Sunday, September 28, 2008

resolutions and goals for the year

I was planning on making this list kind of before the semester started (lol) but unsurprisingly I didn't get around to it O:-) . Nonetheless, by writing it towards the end of the first month of the semester allows me to see how I'm doing so far. Overall I'd say I'm definitely accomplishing some things, but failing on others, haha..

  • be more organized with email (as in...try to read it when it arrives, put events on calendar right away, respond in a more timely fashion, and delete more things that I probably don't need)
  • reduce dependence on dining plan and cook more
  • actually go to the gym???? (I haven't gone once, all the time I've attended Penn)...or at least play some DDR...
  • perform at a Third Thursday (composing would be even cooler, but definitely more difficult)
  • sleep [more] (this is really important and so far I am doing badly. I should ask people to remind me to go to bed or something.)
  • respond to people on facebook in a reasonable amount of time lest they start wondering if I hate them
  • danceeeee :D
  • balance work with hanging out/fun stuff
  • do some art (I really want to improve, as I feel it is my lacking side in DMD)
  • program things I want to, not for any class
  • talk, hang out, keep in touch with people
  • and meet new people :)
  • do something crazy enough to tell Matt about (..??)
  • keep in touch with family (especially brothers) more
  • take more pictures!
  • keep desk a little messy (as opposed to very messy, haha, it feels too pristine if there are no papers on it or anything)
  • play clarinet with choir at Mass
  • stay on top of work/studying ... ...
  • make my seas website. I mean really. haha.
  • get a cool internship/job for the summer.. (don't know what, though)
  • watch a little bit of tv :)
  • expand musical tastes even further

yup. Plenty to work on!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New stuff I did

It seems like even though this year at Penn is just getting going, I've already done a bunch of new things that I've never done before. Therefore I'm going to start a record (in approximately chronological order lol) and update it as I go along.

