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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Late nights and good times

Well we been having epic times......gots to post this right now, before I hit the hay (yes at 6 PM). 

Sunday I started writing out this post:

heHEEEEE I just got back from hanging out with my dear friend Eva. We had planned to get together sometime soon, and have a few Red Bulls to help get the good times rollin'.
Went over to her place about 4 this afternoon.

We wound up going to the university library in search of stuff she needed for her college class, thinking it would be a breeze to find. Medical journals, relating to physical therapy. We spent a solid 2 hours there. It was very frustrating, dealing with unhelpful librarians, and the fact that she didn't have an account there so we had to buy a card to make photo copies, and then I was hacking into the library computers to google stuff to see if we could find it online easier. Well not hacking EXACTLY.....well, ANYWAYS. Went up and downstairs there, FINALLY found the stuff and had tech problems trying to photocopy the pages.

Great fun, I have had enough experience doing that sort of thing on my own that it is nice to be doing it with somebody ELSE for a change, hehe.

THEN we stopped at Dari-mart on the way home and asked for the most caffeinated drink they had. The manager didn't know, so we went for the classic: a Red Bull and some sort of Monster, Assault I believe it was called.
Had dinner (toothsome) at her place, always exciting with a big family. Cleaned up the kitchen, I was getting worried because I'd have to go home soon, even though I had managed to get an extension from parents. About halfway through the dishwashing I suggested that we open The Goods. HEHEHE.

After cleaning the kitchen we holed up in her room with the remainder of The Goods. We were both twitching a bit, hehehe. Tried to play a game but got sidetracked to talking about random stuff. Things are vague, through a haze of caffeine, but I recall a lot of hilarity over Eva's mispronunciation of 'smog' as 'smug'. 
Then we had a lengthy and impassioned discussion over the horrors and sadnesses of feedlot animal production, don't ask me why, hehe. 'Well....enough of this topic!'   Got up-to-date on our various endeavors. 

Pretty soon Eva started reminiscing about the good times our homeschool co-op group had when we were all about 10. 'Remember one time we came up here and had a fainting contest?' [Faked fainting, I must hasten to add: we are all theatre geeks.]  Sez Eva, isn't it a pity that we're 18 (or nearly that) now and too old for such things....I LOOKS AT HER WITH A CRAZY LOOK IN ME EYES. Yes, we both fainted dead away. 

Then [has anybody seen Ice Age 1?] we somehow found that we both thought the bit hilarious, where Sid is trying to get to sleep and is turning round and round in place and 'HUYYY!' as he stretches, 'HYUKK!', and then round-and-round....well, hehe, you have to save seen it. Had a good time demonstrating that, hehe. Two almost-grown-ups, giggling hysterically and [on my part] making the classic Insane-Bethie face. 

I had to leave shortly alas, as most of the time had been taken up with library endeavors. Got home around 9, still wildly caffeinated. Proceeded to scare one or two friends via chat >:)  

Tuesday I had a chapter test in math, which went pretty well. Our teacher does give evil tests....

Yesterday [Wednesday] things really heated up. I was told that the laptop I borrowed to edit on was needed by the studio on Friday. I also had to study for the College Algebra midterm exam today, and read my week's worth of biology homework for today's bio class. And the robotics team is having an end-of-season party Saturday and wants some footage. 

I was out of the house til afternoon more or less, what with group-study at school, and farmers' market. By late afternoon I could tell it was going to be a long hard night. SOMETHING was going to be happening at a LATE HOUR, but it was a toss-up as to which thing. Studied, showered, ate, transferred music til 10 PM.  Then I finally settled down to editing the four-odd hours of footage from Atlanta. 
Keep in mind that this jollity came hard on the heels of several nights of poor sleep, and STILL not being caught up from Atlanta. It's getting rather serious, only the other day I was randomly pounced on by a friend, via chat, and told to get some sleep [this was around 8:30 PM]. 

Yes. ANYWAYS. Worked away at the editing, with a few distractions til 1:45 AM, what time I was told by my mom to go to bed, which I did very willingly, hehe. 

