Yesterday (well, since I’m writing this post a little past midnight I should say two days ago) I landed in Pheonix, Arizona and the following morning my family (3) plus my mom’s friend and her two sons (+3=6) went on the first leg of our road trip across the Southwestern United States.

Leg 1 | August 6, 2016: Pheonix, Arizona > Grand Canyon West Rim

The car ride that should have taken four hours took more like six hours because of some stops along the way for lunch and supplies. Eventually, around four in the afternoon, we finally saw some semblance of the Grand Canyon (although it wasn’t yet).

Finally, after a lot of twists and turns, we got there. The six of us paid a total of around \$400 for entry, we boarded a bus, went on the skywalk (where we weren’t allowed to bring our cameras), got our photos taken very haphazardly by a “pro,” got our pictures back and all of them were shit, and walked out of the skywalk with quizzical, slightly disappointed looks on our faces. But the views were amazing. Off to the side were places where you could take some more daring photos, if you were brave enough to risk not falling off the cliffs to a painful death.

The clouds overhead were pretty and gave a unique feel to these shots that I’m sure were taken thousands of times from these exact angles every year.

The view was exhilarating. I wanted so desperately to be one of the black crows (more on that later) and just fly out into the natural sculpture of meandering river and be free. I wanted to be as close to the ledge as possible without actually being stupid, which prompted the following shot:

I’ll end this post here and start a new one because I don’t want to make these too long, but coming up: hunting for some crows and random close-ups of cacti.

PHOTOGRAPHY IS FUN!!

I am a double agent (kind of)

Subtitle: I have so many things I want to do with my life and there’s no time to do any of them in time because I’m leaving for college in less than a month.

Why the title? I’ve been looking for a good proofwriting course that is pretty easy to get into so that I could have an easier time learning some higher-level math courses if the time comes. That search is finally over thanks to many of my friends that decided to go to Caltech instead of MIT (I will miss them so much and it makes me a little sad every time I think about it). Caltech’s curriculum is theoretical from the start, and it shows since they have an into math class that freshmen can take over the summer called Math 0.

The full class apparently comes equipped with video lectures and the ability to send assignments to graders that give super helpful, detailed replies and annotations. But I was only able to get my hands on the PDF notes and problems, which honestly is more than enough seeing as I’m having a lot of fun figuring out the problems on my own and I’m halfway done. If anyone’s interested in the PDFs, Caltech or some administration would probably shoot me, so just give me a private message or email me (found in my About page).

So another thing that I’ve really put off but I really want to do is review 18.02, something I touched on last blog post. Denis Auroux is honestly such a wonderful human being and I love listening to his lectures and his amazing accent and his perfect handwriting and speed-erasing. I’m really sad he’s not at MIT anymore (he teaches at Berkeley now). ASEing out of 18.02, a.k.a. getting full credit for it after passing an equivalent final exam, would mean I could pursue math a semester early like differential equations or linear algebra instead of reviewing what I already know (or maybe even take an introductory engineering course or other elective). I’ve gone through most of 18.02’s material once, and I took a course on the differential half of multivariable calculus last summer, so I’m hoping I can just pass by winging it at this point.

Other weird things that I committed myself to:  a real estate salesperson license. It shouldn’t be that hard, just a lot of time to learn the material so I can pass the exam. And I have to slog through a 75 hour timed course online before I take that. The good thing is I technically have until December until the online course times out, so I’ll be doing that when I have truly reached the pinnacle of boredom.

Speaking of boredom, some other goals and activities I’ve been trying to do when I have free time this summer: get a 99 on Oldschool. I have no idea why I started playing again (I checked in-game that I first made my account over ten years ago) but one thing led to another and me and three other school friends memed our way back into Gielinor. I’m talking we would Skype almost all day for a period of several weeks just grinding out the early game, fueled by our desire to simply keep up with each other. Now there is much less unity, but me and my very close friend still play from time to time. Since I’m at 87 fletching right now and it’s profitable (if only by a small amount) to fletch magic longbows until 99, I’m just going to string those anytime I have a few minutes of free time. Those minutes add up.

