My Journey

Hello, my name is Sean. The things you read from here are for you, as well as for me. While some people want to discover new things, I don’t want to forget these things. It’s odd how changed I feel about everything that happened, I feel as if everything has a new calling for me. Something begging me to remember what has happened.

We join my story at the airport in Salt Lake City. The setting is me and my middle school class, waiting to board the plane. The plane would take us to Mexico City, and then we would be taken to Tepoztlan, where we would be in a Spanish school and living with families as part of an emersion trip with my school. My nerves had been racking up ever since the morning when the sun first rose. I remember in my mind thinking ‘This isn’t going to be fun at all, away for a month, and what are the classes going to be like? The fact that I’m living with a family that I don’t even know? All these questions are eating me up! The fact that I’m only 13 too…’. That is what I was thinking at the time we were getting on the plane.

I was happy to be leaving my family, to be on and have time to think some things over in my life.

Let me describe what it’s like with my family quickly for you: My baby sister spends a lot of her time crying about how she isn’t getting what she wants. My little brother constantly complains about how he can’t get the cheats in Starcraft to work. My bigger brother is off with his girlfriend or kicking me off the computer constantly. My mom is a bitch, and my dad thinks I want to talk to him a lot.

Given my current situation I really wanted to get away for awhile. So back to the plane, I was in relief and in nervous confusion. The Burger King I had eaten at the airport was bottling up in my stomach and making me feel nauseas, the plane safety video was on. When I look back on it. In my seat next to of my best friends, reading a book about Islam in an airplane while Alex, (my friend who will now be referred to as Slufus (nickname)) read the book Airframe. The tires starting to roar as the plane got ready for takeoff, Al (other friend) starting to curl up into a ball.

When I think about Al at the time I think he was tired, withered from his one month trip to New Zealand that he returned from 2 days before we left. He had been torn away from his friends at school for a month with his parents in a rain forest. Then as soon as he came back he was being asked to go for a month to Mexico. I think that he really didn’t want to go, considering the trip involved learning and following rules set by people that weren’t him.

It’s important to realize the person Al is. He’s not your average dummy that tries to be funny. He’s pretty intelligent, and some of the things he says take awhile to get the funniness of them. He has spiky white hair, has moles here and there, but they aren’t bad looking. He’s around 5’10, just a little bit taller than me.

Slufus is just there, he makes up quite a bit of stuff and nobody believes him anymore. He is a real hypocrit, I'm pretty bad with that kind of stuff, but not nearly as bad as Slufus. But at sometimes he has some funny topics to discuss. Otherwise a lot of the things he says are just dumb. He has red hair and freckles and is shorter than me. He also is annoying at times, and quite geeky (talking about how he wants to steal cars and make Starcraft maps).

The plane ride was pretty boring, since I live in Salt Lake there was the entire security rule about no standing for the first 30 minutes of the flight, or the last 30 minutes (depending on if you were arriving or departing). We would’ve been exempt from the rule if we had gone two days later (we left a day before closing ceremonies of the Olympics). But some things can’t be changed, so I was pretty much stuck needing to use the bathroom for half of the flight. When the flight attendants finally came out, I told Al to read a book called “The Elegant Universe” (a book about physics) and make it apparent that he was reading that book when they asked if we wanted drinks. Slufus was going to show off his Airframe book while I was going to display my Islam book.

Al constantly wusses out on my brilliant schemes and he says he doesn’t want to get in trouble. So my brilliant scheme with the books was left out in the dry and it didn’t entirely get the same affect it would have if Al had joined. Other then that the flight was practically dry of content. When we finally arrived in Los Angeles we ran into one of our school teachers by the name of Ron. It’s odd because he constantly turns up in places we don’t expect him. Apparently he rented out his house for the Olympics and went to Hawaii. I really don’t believe him because he is really lazy, and we all know lazy people don’t want to teach a bunch of children.

