Off On A Tangent

I haven’t posted in quite a while as predicted.  : )  Lots of new things since last time.

First of all, the college interview went pretty well in my opinion.  Maybe because there weren’t any tricky or unexpected questions.  Just the general “describe yourself” and “why do you want to come to our university” ones.  And then me asking lots of questions. ^ ^

And then I went to Jamba Juice, where they were playing Christmas music!!  A little too early, maybe?  It’s like that economics idea where stores start stocking Christmas items on their shelves early so that consumers will see them and begin to associate Christmas items with that store.  Which of course leads to the consumers making Christmas purchases from that store in the future.

I’m now also co-chairing a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii (strangely enough, this reminds me of Doc!)  It should be a fun experience, I think. ^ ^

Oh, and there was a really cool news article!  A 12 year old boy (William Yuan) has come up with a 3D solar cell that absorbs both visible and UV light and could be 9x more effective that current cutting-edge 3D cells.  This might revolutionize the way we produce energy!

So intelligent and awesome, yes?  Plus, this could make the beginnings of a great policy debate case (this year’s topic: The United States Federal Government should substantially increase alternative energy incentives in the U.S.)  This year, the most important thing is training the newbies so that our school will continue its speech & debate legacy!!!

And there was another interesting article on the evolution of fingers and toes starting way back with primitive fishies. : O

And…I realized that if you look up “vignette” in Wikipedia, there’s a link to my site!  It feels so special to be in an editable online encyclopedia that some despise and others worship. ; )


Start of Something New

It’s official! The 2008-2009 school year has begun, meaning among other things less time for blogging. That’s an opportunity cost right there. ^ ^

I can already tell that senior year will be way more difficult than junior year. But what’s amazing is that I’m actually extremely interested in every single subject I’m taking this year…probably because I got to choose all of them in the first place. Yay!

And of course, the college application process isn’t far from my mind. I’ve still got a couple of school-specific essays to write and my very first interview next weekend!

Lastly, a landmark for this blog: 9,999 total views! One of my favorite numbers. ; )

At the Water’s Edge: A Vignette

A single light flickers across the surface of forbidden waters.

“No risk, no reward.”

He skates silently on ice infinitesimally thin. It never broke, never cracked under pressure. Always gliding and chasing, a breeze past frigid sculptures and shattered realms with a million glimmers. Blades etching neither circles nor patterns. Vows to never cross the same chilling path or to retrace his steps. Around him, the cool air shudders at this daring, his addiction to glory. And for now, if only for now, he shines bright under the empty night sky. Hungry.

“Look before you leap.”

She thinks long and hard, failing to act. She is a siren concealed in a prison of icicles. Dreaming of hopes, hoping for wishes, wishing for dreams. In circles indifferent. Surreal eyes pierce through tendrils of mist and every so often, linger on empty constellations. A million pretty souls that twinkle and beckon and taunt. Always bewitching senses, enticing with underwater rhapsodies. But never approaching, never found. For now a frozen lyrical mystery. Thirsty.

Someday, he will hear her song, skate straight off the ice, and plunge into subzero currents. He will spin wildly in circles and at last, draw back. Draw back from her touch, her first curiosity. Satisfied.

Someday, two hearts will murmur under dancing lights. A new dawn breaking through. A thirst will be quenched, a hunger fulfilled.

Someday at the water’s edge.


Likey? Click here & here for presidential election-related entertainment! (VP choices coming out soon!)

2oo8 Beijing Olympics

The 2008 Olympics are here!!! ^ ^ 

8/8/08  Such a special day…you can bet there’ll be plenty of couples tying the knot.

Meet the Fuwa!!

The medals this year are really creative: there are rings of jade in them!

China’s been working hard to develop cleaner sanitation, train three hundred thousand cheerleaders, and provide a welcoming atmosphere to all. Let’s hope the games run smoothly. Good luck to the host country! : )

Update: Olympic Theme Song Revealed!! Very sweet.

You and Me (Liu Huan and Sarah Brightman)

Aimless Rambling

I’m feeling positively giddy so I decided that I should post and preserve this moment. 😀 😀 😀 See what I mean? And since I don’t have anything in particular to say, I’ll just ramble for a while.

