Peak Weekend! It’s a thing! Technically, it’s a thing where TMC gets members to the top of all 48 4000+ peaks in New Hampshire in one weekend. I participated freshman year (Moosilauke) and went again just a week ago for take #2. It’s been over two years since I last went to the Loj, but this weekend’s trip was absolutely worth the wait. The Loj, for anyone who hasn’t been there, or who hasn’t heard of it, is the Tufts Mountain Club’s home away from home. It’s the embodiment of every stereotype regarding mountain lodges. It’s wooden and homey and has a wood burning stove and is filled with comfy couches and lots of people reading books.
Peak Weekend is particularly fabulous because it happens at that perfect time between green leaves and red leaves, between leaves on trees and leaves on the ground. When literally every way you turn, you see these colors:
Last weekend, I was lucky enough to peak both Lincoln and Lafayette, which are 5089′ and 5260′ respectively. Unluckily, both peaks were literally in the clouds, with the temperature hitting a grand old 24°, with 15-30 mph winds creating a wind chill of 15°. Needless to say, the hike was long (8.8 miles and almost 4000′ of elevation gain), and cold.
But every so often, the clouds separated a bit, the sun peeked out, and it was so beautiful that everything was absolutely worth it.
I’ve now had two days of classes, and I’ve had at least one class meeting of every class but one. (That one is just on Mondays…) I couldn’t be more excited about them; I’m pretty happy with that fact, since I can’t really drop any of them or anything like that. I’m already learning oh so much, but I can’t help but sharing the few things that I’ve learned and really enjoyed.
First of all, I’ve installed a dictionary app on my phone, which means when I’m reading or my friends are reading, I look up the new words. Not only new words, but also words I know in context but have never actually looked up to get a sense of the nuances. Just today, I’ve looked up five words. Think of it as GRE studying (even though I’m not taking the GRE). Or just living life.
- Ineffable – too great, powerful, beautiful, etc. to be described
- Heady – causing feelings of excitement or dizziness
- Lumpen – of or relating to dispossessed and uprooted individuals cut off from the economic and social class with which they might normally be identified
- Trenchant – very strong, clear, and effective
- Chicanery – actions or statements that trick people into believing something that is not true, deception or trickery
In addition to the words, and the Chinese and Japanese history, (interestingly, I am currently studying Japanese history in my Political Science class, where we are looking at the beginnings of Japanese-American interactions, but I am also studying general Japanese history in my Japanese class in Japanese, of course) I am also learning little pieces of African wisdom in my Dance class. Like these:
Energy is like wisdom – the more you use, the more you get.
Listen now, hear me later.
I’ve also been reading a lot (60+ pages so far today) and setting up my house. I’ve discovered that the necessary steps to living an independent life, like making and cleaning up after meals, keeping the house clean, etc. take more time when you don’t have parents and siblings to fall back on. Life is a lot easier when one person cooks and someone else cleans…
Life is busier than I expected, but I’ll continue posting as much as I can!
Day 2 at Forum has come and gone and, with it, my first week. Unfortunately, I only get to intern at Forum two days a week. (I’m still going to try to convince them I’m useful enough and interested enough to work more than two days a week, but I’m also absolutely taking the two days I currently have and getting as much as I possibly can out of them for now.)
I met another intern – Leslie – who happens to live about 5 miles away from me, so we’re already planning on carpooling every Tuesday from here on out. Once I arrived at 8, we printed out the focus and host sheets, got everything ready for the morning’s show, and had it all set up by 8:20. Yes, we referenced the guidelines for interns and asked each other questions, but with the exception of one question to our friendly outgoing intern, we managed to get it all done ourselves.
I was responsible for the 9 am hour, which was about the new EPA regulations on carbon dioxide emissions in existing power plants. That was exciting, because I worked a lot on preparing for it yesterday with Tina, so I enjoyed being responsible for the in-studio guest, for bringing the comments into the studio, and for bringing Dan the coffee he left on his desk. Interns will be interns, I suppose…
Obviously, this is not actually representative of what I do. In reality, Leslie and I spent pretty much the entire hour from 9 to 10 reading emails/web posts/facebook posts/tweets about as fast as we could, printing them out, and organizing them to bring them into the studio to Dan and then to Michael, just like yesterday.