  • August - purchased a bunch of appliances for my room which I didn't have last year - toaster ($12), microwave ($35 I think?), coffee maker (like $20). They are all turning out to be useful so far. The toaster is surprisingly popular :)
  • August - purchased a set of pots/pans, which came with a bonus collection of spices, with rack, which I'll probably never use...
  • August something - really practiced bass clarinet. It's awesome, but hard to "get" the sound above the break; really hard to get good tone on that. And it needs SO much air!
  • Again, towards the end of summer - I wanted some tea, and Dad drinks it all the time, so I asked him to make a cup for me. He gave me chai, and I ended up really liking it. (Ok, so it's not my first time ever drinking tea, but my first time trying chai.) I got a box of chai to bring to Penn.
  • 8/31 - watched Anchorman with Rebecca, Becca, Eamonn, and Ben. Part of an initiative to see movies that apparently everybody except me has seen. Opinion: it's not my kind of humor, definitely. I guess some moments were funny, but it just often feels ridiculously overdone. (Obviously this is the point, though..)
  • 9/3 - Saw Dan for the first time this year and was totally shocked by his new much shorter haircut (also not parted in the middle anymore) and switch from glasses to contacts (!!!!!)
  • 9/3 - Purchased food from food carts/trucks. Last year John got me a sausage-egg-and-cheese from Bui's but this was the first time I ever bought anything myself. Dan and I went to Hemo's for lunch; I got a grilled chicken pita. For dinner Simone, Tatini and I tried to go to Magic Carpet but it was already gone, so we went to The Real Le Anh (Le Anh is across the street haha), and I got cashew chicken. Two discoveries: it's really good, and really cheap!!
  • 9/3 - I guess a couple of FNAR courses I've taken have been cross-listed as grad courses, but CIS 460 (Computer Graphics) is definitely the first CSE/CIS course I've taken that's cross-listed. It was a bit intimidating, realizing all these quiet students were probably graduates... hence the invention of the DMD Undergraduate Row :D
  • 9/4 - First class where I don't have cell phone service (I think). This is because it's CIS 262 down in the basement of Skirkanich (kinda like a dungeon hahaha). Probably all for the best - I should seriously pay attention in that class.
  • 9/4 - First ever class I'm taking on databases. woooot
  • 9/4 - First class in which I might be the only student who's not a music major. A little intimidating. =/
  • 9/5 - Cooked a dinner dish by myself! It was meatloaf, and it was good! yayyy
  • 9/5 - Attended Rodin bingo, and actually won a round! I got a gift card to Gap. Yay shopping!!
  • 9/6(?) - FREE LAUNDRY!!!!! Most unfortunately I had to go up 2 floors to the 14th floor since the machines on my floor were all occupied.
  • 9/7 - Discovered I did not make wind ensemble on bass clarinet... first year at Penn that I won't be in it, but that also means I can go to the music program's Third Thursdays now :)
  • 9/7 - Played DDR (via Stepmania) with my own pad in my room at school. (I actually had the pad with me last year in Stouffer but never took time to play.)
  • 9/8 - Taking a class in Linux :D
  • 9/8 - Taking a class being taught entirely (as far as I can tell) by a computer science student in my own grade - the aforementioned Linux half-credit class. I feel like I should be feeling extremely inferior or something, but I don't. Zach's friendly and a good lecturer and definitely knows a LOT. Which is awesome :) . I think he was even in my 260 class haha...
  • 9/8 - First job at Penn: mentor for CIS 110. We had our first meeting and it was a friendly gathering. We even talked about who had which lab shifts and office hours, as I was rushing out for band, lol.
  • 9/9 - Met Danny's sister Laura - she's awesome! The three of us went to Cosi for dinner :)
  • 9/9 - Salsa lesson at the Penn Latin and Ballroom Dance info session. It was sooo embarrassing but SO MUCH FUN!!! I decided I was definitely going to the lessons and began trying to convince friends to come...
  • 9/9 - Tried iscribble for the first time, with John. I actually plugged in my mouse (finally) cuz there's no way I was gonna draw with the touchpad.
  • 9/10 - First lab as a 110 mentor, with Ryan as the TA. I have to get there late, cuz it starts at 2:30 but I have 460 till 3. Luckily I made it in time for introductions and I even answered a bunch of questions which made me useful, yay!
  • 9/11 - Played ping pong with Danny and Carlin in the lower level of Harrison - good times!!
  • 9/12 (technically) - went to Allegro's around 1am with Carlin and Danny and had .. chicken and broccoli pizza? Or something like that. It was good, lol.
  • 9/13 (or late night 9/12) - Installed Linux (Ubuntu) on a virtual machine on my computer!! Now I really want to install it "for real" (on a partition on my hard drive)
  • 9/13 - Went out to dinner with Menghan and ate Thai food! I had drunken noodles hahah but it was really good AND I have leftovers!
  • 9/13 - Went to Penn PM karaoke event with Erica, held on the Stouffer patio. Thanks to Erica I actually went up to sing; we did Beat It together. Michael Jackson's voice is way too high for my range (whatever limited range I might have), so next time I'll definitely be picking something else :P
  • 9/13 - Uploaded pictures using Google's Picasa. It's got captions and some kind of tagging of people and reordering, and I was even able to include videos (though I had to actually download Picasa for that, rather than just using the web service). However, it seems that unless you upload through the Picasa client program, you can only upload 5 photos at a time..? This seems kinda ridiculous, especially considering how on Facebook you can upload a bunch all at once - I think it's a Java application actually.
  • 9/14 - Played clarinet at church for the 10am Mass. This went pretty well, considering I got the music last minute. I had to skip a couple things, but overall it sounded good!! (And this is despite my clarinet not playing very easily, which is a fluctuating thing.)
  • 9/14 - Right after Mass I went to the "hospitality" thing - like "Doughnut Sunday" at home, but on a much smaller scale.
  • 9/14 - PLBD social lessons!!! Salsa and tango. SOOO MUCH FUN hahaha I cannot wait to go back :D (this really probably deserves a full post to itself)
  • 9/14 - Lost my band pants (somehow by mixing them up with a pile of laundry on top of a machine) -> realized this, hours later -> panicked while trying to do my Graceland assignment for music 150 -> emailed Neil, who included my plea in his email to the floor -> received my pants from someone who found them mixed among his laundry by accident -> I've never been so glad to see those pants hahaha
  • 9/15 - Ate a cookie and a brownie from Cosi (at cis 1xx grading system learning session); they were so good that I took another cookie for the way out haha.
  • 9/15 - Used Dreamweaver in the Rodin computer lab - the version was old enough that it was still Macromedia... (2002 or 03-ish? I wonder why it's not updated.)
  • probably September - Web design (9am-12 on Tues/Thurs) finished early enough for Grace and I to go to Wawa before 262. I got Wawa coffee for the first time and it is AMAZING. (Also much cheaper than Starbucks...I should keep this in mind and shift some of my coffee habits to Wawa...)
  • 11/24 - arrived late to a clarinet social gathering which included watching Zoolander. I've never seen it before since it's not the type of movie I would typically like. (I usually don't find that kind of humor funny.) For some reason I was intrigued by it though, and although I didn't plan on staying long, I ended up interested enough in the movie that I stayed for the whole rest of it, to find out how it ended. I didn't love it and still thought it was pretty silly, but liked it enough to surprise myself.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

geek-out moment :D

i'm up at 4:42am and for once it's not just because of facebook or other things (seriously i don't even know what i'm doing when i stay up late on the computer...). for my linux class the first thing we have to do is get access to linux somehow, either eniac or install on our own computers. well it'd be even more awesome if i could repartition my hard drive and actually install linux, but i think i'll save that for later. (i did actually spend a bunch of hours one time researching this possibility but was a bit nervous about actually doing such things to my hard drive.) so instead i'm using virtualbox to run a virtual machine on my laptop and install ubuntu on it. so basically i dl'd ubuntu as an iso image and mounted it into the virtual machine's cd-rom drive, then "installed" linux to a virtual hard drive on my machine (the "host" machine..gotta have my terminology down :P ). while it was installing i even did some online banking, downloaded music (REO Speedwagon... John mentioned some lyrics to me and I listened to one song on and decided to download some and check it out), and started renewing my ruckus licenses. woot for multitasking!