I ALSO set my alarm for 4:10 AM. 

And did not get to sleep for a bit. I believe 2 hours was the grand up, made coffee, ate breakfast, and back to the editing. Fortunately it was only a rough cut. Coffee fumes swirled in my brain.

Around 6 AM I got worried that I wouldn't be able to get it done in time to be able to render while I was at school [I KNEW there would be a problem with the rendering]. I stopped worrying about editing much, and just cleaned up the gaps and adjusted audio levels. 
THEN I ran into a problem, all right: I had no idea how to export the file. One would think it would be straightforward enough, but when I tried 'export as Quicktime' it merely exported ONE file.   >.<  
Tried exporting entire sequence, and popped off an email to the equipment check-out manager and all-round techie. 

AT 8:45 AM, I HIT RENDER AND RACED OUT THE DOOR. Providential timing. 

Not very hard at all, compared to the tests OUR teacher writes. I think I mebbe missed one or two points on on was 'name three truths expressed by the fact that x = 4 is a zero of P(x)"....I fudged a bit on one  :P

After that, I attempted to catch forty-winks on a bench by the school library [head pillowed on Bag of Holding] failed, because I am always nervous that I am going to be pounced on.....
Then out to spend the interim before biology at a friend's house. Biology was good, very low-key, I was let lie on a couch in the living room and DID catch forty winks, gotta love homeschoolers who allow you to take responsibility for your own actions. 

Then home, where I found email from forementioned techie with instructions on how to burn to DVD. Just drag the Quicktime file [which had successfully rendered] into a little program called Toast. Sweet thang....I really need to look into buying it for Eddie [MacBook Pro]. 

It's taking a while to prepare the file, but so far this has been the smoothest render-and-burn process I've EVER gone through, and I've used quite a few editing platforms. 

Also downloaded Bean, a nice little text-editing app for Mac OS X. A definite cut above your basic TextEdit, but lean, doesn't take so long to power up as, say, OpenOffice [which, by the way, I use for everything on Eddie. Nice open-source software, but bulky].  

If all goes well, I plan to be in bed by 7 PM tonight....let's see if we can do that..... hehehe! :)

Hope you enjoyed reading about my recent much as I enjoyed having them :D

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What I've been up to

warning, this may be a very geeky post.

Mebbe I should start a tech blog, where I post successes and failures of the amateur videographer....

Well I was supposed to return the camera to the studio on Wednesday morning after school. Naturally, this mean that I thought I didn't have to start uploading footage off of it until Tuesday night.....yeaahhh. That didn't go so well. I had problems with that, 5 hours of HD video footage eats up hard drive space pretty quickly. Left it to (as I thought) upload all night, only to come down and discover that it had stopped halfway through because Eddie's hard drive was full. There was a lot of dealings with transferring all the footage to an external hard drive.
Wound up returning the camera Thursday instead.

After that we had to decide which computer to edit the footage on. I've never taken the time to learn the ins and outs of iMovie, so I was planning to edit on the (very slow) HP desktop machine running Windows XP, with Sony Vegas Movie Studio editing software. [May I recommend SVMS, it is a very nice and easy-to-use piece of software. However if you EVER plan to switch to a Mac OS, don't buy it, because it is, as I found too late, a PC-only program.]

 Well I thought I had things nailed. I installed SVMS on my dad's computer and lugged the whole setup upstairs. My dad's comp. is from 2002, Windows XP, and only has about 70 gigs of hd space, but it is still really fast because we don't go online with it EVER.  Then the computer and I migrated upstairs to my bedroom, hitherto used for nothing except sleeping [or failing to sleep] because, well, let's just say it's not exactly climate-controlled. Fingers get NUMB in winter.....

The innocent tiny bedroom was turned easily enough into what my dad referred to as a hacker's lair. Come round the corner of the bed and you are confronted by a menacing array of sheer computing power.

Things were all fine and dandy until I actually tried to import some of the video footage into SVMS.

This did not go so well.

Hm. No go.

