DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Recent: 3 hours

Cumulative: 3 hours 


Saturday June 27th 11am - 2pm

I start my internship at APL on Monday.  I’ll be working on a Navy project finding and classifying underwater mines.  I don’t know which language I’ll be using; I don’t know if the mines are in the volume or bottom of the ocean; I don’t know how much is done; I don’t how much they think I know, but I’ll find out then.  From my meeting with them a few weeks ago, I was able to see the prototype: it looks like a small torpedo about a meter long with two side scan sonar attached to either side.


I’ve been doing as much background research as I can, but I don’t have a whole lot to go on.  Sonar is the mechanism of calculating distance and mapping an unknown surface using sound.  A signal is broadcasted, and the time it takes for the sound to return as an echo is used to calculate distance, but that's common knowledge.


I’ve been searching for machines that already available to see if I could apply some of the principles I might find there.  Actually I didn’t expect to find a whole lot, because I was under the impression that this project had an actual purpose, and wasn't solely a student exercise.  I found information from multiple sources about a craft with the same mission, the same apparent design, etc. from several sources.  It is a few years old, but the methods explanations are so vague, it’s not very helpful to me.  Maybe they’re working on an upgrade?


I went back to reviewing about sound waves.  I wasted time playing different Hz value beeps to find (unsurprisingly) that the more Hz, the higher the frequency.  I didn’t find anything even to that end on YouTube though. (It did have lots of mosquito noise vids, breaking glass with sound, and kids-only cell rings).  I tried Wolfram Alpha (which came out just a month or so ago), and it could produce the sound from the numerical input in Hz.  Hertz and pitch are measures of frequency which is inversely proportional to wavelength.  Decibels are measures of amplitude or volume.  I’ve already learned all this, but it’s good to brush up on it I guess.


From the last meeting, it sounds like I’ll be working pretty much on my own.  The other two interns I was with get to work together on a NASA challenge: there were two options I think, not that it’s relevant to me.  I was chosen for this project because I have “experience in image processing”.  Actually my 8th grade project did have a similar goal, but I’ve only ever worked with optics.  I’m sure I’ll find out on Monday.



Recent: 7 hours

Cumulative: 10 hours

Monday June 29th  8:30am - 3:20pm

I got my intro to the APL facility today.  For some reason, I didn’t have the clearance for an unescorted visitor badge, but that was good because I didn’t really remember my way around.  Dr. Scheidt brought me up to my new office in a different building where I’ll be working with Dr. Watkins.  He explained that the department had just tested (last Friday) the prototype on which I’ll be working.  He said they were out on the water for almost nine hours trying to fix the code.  It would start out correctly, but then make an error in movement that would be compounded until it was really a problem.  I didn’t catch all of it, but they fixed it by changing the code to read 2Hz instead of 1Hz because it was broadcasting the 2Hz.


We moved my computer from building 26 to building 7, but spent awhile scavenging for a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.  Unfortunately, I can’t even log onto the computer itself (without the network) until I’m on the network? Tell me what that means, because frankly I have no idea.  There was a cyber attack this past week, so the Internet’s been down for awhile, also meaning that they won’t be able to get around to even looking at my computer for at least a few days.


Dr. Watkins gave me two packets on the project.  The first is a report on an earlier version of the algorithm (from a year or two ago), and the other is an assembly manual of the side-scan sonar that’s used (with an explanation of the principles of sonar).  I’ve been going through those for the remainder of the day.  I still don’t understand all of it, but I’m glad I have some point of reference that I can reread later.


I’ll either be working in C++ or Java.  I’m not all that familiar with either, so that’s embarrassing.  I think I have manuals for old versions of C in the basement.  I’ll need to get some books on Java if that’s what they decide I should use.  I’m also going to have to learn about MatLAB; I don’t remember a whole lot about that either.  My dad got it for my brother and me when I was in seventh grade or so, and of course he was more interested in it than I was.  I played around with all the graphs; I used it for this year’s science project’s statistical analysis, but that was about it.


At 1pm to 2pm I went to a mini meeting tutorial on how messages are sent and acknowledged by the machine using C++.  They’re still having trouble sending messages in the water (10-20 bytes a minute).



