Cary Young’s Video Blog
Happy belated video blog update! So, I finally got my skateboarding video, though it is still relatively shaky and not altogether my finest work. I figured it might still be useful just to give an idea of the size of the campus and give you a *bit* of a feel of what it’s like around here. Sorry about the Cloverfield-style camera-work.
I think this is going to be my last post of the year (unless I’m mistaken). It has been fun keeping a log of my activities, and I hope at least one or two of you found something useful here at some point. If you want to keep tabs on me, follow my Twitter.
Last weekend, I spent most of my free time working on my final project for my Algorithms and Artificial Intelligence Classes. Since my programming partner/friend/future housemate Nick and I are in both classes together, and they’re taught by the same professor, so we, with his consent, decided to write one larger final project that would count for both classes. Earlier in the year, there was an assignment in Algorithms to create a game called “Anagrams.” It’s a relatively simple game that involves finding words from a pool of communal letters, and then stealing and adding onto your opponent’s words. The original assignment was very rudimentary and completely text-based. Our final project was to create an (efficient, difficult) AI player and to completely redo the user interface graphically, with options for more customization than was allowed in the original program. We spent a solid week of free time developing and refining it, finally turning it in today. I’m the first to admit that it’s not a very impressive accomplishment, but I’m still pretty proud of it; in the process I rememberd how enfuriating the Swing toolkit can be (lack of thread-safety FTL), as well as discovered a pretty neat layout that I didn’t know about before, GraphPaperLayout, which was far easier to use for us than the beast that is GridBagLayout.
Anyway, if you want to download and play our game* (or check out our code), we decided to release it under the BSD license. You can download our project here (requires at least Java 5.0). There’s a readme file that explains how to play.
*–we only tested it on Mac OSX 10.5 at screen resolution 1680 x 1050. As far as I can tell, *should* conform to Java 5.0 conventions and is likely to run properly on similar Mac systems. I see no immediate reason why it wouldn’t run on Windows or the flavors of Linux, but I can make no promises.
Last weekend I went to the Bridgetown Comedy Festival with my friend Angela. She won free tickets on the internet and, since I’m 21, decided to take me along. We saw live podcasts of You Look Nice Today, with special guest John Roderick of The Long Winters, as well as Jordan, Jesse, Go, with special guest David Koechner (of The Office and Anchorman fame). Those were both hilarious shows, made even better by the pizza and root beer at the Bagdad Theater. After the second podcast, we went outside to wander around and ended up running into Mr. Koechner on the street. That was pretty cool. After a brief encounter with him, we went on our way. We ended up wandering into the Mt. Tabor Legacy Lounge to catch some standup. I think we saw at least ten performers, one of whom was a mildly disappointing Bill Dwyer, who is much better as a TV personality than he is an edgy comic. We actually saw him perform twice, and both times I sort of wished I hadn’t. I was, however, blown away by Hannibal Buress. I’d never heard of him before the show, but his act was basically perfect. His timing was dead-on and his dry wit played very well to the Portland audience. He reminded me very much of Mitch Hedberg, but he made the cadence and posture much more his own that most Hedberg-esque comedians are able to accomplish. Buress’ act was definitely the highlight of the evening for me. But he was not even the headliner! We were there, after all, to see SNL alum Janeane Garofalo and she pretty funny. If nothing else, it was really cool to see a celebrity comedian perform in such a small venue; there were probably only 150 people there, at most. Overall, it was a great experience, I can’t wait for the 2010 comedy festival!
Last afternoon, the band Fruition played a concert on the lawn; the show was really fun, but then it started raining and now all of our PA equipment is drying. I *really* hope nothing is broken; it was completely drenched… I mean like…when I turned the speakers, water poured out from inside of them. Regardless, it was a fun show >_>.
Tonight, I watched a performance in Council Chambers of the Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company. They were brought here by our Improv Club (”The Serious Club”). It was a hilarious show and I got called up and was interviewed as part of their sketch. Definitely a fun evening!
