Doom, gloom, and my nice room

| Monday, October 26, 2009

My dreams have been getting a little more violent, a little more disturbing than I'd really like to explain, but it kind of made sense after getting back my Assembly test today. As soon as I saw it I slipped it onto my laptop keyboard and closed the lid. My laptop: a fancy folder for things of shame. While he went through each question of the test on the projector, I sang pretty songs to myself in my head and played movies overlaying the scrolling gibberish code on the projector screen. Movies of people riding roller coasters, raising their arms, squinting, laughing, hair flapping in their faces. Some of them fell into giant meat grinders. I tried to keep them on for the most part.

I have a job now, and even though it starts at 7am, I like it well enough. The tasks are simple and not unpleasant, and I enjoy the stillness of the early morning. I worked alone, which I'm also fairly used to.

Things are really coming down now, though. The tests were last week, but I'm buried under labs and miscellaneous homework now. And I don't know what to eat. I had a Pepsi for lunch, and to be honest, I think that did more for me than a full lunch could've done at that point. Not that I have the food now to make a full lunch. Remaining quart of milk goes bad, and boom, suddenly I have nothing to eat--or at least I have no creative ideas at the moment.

On the bright side, my room is nice. Over the weekend I cleaned up the place. I vaccuumed, turned off the heater, and aired it out completely. I played LCD Soundsystem and Kraftwerk while I krafted hooks out of paperclips (mmm, using wire cutters and pliers makes me feel manly) and hung scarves from the walls. My room was transformed from a depressingly blank muggy and yeasty bedroom cell to an open, airy, colorful and comfortable living space. I left my door open while I was polishing my work, and some neighbors actually walked in and stayed to chat a bit. They were not software majors. I'll have to take a little effort to keep it this nice. I should leave my door open more often, too.

Another 5-hour night of sleep, then labs labs labs.

When the sensible people have all logged off.

| Friday, October 16, 2009

Something for pure aesthetics. Maybe something with
unspilled saliva, unspoken tears of consolation,
something to make up for unpaid dues. Lines
of English devoid of purpose or any sort
of profundity. Maybe some big words
the kind that isn't used all that
often, to give it a sense of
uniqueness? Though the
feeling isn't really
unique. People feel
empty all the time
People stay up
late at night
all the time
for reasons
like me

And when I do decide to go to bed, how wonderful
these vivid dreams are. Sure, they're strange like
most dreams you hear babbled from your friends when
you don't really care to know the details of nonsense
but it's mostly the feeling I crave. The nicest plays
out after waking up first from the sounds of the morning
all happening around me while I continue to sleep in, now
slightly roused from the deep dark state of rest, my brain
revving its creative engine to feed me stories of some world
I've never been to but is incredibly familiar. What stands out
most about it is how fun it is. It's fun. Forget games, forget
watching television or movies. This is even more real. Feels
even more real than real life sometimes.
It's bold, so full
of color and feeling. I don't even remember most of what
I experienced in these dreams, but I remember waking up
and seeing the clock, not wanting to see the clock
but my body somehow knows the time and why it is
crucial to my success in life. In real life.
Real life. I'm happy in real life, I know
I am. Things are going well. Maybe I
am not living it totally the way
I should, but I try sometimes

And the hardest things to put into words
even in senseless varying lines of prose
will stay locked in. Dust will settle
and details will fill the ridges
and whatever keeps me up tonight
will take a Vicodin.

I see you, and you, and you.
I can only imagine how you're feeling.
I wish I could help, but I'm not sure how.

Some people's avatars are plain ridiculous.

| Sunday, October 4, 2009

Talk about cravings. And all I'm doing is reading music discussions on a site. There was no warning, no warning.

(I hotlinked all these avatar images. Sorry if that's a problem.)

I love the detail in this shot. You can see how fresh the syrup is, and I can almost smell the tang of the raspberries.
Raspberry waffles

Are you serious? These brownies, I would stab all three with a single fork and NOM.

Is this chocolate milk? Yeah, I'd need this to wash down the waffles and brownies.
I don't even know

I don't even know what this is, either. But I would eat the heck out of it.

Fries are always good. The topping looks like thousand island dressing and mustard, but it doesn't matter--a little salt after all this sweetness would be fresh.

Yes please.

Mmm, how pretty and dainty! I do love chocolate.
Chocolate cake

A very simple and elegant avatar, great shot of this cherry tomato. I love fresh tomatoes.

I don't care that this is supposed to be witty--I like pie crust, a lot, and I like what's inside of it too. With neither a laugh nor smile I would pluck that thick pi symbol out of the top crust and enjoy it before digging into the rest.
pi pie

Mmmm, more waffles. Shaped like hearts, no less! How cute! Is that supposed to be dipping sauce? Maybe not, it looks like strawberry yogurt. I would still try dipping them though. I love how homecooked and real this photo is.
heart waffles

Uh, bacon. This would be a no-brainer.

My first lunch at school this year

| Monday, September 28, 2009

I have an hour for lunch between Differential Equations and Assembly Language, and after a pretty alright first day so far, I felt like cooking a little. I'm mostly happy because I didn't take so long that I had no time to eat, but I'm excited enough now to be writing a blog, so who knows.

Just to share:

- one potato
- one cheapo Bar-S hot dog
- onion
- seasoning... or soy sauce
- Adam's crunchy peanut butter?

First I followed this WikiHow to remind myself how to microwave a potato so I didn't have to wait for it to cook in the pan. By the time I got to the kitchen I forgot the times, but I popped my fairly small potato in there for 3:30, which worked fine. Less might have been better--it was incredibly soft and flaky.

