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Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Hiking up mountains always has a nice clear goal.

Over the last few years I have found myself acquiring new hobbies and activities, however my free time has oddly gone down in the same time period. I run into the problem where I have a lot of different things I want to do but only time for one or two, this creates a sort of activity paralysis where I then want to do none of them and just play a computer game instead.

I asked the question, why does a computer game have a much greater appeal then all of the other activities? Achievements and clearly tenable goals. When faced with practicing piano for an indeterminate amount of time versus unlocking a single achievement on Steam it is easy to get motivated for the achievement.

So I developed my own achievement system for my hobbies and activities.

As I am currently playing Neverwinter Nights 2, I modeled it off of the skill and feat system (nerdy, I kn0w). Where every hobby is given a category such as Fencing, Piano, and Reading. Under each category is a list of ways to “level up” that particular skill. In a separate list are a list of feats, or achievements, that I have not yet unlocked. Here are some of the skills of achievements for my life:

Skills

Fencing (++)

  • + Fencing Practice
  • ++ Equipment upgrade
  • +++ Fencing Tournament

Piano (+++)

  • + Complete lesson
  • + Practice sheet music
  • + New sheet music
  • ++ Memorize Song
  • +++ Perform to an audience

Writing (+)

  • + Post a blog entry
  • + Write a journal entry
  • + Record a dream
  • ++ Fictional writing

Achievements

Sport of Kings – Place in fencing tournament

On the Road – Odometer reacher 100,000

Trekkie – Watch The Original Series

Stickshifts and Safetybelts – Drive over 10 hours in one day

I made the rule that I cannot add any achievements or skills retroactively from before I started, however I can add if I come up with something new. If I do something I deem as awesome, interesting or noteworthy I will create a new achievement. Likewise if I do something that adds to a skill, I may either add an appropriate skill or new way to skill up. Once I reach ten “+” in a single skill I will mark it as leveled up to be “Level 1 Writing ()”, with all skills starting at level 0.

One category I may add is Programming with an achievement to write a program to keep track of everything. Currently I am using text files.

Now I get to skill up my writing.

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Hall of Mosses

Hall of Mosses, Hoh Rainforest, Washington

Hall of Mosses, not to be confused with the Halls of Moses.

Is it at this point I believe I am supposed to apologize for not writing for the past year and a bit. However I am not sorry, not one bit. In fact I have looked at the pageviews since I stopped writing: they have not significantly changed!

That means I may have had a handful of people actually reading consistently but by and large most of the views were from random people stumbling onto my blog. On the plus side I have received the occasional check from ThinkTank Photo from that handy link on the side of my page (which has been updated). And I don’t feel bad about having it! People who utilize can get a a free bag and I get a referral fee, a win-win situation.

Anyway, so why am I posting again? Well I have found myself writing less and less of late, namely due to increased class load (all done now!). I tried the website 750words.com for the months of November and December and that filled some niche need of writing but then I dropped it. I am really starting again because my girlfriend, Leah, has started a blog herself and if we both do it then we are more likely to actually write, the beauty of peer pressure.

I am also hoping this will pressure me into taking pictures again, something in which I have greatly fallen behind.

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On Writing

I love to write. Writing has so many uses and applications, it is truly an amazing thing. I find that I write for several different reasons that, in a way, add up to a image of myself.

First there is Walk the Grass. This is mainly where I stand on a given soapbox (sometimes shoebox) and talk about what I want to say on a particular subject (like writing) or when I desire to share information (reviews or help). It is not the greatest writing or even great content, however it is an outlet for a particular type of writing. Unless I wanted to start a newsletter.

Second there are social networks such as Facebook. In this small details of my life are recorded. Things like what interesting thing I did (donate blood followed by five hours of physics homework), how I am feeling or maybe an interesting link. It also has a profile (sadly not up to date) where I try to define myself in list form, what do my favorite books say about me?

Third are personal communications such as e-mails, instant messages, texts and Facebook comments. Some of these I save such as e-mails and IMs, others are temporary and fleeting words. These may end up on a server somewhere but nowhere I could quickly access them.

