The Domain of Steven Pinnacle of Paperless Perfection

3Jul/082

Sex train

The other intern and I had been planning to book a coach at the airport once we arrived, and take a four-hour ride into Exeter. We arrived an hour later than expected, but there were trains all throughout the day, so we figured we'd be fine.

Pshh, no. We walked up to one of the self-service ticket terminals only to find that all the buses had been booked into the evening. Yes, all into the evening. We couldn't get into Exeter unless we wanted to wait several hours at the airport and then arrive past midnight.

We took the backup option: a train service than ran from London to Exeter. It was more expensive, on the order of four times more expensive (69 pounds, keeping in mind that a pound is roughly two dollars), which is why we didn't choose it even though it was a bit faster than the bus. We took two intra-city trains (shown) to Paddington, and then a Amtrak-type train all the way to Exeter.


i

Filed under: General, Life, Outing 2 Comments
25Jun/080

My right leg is still sore

Went out to Union Square to meet up with an old friend. It was the first time in a while that I've gotten out of the house, and just my luck, it's extremely humid. So we did what city kids do: take shelter inside air conditioning. Our refuges were Whole Foods and Barnes and Nobles, where we looked at mysteriously unpriced chocolate that was not listed in their inventory, picked out a dozen travel guides to Europe, and then proceeded to read none of them while we caught up with one another.

Sufficiently cooled and increasingly hungry, we sallied forth and found that the weather had gotten better and sunnier. We went into the farmer's market and were tempted by vegetable turnovers, but settled on focaccia. She picked out something with mushrooms and a strange cheese, I took the more pizza-esque tomato/basil/pepper/garlic/mozzarella. Eating them on a bench in the park was a delicious end to our reunion.

We went our separate ways, hers the ride back and mine the ride forth. My Rock Band itch had been exacerbated by talking to Jason, not to mention all those Youtube videos, and so I determinedly wanted to find someplace to play it that was not Neutral Ground and their $3 fee (god knows how long that actually gets you). Most Best Buys and Circuit Cities I had gone to either had broken foot pedals, non-working units, or heinously, working units that were not allowed to be turned on. So I went to the one place I knew once had a working set: the Circuit City next to the Best Buy on 5th Avenue.

Now I don't know who runs this place but they are obviously a fan of rhythm-based gaming. When Shelly, Sally, Mike, Simon and I went there last winter break, they had a positively orgasmic demo setup. There were three gaming stations, separated from each other by a 3-walled partition. Imagine a triangle; the partition's walls would extend from the points of those triangles towards the center. Two stations were for Guitar Hero 3, and one was for Rock Band, which was complete with a mic, guitar and drums, all in perfect working order. Each station had huge LCD TVs, and they were in full display of the window looking out to the sidewalk, with extra TVs facing the street so that passerbys could see what we were doing.

On my trip to this paragon of gaming exhibitionism, which could only get more awesome if we were on a raised platform or there were bleachers for spectators, I found that there were now three Rock Band stations, one for each system. The PS3 only had a working drum set, the 360 only had a working guitar, but the Wii version (perhaps because no one had had time to break the instruments yet) had a full complement minus a second guitar.

Mmm. Drumming. There was a fairly regular stream of people floating in and out of the store that wanted to try their hand at the guitar or drum, but in the corner were a group of loiterers like myself who were drumming beasts. It's always awe-inspiring to see someone nail a song your mind can't even comprehend. Of course it's also a little scary to watch someone whose drumming style does not involve hitting the drums with the points of the sticks, but instead hitting the entire length of the drum pad with the flat end of the stick. This is not some full contact sport, dude. The drums are loud enough, you don't need to add in the constant cracking of wood on hard plastic.

After I left and started making my way back to the train station, I discovered that a second Neutral Ground opened up across the street from where I interned at for a couple years. Now the original Neutral Ground was a nice gaming store: there was a big selection of games, miniatures and collectibles, and there was a large open gaming area where collectible card game players would hang out before and after the frequent tournaments held there. It wasn't exactly pretty, but you came there for a specific and undoubtedly dorky reason, and it would never disapopint.