While it was in there I chopped up a slice from my onion and got the pan ready. When it was warm I dropped in the onion and let it sizzle, and I quickly chopped and added the hot dog. I had no spatula so I used a plastic spoon/handle of my paring knife to move things around. The potato came out and it had cooled enough to handle, so I mutilated it a bit and threw it in too. They weren't moving around in the pan very well because of a lack of oil, and I slightly panicked because I didn't have any in my possession. I turned down the heat and fetched the peanut butter from my room added a dollop to the pan, and it made things stick in clumps, while some of the peanut butter just burned on the pan. But I did the best I could to mix it up with my paring knife handle and quickly moved on. I felt weird to add soy sauce just after the peanut butter, but I sprinkled some in. It sizzled satisfyingly. I shook the frying pan around a bit and I was done.

meat n potaters

I was a bit afraid to taste it, but I figured the worst it could taste like was potatoes and cheap meat covered in peanut butter and soy sauce. Indeed, that is what it tasted like, and it was not that bad. It was actually kind of good, and the crunch provided by the undercooked onions and peanut butter was fun. I glanced at the clock and saw I had only taken 20 minutes to prepare and cook the whole thing.

This is only my first self-cooked meal at school (ramen doesn't count) and I am glad to not be scarred. I know it's dirt simple but it's a first step, and I want to chronicle my progression.

Time for Assembly!


| Saturday, September 19, 2009

It'd be some sort of infinitely huge building with a billion lounges/soundproofed rooms, and you can plop down on a cushy chair and access any music you want to. You can say the name of an artist or a name of an album or just a genre, and a sexy robot will bring you a tray of albums. If you wanted to though, you can look at the Top 10 charts posted on the walls, or look through the lovingly arranged scrapbooks placed on bookshelves around the room.

Of course you might see people in the same room, even looking at the same things you are, but everyone would politely and quietly share--you are all there for the same reason: music. You see people writing comments on a post-it on an album. You see people listening carefully to music through high end headphones to confirm the quality. You see people opening their backpacks or duffel bags of CDs and vinyls and registering them with the robot.

But if you want to socialize with these other people, then the giant dining hall/courtyard is the place to go. There are clubs, discussion tables, and help desks. Some people even settle down and play music for passerby. This is also where bulletin boards are placed for people to post want ads for albums.

This massive, bustling community--any old outsider can't see it. There's some sort of entrance, maybe, but the rest is a mirage.


| Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Out of the last 10 blog posts, I've only published 3 of them. That's a lot of drafts. That's just how it's been recently. I have a thought, an idea, then poof. Something goes awry and nothing happens.

I really miss writing, and I wish I had the energy for it like I used to. I still get lots of words sometimes, particularly when I'm tired so that language part of my brain ripens like wine. But I splatter this wine through speech (me? being social at work?!) or through text on the internet (I've found some people on Facebook don't appreciate my comments). Discourse, that's good, but there's something to be said about writing for myself. Journaling. Or writing essays, articles, reviews; writing pieces of that nature, for posting on here or anywhere. Things that maybe others could find useful, something I can take a little pride in creating. Of course it's more of the latter than the former, but I'm convinced it's still a good thing. But it takes energy.

Where has my energy gone? It's probably tangled and soaked by the messes I've got everywhere else. That's both literal and metaphorical. I'm a slob, and the task of cleaning my room has been pending for the last three months, or since whenever I moved back from school. I take slight relief in moving out for school again, to be forced to shove everything in boxes again to remove from this war zone of a bedroom. Halfway-started projects lie waiting for a better day everywhere I look. This is another reason I cannot clean my room. This computer taking up most of the table space? I need to buy a wireless card/wifi dongle for it. I also want to buy a bigger hard drive for it, but I'm not sure what brand to trust for it. CDs are scattered across that desk waiting to be ripped or scanned, but I have not plugged my scanner in yet because the cord for it is somewhere I've forgotten. Documents, letters, and to-do lists tangle among the clothes, electronics, and other random objects on my bed. My laptop, resting on my pillow, has been running for 312 hours at this time. I feel like my karma is wearing thin with every day I go without contacting the friends and family I've been wanting to contact.

Multitasking. That's what I think I'm doing, and sometimes I even fancy myself good at it, but I'm not. All these unfinished projects are a result of my badly trained working memory. This brings me to an article I saw the other day on Lifehacker which felt all too true for me. So I need to get back to doing one thing at a time, right? At least when it matters. Or, I could go the evolutionarily dominant route, and give up. Just drop my little projects. Yeah, just close Firefox, close these 25 tabs acting as 25 reminders of little tasks I for some reason feel like I need to get done.

Scrap it.


Food for thought

| Thursday, July 30, 2009

What if you die next month? Next weekend? Tomorrow? You never know what's around the corner. One little faux pas, and it could release horrendous consequences that extinguish your flame like a thumb and forefinger. Gone.

Gone. With no time beforehand to protect your computer.

unshifted on Reddit narrates a potential posthumous happening:

They'll have to learn how to use computers after you die. Who else can [your parents] turn to? Then one day while feeling whimsical, they'll go through the files on your computer. They'll find some papers you wrote ("He sure was a smart kid, wasn't he?" they'll say, teary-eyed). Then they'll find some political cartoons you've saved. It will remind them of you. Their loss will feel real to them all over again.

Then one of them will say, "Aw shucks, we need to update the pictures we have hanging around in the house. He probably has a couple pictures of himself on here. What's that thing we learned in that computer literacy class we took to honor his memory? Ah, yes. We'll just search for pictures and movie files. We'll be able to find the right ones." Then they'll see it. The search results for E:\Program Files\AIM95\config\default.

It's all downhill from there. They'll change your epitaph to "Here lies Liru. Filthy heathen sure loved tentacle porn."