Recent: 3 hours 30 minutes

Cumulative: 13.5 hours

Tuesday June 30th  2:30pm - 5pm

Dr. Watkins gave me one of his computers to use for Internet searches until I get mine up and running.  I don’t know if I’m allowed to save any files (why I’m handwriting now), or open email, or use a thumbdrive so I’m not.  [I’m typing everything up now as an annotation in NoodleBib].


I really don’t have much to do here yet, and I feel like I’m wasting time I really need.  It’s good to be in the atmosphere, but I could do what I’m doing now much faster and better at home.  Hopefully my computer will be running soon so I can play around with MatLAB.  I have so much stuff I need to do, but I can’t.  I still need to come up with some brilliant idea of a project for next year.  I have no idea of what I want to do yet, and it’s making me nervous. 


I said I’d switch from science, but inevitably I must include logic.  Science is so much easier to analyze than anything of art.  I would really like to try something different though.  I need something whose nature is artistic but not chaotic.  Does such a thing exist?  There must be reason and purpose to my research.  If I want the chance to present something credible, I need something that can be explained objectively.  I can’t choose something too personal, because though it’s interesting, I’d get too caught up in their own private discoveries to present tangible, plausible, or even comprehensible findings.



Recent: 7 hours 30 minutes

Cumulative: 21 hours

Wednesday July 1st  9:30am - 5pm

I continue staring at the papers, but I started my list of annotated bibliographies on NoodleBib today.  I typed up most of my notes as the annotations.  Actually I did figure out the four zones that characterize targets a few minutes ago, but I already typed that up.  My handwritten notes are full of sketches to explain everything, so that’s one advantage.


I understand things a little better today, but it doesn’t mean I’m not bored.  It doesn’t seem like I’m doing very much here.  I skipped lunch today because I didn’t know where the cafeteria was, and all the office doors were closed; that’s pathetic, but I didn’t want to get lost looking for it either.


There’s a gap here because I actually had something to do between then and now.  My job was to figure out a way to synchronize all the clocks in a local network composed of both Windows and Linux units with a Windows as the server, and no access to the Internet after initial installation.



Recent: 65 hours

Cumulative: 93 hours

Wednesday, July 15th  9:00am – 5pm

I got it to work for about a minute yesterday and then it started giving me error messages again.  I went through every single component of the program using the help folder and carefully selected the correct settings.  I tried to run the program and it worked!  I had it running for about 10 minutes; I paused it once and it was able to restart, still with success.  I then took prntscrns of all pages so that I or someone else could recreate the settings as a default.  I then began recording what I had done to set up both computers, primarily the Windows.  I am supposed to prepare a presentation, or at least a written explanation of this process.  To do so, I had to switch user accounts to access the Linux OS as the Windows account only has a basic word processor. 


At the end of the day, I switched back to the Windows account to verify my instructions, but unfortunately, the system was no longer working.  I compared the settings with those I'd recorded earlier and they were the same, yet I kept getting error messages.  I tried everything that had worked before, but nothing.  It was too late in the day for me to look into it.


Again when I rebooted the computers this morning and ran the program, I got a long stream of error messages.  I was reviewing every page for buttons and options I might have missed or ignored.  On the "Unicast/Manycast" window under "Client" there were two such buttons: "Advanced . ." and "Predefined Source Timeservers".  Under the "Advanced . ." button, I selected the checkbox for NTP/SNTP and changed the Binding IP from to the more specific server IP address which was listed as an option (  Afterwards, I opened the list of "Predefined Source Timeservers".  They were all (190 of them) external sources defined as either the first or second stratum. 


I didn’t need to, but I deleted all of them because there will be no Internet access out on the water, and I did not have the program set up to receive their information.  I downloaded a simpler program that does the same thing, and I'm trying to get rid of as many distractions as possible so that I can figure out what is going wrong.  I'm not sure that either of these things fixed the problem or if the signal between the computers is just intermittent?  In any case, after I made these changes and ran the program again, I got an interrupted list of successful synchronizations.


