Monday, September 25, 2006


Another strange story by me. I used Gogol's "Diary of a Madman" as inspiration. :P

Day One. Today was the first day that I saw them. The people hiding in the shadows. I heard rustling in the bushes and silhouettes disappearing around the corner. I ran to my house and locked the door, but it was too late, for they were already inside. I couldn’t see them – no, they were far too stealthy for that – but of course I knew they were there. After all, how can someone hide in my home without me knowing? The very idea strikes me as comical. But I had a gun in my hand and they knew better than to attack me!
Day Two. They were just waiting for me to fall asleep, to drop the gun, so they could strike. But I showed them, ha ha! Loaded with caffeine and locked inside my fortress, they could not reach me.
Day Three. I heard creaking under the floorboards. A well-placed bullet and a loud thump, and the creaking stopped. Of course there was no body when I looked – they took care of that. Later – I tripped and fell down the stairs due to a large hole in the ground – planted by them of course. Got up fast despite the pain – they can’t catch me that easily!
Day Four. I move from room to room with a shotgun in my hand. As soon as I lock the door, the knocking begins. When I open it, there is no one there. Last night, I saw a man right outside my second-story window, trying to climb to my room no doubt. As soon as I looked, he disappeared. My god, they’re fast!
Day Five. They got me! Bullet to the leg from twenty feet. Still got him though – one shot and he’s down! Feeling woozy – better lie down… Later – Remarkably, my wound is completely gone. Bet they weren’t expecting that! Of course, they took his body, but that was to be expected.
Day Six. I’m starting to run out of food, but I can’t go outside of course. That’s certain death! Later – Oh my god …the man with the knife …my gun out of reach …the knife …oh god, the pain … END
A hospital. Two doctors talking. One says, “No marks at all. Perfect health. Except for the … you know.” The other, “Indeed, a very severe case of schizophrenia. He thinks he is dead, and so he is.”

This Weekend...

And now ... a more traditional blog entry!


Rosh Hashana party at my friends' house (yeah, that's right - I party on the High Holy Days! ^_^) Listened to my Mr. Nano using their new iPod speakers. Watched some Family Guy. Pretty fun.


Finished my homework and had nothing to do, and so I decided to take a stab at cleaning my room. Now, my room looks very clean to the unsuspecting visitor, but this is for a simple reason - I cram everything into my many shelves and drawers. My desk, in particular, operates by the "Rule of Three", once every three days I take all the papers on my desk and put them into a nice pile; once every three weeks I combine the pile into a bigger pile in a retractable shelf under my desk; once every three months I put all the papers from the pile into my filing cabinet; and of course once every three years I take my whole filing cabinet and carefully empty all its contents into the trash. ;)

Man, I found the weirdest stuff in that cabinet today. Stuff like:
* Obscure lists of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings trivia dating back a couple of years
* Mathematical equations written in a kindergartener's hand o.O
* Many, many blueprints for both hardware and software, none of which was ever completed
* An unfinished story that I didn't even know I wrote
* A huge collection of chess puzzles
* Scribbles I made in elementary school
* Various manuals and strategy guides
* Homemade trading card games of many different systems (the weirdest by far - a card game about C++ - now that I don't remember doing >.<)
* And the list goes on and on...

All that in one filing cabinet. It boggles the mind.


Went to a festival in Ventura. Hoped to get a guitar for Rosh Hashana, got a guitar shirt instead. Ate lunch at some Greek place. Watched a pirate play an electric mandolin - now I've seen everything! I might post some photos tomorrow =)

Well, looks like that's it for now. Cheers!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A promise of sorts...

Lots of interesting stuff happened today, but I have no time to write about it. Expect several posts tomorrow! ^_^

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A Story of a Story

For English class, today's assignment was to write a dramatic monologue story (that is, one character talking to others) that is exactly one page long, 12pt Times New Roman, 1 inch margin, down to the last line, no more, no less. Naturally, my story is about how cruel it is to impose such limits on stories, and the harm it does to the characters, who don't have enough time to develop in such a short story and I imagine probably don't even know what's going on.

