intjonathan: (Default)
Well, I sure did graduate. I've got the diploma holder to prove it. It's my "get out of school for anything but free" card.

Today was bigger, longer, and more stressful than I ever anticipated. My favorite moment was shaking the hand of Dr. David Bover, CS department chair and all-around cool guy, and hearing him say "well done." He knew my name, and was proud of me. What a wonderful gift.

Thanks to everyone for their well wishes and congratulations! It's been a helluva three years. Here's hoping the next three are just as big.
intjonathan: (Default)
I penciled in the scantron bubble slowly, with a practised circling motion. It dawned on me that it would be the last one I ever filled here.

Something unlocked.
There was a silence.
I closed my eyes to pray.

I walked out of class for the last time. Rain fell on me, has it been raining all day? There were colors, grays, reds, green. How far have I run? For how long have I seen white? Everything looks the same, but I can look at it.

Peace and patience; this is where I've run to.


Jun. 3rd, 2006 06:06 pm
intjonathan: (bjork)
It's so hard to capture the final two weeks of a quarter. The conflict of "I shouldn't be doing anything but studying" conflicts with the "well, not much else to study, so I'll watch this TV show here..." reaches a peak. For two weeks one feels guilty about doing any one time-consuming thing, but spends similar amounts of time doing many shorter things, because the math doesn't occur to them.

This quarter is doubly weird, as I have moving to do in addition to studying, but with two weeks of moving time allocated, and less than a week worth of moving to do, it's hard to justify spending "study time" on packing. So then I think well, I'll do coursework, that'll chew up time. Then I discover that everything's on schedule and what little remains has time allocated for it this week.

And you know, it's hard to write poetry for several consecutive hours. The flame burns out real fast.

I'm sure everything will get done ok in the end, but I don't know how to shed this continual stress. What if I took a test I never studied for and passed? What if I didn't work on a program the day before the due date - because it was already done? Is that even possible? Could I have made it even better?

Crap like this leads me to circle the wagons wherever I can in order to maintain some semblance of control. For instance, I haven't packed up anything in my room. It's exactly the same as it was last week, and I intend to keep it that way until sometime next week. There ain't that much stuff in it, and in there I can forget about the emptiness outside my door and get down to the business at hand.

The stress surfaces in other ways, though. Got a lovely excema breakout on my legs for a few days. I had frequent headaches last week, and haven't been sleeping all that well. Even though I know it's all surfaced stress, it's really hard to channel it elsewhere. Control feels necessary, control of the situation, control of the stress, control of time. I feel helpless, but it's just uncertain, and when have life changes been certain? There's enough certainty in my life this month to choke a Scantron reader, but it's not very comforting for some reason. Like, I'm not going to fail my classes. I'm just not. The grades I do have are a comfortable C and a very high B, and senior project is practically a gimmie. And I'm not going to be struck with financial ruin, no matter how many more parts fail in my cars/computers. I'm moving home to $0 rent and a full fridge. Besides, I just got paid June rent, so it's not all bad.

Life is much better than it feels, I guess, but it's so hard to see. Who would believe that your last quarter would be fun, you'd pass your finals easily, you'd have no problems closing your lease, and you'd move for practically free with plenty of time to somewhere with no rent? I mean sheeit, I've even got a little work lined up before I leave for 3 weeks in Italy! I shouldn't even care that I don't have work when I get back, because the way things are going, I'll get a job while I'm gone. :) It's understandable that I would have a mental block against such good fortune.

So yes, moving is scary, and when I get home, things get harder. But I've really got to work on crossing bridges when I'm at them, not 20 miles hence.
intjonathan: (girl)
The terror of the unforeseen is what the science of history hides, turning a disaster into an epic.
-Philip Roth
intjonathan: (haku2)
First post fom my long-awaited Thinkpad X31. So far, worth the money.

I hope it somehow makes a few of the 1000 depressing things I have to do in the next few weeks tolerable.