Tomorrow’s a thank-you pizza party for all of the IT department. Can’t wait to eat some good food and play games on a huge screen.
That all’s good, but It’s not all great; I’m quite stressed by work and house-searching. Finals should be fine, though.
Anyway, off to study for finals and such.
If you end up coming here, you can find me next year. I’ll be the IT-worker/soundboard-operator/possible student-government-member/rock-show-planner/ex-RA/senior CS major.
And one final note of nerdiness… if you’re an incoming student and you play World of Warcraft, send me an e-mail. The LC WoW guild (”That secret club that meets on Saturdays” when we’re in the company of non-Azerothians) plays Alliance on the Silver Hand server and (occasionally) Horde on The Scryers server, and would love to have you; if you want, you can just roll a Death Knight and feel it out.
It sure has been fun! Thanks for reading!
now playing in my ears: “15 Stepz” by Amplive ft. Codany Holiday
Working on a new video. Apparently skateboarding around campus with a video camera doesn’t work too well unless you jury-rig a steadicam, which I plan to do later today. If that doesn’t work, I guess it’s back to the drawing board. Are there any particular video topics you want to see?
I just finished my statistics project that my friend Sam and I have been working on for about a month. We presented it yesterday in class and it went a lot better than I was expecting (I guess I’m just pessimistic that way). We culled a bunch of information from sourceforge.net in an effort to see if there was a correlation between a software project’s popularity and its code’s adherence to program formatting conventions (comment things, don’t swear, don’t use goto, etc.). Our results were somewhat disappointing. Based on our sample of sixty projects, we could find no correlation. Regardless, we performed the statistics tests on the data, so as far as the coursework is concerned, we’re set. I would have liked to have observed something definitive, though.
Course registration is in effect; currently I’ve got spots in International Affairs, an English Class (this one is a tentative backup), and Computer Network Security (”hacking class,” which I’m hoping will be really cool) I’m a bit miffed that I’m on so many waitlists for courses I want to take (as I’m going to be a Senior, I’m running out of time). I’ve been trying to get into the Introduction to Electronic Music course every semester since Freshman year (yes, this is my sixth time on this particular waitlist). It’s a relatively small elective class and everyone wants to take it. They work hard to accomodate the demand, but it’s always overflowing. Perhaps I’ll just give up on my (not-terribly-serious) dream of learning how to make beep-boop music. I’m also on the waitlist for Introduction to World Music, which I would very much like to be the class that fulfulls one of my general education requirements. Here’s to hoping that a bunch of people decide to drop those courses. If not, it’ll work out some other way I’m sure.
A few days ago, Portland comedian/monologuist Rick Huddle came to Council Chambers and performed his “Spent” show. He plainly and humourously told the story of the “current financial situation” (I love that euphemism), explaining sub-prime mortgages, credit default swaps, government bailouts, executive bonuses, and some of the governmental intricacies that had to do with all of it. As someone who didn’t really take the time to understand all of this economics business, I found his performance very informative. Definitely catch him if you get a chance (I also see on Rick’s website that he has an endorsement from the hilarious and insightful Mike Daisey, another brilliant monologuist who has performed at LC).
I enjoy this time of the semester especially, because it is professor-evaluation time. It combines my loves of spending filling in Scantron bubbles, voicing my opinions, and carrying manilla envilopes to the Dean of the College’s office. The Dean’s Office, every semester, polls all students in all courses about the effectiveness of the course and the professor. Some people don’t take them seriously, but as the professors will attest, these results have an effect on little things like tenure and raises, so it’s actually pretty important. I like that students have an institutionalized venue for voicing criticisms or praises and that it seems to be an effective catalyst for any necessary changes.
Anyway, I think it’s time for me to go back to work on my Computer Science project. It’s larger than normal because Nick (programming buddy) and I convinced our professor to let us do one project for both of the classes we take from him. So, yeah… more on that endeavor when we actually get somewhere worth mentioning.
Still searching for a house for the Summer, which is approaching quite quickly.