There really wasn’t anything to do in LA except wait for our next plane to Mexico City. Even on the plane there wasn’t anything that happened. Except for one twist in plot where a new character is added in. Alex, my girlfriend switched seats with Al (Al wanted to sit next to his girlfriend, Kristin). Alex is around 4’11, brownish skin and black hair that is a brown color at parts. She’s 12 years old, has size B boobs and a pretty face. I spent the majority of that plane ride sleeping on her shoulders and stroking her arm under the airplane blankets. When the dinner came about it was steak or shell pasta. I don’t really like the taste of steak so I went with the Shell Pasta. It was better then the steak, but I got a bunch of sauce on my shirt that made me smell really funny. Despite that I enjoyed the rest of the flight watching the in-flight movie and making fun of it.

When we finally arrived in Mexico City (flight time from LA is 3½ hours), it was around 12 o’clock. After we went through a little customs check (I think it was that, I’m not quite sure), we saw a sign and some people waiting to pick us up. We soon were taken outside and were told to put our luggage in a pickup. As odd as it sounded to me, I obeyed and then entered the van that they also told us to get into. What would follow was a 2 hour van ride that would consist of me talking to my Ex-Girlfriend (Kahlia by name), and listening to Black Sabbath.

As all but 3 of my classmates had dozed off, I gazed out my window as cities passed by. I felt a strange feeling when I first saw Tepoztlan from the van, it was dark and at 2 AM. But the city was completely lighted, and that made me feel better about where I was. We were taken to the school, but I didn’t know it was the school. We were just led into a room, it looked like a house more than anything else. It was a living room, with a TV in it. There we awaited our families to pick us up…

More tomorrow.

My son is in the Scouts, and his pack had their annual Pinewood Derby, in which they build a car out of a pine block, some nails and four plastic wheels.

Eryk did all of the design work, the sanding, the painting, and the application of stickers. I was in charge of the wheels and the weight.

The car looked good, sorta like an Indy racer. I read the rules for the race and decided on modifying the wheels so that they had no tread, almost like a plastic washer. The friction was greatly reduced, and I could counterbore the mounting holes such that the wheels were closer to the car body. Since the Pinewood Derby track is an incline that goes to a straightaway, I added metal weights to the back of the car, aft of the rear axle. This allowed the mass of the car to remain on the incline longer, adding extra overall speed down the straightaway.

Well, it worked. My son had the fastest car in his den, and came in fifth overall (the nose of the car bumped the track in the second lane, which threw off the overall time). He was very happy, and I was very proud of him. He hammed it up when they took pictures of the winners.

It's fun to spend time with your kids when they have something to concentrate on.

I'm just back from a week's holiday skiing in the southern French Alps. Yes, it was very nice, thanks for asking. Sun almost every day, and the snow melting so fast that I doubt you can ski there for much more than a few more days.

However, this was not what I was going to write about at all (it's odd how the actual act of writing sometimes gets you off track, but that is what the day log is for, isn't it?). What I was going to write about is how an initial disappointment can be turned into discovering a new fellow everythingian. I logged on to E2, and found a message from Klaproth stating that my Chet Baker writeup had been superseeded by a more comprehensive one. Although I know that my writeup wasn't the best I still like it because it had a slight humourous twist to it. But now it rests in node heaven.

To get to the point I went there to find this absolutely brilliant writeup by panamaus, and suddenly all my resentment just washed off me like water off a duck's back. I feel renewed and full of energy. Thanks Klaproth (and panamaus)!

It's the sunday after the Academic Bowl state tournament. Should have won triple a, blew it on several counts. Here are the highlights from my experience.

Round 1 - Druid Hills Vs. Dodge County
Dodge county wasn't prepared to answer questions of an academic nature. Purely a pop culture question team they never really stood a shot. They needed to change their focus for a tournament like this.