Geology test tomorrow. Few people are taking it seriously. I probably should, it's worth a lot of the grade. It's hard to care about unrelated science classes when I have so much programming to do.
intjonathan: (mamimi)
I'm waaaay down at the bottom of my creative energy. Somehow on Monday everything suddenly sucked. I can't figure it out. The weekend had been wonderful, I felt at ease, familiar, smiling. Got to see Cliff, got to watch a sweet nature video and see Snow Cuts Glass. But immediately it stopped making sense. I pinned my hopes on the Thinkpad I bought Sunday evening, thinking retail therapy in the form of Sexy New Hardware would at least give me something new to focus on for a few weeks. Unfortunately when it became clear that it wasn't going to arrive for nearly 2 weeks, I had to shovel dirt on those hopes. Today I ate a whole lot of pizza and watched several hours of Dave Chappelle. Mostly I felt like I was waiting for the day to be over. I haven't felt that way in a very long time.

If I tell myself I accomplished things, like how the bathroom is clean for the first time in a month, and Jeremy's new site has a design, and most of my MIS homework is done, maybe I'll forget that I did those things on one of the last few Saturdays I have left at college.

This feeling of wastefulness will eat me away. I repeatedly cut short all my projects and plans due to lack of funding or certainty. Trying to make the 1000 things I do every day go smoother is kind of a major purpose of my energy and thought. Turning over life's rhythm, eroding like a rock carried through summer, small and round from use, familiar and full of memory. Just as it's becoming round enough to skip, I must leave the river.

Adventure without opportunity is foolishness. I like this river and it's the biggest one on the map.

intjonathan: (air)
The Shirt In Question - please buy and wear if you think it's cool. I won't be offended, even if we show up to the same party wearing it.

Field exam today. It's kind of like the final for all of college. Though apparantly it's strangely easy. We'll see.
intjonathan: (Default)
I just woke up from an unexpected 3 hour nap. I can't say that I was glad to see my evening go, but apparently my body had different plans. Funny, this usually happens later in the quarter.

However I did get to spend the last hour or so making over my journal. It's so nice doing web design the easy way after editing CSS by hand. Just drop a code into this form and blammo! No drop shadows! Colors in the right places! Looks great in IE!

This week is the last week of doing church study group. Pretty different from how it started 11 weeks ago. It's very surprising to see who made it this far. Certainly not the people I expected.

This quarter I'll be spending the whole 10 weeks working on Shaim, a multi-protocol IM client still in early beta. Hopefully by the end of the year it'll be something I could recommend over say, Trillian or Gaim. Very exciting stuff. It's nice to be moving into a preexisting project after having designed so many simple apps from scratch over and over again.

I'm also taking a cheesy ASP class which covers all the same stuff I did a year ago at work, only in a really terrible language instead of PHP (insert "PHP is a terrible language lol" joke here). Hopefully I can finish the homework for that several weeks in advance and forget about it for the rest of the quarter.

Finally, my first Geology class ever has turned out to be pretty interesting. They definitely teach at a different pace in that department. Geological time, indeed. My teacher is named Bernie, and acts like it. It's a 2-miderms-final class though, so hopefully I'll figure out how to organize his lectures into studyable notes.

I'm still unready to graduate, despite being on track for it. Does everyone encounter this, or is senioritis so terrible that whatever's out there must be better?


Apr. 2nd, 2006 04:17 pm
intjonathan: (bjork)
Thanks to all of you for your sympathy and concern. As I informed some who commented on the entry, what I described actually did occur, but the ending is different.

