Thursday, December 28, 2006

Jumping Up and Down In Excitement About Coming Back to UW!!!

The nostalgia hasn't exactly hit me yet, but I'll soon start missing something or other. It's been a while since I've had that addicting, bittersweet feeling for something that will never come back. Maybe when I eventually leave UW...

Er... what am I talking about? This is only the beginning of my story at UW! And I'm so excited about going back to UW for winter quarter that it makes me dizzy sometimes (figuratively speaking). Not counting the few hours left of today, I have only 3 days until I get back! w00t!

I've had just about as much as I can take of sitting at home with nothing to do. I'm ready to head back and start carrying out those "do-better-this-time" plans. Along with the general confus- :ahem: chaos of university life, I'll have to deal with an oncoming rush of nostalgia, deep thoughts about life and death, sudden and uncontrollable urges to work out, responsibilities like saving the world (or maybe just my homework), saying "no, I can't today. I'm busy" all that time to friends I really would like to hang out with and following an interesting new lead in the direction of a long-term relationship. And as a good friend of mine said recently, life back at UW will definitely include "more sleep."

Watch out world, here comes the new and improved Manju with improved willpower and dedication. And for a limited time only... OK, that stops there. Good night, o' big, happy world of infinite possibilities.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Automatic Rebooting Not My Fault

I'm not advertising McAfee and I'm giving the company full rights for this snapshot of their software. All I wanted to say was that the problem with the automatic rebooting may have been caused by a stupid worm. And here I was freaking out that everything I did was messing up. Seriously, why would running KNOPPIX cause your computer to reboot like that?

Well, the problem is now solved so I'm not worried anymore. Happy Holidays! (yet again)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Tiny Bit of Good News

On the last entry, I mentioned screwing up a brand new computer such that it automatically reboots every two minutes. Well, the good news I'm referring to is the fact that that problem is now fixed. It's still unclear to me what the problem was or how I solved it but everything seems to be working just fine now.

The trick was to "Hibernate" the PC before it had a chance to reboot. I wanted to find out if there was something wrong with the OS or the hardware. So I wanted to measure the time it took from the moment the machine started up to when it rebooted itself. That way I could see if I had enough time for a successful hibernation.

As you may know already, Windows XP comes with an option to save the exact state of the software currently running on the machine to the hard drive before powering off. That makes it easy for you come back to the exact state your desktop was when you last hibernated it. How does this fit in with my story?

Well, I decided to use that bit of info and try a little experiment. The startup to reboot time was about a minute, thirty seconds. If there was something wrong with the hardware, if I brought the computer back up from hibernation, I thought it should take the same time to from startup to reboot. Or if this rebooting was caused by the software (and there was some kind of timer program keeping track of the clock), the state of the software would be saved by hibernation and the machine would reboot sooner than before hibernation.

Great idea, eh? To my surprise, when I brought the PC back up from hibernation, it stayed on. And that's how I was able to post here. Sweet! Just hope it doesn't screw up again when I reboot (intentionally, mind you).

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Almost every other blogger in the world must have written an entry by this title. So, here's my contribution to this festive season of year. But the show of holiday spirit ends here - and for good reason. I've got a lot of work ahead of me. The first thing is to write a to-do list. Try not to think of this as a list of New Year's resolutions no matter how much it sounds like one - I'm not old enough to be making resolutions yet! :D

Oh, where should I begin? What I did during the last weeks of fall quarter is probably irrelevant right now so let's begin this tale at the start of winter break. Some of the highlights were (in no particular order) a four-day power outage due to windstorms, recovery of sleep lost last quarter, loss of recovered sleep, learning how to work DOS from a book written and published some year in ancient history before I was born, getting a head start on Winter qtr classes by reading through the textbooks, screwing up a brand new computer such that it reboots automatically every 2 minutes, gaining a foothold in the UNIX world, and... breaking the bad news to my parents that I failed some classes in my first quarter at UW.

Yes, for all my abilities as a superhero, I couldn't manage my time well and control my sudden urges to do stupid, non-school-related things. But enough on that. On to the list of New Y-- darn it, I keep telling myself it's not a New Y- NO! Not again. It's hopeless.

