December 31, 2007

Macworld 2008 - Party On!

One of these years I will make the westerly pilgrimage to the Mecca of Mac - Macworld Expo. Unfortunately I always have school - this year the spring semester actually begins the same week. Bah! One of these years though...
This is the time of year when every tech enthusiast holds their breath just to see what will be face of computing in the coming year (and I am certainly not talking CES or E3 here, people). Oh, for those of you who are even slightly interested, in the last year Apple's stock has gone up more than $100. That's what I'm talking about! And the above video actually won a contest on the Your Mac Life podcast for a Platinum Pass to the expo.
Find more videos like this on Macworld Conference and Expo

December 27, 2007


So the USPS is part of the US government. Therefore I'm proposing that postage stamps should be acceptable legal tender in the USA. And given the nature of stamps, you could lick then and put them on pieces of paper. This would create bills of both odd value (i.e. the $2.34 dollar bill) and artistic. Personally, I'd get a kick out of mailing the IRS thousands of those 2 cent stamps when I came time for the annual government leeching. 

Username Guidelines

I am writing up these guidelines because I am fairly disturbed at the state of username etiquette on the WWW today...

1) The best usernames are real words or names.
2) Good usernames are like real words or names (i.e. hacker, license plate abbreviations).
3) Decent usernames contain significant numbers (i.e. a house number).
4) Horrible, awful, rotten, smelly-to-the-read usernames contain random numbers (i.e. numbers for the sake of creating an unused username).
Those are the guidelines - but you should treat them like rules!


Thanks to all those who gifted me for Christmas (the subset of people who ever liked me and who I haven't overly offended grows slimmer yearly). I got so great stuff, and even herbs and spices which I asked for so last minute!

December 16, 2007

The Infinity Intelligence Concept of Game Programming

I was helping someone code a Battleship computer game, and I came up with this:
The Infinity Intelligence Concept of Game Programming
When programming a game, one should design to allow both the player (RI) and computer player (AI) to be both infinitely intelligent and infinitely unintelligent. For example, the programmer should assume that both RI and AI are too stupid to know to place pieces on the board. Thus protections should be put in place to deny them the ability to place pieces off of the board. On the other hand, the programmer should also assume that the RI is a perfect players of the game. Thus the AI should be programmed, and allowed, to play as excellently as possible, so that they will be evenly matched. 
There is certainly room for expansion, but these basic guidelines should be adhered to.

Stocking Stuffers

If you still need something to get Chris you should think about getting him some basic herbs and spices. He just made pasta for the first time, and was very disappointed on how bland it was. He would love some oregano, garlic powder, and more!

December 12, 2007

Fun Finance & "Want" Existentialism

I really enjoy playing with money (that which I have), and this yields to some excellent diversification. I have a savings account, a checking account, a brokerage account (with various holdings), 2 CDs, an IRA (which is itself composed of many things), a PayPal account (which I turned into a money market fund), and various plastic. My latest fun is a blossoming refurb iPod resell-ship. 
I've found I really enjoy working this - the problems especially. Streamlining inventory workflows, dealing with the oddities of customers and suppliers. It is so much fun. I had to call up Apple because they shipped me the wrong thing. I wasn't even angry (a little annoyed, but not much). I was enjoying doing. Walking around my room, waiving gesturing wildly as I try to explain the situation to an sales rep - it's great.
Oh, and that Apple error has left me with a free Orange iPod Shuffle.
Now on to the existential.
So lately I've been toying with this theory: Everything one ever does is what one wants. That's not to say one does everything they want, just that every choice to every decision ever made has been the most desired choice. Even in the classic case of gun-to-the-head, the choice made between follow orders and live or disobey and die has been the choice most wanted. Think about it.

December 11, 2007


Do you ever wake up, or look at something, and suddenly you have a flashback? This morning I woke up and reminisced on the horrors of Power Pete (aka Mighty Mike). David will remember what I'm talking about.
And today I noticed one of my socks had grey stains on it. And It totally took me back to my tree, and Giant (F*ing) Panda Mountain.
Well, that's my journal-esque entry for today.
In other news, the CMU printing website now cites my work!

