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Sunday, October 24, 2010

October update

Hullo all! I have not, actually, fallen off the face of the earth.

.....I really haven't written about stuff in a LONG time.....pardon me for a minute while I make a quick to-do list with bullet points and sub-headers to sum up what's been going on!
[Facebook statuses below, in the weird font: ]

Hm, physics studied, sinus infection pwned, LEGO Robotics teams organized, calculus understood, pumpkin pie nommed, Team 956 registered for AOR, Nat'l Merit essay written, grant applications being worked on. Not bad.....

1) The patriocentricity debate has not gone away, it has just gone underground for the time being. I have a presentiment that it is going to come back with a vengeance eventually. When it does, it will probably create angst and horror on a level of what-all went on last month.

2) School is going very well.  I am taking physics, tech support, French 3, and AP calculus this semester [after January, I'll add in a pre-calculus/trigonometry class to the mix]. Calculus is going surprisingly dear, I am not a is physics, actually. This is a really fun surprise, because I have never liked science very much. I guess physics has enough math that I'm happy, hehe.

Bethany just looked up from calc homework and proclaimed in an accusatory tone, 'It's a POLYNOMIAL!'

3) FIRST Robotics still dominates my life. Efforts on that front progress in several areas. I've been working a LOT on grants...writing and phoning big technology corporations and so on, in hopes of getting sponsorship. We need $5000 to participate in far we have over 2K in school-supplied funding [saved from last year].  Just two days ago the first of the grants came through.  Platt Electrical supply will be funding our team to the tune of $1000. Very enthusing :)   Also, we have got a 25% discount on supplies from 80/20 [aluminum supplier].
That sum of 5K hangs, like the fabled Oliphaunt of old, like a doomsome and mythical phœnix, on the horizon of my every THOUGHT! [In layman's terms, I eat breathe and sleep $5000.]

Recruitment is also going with a swing. So far, we have got 5 girls and 4 boys on the team. This is UNHEARD of, most FRC teams struggle to make 30% girls....THINK OF THE GRANTS!! Think of the under-represented population being outreached to!! Anyways, we've got a really ENTHUSED girl who just joined the team, she could have been hand-picked to be my much-desired successor in Public Relations and organization and so on....YAY FOR AWESOME LEADERSHIP GEEKS!!

Hmm, on a side note, here's a link to that haven of geek-jokes, XKCD.....this comic right here sums up why engineering is cool, y'know? [Actually, that is probably far from the most epic of their webcomics, but I just had to share it...tee hee...because I am in a link-to-websites mood].

I am also [in addition for being to blame for starting 5 other FLL teams] in charge of coaching two FIRST LEGO League robotics teams for kids in 4th-6th grade. There are 15 kids there on a good day.  It is INSANE. Things are starting to go better tho, at our last meeting I successfully taught  them all some programming techniques [which entailed making a projector work, no small feat]. By the end of the meeting both teams had done some programming and had a LEGO robot that drove according to their enthusiastically programmed instructions.
The kids on the teams are AWESOME, they really are. I get all sentimental when I look at this little human geeks and see ....well my Facebook status can speak for me....

me, in chat, about 4th-6th grade kids in my LEGO teams: I look at 'em, and I see ENGINEERS....WORLD CHANGERS..LEADERS....
Michael: Where's the like button on chat?

4) Work has been rather intense....every weekday, right after school, my dad and I go to work until 9 PM, at a local phone bank. The pay is good, and it's only until the election, but whew, I am WHACKED after a long day [often starting at 5:30 AM] of school, robotics and work. It's actually rather cool tho, people always read at work [while waiting for the victim to pick up the phone] and I can often get homework and reading done.

Monday night I had one of the classic semi-yearly all-nighters. [Usually they don't start until build season, or at least NaNoWriMo, but I wanted to get into practice....]  At work that night I realized that I really needed to have this video project by the NEXT DAY's first meeting of our high school robotics team. Whilst at work, I took advantage of the lulls between calls to scratch down ideas [including where to find the desired footage on my various computers and hard drives].
Home and settled by 10 PM and prepared the enthused post on Facebook when I actually managed to find the coffee stash [we thought we didn't have any].  I got a minimal amount of sleep [ <45 minutes] but was nevertheless able to finish the video project. By 6 AM I was out at the bus stop to get to school, fresh as a daisy [sort of]. Fun times :P .....especially since we wound up not actually using the video at all.

5) The usual seasonal festivities are well under way here in the Pacific North-west. The trees are turning, fog is common, and we are inches away from our first frost. [Incidentally, the cosmoses and Mexican sunflowers are blooming at last, no doubt just in time to be nipped by a good freeze!]

Pumpkin pie has figured largely in the events of the past few weeks, as well.

Today we had a pleasant Saturday in and out of the homestead. I awoke at the leisurely hour of 9:30 AM, and we forthwith headed out to the farmers' market. Amidst much mirth, we then proceeded to Rice 'N' Spice to stock up on essentials such as natto [fermented soybeans] and chocolate-hazelnut paste.
Then it was off to the Co-op, where we actually bought some coffee. This is unprecedented, usually we rely for our caffeine upon the little packets of cheap and nasty coffee stashed in hotel rooms for hard-up decaffeinated guests.

After a brief stint doing stuff at home, I left again, this time with my mom, who patiently carted me off to the local shopping mall [in one town], and then off in the other direction into C-town to the library and so on. I spent a happy half-hour running around the library getting books to take off to work this week.

Hopefully I shall post more soon! There have been a lot of interesting and amusing events lately.