(Druid Hills 250 Dodge County 40)

Round 2 - Druid Hills Vs. Westminster
For some reason, quiz bowl always raises class warfare to a whole new level, at least we were nice about it. Apparently it costs $15,000 a year there now. But we almost beat the smart rich kids. Lost on several counts, probably shouldn't have lost that one, but thats why they play the game. Westminster was missing a fourth player and actually had no substitute. Basically DHHS threw the match away and lost 170 to 180. None of the Westminster kids had any idea what to do with two bonuses which were basically simple math questions which I learned in a 9 week remedial economics class, as fate would have it I wasn't in, but if I was we would have lost the points somewhere else. It's very preturbing when you play a team like Westminster and the guy with the 1600 SAT says that the guy missing is the team.

Vs. Davidson School of the Arts

Although we had no idea at the time, a very good team. We ran away with it early but they made it close late, comming within a few questions. It was about 190 to 170 or so. I don't think I was in for this round and it was a good thing.

Vs. Central Macon

Central Macon won the tournament and went undefeated throughout. I think I wield the burden for losing this round. They had one player (whos name I forget at present) who I should have beat on 3 critical questions, with the easy bonuses in the round that would have given us the win. The answers involved payote, which I cannot spell, an X-Files question about Scully's dog (hey it's also a Herman Melville question.

Vs. Luvitt or however the hell its spelled.

The match didn't happen and we lost by default because the tournament organisers decided that they didn't need a schedule as we went to lunch and came back to find them on question 20. Had we been able to beat them we would have come in 2nd, but we came in 5th because of this ridiculious loss. Apparently there is a rule that very few teams knew about which stated that players may not leave the tournament once it begins. Central Macon got lucky this round because they had a bye, which pretty much ended things for everyone else.

Awards ceremony: Didn't win the buzzer system prise drawing. Somehow won the sportsman ship award, most likely because we were the only team that was easily memorable. My efforts as team mascot paid off, and also people were impressed that we didn't just up and leave after the Luvitt nonsense. I look at it more as a prize for comedy. Having the impluse to compliment just about every reader who could read the questions (after having to spend 3 damn rounds with a reader who could barely read) probably cinched the AAA sportsmanship award for us. Genny won a AAA player of the year award, since she is, as the team from westminster would say, "our team".

Overall tournament review:

The tournament had great questions. There were more readers who were good than bad, unfortunately we drew one woman who COULD NOT READ for 4 different rounds and almost had to deal with her during a bye. The tournament didn't have a lunch when it was suppose to, didn't have a schedule. Ultimately it was a very poorly organised tournament that could have been a lot better. They shouldn't have accepted readers who, you know, couldn't read, and they should have had an actual schedule and used it. They needed to have extra sets of questions for contingency but they did not. Ultimately it was a below average, poorly organised tournament that still managed to be fun as long as you didn't take the flawed standings and ratings seriously.

It isn't like they are registering to vote or anything. Make em' take a literacy test!

(The Druid Hills team was composed of B. Massey, G. Tauxe, M. Young, L. Corwell, L. Kertz, J. Martinson with coach Mrs. Crow)
It is not theft, because I am here giving it back. And it is not plagarism, because I am saying I didn't write this and now you know I didn't write it. It is private, however. And it speaks to a private place.

So, why would I share her whispers with you- these letters and spaces, with you? Because they resonate- and fill the empty room I type in this morning. Because I want you to hear what you have been missing.
Because they matter:

"" have been focusing on music lately, ears sharpened & I let the bath get cold yesterday, thinking. The water dripping meshed suddenly into the flaring bass of furnace, and then motors outside. the fridge whirring up, my sister's mouse clicking in the next room, all becoming a sonic hum of life around me, audible in a house that had been silent only moments before I heard the drip. ""

I was hoping that I could rebuild my computer with newer hardware that I scrapped out of a newer Windows box that died a couple months ago. After doing the necessary hardware swap, I turned on my Linux box and it detected the new S3 video card that I stuck in there, but it could not mount the CD-ROM drive with the driver package to install the drivers. Time for a reinstall.

