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Journal 1999-12

Current entries

1999-12-22, Wed (Day 110, temperature at 08:59: 21.8°C, difference: -0.9°C): This is the last day the residence halls are open so everyone who hasn’t left yet is leaving today.

1999-12-21, Tue (Day 109, temperature at 10:28: 22.7°C, difference: +0.4°C, RC5-64 rank: 49,925 [broke the 50,000 rank before break!], change: +638, total blocks tested: 29,890, overall rate: 829 KKeys/sec, odds of finding the key: 1 in 30,751): The e-mail is finally working again. It did break temporarily around 12:00 when I was trying to send a message but then it went up again. Messages queued over the past few days did not come in all at once or even in order.

I started working on the e-mail backlog until about 14:30 when the Ridley High School Class of 1999 reunion was being held in the north gym lobby. I stayed and talked with some graduates, picked up the latest issue of The Green Raider school newspaper, and got a copy of the Archive yearbook supplement. I went to the TV Studio next. The radio station, WRSD 94.9 FM, now runs 24 x 7 with the help of a custom built computer that plays wave files. The new high school construction now has cinders on the steel shell and the window openings are nice and large to let light in.

I continued with the e-mail backlog for the rest of the day.

1999-12-20, Mon (Day 108, temperature at 11:16: 22.3°C, difference: -0.1°C): The college seems to be having a computer meltdown problem. College e-mail is still down as of 11:17 and SCCS merlin mail apparently went down at some point too as their welcome message states, “Sorry about the delay in coming back up, everyone. Let’s just say that it’s a good thing we checked to see if it could reboot.” This is why I don’t see how shutting down all the computers before the rollover is going to reduce problems for those that have decided to do that if there are difficulties in getting the computers restarted.

While I was typing this entry today, the journal file filled up. Instead of starting a new file that would span across the year and semester, I thought it was a good time to transition to Word to write these files. Initially I typed these documents in SimpleText since it is a quick application to open in the morning and I processed these files for the web site with AppleWorks. Now that I have Word, I am using that for converting Phoenix Online files into HTML, so I decided for consistency I was going to use Word to convert the journal files as well. Also, instead of using SimpleText and Word to do the journal, it might be easier to just use Word. Also, I do not need to worry about the 32 K limit of SimpleText files which formed the breakpoints of the files this semester. Instead I’ll set the breakpoints by month.

I turned in my Ed 14 observation log before lunch in a slight drizzle, just like when I turned in the curriculum project. After lunch I worked on my E5 lab notebook, which I turned in slightly after 16:00, and this time it was raining harder, like before. I also made a rare trip to the bookstore to get assorted items that I didn’t have or was running out of like Scotch tape which almost caused a problem when putting the E5 notebook together.

I did more Y2K research, hopefully the last night of it while I’m at Swat. I also did some dream interpretation research.

1999-12-19, Sun (Day 107, temperature at 11:02: 22.4°C, difference: +0.2°C): I printed out the Ed 14 observation log so I can turn it in tomorrow. I tried to work on the E5 lab notebook but the Class Folders server wouldn’t treat correct passwords as valid. So I did more Y2K research.

1999-12-18, Sat (Day 106, temperature at 07:57: 22.2°C, difference: -0.4°C, [incomplete stats]): I dreamed this morning about Y2K even though I didn’t do any research about it yesterday. I woke up on 2000-01-01, Sat and even though the stock market wasn’t officially open today, there was still trading. Analysts predicted that the Y2K bug would make the Dow go down 28.80 points while in fact when I woke up before 12:00 I think, the market had already gone down about 230.00 points (from about 10,000) and a few minutes later it was down more than 300.00 points. The news on TV (which means the power and cable was on, which I asked about, but the reception was worse) was showing some sort of explosion in downtown L.A. that seemed not be related to Y2K but was being portrayed as some sort of Y2K induced breakdown.

With the Math 6B exam at 09:00 I was rushing to get dressed and go to Sharples and then go to DuPont for the exam. I got to DuPont just as the exam was going to begin, so I didn’t really get a choice of seats. To no surprise this last exam was the most difficult and I didn’t leave until close to 12:00. After lunch I worked on my Ed 14 observation log which before proofing came out to be 19 pages.

The college mail server (send, receive, ph) is still down and has been since Friday afternoon. I sent a message to the account from Excite and it didn’t bounce, so that probably means a backup server is holding the mail for the interim. As Elizabeth told me during lunch, this is not a good time for the server to go down during the end of finals week when people are going home.

