Monday, December 14, 2009

The beauty of opportunity

As infrequent and sporadic as my posts may be, I sometimes like to look back on them and remember all the stories I talked about, the things I got excited about, the musings about where I'd be--all that jazz.

One thing that always strikes me is how remarkably quickly things change, all the time. It seems like every few months I'm having this epiphany, but that's because every few months I've been fortunate to have major opportunities to do something or learn something important about my life. It's never more apparent to me than it is at sunrise though. Something about the colors and the light just inspires me. It's an opportunity to do something remarkable for 24 hours, and you get that opportunity every single day.

Today will be a good day.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


This week I'll be enjoying some much demanded down time as I visit my girlfriend out in beautiful Los Gatos, CA. Astute stalkers will remember that I was just 15 minutes away from here a week ago at Stanford running some experiments for Los Alamos. For the rest of you--I was just 15 minutes away from here a week ago at Stanford running some experiments for Los Alamos.

My impression of California is overall a positive one. At the end of the school year, my roommate and close friend Michelle took a road-trip from San Fran through all of NorCal into Oregon because I'd never been to California at a meaningful age or for a significant amount of time, and now by the end of the summer, I've flown to and fro between New Mexico and California 4 times now. In some ways I guess I got more than I asked for, but it's given me the opportunity to really get a feel for what living here must be like.

For one thing, it's expensive. So much so that I can only afford that one thing. Tax is 9.25% and a $50,000 down payment on a crack-shack house is less than 10%. Wow. You can tell the area is pricey as well by the number of "[something]i" Italian supercars running around the streets. Honestly, after a few days, seeing a ferrari was not at all a surprise, and even lamborghinis began to look a bit cliché. But once you go outside you realize why. The weather is WONDERFUL. Easily the best weather I've ever had the pleasure of enjoying. Cloudless every day, roughly 75 degrees at noon, cooler at night, and little humidity. There's also a large entrepreneurial spirit still very much alive in Silicon Valley, and California is racing to be the "greenest" state first, creating a large market for solar panels, hydrogen powered cars and the ilk--you know, all the things I'm interested in. I'll be coming back for a few weeks in the winter to run some more experiments at Stanford, but so far, if I were handed a bucket of money, I wouldn't mind living here at all.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dust off the cobwebs

Been awhile eh? I don't know why that is. Maybe it happens to all (pseudo)writers, but I just hit this dry spell where I had nothing to talk about, nothing interesting seemed to be happening, and I had worse joke drought than the Great Depression.

So the burning question in the internets mind is what HAVE I been up to? (or WHAT have I been up to, depending on inflection...). Well the answer is a lot, a whole lot (though I've never heard anyone say a semilot, or a hemilot or a quarter lot, so a whole lot maybe isn't as descriptive as we all think).
I live here!

For starters I'm working at Los Alamos National Lab in Los Alamos, NM. Fortunately, it's a job I enjoy as I get to travel to different places and do experiments, and living in the desert is a very new experience for me. Unfortunately there are lots of rules about writing about my job, one being anything I write about the lab has to go through classified security to make sure I'm not saying something I shouldn't be, so I can't talk to much about it. (but that's ok, it's not that interesting to the general masses anyway).

I have been on a bit of an outdoor knack lately, and as I find myself window shopping REI catalogs (online, so I guess it's still "window shopping"! ok ok bad joke) I realize that being outside actually makes me really happy. You'd never guess it from my eggshell complexion and the physical build of a cadaver, but being outside resonates with something deep inside me. Maybe it's the trancendentalism from high school bubbling back up in my thoughts as I imagine living out in the wilderness. There's something comforting about the wild, it feels honest. It doesn't care if you planned to go hiking, if it's going to rain it will rain. And maybe that's what I like about it, I like feeling powerless because it means I might as well not even worry about it. Nature will do as it pleases regardless of how polite or polished I look, or how strangely I talk. It's freedom at it's finest.

Unfortunately, I've already had my last weekend at Los Alamos, and in 3 short days I'll start the craziest travel itenerary I can imagine. I'll be several places in California (mostly around the Bay area)for two weeks, a trip to Arkansas for my sister's wedding, back to Los Alamos for a week, then back to California for a leisure visit, then back to Pearland to visit my family for a week, then back to Boston. I'll be living out of a suitcase for about a month, racking up frequent flier miles and commiting the airport security dance to muscle memory (at this point I can probably do it without exchanging a single word or look to the TSA, which frankly is an idea that makes me smile).

In the spare time I do have I've been building my cooking skills and recipe box, and working on some (unsurprisingly) geeky projects that involve programming, mountain dew, and late nights. I have too many ideas to even begin to be able to accomplish them, but some of the stuff I'm working on include:

  • A grocery optimizing program.
  • A networked door lock for my room at school. (unlockable with my phone!)
  • using twitter to control things like lighting, sound, etc. in my room at school.
  • An iPhone app (I'm a developer now!) that will make multiple website logon easier.
  • Learning Dvorak (way better way to type. Google it)
So I've got my work cut out for me in front of the keyboard and screen, but hey that's what layovers are for right?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Thought of the day

Why is it that movies, which generally people like to watch alone or quietly with a small group, are shown in theaters; when sports games, which people like to watch on big screens in loud rowdy bunches aren't?