Now that I have the system working temporarily, I'm going to work my way up in applying distractions and seeing what finally causes an error.  I found that pausing, stopping, restarting, refreshing do nothing to interrupt the stream of successes.  Closing the program and reopening also had no effect.  Simply restarting the computer and reopening the program didn't affect the success of the system.  I tried to synchronize the server's clock with an external server using the Internet Connect tab under "Adjust Date and Time".  Even when I turned the Internet on and used the original NTP program (which worked before), the server clock was not able to synchronize.  What's worse is now the synchronization with the LAN client is no longer working. 


I put all the settings back the way they were for everything, but it's still not working.  I closed then reopened the program to see if it would refresh - it didn't work.  Since then, I've restarted, switched users, and rebooted all the programs.  Anyway, by switching to the Linux account, I have now accidentally lost my Internet connection!  I'm going to have to ask Dr. Watkins to sign me in yet again.  Oops.


I read on the Mentorship packet that to get two credits, I need 330 hours; I don't remember the requirement for just one credit - 190 maybe?  I don’t think it was an even split.  I'm doing about 8 hours a day now from 9am to 5pm, and I've been here for two and a half weeks.  I'll have to check the actual log, but that's around 104 hours so far.  I think I missed a day though, and left an hour early once or twice - it is the summer after all though.  They expect me to stay here for around 6 weeks and I said fine, but I'm thinking about changing it to 5 or something.  I'm learning stuff and getting a taste of the office atmosphere I'll have to endure when I grow up, but I never thought it would be really fun.  It's interesting in its own way I guess, if I look for it to be interesting.  Regardless, it does become a grind with after awhile. 


I'm going to be stuck doing work forever unless I can figure out a way to get ahead so I have the freedom to get out.  The first step in doing that is to start early when I have the chance to go in gradually instead of being pushed over in a few years by the crowd when they finally figure it out.  This time is the best opportunity I have to get ahead because I have the chance to practice without being forced to really compete.  No one expects much from me because I'm still a kid, but I can feel it getting harder.  Unless I can get way ahead this summer with the hard stuff: math and science, junior year is going to kill me.  I barely made it this last year because I slacked off in the summer and was too tired to get ahead once the year started.  I knew going in that freshman year was going to be the best, and it was.  No one expected much of anything.  A little extra work went a long way.  Sophomore year, I did a little more extra work than the previous year, but I didn't get as much out of it as I was expecting. 


That's probably not a good thing to say because, the ISEF Reno fair was bigger than anything I've ever done or will do for the rest of high school probably.  I didn't expect to win because I didn't deserve to win.  It’s interesting how I didn't remember that fact once everyone started talking to me and asking me about my work though.  Once I have the opportunity to throw around prearranged jargon explanations to describe a flimflam idea, I actually believe what I'm saying, and people who don't know any better believe me too. 


There's always someone who sees through it, a judge or even another competitor, who comes over and asks me about what I did just because they're curious about why everyone's so interested in my project.  I'm always surprised that they actually know exactly what I'm talking about and want me to stop explaining and just get to the point.  They ask the right questions before I get to them, and they always find the flaws even when I try to minimize them with some contrived explanation.  I hate being a salesperson. 


Sometimes when the judges see what I did wrong, they just listen, ask me how old I am, and politely offer suggestions.  Other times they demand to know what kind of twisted system of logic I think I've been using.  Then there are other people who decide to blow off the rant and decide it's not worth their time to tell me all the stuff wrong with my experiment.  I don't know which the worst - probably the last one is, because they leave with this "disappointed-that-I-didn't-realize-you-were-an-idiot-from-the-beginning" expression.  When people do decide to rant about how messed up my project was, there's usually another person who comes up and tells the other guy to lay off.  I don't like that a whole lot either.  They still know that I don't understand what I'm saying, but they don't have enough time to figure out just how much I don't know.