after it finished installing, i mounted the iso for the "guest additions" thing from virtual box (which adds a bunch of ease-of-use features, like increased virtual box screen resolution and options for "capturing" the mouse on the guest vs. the host) and ran my first ever linux installation via commands in the terminal!!! i wish i'd taken a screenshot, however.... i did save it as a text file (gedit is the text editor) ANDDD since i have the guest additions installed, i can now copy and paste to and from the guest and host!! so here it is!!

To run a command as administrator (user "root"), use "sudo ".
See "man sudo_root" for details.

tory@tory-vmlinux:~$ ls
Desktop  Documents  Examples  Music  Pictures  Public  Templates  Videos
tory@tory-vmlinux:~$ cd ..
tory@tory-vmlinux:/home$ cd ..
tory@tory-vmlinux:/$ ls
bin   cdrom  etc   initrd      lib         media  opt   root  srv  tmp  var
boot  dev    home  initrd.img  lost+found  mnt    proc  sbin  sys  usr  vmlinuz
tory@tory-vmlinux:/$ cdrom
bash: cdrom: command not found
tory@tory-vmlinux:/$ cd cdrom
tory@tory-vmlinux:/cdrom$ sudo sh ./
[sudo] password for tory:
Verifying archive integrity... All good.
Uncompressing VirtualBox 2.0.2 Guest Additions for Linux installation............
VirtualBox 2.0.2 Guest Additions installation
Building the VirtualBox Guest Additions kernel module...
Building the shared folder support kernel module...
Installing the VirtualBox Guest Additions...

Successfully installed the VirtualBox Guest Additions.
You must restart your guest system in order to complete the installation.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Double Take

--> first and second takes on my classes this semester.

Note: This is an exercise in speed blogging, to be performed as practice in writing something of value but without taking forever. We'll see if this works.

Ok so here are my impressions of my classes from the first and second sessions of each (except for the 399, since it's a half credit and only meets Mondays). Btw these are in order of occurrence of the first session of each class.

CIS 460: Computer Graphics
[first class] Well we all gathered in Wu & Chen (aka Levine 101) where I took CIS 110, haha... There were a bunch of grad students, which was minorly intimidating for a sec, but made sense after I remembered it's cross-listed as CIS 560 and probably they're CGGT (Computer Graphics and Game Technology) students. Grace and I instated the "DMD Undergraduate Row" - I can't remember exactly but I know Ted, John, Carlin, Brynn, Nirav, and Ryan (a sophomore who was in 277 with us) are all in the class. The class began with Nirav asking if the slides could be printed in black and white and Dr. Badler explaining how the trio of himself, PowerPoint, and the printer do not get along. Then Dr. Badler introduced the field of computer graphics by describing a number of its applications. The class felt really comfortable and familiar, obviously because it's the class which 277 was specifically designed to precede (and taught by the same professor). As it's my only class on Wednesdays, I had a pretty good first day of class! :P
[second class] This turned out to be hilarious for a good 20 minutes or so when PowerPoint was being strange and YouTube was just not cooperating for Dr. Badler, and then neither was the DVD at first - and all he wanted to do was show a couple of videos! At one point, for the DVD, we had video but no sound, and then we had sound but no video! I was crying laughing...which I felt kinda bad about... The rest of lecture was pretty chill; I followed along in my $25 coursepack of the lecture slide printouts, just purchased from the SEAS copy center. We're definitely gonna be reviewing some material from 277, but for sure that can't hurt! (And it'll probably move fast.) So my outlook is lectures will be cool... Homeworks? Not sure how intense they'll be, yet. Definitely expecting to be coding a lotttt. We don't have lab, which is a little nervewracking, because clearly they won't be going over OpenGL and C++ stuff with us anymore. (We are supposed to remember it all from 277. lol..) We do, however, have Skiz as a TA, so that should be awesome. :D Maybe I will go to some office hours for once...

FNAR 234: Web Design

[first class] First off, the instructor seems good - he's cool but he knows his stuff. He comes from the design side, which I like, because I think that's the side I need more instruction/work on. (Also, he and the TA are friends and make a good pair. Kinda like Jeff and Sunita...hahaha.) From a code standpoint, I'll be relearning some html, and probably some css, though I definitely know there's a LOT I can still learn re: css. More importantly I hope I learn design and usability, which if the book he asked us to get and the first/ongoing project are any indication, it should be a focus. We are doing the html/css in Dreamweaver, so that should be interesting, and I might feel a little cheap not coding it all straight by hand. Also he keeps calling html and css "programming languages", which to me doesn't seem quite right, because I've always thought that programming languages DO something, whereas straight html and css don't perform any kind of actions on their own. Still...a good first impression, and I'm hoping not too stressful. Also Grace is in the class so that's cool.
[second class] We went over web terminology, complete with examples. So, yay I learned what some things mean! I don't care if it's elementary, because that might be where I am with some of this stuff. Then he demoed how to set up a blog and then we basically had an hour to start the blogging assignment. :) If not previously evident, I'll mention now that I like the TA, Erin, as well.

