Sunday, March 31, 2019

March Mania Day 31: Patch Blanket Recap and Conclusion of Challenges

Well, I am at the end of two more challenges and I'm ready for them to be done, yet, I can't help but think back on them and the fact that I had to start at square one and sometimes the challenge felt like a grind and the fact I made it to the end. This last March Mania post will focus on my patch blanket challenge.

It all started last year when my parents asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I gave some thought to it and a box full of Boy Scout patches went through my head and it came to me: something that'll display my patches and keep them together instead of flopping around in a box hidden in the closet! I asked for a patch blanket because I've heard of other scouts and scouters having and using them and I thought it was a cool idea. The online Scout Shop (https://www.scoutshop.org/) has patch blankets and patch vests for the display of patches. I asked for the blanket as I figured I'd get more use out of a blanket and I also had nearly 90 patches, including rank badges. I did receive the blanket but my patch blanket sewing journey starts quite a bit later in November when I laid it out and placed patches where I wanted to sew them on. Things started out slowly and not steadily in December with patches being sewn on by hand but not daily. I managed to get about ten patches on before the New Year. During late December I came up with the goal to have all my patches sewn on the blanket by hand before I turned 24. I wrote out which single patch to sew on a given day and found out that I could finish around 1 April. I'll admit I haven't been completely faithful to sewing one patch a day and that I did have to catch up on a few occasions, but am pleased to say that I have only one more patch to sew on at the time of writing. I saved the most important patch for last: my Eagle Scout badge. To end March Mania, here is a picture of the patch blanket with every patch sewn on except for Eagle. Also, Scout's Honor, I sewed every patch by hand. It would have been easier to use a machine but I wanted to make it more meaningful by doing things by hand.


So many patches! Only one left to sew on.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

March Mania Day 30: Goals


Off topic: Happy Spring y'all! The Cherry Blossoms are in bloom in DC at time of writing.

I'm going against conventional wisdom today as I lay out bare some of my goals for the near future. I won't bore you with the typical good job, good house type of goals a lot of people have but focus on more personal goals. Also, today's the second to last post in March Mania, I'm surprised I have yet to miss or skip a day of blogging, but it does get tiring. Anyways, the goals! I'll stick with six so I can act like these goals are my Pokémon team.

Goal #1: Fold 1000 tiny origami swans

The first of two goals that I've already started working towards. I figured that after folding 1000 regular (using 15 cm by 15 cm paper) cranes that I needed to find another origami challenge. Tiny origami was my idea. So far I've folded 258 tiny origami swans, which are much easier to fold than a tiny crane. I should really refine the goal I'd like to achieve, but instead I have two goals in mind. I must have 500 folded by the end of April 2019 but my ultimate goal is to have all 1000 folded by the same date. Only 742 to go, 25 a day will get me there!

Goal #2: Fold 1000 tiny origami cranes

The second and last of two goals I'm already working on. The progress with tiny origami cranes is way slower than with the tiny swans. A part of it is that the crane is a more complicated model to fold, especially in tiny form. Another part is I don't feel as motivated to fold 1000 cranes after already having done it once. My current tally is 31 tiny cranes. There's no way I'll be finishing anytime soon, but if I finish folding 1000 swans fast I can focus my origami mind on the cranes. I'll give myself a deadline of 31 DEC 2019 so that I may be motivated to have a year long goal in 2019.

Goal #3: Create a Golden Venture Folding origami model

Some information regarding Golden Venture Folding can be found at the following link: Golden Venture Folding Info. It's modular origami like I've been doing, except the units are well suited to help make more than one specific model. I'm thinking I'll try my hand at making an origami vase using Golden Venture Folding. I'll have to have some smaller goals to help me accomplish this goal. I have to cut out strips of paper and fold hundreds of units before assembling them together. I don't know when I'll be able to start or finish, but I do know I'd like to accomplish this goal.

Goal #4: Run a 5K and not have to walk one step

I've had good luck running 1 mile, 2 mile, and 13.1 mile races, but in the past it seems that I've not had good luck finishing a 5K race without walking a step. I'm currently training for a 5K using the C25K app (http://www.c25kfree.com/) and have completed the first week of workouts. It also helps that I'm about twenty pounds lighter than I was last March. The training program with this app lasts eight weeks which should put me right at the time I will be running another 5K for real. The 5K I will be running is the Dawn's 5K Dash on May 19, 2019. I'll try to keep running after that, but it'll be maintenance running rather than aiming for a goal.

Goal #5: Solve at least 50 Project Euler problems

This may not happen or it may happen, I'm aiming for "it will happen". I have to figure out the logic of another 37 problems as I've already solved 13 problems. Then once the logic is figured out, I'll have to write code and make a program that can execute the logic to give me the correct solution. I don't have a deadline for this goal yet.