The story is a bit weird so bear with me:

Well, now that we’ve introduced ourselves, I think it’s time to go straight to the matter at hand. And the question we all have in mind is of course, why are we here? It was the same for all of us; the day started like any other. But we somehow had the feeling, you know, that we’re just more important, right? And as the day went on, correct me if I’m wrong, but it seemed like everyone else in the world but us, you know, just sort of faded. And now, it looks like it’s just the six of us. The only people in the whole wide world, right? The question is, “Why?” Why are we here? It’s so strange, though, everyone else disappeared. It’s almost like, I don’t know …

Yes, that’s exactly it! It’s like we’re characters in someone’s story! But what sort of sick, twisted story is this? There’s no plot whatsoever, the writing I’m sure is sub par, and even the characters have no idea what they’re doing here. What is this, just us sitting around a dirty table in an abandoned building? This story needs some excitement …

Larry, how long have you been an elephant? Oh, never mind. It’s just the author trying desperately trying to make something out of this horrible piece of writing. Just ignore it and hopefully it will pass. I hope this story never sees the light of day! I think I’ll have a talk with this author fellow. …

Hey you! Author! Whatever your name is! I know you can hear me! Please, we’re begging you, end this! End this horrible charade! Give our lives some purpose! Reveal yourself!

Yes, I have eyes, don’t I? Of course I see something’s happening! … We’re … flying! Careful with that trunk, Larry! … Oh my god, what is that thing?

The gargantuan face stared down at the five men and the elephant, and they cowered before it. The face said, “Your job here is done. One page was all I needed. I do hope I didn’t bother you.” They all disappeared and the landscape was empty…

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

And nobody knows how t' talk like a buccaneer than th' guys at meebo, I'll warrant ye, Yaaarrrr! They just introduced a new "Talk Like a Buccaneer" feature - type "pirateon" in any chat, and all incoming and outgoing chats will be automatically translated t' buccaneer speak! 'Tis hilarious, Arrrr! So if ye ha'nae made a meebo account yet, make one - t'day! Walk the plank! We'll keel-haul ye, and dinna spare the whip! Ye won't regret it, Arrrr! Shiver me timbers!

And now ... in English!
And nobody knows how to talk like a pirate than the guys at meebo! They just introduced a new "Talk Like a Pirate" feature - type "pirateon" in any chat, and all incoming and outgoing chats will be automatically translated to pirate speak. It's hilarious! So if you haven't made a meebo account yet, make one - today! You won't regret it!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sometimes You Can't Trust Anyone (or Why I'm Going to Bed at Midnight on a Sunday)

me: ok so get this
1 PM
my friend and i have a huge outline to do
we split the work
i do parts 1,2,3
he does 4,5
5 PM
i'm done
he's like "one more hour"
11 PM
"Alex, I need help"
Bob: lol
me: kinda makes me: lose faith in people
Bob: your friend sounds like me
me: i don't think he'll consider it a complime:nt
Bob: probably not
me: and now
i'm screwed
he's screwed too
but that's his fault
Bob: yeah
next time: you know
can't trust him
me: can't trust anyone
Bob: you can trust me
wait no
no you cant
me: hell no
Bob: what am i saying
i'm screwed too

And that explains that.

Fun With Javascript

Here's a fun little script my dad found:


Simply paste the code into your browser's address bar while you are viewing any web page that has images, and Voila! All the images start flying around the screen. Neat.

All that from a four-line script. Says something about the power of Java, doesn't it?

Note: The above script was found on the OT-Windows newsgroup and made blog-friendly using Quick Escape. Gotta give credit where credit is due...

Quote of the Week

I think it's been a month since my last "Quote of the Week". What can I say, people forget! ;)

But this is a really good one. For serial.