I've had this problem before, the audio comes in but NO VIDEO. Then I attempted the tried-and-true method of drag-and-drop the files into the program, instead of 'File/Import'.  btw, this usually works, try it if you're having trouble opening files.  This did not work EITHER. I was becoming rather ticked.

Next we tried to view some of the video clips using Quicktime for Windows. 'Need to install more Quicktime components to view this file'.   Thinking that this would be fixed easily enough by downloading the newest version of Quicktime, I did so.   NUUP.  I had had warning that this might be the case and further research confirmed that Quicktime for Windows does NOT allow you to play hi-def.  .mov files.   Note that a .mov file IS a Quicktime file. A program doesn't play it's own format of files!  

This caused displeasure on the part of the lordly ME.  Remember all the hoopla a few weeks back with DivX media player and Gspot and all that? Well I took one of the files into Gspot to see if it could diagnose what codec was needed to play the file. NOTHING. File not recognized or somesuch.    .mov is a fairly common file, ONE WOULD THINK. 

All these files played FINE on my Mac. 
There were various other options considered, but in the event it was my non-techie mom who suggested the solution. The studio has Macbook pro laptops running Adobe FinalCut pro [professional, top of the line editing software] available for loan.   Friday I went in and got the laptop. Toted it up to the Lair and Then There Was a Scary Amount of Computing Power in the room. 
Eddie [my own macbook], dad's desktop comp (for show), dad's speakers with (to quote him) Scary Bass, and the loaned 17" macbook. Also an external hard drive and a power strip bristling imposingly. 

We are now on an even keel video-wise, have only to learn the ins and outs of FinalCut......'oh this is such a cool program! massive amounts of computing power! 17" screen laptop! professional-quality! how do you edit the volume levels?

Then two nights ago I was summoned forth from my lair by my mom, with the announcement that the computer was having a problem. The family PC, that is. Its antivirus (Norton 360) had expired, we knew it was going to happen but going to Atlanta kinda interfered with making arrangements. 

This entailed a good bit of research, and we bought Trend Micro pro version, as suggested by various geeky friends. Installed that today with surprisingly little hassle. 

Hmm, guess that about sums up the techie side of things.....I'm doing me online homework for math, logarithms great fun hehehe......anybody know how to solve an equation involving log squared?  not log (x^2)   but (log x) ^2
My book fails.....

Monday, April 19, 2010

Tales from Atlanta

Yesh, well, picking up where I left off!  The plants.....they are awesome....when I was in England a few years ago I was bouncing with excitement over the different trees and shrubs and so on, here as I said EVERYTHING is different, it's the way hearing a foreign language would be for some people. 

Epic times finding the hotel:  Our group of 20+ people wandered over Atlanta for about an hour. There was some question with the directions....then the hotel shuttle came for us but only had room for half the group, the rest of us walked. Lead mentor was joshed about abysmal navigational skills by the other mentors.
 'I'm like a cat, I just know where to go....' with what I can only describe as a Chuckly Look. 
There was recrimination 'You get out of the MARTA, two feet down the street and you ask for directions!'

Calls were made to the rest of the crew at the hotel: 'What do you mean by a Hard Right?'   'OH. It's....behind the Home Depot?'  
We set off in the prescribed direction. There was a lack of sidewalks.  'Look, there's a path!' Mentor: 'Yeah, a goat path! I'm not a goat!'  

Finally found the hotel. I just never stopped having a good time, lol. Checked in and went to the pool, nice and relaxing after a day of travel. 

Thursday: Did not get enough sleep ^.^    Took the subway to the Georgia Dome at an early hour. It is odd to be at robotics but not doing much except filming. The whole place is huge, the walk from pits to the field takes fifteen minutes or so. Consider that we made that walk 4 or 5 times, not to mention sundry trips hither and feet were in agony. I am feeling rather beat up: the travel yesterday took care of bruises! Big heavy bag banging against me leg for umpteen hours, there's an impressively comprehensive bruise on my thigh. The bag strap is also making my shoulder pretty sore. 

[Sunday night: did not get a chance to update blog since Thursday.]

