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A Pretty Productive Day

Today was a good day. I managed to make it to tennis early, do better than expected on a Diff. Eq. quiz, get my photo assignment done and turned in, all before noon. Then, since Id din’t have work for the first weekday in forever, I was able to eat lunch at a leisurely pace, send a package to scott, donate blood, mow the lawn, and get some photogrphy in as well. I then watched some TV, something which I very rarely do, and I was quickly reminded of why I only very rarely watch TV. I also played some CS, but began feeling sick so now I’m preparing to sleep it off.

In other good news, I got to see Stu Bloom, a “gracious professional” who posted a scathing personal attack on me on the Chief Delphi forums stuck in an elevator in this video (careful, its big).

A good day overall.

Halo 2

“Halo 2 is a lot like Halo, only it’s Halo on fire, going 130 miles per hour through a hospital zone, being chased by helicopters and ninjas,” explained Jason Jones, head of Bungie Studios. “And the ninjas are all on fire, too.”

Sounds exciting. But I’m more excited for Half Life 2, and assuming Valve doesn’t make another giant misstep like they did with Steam when it was initially released, and assuming they fi the dynamic lighting problems, and assuming that the physics engine is as amazing as it looks, then I see nothing in the way between Half Life two and game of the year in multiple publications.

Its another inredibly beautiful day outside, and I have a huge photo assignment due tomorrow that I ahven’t even taken one photo for. And I have a Diff.Eq. Quiz tomorrow that I haven’t studied for. And of course school and work and I’d like to get a haircut while I’m at it.

Does it ever stop?

Blake Ashby For President

From Blake Ashby’s Campaign Website:

“My name is Blake Ashby, and I am running for President on the Republican ticket. I have never run for office before, and I will likely never do it again. But I had to do something.

I have been a Republican since my sophomore year in High School. My Republican party has a core set of principles and beliefs. We don’t hold these beliefs to get elected. We seek election to put these beliefs into action.

My Republican Party believes that budget deficits are stealing from our children. Further, we recognize that budget deficits are a distortion of the free market. My Republican Party believes that while the government certainly must help insure the stability and integrity of the institutions of the free market, the free market itself tended to do the best job of allocating resources and generating value. My Republican Party believes that free trade is good not only for our economy and the global economy as a whole, but is also a tool of democracy, helping people raise their standards of living and expectations of freedom.

Again, we don’t hold these beliefs to get elected – we hold them because they are prudent and cautious. Because we believe we have an obligation to pass on to our children a sound and healthy country.

Unfortunately, this Administration has abandoned all of these principles. This Administration has doubled farm subsidies, regularly puts up trade barriers, and is running a massive budget deficit. Think about it – we have a Republican House, a Republican Senate and a Republican President, and yet spending beyond homeland security has skyrocketed. By any measure, this Administration has abandoned the prudence and caution that were the hallmarks of my Republican Party.

The President likes to talk about his tax cuts. My Republican Party knows the difference between a tax cut and a tax deferral. The $400 billion of government we didn’t pay for this year, we still have to pay for. My Republican Party knows that the ONLY way to cut taxes is to cut spending. Unfortunately, this Administration is throwing money at any interest group it thinks it has a chance of buying votes from. But government spending doesn’t hurt less just because it is a Republican writing the checks.

I voted for the President, twice – in the primary and general election. I thought I was getting another fiscal conservative, another Eisenhower. I thought I was getting an Eisenhower, but instead I got a Lyndon Johnson. It’s ironic, but this President, our President Bush, will go down in history as the Republican President that most increased the tax burden on U.S. citizens.

You know that what I am saying is true. You know that what has happened in Washington over the past three years is not what we believe in. And you know that we are slowly bankrupting our country. Will you stand up to the President? Do you want this to be your legacy? That you stood by and did nothing while our government was bankrupted, and our principles trashed? Will you be able to look your grandchildren in the eyes? Will you be proud of your stewardship?

Please, be a Republican and stand up for our beliefs, and the future of our country. Do what you can to help. Write in Blake Ashby when you vote in the Primary. Forward this email to friends and associates. Call your elected officials and let them know how unhappy you are with the Administration. If you are interested, visit ashby2004.com and sign up for our email list. But whatever you do, please do something – this is the future of the United States we are talking about.”

There is also a convincing essay on the Bush administration’s failures in Iraq… Go ahead and read it.

Since I pretty much agree with it all, and I don’t think higher gas taxes are a bad idea in general, and I am certain that gay marriage, abortion, and flag burning should not be outlawed at the federal level, you might wonder why I’m still likely to vote for Bush this November.

The real problem is, I’m scared of Democrats. Even if they arrive at some good ideas, they do so starting out from a completely different set of basic assumptions that distinguish liberals from conservatives. And when someone comes from those sets of assumptions, I don’t feel like I can trust what they will do in a given situation. I certainly was no fan of Clinton – even though we did pretty well under him. I attribute this mostly to the fact that the presodency and congress were split. Basically, very little got done, and the less government does, the better off we all are.

Now that government has decided to go all proactive for a while, we’re all giving up more freedoms and waiting longer at the airport for a false sense of security. Its pretty sad really, how hapily we give up our freedoms because someone wearing a white shirt tells us that its for our own good.