Fourth is a weekly e-mail I write. Ever since I started college I wrote an e-mail every week to my family and family friends about what I have been up too. Things like how classes are doing, special things I have done, my general well being and general statements about things like parties. In a way it is a replacement for calling home. These I have saved from the beginning in several places.

Fifth are a host of journals both physical and electronic. I have a few personal journals in compound notebooks and journal notebooks, a couple travelogues and a dream journal (short lived) all in paper form. Recently I transitioned over to an electronic journal under a password where I write without reservation. I tend to write this as a form of catharsis and I average about one entry about every two months. I don’t know who I am writing too but writing for an unknown future audience lets me write whatever I want.

When all five of these are combined together I would like to think that they give an idea of who I am at the time of writing. I can already look back at my weekly e-mails (they have been around the longest) and see how I have changed since I was a college freshman. While what I write may not be interesting now, or in five years I may find that chat logs from IM conversations are fascinating when I am seventy.

Everyone writes for their own reasons, hopefully something interesting will come of my personal writings.

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Correlation

A level of class I may never achieve.

This has been the longest I have gone without a new post (3 days) and from it I have discovered two correlation.

First, the longer it has been since I have taken photo the less inclined I am towards posting.

Second, a post a day schedule is not what brings people to this site (all 40 of them a day).

I am guessing that I won’t start posting in earnest again until the quarter ends and perhaps after the holidays. This quarter has taken a lot time when combined with my RA position.

I still think a smaller camera would encourage me to take more photos out and about.

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The Aurora

 

A different Aurora.

[*This is an article I wrote for a class in response to an incorrect article in a local newspaper*]
The winter season brings with it more viewings of the Aurora Borealis or more commonly the Northern Lights. Sheets of red, blues and greens dance in the skies of far northern (and southern) latitudes. While it is commonly thought that the aurora is more prevalent during the winter it is in fact constantly active throughout the year. Winter months just provide longer nights in which to view the aurora.
The Aurora is caused by the interaction of energetic particles with the Earth’s ionosphere. These particles come from interactions within the magnetosphere of the Earth. The magnetosphere is the space created by the interaction of the Earth’s innate magnetic field (which we use for compasses) and the solar wind. The solar wind is a consistent flow of particles in the form of plasma that have blown off the surface of the sun.
When the solar wind reaches the magnetosphere of the earth a bow shock, similar to a boat, forms on the sun side of the planet. This deforms the magnetosphere into the shape of an elongated tear drop. In the stretched out tail of the magnetosphere the magnetic fields get stretched out and oppositely direction fields get closer together. These opposite fields can collapse together and send particles streaming back towards the earth.
These streaming particles then approach the upper reaches of the atmosphere where they are accelerated to high energies. As they zoom into the atmosphere they interact with the ambient particles and molecules, giving away their energy as they slow down. The now excited oxygen and nitrogen give off the characteristic red, green and blue lights that we see as the Aurora.
The current location of the auroral oval can be seen at spaceweather.com along with more information about the current space weather conditions. For more in-depth information on the physics of the aurora visit: http://deved.meted.ucar.edu/hao/aurora/

 

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Sidewalk Art

 

Turkey maybe?

 

 

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Polling

 

Taken with a Lensbaby (which I have not used in a long time)

 

Well I wanted to make a poll for this post however it requires creating an account with a sister website to WordPress and I don’t feel up to that.

I was going to ask why people come to this site, it is something that I have always wondered about and now I am thinking of restructuring how I do things I would like to know what is actually valuable.

I am reconsidering the photo+text for every entry and may go for text only for some or photos only for others. I also need to reevaluate the once a day posting. I don’t know if I have the time for it anymore, at least not as a last minute thing at the end of the day.

I wonder this because I seem to consistently get about fifty or so visitors to the site everyday but the top posts are never the ones I write during the week. Either this is from the way that wordpress calculates the hits per post (such as viewing the main page does not count as a hit for a particular page) or only a few things I have written are ever read.

Hence the desire to have a poll. It is sort of just the desire to have some grasp on the statistics more so then a need to see what is popular.

The sample size would be too low anyway.

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