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Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: a year in review

A while back, I wrote a lengthy, reflective and [I fancy myself] humorous post to be trotted out before New Year's. Tonight though, I am doing absolutely nothing except try to write a rebuttal for the Bayly brothers' blog which I mentioned earlier, while all the time stifling down my fears that I will one day turn coat and become a full-blown patriocentrist like Kamilla

2010 in review

January of last year I had a small part in the local high school's production of Romeo and Juliet, which was all kinds of fun. Performance in February, which coincided nicely with ship deadline for our robot....

January through March I worked with the Santiam robotics team to build a robot for the 2010 FRC game, Breakaway.

In February I joined the College Algebra class at local high school and adored it. The teacher, the infamously amusing math ninja Kimes, produced scads of hilarious quotes and I actually MISS that class.

March saw Team 956 in Memorial Coliseum in Portland at regionals. We had a really fabulous competition: made it into quarterfinals [ranked around 16th out of 62 teams] and received the Xerox Creativity Award. Bethany was epically enthused during the whole proceedings.

In April I went to FIRST International Championships in Atlanta GA, as team videographer for the local team that took first place in Oregon.

Lots of festivities in May, off-season events. Our team was placed first at the local event spearheaded by the OSU Robotics Club.

The summer was less eventful. Trip to California, camping in the mountains, and a summer filmmaking camp conspired to while away the summer. In the grips of an acute case of FIRSTaholism, I started FIRST LEGO League teams willy-nilly throughout the Mid-valley, including five at Santiam.

The first in a long line of chronic crises occurred in summer [documented here]. Much angst ensued, centering around the role of women in Christianity and particularly in regards to the question of college or no-college. The issue is not resolved.

College decisions also came to the forefront. Since summer, I've considered DigiPen Institute of Technology, Olin College of Engineering, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, LeTourneau University, and Oregon State. No-one can say I haven't diversified. 

September's highlights of course included the start of school, and a splendiferous 18th birthday on my part. I am taking classes at CHS and Santiam this year and enjoying it no end.

I really buckled down to work on fundraising for our robotics team in October, in between coaching two FLL teams of 4th-6th grade kids [aka 'future engineers']

Nevertheless, the middle of November saw frantic panic on our parts, when the NASA grant which we'd been pinning our hopes on seemed now to be out of reach.  I made dozens of articulate and pleading calls to local corporations and netted us a nice sum. The balance was, in an astonishing [to us] act of generosity, made up by a blogger dedicated to helping the next generation of engineers [or just keeping me from crying, hehe :) ]
The NASA grant amazingly came through after all as well, and our team is fully funded for the 2011 season.

This year I'm also looking forward to [or cringing in terror at] being Team 956's lead programmer.

Classic Epic Times: All-nighters working on robotics stuff, taking first place at Roboshock, masterminding the potted shrubbery during Romeo and Juliet, toting a camera and gear to Atlanta with Team 997, jumping into East Lake in the middle of a thunderstorm, traveling to the Christian Game Developer's Conference, Kimes being an awesome math ninja
First: A in a math class, energy drink, part in a high school play, trip across the country on my own, time meeting an 'online buddy'

Most nostalgic songs: Sandstorm, You've Got the Music in You, But Tonight We Dance, The Final Countdown, The Blood of Cu Chulainn, Hello Monday, Through the Fire and Flames [AKA The Song]
Favorite memory: Nationals, singing We Will Rock You with the gang at regionals, yelling myself hoarse at regionals, fraternizing at regionals, our team winning the Xerox Creativity Award at regionals, okay basically ANYTHING from all three days of regionals, seeing an authentic rendition of Another One Bites the Dust on a lute, pretty much any example of syncro, meeting Mark Leon at Nationals, offering help and enthusiasm to down-on-their-luck robotics teams, coaching my FLL teams

Major Hits: xkcd, chai, lattes, Sherlock Holmes, The Village, Facebook, VLC Media Player, henna, Converse, Apple, Seattle Chocolates, DigiPen Institute of Technology, Market of Choice

