I’ve been busy over the past month or so, and have fallen behind in my updates. Instead of posting everything I wanted to separately, I am instead going to write shorter blurbs about everything. If any of this gets too long, I’ll probably make a CSS table of contents, but I assume that you good folk should be fine scrolling and letting the titles catch your eyes.
Yep, you got it. That was a title. And I can assure you, there will be more below. Oddly enough, that title seems to be a little full of itself. Look at it compared to the above title of this entire document ^^^^^ Regardless, let me begin.
Yearbook, and Names
My last post references the Yearbook page that was added to my portfolio section, yet I never really talked about how the process went. Last year my school district let go of Journalism teacher, which seemed to mark the doom of the entire department. This year, Yearbook was brought back as a club. We started about 1 month or so into the school year, and didn’t really get pumping heavily until November, Decemberish. The first deadline was around the end of January, and we frantically tried to get everything done. Near the beginning of the process, I worked to get people to do yearbook on their own. With the amount of programming I do, I forget that a lot of people do not possess that kind of drive, or motivation to push through projects without benchmarks along the way. That hurt us, but eventually we figured out how to work with people and had semi-regular Saturday meetings. These meetings were awful, and entailed 10-12 hours of work, in addition to the 10+ hours that I put in during the week in addition to my school work. As the process progressed though, I began to pull in more people, and I got better at delegating work. I am not going to rail on our publishing company, or the administration, but they certainly did not make the process any easier. Regardless, we did it. The Yearbook Team organized themselves, and ultimately created an awesome book (That you can sample here: EPIC YEARBOOK FTW!!!11!!!!1!!!one!!1 )
One thing that really pleased me about the process was a meeting about three days before the final date. I was called down to the office and had an extensive meeting with the Head Principal about the content of the book. As an extensive user of the interwebz, there is a bit of trolling, and he wanted to talk through that, along with the rest of the book. I was a bit freaked out, but as disconnected as the administration was, I was really pleased that he stepped in and tried to check the caliber of our work. And was even more pleased when he found it very satisfactory.
Now for the name aspect that this section’s title references. Many many people have trouble pronouncing my last name. People seem to believe that Tornquist is pronounces Turnquist as opposed to Torn-quest. So, as the Senior Favorites ballots came in, I was interested in collecting a bit of data. The following are the variations of my name that people listed in various categories. I have removed actual values and instead am going to share the percents:
The other 2% got factored out with rounding. Sorry to those of you that this may bother. *cough* Rex *cough*
Considering how many people massacre my name, I was very surprised at how many could actually spell it. And really, considering my father’s political activities, it shouldn’t be lower. So that’s awesome!
Anyway, on to glory!
All-State, Without Much of the State
This year’s Individual Speech All-State Festival happened to fall on one of the days that the Choir Department was on their trip to New York. Ultimately this meant that two of my friends were not able to attend, and I was the only Mason City student performing that day. A bunch of people went down, so it was still cool though.
I made All-State in Spontaneous Speaking. In that category, there are 12 general topics that you have to know about. You draw three prompts on specific speeches that can be about any of those 12 topics. The speaker has about three minutes to prepare a five minute speech on one of the three selected prompts.
For All-State I drew a variety of interesting topics, the one I selected being “Is the United State nuclear arsenal up to date?” Knowing a fair amount about Nuclear Energy, I figured that I could make that work. The key to success in Spontaneous Speaking is confidence as well as the ability to BS something well. I based the entire speech on the false concept that nuclear waste from bombs is the same as waste from power plants. Speaking quickly and referencing the Japan disaster, I argued that our arsenal is not up to date because the weapons only destroy. To use them as a tool, we must also be able to clean up, and handle the repercussions.
I felt that the speech went well, and was quite surprised when numerous strangers commented on my speaking abilities throughout the rest of the day. As I have tweeted in the past, I am a professional bullshitter.
On semi-related note, I actually prefer normal speech competitions. All-State was a showcase of performers, and did not have the competitive vibe in the air that I enjoy.
Venezuela is Going to Take Over the World
Related to the debate that I enjoy with Speech, I also enjoy Model UN. A sort of mock United Nations program, and the closest thing that my school has to debate. This year I represented Venezuela on the topic of Nuclear Disarmament. I had a lot of trouble with the committee, due to what I consider flawed beliefs. Many people were convinced that new technologies can be developed completely separately from war, and that war does not develop new technology. They claimed that computers and nuclear power would have come about just as fast without the Cold War, or WWII. I disagree with that, and ultimately had a lot of trouble getting anything passed. It is hard to argue with what I consider flawed core beliefs. I did get some fun things in though.
By lying about intent (which fits Venezuela well) I got the following amendments passed:
Invites nuclear superpowers to disarm, in order to maintain security; said superpowers would need to disarm to an equal level before small nations begin the process, and
That fun little statement would allow Venezuela to develop their nuclear potential, because it will take awhile before the United States, or Russia lowered their arsenals, and Venezuela could never get to that level. If the maximum level is unreachable, then development has no limitations.
Encourages the use of children in warfare, and
I got that clause passed under the argument that the use of children is not as weapons, but as tools for building the future. They are tools, because the children are the future, and said future is based on their education. I claimed that this clause forces nations to continue funding education when budgets may be short during times of war, and was very surprised when people listened to me.
Throughout Model UN, I played up to the idea of representing Venezuela, and embraced that mindset. Many other misleading amendments were passed with the assistance of Iran, and North Korea, my allies in the debate. Comically enough, the people that really are good at debate and enjoy it, never choose the peaceful nations. Anyway, I feel successful, and despite my hesitation, will probably involve myself in politics of some sort one day. I am too attached to the idea of helping people to avoid it. That is a topic for another day, onward we ride!
For my birthday this year, I got an original Macintosh computer. I was pretty excited with this fine piece of magic:
Much to my dismay, when I put a floppy disk in the drive, the Mac read it, and then held onto the disk. Within a couple minutes of bringing the computer home and actually setting it up in my room, I had gotten a disk stuck in the drive. What to do? Well, take the computer apart and fix it of course. This is the floppy drive:
Directly to the right of my thumb, you see a blue spring. The large spring to the right of that had become weakened over the past 27 years. Because of this, the blue spring was exerting a little more force than it had been designed to, and the disk was not being unclipped when ejected. The larger spring pulls the disk forward, and should cause the blue spring to be extended when the disk is unlocked. The blue spring holds one of the four little clips in place when a disk is actually in the drive. The blue spring holds the clip in place when a disk is in the drive, and moves the clip into place when a new disk is inserted. It should be weak enough to allow the disk to come out, but it was not. I removed the spring, and the drive works now.
I also had to move everything a bit because the mechanism was stuck in place, but once I got it moving, it moved smoothly. I have yet to test the computer because it uses 400k floppy disks, and I cannot burn those with a modern PC. Once I get software, I will update this blog with a longer article including more pictures and a bit more of an explanation.
Conclusion, or Something Like That
I should be caught up on my blogging. Props to anyone that actually read all of this. With tennis, I haven’t been programming much, but I’ll post in awhile about what I’ve been working on. I think that’s about it.
Oh yeah, I finally decided on college. So guess what?
I’m going to Purdue!
That’s all for now.