"I couldn't imagine somebody like Osama bin Laden understanding the joy of Hanukkah." —George W. Bush, at a White House Menorah lighting ceremony, Washington, D.C., Dec. 10, 2001

I mean, come on! That's gold! I got this from a Daily Show episode this week, where it was one of Bush's Seven Stages of Grief:

- Denial
- Anger
- Anger
- Anger
- Hanukkah
- Acceptance
- and back to Denial

You can watch a clip of it here.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Talk About a Tough Schedule

Here's my schedule for this week:

Tomorrow: the big English essay due
Tomorrow: Bio summer work test
Thursday: HUGE Euro summer work test
All week: Must work the Chess Club booth at lunch for Club Week

And of course, I had to go ruin my life completely for this year by joining not one, not two, but four (?!?) clubs:

- Chess Club (obvious choice, since I'm the VP :P)
- Jewish Club
- Young Democrats Club
- American Red Cross Club

Sure, with 4 AP/Honors classes and 4 clubs I have lost what little life I previously possessed, on the plus side: name me a college that won't accept me now! ^_^

Math Blues

I was gonna do a blog entry yesterday - honestly! I had a really nice one planned for 9/11, urging America to stay focused and everything. The whole deal. But then, this happened:

In the adjoining figure, two circles of radii 8 and 6 are drawn with their
centers 12 units apart. At P, one of the points of
intersection, a line is drawn in such a way that the chords QP
and PR have equal length. Find the square of the length of QP.

Once again, I stayed up till eleven, this time working on this problem (for my online math class). I have five pages of diagrams and equations on my desk, but I still haven't figured anything out. Here's yesterday's schedule:

9 PM: Finish homework. Decide to work on this problem (class meets tomorrow - err - today).

9:30 PM: Got nothing done. Ask dad for help. We proceed to work on it together.

10:00 PM: Dad has other things to do. I tell him that I'm giving up, go and eat dessert, and then for some strange reason am drawn back into the room. Keep working on it.

10:30 PM: For lack of a better approach, start drawing huge copies of the diagram and measuring. Estimate the answer to be 138 (plus/minus 2).

And I still haven't figured it out. If you have any ideas, feel free to post! Bob - this one's for you ;)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Pain...

I just spent five hours nonstop writing an essay about Kurt Vonnegut's critique of humanity's greatest flaw. Enjoy!

Emotions: The Curse of Mankind

For hundreds of years, wise men have asked themselves what will cause the
downfall of mankind. Science (more and more powerful weapons) and religion
(religious wars in particular) both seem to be possible causes, but Kurt
Vonnegut has a completely different opinion. In Cat’s Cradle, Vonnegut’s
critique of emotions – humanity’s greatest flaw – correctly reflects reality,
because hope, despair, and love, three of our most powerful emotions, both drive
people to perform irrational actions.

Hope, the belief in a positive outcome,
can be attractive but requires a lot of perseverance, and as such as criticized
by the hesitant Vonnegut as being deceptive and unrealistic. For example,
Hazel Crosby is obsessed with other Hoosiers, that is, people from Indiana, as
shown when she says, “We Hoosiers got to stick together.” Although one may
obtain hope from knowing other Hoosiers, in reality this group, called a “false
karass” by Bokonists, is meaningless, just another distraction. Vonnegut’s
message is that we must steer clear of such distractions by avoiding hope
altogether, and sticking to more concrete ideals. In addition to foolish
hope, a real sort of hope makes an appearance as well: after the ice-nine
incident the survivors all hoped that the situation would improve.
However, all of this hope amounted to absolutely nothing when all of these
survivors ended up dying. From this we can learn that rather than hope
that things will get better, one must instead work for it, in other words, that
nothing happens by accident.

Despair, the loss of hope, is well known to be
destructive, and Vonnegut only adds to this. One example of the dangers of
despair can be seen in Bokonon and his followers: “[Bokonon] told [his people]
that God was surely trying to kill them … and that they should have the good
manners to die. This, as you can see, they did.” In other words,
Bokonon’s people saw that they had virtually no chance of survival, and so
decided to kill themselves rather than die in any other way. However,
Bokonon’s pessimistic philosophy is, as Vonnegut clearly shows, disastrously
wrong. Regardless of the odds, we should never give up, because once we
give up we have no chance at all. Another example of the consequences of
overwhelming despair is Mona’s suicide after she realized how silly life really
is: “It’s all so simple, that’s all.” Mona killed herself when she saw how
easily life is taken away by ice-nine, symbolical of life’s inherent
futility. The message here is although life may seem useful and pointless,
it’s all we’ve been given, and we must make do with what we have, whether we
like is or not.

