Sunday, May 30, 2010

Class of '10 (not me)

What's the chance?
Sent across town from my usual work site
and to the place down the street from school
for an event I wanted to attend?

I fidgeted with the duty schedule. When could I take a break- 40 minutes was what I needed. I found a gap- and I got the blessing of the manager to go off-facility. I threw on my casual best and ran for about 6-7 minutes until I reached the school auditorium. I picked up a brochure and read and chanted along with the grads and school community. I fulfilled a promise- I had not missed graduation!
I engulfed myself in the rituals and the camaraderie for the brief 15 minutes I had.
I took a peek at the young men in white suits on stage, then wished the exchange students well and sprinted back to work- making it back on time.
I took a good look at each of their framed spreads. All were able to list 6 achievements. Some had a NMSC (PSAT-related) tag on the crossbar. I took a good look as to imprint one last image of them in my mind.Some I had taken class with , some I hadn't,some I took two with. Some wished I had taken a class (one wished for more than 2), and some wish that Juniors were not allowed in Seniors' classes. We spent some time figuring out who would be the director of the HUD (after designing a bunch of exclusive resorts), and who would be the next Sec. of State (a name like Chancellor gives you a certain lead). We took some time too to figure who'd give the speech for the Class of 2035 (of course during Nick Johna's reign). There was an after-grad party, apparently, in the boardroom above the theater. There were two contemporary-aged co-eds crooning to two newly grads, appareled in casual attire. Don't worry, we iced one of them (we took one guy outside). Ah, next year the controversial class of 2012 will be taking care of our party.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cure for "Appalachia Syndrome"

It's all about access. That was the cure for Maryland Panhandle's three western counties. Since the 1950's, national planners have made good road contruction a key part in bringing this region to East Coast standards. Witness I-68. It's advertised as "the better way to Ohio and Points West". Sorry, Penna., but the septuagenerian turnpike doesn't make meet with a 19-year young double-shouldered beauty. There is variety, too; entering Cumberland you're thrown onto an inner-city style skyway.
A drive into the heart of West Virginia is a nauseating experience. While fun on a rec trip, your starch-suited investor's won't like the thrill.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Field Day 2010

Good organization and planning- or lots of people. After a video introduction, field day went on to be a great success. In reality, I am quite tired from it all!
Especially dodgeball: For my taunts, I became a perrenial target. This meant that I was dodging foam balls by rolling over to the side. This was injurious to the ankle, but like a young horse I hobbled back to stature.
Ice cream distribution went well for once, thanks to our leaders' great providence.
Great job, guys!

Moore House won this year, but I'm sure Main has a great shot at next year's cup.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Quick Reflection Before Field Day

Ah, the pressure is sort of off. All I have to do is some last minute GPA tweakers- spare oustanding assignments. But that won't mean that I won't enjoy field day. Be there or be squared- by the 1/2 power (haw haw haw).
Next week what lies in store I don't know; grades are due on Tuesday, and only then can I let go. But that's soon.
Got to get out early to set up the events.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mid-Exam Report

According to the Wall Street Journal, success is a confidence game. How the two are related is unknown (does confidence come from likely success or does success come from sheer confidence?). This is the science behind good luck charms. Note, though, that superstition leads nowhere. Do your work and have faith in yourself.

Even though I have spent less time studying for these exams, I've felt that I've been doing a better job on them than in past exam cycles. What I mean is that I finished successfully and honorably within the 2 hour time frame. Now what this means is that I've actually learned something. Part of the solution may be a good night's rest. I was tempted last night to stay up to finish studying, but I decided to hold it off for the morning. This latter choice I took, and it was a good one.

Got to hit French now.
Coming up soon on this blog: Bring on the soda tax!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Go-Go a No-No near MoCo

What is GoGo? Just like Mambo sauce and Chinese carry-out, it's a part of DC culture. DC urban culture, that is- and by Urban we mean East of the Creek. Yeah.
A student organization from a tony, forward-thinking school in Tenleytown (west of the Creek), decided to hold one such event. Typically rowdy, go-go events are not something you bring West of the creek. But it was only meant to showcase urban culture in a whittled-down, sanitized way...
The debacle lived up to its rowdy reputation.
Imagine coming home to your quiet residential street at 5pm on Friday. After dinner, you go out to the front yard...and your neighborhood is taken away. Rowdy youth whose identities you don't know shout like it's the Battle of the Republic. Styrofoam containers litter the sidewalk. You get the idea.
For these tranquility-loving residents who associate themselves with suburban culture, this debacle hardened perpetual fears, concerns, and anxieties about what goes town.

I'd link a gogo video, but it's too graphic/crude for this blog. Look up "Mambo Sauce gogo" if you're really curious.
If you need a dose of our suburban culture, check up 90210. It resembles 20854. However, most of NW/ west of creek is a bit more subdued.