Quote from a thread on Reddit on this topic.


| Sunday, July 19, 2009

When I get hit by a thought of ✺, I get incredibly nauseous. For as long as ✺, the feeling lasts. No matter how busy I am. I want to puke everything I ever ate, everything I ever drank, everything I ever felt or smelled or heard or seen. I want to shovel out everything I've absorbed from other people and everything I've developed myself to be. I want to gut myself of every impurity ever touched or conceived and

I want to say ✽

but no matter what, my words will appear clear as glass, and the option to hold and feel their weight is unavailable. My words can only ever feel the impact upon the ground when swept away, so all I can do is box them in cotton for storage. Nothing is changed either way.

Six months stretching into forever. Sad part is, I deserve this. As long as I'm alive though, I believe I should live; but how can I live full when I am periodically shot ✺ around blind corners?

I can't ✽✺.
I can probably ✽myself.
It should be easy but I make it hard.

Just an Example

| Thursday, July 9, 2009

Textbooks love using examples. It's a way to illustrate the information in a real-world setting. It's a way to repeat everything they just said in a different format. And especially when featuring a hypothetical John or Betty, it can be a nice creative change from the dry informative bulk. I can appreciate all of that, especially on technical topics that don't entirely click in my head until there is some sort of hands-on connection.

Writing and speech textbooks use examples a lot, too, but this is where I start to wonder whether examples become overkill. Writing and speech classes usually require a lot of thinking and writing on my part, and although the lectures and reading are pretty catalytic to the learning process, the actual project is most of it (including planning, writing, revising, and reflecting). When having to read this textbook before starting on a large writing assignment, I'm interested in what insight it has to show me, but in a concise format, please. Paragraphs slow me down. I want lists and tables. With long reading assignments, I usually skip paragraphs and try to focus on the main points, sometimes reading deeper if I want to know more about one. But sometimes paragraphs are all they've got. It's annoying, because that's especially when without warning, they will start in on an example. Like this.

For example, Toni, a recently graduated computer engineer,

I stopped right there. Toni? That is a girl's name. I scanned the next few sentences and confirmed that yes, Toni was a she. Well excuse me for acknowledging this as a little uncommon, but we all know that out of a handful of computer engineering graduates, you're probably not going to come across a female until you grab another handful or two. I don't have a problem with other women in that field, obviously; I'd totally be fine with more. I'm just a little taken aback at how deliberate that is.

Why do they do this? Is it to make the example kind of pop out as an interesting one, like "Ah that's pretty cool, a lady in engineering in a position of power in a firm, I wonder what her deal is"? Or is it just to offer diversity, like how they put stock photos of happy minority figures on company webpages? Or maybe it's to keep PC-weenies from stopping in their tracks in their edumacation to go "Why do all computer geeks have to be men?!" Well good for them--I stop in my tracks at the opposite. (I guess they just can't win.)


Maybe these things are subtle details that shouldn't require a second thought, but I really can't help but notice. I'm not sure what that makes me. Maybe even... my outrage was just a giant excuse for me to procrastinate on my reading.


| Thursday, June 25, 2009

Farrah Fawcett walks into heaven and is given one wish. She asks for all the children to be safe. God kills Michael Jackson.

Today's my mom's birthday!

Importing XML to MySQL Database: A little PHP script

| Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I backed up my database using myphpadmin by exporting to XML. Thought it would be dandy. Was wrong, because to load back to phpmyadmin, I have to have it in SQL format. Original database was no longer available. Thought I was in some deep shit, even though some people say you can "easily" write a PHP script to get it back. Which is true, kind of. You'd think, that with the number of people making this mistake, there'd be scripts out there available already for this.

Well, here's my little contribution.

Use when your XML file looks like this:


Here's a start to your script to load your table back in:
$table = simplexml_load_file("backup.xml");

foreach( $table->children() as $entry )
  $query1 = "INSERT INTO mytable ( ";
  $query2 = " ) VALUES( ";

  foreach( $entry->children() as $info )
    $query1 .= $info->getName() . ", ";
    $query2 .= "\"" . addslashes($info) . "\", ";
  // kill trailing commas and form into full query
  $query = substr( $query1, 0, -2 ) . substr( $query2, 0, -2 ) . " )";
  mysql_query( $query ) or die( mysql_error() );

  • I used PHP's SimpleXML. You need to be using PHP 5 for this to work.
  • This only imports one table.
  • Probably not the most memory efficient; for very large XML files this will probably time out.
  • I started writing this post and never completed it, but I saw it again today (7/19/09) and figured I might as well post... I've still got a thing or two to learn about prompt documentation.

Excavating Old Blog Posts

| Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I actually really miss my old It was poorly designed and poorly coded, yet it's utter simplicity and homeyness was irresistible to me, like a brand new cheap notepad just begging to be written in, absolutely anything. I love when I get that feeling from paper or software. It really nourishes inspiration. So I posted there pretty often. It didn't get too many visitors, but my faithful sister read it once in a while, :) so at least that pushed me to have just enough of a quality standard when posting. I loved it.

That ended when I moved to college. The server was taken down to be set in the dorm room (never to be used again, really, except to get info off of). At least I got the blog database information off before taking out the hard drive to try to house it in a different computer (which didn't work, so that one is now sitting dead on my desk). The problem was, I exported it in XML format. I figured XML was compatible with anything and everything. Right? The important thing was, last I saw, phpmyadmin could take XML to import data.


Preparing to upload the XML file to the myphpadmin that currently uses, I D:'d at SQL being the only file format option to import with. I even booted into Linux to try to import with myphpadmin on there, but it was the same. What happened?! I clearly remember back in the day, having to use XML to import to phpmyadmin... as I Googled this problem, it gradually settled that I probably remembered the complete opposite thing. I probably tried XML first because it was familiar, then had to use SQL. Everywhere I looked recommended SQL for backups.

