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Poetic Jesstice
20 October 2010 @ 01:22 pm
Good afternoon, LiveJournal. I'm posting this entry mostly because my most recent post before this one is depressing me and I don't want to see it at the top of my page anymore. I didn't get the position. It's OK.

I also had to drop my statistics class. The professor gave an absolutely evil quiz and I felt like I either had to withdraw, fail the class, or be miserable all quarter trying not to fail the class. Still wounded from my earlier defeat, I decided I wasn't going to suffer it. Now I feel crappy because I backed out of something that was difficult for me. Man, this entry is turning out even more depressing than the previous one.

I'm slowly recovering, though. Dropping stats means I have more time and less stress. I'm trying to invest more time in things that make me happy and hoping that my psychology will smooth itself over and I'll regain my equilibrium, or something like that. So here are some happy images from the last week:

* It's been raining all week. Last night Steven and I peeked out of the curtains and sipped hot chocolate while watching the sky flash like a broken fluorescent light and the surface of our drinks ripple as the bass of the thunder shook our building.

* Doing formal languages and automata homework with Sean as we observed an empty can of Hansen's mandarin lime soda, hypothesizing that "authentic cane" was a misrepresentation; probably an ancronym for "Cornsyrup And Nothing Else." It was pretty late.

* Working on Evan's birthday present, (I'd go into more detail, but I hear he's been stalking my blog,) while listening to Kent's melodious o'ertones.

* Sitting in my scientific computation class in my red, double-breasted raincoat and waterproof formal shoes, thinking about how comfortable I was as it drizzled outside. (Usually by the time I get to class my jeans are soaked to the knee, but I finally figured out a rain-proof solution, even if it makes me look like I'm going to a job interview every day.)

* Stepping into a gourmet hot dog joint right outside campus with Evan, Phil and Steven, pulling off the hood of my raincoat as the door clicked closed on the downpour behind us, being instantly reminded of the Hobbits walking into the Prancing Pony in Fellowship of the Ring. I ordered a coke and felt downright shady sipping it right there on a barstool. Wished there was a guy with a ferret or someone eating a giant carrot outside though. Instead there were just some guys cheering at the baseball game, but I'll take what I can get.

* Getting back from class this morning as the first rays of sunlight in a week peeked through my window, making tea and dancing idiotically in front of my mirror to Jason Mraz, stopping, looking at my frazzled reflection, and feeling like a moron.

Hey, life's not so bad.

- Jess
 
 
Poetic Jesstice
14 August 2010 @ 02:35 pm
Well, Jake bought me some paid time, so I figure I'd better update, or I'll never hear the end of it.

I can summarize the last five or so entries I've written in my head over the last nine weeks in one sentence: I love my job. Google is such a wonderful place to work. If you're thinking of applying for a job or internship there, I'd suggest reading this, and any of Steve Yegge's blog posts in general. I think I'm a bit late to the Steve Yegge party, but his blog posts are cruel, funny, tech-y, and I always learn something whenever I read them. The only problem is that I often have to remind myself that reading blog posts about topic X doesn't mean I actually know topic X. Time to crack open the books... I hope I learn some interesting things next year now that I'm in upper division CS. I feel a bit behind compared to all the StanfordMITHarveyMudd students I meet at Google with quadruple majors in Everything Sciences, but that's nothing new. If there's anything I've learned this summer, it's also not a bad thing. You learn a hell of a lot hanging out around people who know more than you do, people who are so far out of your knowledge league that you can't even feel bad about it.

I got totally distracted while writing this post, and now it's a couple hours later and I've completely lost my train of thought, so I think I'll just post this and leave while I'm still ahead.
 
 
Poetic Jesstice
28 July 2010 @ 02:54 pm
Hopefully a little more comprehensible than the last one:

Reviews for RAND Corporation's masterpiece: A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates. I wish I had written every single one of these.
 
 
Poetic Jesstice
Shall I compare thee to my unit tests?
Thou art more constant, and with grace you pass:
Rough change may turn the sweetest code to pests,
And threads that seem robust may race and crash;
Sometime too fickle are the fors and whiles,
And oft the timestamp now is later late;
And every line of code that now compiles,
When standards are revised, shall deprecate;
But thy eternal Function shall be pure,
Shall raise exception only if miscalled,
Nor Memory shall cry thou leaketh her,
And each assertion false shall be forestalled:
So long as True is True and pi's not three,
So runneth this; it shall not fail for thee.
 
 
Poetic Jesstice
19 June 2010 @ 01:23 pm
 
 
 
Poetic Jesstice
When I was in the fourth grade, my family and I lived in Germany for a year.

What I find most surprising about this period in my life, in retrospect, is how very similar kids in Germany were to kids in the United States. Granted, I attended an International School, where English was the primary language, but we had kids there from all sorts of different backgrounds. Many of them couldn't speak English, and we communicated by punching, chasing, and generally brutalizing each other. The way kids do.

Anyway, one thing that we all seemed to have in common was Pokémon.

