Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas

Hope you all had a good Christmas. I know mine was lackluster, among other things, but hopefully you all had a better one than I did! Another post is soon to follow.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thoughts on US Education Standing

Link to article found here: U.S. Standing at Risk: Education Leaders Propose Action Agenda

For months now, I've heard about how America's global standing in terms of education - namely technology, science, and mathematic fields - has been slipping. A few nights ago I ran across the article linked above, and it does seem that people are attempting to bring the issue to ahead.

One of the most interesting things that caught my eye in this article is the quote that it ends with:
"These are demanding recommendations that will require the commitment of everyone — schools, colleges and universities, parents and students, and state and national leaders — but the dividend will be historic... We must create a system that works, a system that propels all students toward success and rejects anything less."

It spoke to what my own philosophy about all of this is - everyone involved has to want to improve the system before anything substantial can be done. And since I'm sure that this problem will only get worst before it can get any better, I'm left to wonder what tactics will be done to try and scheme students into performing well. One such method I can think of is paying children to do well in school.

Fundamentally, I have a severe issue with this. I don't believe that anyone should be paid some type of monetary stipend for their success. It was recently brought to my attention that a fair amount of a certain grade in my school is either in danger of failing, or plainly failing their classes and now things are trying to be done to fix it. One of the students in that grade then suggested that they get paid to encourage people to pick up their grades. And to me, this just kills the point behind learning and what school should ideally be about. Once you start to pay for success, I believe that it will set up a dangerous precedent leading people to believe that for every 'good' action they do, they'll get some form of material award. This is not a realistic reflection of how life truly is - not to mention it will then shift the focus of school away from whats being taught and absorbed even more than it is now.

So here is my suggestion to the educators at Collegeboard and elsewhere: Emphasize the act of learning itself, not the grades or any type of scale that is measure with a high-risk mentality. If you're able to instill a love or at least genuine interest in topics - especially the ones we're lacking in - our world standing will surely increase. It will create a much wider culture that would value education instead of the crap we have now.

Finally, what does this mean for the world that I will graduate into? I use to think when I was younger that my American citizenship and education would allow me to go anywhere I wanted in the world, but as I get closer and closer to the finish line, I'm not too sure anymore. The pool of competition keeps growing and growing and I'll be one more fish in the sea. Will my education, even if it is from a prestigious institution in America, be a joke on the international stage? All I can say is Americans need to 'step up with our game' as goes the slang. No longer can we lackadaisically blunder along while the rest of the world carries on without us - its this type of ignorance that is leading to our asses being kicked in many more areas; education is not the only grave obstacle we have to overcome.

The Singularity and Duality of God

I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.


The commonplace and simple religious understanding of God is of a single nature - to think that God is purely based off the basic principle of goodness. Yet, this doesn't manage to sit well with me. How could any being - holy or otherwise - be so perfectly aligned to one side of morality, while we mortals are forever doomed to trudge along the dividing line, slipping back and forth between the darkness and the light? For after all, were we not made in His* image? It is clear from just living that the world around us is a reflection of our own mislaid souls - both are capable of unquestionably fantastic things, while at the same time proficient at destruction.

Indeed with this singular comprehension of God, one could argue that Satan provides the opposing counter-weight. One pure good, the other pure evil - two essences - that lend themselves to the label of sharing a dual existence. But then, it also understood that Satan is and always will be weaker than God, the good one - the better one.

It is here that we also run into another problem. Duality calls for balance between the forces - one can't have more of a pull than the other - So here is another theory: What if instead of God and Lucifer being two separate - but in no way independent - beings, they were two sides of the same individual? Such an individual would be a much more accurate demonstration of our own psyches - it would be easier to perceive our creation from its hands than the hands of a do-gooder, no? For why and how could something of pure light make such muddied creatures. How could it had even known or possess the ability to grasp shadows, unless it did in fact leave some in its wake?

To me, it is this version of god that makes the most sense - that seems the most human.

Or course, perhaps God is truly neutral in our lives, merely being without much sway towards anything?

*Who is to say God is male of female? Doesn't that bring up the question of duality itself, should we give the concept of god a gender? Where is the counter-part?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Angels and Mortality

The abyss that is mortality -

Can one say that this very world - the one we as a race have created, not the natural world we 'tainted' - is an effort to escape it? After all, we are the only beings that have gone so far as to leave our stamp upon time. But, is it worth it? In the end, we all shall succumb to it and its magnitude of a complete and utter end. To what lengths are we willing to go to make sure that the thought of our beings, outshine the actual staple that was 'us'?

And what about Angels? Do they represent the possible Übermensch within all of us, or are they truly monsters simply by virtue of their perceived perfectness? Do they fear that very same abyss as we do, despite their proximity to God? After all, they have been drawn as humanoids throughout the centuries so that we may feel a connection between us and them. And many a times, they still have they're humanity among them - that weakness of heart and dilemma along with the strength and courage deep down within.

Can mortality swallow them up whole, just as easily as it can us?

To be Inspired and Rebuke To The Nature of Inspiration

Here are somethings I wrote awhile ago.

To be Inspired:
Inspiration, to me at least, is realizing just how small you really are, relative to all that surrounds you. But then, within that smallness, that great minuscule sum of being, you start to become cognizant of the fact that you can create a difference.



Rebuke To The Nature of Inspiration:
At that same token, one that important, it must be understood that inspiration has a dark side. Coming to the realization of your own infinite smallness, while being able to spark that great light within, can also diminish whatever was previously there. Being small and surrounded holds the possibility of feeling lost. Of feeling that your will has no impact on the proceedings ahead and behind you. And so, you allow yourself to float away with the ever constant river of time. For it doesn't stop, not even for a second.

The state in which inspiration is created, can also be where all hope is lost.

All of Kanye's Samples

Hayley showed me this a few days ago and seeing as how I'm a fan of Mr. West's work, it was indeed a treat. I have to give the man credit - reaching out to other work that helped to define the music we have now shows a sense of appreciation.

Anywho, heres the video. Its a bit long, so not all of it is completely worth watching.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Saturday's Outing

Lately I've used this blog for mainly intellectual purposes, that in no way means that I haven't had any fun. These past few weeks have been entertaining, to say the least, and Saturday was no exception. I headed out to meet Hayley at her place and somehow, we ended up detouring to Central park. As we were strolling along, freezing our nips off - cursed cold! - I was mindlessly talking about my favorite area of the park being Bethesa Terrace and Fountain when we ran into it.

Earlier in the summer, whenever I had to be at hunter, I'd get all my friends together and head west just to see this fountain. I had forgotten I entered from the West side of the park this time and wasn't expecting to run into it. Heres a view of the boathouse:



And one of Hayley herself:

Thanks to the cold, we ended up quickly leaving and ran back to her place. Met her family and friends and ended up in a discussion about the use of blogs in schools that then evolved into talking about technology being an extension of ourselves - both of which would be better addressed in another post, or maybe even podcast - during lunch.

All in all it was pretty relaxing, which is something I guess I needed both in my life and on my blog - even if just a little.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

College Essay: What is my potential? - Fifth Draft

Have I reached my Potential?

This past year as been full of visiting universities and hunting for my potential as if it was a tangible object that could be worn like a pin on my shirt – of seeing all these different possibilities around every corner. All of this wonder, while at first making me feel lost, has allowed me to find an answer to this question.

Simply put, yes I have reached my potential – the potential of my high school self and the potential to stand out and excel on whatever campus I may be going to in a few month’s time. My potential has been deeply correlated within everything I’ve put myself out do.

Take my work with computers and technology, especially with the XO machine used in the One Laptop Per Child Project. I led the development of a student wiki guide since most of the documents on the machines are for developers – an experience that led me to grapple with the severe rift that divides education levels around the world and help dispel it. This work lent itself to my consideration of the graver issues world poverty possesses. I’m still amazed at how it truly holds the potential of solving an issue larger than itself and manage to cross into many different areas of interest. Its own prospects can’t be limited to merely one sphere, much like my own.

