*we put the "mmm" in communism


This is the personal blog of Tim. Here, Tim writes on anything he has enough inspiration to finish a post on. That usually ends up being matters of science, pop culture, technology, religion, and philosophy.

This blog is around nine years old, which is over a third of Tim's current age. Back in 2003, it was called "Of Tim: Tim's life - or lack thereof", and it was as bad as you might expect the blog of a freshman in high school to be. Tim hopes that his writing is a little better, these days.

Tim welcomes any input that you, the dear reader, might have. Comments are very much appreciated, especially if you have a dissenting opinion. If you'd like to learn more about Tim, you might want to see his facebook or google+.

Also: Tim is a very avid consumer of various sorts of music. You may be interested in his playlists!

Controlled Explosions
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Sticking with the two-word titles, I've some interesting things to report. Apparantly wireless keyboards are, in fact, inferior. I'm typing on a different keyboard at the moment, so, any errors are obviously not my fault.

I hadn't really noticed before, but when the gang came over (we dress in blue shirts and white khakis! we're white! we make potato guns!), Nolan played some Stepmania. For those of you that do not know, Stepmania is akin to Guitar Hero or DDR, but on a keyboard, on a computer (any OS). I know all of you know what those are, so basically it's just hitting arrows in time to music. The songs on SM are infinitely harder (and cooler) than anything you'll find in DDR or Guitar Hero. To get an idea of how fast we're talking, Nolan played songs at around 150-300 BPM (beats per minute). That's not keystrokes, that's beats. The notes come in time with the beats, so you'll end up with anything between 1-20 keystrokes per second. I haven't gotten near that good yet, so I hadn't noticed that there was a cap to how many keys I could be pressing at any given second. When the game wasn't keeping up with Nolan's playing, we switched the keyboard out for a crappy corded one, and voila, things return to normal. While I was aware that wireless peripherals were indeed inferior in speed and precision, I had no idea that it was to such an extent.

I went to the farmer's market for the first time on Saturday, and I think it's enough to say that it wasn't bad. If I had money, I'd have bought a loaf of cinnamon bread or something, but no, I had no such thing. Mowing has officially started, so, that shouldn't be such a problem. Now I just need a job - I'm hoping Christopher will have room for two people. One can hope, right?
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Fine Science
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As I sat reviewing for the upcoming Computer Science exam (so far 10 questions have contained iterative loops in which you just have to add things up, it's silly), I realized that I should go find out random facts about the Power Rangers to quip during the day tomorrow. Jumping to Wikipedia, I expected a half-written article with some helpful references. NO.


Look at it. That's the parent article. I challenge you to look at the articles for each season. All of them are complete articles, detailed and organized. Even worse, there's information about the upcoming PowerMorphiCon (for those that don't know, Cons are conventions for specific things). Never have I been so fatally put off by what people do in their spare time. Society has reached a new low. Rape of Nanjing? Tianenmen Square? (the choosing of two Chinese incidents is pretty much the result of a loss for good catastrophes) They haven't got a THING on this, my friends.

Even still, I found it interesting that half of the show was adapted from the Japanese show Super Sentai (literally, super group or super task force, specifically used for air squadrons in WWII). It explained why it seemed so weird. Most hilariously, though, was the formula that Wikipedia gives for each episode. Never have I seen such a thing given for a TV show, making it that much funnier. For those too lazy to go check, I shall leave it here for you to awe upon.
  1. Rangers are seen in everyday life with a dispute to resolve.
  2. Rangers are attacked by an evil foe's minions/footsoldiers.
  3. Rangers fight minions/footsoldiers.
  4. Rangers morph.
  5. Rangers defeat minions/footsoldiers.
  6. Optional: Evil enemy revives minion and makes minion grow to gigantic proportions, followed by Rangers summoning giant machines known as Zords and/or their combined form, the Megazord.
  7. Optional: Rangers find that their current powers are insufficient to defeat monster and discover a new power, such as a Battlizer armor for the Red Ranger, a sixth Ranger, or a new Megazord.
  8. Optional: Rangers fight and defeat said giant minion.
  9. Rangers are shown back in everyday life, having learned a life lesson which solves the earlier dispute.
FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS SANE AND HOLY, who would watch enough episodes to know this? No self-respecting human being should know this beyond the age of ten. Not a single one.
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The Drawing Board
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So, I was wrong. I, in fact, got a piece of crap 3 on the practice AP. This is sending me through all kinds of whirls of self-doubt and re-evaluation about everything. I honestly thought I did well, and although it's pretty much guaranteed I'll get a 4 on the AP, I don't find that acceptable. At all. I want a 5. I just don't see any other option. Nonetheless, I'm really disappointed with this.

