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Long Days

Saturday was the FIRST Robotics Competition Kickoff. It broadcasts live from Manchester New Hampshire where it is 10:00, so that means 7:00 here, which means getting up around 5:30. The local kickoff event is hosted by none other than the Titan Robotics Club, with generous support from the FIRSTWA/SRA, and DeVry Univeristy. Red Bull was kind enough to provide refreshments (in the form of Red Bull drinks, of course).

I recently discovered that a fellow CSE student, Helene, was a FIRST alum (from team 192, GRT), so I invited her along. With just a little bit of prodding, she accepted, and we both ended up enjoying ourselves while learning about the new game. Of course, I already had a sneak peak from helping assemble the rack on Friday night.

I had promised to get Helene home early, so I left immediately after the kickoff to take her back to the U-District. Next came soccer practice, at 12:30. Since intramural sports seem to be the only way I can coax myself to exercise regularly, I try to get involved with them every quarter. A big thanks to Scott for organizing it every quarter.

Next, I did some homework while organizing a movie-going expedition with Courtney. Along with Kunlun and Anne, we ended up seeing Children of Men, a wonderfully gritty apocalyptic offering. While the others I was with saw it as depressing, I have a way of seeing these sorts of films as very hopeful. Sure, the surroundings were grim — women are infertile and the whole world is self-destructing — but in the midst of it all, life is finding a way forward. I’d give the film an A, or a 4.5/5.

After the movie, I went over to Ananth’s place to watch the second half of the Seahawks game. Talk about a roller coaster! But the Hawks prevailed, so for now, all is well. Ananth was kind enough to feed me while at his apartment, so I didn’t have to do it myself. I also got a call from Maneesh right after the game, and we were able to go crazy over the phone together. It was a good time. After seeing the Sonics lose yet another game, I headed back home to work on some more homework, before succumbing to sleep fairly early.

Sunday, I woke up surprisingly late, considering how early I had fallen asleep. Most of the day was homework until I ended up at my parent’s for food. After dinner, Jon came over an we all watched the replay of the Boise State-Oklahoma game, which I must agree was the best college football game I have seen in a long time, perhaps ever. It seems that for the last few minutes of the game, and overtime, Boise State had simply run out of normal plays. Everything was a trick. Even my mom was excited. It just doesn’t get much better than that.

After the game, it was back to the homework. With the help of my Dad, I was finally able to quash a bug in some of my code, finishing the first part of an assignment due Wednesday. Of course, I have a lot of stuff due Monday, which I guess is today, as well, so I have to go home now and start on that. So much for a great start to the quarter; of course this is probably the most stuff I’ve had to do on a first week ever. Even the amount of reading is looking improbable. Oh well, this is what I signed up for I guess.

First Day Frenzy

Through diligence last night I was able to get my sleep schedule under control for the start of classes today. The day was a somewhat eventful, though short because of there being no BioEn 305 lab today. On my way to class, my bike betrayed me and sent me sprawling onto the pavement in a most unpleasant way. Bruised and dirtied but otherwise unharmed, I continued on to my first class of the day, my Bioengineering Physiology and Transport lecture.

I already like the teacher more than I ever did last quarter’s physiology teacher. I get the feeling that the material will be less rote memorization and more applied memorization. Sure, memorization is still involved, but at least I feel it it useful in this case. Also, the teacher this quarter seems much more organized, so I think the “need” for surprise extra lectures (that I was unable too attend due to work) will be eliminated. After class, I talked briefly with Alice, waved to Dennis and Christine, and rode off to my next class.

Next came Operating Systems. The class should be interesting and informative, as all CSE classes seem to be. After a one hour break spent in the computer labs with Jason and Felix, I headed to my Software for Embedded Systems class, another one that promises to be interesting and informative, even if I already have some experience in the area. There, I met up with Weija, a friend from several quarters ago with whom I had lost touch. It turns out she spent the last two quarters at an internship with Intel, which explains why I never saw her. To achieve her graduation date, she is signed up for 5 CSE classes this quarter, and a total of 24 credits. I hope she drops at least one, because otherwise I am sure she will suffer in a multiplicity of ways.