Reinstalled Linux, only to have a bug in either the X Server or my graphics card cause all kinds of refresh errors on the screen. I get the crazy idea to format the drive and reinstall Windows.

Found my Win98 cd and boot disk. Started up the computer, and Windows decides to barf on my hardware during installation. I wasn't getting anywhere with this. Last resort: restore the computer to its last known good configuration.

I was hoping that I could get Windows running so that I can run Quickbooks and my A+ certification training software on my computer. I needed something that I could use to run a business, play a couple games on, and be able to put on the Internet for all of my online activity. Looks like a new computer is in order for me. Anyone want to buy my hardware?
So this is the last day of my spring break. How sad. But I had a good break, lots of fun, and enough relaxing to maybe get me through the end of the year.

So I'm back at Cornell and will be off to classes tomorrow! I have to get working soon, too, since I'll be swamped as soon as possible, I'm sure.

Spring break was nice:
I went home last friday, and hung around, going out to eat with my parents and seeing a friend. It happened that no one else from my group of friends in high school had the same break as I did, except for this one. But I did go visit the old High school and see my teachers.

Then on wednesday it was off to Disney World with my mom! Yeah, that's probally not the most exciting thing you can think of I'm sure, traveling with your mother, but I assure you I had a blast. Especially since it was Disney World, after all.

My mother, being terrified of anything that moves fast in a dark tunney, did not ride any rides with me. So I ended up in lines by myself, which lead to making friends with families in the lines too.

I had a great time in Disney World, riding the great rides like Tower of Terror, Rocking Roller Coaster, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Test Track etc. Got a bunch of pictures of me and the characters (I got a hug from Mickey!!).

So, no more fun in the sun for Queequeg :(

But off to learning more! 6 more weeks of school, and then summer!!

I hope everyone on E2 who have spring breaks had a wonderful break this spring! Don't work too hard!!

An interesting evening with friends. Movie, coffee, park, clinic...

Jared has been carless for about 6 months, so now that he bought an '83 Nissan Stanza, we have a lot of cruising to catch up on.

Yesterday we couldn't get anybody else to come along. But today we rounded up a few people, and left for a movie on the spur of the moment. Jared, his older brother Aaron, Alana, and I.

So after Orange County, we head to Roca Jack's, but they don't take Interac, and I'm the only person with cash. So it's off to "Cafe Ultimate", a cyber cafe that puts no focus on quality coffee, since people only come for the computers anyway.

I'm not sure how it started, but now they call me Salvatore. It must have something to do with my espresso obsession.

Aaron's cell rang at some point, his younger sister hopping mad that Alana came along and we didn't invite her.

Back in the car, Aaron was on the phone with his friend Cole, speaking in hushed tones. It just so happened that Cole was right beside us at the light, so Aaron jumps out, (just as the light is turning green!) gets in Cole's car, and ditches us.

So we go to the park, it's got the usual playground things all over. Slides, swings, see-saws, bars suspended face height for swinging on, the usual deathtraps. It's cold, we get bored fast, my shoes are full of snow, so we turn right around and run back, Alana in the lead.

"WATCH OUT FOR THE..."

*Thunk*

"Bar..."

Clotheslined, right in the bridge of the nose, with an iron bar, running at high speed.

That feeling of fear as we run toward her, heaped in the snow. "Is she bleeding? Did she break something?? Is she conscious???

OH SHIT!
OH SHIT!
OH SHIT!

But she's laughing, quite hard.

Oh, she hurt herself all right. A large cut across the bridge of her nose, and a nasty bite mark in her lip.

We don't actually go to a clinic, only to my house. My mom's had enough kids, she can heal almost anything.

All this time, Alana's lamenting the fact that she's finally injured herself. After all those years of being a stupid kid, nothing like this has happened before.

She gets cleaned up, and then Jared drives her home. I don't want to be there to see her sister's reaction.

Hmmm, she handles pain alot better better than I would.

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