What a pain in the ass. There were many others that made the same mistake as I, but nobody really had a solution. Of course there were several possible ways to go with it. I could learn MySQL's command line interface, and use ExtractData() in some way. If I knew "a bit of PHP" someone said I could "easily" write a script to read data from the XML file. Yeah, right. I saw that more than a few times, yet people would never give a starting pointer to work from. It is not easy from where I'm standing. I hate when they're so vague. was not til I Googled it while writing this blog post that I found the SimpleXML extension for PHP that does seem to make it quite simple to get data.

I'm going to work on this. I will get my old site back up, at least partially.

Pantsless Hero


It was early afternoon but I'd been getting up late so that was my breakfast time. Whatever. I was coming back from the school cafeteria, and I took a path through the large courtyard of the dormitories. Many people were hanging out here, scattered in small groups among grass, trees, and columns. I was not wearing pants. I pulled my shirt down to cover my underwear and felt glad I was wearing one of those extra long shirts. I hoped no one would notice. Nobody would notice. I'm one of those girls that wear super short shorts that you can't even see because the shirt covers the whole thing, right? I sauntered through slowly, gliding by, to not call any attention to myself, but looked around at all the groups. I passed a large group of guys, many of whom were in my major, so I recognized them. I think I caught one of their eyes but I turned away quickly and held my shirt down. I saw another sprinkle of people running from the side opening of the courtyard through the grass, falling and laughing.

There were many others coming back from getting food or going out to get food, so there was a bustling of people I had to get through to get to the right entrance. I saw, in annoyance, that the normal one was closed off for some reason. The fire exit stairway was open instead, so we moved up that. Only girls were coming up this side of the building. Which might have served as somewhat of a relief, but I felt none at all as I realized that not only was I pantsless, I was not wearing underwear either. My shirt was not long enough to shield me as I walked up the stairs. Everyone coming up behind me... they would not miss it...

We reached the top of the stairs where a sign instructed us to wait. Apparently it was some sort of dorm event. A girl spoke up. "Why are you... not wearing pants?" She made a face. All the girls were looking at me strangely, and I thought of something to say, because honestly I didn't have a good reason. There was a long, awkward minute while I had nothing to say and couldn't say anything anyway because there was a huge chunk of ice in my mouth that I couldn't melt fast enough. A different girl raised her brows and turned to her friend. "Okaaay? I guess that's a good reason too?" Her grimace broke into a giggle. I finally thought of a cop out statement and I knew I needed to speak, now, so I spit the ice out into my hand. "I dunno. I dust woge up dith way." Dammit there was still some ice in my mouth. I found a garbage can and spit the rest of it out. "Like when I woke up I was in the courtyard and I was like this." The girls looked incredulous. I know, I know; it didn't make any sense.

However, something clicked in my mind as I thought of what I said: "when I woke up." Wasn't this a really common dream scenario? Heck yeah it is! I used to study dream symbolism. This kind of dream simply indicated your feeling of vulnerability in every day life or something. I knew now that I could have all their attention when I explained. But instead of telling all the fake girls sneering at me (they were quite literally fake) I excitedly turned to a rather ugly short and stout girl standing next to me and grabbed up her hands. "No no, guess what!" I exclaimed. "I just 'woke up' this way, and I'm not wearing pants. Doesn't this all make sense?" I looked into her homely face as it clicked in her mind as well. "Yes! Wow, this makes complete sense!"

She beamed at me and I turned around and opened the door out into the halls where the event was preparing. There was a row of cheerleaders and other event coordinators creating an archway of shaking pom poms and they were all cheering. For me. They were happy that I figured this out. I ran through them and turned the corner to another archway of cheerleaders all beaming and cheering at me, and I thought to myself, "This is ridiculous." I suppose this was better than the alternative--to have them stone silent and staring at me as I streaked past. So I just ignored it. I turned a few more corners taking the shortest path to my room. I found to my relief there were no more cheering people. However, pom pom batons hung on people's doorknobs in preparation for the event. I picked some up and pretended to be a cheerleader as I ran towards my door at the end of the hall. I laughed and threw them aside. In one leap, I grabbed my doorknob, opened it (to my relief it was unlocked), swung myself in, and closed it. Badass. Ninja. Yeahhh.

I was safe now, even though this room was dark, musty, and not unpacked enough to feel homey yet. I went to my bed which was piled high with junk, and as I laid my head down on a portfolio box I realized I was about four assignments behind in C++ programming. They were large assignments and were due today. I thought about how I just wasn't doing well in my classes overall. I barely spoke in my social studies class, which... normally I would, but it was so early in the morning I usually keep my mouth shut around that time and half-sleep and doodle my way through the class. My teachers did not like me. Shouldn't I start programming? A glimmer of hope and motivation was stamped out as I thought, what's the point... I'm already too behind. I fell asleep and proceeded to live inside another dream.

In Celebration

| Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I changed the layout of my blog so that the content has more than 400px of width to squeeze into. In celebration of this, I will clog up visitors' bandwidth by posting a selected handful of photographs. They are all wider than 400px. This is also a celebration of June, I guess, because these are all photos I've taken in the first half of the year 2009.

Not in any particular order.

Thank you.

Feel free to save/repost as you wish, though I'd appreciate a link; all people depicted in these photographs belong to their respective selves, etc etc.

Nothing But Sunshine

| Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I had a fairly crappy day. Vector Calc final. Felt like KILLING A FEW UNFORTUNATE BITCHES. Things got better mostly while I was sitting alone in my room, surfing and listening... but sometimes I'm so worn out that I don't know what I want to hear. Soothing electropop? Rude french house? Psychedelic goa? Brutal industrial noise? Or... hip hop?