We did pretty well in our qualifying matches on Thursday and Friday. Thursday was INSANELY brutal, I don't know why but the first day of robotics competition is usually that way as far as exhaustion.  I believe I have been called a Stoic and it certainly fits, there was some major agony that day. Survived.

Worried early on that my camera's battery would not last so well as I had hoped but it actually held up pretty well, so long as I left it charging at the power strip when I wasn't using it.  

Championships is pretty intense: most regionals have about 40 teams: the Oregon regional is larger than most, with 60+ teams. At nationals, there are 4 devisions of over 8o teams EACH.  Each devision [randomly assigned] has its own playing field on the floor of the Georgia Dome. [We played in Archimedes field....the others are Curie, Newton and Galileo.] The winners of each devision compete on Saturday afternoon on Einstein field. 

I pretty much stayed with the drive team and the robot, went out on the field whenever we were competing, and otherwise stayed at the pit to get footage of random wrench-turning, judge interviews, and the like: also 'schmoozing' with other teams in attempts to form alliances. 

Overall I like the Oregon regional better, it seems like there is actually more energy there, because even though there are more teams at nat'ls overall they are more spread out between the different fields. 

We had some tough matches on Friday, had communication problems which turned out to be a loose cable [the only one that had Not been double-checked by the team.] 
Friday night our lead mentor declared 'Meeting poolside, 9 PM!' which was hailed with approval by the team, most of whom were IN the pool during the meeting. Mentor [quite the personality] announced around 9: 'Okay everyone!', and when he had everyone's attention did a nice cannonball into the water. Fun times, we had a quick meeting and then there was a lot of goofing around which proved great fun for the videographer. 

The transportation in Atlanta is the MARTA subway system. It also involved a lot of walking to and from the fact, the whole expedition has been one long trek. 

Sidebar: even as I type [on plane from Denver to P-town] I can hear one of our students explaining FIRST robotics to a fellow traveler =D   That happened a lot on the trip, people think it's really cool :)  

Wednesday and Thursday night I was lucky enough to get a decent dinner at Sweet Tomatoes, awesome salad bar/buffet restaurant which was thankfully close to our hotel. Certainly better than regionals, where one night we went to Denny's [ergh] and the other night we fended for ourselves for the most part. Anyways, a plentiful salad bar hit the spot after a hard day of traveling or racing around after the robot. 

Friday night I was UNLUCKY enough to more or less miss dinner. Our team split up into a few groups and I was swimming in the pool [that WAS rather epic] and missed the boat. By the time I discovered that happy fact, I refused to bother anyone to go with me anywhere [we had to be with an adult at all times], and besides was in that unpleasant state of being too tired to do anything about the lack-of-dinner.  As I stated to a horrified friend, after all I HAD had an energy bar and was too tired to be hungry, nevertheless I contemplated skulking down to the hotel lobby in search of sustenance around 11 that night. Wound up merely waiting til brekkers next morning.  

It was up at 5:30 or so every morning, and almost impossible to get to sleep before midnight or so each night. I was most embarrassed, as I pride myself on my invulnerability to lack of sleep, to find that I was beyond exhausted for most of the time. It was most amusing to notice the general scenery seeming to turn slightly around me. I fortunately avoided falling over however. Most of the nights I also had to upload a large amount of footage to my laptop in preparation for the next day of filming. That took an hour or more, and there was always the question of whether to just leave it to putter away at its own pace all night. 

Oh lovely, I just realized it's after midnight Atlanta time O.o   Our flight doesn't get in til 11 Oregon time, so I won't get home til prolly 2 or so. Still deciding whether to go to school tomorrow, I rather think I will because I hate to miss math class and I AM just that crazy. 

I was very impressed with the team over all, there are a lot of stressful situations at robotics but they all handled things with Gracious Professionalism, TM. 

OODLES of footage of harried scouts entering data in laptops, drive team taking the robot on its cart out on the long trek to the field, drive team waiting nervously on the sidelines, drive team taking the robot on the field, drive team driving the robot, drive team fixing the robot at the pit, and so on. 

