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20 February 2007

Exams, Cycles, the Flu, and Nerdiness!

Today is Mardi Gras. Already. Wow; time has flown.

Back in high school, this would mean that we'd get a party in French class if we dressed up in a costume relating somehow to Mardi Gras, French or Creole culture, or the French language. I would always dress as aujourd'hui, "today."

Which wasn't all that hard to do. I cut out a square of cardboard from an old cereal box about 4 inches by 5.5 inches. Then I created a little daily flipbook of calendar dates, each to be cut to a quarter-page, similar to what I have shown at left. Nothing much, just two or three pages to imply the functionality of a standard page-a-day calendar.

A few staples, a hole punch, and a string of yarn later, and I was officially dressed as aujourd'hui. Yes, I'm a nerd. And for whatever reason, my French teacher found it extremely creative and loved every minute of it. Probably because I was the only one nerdy enough to ever think of it.

And that's my little rant about the holiday.

In other news, remember those exams I'd been worried about? What, I didn't mention them here? Oh, well. Well, I had exams on Thursday and Friday, and I already have the grades back for both. First, for PHYS, I just saw my score, which doing some math implies that I aced it except for missing one multiple-choice question. The only other possibility (less likely) is that I aced all the multiple-choice questions and messed up a conceptual problem by an amount equal to the weight of a multiple-choice question. I'm not sure I like all-or-nothing multiple-choice questions in Physics; in my opinion, physics exam problems should be "conceptual, computational, and/or explanational explanatory."

Yes, I had to throw that in there. Once again, I am a nerd.

In CHEM, my exam score was just under 75% mathematically, but above the class average by several points, and continuing to show improvement over past exams. But of course, the number means very little, as it's an honors course, and so to make up for the difficulty, a 67% will get you a B. If the other tests aren't ridiculously bad like some of last term's were, I think I'll find it easy to do well again in the spring.

Unless lab reports kill me first.

For the third week in a row, I was up past 04:00 on Sunday Monday morning finishing up the week's work. And this week, we not only had to turn in a report on last week's lab, but also a double report on two labs our section couldn't do because of the Martin Luther King Holiday, given sample data. That's right: I said "also" a double lab report.

If I had to sum up the emotional cycle I've been feeling lately, it would be like this:

I think that fact that this curve could stand to be leveled out implies that I may not be handling things as well as I could. But I'm dealing with it, and surviving. And that's all that counts, even if college, my very lifestyle, is the bane of my existence once every seven days.

One of our recent assignments for the service learning course involved making a web page for our team (in addition to, and in tandem with the individual ones we already had). It's not quite entirely up-to-date at the moment, but it should be later this week.

Our project proposal presentation to DRS was this afternoon. But Mageena, who was actually going to present a good chunk of the proposal, got the stomach flu and couldn't make it. We found out less than 10 minutes beforehand when I called her on a semi-related matter. So Ryan and I did what we could, and all went well.

I came back to the room and took a short catnap before choir. I awoke to the sound of my roommate vomiting into his garbage can. Yay. I only hope I don't catch the bug that's apparently going around campus. Because I haven't thrown up in over 12 years now. And I'd kind of like to keep that going for as long as I can help it. Besides, I'm not a winter sickness person. I get sick in the summer usually for a day, although this past summer it was like four.

And now I find myself lacking a segue into my next topic of choice. So, I'll jump right into it.

Last week was <3 UR : Week (or LYCW) here at the University. For those of you scratching your heads at the apparent lack of consistency in acronyms, or for those scratching because you don't speak 1337, and for those scratching further because I just made reference to a "language" that's apparently a number, "<3 UR :" means "Love Your Computer," hence the acronym LYCW. If you still don't understand, just accept it as fact and move on. It's complicated.

The first time I heard about <3 UR : Week was at my PittStart session in June. Computing Services and Systems Development put on a presentation about all the services they offer, and they mentioned that <3 UR : Week was held for the first time last February.

Appropriately enough, the color theme last year was black and pink, and because lots of the information sessions were held in the morning, they had a bunch of shirts left over, even at the end of June. So naturally, I took one. But seriously, if you're out and about on campus in the morning, it's for class. You just don't walk around that early for the fun of it.

This year's color was a nice green, which I must say fits rather well with my blog's color scheme, don't you think? Corey said he didn't think CSSD would care if I put the logo up here. And this year, I actually earned my T-shirt... well, as close as you could get to earning them since they'd hand you one just for walking by the table into the Union's ballroom for their Carnival. Yes, they had an LYCW Carnival.

It was an awesome carnival, as any carnival with horribly bad computer puns is. There was a "phishing" pond game, a "clear your cookies" cookie-eating contest (a whole bag of animal crackers), a "quick keys" challenge (rapidly replacing all 101 keys that had been popped out of a standard keyboard in the right places), and more.

I saw Jennifer ("Howdy") there, working away at the Quick Keys challenge, and it took her quite a while. I mean, think about it: every single key. It's hard! The organizer of the event was quoted in the Pitt News as saying that "most times average around twelve minutes." I honestly don't know how that was possible. But whatever.

I won a ThinkGeek USB Snowbot for playing Plinko. But it wasn't because I got the puck in the right slot. See, I went early on in the carnival, and so when the person in front of me, had her puck stop dead-center on a peg halfway down, she was awarded a Snowbot. The same thing happened to me, and so I was awarded a prize, but not after the worker mentioned that they might need to change the rules in order to conserve the top prizes for the duration of the five-hour carnival.

I also won a squeezable flashing shark necklace (ages 5 and up!) and had my fill of popcorn and lemonade. And of course, I received the necessary pamphlet about the possible consequences of not updating your computer for the new Daylight Saving Time rules that go into effect on 11 March, less than three weeks away! So for users of Windows XP Service Pack 2 who haven't yet updated, install Update KB931836 now. For other versions of Windows, it's not so easy; the best I can do is give you a link to what Pitt gave us. Good luck.

And yes, only a nerd would care that much about DST.

Random tangent: I helped Emily brag to her friends from home by informing her that in the 540-hour period from 03:00 on 28 January to 15:00 on 19 February, Pittsburgh's air temperature was at or above 32°F for only 5 hours, and at or below 0°F for 19 hours. She mentioned temperatures of +1°F, and her friends wondered why the "positive" temperature needed to be specified. Nice... I'm just glad it's getting warmer...


Lexi Elizabeth said...

you have a lot to blog about. but iguess i do too and i just don't blog about it, and when i do, i don't ramble on and on and stuff. :-P

i threw up IN school this december for the first time in a while, but i guess i'm not very immune to sickness, since i'm sick all the time.

Anonymous said...

Fortunately, mature adults don't care if others, or themselves, are nerds. Most collegians are at least approaching maturity... notice I said most.

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