Anyhow, where was I? Oh yes, failing classes. Of course, it's left me devastated. It's hard enough for me to go to sleep on a normal day and now with this, it's nearly impossible. For someone who finished more than two years of college (with a great GPA) while still in high school, failing a class is like the end of life. The worst part is that I saw this coming when I actually had a chance to prevent it. My career as a professional student is all but over...

Or is it? In a majestic upheaval of spirit, I've decided to clear up my act and do my best next quarter. And believe me, my best is really, really good. All I have to do is follow these simple rules:

1. Go to class. Just do it.
2. Do the homework. No really, that's how you learn.
3. Sleep well. Don't run on "Empty" all the time.
4. Plan, Prepare, Execute, Assess. Especially, "Execute."

I'm just trying to keep the guidelines and expectations as simple as possible for next quarter. Last quarter, I expected too much out of myself and out of UW in general. The trouble is that I got everything I wanted and that's NOT GOOD. I totally lost focus and ended up with terrible grades. I aim to change all that next quarter.

At this point, a look back on last quarter would be interesting, no? Here are a few things off the top of my head. This is unfiltered - I've put down everything, good or bad. All in all, fall quarter was a good part of my life. I:

+ perfected my microwave cooking skills
+ discovered new music
+ watched nearly 50 movies that I had wanted to watch ever since I was a kid
- used up all my anytime minutes during the first week of the month
+ cofounded the Official UW Abs Club ;link this
+ helped with research for a department completely unrelated to my major
+ slept for 18 hours straight
- stayed awake 106 hours continuously (don't ask)
+ Alladin's Falafel. I'm serious, that place never gets old. Once, Sharvil and I went there sometime around midnight when we were actually supposed to be studying.
- watching Russell Peters videos in Odegaard 232 at around 3 AM
+ started this blog
+ defined recursive solutions to brain-bending questions involving stacks, linked lists and other evil things
- tasted the bitter sadness of failing a class for the first time in my life.
+ met unforgettable people like Longfei and Sharvil
+ spent more time away from my room than I lived in it
- missed more lecture than I ever will in the future
+ donated blood
+ started using Mac OSX
- played too much Super Mario Brothers (yes, the classic 8-bit orgasm of a game for NES)
+ tried Bubble Tea
+ started pledging for a fraternity
+ learned the quickest way to Anderson from Haggett (and it's not along the Ave)
+ found someone I might actually fall in love with


That's not nearly all of it because telling the whole tale would take me just as much time as it took me to live it. And "live it" I did. I'm looking forward to going back to UW next week. It will be like revisiting a dream - one that will come to a much better ending next quarter and give me many more positive things to write about. To me, UW is: freedom, a doorway to adulthood, an opportunity to find new friends and most importantly, a good education. And I won't let down the institution that means all that to me. Again, Merry Christmas and a Happy New year.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Due to popular request: An Update on the Life of your Favorite Superhero!

This was my latest note on Facebook:

Too Sleepy to Blog
3:48pm Thursday, Dec 14

Finals are over.
I'm home.

That's about all I can say
before I go crash.

I need my damned sleep.

Oh wow!! That was almost lyrical. Sounds like a poem even. Not like I care at the moment. Now where did they move my bed?! Once I find the thing, I am not going to leave it until I'm fully rested. Ah, sleep, sweet sleep. Here I come!

Notice that that entry was on the 14. It is now the 19th. I am still too sleepy to blog.

Good night.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I do, because superheroes need to get papers done too

In answer to questions posed in the last entry, superheroes can in fact be programming gurus - but only when they've got their papers finished. Damned things are killing me. I hope I can think of enough things to write (and fill up two more pages, double-spaced) before I fall flat on the keyboard. This weekend was exhausting to say the least. As much work as I'm putting into my classes right now, I'm just not going to make the grades I used to anymore. This is so wrong... There is one thing that I'm looking forward to: SNOW!! Apparently, we're getting quite a bit of snow tomorrow. Can't wait. If only I could get the paper done. I hate taking classes that require papers alongside classes that require all of your time and focus on learning technically challenging material. And T C 231 isn't the last of these kinds of classes I'll have to take. 333 will be a(n) . Argh!! I'm done stalling. Back to that paper!!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Who says a superhero can't be a programming guru?

