Tuesday, May 5, 2009

If my blog were my child, CPS would be after me.

I really do feel bad for neglecting this blog. I am at such an interesting and critical point in time with my life right now, that I really should be recording the events of my crazy life more often.

Anyways... yay! The semester is over next week. Angelo State is way behind schedule, even when compared to the other universities around Texas. That's what happens when you get a 5-week winter break and a spring break I guess. I don't really mind though. I am weird and prefer lengthier short breaks over longer, dull breaks.

The courses were swell this semester and I learned a lot. In fact this was definitely one of my more favorite semesters while going to school. I didn't really have that one class that took up all my other time. The work load for each course was relatively balanced so I was able to keep up with what was going on in all my classes with relative ease. Hopefully my GPA will reflect that this semester :)

I will officially no longer be a "computer operator intern" for IBM at the Texas State Data Center on May 15. I am so happy I had this internship. It was seriously one of the best jobs anyone could have while going to school. I'll just say that I hardly ever did my school work at home.

The week after I leave TSDC, I'll be having surgery done to get rid of the single wisdom tooth in my mouth. Typically people have four wisdom teeth, but my family is weird. That week I'll also be packing to move to San Antonio for the summer again. I'll be interning at USAA for the second time around, and am really looking forward to the 3 months I'll be there. Interning there last summer was pretty overwhelming, but a great experience... most of the time I spent there was just figuring out all the purposes for my team and how we fit into USAA as a whole. I'm better prepared this year AND they notified me as to what my position would be back in March. Last year I didn't know what I would be doing until the second day of work.

After my adventure this summer in San Antonio, I'll be finishing up my final 5 hours here at Angelo State. I'll be taking technical writing, racquetball, and one single research credit hour. I still don't know for sure what I'll be doing for work. I am thinking about substitute teaching for SAISD, but am still not so sure that would be a good idea. I doubt high school students would take a teacher seriously who graduated 4 years earlier (woah. Already?)... but I bet I can rule with an iron fist if I need to (ask Katrina). If I don't end up doing that, one of the CS professors said I could probably talk to the department and they will find something for me.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My Thanksgiving Break

I had fun this Thanksgiving. We spent the day at my grandparents house here in town and had around thirty people to feed. Several of my brothers and sisters, an aunt an uncle, cousins, and nieces and nephews were in town to celebrate the day. My friend, the missionaries from the family ward, and one of their investigators also showed up.

We probably had more desserts than anything which included 15 pies, cheesecake, banana pudding, and fruit bread (which we believe was bought at Ross after doing some shopping yesterday). In the evening some of us took a nice little walk in the wilderness area next to my grandparent's place in search for a humongous tree in the area. I haven't been in like 3 years, but I led the way anyways and ended up getting everyone lost. We had fun though.

Yesterday we had leftovers at my grandparents again and I played with the kids. I also did some shopping, due to the fact that I desperately needed a jacket... but I ended up getting Hairspray as well since it was only $7.00 (I recommend it, especially if you like musicals). Yes, I nodded off here and there throughout the movie, but I was exhausted.

Today I just got done putting up the icicle lights on the roof. I really tried and pushed my parents to get some new LED Christmas lights. They weren't interested and I couldn't afford them on my own, so I did end up using the tacky icicle lights. I'll show pictures whenever we get all the decorations out there... and you will see just how ugly they are. They seemed to be just a trend. I wish I had the talent of my grandfather when it comes to putting up Christmas lights. I've always loved his outdoor decorations. He was pretty upset when finding out the strand of lights for the top branch of his giant tree were bad.

I am sleeping in the front room right now since my older sister is in my room. Today I woke up to my Mom playing primary hymns on the piano. She was practicing for a baptism for this afternoon. Primary songs are amazing. They remind me that the Gospel is (or should be) so simple. However, as a kid, I use to never really understand the purpose of "Follow the Prophet." I never liked the key it was in because it made it feel like we should be fearful of our leaders.