Source: Northwest Current, a community publication.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Don't Judge a Concept by its Title

There has been discussion on the topic of "net neutrality". Some internet service providers (ISP's) have a propensity for judging web content and determining an "appropriate" speed at which you can access it. Some in Congress want to bar this practice. What this proposal is is essentially banning a book based on its partiality (no-it's not a radio fairness doctrine matter- read on). What is more disturbing is that people who like the sound of "neutrality" but do not understand the heart of the matter are passing judgement- this is Congress.

You may like a lesson in IP jargon:
Key people:
ISP--Utility Co.--Data Transmission--You-- The Fed

For those who don't understand the technicalities, there is a difference between ISP and "The Internet". An ISP is an internet service provider that provides your portal to the internet. Your ISP provides the software and a home modem and DSLAM (server) that get bits and bytes over the phone or cable line (but does not necessarily set you up with a browser). Think of the internet as a fancier way of talking over the phone. More often than not, the ISP will foot the data transmission bill (read on); if you get a flat rate bill for internet service regardless of how much time you spent online, this is you. Think AOL or NetServe. As a limited-supply utility, the utility company is required by law to allow any ISP to operate on its phone lines- and give a good bulk rate for data transmission to the ISP. In fact, this applies to any ISP who asks. Essentially,ISP's can start up when they want, like a private business in a unregulated sector. While Congress is not proposing a Control Board, this proposal demonstrates either the lack of technical awareness or the desire to strongarm private endeavors. If you are offended that your ISP prioritizes web traffic you're not a part of, switch to another provider. Or take the can-do American approach- build your own system!

Caveat- If you happen to be somewhere that there is only one ISP, your rights to impartial service may be ensured by antitrust/monopoly policy. Check US and Sate code to determine if this applies to you.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Better Grades

Ah, on the brink of my final AP. But unlike the others (Comp Pol and Music Theory), it seems as if every other American student will take an English AP. Will that raise the stakes or not?

As a student striving for a high score, I encourage testtakers who decide to give up to not cancel their scores. This lets the people who don't try get the 1's and 2's and those who try better scores. Plus, it'll save you ten bucks. If you don't want to let your college see your slack status, then by all means order a non-report of your score. But pls don't cancel.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Take the load, Cont.

I already received a tipoff on the quality of the food
Rockland BBQ. There was cole slaw, and we were each doled 1/4 of a decent sized chicken and ribs that slid easily off the bone. To top that, a pasta salad and dinner roll were piled on. Creamy cake and beverages were available at our discretion. The sumptuous feast occupied all of us at the table for a while. The chickpeas in the Baked Beans was an interesting aside and made good small talk. At this long table were a bunch of Sophomores at on periphery, Seniors decking the center and Juniors (including myself) at the end, topped of by a "7th form" graduate of 2009 who assisted with the baseball team this season. One main topic among the Seniors was the matter of the highlight Scholar- Athlete Award. I don't know the exact qualifications to receive it, but I heard that only 4 out of 40 Senoirs qualified for consideration. We talked about the surprise John Kelly had on his face back in '08 when he received the honor.

Each coach from fall, winter and spring had a reunion with his or her team. There were gaps in attendance to this fete, especially among the JV and Middle school-alt teams. For Winter coaches, "the snow cut 1/3 of our season at the most inopportune times" was a common theme. I was cited by Coach Defour ('06; UMD '09) for being a good sport. It was unexpected on my part. I suspected that I had that surprise John Kelly face on me at that time. The descriptions he gave made me blush a bit. I will say, though, that I was a rookie walk-on in August with no High School soccer experience. I and my teammates received my Certificate of Completion. "See you all on Varsity next year!". With five-plus graduating Seniors on the soccer team, there is room for a good portion of JV to advance. As more sports were listed, my high-caliber neighbors amassed trophies. There were enough on the table, from Breslin's to Blake's to Bragale's, to replicate the Forum Romanum.

This year, I participated in two sports for the first time. March is a bit tough for me. Last year I had Lifeguard training; this year I had play practice. I heard that the coach didn't take well to her top player, a Senior, kowtowing to G-Visitation for the first two weeks of tennis practice each season. The airline tradition of Senority First does not apply to meritocratic sports teams. There's a difference in leniency between the top player, and higher-seeded players (two of whom were also in the school play), and me. So, to keep it short, within the same week I was on the Track team.

I think I may have sent a bad tone by stepping out right before the Tennis presentation. Notwithstanding, I got back in time to see the awards given out. Sportsmanship award? Nah man! This here is the biggest arguer on the team. Knowing each USTA and league rule doesn't make you a gentleman. Our suspicious were shattered, though, when Ms. Lane gave Rob a trophy for his contributions. Some of us do not agree with putting Freshman on Varsity teams, much less middle school boys. In her description of him, she explained that he might have well been on Varsity since fifth grade. The call was six years, and Rob also got the four-year letterman plaque with the Fuzzy A.