At a pause in the music I remembered a sampling from one of Atmosphere's songs, so I located it and put the whole Atmosphere collection on shuffle. It's relatively rare when I choose to just listen to rap but when I do, I enjoy it. I must say, Atmosphere is my favorite rapper. His style always tends to put me in a good place, and his lyrics always tend to make me smile. I can think of more than a few quotes I'd love to share from his songs, but today one song stood out for me: "Nothing But Sunshine". I've only heard this song once or twice before--I admit, I don't regularly listen to everything I have by him--but when this came on I recognized it immediately. The friendly lo-fi melody on piano seeming to drip dust and yellow sun, and of course the untiring chorus:'s nothing but sunshine. It's all sunshine, it's nothing but sunshine. It's all sunshine, it's nothing but sunshine.

I looked up the lyrics and actually learned some things about Slug. He's not a bad storyteller either.
First verse:
Now when my mother died I had to take it in stride
There ain't no room for pride in watching your father cry
And dad made it until maybe a year later
When they found his suicide inside of a grain elevator
Got over it, I had no other offers or options
Thought about whether or not mom and pop was watching
Never bothered with caution, no time for fear
Saw my folks carry fear for most my early years
And I learned from it, turned numb and ignored the storm
A burning sun waiting for the world to plummet
Finished growing up under my uncle's roof
He taught me how to count all the way up to 100 proof
From watching him I learned how to gather nourishment
Living off the different women that he had to nurture him
And on the surface I became a normal pre-teen
More afraid of nuclear war than snake bites and bee stings
My best friend was my TV
Game shows and cartoons substituted for puppies, rainbows, and balloons
Now here I am, the shy type, and I think I'm doing alright
Considering what it was like living my life

How's that for some fresh optimism?

Atmosphere does this thing in a few of his best songs where near the end he throws in a few short lines, and repeats them as the song is drawing to a close. It's like the dessert at the end of a good meal. He does it in "Godlovesugly". He does it in "Smart Went Crazy". And he does it in "Nothing But Sunshine".
And I'm gonna be alright, and you gonna be alright,
You ain't gotta hold my hand, just walk with me tonight

Slug has this gift of telling me exactly what I need to hear.[/fangirl]
As gloomy, livid, and cold-faced as I get when I am forced to get in the math groove for finals (the reason I never made any friends in math), I'm gonna be alright, and so are you if you give me some goddamn space, but I still care about you always. Although maybe that's taking away from context. But I can think what I want.

Listen for yourself.
Youtube (full song + lyrics)

Smoke Rings

| Saturday, May 30, 2009

Finally got to light one of my sticks of incense today.

It's been a while since I've done that. The last time was probably at the end of summer last year. Smelling the smoke and the early season twilight, I felt like I had come full circle. Full circle, among many overlapping others.

Last time I sat in the grass with friends with a stick of incense was in a small field on the edge of the Portland Saturday Market. It was a bright and bustling summer afternoon, and we were fairly bored and restless. As we looked through a book of Post Secret postcards, a hobo joined our small circle of three and chatted us up. As strange as the situation was, I felt like I could not be happier sitting in that grass. I was soaking in the summer, memories of which were stained and blurred with the epiphany of first love. That summer burned away. Now is a new summer.

There was a welcome breeze tonight that required us to bring sweatshirts. The plan had officially been to come out and do homework outside. He had no problem getting busy on his programming assignments on his own laptop beside me, but as soon as I opened my laptop I had to close it again--the blue-gray sky and the green-brown scenery demanded my attention. It seemed a sin to ignore this beauty.

Looking around, I was pulled deep into the scenery. Not just the shapes and colors, but the feel and the smell and the relative silence. By no means had we walked out to some Klamath Falls viewpoint, either. We had simply settled on a dry patch of grass next to a tree in front of Purvine building.

Nostalgia. That's what I felt.

Was it the incense? Although my family was not generally a fan of incense, it was used at my grandfather's funeral in Japan. I was seven. I gazed at the friendly orange building lights on Semon Hall and thought of the light pollution in Sapporo, my first home. You could only see a third of the sky there due to the dense population of structures. Someday, I'm going to look back on this moment and wish I was young again, here again. I felt like I was in both the past and future. I might always feel like I have unfinished business, but I will try to live what I can. Is it possible to step back to try to fix something? Maybe, maybe not.

That stick of incense probably lasted 45 minutes, and for 45 minutes I intensely enjoyed doing nothing. I was often bored as a child, so I had learned to amuse myself when I had nothing to do. A necessary tool. It was still burning when we were ready to go, so I picked it out of the ground and we walked a path that we rarely took. The breeze on our backs synchronized the smoke with our pace. When I swung my arms, it left smoke rings by my side. We passed people on the way, others that were appreciative of the warm Saturday darkness. I had missed this. I dropped the remaining minute of incense in the cigarette disposal by the south entrance. I hoped it sweetened the bin, if even slightly.

It's when I rediscover an old friend on Facebook

| Thursday, May 21, 2009

By rediscover, I don't mean I become friends with them again. I mean we accept each other's friend requests and then never talk to each other, but (at least on my side) I look through their photos and check their status messages when I see them posted. Which isn't often, because they have a life.

I'm looking through an album she posted. She and her wonderful family and friends went to Europe. Absolutely breathtaking. The faces I used to know...

It's another of those evenings where I remember, I don't really know many people. I don't do much. I don't live a whole lot. Beauty is something I live for, and my search for beauty takes the shape of my mundane everyday activities-- reword, my chronic addiction-- the internet. Beauty in an ultra-accessible form. I can view images, download audio, and play films. I can meet and contact people all over the world.

But can I go to Europe? Can I feel like I'm part of something real?

The internet can be a lot of things. I could live my entire life in it, but I think I would fade off the earth if I did.

I exaggerate. I'm not that far yet. I still try to stay active in real life--go to events I want to attend and meet people if I have the chance to. I would get a job here if it was easier. It's strange but I miss working. There's a feeling of purpose in it. Even with a minimum wage job, if I get to personally help someone in need, stupid little things like they need their thermos filled with ice or they need a towel to soak up spilled juice with, if I get to help--then I have served a purpose. A +1 to my score to take the edge off the -1's. I guess I can go back to that, as much as I persist on getting some IT-related job over the summer to gain relevant experience.