First she played "I'm Trying to Be like Jesus":

1. I’m trying to be like Jesus;
I’m following in his ways.
I’m trying to love as he did, in all that I do and say.
At times I am tempted to make a wrong choice,
But I try to listen as the still small voice whispers,

“Love one another as Jesus loves you.
Try to show kindness in all that you do.
Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,
For these are the things Jesus taught.”

2. I’m trying to love my neighbor;
I’m learning to serve my friends.
I watch for the day of gladness when Jesus will come again.
I try to remember the lessons he taught.
Then the Holy Spirit enters into my thoughts, saying:

“Love one another as Jesus loves you.
Try to show kindness in all that you do.
Be gentle and loving in deed and in thought,
For these are the things Jesus taught.”

Then she played "When I Am Baptized:"

1. I like to look for rainbows whenever there is rain
And ponder on the beauty of an earth made clean again.

I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain.
I want to be the best I can and live with God again.

2. I know when I am baptized my wrongs are washed away,
And I can be forgiven and improve myself each day.

I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain.
I want to be the best I can and live with God again.

The closing hymn was "If You Could Hie to Kolob." What an odd choice.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My stamp collection

First off, no I do not collect stamps. That is totally lame.

The next project in digital design required us to create a sheet of stamps with a matching theme. My theme was "Modern Architecture of Texas." I wanted to do something Texas related... I was going to do "Famous Texas Buildings," but then I would limit my options to buildings like the Alamo, which are way overdone.

Anyways, yes, I know the quality on the individual stamps aren't that great. I didn't have time to readjust all of them so they look nice and clean. Also, I didn't get to do everything I wanted due to lack of time, but I like how they came out overall. I pretty much have no spare time in my life, except for the rare occasions I can spend a couple of minutes doing fun little activities like writing in my blog.

Tower of Americas in San Antonio

Frost Tower in Austin

Reunion Tower in Dallas (I ate lunch up in it once... what an amazing view)

Williams Tower in Houston (I had a tough time picking this last one... this seemed like a pretty cool building. Apparently there is a light on top of the building that sweeps across the sky at night)

And this is the whole collection:

Sunday, October 19, 2008


This last week has been way busy for me as far as school goes. Fortunately, some fun was involved. I did get to watch my brother and some friends perform in university choir's annual Halloween Spooktacular. This was the first time in my college career that I have not been able to be a part of the choir, so it was cool to be able to watch them from the audience instead of being up there performing. They did well, but technical problems were quite frequent, and you could tell Dr. Lee, the director, was kinda infuriated about that.

All the performers dress up in costumes. My brother was a banana:

Joey and Brittney (co-workers from my old job at Chick-fil-a) were hippies:

The first year I performed, I was Batman. My friend's Mom made our costumes. The next two years, I just decided to go as a zombie and vampire... I did the makeup myself :) :

Saturday I participated in the ACM Programming Contest in Abilene. We compete against schools all over Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, including the big ones (UT-Austin, LSU, OU, etc), as well as graduate students and undergrad students. Each school brings at least one team of three, and each team is given 9 of the most difficult problems in the world (in my opinion at least) to solve and create a program for within a 5 hour period. Each problem felt like being asked to solve world hunger or our economic problems in 5 hours. By the end, we were all brain fried. My team only completed one within the time-slot, and we were happy with that. I think the first place team completed 5.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What are those things?

Yeah, I know all I have been talking about is school... but honestly, my time has gone to nothing else really in the last month, so I am going to talk about it again.

I am taking a game development course, which I figured could be fun and interesting, but I literally wasn't expecting the load of work required. I don't want to get into too much detail, but at times the course can be a literal pain, and it has required some late nights working in the computer lab... all for this junk that makes me vomit:

Yes, those are trees, rocks, bushes, etc. I know my models are extremely crude and my textures are hideous, but a great majority of the work (and grading) goes into coding and making sure my models are usable... not how pretty they are.

