last paragraph. I’m warning you now, future updates may be a while on coming. (Of course, by posting this, I virtually guarantee that I will have 2-3 posts in the next week.) At any rate, it’s off to bed for me.


5 Questions

As part of the latest craze to hit the blogosphere, I asked Cel to give me five questions. Here they are, now with answers, too!

1. You’re at an ice cream bar, with every type of ice cream and topping imagineable. What do you put on your sundae?

Surprisingly, I saved this question to last. I would definaltely include chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, and some chocolate sauce. Probably some vanilla, too. I’d skip the cherries, and whipped cream doesn’t really make the ultimate list, either. Probably chocolate chips, and maybe a caramel sauce, or a Heath shell. Not necessarily all at once, though.

2. What’s your favourite colour, and why?

Red. I don’t remember why I chose it in the first place, but I remember (at a young age) thinking that I should change my favorite color to red. Actually, I think was related to the fact that Benny, the youngest character in the Boxcar Children series, liked red. I really liked those books when I was younger.
I still like red, partly because it stands out. I have a few red knit shirts, and I like to wear them. Some years ago, my parents let me choose the color of my room, and I chose red. I liked it then, and never minded it. My room was painted an off-white color when I left for college, though.

3. How would your closest friend/family member describe you? How would you want them to describe you?

You don’t know how long I spent, trying to figure out who would know me best. I think I would be described as nice boy, book smart, it not sreet smart. A good worker, and a good friend. Perhaps a bit of a procrastinator, and maybe a bit easy to read, but a nice guy.

Obviously, I wouldn’t mind most of those descriptions. The book smart thing and the easy to read things are somewhat related. When I look at my communications with other people, I sometimes feel like I’m not getting what they mean. I understand what they say perfectly, but as soon as I try and analyze why they said that, or how they really feel about me, or something else, I feel like I’m just guessing. On the contrary, sometimes people will react to me in a way that makes me think that they can read me like a book. I actually had a rant going about this, but I left it as a draft. It’s like times when I’m nervous about making some silly announcement over the intercom at work, like announcing that a customer’s lights are on, and then I do it, and three people will compliment me on making a good announcement. I know that it wasn’t good enough to be worthy of a compliment, so it must have been that they thought I needed encouragement. As it turns out, I appreciated it right then, but I very soon got to wondering how well I can be read. There have been other instances of this, too. All in all, I’m happy with myself, and my image.

4. What tv show do you never miss? What’s the big attraction to it?

Here is one area where I differ from most folks my age. I have never been really big on television. My family hasn’t, either. We even went almost a whole year without TV, about 3 years ago, after the cable rates went up again. Basic cable now comes with about 50 channels here, and we mainly watched the news, and a few shows, maybe 3 things per week. Later, we got satellite, which was cheaper, and has more channels.

Consequently, I’ve never had a show that I would never miss. For a while, though, I was watching every episode of “8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter”, which I thought was pretty funny. That was before John Ritter died. I haven’t seen the show afterwards, yet. A few summers ago, TV land had The Three Stooges on every afternoon, and I often watched that, but then they stopped showing them.

I guess, actually, my family also watched “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”, and watched most episodes until ABC decided to have it on about 9 nights per week. Then we just kind of stopped watching. We aslo watched “Diagnosis Murder”, “Touched by an Angel” and “Kids say the Danrdest things” regularly, while they were on. Both Cosby and Dick Van Dyke are rather funny.

5. What are your top 5 books of all time?

If you asked top five Authors, this would have been a much easier question. I would probably list Agatha Christie, Tom Clancy, John Grisham, Mary Higgins Clark, and Stephen Coonts. Books is harder. I think I’ll just list some that I enjoyed.

Seven Dials Society, by Agatha Christie (or some similar title with “Seven Dials”)
And Then There Were None, by Agatha Christie (Also published as “Ten Little Indians”)
The Client, by John Grisham
Red Storm Rising, by Tom Clancy
The Borrowers, by someone who’s name I’ve forgotten

So there you have it, my 5. I’ve put in for another few, over at PDP, but I think the craze may be over. If you want a set for yourself, give me a holler, and I’ll do what I can for you.

(I’m too lazy to go to Celtic’s Blog and get the official ending, so this will have to do.)

