Zone38 Presents...
Letters to the World


Well, I know you’ve all

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 10:11 pm

Well, I know you’ve all been anxiously awaiting some sort of blog entry regarding Mercer‘s fall orientation. And yes, of course it’s been going on since, oh, last Saturday. So why hasn’t anything new been posted until now? Simple, really: my schedule simply hasn’t allowed it.

So, here’s a brief summary of what happened on all four days:

  • Saturday. Well, first of all, I moved onto campus, bringing all my computer peripherals and school supplies, a good supply of food, and a decent selection of clothes along with me. And some of you may know that I live on the fourth floor of Shorter Hall. So how hard was it getting stuff up to the room, then? Not that difficult. Despite the fact that the dorm has no elevators, Mercer’s Orientation Assistants (OAs) were more than happy to carry everyone’s baggage up to their respective rooms. Ah, the joys of going to a small private college. 🙂

    And, well, nothing too eventful happened until after lunch, when I got the Gateway Solo 9500SE laptop that I’m currently typing this journal entry on. Check out the specs on the link above; the only difference is that, because these were advance-ordered in bulk, I got an 800mhz system instead of a 900mhz. Even then, though, it’s faster than my P3/500 desktop system at home; I’m not the slightest bit displeased. And it surely beats the heck out of the old Compaq dino-laptop that I’ve been using!

    I took a little time to set it up (and discovered in the process that it refuses to boot with my USB hub connected, so it has to be plugged in after Windows has finished booting), but before I knew it, orientation had “officially” started. The opening ceremony was handled rather well, and even included a few amusing skits performed by the OAs; after that, we gathered in our orientation class groups, or “O-groups”, to discuss what lay ahead for us. We went from there to a sort of “ice-breaker” in which we played some really lame games to meet and greet other Mercerians; too bad it was held in the gym, and thus it was well nigh impossible to understand what exactly the team leader was saying with the awful acoustics, heh. And from there, it was off to bed, in preparation for…

  • Sunday, which started off with a continental breakfast. Unfortunately, there was the slight fact that performing at this breakfast was a rock group consisting of Mercer students–a group which ate much of the breakfast which was available. And, though we were told that eventually more food would be delivered, it never actually happened. Thus, I ran off to my room to eat a couple honey buns.

    Then followed another presentation by the OAs entitled “Choices”, which dramatized the dangerous effects which can result from making rather uninformed choices in situations such as dates and parties. (Yeah, we’ve all heard it before, I know, and many of the students will probably ignore it and will go on drinking excessively and having unprotected sex anyway…but hey, it’s still worth a try to get those more stubborn students to at least think about what they’re doing, heh.) We had another O-group meeting in which we discussed the presentation, and then went to see our academic advisors. I ended up dropping most of my music courses now that I’ve decided to only minor in music; I still have 19 credit hours because of the honors classes with which I replaced the music courses, but my schedule is far more accommodating. Among other things, I actually have some time to get some meals in and a reasonable amount of free time at night, and I also have Thursdays entirely free.

    But the best part of the night was the performance by hypnotist Mark Maverick, in which several freshmen went up on stage and were hypnotized into doing the silliest things–exchanging shoes because they thought they were wearing someone else’s; thinking that napkins turned into $100 bills and grabbing them up only to find them turning into ice cubes; believing (at least in the case of the male students, naturally) that they were Chippendale’s performers…eh, sure, it’s the typical hypnotist fare, but it was absolutely hilarious seeing it happen to our fellow Mercerians. And with that, we were on our way to bed, readying ourselves for…

  • Monday. This time, I forsook the rather early continental breakfast and an optional presentation in favor of sleeping in a couple hours later. So, as soon as I got a quick breakfast from the food stash in my dorm and took a quick shower, I went down to–surprise, surprise–another O-group meeting. Who’d have thought? Nothing special this time either; before we knew it, it was time for lunch. After lunch, the O-groups split off to do community service around the Macon area; my group went to an orphanage, where we stuck address labels on envelopes for letters to its donors. Yes, it was boring and menial, but it could’ve been much worse– some of the groups wandered around the Macon streets picking up litter. And besides, we did get to actually look inside the children’s home for a reasonable amount of time.

    After that was all done, we went to our advisor’s house down the street to share some dinner (specifically, pizza) while we talked about what awaited us here at Mercer. Then it was off with to Starcadia, a local amusement complex which offers such entertainment as arcade games, miniature golf, go-carts and bumper boat rides. I decided to go play a round of miniature golf (on which I did, oh, about 30 over par…OK, so I’m awful) and then play some arcade games (which I did significantly better at, heh). Then we went to a special party for Mercerians which was being held at Hotlanta Wings, a local chicken restaurant. OK, so I, being the sort of person who usually avoids parties, didn’t have all too much luck finding interesting people there, but I still did manage to meet a couple of people nonetheless; and of course, I’ll probably find quite a few people who are extremely interesting among the music hall, library, and computer science building. 🙂

    And then we returned to campus for an ice cream social, in which I continued talking to some of my new friends…but before long, I started feeling a bit tired, and thus returned to my dorm to go to sleep. And before I knew it, it was…

  • Tuesday, the last day of orientation, also known as today. As usual, it started with an O-group meeting (who’d have thought?), but this one was held in a rather, um, interesting location; after we met on campus, we carpooled to a nearby cemetery so that we could ponder what lay ahead for us in a relatively peaceful atmosphere which was, well, rather conducive to such reflection.

