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:: Thursday, February 28, 2002 ::

Death by Programming


I spent about 5 hours today trying to complete my Computer Science homework. Most of it was spent hitting my head against the desk trying to figure out how to program the Fast Fourier Transform. What it is, isn't important. What is important, is that it's done!

This my CS teacher, Professor Cull:



He's a real crazy guy. In one respect we are kindred souls because we both wear bright hawaiian shirts. He also wears shorts just about every day which is pretty impressive when its cold out. Of course he has a jolly personality and a long beard, so he's a shoe-in for a Santa Claus. Although the beard isn't grey yet, that's nothing that can't be fixed with a little hair dye.

He's also a cigar smoker.

I sit down in the front row, and every morning he places 3 small cigars on the table. For what reason, I don't know. I know from going to his office that he likes to chew on the cigars without smoking them, but he never does that in class. So the 3 cigars is something of a mystery to me.

:: everist 11:09 PM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 ::

More Cats!


I thought I'd talk about the cats at my parents house. Here they are in order of oldest to youngest.

Misty



Misty is by far our oldest and longest lived cat. She's 12 or 13. She's overweight, partially blind from cataracts, and had a stroke which impaired the effectiveness of her hind legs. Despite all of these setbacks, she's stubbornly outlived 2 of our other cats that we got after her.

Misty's story is pretty short. She spends most of her day lying around, napping, and waiting for dinner. It's a big day if she walks up and down the stairs more than once per day. Like all the other cats, she recognizes the familiar sounds of the food dishes when they're going to be fed. But gradually over the years, she's become more and more cautious about immediately running towards the kitchen. You see, we humans are notorious for setting off false alarms just to get them to come to the kitchen so we can ensnare them and apply whatever devious designs we might have. Regardless, Misty has consistently waited until she was absolutely sure that she was being fed before she finds it necessary to leave the comfort of her napping place and begin the arduous journey up the staris and towards the kitchen. (And it is an arduous journey with her stroked legs.)

Maurice



Maurice has a very emotional history. We got him as a kitten primarily to be a companion to our other cat Hank. Hank had recently lost his brother to Leukemia and was going through a bout of depression. Needless to say, Maurice latched on Hank very nicely. He constantly teased him and picked fights with him and all was good.

A year or so later, Hank was killed in a car accident, and Maurice quickly became a new cat. He spent most of his time outside wandering around. Sometimes he would stay out for more than a day before he would come home, eat, then crash for a whole day. He became very nervous and very skittish. It was almost impossible to approach him without his running away. He got into lots of fights and came home with lots of scratches. This continued for about 2 years.

Then one day my mother took him to the vet to get his teeth cleaned. After that he was a new cat! He instantly became more friendly and more loving. In fact, he has become the most affectionate cat we have to date. He still goes outside but doesn't spend enormous amounts away from home. I would say he is in a pleasant elderly retirement.

Flap



Flap was given to me as a kitten from a friend of mine. I had recently lost my cat Hank to a car accident and was in mourning. Flap was meant as a gift to console me for my loss.

When Flap came to us he was a very sick kitten. He had a respiratory infection and was very sluggish. After he recovered, he became a cat with no boundaries. Flap jumped into new experiences with no inhibitions. He picked on Misty persistently even though she was very hostile towards his pestering. He befriended the dog next door which is a feat in its own. I even have second hand accounts that he fraternized with raccoons! He even tried to socialize with a couple of hyper golden retrievers, but to his shock ran away at full speed when he realized that the dogs were not slowing down their top speed sprint towards him.

In his older years he's become something of a nihilist. He's very apathetic to everyone and everything and it is difficult to irritate him or capture his attention. Although he still does play as a kitten.

Belle



Belle is our newest addition. She's still a kitten and she's the brat of the household. I haven't been around my parents since they've got her because of school, so I don't know that much about her.

She is persistently attacking all of the household cats with no inhibitions. In particular, she still pesters Misty even though she is traditionally the most hostile cat to annoy. Even though Belle gets smacked pretty good, she still goes back to bug Misty some more.

Another interesting thing is that Belle almost hung herself a few weeks ago. She was climbing up some of the metal bars of our stair case and got her head wedged in the framework somewhere and lost her footing. If my mother hadn't have been there, she probably would have choked to death. But guess what:


she hasn't learned a thing!


I fear for her future. :P

:: everist 7:34 PM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, February 26, 2002 ::
I feel lucky today. Today I found out that I get the 6th highest grade in our Chemistry exam. I also discovered that my computer science assignment is due on Friday instead of tomorrow. Life is good. Well, at least today is.