Now playing in my ears: “The Cold Swedish Winter” by Jens Lekman
Hey pals, how are you? I am well. Finals are approaching, that’s good-ish.
I’ve been house-hunting with my friends Nick and Amy. We plan to live in Portland over the summer and live off campus next year (they’re graduating, so I guess they don’t really have a choice). That, school projects, and work are basically all I do right now. The last few weeks of the year are always really busy for events because all the clubs and organizations who procrastinated on their event planning try to have one more big event before the semester ends. The sound techs have lots of work coming up.
Campus has been pretty sunny lately. I recommend you come for a prospective student tour soon if you’re planning to. The closer to finals, the less every-day-life the place becomes. Regardless, even if you do end up touring during finals or the Summer, it’ll still be worth it to come look.
I’m sure we’ve been inundating you with literature and phone calls and who-knows-what about how sweet LC is, so I’ll spare that here and offer this: here are some tips I have for you guys as you decide where to go to college (whether it’s at LC or elsewhere):
1. Tour the campus. You’ll get the spiel about how great the place is, but even better, you’ll still be able to assess for yourself if it’s the kind of place you’d want to spend 4 years. Take things you hear on a tour with a small grain of salt. I know nothing you hear on the L&C tour will be a lie, but I also know that some things are different than they’re portrayed.
2. If you know which area of studies you’re interested in, attend a class in that discipline during a campus visit. If you don’t know, attend one of the larger 101 classes so you can get a feel for what a “normal” lecture is like at that school. Furthermore, if you do know what you want to study, it can be helpful to contact a professor or two from that department and ask any questions you may have about studies in that particular field.
3. Do not break college policy during a campus visit. Just don’t, please. If you’re caught, it will at least lead to an embarrassing conversation and at most can get you trespassed, un-admitted, and/or arrested.
4. Contact random students on Facebook or via e-mail. While I’d like to think (and I do think) that anyone you contact, college-selected or otherwise, will tell you the truth about the campus, it was very useful during my college search to circumvent the usual channels for contacting “real” students at the school and just just did a Facebook search for students at L&C. You’ll get varied responses, and some people will be more willing to help you than others, but it’s a good way to get unfiltered information about life on campus.
5. Negotiate financial aid. This is not to say that you should play hardball with your aid, but rather that if money is the thing stopping you from enrolling at your first choice, contact their Financial Aid department, explain the situation, and ask for an appeal. Some places are more willing than others to talk, but it never hurts to ask. I know L&C’s Student Financial Services department has been willing to hear out my family during times that my Financial Aid package wasn’t meeting our needs. I would assume that most colleges of similar size and type to L&C would be similar. Most people don’t know that a financial aid package is not always automatically final.
6. READ THE STUDENT HANDBOOK. You can almost always find the college’s handbook by searching its website. Sometimes it’s a bit hard to track down, but it’s definitely worth looking at. Luckily, L&C’s is right out in the open. Regardless what you hear about life on a campus, it’s good to know what the school’s rules *actually* are. You don’t need to become extremely familiar with all aspects of the college’s policies, but I highly recommend at least reading the Drug and Alcohol Policy (even if you are entirely substance-free, this policy will likely affect you directly or indirectly in some way while you’re at college). Some other policies that may be of interest: Parental Notification Policy, Search and Seizure Policy, Smoking Policy, Technology Policy (aka “what does the college do when they get a Cease and Desist from the MPAA because you’re a media pirate” policy), Skateboarding Policy, Parking policy. While there certainly are policies that exist but are not as enforced as others (I am not referring to our Drug & Alcohol policy, by the way), it is good to know the rules by which you’re agreeing to abide upon enrolling.
7. (once you’ve selected a school) Be HONEST on your housing/roommate application (and turn it in quickly!). I can’t speak for all schools, but I know that at L&C, the only people who see that sheet are the staff in the Student Life department who are responsible for pairing up roommates (usually the RDs do this). If you smoke, say so. If you’re messy, say so. If you like to stay up until three AM, say so. If you intend to “party,” say so. Furthermore, if you have an aversion (even a politically incorrect aversion) to interacting with a certain type of person, it can be beneficial for you to volunteer that information on your roommate selection sheet (and note that you are volunteering it solely for the purpose of housing selection). At L&C, That information stays private and will not be used against you in any way. The more the Residence staff know about your habits and personality, the better fit they can find for you.