I noticed that one of those five classes Weija was signed up for was a class I had been looking into, Software Engineering. Since it fit my schedule, I decided to tag along and see how it was. I was excited to see a lot of my CSE friends in the class, I was also well aware of the fact that taking it would push me to 20 credits, which I feel I could not successfully attempt while still working to any significant degree. Also, I have heard from numerous sources that winter quarter of the junior year is the toughest of the Bioengineering curriculum. So, I reluctantly but wisely decided to avoid adding the additional class. Especially with the Titan Robotics Club ramping up for another FIRST robotics season (despite my lower level of involvement), I am sure that I will have enough to do this quarter.

TRC’s Nanocrushers at the State Championship

Earlier today, I was a referee at the FIRST Lego League Washington State Championship. The Titan Robotics Club’s Nanocrushers, a team composed of 7th and 8th graders, competed there today, after securing their spot in the championship after achieving the top score at the Issaquah qualifying regional one week ago. Working very well as a team, they were able to score an amazing 355 point out of 400 possible. Two unlucky events conspired to prevent the Nanocrushers from scoring a truly astronomical 395 in one of their three matches. At the end of the day, only one team scored higher, with 360 points. In addition to their great competition play, the Nanocrushers also won the 2nd place Robot Design award. I believe that they were the only team at the competition to win two awards. Not even the State Champion Garden Gothic Lawn Gnomes were able to pull that off.

Overall, I would say it was a great success, hopefully a portent of great things to come from these kids and the whole Titan Robotics Club. Congratulations to the Nanocrushers!

Things Lost In Atlanta

– Glasses
– Tripod

I just purchased a new tripod. Soon I will purcahase new glasses.

I just consumer whored.

Many Things

A lot has happened since my last real post — not only because my life has been considerably busier than usual, but also because I haven’t made a significant post in quite a while. So, I’m sure to forget something, but here is a synopsis:

– Went on a hike up Mt Teneriffe, near Mt Si, with Dave, Larry, and Tim. Dave, Tim and I summitted (see photos here)
– Took Statistics Midterm
– Went to Atlanta for the 2006 FIRST Robotics Competition Championship (Wednesday-Sunday two weeks ago)
– Talked to police officers while in Atlanta over a misunderstanding about patio usage at a hotel (we happened to be on the patio when someone threw something off, and we apparently got blamed)
– Left Atlanta with no awards, but got to watch some really exciting elimination matches on the Newton field
– Took two midterms my first full day back from Atlanta
– Crashed into a car on my way to work (Monday, one week ago)
– Paid the guy I crashed into for damages
… Guy I crashed into gave me his car (Now we are friends)
– Now I drive that car around
… It has nice cold air conditioning, a radio, and no rear window (my fault) or seats (taken out to carry more stuff by previous owner)
– Got statistics midterm back — 50% (WTF?!)
– Got Bioengineering midterm back — 87%
– Got ML programming assignment back — 20/30 — FACK
– Got ML midterm back — 65/75 — thats about right
– Took Discrete Structures midterm — felt good
– Hiked Rattlesnake Ridge, the long way, with Nick from work
– Won a couple of frisbee games

Preparing For The Championship

The 2006 FIRST Robotics Competition Chamipnship is this week. I leave tomorrow, Wednesday the 26th of April, at 1:30pm for Atlanta, Georgia, where the competition is being held. This means I am missing almost three entire days of class (I’ll make my one Wednesday Morning class). Unfortunately, this is pretty much the worst time ever for me to be gone, as I am also gone during two scheduled midterms, a three-hour lab, two three homework deadlines, the Engineering Open house, and a Men’s frisbee game. So I have been hard at work getting everything that I can done before I leave. One midterm I’m taking early, sandwhiched between my Wednesday morning class and my drive down to the airport (thanks, Mom!). The other midterm I’m taking as soon as I get back, which is the same day as a third midterm, which I am missing the review session for. The homeworks I’ll be turning in tomorrow — although I have yet to finish two of them! Fortunately, Microvision remains very flexible with me and I have tomorrow off (usually an 8-10 hour day) so I can get all of my stuff done for this trip. Speaking of tomorrow, since I’ll be missing my bioengineering lab on Thursday, I’m helping set of for this week’s lab tomorrow mornign. Oh, I’ll also be writing the report for last week’s lab sometime tomorrow or wednesday, and I’ll probablly submit it electronically from Atlanta.

Fun times.

FRC CMP 2006

I have successfully cleared my school schedule and purchased (expensive!) tickets, so I will be headed to Atlanta for the 2006 FIRST Robotics Competition Championship. You heard it here first.