December 8, 2007

Semester Over (Almost)

So my first semester is done, with lectures at least - I've still got to take finals. Today is also Friday - which means I got 12+ hours of sleep Wednesday night, so that I can stay up till Friday morn doing homework. So Fridays are bad days.
I do crazy things without sleep - how 'bout you. Like today I ate a mini Reese's peanut butter cup - with the paper wrapper still on... Mmmmm
Today also marks the 3rd local water main break this fall. The one that took out all of Pittsburgh, then another one near our biggest dorn, and then today's - which caused a river right through the CMU campus

December 6, 2007


When Mac OS X Leopard came around it broke the software used ( by Pharos) to print to the CMU public printers. So Brandon Sherman and I developed a workaround (actually it was three workarounds, one in CUPS, one in UNIX, and one in the standard GUI). The steps to the GUI workaround, and a program I developed to automate these steps, were subsequently published to my website.
I then emailed CMU Computing Services to let them know of our work. For a month I received no substantial reply, so when I updated my program with additional features, I emailed them again. This is the email I got back:

Thank you for the information. Your prior solution was noted and passed on for consideration. However, because it involved a custom application that Cluster Services does not control, there are security concerns. A method not requiring a custom app would be preferred.

We have followed up with Pharos and have been informed that they had a working version for the beta but when the full release came out, this broke their code. They are working on a fix.

William Richter
Cluster Services Technical Coordinator
Cyert Hall, Carnegie Mellon University
Considering Pharos has had more than a month to fix their bugs, I'm pretty sure they should be considered unreliable anyway. I also didn't like the implication about my ethics, for although I can understand I certain amount of distrust (as I was later told is the case), I am a student who has put work into helping his peers, not an evil script kiddie.
But what really got my goat was that CMU Computer Services, as of today, posted a set of Leopard print setup instructions almost identical to our own! Check it out for yourself. Ours is at and their's is at No citation at all (though hopefully they'll fix it by the time you read it)! If I did that on a paper I'd be in serious trouble, so I'm taking no prisoners.
Writing this, I have just gotten out of talking with Mr. Righter, who claims he didn't put up the webpage, but he is going to pass my contact info on to someone who can talk to me. ARRRRG!

December 5, 2007

Picture Overload

It's been snowing for the last three days!
Every once and a while my phone runs out of space from all the pictures on it. Today is one of those days.
So here it seems CMU really does love us - They're getting the UC pool tables fixed up. No more banking off of invisible humps! And there's also this pic of one of my neighbors enjoying a phone conversation - upside-down. Plus a weird contraption that's been sitting in Wean Hall for a while.
Oh, news! Usually I don't like to laud my own accomplishments, but I'm in great mood cause I aced, as in got 100%, on my Principles of Computation term paper. It was about the history of codes and ciphers. I titled it "We Didn't Start to Cipher: There's always been coding since the world's been turning.".
And congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Smith - who have decided to stick with it!

November 30, 2007

Loving Life, Murder in Shirley(!), and More

I know I'm not truly self-sufficient, nor am I a great cook. But when you eat a meal that you just made, which you got yourself, and paid for with your own money, it tastes, and feels, damn good (even if it's just a salad).
So I'm sick, and I never knew how expensive meds can be! Uncool.
Guys and Dolls is being performed by CMU, and Joe I. gets a couple of free tickets. We went and it was pretty good. I've always loved the song "Sit Down, You're Rockin' The Boat", but I've never seen the whole show.
Murder in Shirley! (It's a game.) I tried out this social experiment yesterday where I essentially released a serial killer in my dorm (just read the rules). It was supposed to last for days - but ended within several hours. Arg. Humans! At least I had a really good turnout (18+ players out of ~40 residents). This time around we've fixed some rules, and the Murderer seems to be laying low (no kills yet).
So I've been told that I'm a pretty skinny guy, which I usually take to be a good thing (it's not like I have an eating disorder - though my mother might disagree). But I had the strangest conversation. I was taking with a group of female homo sapiens, and it went something like this...
They're talking about guys - and their weights.
One says she doesn't like thin guys.
I ask why not.
Her answer was something like, "If you're going out with a skinny guy, and he's thinner than you..."
The conversation died there. So correct me if I'm drawing the wrong conclusion, but girls can be too jealous to like me? That's a hoot.

