Christopher Schmidt's Journal
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A bunch of webcam shots from a while ago. Random shots. Will resize and edit post, currently all images are at 640x480 (about 300k total). This one is my favorite though :)
Fairly live webcam (but still designed for dialup users) is availble at http://peanut.sytes.net/webcam.htm . I'm not always there, but when I am... well, that's where I am :) Feel free to comment.
( BIG images! )
That afternoon was a wild adventure in the experiment of insanity. From the topics of oil ball to ground beef, our troubles fivesome was met with insanity across the board. It was different for me, though. In the past, I hadn't even learned the names of the people on my name - they all just kind of blended together. This time, though, I made sure I knew who was who. The reason for this was I wanted to learn her name. The girl who had so greatly amazed me with her commentary on the interesting properties of Pi day with her response, "Pie!!" I had said I would never again look at her the same, and this was true - after learning her name, everything changed. From that day forward, I would never look at Sarah the same way again.
My reverie was inturrupted by her friend, Tara. I realized on this afternoon why I had never been able to remember their names before - much too similar. Tara and Sarah were best friends who had spent the past 3 years in almost constant companionship, and it was clear by the sheer number of inside jokes they had that these years were well spent. Sarah and Tara were almost inseperable.
"Pizza power!" Tara shouted insanely.
"What?" I questioned, confused by her sudden outburst.
"Well, we need solutions to the world energy crisis, right? Pizza Power is the answer! Just convert all engines to accept pizza or pizza sauce as a fuel, and we won't have any more problems with running out of oil. With all the leftover oil, we could probably even play oil ball!" she exclaimed excitedly.
Too mentally drained to point out the numerous flaws in her logic and reasoning of the situation, I passed her a piece of paper and instructed her to write out her ideas.
"But I don't know how," she replied.
"That's okay," returned Sarah. "Neither do I, and I've written half our solutions!"
Once again, I cursed my lack of an experienced team. In the past, I had always been working with team members who had more experience than I. This recent development of lower placed team members than I was confusing to me. I had no idea what to do to fix the situation, and I never had considered myself a very good teacher.
"Oh never mind," answered our fourth team member. Hannah, a genius on par with the greats of the past, had never been one who was good at dealing with the pressure of having to teach persons who were not as good at something as she was, as she was rather a hermit or recluse. However, she was also never good at letting someone get away with anything less than the absolute best possible. In most cases, that meant that she did it herself. This was no exception.
"I'll do it," she continued. "We don't need any more poorly written drivel going into this problem."
"Hannah... You do realize that all we have right now is poorly written drivel, don't you?" I questioned.
The look on her face distorted into that of a very confused person. "Well, I suppose that's true..."
"Then I would suggest you not discount the work of our team members so quickly," I replied. Hannah's insufferable attitude was wearing on me after 45 minutes in constant contact with her. She, like many people as smart as she is, was rather difficult to spend time with.
From that point on, my opinion of her greatly changed. Never again, would she be the same person in my mind. She had entered the category of the greats. She was one of the masters of mental prowess. Never before and never again would I meet someone of such mental aptitude in the same manner.
The next day was a Friday. Fridays are an important day for many reasons, but this one was even more important than most. I was a member of Future Problem Solvers at the time. Future Problem Solvers is an extra curricular at our school which is designed to encourage rational thinking in all shapes and forms. On this particular Friday, we had a practice test to prepare us for the state competition that was rapidly approaching. FPS problems are a 2 hour ordeal which theoretically involves brainstorming, creating, evaluating and all the other necessary critical thinking skills. In reality, however, the creation of a solution to an FPS problem takes much less real thinking and way more random craziness. To our benefit, our team had several members who were good at being crazy, as well as some people who were actually serious about the club.
People always say you should start at the beginning. Personally, I've never really understood that. Beginnings are generally boring. Hooray, plot setup and character development! Why not just provide an outline at the beginning of the book, and skip right to the middle? It seems like that would be so much easier than doing all that crappy development work that you're forced to when writing a novel. Who cares if Jane's father left her when she was 3 and she got a new dad when she was 7 who she hates and therefore is always looking for a paternal figure in her life? What the Hell does that affect the story?
The answer is that without these little facts, there can be large parts of the story which don't make sense to the reader. I tried to write this book starting from the middle, with just an outline of what happened earlier. Unfortunately, the editors ripped me a new one for it - they said that no one could understand anything about why stuff was going on. It would always be questioned, they said, no one would ever really believe. I had to explain why people acted the way they did.
To me, this seems like a kind of silly idea. Why did people act the way they did? How should I know? I've never been a psychologist, I've never even been to a psychologist! How can I know what other people are thinking? As I said though, I don't control the writing of this book - the people who are trying to make money off of it do. So, I just have to write what they want, and that is plot and character development. I don't see any reason right now to discuss what I'm going to write about right now. I'll begin, where they tell me to begin - with development. Oh, and just so you know, I may break in occasionally and drop a hint or clue as to what's going on, in case it seems really incomprehensible. There are some scenes here which I'm not in, and it might be kind of hard to understand. I can't tell you about every inside joke, every thought these people are having, right at the start. So, I'll just drop them in as little side notes throughout.
I didn't really expect anything to happen today. Sure, it was "Pi Day", and as a math geek, I understood the implications of this fact. However, since very few other people are self-proclaimed math geeks, I didn't really expect much to happen. Had I known then what I know now? Well, I won't foreshadow. That's just a crappy overused writing device that never really moves the story along.