Another videogame-related activity that I seem to have lost all desire for: League. The only time I play is usually very late at night if friends are on. When I get to college, I’m assuming that I will get my ass handed to me with all the coursework, so that coupled with the fact that the game doesn’t really appeal to me much anymore means that I’ve weaned myself off pretty effectively. It’s still fun to watch LCS, though, don’t get me wrong. (Congrats to Doublelift for getting 1000 season kills!)

And finally, I got a DSLR. My first one, actually; it’s the Canon Rebel T6i. I literally just got it and haven’t even read the manual yet, and I’ve just taken a couple practice shots, but I feel like I’m already starting to fall in love. That coupled with two new whiteboards that I bought (a smaller one for my house and a huge one for my dorm room) would probably make for a revitalization in Youtube videos.

And I also want to learn Java further, but at this point when I finally get to doing that I’ll probably be learning it for my major anyway.

THERE’S NEVER ENOUGH TIME.

Okay, I’m going to end this blog post here because I really want to tackle this Math 0 problem: Let $a,b\in\textbf{R}$. Show that if $a+b$ is rational, then $a$ is irrational or $b$ is rational.

Transitional

Hello referentially nonexistent audience/readership. Haven’t blogged in a while.

The reason for this has been a number of things; firstly, and perhaps most importantly, I’d been slacking a little bit. If I put in a bit more effort I would certainly have been inspired to write more.

But life took me on a couple twists and turns.

While redacting some personal events, I’ll update you with some of the tangibles first: I comMITed and am now MIT ’20! I’m not very sure on what I’ll major in. Freshmen can’t even declare a major until the end of their freshman year anyways. I’m thinking of three possible choices: 6-2, 2-A with 6, or 18C. All three curriculums have a comp sci component while also focusing on another concentration (electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and math respectively). If I do 6-2 or 2-A with 6, I might see if I can minor or concentrate in math depending on how the course loads are.

Then I graduated high school, did prom, and all that. These events were significant but a lot less significant than I perceived at the time. The ‘magic’ of graduating or going to prom really wasn’t there for a number of reasons. But it was certainly something. A bunch of speeches, sweltering hot weather, fidgeting with my mortarboard, then walking up and receiving my diploma and that was that. I graduated. Weird.

I’m working in New York City for the summer sitting behind a receptionist’s desk at one of my extended family members’ dental practice. I’m not the only one behind the desk; I’m just helping the main receptionist, which is good, because there are still so many things that I don’t know and never will know. But I’ve been doing some cute projects on my own. I learned some javascript on the fly (which is different from Java, the language I know best, but not that hard to understand if you know programming fundamentals) and made some Google Scripts. After about a week of programming and a lot of data transferring I made a script that automatically reminds patients when they’re due for a cleaning. The pay is okay, and more than enough for a summer job fortunately.

The grind is real, and it’s very much like school again where I’m finding not that much free time on the weekdays. I leave to take the train into the city at 8 AM and come back home at 7:30 PM. I want to refresh my memory of 18.02 so I can possibly ASE out of it, I want to get my real estate salesperson license just because, I want to make more Youtube videos. But when I get home on the weekdays I eat dinner and feel tired and browse Reddit for a while and an hour goes by and my bed already beckons to me. I await Fridays in eager anticipation.

And then on the weekends I have a little more free time but still not that much because I’ve just been going to friends’ grad parties which are almost all day affairs. I’ve gotten really good at Kan Jam to say the least.

My last day of work will be on the first week of August. Then my parents and I are going to fly out to Nevada and meet up with my mother’s friend and her two sons who just immigrated to Canada from Korea. We’re going on a weeklong road trip, which sounds pretty awesome and I’m really excited about it. (I might open up Pokemon Go again and try and catch some of those pesky Ground types too.) I also want to get into photography, so I’m looking at cameras. My girlfriend exposed me to the DigitalRev Youtube channel and jesus christ I love Kai’s voice I could listen to it all day. I’m probably going to get a Canon 750D or a 760D.

And then… that’s it. I’ll buy my things, pack my bags, and head off. Who knows what’s going to happen then? I’m in that weird transitional state between two major time periods in my life.

I just know that I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.