November 29, 2007


I have not - to my recollection - worn a scarf (one of those big warm ones) in at least decade. This trend ended today. In celebration of such a monumental  event I have compiled a list of why scarves can be great:

They are:
cheaper than a coat

And can be used as:
a kite tail
a bandage
hand towel
strangulation device
And you can tie them together to escape from locked towers.

November 25, 2007

So how many libraries does your college have? (Update 1x)

One of the great things about having a really low readership is that you can lampoon people - and they won't even know it. (Hence this inside joke of a title.) Those on the inside may appreciate my first typoed title, "So how many colleges does your library have?". I think this question is just as pertinent. 

On a related note, these past days at home have been awesome. I have loved spending time with my Cherry Hill friends and family. But I can't help but hate it. Every time I have to wrench myself away from them sucks* in the extreme. Can I still measure the time I'll spend with these people in years? Or even months? Is it down to days or hours left in my life where I will actually be with these people? OK, time to deny...
Hey, I also heard a terrible rumor concerning my favorite pair of star-crossed lovers. Anyone able to give ma a factual status update?

Update: Aack - tis true :(
* I try not to curse on The Blog. So when I do, I mean it.

November 17, 2007

Some Excitement (Update x2)

So a group of us Shirley residents were celebrating the birthday of one of our own (Natasha). The party progressed to a game of Murder in the Dark in our lounge. For those who have played Mafia, it's sort of like a live action version of that, with the lights off (there is a murder who kills, and a detective who tries to figure out who the murderer is).
Not five minutes into round one, things come to an abrupt halt as Can (Turkish, pronounced "John") had been injured leaping from a sofa to a pool table (unsuccessfully). His chin and mouth were bleeding. I ran to get some medical tape, and the others got him to a bathroom. And then there was general confusion. As the most qualified person willing to do it, I inspected the wound.  It wasn't bleeding very badly, but I was surprised at how wide and deep it was. At the very least, it was going to need stitches. So I, for the first time ever, decreed an EMS summons (you practice it with jest - but actually doing it is so spooky). 
After cleaning and patching up his chin (luckily Lee had grabbed a med kit lickity-split), I realized he really shouldn't be up and got him lying down flat. Then CMU police showed up, followed shortly by EMS. Who subsequently went overboard (even beyond playing-it-safe). I can understand the backboard and neck brace (it was a head/neck injury after all), but the oxygen? Even the older EMS guy who showed up later thought it was too much. More cops, EMS, hullabaloo, and time later, they got him off to the hospital. I have to say that this was the best use of my first aid training ever (though it still wasn't that bad), and it freaked me out. Holes in bodies, blood; they just make me queasy. Part of me got him bandaged up just so that I didn't start feeling faint.
UPDATE 1: And now I just got a call from Natasha, who tells me that Can might have a concussion (he had told EMS of some slight head and neck pain), and that they are waiting on chin x-rays to come back.

Update 2: Can is fine - just some stitches.

November 14, 2007

I'd Like Tech Support for 500...

So every once in a while I have to call Apple tech support cause I get totally lost, and they are really good at what they do - if you can get to the "Product Specialist". Now usually I just ask for an immediate transfer, but sometimes I like to have some fun with the first tier people (who often aren't native English speakers). Like confusing them by listing all the complicated troubleshooting steps I've already taken. Then sometimes I like to play the psychic game. Every time the guy on the other starts to explain the next step I should take (usually already done) I interrupt him, explain how and what he wants me to do, and explain why that won't/didn't work.

Oh - hint to the masses (or only the mass since only one mass visits this site) - if you don't want to take your Mac to your local Apple Store for repair, every Apple warranty includes on-site repair. But you have to know to ask for it.

November 13, 2007


So I've found that I've been asking God easier and easier questions. I've gone from "What is the meaning of life?" to "Should I bring an umbrella with me?" to "Where should I eat lunch today?". * I figure that perhaps God is like a small child who has all the answers, but is afraid of getting the answer wrong. So if I keep asking simple questions, perhaps God will be brave enough to raise his hand and answer me. 