1999-12-17, Fri (Day 105, temperature at 08:41: 22.6°C, difference: 0.0°C, RC5-64 rank: 50,917, change: +575, total blocks tested: 28,567, overall rate: 822 KKeys/sec, odds of finding the key: 1 in 32,522): Today in Sharples, lights were being installed in the big room for the large wall that is near the center of the building. I studied for my afternoon Physics 3 final in McCabe this morning. After dinner, I went back to McCabe to study for my Math 6B final tomorrow morning, which is my last final.

1999-12-16, Thu (Day 104, temperature at 09:39: 22.6°C, difference: +0.1°C): I finally got to eat the muffin for breakfast today since I got up at 09:00 for the Math 6B review at 10:00. During the review, students were paired and did review problems on the board.

I had lunch with Sara E. and Kellam. I slept again in the early afternoon and did more Y2K research. Today the research ran over so I didn’t finish it before dinner. At dinner today more lights have been installed in Sharples, this time a different kind that is high up in the ceiling in the middle room near the fireplace. Tonight there were instrumentalists in the center area near the active fireplace, which oddly enough has been started up today even though it’s not that cold.

I didn’t get to McCabe to study for the physics final until after 21:00. I later came back and went to bed, planning to get up early so I could study in the morning.

1999-12-15, Wed (Day 103, temperature at 07:30 [five hours is a big difference]: 22.5°C, difference: +0.3°C): I came to Sharples amidst a flurry of activity. The three noise reduction baffles that were in the roof for this semester and probably before were apparently good enough to cover the entire roof with. So now there are about 60 of these orange noise things in the big room of Sharples. The extra lights are fully around the edges in the big room and are in the corners in the smaller rooms, both of which were done over the past several days.

The Ed 14 exam was at 09:00 in the Education Materials Center (EMC). I filled up one blue book with essay writing as many others did and took up a few pages into a second book.

The afternoon was spent on the computer spending lots of time doing a few things. The college sent an e-mail this morning saying that before we leave, we need to unplug everything due to surges and to reduce the power restoration demand. I was just talking about this a few days ago in that motors and other always-on equipment places a strain on the grid since they can require six times the normal amount of energy to start up. So getting the power back on once it goes off is very difficult. The e-mail also gave this procedure to do to determine if we should come back to the campus or not. However every option depends on a working telephone system, which depends on electricity, which depends on the phones, and the electricity depends on oil, coal, natural gas, and uranium ….

I read more Y2K newsgroups posts this afternoon and found them to be quite amusing. One good chuckle was TSHTR [The Shit Hit The Roof] instead of TSHTF [Fan] for sewer backup explosions. It turns out those SCADA systems once again are the hidden Y2K problem and they are all over the place on water mains too besides power lines, regulating pressure and other factors. The best one though was the weather forecast of “Bright. One hundred percent chance of polly.”

I was going to do real work at night but instead I tried catching up on my e-mail backlog. I cleared up to and including 1999-12-05, Sun with the Eudora account. One person on my hall already left for break and another is leaving tomorrow.

In order to avoid taking a shower over the rollover into tomorrow, I sat in the quad with Susan and Sven and talked about past lives and other topics. After my shower, I sat in the quad and wrote down more thoughts although I came to a circular structure.

1999-12-14, Tue (Day 102, temperature at 12:07: 22.2°C, difference: -0.1°C, [incomplete stats]): I set my alarm to 07:00 and got up at 06:20 and reset my alarm to 09:00. I got up at 09:00 and went back to bed. I woke up at 09:40 for a Math 6B review at 10:00. I only had enough time to brush my teeth and bring a muffin and water with me. I was busy writing down the correct answers so I didn’t have enough time to eat my breakfast so lunch was breakfast for me today.

I napped for about an hour and then worked on the CS final project for the rest of the afternoon. I was working against the clock and I just turned it in on time, even though I had to jog from Mertz to Beardsley and then from Beardsley to Sproul. After dinner, I went to McCabe and studied for my Ed 14 final tomorrow morning.

1999-12-13, Mon (Day 101, temperature at 10:59: 22.3°C, difference: +0.5°C): As I walked to Pearson to give Eva my curriculum project it started to drizzle and after I left Sharples it was raining. I started working on CS but I soon couldn’t get much out of it (even with Jim’s help from last week) so I went to Parrish and checked my mail (I got the Ed 14 final to peruse before exam time). I then went to the Parlors and started writing down my thoughts again like I did on --12-08, Wed.

I got back to Mertz in the rain and worked on CS again. I slept for about an hour, woke up, and went to dinner. Afterwards, I did my Y2K research that took up the rest of the evening. I went to bed well before midnight.