The weather was lovely the whole time, so nice to go outside and not huddle oneself up against cold weather. 

Between the pits and the Georgia Dome there's a large grassy area, with fountain, food stands, music stage, what became known to our team as 'the grassy knoll' where we invariably met for debriefing and so on. Everything thronged with robotics kids. Nationals isn't just the high school FRC competition, but also FLL [FIRST LegoLeague] and FTC [FIRST Tech Challenge] which are respectively for middle school and high school students. Bright team shirts, banners, mascots, face paint in team colors, the works. I submitted to having blue stripes painted on my arm on Saturday, a lot of the team had war paint more or less, on their faces, hehe. 

There is nothing quiet about FIRST: to quote [I believe] Dean Kamen, this is not a science fair. There is cheering, yelling, franticness.  

Friday we had a few matches that didn't go too well, partly because of the communication problem: however when we weren't dead we were scoring sixteen to the dozen. 

Saturday we had bad luck in our first of the day's two qualifying matches. We weren't ranked too high [I believe our final ranking was 46th out of 86]. However our last match went really well, I think the whole team was satisfied with how we did.  Sadly we did not get into the finals, but really I think we have reason to be proud, individually our robot was one of the top fifteen or so [impartially judged, hehe].

Packed up our pit stuff, packaged the robot in crate to be shipped back home and then watched some of the final rounds on Archimedes field. After that we attempted to get seats for the FINAL rounds on Einstein, but here is the really disappointing part, there WERE no seats to be had, they were either VIP seating or were closed. There were plenty of screens we could have watched it on, but the final rounds are interspersed with a few hours of awards and by that time we were wanting to get back to the hotel. 
Later learned the the infamous team 469 did Not win. They were thwarted by a rather ingenious strategy which I have yet to actually see, I intend to look up archived footage on Youtube very soon because I hear it was epic. 

Saturday evening it was off to the after-party at Centennial Olympic park, which would have been more enjoyable had the lines for everything been less long and we all been less tired. Nevertheless we were treated to the sight of aforementioned lead mentor racing another team member through a bouncy-castle, and were told that yet another mentor did rather well at karaoke. Also free food and drinks which was a huge boon after three days of paying through the nose for EVERYTHING. 

Today we slept in, not quite so late as we all would have liked, because it was requisite to get into the pool and start relaxing as soon as possible. I went swimming first thing and then had breakfast by the pool, good times. Our group then split up, I went with the majority to a large mall nearby. Nice just to wander round and not worry about anything except what to have for lunch. Oh, and I got some rather toothsome chocolates :)   

At 4 we boarded the MARTA for the last time to head to the airport. The trip home has gone pretty well, though I have not yet managed to sleep. I have trouble sleeping on airplanes. Am just trying to subsist here, got me hood pulled up in time-honored tradition of hapless traveler trying to protect herself from the elements. Sleeping now is almost impossible, I have an aisle seat and will get a crick in my neck if I attempt to lean over on me shoulder.

I did seriously consider buying a Scarlet Tauren [red bull] in the airport but decided to postpone that interesting experiment to a Later Date, hehe. 

It has been a hugely epic trip, I think the team feels happy with how we did, I feel happy with the footage I got [not so happy with the amount of editing I have to do], and yeeeahhhh it's been great :)   

Now on to the next project. 
I am tremendously ENTHUSED for robotics now. I refuse to let our team die next year from lack of funding or lack of interest. We will energize the existing students, we will get our claws into the incoming freshman class, we will leave no stone unturned for funds. The power of FIRST is the power of the students. I'm not an engineer. I probably won't be able to get up to speed in programming to be able to help much. I still wonder what exactly a lugnut is. 
But none of that is going to stop me, I will write grant-essays and plan fundraisers and edit videos and ENTHUSE people and join NEMO [Non Engineering Mentor Organization] when I can't be a team student any longer, if through any horrible chance our team should fold I will join the CHS team officially, I don't want there to be another year I'm not involved with robotics.   THIS IS FIRST. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

6:43 AM Portland time, got in the air after a thankfully event-free airport experience. There were some fun times relating to the 2 AM departure-from-home time, but check-in and security went better than I'd feared, what with the camera and other techie stuff. 