Yet, despite all of this and countless more experiences that have made me more than capable of adding charisma and worldliness to any college student body, I’ve learned some thing about the very nature of potential. Potential is not a fixed value that once it’s reached can then be shelved and forgotten. Instead it behaves more like a variable, and it is with that new found knowledge I must answer with an equally resounding ‘no’ – I haven’t reached my potential. As I chased after it, I saw that with the more I did – the more that my accomplishments stacked up – my potential shifted and morphed itself into something grander than what I was originally possible just days before. I see that it was the driving force behind my own development and why it couldn’t have just kept still and how it became a complete and utter hunger to learn. If it did come to a halt, I wouldn’t be ready for what is to come. It is that determination that has gotten me to this point.

And perhaps, this is what it means to attain my potential. Knowing that now that I’ve grown to the best of high school self and it is only through college I’ll discover an older and wiser me; that the bar of accomplishment will also rise and it is my job, not only as a student but as a human being, to always keep up with it. This is my potential, and while its not the pin I first thought I was after, it is something that I am much more proud of – something that will no doubt manifest itself and flourish within the walls of your classrooms and impact your school at large.

500 Words?

So I decided to check in with my high school counselor to see just how many words I could get away with on my college essay. I already had a feeling that 800 words was far over the limit of what any reasonable admissions rep would read, but I was hoping that I could go above the 500 word limit to say, 600 words.

Nope, not going to cut it.

And thus, my night was then fulled of me going back to my paper with a cleaver and flat out chopping it into pieces. Made me quite sad actually - most of those funny little phrases I used (I really loved "inquiries of limitation") are now gone to the wayside, never to be heard from again.

Yet, there is one thing that I'll take solace in - the fact that the full, unabridged version of it is here on this blog for all to see. And, that we're not yet done. I've yet to come up with a truly final edit, though I believe I'm on the final stretch (hopefully!). I'll post it up here in just a comment.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thoughts on the third draft of College essay

This post is a reflection about the essay posted here. Its really so that I have a record of my thoughts behind it, and where I was planning to go with it.

So I've bloated my paper. Seriously, 800+ words is just a ridiculous amount to expect anyone to read.

But why did I do this? Why did I stuff so much into it?

I'd like to say that at the time, I decided to place all of that into it to see what would fit and what just didn't have a place. I believe after reading it over, I know what to take away, but I'm very interested in hearing what you all have to say about it, to see if I was correct in my judgement.

As for where I want to go for the fourth draft, I want to aim for 600 or so words - nothing more than 700 though. I've found that in the applications, there are more than enough places for me to explain and show what else I've done. I believe that I will instead choose to focus on but a few accomplishments - that gives me more room to get deeper into them.

Heres to a healthy and slimmer future draft.

College Essay: What is my potential? - Third Draft

Have I reached my potential?

For the past four years, that has been the question I’ve always asked myself. In everything I did, that question loomed overhead - at times out of sight, but never out of mind. Then, when I’d finally sit down to take a break from school, work, or whatever was going on, it would come out of hiding to taunt me with its inquiries of limitation. And so, now that I’m at the threshold of college - a series of decisions that will not only impact the next four years of my life, but ripple out into the rest of my adult career - I can’t help but be consumed by the nuances the word ‘potential’ carries upon its back.

This past year as been full of visiting universities and hunting for my potential as if it was a tangible object that could be somehow worn like a pin on my shirt; Of seeing all these different possibilities around every corner. All of this wonder, while at first making me feel lost, has allowed me to find an answer to this question.
Simply put, yes I have reached my potential – the potential of my high school self and the potential to stand out and excel on whatever campus I may be going to in a few month’s time. My potential has been deeply correlated within everything I’ve put myself out in the mix to do.
Take my normal school workload - something that has forced me to seriously develop my writing and literature capabilities by dabbling in a little of everything and at the same time ended up creating the bedrock on which I’ve stood -- academically and mentally - and will continue to stand on as I reach out to redefine myself many more times to come.

Take my classes at Hunter College which gave me a more in depth look into the field of sociology and consequently psychology, subjects that I can’t wait to pursue once I walk past my college of choice’s door. Observing not only the structure of human society, but being able to look at the individual units which form the very fabric of the framework is something that can’t and shouldn’t be neglected. After all, this is where the question of potential within us mortals as a whole takes center stage and manifests into exceptional constructions, evil and good alike.

Take my work with computers, especially with the XO machine used in the One Laptop Per Child Project - an experience that led me to understanding the rift that divides levels of education around the world and what is being done to dispel it. This of course lent itself to the graver issues world poverty contains for me to expose myself to. I’m still amazed because of how it truly holds the potential of solving an issue larger than itself and manage to cross into some many different areas of interest. Its own prospects can’t be limited to merely one sphere of importance.

Yet, despite all of that and countless more experiences that have made me more than capable of adding charisma and worldliness to any college student body, I’ve learned some thing about the very nature of potential. Potential is not a fixed value that once it’s reached can then be shelved and forgotten. Instead it behaves more like that of a variable, and it is with that new found knowledge that I must answer with an equally resounding ‘no’ – I haven’t reached my potential. As I chased after my potential, I saw that the more I did - the more that my accomplishments stacked up - my potential shifted and morphed itself into something grander than what I was originally capable of just days before. I see that it was the driving force behind my own development and why it couldn’t have just kept still and why it became a complete and utter hunger to learn. If it did come to a halt, I wouldn’t be ready for what is to come. It is that determination that has gotten me to this point.

It is also here where I see goals that I’ve yet to fully grasp, but am still hard at work towards - my journey to learn French and Japanese deserving of special attention here. I have definitely made strides on the long path that encompasses learning languages; this is still something that I have ways to go before obtaining a mastery of them. This is but another aim for my college years.

And perhaps, this is what it means to attain my potential. Knowing that now that I’ve grown to the best of high school self and it is only through college that I’ll discover an older and wiser me; that the bar of accomplishment will also rise and it is my job, not only as a student but as a human being, to always keep up with it. This is my potential, and while its not the pin I first thought I was after, it is something that I am much more proud of – something that will no doubt manifest itself and flourish within the walls of your classrooms and impact your school at large.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Friday


Never again will I go out on that day. That was just horrible...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Language Audio Files: Japanese I

Before reading this post, note that this is a response to a previous post called "The Need To Speak". Read that if you'd like to know the reasoning behind this.




田中:私は田中です。どうぞよろしく。
アリ:私はアリです。どうぞよろしく。
田中:アリさんはマレーシアの学生ですか?
アリ:はい、私はマレーシアのがくせいです。
田中:あなたもマレーシアの学生ですか?
マナ:いいえ、私はマレーシアの学生ではありません。タイの学生です。私はマナです。どうぞよろしく。

田中:あの女の人はだれですか?
アリ:あの人はマリアさんです。マリアさんはフィリペン人です。あのかたはどなたですか?
田中:あの男のかたは山本せんせいです。日本語の先生です。

田中:まなさん、このかたは山本先生です。
山本:山本です。どうぞよろしく。マレーシアのアリさんはどの人ですか?
アリ:私です。

山本;それはあなたの鞄ですか?
アリ:はい、これとこれは私の鞄です。
山本:それもあなたの鞄ですか?
アリ:はい、これも私の鞄です。
山本:あのカメラはだれのカメラですか?
アリ:あれはマリアさんのカメラです。

山本:アリさん、それは何ですか?
アリ:これはレコードです。
山本:マレーシアのレコードですか、日本のレコードですか?
アリ:マレーシアのレコードです。

山本:マリアさん、これはあなたの部屋の鍵です。どうぞ。
マリア:どうもありがとうございます。
アリ:先生、私の部屋の鍵はどれですか?
山本:あなたの部屋の鍵はこれです。どうぞ。
あり:どうもありがとうございます。

Language Audio Files: French I

Before reading this post, note that this is a response to a previous post called "The Need To Speak". Read that if you'd like to know the reasoning behind this.



And so, I've finally uploaded it. I simply feel silly, but I know its for the greater good. Did I mention that I hate the sound of my voice?

Here is the text of what I read:
Student 1: Alores, qu'est-ce que je peux faire à Montréal en trois jours?
Student 2: Trois jours seulement? C'est difficile à dire... il y a énormément à faire en ville. Commence par le Vieux-Montréal, le cœur historique de la ville. Par exemple, la place Jacques-Cartier, avec ses bâtiments du XVIIIe siècle, l'hôtel de ville, le château Ramezay et son musée. L'architecture est splendide. Et, bien sûr, une visite de la basilique Notre-Dame est indispensable.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Need to Speak

I love to learn languages.