CIS 262: Automata, Computability, and Complexity
Ok this course deserves a precursor. Ever since at least the end of last year, when I really tried reading the course title during registration, I was pretty petrified of this class. The fact that Evan used to say he hated it while he took it (along with a few glances at his notebook) only added to this sentiment...
class] On the bright side Dan will be suffering through this class alongside me, as well as Grace, Jay, Carlin, John, and..? Anyway at the beginning of class Dan informed me that "automata" is pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable; hence I'd been saying it wrong every time I listed my classes for someone and explained that I was scared of this one. Oh well. We are in Berger Auditorium in the Skirkanich basement, which is chilly and Dan and I both have no service. (This bothers Dan more than it does me.) The professor has something of an accent though not too horrible, I just have to listen a little harder. We spent like 10 minutes on syllabus stuff and then launched immediately into notes. Thus far I've followed what's going on, but I don't think I can trust that as an indicator that the rest of the class won't get plenty harder...
class] Well actually we have a "recitation" for this class - only one section of it, so basically it's an hour long and taught by the professor rather than a TA. It's my only class in DRL this semester - I was so close to not being there at all! At least A8 is a nicer room, despite its prior association as my Math 114 room haha. Anyway, we started going over proofs by induction, which is not a topic I enjoy but nonetheless familiar from 260.
class] This was the second lecture. It was pretty much more of the same, and luckily I am still understanding like 95-100% of the notes. People are already falling asleep in that class though, haha. It's probably gonna be a long semester. I miss Benjamin C. Pierce (260 prof) cuz...he was more engaging and pretty much all-around awesome.

CIS 330: Design Principles of Info Systems
(I basically translate this course title into "Databases".)
class] Well Dan and I get to walk from 262 and chill in this class too, so that's cool... Class began with the course webpage mysteriously being inaccessible, and other oddities. But once we got into the lecture, I'm glad it's starting pretty much from the bottom-up level of databases. I'm not exactly sure how the course is going to progress, either content-wise (she kept emphasizing that we're not gonna come out of it as Oracle programmer whizzes) or difficulty-and-effort-wise (we may not have even learned enough to do the first homework yet).
class] This time we all introduced ourselves and holy crap, Chin, our 121 TA who managed our final project, is in the class!! Nirav and I were laughing haha... (Am I really up to par enough to be in the same class as Chin??) At least I found that most people had only a bit of database experience so I should be okay. We continued through the lecture and it all seems reasonable so far. I'm really hoping I learn a lot through this class. I'm so eager to collect knowledge and ability in something really different from everything I know so far.

Music 150: Introduction to Global Music
Talk about a change from computer science...
class] Well, the class is almost entirely music majors - maybe one person who's not (as she wasn't even there at the second lecture), and then me, an attempting minor. So that's a little intimidating, because they have a lot of background knowledge to draw on and they know how to write and speak about music. Well the professor is very into it all, integrating both organized writing and stream of consciousness writing with listening to the music and especially exposing ourselves to music with which we're uncomfortable. There is to be lots of discussion and class interaction, etc. So I was pretty scared the first day, since I thought this was gonna be like jazz history where I listened to lectures and caught up on textbook reading, wrote one simple paper at the end and a couple of jazz performance reviews...yeah. Not this class. It's gonna be pretty intense, and I'll have to dredge up writing skills I haven't touched since freshman first semester. So much for an easy class...
[second class] We shared our "exotic" music selections and I found that I could participate in this collaborative discussion without sounding like a total idiot. I probably accomplished that though when I did not have much of a way to explain why my Praful song was "exotic". Oh well, hopefully that moment can be forgotten. For some reason I felt slightly less scared of the impending syllabus (though probably not because she kept saying we would be nervous but it would turn out okay) - with the major exception of this partner-project thing, which I'll worry about until I see how the partner issue pans out (ugh). I'll also have to see how well I can get myself going with these writing assignments.

CIS 399: Special Topics: Linux/Unix in the 21st Century
[first and only class so far] Jean Griffin, who teaches 110, is listed as the instructor for this, so I guess maybe "officially"
Zachary Goldberg is a TA, but as of the first day, he appears to be essentially teaching the course. I mean, his name is on the slides so I assume he made them. He's a good speaker - already more naturally engaging (or I thought so anyway) than Ryan, who taught our Python course. (Don't worry, I like Ryan in his own way.) The funny part is he's in my grade (so Dan told me, and once we got to class, I recognized him, and I think he was even in 260 with us haha), but that's ok cuz supposedly he knows this stuff really well, and I don't think that's an exaggeration. He's starting with the very basics of Linux, which is awesome because that's what I need! I'm really excited for this class, cuz like databases, I'm gonna learn something that I know almost nothing about beforehand...except Linux is just kinda cooler than databases from the start. :P Also I noticed I am one of like three total girls in the class; all the rest is guys. Oh well haha.