1999-12-12, Sun (Day 100 [yay], temperature at 12:05: 21.8°C, difference: -0.2°C, RC5-64 rank: 51,765, change: +611, total blocks tested: 27,293, overall rate: 823 KKeys/sec, odds of finding the key: 1 in 31,711): I’m including RC5-64 stats information now since I have been working with this project for over 100 days (since 1999-09-01), my kick-ass iMac is faster than about 80% of the e-mail addresses I’m passing, I like to follow stats, and before I leave for the year I may have a ranking lower than 50,000 and have tested more than 30,000 blocks. I collected the stats information for today the day after today (in this case Monday morning). Blocks tested show up in the stats the next day if they are submitted before 19:00, which is 00:00 UTC.

Now that I look back upon it, I have a hard time remembering the early morning when I got up. After I ate brunch I dozed for an hour and then went to the Pearson EMC to work on my Ed 14 curriculum project. I stayed there until dinner, went back to the center for an extra hour, finished my source references so I didn’t have to go back again, and then went to The Phoenix staff meeting.

After the meeting, I went back to Mertz and tried upgrading my computer again after I sensed that Word macro viruses were taking residence on my hard drive. I managed to find one in a Word work file during installation of Virex 6, but after I installed the new version of Virex, the control panel caused a startup crash, so I turned the control panel off. I tried running the application itself and when it got to scanning “TechTool® 1.1.9.sea,” the application quit since it needed an update to work with the new file system. Netscape gave this message soon after installing OS 9, so the solution to that was to reinstall Netscape since I hadn’t installed it with the new OS. However, I just installed Virex onto OS 9, so that left me a little confused.

I ran Disk First Aid, and that found and fixed some custom icon problems. I then rebuilt the desktop with TechTool (ironically possibly the application that caused the problem in the first place). I started up with extensions off and ran Virex again. Same problem. I just decided that I didn’t have time to sort this mess out, so I finished my Ed 14 project. I finished writing around 23:00 and proofing at around 00:00. The minute before midnight, I heard screaming from the campus. Since it is the night before finals start, students around campus scream out their windows in what is known as a “primal scream.”

1999-12-11, Sat (Day 99, temperature at 11:28: 22.0°C, difference: +0.2°C): I got up later than usual and encountered several things that needed to be done soon: journal, wash, Phoenix Online, and lunch. The last item to finish was the wash which ended at about 16:00, late enough where the laundry room actually looked different since the sun swung over to the other side of the building to set for the day. In the interim, I worked on CS and the Ed 14 curriculum project, which consists of seven lessons about a topic.

After dinner, I went to LPAC Cinema for the last movie of the year from Movie Committee — “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.” I think there was too much computerization in the movie at a tradeoff with cheesy dialog leading to a confusing plot. In all the Star Wars movies I have seen, while I usually am not very interested in them, this one I found to be the least captivating. Also there was this one character that was a klutz and smart alec who just happened to be present throughout the whole movie, which I found to be highly annoying.

I got back from the movie and instead of going right to bed I stayed up anyway to chip at my e-mail backlog. The Eudora account hasn’t been read well since the end of --11-29, Mon, making the problem almost two weeks long. After two hours (web sites take time to get through) I managed to clear up to and including --12-01, Wed.

1999-12-10, Fri (Day 98, temperature at 08:04: 21.8°C, difference: +0.9°C, last day of classes): Work crews were installing another lighting type in Sharples today and by dinner, the big room was much brighter from these halogen style mini lamps placed on the rafters near the windows. Today also was my last day of observing at Swarthmore-Rutledge School (SRS).

The final issue of The Phoenix was today and I finished the news and opinions sections in about an hour and a half, which was better than the average of two hours. The Phoenix party was from 22:30 to 01:15 and I already missed the 19:30 showing of “Eyes Wide Shut,” so I added Vertigo-go which was in Mephisto’s (Willets lounge) at 21:30. At the Phoenix party, we watched “All the President’s Men” which was about the discovery of the Watergate break-in by two journalists.

1999-12-09, Thu (Day 97, temperature at 08:12: 20.9°C, difference: -0.7°C): I have this incredible desire to sleep as much as possible when I can, so I didn’t end up eating breakfast until closer to 09:00 and slept afterwards until it was time to go to class. Today was the last day of CS class and the sixth part of the assignment was handed out. Since the class is a PDC, a writing component was included in the final part. Some people were a little aghast at this requirement but it did make sense and seemed reasonable. Of course that adds to all of the other stuff I need to do this weekend, so useful or not, it’s another thing that needs to be done. I met with my SAM for probably the last time this semester and told him about the upcoming work.

I had lunch and then slept for two hours afterwards. I woke up and worked on my physics lab report and picked the printout up after dinner. After a Y2K research break (the news is growing more pessimistic daily) I went to McCabe to work on the physics problem set, the math problem set, and study for the math test tomorrow.