Best Books: One Second After, Thr3e, Adam, To Kill a Mockingbird, Travels with Charley, Cold Sassy Tree, Love,Stargirl, Captivating, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy [because I forgot it last year], Celebration of Discipline

Best Music: Nightwish, Third Day, techno, anything from regionals, Rise Against, selected AC/dC~Red Hot Chili Peppers~Europe~2 Unlimited~Jimmy Eat World, Halo soundtrack, Nichole Nordeman

Keywords: Kickoff, geek, Breakaway, caffeine, squirrel, patriocentricity, grace, cold, Oregon

Keywords [inside joke edition]: Snrk, Perl, Rabbit, PUDD!!, syncro, whosy-whatsit, HENCE!, BAND!, composed, twitch, Minion, Overlord

Favorite teacher: a two-way tie between Kimes and Mrs Eberle

Best quotes: I need to write a special post with all of the epic quotes but...

Do the Math, Save the World
-Mark Leon

Bethany, you remind me of a rabbit!

Did our Jaguar swallow a chipmunk, or is something else going on?

We'll defenestrate our programmer, and I'll report back our solution if we get anything working.

Muskegs are kinda overbearing like that...

This is not a press conference! 

Hardcore Penguins are VERY applicable...

It's never good when you see your cat get beat up by a bunch of leprechauns

[note that some of these are second- or third-hand from Chief Delphi and elsewhere....]

Most epic IM exchange ever:
[discussion of intimidating refrigerator contents over the centuries]
1867- "Hey maw, th' ice box is gettin low again, think mebbe it needs mo ice in it, that coleslaw is startin to look downright PATE-RE-OT-ICK!"
oh LOL
Here comes th' Pogo referance...
1901: 'Mother dear! Have the maid attend to the icebox, will you? That head of beef is wearing a 'Votes for Women' banner!'
1960- "DUUUUUDE......that jello looks just like George Washington, man....."
"Far out...."
1929: 'Mama, can we go through the fridge while the nice photographer lady takes photos of us looking harrowed in the dust? The potato is singing 'Brother, can you spare a dime?''
1951: 'Edna, will you just see that the cabbage doesn't vote for Roosevelt? While you're cleaning the floor in heels and pearls...'
1985- "YO! Th' meatloaf is rockin out again man!"

1999- "Dear, I thought we agreed, no more internet access for the cabbage!"

2006- "Wait, is that DYNAMITE next to that camel steak?"

I KNEW ye'd have a doozy for those...
I was going to have a bottle of mayonaise chanting 'Four More Years!' for 2004...

2237- "Mom, is this broccoli supposed to have eyes? Couldn't you get any FRESH?"
this WHOLE conversation is one long quote...
"That IS fresh dear, right from the superstore!"
"See? I even got the brand marked "Minimal pesticides"!
[psst! thought is was supposed to be VOTING! not growing eyes! ]

Not really going to bother to make any New Year's resolutions this year, I think. Mostly they'd be for stuff I do anyway. Last year I had a bunch of predictions for 2010 and some of them came true, others didn't. [Actually I just hunted out the file and almost NONE of them did, heh.] 

I don't really have a lot to say right now. Happy New Year, let's hope 2011 is better. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I've been banned!! Great joy!

My latest trawlings through the internets have resulted in my joining the infamous band of brothers [and sisters] who have been banned from commenting on the blog of the Bayly Brothers. I saw their blog mentioned as being an easy place to get banned from [I've been there before] and wondered how many questions I could raise before the hand of authority was lifted against me. 