This new store was more of an annex than an actual Neutral Ground. It had much less stock, because there wasn't a whole lot that could fit into what was essentially an alleyway between two buildings. The back of the store definitely fit that bill; where the old Neutral Ground had a dozen long tables in their brightly lit gaming area, I could count the number of both tables and light fixtures here on a single hand. It was like accidentally stepping into a shady illegal poker game between two rival gangs, since a crowd would form at the head of the table (it was the only place with space for spectators) preventing you from seeing what was going on in the sparsely lit nook all the noise was coming from.

I didn't want to stick around to witness the Yu-Gi-Oh-tastic geekery that was wrapping up in the gaming area, so I quickly inquired as to whether they had the out-of-print game Bang! (no they didn't, and I was actually the third person that day who asked) and then hopped on the train back home.

My last stop was at the post office, where I picked up the work visa for my trip this coming weekend. With it becoming more real as every day passes, especially with the knowledge that I should have already been there for a week, I am getting quite excited. We've been slowly packing and setting things aside for the trip, and I have to remember to put my multitools in my checked luggage lest they be put up on Ebay. I've loaded up my DS with games, put music on my iPod, and am putting addresses on file to send post cards to. My top concern though? Finding my fucking camera charger so that I can put up pictures with my posts XD .

Filed under: Gaming, Life, Outing No Comments
11Jun/083

My name is Steven, and I provide services selectively.

Yesterday was my second annual visit to the Licensing International Expo. Held at the Jacob Javits Center, it's a convention that brings together brand owners and investors interested in licensing them. It gathers businesspeople of all stature, from independent artists in a one-man booth to industry giants in expansive and elaborate showcases. The expo is brimming with money, with deals being made around every corner and exhibitors trying to catch your attention, hoping that you are their next big client.

But as a lowly college student, what am I doing at the expo? What people usually do when in New York City: see the sights.

Over 400 companies set up lavish displays in the interest of ensnaring visitors, and as such the expo is full of eye candy and free candy. Indeed, part of the reason I attend is the promise of souvenirs. But strangely, I mostly attend to soak in the atmosphere. It is a world that I would otherwise not have known existed. It's exciting being around so many different companies, so many inviting exhibits and product presentations that make you wish you had a legitimate company so that you could chat them up and give them support.

As one without such financial backing, I choose not to waste their time and not to push my luck. This year I floated around with Sally, Mike, Simon, Kenny and Brian. The expo was a bit darker than I remembered, just as pretty, but not nearly as bountiful. Last year's convention was marked by Viz's anime-themed photo booth, free blueberry muffin bites, stuffed animal prizes by Neopets, and Jim Benton signing postcard books. While Jim Benton was diligently still there, none of the others were. Viz instead had an intimidating monolith of a booth, and I can only speculate as to the dealings that happened inside. Neopets was cast down from the pedestal it held last year, going from a large open space to a mere hallway, a couple computer stations sandwiched between two very close partitions. It was a very different experience for me, Sally and Kenny, who were the only repeat attendees.

Different was still good, though. Brian and I diverged from the group in order to check out a piece of music-mapping software that produced visual representations of music as it was being played. It was to usher in a new method of learning music, where you didn't just memorize finger positionings for guitar chords, you saw a 2d map of the strings you were strumming and which frets you held down, or the same information projected onto a 3d spiral. It would even show you the corresponding keys on a keyboard were you to play them. It was colorful and impressive, and I got to hear Brian play a bit on the acoustic guitar they linked up. I wanted to play on their drum set but it was being hogged. It was a well-made and most likely expensive booth, considering all the monitors and equipment, but not very popular.

We then found our way to the Neopets booth, if you could call the small firing lane a booth. I saw computers and bins with goods in them and was looking forward to winning whatever prizes they had. I was immediately thrown off guard when the exhibitor smiled at me and said "Oh it's you! Back again?"

I was immediately puzzled. This was my first time stopping by, perhaps he confused me with another Asian? I started to correct him, because damnit I wanted my prize and I wasn't going to let accusations of double dipping stop me.

No, he clarified, he didn't mean I was back again this day. He meant back again at the expo this year. The exhibitor remembered my escapade last year at his booth, and I suppose I made quite the indelible mark. Their former setup included stations lined up with Neopets games running on them, inviting people to play them, and they would reward high scores with scaling prizes: bins full of different Neopet plushies of different sizes, a very high score netting you a bigger plushie.

I immediately went to work and farmed the shit out of that game.