1999-12-08, Wed (Day 96, temperature at 08:34: 21.6°C, difference: -1.0°C): I had nine hours of sleep last night, but it was split in four and five hour blocks. My dream seemed to match my morning routine where I found a spider in the bathroom, needed to flush the toilet before using it, and then did the action of laying in my bed again after I woke up.

I went to the English Literature department office after physics to get clarification about the lottery process and then I went to Sharples. We received our pre-enrollment summaries today in the mail. Since I won the English 005a lottery and the course was printed on my summary, I just sign and turn in the paper to the Registrar.

The last Ed 14 class was today. Afterwards, I took a nap and woke up at 19:10. I skipped dinner due to the time and continued working on CS due tomorrow. At 21:30, I went to Parrish Parlors and wrote down my thoughts.

1999-12-07, Tue (Day 95, temperature at 08:22: 22.6°C, difference: +0.2°C, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day): I got up really tired. No surprise. I worked a 19-hour day yesterday and was working almost the entire day.

The E5 lecture ended early so that Tuesday’s lab section could finish the project. Lunch was minimized to give us maximum time to work on the rocket. One board was ready and three rockets were ready for the launch today. The board used the concept of touching a metal contact on liftoff to start collecting data. Heat would be applied to the thermocouple sensor wire after the rocket lands, which would release the data. However, even though we think the data was being collected since it worked correctly on the ground, it would not release the data when the rocket was launched.

We shot the rockets off on an abandoned airstrip on U.S. 322 near the Commodore Barry Bridge. As we went over the bridge, you could see the Swarthmore College water tower, Clothier, and the west side of Parrish from the bridge. The airfield in New Jersey looked like an “Arizona desert” as Kiyo called it. Despite the dryness there was a small patch of water that the rocket with the Domino and other electronics landed in, causing some alarm but the board was dry. The final launch landing was in this sand channel that reminds one of a floodgate.

I met Oliver during the field trip and had some good conversation with him as well as with Carlos.

I sat in the quad the rest of the afternoon.

1999-12-06, Mon (Day 94, temperature at 07:36: 22.4°C, difference: +0.5°C): Upon getting up it seemed like today would be much different than typical. I had a dream that I was in a dorm that was like Mertz but the layout was a little different and it was on top of the hill around where McCabe is. I walked around the third (top) floor and there was a section where the building areas connected but there was this fairly large gap in the ceiling that opened to the sky above. Under the opening was this couch like in the quad with some clothes draped over the back of the right seat in the line of the opening.

I turned right in my dream and walked south down the hall towards the Delaware River. I get to the end of the hall and this part of the building is just a steel frame with this poorly fastened cardboard flooring. Some people were at the end of the structure that had no walls and you could see to the power plant in Eddystone. This time it was on. The piece of cardboard that I was standing on was only fastened well in the center so it would pitch as I walked closer to the edges. I was told how unsafe this building was and that I could seriously hurt myself.

I checked the English 005a lottery results and I got in. I got to lunch at about 11:55 and I didn’t leave until 12:55 — a full hour. I sat down with Collin and Emily at first. Then Kai sat down and later Susan sat down. When Susan sat down, Collin and Emily left and later Andrew sat down. Matt sits down soon as well. Finally, Olivia and Deborah sit down. All the while I was still eating so I was at Sharples for what you could consider it to be three cycles. Near the end, Susan introduced the cup trick where you stack cups and blow at them and cause the higher cups to pop out. Kai tried doing it with eight cups or some ridiculous number and ran out of air. After blowing two cups, I tried doing it with three and I couldn’t stop laughing by now so I ran out of air and couldn’t do it.

In the afternoon, I did non-mission critical but important things such as organizing and repairing my notebook. I started working on the “What may happen due to Y2K?” document that I hung on my door before dinner. I used Word 98 to do this and it isn’t much harder than AppleWorks although Word can get confused and just unexpectedly quit on you. I walked up the hill to my Phoenix interview at 16:00 in Parrish Parlors West since portraits were being taken in East. Justin Kane and Nathan Ashby-Kuhlman were my interviewers.

Between 19:30 and 20:00, I went to McCabe and did the Ed 14 reading for the last week of class and really read the Meier book from last week. Since I was more intent on reading and understanding instead of getting out of the library in under two hours, I took more time than planned and got out of the library just before 00:00. I took notes and sent them to my study group and printed them out. I got that done by 01:00 and I got to bed by 02:00. I walked by McCabe when it was just closing at 01:00 and on the way back after it was closed. This time they had most of the lights off on every floor except the top while they usually turn the lights off on only the entrance level. This has a parallel to my dream since I could have been in McCabe and I was on the lighted floor.