I found this toothsome little post and was more interested in the comment section than anything. My comments are away at the end of the comment page....
When previously reading the Bayly's blog, I've been struck at how almost all of the comments are from 'preach it, brother!' male-types. The dissenting opinions come about equally from men and women, and it seems the women are usually banned pretty promptly.  I am actually going to repost my comments and those of the blog owner:  

[I had chimed in about a woman who spoke about against patriarchy, and another commenter promptly said it was nothing more than could be expected from someone who had lived in sin]

"My husband and I have been together since we were 20, were married at 22..."
"....I would, however, agree that the lifestyle Nyka describes--living in sin with marriage maybe following, "

I see no reason, from her words, to assume that Nyka was 'living in sin' before her marriage. Shame for assuming that someone whom you disagree with on one point is guilty on another.
Bravo, Rachel, for being willing to testify that patriarchy is not the conclusion that all who seek God finally come to. 

>>...patriarchy is not the conclusion that all who seek God finally come to.
Actually, it is. Or rather, patriarchy is The Order God established in the Garden of Eden prior to the Fall, and all who believe in the Triune God and submit to His Holy Word reject anarchy and feminism, instead embracing patriarchy with love and joy as an act of worship of our Lord Jesus Christ.
All the church throughout all time has affirmed God's order of patriarchy. Also, all the church throughout all history has found it hard to be obedient to this order, as they also found it difficult to be obedient to it in New Testament times. This is the reason for the commands of Scripture that wives must submit to their husbands and the commands also forbidding woman to teach or exercise authority over man.

>> Actually, it is.
Really? I'm not sure I know ONE person [in my daily contact with other people] who embraces patriarchy, much less the style you and your supporters claim is God-ordained. But I do know many people who I believe really are seeking God: most of them are equally repulsed by feminism and patriarchy/patriocentricity.
>> All the church throughout all time has affirmed God's order of patriarchy.
The fact or statement that something has been affirmed throughout 'all time' [~2000 years] does not make it valid [or invalid].
I've had several conversations with other Christians about whether the command to submit and not lead is given to wives about their husbands, or to women about all men. [I actually have usually taken the view that where the translation says 'in authority over a man', it does mean MAN and not just husband. People try to tell me that is a wrong translation, and it really means 'man' in the sense of husband. ]

>>Really? I'm not sure I know ONE person [in my daily contact with other people] who embraces patriarchy...
Actually, most people still do embrace patriarchy. You're fooled by their embarrassment to admit it in our wicked day.
As to the "kind" of patriarchy this or that man embraces, there are no kinds at all. Only questions of implementation. And the implementations we at Baylyblog recommend are quite soft and gentle and effeminate compared to those of all of history in all cultures and all religions before our time. Baylyblog is a kinder, gentler patriarchy for our rebellious day.
>>The fact or statement that something has been affirmed throughout 'all time' [~2000 years] does not make it valid [or invalid].
Yes, this is the way modern rebels see it, but it's the very opposite of Christian faith which commands pastors who are always men to "Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you" (Timothy 1:13, 14).
Please do not oppose patriarchy again, here, or I will be forced to guard this command and truth of God by denying you future commenting privileges.
If the command and truth of God is really in danger from my comments, then God is a lot weaker than I've always thought.

I'd love to reply to your other statements, but I think that would lead to this comment not being allowed to remain at all.

[Incidentally, you don't need to worry about denying me commenting privileges, I won't be back. Thank you for allowing me to make the comments that I have.]

Friday, December 24, 2010

Let's be angsty, shall we?

I've got a simply gigantic doozy of a post being worked upon, the obligatory end-of-year post, and it would have been the 200th post too, but I feel the waves of irony, sarcasm and angst [oh and humor] washing over me today.

Naturally I've all but forgotten what I was going to be angsty about! Oh well here's for a quick recap.

Patriocentricity update: 
Stacy McDonald replied to my comment....well actually she didn't publish it, but sent me an email.
[I had mercifully all but forgotten about it until right now, heh.] Suffice it to say that I angsted about the whole thing for a week or two. I am still irked at what seems to me to be a refusal to discuss things honestly. I believe that it is possible for someone to be entirely well-intentioned in their views, but at the same time close themselves off to considering any other viewpoint as valid. They are honest in their intentions, but their protection of their views is not honest.   And THAT, my friends, is what I call disingenuous.