"It's no fun staying in the back and dodging the ice creams. Why don't you move around?"
Because staying in the back gives you the most time to react and plan ahead. "Nah, it's okay."
*several games and one of each plushie later*
"You're a gamer, aren't you."
...*smile*

This year, skill was not a factor: you clicked a button that spun a wheel of prizes. The bins were full of crossword puzzles and coloring books. I prefer to think of them as red herrings, though. The real prizes were tucked away in his belt pouch pocket: codes to redeem for in-game items, and Neocash cards. The nice exhibitor gave me a code, Brian $10 in Neocash, and we appreciatively scrammed. I figured my brother Mikey would know someone who played Neopets and would love the gifts, but he denies knowing or being associated with those who know about Neopets.

Another online game we stumbled upon was called Cookie Town, which was geared towards young kids. I admittedly chatted them up a bit because I wanted one of their cool cowboy hats, which they did indeed give me. Apparently Cookie Town was the brainchild of one of the brothers at the booth, who dreamed of a cookie town while stoned. FYI, do not tell people this. I do not feel comfortable introducing children to a game based on someone's intoxicated fantasies, no matter how delicious when dunked in milk.

The highlight of the expo was over at the Comedy Central booth, one that I passed by but totally ignored. Brian unwisely pointed out that they had a Rock Band station, and I immediately sprouted hair all over my body and went feral, dripping saliva as I raced towards my glorious prize. I rent the drummer asunder and took up his spot without missing a beat. The guitarist and bassist stared at the mutilated former drummer until I let out a bestial growl and yelled at them in an unearthly tone, "KEEP PLAYING. IF WE DON'T FIVE STAR THIS, IT'S YOU TWO NEXT." Compliance was not an issue.

The station was meant to attract a crowd, and featured a sweepstakes: if you played Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld and left a business card, you would be entered in a raffle for a Rock Band bundle. Damnit, the one time I really really wanted my company to be real!

I instead stood quietly to the side as the band finished the song. People wanted to try guitar, and so Brian stepped aside, but fewer wanted to embarass themselves on drums, and I gladly volunteered. Unlike somewhere like Anime Boston, very few of the attendees have ever played Rock Band, and I would say there are people who probably have not even heard of it or the console I was playing it on. I get stares as I scroll down to expert difficulty, and a concerned stare from the booth manager as I flip the foot pedal backwards. I end up playing the mind-numbingly slow Wanted Dead or Alive thanks to our lead guitar's girlishly squealed mandate, and I leave with my appetite tantalized but unfulfilled. Brian and I return later towards the end of the expo when there is no crowd or band, and I convince him to guitar alongside me as I drum to Maps. I finish very content, but Brian's handling of the Stratocaster set off a spark that, fueled by the real life guitarist in him, made him really want to play more Rock Band. Mmm, delicious convert.

We walk back in the oppressive heat, grab a drink at McDonald's because $3.50 is too much to pay for a bottle of water even if it is in Javits, have our suspicions heightened that the M34 is a god damn bus of myth, and then take the AC-less train back to our stops. I realize that I've only eaten a mouthful and drunk two cups of fluids all day, and proceed to gorge myself after taking a much-needed cool shower. I then sit back, reflect on how much I liked the expo this year despite coming back with a light (but procured) bag, and start hoping that the Neopets manager will bring back those cute plushies next year.

26Apr/089

Two months of making perfection perfect

Microsoft came to campus some time ago for a recruiting drive. I knew that my odds were low but I wanted the experience, and no matter what the odds are, there is still a chance. Talking to the recruiter went very smoothly; I liked talking to him and he liked talking to me. He made notes on my resume before dropping it in and I walked away happy.

The actual first-round interview was not so smooth. It was not so much an interview as an interrogation. To be fair, the interviewer single-handedly had to deal with two dozen people over the course of two days, and as I was the penultimate, I was going to get the short end of the cordiality stick. I tried to establish a casual talking environment, picked up on every cue that was dropped in order to promote talking and build a rapport, but he was not interested in a rapport. He was there to weed out candidates and that is exactly what he did.

I felt confident that I did well where it counted, but it was not enough. I was not invited to a second-round interview, the multi-day affair where Microsoft flies you over to Washington and pays for everything so that they can subject you to a day-long interview gauntlet.

However, I am completely fine with not moving onto the second round. And that is because I already have plans.