This weekend I went up to Portland to visit my parents. My brother also came up to Portland, so for a while the whole crew was back together again.



This is my brother Jerry. He's a firefighter down here in Corvallis and he's also going to school to get a Bachelor's degree. As you can guess, this was taken in Burger King while we were having breakfast.

My mom is always saying how we are complete opposites and that she's amazed that we're related. That's generally true since Jerry has always been the active, jovial, sports-oriented tough guy, and I have always been the bookish, cynical, holier-than-thou weakling. I used to be able to beat up on him until he got bigger than me. After that I had to learn to appease him so he wouldn't beat the crap out of me. I guess its a good idea I got put in my place since we've had a good relationship ever since. Thank god he doesn't hold grudges!



My sister Catherine. I believe she's a Junior in high school and 16 years old. I don't know for certain because I just can't keep track of these things. Every time I ask, I always forget. Its a common trait I have and its always expected with my family.

She's a raging athlete and a fierce student. She could really man-handle me if she wanted. My brother and I used to beat up on her when she was little, and lucky for us, she almost always fought back. I think that's the best kind of sister a big brother could ask for. If she hadn't been around to pick fights with when I was younger, I don't know how I would have learned the benefits of appeasing people instead of always trying to irritate them. Regardless, I have a lot of respect for her and her accomplishments.

:: everist 6:05 PM [+] ::
:: Sunday, February 24, 2002 ::
Well I'm sitting here in my room trying to figure out what needs to be done for this next week. I have a bunch of reading that I need to do, and I have a computer science project and a paper to write by Friday.



This is the desk in my room where my computer is. My room is actually pretty desolate. The walls remain bare with no thought of picture frames or newspaper clippings adorning it. All my papers are haphazardly piled up in a corner in an attempt to fence off the chaos and prevent it from spreading. I have very few possessions, relatively speaking. The largest thing I own is my computer, and all the other things I own are out of necessity. Clothing, bedding, school supplies, and a paper bag containing odds and ends that I've found out, every once in a while, that I cannot live without.

The whole room looks like I never completely moved in. My socks and undergarments still remain in the paper bags I transported them here in-- the very same bags they were kept at the previous apartment I didn't completely move into. My lifestyle is minimalist with a subtle intent to not get too attached to the surroundings. How could one get attached to these bare walls and overly spacious expanses of rug? The modern person would probably be driven insane by the lack of furniture and the extra uncomfortable spaces they leave behind.

One would think that I deliberately put myself in tortuous surroundings so that my eagerness to leave would only increase with time. This is only partially true. Ironically, my main reason for not "settling in" to my surroundings is the foresight I have 4 months into the future when I will be taking all this stuff down and transporting it back to wherever. It is my pragmatism and utilitarianism that speaks to me the loudest when it says, "Keep everything still in there bags so you won't have to pack them again when we leave, and don't buy too many things because its better to make one trip than many."

:: everist 10:04 PM [+] ::
At our apartment complex, in our next door neighbor's apartment, there's this really funny cat. Half the time I walk by their door, the cat is sitting in the sliding door window looking out.



When he sees me, he starts meowing intently at me like he wants something. For several days after I first saw him, I had the suspicion that he was locked in and starving, but I quickly discounted that idea when I saw the light turn on and off and the cat stay just as fat as he'd been over the next several days.



So now I know he's just really friendly. Every time he sees me he calls me intently begging for me to come over and pet him. Although I can't pet him, he makes for real great poses.



See what I mean?

:: everist 5:58 PM [+] ::
:: Thursday, February 21, 2002 ::
I can say with confidence that I am completely burned out. It feels like I just got done with Finals week. I had an enormous amount of work to do this week because of 2 midterms and a large assignment due on Wednesday and Friday. I just now got done with all of it, and I am exhausted.

My body does weird things when its stressed. I'm generally not stressed at all, but when I am, I can feel it. My muscles start cramping, my back tenses up, and sometimes I get nauseous. Of course this is in extreme conditions since I always put things off to the last minute, and I end up doing them in a frenetic tornado.

:: everist 9:14 PM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, February 20, 2002 ::
Its been pretty busy these past few days. I've had a lot of homework to do and a lot of midterms to study for. But that's no excuse to make excuses for not posting more pictures of cats! I actually have had enough time to take snapshots as I've been walking to and from school. I have a few cats to show you.


As I was walking home from school the long way, I saw this kitty out and about looking for something on a hill. I had some really good views of this cat, but it took me several minutes before I realized I had a camera and should be taking pictures of it. By this time, my lingering around had made this furry-orangish cat a little timid, and it sought the safety of the underneath of a Buick. I had to take this picture from quite a distance away or else I would have scared him off.