There were a lot of the last two kinds of people at the Reno fair.  Fortunately all the pretty lights, hotel, and interest from other kids made up for that.  There were a few projects that, like mine, didn't deserve to be there, but very few.  How can I say who deserves to be there though?  I guess I'm talking about basement researchers, because almost all of the projects there were done with a mentor in a lab.  Shouldn't the right to compete like that be decided based on the competitive quality of the research rather than exclusive to projects who didn't take advantage of advanced help?  It did annoy me slightly that I had to compete at a disadvantage, but it wasn't their fault that they had an advantage.  That's how the world works.  I got a taste of the real world through the chance to see a competition of scientific genius on an international scale.  There’s always a lot of work to do, but someday it'll be worth it. 


I'd rather control my own destiny than trust it to someone with other interests.  The most practical way to stay safe is to be the strongest; strength equals money, political influence, and military.  The way to both money and power is intellectual strategy which is most likely achieved through education.  Military is achieved through the combination of economic and political power.  The strength of each of those three components drives or destroys the growth of the other two.  This has absolutely nothing to do with anything.


[Time Lapse]


I've made a discovery....resetting the client's clock manually messes up the system.  I was so happy I got it working for a couple hours turning the program and the computer on and off, running programs, etc.  I was beginning to hope I was done debugging, so I could start writing what I did as law.  Over the past couple days, I've adjusted the client's clock several times to try and test if this system really does reset the clock.  After every time, I run into a stream of errors on the reboot.  The problem was that, for the first few times, I did other things and adjusted the clock, so I didn't know what the problem was.  I don't know if this is the only problem with the system, but I'm going to avoid it.  I'm getting really tired of looking at all the red error messages.



Recent: 8 hours

Cumulative: 101 hours

Thursday July 16, 2009  9:00am – 5pm


I left the program running yesterday after I changed the client's clock manually.  After 7.4333 minutes, it randomly started working again.  I did absolutely nothing except type in Word.  I was hoping that would happen because it did an hour or two before, but I was still surprised.  I came back in today hoping to find the program still running, but no such luck.  Though I tested for interference when restarting the server computer before, it never did anything to affect the success of the system.  I never specifically tested restarting the client computer though - could that be it?  It could also be that the connection is unstable and will just cease functioning randomly despite anything I may do to control the environment.  That could profound metaphor for something, but at the same time, it's ridiculously annoying!  This system must work reliably, and I need to figure out how. 


Two things I hope to test today: if restarting the client computer always messes up the connection; what is the average length of time/tries for the program to reestablish a connection by itself?  I can't do either until I get the connection back, and nothing I've tried seems to do that except letting the program run and fix itself on its own.  In the mean time, since I do not have access to the Internet or anything else, I'll journal about what I've been thinking for Mentorship next year.


I do not like not having a plan.  I was safe in that way for the past two years because I had the science project.  Maybe it wouldn't have been my first choice for establishing myself, but it was what I had, and I'd had success with it before.  The main reason I did science fair was to get the recognition.  In 5th grade, we got a new principal, and she was intent on not making anyone feel bad.  There was a display, but the judges didn't judge.  There was no competition, and everyone got an equal ribbon of participation.  I told my friend how annoying it was that there was nothing to work for, and she told me that I should be doing the project only to learn.  Maybe I would have taken her politically correct advice more seriously if she had actually done a project. One of my other friends, who had done a project also agreed with me though.  Of course I appreciate what I've learned through doing those projects, because those skills gave me a head start in other things I had to do. 


I competed and won my first science fair in 4th grade with a project demonstrating Archimedes Principle, a concept that was introduced in science class a few years later.  My dad somehow found out about the science fair at my school, and though I didn't have any idea of what it was, he wanted me to try.  He asked me what I liked to study that related to science, and I said that I liked playing with the balance scale seeing how many pieces of barley it took to balance a coin.  From there, my dad told me to look up "Archimedes Principle" on Google.  I got bored and said I didn't get it.  My dad told me to take notes and in 20 minutes explain what it was to him in 3 sentences. 


I learned about what a hypothesis meant after I knew how to spell it.  I didn't like having to analyze the data because it was so tedious, especially having to manipulate it on my dad's computer lab of dinosaur machines.  He made me think about what all the numbers meant, and then had me write it all down in a paper.  I then had to highlight the most important parts and rewrite the paper so it was something I could remember and tell the judges.  I didn't think it was much fun anymore until they called my name, and everyone saw me accept the 1st place gold medal for the grade.  That moment made up for everything.