The semester is gonna be crazy, I bet. 262 alone could drown me in painful work. I am hoping databases and Linux won't be bad, and hopefully interesting!! Web design should be good too, maybe my only semi-respite from the rest. I can see 460 being really intense, because if 277 was really intense and it was just the "intro" to this class, then we all must be really in for it. And music, well, it'll be its own kind of crazy, I'm afraid. I really did think I was pretty much done with writing. I guess it's a good skill to prune every once in awhile, at least (hahaha). Very different from last semester and even last year - no psych, music is back, digging 260-type of thinking out for 262, and totally ground-level new subjects. At the very least, it will be interesting. Here we goooo! (This good mood I've been in recently must be in part because I have done almost no work yet...possibly due to the fact I am lacking some key textbooks... I will need to beginning devoting time and energy to work-mode soon.)

Results: speed blogging? Kind of failed. Partly by distraction of thinking of Jeff and Sunita, which led to emailing Jeff, and also by a bit of chatting with Carlin. I'll try harder in the future.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

[something about this night just feels so good]

so i was walking a bit outside tonight, just over to beijing and then to starbucks and then back to rodin... and the air felt so amazing. i was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, and it was probably around 75 degrees out. the air felt clean and clear, just playing along the border of chilly - enough to be thoroughly refreshing. i felt open and comfortable just letting this perfect night air soak into my skin.

then i got up to my room, and.. most of my view is just the radian, but even so, it looks better at night, and to the right is more of the city. the large windows let the beautiful night expand into the space of my room and i just lay on my bed looking out on it all. i couldn't even turn on lights for awhile; i didn't want to lose the special feeling.

but whenever i have these moments of night rapture, they also bring up a little longing. the way it all feels, it just seems like i should have somebody special with me. someone to walk with, lay down with, and gaze with. to share the feeling with. the strange part is this: i can't seem to figure out who exactly i want that person to be. my thoughts jump around, somewhat at random, from one somebody to another, but never landing on one that feels completely right. so i avoid the pain of specific loneliness, yet feel the frustration of not being able to focus energy.

just listened to a hed kandi song, from the summer 2008 mix album, called "be with you"...
kinda feels right.

this post is labeled with the time i had these thoughts, though written hours later.

First few days back at Penn

Junior year at Penn, AHHH!! But I really have been enjoying these first days back. :)

~ Thursday (Aug 28)

Ok I wasn't quite at Penn on Thursday. Instead I was still home and after a few days of laziness I had to start getting ready to go back. So what did I do? I started organizing papers and other stuff I'd never really put away from last year, haha. And also went through papers on my desk, most of which were definitely older than last year. I think my mom started gathering up things and adding to the collection of things I just stored in the basement from last year.

~Friday (Aug 29)

For some reason I continued said paper organization while my mom went through multiple lists of "college stuff" that I happened to come across and asked me to find some things. Eventually I endured the process of selecting which clothes to bring and which to leave home - very difficult for me, considering how indecisive I am. ("ummm....I might want to wear this....?" haha.) For as much as Mom recommended I should try to bring fewer clothes, I have to give her credit for firstly managing to pack clothes very space-efficiently, AND to fit in a number of extra things I decided that I wanted after all, last minute.

That night, I was tired, even though Mom seriously did probably 98% of the actual packing (and by the way, my clothes took up my 3 nesting suitcases along with a large duffel bag that contained mostly just my sweatshirts haha). So I spent some time playing Guitar Hero with Greg. Being as it was my last night at home, I attempted the songs on "hard" level, and hahaha I was really bad now that the orange 5th key was added :P . Anyway it was fun :) so maybe I can find someone at Penn to play it with.

At night I got a strange yet familiar feeling that was a mix of perhaps loneliness and homesickness - even though I had not left home yet, and have never really been homesick while at college. I just kinda realized I was leaving home, and would be making the switch "back to" the Penn routine, except all new again this time with the start of a new year.

~Saturday (Aug 30)

The big truck-loading day, aka MOVE-IN! My stuff covered approximately half of one vehicle's worth of space in my garage which I found funny almost every time I looked at it. My dad organized stuff in the bed of his Ford F150 pickup with Peter's help and Mom and I put stuff into 2.5 of the 3 seats of space in the back of the quad cab. This I again found hilarious as my mom repeated that I had too much stuff. Somehow we fit everything (well...I did want to bring a carpet piece for our common room, but there was no room for this) and covered the back with a tarp secured by bungee cords. I fit into the small space that remained in the backseat and Mom, Dad, and Peter sat in front. Greg had work so he didn't come with us, but I did get to say goodbye to him before he left :) .