* Note to grammar nazis - I have used here the Munroe style of quotation which permits this multiple punctuation.

November 12, 2007

Funny things profs say and do...

So here are some fun things my professors have said:
After one calc lecture: "I just wrote about a thousand sec(x)'s and I am proud to say I think I only wrote sex once."
One the first day of my Principles of Computation class: "Does anyone here have a physical disability? Football players?" (Just didn't segue well, but I found it hilarious.)
Same class, a month later, we were learning about binary trees (data trees which can only have two children per node) and I would have sworn the prof was talking about the "right children and love children" of each node. Though I'm sure he must have been saying "left children."
Professor Rouse (from my marxist World Hist lecture) has a penchant for playing Monty Python clips. But one day he decided to act himself. He pulls up five of us and uses cookies and teddy bears to demonstrate communal communities. Then, donning a Burger King crown and a plastic sword, he climbed his desk and took over the communists as an invading monarch. Someone even got video:

November 8, 2007

Drama Design Minor - Here I Come

I've gotten permission to join the crew class! And as soon as I finish a drama class I can declare the minor. Weeeeee!

In other news, I got invited to an invitation-only Mac Specialist Interview Seminar - in Cherry Hill. Groan.

October 31, 2007


So I have a bunch a of pictures from the Leopard release event, and then when I installed. Plus one of the crew (as in rowing) team on the CMU Cut drumming up support (in the cold). One of Quinn being Quinn. And a pumpkin I made cause I was bored and was given a pumpkin. Then Optimus Prime in my calc class. Oh, and one last one of Kate (my sis) that I found while cleaning up my hard drive - she looks so different.

October 26, 2007


So its around an hour and 15 minutes until 6PM and the Shadyside Apple Store opens up for the Leopard release. It's raining, but I'm #6 in line! But it is so worth it. Hopefully I can get it for the $69 education price - if not I'll just get the free shirt and play around. Did I mention I'm on about an hour's sleep?

October 24, 2007

Now 19 & Vegetarian Food Evil?

So close to midnight last night I realized that I hadn't opened all my gifts yet. Subsequent opening revealed a lot of food (plus a bike pump and a 3D puzzle). This I like.
In unrelated food news, Entropy+, an expanded version of the CMU convenience store opened on the 24th. Someone pointed out the odd pricing on all the frozen vegetarian food (see the pictures).

T-Minus 1 Day to B-Day

Anyone who has spent time with my father knows he has these weird shakes in his hands whenever he tries to hold something (apparently from ODing on caffeine in college). I'm here today to tell you that this may be hereditary! All this time I've poke fun at him - and now I've got it.
I also had another 7:30 AM calc exam today. This = no fun. Especially when, with 15 minutes of exam time left, you're told that the problem you have been slaving over is being changed because it is impossible as-is.
In other news, it seems the poor lad pictured is being slowly eaten - head first - by a bean bag chair in Wean hall. Further investigation reveals that it is a Google branded bean bag. Perhaps this is the beginning of Google's attempt to index people, as well as everything else in the universe.
One last thing - go to The Vote here at Cast yours and tell everyone you know to do likewise. (Note, if you already voted as "other" then vote again - I had to remove that option.) The Vote is the result of a couple of conversations I've been in that have concluded that we can no longer rely on the US government to work for the people. That's the central US government - the executive, legislative, and judicial branches housed in Washington, DC. My opinion: there is just to much self-interest, corruption, and plain old stupidity (oh, and religion) in our nation's capital for things to work out.

Happy Birthday - to Me

And a very happy un-birthday to you!

It seems that as a very special favor to me, my class schedule is totally blank today! That's not to say I don't have tons of work to do - but at least I have all day to get it done. Plus, the Scrubs season starts today!
Oh, I've already opened all my cards, so thanks you Mom, Dad, Kate, and Shira (the iTMS card came). Packages are later tonight (and apparently there's another one waiting for me to pickup).
As a special treat to myself, I stayed up all night and wrote a program called Suckface. It scrapes Facebook profiles, parses them, and enters the data into Address (so you can quickly store a person's proper name, b-day, phone numbers, screen names, email addresses, and picture). Let me know if you want to give it a go.