I then spent almost two hours (from 10 to after 12, with a break in the middle) typing the titles and authors of the recommended books from today’s 10 am program into a very large spreadsheet, and then finding URLs for each one. But all the work seems like it was worth it; my hard work is now available on our Summer Reading List page...
We interns then got to sit in on the post-show meeting, which lasted about 15 minutes. The producers spoke with Michael about what went well, which hour was better (and thus will be repeated from 10-11 pm), and what would make a good hour better in the future. I was able to give a suggestion or two of my own, which the producers seemed to like, so I hope that’s good!
After taking a lunch, I worked on some research for Thursday’s show, helped organize the research someone else already did for tomorrow’s 10 am hour with SF poet laureate Alejandro Murguia. Then – because a day isn’t complete for me unless it is FILLED with books – I went through the advance copies of books Dan has received from publishers to see if there were any possibilities for Forum shows. I found a few, wrote up some ideas, and hopefully will get to start real research on them next week sometime. I’m also hoping I’ll be able to convince them to let me bring a book home on Monday to return on Tuesday; if I read them, I might be able to write some upcoming book reviews for books that have only just been published!
Technically, I’m interning at Forum this summer as a “class,” since I’m required to get credit for it. It doesn’t matter much, except that I have certain assignments I need to do. Next week, I’ll be asking some questions of the producers regarding goals and objectives from both my and their points of view, to make sure we’re all on the same page. Future assignments include interviewing important people at the organization – stay tuned, since I’ll be aiming to at least interview Michael Krasny, and maybe some other big NPR/KQED names. And maybe some smaller ones, too.
For now, though, I’m just happy that I had an almost-real conversation with him today (about the intended audience of two kids books mentioned on the show today) and I shook his hand and actually introduced myself. We’re going places, kids!
Aaaaannndd… more books. This represents about 1/3 to 1/2 of the books around Michael Krasny’s desk, and maybe 1/10 (1/15? Estimating is hard when books are horizontal, vertical, on shelves, in boxes, in piles, on the floor, literally everywhere…) of the books that can be found in the Forum workspace. No word yet on how many of them are actually read, but I did get told that Michael reads every book he talks about with the author on air. (So a lot.)
When I was a kid, I always ate everything on my plate one thing at a time. I wasn’t one of those kids who threw a fit if my peas touched my potatoes, but I always ate all my peas and then all my potatoes. Or all my potatoes and then all my peas, depending on if I was facing the worst first and saving the best for last, or visa versa.
I no longer eat all my food one item at a time, but I still have an obsession not too different. Instead of eating one thing at a time, I absorb things all at once. I might go on a Tess Garritson whim, and read all of her books in a few weeks. Or I might get really obsessed with the variety of games that on the surface require nothing more than a swiping finger and the ability to add 2+2 or 3+3. I’m talking, of course, of Threes and 2048, and all the subsequent versions that have boomed in popularity over the last month or so.
*In the interest of fairness to the creators, I will state that Threes existed first, and 2048 is a version of it. Actually, 2048 is a version of 1024, which I haven’t played; 1024 is a version of Threes. I will also state that the only official version of Threes is available as an app for $1.99. An unofficial version is here.
When you have a facebook wall full of math and science nerds from around the country, it is hard to not notice that a nerdy game is blowing up. And so you wander over to the website to see what the fuss is all about, and two hours later you’ve downloaded the game onto your iPad because you absolutely, positively, must have this game for your 45 minute commute every day. It has absolutely nothing to do with the desire to beat Madeline’s record, which has to this day proved impossible.