Goal #6: Catch up on reading the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society

Ever since I signed up for membership in the American Meteorological Society, I've received monthly issues of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society journal and some months also have been delivered with a supplemental State of the Climate or Explaining Extreme Events. With more than four years' worth of issues to read, good luck to me as that is more than ten thousand pages. TEN. THOUSAND. PAGES. These aren't tiny pages either, no siree! These are barely smaller than 8.5x11 inch paper. All I know is thankfully some of the pages are references to earlier work and research so I don't really have ten thousand pages of meaty meteorological content to read. Instead of a hard deadline I'll have to incorporate this goal into my read 20 or 30 minutes a day goal. Speaking of which:

Bonus Goal #7: Read Daily for 20-30 minutes

This goal may be broken repeatedly by me forgetting to read in a given day, but partially out of regret for not taking these kinds of voluntary assignments more seriously in elementary school (I could have had more free food such as pizza) and partially a desire to get the reading materials I have read, I'll aim for daily reading so that I can chip away at the books and academic journals I have left in the unread pile.

Friday, March 29, 2019

March Mania Day 29: Daily Haiku Challenge of March 2017 and 2018

Sorry for the lack of content in today's post. It's been a busy week at work and I'm exhausted. This post will simply be the collection of haiku written in the month of March in the years 2017 and 2018. The reason for haiku being written in both 2017 and 2018 was that the daily haiku challenge was started in 2017 but I lost steam sometime in March of that year. Anyways, here are all the haiku I've written in March. If you have any questions on the context of the haiku, please don't hesitate to ask.

March 1 (2017)


Roar like a lion
But storms were a total bust.
I'm ready for spring

March 2

Only two more days
I must finish strong and well
then I can party.

March 3

I'm a busy bee
buzzing around everywhere
at least I can't sting

March 4 (2018)

I am myopic
I need to be more thankful
For all my good friends

March 5

Coughing hurts my throat
Irritation and sputters
Ew! Is that my phlegm?

March 6

Now my ears are stuffed
But at least I'm not coughing
Just a few more days

March 7

Today we had snow
But no accumulation
and still a snow day

March 8

I am almost there
One more day until Spring Break
I shall "git 'er done!"

March 9

My final spring break
Time for a well deserved rest
and catch up on sleep

March 10

Sleep is good and bad
It heals but it wastes my time
I guess that is life

March 11

Seven years later
There is still much rebuilding
がんばって!

March 12

It's a good Monday
Lots of time for sleeping in
But I'm still fatigued!

March 13

Not much stuff to do
But I get bored easily
I must do something

March 14

Happy Pi Day y'all!
Be sure to eat some round food
Perhaps a pizza?

March 15

"Fairy Godparents!"
Yells a crazy hunchbacked man
It's Mr. Crocker

March 16

Chicken Brunello
It's a very tasty dish
I really want more.

March 17

It's St. Patrick's Day
It's an Irish holiday
Be sure to wear green

March 18

Spring break is over
having my own room was great
Well, back to the grind.

March 19

Back to a routine
Time to be more productive
Do things Mr. Sean

March 20

I ate treacle tart
It was sweet but not too sweet
It was delicious

March 21

A proper snow day
up to a foot of powder
But we are in Spring.

March 22

Meso test was bad
But no partial credit means
that it was not fair

(For the record, the prof was fair AND did award partial credit as far as I remembered)

March 23

Crepes are delicious
The one I ate made me feel
all gooey inside

March 24

I needed some rest
But I'd rather do some stuff
Instead of napping

March 25

Palm Sunday today
It's the start of Holy Week
Praise be unto Him.

March 26

Another work week
I have a lot to get done
Use your journal boy!

(Note: that last line is me yelling at myself)

March 27

Headaches suck so much
Can't tell if food, drink, or sleep
It is annoying

(Note: annoying to not know what caused it)

March 28

Today is hump day
We are halfway through the week
I can keep going

March 29

I am very tired
Being angry speeds it up
I need a long nap.

March 30

Finally Friday
Another weekend is here
Time for more study.

March 31

In like a lion
The month of March delivered
It's out like a lamb.


Thursday, March 28, 2019

March Mania Day 28: What I'm looking forward to in April 2019

Hello y'all and welcome back to March Mania. I have three more posts to write up after this one and to be honest there are a few things I'm looking forward to in the next month. I apologize to those who expected me to wax nostalgic about pop music from the turn of the century. Anyways, here are some of the things I'm looking forward to in April.

Finishing My Patch Blanket

If everything goes according to plan, I should be finishing my patch blanket on the first of April, no joke! As of writing this post I have five patches to go. It's been a slow journey since I've sewn every patch by hand, but it's been quite rewarding to know that I sewed nearly 90 patches on to a blanket, me!