So it was Pi day. For those of you who aren't math geeks, Pi day is March 14th. Since the decimal representation of Pi is 3.14159?., 3-14 is the best day they could pick to call Pi day. By a similar idea, 10-23 is also Mol day, if you're a chemistry geek instead of a math geek.
School really didn't proceed much more interestingly than it always had in the past. Pi day means nothing to most people. It's not a day for giving presents, for celebration, for anything of the nature which would indicate what the day truly is - a statement of the utter brilliance of mankind. Who would expect that human beings, in all their infinite stupidity, would be able to determine the ratio of a circle's circumference to it's diameter to so many billions of decimal places? Who would have guessed that these people would be able to tell me, that if I have tire of radius 12, its circumference is 24 times this magical, meaningful number, pi. This was a time for celebration! This was a time to state to the whole world that not all people are complete and utter morons! There are a few bright souls left in the deserted wastelands of the mental playing field that is home to so many!
No one really saw it the way I did, I guess. I really did feel that Pi was an accomplishment. However, I lived alone in this fact, separated from the world. I went home that day, and got online in an attempt to spread the joy of the knowledge of Pi and the day which had been devoted to it to those underlings who had not yet learned of its pleasures. Many were merely not prepared to being presented with so strong a mental idea at this early point in their lives. As I was only a senior in high school, I knew very few people who could comprehend the full implications of Pi. However, in my quest to educate the public, I stumbled upon one of my friends whose words were almost as prolific as mine. In response to my simple statement of the fact that it was Pi day, a day to celebrate all things pi, her response was: "Pie!!"
And thus began the story that would last a lifetime. Or at least a couple pages.
As one might imagine, I was rather confused by this statement. Pie? Had I said something about Pie and forgotten about it? I was talking about a representation of a mathematical idea, while she was talking about food. Circular food in this case - a circular type of food which so many people nationwide enjoy daily. The more I considered her astounding revelation, the more amazed I was. There I was, considering myself in high superiority over most of the beings wandering the barren wasteland of the mental playing field. Suddenly and without warning, a person I had never seen before walked up next to me as an equal on my playing field. With one word, "Pie!!", she was able to destroy years of superiority over the rest of the human race. Never again would I look at her the same. She had taken a simple mathematical idea and expounded upon it until it was not just a simple idea, but a social commentary upon the people of this planet.
I decided right then and there that this was not the one I should let get away. Many had come and gone in my life before this one, many had stepped into and played a short role in many factors of my life. No longer. With the discovery of an equal on my playing field which allowed me to share my intelligence, rather than inhibiting it, I had finally found the one person who I could imagine spending time with. It was her. The highest of the high. The girl of my dreams, some would say. I can not say that I ever dreamed of her, but I always did dream of someone like her. I had finally found that one person I had always been looking for.
At this point in time, I decided I should recall who I was speaking to. I spend a lot of my time online, and as such I have collected a large number of random people to whom I talk online. From people I've met in communities to people in real life, in every walk of every category you might be able to think of, I had people I talked to. As I drew my gaze over the screen name of the person to whom I was speaking, I realized what had just happened. The person who had made the most profound statement I had ever heard, the largest ideological jump I had ever seen, was younger than I. Not only younger, but by three years. This person who had just changed my way of thinking was that crazy, giggly, nutty freshman I had met at the beginning of the year in some club and vowed to never speak to again.
The start is always the worst, getting those first words down on paper, and just getting it out there. However, it needs to be done, and thus begins an adventure in the world of sharing with others. I've always wondered what it would be like to tell my story to the world. However, I never really had the guts to tell anyone. I'd always just kind of mosey through life, hoping that people wouldn't notice me, and that I would be understood as well as could be expected without ever sharing what I was really thinking or what made me think that way. Never in my life have I told a soul why I think the way I do. Never in my life have I just let it all hang out. I'm a very private person, and I planned to stay that way forever.
She changed me. She really did. I never would have expected it, really. She was just some girl way back when. She was some female I saw and that didn't matter to me any more than anyone else. I always told myself I'd never change for anyone: not for a girl, not for parents, teachers, or anyone else. Apparently I was wrong. I was also never very good at keeping promises - to myself or anyone else.
That, however, is not yet the point. The point is that I am here to tell you a story. A story of the past, and of the future. Of the present, and of all the present times yet to come. I don't expect anyone to really claim this to be a classic piece of literature, but then again, I doubt that anyone really does when they start. You just start to write, and out it flows. Whatever comes, comes. And there's nothing anyone can do to stop the flow of words once it really gets going.
This is my story. You can love it, you can hate it, you can read it or not. I really don't care. It isn't my problem selling copies - that is the problem of the publisher and all those other people who make money charging people way too much money for some paper with a binding. My job is to write, to share. This is my story, this is my sharing, and you can think what you'd like.
This has become my nanawrimo journal and will remain that way. please do not view it as a personal journal, as it is no longer such.
Good Morning World!
Just thougt I'd drop by, and create yet another place to find me on the web.
For those of you who don't know me, my name is Christopher Robert Schmidt. I'm a computer science major at the University of Illinois. I'm dealing with a lot of new experiences right now - my first relationship has recently gone long distance (because i'm at college) and I'm trying to work my way through that... My roomate is deaf, and that's a new thing to me too. I'm finally learning that there are people smarter than me, which I never really saw in high school. I've got class soon, and I'm going to check out a few more blurty features before I go, but I just figured I would say hi.