Well, honestly I love the concept behind language - bits and pieces of sound from our mouths, coming together in some masterful order that relays messages of any sort. And then, there are so many different ways to attach the sounds to each other that it just leaves me in awe. But I've noticed something just a few minutes ago:

I don't use them!

Really, all this time learning French and Japanese yet in the end I use English because its what I need to use. There aren't enough French and/or Japanese outlets for me into interact with on a constant basis. And because of that, all my effort slowly start to unwind themselves and I end up forgetting what I learned.

Now what is a boy to do? Is he to run away, abandon his dreams of traveling to faraway lands and actually understanding the natives instead of depending on hastily brought phrase books to get him through the trip? And heaven forbid he ever gets lost, for he won't know heads from tails, much less how to read a map.

No, he will not run away. Instead, he will create avenues to interact with the languages in a more hands on manner.

Now, I'm the type of person who when learning a language likes to only read. Reading is easy. Its personal and you can take as much time as you need to look up words and the such. But now, I'm sick of simply just reading. It doesn't help me when I need to speak, which should be most of the time. So, here is my plan to fix this:

As I look around my room right now, I see a good amount of books in French and Japanese that I've collected through nothing less than unusual means. Most of them are in a bookshelf just watching the days roll past. Now what I would like to do is once or twice a week, take a passage from one of these books and record myself reading it. Then allow for full public humiliation by posting the audio files right here on this blog.

Why would I be so willing to send myself up the river like that? Well, its because this is the area that I am lacking in - speaking in another language. I am far too bashful for my own good and my speech is choppy at best. By putting the files online, I'll have a record of my progress so I can see how far I've come and how far I still need to go.

Here is what I hope to be the most interesting part. In every post with audio, I plan to have a copy of the text I'm reading typed out for all to see. This way, not only can people who actually do speak the langauge properly can point out where I made mistakes and maybe even make audio files of their own for me and anyone else to listen to and repeat after, working on the sounds we mercilessly massacred. Matter of fact, I want anyone who is learning the language the post is in to post audio of what their reading so that they can get feedback as well.

Of course, there are some flaws I see in this. One is that its going to be seriously painful for me to go back and listen to my own files since I completely detest the sound of my own voice when recorded. Second is that no one will upload files with me. But even if that does happen, its still ok because what matters is the practice I'll get from it.

Anyways, I plan to get the first file up, if not today, then by Friday. I still can't believe this never occurred to me before...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

College Essay: What is my potential? - Second Draft

And here we are, the second draft. I tried to keep in mind what I was told from my readers, so hopefully this version hits harder to home. I really do hate the revision process.



What is my potential?

For the past few years, that has been the question I’ve always asked myself. In everything I did, that question loomed over head - at times out of sight, but never out of mind. Then, when I’d finally sit down to take a break from school, work, or whatever was going on, it would come out of hiding to taunt me with its inquiries of limitation. And so, now that I’m at the threshold of college - a series of decisions that will not only impact the next four years of my life, but ripple out into the rest of my adult career - I can’t help but be consumed by the nuances the word ‘potential’ carries upon its back.

Unfortunately, the dilemma of fulfilling personal potential is one that is not easily solved. And setting out to find it has been a journey - much like walking onto a new, never before seen college campus. The surroundings are frankly intimidating, but not because they are scary. Rather it is because they symbolize possibilities around every turn. Every imaginable what-if converges all around me, and I just simply feel lost. And at the same time there is an urge to sort through as much I can. An urge that keeps me moving in order to find that one embodiment of potential as well as that one college that would allow me to reach whatever the peak of my abilities may be.

After this past year of visiting universities and hunting for my potential as if it was a tangible object that could be somehow worn like a pin on my shirt, I believe that I’ve found my answer. My response to this uncertainty is a resounding ‘yes’. Yes, I have grasped the potential of my high school self. And yes, I believe that I am indeed ready for college along with all of its ups and downs. I see this now through everything that I’ve done for my potential has deeply been correlated with my learning:

Take my normal school workload - something that has forced me to seriously develop my writing and literature capabilities by dabbling me in a little of everything and at the same time ended up creating the bedrock on which I’ve stood - academically and mentally - and will continue to stand on as I reach out to redefine myself many more times to come.

Take my classes at Hunter College which gave me a more in depth look into the field of sociology and consequently psychology, subjects that I can’t wait to pursue once I walk past my college of choice’s door. Observing not only the structure of human society, but being able to look at the individual units which form the very fabric of the framework is something that can’t and shouldn’t be neglected. After all, this is where the question of potential within us mortals as a whole takes center stage and manifests into exceptional constructions, evil and good alike.

Take my work with computers, especially with the XO machine used in the One Laptop Per Child Project - an experience that led me to understanding the rift that divides levels of education around the world and what is being done to dispel it. This of course lent itself to the graver issues world poverty contains for me to expose myself to. I’m still amazed because of how it truly holds the potential of solving an issue larger than itself and manages to cross into some many different areas of interest. Its potential can’t be limited to merely one sphere of importance.

Yet, despite all of that and countless more experiences, I’ve learned some thing about the idea of potential. Potential is not a fixed value that once its reached can then be shelved and forgotten. Instead it behaves more like that of a variable, and it is with that new found knowledge that I must answer with an equally resounding ‘no’. As I chased after my potential, I saw that the more I did - the more that my accomplishments stacked up - my potential shifted and morphed itself into something grander than what I was originally capable of just days before. I see that it was the driving force behind my own development and why it couldn’t have just kept still and why it became a complete and utter hunger to learn. If it did come to a halt, I wouldn’t be ready for what is to come. It is that determination that has gotten me to this point.

And perhaps, this is what it means to attain my potential. Knowing that now that I’ve grown to the best of high school self and it is only through college that I’ll discover an older and wiser me. That the bar of accomplishment will also rise and it is my job, not only as a student but as a human being, to always keep up with it. This is my potential, and while its not the pin I first thought I was after, it is something that I am much more proud of.



Sunday, November 16, 2008

College Essay: What is my potential? - First Draft

This is the first draft of what is to be my college essay. I got some very good feedback from a selected few, and now I want to hear what you all think. Leave some constructive criticism and whatnot.


For the past few years, that has been the question I’ve always asked myself. In everything I did, that question loomed over head - at times out of sight, but never out of mind. Then, when I’d finally sit down to take a break from school, work, or whatever was going on, it would come out of hiding to taunt me with its inquiries of limitation. And so, now that I’m at the threshold of college - a series of decisions that will not only impact the next four years of my life, but ripple out into the rest of my adult career - I can’t help but be consumed by the nuances the word ‘potential’ carries upon its back.

Unfortunately, the dilemma of fulfilling personal potential is one that is not easily solved. And setting out to find it has been a journey - much like walking onto a new, never before seen college campus. The surroundings are frankly intimidating, but not because they are scary. Rather it is because they symbolize possibilities around every turn. Every imaginable what-if converges all around me, and I just simply feel lost. And at the same time there is an urge to sort through as much I can. An urge that keeps me moving in order to find that one embodiment of potential as well as that one college that would allow me to reach whatever the peek of my abilities may be.

After this past year of visiting universities and hunting for my potential as if it was a tangible object that could be somehow worn like a pin on my shirt, I believe that I’ve found my answer. My response to this uncertainty is a resounding ‘yes’. Yes, I have grasped the potential of my high school self. And yes, I believe that I am indeed ready for college along with all of its ups and downs. I see this now through everything that I’ve done - from my normal school workload that has forced me to seriously develop my writing and literature capabilities by dabbling me in a little of everything; from my classes at Hunter College which gave me a more in depth look into the field of sociology, a subject that I can’t wait to pursue once I walk past my college of choice’s door; from all my tinkering with computers such as the XO laptop for children that led me to understanding the rift that divides levels of education around the world and what is being done to dispel it.