FIRST news: 
Remember the NASA grant that we were so sure we wouldn't get? Well it came through.....$5000 registration paid and now we have a tidy sum laid by for next year/buying parts for this year. Awesomeness all round.

The FRC team in New Jersey whose team captain I'd been bugging to not give up hope: they are fully funded, the money came through in the pinch.

The FRC team in Eugene [whose captain I had also been bugging], is ALSO fully funded: last night, to my frantic enthusiasm, their team captain told me that FIRST actually came through [via our Regional Director] and worked things out. This is wonderful news, it would have been very disappointing to see Eugene not be able to participate.

The other day several members of the robotics team gathered at my place to learn programming [in the lack of anyone who actually is already proficient in C++.....] under the tutelage of a former FRC team member and current computer sci. student. I became quite enthused and have spent the last few days tooling around in Wind River Workbench [where code compile properly] and Xcode [where perfectly legitimate code can't find its libraries and hands me a bunch of error messages].

Today I undertook to copy the WPI libraries [written by Worcester Polytechnic Institute specially for use in FRC] to my Mac [Eddie, running Xcode]. This proved tortuous.....some of the errors have gone, but others have popped up in their place, nevertheless in a way which gives me hope I might some day be able to compile FRC code on a Mac. Because I REFUSE to dual-boot Eddie into Windows or anything like that.

Just for kicks, let's post a sample of code: this, linked against the WPI libraries, should theoretically be enough to run a 120-lb. even includes a snazzy little user-defined class called, stunningly enough, 'kicker', in attempts to recreate the idea behind last year's soccer-ball-kicking robot.

#include "WPILib.h"
#include "kicker.h"

 * This is a demo program showing the use of the RobotBase class.
 * The SimpleRobot class is the base of a robot application that will automatically call your
 * Autonomous and OperatorControl methods at the right time as controlled by the switches on
 * the driver station or the field controls.
 * Includes kicker.h, Bethany's user-defined class. 
class RobotDemo : public SimpleRobot
RobotDrive myRobot; // robot drive system, can be controlled by two victors
Joystick stick; // only joystick
Solenoid sol1; //solenoid 1
Victor vic1; //victor 1
Victor vic2; //victor 2 
Kicker kick; //kicker defined in kicker.h 
// these must be initialized in the same order
stick(1), // as they are declared above.
myRobot(&vic1, &vic2) //pointers to locations of victors
//Kick needs no perameters
GetWatchdog().SetExpiration(100); //0.1 seconds
* Drive left & right motors for 2 seconds then stop
void Autonomous(void)
vic1.Set(0.5); // drive both motors forward, half speed
Wait(2000);    //    for 2 seconds
vic1.Set(0.0); // stop robot
/*Runs the motors with arcade steering. */
void OperatorControl(void) //does this need void parameter? implied with mere ()? 
GetWatchdog().SetEnabled(false); //disable Watchdog
while (IsOperatorControl())
myRobot.ArcadeDrive(&stick); // drive with arcade style (use right stick [?])
Wait(5); // wait for a motor update time, .005 seconds
//joystick trigger for solenoid
if (stick.GetTrigger()==true) //can also use stick.GetTrigger() [without ==true]
else {
if (stick.GetTrigger()==true) //or stick.GetTriggger() 
kick.Release();  //variable.function.....kick [does] release
kick.Kick(true); //if want long kick....kick [does] kicks
else {
kick.Retract(); //retract at all other times

START_ROBOT_CLASS(RobotDemo);  //why a macro? I thought macros were bad policy?

Note the copious use of comments [like this: //this is a comment]......I suspect that my fully-commented code will be a wonder, and a thing of beauty and sarcasm. As we know: as a programmer, my job is to write documentation that happen to compile. [Devil's advocate says: never document. If it was hard to write, it should be hard to understand.]  Also: if the robot hasn't burst into flames, the problem is the programmer's fault. Another Chief Delphi quote to round out the evening: We'll defenestrate our programmer, and I'll report back our solution if we get anything working.