When I went to do my major evaluation with Julie Marx, the CS program adviser, we discovered that it was going to be rather ugly. One required upper-level class had been swapped out to an elective for my catalog year and had not been replaced with any other class. This created a "hole" in the required upper-level classes, so I could actually fulfill the CS major's degree requirements without meeting the university's. To compensate, we concocted some horrible schedules that involved taking two geology classes simultaneously, etc.
I went to fill out my graduation application, and discovered that it didn't have to be that bad. I went back to Julie and asked if we could work something else out, and we found a schedule that worked much better. It was pretty much beyond fortunate that everything lined up. Feeling smug about my new schedule and graduation app, I printed up another app and turned it in.
Last Wednesday I got the eval back. It contained my current schedule, which was legit, and marked as missing another 4 credits of upper-level coursework. It's too late to be signing up for classes, so if the registrar's evaluation was true, I was up shit creek.
Somehow I managed not to panic too much, and took the sheet back to Julie. She reassured me that she was aware of the discrepancy and had discussed it with the registrar. Apparently CS was counting a 200-level statistics class that I transferred with as an upper-level credit, and the registrar's office wasn't. So she wrote a letter to the credit evaluator, signed it and had me pass it on to the registrar. I haven't heard back, but she assured me that things were gonna be fine.

So if you panicked, rest assured that I did much the same thing, but Julie had my back and things are cool.
intjonathan: (bjork)
I got my graduation eval back, and apparently they've changed how they handle some upper-level transfer credits, so I'm still one class short. Fuck. I can still walk, but it looks like a Fall graduation for me. It's way too late to get into the crazy stats class I'd have to take. This happened at Edmonds too, why don't they keep their word at colleges?!? Grrrrr.
Read more... )
intjonathan: (Default)
I have no further finals to take this week. I have never wanted a C so bad in my life. The old saw about there being prayer in school as long as there are tests is as true in college as it is in third grade.

Now I'll probably be checking my transcripts 5 times a day until I see that glorious line of Cs. And then I will do cartwheels around my apartment because fuck yeah.

But until then, I'm trying to keep things low-key. Two weeks of having air raid sirens going off 24 hours a day really wears on you. I'm dehydrated, constantly hungry, and I need a haircut. I even started breaking out in hives. That's never happened before.

Whatever the case, I'm looking forward to some balance returning to my life. As with many bad quarters, at the end I find myself having forgotten how to do things I enjoy, or even enjoy things I do. It takes some time for my instincts to realize that I'm back on dry land, and the sharks have left. Time to assess the wounds, bandage, and take time off to heal. Unfortunately I have to work full-time over the balance of the week and all of break, but at least I'll get money for that stress.

One island of escape I did find during the quarter's end was movies. Bill Gates saw fit to provide [ profile] captinspiration with the fiscal wherewithal to purchase us a wonderfully equipped living room. To give you some idea of how nice it is, at the end of a movie I will usually get up, look around and realize I don't have to walk out of the theater - I'm already home. It's disorienting every time.

This evening I watched Good Night, and Good Luck, which was just like everyone said - excellent. I was expecting more of a story than it delivered, really, but just watching the film is so nice that it's hard to argue. It makes me happy that Clooney and Soderbergh have chosen to use their talent and fame for good.

NERD ALERT: Anime follows.

Last week I watched The Place Promised in our Early Days (Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho), which was a gorgeous little love story with a little science fiction in it to stir the mix. Considering the subject matter - terrorism, alternate universes, the limits of science - it was very low-key and had generally excellent characterization. This is not something which can be said of most anime. It is also beautiful to just watch. The level of visual fidelity in this film is truly a landmark. Often I wanted to pause the film and simply regard the scene. The director knows this, and lets shots take their time on screen. Would definitely watch again, though not recommend except to fans of the genre.

This weekend was Miyazaki's Laputa: Castle in the Sky (Tenkuu no Shiro Rapyuta), A fully hand-drawn feature length film from 1986 which actually led to the establishment of the renowned Studio Ghibli. If you've seen a Miyazaki film, you'll have some idea of what you're getting into with this one. Many of his later works had a single female protagonist, but here he must manage both Pazu and Sheeta, and both have excellent stories and characterization. More straightforward than his more mature work, but unmistakably the work of a master.

SPOILER ALERT: Analysis follows.
NERD RED ALERT: Oh my god.

I don't mention these films to review them, but to comment on the connections. I couldn't have planned this, but the two movies share uncannily similar themes. They were made 10 years apart for totally different audiences and by totally different people, but check this out:

Female Protagonist with a Terrible Secret

Sheeta is an heir to the throne of Laputa, and keeper of its secrets and power. Sayuri channels the dimensional portal during her dreams. Both of their secrets must be revealed and completed by...