001.jpg
The plans looked a bit like this, hastily scribbled onto a piece of paper with an old Spanish homework. They was spurred into being by Chris, and dreamed up and laid out during one of my classes. It was the roadmap to an essay that, with Shelly's help, won me a scholarship.

My benefactor was a UK-based software testing company that was moving into Burlington, Massachusetts. They recently started a program that offered scholarships to BU computer science students, the winners receiving a lump sum as well as an internship.

The money was definitely enticing, but the internship was the much more valuable prize. Being very young and having so little experience, I would cherish any opportunity to build up my resume and gain momentum. The internship was originally scheduled to be in Burlington. Its actual status was up in the air for a few months until I was notified that no, there was in fact no place for me at their Burlington office, but they would remain true to their word and offer me an internship.

In England.

Exeter, England to be more specific. For two months I am going to be staying at the University of Exeter and working for a company generous enough to provide me this opportunity. I'll have two months to see whether the sky looks any different in Europe than it does in America and whether cars driving on the wrong side will faze me. Two months to collect as much foreign currency as I can, since it seems to be the most popular souvenir requested so far. Two months of a five-hour time difference from my friends. Two months alone being somewhere I never thought I would be compelled to be by myself.

But for you, my readers, it will be two months of posts and pictures, of pining and preaching. And for me, at the very least, two months of preparing for off-campus life next school year.

3Oct/074

Charat + Hong’s destined battle – aXX:goim?screenname=SarcasticSteven&message=I’m solving your riddle right now.

My 3-day trip to New York was amazing, and both Shelly and I came back with twice the load we departed with. The majority of my load came from Saturday, when I went with my brother and the FIT group to attend the Digital Life convention at the Jacob Javits Center. I knew it was going to be a consumer electronics expo, but I wasn't quite ready for the sheer amount and size of the electronics on one small showroom. There were TVs bigger than both of my monitors put together, computer towers nearly as big and probably three times as heavy, and sexiness emanating from even the lowliest of booths.

Was it as good as the Licensing Expo? Despite both conventions being showcases, they were entirely different breeds. The Licensing Expo had gimmicky free stuff: lots of pins, buttons, stickers, and a couple good items like a Happy Bunny postcard book. Digital Life's freebies were a lot less plentiful but more useful, things that people would use and remind themselves and others about the product: Microsoft popcorn and playing cards, Lord of the Rings Online trial DVDs, and a Newegg poncho. Being the officer of the MMO club, I felt it was my duty to procure goods for our members, and took a whole nine full-size DVD cases from the piles that were being constantly replenished. It wasn't until later that I found out that the installer was available online and trial keys could be sent to your email address. Oh wells.

The big notables were the video games. They had computers that ran Bioshock beautifully and still smooth as silk, two DDR arcade machines, dozens of PS3s and 360s, and several unreleased games: Crysis, Guitar Hero 3, Team Fortress 2...the first hour at the convention was really just me going from booth to booth gaping at the live games that were being played on these monster rigs and screens. I'm not so sure I like Guitar Hero 3's interface, but my opinion might have been soured by the long lines for everything worth playing 🙁 .

But the absolute best part? Totally whooping the Geek Squad's ass at 3-question computer trivia, and winning a USB hub in the process 😀 . Working as BU tech support finally pays off (well, other than in the literal sense XD).

The last day was spent playing with not one, not two, but three linked Xbox 360s, with three matching televisions, three copies of Halo 3, and 10 controllers (sorry to break the sequence of 3's). I donned the mantle of SomeRandomGuy so that people could say "Woo, I just killed some random guy!" and "Damnit, some random guy keeps sniping me!" Unfortunately it was more of the former than the latter, but I eked out a spot in the middle of the leaderboard, which is good considering my inexperience with console shooters. Regardless, it was crazy fun for all of us, with lots of jeering and screaming and teabagging. Shelly came back with a 360 of her own, opening up the possibility of four-player Halo 3 co-op with Megan's 360 😀 . Toss in Bioshock, MMOGS meetings, and RPG games, and I've got a lot I want to do and not a lot of time to do it with. College is definitely in full swing.

6Aug/073

“Why don’t you have an Asian freak?”

The beach epitomizes nearly everything I react badly to. Sand gets everywhere and precludes everything but sandals (which I never wear), the Sun is blinding even when there isn't an expanse of sand reflecting it, the heat causes me to break down, and extended periods in water have the same effect. But when I went there last Saturday with my friends, it wasn't like that at all.

