Friday, May 23, 2008


So today we got our yearbooks, and I immediately flipped to take a look at all the senior pictures. I'm scrolling through the list and I see "Lauren Miller" "Taylor Mills"

Wait, WHAT?

My yearbook FORGOT ME

They apologized and refunded the price and everything, but still. That's incredibly disappointing. Now I have to make little picture stickers of myself to give to everyone. This sucks.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Great Photo Dilemma

So I'm pretty much broke. The end of Senior year has been wildly expensive, and that combined with MIT bills and various other expenditures has left my wallet pretty tightly accounted for, that being said I couldn't afford to drop a hundred or so dollars on graduation photos, so I said to myself "Well heck Chris, you've got photoshop, you know what you're doing, make some yourself!" So that's exactly what I intended to do. This is the picture I took:
Washed out, poor contrast, and very obviously my bathroom.

But, through the magic of Photoshop, (and some long hours of internet radio and tablet drawing) here's what I came up with:


So then I went to Walgreens to go have prints made. This is where things get interesting. I pulled up the picture to have them printed and the guy says "Oh we can't print that, it's copyrighted material, you'll have to go back to the studio", at first I'm a bit flattered by this man's unintentional compliment, and I tell him that I did in fact take these pictures myself, at home.

"No you didn't"

I think he's just in disbelief, once again I assure him they are mine.

"Hold on one second"

*I wait. A woman clutching a clipboard and paperwork comes and greets me*

"Sir, you'll have to take this copyright release back to the photographer so that we can make prints for you"

This isn't fun anymore

"I'm the photographer, these are my pictures, I took myself."

"Sir, please, just take these forms to the photographer and we'll be able to help you"

"I took these pictures, I hold the copyrights, do you want me to fill them out myself?!"

"Sir if you took these pictures at home, how did you get it to say 'Class of '08' at the bottom?"

"I own a copy of Photoshop. Just like any photography studio does. I have all the equipment I needed to make a good picture, I'm just trying to save some money. In fact, I can prove these are my pictures."

*I pull up the original photos I didn't use*


"Well I guess we won't be needing these forms, thank you for choosing walgreens for your picture needs!"

In the end though, it cost me $12 to have 100 prints made, whereas a similar package would have cost in excess of $250 from a local photographer.

Frugality Prevails!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Some clarification

ok, partly because I need a new entry, and partly because some of you asked what in the story of Niels Bohr reminded me of AP physics, the questions on that test are similarly ridiculous, asking questions that are utterly ridiculous or convoluted and serve no practical purpose. This is an actual question:

Here is a question involving circular motion, for your practice:

A simple pendulum of length ℓ is suspended from the point O. The bob of the pendulum is a sphere of mass m and is initially at rest at A. An identical sphere S (not shown in the figure), which is a projectile with its trajectory in the plane of the figure, has its highest point at A. The projectile therefore collides (elastically) with the bob of the pendulum at A and makes it move with horizontal speed V1 as shown. The acceleration due to gravity at the place is g.

(a) If the speed V1 of the bob of the pendulum is just sufficient to make it travel along the circular path of radius ℓ, derive an expression for the speed V2 of the bob at the highest point B of the circular path.

(b) Derive an expression for the kinetic energy of the bob in terms of m, ℓ and g just when it starts moving from A.

(c) Obtain an expression for the speed of the bob at C, when the string of the pendulum is horizontal.

(d) What was the kinetic energy of the projectile (sphere S) just before it collided with the bob? Give reason for your answer without writing theoretical steps.

(e) Briefly explain the nature of the motion of the projectile after hitting the bob.

A poignant counter-point, WHO THE HELL CARES?! Now I love Physics, really I do. I make physics jokes (Hey, what did the cow say as he slid down the inclined plane? Muuu!) but I just groan with things like that. All year I had to do questions like "I f I throw a jug of water that weighs 8 Kg at a kid who weighs 140Kg riding a skateboard moving with an initial velocity of 8m/s opposite the direction the jug is thrown, describe what happens" I laugh at the kid and run away. That should be the answer.

Off my micro-rant (thanks paul!), I am done with school and these last three weeks are a formality. Seriously, no finals, no tests, no homework. I do nothing. It's boring and nice at the same time.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Niels Bohr and the Physics Question

This reminded me of AP Physics. No idea if it's true or not, but funny nonetheless:

A physics student was asked to describe a method by which the height of a building could be determined using a barometer

"You tie a long piece of string to the neck of the barometer, then lower the barometer from the roof of the skyscraper to the ground. The length of the string plus the length of the barometer will equal the height of the building."

This highly original answer so incensed the examiner that the student was failed. The student appealed on the grounds that his answer was indisputably correct, and the university appointed an independent arbiter to decide the case.

The arbiter judged that the answer was indeed correct, but did the problem it was decided to call the student in and allow him six minutes in which to provide a verbal answer which showed at least a minimal familiarity with the basic principles of physics.

For five minutes the student sat in silence, forehead creased in thought. The arbiter reminded him that time was running out, to which the student replied that he had several extremely relevant answers, but couldn't make up his mind which to use.

On being advised to hurry up the student replied as follows:

"Firstly, you could take the barometer up to the roof of the skyscraper, drop it over the edge, and measure the time it takes to reach the ground. The height of the building can then be worked out from the formula H = 0.5g x t squared. But bad luck on the barometer."

