Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Adventures

If you know me IRL then you know that I can be rather boring. Low-energy, usually lazy, reserved, likes to sleep and read over doing fun things.

Nevertheless, I've had some fun adventures over the weekend and, since this blog has been somewhat dreary of late, I thought I would share something cheerful for a change.

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FRIDAY: Testing GSM Shield

For a project, I am working with another student on getting an Arduino to send/receive text messages. Lacking other economical options for testing the SMS capabilities, my project partner decided to use the SIM card from his phone in the GSM shield and improvise that way.

We were working with the module and got it to send texts, thanks to some fantastically functional code from the Geeetech wiki, but it was nearing the end of our session and we couldn't get it to read the received texts. On the Arduino terminal we could see that the first text had been received and when, but no luck getting to the message.

As we tried to figure out what was going on, suddenly, on the screen appeared the following message:

RING


RING


RING

..."Someone's trying to call my phone!" exclaimed the project partner. Luckily he had Google voice so he could take the call--it was from the people he was meeting with after our work session.

We packed up and went our separate ways and now I am facetiously considering minoring in EE. (Not actually, I would probably break down from the stress.)

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FRIDAY: Making Sushi Rice

This is a pretty basic one. My roommate and I went down to the dorm kitchenette and made sushi rice in a pot on the stove. I've always made rice in a rice cooker so that was fun. And it was delicious.

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SATURDAY: "Swimming" to 99 Ranch

Saturday morning it rained heavily, but my roommate, other friend, and I biked down to the nearest 99 Ranch Market (Asian supermarket) to get food, including udon, miso soup, jelly snacks, green tea and red bean mochi, matcha pocky, and instant noodles. I miss Asian food, and I have never been on a 45-minute bike ride in the rain before, so that was fun. The world looks a lot different from a bike than from a car.

We biked through suburbia: quiet residential areas with flat-roofed houses, tall apartment buildings with grandiose names, collections of little stores.

Once we got back, we made miso udon for lunch. And it was delicious.

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SATURDAY: ODEs problem set

This week's problem set for my ODEs class involved plotting solutions to the Lorenz equations, which yielded lovely graphs of strange attractors and chaotic behavior. Homework can be interesting!

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SUNDAY: Plotting the next section of UM

The girls are finally out of Innsbruck, and I think that in retrospect I should have realized that Innsbruck would be a difficult section because their motives and goals change dramatically. Now, it will not be smooth sailing, but their trajectory is more clear; they have more of a purpose. It can go back to being a fairly fast-paced story.

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MONDAY: Meeting in the Haas Center

The Haas Center for Public Service on campus reminds me a little bit of a daycare, because it is in a house with a very quaint, Northern European-inspired architecture (in contrast to the rather Italianate buildings on the rest of campus) and the inside walls are painted in bright colors. There are games and shiny pamphlets and books everywhere, and it interested me to think what it would be like to work in such a space. Many places on campus, which we students pass through only fleetingly, are destinations for the people who work there. It's a whole network of specialists, and everyone has their own microcosm.

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MONDAY: Band rehearsal

Excellent this week. Got to see a lot of friends, including some of the kind where you just see them and are happy because they exist (e.g. my section leader. She's the best). Played great songs. Overall just satisfying.

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MONDAY: Going to the gym

Some of my friends convinced me to go to the gym with them, specifically to break the stereotypes of gym culture--that is, the intense and unhappy-looking person at a treadmill with their earphones in, just having a miserable time of it. We went on the ellipticals and chose courses that displayed images from Alpine trails on the screen (yes, this is a little absurd that we have exercise equipment that can do this. The gross overconsumption disgusts me too. Stanford, is this really necessary?). It was nice to give my mind a break for an hour, though the Alpine images were thematic because the girls in UM are still in the Alps.

Then we went to "lift weights" and I practiced some fencing lunges, which I have not done in a while.

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TUESDAY: Stargazing

Two of my friends are in the Student Space Initiative and they have a telescope that they are using, so of course at 0100 in the morning we went out to Lake Lagunita to stargaze. It was beautiful. The recent rains have made the lake more full than it is usually (== not dry), and the night sky and clouds and trees and lamps reflected in the water made a beautiful sight.

The stars look a lot different when you are with people who know their names. I recognize Orion, and said hello to him, and found the Big Dipper. My roommate explained about the celestial equator and elliptical and all sorts of things, and we looked through the telescope at a cluster of stars that appears to the naked eye to be one star. I do not recall the name.

I hummed "Telescope" to myself the whole time and spun around and felt delighted about the world.

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Back to work now. This week is not as hectic and crazy as the past two, but I still need to work hard and stay on top of things so that the rest of the quarter I'm not kicking myself for having taken too much of a break. At some point, though, I need to make it out to Cantor.

Also, I have to pick between two IntroSems: one about pagan mythology in European art, and one about the ocean. Probably going to end up going for the ocean one, but I want to talk to the art professor just to give it a fair hearing.

Have a good week.

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