Well, a few days ago, I was flipping through the August 2008 edition of Reader’s Digest when I came across this Q&A session with Thomas Friedman, author of The World Is Flat.  This of course reminded me of my old response to that book.  Haha, fun memories.

As for colleges, I narrowed down my list to twelve (a major feat) and finished a single essay (even larger feat)! Of course, it’ll have to go under some brutal editing in the next few weeks…but at the moment, I quite like it. : D One piece of advice I can give at this point is that you shouldn’t be afraid to delete large portions or even restart an essay. At one point, I ended up deleting two thirds of mine because those parts didn’t develop the image I wanted.

On another note, the Olympics are coming up in only 4 days!!! Go international cooperation!!!!!! ^ ^

Let’s end with an economics joke!

A mathematician, an accountant and an economist apply for the same job.

The interviewer calls in the mathematician and asks “What do two plus two equal?” The mathematician replies “Four.” The interviewer asks “Four, exactly?” The mathematician looks at the interviewer incredulously and says “Yes, four, exactly.”

Then the interviewer calls in the accountant and asks the same question “What do two plus two equal?” The accountant says “On average, four – give or take ten percent, but on average, four.”

Then the interviewer calls in the economist and poses the same question “What do two plus two equal?” The economist gets up, locks the door, closes the shade, sits down next to the interviewer and says, “What do you want it to equal”?


I remember watching Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch’s lecture online about a year ago. It has really sweet and relevant life messages, making a must listen-to. : )
The following article was written by Ramit Plushnick-Masti with contributions by Ramesh Santanam.  Enjoy!


PITTSBURGH – Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist whose “last lecture” about facing terminal cancer became an Internet sensation and a best-selling book, died Friday. He was 47.

Pausch died at his home in Chesapeake, Va., said Jeffrey Zaslow, a Wall Street Journal writer who co-wrote Pausch’s book. Pausch and his family had moved there last fall to be closer to his wife’s relatives.

Pausch was diagnosed with incurable pancreatic cancer in September 2006. His popular last lecture at Carnegie Mellon in September 2007 garnered international attention and was viewed by millions on the Internet.

In it, Pausch celebrated living the life he had always dreamed of instead of concentrating on impending death.

“The lecture was for my kids, but if others are finding value in it, that is wonderful,” Pausch wrote on his Web site. “But rest assured; I’m hardly unique.”

The book “The Last Lecture” leaped to the top of the nonfiction best-seller lists after its publication in April and remains there this week. The book deal was reported to be worth more than $6 million.

Pausch said he dictated the book to Zaslow by cell phone, and Zaslow recalled Friday that he was “strong and funny” during their collaboration.

“It was the most fun 53 days of my life because it was like a performance,” Zaslow told The Associated Press. “It was like getting 53 extra lectures.” He recalled that Pausch became emotional when they worked on the last chapter, though, because that to him was the “end of the lecture, the book, his life.”

At Carnegie Mellon, Pausch was a professor of computer science, human-computer interaction and design, and was recognized as a pioneer of virtual reality research. On campus, he became known for his flamboyance and showmanship as a teacher and mentor.

The speech last fall was part of a series Carnegie Mellon called “The Last Lecture,” where professors were asked to think about what matters to them most and give a hypothetical final talk. The name of the lecture series was changed to “Journeys” before Pausch spoke, something he joked about in his lecture.

“I thought, damn, I finally nailed the venue and they renamed it,” he said.

He told the packed auditorium he fulfilled almost all his childhood dreams — being in zero gravity, writing an article in the World Book Encyclopedia and working with the Walt Disney Co.

The one that eluded him? Playing in the National Football League.

“If I don’t seem as depressed or morose as I should be, sorry to disappoint you,” Pausch said.

He then joked about his quirky hobby of winning stuffed animals at amusement parks — another of his childhood dreams — and how his mother introduced him to people to keep him humble: “This is my son. He’s a doctor, but not the kind that helps people.”

Pausch said he was embarrassed and flattered by the popularity of his message. Millions viewed the complete or abridged version of the lecture, titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” online.

“I don’t know how to not have fun,” he said in the lecture. “I’m dying and I’m having fun. And I’m going to keep having fun every day I have left. Because there’s no other way to play it.”

Pausch lobbied Congress for more federal funding for pancreatic cancer research and appeared on “Oprah” and other TV shows. In what he called “a truly magical experience,” he was even invited to appear as an extra in the upcoming “Star Trek” movie.

He had one line of dialogue, got to keep his costume and donated his $217.06 paycheck to charity.

Pausch blogged regularly about his medical treatment. On Feb. 15, exactly six months after he was told he had three to six months of healthy living left, Pausch posted a photo of himself to show he was “still alive & healthy.”

In May, Pausch spoke at Carnegie Mellon’s commencement ceremonies, telling graduates that what mattered was he could look back and say, “pretty much any time I got a chance to do something cool, I tried to grab for it, and that’s where my solace comes from.”

“We don’t beat the reaper by living longer, we beat the reaper by living well and living fully,” he said.

Born in 1960, Pausch received his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Brown University and his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon.

He co-founded Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center, a master’s program for bringing artists and engineers together. The university named a footbridge in his honor. He also created an animation-based teaching program for high school and college students to have fun while learning computer programming.

In February, the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences in California announced the creation of the Dr. Randy Pausch Scholarship Fund for university students who pursue careers in game design, development and production.

He is survived by his wife, Jai, and their three children, Dylan, Logan and Chloe; his mother, Virginia Pausch of Columbia, Md.; and a sister, Tamara Mason of Lynchburg, Va.

In a statement Friday, his wife thanked those who sent messages of support and said her husband was proud that his lecture and book “inspired parents to revisit their priorities, particularly their relationships with their children.”

I haven’t posted in a while so I’m hoping that this slightly longer-than-usual post makes up for it!

Anyways, besides reading Crime and Punishment (stimulating the intellect), working (gaining valuable field experiences), lounging around (pursuing alternative options with an open mind), and watching slasher films (viewing art?), I’ve been researching the college process.  No sarcasm involved at all.

I haven’t finalized my college list yet but I do have about twenty favorites. : ) Of course, that’s way too many so I’ll eventually narrow that down to eight or so.  A program of great interest to me is Northwestern’s HPME, basically a 7-year accelerated medical program.  Too bad it’s about as selective as an Ivy.  There’s sure to be plenty of competition this year because of all those baby boomers’ kids.  Here’s a modest proposal for the government: let’s create a quota of how many human births are allowed per year.  It could supplement all that No Child Left Behind legislation.  I mean, to think that I was once worried about getting into Iolani or Punahou.   I try telling myself that med school acceptance rates are even lower…strangely enough, that’s not very comforting.

Along the way, I also discovered the College Confidential Forums.  Good side: There’s a plethora of helpful information on that site and you’ll find plenty of other 09ers there also getting ready to fill out those college apps.  ; ) Bad side: Supposedly it’s quite the addictive drug and there are members with literally thousands of posts (…) and the easily intimidated might find themselves overwhelmed by the high concentration of “perfect” 4.0/2400/Intel ISEF winner/research publisher/team captain/valedictorian candidates.  But I suppose it’s expected when you have the top students of every high school in the nation (actually, in the world) congregating.  That’s about as bad as a malaria breeding ground.

Anyways, on to the only aspect we really still have control over at this point in time…the essays!  How to appear brilliant, humble, focused, well-rounded, humorous, unique, diverse, saintly, and quirky all at once?  Which life-changing experience should you write about?  How about the one where you were working with disadvantaged orphans in Naquilovaki?  Where you expanded your horizons, gained a new appreciation for life, and realized that everyone is really the same deep deep down…

Ok, so I’ve also been surfing through scholarship sites.  My parents would probably be oh so very proud.  A good one that I’ll ever so graciously share with my fellow classmates (j/k ^ ^) is FastWeb.  This site has you fill out some information, allowing you to custom-tailor scholarship searches.  There are also some rather weird scholarships including ones for those with the last name Zolp (legal name change, anyone?), for the lefties, the asthma-ridden, the duck callers, and the junior chefs.  What annoys me is that while I’m nowhere near tall enough for tall people scholarships (obviously…), I’m also not short enough for the short people ones (amazingly.)  : (  Where’s the middling love?

I’d love to be able to share mind-blowing secret get-into-the-college-of-your-dreams insider tricks with all of you. But since I don’t have those, we’ll have to make do with the priceless companionship during these next few months of trials and suffering. ^ ^