Spring 2014 Semester So Far

My friend Ashley and I working on homework
in the Honors Lounge.

I’ve decided to write a quick blurb about the first few days of the Spring Semester because, as each semester ends, the first thing I’ll alwaysbe looking to remember is what the first few days of it were like.

Hence, this article.

My classes this semester – besides Leadership, Pre-Cal+Trig and English 2 – are very interesting. One of them is Fundamental of Music Theory, with Professor Molinari. Walking into the class for the first time, I was excited to step into a room full of Yamaha Clavinovas. I was even more excited when I realized that each student gets a Clavinova to him-/herself! So far, we’ve practiced melodic dictation and shared our reasons for taking the class.

The next interesting one is Basic Reporting with Professor Lane, which I hope will rekindle my desire to practice journalism professionally.

The third and final one is C++ Programming, the most valuable lesson of which has been the idea that computers are actually really dumb creatures! To a robot, for example, an operation as simple as moving from Point A to Point B must be expressed as more than a hundred lines of code to its internal computer! My hope for the course is that it’ll show me what it’s like to be “in” the world of computing and programming, perhaps kindling a serious consideration of “computer technician” as a possible career.

Here’s to a good semester!

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My Intentions for the Spring Semester

One of my intentions for the Spring semester is to approximate myself towards – but not necessarily

Getting distracted in class. 

Sunflower hats aren’t particularly my
favorite type of headwear,
but they make a weird picture. Gotta
brush those teeth though.

Party, party, party!

An older shot, taken on an afternoon where I’d
proudly bought an office chair at a thrift store!

Messing around with the front-facing camera on my
newfangled iPhone 4.

pinpoint – the major that I want to pursue in the years after my stay at the Honors College. Although I am a journalism major (effective through next semester), I have signed myself up for classes that reflect my interests and not the pathway’s curriculum. 

Specifically, I have selected basic Reporting with Professor Lane (which fulfills my interest in journalism and newswriting, which has been one of my career aspirations since high school), Introduction to Music Theory with Professor Alan Ngim (which fulfills my interest in musical composition and learning how to play a musical instrument, both of which have stemmed from my fascination with jazz and my desire to involve myself in the arts in a form different than journalism) and C++ Programming with Professor Jack Lusby (which fulfills my growing interest in computer science and will introduce me to any work opportunities that may come from pursuing a computer science curriculum). 
My parents have criticized my choice of curriculum because they feel it deviates from my historically classic choice of interest (journalism) at the expense of money and time. While I sympathize with their arguments regarding the use of those two valuable resources, I would like for them to understand that I see college as an opportunity to find myself, to try everything that I want to try, to spend time learning about subjects and realms of life that I have a cursory interest in.
They might blossom into fascinations, infatuations, or even aspirations.

The second of my intentions is to be at peace with my social needs and aspirations. Throughout high school, I was a “popular kid”. Though it’s a term that’s difficult to define, it was a phrase that was used by acquaintances and close friends of mine alike to describe me in the context of our student body. People knew me, to the point that I often returned hellos to people I wasn’t even clear on whether I knew or not. Certainly the phrase had some veracity to it – else I wouldn’t even bother writing about it. 

High school is over now, though, and I am now surrounded by a group of people that, if my perception is correct, cherishes those who have resolve and wish to accomplish things greater than themselves. I relish the challenge, simultaneously because it would palliate my restless desire to belong, and also because it gives me an excuse to be recognized for things I would likely pursue anyway. I see other Honors College kids, most in their second year of study, creating and promoting big community projects like scholarships and food drives and … well, they make me smile. 
Whether their motivation is solely the recognition of other classmates and faculty or whether it’s also an earnest desire to do something is dependent on them … but they’re doing something regardless, and that’s noble enough. 
Therefore, to be at peace with my social needs and aspirations, I will do my best to find groups of people (Honors College kids, regular Miami-Dade kids or even Miami-Dade faculty) that share my interests, I will seek social and community ills that merit attention and I will publicize and promote all the work that I may engage in in the process of remediating those ills. It’ll really be a treat to be able to consider myself to be a person like this … the “popular” label from before will just be a cherry on top.
Finally, my third intention is to do well in all my classes in the next semester. This may sound like a cop-out intention, but I’ve decided to prioritize it because my credit load for next semester is relatively large (20 credits spread across seven or eight classes) and I’m aware that it will take a lot of concentration, focus, and simply put, hard work, to excel academically between all these subjects. My study habits so far have proven to be effective, so they will continue to be my main strategy for accomplishing this intention of mine. I want to succeed in the Honors College and in my college endeavors in general, and doing well academically is without a doubt one of the largest portions of achieving that success. Hence, I hope to pass!

Ode to the Bicycle

I find it particular that I’ve yet to write an article specifically about the love of my life. I’m referring to a

This was the first bicycle I took seriously. It was
a 1984 Free Spirit 10-speed (classic Sears variety).
I bought it for  25 dollars at a Hialeah thrift store and
put very many miles on it. I experimented on it
a lot also, and eventually it suffered repairable but
prohibitively expensive damage to
the front fork. A beautiful bicycle that I’ll never forget.

My current (and heretofore most expensive) rider: a 1982
Peugeot P18 Mixte frame w/700c x 28 tires, 10 speeds and
an extended length rear rack, with very many accessories.

My 1980s Sun Miami and Huffy Sea Trails cruisers
in storage, little before they were sold to a collector.

My 1980s Sun Miami cruiser at its finest stage, with
a roomy rear rack/basket, dual rearview mirrors and
newly installed 26″ tires. 

component of my life that’s been with me through thick and thin; that with the exception of a few bumps along the road, has always felt the same, smelled the same, looked the same … essentially, it’s remained beautiful in its permanence.

I’m referring to the bicycle. Never have I ever been so taken by the beauty and appeal of something as the day I went on my first serious bike ride, atop a boys’ BMX bike that was way too small for my thirteen-year-old self at the time.

I recall having to raise the seatpost height beyond the “minimum insertion” mark. I recall the hard as a rock saddle that I had to stand for half an hour, whose attached fabric only made things worse as it rubbed against the seams in my shorts. I recall the constant clanking of the crank arms, which hadn’t been tightened since the bicycle left the factory years prior to that ride.

I also recall getting a flat tire three-quarters of the way to my destination, which left me no recourse but to walk the remaining distance.

But most of all, I recall that beautiful sense of independence as I sped off my block and onto the city streets. With every thrust downward, I felt like I was entering increasingly higher levels of aesthetic, of beauty, of art.

That fascination has endured until today, and will very likely continue to endure for a very long time. The fact that I’ve gone nearly everywhere I’ve ever had to go either solely by bicycle, or by a combination of bicycle and mass transit, is a testament to not only my appreciation of the vehicle, but also to the power the vehicle has.

When a proper fit is ensured between a cyclist and his bicycle – proper saddle height and type, proper handlebar reach, proper stem height, comfortable gearing, proper tire inflation, and proper accessories as needed – the power that can be exuded from the two-wheeler is tremendous…

For me, though, it generally hasn’t been about speed. Speed is not the reason why I ride a bicycle. Instead, I ride for efficiency. I ride because I like to be in a situation where I’m getting somewhere by the most efficient way possible. Half the time – even considering time constraints – a bicycle is the best way to get there. No energy is expended save for your own, which is easily rechargeable by sleeping, eating or drinking water. 

How’s that for being efficient?
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