As often as he had time and energy, my dad brought my brother and me down in the basement to watch experiments.  He bought tons of very expensive kid science kits for us to try.  My favorite was this one electronics kit where I made an FM radio, and my brother liked building cars and cranes with an erector set.  My dad taught us how to give a shot, to use a centrafuge, take blood pressure, and what a floppy disk was.  He showed us how to read a cardiogram, dress an open wound, and how beautiful static electricity is in the dark.  He pushed both of us to take summer courses at the community college.  In all but one, I was at least two years underage taking classes in mechanical engineering, HTML, Visual Basic, and Junior Medic where I got my first certification in adult CPR.  Before first grade, my mom took hours teaching and re-teaching us how the eye and ear worked.  When we asked her, she told us about her PhD thesis on pulmonary hypertension.  Of course I didn't understand a word.


The biggest push from my parents in elementary school was to get into GT math.  I remember one day when my mom went in to ask the GT teacher what was going to be on the test, so that I could be ready.  She said "just make sure she gets enough sleep and has a good breakfast".  I guess the syllabus was top secret.  My mom kept asking, but eventually she gave up and went to one of my friend's moms for the information.  They didn't push me as hard to get into class, though I still had to study as much.  I asked why, and they said it would be best if I stay in Honors for the time being, but I had to stay ahead so I could jump into GT in middle school.  I've never been good at math, but strangely I've never had significant trouble with science.  That will probably catch up with me next year in physics, but if I study enough this summer, maybe I can avoid it.  I loved chemistry this year because it made sense.  It was complicated of course, and I had to pay attention, but it was logical.  Biology was intricate and facinating, very different than anything else.  Physics makes sense if you're used to thinking a certain way, but other times it seems very counter-intuitive. 


I've said this all before, so let me get to what I was thinking about yesterday and this morning.  Writing a book was actually my first choice alternative to science project.  I am now 90% sure that I will not attempt another science fair project this upcoming year for several reasons.  First, it's a lot of work and I don't want to kill myself over it again.  Second, it's junior year, and I can afford to sacrifice my grades at the expense of another project.  Third, this is one of the last opportunities I have to try an entirely different field.  Fourth, I'm tired of the whole scientific method ordeal; I'm not driven to solve the problem, only to get recognition.  After the Reno thing, anything else I don't get will be a disappointment.  I won the big prize, and don't have the burning drive to win anymore, so I won't.


The reason I haven't suggested writing a book as a possibility is again, several reasons.  First, I wouldn't have much of a tangible project in a year that I could present or be graded.  Second, it's too vague, and unless I can figure out an objective plan to accomplish something, I'll be lost in my own little world all year.  That's about it actually - the first reason mostly.  I don't want to seem like I'm settling.  Writing a book is hard, but it doesn't have the clear rules to define progress as science does.  If I chose to write a book as a project, it would be easier for me to explain and excuse slacking off to myself. I'm only bringing this up now, because I have a potential solution!


I'll work on the template next year!!  I know I need to explain what I'm talking about exactly, but I'll do that in a minute.  I need to figure out for myself what I'd do...  Assembling a story would be part of the project, but not all of it.  In this case, I would have a product that can be presented and graded objectively which is key.  It's the scientific approach to art.  That can be twisted into my paper title maybe.  This is the bridging gap between what I've done and what I want.  It combines what I've learned and what I love into something that both sides can understand.  I would get a chance to learn and outline and explain, and try to write at the same time!  It's so unique too - it's a good product that I think is amazing and I would get a chance to refine it until it's perfect.  I love this idea!  It's what I wanted to do, but I didn't know how!  Perfect, perfect - I have a plan that I can hold onto now.  This won't be settling, because it might actually work as science did before.  I've learned from my dad, and now it's my chance to learn from my mom.  I understand how my dad thinks to a certain extent, how science thinks.  Now I'll learn the process of art by analyzing it through science.  I know I'll find what my mom found too - that art is equal to science in grace.  One can describe the other, but they can never explain each other.  This is how I can find balance between them, on my resume, and for myself.  I'll explain everything later, but I need to think about the specifics first. 