At this point, you probably want to know what exactly it is that I’m talking about. Below is the link to play, but I hope you’ll finish reading before you just go off and play. Because once you start playing, you will NEVER COME BACK. Before clicking the link, I warn you to set a timer or some other way to prevent yourself from falling into the dark hole of a time suck that 2048 is. Because it is a time sink. You think, “oh! I was so close! Just one more game and I’ll get there,” and then, once you do, “hm! that wasn’t so hard. I wonder if I can get to 4096 too…?” Apparently, I am not the only person who feels this way. Buzzfeed is very rarely good for anything, but here it gives an accurate impression of the mind of a 2048-player. Since you want to play anyway, here you go.
Threes and 2048 as fall into the only category of online games I truly enjoy – those that are a) incredibly simple to learn, b) easy to play and c) almost impossible to win. The premise is simple: combine like numbers to get to the highest numbers you can.
Threes starts with blue 1 and red 2 tiles. Combine them, and 1+2=3 (The 3 tiles are white, as are all the larger tiles). Each time you move, the tiles collectively move one square in that direction. You can see the next tile coming, but you don’t know exactly where it will show up. You do know, however, that it will come from the direction you’re swiping. So, if you move left to right, the next tile will show up somewhere in the left-most column. Usually, the new tile is a 1, 2, or 3, but sometimes larger tiles show up too. These are signified by a white tile with a “+” on them. Higher tiles become more and more adorable monsters, egging you on to find out what their elder brethren look like.
The furthest I’ve ever gotten was to 768, which apparently has been reached by less than 5% of the players of Threes. My next goal – 1536 – would put me in the 99.82% percentile. (See Threes’ official infographic)
The key to making progress in Threes is to keep an eye on what the next card is, in order consider both the moves you want to make on the board AND the next move you can make with your next card.
2048, while similar, is different. For one, you’re combining powers of two, not three. Like in Threes, you get the low tiles thrown at you – 2’s and 4’s. But unlike Threes, you’re never going to get a bigger tile added in; you’re always going to have to build up yourself. In 2048, the tiles go all the way to the end, so if you swipe left to right, all the tiles go all the way to the right, which means it is easier to combine multiple pairs into bigger numbers at once. On the other hand, you have no idea what number will show up next or where, because any empty spot is fair game.
To beat 2048, you need to set up a line of increasing tiles that you can combine. If you have a 1024 next to a 512 next to a 256 next to a 128 next to a 64 next to a 32 next to a 16 next to an 8 next to a 4, beating the game is just a matter of combining two 2’s and completing the trivial steps to win. But then, it asks you if you want to keep going.
My personal highest card is 4096, although I did have one game with a 4096 and a 2048, so I’m well on my way to the 8192 tile. I’ve got to get there if I want to beat Madeline.
Like any good game, 2048 has spawned dozens of fakes. Most of which are stupid, but hilarious, but some are fun, and some are impossibly difficult. My personal favorites:
1. The Tufts Theater version. Tufts is full of Computer Science people, and even the Theater department isn’t immune. So, when the make-your-own-2048 website became a thing, Artoun was kind enough to take pictures of Tufts Theater people and create our very own version. Fair warning: there are no numbers, so this is not a game you want to play necessarily unless you a) know people in Tufts Theater or b) enjoy randomly hitting the arrow keys. Also, you will not find me in any of the pictures. That is what happens when you live backstage…
2. The Nuclear Fusion version. This one, I’ll be honest, is a version I have yet to master. Because, just like Threes and 2048 are different and thus have different strategies, Fe also plays by its own set of rules. Complete with frustrating 3Helium when you want 4Helium, and inconvenient decays. Can you fuse atoms together to make 56Iron?
Please please please don’t forget that you have a life! And go outside sometimes too…?
My dearest Tufts University recently released its Class of 2018 Supplement to the Common Application questions, including this optional one that has been getting a lot of press:
The ancient Romans started it when they coined the phrase “Carpe diem.” Jonathan Larson proclaimed “No day but today!” and most recently, Drake explained You Only Live Once (YOLO). Have you ever seized the day? Lived like there was no tomorrow? Or perhaps you plan to shout YOLO while jumping into something in the future. What does #YOLO mean to you?