October 22, 2007

Happy Birthday Shira!

I just want to take a moment and wish Shira B. a happy birthday! 

Happy 19th Shira! (You've got me by just 3 days.)

October 20, 2007


I don't know if it's because I'm in a city, or it's just Pittsburgh, but I've come across more blind people here than in the rest of my life combined (though that really isn't saying much). And they're amazing. I was riding the bus one day and this woman with a seeing eye dog was there. All she needed was someone to confirm what stop she was at. She seemed otherwise unhindered. And then today I was grocery shopping and a little old lady came up to me and asked if I knew where the baby carrots were. When I attempted to point them out she informed me that she was, in fact, blind. The only clue was a cane over in her shopping cart - no characteristic sunglasses, dog, etc, and she was looking right at me. I was stunned, and after apologizing brought her over to the carrots. My guess is that they must have switched location or something, and she didn't feel like groping all the produce. But other than that...

It's just awesome.

October 16, 2007

More Poetry

I've updated the Closet Poet page with Sweet Nothings Four through Seven. Why aren't all the Sweet nothings sweet nothings per se? Because they're part of a compilation (which I have the rest of my life to finish) called Sweet Nothings: Poetic Libations of Love, Lust, and Lament (a verbose alliteration of a working title, no?). 

October 14, 2007

In Transition Preview

So if you were wondering what this sitcom pilot is that I'm working on, maybe this will clear things up. (But I doubt it.)

October 13, 2007


In recognition that Coming Out Day was on the 11th I've decided to admit it:

Sometimes I think I'm a lesbian trapped in a man's body - I'm always attracted to women. ;)

October 10, 2007

Catch Up

So I haven't posted in a while. But I've been busy.
On Sunday I began work on a TV sitcom pilot. Some grad students have connections, so they're making a pilot to pitch to some studio(s). It's essentially a based-on-real-life college student comedy. For the time being I'm figuring out how things are going, so I don't have much to do outside of waving people away from our shoot. But I'll try to move up. 
I got started in it cause I'm a part of cmuTV (our campus TV group). I haven't really done anything for air yet, but I have been redesigning the website.
On a different note, my sister's birthday was Monday. So Happy 16th Kate!
Speaking of birthdays, mine is coming up in 15 days. I know what you're thinking; "What can I get this guy that will show that I care?" Well, if you do care, send me monetary contribution. And the next time I go grocery shopping, or get a haircut (I really need a haircut), or get new shoes (I'm contemplating these), I will think of you.
Oh, and I just got email indicating my heating will be turned on soon!

September 30, 2007


So I went to a frat party tonight. And the round trip was less than an hour. Here's the story . . . (for the record, I did not drink)

So I heard about this 80's dance party at one of the frats tonight, and, being an 80's maniac, I decided to go. And I ended up going alone - dressed to pop. This, as a non-pledge/member male, usually wouldn't work. But I am a wily sort of person, and managed to get in right away (I ran into a female acquaintance of mine along the way who was invited, and got me around the males waiting outside).
So the first thing I noticed was that everything was white. Then I noticed it was sweltering hot. And then I noticed it was really loud. After that I realized that my glasses had fogged. As soon as I wiped then off I regretted it - I could tell that the floor was covered in a not-so-fine layer of beverage (you know the kind), sweat, dirt, and . . . I don't want to think what else. 
To make a long story short - I tore it up. There were 3, maybe 4, of us secure enough to do more than that modern bounce and grind stuff. A short while later I was covered in sweat (as was everyone else - ugh) and, I'm pretty sure, in the beginning stages of heat stroke (the nature of these parties demands zero ventilation). So I busted out of there, made it to the cool air outdoors, and headed home in just my A-shirt. 
If I can't enjoy a frat party with good music, I can't enjoy a frat party at all (since the other attractions don't entice me). The end. 

September 24, 2007


So Apple stock hit an all-time high today - and I made off with $261.90. Yee-ha!