Yet, despite all of that and countless more experiences, I’ve learned some thing about the idea of potential. Potential is not a fixed value that once its reached can then be shelved and forgotten. Instead it behaves more like that of a variable, and it is with that new found knowledge that I must answer with an equally resounding ‘no’. As I chased after my potential, I saw that the more I did - the more that my accomplishments stacked up - my potential shifted and morphed itself into something grander than what I was originally capable of just days before. I see that it was the driving force behind my own development and why it couldn’t have just kept still. If it did, I wouldn’t be ready for what is to come.

And perhaps, this is what it means to attain my potential. Knowing that now that I’ve grown to the best of high school self and it is only through college that I’ll discover an older and wiser me. That the bar of accomplishment will also rise and it is my job, not only as a student but as a human being, to always keep up with it. This is my potential, and while its not the pin I first thought I was after, it is something that I am much more proud of.

Just A Little Note

I haven't forgotten about the elections. Been overly busy - funny how that always seem to happen when I really want to blog about something. Oh wells, I'll be back to blogging this week so stay tune.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Explantion of the Map Above

Thanks to the nice folks at Google, I now have a map of the election's results. It should be up and running once the data starts rolling in, but in the mean time, it is nice to look at.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Final Hours

And so, here we are. Just a few hours left before the election is over.

Boy what a ride its been.

This being the first election I've really followed intensely, I feel kind of... I don't know, maybe accomplished is the word. All the previous elections I was either too young or too uninterested to be bothered. But now, it seems that even more is at stake. With just hours to go, I'm starting to become anxious and I can't even vote!

But what happens will happen. We just have to wait to see the outcome, but for what its worth, I prey that Obama wins the white house. Not sure I really want to think about what will happen if he doesn't.

Sleep easy everyone. The end, for better or worst, is finally upon us.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

David Tennant leaves Doctor Who

And so, if you haven't already heard about it, Mr. Tennant has recently announced that he will be leaving the show after the four specials in 2009. So many people seem to be moving on, I'm not sure if the show will have the same spark in 2010. No matter who the next Doctor is, I will be watching, but no one can replace Tennant as my favorite Doctor.

Heres the announcement:



And just for kicks, heres a fans reaction:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Happy One Year Anniversary

As of today this blog is a year and a day old. Three hundred and sixty-six days. Many hours, minutes and seconds. I can't believe that I have a year's worth of writing here. Makes me feel awkward though, going back and reading all those previous entries. A whole year of my life gone, leaving little notes and messages from days past. And the voice - one that I know is my own - feels so foreign and distant, yet I can trace the lines of development and attachment from the current me to it.

Just what has happened in this past year? From the world to myself, everything has changed - the external being so much easier to detect than the internal. For example, America is about to close a chapter on what has to be one of the worst presidents in our history and open a new one. One I hope will restore any sense of content I once had with this country. The global economy is in disarray, swinging like a pendulum, from distress to recovery, never allowing any assurance. And what has stayed the same? Proverty, hunger, disease all still ravage us, among a slew of other things.

And personally, I had a year to grow. I went from 16 to 17; I've experienced fear, wonder, and inspiration, all from the whole applying to college escapade. One of which has me on a collision course with my idealist and pragmatic futures.

I've been through relationships. Some of are still going strong - bonds that I'm not so quick to allow to dissolve like I once use to. And others that had no choice but to fade away, back to whence they came.

And this blog, this blog is a record of all of it. Looking back now, I see a more eloquent reason for why I named this place as I did - one that I wasn't aware of at its conception. This blog is trully a collision of thoughts. Not only of my own, but of everyone who reads and comments here. It is these collisions that allow us to leave our mark on time itself. Maybe not one that is completely everlasting, but its still there - etched beneath the surface.

One year past. One year gone. Looking back is something I find myself doing more and more as I grow older. And every time I do, I'm compelled to look forward as well. I look forward with a aspiration and a desire to do more, to leave more seals as proof of my existance. This blog will continue to be one of the venues in which I do so. So many things I want to do with it, that I simply find I don't have the time to do any of it. But, thats just for now. Slowly but surely, I want to see how far I can take this. How many like-minded people can I find in the world, willing to share my experiences and their own. All these questions and more, but when can they all be answered?

And I believe, that the answer is now. Now, not later. Now is such a demanding word in the english language, but it does wonders for my point. It is now that I can start finding my answers. As you, whomever you may be, are reading this, you can make it a point to see where life takes you. To dream about all of its possiblities, as I am right now, simply writing this. It is now that we can start to formulate some form of a reply, and even if it doesn't hold true forever, it is still there, still being.

So, leave a comment if you so choose. If you're willing to actually enjoy the ride of life, instead of just allowing the twists and turns to go back unnoticed then say something. I, for one, look forward to what this next year has in store for the world and myself. Good and bad, right or wrong. For in the end, what else do we have other than the etchs? Won't it be nice to have as much as you can, all of which amount to something?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Macbooks and Macbook Pros

Earlier this afternoon it became official. The new update to the Macbook/Macbook Pro line was finally made public. I've been following the rumors for about 2 weeks now and so I'm happy with what I see... Over all, at least.

First off, the video cards have gotten a swift kick to the rear with a great touch-up. Plus the new design is eye-catching. I've heard mixed reactions about it from friends, but I'm happy with it.

However, I'm not please with the price of the lowest model. Bloody 1,200 dollars!! My god. Also, it was pointed out to me that the Macbooks have gotten rid of the Firewire connections, while the Macbook Pros only have the Firewire 800 port. Is Apple trying to get rid of the technology all together for some reason? My last major issue lies within the design itself. Will making the machines out of one piece make them easier or more difficult to repair?

Yet, here is one truth of the matter. I'm still going to buy one of them next summer.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Thoughts on Black Republicans




I'm really not sure what to say about this. I believe that there is a fine line this post can cross - between understanding and just plain ignorance, and so I will try my best to be wary of my words.

Let me begin with a confession: Yes, there are black Republicans. I say this is a confession because of the fact that many times they are treated as black sheep among other blacks - that family member who decided for one reason or another not to do what was 'expected' of them. And because they are thought of as this, they are rarely brought up in conversation and when they are, they are poorly spoken of.

Throughout this election, just like many others, the issue of black Republicanism has been hiding out of the spot light. But the video that I've embed above has dragged it out for all to see. Though, I doubt it will get much air time.

Many people think that the black male in the video was a plant - that he was paid to say what he did. Others think hes just an idiot. But what if he did indeed mean what he said? He's obviously not the only person to think that way.

And so, I would like to say this. I honestly don't see what the Republicans have to offer black people other than possibly their economic policies. And even then, it is occasional you'll be able to find black people who would be able to benefit from them.

Yet, I believe that everyone is entitled to they're own opinion. As much as I disagree and can't fathom the reasons behind such thoughts, I still have to respect them. And besides, it offers the chance for some very interesting debates.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Obama Camp's Mini-Documentary

Link to video.

The Obama Camp's little video on McCain's issues back in the 90s. I don't think it was very wise for Palin to start saying crap about how Obama buddied around with terrorists. McCain has his own bag of goodies to deal with. Palin does as well, matter of fact.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Senate Passes Bill To Save Wall Street

Just got an email alert from the New York Times informing me of this. As you all already heard, the original draft of the bill was first shot down, so I take it that this means this version fits whatever they had in mind. I'll post more about it after some research.

However, I wish to say this now. I hope and pray that this bailout is worth it. I'm not sure how much more the American people can take of all this. Everyone seems to be waking up to the loads of crap lurking underneath the surface. But, might it be already too late?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Music I'm Waiting For: Melissa Laveaux

I stumbled upon this girl towards the beginning of the year and have been waiting for her album ever since. I really, really adore her voice and better yet - more French practice!

Anyways her album "Camphor and Copper" is to be released sometime in October or November. Anyone whos interested in learning more about her I would suggest heading over to her official website and myspace page. There you can also hear some of her tracks. My personal favorites are Ulysses and Needle in the Hay, found on her myspace.

And now I leave you all with this interview of hers:

Monday, September 29, 2008

Cosmic Joke?

Today was something else.

Thats all I can say. It was fairly nice but one part, just one part, messed with me the rest of day.

In English today I had to join a little trio for a book discussion. I was only the senior in the group, so I didn't really know the juniors I had to talk to.

