Friday, October 28, 2011

The Week of the Blue T-Shirt: Hiatus

Due to a family emergency I am putting the Week of the Blue T-shirt on hiatus. Thank you for your understanding. I hope you are all doing well. To assuage your fears: My family is doing great, don't you fret. God has a plan for all of us :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Week of the Blue T-Shirt: Day Three

Day Three is in the books. It wasn't what I expected but I feel like I made good choices that led to good results. Family business brought me and my brother home for the next two days, so points weren't as plentiful as I had planned. Here's the rundown:

Wednesday Recap: 35 Points (total: 135/350)
  • I left my place at 9:30 to head to class in the frigid tundra that was Logan this morning. I talked to the second girl I saw and we had a nice little conversation. Aside from the weather (which we of course talked about) we found out she knows some people I know. She's studying FCHD (I think...) and likes it. Good times. Goal for next ambitious week: talk to a girl without mentioning the weather. (+15 points for talking to a random girl on campus)
  • Despite falling asleep for a few minutes in four out of five classes today, I attended all of them and learned some stuff in each. I don't feel like I was an incredible student today, but at least I won't be publicly mocked for paying for classes that I didn't attend. (+10 points for class attendance)
  • Our impromptu adventure to Salt Lake led to less-than-normal workout conditions, but I was able to do 6-ish minutes of jump rope followed by the classic T-Ville Cross Country 10 Minute Abs. Of course, I took little breaks and it ended up being more like ex T-ville Cross Country washed up abs. Hey, baby steps back to great shape. (+10 points for working out today)
  • Noteworthy event, even though I don't get points for it: Walking home from campus today I decided I'd go out on a limb and talk to a second random girl today. I had already met my goal and awarded myself points, but shoot, what type of pansy quits after just talking to one girl? So, I struck up a conversation with a girl whose name starts with a 'K' from Oregon. Our conversation was a little bit like pulling teeth, but in an attempt to think of a great question I ask, "So, what's Oregon like" (Smooth, I know ;) ). So we talk a bit and then the guy in front of us is like, "Wait, are you from Oregon?" and she's like "Yeah, are you?" and he's like "Yeah! I'm from the dry east side!" and then they talked and had a great time. So get this: I, with my complete inability to talk to girls, helped another human being talk to a girl! One of my goals for this blog has always been to make the world a better place. Now, I'm telling y'all, this is pretty much the smallest case of making the world a better place ever, but I'm totally going to claim it. Those two never would have talked had I not attempted to be smooth and woo her first. If they have kids and one of them is an NFL star I'm definitely asking for 15% of his wages.
Day Three Impressions: I stay up a little later than normal in order to score extra points and create these posts. That leads to a little bit of sleepiness, but I feel like I'm gaining more from this project than I am losing so I'm going to keep at it. Yesterday, in order to meet my goal to program something every day, I did my CS assignment early. That ended up being way important because it allowed us to come down to Salt Lake without any problems today. I'll be honest, I feel like a champion this week. This achievement point thing is awesome.

Due to recent comments I feel obligated to tell you to not do drugs or drink alcohol. I do not, however, condone the wearing of red T-shirts this week. You saw the title folks, you know the drill.

I hope y'all are doing well. Have a good evening, I hope to see you tomorrow~

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Week of the Blue T-Shirt: Day Two

It's Tuesday night, and I'm calling it a day. I had an awesome day today and feel really well about how it went. It's getting pretty late so I need to hustle through this. Here's the recap:

Tuesday Recap: 55 points (total: 100/350)
  • I only had one class today, but you better believe I attended it. It was my CS lab and it went well. I had the privilege of listening to the girl (I know, there aren't too many of them in CS class) that sat on my row explain to the guy (who is clearly interested in her) about her current romantic situation. Freshmen are fun to listen to (read: I'm jealous that she has a romantic life and I don't) (+10 points for class attendance)
  • I had a great experience yesterday talking to a random girl on campus, so I hoped to have another good adventure today. By 8:50 PM I still hadn't talked to anyone new on campus and it was uber dark outside. Figuring that approaching a random girl and trying to get to know her at that hour would be a disaster, I instead talked with the nice man from Sri Lanka who was conveniently walking away from the engineering building at the same time I was. He's studying Mechanical Engineering, is from Sri Lanka, and was clearly not interested in talking to me. Success! [+10 points for talking to a random stranger on campus(I would have got +15 points if it was a girl...)]
  • I did a nifty little arm workout here at the apartment and then went on a mile-ish run around the cemetery. Arms feel great, and the run was really productive. It segued right into the miracle of the day- (+10 points for working out today)
  • The home teaching appointment tonight went great. Super good experience. They're a bunch of great guys and I've got a stallion of a companion. Good times. (+15 points for home teaching)
  • I programmed the solution to my CS assignment tonight. Pretty easy- a fun while loop that reads in high and low temperatures from a text file and then shoots out averages and whatnot. Look at me go, doing well at CS1. I'm still not convinced my cat would have a hard time with this class. (+10 points for programming something today)
Miracle of the day:
I had a home teaching appointment today and I hadn't yet met two of the guys in the apartment. I was particularly interested in one of them who hasn't been coming to church too actively. I had seen his picture in the ward directory (read: menu). About 3/4 of the way through with my run I was thinking to myself "I could really go for a break right now, and that'd give me a great excuse to talk to a random girl and score some achievement points...". Crossing the street, in perfect timing to meet me running, was not a beautiful girl. Instead it was the back of a person who looked exactly like what I assumed the back of this guy who I'm supposed to home teach would look like. We met (in perfect timing, like I said) and I'm like "Happy Tuesday, are you Santiago*?" *(names have been changed to protect the innocent). And he's like "Yeah, I think we've played Ultimate together once" (which in fact we had) So we got to walk and talk for a good four or five minutes. It was cool to get to know him and build some trust. Definitely right place right time stuff right there. I don't get any bonus points for a miracle (let's be honest, I'm not the one to blame for it) but still way cool. As a side note, if there were bonus points avaiable for using an absurd number of parenthetical comments in one paragraph I would definitely score some for this baby.

Impressions from Day Two:
The achievement points are still pushing me a lot harder than I normally push myself, and I'm loving it. I am considerably more social than usual and I find myself wasting less time. If I'm not doing anything, I wonder what I could be doing to be reaching my goals. This is a cool combination of goal setting and accountability, and thus the results aren't too unexpected. I've established goals that are easy for me to remember, and I'm holding myself accountable with points and a nightly report that I'm publishing. I'm loving it. I'm not confident it's sustainable for more than a week, but I'm way happy to do the experiment.

My sister-in-law Kim is awarded one million bonus points for jumping on the Week of the Blue T-shirt bandwagon. She posted her list on yesterday's comments. She is currently at 60/640 points. Super cool!

Tyrel made a to-do list today (not irregular for him) and then tacked on achievement points for kicks and giggles. Look at us go, making waves. Bonus points for Tyrel. I hope your to-do list went great.

Still unknown poster aloeiy has apparently been doing something like this for a long time. Look at that individual go, being way ahead of the curve.

I hope you're all doing great. Thanks for joining in on the fun. It's not too late to make this week a week of the blue T-shirt for you too. Keep up the great work, catch y'all tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Week of the Blue T-Shirt: Day One

Monday is in the books and I scored 40 achievements points today. I promised I'd post the whole list, so here is what I've got so far for Monday through Friday.

Daily Achievements:
Attend all classes: 10 pts
Workout: 10 pts
Program something: 10 pts
Talk to a stranger on campus: 15 pts

Go on a date: 15 pts
Run a mile under 7 minutes: 15 pts
Go home teaching: 15 pts
Complete all workout achievements: 20 pts
Complete all attendance achievements plus all homework: 20 pts
View 5 online lectures: 10 pts
Conquer C++ day 8: 15 pts
Finish programming Pirate Dice: 15 pts

The total is 350 achievement points.

Monday Recap (40/350)
  • I was late to institute, but I made it (mostly because I wanted the achievement points) and I'm glad that I did. I attended all the rest of my classes and learned a lot. Apparently I've been using definite articles in Spanish wrong for the past 2.25 years. D'oh! (+10 points for class attendance)
  • For the first time since the mission I opened my mouth and talked to a random girl as I walked home from school. Her name is Maddie and she was pretty nice. (I would like to point out that this attempt at talking to a girl on campus went a trillion times better than the last attempt to talk to a girl. That was almost 3 years ago and it was a complete and utter failure. That's a story for another day...) (+15 points for talking to a stranger (read:girl))
  • I ran to the field house and then ran a mile on the track. Apparently I'm out of shape because I nearly hurled my lunch after running it. I wasn't racing, by the way, that was just jogging. Not a great sign. I went upstairs to look at the weight machines but they intimidated me so I went outside and did some lunges. Success! The last mile I clocked was 7:21 (about 3 months ago) so my goal this week is to beat 7:00. I made progress today. (+10 points for working out)
  • We discussed a math problem about how many different regions we could cut into a pizza using a certain number of straight cuts from crust to crust today at length in Discrete Math. Dr. Brown said that somebody should go ahead and program a recursive solver in C++ just for kicks- so I did. Well, first I read half of day 8 of my C++ book to learn about pointers (which are awesome, by the way) and then programmed it using some pointer action. Not too shabby. (+10 points for programming something today)
I don't get bonus points for this or anything, but I wore a blue T-shirt today. You can expect that the rest of the week.