We got to campus around 12:15 and got a space to park on Locust Walk. I am in 1209 in Rodin, and it's my first year that I have to take an elevator to get to my room. (Freshman year was first floor in Rodin, so I always took stairs. Sophomore year was second floor in Stouffer, so...that was just a bunch of stairs, both outdoors and indoors, haha.) It took 3 cartloads to move everything to my room, which I didn't think was too bad, especially after I heard that someone needed 7 cartloads. O:-)

Simone, Tatini, and I are rooming together in a triple, with three bedrooms, bathroom (a sink inside and another outside), a kitchenette (including oven and full-size refrigerator), and a common room. The far bedroom on the end is quite a bit bigger than the other two, though, so I figured we should decide ahead of time who would get which room. For whatever reasons of their own, Simone and Tatini both assured me it was fine if I had the big room, so I began moving into it. It's larger than any room I've lived in before at Penn, and certainly more spacious than my Stouffer 253E from last year (a point my mom was kind of glorying in...really, I didn't think Stouffer was so bad!). Half my window-wall is a ceiling-to-floor window, most of which are covered by my blue curtains. (I pull the blinds down enough to cover the top part when need be.) The other half is a ceiling-to-a/c-and-heat-unit window. I just use the blinds for this one. My view, by the way, is of the lovely - oh wait, actually it's pretty ugly from the outside - and expensive just-off-campus apartment building, the Radian. It's dark gray and kind of looks like corrugated metal. If I look to the right I can see some of the city, but...I know some other rooms have much prettier views. Ah well. One thing that is a bit annoying, I've learned, is that having such large windows also means I've got a lot of blinds and curtains to close if I don't want Radian residents watching me change clothes...

Anyway, my family was VERY helpful of course. After eating lunch that Mom packed :), we began... we got stuff out of boxes (so they could take empty boxes back home); Mom set up my bed; we moved my chest of drawers and the desk drawers (put the printer on top of those); and though it took like ten minutes and we almost thought something was wrong with it, Dad and Peter finally got my new green "sphere" chair from Target to open up. It's really comfortable... I was not very helpful, actually, because while I was setting things up, Tatini arrived. Simone was already here and had met our GA, Neil, so she went with me and Tatini to go visit him. He's really friendly and definitely into music, and has an awesome British accent!! (since that's where he's from.) When I got back it wasn't long till the basic room setup was done, express-style. We said goodbyes, then walked over to Starbucks in Commons for some drinks, and then Mom, Dad, and Peter got into the truck and headed home. Here goes the year...

So I think then JoAnna stopped by and we all talked, which was fun. I knew her a little bit through Tatini but hopefully now since we're living on the same floor I'll get to know her better. Amidst this, I was trying to figure out if I'd be going to the NSO art museum thing with Danny, since he'd asked me a few days before move-in if maybe I'd like to go. As an RA I guess he was supposed to go to supervise or something. At any rate he managed to borrow an NSO bracelet for me, so we pretended I was a freshman and took the bus over to the museum. The food was pretty good actually (and free, which is always important), so we ate and conversed a bit, of course having to speak loudly over the music. We did stroll through some rooms with art but then since I'd never gone outside to the back(?) side of the building, we headed out there. There's a large fountain out on what feels large enough to be like a plaza, sort of, and then a lot of stairs that I think take you all the way down to the street. The city was beautiful with all its lights at night, so we chatted and enjoyed the view.

After taking the bus back to campus, since it was such gorgeous weather, we headed over to the Stouffer patio. Of course it felt all just like last year, walking the Spruce Street sidewalk past Wawa, the salad places, Savory, and Beijing, then swiping in at the guard booth and up all those stairs... ah Stouffer :). Well the hammock was occupied so we sat on one of the tables till it was free, then moved to it. We talked for awhile, though it felt more like I was talking about a bunch of perhaps random topics and opinions, possibly relating to my life, that I'm not really sure whether Danny was interested in hearing about or not. Also while we were on the hammock, gg aim-texted me (ok so I'm inventing that phrase lol) and asked if I'd moved in and would we be able to talk? I said yeah (to moving in), and sorry, my computer wasn't set up, and he said to just enjoy the night, so of course I thought this was sweet as always.

Finally we decided maybe we should get going (I think it was 11-something) and then on the way back I asked if I could see his room, so then we went up there and being me I said I'd hang out for a bit, so then we talked some more (or I went on about whatever, some more)...eventually it almost started feeling like the whole night had been some kind of date, and I think around 12:45 I finally headed back to my room. Then I had to stop and chat with Simone, which was nice, but after that it was even later! At last I took a shower, and Simone was right, it felt reallyyy good. I did discover though that our water is "wired" backwards, as in pointing the shower handle to cold or turning on the right-hand sink handle gives you hot water instead, and the reverse. I've considered reporting this to Facilities, but I doubt it would be easily fixed. So I think I can live with it, except when I go back home I'm gonna be all mixed up.