I've been searching for jobs like that on and off the past few weeks, and something I've realized is that no matter how far I get, it's still hard to feel very qualified. Everyone wants a Bachelors and 5+ years experience. I thought things would be better for me after going into college. What has changed is that I am more "adult" than I used to be. Yes, my range of possible jobs have increased. I have a better chance of getting a job at Office Depot or WinCo now, or in other industries that the bulk of society looks down on. That would be a no.

Where am I?

I'm in college in pursuit of a degree that will help me get a good job, if standards don't keep rising (just an illusion, right?). I am almost done with my first year. I am getting a summer job to help the costs of school. I have made some new friends and lost some old friends. I am writing a blog that I will probably regret later, but for the sake of this feeling of clarity in my mind, I keep writing.

Where am I?

I am alone, but online. I am losing money, I am alone, and I have an internet addiction. I have art and beauty at my fingertips. I have the freedom to walk outside at any time and find my own morsel of beauty. I have the freedom to leave. To gather more silver, and lose the gold. Freedom, luck, love, and support. I have more than I can keep within sight at all times. I try to be optimistic. Forgive me.

Feels Right

| Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I just got caught up in another internet find: a fairly small collection of vignettes called For Some Reason it Never Feels Right. It is a first person narration of various events or thoughts from her life. I first found it months ago through Reddit as somehow, one of the vignettes had been upvoted enough for me to see it. It was the title vignette. It starts right off with its introductory statement: "In high school, I was sexually desperate." I read on and was captivated by how bizarre and embarrassingly blunt this short story was. I giggled and sadfaced and was taken aback but completely related, sometimes. I must've read it about 4 times total, through bookmarking and forgetting about it multiple times. It was only today that I found the rest of the series, and when I did, I read them all. I wish there were more.

Usually I satisfy these cravings for quirky stories of depressed people by reading my old favorite, You Don't Know Me by David Klass, but I had lent it to so many people that somewhere in the exchange it got lost. I used to read that thing at least once a year when things got stressful. So depressing but so charmingly funny. It always fit me into a good niche and gave me a strange sort of hope.

Now that I'm on the internet more often than not, and reading blogs certainly more often than reading books, For Some Reason it Never Feels Right was a welcome break from the rest of the silliness of the internet and everyday life (both of which I love, but anything can use a break). I just wanted to share.

Death from Below

| Thursday, May 7, 2009

OIT doesn't have a whole lot of "culture"--we're an IT school, and we know what we are: smart, white, geeky, and largely apathetic. There are small groups and clubs here and there that try to help culturize the place a little more (admittedly, I'm not in any of them) and their events come and go with relatively small fanfare. I don't even hear about most of them, because I don't read the daily newsletter every day, and I am usually too busy to stop and record some dates and times and locations of some of the things I would be interested in.

Even if I do, I often don't go because my friends are usually perfectly content with their local entertainment (TV, games, internet, and movies). It's fine, but I wish I had a couple other buddies to just go and do stuff with. People have those, right? Friends that are maybe more like acquaintances but they go and do stuff together because they have that in common at the very least? I don't get out much, so I don't have friends like that. Gotta love catch 22s.

To get back from a tangent, I was in a festive mood after OIT's annual sausage fest today--it was full of good wieners and phallic humor. Although I went to that alone as well, I was in pretty okay spirits, and I decided it could be fun to attend the poetry performance/comedy show. At first it was awkward as hell. I sat near the front in a corner of the center rows, and barely anyone was there. Gradually more people came in, though it was still a fairly medium-small crowd, and they filled the other three corners of that area. They came in groups but all groups seemed to know each other. The beautiful people. Some things never change. I felt increasingly gloomy in my empty corner until the lights dimmed and a soft glow of the spotlights filled the stage.

Dan "Sully" Sullivan and a Chinese man that I can't find the name of came onstage. Apparently Sully usually performs with Tim Stafford, but not tonight. The Chinese guy was really good though--I wish I could find him on their Myspace or remember his name when they introduced themselves in their laid-back way. Then, they launched into their introduction, which explained their name.

This is a TV performance of their intro:


Pretty intense. I wasn't expecting it.

Here's another one they did:


Can't find too much of their stuff on Youtube, but there they be. They're not that angry the whole time, haha, that's just what's online. They also did single-person poetry readings, both funny and serious.

There's poetry in book form, and there are poetry readings. They really are two completely different experiences! Both have those intricate weavings of creative language, but an actual performance is so filled with the poet's personal energy that instead of taking effort to follow text and random line breaks, the voice simply washes over you and carries you into another world. I loved it.

This was their last show on tour, and although we were a small crowd, I was glad that the beautiful people were so loud and supportive. I'm not a very loud person, myself. I went "Aww" when they said they were about to do their last poem, but it was a good one about capture the flag, about keeping their youthful spirits alive. It was fitting.

Art and beauty is what I live for. Although it might seem unusual to call comedy "art" or "beautiful", I'm talking about the energy of a live performance, and that is definitely beautiful. Not to mention their words.

I need to go to more events here at OIT. Even if I have to go on my own.


I talked to Sully at the end and shook his hand. He was selling his poetry booklets and CDs, but I had no cash at the time, and as I held his book he told me I could hang on to it. :) He even remembered my name when I said bye. Hee. What a good guy.

The CD can be purchased on their Myspace. I've torrented pretty much everything I've got, but I would definitely not feel dirty buying their disk.

Thank you for the entertainment.

Spring term so far

| Thursday, April 16, 2009

Another term, another required hardware class. "Computer Architecture" this time.

I love not having class til 11am every day, but that means Computer Architecture at 1pm and Vector Calculus at 2pm. The two horriblest times for class.

