Ravings of a Fool
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Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Yan" journal:
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Just was notified that this post is unclear. What I meant was that my new journal is at:http://yanzhang.wordpress.com/
so go there. It will be sporadic but should never be dead.
Bravery takes many forms... passive, violent, stubborn, or freeflowing. We mix and match these colors when we paint the stories of heroes for the next generation. That is how we humans get by.
Poor couple. I hope they get through it.
-YZ, working on thesis
(1) You should watch Happy Feet, even if you are a single male. The penguins are accursedly cute that even I felt warmth inside.
(2) In almost related news, global warming is a serious problem, as evidenced by there being no snow in northern VA. To make it even more scary, Boston, MA, had only one flurry this year, the weather statistical equivalent of Shaq making a 3-pointer.
(3) Arrested Development is a hallmark of siutational comedy as Firefly is a hallmark of science fiction. Both exemplars of their respective genres have been cancelled by Fox. Therefore, Fox sucks. I remember being addicted to their saturday morning cartoons as if they were crack, however.
(5) The ride down from Boston to VA was only 7 hours this time, thanks to M.Z. and Paul's semi-masterful driving. M.Z., somehow asleep at the wheel, managed to get us home without killing anyone. The boys are back. The question is whether we should invite ourselves to Jimmy's place or M.Z.'s place. In either case, it is warm enough to play basketball.
These updates are getting pretty sparse - usually only when I'm not in school. Last entry was Thanksgiving, this one Christmas. At this rate, I only get one more post for spring break before I graduate.
It is all part of "growing up," I guess. Many of you, including the people who subscribe to me but do not blog anymore, probably know this sentiment. There are just more important things to do, like trying to get a job at an investment bank or going to graduate school. We're becoming our parents, the emotional equivalent of "selling-out."
Let's toast to "real life."
4 days till School - giving away stuff|
1) Duluth is over. Fun and productive.
2) I am giving away more books - catch them before I finish packing at My Give List
3) GREs. I don't know words.
4) I'm addicted to Comedy Central.
Catching up Through Pictures|
1. Biking was totally awesome. I haven't ridden a bike in like 100 years, but riding a bike is like riding a bike. You don't forget it.
2. Who is this fool?
3. You can get smart just by osmosis - go to the same program as these two people. I felt like my IQ went up a dozen points or so.
4. The boardwalk here is good for sunrises, apparantly. I will try to go multiple times before it is over.
5. Even though he is a math nerd at heart, Nathan is totally awesome and like the coolest guy ever.
5.5 Nathan really likes to get naked, like all the time. But you really want those kind of pictures you can find them yourself. I'm sure you can figure out how.
6. This picture does not do the justice of showing that Prof. Gallian can bench about 3 times I can. He's one math prof to stay away from in a fight.
7. It should be warned that Ana, the girl in the picture, is about 2 feet shorter than I am. I think it is because she has that much more math in her head than I do. It is really quite scary how good she is.
8. I know I give you shit all the time - but happy birthday, USA.
Wow. It's been so long. I even updated my webpage - see some of you in a couple of months.
It Takes Something Drastic|
It was like that time a couple of years ago, when on a pleasant jog to Woodson High to play basketball with Jimmelz, MZ, and the gang, that I came upon a little injured bird that could not fly. I helped it then, not knowing whether to feel good that I helped the bird or feel bad that I might have helped the bird to feel good about myself.
Time does fly, however. I gave a bit of myself to someone else today. I haven't made a real sacrifice for a while, so the feeling is disturbingly fresh. I don't know whether to feel altruistic, pleased, or regretful. Maybe we'll see after results come out.
Of course, the fortunate and unfortunate part of life is that not everything goes like in the movies. So while satisfaction is not guaranteed, it will make the wait more meaningful.
Happy birthday to me.