"Or if the sun is shining you could measure the height of the barometer, then set it on end and measure the length of its shadow. Then you measure the length of the skyscraper's shadow, and thereafter it is a simple matter of proportional arithmetic to work out the height of the skyscraper."

"But if you wanted to be highly scientific about it, you could tie a short piece of string to the barometer and swing it like a pendulum, first at ground level and then on the roof of the skyscraper. The height is worked out by the difference in the gravitational restoring force T = 2 pi sqroot (l / g)."

"Or if the skyscraper has an outside emergency staircase, it would be easier to walk up it and mark off the height of the skyscraper in barometer lengths, then add them up."

"If you merely wanted to be boring and orthodox about it, of course, you could use the barometer to measure the air pressure on the roof of the skyscraper and on the ground, and convert the difference in millibars into feet to give the height of the building."

"But since we are constantly being exhorted to exercise independence of mind and apply scientific methods, undoubtedly the best way would be to knock on the janitor's door and say to him 'If you would like a nice new barometer, I will give you this one if you tell me the height of this skyscraper'."

The student was Niels Bohr, the only person from Denmark to win the Nobel prize for Physics.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Dan Sauza, gamer ballad

"It's not easy being l33t", as Kermit the Frog so very nearly sang.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The most epic fail

So today was the BC Calc exam, and sure while it may be nothing compared to some other crazy people's schedules, I maintain the belief that the dauntitude (I made that word up) of a task is directly proportional to the system it's within, thus it was still a big deal for me. I've studied for this test for literally a month, done a ton of practice exams, went over everything. I knew my stuff, and I was ready for this test.

"But Chris, how is that the most epic fail?"

Quit interrupting, that was all exposition to highlight the severity later.

Anyway, I went to bed at midnight, woke up this morning, had a breakfast of a bagel, orange juice, eggs, bowl of wheaties, banana and some peanut butter (I'm a fatass, it just hasn't caught up to me) and went to school. The test begins and I feel pretty good, for those unfamiliar the test is broken up into 4 parts like so:

Non-Calculator Multiple Choice-45 minutes
Calculator Multiple Choice-45 minutes
Non-Calculator Free Response-45 minutes
Calculator Free Response-45 minutes

You have to bubble in an answer sheet by the time the test is done, when the bell rings, you have to stop everything you're doing and seal your test.The timer goes and I dive headlong into the problems. To optimize my test-taking, I always allot 5 minutes at the end to bubble in everything. Periodically I glance up to see how much time is left : 35 minutes, 22 minutes, 8 minutes, great, I'm making good progress and answering a lot of questions. I get to the end and glance up at the clock: 4 minutes 30 seconds


For some odd reason, since I was so focused on seeing 5 minutes as my mark to begin bubbling, when I saw 4 minutes and 30 seconds, I thought "Oh wonderful, I am 4 minutes and 30 seconds ahead, I'll go back and work some problems I wasn't sure of" I managed to get all of them answered and felt really confident about it all, the timer went off and everything was great, I had answered all of the questions, now all I had to do was---

Oh shit.

"Pencils down, no more working"

Oh my god.

"Seal your tests"

I looked over at my answer sheet. Completely Blank.

The next multiple choice section began and I sat for about 5 minutes, unable to do any work, mentally kicking myself for being so dumb. Then I spent about 3 minutes trying to figure out what to do now, so I crunched the numbers for scoring and found out that if I aced the the rest of the multiple choice and got 6 out of 9 points for every free response, I could still make a 4, which would be worth credit. I aced the rest of the Multiple Choice part for sure, and it was time for free response. I had no problem with most of the free response, except one part of a question that asked me to calculate the Lagrange Error Bound (for those who don't know, it's the most useless, convoluted math idea out there) for a series. Partially because I didn't care, and partially because I was so pumped at the idea of actually pulling this ridiculous come-from-behind feat, with about 15 seconds left I wrote the first thing that came to my mind:


I feel tentatively confident about the possibility of actually making a 4 on the test, even though I missed an entire section. If I do manage to pull it off, it will be the most amazing feat I've done thus far, and a pretty good story. If not, theres always the standing exams in August....

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Quick background:
I once had my teeth knocked out by a pipe, and when I went to the dentist, he was an idiot. I wrote this poem about the experience. Enjoy!

"the story of the retarded dentist done in the style of Dr.Seuss"

there once was a dentist
or so he claimed to be
though after my visit
i cant say i agree

through forests of papers
inquiring who where and why
mothers maiden name?
I fill out with a sigh

at last i'm seen
though thats about it
i wait in a chair
frankly its bull-well you know

a 10 second x-ray
and the dentist reveals
i'm imagining the pain
it just can't be real.

well that cant be true
i say im in pain
though i suppose he knows me
better than my own brain

he says he could fix it,
but decides that he will not
i think he's got dumb
i think he has a lot

so i leave the poor man
i pity him thats true
for it must be hard to live
with the I.Q. of a shoe.

To another dentist I'll go
though before I do
im tempted to play a round
of quaint peek-a-boo

Goodbye retard dentist
I'm tempted to shout
and add "dont forget"
"its breathe in then breathe out"