I can't start right this second though, because I am supposed to be working on science now.  I know what to do now, and I actually want to do it!!  I can't believe this might actually work.  It does everything I want it to, if I can handle it.  I know I can though!  I'm glad I learned the philosophy of science before this.  Science gives me the ground, and art is now freedom.  If I'd taken art first, I'd be up in the clouds with no way to get back to the ground, unless I fell of course.  By then it would be to late for me to recover.  I used to consider the art philosophy as a drug to be avoided at all costs, but now I know how it's intended.  This all sounds really weird even to me, but I'll figure out a way to explain.  This is the balance between them that will hopefully give me the best of both!


[Cut Six Sections]


I'll have to think about all this later.  Crayon sketches of the Mona Lisa come second if I want people to take me seriously.  I need to come up with a thesis and research essay that can be objectively graded and understood.  I need something on which to fall back if all this creative stuff fails.  If I really have to, I guess I can use what I've learned here at APL as part of a project?  I really really don't want to do that because it isn't enough.  I'm doing about as much as some people did for IR, but this is definitely not good enough for Mentorship, let alone Leadership.  My other option is to fall back on government, law, and politics.  I told Mr. Ashcraft that I wanted to study politics this next year, but now I've changed my mind. 


I'd still love to learn about it - talk to people and learn what's going on, but I don't think I have enough patience with people to do what I would need to.  I was trying to come up with a specific goal that I would attempt for a project in government.  I remembered an idea mentioned in my Government/Politics AP class this year which I found interesting.  My goal would be to demonstrate the ability of free market to improve the situation of all members involved.  The principle of Capitalism would be applied to reduce cost and improve product quality, specifically school lunches.  What would happen if the school offered local restaurants the chance to compete for student buyers?



Recent: 8 hours

Cumulative: 109 hours

Friday July 17th, 2009  9:00am – 5pm


I've changed my mind again.  I really hate when people reverberate like this, but I need to weigh all the options.  I was talking to my parents again last night and told him what I thought were my best options for a project.  My dad actually liked the school lunch idea best, and not because he didn't care for the alternatives - he thought it was a really good idea.  Not that I'm just going to switch just on that, but as went over that idea again, I got really excited about it all over again.  Now I don't know which I should choose.  I need more background research, which I'm starting tomorrow. 


I'm meeting with a representative for a company that sells cafeteria food to schools; he's in one of my mom's writing groups.  The guy doesn't work in Howard County, and my mom assures me that "he has no dog in the fight", but of course I'll verify everything he says.  I'm just going to ask a few background questions about the system and go from there.  Also, on the way to work, my mom's been explaining to me about the story template.  She was talking about what she calls "chords" today.  I've also been reading what she's already written and trying to work my way through her writing exercises.  I think I sort of know what she's talking about, but I'm just letting it go for the time being.  Once I can get a good understanding of what she means, I'm going to write down my own definitions for her terms. 


I see the trends she's trying to convey, but I can't articulate them either.  The good thing about working with her is I have some understanding of how she thinks.  The worst thing is that I tend to fight with her about these kinds of ideas, and that was another reason my dad preferred the school lunch idea over this one.  I'm glad I have some choices now, but I need to make a decision- what will I do?  First I need to know if either are even practical.


Let me get back to what I can talk about then, although I'm really bored with it, because I'm dealing with it every day.  I'm still APL working on the sonar project.  I was able to synchronize the clocks of Linux ubuntu clients with a Windows XP server.  It seemed to work pretty well, but the stream got interupped after I either manually adjust the client's clock or restart the client's computer.  I don't know why that happens, and I don't think it should, but I only found one reliable way to fix it.  The only way to reestablish a connection is to leave the program running and it will fix itself in about 11 minutes.  I did five experiments and found that 10.5 minutes was the mean recovery time with points ranging from 7.4 to 15.9 minutes. 