I have C++ at 11am, then at noon it's lunchtime, but I can't eat fast enough to remember to nap before my afternoon classes. So I have to sit in class and wait as most of my blood exits my brain and fills my abdominal area for digestive work. My teacher seems like a real good man, but I have a hard time with the lectures. There's like a buzz in my head that won't let me focus.

Sometimes I fall asleep. With my eyes open. With my hand still drawing. It makes me nervous when that happens.

Eventually we get out, and we go straight to Vector Calculus which is... I don't know if it's worse, but it's sure not any better.

I've got Professor -------, who has a bad reputation, but I chanced it because I have this sort of confidence when it comes to math, because my daddy was #1 mathematician at his high school. ------- knows he's got a bad reputation--he probably reads stuff on ratemyprofessor or whatever. If I was a professor, I know I would. He addressed our potential concerns about him first thing in our first class, briefly, by assuring us he gives out as many A's as he does C's. He did not, however, address our concern about his ability to teach and enlighten us with understanding of vectors and their mating rituals. It's a concern of mine that is still growing.

I felt clever one day and decided to read the book during his lectures instead, and it did work--I began to understand. But in recent days, I can't focus enough to even do that. I feel comfortably wedged in a stupid mindset of "Doo do doo, I'm in class and I'm not paying attention because he sucks at teaching so I don't even give a fuck." I need to snap out of it. I've been out of high school for a while now.

But it's so frustrating when I don't understand. When I see people that do understand, we're on such different levels, I don't even know where they are. I can't communicate. Then I feel dumb, which is unacceptable, and I proceed to stop caring. Or at least pretend to. And I draw more drawings with a hint of fucked up, because my hands like doing that, even when I tell them to draw something nice so that people don't think I'm weird, or creepy, or emo.

But I know my childish patterns. Things should be a-ok as long as I make buddy with lady luck.

New Stylesheet and other updates


This was a week or two ago, but I gave my main site a nice layout/stylesheet so it is presentable now. Before I had nothing--it was bare HTML, and it sucked. Not that it looks a whole lot different, because I like keeping it simple, but I think it looks tastefully minimalistic now rather than naked and error-page-esque.

And I have sort of a home page now! There's nothing there for now, but it's a good landing space--ties the site together, and I think later I'll put down some project plans there or something, general info about the site and what it's got. I don't know. But it's there and I feel better having it.

Take a look.

That's about all there is to it.

I got some files off my old server and I restored the old XSPF Playlist Maker back online. All the old playlists are gone--I still have them, but I doubt people are still using them today, so they're offline. That tool still works fine but it's a piece of crap the way it's coded and I might improve it if I feel like it.

The comment block maker is shiny and improved, and I've got a couple more options I'm thinking of adding. I'm pretty happy that at least a couple people are getting use out of it. The Myspace survey collector (not the answers, just the Qs) is still not implemented, but it'll be a fun project when I get a burst of motivation.

The links on this here blog are updated.

That's all.

Music vs Intelligence

| Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Results of the Study


I don't totally agree with the way it was conducted--he took the average most popular music of each college from Facebook and then took the average SAT score from each college from CollegeBoard. That's way vague.

But the results are still pretty funny in how predictable they are. It clearly goes mindless top 40 at the low end of the SAT scores to pretentious prick music at the high end. Lil Wayne to Beethoven. TI to Radiohead.

On the schools page of the report, #615 (in order of average SAT) is Oregon Institute of Technology. Somewhat disappointing. Top artists are Jack Johnson, My Chemical Romance, Incubus, and Country. It's incredibly white music though, I guess that's not so surprising...

NoiseAddicts, where I found this first, brings up some interesting thoughts:

Of course the (unanswered) question is, what is the relationship? Do you choose music based on your intelligence? Surely your personality has something to do with musical tastes, doesn’t it? Can listening to certain types of music make you dumb or smart? Do people gravitate towards a certain type of music because they are smart and think that it will make them seem smarter?

Something a little more sophisticated than Facebook stats might be better to answer those questions.


| Sunday, March 15, 2009

Passport.mid. We all know it (if we all used to listen to the midi files regularly in the days of Windows 95...) but have we ever heard it live? I searched for it. But I didn't find it.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, just listen to these. I used to bump it to this back in '99.

Now, some band out there should play and record themselves playing this with real instruments.

Headachio / iPhone Visitor / Frozubuntu

| Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I have a headache. It's not so bad as long as I stay on the computer listening to nice mindfuck music like Justice and doing nothing of real importance. When I stand up, it's as if an invisible brat swings an intangible 10-lb sack of potatoes at my head. It's like a gnarly bass tone with a little jazz and some heavy reverb buzzing from synapse to synapse. I just have to wince and do whatever it is I need to do--go to the bathroom, or close the window. Each step is another kick to the head. (At least I can perform these actions. I know there are worse headaches.)

Last time I had a headache like this, I took two Tylenols that Chris helpfully provided, and it did ease the pain, wonderfully. I never bought any pain pills for myself because I'm usually reluctant to take them--don't want to become dependent. Am starting to think that it's worth the risk though. Next time I go shopping, I'm getting pills.

And extra pulpy orange juice. It's underrated.

I was checking my cPanel earlier and saw that someone on an iPhone downloaded Prodigy mp3s from my site.

Agent: Apple iPhone OS v2.2 CoreMedia v1.0.0.5G77
I'd never seen that before. I teehee'd.

Ubuntu froze on me earlier today. I was listening to mp3s on Rhythmbox, apt-getting wine, and writing a message on Myspace. I didn't know what to think.


| Saturday, February 21, 2009

1. I made this comment block maker in PHP.
Hell yes.
Because they're required in our C++ classes, and I hate writing those by hand. It seems like such a waste of time word wrapping everything manually, making sure that all the asterisks are lined up, and if you want to edit the description later, then you'll have to edit every single line following the edit to make it look good. But now I can just use my tool! And everyone else can, too!