More than any other emotion, Vonnegut blames love as the
cause of nearly all of mankind’s problems. In the novel, the destructive
power of love is demonstrated by the narrator’s infatuation with Mona, which
caused him to fly to the island of San Lorenzo, as demonstrated when he said,
“While I didn’t feel that purposeful seas were wafting me to San Lorenzo, I did
feel that love was doing the job.” While there, the narrator aided in the
destruction of the world, by means of ice-nine. Love here is portrayed as
an evil force that leads people to their doom. Furthermore, ice-nine was
distributed among the world’s major superpowers, the United States, and the
Soviet Union, through love, albeit one-sided love: Angela gave her ice-nine
sample to her government-employee husband, while Newt’s sample went to his
Ukrainian girlfriend, who immediately gave it to the Soviet government.
Once again, the message is clear: love causes people to do foolish, and
sometimes even dangerous, things that they would later come to regret.

So far, I have discussed Vonnegut’s views on the dangers of human emotion.
However, lack of emotion can have disastrous results as well, demonstrated by
Dr. Felix Hoenikker, a man so engrossed in his scientific research that he
almost completely isolated himself from the outside world, a lack of emotion
that led to his “playful” development of the superweapon ice-nine, and then his
careless distribution of ice-nine among his children, moves that had terrible
consequences. Clearly, with a lack of emotion comes a lack of ethics, and
when you can’t tell the difference between right and wrong the results can be
disastrous. All in all, while emotions can be dangerous, so can the
absence of emotion, so, as with many other things, moderation would be the
solution: one must refrain from being led solely by emotions, while at the same
time keeping a code of ethics.

If you like it, thanks! And if you don't like it ... After working for so long I really don't care... ;)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A return of the Donkey? Who knows?

Now that school has started and the summer is finally over, I have begun thinking about what to do with my newest website,, which, as you may already know, was effectively shut down over the course of the summer.

Here's what I know:

- I recieve two types of traffic: iPod traffic and Forum traffic.
- The iPod traffic is that that actually goes to the iPod pages of the site. There's not a lot of iPod traffic.
- The Forum traffic goes to the Poddonkey Forum, rather than the rest of the site. This is primarily made up of my friends and aquaintances.
- Over the summer, the iPod traffic stayed about the same, but the much larger Forum traffic disappeared entirely. This shows that I have no control over iPod traffic, but much control over Forum traffic.
- Everyone's favorite parts of the forum are (or, were), in order, 1) the game of Mafia, 2) the General Discussion and Music Discussion boards, and 3) the points and shops. I'm guessing a bit on this one.

So, to get my friends, and other people from my school, to go back on, some things I can do are:

1. Promise to start a new game of Mafia within a week. I have a really fun game planned.
2. Reward new members, with, perhaps, points, or point drawings, or both.
3. Reward longtime members as well.
4. Start a string of interesting discussions in all forums.
5. Try to get most of my Moderator team back.

These are OK options, but can PodDonkey manage to bounce back? I asked some PodDonkey members:

"Do you think i should try to get PodDonkey back up?"

I got five responses (names are confidential):

- "I don't have much time to go on."
- "Maybe, but people are kinda busy right now. Wait till October."
- "Hell yeah!"
- "Dunno how it'll work, but you should try."
- "Maybe, why not?"

So I guess it could go both ways. If I have time this weekend, I'll see what I can do. =)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Presentation Time!

Post Synopsis: Today was the day of the big Euro presentation. [LONG POST ALERT!]

The day got off to a rather bad start, due to the fact that there is a huge traffic jam in Oak Park (busted water main). As a result, my dad had to drop me off to school at 7:45. School starts at 8:30. Since my partner and I are doing a PowerPoint presentation, and my partner doesn't have a laptop, I had to bring mine along, another hassle. Of course, Mr. K's room was locked. I went to my locker and then, having nothing else to do, sat on a bench trying to remember what class my partner has for zero period. At around 8:00 A friend came along, and informed my that my partner had band zero period, and P.E. first period (the band room and gym are right next to each other, and on the opposite end of the school), so I was alone. I decided to go off to Mr. K's room and see if it was open yet. It wasn't. I stood by the door for the next 25 minutes. At 8:25 another friend came along, who had Mr. K first period. Turns out that Mr. K teaches first period in a different classroom... I gave my laptop to my friend, gave him instructions, and went to my first-period class - Statistics.