Let's face it. In this day and age, being a superhero is just not enough. I mean, we don't even get paid for our "community service." How are we supposed to feed ourselves? -and our superfamilies? So, as you'd know if you've been reading this blog here, I'm at UW trying to become a computer engineer. And for the last 3 days, I've been working non-stop on programming assignments. Ask me anything right now - linked lists, stacks / queues, recursion, array programming...

I think it's just about time I hit the tree data structures. At this rate, I'll be a real programming guru in less than a year! Then I'll have superpowers beyond my weirdest dreams. Note usage of the adjective "weird" in place of "wild." In my wild dreams... oh, you don't even want to know. But in the weird dreams, I'm a Java/C++/Python/LISP/... magician.

Back to making those dreams a reality!

Friday, November 17, 2006

What happened to the person I used to be?

Lately, I've been asking myself "what happened to the person I used to be?" I've devoted every waking moment for the past few weeks trying to put an end to this trying part of my life. I keep lying to myself that motivation will come out of nowhere once I get back on track and start doing things right with my life. But it's been tough. I'm just not focused or motivated like I used to be and it's really upsetting me.

At one point, I just got so frustrated with myself that I decided to write down how I feel to sort out my thoughts and form a plan to get myself out of this. Here's the list of things about myself that I'd like to fix.
  • Why do I have to be such a perfectionist?
  • I lack the leadership skills to manage my own life. Why is that?
  • Why can I never focus on the task at hand?
  • Why do I always daydream and get nostalgic at the most inappropriate times?
  • Why haven't I been paying attention to the people that matter most in my life - my parents, my friends and my teachers?
  • What is it that I do with my time? I'm always busy but nothing ever gets finished.
  • Why don't I know what I'll be doing a week from now?
  • Why do I never finish things I start?
  • Why don't I keep a regular schedule and work out more?
They say (don't ask me who "they" are) that quite a bit of the things you say to yourself is negative. But I don't think that most people usually walk around utterly consumed by recurring, humiliating thoughts that seem to drain the life out of them.

I've been trying hard to find a cure for this within myself, but I think it's time to look on the outside. I've found a couple of good websites but they seem to be directed more at people who totally hate themselves (unlike me). Remember, as crappy as I feel, I'm still a superhero and we never let ourselves completely fall apart. Check out these links. They might help if you're trying to feel better about yourself too.

Although there seems to be no problem with my self-esteem and stuff, I'm just really disappointed with myself for not getting anything done. This is anger, not depression. I've done my homework on that :D Seems like everybody's saying "Fake it till you make it." Turns out that lying to yourself just might work. So, onward! For a better life! - and one more productive! Nobody is taking my future job away from me!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Success Is In My Blood

Several weeks ago, I donated blood for the first time. It's just one of those things that I did on an impulse. I saw one of those mobile blood donation centers right beside Paul Allen one day and I felt like doing something good. Back then, I was pretty out of shape. Having a lower red cell count for the time I started working out again felt like a good idea. The reasoning was similar to why athletes train at high altitudes - there's lower levels of oxygen going into your body and you need to learn to be really efficient with your movement. OK, it's also a little like blood doping, but I wasn't going to get my blood reinjected. Now for the real reason I brought up the topic.

For the longest time, I wanted to know what my blood type was. Thanks to the tests they perform on donated blood, I finally learned what mine was. The envelopes please... *drum roll*

I've got type A+ blood.

A+! You know what that means? That means that there's no way I can fail! Now that I know that success literally flows in my veins, I'm so fired up to face that math midterm this wednesday - and all my other to-do's. My life is kind of like that Captain Morgan commercial right now. Remember? "Got a little captain in you?" Replace "Captain" with A+!

Yes! I'm so full of myself right now. You would be too if you had a little A+ in you!

Brotha from Anotha Motha

Recently, I made a new friend named Longfei. Even though we've hung out for less than 10 hours, the guy's been like a brotha from anotha motha. It's like we've known each other since kindergarten. I've made awesome friends before (no offense Stephen, Josh, Dharani) but I've never met anybody who acts like my twin. We've got the same taste in movies, same passion for RTS games, same mad interest in fitness and same drive to beat one Rica at badminton.