1999-12-05, Sun (Day 93, temperature at 10:40: 21.9°C, difference: +0.1°C): Today was mostly spent working on part four of the CS final project; I verified part three early this afternoon before moving on to part four.

The concert today, which my roommate Luke was in, was good. The pieces were really long too, almost like the length of the songs played at the Barefoot Formal early this semester. The other interesting thing was how the music allowed my mind to wander and envision with such clarity.

I got back to Mertz at sunset and continued with the CS. Part four was two-thirds complete around dinner, but after dinner the final third with the implementation of ‘cond’ took much longer because of bugs that were hard to detect but could cause problems. I registered Tex-Edit Plus after I finished my work and then I added a Y2K prediction page to the site.

1999-12-04, Sat (Day 92, temperature at 10:08: 21.8°C, difference: +0.4°C): I updated The Phoenix Online front page and then uploaded the site at about 16:00.

I also started using All with the color safe bleach included today. This detergent has a fragrance to it and I think it or the clothes that were piled in the laundry room smelled like an oil refinery on a semi-bad day.

Around dinner, I was working on getting the most recent journal file online. I went to “The Thin Red Line,” which was a war movie about love, in LPAC Cinema. Now I know why most of the movies this semester were in DuPont since this movie was much longer than two hours (it actually ran into the second showtime) so there were lots of reels to load. I think every switchover except possibly the first one got screwed up somehow. However, it wasn’t as bad as “Waking Ned Devine,” also shown in LPAC.

I got back to Mertz at about 22:30. I finished up the journal file for the site and made some other changes. I also added a bunch of Swat links to my page.

1999-12-03, Fri (Day 91, temperature at 07:50: 21.4°C, difference: +0.2°C): While my dreams recently haven’t been too vivid, I do remember that I was in this common room with classrooms around it. Ms. Greene was talking about how she read the essays our class turned in but she hasn’t assigned grades yet. Later, I was in this room that was kind of like a gateway to the dorms of Swarthmore College. I think I have been here before. The sign that takes you to Wharton, Mertz, and one other dorm was broken so it was difficult to tell what door to go through unless if you knew or figured it out. However, I couldn’t go back to my room since the section of Mertz that I was in (number-number) was being used for a birthday party. I said this happened during spec weekend too and it takes about 45 minutes to clear. However nothing like this happened during spec weekend.

The third physics test was today. I observed at Swarthmore-Rutledge School this afternoon and when I got back I grabbed a Phoenix although I first got something that looked like The Phoenix but was called The Poenis. The Poenis was a spoof of The Phoenix that Spike magazine put out. This was the first week after the Mac OS 9 installation that I was putting the online edition together. I used MS Word 98 to convert the Word copy edit files into HTML. That should have made the process faster, but I ended up falling 45 minutes behind for the first section, which was the time I quoted in my dream today.

After dinner I finished the second section. This week I am to put together the front page and upload the site to the phoenix directory. These last two items I will complete tomorrow. I also saw the movie “Smoke Signals,” which was about Native Americans and their family troubles. I came back to Mertz and there was a party in the first floor lounge.

1999-12-02, Thu (Day 90, temperature at 07:57: 21.2°C, difference: 0.0°C): After CS, I met with my SAM and went over part of the last exam. I redid the box pointer problems and the trace-throughs that had the filter procedure. In the afternoon, I worked on math due tomorrow and then I worked on the CS that should have been done today. I was able to get it working with Jim’s help after dinner. I studied for the physics test tomorrow in McCabe this night. After 21:00, I went over to Mark’s office and had some of the physics questions I had with the practice problems for the exam answered.

When I got back from DuPont, I hung up the icicle lights in the quad. I put up the lights so that people in the quad can see them, people down the hall can see them, and people walking down the pathway to Mertz can see them.

1999-12-01, Wed (Day 89, temperature at 08:40: 21.2°C, difference: +0.8°C): I went to lunch at 11:30 with Kai, who just happened to be leaving Parrish at the right time since Nautilus class is over. We otherwise would not have met before lunch. Kai and I then went to the library so I could do my Ed 14 reading that was for today’s class.

I got back to Mertz and did more Y2K research. There was a disturbance yesterday night in Seattle when protesters turned violent at the opening of the WTO (World Trade Organization) conference. The National Guard had to be called in after the police were unable to quell the protesters.

Dad dropped off some holiday lights that I will hang up soon. After dinner, I worked on the CS due tomorrow. I got everything done except the last part.

Journal 1999-11

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