I sat down to join them, asked their names and respectivfully gave mine in return when the girl in the group said all knowingly "Oh so you're Ryan." And with that one line it set off a very, very uncomfortable dialouge.

Me: Um, yea I am. *wonders why she suddenly took that tone.*
Girl: Ah, I heard about you from Constanza.
Me: WHAT?! *Fear slowly creeps over my body*
Girl: Yea, she mentioned you...
Me: *bugging out* And why did I come up?
Girl: Oh don't worry. We were just talking about our ex boyfriends. If she said anything bad I wouldn't have brought it up.
Me: *still in shock*


Seriously though - What the hell? How is it that someone I dated 3-4 years ago still have connections like that (keep in mind, I haven't seen the girl in about a year and a half)? And I don't buy her saying that I "just came up". That seems way too much like a random shot in the dark to be true.

Now I can't help but wonder. Just what was said about me?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fueling My Wrath

This is seriously just adding fuel to the fire.



Now, come on. This is just silly. If you have someone from a different party on your show, if for nothing else than just common decency, you let the person talk. I mean come on - this is why I have issues with policits sometimes. Let people talk, then debate them logically. Don't shut them down. I feel my own intelligence being insulted every time the Republicans pull that crap.

Oh, and by the way - I am going to wikipedia the Keating Five. Its about time I know more about it.

Heres one more video, just cause I love you all:



Nothing more I can say than McCain better stop pissing people off or else...

Note: for Google Reader Users - if you can't see the videos, please visit my blog itself to see it.

What Kind Of Week Has This Been? Part II

I would like to start with a quote:

I get the impression that recent political developments have left you speechless. :-)

It's certainly not a boring election...

- Opps, a frequent commenter.

I couldn't agree with you more Opps. This election has been anything but boring, and its about time I've let loose on some things. I have a feeling that this could turn into a rant if I'm not careful, so please bear with me everyone.

At this point, every American is cognizant of the economic debacle rippling not only here at home, but though out the rest of the world's markets as well. I just heard this morning that Washington Mutual went under, following suit behind some other major power players. How in the world did we let things get to this point? Who fell asleep at the helm and is now expecting we the tax payers to help out?

Now, I see this in two lights. America is already in a ridiculous amount of debt and bailing out all of these companies will only dig our hole even more. Companies that in my eyes, don't deserve to be saved. Companies and their head of operations that should go under and suffer. But at the same time, those companies are so closely rooted into America's and the world's economy as a whole - so much so that I know and understand their collapse would send everything spiraling even more out of control. So whats the better evil out of all of the options we have before us?

And while I'm on this topic, what the hell does this mean for my and the rest of my fellow students? Those of us who are about to enter college and those who are already there. What does this mean for us when we graduate? What kind of a world will it be when we are finally expected to fully intergate ourselves into the so-called "real world"? Whatever decisions made will no doubt have us dealing with this for decades to come. Is it fair that I and my children will have to be burdened with all of this? I must say that all of these questions truely scare me. I only had my first job a summer ago and now the economy is in a panic.

A panic. A crisis. And interestingly enough, this has all happened during the build up to our Presidental Election. Also, has anyone heard of any talk of a recession anymore? Has that word disappeared out of our collective vocabulary, or is it that its not no longer important?

Next up on my hitlist is what McCain recently did. The first debate between him and Obama is to take place tonight, and the man had the nerve to pull out saying that fixing the economy situation is more important. I was so shocked when I heard this. This is THE time to be debating. Now more than ever. Plus, isn't this the man who owns how many houses? Isn't this the man whose aide was being paid by Freddie Mac? I don't appreciate whatever game he's playing at. I give Chuck Shumer credit for telling McCain to get the hell out of the way and let them do what they have to do. He shouldn't be butting in so that he looks better.

The last thing I will go into before I explode is how the Republicans are sheltering Palin. She met with neumerous world leaders this week, but the press was hardly allowed to question her.

What, does she not have enough of a brain needed to answer whatever questions they pose? I find this to be worrying. Why is it that they don't trust her on her own? I saw her interview with Charles Gibson. Saw how she had a way of weaving in and out of answering questions that I would have loved to hear answers to. One could make the argument that the way her party is treating her, it makes her look like a stupid women ~ a form of sexism within itself; nevermind the Democraits "attacking" her because shes a women (shes fair game as far as I'm concerned. Open Season.). I think we've put up with enough crap from her - from the bridge/bridges to nowhere, her pregnant daugther (please, please, please don't let me get started on that), and her lackluster answers to grave questions. I'm waiting to see her tail on the line during her rounds of debates. Hope shes still having fun with looking at Russia through her window.

And McCain, you better show up tonight. Its not like you're doing much over there anyways - the Republicans walked out of the talks yesterday, so I heard. Show me you have more honour than that - its the least you can do.

What kind of week has this been indeed.


Update: McCain has chosen to join the debate tonight. I'll be watching, and I hope all of you will as well.

What Kind Of Week Has It Been? Part I

This has been an odd week. Terrible, yet intriguing at the same time. I can’t believe that so many things came into the lime light - so much so, that this post needs two parts in order for me to get to them all.

First thing first - I was not asked to proceed onto Posse’s round two. I received a letter last Saturday delivering the news. Yet, I can’t say that I’m disappointed or upset. I truly went into it unsure of what I would do with such a gift to begin with. At least now, I can put all my energy back into my trailing my own path, wherever that leads me.

I must say this though - thank you to everyone who had a say in sending my name into consideration. The group meeting last Wednesday was simply fun and a good experience for all the teens there. I’m glad for even having the chance.

Next up is a trip my school is planning during spring break. There are plans to travel to Paris, Florence, and Rome during the week of that vacation on some sort of “science exploration”. I, of course, really want to go. If for nothing else, just to see Paris with my own eyes. I won’t get much of a chance to actually soak in much - out of the nine or so days planed, only two of them take place in that city, its still so much better than nothing.

Of course, there is an issue of costs. The entire trip including air fare, food, tour guides, hotel accommodation, and another slew of different things is just about 2,500 dollars. That almost made me want to cry, but who knows - there are plans to do fundraisers to attempt to drive down the cost, so I may have a chance after all. I’ll of course blog about what happens as time goes on.

Lastly, there is the recent betrayal of a friend. Not much to say here, except she acted in a manner I expected from her. And so now I get to sit back and watch as things crumble around her feet. That within itself is worth a few giggles, though its sad it had to come to that.

p.s. - To anyone who can guess what inspired the title of this post, I will give you a digital cookie. :p

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Upcoming First Round

I haven't been blogging much lately. Not as much as I would love to - there is so much going on that I could write for days, but I have a good reason why. Several good reasons why. One of such is the whole Posse Foundation thing, which some of you may remember me writing about a few months ago.

After a summer of relative silence in regards of the program, this coming Wednesday afternoon will be the first round. From what I hear, its basically a big evaluation of how you preform in group activities. I'm quite curious to find out just what these activities are going to be, and at the same time not knowing is really bothering me. I've started to dread the possibility of having some wayward task to accomplish, or something that I can't truly find a way to apparently "stand out" in.

Other from that, I'm really just planning to try and enjoy myself. While I'm fully aware of whats at stake (for those too lazy to click on that link above, its a full scholarship to a list of very amazing schools), I also realize that if I'm meant to get it, I'll get it. Putting too much of myself in it only to fail would not be a very smart idea. And if that wasn't enough, I'm still torn as to what to do if I should get so far as being offered this scholarship. I'm still sort of stuck on trying my luck with Columbia and other colleges within New York.

Well everyone, wish me luck. In the end, all I can really do is try and see what happens.

EepyBird's Sticky Note experiment


EepyBird's Sticky Note experiment from Eepybird on Vimeo.

Yet another video - this one is just fun to watch. So many colors....

Stalker Guilt Syndrome



My English teacher showed this video in class a few days ago. Its so weird that I had to post it here. Anyways, enjoy and feel free to tell me what you think of it.

Warning: Those using Google Reader may actually have visit this page to view the video. Also There is an "F-bomb" and a few other words lying in wait for your ears. In case that type of language bothers you...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Resume looking old...

For the past two hours, I've been updating my resume and trying to make a brag sheet.

