Amazing Fireworks Pictures!

“Make ’em go “Oh, oh, oh!” As you shoot across the sky-y-y” (Katy Perry lyrics seemed appropriate here)

As I promised: tonight is picture night! Last night, I had the honor of sharing my prime spot on the Charles River Esplande during the 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular, with a very talented photographer, (check out Jemuel Stephenson Photography ) who kindly agreed to have his pictures featured on my blog. Above is a video of the finale that I took 🙂
The vocals are Sandi Patti singing The Star Spangled Banner (but mostly crowds of people screaming 🙂 ). I apologize on behalf of the police men who’s flashing lights insisted on photo-bombing my video. I think they were talking to a kayaker who had fallen in the river and lost his paddle while watching the show.











Also, today Ambition. Among Other Things topped 50 views. Thanks so much guys!! 🙂

Day 7
83 Dayz to go


It smells like Amsterdam

And so the fireworks continue. The July 4th, Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular was indeed just that – spectacular. Exponentially more so from right up on the river, conveniently located between the barge and the hatch-shell, several yards away from speaker number 5. Albeit we were sitting on rocks, wedged in the precious little space created by the “V” of a tree and it’s resident nest of bees, among some very displeased and unpleasant rushes, just in front of the family who had camped out on the river since 9AM to get a good view. Every time the helicopter or the speedboats came by, my toes got wet, and whenever the search lights shined, they introduced me to more tiny, winged creatures than I had remembered meeting in my entire life previous to that moment. But, it was all about the fireworks. The speakers were weak when compared with the space that they were to service, and the anticipation factor maybe just a bit abused. When the fireworks did come, however, we were all awed, elated and more patriotic then ever before.
Mission accomplished?
Mission accomplished.

I took some video and pictures so I’ll upload tomorrow (nods off to sleep)…

Today I got up early, spent a few hours working on my college budget (which I completed), played tennis for a while, came back, prepared, cooked and ate delicious cook-out food (the theory that everything tastes better when cooked over open fire is true 🙂 ).

In true American fashion, in spite of my exhaustion, tomorrow I hit the ground running with early classes and doctor’s
appointments to make. My battery is blinking red – I’m going to turn in before I fall asleep here and now.

More tomorrow!

(Btw, I back dated this post so that it would correspond to July 4th. Not cheating. 🙂 )

Day 6
84 Dayz to go

Happy Birthday USA – Now can you help me pay for school?

Happy birthday USA. In celebration, we will acclimate ourselves to the sounds of war. At least that’s what my area seems to be doing. I once heard a story of a woman who came over to the US from a conflict – torn area. When her hosts took her to the Independence day fireworks, she covered her head and fled in terror. To me, loud explosions constantly going off means folks are having a good time – it means something good happened. One day, I’d like to think, loud explosions will mean happy times – to everybody.

Check out this awesome up-and-coming artist:
Good stuff.

Also, My brother thinks Seven Come Eleven by Charlie Christian sounds like a good soundtrack for someones life. Listen and tell me who’s soundtrack you think it would be.

Last week I received good news and bad news.
Good news: I was accepted into Wentworth.
Bad news: I was accepted into Wentworth.
Yes, I’m thrilled to be accepted into Biomedical Engineering for this fall. No, I do not have $43,000 to pay for it.
And so the saga continues. Every rose must have it’s thorns. These just happen to cut particularly deep.

I’m trying to figure out where I can save money, where I can get money (Financial Aid…I am counting on you). To start with, I’m writing out an exhaustive budget in which I compare the cost of things like commuting (which may require me to purchase a car and insurance) vs not commuting (which means I get to pay room and board). I then must weigh the pros and cons of each and choose the lesser of the two evils.

However, while looking up used cars to get price quotes, I saw, and (almost) fell in love with this incredibly attractive 2001 Toyota Celica. Yes, yes, I know. (Almost) in love is the worst place to start. It does get 28/34 MPGs.

Distractions aside, I’m searching the internet for grants and scholarships and am about to begin an incredible amount of letter/essay writing.

I have classes in the morning – early so I need to get some study rest (these are conquer the SAT classes). And I must thank my neighbor for being so generous as to share his smoke with me – even if it is second hand. Last week it was the skunk. At least skunks are not carcinogenic.

Day 5
85 Dayz to go

Where’s my pepper?

Apparently, most of you have been using very bad table etiquette. According to various and supposedly reliable internet sources, in America, whenever you pass the salt, you must also pass the pepper as these two are “married”. So where’s my pepper?

Sharing makes life.
Or, sharing makes life worth living.
More worth living.
No, fundamentally, sharing makes life. A friend reminded me of this today during our conversation. By sharing a testimony of how I had overcome difficulty, this friend expressed to me, that they had been encouraged. I know I’m encouraged when I hear of others victories.

Imagine if we were a species devoid of the concept of sharing. I wouldn’t be writing this blog – sharing my life, views and opinions with you. Many of you (possibly me also) would not be alive because those who had made medical discoveries would not have even thought to share them with anyone else. Heck, no one would be alive because it would never have occurred to anyone to share their lives/themselves with another person.

Positive, productive sharing is one of the single most powerful vehicle of change and improvement known to man. You have gained the vast majority of whatever knowledge you have stored up in your brain because someone decided to share something with you. To take it a step further – you owe 100% of your knowledge and ability to people who shared with you. Yes, we learn things “on our own”, but the base of understanding that we use to even learn new things was shared with us.

Often we’re afraid to share. We’re afraid that what we have to share won’t be appreciated and that we’ll be looked on badly. Sometimes it’s good to think of your story from a different perspective. Don’t think of it as just you. This is bigger than you. Your story has a life of its own. It wants to get out – it needs to be told – it wants to take its place in the life cycle of good. Maybe you shouldn’t stand in its way. It has a job to do – it has someone to encourage – someone needs your story to complete theirs.