In fact, I rather enjoyed it.

My main problem was the heat. I had a pair of comfortable slippers from home, and my sunglasses were in working order, if a little crooked. That was easy. On the beach, I thought there would be no reprieve from the oppression of the infrared rays bearing down on me from all sides. I brought a spray fan in preparation for dealing with the heat, but I was afraid that it would remove my sunscreen, so I kept it tucked away until absolutely necessary.

DSC01735
But like most theorycraft, I forgot to account for something: wind. There was an incredibly pleasant breeze blowing throughout the beach that kept me cool while under the beach umbrella that Shelly provided. In fact, I was hottest when not on the beach! The line for a $2.75 Nathan's hot dog, no matter how famous, was windless and way too hot. And the hot dog wasn't even that crunchy...

The food, as expected, was overpriced. Thankfully, my friends and I were able to find small bastions of cheapness, like vendors selling dollar cans of soda and water, as well as dollar icee carts. I didn't know there existed icee carts that do not carry some form of lemon, but I wasn't about to complain in the face of the equally awesome pineapple.

DSC01711
This was all to refuel our bodies after volleyball. I'm not a big fan of it, but that didn't keep me from chilling out in the shade while taking pictures of the action as well as the awkward, compromising positions they occasionally ended up in. I was a bigger fan of frisbee, which I found Joanna, Yi, and the Stuy robotics team playing a ways down the beach. I got to toss around a frisbee whose primary purpose was something other than a shovel, and then headed down to the shoreline to take my first steps in the ocean.

I've lived a life with a set of tempermental skin, and when I looked at the seaweed, shell, and debris-filled ocean, I was a little skeptical to say the least. If I stepped in without my slippers, I would feel all kinds of things underneath me and around me, but if I stepped in with them on, the same things got caught inside of it. I resigned myself to keeping my slippers on (I didn't want them to get stolen or washed away) and moving when the tide was at a standstill. It was surprisingly cool, and I didn't melt or molt. When I returned to my original group, it turns out they wanted to go into the ocean too, and I took bolder steps. I still didn't plan on going much farther in, so I left my camera, wallet, and cell phone in my pocket like I always do and started wading in while holding up the ends of my shorts. There was noticeably less debris as I got farther out, possibly because the same debris is washed back and forth when you're closer to the shoreline. I got a first-hand glimpse of how much less debris there was when my friend Mike snuck up on me and pushed me over. This was in direct violation of the verbal contract I arranged with him previously, being "If you drag me into the water, Mike, I'm taking your balls." Needless to say, his balls were now mine. I contemplated chasing him down, but unlike me, he had no compunctions about going into deep water. I deemed my electronics more valuable then a pair of testicles and wisely left the beach and emptied out my pockets before too much water seeped through.

He's still my hero though, because of this exchange:
Sally: *playing with the sand* Hey look, it's a dinosaur print!
Mike: *kick* Hey look, it's messed up.

We had spent a good five or six hours at the beach before we decided to head out. Some of us needed to get home, others were worried about the sudden appearances of sunburn. Still, our original purpose was to go on the Coney Island rides before they closed after this summer season. Sally, Shelly and I had not forgotten this, and remained resolved to go on the Cyclone and Wonder Wheel before leaving.

The Cyclone brought out an interesting side of me, one that I usually only see during tests. When people come to me and lay out all their fears about how they'll do, and how they haven't studied, I am the epitome of false confidence. The fact is, despite my assurances and cool words, I am often just as fearful and unprepared. The same is true for rollercoasters: when people expressed uncertainty about whether going on was a good idea, I did my best to rally them and persuade them to go. Was I any less afraid of the feeling you get when you descend down those hills, that you're going to go flying out of your seat and splatter across the pavement? Fuck no, it's why I never go on rollercoasters by myself; I can be brave in the presence of others, but I'll rarely stand up for myself. As we climbed up the first hill, I finally admitted out loud, "For the record, I'm scared shitless."

And wow, scared shitless of that first hill I was. I clutched that bar for dear life and didn't let go. The rest of the ride was both a success and a failure. It was favorable in the sense that I really, really enjoyed it. After the first set of hills, I got into it, I stopped cursing and started enjoying. I kept my eyes wide open as a smile streaked across my face wider and wider with each coming steep hill and sharp turn. I left the ride exhilarated, shaking with excitement and seriously tempted to spend four dollars for a reride.