Its awkward though, having to mentally go back through things you've done and had had a part in. Its amazing just how much I had forgotten from last year - such as my summer internship at Citigroup (or is it just Citi now? cursed name changes...). While I understand such events are 'important' and all, I still feel like it was a part of my life that I lived through and is now over and done with. It doesn't sit well with me shifting around in memories to find things to talk about myself with. This feeling only gets worst when making a brag sheet.

Ah, the brag sheet - a list of as much things as I have recollection of actually doing. For this I'm really trying to squeeze as much as I can out of my memory. Its seriously flawed recesses are not cooperating. Luckily I suppose I have some time to get it done and its not all that important - its very likely that I'm the only one who will ever see it, but I believe that its best to have it ready to go, just in case. I don't know what college(s) will ask to see it.

Bush's War - PBS Frontline Documentary

I finally got to sit down and watch this today. Taken from the official website, here is a basic overview of the film:

A two part special series that tells the epic story of how the Iraq war began and how it has been fought, both on the ground and deep inside the government.

I really enjoyed this show. It offered a very good look at how the war became twisted and strayed from its original goal and how the key players in Washington allowed all of it to happen. If you have some free time - and I mean a lot of it. This is not a short walk in the park - I suggest you watch it. Matter of fact, even if you don't have the free time, make it. The whole series is online here, divided into segments.

OLPC and Amazon - Side by Side

Link to Article.

This is a very, very nice touch by The One Laptop Per Child organization. According to the article, they've teamed up with Amazon.com to help sell the XOs in their upcoming relaunch of the Give One, Get One (G1G1) program.

I remember the first launch of the G1G1 program sometime ago. One of my teachers had participated, but it took a questionable amount of time for her to receive her machine. It appears that this move is to avoid running into those problems this time around.

Hopefully, many more people will join in and buy the XOs. The first round had some positive results, so heres to more of that successive!

October SATs

Just signed up for the SAT on October 4th. Though I'm happy with my first score, I figure it won't hurt to go back and see if I can improve on the math section. Also, I have to take the SAT IIs sometime in November, so hopefully this will put me in the testing spirit.

Time to get to studying...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Best Offense...: Some political thoughts.

The Best Offense...: Some political thoughts.

Check this out. Its a post made by one of my good friends, showcasing some of his views on this election. A very good and interesting read.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

French Translation Mission

On my friend Caroline's English-French Exchange site, a French member has recently proposed a bit of a challenge to the English speakers. That challenge is helping to translate his up and coming company's blog for a North American release.

So far, we've began the efforts and have one post done. We've started up a google doc that I believe is open to anyone wanting to jump in. Sadly, I'm really only able to give time over the weekend to participate, but its better than nothing I'd suppose. Also, it gives me an excuse to come into contact with French more often - other than my French course that recently started.

There is one noticeable downside in translating - espcially thoughts that are not your own. It is that its hard to collect all of the ideas, feelings, and idioms in language and transplant them into another. It really just becomes awkward to read. For example, here is an original paragraph:

Je n’ai pas pris de bureaux, pour des raisons d’utilité et de coûts. La société est domiciliée chez moi. Lorsque je préfère travailler à l’extérieur ou que l’équipe a besoin de se réunir, cela se fait dans des cafés. Étant par ailleurs amateur de café, cela m’a inspiré une ou deux choses.

Now here is the translation I provided:

I didn’t take the office because of usefulness and cost. The company is based at my house. When I prefer to work outside or when the team needs to meet, we do so in cafes. Being furthermore amateurs of coffee, it has inspired me one or two things.

See what I mean by the awkwardness? It just doesn't flow in English. And thus, its that lack of flow that I really want of focus on in my upcoming work. Who wants to read a choppy copy of French text online, eh?

Anyways, anyone interested in practicing French with our band of misfits, feel free to head to the exchange site and introduce yourself (link provided above). It'll be nice to get as much people as possible doing whatever role they can. Plus doing stuff like this in a group makes it a whole lot more fun.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Obama's running mate revealed.

Obama's running mate was just released a little while ago. Its Senator Joseph R. Biden from Delaware. Hes been around for quite some time (over 30 years I hear) so does he fit well with Obama's theme of change in politics?

Or perhaps, a better question would be "Who on God's green earth is Senator Joseph R. Biden?" Just kidding.* Kind of.

*Looked him up on NY Times so I know more about him, but seriously though, who is he? o_O?
**Thanks to reginaavalos from Twitter. I thought I was the only one who didn't know. lol

Friday, August 22, 2008

Why You Should Never confuse an Irish man for a Brit...

I learned something very important yesterday at work. Actually, it was something I should have pieced together in my 10th grade history class when we were learning about Ireland’s history, but somehow I failed to piece it together. But before I tell the story of what happened I wish to explain myself.

Britain and that whole area of Europe has too many accents of the English language. Much like how a New Yorker will sound different from a Texan who would in turn sound different from a Cali Girl - this much is understandable. I really did try to understand the differences between the versions but since I’m not really there, I couldn’t get a real grasp of what I was reading on Wikipedia so I just began to label anything that sounded British to my ears British in my head. And its that logic that got me into trouble...

I was shadowing someone at work when he asked me about how my summer was going with the rest of the technicians. I said it was going fine and started to list the people I had grown particularly fond of. I got to a guy named Gary and had called him British where the person I was talking to stopped me and said that Gary was Irish. I, of course, flustered by my mistake was taken back and he continued to tell me that I should be careful since calling an Irish man British may open a can of worms I wouldn’t want to deal with. I agreed with him and left it alone, eager to change the topic.

A little later we had went upstairs to ask someone a question and just so happened to past by Gary’s sit. The person I was following went straight to Gary and started this:

Dude I was Shadowing: Hey Gary! This one here *points to me* said you were British.
Me: Ahhhh!
Everyone else: *heads turn in eager anticipation to see the impending reaction. Sort of like animals sensing incoming bloodshed.*
Gary: *blank stare* You called my British? (amazing how he never sounded so Irish to me before that moment.)
Shadow Dude: Yea, hes lucky he didn’t say it to you in a bar...
Me: *thinks to myself* But I never did SAY it to him. YOU did.
Gary: *to me* So what should I do with him now?
The one black bystander: You should take off your belt and beat him!
Me: Hey! You’re suppose to be on MY side aren’t you?!?!
Gary: Alright then, bend over to receive your punishment.
Me: I’m SO sorry. *voice cracking and high pitched. eyes widening in fear*
Everyone else: *laughs uncontrollably*

Afterwords when we were heading back down, my “shadowee” turns to me and says in these words “Sorry, but I needed a laugh.”

That ass.

That was just another case of intern abuse. It really does seem to be a serious epidemic in the American workforce. One that needs to be cured and my brothers - all who have suffered and tolled through it to come out the other side victorious, I am right there with you. Willing to fight the good fight if you are. Now whos with me? *insert overly enthusiastic battle cry*

By the way: A little later in the day I went back to Gary and started to tell my side of the story. He interrupts asking me: “Did you really think I was angry?”

I stopped, blinked a little and let out a relieve sigh. He laughed and we did a (terrorist) fist bump*. He then helped me change the top case on my Macbook, the first real repair I did all summer.

HA! Take that.

*Yes I did mange to put a political statement in all of this as well. Was it too soon? Or too late for that matter?

Romanticising the Future... Reminiscing the Past

I revisited Columbia University last Friday. Some may remember my last visit there - I was completely engrossed by its beauty and the sheer magnitude that I couldn’t help but get overwhelmed. I knew I had to go back at some time before the college selection process was over and so even though it took ten months, the proper circumstances finally came into being.

Let me start by saying that the basis of the trip came up fairly randomly. I was talking about the school with Ted, a friend of mine from MOUSE and he very graciously offered to accompany me there. I, of course, simply couldn’t refuse and so we set a date.

Finally, a few weeks later, we headed to the university. Along the way we ended up running into a friend of mine from class and his little group which included his mom and some guests.

While I was there, actually exploring the area surrounding Columbia with my friend, we both stood in a very interesting position - we could see the past, as clear as day and at the same time, we were trying to construct a vision of the future. As we walked, we remember all the little events from our 7 years at our current school - trips, awkward moments, random conversations at lunch ~ just all the good times in general. And then, we realized (though I think it was already understood in a way) that we’re about to start the conclusion to our 7 years. The end of all of our journeys together. All in preparation for the next stage of life.