Yesterday I had what might be termed an epic win. Went to math class, expecting to have class, go to Co-op Sale, come home, study for an hour, and go BACK into school to take the College Algebra exam [moved up one day, the rest of the class is taking it today]. However, I got to class, turns out it was just a review free-for-all, and the teacher said I could take the test right then, which I happily did. 
Took that test DOWN, it was a lot easier than the chapter tests our teacher usually gives. I think I did pretty well on it :D   There was an extra-credit question that took me a Long time to figure out....imagine me excitement when I got it, hehehe.....

After that little interlude, it was off to co-op sale day where I stocked up on edibles for the trip. 
Then home, where I proceeded to finish packing, and fool around chatting with friends :D   Then, because I was bored and it was SUCH a great photo op, I took everything out of my bag, lined it up neatly and took a photo, which should  be posted on here eventually. 
Then we moved on to preparing foodstuffs. I'd gotten about a dozen energy bars at the Co-op and I actually managed to stash them ALL away in my bags. There were some apples too....and bread and cheese....and hazelnuts. I felt exactly like a chipmunk, finding hidey-holes for all the food “Oh I think I can fit one more in......” 

Worked out a waking-up plan with the family, whereby my mom would wake me if I wasn't up by 1:30, and I would do the same for her, and we both set alarm clocks too. [as a sidebar, the other morning I heard me dad's travel alarm go off [annoying thing] but THIS time it made a Cuckoo noise as well as the usual: '7:32. AM.  Sixty-seven. Degrees. Fahrenheit'...after it said all of the above, what do we hear but 'CUCKOO! CUCKOO!'    My dad was nonplussed, said HE hadn't set it to do had never done it before.....] 

Went to bed at 9:30, and prolly got 4 hours of sleep or thereabouts. Alarm went at 1:30, when I came downstairs there was already a light on, me heroic mom had just stayed up so as to avoid missing her alarm, and drove me to school. Boarded big van (shades of National Novel Writing Month novel 'bout roadtrip) and headed to P-town. We-all mostly listened to iPods and such on the way up, but there were a few amusing moments... “Where is my banana?” AND the happy moment when I followed in the footsteps of a long line of Carlson adventures in the yogurt-spilling line and spilt me breakfast-yogurt on my jeans >.<  Remedied later with damp paper towellage. Yay for paper towellage. 

It was shocking how smoothly everything went, so long as we all knew we had to take our shoes off and coats off and laptops out, fun times. 

Choked by Bag of Holding over one shoulder, and tripod case on the other side, I nevertheless felt much more ready-to-roll than my compatriots with rolly-type suitcases.   [edit: totally did not notice that really bad play on words, par'n me.] 

Nice sunrise, I haven't flown in a few years and it's kinda exciting for a change.  
The classic agonies of trying to fit all the baggage in, chucking stuff in the overhead bins and stowing bags under the seat (surreptitiously trying to fit the Bag of Holding under the seat, while attempting to appease/circumvent/snooker the stewardesses who say 'Can that go a little further under the seat?'. It finally DID fit once I took Eddie out. [Eddie is my MacBook Pro, for the] 

Next stop: Denver! Wooooooot  I get a window seat on the next leg of the trip.... 

[switching over to Atlanta time]
1:45 pm, turns out this leg of the trip is only about 2.5 hours YAY so now we're about 3/4 done. Our flight into Denver was delayed somehow, we were worried bout missing the ATL flight because there wasn't much layover time. It was EPIC [yes Einar :P ]. We got off our plane, into the terminal, were greeted by part of the team who'd gotten off first: 'Seats 17 and higher are boarding NOW!'  Turned out the departing flight was about 30 feet away from the one we'd just come in on, hehehe.....we were afraid we'd be running halfway across the concourse.   