It's interesting how all of the events in history have led to this. How else would a Chinese guy born and raised somewhere far away meet an Indian (who also happens to be from far away)? Then again, UW is pretty much like the Twilight Zone when it comes to things like this - some of my wildest dreams have come true on this amazing campus.

Alright, here's to my new bestest friend ever! You da man, Longfei! If only we were roommates... Damn that would be fun.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Movin' on along

As the end of the quarter approaches, the to-do list grows out of control. A great many things have been keeping your fav superhero busy lately.

Apart from the many new obligations of a college freshman / junior, I've got a midterm in calculus this wednesday and I'm trying to wrestle down this programming assignment from the depths of hell. But I'm winning this time. That miraculous upswing that I was hoping and praying for is finally here and I'm so charged. I'm going to beat down everything that stands between me and a good GPA this quarter!!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Unexpected and Unforeseen Sadness

Currently listening to: My Immortal from Fallen by Evanescence

This morning I was browing deviantART and I found something that really moved me to tears today. It was so random and unexpected. Go see the last note for yourself. Even though it was about a complete stranger, it really made me question what I'm doing with my life. When you love someone, just go ahead say it out loud. It might be your last chance... or their last chance to hear it.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Discovering New Music

Halloween was crazy. Well, that was irrelevant - and blatantly obvious. Actually, I'm going to have to say a lot of irrelevant things. But that seems to be the purpose of a blog.

Apart from my recent interest in Evanescence, POD, Fergie and Linkin Park, a lot of crazy things have happenned. Halloween was in fact wild. I invite the interested reader to guess why - and assume correctness.

I've been working out - that's become a usual part of my life now. In fact, I'm totally sore right now. Who knew a ~130 pounder like me could leg press 500lbs? For some reason, I love the sensation of being sore all over. endorphins!! *cough cough*

I've also been eating like I'm 12 years old again. I think I really am going to pack my Freshman 15 right into my very first quarter in college. But it'll be a good gain - due to increase in muscle mass! If I can just fix my sleep schedule, then I'd be truly happy.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Minor Update ( I'm busy bulking up )

It's a miracle that I actually made time for this. I've been so busy for the past week. The hard work I'm putting into my body is actually paying off. It's been 8 days since I've started working out after months of inactivity. The latest: 1 inch wider chest, 1/2 inch thicker biceps. And I've gained 6 pounds. Awesome!! Just... don't talk about water retention. Don't be a killjoy.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I'm finally back in the game

Dear friends, fans, strangers,

I've finally got my act together. The last 3 days have been incredibly productive. Celebrating that won't be nearly as fun until you have some background.

For the past few weeks, I've been trying to live out the childhood that I feel like I never had. For a while, all I did was eat junk food throughout the day and sit on my butt playing video games or watching movies. There were some "I-missed-class-to-veg-out" incidents, but hopefully that's not happenning again anytime soon. It's been 17 days since I started this madness and I can't take any more of it.

On friday I woke up with one thing on my mind:

public class HelloWorld{
public static void main(String[] args) {
System.out.println("Hello World");

It's... a simple Java program that spits out the message "Hello World" on the console.1 I was somehow inspired by that and since friday morning, I've gotten a lot done. Homework, email, sorting out junk in my room, finding funny shapes in clouds - all that. Perhaps most importantly, I caught up on sleep. "Hello World," here comes the new and improved Manju!2

1 In the programming world, the path to learning any new language begins at that example.

2 Wasn't there a show called "Boy Meets World"? Just warning you that this blog has nothing to do with that.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Generally joyful life

Just got back from a total body workout fit for a true superhero. I can feel all ~600 of those damned things right now. Thank goodness for Jones Green Apple Soda. That's stuff's been my newest obsession after Coca Cola's Full Throttle (Fury) and caffeine pills - not that I'm dependent on any of those things to keep me awake. Let me explain.

Lately, I've had this magical feeling that a young man gets about a certain, very lucky young woman. Only, I don't know who she is or whether it's even about a human being. Don't get any stupid ideas. You know what you were thinking. But I'm talking about a particular abstract personification of the University of Washington that took shape in my mind a while back.