I'm struggling to find the line between "I'm just not putting enough effort into this." and "This isn't what I'm meant to do.". On an unrelated note, I dislike how punctuation comes out when quotations are involved.
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Life's User Interface
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I am exhausted. This week has been a non-stop marathon of energy-sucking activities. Two birthday parties, two sleepovers, one get-together at my house, one trip to the mall, three trips downtown, and a long trip to Rochester and back. And now I've gotta work as fast as I can to finish this CS stuff before Monday. It feels good, though. My break was not wasted. I completed almost none of my goals (I had no time to touch photoshop or the design, really, although I did make a little progress, just not much).

Today, though, I drove up to Rochester with Daniel's parents and hung out with him for his freshman recital, and got to see things at Eastman. It was great to see Daniel, but it was cooler to see his friends and such, and also really nice to see a college campus. Eastman is kind of odd in that it's in the middle of Rochester, which is about as ghetto as cities come. There are totally clean and modern sections of the city which make the city look really prosperous, but you can literally walk a block away and you're in a red-light district. As Daniel, as well as other friends of mine have told me, you're often instructed not to wander more than a block away from the local college campuses, as the chances of being mugged are extremely high.

Seeing the campus, though, was kind of a surprise. I had NO idea dorms were so small - and Daniel's was larger than most. The actual facilities were really nice and such, and I saw the motivation behind going to a school that has a nice design and architecture. Which kind of put me in the whole college-centric mood. Honestly, all I want right now is to get to a decent tech school and OUT of high school. I wait semi-patiently.
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Pwnies for Christmas
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To maintain the integrity of the below post, I'm now mentioning that I WILL be learning Photoshop and creating a new design, as well as implementing it. It will take a while, mostly to learn Photoshop, but, I'm not spending this week on my butt. I kind of wish I had a scanner to visualize my ideas more clearly, but alas, I have not such advanced technologies.

As a side note, I scavenged myself a new phone, courtesy of Christopher. It's infinitely better than my old one, mostly due to the fact that the buttons are no longer exposed (the "new" one is a flip phone), and I have Bejeweled, instead of "sky diver" and "bowling" for games. It's a year or two old, but works just fine. The numbers is the same (280 9288), but that's irrelevant since I literally only had a total of like half a dozen calls that weren't from my dad, and over 90% of the calling time (4 hours) was accrued while talking to just Daniel. Woo!

Oh, and go take THIS QUIZ! It's actually ridiculously accurate (concerning terms and origins) - I came out "60% dixie".
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The Latest Craze
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Tonight's Maundy Thursday service was a little bizarre, not in and of itself, but because as I looked at the bulletin, I literally started adding () at the end of each header (mentally). This is a strong indication that I rocked today's practice APCS test, with the exception of the last question on Trees and Binary Expressions, which may prevent me from attaining my preliminary "5".

I feel like I really did well on that thing, not because I studied (I did a total of 20 part one questions, 10 on two consecutive nights, mostly to get in the APCS "mood"), but because I've started getting the rest of my life in order before even thinking about school (yes, a long school performance post is coming). I've often wondered why I can't get a grip this year (even my "I WILL NOT BE LAZY. :)" slogan failed after 5 weeks), when the simple answer came to me that there's no way I can come close to excelling in matters of the mind, nor the body, when my heart isn't even in the right place. While every conclusion I've come to concerning my performance at school has not been wrong, they've been misguided at the core.

