Thursday, 24th of November, 2005
Tuesday, 22nd of November, 2005
Sunday, 20th of November, 2005
Saturday, 19th of November, 2005
Monday, 7th of November, 2005
Saturday, 5th of November, 2005
Having studied educational psychology, I know it has been proven that have an inconsistent set of expectations for their behaviour will hinder a child's progress in learning any appropriate behaviour, and the fact that a divorce is almost guaranteed to produce such a situation should increase the social cost of a divorce in people's minds.
Now, on a less serious topic - one of the best video clips ever. Watch some 747s race. (Yes, the plane.) Das ist sehr toll!
Picture - There was a Subaru gathering nice and close to where I live today.
Picture - Notice the evolution of the Subaru hood scoop from 1998 to the current WRX.
Picture - Scoobies
Picture - It wouldn't be a rally car without the box wing in the back.
Thursday, 3rd of November, 2005
Tonight, The Fantasticks was performed in The Art Loft Theatre, a small theatre much the one that housed the original 42-year-long run of this musical. Furthermore, the instrumentation is original - 1 harp, 1 piano, and a little percussion. Part of it may have been the more intimate setting, but I wouldn't be surprised if the acting and character portrayal was, overall, much better than the job that was done at The Muny 3 years ago. Every now and then The Muny produces a stale one. Therefore, it's great to be able to see high quality music and theatre in a smaller setting like tonight - it was very very good.
Wednesday, 2nd of November, 2005
Today, as I watched the leaves turn pretty colours and felt the nice, autumn breeze roll over Creve Ceour Lake I was finally able to retrieve the memory - Fall of 1998.
If you have taken math in high school in the last couple of decades, you probably know that there is an interesting assortment of games that people have programmed to run on graphing calculators, especially the popular TI83 that was standard in the U.S. at the time. It was very simple to copy a game from one calculator to another - every calculator came with a link cable, which was only a slightly modified 2.5mm stereo cable. So if your friend had a game, it was easy to just transfer his game to your calculator.
The trick, though, is getting the game onto a calculator from a PC. At the time, Texas Instruments was pricing the PC-calculator link cable at $60, because they figured only a school teacher would need such a device in order to load some educational software onto their classroom calculator. That's a bit extreme for a high schooler who just wants to play some games during lunch... or other undisclosed times during the school day.
The games themselves were free - there is a good community of TI calculator programmers at Ticalc.org, where people share their programs and games with each other. Browsing around there, for many, was like standing outside a candy store, looking at screenshots and descriptions of games that run on their calculator, but they do not have the link cable to load them.
A more socially competent person could possible pool together 5 friends and each person chip in $10 to buy this cable, but I definitely didn't have 5 friends when I was 15. But I had internet skills, schematic-reading skills, soldering skills, computer-hacking skills.... (That last sentence is only funny if you've seen the movie Napoleon Dynamite.) Basically I pulled the schematics off of Ticalc.org for building a link cable with $3 in parts from Radio Shack.
Ah, yes, so on one autumn day, my sophomore year in high school, I stepped off the bus and into Ladue Horton Watkins High School, with my calculator in my right pocket like every other school day. However, on this particular day I had completely packed my TI83's feeble 23k of memory with the latest and hottest games and nobody else in the school had.
It didn't take long for people around me to find out. Transferring 23k of stuff over the calculator's little data port definitely took more time than the 5 minutes of passing time between classes would allow without being tardy. So not only was I popular during lunch and innovation time, but I constantly had people handing me their calculators to take home for a day, hook it up to my home-built PC link, and load programs into their calculator. This is why I would often go to and from school with two calculators in my pockets.
In my mind, I associate having two graphing calculators in my pockets with that glorious moment in my high school memories, when people would talk to me that I would otherwise have nothing useful to talk to them about, and one of the buzz topics around school was "Jey built a link for the TI calculator". It doesn't take much to impress people - I literally just soldered two diodes onto a cable. I don't think I did it for the glory - I just didn't want to pay $60 to stay entertained during passing time and the bus ride to school. But the interesting change in environment that occurs when a nerd does something that everyone loves is one of those entertaining moments that can only be experienced in high school. Again, if you're interested, I certianly hope you've seen Napoleon Dynamite....
Course, if you want an even better example of a glorious moment for nerds, you don't have to fast-forward more than 2 years to May 23rd, 2000, when some of my friends sold the school as a senior prank. The glory spread all the way to the national news.