That seems to be a major theme behind all of my meetings with friends this whole summer. There is this aura of remembrance and nostalgia that we can’t seem to wash away. And the interesting thing is that I don’t believe we actually do wish to get rid of it - it very well may be one of the strongest bonds we have to one another so we’re just simply better off allowing it to persist.

In two week's time I will find myself back in the halls of my school, back among everyone. I'm not too sure if what I described in previous paragraph will last, but if not it was still nice while it lasted.

Here's to Senior Year!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Upcoming Library Forum + Language Group Update

I got out of work and dropped by the library today to help them with their preparations. Next week they're holding a forum for one of their volunteer groups that is specifically geared towards technology. Something of which is right up my alley - so much so, that I decided to spread the word about the XOs via a presentation.

One of the planed key points that I wish to emphasize is the ever growing importance of the open-source community. The XOs are a great testament to its power and I feel that it would be a wise way of keeping in check with the theme of the forum - showing the kids there how much opportunities they have in the world of technology.

As I was running through a very bare draft of the powerpont document I was creating to help aid me during ten minutes of attempting to woo the audience - whom are in the same age demographic as I am - to the manager of the volunteer office that I worked with, the conversation found itself upon ways to expand on the topics I was going to speak about, outside of the just the presentation. The idea that came up was possibly holding round table discussions about current issues in the field of computers and such. I would personally enjoy leading this. For one it would be great content to podcast, which is something I would like to get into and second it would be good practice in leading any type of group in an activity, since I'm about to lead language oriented talks. Right now all of this is just thought, but one I'm planning to chase after so check back for more details later.

With that said lets segway into the language groups. It was decided today to move forward with the Japanese group rather than the French. While I would have prefered to focus on French since my school courses in start next week, there is already a pack in the library that deals with it. Also I may be able to draw in more people with Japanese - I think it has more of an alure to most people my age than French. Anime would play a large part in explaining why - most teenagers have come into contact with more Japanese than they have French.

As for the format, while I'm planning to see what I get and go from there I'm definitely going to teach hiragana and katakana, two of the three writing scripts used in the language. I don't care to make much of anything set in stone just yet - merely the basics.

The folks at the library want to see how fast we can have things set up - the goal is to hold the first meeting sometime in October, mainly to give myself enough time to gear up for this. Heres to everything going well. I'm interested in seeing just what I can pull off.*

*Hopefully it will be more successful than may ill-fated blog carnival....

Monday, August 18, 2008

Will you be joining Blog Action Day 2008?

This sounds interesting.

On October 15th, there is a big network blogging event going down and it would appear that everyone is invited. To quote the website:

"Blog Action Day is an annual nonprofit event that aims to unite the world's bloggers, podcasters and videocasters, to post about the same issue on the same day. Our aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion. "

I'm really intrigued by all of this - a well thought out and designed "blog carnival" like gathering to take part in, especially after my failed attempt to organize my own. According to the site's archives they started this event last year with the topic being on the environment. This year's theme is poverty.

So, I now bring to you, my fellow bloggers and alike, this following question: Will you participate? Its for a good cause and will definitely be a great chance to make connections with other bloggers. For those two reasons I'm more than likely going to join. Plus, October 15th is long enough away to start familiarizing yourself with the issue at hand and to begin drafting out ideas.

Now the only problem I can foresee is how am I going to post good material if I'm school? (October 15th is a Wednesday, if I'm not mistaken.)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Issac Hayes dies at 65

This weekend is seriously becoming worst than it already was.

Word has come out that Issac Hayes has just past. According to a New York Times article:

"A family member found him unresponsive near a treadmill and he was pronounced dead an hour later at Baptist East Hospital in Memphis, according to the sheriff's office. The cause of death was not immediately known."

A friend of mine had just showed me a picture featuring Mac, Hayes, and Samuel L. Jackson posing together and called it "foreboding". I really do hope that the last surviving member does not follow suit.

And as always, my apologies goes out to family and friends. This indeed has been a very bad weekend - thank goodness its just about over.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Bernie Mac is dead at 50

Holy hell. I can't believe what I just read. I was just checking my email when I saw a little alert from The New York Times explaining what happened. To quote that article:

"Publicist Danica Smith says Bernie Mac died early Saturday at a hospital in the Chicago area of complications due to pneumonia.

The comedian suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces tiny lumps of cells in the body's organs, but he had said the condition went into remission in 2005. He recently had been hospitalized and treated for pneumonia."

I'm so shocked right now its not even funny. My deepest apologies to his family, and to the rest of the American comedy presence. This is yet another serious blow to everyone who loves and enjoys comedy everywhere.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

WNYC Soundbite: Why A Cultural Darwin Is Needed



I found this to be pretty engaging. Basically talks about the need for someone to come along and do for the study of culture what Darwin did for the study of genetics. It then starts to go off into population growth and the like, but its still worth a listen. The person being interviewed is Paul Ehrlich, a professor at Stanford University.

There are some points brought up here that I feel would be great for discussion. One of them would be the premise of cultural evolution to begin with. As Ehrlish said, culture in many ways is always being re-written, yet there are certain patterns in culture that have a tendency to remain unwavering. And you can't analyze one culture on its own - sooner or later you'll have to observe its interaction with other cultures around it. All of which may lead a person down an endless line of research.

Which is why I just love social sciences.

Another part I found to be really good is that it brings up culture and the environment's relationship with one another. I personally feel that they're highly interconnected. Especially ancient cultures that have long since ran their course. For example, I'm right now re-reading The Odyssey by Homer and in it you can see how much the location of where their world is centered around plays a role in their culture. You have deities for local bodies of water, the material their weaponry was crafted from, etc.

The audio clip can serve as a nice stepping stone for going deeper into the the topics it (sadly) touched upon very quickly. With that said, what do you guys think about what Ehrlish brought up?

Knol - Google's giant "We can do it better than you" to Wikipedia

Knol is cute.

Seriously, it is. And while it may not necessary be an attack on Wikipedia, it sure does seem that way. At least to most people.

For those not in the know, Knol is Google's lastest project, aimed at having users write articles on whatever they choose to for the benefit of others. So long as you have an account, you can join in and write (hopefully) about what you know. One thing I've noticed is the use of people's actual names for those who publish articles. I don't recall ever really noticing that on wikipedia.

Another thing is the lack of pictures. I don't see much pictures and diagrams on Knol. Look at these two pages on entrepreneurship - one from Wikipedia and the other from Knol. Wikipedia has two related diagrams on their page while Knol doesn't. Finally, Wikipedia has a lot of links to related articles within the wikisphere. Knol doesn't point inward of itself to refer people to new ideas within the text of any given article.

I must say that for now, I'm going to stick with Wikipedia, mainly because it has a larger base of knowledge (it appears that Knol has about seven pages worth of "featured" articles). But, I'm sure that as time goes on, Knol will grow to be a much more realistic alternative to the Wiki-King.

Critical Mass Bicyclist vs. the NYPD



This happened just a few days ago, bringing more light to the tension between Critical Mass and the City. While the cop was wrong - the bicyclist didn't seem to do anything even remotely questionable in the video - I'm hearing that many of the other cyclists involved in those events are quite obnoxious. From reading people's comments about this I'm gathering that they're a big obstruction to traffic. Purposely.

Now, I've yet to actually encounter a Critical Mass event in progress and I think that the idea of a whole bunch of people getting together to ride is a great idea. However, if you purposely get in the way of the masses in an unorderly manner, it makes me sort of wonder if I should even listen to your group. No matter how important your message is.

So what do you guys think of what happened? Ever got caught up in one of their get-togethers and/or find them as annoying as other people do or do you agree with their methods?

Update:
After looking around youtube some more I found this video from an arrest during Critical Mass in 2004. The video is fairly intense, so watch at your own discretion. But believe that it will help to fuel the conversation in the comments.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

To Niche Or Not To Niche

I've been wondering lately if I should make this blog of mine fall into a "niche". As you can tell, I've allowed this place to become a pool where all my thoughts continuously spill out into - as was the original plan. Even the name of this blog captures its nature quite perfectly, if I do say so myself. But, I do think that there are some valid reasons why I should consider following a niche instead of being all over the place. And at the same time there are reasons why I should stay the way I am. Here are 3 arguments from both sides of the fence.