When I got to Statistics it turned out that I forgot to get a paper signed by my parents. The six of us who didn't get it signed were given a choice - either we could make Mr. M laugh or we had to sing the school oath. We couldn't make him laugh, and it took us several tries to satisfy Mr. M (More emotion! Wave those arms! You're Eagles - be Proud and Bold!) Needless to say, the rest of the class got a good laugh. Mr. M spent the rest of the period explaining the many dangers of pickles.

Next period was Euro. My partner volunteered to find us a projector for my laptop, and finally obtained one from the Geography teacher. Meanwhile, the first group was presenting their report, about Greek sexuality. Regardless of the topic, the report was incredibly boring, and many of us had trouble staying awake. This of course prompted Mr. K to memorably exclaim, "Look at you guys! If a presentation on sex doesn't hold your attention, how will you be able to listen to a presentation on architecture!?" The second group chose the Rise of the Roman Empire as their topic, and had a very engaging report (well, one member of the group had an engaging report - his partner just stood there and occassionally made some random off-topic remarks), which tied in nicely to our own topic, the Fall of the Roman Empire.

We were the third and last group to present today. After finally hooking the laptop up and getting the PowerPoint to run (we are, I believe, the only group to do an electronic presentation this year), we began. Unlike the other groups, our presentation was mostly improv - other than the PowerPoint slides, we had no visual cues - but I think we made a good team: while I was operating the laptop, my partner was talking, and while I was talking, my partner was demonstrating combat techniques with a meterstick (that was probably what caught our audience's attention the most).

After we finished, we were surprised to be somewhat applauded by Mr. K (who is notorious for speaking his mind), who told us that this was the first good PowerPoint presentation he had ever seen! So although we don't know our grade yet I think we did a good job... =)

After school, I had karate, and after karate, I had to work on a poem for English. This is really a strange assignment - take Paul Simon's song "I Am a Rock", change the lyrics and present it to the class. Of course, I hate presenting ... anything ..., so I worked hard on making mine as un-corny as possible. Like everyone else (I think) I failed miserably. Let me post the poem, so everyone can laugh at me today (or tomorrow morning, or whenever, if they even read this blog), instead of tomorrow in English class. [BAD POEM ALERT - o.O]

by Paul Simon, edited by me because for some
reason my English teacher is obsessed with Simon and assigned us
this project...

Regardless of the argument,
I always
think I’m right.
I don’t often change my mind and
I hate to admit that I’m
I am a donkey, I am a turtle.

I rarely talk to people I
don’t know.
Even something as simple as making a speech,
Or presenting a
Paralyzes me for some reason or another.
I am a donkey, I am a

A donkey is stubborn, but can be a hard worker,
can be helpful when they put their minds to it.
When new to someone, a turtle
remain in its shell,
But when comfortable with its surroundings, it
I am a donkey, I am a turtle.

And a donkey is stubborn,
And a turtle is shy.

Yeah, it's pretty bad, isn't it?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Euro Pride! =)

A typical European History Class: We walk in and sit down. Suddenly Mr. K says, "Get a partner and take notes for 20 minutes. Then you'll have one hour to write a complete essay. Your prompt is: Compare the political and economic conditions that Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, and John I of England faced. What were their responses?" And just like that, we had an hour to write an essay on some totally random topic.

And then it hit me: Euro is not like other classes. And those brave enough to take it should deserve some recognition. And just like that, when I got home I did the first thing in my mind: I designed T-shirts! ^_^

Behold! Gaze in wonder at the unofficial T-shirt of the Oak Park Euro AP Team!

Price is only 17.48 for a high-quality shirt. If you take Euro but are not from Oak Park, I also designed a cheaper shirt that has "Euro Nerd" on the front but nothing on the back. I get 3-4 dollars from every purchase! ;)

Purchase Links:

Enjoy! =)