Hope that post helps.
now playing in my ears: “Attack On Tir Asleen” by Kane Hodder
Many apologies for the later-than-normal entry, but life seems to keep throwing me back into the hospital….
It’s finally sunny and warm out, which is awesome. The un-awesome part for me and a few other lucky individuals is that the sun and warmth also means seasonal allergies! So I’ve been rather miserable lately fighting off the symptoms of that. It all culminated last night with a visit to the ER when my wheezing turned less from wheezing and more into “I’m having trouble breathing.” So, Seth and Jess were kind enough to accompany me to the hospital, where I got hooked to all sorts of cool machines and was given plenty of Albuterol. They decided to keep me overnight to make sure I didn’t have any health complications that would affect my still-healing spleen. So, I didn’t really get any sleep last night. My pal Amy came and got me around noon, and I basically got back to my room and fell asleep immediately after (which is why I’m only getting around to posting now that it’s 2am the next day).
Aside from that fun rehashing of past events, the week went pretty well. Last weekend, LC was rocked by the likes of Church and Portland electronica juggernaut Starf***er. As usual, I helped set up and prepare for the show. Both bands were exceptionally nice and courteous and everything went very smoothly… a welcome change of pace from the Minus The Bear headache of a few months ago (which, once again, was mostly caused by stuff on our end, not theirs). It was an evening full of dancing and good times.
Saturday night, Amy and I went to the Portland bar/venue Holocene to see a concert which I had won tickets to via a promotion on Holocene’s facebook page.We saw impressive sets from Portland’s Swim Swam Swum and The Shaky Hands. As well as an I-don’t-know-what-to-make-of-this jam session/collaboration between The Shaky Hands and bluesy guitarist Sigmund Henry. Overall, it was a pleasant evening with some great rock ‘n’ roll and people-watching opportunities.
Oh, but the concertgoing isn’t over yet… on Monday, Amy, Nick, Lillie Mae, and I headed downtown to the all-ages punk club Satyricon to catch folk-punk gods Defiance, Ohio. The show was $7 and featured 4 openers, including Drunken Boat, a well-calibrated Portland pop-punk group. Defiance, Ohio basically blew us away. It was definitely one of the best, most exuberant concerts I’ve attended. It also beats Gogol Bordello as the smelliest, but I eventually got over that. Defiance, OH are way into the DIY punk thing, so they attract a motley crowd of people from all sorts of unwashed Portland subcultures. It also means, however, that all their merchandise is especially cheap. I bought 5 full-length CDs at that show (3 Defiance, OH and 2 Drunken Boat) for under $25.
Long story short: PORTLAND HAS SO MANY COOL VENUES WITH SO MANY COOL BANDS.
Since last Wednesday, academics have been picking up. Many seniors are turning in their theses, which means it’s both stressful and relieving time for much of the student body. My classes are gearing up for final projects/finals. There are also a *lot* of events occurring. The last month or so of every semester is packed with events that clubs and groups want to have before the break, so there’s usually something going on every evening (and day). Perhaps most notable this week is LC’s annual International Affairs Symposium, which is a multi-day event full of guest speakers, lectures, and debates. Not everyone attends, but it’s one of our biggest events each year, so everyone at least knows about it. Sometimes the most anticipated portions of the symposium attract crowds that fill up Council Chambers. It’s safe to say that students from all academic disciplines pay attention to the symposium and scour its schedule for interesting speakers.