Another List of Nine|
1) I dragged C. and Q. to Winterfest. Q.'s chinese caligraphy skills are hilarious - you need to see it to believe it. TCS should be glad I made them an extra $27. For some reason nobody recognized me. I think it was the lack of a visor.
I miss you guys. Have fun at grad school.
(Note: Winterfest is a long-going tradition of the glorious Taiwanese Cultural Society. Yan Zhang highly endorses any activity pertaining to this selfless, hardworking, and generally wonderfrul group of people. Said Yan Zhang bears no official affiliation with the Taiwanese Cultural Society nor any of its members.)
2) If you want some "COCA COCA" "Cowboy Leg" and "every form rape," order them at this site
. Prepare to laugh your ass off.
3) Q. made the semifinal tournament for Daniel Negreanu's protege-selection. What an important event! I was his cheerleading squad in my room, providing water, reads on some players, and emotional support. Q. fluctated between 11th and 2nd place in the field of 36 and made the final table in 4th place in quite a smooth and well-played ride, modulo a lost coin flip of 88 against KA. At the final table, fluctuations began to appear, and Quique made some nice plays but was eventually hunted down in another pair versus overcards situation, and eliminated in 7th place. Main lesson? Be careful of the big stacks since they can break you.
Also, I had a during-the-game argument with Q. I argued that heads up, 88 was better against KAo and K7o (with random suits) than if 88 was up against KAo alone. I leave the answer as an exercise to the reader.
4) It is an overwhelming, and highly educational, feeling when someone whom you've always respected shows in a serious situation that he/she is just human. You feel both anger and sadness when you have to replace your image of a hero by that of a pathetic, lying weakling.
I think I grew up a bit.
5) Here is my new hairstyle:
6) McMullin's math class is awesome. Nowhere else have my homework scores been anything close to what it has been so far (1.5/5, 5.5/7, 6.5/11 respectively), yet I am so damn proud of it.
Masochism is the actual source of mathematicians. The two words even sound alike. Sorta.
7) I think BRedline will go on Spring Break without me while I stay and work. I need to get in touch with my nerdy side.
But I think I'm already pretty in touch with it.
8) The best sandwich in the world can be found at La Verde's Kitchen at MIT. Get the white bread, the chicken salad (make sure you add raisins), and a light layer of lettuce. Make them toast the bread. Pay 5 dollars, and you have achieved Nirvana.
The sandwich is orgasmic.
9) I ran out.
Catch you guys on the flip side.
No, I haven't sold out yet, bitches.
Today's thought is on the two banking systems offered in The 99 Critical Shots in Pool
. Consult the following badass diagram.
The ball at point D wants to be banked into pocket A. There are two systems introduced that supposedly both work:
1) Consider the perpindicular from D to the other side of the table, which hits it at E. Draw a line from D to B (the pocket opposite from A). Approximate the angle bisector of BDE, and then shoot the ball along the angle bisector.
2) Draw the lines AE and BD. They intersect at C. Draw CF, a perpindicular to BE. Shoot ball towards F.
First, we show that (2) is a kosher method (at least mathematically - meaning with no regard for variations in angle due to speed of ball and English). Clearly, it suffices to show that D, F, and G, where G is the mirror image of A respect to B are collinear. Note this condition is equivalent to BG/CF = BD/CD. However, BG/CF = AB/CF = BE/EF = BD/CD (each step by similar triangles), so voila.
Then I went to shoot a bunch of these in Loker. Whoa, actually works. Go math.
Anyway, why does (1) not quite work (at least mathematically)? Well, it basically claims that DF is the angle bisector of BDE (remember, since (2) works we proved that F is the right spot). However, by the Angle Bisector Theorem this implies BF/FE = BD/DE. However, then DE/AB = EF/BF = DE/BD, so AB = BD. This is definitely not always true, since AB is fixed and BD is arbitrary.