Male Protagonist Flying Into Hostile Situation

Pazu flies a lookout kite through the storms around Laputa to return Sheeta to her kingdom. Hiroki flies the Bella Ciela to the tower (through hostile airspace) to rescue Sayuri from her dream. In doing so, both characters are...

Finding Manhood Through Fulfilling Promises

Pazu's father took a picture of Laputa, and died without anyone believing him. Pazu made it his mission to find Laputa and prove his father right. Hiroki promised Sayuri that he would fly her to the tower and they would discover its secret. When they both get where they're going, they discover that the girls trigger the...

Destruction of an Otherworldly Power

Sheeta must destroy Laputa's powerful science to keep it from the villainous Muska. Sayuri's awakening leads to the destruction of the tower and the disconnection from other universes.

All that's really coming out of this are the archetypes that each director chose to incorporate, but that they both chose the same ones when the movies were so different was really surprising. In mood, pacing, art, audience - they couldn't be further apart. But down at the basic elements they're really the same stuff.

Both are good films and this should not be seen as anything but a look at how the best stories are the old ones.
intjonathan: (bjork)
I don't know how to say this without being direct, and by direct I mean pissy.

If you obstruct my academic success this week I will cut you.

24 is cancelled this week due to rain. We will watch both episodes next Wednesday starting at 8pm.

Social activity until Tuesday, March 7th will be purely discretionary. I wish it didn't have to be this way, but finals are finals. The sooner they are complete, the sooner I can get my life back.
intjonathan: (Default)
Let's see.

A couple weeks ago my computer security class was given our 3rd assignment:
You are to perform a remote security evaluation of one or more computer systems. The evaluation should be conducted over the Internet, using tools available in the public domain.
Seems innocent enough. However, this was forwarded in an alarmist email to the LAN-Managers group on campus, which caught the attention of our Novell admin, Greg Riedesel. He posted about it. The assignment was then forwarded to the ISC at, which wrote a scathing diary entry that laid into our teacher for being "irresponsible." Some concerned geek thought it appropriate to forward the story on to Slashdot, which mostly thought ISC was full of it.

This has become quite the joke to the class, which is making up wanted posters for "Professor Packetslinger", and pictures of him with a cat5 lasso and network card revolver. Unfortunately the CS admins are going to have to patch things up with the administration, who went completely over the head of the professor.

Kind of fun being part of the news.


Feb. 9th, 2006 07:05 pm
intjonathan: (girl)
Belly full of free pizza + clear night + Paco de Lucia = no stress.

I had forgotten what stars looked like. It's been a long winter.

It's going to be a long night, however. At least today it's code. Code I can handle. The compiler and tests are forgiving, a comfortable place to hang many hats before the right one fits. Chemistry is a hat shredder. That's tomorrow though. Tonight, scary phone call and NetBSD. Not much sleep. I'll get there. I must.
intjonathan: (Default)
I think I'm going insane. No, I am insane. I'm continuing to do the same thing and expecting a different result. I'm doing homework the day before or the day of its deadline and expecting to produce quality work. It's not possible, but I keep doing it because I can't do anything else. I studied all weekend for a test on Monday. I stayed up late working on an assignment due Wednesday. I found out about my Security test 5 minutes before I took it. I stayed up late again for an assignment due Friday. I'll be staying up again for an assignment due next Tuesday.

I don't know how this happened. I've never seen confluence like this in 6 years of higher education. In 3 weeks, I had 3 assignments and 3 tests. This week I had two tests and two assignments. In addition, I'm working 20 hours a week and doing an intensive group program at church.

Sometime last week I started running, and I haven't stopped. I don't know when I can. I'm afraid I never will.
intjonathan: (girl)
Terribly windy tonight. Hard rain's falling.

Chem test tomorrow. Chem lab Tuesday. Visitng home Tuesday night. Unix program due Wednesday. Security assignment due Friday.

Fuck midterms.


intjonathan: (Default)

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