I seem to be eating constantly, heh....started off on the trip up to P-town. I'd packed 3 little cartons of yogurt for brekkers, along with an apple (unrelated to the hordes in my bag) and some bread and cheese. Well those same three little cartons of yogurt had to be eaten before security, owing to rules about liquids/gels/squishables.  Every 20 minutes it would be, eatanotheryogurt.  Cleaned out the last one just as we were turning in to the airport. 
Then I've been moving through the remainder of the sandwiches at a fair pace, at first I was scared of using up Eddie's battery, I didn't bring a book and there is nothing else to do except eat.....
Have to pay for bottled water and the airline doesn't accept cash -.-  Sandwiches are $6 apiece, snacks (ergh) are correspondingly pricey.

 Once we arrive in ATL it'll be a nightmare, I have no doubt......trying to navigate a huge city with 20+ people....I don't know what the transportation to the hotel is, I assume it's the MARTA [subway]. 

Well, BACK to the saved chat logs.......

OH it's been epic times.....I am sitting by the pool at the Hyatt, Atlanta. The weather is balmy, the air smells like flowers. 

Atlanta airport actually proved very interesting, we spent a traditional lot of time trying to decide what to all felt VERY familiar, hehe.  Big airport (tuh), we all camped out in one of the food courts after collecting baggage. Fun to see LOTS of Kamen totes [robotics kits, lol] on the carousels =D 
Anyways, sun coming in through the big glass skylight, our myriad bags parked in the middle, a chap playing piano VERY well at the local posh restaurant and bar. 
Got some video, fun times :) 

After getting out of the airport, we traversed the subway.....I was COMPLETELY ENTHUSED over the plants!! Everything is different, the trees, THERE"S A DOGWOOD! Wysteria growing everywhere, balmy weather SO nice after freezing hometown!  Also exciting to see the real Southern houses :)  

More on getting to the hotel later tonight

Monday, April 12, 2010

robotics webcast

I endeavored to find a link to the webcast of the FIRST championship event in Atlanta. However the notoriously irritating FIRST website only gave me this, there does Not seem to be a link to the Championship, maybe that will only become available on Thursday, good luck :D
Competition runs 9-5 most days. Our team is 997.  Not sure which devision we will be playing in, there are 4.  Will try to post more details! :)

transcript of trademarked hilarity

Hehe: posting from school via is the transcript of a conversation between my dad and myself on Saturday. We had found that there was Not, as originally thought, a farmers' market downtown, and had stopped in at Rice N Spice, the local Asian grocery, to drown our sorrows by buying Nutella and crackers. Not the same as the infamous Thousand-layer Crackers of Doom.  The asafetida mentioned is a foreign spice that has been terrorizing our household for the past week. It is foul, it smells exactly like rotten eggs.....or the unpleasant part of onions...hehe. Me dad got into the car and sneakily turned on his Tascam DR 87 audio recorder.....Anyways, I present to you......

Me: Let's see, I was talking about....I was making a Thousand-Layer Cracker joke.

Dad: That's a category of joke! It's called Thousand-layer Cracker Jokes. It applies to foods, in fact that's the title of a blog; it's a food blog.

Me: *laughter* Hoo boy....oh that's it, i was going to ask you about the asafetida: Where is it hiding? Where is it lurking?

Dad: I have it in inside of a bag inside of another bag inside of another bag--

Me: --yes and you can still smell it, where is it?

Dad: -inside..but if you put it in a yogurt container with the lid on it, THEN you don't smell it anymore.

Me: Hah, but where is this actual little, this little, um,

Dad: Right now it's

Me: --this little ENTITY--

Dad: it's upstairs in my bedroom with a [mumble] in it

Me: HAAAH! With a what in it?

Dad: With a cracker in it

Me: Eheheh!

[we had bought an unrelated carton of Asian crackers in Rice N Spice the Asian grocery.....]

Dad: Oh, look at these nice packages!

Me: That is seriously the funniest thing....

Dad: Now a green one or a red one?

Me: (to myself) with a cracker in it....    [I keep thinking about the yogurt container with cracker and asafetida whilst dad opens package of crackers]

Dad: What is it?

Me: With a cracker in it! That was just ...very funny

[a pause, while I laugh and dad eats cracker]

Dad: Mmm!

