So, I can't sleep, I have stuff I've been meaning to blog about, and it seems like as good a time as any to do this.

I haven't forgotten about this blog, by the way.  I've got some behind the scenes stuff that's in process for (hopefully) later this summer.

I'm pretty sure the dentist is the one doctor one can leave feeling worse than when one came in.  I don't have a problem with the profession, it's just that every dentist I've been to has been a smug asshole who despite my open admittance that I don't take as good a care of my teeth as they'd like, feels the need to lecture me for 5 minutes and ultimately make me feel like shit.  The problem with this is that in making me feel like this, they make me want to visit them even less frequently, meaning when I do go, I get lectured because things are worse making me not want to go.  Lather rinse repeat.  I'm glad I didn't drive myself to the visit--instead of making the two further appointments I need to deal with cavities I would have driven home under the pretense of needing to "check my availability".

Work continues to be awesome.  I'm happy with what I'm doing this summer.  For the last week or so, I've been working on a larger task that I've been slightly apprehensive about because it's a lot of responsibility, but I know the end results are going to be great and they're only going to benefit the company, so I'm pumped.  There's also the fact that Nick reminds me how awesome I am and how much of an impact I'm having, which only builds my morale.  The two times I've worked on a team with him (371 and now), I've really been inspired to follow his example of leadership when it comes to heading up a team, and I hope to keep what I've learned in mind as I go into this next year.

That said, we had a real asshole customer this last week.  While not entirely out of the question to expect an email from me relatively shortly following my receiving your request, it is presumptuous that when you email close to the end of day for both Nick or myself to assume you will receive a response within 8 hours, especially when you barely give me anything to work from requirements-wise.  Heads up, Guy Who Did This, you're a dick.  Fuck you, we didn't need your business anyways.  At least we discovered you were an asshole now instead of midway through the project.  Good Riddance.

Well, that's all for now.  Like I said, big things are happening behind the scenes.  See you next time.

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On the Run

Things are starting to fall into place, work- and other-wise.

I officially have a car now!  While I've had my license for a few years now, I haven't driven a lot, mostly due to the fact that I didn't have a car that was fully mine at home or at school.  I've been going off on errands by myself on at least an every other day basis since I've been home to re-acclimate myself and so I don't have the nervous feeling I've had the first few times it was just me in the car.  The small steps I'm taking will come in handy when I have to take the long drive at the end of August.  My car is old enough to have a tape deck as its only source of media input.  This is a problem, as all of my music is in CD/digital form.  Or at least was.  Thanks to the magic of eBay, I now have the coldplay discography, a couple ELO albums, and a KT tunstall album on cassette, along with a cassette tape adapter for my iPod.  Hooray for cheap tapes from Malaysia indeed.

Work's been a little slower these first two weeks, but Nick and I are still trying to figure out how much work to give me.  As it turns out, I need more than I've currently been given lately.  Thesefirst few weeks have been pretty impressive, though--I've created requirements documents for 4 clients, created a template for requirements and a guide to wordpress elements.  I'm feeling pretty accomplished already, and we're only a couple weeks into the summer.  Nick's a great boss and a great friend.  Here's hoping the rest of this job feels as enjoyable as these first few weeks have been.

While working for Nick is my primary source of income this summer, I've got a few sideprojects that are also bringing in the money.  I went through the collection of books I have at home, removing the ones which I haven't read in a while (and probably wouldn't read again) and put them up on Amazon along with a few textbooks I won't need again.  I wasn't expecting any of the textbooks to sell until August when everyone was heading back to school, but they're some of the first things that sold.  I'm floored by how well things have gone these two weeks (over 200 dollars so far), and it's psyched me up for attempting this with my friend's books that I was going to do this as well.  I sold a few things on eBay as well--all in all, this has gone extremely well.

The Ze Frank thing is still going, and one of my ideas has seemed to catch on -- 8 bit Mario Paint Composer competition.  If you see it later this summer, remember: it was my idea.  I've got a couple more videos from late-night downtime at the bottom of the post.  More Coldplay and for a change of pace, some Keane.

Well, I'm officially 21.  We'll see if this "drinking" thing ever happens--I'm mostly looking forward to being able to buy wine for cooking from Trader Joe's and going to Cold Drinks with Cool Profs in the fall over the actual drinking itself.  Which is perhaps how it should be.  For as much as I rail on David's juvenile proclivity for children's movies, I am somewhat of a hypocrite--I celebrated with family by going to see Pixar's "UP".  I argue this is different--for one, I wanted to choose something more family friendly (My mom was all for going to see The Hangover, but I didn't feel it was right for my sister to go--less about content and more about how I didn't get to see an R-rated movie until I was 16).  For another, there is a difference between seeing a Pixar movie the second weekend it's out and going to the first available showing of the freaking Veggie Tales movie IN THEATERS and being EXCITED about going.  Afterwards, there was awesome barbeque from a new place that opened 5 minutes from my house (will be checking them out again) and key lime pie for all (I don't do cake on my birthday, for the most part--we got a small one for my sister, who does not like key lime pie).  A good day.  My present was the car (and Rock Band 2, which I puchased for myself off of eBay so I can buy the Beatles edition this fall and not have to buy the instruments as well, awesome as they are).