September 23, 2007

The Eye of Zeus

Erik D'Esterre and I started writing a short play last spring, but then we both got busy with other things (One-Acts I'd guess). Now I'm back on it, cause I needed to let my creative juices flow into something other than poetry. I've finished it - well, all the dialog that is. It still needs more scene setup, etc. (Oh, and at some point I turned it into a screenplay in my mind - still adaptable to stage though). 

So take a look at The Eye of Zeus. And don't forget to leave a comment - especially if it is negative (this is the constructive criticism phase).

September 21, 2007

This one goes out to the programmers...

So I was attempting to explain to someone how to determine if two values were equal (in Java). And this is what I said:

"equals equals equals equals"
Scarily, she understood me perfectly to mean "'==' is how you determine if something is equal."

September 17, 2007

What forms in my mind when I write poetry in a calc lecture. Is that corny or what?

BTW, assuming forever = ∞, this means that love is divergent, which in this case is good because it is ever increasing.

September 14, 2007

More Sweet Nothings

So the Closet Poet page has been updated with Sweet Nothings 4-7. Scroll down to read the new ones. 

You may also find they are not all sweet nothings, so to speak. That is because they are part of an anthology (I have te rest of my life to finish it) entitled Sweet Nothings: Poetic Libations of Love, Lust, and Lament (a verbose title - but I like it [Mmmm alliteration is tasty]).
And, please, leave your comments in this post on what you think - they are all works in progress.


So I'm in the middle of calc, running on about 2 hours sleep, and the prof writes "parabola" on the the board. Now my mind skips a beat, enters in some craziness, and suddenly I think that a parabola is a variety of snake. As in "I was almost eaten by a parabola," or "I was in the rain forest and had to fight off a hoard of slithering parabolas," or "who would win in a fight; and anaconda or a parabola?" You tell me...

September 10, 2007

Closet Poet

Check out the new Closet Poet section of

I was struck by the muse today and actually wrote a few of them in class. Some are a bit older however.

September 6, 2007


I found out today that the EBO bus would not take me towards campus. I sort of just hopped a bus going down 5th. As son as it diverted from the path I wanted, I yanked the stop cord, but the stupid driver just kept on going, and going (I definitely saw stops that it was marked to stop at). And going. I figured this would have to happen at some time, but I had been pretty lucky so far. 

After that initial moment of panic, I remembered I didn't have class for another 3 hours, so I'd be fine. But I ended up going really, really far.

September 4, 2007

Cease and Desist

So it seems Freeopardy is just too good. Sony wants me to take it down (click the image to see the whole thing). I'll be looking for some advise from people on campus, so I'll see what I can do to get it back up ASAP. One thing of note, it seems Sony reads my blog; there is no other way to have known I am an I.S. major at CMU!

Money Stuff

So it seems a flight home will cost me $400+ for Thanksgiving. Harumph. Train it is then. 

But on the brighter side it seems that because I live in housing off-campus, I qualify to switch to the Commuter meal plan. As a freshman I have to have a CMU dining plan. Right now I'm paying $3997 for the year to get 22 "block" meals at on-campus dining plus $78 for non-meal food purchases (this is every two weeks). The Commuter plan is only $1600 for the year, and I'd get 12 meal and $8 every two weeks. With what I have now I feel I have to "burn blocks" so that my money isn't wasted. The other way, I'd get to pay cash more often for my meals - which won't make me feel obligated to eat when I am not hungary. (Parents, chime in now.)
Also, as of this posting I am up around $210 in AAPL (Apple Inc. stock - I have 15, and it has gone up >$5 just today). Hopefully, This will go even higher after Apple's music event tomorrow.

September 3, 2007

Labor Day

Aptly named. Today is a homework, laundry, etc day. But this is not what this post is about. Nope, I just got a delightful package from home with pepperoni bread, apple cake, and more food goodness. All thanks to she-who-bore-and-raised-me. Thanks Mom!

No More 'Stachen

So I decided to get rid of it. And I like the way it looks. 
In other news today, I played squash. Lee, Zexi, and Joyner all play so I figured I might as well give it a go. Wasn't an awful experience either. Lee's friend-who's-a-girl, Maggie, is visiting (HS senior) so she's been hanging out with us. 
Last of all, note to self: Late Sunday strip district activity = 0. (We all found out the hard way ).
Edit: That is not a strip club district.