Pokémon cards, Pokémon games, Pokémon keychains, stickers, pencils- even Pokémon Kinder Eggs, and, as I think I may have posted about before, the amount of Pokémon merchandise you owned was equivalent to your social status among the miscellaneous ankle-biters. Of course, as with any fad, there existed a little bit of fandom backlash, and most of it came from the Christian kids, who had been morally convinced by their parents that Pokémon was a clandestine form of devil worship, but couldn't really explain why. Here's the story of one of those kids, to be immortalized by this blog forever.

...

I was wandering around the playground one recess when I came upon a kid playing Pokemon Gold on one of those semitransparent purple GameBoy Colors, and began to nonchalantly gravitate toward him, as though, you know, I really didn't care. He was engaged in a discussion with a very serious looking boy, standing, arms akimbo, severe as a Puritan.

"You know," said the severe boy, "Pokémon is the work of the devil."
"Really?" asked the kid with the GameBoy.
"If you own any cards, rip them up. If you own any games, smash them. That's what I did."

A stunned silence passed between the three of us. It was equivalent to someone telling us that they'd been periodically ripping up 100 dollar bills and throwing them in the Rhine.

"Why is Pokémon so bad?" I asked.
"Pokémon are not God's creatures," the serious boy responded. "Whenever you play Pokémon, the devil is nearby."
"I don't see him anywhere," responded GameBoy kid, flippantly.
Annoyed, the serious boy responded: "He's not here, he's down there." He pointed at our feet, presumably indicating the freezing bowels of Cocytus. We all looked down. By this time, our philosophical argument had attracted quite a few Pokémon fans.

Aside from the speckled concrete, the only irregularity in the ground was a water grate. We all stared down into the grate.

"All I see down there is water," said one of the newcomers.
"Maybe he's a water type?" suggested GameBoy kid.

...

I often reflect on this story when religious debates crop up among my friends. I'm more educated now, but I still don't think I've ever engaged in a discussion of God's word quite this satisfying since.
 
 
Poetic Jesstice
(08:05 PM)
ALEX: I know, let's play some D&D!
ME: Yeah! I could use some practice DMing!

(08:30 PM)
STEVEN: What are feats? Do I get extra feats for being a ranger?
ALEX: Uh, I think the number of feats you have depends on race, not class.
THE DM: Ooh, Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged. (click)

(09:15 PM)
ME: Ah hah hah! I am... Marik Ishtar...
ALEX: Are you coming up with a campaign?
ME: SILENCE, fools.
STEVEN: What are skills?
ALEX: No, but seriously, we need a campaign.
STEVEN: Does a katana count as an exotic weapon?
ME: Haha, check out this cat, guys.
STEVEN: Should I take exotic weapon proficiency?
ALEX: What the heck? That cat is fatter than me!
STEVEN: (flail)

(10:01 PM)
STEVEN: Ah, it says here that the katana is treated as a bastard sword, which only requires exotic weapon proficiency if you're using it one-handed. Okay. I'm pretty much done--
ME: We should just watch Nightmare Before Christmas.
ALEX: Yeah.
STEVEN: ...

(11:30 PM)
ME: (rummages through parents' china closet in an attempt to find champagne glasses)
ALEX: You know all we have is Martinelli's.
ME: Best party ever!

(12:00 AM)
ME: Whee, happy New Year.
STEVEN: Yay.
ALEX: Yay.
(everyone takes quiet sips of their drinks)
ALEX: This is the lamest party ever. Put on some music.
ME: (opens up Songbird) Like what?
ALEX: WAKA LAKA!
ME: This is probably the worst song I've ever heard.

(12:02 AM)
ME: Hmm, there are some interesting New Year's threads on the forum today.
ME: "First song of 2010..." Oh my god.
ALEX: What?
ME: This is my first song of 2010.


All in all, New Year's went as expected for us. How about you?

Cheers,

- Jess
 
 
Poetic Jesstice
27 December 2009 @ 04:46 pm
As some of you may know, I have spent the last week in the ski resort at Alta, Utah. Whenever we visit, we encounter the same staff with slight variations. My favorite member of the Alta ski resort staff is a gentleman by the name of Greg who waits tables at the Lodge restaurant. He's tall, white-haired, and currently sporting a cast over a broken thumb. This hasn't dampened his smug, humorous spirit, however, (or his enthusiasm for skiing, evidently, but that's another story.) He's the kind of person who can ask as simple a question as "How many for dinner?" and make you feel like he's laughing fondly at you and everything else around him. You just can't help but like the guy.

Good news: I am going somewhere with this! Last night, as we were seated around our table, Greg walked past looking somewhat helpless, carrying a paper plate of asymmetrically decorated cookies and sporting a bouncing entourage of small children. About fifteen minutes later he returned without the children, but still carrying the plate of cookies. I made the mistake of catching his eye.

He approached our table.