The person sitting next to me was not of the same opinion. Her version of "scared shitless" only amplified as the ride progressed, and despite the sign that said "Do Not Rest Head On Bar," she put her head down and closed her eyes in order to block out the overwhelming G forces and we zoomed about. This caused her head to thrash back and forth as we ascended and descended, showing that a bruised face and disjointed glasses was the price of resting your head on the bar. We all tried to comfort her, but she was shaken and the damage had already been done.

We never went on the Wonder Wheel because people were really itching to go by now. I think it would have been a memorable experience and given us some great pictures, but it wasn't in the cards, at least not today. And while I only have a few more weeks until I start school, I have plenty more summers and plenty more great rides to experience with plenty of great friends.

5Jul/074

You + Palm Pilot/Pocket PC + て

Getting out of school a month before your brother does and three weeks before your summer classes start leaves you with a lot of free time. I tried new games and tossed them away, tried old games and tossed them away, used Flash to make text glint, started reading military science fiction again, and visited some friends while not visiting other friends. My chronic ennui reappeared on cue, as did its periodic remission. I'm not as productive as I could be, but the pace of summer gives me a wide berth to be lazy.

My summer classes are only a few hours every day, and are just enough to keep moss from growing on me. The teacher was literally hired the day before class started, and didn't have a syllabus for a week. He writes tests that have confusing wording and answers that are identical in everything but syntax. He sometimes teaches us incorrect material and refuses to correct himself. In fact, the only thing he is good at is avoiding our questions, especially during tests. I do not think Hunter will depose him, simply because they have no one else. Based on the uproar we received when we went over the test, I'm pretty sure that we'll get passing grades just to shut us up. Once the term is over, Hunter can put this embarassing course behind them and we can put our liberal arts requirements behind us.

My social needs are pretty slim, so I've been very content this summer. I:

  • saw Curse of the Golden Flower with no sound while loitering in CompUSA and then again at an outdoor screening
  • tasted appropriately expensive samples of restaurants on 46th street at The Taste of Times Square
  • made my practically annual trip to the Museum of Natural History
  • learned Mahjong and Cranium
  • had my first sleepover, and found that I could not masturbate as fast as girls who have had boyfriends
  • chilled out to watch Stargate for several hours while eating questionable beef but tasty shrimp noodles and pork
  • proudly walked into the Jacob Javits center as president of Steven's Selective Services in order to snag freebies
  • slept through most of the July 4th fireworks
  • became left-handed

In terms of actual productivity? I've set up another photo album, one I think is far sexier than Coppermine and reminds me of a certain mp3 player brand. It doesn't let me categorize, label, or search very well, but it's simple to view and easy to add and link to. Tip: once you click an image to view a larger version, you can press your keyboard's arrow keys to scroll through the rest, as well as use your mouse to drag it around the screen. Sexy and easy? Oh my.

I've got several great games lined up, but there will be more posts when I find myself on the wrong end of a rifle too many times. For now, look at the glorious pictures of my freshman year. (Too many to bother linking, but I'll do that in the future whenever I make a new album.)

21Jul/062

Delving into a girly valley of valley girls

You know that Boston University students are a little weird when you find one describing to two small Asian boys how unprotected sex feels infinitely better than that with a condom.

Things actually went pretty well considering that I'm probably going to never see most of the people again. It's something that I found hard to accept in Stuyvesant until I realized that I knew plenty of people by face but not name or action, and I had never seen our valedictorian before. I had to go through realizations like this for every school change. They have all been marked by a noticeable increase in population: 7 kids a grade to 50 to 800 to 3000. And let's not forget the college population of all the neighboring campuses, boosting that 3000 quite a bit.

Perhaps other people realized this as well, because everyone was extremely social. Not just "say hi to your roommate" social, but "say hi to the person sitting next to you" social, and even "say hi to the person sitting two seats away from you after a minute of silence" social. Except for alone time here and there once a planned activity was over, we were kept in groups according to what school we were in (Arts & Sciences, Engineering, Fine Arts, Management, etc.) so there was at least some regularity in who we were seeing every day. In addition to those cool people, I actually saw and hung out with people that I knew. There was a multi-activity excursion for people who arrived a day early (like myself), and I found myself sitting only a few seats and a row away from Courtney! as well as more seats away from Shelly and Dimitri (sp?). Very hawt coincidences.

