A Day in the Life of Josh

Posted by JoshDreamland on Oct. 31, 2013, 11:48 p.m.

When I was younger, I used to blog about my life, and at some point, I eventually figured that my life is boring enough for me that I shouldn't bore everyone else with it. But now I think my life may actually be boring enough for everyone, and so I will try describing it here once again. This blog is a long one, but I've broken it into four sections which I've tried to make independent, except for some minor details.


This semester is my last one before graduation, and I am taking only four classes. This is good, as two of those classes involve group projects, and one of them is generating enough homework for all of them. The assignments are small, but frequent, and defined in such a way as to make you figure out what the problem is asking and how to do the problem simultaneously. I normally have a knack for this, but only when the problems are interesting to me. The topic sounds extremely interesting, but the methodologies are, as usual, a huge letdown.

One of the benefits to only taking four classes is that I could cram them all into one day, which repeats but twice a week. This means that in the six weeks of class I have remaining, I will only meet in them eight more times. This sounds positive, but bear in mind that's like a thousand in binary. The point is, quite a lot ends up happening in each of these days as two of them end up containing events sufficient for five of them. Today was no exception.

To better understand my situation, you should probably know my schedule.

11:10: "Advanced" Artificial Intelligence (AKA applied statistics II):

Since it is at 11 in the morning, it has the heaping majority of tests, making it impossible to sleep in on the majority of test days. Also, there's a group project.

12:45: Computer Vision (AKA Thinking in MATLAB®©™)

This class has all the homework. As mentioned, despite their small size, their number and share in your learning process will leave you swamped. This is in addition to the group project.

2:20: Principles of Programming Languages

This class has the most… nothing. I could ace it from a hospital bed. In a coma. We did have to write an interpreter for a toy language, which I did in the general case, but that was pretty much simple. I guess testing ate up more time than I like to admit.

3:55: Digital Art

This class runs to 6:40; it's not much work, as it is art. It generates projects, of course, which eat up even more time, but it's otherwise unremarkable. I am a fan of our latest project, which I'll touch on later.

A good start in the wee hours of the day

So, today began, as most do, at 12:00 AM. I finished reviewing a mess of a powerpoint spanning all three topics we would be tested on for this unit, and was ready to go to bed. Then I remembered I promised to create a slideshow for Computer Vision, with a unique set of results I generated from our most recent homework assignment. Participation is part of our grade in that class, as if to add insult to injury. So, the time being not long after one, I began work. MATLAB is great at graphing things; it is terrible at arranging graphs. It's like the GTK of the Java world. Every graph is separated by padding the size of roughly 70% of the plot. After screwing around with this in a tired haze for longer than I ever should have, I saved it as big as possible and opened it in GIMP to remove the excess padding, which, of course, cannot be done automatically. Following a slew of other stupid problems I never should have had, I finally emailed the presentation to him at about 2:00.

Following that, I went straight to bed, in anticipation for a test in AI at 11. I don't fall asleep fast, so it was about 2:40 when I estimate I finally dropped, leading to a good seven hours of sleep before I had to be out and about.

Usually, I try to eat a good breakfast before a test, or if not a good breakfast, then at least a decent-sized breakfast. Before my previous test, I went to McDonald's and bought two McGriddles. I only ended up eating one before the test started, but it ended up working out okay because then I had another to eat for lunch. I don't have time for a lunch break between classes, as they are each separated by fifteen minutes, and the walk time + wait time to any restaurant near campus always totals at least 20 minutes. For instance, if I eat at the cafe right next to my main buildings, I'll wait about 15 minutes to get to order and then another 10 minutes for my food. Thus, I usually either don't eat, or eat a pop-tart. On occasion I pack a lunch, but I hate eating in the middle of class, and there's not much time between classes, so there's just no winning.

Kicking the morning off right with a balanced breakfast

On this day, I decided to repeat my past process. The plan was roll out of bed, grab a shower in an attempt to attain full consciousness, and swing by McDonald's for breakfast/lunch on the way to the test. There was only one hitch in this ingenious plan: I left a couple minutes too late, and ended up arriving at McDonald's at 10:32.

The significance of that figure, for those who aren't aware, is that the corporation has decided that 10:30 is a good time to cease serving breakfast, and begin serving their nasty lunch products, which I would never personally touch. I haven't eaten anything for lunch from McDonald's in years. For whatever reason, though, I like their McGriddles, and that's what I was there for. Arriving only two minutes after the menu switch, I figured I would be okay, but this idea was, sadly, based on a misunderstanding of the complex enigma that forges the inner workings of McDonald's. You cannot really blame me, as I am not a nuclear physicist and therefore should not be expected to understand such intricacies. However, I am acquainted to a former McDonald's employee who may or may not have leaked data sheets specifying the complicated procedure that is assembling a McGriddle. While it would be illegal for me to share such a document here, I believe I am within my rights as an American citizen to give a summary of my limited understanding of this process. I believe it is something like the following:

Step 1: Remove McGriddle components from cryogenic stasis.