I want to say _something_, but I’m too lazy to type much.

A bit of explanation about the camping trip. The Villa Bible Study, called “Stible Buddy” for reasons that go back longer than I’ve been here, decided that it would be cool to go camping for the first weekend in spring break. The plans came about on kind of short notice, so there were about 10 of us that ended up going, as well as one person from the Christie Hall Bible Study (CHUBS, but the origin of the U is unknown) who was able to make it. Five from Villa came back Sunday leaving 6 there last night.

We about 1:30 Monday afternoon. Having no major homework, I hung out with several of the people who had gone camping, and a few others that are still in Villa. We went on a quest to find a copy of “Karate Kid”, which somehow became the video everyone wanted to rent, and also got Pizza. I’d never seen the movie, but it was decent. It ended way too fast, though. The whole movie is building up to the competition, and the movie ends as soon as the final point is scored. No awards, no wrapup with the guy who lost, or the sensei, just the end credits. That bothered me.

We got to watching flash videos from the internet, and then other stuff. I’ll post more about the campout later, after I go home, and have had a chance to unpack and decide what all is interesting enough to mention. I’m leaving here late Tuesday morning, and have a bunch of stuff that I should pack. I’m looking forward to sleeping on a real mattress tonight, and going home to MY mattress should be even better.

I also asked Cel for five questions to answer, as part of the latest craze to hit the blogosphere. They are below, as a teaser. Answers will likely be posted before I resume classes next Monday.

1. You’re at an ice cream bar, with every type of ice cream and topping imaginable. What do you put on your sundae?

2. What’s your favourite colour, and why?

3. How would your closest friend/family member describe you? How would you want them to describe you?

4. What tv show do you never miss? What’s the big attraction to it?

5. What are your top 5 books of all time?

Some of these will require a bit of thinking. I will put some thought into these, though.



That was today?!

So as I compose this post early Friday morning, I am trying to remember back to the beginning of today, which sure seems like a long time ago. See, I’m not up early, I’m up late. I got up about 10ish Thursday, and wrote Jake a message on his board, about the upcoming campout. I went and worked on my EGR homework (which must be done on the computers in the labs, because I don’t have the necessary program) for a while, discussed with Eric how the formula we were supposed to use seemed to have an error, as it required the factorial of zero, and then worked some more. I was then writing the code, and forgot to include the condition that would prevent the (as I thought) illegal calculation of STUFF/0!. It returned a value, not an div by zero error, which made me wonder, and I discovered that according to both the computer and my calculator, 0! is 1. Conceptually, factorial is the product of all the integers from one to the number, so 5! = 5*4*3*2*1. Logically, 0! should be 0.

I decided that the computer probably wasn’t wrong, and left it at that. I went to lunch, and then to Calc class, and talked to Eric (who is in my calc class, too) about my discovery. We then asked the prof before class, and he explained a bit about the gamma function, and how using this function, you can get a formula for the factorial of non-integers, and for things like 0. Then he thought a bit, and realized that the question fit almost perfectly into what we were doing today, which is review for the integrals test, including integration by parts. So we covered it in class.

I came back to Villa, checked with Jake to see what he had to say about the message, and called home to tell my dad that it turns out that we were covered, and didn’t need him to come in this evening with firewood for the campout. I went to Howard hall to check out a sleeping bag, and then realized that riding my bike over there to save time might not have been the best idea. I was able to re-arrange the pad and sleeping bag so I was capable of riding back, but it took a bit of work.

I went back to the engineering building, finished my assignment a few minutes before class, but then realized that I had forgotten to account for the (somewhat lacking) speed of the printers, which are quite likely older than me. So I waited a few minutes, and then had to go to the lecture late, and without my assignment. He let me go and re-print it after class, and I don’t think he’ll deduct, as the time stamp on the printed page is about 5 minutes after the lecture ended. I wasn’t up there still working on the assignment.

I went over to the commons for dinner, and then went back to Villa. As I came back, I heard a bunch of people in the lobby, and remembered that there was the Villa BBQ tonight, and that I had signed up to have a meal taken from my plan, so I could eat there. So I had a burger. I miss breakfast often enough that I rarely use all my meals, anyway. I watched the second half of “Joe Dirt” for the second time, and then the BBQ was over.