Life is good right now.  Hopefully it stays this way.

All for now.

  • Current Music
    Never Forget You -- Noisettes

In a clear sign that having actual work to do will only be a benefit...

Lately I've been playing around with mario paint composer to pass the time last week and this weekend.  I've been working from sheet music to create fairly accurate versions of coldplay songs.  Here's what I've completed--two of them have gotten comments, one from all the way in the Netherlands.

I've stuck with lesser done tracks and b-side so that I'm not cluttering Youtube with more crap.  Here they are:

Sometimes We Start Over

...and go solo.

So, it's about time I update here.  A proper update, not the lists I've been condensing my thoughts to the past quarter.  I've been riding a fairly positive wave the last few months--things seem to be coming together.

Joining Twitter may have helped, somewhat.  Some of the first people I added were my friends Eric and Nick, as well as one of my favorite internet people (in terms of what he's done for collaborative projects), Ze Frank.  I also added a few Rose profs, but the important parts of the people I added were two of those first three.

I still hadn't gotten any offers from companies I had applied to for internships this summer.  I think it's because while I'm a good candidate, I'm not the best candidate for the positions I'm applying for.  Since at least March, I've had a plan B floating in the back of my head.  At times, it seemed like it might just be better (and possibly more fun) to go with it, I wanted to hold out for an actual internship on the off chance it was meant to be by waiting until May to line plan B up.

Even with a couple positively received applications (and follow-ups) near the end of April, I didn't hear anything back.  I started setting things in motion.  My friend (although I use the term loosely with him lately--there's a growing divide between us) SD's mom has been clearing out their stuff-filled home in preparation for a move to Michigan at some point in the future.  I had helped them appraise some books online over spring break (since SD's mom caught wind of my mom getting ~$300 for some of her nursing textbooks and somehow translated this as getting close to full price for all her non-textbooks) and sent her a message on Facebook offering to continue to do this as well as sell some of the nicer condition books on eBay for them.  After she agreed (and how could you not when offered someone willing to help with this) I decided to get a couple other things set up as well.

Nick had contacted me with a possible work opportunity during Winter quarter, but things fell through and nothing came of it.  I knew he was still interested in having me work for him, so I sent him a quick tweet seeing if I could be of service this summer.  I got a positive response, as well as some questions.  After sending answers by email (there are some things 140 characters are too few for), we set up a date to talk on the phone about further possibilities.  After discussing it and reaching an agreement, I had a definite summer job (and with two weeks of the quarter left).  That was a satisfying feeling--when someone asked what my summer plans were, I had an answer this time.  I was thrilled.

I didn't stop there, though, like I did last year with Mental Floss (I should've followed up on a couple part-time positions I applied for before getting the MF e-mail).  I was going to apply for a position with io9 last year, but at the time I was in PLC and didn't have the time to develop 3 writing samples.  This year, when the call rolled around, I had a portfolio to choose from, which made things easier.  The position is unpaid this year (and may have been last year--I'm not entirely sure), which was a little disappointing, but I didn't care at this point--I already had a paying gig, and this could be a way to stretch my more creative side.  I made the shortlist of candidates with my application (which, like last year's MF app, included something about awful movie The Apple--maybe that's my good luck charm?) and even got interviewed by phone a weekend ago by a Scotsman (really, the British spelling of Graeme and the last name of McMillan in the emails asking for a good time to call should have been a giveaway of a possible accent).  I haven't heard back yet (and I expect I will--after an initial mixup where I was sent a "sorry" and "congrats" email at the same time, it seems the candidate pool is small enough to email everyone), but I feel positively about how things went.  Whichever way things go, I'll be happy--I at least made an impression with my application.

update (5/31/09 9:46 pm): heard back, didn't get the position, but made an impression and may still get a recommendation for my resume out of all this.  Woo!

I still haven't mentioned where Ze Frank fits in with all this.  Well, to be honest, he didn't, initially.  Twitter was a convenient way of contacting Nick, but it was how I got an opportunity to work with Ze Frank.  Last summer he did something called Color Wars (that looked like a lot of fun), so when he sent out the call for designers/coders/brainstormers, I responded (expressing a preference more for design/brainstorming than programming for the purposes of Color Wars 09).  To my surprise, I got a response a couple days later promising a link.  I'm now helping to brainstorm activities for this year's edition.  We'll see what else comes of this.

