Monthly Archives: May 2009

Taking a step back…

I thought about a lot of things today, most of which don’t really matter in the long run. I thought about some new models I was going to buy, how I was going to handle revising the rest of my novel, playing sixteenths on the guitar, and a lot of other things. Basically, from the moment I got out of bed around 1300, I was thinking about the future.

The future can be a scary place, especially if you believe that the Terminator series will come true (just watched Salvation tonight), but that wasn’t what I was thinking about. A lot of it was about me personally and what I wanted my future to be.

I looked up the process for becoming an astronaut. You apply either when they open up applications, which occurs whenever they need it, or you apply and wait. I wasn’t exactly sure which track is followed, since I can’t really even try to go through that process now. Then, if you are accepted, you go through two years of training before you are even considered to fly a mission. Even after those two years, if you aren’t selected to be an astronaut, you still have to work for NASA for at least five more years since they have you on contract.

There are just so many questions beyond those big ones that I still need to sort out, but I’d like to be able to sort those two out as soon as I can. The astronaut one won’t happen for another six-eight years, at minimum (I need to go through grad school), however…

I feel better when things have an answer, and even more so when I find out that answer. Maybe that’s why I like Math and Physics so much…

EDIT: Oh, and to get more little updates on my life, you can follow me on Twitter, although I can’t guarantee that what you’ll read will be meaningful…

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July 20, 1969

Normally I wouldn’t post twice within hours of each other, but this is different. I just watched some YouTube videos about the Apollo 11 landing, and just reading the comments got me so angry that I decided to rant a little bit here.

Here are two of the better clips:

Apollo 11 Landing : Apollo 11 EVA

Just reading the comments makes me want to punch every conspiracy “theorist” in the head, kind of like what Buzz Aldrin did that one time (Check here). I mean, how can you be so dense to say that the greatest accomplishment the human race has ever had was fake, to say that thousands of people’s life work was to film a movie, to basically say that the entirety of the space program is a complete hoax?

Why even have the Mercury missions then, which were used as a precursor to Apollo so that NASA could learn how to actually get to the Moon and operate for extended periods? Why have Mercury to start the space program if we were just going to fake it anyway? Why continue the space program if it doesn’t matter?

I want to be an astronaut for the chance to explore and learn, to go where very few have gone before, to be a kid for my job, to live my dreams. I’ve added another reason to that list recently: to show every idiot on this planet who they really are.

Distractions

Lately I have been trying to do a ton of productive things, like my continued revising on my novel, some painting, friendship building, and guitar, among many other things. I just always seem to get distracted by little things, or I just don’t think things through and it backfires or doesn’t go according to plan (see HERE for dramatization).

Take yesterday, for instance. I closed myself in my dad’s home office, which we only use to wrap Christmas presents or talk on the phone, to revise my novel. I got through six pages, which is a lot based on how much revising I actually do, as shown below, but then I decided to take a two-hour nap. And today, when I should be doing more revising, I decided to take a personality test to figure out if I actually am crazy and to make sure I was still being myself in a certain situation that you probably are already aware of (I’m an O84-C74-E37-A93-N60, if that makes any sense to you).

But really, my biggest distraction has been my own mind. I think and analyze and postulate and theorize much more than I should about things I have no control over. Not a good way to live, my friends. But what can I do, turn off my brain? If only summer were that easy…

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Revisions

A few days ago, I printed off the 80-some computer pages of my novel, which roughly corresponds to 130 book pages. While only about a third through the story (or less), I wanted to re-read everything, take some notes on character development, do some revising, and basically clean up what I have so that the next section can start fresh.

I’ve only gone through 30 of the pages so far, and I’ve been covering them with red marker pen. While this may seem bad in your eyes, I love it since it lets me revisit the old story and make it better. It’s always good to make things better, right?

Anyway, it will probably be a few more days before I finish it. I still have a lot more to do, plus most of those first pages had some revising work done on them by me a few months ago. I won’t be started the next big segment until after I finish this work.

Speaking of work, I start my job on Monday. I don’t mind, as it will give me money to save for next year, plus provide a little bit of a distraction from my life. I’ve had a lot of stuff going through my brain recently, not all of it good.

Summer Vacation

With the last final completed, the dorm room emptied and locked, and the relatively long drive from East Lansing complete, I am officially half-way through my undergraduate career. Pretty weird when it feels like just yesterday I was explaining to a fellow student at orientation that the street is called M-A-C, not Mac.

What have I learned? Honors credits should be taken at every opportunity, since struggling to fit them in your schedule in addition to difficult classes is not fun. I still have at least four more to go, with only one of those assured. Not the best situation to be in, not by a long shot.

Not worrying about food is great, and it will be missed. I’m moving into an apartment in the fall, which means I’ll be cooking and grocery shopping and everything else that entails. No more can I just walk to the cafeteria if I’m hungry; I’ll need to prepare and cook the meals when I want to eat, plus wash the dishes after.

Don’t rely on other people for grades. Even if you are part of a group, do whatever you can to ensure that you get a good grade. Look over their stuff, reduce their responsibilities if they can’t be relied upon, or kick them out of the group. You shouldn’t have to suffer for being too nice.

Finally, no amount of studying and stress can replace the memories that you make. Sure, you may 4-point all of your exams, but if you lose friends or miss the opportunity to make new ones, you’re losing a lot more. Plus, you can always just stay up late to finish the work you couldn’t earlier, right?

Finals

I have four finals: Linear Algebra, Biology II, Classical Mechanics I, and Planets and Telescopes, in that order. It shouldn’t be that bad, but the front of that line-up will be tough.

Linear Algebra: I dropped by last test, which I did not study a single iota for, so I’ll be coming at this one from behind. I’ve started reviewing the basics again just to refresh my memory, but then I move on to linear transformations, orthonormal subspaces, and eigenvalues. Good thing I have until Wednesday for this one.

Biology II: Basically the bane of my second semester, I am not as worried about this final. I’m pretty much going to get a 3.5 in the course, and that may be bumped to a 4.0 based on the Dr. Luckie “Sorry for having you work for me for a grade” curve. I’m reviewing major topics and refreshing my memory, and that’s it.

Classical Mechanics: Another sure-thing 3.5 if I go over basics. I would like to bump this to a 4.0, since I am a Physics major, but the semester homework assignments potentially screwed me out of that one. The final is worth a lot of the final grade, so it may go up to a 4.0 even with the sub-par homework.

Planets and Telescopes: I have a 4.0 in the class, got extra credit for completing some assignments on time, and Horace likes me. I can’t really express how little I’m worried about this one. Definitely a good “wind down” final for my Friday morning.

Well, don’t expect any more posts from me until after this fourth finals season is over. I’ll be studying and grading exams for the next week. Wish me luck!