Take, for example, my original thought that I was simply overloaded with courses in the midst of a busy life. This was possibly the furthest conclusion from the truth. Why was I doing poorly in Math 11H? I was getting two hours of sleep every night and doing half the homework. I didn't accept THIS part of the equation until later, when I decided that my problem was sheer laziness. Back to analyzing the former, however. Was I busy? Sure, but the lie I repeated to me teachers about having three hours of homework was certainly overblown. This was a time in which I compulsively manipulated my teachers to gain pity and leniency, but not necessarily intentionally. I twisted the facts just a bit to gain the sympathy I needed to continue being a slacker.

Hindsight, as always, is 20/20, and it's easy to judge my past acts so unabashedly. Maybe I WAS overworked, but I specifically remember spending half a dozen nights blowing off homework to watch Lost or the Sopranos or some movie. I can't say with complete confidence that dropping Math 11H was a completely bad decision, but, I think I can say it could have been avoided. There was a definite shock factor at the beginning of the year - I was not prepared to actually work. Freshman and Sophomore years had been absolutely effortless, although my failure to apply myself is highly evident in my Sophomore year - my first F on a progress report (remedied to a B) appeared of all time, as well as my first D. So, this was something that was long overdue to happen, but is not totally the result of what I felt like it should have been. I WANTED to believe I was doing poorly because I was so overworked. I made things a lot harder for myself than they should have been. It's definitely hard to do complex math at 3:00 in the morning, that's for sure, so in one sense, I was right. I failed to see the connection between actions in the rest of my life, and consequences in my school life. Which is where I'm heading, here.

My true low point came a little bit after dropping AP Physics. I had justified the drop to a multitude of things - crappy teacher, depression, crappy course, still too much work, you name it. All of it contained a level of truth, just like with Math 11H - as I'm hearing from a lot of the people in there now, it's only gotten worse in every respect. I was definitely a little depressed somewhere in there. The depression was a circular illness, though. I do poorly in AP Physics, I get depressed, which makes me do more poorly, etc.. The ONLY way to break the cycle, I figured, was to drop the depression factor - AP Physics. It never occurred to me that perhaps my performance in AP Physics was directly related to my constant absence from school, or my increasing failure to do the homework before each test, or my failure to study for the tests. A lot of the latter (homework, studying) can be attributed to frustration with the material when I didn't understand it immediately. I'm not a patient learner. At all. So, I'd sit down for 10 minutes and stare at the book, and pretty much call it a day. All this, I believe, was the result of chaos in other, more important portions of my life.

I believe the last diagnosis I had, that I was sheerly lazy, was the closest to the truth, but was only treating the symptom. When I look at myself as a whole, my best work is done when I can actually focus on school - not in the "close the door and study for 5 hours" sense, but in the "there are no conflicting situations with friends and family, nor with God". This isn't something I've thought about for a while, but I realized it when I fell asleep in the middle of communion last Sunday, and subsequently missed the usher passing out the bread. Nobody came and scolded me for it or anything, no weird looks, nothing. I often fall asleep in the middle of church, sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. But this was ridiculous.

I started from the beginning, asking questions to get to the source. Why did I fall asleep? I was tired. Did I mean to? No, it was, at the moment of occurance, out of my control. I was tired enough to fall asleep in the middle of the prayer beforehand. Why was I tired, then? Lack of sleep. Why didn't I sleep? I stayed up late (until 3:00, as per usual). Why? Because I was playing games and watching TV. Why? Because that's what I wanted to do. I felt like it. It was purposeful.

I realized that when I choose to deny myself something that will enable me to do the simple act of properly worshipping on Sunday morning, I'm choosing myself over God. That, right thurr, is sin. So, this gets down to the problem of me falling asleep in the middle of church. How does this relate to anything?