I hope that'll be good enough, but probably not.  I can't do anything more now though because they took away my test client computer.  They finally got my personal computer up and running after three weeks.  The only problem is I can't log in, so I'm stuck on this computer for one more day until that gets fixed.  In the mean time, I've been writing up how to set up the time sync in a PowerPoint and written explanation.  After this, my next project has something to do with installing GPS on some aspect of the network?  I don't know exactly what that entails, but I'll figure it out next week.


[Cut Out Six Sections]



Recent: 8 hours

Cumulative: 117 hours 

Monday July 20, 2009  9:00am – 5pm

It's so strange, though it's making me hope I might actually be able to make it.  Dr. Watkins other people coming in from the department to check and cross-reference whatever he's been working, and they ask about me.  I haven't even said anything about science fair except that I'm working on this particular project because I've had some experience with image processing.  They actually think I'm smart! -  for a kid anyway, but I'll take it because most of the kids here are brilliant.  Granted I haven't had much actual stuff to do, but they asked me about where I'd like to go to school, what I'd like to do, what I'm doing now, etc., and they said things like 'without question, you're way ahead' over and over.


That shouldn’t influence me, but I do wish it were true.  My dad said that if I can get something published exactly like I'm doing for this project, I might give myself a chance to get into somewhere like Princeton.  I'd have the international science fair competition, average grades, and then something substantial published.  It doesn't even really matter how great it is (like my science project) because I get the publication (like I got the award).  They probably won't even read it, not that I'm not going to try.  I've always wanted a chance to do this, but couldn't afford to let myself get tempted into wasting time.  This project isn't just developing a story, but I have two escape routes to pull off a good project in case something goes wrong.  I'm hoping I can do all of them though.  This idea is worthy of Mentorship, and I hope Leadership too.  This is my new field, my new chance, my open competition to conquer haha.


That all sounds dramatic and cliché, but since I'm probably one of the few people ever reading these, it's ok.  I can pull in public speaking, and even my essay on science, art and business!  I thought I might be able to use a political project as an excuse to write that, but I can do it just as well here.  I'm getting everything I wanted this way.  The other idea was good, but it was a long shot.  I don't depend on anyone but me in this one, whereas the other one needed support from several unwilling groups.  This is perfect, and though I was hoping before in another journal, I know this is what I should do now.  This is my first choice, and I can support why now.  It first succeeds in what I need, as well as what I want.  No doubt it will become boring and show as the work everything is soon enough, but for now I can enjoy thinking about it.  I pulled through science project, so this should be easier I hope.  I'm not a science or math person, though I can see why they're interesting.  I'm not motivated enough to do them as well as the people against whom I was competing.  I only wanted to succeed to say that I succeeded, not to find a solution.  I cut corners on the science, and tried to make up for it with presentation and jargon. 


Maybe this way, I can use real interest as well as self-interest to truly earn my success this time.  It's perfect timing for me.  I hope that it's true that I've worked through the hardest part, and now I can have fun.  This will still be work of course, but I'll have a stronger motivation to win this time, because I can see the beauty in what I'm doing more so than in science.  I wish I could be good at everything, but I'd rather know I'm not, so I can stop and look for something I can actually love enough to work towards some aspect of competence.  I probably will end up in science and medicine as my career, because those are the only somewhat sure ways I know of that can make enough money, but for now, I can do what I want.    It's in my interest to do this because I need to show that I've succeeded in everything.  I've finished my hardest part in that sense, and I can play around now with stuff I actually like.


I'm preparing in case my novel is horrible.  It's not nice to say, but I've seen enough from my mom's writing groups to know that what I write will be a lot worse than I think it is.  I can fall back on editing and a business plan, mechanical things that can get me a grade that can keep me from falling until I know if I'm any good or not with this.  When I was little, elementary school and a lot in middle school, my teachers would take me aside and ask for a copy of whatever I'd written, and tell me I'd be a writer someday.  I wrote and delivered one of the two closing ceremony student speeches in 5th grade.  My social studies teacher in 6th grade always said I'd be writing for the New York Times, and my science teachers always liked my stuff even if it wasn't about science fair.  That was all a long time ago, and I was younger, so I'm sure I don't remember everything properly.  I wouldn't be surprised if they were just being over-enthusiastic so I'd feel encouraged.  