First game hint  is out! It has resulted in speculation that the game will
a) involve columnar game pieces
b) take place on stairs
c) be a mash-up of all previous games [FIRST's 20-year anniversary]
d) be related to a 'conjunction' of some sort [planetary or otherwise]
e) incorporate trains, train-tracks, or 'engines' [towed behind robots...but we did that in 2009]
f) loco-motion, the name of the singer in that game hint's major hit, will come into play: crazy == loco....some form of new and terrifying-to-program motion....
g) the game will definitely be called LocoMotion [or perhaps Back on Track]

h) this hint, of course, means water game.

I think the angst I mentioned in the title [admittedly just to get people to read this post..] stemmed from my unwisely trawling through a website the other day which touted a comprehensive 'modesty checklist'....which listed high heels and the hose classically worn with them as immodest. Several commenters mentioned they didn't see why that would be a problem, as they never wear skirts shorter than ankle-length anyway.
Why do I hang out with these people?

On another note, allow me to link to a blog by an amazing young woman who I can, perhaps, agree to disagree with. Bailey's blog,  Big House in the Little Woods.
[One of her latest posts mentions me so I thought it appropriate to link....note that there is at least one other Bethany who comments on her blog, look for the profile pic :) ]

I finally rallied myself to comment on said post.....comment moderation in effect tho, so possibly delayed.  It's quite unusual to find someone who holds a lot of patriocentric views, but is still willing to discuss things honestly.'s Christmas Eve. I'd come out with a homily of some sort but if you're anything like me, you've been bombarded with such for the past few days.

...oh mom and I were just talking about gifts, she mentioned the shortfall of gifts for me [hah, shortfall, not really, I am amazingly fortunate :) ] and I piped up 'The iPod...' [iPod Shuffle, which we arose at an unearthly hour to buy at an early sale]....and then she says 'Oh yes! Except I don't know where that is....'
There is a running joke of gifts and so on getting mislaid in the wrapping-up process. One year it was a flash drive, rubber bands, AND a packet of garden seeds [I was specially keen on those rubber-bands...] and some of them didn't show up for months.
There's also this great herbal lip balm [a Key Point in cold wet weather] that I picked out for myself recently but which ought now to be packed up into my stocking....I came very close to EATING the darned thing after I bought it....yummy rose flavor.....NOM. The label actually says 'Don't eat' with a mention of how nommy it is....hehe.

Fun Fact of the Day: a package carrying goodies [cookies, a cement-like block of homemade fruitcake, and assorted fruit, all packed with care in real Oregon fir branches doubtless harboring horrible foreign bug-pests] can wing its way to the East Coast in.....drum-roll weekend before Christmas. I shipped it out in a flat-rate box on Saturday and it arrived by Monday....we were all in awe of the superlative US Postal Service. A book-rate package did the same journey in three days I think, irregardless [teehoo] of foul snowstorms and patented 'wintry mix' currently dispersing itself over the continental US!

We are sitting around being happy that we didn't go to California for Christmas [to see my grandparents...we were considering it two weeks ago]......mudslides and evacuations and torrential rain are such fun ways to spend one's Christmas holiday. Earlier in the month, we also had a near escape from heading to Seattle by train for a programming workshop on the same day that Amtrak was shut down due to flooding.

-Dropbox is very, very nifty.
-Dance/electronica/techno music is very fun and Basshunter is a prime specimen of this.
-Pointers are a unique concept in programming which causes me to brood for prolonged periods of time and then burst out with obscure technical references whilst batting the air.
-Full moon causes bad dreams.
-The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was a very good movie and a rather bad book-adaptation. I want screenshots from it though, that was a PRETTY movie in parts.
-I don't really like live-action 3D films.

And now I think I shall adjourn. More posts soon, hopefully.