I envision this incredible place as a vibrant, confident young woman just bursting with intelligence and charisma. Just being here is like being with the love of your life - the sense of time here is so distorted. Everything that makes up this institution - from the architecture of the buildings to the unbelievably lively student body - is perfect! There just happens to be no reason to go to sleep anymore. Although today's workout has certainly taken it's toll on me. I really think I'll sleep like a baby tonight. Good night, oh wonderful world.

Export more trippy, endorphin-high writing in the future. UW has made all my dreams come true and I hope to God that I will never forget the awesome memories I make here. I'm going to be so love-drunk for the entire time I'll be spending here.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Love - Definition 7

I have this feeling inside of me. I can't describe it properly using words even though I've been trying for years now. From what I understand about the world, this feeling is commonly referred to as "love." Sometimes, "nostalgia" seems like a more appropriate choice. It's the feeling that you get when you stare into a dewdrop on a blade of grass, or when you lie outside in a big open field, watching the stars on a clear night. It's like walking through a glamorous city like New York - alone, with nobody around. It's like standing on top of some misty mountain looking down on a still, clear lake. It's all of those things combined.

Whatever it is, there is no good way to describe it. I'm not much of an artist but I this is the best I could do to represent what I feel.
A full-sized version can be found in my deviantART gallery.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sleepless in Seattle

I have never watched the movie "Sleepless in Seattle," and this has nothing to do with it. But I thought the title would be appropriate for this post - because I'm sleepless in Seattle.

Ever since I've started my new life here at the University of Washington, sleep doesn't happen that often in my life anymore. It's not like I had a good amount of sleep each night before I came here, either. But for some reason, I can't get myself to sleep at a proper time ("proper," here, means before 12 AM). Last week was the worst yet.

I woke up at 5:30 on Friday morning on three hours of total sleep from the past 2 days. Then I went on a 4 mile walk + 2 mile run. Then the day went by as usual. I met up with friends at around 4 and went bowling. After dinner, we watched movies until about 1 in the morning. With nothing better to do, we stayed up talking until 3 in the morning when we all decided to go get some sleep - everyone except me. I walked around a bit - I love the world at night - and got back home at 5:30 on Saturday (yesterday) morning. The scary thing is that I felt completely awake. I knew that that wasn't right and I forced myself to sleep. But I was right back up at 10 in the morning. As much as I would have loved to sleep in the whole day, I was up until 1:30 last night.

I need to start keeping a sleep log or something. If I could only find out what's keeping me awake... I think the main reason I can't go to sleep on most days is due the feeling that the day was somehow "incomplete." But I do plenty of things each day - I'm a college student at one the best universities in the world! How could my day be "incomplete?" That reminds me of reason #2: "I'm too excited to go to sleep." It might sound a little childish, but there's some truth to that statement. I think Coca Cola's Full Throttle "energy drink" might also be to blame. Energy drinks usually have no effect on me (Red Bull actually puts me to sleep). But Full Throttle is different somehow. But I've only had 2 or 3 of those so far.

Whatever the reasons may be, the fact is that I'm "sleepless in Seattle." At this point, I'm worried about myself. Really, really worried. But I think writing down how I feel helps. I think I'll have better sleep tonight. Hopefully, I can do something productive today.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I've been wanting to blog for quite a while

To be honest, I never really had any interest in periodically updating a web page with everything that happens in my life. But lately, I've been thinking about keeping a journal of sorts. I mean, most people consider that to be a "girlish" thing to do. But there are some damn fine masculine blogs out there (sexual connotations not intended, of course). As I was saying, I've finally made up my mind about starting a blog. Obviously, you're reading the first post! I suppose that was today's minor detail. I'll throw in a bonus:

You might be wondering what an "AverageLife" is. Me too. I'm really not excited by the fact that blog titles are confined to a certian number of characters. Oh well, that limitation served a purpose. You've got your bonus. And I think I'm done for the night. Good night, oh wonderful world. Let tomorrow be another unique, refreshing day - just like today, and the day before that, and the day before the day before that.