I have a lot of other unresolved problems with friends, far and wide. Anything from just a lack of communication to miscommunication to discommunication. Probably one of the more haunting failures this year was with the old guy, Mr Dynkin. Although I'd already given me notice that I was leaving, I repeatedly delayed and canceled at the last minute for the last time I was supposed to work for him, he pretty much fired me for being so unreliable. I can blame him and his senility and him trying to make me put on those gigantic pants all I want, but really, that was mine.

That spawned from an overally apathy concerning work and duty in my life. I have a duty to do a lot of things in my life, and I can't really take that as lightly as I used to. Keeping up with the world isn't as easy as it was a few years ago, which, I guess, is just part of aging. If I don't keep up with my duties to the most important things in my life, there's just no way I can keep up with the lesser things, like school.

Hopefully, by God's grace I can keep up with the greater elements.
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Of Note
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Mike told me about a rather widely-viewed program on National Geographic last night concerning the "Gospel According to Judas". I hadn't heard of it, so I did some research.

Essentially, it was found in the mid-to-late 2nd century by a bishop of Lyons, and this date has been verified by all the surrounding evidence. So, it's definitely old. The "Gospel of Judas" apparantly is told through the eyes of Judas, and suggests the Judas did not, in fact, betray Jesus, but was asked to by Jesus. I haven't been able to find any manuscripts of it online, but from what I'm seeing, that's the big "danger" it poses to Christianity.

My initial reaction was mild confusion, whether due to being massively tired or whatever, but I managed to not hold judgement until I got some research done. Lo and behold, it appears to be yet another Apocrypha. For those of you who don't want to read the article, the Apocrypha are texts from Jesus' time that have been deemed false. The Roman Catholic church and some Orthodox churches still keep some of the Apocrypha.

The Apocrypha, in general, are massively inconsistent with the basic canonical text of the Bible. In them you'll find stuff about Jesus getting married and having a child, or various Old Testament stories in which men are worshipped (iirc) with God's sanctioning. The stuff is pretty blatantly contradictory. That doesn't automatically qualify it for being excluded from the Bible, but considering that a lot of this stuff was made by Gnostics, I fail to see how the "Gospel of Judas" is any different (the author is apparantly unknown, although it is told through Judas' eyes).
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Call the Fire Department...
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I've been put on SLASHDOT, YO!

None of you may understand the significance of this, but a hundred thousand people just read my question, and 100 were kind enough to leave really, really helpful responses.

The big idea I gleaned from this is that the math I'm doing now is far closer to Arithmetic than true math. Additionally, Computer Science, although math-based, can be understood with average math talent. There were also several really helpful suggestions dispersed throughout there as far as other careers - informatics, network administration (sysadmin, IT, etc.), and even being a lawyer.

The bottom line? Not so much video game design. According to them, that is possibly the most math-intensive line of programming in the field. Perhaps my feelings towards math will change in college - we'll see. Even then, though the big thing I kind of realized is that I should probably just suck it up. Another encouraging point was that a few people said that those with the ability to communicate clearly and in a grammatically correct format are in short supply. This gave me a whole new drive to keep pushing for RPI (or whatever, I don't really care where I go so long as it's a tech school). This feels good.

I just hope it lasts.


I love Slashdot. I got an email from a guy suggesting Interactive Journalism, which sounded pretty interesting. Equally notable was the fact that his email was from, which is most definitely Apple-owned. Slashdot, the place where 17-year olds get answers from Apple employees.