Blog Moving...

I've moved the blog over to blogger (so I can blog easier from anywhere). Plus, RSS should work better now. You will still be able to find it at the same place though.

Post One

Let's start off by saying my housing is great. It's called Shirley Apartments. I share an apartment with one other guy, and we have a living room, bedroom, kitchen, and private bathroom (with a tub/shower!). Plus some great people live there. The only thing is, we are furthest from campus (a fifteen minute walk made better by busses and shuttles). Oh, and there is no AC, so I carry a fan wherever I go.

Which reminds me, my roommate Eddie has an interesting method of coping with the heat. It only lasts for a short time, but apparently refrigerated clothes are very cool (pun intended). 
So it was an eventful week of orientation (fun things, boring things, info things, free things, etc). Luckily we all were given umbrellas, cause it rained the whole time. There was also Convocation, which was amusing cause each school gets up and cheers (the CS students did some robot dance, the arts claimed they were pretty every day, Tepper business students said we would all work for them in the end - all cleverly put into cheers of course). I knew I was in the the right place when my school got up and claimed we were more well-rounded than the others. 
And at the end of Orientation, housing groups band together to form teams to battle in House Wars. Points are awarded at stations where teams compete at watermelon passing, trivia, limbo, etc. Oakland housing didn't win - still fun though. 
So there was still a weekend left before classes and the upperclassmen started arriving. There are always games going on on the cut, so I joined a wicked game of dodgeball - with water balloons (side note - water balloons is two words, make it one word and spell-check wants it to be watermelons, which is an interesting concept in this context). Then I played some volleyball (and I play with these guys whenever I see them), and some soccer. I hadn't planned on playing, so I played in just my jeans (sandals and collared shirt off). Two guys had cleats, and some other guys had shoes, but I still wreaked havoc. I only decided to quit when my other foot started to bleed (the other one was scraped up earlier). So yeah, I played soccer till my feet bled!
CMU is a great place. Yesterday I got out of class and noticed every tree on the cut was covered in twine - it seems the archies (architecture majors) had a assignment to makes "spaces." Sometimes I'm walking around campus, and it strikes me just how happy I am. Then I feel guilty, cause I know my family is probably missing me (?) and I'm putting distance between my Cherry Hill friends, who seem to be having a worse time of it. 
We have had some fun since classes started. We've had a two-for one bomb scare (two buildings simultaneously threatened - it was fake). And a water main near Shirley broke yesterday, which took out the fresh water supply to most of Pittsburgh. So there was a run on the bottled water. And the school buildings lost AC and the ability to make coffee. Luckily it was repaired by around midnight, so I was able to shower (with absolutely no hot water). This morning I woke up, preped myself, and then got a message on my phone saying the water was perfectly fine, but just in case, I shouldn't drink it brush my teeth with it (oops, too late). Right now CMU is giving water away - bottles, and gallon jugs.
Oh, I got my new baby - a MacBook (with free printer and iPod - iPod now on eBay). As it turns out, it also has a bad battery (I don't know exactly what a cycle count is, but mine is 8, and it is supposed to be >300). It only lasts for a few hours. So Apple is sending me a new one (yay Apple). Speaking of my new computer, I retrofitted the briefcase Aunt Caro and Uncle Gordon sent me (thanks for the food too) with some styrofoam to make it perfect for protecting my precious. 
Speaking of food, I have this meal plan which gives me 22 meals and $78 of campus dining every two weeks. Since I'm usually don't eat breakfast, this is perfect. Plus, every two weeks I get to splurge on food with my remaining food money or else it disappears (no food rollover). 
Hmm, what else? I got this awesome Princess Bride poster (which anyone whose watched that movie can appreciate). 
Last, and by far most important (my parents will be hearing this for the first time), for the time being I've decided to stay an Information Systems major (my original plan was to switch to Computer Science). From what I've seen, I think it is just a better fit. 

Signing off for now,
Chris J. Shull