Warmer Weather

It'll be nice to not have an icy wind whipping my face and sometimes making my eyes water. Too bad with warmer weather there are allergens from plants that can cause my eyes to water, but that's why we have allergy medicine.

Looking Back on March Mania

It'll be neat to look back at the fact that I wrote a month's worth of blog posts in one month. Ever since late October 2018 my view counts pretty much fell off of a cliff, I'm not sure why but I did have a few surprises for March Mania. The origami post has racked up more than 60 views while the average post hovers just under ten (I'll have to figure out the actual average after the month ends).

Progress in Training for a 5K

Recently I signed up for a 5K run in May. I've never had good luck with 5K or 5K training before but I hope to change that, especially since I've ran three half-marathons and more than a few one mile and two mile races. I'm using an app called C25K where it'll help you train for a 5K if you're starting from the figurative square one. So far I've completed two days of C25K. C25K is only one of the many plans out there that are designed to turn people into 5K runners within weeks. I'll let y'all know how the training is later.

Sorry for the short post, but the past few days have been exhausting at work, a lot of cleaning for an inspector and stuff. I can definitely say I've been liking the lunches at my work place.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

March Mania Day 28: Nostalgia for Pokémon Sapphire

Yesterday I wrote about my nostalgia for Pokémon Gold. Today I write about a game that I associate with being a big kid rather than just a kid.

Pokémon Sapphire was one of the main series Pokémon games for the Game Boy Advance. Unlike Gold, the day/night cycle was reduced to a token in game clock set at the beginning of your adventure, there was over-world weather such as rain and sandstorms, and you had a choice of two different bicycles that each had their own features. The bikes were called the Acro Bike and the Mach Bike. The Acro Bike allowed you to do wheelies and hop on said wheelies and was important for some hard to reach areas that required jumps across gaps spanned by narrow white rails while the Mach Bike allowed the player to go lightning fast, up sandy inclines, and cross over cracked floors at the expense of turning ability. The plot of Sapphire is similar to the first two games but there have been a few features and challenges added. There are Pokémon contests where the right kinds of moves and attributes (such as beauty or coolness) of your partner can win you some neat ribbons. In the contest halls there are square machines that you can use with other people or non-playable characters to turn berries into blocks that can be used to increase attributes of a Pokémon.

It was decisive in the Pokémon community back in 2003 for the lack of backward capability of the first two generations of games. 16 years later and we now can transfer a Pokémon from Sapphire caught in 2003 all the way to the newest Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon games (though transfers between generations are one way and non-reversible). Also only some of the old favorites such as Pikachu returned. I can say I enjoyed the game in spite of the at the time drastic changes. One of my favorite parts of the game was collecting decorations and finding a place to make a secret base and have a personal space within the game.

Since I was a big kid when I started playing this game, I did not have the same struggles I did playing Pokémon Gold, though the evil team's hideout was a challenging maze and the seventh gym leader was actually a pair of twins with Psychic type Pokémon.

I'm sorry for the shorter post than yesterday, but I don't have as much nostalgia for this game as I got it later in childhood, but I do still have some nostalgia for it. Thank you for reading and we're almost to the end of March Mania!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

March Mania Day 26: Nostalgia for Pokémon Gold


What did you say Youngster Joey?!?!?

Today's March Mania post will be a personal nostalgia trip to the early 2000s when I had a lot less responsibilities and a lot less ability to do anything. When I had free time as a kid back in the early 2000s, I'd often be playing Pokémon Gold, the first Pokémon game that I've played that I can truly say was mine, my own journey, my own destiny. Anyways, I got the original Gold for my birthday in either 2000 or 2001 and it was awesome as the cartridge was rather shiny, like gold. I remember doing okay in Pokémon battles and journeying until I managed to reach the Ice Path cave. There was an ice physics puzzle that stumped six and seven year old me as I kept sliding everywhere except where I had to go. I had to settle for grinding levels on some of my Pokémon to prevent me from stopping playing. Later when I was eight, I finally managed to solve the first ice physics puzzle and the other ones were easier in comparison. I struggled against Gym Leader (a more powerful Pokémon trainer than your average non-playable character) Clair as she had dragon types and I was not concerned about weaknesses and resistances. Clair kept dousing my Typhlosion (final form of the fire starter Cyndaquil) with her Kingdra (imagine a six foot tall seahorse being able to spit water out of its snout that looks more like a powerful pea shooter that shoots water). I eventually trained enough and go good luck with attacks and items and was about to earn my eighth badge (which would allow me to challenge stronger trainers known as the Elite Four) but Clair threw a tantrum and told me to find an item in the Dragon's Den behind the town the gym was in. After that I challenged and won against the Elite Four and met another dragon trainer. This time it was the Champion Lance. The same Lance that helped me take down the evil Team Rocket in one of their hideouts that looked like a shop by unsuspecting bystanders. I struggled a bit and won. I was able to visit and battle throughout the Kanto region (which was the region featured in the very first games). After earning sixteen badges, I was approved by Professor Oak to visit the peak of Mount Silver. There was a surprise waiting at the top for me. It was Red, the player character from the first Pokémon games. The battle music and his party of Pokémon made things more interesting and more grand. I was able to defeat him and claim top trainer status in two regions. 