Oh and by the way, funny story. While arranging furniture etc. I decided to plug in the provided lamp to a different outlet. I tested it and it worked. Then in the evening it wouldn't turn on! I was afraid something was wrong with the outlet so I tried plugging in something else, and it didn't work either. So I wired the lamp all the way back to my own power strip and knew that this was really not going to work as a long-term solution but I really didn't want to have to get Facilities to fix an outlet.... Some hours later I looked again at the lamp, and then saw the lightswitch on the wall...and it was turned off. Soooo I finally figured it out and was so thankful that my outlet works. hahahaha.

~Sunday (Aug 31)

In the morning was the Penn Traditions event for NSO, at which the band was supposed to play a few things. Originally I seriously considered skipping this and going to Mass at 10, which is when I like to go, but it was the first band event I was around for, and I could go to Mass later. So I decided to go to the band thing, also expecting we were getting food. Many of my clothes were still packed haha but I found jeans. When I got to the band room I got my new band shirt, YAY - blue and red striped rugby shirt (really thick..) and it fits, which is definitely much more awesome than our old (and fairly worn-out looking) polos. Becca is no longer the drum major and for her last semester here, is now back with the clarinets, yay! The event, by the way, consisted of lots of waiting around (getting hungrier), then us playing a few Penn songs. At the end we finally got something to eat but there was not much left, so when I got back to my room I decided now was as good a time as ever to make my first waffles of the year. (This idea was also supported by the fact that I had not shopped for any food yet and the waffle mix requires only water and oil.) Unfortunately, even though it really did usually work last year, the batter stuck really badly to the iron and I must've spent 10 or 15 minutes scraping it out. This was rather frustrating and I promised myself to ask Mom what to do about this before next time. The waffles, though in many many pieces, definitely tasted good. Even with the cheapest syrup ever, which I bought last year.

Well after that at least I wasn't so hungry anymore, and worked on some unpacking. I really like my room... Even though I maintain that I'm fine with a small space and actually it'll get a bit messy and then feels cozy, I guess before this room I hadn't really had a more spacious abode, but now that I do, the open space kind of feels good somehow. Also I have plenty of room for the sphere chair, not that I've spent any time sitting in it as of yet lol. The only thing I might like is some kind of carpet for the floor space. I also like my really large windows, even if they do look out on the Radian. At least at night the Radian looks a little better; there are large lit areas towards the bottom of it and you can't really see the weird metal-looking siding or whatever it is.

Since I'd gone to the thing in the morning with band, I went to the 5pm Mass at St. AJ's. Fr. Zlock said the Mass and he's a pretty strong speaker and it kinda felt good to be back. One of the women in the choir announced that if anyone wanted to join a choir that would be great since people had graduated. I've wanted since last year to play clarinet with the choir at church so this was my calling to go ask about it. When I talked to them, they said they had a Bb book and would love to have me in their group; I explained though that I preferred 10am as my Mass time, but one man took my email and I'll have to look into how their rehearsal times will fit into my schedule. I'm hoping this will be a good way to play my clarinet since I won't be doing it in wind ensemble this year, weird as that may or may not be, lol. (By the way, when I got back to my room, for some reason I was too tired or lazy to do any more unpacking work so I sat around for an hour.)

Ooh so that night, Tatini and her parents took me, Simone, and JoAnna out to dinner at Marathon! We sat outside since it was nice out again. Or maybe because they didn't have tables inside, but whatever. Unfortunately they were so busy that they had actually run out of a bunch of foods, and after the waitress read off the list of those foods, I found a dish I really wanted (something with roasted turkey I think it was) that I'd never had before. But alas, instead I had the whole wheat ravioli which I had had another time. Anyway it was still pretty good and we all had a nice talk, even if it was about classes, haha. Tatini's parents treated us, which was reallyyy nice of them. Afterwards we went to Ben & Jerry's and I think I got Cake Batter..? Anyway it was good, though the small cup was still too much so I recruited Simone to eat some of it.

That night I went over to Rebecca's. She has a single over in Harnwell, which is a pretty nice setup - lots of space. So we had coffee and chocolate and talked, and then Ben and Eamonn and Becca joined us and then we all watched Anchorman as part of a goal for me to watch movies that everybody but me has seen. It isn't my typical kind of comedy but at least some of it was funny, as long as I kept in mind that it's all designed to be ridiculous. And maybe if I remember them, I'll understand when people reference it now.. It was fun with everybody there though :)

~Monday (Sept 1) I must have stayed up forever the night before, and I slept in till like 1:15pm. When I got up, I ate cereal, because no matter the time of day at which I finally get out of bed, I like to eat breakfast food first. Once dressed and all that, I went to the poster sale outside the bookstore, and despite paging through a number of books full of posters in the sweat-inducing heat, I could not find any that really struck me. So for now I will populate my walls with whatever I have from previous years, including a Pirates of the Caribbean poster, a drawing project I made in my high school art class (subject: Orlando Bloom), and a large printout of a design I made in Digital Design Foundations, first semester of freshman year. I've considered looking for another poster online, though of what I'm not sure...

