Well it's been a while since I last wrote but perhaps that is a good thing as it means I have been keeping very busy this summer, and updating this website is a low priority. After graduation, I had a week off, basically filled with graduation parties, hanging out and generally being lazy, and then its been 40 hour weeks of work, which will continue until three days before I go to college. Oh well. At least I've been able to fit things in on the weekend.
Basically this summer I have a bunch of things that I would like to accomplish. First on the list was to go camping and explore the islands on the Sudbury Reservoir which I accomplished with Ben Ryan a few days after graduation. When we first arrived at the reservoir we had no concept of how big it was and assumed it was a medium size lake with a small island as that was all we could see from the shore. We then kayaked out to the small island and were disappointed to find it covered with trash and many beer cans. We then set sail to go around the lake. To make a long story short, over the course of the next hour, we discovered that pretty much all of what we though was the opposite bank was really another island and the lake was eight times bigger than we suspected, containing another super huge island and numerous smaller ones. When I say huge I mean so large that Ben and I got lost wondering around one of the islands at night and ended up having to navigate by GPS. The two larger islands are so large that they even have names, Pine Island and Newton Island. We ended up camping on Newton Island. The best part was that even though it was only a twenty minute drive to get there, the area was pretty much deserted and we found little evidence of human existence on Newton Island, except for a very old stone wall and the foundation of a hut. Of course the island was so large we did not explore the whole thing, partially because the thick forest on it which hindered our exploration. Oh and the best part was there were virtually no mosquitoes, possible because of the large number of bats and spiders but I guess the mosquitoes also didn't have a plentiful food source. Anyway the experience was a lot cooler than its sounds when I describe it here and somewhat spooky due to its isolation. I think it might be fun to return there this summer and possibly watch a scary movie on a laptop. Now that would be spooky.
Another goal of this summer has been to build a rocket, attach a long wire to it and launch it into a thunderstorm, in hopes of triggering a lightning strike. While there has been no shortage of thunderstorms, Mike Edelson and I haven't quite gotten around to finishing the rocket. We have all the materials and have built the fins and body tube so all we have left to do is mount the engines and possibly think of a safe way to launch it without getting kill in the process might be a plus. We would like some way to test our rocket ahead of time but unfortunately we have no recovery system so we might just have to make due. It's obviously an on going thing (meaning we work on it couple of hours every month whenever we have nothing better to do), but I'll keep you updated on our progress and possible post a video if we are successful, and of course don't die in the process.
A third goal which technically I didn't accomplish but was close enough was to beat Mario World for Super Nintendo in one sitting. Salsberg, Mike and John started playing around 8:00 PM and I arrived at round 9:15. Progress went pretty well but there were a few levels that gave us a hard time. When John left at midnight we were about two thirds of the way though the game and just gotten to Coco Island. By 1:45 AM we only had three levels left to beat out of 96, but Mikes dad made us go home, which was understandable considering how late it was. We rejoined a week later to beat the last three levels and it took about half an hour. So technically we didn't do it in one sitting but it's close enough.
My next goal is to kayak from the Charles River Canoe and Kayak place on the Newton-Weston border where Ben works, out into Boston Harbor. It is probably a good 18 but with the current and with good kayaks that shouldn't be too hard, especially since we did a round trip of twelve miles and felt pretty good. The main problem with doing this is coordinating transportation as it would be hard and expensive to park a car in Boston ahead of time, and it would be a hassle for someone to pick us up. Oh well, we can probably work around these problems and do it some day however.
My last and probably most major goal is to on a long one-day bike trip, preferably to New York State. A while ago I was thinking about going there and back in a little over one day, but then I realized how hard that would be and how dangerous it is to bike all night, especially through the hick part of this state. People are willing to pick me up at the border however so I could go one way, which would be about 120 to 140. The problem is that I'm not in as good shape as I used to be so I'd have to train a bit. I've been trying to bike everyday and went for one long eighty mile bike trip two weeks ago, trying to reach the Quabbin Reservoir. Although I was ten miles short, I never realized how hilly Western Mass is, especially around Princeton, home of Wachusetts Mountain. Coming back though Princeton on a down hill I hit 47 miles per hour, my new speed record. Going that fast on a bike is probably not a good idea, especially since my back brakes don't work, but sometimes I can't resist the temptation. It would be nice to hit the big 50, or even do 55, so I can saw I officially did highway speeds. Ironically going that fast still scares the shit out of me, and whenever I go above forty miles per hour I start crying like crazy. I know a lot of this has to do with the wind irritating my eyes, but I'm sure fear has something to do with it too.
Unfortunately I haven't biked at all for the last week, since my bike is in the shop. After 4,100 miles since the last one, I decided having a tune-up might be a good idea. Originally the tune-up was supposed to take a week, and cost 70 bucks but the bike place never imagined how much mileage I put on that bike. There is so much wear and tear that they have to replace the chain and all the gear as wells as various other parts and the final bill is going to be over $200. Ouch. Well I guess that's what I get for biking 5,000 since I first got the bike a year and three months ago, and with today's prices, it's still much cheaper than buying gas.
Besides these things there are still other things I have to do, like work, which I'll get to later and making the class directory. Right now I have typed up a list of all the email addresses and screen names of my classmates and the colleges they are going to, or at least the ones that wrote the information down during graduation rehearsal, a total about 100 people. In a couple of weeks I'll Spam everyone to see if they have there college information and try to collect more emails. I guess email addresses and screen names are pretty sufficient contact information but it would be nice to have people's phone numbers and mailing addresses as well, since some people don't go online and don't check their email often. Hopeful other people will help out at this daunting task. It will be a pain but worth it in the end, I believe.
Now on to the think that sucks up the majority of my time: work. Actual I shouldn't give it such a negative introduction, since I quite like my job and realize I'm very lucky to have it. Basically I'm an intern at the MITRE Corporation in Bedford, and spend my time in addition to reading thousands of pages of programming books, coding web applications in Java and in the future Perl. The first week of the job was a frightening experience since I basically had to cram stuff into my brain faster than I've ever crammed for any test or ever hope to, but I realize with college coming this will probably be a more frequent occurrence. Also the corporate / military culture was a bit hard adjusting to. In order to get though any of the doors except the main entrance where there is a guard, I have to swipe my ID cad, enter my pin number, walk though a set of doors, wait for them to close, then walk though another set. I'm told that if I open the second set before the first close all the doors will lock and an alarm will go off, security will then come over the intercom and I will have to explain why I screwed up. Apparently there are also hidden video cameras and the floor has sensors on it to make sure multiple people aren't sneaking in. Now however, I've settled in more and am proud to say I've made great progress on one of my projects, although my second project hasn't gotten beyond the planning stages and it is a much more important one. I also am much quieter than I should be and should get out of my office more. Oh well, at least I've learned an incredible amount and will learn quite a bit more as I try in learn Perl in less than a week. It should be fun! Actually I am quite serious. I've always want to get around to learning Perl and now I have a reason to do it. Overall although I wish I had me free time, it has been a pretty successful summer. Hopeful I will write again sooner, assuming I don't go into work overload, or have my heart stopped by one hundred million volts of electricity courtesy of God and a model rocket. See you next time, in this world or the next.