It's looking to be an exciting summer.  Building my own internship is looking to be more fun than if I had gotten one of the many I applied for.  I'll talk more about Puzzlehunt (and the 6 foot trophy) and other stuff another night.  I need to get some sleep for now.
  • Current Music

(no subject)

So, as it turns out, it gets calm just before the storm hits again.  At some point I will tak about the remarkable streak of luck I've had lately (hopefully in some sort of detail), but for now, just take my word that it's a good time for me even though it's stressful right now.
  1. I now have a six foot tall trophy in my room from Skinnerfest.
  2. As it turns out, building your own "internship" is awesome.
  3. The end of project time cannot come sooner.  Especially PLC.
  4. I have a music review in the Thorn!  Link once it's up.
  5. Eurovision is even more crazy than The Apple made it out to be.  I'll be watching again next year for sure.
Here's the week's video clip/music stuffs:

All for now.

Saturday Night

I'm tired (mostly from my workload this past week) and feel like the radio show this week, a couple big things that happened, summer-wise, and formal deserve a full writeup rather than the list I usually put here.  I'll write things up/post pictures/etc. tomorrow.  In the interim, here's the opener from the show, a short, sweetly-voiced song filled with the vitriol of a relationship gone bad:

Light Through the Veins

So, as I've had a video/audio clip in my posts lately, here's this week's.  It's a B-Side from Coldplay's latest single (which is itself a B-side from Viva La Vida) called "The Goldrush".  It's definately a little rough in the beginning, but I really like where it goes for a short little ditty about mining.
  1. The perfect place to come into listening to someone else's argument after a long night: "You DON'T throw urine on someone!  It's not ok!"
  2. I have caved in and joined Twitter.  If I haven't added you already (a likely probability, as I'm still going through my contact list) and you want to follow me, my name on there is BenMSmith (I was surprised I got that one, but I think the combination of capitals worked in my favor)
  3. Despite some hesitations about a suitemate (which are disappearing the more I learn to deal with him), I'm really looking forward to living in the apartments next year.
  4. When you're a member of a group where you come from a different discipline than the rest of the group members, it would be nice if you didn't go completely against every suggestion the experienced member of the group makes.  I"m not saying I'm right on everything, but the constant challenging/bickering/swearing is not making a good impression on me.
  5. Mom's day was awesome.  Particularly getting BBQ the night before and having my uncle get to see why I love RHIT so much by visiting
  6. Roommate: Just because my family and I chose to just "hang out" and tour campus and do whatever rather than going to the planned events the school offered does like your family did not mean that I had any less fun of a time.
  7.  No matter how bad the projects get during the week, things will get resolved by the end of the week.  Mostly.
  8. Deflating the couch: fun.
Formal next weekend, so you know what that means: pictures!  and dressing up.  And possible walmart afterwards (because Walmart is somehow more fun when formally dressed in the wee morning hours)

all for now.
  • Current Music
    Jon Hopkins

Capture the Spirit

First, an awesome rendition of Radiohead's "Nude" by a variety of old electronics (and an array of hard drives):
  1. Editing the CSSE Newsletter looked to be easy until I got to the 1200-word article that didn't talk about its relation to RHIT until 2/3rds of the way in.  It is a beast I will need to continue to tame.
  2. A project group that I thought was going to be rough (and possibly a disaster) is slowly shaping up now that people are listening to the experience I have with writing documentation and developing media library systems.  Thanks for the encouraging words and compliments this week, Nick and Sriram--they kept me going when I didn't necessarily want to.
  3. My sister's presence on Facebook now means I have a greater awareness of how many inanimate objects have Facebook fan pages (Olive Garden breadsticks?  really?  I like them, but I don't want to be Facebook friends with them)
  4. Contemplating Twitter.  Not sure if I would use it, but I've been following a couple recently.
  5. My t-shirt design for WMHD got chosen!  Totally surprised by the reception it got.
  6. Internship search continues.  Additional 2 applications made this week (Atama Group and Meebo) will be followed up on next week, as I think they've got promise.  Gizmodo said they're looking for (blogging) interns for the summer soon--may follow that up when it gets posted)
  7. Pleasantly surprised by the movie "Happy-Go-Lucky".  4/5 stars.
  8. Hitchhiker's Guide TV series was perfect blend of funny and cheesy (Doctor Who has given me a particular affinity for the this-is-really-high-tech-for-the-time charm of 70s/80s TV special effects.).  Made me want to read the 2nd and 3rd books again.
  9. PLC: still amazed at how I'm doing.  Whatever switch finally clicked last term that's made putting in the effort feel (somehow) effortless continues to bring me success.
  10. Best parts of last night's show: "Mini Mountain Queen" reminding me of gnomes and the accidental death block (talking about particularly odd murder Dan read about on Yahoo!, then playing "Weapon of Choice", "A View to a Kill", and "To Lose My Life", realizing midway through the last one what we had done)
  11. Looking forward to Mom's weekend in a week.
all for now.

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