Craziness is over… for now

I am returned home, all in one piece, and with still a decent chance of passing my classes (I think). The combat robotics trip was enlightening and fun, and my big brother is all graduamated from college, making me the only member of my immediately family who cannot (yet) claim a bachelor’s degree. Interestingly, the ceremonies at BYU were absent of tradition: no tassel flip, no hat throwing, no wild celebration. It all seemed very utilitarian, as much as a ceremony can be that way. I got to see Bradford again, and we had a good time seeing Hidalgo and then playing Starcraft until 4 am (we won!). After eating some barbeque with the Sullivans, I was dropped off at the airport and flew to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California. There, I was picked up by Larry, and we made our way to the hotel, a very nice, new hotel just a block or two from both the Anaheim convention center (where the RC Exhibition was) and Disneyland (to which I�ve never been; this is the closest I have come). The interesting thing about this hotel is that while it was overall quite nice, it had the most bizarre accents in the form of drain pipes sticking out of the walls occasionally. Also, the ice machine room was extraordinarily warm. After Phaw, the combat robot that was Tim�s senior project went 2-3 in competition (the match I drove, we won, and the first two matches the drivetrain wasn�t working well [but we won one of those matches anyway]). The club was also interviewed by some tv camera and reporter lady. However, the most interesting thing about the competition for me was to compare it to a FIRST event. FIRST regionals are many times better organized and ran � perhaps up to 10 times better in presentation and organization, and having its own venue as opposed to sharing with another event. However, the entrance fee to this competition was $150, and the entrance fee to a FIRST event is $4000, well more than 10x more. It got me to thinking about where does all that money go? Even at a small regional with just 36 teams (like the PNW regional), that�s nearly $150,000 brought in. At the nationals, the budget is 1.2 million dollars from entrance fees alone. Yet FIRST says that only covers about half the cost of putting on the event. So I�m wondering, how can it really cost that much? I talked with Larry about it, and from that conversation it seems to be that there is a lot of waste going on between FIRST and the final production. I�d like some hard figures to know for sure, though. Let me know if you have any.

Power Outage and Other Events

Today’s big news is that a freak storm came through, downing trees, spreading hail, lighting, thunder, and strong winds, and generally causing all sorts of chaos. The traffic lights just outside of work were even off, although at microvision, the lights did nothing more than flicker once.

like work will actually go back to normal levels soon, so I won’t actually hae to spend every day after school there. Now if I could only get myself to do my homework, I might be in a prett good position. Today, I actually managed to do some useful stuff in the kitchen before I feel back into getting nothing done. As I said in an IM to a friend, I’m not very good at the “Work” part of Schoolwork.

In other news, Kelly is not dead – I saw her today between tennis and math, but I was talking with my polish friend who likes to talk so she can improve her english, so I didn’t even have to consider approaching her. She still looks good. And thats that, I guess.

A Crazy Weekend

Right now, I’m headed to Utah, using the internet at the incredible rate of 9.6 kbps! Its good enough for this, at least, as well as IM and text-based email, so I’m heppy. Its still pretty amazing one can get internet at all hurtling down the road like this…

I’m headed to Utah because my brother is graduating from BYU tomorrow. But it gets more excting than that, becaus Friday night I’m flying to Anaheim for Steel conflict. Sunday I return home and my life returns to some semblance of reality, except that I’m on my own in a huge house for three weeks, which will be kinda wierd in and of itself.

I seem to have left my glasses in Atlanta, I’m going to have to call the hotel to find out for sure and hopefully have them shipped to me.

Recently, I have created a stir on the Chief Delphi forums, the de-facto meeting place online for FIRST teams. If you want to see me being inflamatory, head on over there and search for threads that include the number 492. I also have some legitimate posts, which have had the unintended consequence of making my reputation (which was at one point the second lowest on the board) positive instead of negative. Oh well, I can’t win all the battles.

Still Waiting

“Your application is awaiting a preliminary review, at which time we will determine whether all required documents have arrived, if these documents are current, and if all other required materials are on file.”

That is what I have seen since I submitted my application to the UW over 8 weeks ago. Hmmm…

Tomorrow, life goes back to normal for an entire two days. Then on Wednesday, we’re off to Utah for my brother’s graduation. Then I’m headed to Cali for Steel Conflict, then I’m back home and trying to pull the remnants of my school quarter back together.

For all of how good Far Cry’s AI is, it is still pretty easy to fool. And the inability to fight in water is pretty dumb. Oh, and so are the mysterious appearing-from-nowhere helicopters if you wander out of the “open range” game’s range.

I’m going to try to stay on this earlier schedule I got onto due to being three hours ahead, but I’m already letting it slip – I slept a lot in the plane and airports today, and listened to the ipod most of the day. I was impressed with its battery life today. On the other hand, my laptop’s battery seems to be fried – either that, or windows is acting up and hibernating prematurely (it does fail to give me the warning first for some reason, like somehow it misses the 10% mark and goes straight to the 4% mark.

Thats all for tonight, unless I get crazy and decide to post again.