The strange and frustrating thing about taking pictures of cats is that their eyes reflect the flash giving them a possessed look. This effect is exacerbated when its nighttime because their pupils are more dilated. But I digress.


I saw this cat about 3 minutes after the previous cat. This one also sought the cover of a pickup truck, but after a few moments, decided I was little threat and began walking leisurely towards the water bowl. I managed to attract its attention long enough to get a good full-body shot.


And finally, this is a much better picture of the cat in the second window a couple days ago. When I approached the window he meowed at me pleasantly but quickly lost interest. He then proceeded to get distracted by other things moving in the night. So fickle! That's why he's looking away and the glare in his eyes isn't as bad.

:: everist 4:21 PM [+] ::
:: Sunday, February 17, 2002 ::

Cats!


I live in an apartment complex that has a lot of cats. Its still winter time, so most of the cats stay inside. In fact, most of them may just be indoor cats. The fun thing is trying to spot all these animals as they peer out the window. What's even more fun is taking pictures of them!

I don't know much about this one. I've only seen him once. He happened to be poking his head out the window in an upstairs room, and I happened to have my camera with me.

This cat's name is Chelsea. She belongs to one of my neighbors. She's very timid but she relaxes when she's under a chair or sitting on her owner's lap. I think she has beautiful eyes and I'm glad to be able to get such a good picture.

Another anonymous kitty. This time this cat was on ground level. You can tell he has a bit of a greyish coat and of course the eyes are illuminated by my camera flash.

I'll have more pictures of cats around my apartment complex later!

:: everist 7:24 PM [+] ::
:: Saturday, February 16, 2002 ::
My roommate recently underwent a transformation.

Let me tell you a little about him. His name is Logan and I've been living with him for almost 9 months now, but I lived with him before that too. He's a very agreeable person to get along with. The fact that he's so agreeable is why he's been my roommate for so long. This guy can tolerate my laziness and messiness to an extreme degree that I can't imagine living with anyone else.

I've also served as sort of an instructor of common sense to Logan. You see, he has fallen behind a little in that department, so I have been a kind of counterweight in that respect. Of course, I must admit that I haven't always had common sense. I was way behind in this department as well, but I've learned a great deal in the past few years. I'm still not very good at cooking and other mundane everyday activities, but I digress.

So what is this transformation that he has undergone? Well this is what he looked like last week:


Sure I know what you're saying. "What's up with all the hair!" Well that's what I said after almost 6 months of relentless growth. Notice the bleached highlights? That's actually the remnants of purple-dye job almost 5 months ago. But now!



Buddha reincarnated! The irony of course is that Logan is studying Eastern philosophies and among them is Buddhism. Plus he does Yoga on a regular basis. Hah!

But seriously now, this guy puts up with a lot of crap from me. I do practically no household chores in our apartment. Practically all the cleaning gets done by him and not me. Of course I've been very honest with him that I'm using him as a butler monkey, but he doesn't seem to mind.

:: everist 7:18 PM [+] ::
:: Sunday, February 10, 2002 ::
I know I haven't posted in a while. I've been very distracted lately. Mostly because I've come back to Oregon State University. In my last days at work I spent a great deal of time in reverie and cleaning up. I had to pack most of my crap into my car and haul it down to Corvallis, so I had my mind completely occupied during that time. I had to trim the loose ends of my life in Beaverton, so I could leave in good conscience.

Now that I'm here, I have a fairly easy curriculum. My courses are mostly bac. core, which means classes like history, philosophy, etc.. Its actually a pleasant change of pace since I don't have to constantly study my entire life. Its a dramatic shift from the technical work of my engineering classes. Although I am taking Chemistry and Analysis of Algorithms, they're fairly easy compared to my older classes.

Since I haven't had much time or motivation to do much writing on my blog, I've been keeping an audio journal with a personal tape recorder. Its actually turned out quite well, and the tiny tapes it takes last for about 2 hours I believe. In addition, I finally caved in and bought myself a digital camera. To be quite honest, this is the first time I've owned my own camera before. For the past couple weeks I've been taking pictures of everyone and everything. Since I didn't know the proper rules of etiquette for picture-taking, I've got in trouble a couple times already. Mostly from taking pictures of people who don't want their pictures taken. No problem since I can immediately delete them, but I still had to learn that lesson the hard way.

I think its funny how I can be so naive about certain social norms that I have no experience with.
:: everist 7:04 PM [+] ::