2. I fixed the middle shower in my hall.

All the showers here have their own characteristics. The one farthest from the door is generally the best, and you'd use the other stalls only when it was taken. The one closest to the door would only get used during the morning rush--that one was just cold. The middle one was alright, but it was just too... zealous? When you first turned it on, it would shoot water so forcefully and so outwardly that it would push the shower curtain out and make a wet mess outside (fortunately, there's a drain there). The curtain would stay shut once it got wet enough to stick to the tile, but the stream still seemed too forceful and steamy rather than showery, which is weird. Today I actually paid attention, and got an idea. The shower head was exactly like the one in the next shower, and they were going off the same pipe which would offer the same water pressure, right? Obviously! I examined the shower head, and indeed there were some blocked holes. I brushed off whatever seemed to be covering them, and it immediately calmed down and showered like the good shower.

Felt good.

Still left to do:

1. Homework
(a) C++ Chapter 10 (late)
(b) Humanities essay questions (late)
(c) Paper for Writing 122 (late)
(d) Game Maker Project Proposal for 104 (late)
(e) 10 Annotated Bibliographies for Writing 122

2. Clean my room

3. Write some more PHP scripts

4. Apologize


More doodles from the classroom

| Monday, February 9, 2009

I'm especially productive during Writing 122 this term.

Like below, I practiced drawing sideways.


That one I drew last term, near the end, probably during Digital Logic... I'm fond of the wrinkles in the shirt, I'm usually pretty crappy at that. I had no idea how the legs should should have gone though, I just don't know how to draw the lower half of the body yet. That's why I wish I could take a figure drawing class so I can get lots of practice. :( Too bad there's none at OIT. There's only one drawing class. Maybe it'll fit my schedule next term.

And then C++, relaxitating before a quiz. Didn't feel like cramming. There were too many doodles in my pencil.

This is my </3 song

| Sunday, February 8, 2009

Cut Copy - "Hearts on Fire"
Genre: Electropop



But it's such an addicting song.

I finally bought Tag&Rename

| Thursday, February 5, 2009

It's a program for Windows that tags & renames audio files.

I can be kind of anal about the way I organize my music, but I especially cannot stand it when my mp3 files have retarded naming conventions. It happens often because I torrent music constantly. Just look at these:

Messy, no?
Below is something I see more often, and it's even worse.

Although this naming scheme isn't that bad, I usually view my music files in the "Details" view in Explorer, and it's just not acceptable.

Do you busy yourself with that?
--Edgar, from King Lear by Shakespeare

Yes, yes I do, Edgar.

Below is my preferred structure for my music collection.

Genre, Artist, [year] Album (encoding or bitrate), Track# Title.mp3
Quality, am I right?

So I was using Tag&Rename a lot.

I'd been thinking about buying the program off and on for the past few months. I only had the trial version. I had tried more than one crack for it, but for some reason I could never follow the directions right, and I was stuck with having to reinstall every month after the 30 day trial ran out.

Until that stopped working too.

It was 4 in the morning, I had a few assignments due soon, and it had been a while since I had updated my music collection with my new downloads. It was past the 30 month trial for the nth time, and I'd carefully uninstalled, restarted, and reinstalled like I always did, but they must have fixed it because when I opened the program it showed me the nag screen at day 31 of my 30 days. If I had been a 1337 H4CK3R I would have found wherever they kept that info and modified it to my advantage (or have figured out the cracks in the first place). But alas.

I paced around, figuratively, going from Tag&Rename's site to various torrent sites to the program files folder to the Tag&Rename site again. $30. It wasn't that bad, and I would have it for a lifetime...

But there are open source options too. Like Ex Falso. That's what I used on Linux back when I had all my music on the other computer. After a few Google searches, I found that there were actually no open source tag/renamers for Windows.

Screw it. I went back to Tag&Rename's site and clicked through to the PayPal form. $30 wasn't too bad. Unfortunately there was some sort of fee for a service I didn't care to have but couldn't uncheck from the order form, and another fee for the PayPal service, so it came out to $40 or so in the end... ugh. Whatever. I had waited too long for this, I was just going to get it over with no matter what extra shit came up.

Did I really want to support a non-open source company though? This flickered into my mind as my cursor hovered ominously over the PayPal confirmation button. If only Tag&Rename was open source... contributing knowledge (in the form of code) for the good of mankind... but they were not. The purpose of this company was for profit, and I was supporting their very cause by buying their program. Did I really want to do this?

I shook my head. I had aspired to become an open source programmer when I was younger and first learned what it was. But how reliable is it for making a living? I have no doubt I will program for fun here and there when I have a real job "developing software" somewhere with a "development team", but indeed, that real job is how I would be making my $$. I would love to work on something like Tag&Rename; a quality piece of software it is. Popularly cracked. I wondered how much money they were making.

I can be a real hypocrite. Sometimes I just don't know what I mean. Sometimes it's just simpler to click the confirmation button than to make a giant diagram of my reasoning at 4am before several large assignments are due in hours' time. I don't like spending money, and I like the idea of open source, but sometimes other things just work better. And my mp3 files still looked retarded.

In a few short minutes, I had a serial.

So. ;D Anyone want to split the cost?
jk, jk.

Why I am organizing my picture folder

| Sunday, January 11, 2009

So I can finally disconnect my portable hard drive, so I can plug it into my desktop computer to back up important files, so that I can replace the hardware in it from another computer that Aaron helpfully provided for me, so that it can run faster and quieter so I can actually use it regularly and increase productivity.

Then I can return Aaron's computer and thank him for all his help and get a little space cleared in my own room so I can get everything else put away neatly and have better feng shui to bring more peace and focus into my life.

I am organizing my picture folder.
It is taking forever.
But I'm making progress in life, right?