To Niche:
1. A set focus in terms of content.

2. Force me to put thought into what I write so that my posts fit the mold of the blog(s) I'd be running.

3. Hopefully provide my readers a more "pure" experience. If people come here to read about one thing, they don't get bombarded by other matters that don't interest them, say my experiences at the near by Apple Store or something.


To Not Niche:
1. If I were to take this blog and then alter it, it would then become many blogs. Each with their own area of thought. That would mean I'd then have to divide myself between each blog and I don't have that much willpower for that. One blog is going to get more attention than the other - I can tell you that much now. So if I already know that, why bother attempting it?

2. I personally like to think that most of what I write about have a way of being interconnected, should you hang around long enough for them to. In my head, this is certainly the case and then for me purposely separate them into boxes, I might be shooting myself in the foot. I just don't think within such lines.

3. Tags were invented for a reason. Really. I don't have them there because I think they are a nice little distraction. I do try to use tags to help organize my posts into actual themes. You guys should use them as well.

For the time being, I'm going to stick with this blog. Its treated me well up until now and I don't see a need to change it around unless I'm moving to my own servers. I'm highly content with this place and I want to see it mature naturally - breaking it up into branches would only hinder that.

And besides, if this blog is too disordered, just have fun with it. I know I am :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

MOUSE Goes To NASDAQ



Last Friday many members of MOUSE got a chance to visit the Marketsite to participate in the Closing Ceremony. Just going there was simply great, but I was also given the chance to act as their student representative on stage. This meant I got to say a few words, get my mug on that giant monitor they have outside overlooking Times Square, and last but not least, push the button that signified the end of the trading day.


(Can you guess which one I am? Hi Carole!)

It was amazing how much of a "T" people there have gotten the process down to. The four of us each got a few seconds to introduce ourselves, talk more about the program, and finally what we've each down through our involvement with MOUSE - many of mine, you can read about here.

After that, everyone in our little (correction: enormous) group had joined us on stage for the button pressing. Reaching over to touch something gets a lot harder when you're being squished, hence the odd looking expression on my face in the picture below - its a look of concentration.




My one biggest peeve was that the button did not glow red. I know that sounds ridiculous, but for some reason any button like that should glow red, not orange. No one ever has ever spoken about a "big orange button" being important before - it was always a big red button. Get my drift? Some how I felt a bit let down because of that...

All in all it was a great experience. How many people my age can say that they had a hand in such an event? I'm very proud to have had yet an other opportunity to support MOUSE and I look forward to what other events lie ahead.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Blog Carnival '08

And so it starts today.

Since this is the first time I've ever gotten people to do such a thing, I'm not expecting much action until later on in the week. But hopefully, all of us participating can get together and share some really cool writings of ours.

Anyways, here to a fun and interesting carnival!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Premise of Modern Narcissism

Here is a New York Times article about how narcissism, in word and in meaning, is being thrown around a lot more nowadays. From pop-culture icons to everyone having a Facebook, or the equivalent time-wasting web apps out there, the article deems that all of these are fair game for being labeled as narcissistic. It then goes on to talk about how the idea of one being narcissistic has changed in recent years.

It made me wonder just how narcissistic I and everyone else that have blogs can be considered to be. We are, in all actuality, writing in the hopes that people out in the internet care about what we have to say regarding anything at all. We wish for our voices to be heard and take great joy - and in some cases pleasure - when we see others react our thoughts, for ill or for good.

So this begs the question, How do I make this so-called narcissism a positive thing? How can taking a deep rooted interest in my self not only appeal to others, but maybe help someone in some form - be it aiding in developing thoughts and disscussions, teaching others, etc? While this may be a futile attempt at justifying whatever egoistical reasons I have for keeping this blog running for the past 9 or 10 months, I like to think that some of my posts at least responds to those questions. While I can't say the same for the other online social mediums I partake in, I pride myself on the difference I try to estabish the line between the two.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

"Obama is my Slave" T-Shirt

What the holy hell is this???

A friend of mine just brought this to my attention. He was reading the Metro this morning and came across an article on the front page about some girl who got attacked in Union Square some time ago for wearing a T-Shirt that read "Obama Is My Slave" and is now suing the shirt's creator.

Now there are a few wrongs I've noticed here.
1) Should not have been wearing that shirt in the first place.
2) Who the hell made that crap in the first place? Whoever did should be shot. For that matter, anyone who buys it should be hung by their toenails.
3) Attacking people is still bad, even when they deserve it. I know its annoying but its true.
4) That girl paid 69 dollars for an ass-whooping. That just makes me depressed.

Is the girl who got attacked white, out of curiosity? I take it she is since in the article it was specified that her attackers were black females. I'm sure shes aware of racial tension so what did she think was going to happen to her, walking around with that thing on? It would be like me walking around with a shirt that said, for example, that the Israeli state should not exist - I would logically expect some sort of public backlash, violent and otherwise. Maybe if she would have gotten away with it somewhere with no black people around, but I digress.

And as for the designer - he just looks like an fool with a mullet. I'm perfectly alright with people wanting to vote for and criticize whomever they like, but only when they go about it in a logic and socio-conscious manner. Towards the end of the article they talk about his other shirts against Obama such as "Jews Against Obama" and "Obama = Hitler". They end with the guy saying that he did not like Obama because Obama is a Muslim.

...

Doesn't that remind you of anything that has happened lately? At least the other thing was meant as satire....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Connected: The Movie (Conception of iPhone Edu.)



Here's a little something for everyone who is just getting / already had / thinking about gettting an iPhone.

This video was made by the students and facility at ACU - Abilene Christian University. The goal was to showcase the potential that the iPhone holds in classrooms across America. While it is fictional, a lot of the content seen is actually in development so it won't be before long when we'll finally see it in real life.

The video is a perfect example of one of my reasons for wanting to get into iPhone programming and just programming in general. I want to be able to be apart of the advancement of technology - I want the ability to make my dreams and ideals reach a level of manifestation in which they benefit as much people as possible, and as a result, the users treat my creations with as much love and respect as I will. I really do think that the iPhone is and will be a great tool for reaching all of that with.

And imagine what else the phone is being used for right now, for just technology in general. The conceptions and theories that are being explored. Doesn't it just make you sit beside yourself in awe?

WNYC Soundbite: "On the Media"

Go here to hear the whole broadcast.

Last Friday I was listening to WNYC (93.9FM here in the city) and got to hear this interesting piece. Its about the recent edits to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that our beloved President just signed. The basic addition to the act follows, taken from the linked piece:

"[It]still requires the government to obtain warrants to eavesdrop on US citizens. But permits -- to listen in on the phone calls of foreign nationals outside the country without warrants even if they are speaking to people in the US... It also expands the government's power to invoke emergency wiretapping."

The broadcast eventually turns to Google's ability to withstand governmental subpoenas, possibliy ordering them to hand over detailed records of who searches what (very detailed records, mind you). It seems that in the past, Google was able to avoid such advances, but the question of will it be able to do so again still looms, growing ever larger as days past.

What does this mean for the internet? Just where how far will all of this go? I don't think it will get as bad as the situation in China regarding massive internet filters, but at times it definitely looks as if its going to attempt to.

What do you guys think about all of this? Sound off in the comments, if you please.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Blog Carnival '08 - Starts On Monday!

Like the title said - the carnival begins on Monday. I hope to have it run for two weeks, during which everyone who has already signed up and would like to sign up (pretty please?) can just go to each other's blog, read the content there, and then contact its owner with what you would like to post.

Also, in keeping with something I learned from PDF last month let's try this out. I would like for every post that is made in relation to the carnival (guest posts and the likes) to have a label or tag that says so. Just a simple "Blog carnival" tag will do.

Final thing is this, if you have not done so before, go back to the registration post from a while ago and look in the comments. There mostly everyone had posted a link to their blog so check them out. Leave comments for them or something - just do something that establishes some sort of contact.

Any questions or comments or suggestions leave a comment here and I'll get back to you guys asap.