In Computer Science, we’ve been working on writing programs that implement hash tables (Algorithms) and genetic algorithms (Artificial Intelligence). There’s been a lot of coding lately, which I particularly enjoy. There’s nothing like working on a project and getting your program to run as intended. I really enjoy the collaborative focus that many of the LC Computer Science courses allow students to have. That’s not to say that we do all of our work together all the time, but in most of my CS courses, the professors allow people to work as teams on assignments rather than as an individual (not unlike software development in the real world). I particularly enjoy that approach to teaching computer science.
I can’t wait to be allowed to skateboard again (still can’t from the spleen thing).
It’s class-selection time for Fall ‘09! I don’t know when the incoming freshmen get to select courses, but for the returners that time is now. I signed up to take an International Affairs course. It’s always good to choose first the class that’s most likely to fill. I’m also looking at taking Introduction to World Music, Introduction to Electronic Music (this one will be sweet), and Computer Network Security (commonly known among the students as “hacking class”). Still mulling over some options to round out the schedule. Anyone got ideas?
If you’re coming on a campus visit anytime soon, make sure you stop by the Hoffman Art Gallery on campus (next to/down the hill from the library) and look at all the senior art majors’ projects currently on display. I don’t think the tour goes into the gallery, so you’ll have to do it on your own time, but it’s definitely worth it!
Now playing in my ears: “The Things We Won’t Let Settle But Let Set” by Defiance, Ohio
Hi Real Life readers!
Video is incoming. I’m having some technical difficulties (misplaced an important cable), so in the morning, I’ll track down an SD reader, cut my footage together, and hopefully have the video posted by the afternoon.
This week’s video topic is the game “Ninja,” which an increasingly large group of students play by the reflecting pool every Saturday at midnight.
More info on that when I stop failing at technology.
Spring Break came and went. It was pretty enjoyable for me; I hung around on campus for a few days, just sort of chillin’—like you do—then on Monday I went to the hospital for a followup with my doctors from my little spleen debacle. Good news (if you like me): I am recovering as expected and will almost definitely be fine! After the appointment, I packed up my laptop and a huge pile of dirty clothes and headed back to the greater-Tacoma area. Laundry at LC costs money (like it does at most colleges, except Whitman *shakes fist*), so I find that it’s worth it to lug my clothes back home with me if I’m planning on making the trip. It really only saves like $1.75, but it makes me feel like I’m beating the system so I do it anyway. So, I spent the rest of the week hanging out at my house, loving my family’s many pets (3 cats: Hidey, Cleocatra, and Quatriéme; 2 dogs: Wilbur and Padmé Queen of Naboo Young [nerd alert]; and 1 Netherland dwarf rabbit: Bootsie). On Sunday, I waited at home until around 11:00pm, at which point I picked up my pal Angela from the Sea-Tac airport and we drove back to school with another friend, Dylan; we arrived at around 3 AM. So, that’s how my week started!
That evening, my friend Jess and I went downtown for some füd at Noodles and Company, located across the street from Powell’s Books. After the slurping, we attended the Ratatat concert at the Crystal Ballroom. I had never seen them perform, and I had a great time. Others who remembered seeing them play smaller venues were less impressed. Oh, well. Perhaps the most entertaining part of the evening was that I ended up giving 9 people rides back to school in my station wagon… five of whom I’d never met. So, that was cool (for an interesting tidbit of Oregon traffic law, check out ORS 811.215.5).
Since then, I’ve mostly been studyin’.
There was a debate/information session for the candidates of the upcoming student government election tonight. It had a pretty nice attendance, and there were a lot of great questions, many directed to candidates of the only contested office: Chief Justice of Peer Review Authority (a group of students who, in lieu of an administrator, have the authority to hear cases regarding policy violations and assign appropriate sanctions). The most hotly contested topic of the evening was the issue of whether or not to allow RAs to run for—or be appointed to—positions on PRA. I’ll leave the political opinions out of this post, since it’s ultimately up to student vote, but I’ll just say that there were many arguments made for and against such a stipulation.
Gearing up for some busy times ahead!
Credit where credit’s due: the Ratatat photo used in this post was taken by Eugene-based photographer David M. Nelson. Check out his Flickr.
Now playing in my ears: “The Refrain” by Extra Life