Step 2: Place components into rapid heating apparatus (I believe this device to be powered by some form of radiation just below the wavelength of radio waves)

Step 3: Place the now warm sausage onto the now warm pancake bun

Step 4: Obtain cheese square (this is where the process gets technical)

Step 5: Place cheese directly onto the center of the meat patty

Step 6: Locate the axis running tangent to the cheese from the upper, right-hand corner through the lower, left-hand corner.

Step 7: Carefully trace this axis ⅜ inches from the lower corner.

Step 8: Locate the axis running normal to the surface of the cheese, through that point.

Step 9: Quickly rotate the cheese 26.565° anticlockwise about this axis, so that it hangs roughly an inch over the side of the assembly.

Step 10: Center the other pancake bun on top of the ensemble.

Step 11: Translate this bun 0.875 inches along the new axis formed by the upper edge of the cheese.

Step 12: (Optional) Place assembly back in heating apparatus so that the cheese adheres other components together.

From my observation, experienced employees are able to quickly compute all necessary calculations for steps 6-9 in only the time required to take hold of the cheese, and then execute all required motions in one swift, precise gesture. I have seen similar feats performed for steps 10 and 11.

As a third party observer, though, I fail to understand what of this process requires it to be performed before 10:30 in the morning. Perhaps some day I will return to this university for a degree in quantum mechanics so that I may finally be able to understand this conundrum. In the meantime, however, I decided to wait patiently while the fair lady at the register inquired, "are there any McGriddles left?" to the rest of the staff who, unfortunately, were occupied in their calculations for nearly three minutes and so were unable to answer as she stood eagerly anticipating their reply. When this finished propagating, I was informed that, unfortunately, all that remained was a single bacon McGriddle. I politely expressed my disinterest in the product and promptly left, satisfied in the idea that I'll just eat the crushed pop-tart in my back pack from Tuesday.

And eat it I did. The test looked roughly as anticipated. A good set of easy questions on which I will be scrutinized endlessly, the result finally converging a few weeks later to a grade of 81.6±.397, at which point it will be labeled B- and returned prematurely so as not to keep anyone waiting for an undue length of time.

The joys of futility

Regardless, I left confident in my work and ready to participate in another exciting computer vision lecture. As luck would have it, the powerpoint I stayed up working on wasn't presented today, because, to the credit of my professor and his grader, today was the first day all year that the homework was not graded and returned by the next class. By contrast, I should have the AI homework concerning the material from today's test returned to me in another four to six weeks. Rather than lament my failure, I opted to do the Programming Languages homework that was assigned to me two weeks prior, and used ten of the fifteen minutes between classes printing it.

For those who have never tried printing a document on a campus similar to mine, it's only slightly less fun than sawing your arm off with a plastic spoon. The only lab in the building, which houses my middle two classes, contains eight computers and one printer. The printer has ink 95% of the time, paper 90% of the time, and an active connection 75% of the time. During the day, people use the computers for such purposes as sitting around chatting with one another about group assignments, or eating salads. Fortunately, some people are willing to log off if you point out that they haven't made eye contact with the computer in the last five minutes. Others will sit there and eat a salad with the full knowledge that you need to print something briefly. When you do get a computer, though, there's almost a 65% chance you'll be able to print.

Today, however, was lucky; there was one available computer, and the printer was online and fully operational. I printed my newly finished homework and left for class, which in turn went fine except for the fact that one of my neighbors apparently rolled around in fecal matter before coming to class. Bovine, if I'm not mistaken. I eventually relocated to the back of the room where I sat by the wall, wishing that I had saved some pop-tart crumbs last class.

Needless to say I survived that class, and then Art, which passed without much incident. We've been working with Processing, a Java program dedicated to procedural graphics generation. For my mini-project submission, which had to use only lines and circles, I created a 2D sphere-flake implementation I titled Circflake, a blur example in which proved Processing is incapable of additive blend modes with primitive shapes, which I titled Outward, and a toy image I threw together in 4 minutes because the assignment required three images, which I titled Fiery. The professor decided to show a few of her favorites, and from me, she picked the 4-minute job. I believe she did so because the code and graphic are very simple, and she liked the lerpColor function I used, which she had just presented in the lecture. I guess that's kind of neat, but my favorite of the lot was still that first one. For the next assignment, I was going to do this per-pixel lava effect, but the requirement is that we use an image, which is boring. I'm probably going to adapt it to do distortion and just warp an image and submit it.

A relaxing dinner to help wind down

When art finally ended, I was aware of my hunger but basically to terms with it. I trodded home through the rain, and decided I would make soup. Over the weekend I bought some Campbell's soups I wanted to try. Their Nacho Cheese soup isn't really great, but I didn't expect it to be, so I only bought one can. I bought three of their Broccoli Cheese soup, though, expecting it to be approximately as good as the stuff you can get at your typical restaurant.