So this confuses me, since this system must obviously work for some people. The only explanation I can think of is that while it is a little off, it is a good approximation usually, so that an experienced player's muscle memories automatically adjust for the quirks (you need to do that with any banking system anyway, since pool isn't strict geometry). But yeah, since I think imagining random lines and doing intersections is much easier than making a "phantom pocket" or doing an angle bisector by eye, I think using system (2) is the way to go.
Journals are resting places for interests. For today's entry, I'll make an A-Z listing of recent interactions with 26 representatives of one of my favorite, but often neglected, interests - people. They go as they come to mind, so if you actually read this shit, don't feel left out - especially if you happen to be one of the popular letters, say D.
A. is no longer in any of my classes this year. I still see her wandering around campus doing more activities than I could do in two semesters, but such is the choice of life. If I can only be so hard-working.
B. decided to ditch me this summer for the temptations of Big Business, which I hope he finds helpful. I also worry for girls there.
C. is coming to Boston in a month. It's gonna be great, except for the weather. Spoiled Calasian brat.
D. just saw me last night. We had a fun discussion on reading books and reading people. I find his advice direct and valuable, and hope his parents could give him a break.
E. only sees me at the Adams table anymore, which is quite unfortunate. I really liked his recent Xanga article on Xanga articles. I wish I could insert more life into my journal.
F. amazes me even more than she used to, knowing how shy she is only adds more intrigue given her flexbile talents. Some think her of arrogant - I think her of having ascended from the need for attention.
G. is trying to get into grad school. I wish him luck - he has been a good role model to me as someone who was not always lauded with praise, but kept striving forward to achieve mastery in his skills.
H. to me is the example of courage. He can remain unscathed by problems and remain laughing in the face of danger. He can also play 69o from early position and get away with it.
I. will always be my "old sister", whether she knows it or not. She'll be in picturesque England next year, drinking tea with Hardy and talking integers with Ramanujan. I should turn envy into motivation.
J. is resilient, saucy, and confident. She reminds me a bit of N., with a touch less of naivette replaced by boyish energy. But how important are first impressions? I would like to get to know her better.
K. is also coming to Boston in a month. Hopefully we can work it out so we'd kick it with C. it will be summer of '05 all over again.
L. is short.
M. saw me at the pool table a week ago, where I had some of the worst games of my Loker career. She laughs happily now. I forgot what her tears look like.
N. saw us at Lamont. His capacity for forgiveness is incredible, and he is definitely much more in control of his emotions than I'd give him credit for. Math nerds like me should keep this in mind.
O. asked me physics questions. I realized I don't know much physics anymore.
P. checkraises like a bitch.
Q. and I stopped talking. I asked Neal about him, and even Neal hasn't talked to him in a while.
R. puts quotes of other people into his profile, and doesn't talk much about himself. Whatever facts he say are always right, and whatever statement he makes are always deep. I have much to learn from him.
S. plays a sick defense, though we lost to Room 406. We'll get psuedo-revenge the next night, but the next league game is still weeks away.
T. didn't come join us Sunday, but only because he sacrificed hours of his valuable time to help make more than five hundred kids happy. I wish I grew some balls and helped him out.
U. is an uncommon letter for people to start names with.
V. was drunk when he walked into the elevator with us, though he refused to admit it. He is hilarious.
W. talked to me once in the hallways and once on AIM this semester. Last semester, we probably talked 20 times in the hallways and 200 times on AIM. I am an asshole.
X. sat at Mather working with his friends on some stat homework. I couldn't really help him, and we didn't talk about old times. But we talked, at least.
Y. is the coolest ever, for obvious reasons.
Z. saw me in Lowell. I asked the boy to get me pizza. He went obediently and told me they ran out. I miss the dude.
Take it easy,
-Y. (Y.) Z.
Playing it High|
Gave an impromtu tour of the square, yard, Widener, and the statue to a group of three-years-ago me's. Recommended to them Nine Tastes.
Cashed in the table with a dress shirt, black gloves, no visor, jeans, sneakers.
I'll get back to you, journal. Life is too fast.
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