In any case, I have a lot of work and research to do.  It's one thing to show promise, but I need to actually do something.  I sold my science fair idea primarily because it was promising.  Judges liked me because I gave a multi-year timetable, suggesting that I was somewhat determined...not really.  I liked getting all the job offers and business cards, but I rarely pushed them as I probably should have.  Sometimes I hope I didn't just get that award for acting, but then I decide it doesn't matter because I'd rather have it than not.  I don't think it was all flimflam because it was a huge amount of work which was why I hated it, but I know that I wouldn't have gotten as far as I did without advertising what I had as much more than it was.  It's so much more fun to be promising, than to know and have everyone else know how good or bad I am.  There's always someone better, smarter, and stronger, but no one can say that someone is better than someone promising, because being promising means that one hasn't been tested or given an opportunity yet. 


That's why freshman year was the best; that's why being a student at this internship is good; that's why being a kid is the best of all the ages.  Hope is greater than any reality or known ability.  That might be a good topic for an open college essay if I could articulate it well enough.  Even there, I did it again.  The idea has the potential to be great, but I don't want to try and see if it is as good as it might be, because chances are it won't be.  It's like collecting presents, but never opening them.  The superficial magic ends when the ribbons are thrown away and unknown treasures become old.  This of course is a cynical view of things; the real treasures never get old.  So, then the question becomes, is there anything that justifies crushing a hope by questioning it's real worth?  How likely is it that I'll be able to find what I'm hoping for?  I guess the only way to find out, is to just open the presents.


Enough with the random tangents.  The point of this journal is to say that I know what I'm going to try next, and I'm glad I was able to decide before I was forced by storm.  I've been doing what I thought I should.  Now I'm doing what I'd like to try, because I now have the chance.  I'm not sure why I want to do this so much – probably out of arrogance like everyone else.  Authors in general are very selfish with why they write.  They want people to acknowledge how smart they are even in their unmanaged rants and brain-dumps.  In fact, I could even argue that that's what I've been doing in all these journal entries every time I start wandering from anything but talking about what I'm doing with the time server.  Am I arrogant?  Probably.  I write too much, and I can never tell what I should cut and not.  People usually know if they can't draw pretty quickly, but with writing, there are words on the page and no objective way to say if they're good or not. 


Stories and writing are more complicated I guess – more components to consider when deciding if it's good or bad.  I don't know.  All I do know is, I'm not even telling anyone the premise of what I'm thinking until it's completely finished and I know it to be good.  The interest in the unknown is what sells an idea.  Hope is the ultimate blow to any tested theory.  Sometimes it's even arrogant to think that we have so much influence.  There will always be something we cannot understand or control, and it's better to face that fact and use what we do know than to scrap all tradition and give fate to a lottery.  Of course there's balance to everything; there is an exception to every rule, but I'd tend to lean towards being safe rather than sorry.  In the case of my project, it's now in my favor to roll the dice I hope.


I finally have my own computer and could actually log on.  For later reference, this was a good site: http://www.artofsolving.com/online-document-converter.  I had to convert all my files from the .odt in Linux to .doc in Windows without being able to save them as such on the original Linux.  Even my diagrams in the Unix equivalent to ppt. were converted perfectly.



Recent: 51 hours

Cumulative: 168 hours


I've ended my internship at APL for the summer.  The work atmosphere was interesting and beneficial to my education no doubt.  I felt very inefficient in terms of the project I was working on; I only completed one and a half tasks, both of which will probably be revised by real engineers in a matter of minutes to be better than anything I came up with.  However, I did appreciate the time I had to brainstorm ideas for my real mentorship project next year.  


A few days ago, I interviewed Mr. Lunde regarding a potential project idea (described in journals section).  I decided that though the option was plausible and had the greatest reward if it succeeded, it did not have as high a chance for success as my other option.  I decided that success for that project was dependent on too many variables out of my control; also it was a project that would require a great amount of patience with people and organized communication.  I could handle the needed tasks, but it would have been very aggravating.  Therefore, I decided on my second option, because it has a high chance of success (a statistic only dependent on me), and has multiple safety options from which I could pull a credible project if my skill fails in any area.




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