    After a bit of discussion about how college is so different from high school, we returned to the campus, where we were served barbecue on the quad; it was set up so that, while eating our lunch, we could wander around the quad and learn more about the rather diverse selection of student organizations–everything from the chess club to the math club to the glee club to the anime fan club (no, I’m not making that last one up!). Before long, though, it was time to return to our dorms and dress up for the convocation ceremony–that is, the official beginning of the 2001-2002 school year. Then came dinner and, sadly enough, the closing ceremony for orientation, which also featured a candle-lighting to symbolically induct us into the Mercer family, or whatever it was supposed to symbolically do. And, well…thus ended fall orientation…

Too bad it couldn’t have lasted longer; I would gladly have put off classes for a week if I could have. But hey, I do begin my Java programming class tomorrow…so maybe it’s not so bad as it seems. ::sly grin::

Oh, yeah, and one more thing: If I hear the expression “this is your time, this is your place” one more time, I’m going to scream. 🙂 [For those of you non-Mercerians who are reading this–which is probably a majority of you, come to think of it–that was the official motto for this year’s orientation, heh.]

So anyway, keep watching this space; there’s sure to be plenty of venting as soon as classes have actually started…


Heh…I saw this recently on

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 10:53 pm

Heh…I saw this recently on the “Selling It” page of Consumer Reports, and I just had to link it here.

Y’know how a lot of cleaning products are named after pure and natural substances or phenomena? For instance, there’s Tide detergent, Ivory soap, Sunlight dishwashing liquid, and so on.

Well, the Iranian company Paxan did quite the same thing as described above in coming up with a name for their own cleaning products. The only problem is that they did so in Farsi, the native language of Iran. And the Farsi word for snow is…um…eh…well…let’s just say that it doesn’t translate so well into English.

What do I mean, you ask? Well, would you be inclined to buy a box of Barf Detergent Powder? I didn’t think so…


Spotted on CDnow’s front page

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 9:22 pm

Spotted on CDnow‘s front page today: an ad urging visitors to “pre-advance order” a copy of Planet of the Apes.

The redundancy just never ceases at that site, does it? 😉


Hah. I was just logging

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 5:14 pm

Hah. I was just logging on to using Netscape 6.1 (the latest release, for those who haven’t been keeping track, and a huge improvement on the bug-filled 6.0), and this error message/warning appeared at the top of the page:

“If your browser does not work properly, we suggest that you download a more recent recent version of the Netscape browser. You may experience problems with the version that you are currently using. Also, you can shop via the CDnow telnet interface.”

First of all, “a more recent recent version”? And second of all, such a thing doesn’t exist anyway. D’oh. Better luck at writing the browser-sniffing script next time, CDnow…


A new font on my

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 9:43 pm

A new font on my Font Stuff page which I hacked together for a couple hours today: Señor Saturno, the font used for the Mr. Saturns’ dialogue in Nintendo’s "Earthbound".

As I probably mentioned on

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 12:47 am

As I probably mentioned on here before, I had been planning for quite a while to pursue a double major in computer science and music performance at college; after all, they’re two of the subjects in which I’ve been most interested since my preschool years. And indeed, before I received my preliminary class schedule for this semester, it seemed like a pretty reasonable combination. Even when I actually sat down with an advisor to schedule the classes, the decision didn’t sound all that bad–though she did caution me several times that the nineteen credit hours that I had scheduled might be a bit much for me.

Of course, being the stubborn creature, bad listener, and awful manager of time that I am, I didn’t quite realize what I was getting into with this scheduling faux pas. (Trust me, those of you who are going into college– things look a lot more pleasant and comfortable on a printed schedule or in a course catalog than they actually will be in real life. Heh.) Only when I actually plotted my schedule out visually on a spreadsheet–not unlike the program grids in TV listings–did I come to the realization that the dual major really is just a bit too much for a laid-back person like myself to accomplish. And I didn’t even have many of the necessary core courses in my schedule, to boot! (Of course, how’s a disorganized person like me supposed to know that, especially without the blasted course catalog in front of me? Heh.)

In addition, for some reason unbeknownst to me, I had been registered for the Bachelor of Arts program in Computer Science, rather than the more in-depth Bachelor of Science program I had originally specified on my pre-registration form. Granted, perhaps this was because I mentioned that I was considering a double major and, under those circumstances, the BS program simply would’ve been too much. But if that were indeed the case, I wouldn’t have bothered with the music major in the first place–I explicitly specified I was considering the BS program before I even mentioned double majoring, and if the latter was to interfere I wouldn’t even begin to bother with it. Sigh. Then again, someone may have just misheard or made a typo…who knows…

Anyway, though, I’ve decided, after much consideration, to pursue the full BS degree in Computer Science and to only minor in music performance. The change seriously lessens the number of music courses which I’ll have to take (while nonetheless letting me pursue that strong secondary interest), thus giving me enough time to pursue the necessary core courses and still leaving me with sufficient free time to relax. Sounds good to me…

Now, all that’s left is convincing my mother that I can indeed change my schedule at fall orientation, heh…


Hilarious Shockwave Flash satire: This

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 12:39 pm

Hilarious Shockwave Flash satire: This Modern World from Mondo Mini Shows. I literally laughed out loud at the “Planet of the Dubyas” episode…these guys are excellent at skewering our current president, heh.

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