Some story points I left out include saving Slowpoke from greedy men who wanted to sell their tails for one million pokedollars (about $10,000 if 1 Poke = 1 Yen), hatching a Togepi, finding and catching my favorite Pokémon Ho-oh (the mascot of the game), and fighting Team Rocket at the Goldenrod Radio Tower. Tomorrow I'll try to remember my days playing Pokémon Sapphire.

Monday, March 25, 2019

March Mania Day 25: 15 years in Maryland


Happy Maryland day y'all! In honor of the special day I will try to recap nearly fifteen years worth of me living in Maryland, the good and the bad. Good luck to me!

Military Brat Days (2004 - 2008)

I haven't always lived in Maryland. I was a military brat living in Colorado before my dad got orders to move to MD. I'll just say that it was actually rough yet at the same time some my most nostalgic moments came from this era. It was rough because I'd cry often at school and have meltdowns over stuff (it got better after fourth grade), though I don't think I'll ever forget the smells of fall on Fort Meade, especially since my brother and I tended to walk to school from our house (we were the unlucky kids in our neighborhood that lived close enough that the bus wouldn't pick us up). Most of my nostalgia from the early days centers around what was hot on pop radio at the time. Fifth grade was where I found solid footing despite being at a school where many children tended to move in and out every few weeks or months. Cub Scouts also helped as I had something familiar from my last days in Colorado. This era was when I started to become a band geek, as my dad encouraged me to play an instrument. Clarinet it was and it was not smooth sailing at first but I aimed high and managed to qualify for the feeder system concert that year. Later I graduated from elementary and entered middle school. Middle school was a weird time as I went from being a child to becoming a young man in the span of three years. In that time I solidified my liking of math, made All County Band twice, and took up French. I also started to see my physical fitness improve with mile times tumbling down from 12 to 15 minutes in elementary school. I wasn't the fastest in my middle school gym classes, but I was far from the slowest also. I also made some good friends during this period of time, though they moved out of the area while I managed to stay.

Teenage Years (2009 - 2012)

The end of my military brat days came near the end of the 2008 as my dad retired from the Air Force after 20 years of exemplary service. The teenage years era was defined by moving to a new house, but for the long haul, going through high school, and learning more about the wider world around me.
Even before high school started, my parents decided to expand my world view from home, NC and SC, the West, and Japan to include the true northeast (I only say true northeast as I've found a literal zillion arguments over where MD is located, some people should get a real hobby or debate more important issues), including Maine, Connecticut, and PA Dutch Country. Fourteen year old me munched down on shoo fly pie in Bird in Hand, Lancaster County, PA not realizing that he would be back in the county some day. After summer vacation, I had to hit the ground running as I joined marching band at Meade High and had band camp to attend. It was fun and I met some great people, I apologize to them that I don't have much space to recognize them here. High school classes started and for the first time I had classes with people older than me and it was okay. I can't say that everything was smooth sailing though, particularly in 2012 when I managed to ruin a lot of friendships online and offline and was at a low point in my life. Thankfully that managed to change in the next era.

Realization (2013 - 2018)

After high school, I was off to college and for the first time would not be spending the majority of time in Maryland. It was exciting to be away from my parents for months on end and to have some autonomy such as when to eat and where to eat. Freshman year was freshman year except the upperclassmen of MU-AMS stressed the fact that being active is a great idea (it is). I made many new friends in 2013 and 2014 because of meteorology. Being away from home made me realize for the first time that I did not hate living in Maryland like I did when I first moved there way back in 2004. The realization only became stronger when the class of 2018 showed up to Millersville and a whole group of students were also from Maryland and I could relate to them by asking about Maryland and where they were from and getting excited when they replied with so and so county and I could do the same. Other realizations included that I wasn't going to be the best student all the time but doing my best still got me places. I managed to graduate from college, albeit a year late and with one more major than freshman me anticipated. It was worth it though.

Present and Future (2019 - 20??)

Currently I'm living in Maryland still, working at a job at a nearby cafeteria, figuring out my next move is. Who knows maybe I'll stay in Maryland and plant even more roots here, or I'll be sent elsewhere. All I know is, Maryland is currently where hOme is.

I apologize for the lack of details, it's hard to juggle fifteen years worth of memories. Also I'm trying to not be more boring than a drill with these posts.