Saturday, December 30, 2006

I have family in Argentina?

Today was a fairly normal day, until I suddenly got an email from a certain Andrea Nisnevich in Argentina. It turns out that there is a Nisnevich family living in Argentina! Our stories seem to match up reasonably well - we're from Belarus and they're from Kiev,Ukraine - but my parents have never heard of any family members living in Argentina. Now, the chances seem low but Nisnevich seems to be a very rare surname, leading me to suspect that we are related, albeit rather distantly. Searching on Google I came across a classical guitarist named Gregory Nisnevich and one or two (you may laugh, but it's hard to tell!) semi-famous mathematicians with the surname of Nisnevich. Could this all be one family? I'm not sure...

Note to any readers: If your surname is Nisnevich (hey, it's possible), be sure to shoot me an email! ( I'm still trying to put the pieces of this puzzle together. ^_^

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Preparing (somewhat unsucessfully?) for the AMC

One of the things I really have to catch up with this winter break is preparation for this year's AMCs. Unlike last year, where I took both the A and the B exams (10A and 12B), this year our school is only hosting the B (stupid high school exit exam getting in the way of everything... completely pointless if you ask me >.<), which means I only have one shot to make it to the AIME. Nevertheless, I am fairly confident about the AMC - today I scored 114 (out of 150, 100 and higher qualifies) on a practice test, so I think I'm all set for that. However, for the AIME... let's just say this is looking to be a repeat of last year (5/15, due to 4 rather careless errors) - I scored a miserable 2 on a practice test, again because of carelessness on my part. Granted, I haven't had any practice since this summer, but still... Looks like I've got a lot of work ahead of me... ;)

Monday, December 25, 2006


Not knowing what else to write about, let me post a list of some great sites that I discovered recently. Enjoy!

  • Dilbert.Blog - Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, gives a witty and comical perspective of the world

  • Order of the Stick and Sheldon - As a whole, webcomics are a rather mixed lot. But these two, in very different ways, give me a laugh every time.

  • Cosmic Encounter - One of the world's greatest board games, now in online form.

  • Ill Bethistad - Perhaps the most detailed and well-researched alternate history projects on the Web, a very realistic portrayal of what the world could be like.

  • Pandora - "The next generation of internet radio". This site takes your favorite artists, and from them, gives you a personalized radio station.

So, if you ever find yourself with some time on your hands and unsure of what to do, be sure to check these out! =)

EDIT: How could I have forgotten? Merry Christmas, for those of you who celebrate Christmas...

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Winter Break (The Real Post)

So, this is it. Winter break is here. However, it doesn't look like it's going to be all fun (just like this summer). Ahead of me I have some 20-30 hours of Euro outlines ahead of me, several English essays, and a required reading (with essay :P) of A Tale of Two Cities. I'm also planning to finish the website I'm working on this winter, although I still have quite a bit of work to go.

And now, some random tidbits from my life ^_^:

I'm trying to combat my inherent laziness by keeping a to-do list handy. Unfortunately, I seem to have displaced it a couple of days ago, sorta defeating the whole purpose of the thing.

The last few days of school went by pretty fast, except for the mock trial we had in Euro, of Robespierre (as played by Carl). Me and my friend Neil were the judges for the case, and although we did all the research the day before, we still came out looking the best-researched, somehow. I guess faking knowledge is a talent of mine ;). The verdict was especially fun, as in our speech we seemed to alternate between "guilty" and "not guilty", finally settling on "guilty". Carl, in the middle of laughing at the prosecutors, stopped with surprise on his face. Priceless ^_^.

Sadly, one of my friends is leaving during this break, to some fancy prep school in Ohio, the "potato state" (inside joke). So, I'll take this opportunity to say, WE'LL MISS YOU DEREK!! By "we", I'm either speaking for all my friends or referring to myself in the fourth person, take your pick.

Thanks to my dad's MSDN subscription, we're the first guys on the block to get Windows Vista. And lemme tell you, it is AMAZING. The graphics effects especially make Vista a huge improvement over XP. There are those who say Vista is just eye candy, and to that I answer, well, I like eye candy. So there. :P

Now that I have my guitar, I'm considering what equipment I need to get. A friend gave me a copy of Guitar Rig 2, a truly amazing piece of software, but I still need an amp (I'm looking at the Line 6 Spider II), as well as cables, picks, strap, stand, and tuner. I wanted to order all that today, but due to an unfortunate run-in with a computer virus, my parents are a wee bit mad at me...

One final tidbit: for the rest of winter break, I'm writing at least one post in this blog, every day. Just watch. I won't forget. Seriously. You don't believe me?! Awwww... :(

Friday, December 22, 2006

Winter Break is here!! =)

Man, I had this really long post in mind, but now it's getting rather late. I'll do it tomorrow, like the procrastinator that I am... ^_^

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Later and Later ...

I seem to go to bed later and later every night. And it's not that I'm getting more homework or anything; I just seem to - inexplicably - be getting more and more inefficient.

Just yesterday I didn't get to bed until past midnight, and I didn't have that much work to do. I guess I just get distracted too much.

Fortunately, I seem to be improving - today it's only 11:00, a full hour improvement from last night =)

Anyways, my hard work is paying off. I am getting better grades in all my classes (maybe I'll even reach a 4.0+ GPA by the end of the semester), and just got a very respectable 214 on my PSAT. It's not that my performance is bad, it's just I wish it didn't take me so long...

Monday, December 11, 2006

I'm free!! (sorta)

Yesterday was perhaps the most hectic day of my life. From 11 am to 8 pm, me and my friends were doing nothing by Euro work, because our Business Plan, the biggest project of the year, was due today. Finally, after three weeks, I no longer have to devote every waking minute to our business plan (and we did a ton of work - 96 pages of nothing but 1778 Russia).

Now we have nothing to do in Euro except our next project, which coincidentaly was assigned today. >.< However, this one promises to be more fun: mock trials of French Revolution characters. I managed to get a spot as one of the two judges for Robespierre , and my partner has it all figured out:

[20:54] ---: alex
[20:54] ---: i prepared an intro speech for us judges
[20:54] ---: we, the judges, would like to make clarify a matter before the trial begins. though it may seem like it (with our GUILTY sign, guillotine key chain, and "screw robospierre" shirt), we do not hold any biased views against the defendant. the court is now in session.

Yep, it'll be a fun trial. ^_^

Monday, December 04, 2006

Latest News from Alex's Life

I realize that I haven't posted in a while, and there's a reason for this: Euro. To be more precise, it's time to do my school's most difficult project: the dreaded Business plan. My group of four has two weeks (well, only one week left now) to compile a 100+ page report on.... 1778 Russia. Fortunately, two of my group members (including myself of course) are Russian, which makes it (slightly) easier. But still, finding 18th century census information is tough... >.<

My guitar finally came! It's a 2005 black Godin Solidac, in excellent condition, which is good considering I bought it on eBay ;). It plays really well, and I'm reasonably certain that I made the right choice in not listening to my friends and getting an obscure guitar rather than sticking to mainstream Fenders or Gibsons.

Suddenly, I've become interested in my geneology, and started working on a family tree for myself. Of course, this, along with my other big long term project - a new website - is kinda on hold for now, what with all this schoolwork.

Well, that's it for now. I would've made a longer post, but I'm kinda busy. Oh well >.<