//03:54:04 JRGuitar04: could play like...NASA on your computer?
//03:54:18 salandarin: pff, NASA is old-hat
//03:54:32 salandarin: it's all about the Department of Defense now
//03:54:51 salandarin: i can simulate the beaurocracy down to each secretary and unanswered paper!
//03:55:03 salandarin: oh wait, that's Homeland Security

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Blue Moon Syndrome
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Every few milennia, something happens that one will probably not see twice. This is what as known as "things going as planned". My 1 GB stick of RAM arrived today, and I was totally expecting it to be entirely incompatible with my current two sticks, which are all DDR 400, but would inevitably have different timings and voltages. Lo and behold, however, this was not the case. I'm happily chugging along with my 1.54 GB of RAM, which has pretty much transformed my computer into the monster it was meant to be. I'd never understood why my computer so consistently failed to Alt+Tab efficiently in any kind of application, but it was indeed the RAM causing the issue. The blame could also be placed on Windows / M$ for their inefficient event handling, but I only have so many fingers for pointing. Some fingers must be left available for playing Oblivion.

In any case, I was indeed pleasantly surprised to see this work. Perhaps it's just balancing out how utterly screwed I am because of Mr. Briegle's antics (or lack thereof), but whatever the reason may be, I am pleased. The end result is that I can finally play Oblivion at maximum settings without ripping my hair out every time a loading area appears. I still have to keep the grass distance down, but, I don't really care at this point.

Other things are on the radar, however. Such as the fact that I've got a whole lot of work to get done in a short span of time - the marking period ends soon, and I've been lazy. And now, /. wisdom.

"Anyone can learn these tricks at any time anywhere. They don't need to go to a school to find them. If you think someone going to a boot camp is going to become some 1337 h4x0r, well you might as well also start advocating destroying the internet."

"Agreed. I'm about to cost these bastards lots of money by giving away their secrets. Gang, listen closely. First, watch the film Hackers a few times and try to dress as they do. Nothing shows up a non-hacker faster than one out of uniform.

Next, install any CLI-based OS. DOS, Linux, doesn't matter.

Now that you have a command prompt (with the blinking cursor, nothing else will do), you can hack anything! Type in a command like "reroute airtraffic > Boise" and watch all of those jets turn around. Steal the latest hollywood flick with "download now" Want to make your idiot neighbors power blink in and out, spelling "I am t3h fag0rz" in morse code? Go right ahead. You're only limited by your imagination.

DISCLAIMER: I am not responsible for the misuse of the preceding information."

"Wouldn't you also need a keyboard which beeps with every keystroke and a monitor which projects shapes onto your face as you work?"

"What about the exceedingly slow save program?

I want to make sure that whenever I save a file it goes extremely slowly and show's me every percent along the way.

Oh, and it has to flash every bit of data on screen as it saves. I'm sure it'll work out some sort of proper layout too.

Otherwise, how would I know it's actually saving the proper data?"
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Who Saves Daylight?
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I hate Daylight Savings. Not because I dislike the extra hour of sunlight, but because of how it forces me to adjust my aural sense for time. My sense of time generally relies on the color of my wall as seen through the top left corner of my left eye, but that is no longer a reliable source, forcing me to turn all the way around to my clock, which is occasionally obfuscated by various objects.

Daylight Savings royally screwed me over last night, too. I was exiting Oblivion expecting the clock to read 2:00 AM, providing for a full 7 hours of sleep prior to Church. Nay, it was 3:00 AM, forcing me to sit down and watch cartoons that had been dubbed with fart sounds most hilariously (it was an April Fools thing).

As for April Fools? I've taken a liking to the internet version of this holiday. Generally I hate April Fools, but this year, it did not fall upon a school day, and waking up to a world of bizarre news was rather exciting, until I realized it was indeed April 1st. What I find more amusing about April Fools is what is unintentionally interpreted as a joke. But then again, Snakes on a Plane is quickly coming.

Speaking of movies, I saw Slither last night, as a sort of birthday doodad with Christopher and Jonathan. Akin to movies such as Army of Darkness or Bubba Ho-Tep, this movie, whether because it really was hilarious, or because I was just in the mood, had me laughing the whole way through. It was really, really gross, through. I'm no fan of gore, especially the visceral, intestiny kind that Slither had, but I still managed to find it really hilarious.

I won't bore you with Oblivion details right now, but rest assured, it's coming.

Along with a gig of RAM (should be here Monday or Tuesday).
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