Does anyone else think that playing sporting events in movie theaters would be awesome? You and your friends could get together and go watch the game on a massive screen in a surround sound with a bunch of other people who would be cheering/booing etc. It'd be like being there.

Just a thought.

Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks so, though I don't know about this 3D business:
(Thanks Anon!)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Computer Issues and colossal snowmen

So as you may or may not know, I've been having big computer problems for the past month, though a thorough diagnosis shows that my computer is infected with a virus known as "Windows Vista", that's another story. The point is, I've been blog-disabled for a while, but I'm back online! And I take this opportunity to let you know that tonight will be the setting for the birth of a creature more infamous than Bigfoot, more legendary than Nessie, more ugly than Gary Busey. That's right.

The Snow Colossus. (Or "Coldossus", get it? HA!)

It boils down to this. I'm an engineer now, and I like to build stuff, and I love things in excess. So when MIT was involved in a snow emergency, where nearly a foot of snow fell in 24 hours with predictions for snow for the rest of the week, the idea for the snow colossus was born. I'll keep you updated.
But bigger.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A New Beginning

Let me preface this all by saying there are no words in the English language to aptly describe the state my room was in. English wasn't designed to deal with horror on such a scale. It was appalling, it would have made my mother weep. You know that feeling when you spill sugar or salt on the kitchen floor and then walk on it barefoot? You know how irritating that is? That's how my floor was all the time. So yeah, it was bad.

Something like that.

Now I don't consider myself to be incredibly type-A like my older sister, in fact I'm so laid back I may in fact be around type-G or H. But there is a line, and having a filthy filthy room is definitely across that line.

But believe it or not, this entry isn't about how I cleaned my room, although it sort of is, it's like a metaphor (though that sentence was a simile....) Just hang on, it'll make sense I promise.

The way I got around to cleaning my room was by living in this terrible state for so long until I finally discovered that it was impacting my life in a very negative way. I didn't clean it before because I seemed to be getting along fine and to perhaps a larger extent, I was intimidated by the scope of it.

That's the same way I cleaned out some parts of my old life. Without getting too terribly contrived in the backstory, for the past 7 years of my life I've been clinging to this girl in some aspect or another. For 7 years I would've given nearly anything to be with her and I held on to the idea that one day, everything would change, that it was just a matter of waiting, even long after I knew if I wanted what I was waiting for.

Now at this point I could try and blame movies for instilling a false sense of what romance is like, but to be honest it wasn't movies. ( I can still blame movies for instilling a sense of how awesome it is to drive a car into a helicopter though.) It was me.

It was me. All along it was me.

So on the heels of this epiphany I realized something: I could let go. Now I don't mean to sound incredibly creepy or anything like that, but I had a box that had letters, tickets, and all sorts of sentimental knick-knacks. I can remember nights where I'd read through some of those old things and cry, and that box was so important to me that it was one of the things I shipped here to college.

Last night I ripped up and threw away everything inside it.

Before it sounds like I just went on a crazy rant, there is something important to realize. At no time last night did I feel angry or spiteful or anything less than resolved. It wasn't a moment of passion where I cried while burning photos or anything like that, it was just me acknowledging that part of my life as over, and getting rid of the old baggage that held me back, and what would have seemed so impossible to me not but 3 months ago was in fact so very easy once I started. I remember holding a letter in my hand and tearing it in half, and I felt relief. For seven years I'd been looking for closure on this, and last night it emerged from the scraps of paper.

The letters were the big thing, but I also shut down my old blog that was filled with my vague musings on the situation, and I shut down my myspace that was filled with messages about the situation. In essence I've got no more chains, I'm free.

So why now? Because I'm growing up. Because I've realized you shouldn't devote your life to someone who wouldn't be willing to do the same for you, and that you should love someone who loves you back just as much. Love isn't about not making mistakes, but it's about correcting them, and it's not about things being easy, but it's about the courage to do things that are hard.

I've come so far in the last 2 months, I've grown up more in the last 2 months than I think I have in the last 2 years. Though to be fair it wasn't an overnight transformation, I can see that in most ways I had already let go over the course of the past year, but last night was the finale. And now that I've resolved the biggest issue of my teenage life, I can start to fix the mistakes that I've made.

That's why you should clean your room kids, because it will change your life. =)

(Also it's nice to not have plates serving as petri dishes on your desk)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

McCain speech remix

No matter how you felt after watching the election results, hopefully this will make you laugh as hard as I did. Oh the wonders of modern computing: