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College etc. Posted on: 11/10/04 at 1:18:18 AM

Well its been two long months since my last post, so I figure I'll post now. It's not that I've been particularly busy I've just been to lazy to write anything. College has been going pretty well. After having horrible experiences with work overload in the past, I decided to take an easy first semester in college. Thanks to all my high school teachers. All that AP credit really helps and I have been able to pass out of almost an entire year of work. This semester I'm taking a Computer Science course, two math courses (actually one math course and one pseudo math course) and an English course. English, as always has been a pain, but unlike in high school I'm doing very well and am almost done with it for good. At first I was hesitant to sign up for my Computer Science course, Data Structures and Algorithms because of horror stories I've heard from other people, but it has turned out to be the most enjoyable course I am taking. Although it is taught in Java and in the past I've been mainly C++ based, after cramming Java down my throat for my summer job, I've become quite proficient at it. Unfortunately my C++ could use a little refresher now.

Although this school probably has a higher concentration of uber geeks than any other place on the planet (well except MIT and a handful of other geek strongholds) there actually is quite a mix of people. Although a lot of people on my floor spend their time playing video games (ie Super Smash Brothers) many people go to a lot of parties, at the frats across the street or other non traditionally geeky activities. Most of the people on my floor are very tight. So much so that we were the only group of freshmen that were able to hold the CMU fence for an entire week. The fence is an object in the middle of campus that any group can paint provided they do it after midnight. If they want their message to stay however, they must have at least two people guarding the fence through all hours of the day. We had a pretty good system where everyone would go to the fence when they didn't have classes and a few people would volunteer to sleep there at night. Guarding the fence was actually a pretty fun activity since we all had laptops and a TV and game cube with none other than Super Smash Brothers. What made our fence streak even more impressive was we held it through rush weekend, when the frats demand for the fence was palpable, and through the worst single day rain storm in Pittsburgh history. Besides guarding the fence my floor does many other things together, and our lounge, with its huge 40 inch TV is a great place to hang out. My one regret is that I haven't been able to get my floor hooked on Axis and Allies going but its bound to happen some day.

For extra circular activities, I originally sign up for a lot of things, but the only thing I have been consistently attending is Game Creation Society where we make and discuss video games. Although the group I'm in is currently in is behind in its development of “Super Spelunker” aka “Ninja Party” aka “Grace” the part that is done is pretty impressive and I'm sure we'll finish a scaled down version by our project's release date. I have to say that some of the other projects are very impressive especially "Rowdy Rollers" which not only is an original concept but also is good enough to have been a commercial game if it was released ten years ago. Although I don't have to many original ideas, I thinking about pitching a project second semester. It all depends how much time I have. Right now I'm messing around with SDL and other C / C++ libraries to make games and getting a feel for them. Right now I'm thinking about making some game that involves a DDR pad, such as a clone of track and field for the original Nintendo, one of the few video games that actually helps you stay in shape (sort of). This would be kind of a fun game and fairly simple to do in practice but the novelty will run off quick. I'm convinced though that there are so many applications for the DDR pad other than DDR, that have yet to be explored. Once I learn more about hardware, I plan to make a racing game involving where your speed is determined by how fast you pedal on an exercise bike. This would open up all sort of possibilities for training in the winter and would be a fun way to race people over the internet. I'm sure there are already implementations of this concept but none of them have really caught on, and it would be fun to make my own.

Well thats pretty much sums it up. It feels so strange being away from home for so long, especially with all that has happened in Boston. It's kind of strange that precollege I wasn't very interested in professional sports, and even was one of the few New Englanders who didn't watch the two super bowls which the Patriots won. This year however I got pretty caught up in the Red Sox. Mind you, I didn't get interested until well into the post season, so I'm a fake fan, but I did watch almost all of the heart wrenching ALCS games and the anti-climatic series itself and I must say, it felt good to see the home team win after 86 years.

Unfortunately the other competition involving Boston, or at least a certain Senator from Boston, the one that actually matters didn't go so well. After calling the Allegheny Elections office during all hours of the day to find out if I was registered in Pennsylvania, watching all three presidential debates, studying the polls for weeks, cutting a line of 10,000 people to get into the Kerry rally, waiting in line 2 hours to vote, it was frustrating to watch Bush announce victory in front of a hoard of people yelling, "Four more years!" I guess due to my upbring, I've been somewhat a victim to liberal propaganda, but I don't get what so much of the country sees in Bush. Also I'm surprised that after the fiasco in Florida four years ago, there continues to be so much irregularity in the vote. Ohio may be proud that they were not the next Florida, as was predicted, but the fact remains that had the elections been much closer, this election would have gone back to the lawyers. It's kind of fishy that most of the errors reported so far have been in favor of Bush, and in states with electronic voting there were huge differences between the exit polls and the actually results in favor of Bush, while paper ballot states show no such pattern. Bush had a big enough margin that it probably had no effect, but still more attention needs to be paid to these issues. After all true democracy is whats at stake. There are a bunch of ways I believe can improve elections, but thats another discussion for anther time. Well that's all for now. Hopefully I'll post again before the next election comes. Cya.

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