Upon opening the can and setting it down, I was beset by this unbelievably rank stench; it smelled as though a dog who had spent the last few hours rolling in the months-old remains of fifty animals had ripped a colossal fart in my kitchen, stirring up the death smell along with it. I quickly realized it was the soup, and reasoned that broccoli always smells this way when sealed in a container for any length of time. I figured that I would prepare it as directed and then smell it again before eating it.

Sure enough, the smell subsided with the milk and heat, and the soup ended up tasting fine. Now that some hours have passed, however, I am burping up something that smells and tastes as previously described. It's quite unnerving, off gassing something like that. For a second, I wondered if everything was flowing the right direction, and was reasonably confident that I would soon die. The option of having my stomach pumped crossed my mind. But I got over that, too, and carried on with my day, the majority of which consisted of starting some AI homework that's due in a week or so and some sparse conversation to make me feel less like I'm trappedinsomekindofhorriblenightmaresomeonecomegetmeoutofhere

As I wrote this, the power went out for a couple minutes. I'd say it was due to the rain, but I have no idea what causes a two-minute power interruption. I believe it happens just to clear my microwave clock and increment my alarm clock's internal time state by two minutes. We're now up to twelve minutes fast, because I'm too lazy to correct it. It's a wonder I was late to McDonald's, really.

If you managed to read all that, you're probably a hero. I just needed to vent, I think, because as I look myself over, it's a wonder I'm not insane. Or maybe I am. Probably.


svf 10 years, 6 months ago

The McDonalds fiasco-thing was quite funny. Good read; good luck with life after college!

GMWIZ 10 years, 6 months ago

Too long for my short attention span to read. But I see you're almost done at college! Awesome I am a year out, it is crazy you still post on this website. I haven't signed in for at least 3 years. Had to checkup on my favorite individual. lol

JoshDreamland 10 years, 6 months ago

I wondered why I hadn't seen you in so long, and suddenly you were making comments again. Decent timing; I only recently started blogging again.

aeron 10 years, 6 months ago

Don't know where else to leave this, but I had the most peculiar dream last night. It all started with the usual diatribe; my mom was cooking dinner, a couple guests were over. I notice things are off as she starts bringing up things from IRC that only I would know about irl. Apparently she had seen DaSpirit's name on my computer and started contacting him on a whim, and embarrassing conversation ensued as she followed up with a lecture to find a damn job. But whatever, it's par as far as dream dinner conversation goes and not really the weird part of the dream.

I wake up in the passenger seat of Josh's car as he pulls up to an abandoned building in the scene of a small town. Two cars over, an acquaintance of his stands outside with a cigarette. The stranger remarks something along the lines of, "I didn't know your family was gonna be in town". After some delirious conversation, I ask Josh what this has to do with anything. They show me pictures of the edc that has been hacked so that the main menu is replaced with silly drawings (something like an outline comic).

The drawings show successive rows of people, the first had several copies of the same outline of a full height man, all standing side by side and pretty plain looking. At the end of the line, a shorter version of the same drawing is carrying a balloon. Directly below, the drawing is replicated but the rightmost man is now full height (and sans balloon). The next line is the same as the second but it appends a short but also incomplete (only left half is drawn) version of the man. The next line repeats but replaces the half man with a full height, left half man, right half pig. The lines continue down, depicting the growth of more strange hybrids that make less and less sense as they go.

It is decided that whoever is responsible for the hacking must pay. But first, we must take down the bizarre images. But first, stranger guy says he's gonna get some food, and Josh agrees that we should eat as well. So he gets in his car and drives off, and as Josh starts driving I have to ask him how the fuck I got there, waking up in his car and all. Was I drugged and kidnapped? He laughs as he explains to me how easy it was. That all he had to do was sneak up behind me and WHAK! Smacked with a plastic knife. For some reason this is hilarious to me and we both start cracking up. But we stop after he exclaims the difficulty of driving whilst losing one's shit. He then proceeds to turn infinitely up a spiral road, describing how much easier the maneuver is to pull off with ENIGMA's new smoothed input system (but obviously applies only to the mouse control).

So ends my experience with Josh in dream land.

JoshDreamland 10 years, 6 months ago

aeron, that was the best thing I've read all month, if not all year. I've had strange dreams like that. One of them involved a motorcycle chase. I owe you one description of my next dream involving you. I can't remember the previous one, but it was Minecraft-based and largely uninteresting; you weren't there for all of it.

I have a lot of dreams where video games or computers run together with life, so things you can now do in the computer you can also do in real life. At its simplest, this includes Control-Z for reality. At its most complicated, it includes ENIGMA's input system affecting vehicle performance.

JuurianChi 10 years, 6 months ago

Classy dream, Aeron. We should swap stories sometime.

an_ace 10 years, 6 months ago

I like how josh does shit to enigma in our dreams lol.