In some Spring sports, one received a Cert of Completion. It's quite symbolic, though. Baseball and track still have champs to complete. You're not done 'til you're done.

Then there was the highlight of the evening: the scholar-athlete award. Some call it our version of the Rhodes Scholarship. Who would get it? NVD? Mikey? Denny? It was Rob. It was a change as much as Pope JPII. Award history had favored the more "jocky" type, with an edge for student gov't leaders, but this year not so much.

Which begs the question: Who will it be next year?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Take the load

It was 5pm when I had left the locker room. 2 hours before the Athletic Banquet meant enough time to finish that precalc practice exam. But,as I was to find out later, Mom was looking at it and kept it out of my backpack. So I settled for French. That was until a Reaganite Militarizer came into the lounge and put on "Top Guns". It was great. Let me clarify. Sortie action shots made the movie worthwhile. There were a few icky spots to fast forward through, but mostly clean and touching.
It was 7 pm too soon, and I had to forcefully tear myself away from the screen.
To be continued...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Exotic Trips by Car

A survey of my classmates indicated that nearly all of them have visited Canada, by land, sea or air. However, not so many have visited Mexico. I have to warn you that dawdling in many countries is different than taking a fling in USA north. The US State Department offers a pamphlet on things you should know before you travel down south. As a matter of fairness, border crossings in Canada have been secured in recent years to the level as they are down south, so no big surprise there. Don't see surprised if you see a chicken truck.
Pay the special protection fee- you'll need it

Don't drink tap. Some nice hotels have central water purifiers, but don't risk it!

Make sure that the currency exchange gives you recent coinage rather than devalued older money.

Keep a low profile and don't look out of place (DC people are pretty nice about this; cartels may not be so tolerant).

Navigating traffic circles in Mexico City is a futile task.

Read an official travel guide and do not goose step down there based on this information. Of course, booking an impulse trip to Cancun is a different matter.

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Stealth and Steam

Purple among the tide of blue, us Panthers found wedges among the hoards of runners. The mission was direct- 2 laps. For some, this was just a formal way of cooling down from a 1 or 2 mile jaunt. For me, it was a warming up to longer-distance adventures- next season. The fact that we were bunched didn't bode well, but after the shot went, we all found our places. I was looking for my 75% tempo that I would maintain for the first lap. Passing was a bit difficult, though, because of the crowd of runners. Lap 1- not too tired. Shout-out indicated 1 min 22 sec elapsed. Not bad for a metered pace. By our good training, we have gained the skill of passing in the final lap. Especially fun and devious is the stealth apporach. Tail your victim and pass late in the run. So, in the last 200, us in purple increased our pace and bolted in the last 150, because this was it for the season.
Now this is the fun part- I have not received an official reading. Thus, I estimate that I would have cut about 7-10 seconds from the second lap and therefore run a sub-2"40'. Not bad for my track record.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Great Sleep Proposal

Early to bed and Early to rise...(Ben Franklin)
is essential in the early nature of first bells at America's finest high schools.
Thus, I have a solution that I have finally been able to implement.
8 hours is the same whether 8-4 or 12-8 or whatnot. I propose that we sleep 10p-6
a. Of course, under normal operating condition, such devotion to shuteye would create an acute backlog of work. But, if those conditions were altered (college?), then such beautiful rest will be able to be obtained.
Getting up at 6a doesn't make going to bed at 10p too hard. But going to bed early on a late-rise Sunday is unnatural. However, we must not resign to sleepy and cranky Mondays. Just get up a little earlier on Sunday. That means going to bed early on Saturday and thus on Friday as well. This means people without nightlives? I guess so. Maybe we could cause a cultural change.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

College Board's Customers

An SAT last Saturday, and an AP tomorrow.
For the millions of students taking the battery of testing products, the people in Princeton are building a cash cow.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Got a Job

"There is the f(x) club. You see, you need to be a function to get in this club. If you fail the vertical line test, you have to stay out on the street. Now inside this club there's a special room. VIP lounge. Call it what you want. But only one-to-one functions are allowed inside".- From MCAS (Mr. C------ Appreciation Society), a Facebook group.

On Friday, the last day of class instruction for Juniors, the Headmaster posted the list of leadership assignments. The plebicite-elected, Admin approved presidents, designated House Heads and social chairs. Up for grabs- publicity and treasurer. Later that day, up went page two, listing the school media positions. Yearbook was predictable; our in-house shutterbug and technoratus got his due. The RA- resident artist (specializing in pen drawings and dermal doodling) made it a team. THe key to the Priory Press (student publication) was given to the three people who I knew to have applied. That would be the stellar writer and SAT smasher (I've heard rumors of a perfect score!), a prolific web-writer, and myself. I admit, I am a prolific webwriter as well. So who's an Editor and who's Staff?
That's something we'll probably be discussing.

Happy Birthday, Augustus!
Happy May Day.