About an hour later, I went back to the lobby to watch the third preliminary match in Villa Jeopardy. I had intended to sign up, but hadn’t gotten a partner. Wednesday, I went down to watch, thinking that I might be able to recruit someone else, as I knew there to be a few empty slots. It worked, and I recruited Luis to play with me. The team that won our match hit some lucky breaks, including being made up of an avid “Family Guy” fan and a sports fan, as two of the categories were “Family Guy”, and “WCC Mascots” (our school competes in the West Coast Conference, WCC). The questions were a mix of general trivia, and stuff specific to the school and the dorm. We did well over all, and doubled our score to 6000 in the final round, but not enough to win. But as there were three qualifying rounds and four positions, there was one wild card slot, to be given to the highest scoring second place team.

The three teams competing in the third round made a poor showing overall, and our high score (second highest among all teams) put us in the finals, played immediately following the third round. We took a (small) early lead, and kept it through the end of the double jeopardy. At this point, we had 3400, and the remaining team had 2000. (Two of the four had negative scores at this point, and so were not eligible to continue.) The category was “Founders”. We went conservative, and wagered 601, which would have put us one point over the other team if we both got the question right.

The question came, and was to give the (correctly spelled) full name of the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, the order of priests who run UP (this school) and Notre Dame. I wasn’t expecting that question, but given the rest of the questions, I should have. We did not know, but fortunately for us, they didn’t either. That left Luis and me the victors. We will each get a $20 gift certificate tomorrow, to a local restaurant. That was an unexpected bonus, I had just wanted to compete for the title.

After Jeopardy, they started setting up for Cafe Procrastine, (slogan: “Everything else can wait.”) and as I actually didn’t have anything to procrastinate on, I helped set up a bit, and then stayed out the whole time. I helped Hendricks clean up afterwards, partially. He’s going to save the dishes to tomorrow, which I don’t mind, as I didn’t really want to do that anyway.

Several people stayed in the lounge after, including Cean who was playing guitar, and Lindsey and Sheena, who were conducting an informal survey on men’s opinions on women. The question posed to each male that entered the lounge was something like:”Imagine your ideal woman, except that she has no soul, or insides. Describe her.”, or basically, what (superficially only) was considered hot/beautiful. Answers varied, but almost always included the qualifier “and not too skinny”. Lindsey had been discussing this in a class, and was interested to hear what men actually thought. This led to a whole discussion, and then the secondary question, which is the exact opposite of the first question. Interesting topic, but one that is hard (for me) to speak on. It most likely comes from my relative lack of experience in the area.

We stayed out talking quite late, and then some of us decided to play Settlers of Catan, the game that took a few hours when we played it on the retreat. It was well after four o’clock when we finished.

I came back to the room, talked to Nik for a while, replied to a few things at PDP, and got the update on the Jonathan Maas story. See, the former administrator of Aloof, where I hosted my website, is named Mike Judge. There is another Mike Judge, famous from Saturday Night Live sketches, Beavis and Butthead episodes, and the movie Office Space. The Mike I know received a piece of fan mail the other day, and decided to reply back. The fan asked for a job as an assistant, so we’ll see how this unfolds.

As I’m writing these last few sentences, I looked outside, and realized that it’s getting light. I only have one class tomorrow (the other two were cancelled), at 11:30, and it’s just a lecture. I’m still planning on going, because it’s my Java class, and were in the thick of methods and classes, which I haven’t ever used before. I’ve heard of them, and understand the concept pretty well, I think, but the odds are if I skip, that’s the day he’ll assign something in class, and explain the secret password, that if stored as a string to a particular variable, will give an automatic A on the next assignment, or some equally critical concept. And I can’t justify skipping just because I stayed up late, when I stayed up just having fun.

It’s amazing how fast it gets light. We’re due for sunrise any minute. I think I’ll go to bed and miss it. I’ll get enough sun on the camping trip, which I just realized I never got around to explaining, and I’m not going to start now. We leave Friday afternoon, and get back Monday, so I’ll explain the details when I get back.


[EDIT 3/14: Cleaned up a few typos, added the Gamma Function link, as I realized that I was one of the few sites ranked on Google talking about the “factorial of non-integers”.]