Right now I am able to scale objects within the coding (hence the different rocks), as well as rotate objects and get things to move continuously. Next class period we will be learning how to modify the camera so you can manually move it around the scene yourself (which allows you to view the scene in first person anywhere).

Now it's time to get off my nerd bench and do some linear algebra.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Watch out for pot holes!

I am in an art course entitled Digital Design, which I discussed briefly here.

Our current assignment is to create 9 signs using a sign template the professor gave us. Six of the signs we made had to come from a list he had for us, and three had to be made up.

Here are the six I made from the list:
Indian village:

UFO sighting area:

Divorce district:

Hobo crossing:

Earthquake zone (and my attempt at the San Francisco skyline):

Funeral crossing:

Here are the three I made up:
Watch out for potholes (just kinda randomly came up with this one):

Watch out for golf carts (an old facebook group inspired me to make this one. When walking from class to class as a freshman at ASU, guys driving golf carts drove through students like nothing. No one has literally been run over from what I recall):

No Apples (We use Mac Pros or whatever for the class, and they have caused nothing but grief for me. My professor loves em, so I am risking my grade for turning this one in):

Originally, I wanted to make a sign for "polygamy crossing" due to the amount of FLDS news around here, but was afraid it would be mistaken for pimp crossing or something.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Being interviewed for the Ram Page

A writer for the Ram Page, our school newspaper, asked me some questions on Facebook concerning my internship with IBM.

What she asked:

1. How did you find out about the internship? How did you apply, etc?
2. When does it begin? How long is it? What does it entail? – As an
availability/problem analyst what will you do, etc?
3. How will this affect your career choices? What do you hope to gain from
the experience?
4. Why are internships important, or why should students in your major and
other majors pursue internships in their field?

What I said:

1. In May, Troi Middleton, the secretary for the computer science
department, called me and asked if I would be interested in an internship with
IBM here at the Texas State Data Center during the Fall semester as a "computer
operator." I wasn't sure what it would entail, but she told me I didn't need any
prior experience. Even though I was a bit nervous due to the little information
I had concerning the job, I knew that an internship here could provide some
valuable experience for my future, so I told her yes.

The application process was lengthy, due to the fact that there is a lot of
confidential information at the data center. There was plenty of paperwork I had
to read through and sign, and I even had to go to the police department and have
my finger prints done.

2. My first day was September 8. Originally I was told that it would be for
the Fall semester, but if necessary, I can stay through the Spring as

As a computer operator intern, I help monitor servers from different
agencies around the state of Texas. When something goes wrong, we call whoever
is responsible for the server at the time and make sure something is or will be
done to fix the problem.

Although sometimes things can get pretty intense, the internship is working
out great for me due to the fact that it is part-time, works well with my school
schedule, and is not too stressful, which is important for me so I do not lose
too much focus on my full load of classes this semester. To make it even better,
I get the valuable experience or working in the "real world" at the same time,
which will look great on my resume.

3 & 4. To me, an internship is a priceless experience to help me find
out what I am really interested in and what to expect after college. The
computer science field is extremely broad and working on my degree has allowed
me to look at various different options for my future. I actually interned at
USAA in San Antonio during the summer, and when compared to my internship
experience here with IBM at the Data Center, the two are complete polar
opposites. For example, my USAA internship required me to apply the basic
programming knowledge I obtained in my courses here at Angelo State, but my IBM
internship requires little of that programming knowledge.

I highly recommend participating in intern programs to students of all
majors. The different opportunities for students after graduation are endless
and I find it comforting to know where I plan on being after college. I have
been working hard for my degree, and in the future, I want to do something I
enjoy and makes good use of it. I believe internships are the best way for me to
accomplish that goal. I plan on graduating in Fall of 2009 and hope to intern at
a variety of different places between now and then.

This isn't the first time I have been interviewed for the Ram Page... last year, I was interviewed in person after the University Choir's Halloween Spooktacular. None of my comments were used though, probably because my social skills kinda blow and I wasn't very straight forward when I would answer the questions.

Anyways, look for me in the Ram Page next Friday.