The actual orientation was from Thursday to Friday, but since I wasn't keen on waking up at 3 in order to get there on time Thursday, I opted to move in a day early. Out of 600-700 kids at orientation, around 200 usually arrive early. We were roomed up with the person next to us in line, and I got put on the second floor of Rich Hall, which wasn't all that great to be honest. No AC, a curtain and a pole for a closet, bugs in the shower, etc. In its defense, all the rooms already had MicroFridges for us to keep stuff in, and unlike every other room I heard about, ours was actually cool at night. It was even a little cold on Thursday morning because it rained.

The first day was rather nonchalant except for meeting those three familiar faces. The second day had plenty of things lined up, most of which weren't exactly interesting. There were a whole lot of talks from the faculty and the student advisors, which had a habit of putting me to sleep as the day went on. I eventually pulled through, and was rewarded at the end of the day with a "free" shirt (we had to pay for Orientation, after all), kareoke, a comedy show, music bingo, and Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero. Unfortunately the wireless DDR pads were very unresponsive, and Shelly and I were craptacular at Guitar Hero, but it was still a nice way to end the day.

The primary goals of orientation are to have us take our writing assessment and to have us register for our fall classes. The writing assessment was 50 minutes long, and damn it was a boring 50 minutes. We either got a page from Toqueville's Democracy in America or Machiavelli's The Prince. I unfortunately got Toqueville. I didn't know shit about politics, much less the history of it, but I do know how to attack a person's writing style and integrity. I think I did a pretty damn good job, but I only got a 3 out of 4 or 5. Not quite enough for me to skip a writing class.

Every BU student at orientation clocked in a lot of supervised hours planning and registering for their classes. First we had two 3-hour sessions with our student advisor, where they went over the required courses, how we might want to go about them, and how the registration process worked. Once we had planned a schedule, we were taken to our temporary faculty advisor to have our course list evaluated and improved. Mine was a nice Asian compsci professor who was brimming with excitement about his subject (which is a good thing!). He probably thought more highly of me than I deserve, considering I just barely got through System Level/Graphics and slept through AP Compsci (but still got a 5 on the AB version!), but he did recommend a good teacher, which I took note of when we were shuffled onto the next stage of the process.

Even though we had planned our schedules with our student advisors, we now had another chance to do so, this time with our faculty advisor's suggestions in mind. There were no real changes in mind, just in the type of programming language (using C++ instead of Java), so it wasn't as stressful for me as it was for the people whose faculty advisor completely reworked their schedule.

Once we got these new schedules approved, we were then directed to the final stage, where they sat us down in front of a computer with an access code to unlock registration for us. It wasn't a random lottery like it was in Stuyvesant; we simply punched in what class and section, and then that was that, we were a part of the class. We were required to put down alternate classes in case one was full by the time we got to the computer, but thankfully I just managed to squeeze into the compsci class.

After that...we were pretty much done. The best speeches had already been made, and the only reason I didn't fall asleep (I hope) during the closing ceremonies was because there was an awesome piece of chocolate on every seat! I wasn't really in the mood, but I stole some for Shelly. After that, we went our separate ways and I linked up with my family. We set up a Bank of America banking/checking account, and I finally got a credit card! It's a joint account, so the bill gets sent to my parents. Which, you know, is good, so that I don't have to worry as much about spending (yea, like I can really spend that much when I can't help but research every alternative). But it also means I'll have to stick to free porn.

Filed under: General, Life, Outing, School 2 Comments
5Jul/063

“My Spanish teacher told me that if I went to Mexico, I only needed to know two words: cerveza and baño.”

-Random subway rider detailing the importance of beer and bathrooms

Boston University Orientation from Wednesday to Friday. Forbidden to bring my laptop (and I should try to explore, anyway...) so I'm going to be listening to my recently rediscovered iPod Nano (its case made my parents unknowingly displace it, but also made it easier to find), occasionally asking my brother if I can play Brain Age on his Nintendo DS while we're on the 4-5 hour bus ride, plan my schedule, and maybe knock another chapter off of The Unix Programming Environment.

Fourth of July fireworks were pretty cool. I'll be back on Friday with more.