Me: Was it just last week that we made Thousand-layer Cracker jokes? I think it was two weeks ago wasn't it....what was I doing last week?

Dad: I was trying to get the lawn mower, right?

Me: well it was trying to get the lawn mower....LAST week..HMM...last week was the week before Easter..or day before it was right after we went up to P______, I remember that, cause I was making jokes about P-town also...

Dad: About what-town?

Me: P-town!

Dad: Hm!

Me: And then of course C_____ is C-town....

Dad: [to himself] THERE's the keys....

Me: [as he eats another cracker] Eat another cracker....

Dad: I'd just better put this back in the back [putting bag of crackers in the back seat out of harm's way, sounds of Bethany snickering] I think what would be the PERFECT mix is one of the....two of these--

Me: You've got your Tascam recording this whole thing!

Dad: Two of these [new crackers] to one--[door slam] to one of the Thousands. That would just perfectly cancel out the...burnt fish taste.

Me: [laughter] I thought you said it was burnt axel grease....

Dad: Actually it's not the fish that's burnt, that's right, it's more the plastic part that got burned, not the fish, it's the plastic the fish was served on [me: HAAA] was too sizzling hot

Me: Oh, where are we going now?

[pause]   Home? I think we are...or the Co-op?

Dad: [mouth full of cracker] You think there's one out there at the Fairgrounds? [we'd been trying to find the farmers' market]

Me: Umm

Dad: There should be, shouldn't there....

Me: [depressed] I dunno....

Dad: Would they go off for two weeks at a time?

Me: Oh, what if it's not down by the waterfront but instead by the skate park, where they have the Wednesday market? That would seem rather unusual....[Tascam is turned off]

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Leavin' on a jet plane

Wellwellwell!  Life has been pretty busy, and computer time has been cut :(  but I'm leaving on Wednesday, so thought I'd better post beforehand :D

Date: Sunday April 11 2010
Starting time: 16:20
Mood: patchwork moods lately. Ravening predator, gloom, insane hilarity, regret, I got it all.
Outside my window: cherry blossoms and grey sky
I'm thinking: time is running out   o.O
I'm reading: meh
I'm listening to: Bob Dylan, Not Dark Yet
I'm wearing: green shirt with Scottish thistle :D and plaid wool skirt
Yesterday, I: had a headesk sorta day
I'm excited for: Atlanta
I'm sad because: I want to change the past, but to do that I'd have to go back about 7 years, and then I wouldn't WANT to do anything differently.
I'm hungry for: I just ate.....
The song stuck inside my head is: The Weasel Chase (thanks a LOT, Einar! >.< )
I want: a plane ticket to North Carolina :P
I love: adrenaline, it makes my life just a *little* bit interesting.....
I loathe: um?
This week, my goal is: to NOT DIE

Now that THAT is out of the way!  I leave for Atlanta GA this Wednesday: I have to leave the house by 2 AM    o.<    Flight to Atlanta, we get in late afternoon local time. We come back next Sunday, but won't get home til very early Monday morning. Good times. 

I've been frantically preparing for the trip. Not to mention a lot of miscellaneous robotics stuff. On Wednesday I prepared a promotional video for the next day's presentation to recruit new robotics students. Was up til 1 AM doing that, and doing math homework. Epicness. Such is the life of a robotics junkie. Facebook status:   Late nights, working frantically to perfect something that should have been finished yesterday......this is FIRST~~~ Adrenaline as things are going RIGHT for once....this is FIRST~~~ Putting sleep and the rest of life on hold...this is FIRST~~~ Getting it done.....THIS IS FIRST!!
The robotics advert went well. I also got the camera....likewise ordered and received the infamous Bag of Holding, and it is amazing, it expands to fit seriously ANYTHING. 

There have been occasional moments of insanity when I contemplated moves that would quite possibly lead to me taking over the world. 
Plus the occasional moments when I turn into a ravening Beast of Prey. Good times. 

I'll likely post something whilst in the Great City of Atlanta (ergh).....but til then, cheers all! :)