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Last Full Weekend as a College Student

Friday, Jon and I played basketball at Greenlake, I got a call from Christine, and Jon and I headed to Kerry Park with Spencer, Christine, and Erik, where I took some pictures (to be posted later).

Saturday, I drove to frisbee with Bobby, Spencer, and Theo. We played until about 1:00, then went to Portage Bay for Brunch. That afternoon, Vince and I got together to work on a final paper for the class we’re taking together. We finished up at 4:00 am.

Sunday, I woke up around 11:30 — missing the CSE canoe trip — but I was double booked with a bike ride anyway, and Theo was flexible, so we rode 35 miles to my parent’s house. I can’t climb hills with Theo’s bike — I have no idea how he goes anywhere on that thing, honestly. He handled Cougar Mountain with relative ease on my bike, though. I clearly need to work on my climbing.

Tomorrow is my last day of class. Wednesday is my last day of school-related duties. Friday is my graduation party (contact me for details). Saturday I graduate. Sunday I leave for Peru.

Donating

Today I donated blood for the first time in about 6 months. The last two times I donated had been bad experiences — nurses missing my relatively big veins, fishing around, me being somewhere between uncomfortable and in pain, and the process taking a lot longer than it should have. I had almost gotten to the point where I wasn’t going to donate anymore — but today I decided to give the Bellevue site, where I have had the best luck overall, another try.

My experience today was very good.  The paperwork and screening went quickly, the nurse was very competent, with a perfect stab on the first try, and my blood ran freely — 615 grams in 5 minutes, 5 seconds — not a personal record, but a very good clip considering my two previous took 7:45 and a staggeringly long and uncomfortable 17 minutes.

The lady who screened and stabbed me was nice and very good at her job. When I thanked her for her high level of competence (especially compared to some of her peers!), she humbly deferred thanks to God instead of accepting the well-deserved praise herself.

It was a good enough experience that I am thinking of reconsidering my decision to remove myself as an organ donor (I wouldn’t feel right signing up to have my organs donated to someone who supported the legal system that we have in this state which screws over good people). However, if there are enough people like this nurse out there, maybe its worthwhile.

A Full Saturday

For me, today started out with Ultimate Frisbee, followed by consuming a Jamba Juice and four hours of power programming on Paxos with my OS group. Next was some more Frisbee with Bobby, and then some TF2, followed by walking down the Ave after the U-District Street Fair closed for the night. Then we barely missed a meal at Red Mill Burgers (supposedly really good), and instead made tacos at home (which turned out very well) before playing a few games of Fluxx with Jon, Bobby, and myself winning games.

Fun times!

Week in Review

I just ended a busy week. Highlights were pulling an all nighter Wednesday to Thursday grading Operating Systems projects, then running two OS sections on one hour of sleep right after that. Friday was more grading, this time of OS midterms, with the other TA and the teacher. After that, Theo and I went shooting. Wednesday my intramural Ultimate frisbee team lost for the first time this season — also our first playoff game, so we’re out that quickly, after going 4 for 4 in the regular season. It was my last shot at an intramural championship, so I was pretty bummed. This was the best team I had ever been on. Also this week, I ended up “finding” a place to live in Palo Alto. Actually, my friend Scott did all the finding, just keeping me informed via phone. The place is really nice, with a pool and sauna.  It is close enough to Facebook to bike. The downside is that it is expensive, but it’ll be alright for the first 9 months while I get settled in.

Also, I want the Rockets and Magic to win their game sevens in the NBA playoffs. It doesn’t really matter too much though, because Denver and Cleveland will meet in the finals.

Twittering

I’ve started twittering. For a long time, I had no interest in the phenomenon, but recently I’ve noticed that I’m not blogging as much as I want to, while I still have lots of ideas I want to write about. In a perfect world, a lot of these ideas would become full blog posts; however, until I rededicate myself to making that happen, my hope is that at least the ideas won’t die unheard — they can now live on as tweets. As Mark Cuban said, “Tweets are the blog posts you thought about writing, but didn’t feel they had enough substance.” (Hat tip Theo)

So, if you’re into that sort of thing, you can follow me on Twitter, or just occasionally visit my blog to see my most recent tweets.

I’m also considering a “daily digest” of my tweets as actual blog posts; there is a plug-in to do that.

Ryan… In Court!

I went to court today to contest the ticket that a UW bicycle police officer issued to me on February 3, 2009 for allegedly failing to obey a traffic control device.

As I got there early, I sat through a few mitigated hearings before making my way to the contested hearing courtroom. I listened to a few others plead their cases, mostly unsuccessfully, until I had the chance to present my case.

I started out with the nit-picky technicalities, but the judge did not seem to be too interested in them. Maybe I just introduced them the wrong way, but I have a feeling if it had been a lawyer there the judge would have paid more attention to what I was actually saying — for example, the case against me was not mailed to one of the addresses I requested, the ticket was not signed, and the ticket was listed as a non-traffic violation even though the cited RCW is a traffic violation.

Next I proceded with my case. I gave the judge a photo of the intersection where the officer alleges I failed to stop and showed that, by RCW 46.61.755, I was acting as a pedestrian at the time I passed the stop sign and was therefore not required to stop.

The judge said “Well how do I know that’s what happened?” and decided to postpone the courtdate to subpoena the officer to testify.

Since it looks like its turning into a “my word versus his” battle, a battle that police officers will always win unless there is compelling video evidence to the contrary, my next step is to find some witnesses who can back up my story. This is no small task — the incident occurred two months ago — and more importantly, a college quarter ago — and the only witnesses were random people out and about at 10:40 am. Perhaps my best bet is to stand out there with a sign saying I’m looking for witnesses, but even that seems like a long shot.

A more realistic option will be to postpone the court date as long as possible, hope the officer doesn’t show up, and if he does quiz him about other facts in the case — such as the color of the car I rode alongside as I came to the stop sign, the color of my bike and my backpack, about how many bicyclists ran the next stop sign where he detained me while he ticketed me, and so forth. But even that seems like a losing battle.

And if I lose that battle, I will appeal based on the unsigned ticket, the traffic-vs-non-traffic disparity, and the insufficient time to subpoena witnesses.

What I do promise is that the state will, overall, lose much more money going after me than they can possibly hope to gain by forcing me to pay the ticket.

In fact, I would encourage everyone who ever gets a ticket of any kind to contest to the fullest extent of the law — if we make it so expensive to enforce these inane laws that overall they lose money, the laws will either go away or become unenforced, which is better for everyone. Maybe the cops can go back to stopping and solving real crimes instead of harassing motorists and bicyclists on UW campus.

A Wonderful Life

Today I woke up after a wonderful night’s sleep to the sound of a bird chirping and to the sight of a absolutely goregeous Seattle winter morning. What a way to live!

Tuesday and Wednesday I was suffering from a cold, but Thursday I was on the uptick and today I feel even better. I mananged to finish in my programming languages assignment that I started yesterday and was due yesterday, my Game Theory class is still awesome, and I have a great partner for my security lab which is pretty fun.

I have some laundry to fold, some homework to get a head start on, and some working out ahead of me today.

Life doesn’t get much better than this.