I guess I kind of did some more unpacking that afternoon, then at 6pm Simone brought me along to a bowling event/info session for the Netter Center for Community Partnerships. Simone and I met a sophomore transfer student named Colin and the three of us shared a lane for bowling. It was a lot of fun; I think all of us got some spares and strikes at some point, even though the computer sometimes posted them as only 8 pins down (haha), and I took some pictures of the scoreboard. In between our turns we chatted with Colin and got dinner. When we stopped so they could explain the various programs run by the CCP, I felt there were maybe one or two of them that I might be interested in, but with so many other things I'm trying to get into this semester, I don't know if I'd have time in the week for them. Then I felt kind of bad for going to this free bowling and free food event if I'm probably not going to be involved =/ .

After the event Simone and I stopped at the bookstore. I found a textbook called Types and Programming Languages written by Benjamin C. Pierce, my CSE 260 professor, so that was cool. It seems like he really knows his stuff out there. He was pretty interesting as a professor, too. I found my books for 262 and 330 but they were both like $90 or $100 for a used copy, not that there were any. (So I didn't get them.) I didn't find any other books for classes I'm actually taking, but I did find the books for the popular music class and the cognitive neuroscience class - both are at the same time slot as databases (330), so I mourned over the sadness of these lost opportunities yet again while glancing at the books.

On the way home Simone needed to stop over at Yi Li's place, so I got to see an apartment in Chestnut Hall (off campus housing, on 39th I believe). It's definitely nice; perhaps most noticeably just from the carpeting...but my instinct is that I'll still be in campus housing for my last year. It still seems more convenient and there's less real-world stuff to worry about (utility bills or something), though that would probably be a good thing to learn about.

Most likely I was up late again that night, maybe talking to a couple people, which does nothing in terms of productivity, but in some way, feels important and valuable to me nonetheless.

~Tuesday (Sept 2)

It was the last day before classes began and I did not even wake up till after 1. When I woke up I heard people talking in the common room and realized Nick was visiting. I really wanted to go see him but was still in pajamas haha. Finally I just put on another shirt and went out to say hi. It was a lot of fun talking with Nick and Tatini and I also met his friend Caitlin who just transferred here. I then walked down the hall to see Nick's room. (He's in a triple with Ben and a sophomore; I think his name is Chris.)

After this Tatini and Nick were planning to meet somewhere with Marcela but I suddenly realized it was Tuesday and Convocation was that night, at which I had to play with the band. I decided to make the most of the short time I had left in the afternoon. I quickly took inventory of the groceries my mom and I had gotten back home, then looked through the recipes she gave me and sorta scribbled out a grocery list. I must say I think I made a very efficient Fresh Grocer shopping trip, especially considering I don't know where some things are in that store. (Still, when I later really took stock of what I got and the recipes, it turned out I could only make a few things. But it's a start!)

When I got back and stashed away groceries, I dressed in full band attire - much improved by the new striped rugby shirts but still not-so-hot with the khakis. Now that I have to take an elevator up and down in Rodin every day, I get to experience the minor awkwardness of being in it with the band outfit...but, haha, it's okay. At the band room we convened and maybe played something, then went over to Logan Hall (which is renamed to Claudia Cohen Hall or something) and got to eat dinner along with the other volunteers for Convocation. It was catered and it was really good (yay!). The band split up to lead freshman processions to College Green and my contingent started at the high rises. Once we got there, there was more waiting, so we played Land of 1000 Dances which was soo much fun, then I guess some other stuff and a Penn song or something. The speeches... Some people said some cliche kinds of things, and now that I'm halfway through, I could probably say that it's not quite as amazing an experience as they might make it out to be, but then again, that could be particular to me. Anyhow, afterwards was the famous dessert reception, which was crazy of course. I ate two things and felt like I couldn't eat any more (they're big...), but it felt like a waste to not experience more of them, even if they're mostly or all the same as previous years. So I took a large chocolate frosted cupcake (with a red and blue P on top) back to my room with me.

Back in my room I took a shower (which felt really nice) and then I really wanted to see Dan since I'd been back already a few days and had yet to see him. However I talked to him online and he was busy working (ITA case), so I joked that I was upset since I missed him and he'd actually said he missed me, so we sorta planned we could do lunch the next day :) . And even though classes were starting the next day, I didn't worry that I was staying up late that night since my one and only class was not till 1:30pm.

I can definitely say I'm having a good return to Penn :D. It's been a lot of fun seeing everybody; I kinda didn't realize I was missing them till I've been able to talk with them now. It's probably good for me being with roommates again too (especially Tatini and Simone!). I'm so glad I'm enjoying it all and am happy. I just hope it can last into the year, when the real work gets going.