All in all I feel like I had a great day. My behavior was definitely different because I was gunning for the achievement points, I'll be honest. There's no way I would have talked to that girl walking home from campus without a goal to do so. I'm motivated. I've been having a blast with the system and hope that y'all are too. More fun coming tomorrow, I promise. The invitation is still on the table to anybody who wants to start achievement pointing this week with me. One million bonus points are on the line- you know this is going to be good. Oh, and an additional million bonus points to cool suggestions for achievements. aloeiy gets points for suggesting a cool service project and tennis. (By the way, who the devil are you aloeiy? I've been trying to use all my powers of investigation and deduction to figure out who you are, but I'm still clueless. At least give me a hint, because I've got no idea).

Anywhom, it is late, gotta run off. Catch y'all later. This is day one of The Week of the Blue T-Shirt. Consider this box checked.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Week of the Blue T-Shirt: Day Zero

With an exception made for the terrible smell that lingers in my room due to unregulated emission of illegal gases by my roommate (read: brother), this week has the smell of awesome to it. I've had a string of pretty good weeks, but I get the feeling that this one needs to be particularly awesome. I'm not sure where this feeling is coming from but I recogniz
e that it is real and am therefore working to make it a reality.

Quick update on my status: I'm attending school, dual majoring in Computer Science and Mathematics. Classes have been going great, and so far it looks like I've got an "A" in all of them. I got home from a mission 3 months ago and have been working on getting life started. So far things are going well. I still want them to go better.

I've been playing a lot of Starcraft II lately. It's awesome and I highly recommend it to anybody out there with some time to kill. One of the things I've learned as I've played it these past few weeks is that I'm a total sucker for achievement points.

The concept of achievement points is pretty simple. When you accomplish something particularly difficult or noteworthy you are awarded achievement points. Examples of achievements are the above image (build 5 zealots in the first 250 seconds of a single Melee game), stuff like winning 5 matches against hard computers in a row, having a single unit kill 40 other units in a league game, etc. etc.

To date, I've accumulated 1105 achievement points on SCII. (Confession: I haven't actually got 1105- I'm using a friend's account, and he got the first 100 or so before he let me use it.) You need to understand that these achievement points have often led me to stay up an extra hour or two playing. They're fun, let's be honest.

So as I sat pondering tonight a thought came to my mind. What if I built an achievement point system for my life this week? I've spent a long time playing Starcraft, and I figure it's probably time to put this drive to achieve into something that's actually worthwhile. (note: I'm not saying Starcraft isn't worthwhile) So that's the plan: I'm going to outline a plan for this week and attach point values to certain achievements. I'm thinking "Work out on Monday" is worth 10 points. "Work out every day this week" is a combination of all the sub-workout achievements, and will yield 20 points (that's consistent with SCII, by the way.)

This week is officially dubbed the Week of the Blue T-Shirt. While home this weekend I realized that I own a billion blue T-Shirts and that I really like them. I'm going to wear a different blue T-Shirt every day. Tomorrow I'm going to publish my system, all the goals for the week, and you'll be able to track my progress throughout the week. I think it's going to be fun.

So, invitations: officially invites you to make this week an achievement week as well. A million bonus points to anybody who will make a system and then publish their results this week. 0.5 million bonus points will be awarded to anyone who does it next week, because maybe some people out there want to think about this for a minute.

Second invitation: You are hereby invited to suggest cool achievements for me this week. I reserve the right to not use them. I would love for good suggestions of productive things to do this week that I wouldn't normally do. Realistic things, please. But if you've got something you've been dying to tell me to do, let me know and I'll see if I can't put it on the list.

This is going to be fun. Stay tuned for Day One tomorrow. I'll publish my outline and progress for Monday. w00t!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Happiness at Panda Express

My fortune cookie at Panda Express tonight told me to share my happiness with others. Get this great story:

We go to Panda today. It is Tuesday, and Panda does USU appreciate day on Tuesday so you can get 10% off with your student ID card. My brother Andrew had taught me to go online and fill out the survey on the back of every receipt so I could score a free third entree.

So, with receipt in hand and student ID at the ready, I just scored a chow mein and 3 entrees for $5.67. That's a stellar deal.

Share my happiness with others? You make it easy to be happy, Panda Express.