"Would you like a cookie?" He asked, offering me the plate. "The kids decorated them earlier and now we're trying to get rid of them."
"I'll pass," I responded, attempting to repress the gruesome images of children wiping their nose-juice all over their creations.
Unexpectedly, Greg asked: "Do you hate children?"
"What?"
"Do you hate children? The children decorated these; now someone has to eat them."
"N-no..."
He pushed the plate under my nose. I took the one that seemed to be spread with the least frosting; a Christmas tree with a couple of silver candy balls and a light spread of yellow frosting. Greg offered the plate to my brother, who wisely took one of the cookies. Greg smiled and wandered off.

My brother bravely took a bite of his, grimaced, and hid the rest under his saucer. Mine remained on my plate, uneaten. When Greg returned, my brother eagerly pointed at my saucer and the untouched cookie. Greg raised his eyebrow at Alex and immediately lifted up his saucer, where the remains of his cookie had been hidden.

"That was just a pitiful attempt," said Greg. "At least balance it on the cookie like you're hiding chewing gum or something." Amid our laughter, he wandered off again, shaking his head.

Fifteen minutes later, the cookies were still uneaten. Greg passed by, cast a reproving glance at our plates, and left again. Shortly after he returned with an excited little girl.

"This is Sophia," said Greg, "she decorated the cookies you guys are eating. See Sophia? They're eating your cookies!"

I am not kidding you, the girl literally jumped around in a circle and ran off giggling.

... I ate the cookie.

Toward the end of dinner, Greg came back, a star-shaped cookie decorated with green frosting in his hand. He took a bite, and chewed pensively for a couple of seconds.

"I was right in the first place," he finally said, "I do hate children." He promptly hid the cookie under my brother's saucer and left to wait another table.

If I get sick from eating that cookie last night I'll know who to blame, but nonetheless, it was worth it.
 
 
Poetic Jesstice
15 December 2009 @ 12:43 pm
I completely forgot to mention that I have a google internship this summer. I'll post some advice on the technical phone interview later; I remember reading tons of blogs in preparation for mine.
 
 
Poetic Jesstice
15 December 2009 @ 11:49 am
I'm just going to skip right on past the part where I apologize for not posting for three months.

Let's see, the quarter's over. It's been an eventful one. I was taking math 5a, physics 3, physics 3 lab, cs40 and music 17. CS40 was probably my hardest class: Discrete mathematics- that is, the study of mathematics on the integers. We covered boolean logic, modular arithmetic, countability, infinite countability, proofs by contradiction, contraposition and induction, advanced counting techniques such as permutations and combinations, linear nonhomogeneous recurrence relations, and more. This anecdote should give you somewhat of an idea of what the class was like:

---

Two of my friends, Sean and Mason, worked with me in cs40. We were working on a particular problem. I won't go into what the particulars of this problem were, (I already feel like I'm pushing my luck with people just skipping over this entry by listing the topics covered in cs40,) but the answer I determined was the function "x (mod 3)," which is a function that means, essentially, "divide x by 3 and take the remainder." Well, in the second part of the problem, we were supposed to find an infinite number of infinite subsets, and as I considered how I could extrapolate my solution to this, I asked Sean: "What's infinity (mod 3)?"

Sean stared at me, pushed both of his hands into his hair, and asked: "You're trying to divide infinity by 3 and take the remainder?"

---

Yeah, that was pretty much cs40. Anyway, I just got word that I pulled an A- in that class, so I'm happy about that. The math 5a professor gave an absolutely evil final, so I don't know how that's going to turn out, even though I had a really high grade going into the test. The physics test was crap, as you might expect. Don't really have much more to say on this subject.

On a more cheerful note, I've been spending the entire break playing Dragon Age: Origins which is one of the most awesome PC games I've ever played, competing only with Portal, which can't really find an equal in my eyes. It brings me back to the days of middle school where I was pretty much a walking, talking Encyclopedia of Arda, about 3 rewatches of Lord of the Rings away from introducing myself as: "Suilad! Jessica i eneth nin." As in all games based on the D&D system, I chose rogue as my class, and decided what the hell, there's no way the group will ever play with elves in D&D, I might as well indulge my guilty pleasure side and be an elf. Well, to my delight, elves are not portrayed exactly as they are in other fantasy settings, (most notably Lord of the Rings,) but rather as poor servants of the humans, and my character gets racist comments left and right. I know you might think it's strange to be excited about being on the receiving end of racist comments, but it's just one of those things where I really start to think that the choices I make in the game matter, and that the game could take a different direction if I choose wrong at any particular juncture.

The controls are just awesome, too. I don't know why any other games of this genre, (that I've played,) haven't had the functionality to switch between top-down tactical view, (useful for combat,) and Legend of Zelda-style 3rd person. The graphics are totally beautiful, although combat is brutal, so if you have a weak stomach I wouldn't suggest watching it in 3rd person.

Here are some screenshotsCollapse )

It's times like this I wish I had a superpowerful gaming computer, but mine is running it fairly well, anyway.

Posting this entry has made me realize I should be playing Dragon Age right now. See you guys later.