“And they overcame him…by the word of their testimony…”

So share – share your thanksgivings, share your joys, share your successes, share your victories; and pass the salt – with pepper on the side.
‘Tis the thought for today.

It was positively gorgeous outside today. Boston (and MA) is so beautiful in the summer – especially this year because we’ve had plenty of rain. I’ll have to post pictures sometime. It almost makes me want to be a tree, or a flower, just to be part of this exquisite symphony of color, texture, structure and dimension. Nature is poetry embodied.
(Swoons while gazing upon the Blue Hills.)
(Comes to again.)
Maybe I should marry a garden.

I had a blessed Sabbath. No, I could not understand the elder who spoke. Yes, he spoke for an hour, yes, he gave 20 minutes of “closing” remarks and yes, I started to feel like I was back in Amsterdam due to the communication barrier, but what I did pick up (more than I picked up while I was in The Netherlands) was inspiring. (Good food, cool people and stimulating conversation also helped.) 🙂

Basket ball in the morning. I wonder what injuries I will sustain tomorrow.

Day 4
86 Dayz to go

I see men as clouds, walking

I am of the opinion that many of our most acclaimed fashion designers are actually deeply disturbed persons who resort to fashion as therapy. These individuals find a twisted satisfaction in seeing their creations worn in public by sane and rational humans. However, they reach the height of their troublesome god-ship complex as they manipulate masses of these same rational beings to covet attire which will get them mistaken for clown/clouds, or the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz, or someone without the motor skills necessary to dress himself, or even someone who lived before the age of sewing – a caveman perhaps. (Or, a combination of all four.)(Yes, I could go on.)
Case in point:
Fashion according to Paris

UAVs and military drones represent, to me, an increasingly ominous cloud of destructive technology, which threatens to blur and obscure ethical and humanitarian boundaries. UVAs and military drones are particularly troubling to me. With this technology, we have put into use killing robots, and almost completely remove ourselves from the human aspect and toll of war. “War, even if justified, is a horrible thing.”
I believe that technology should be science, applied for the betterment and sustenance of life. One might argue that, through the use of UVAs, we keep our troops out of harms way and protect our freedom by destroying our enemies. I argue, that, through the use of UVAs, we further disregard the sacredness of life (human life). Not only do we take it upon ourselves to decide who lives and who dies, but the destruction of life is indiscriminately and mercilessly carried out by a non – living creation, devoid of passion or compassion and without the ability to choose to spare life based on circumstances. I believe that these uses of technology (which no doubt will continually be developed at an accelerated rate) threaten many of the more noble, core elements of human interaction.

And then there are the beautiful uses of technology:
IBR Roomba Swarm in the Dark IV
Roomba Robots light painting

Or the ones that help preserve life:

An interesting WIRED Magazine article on Feedback loops used to reinforce positive driving behaviors and care for the elderly.

I spent a significant portion of my day making sense of, and arrangements to fulfill my “New Students” checklist from Wentworth. Besides paying various amounts of money (so that they know I’m serious) I have to make at least one doctor appointment, finalize and submit my homeschool transcript, take an English placement test, take and send them a (good) picture of myself, acquire and read a book (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao), and a gazillion other things. See, sometimes you think that once you reach a goal, you deserve a break, or at least a little something to help you maintain your sanity, health and well-being (wait, what am I saying – I’m American. And an engineering student. Shucks.). Lesson: Learn to enjoy the rat race. (I’ve had this lesson before – when will I learn?)
Something else to do

To be honest, I’m psyched about starting college. Especially Biomedical Engineering. When I was about 14 I decided on what I wanted to do – and now I’m doing it. Feels good. I’ll post later on some of the awesome stuff Biomedical Engineers do.
Yes; here is the picture I’m sure you all have been waiting for (or at least that I’ve been dying to post 🙂 )
My acceptance packet!


In parallel with college preparations, I’ve decided to retake my SATs. I got a perfect score in one section – and I think I could do that in all of them. I’m focusing on math primarily. I’m also doing some sciences and French over the summer (which, hopefully will translate into awesome subject tests scores this fall – and awesome grades once school starts).
Ambition: 2400 SAT super score

I made a contact for a summer job today. We’ll see how that turns out.

Today’s big news: we can pick up machines for installing the temporary Fab Lab next week!!! (Translation: you really, really need to flesh out and complete the lab schedule for the summer, determine, plan and design the classes and project, find some volunteers, train them to run the place – and a few other things I won’t bother to remind you of right now.) For which I’m excited! 🙂 Go TIE Project!

Day 3
87 Dayz to go

The eternal optimist

I have exactly 15 minutes to write today’s post if I am to post it before tomorrow (grr…time zones :-p ).

Big news: I got my acceptance letter from Wentworth Institute of Technology today! Bigger news is that I also got a $10,000 annual merit scholarship! Biggest news is that, starting in September, I will be a Biomedical Engineering major at WIT!

I’m am very excited and immensely grateful. This is truly an “in spite of” moment. In spite of everything that has happened this year, in spite of everything I didn’t know, in spite of the fact that the department was full – God is good.

The title of today’s post is from my father, quoting something the President said once: “I am the eternal optimist”. My father was very instrumental in making my application successful, and that has been his attitude throughout. He’s a “the glass is half full” kind of guy and he encouraged me to keep working on it, put my best forwards, and keep trying even after we were told that the department was full.

I’m thankful for my mom and Amon for helping me craft my application, and to all of my recommenders, supporters and friends who have been there when I wasn’t. I’m also thankful for my brother and their enthusiasm regarding me getting into school so one of them can have my room (which isn’t happening by the way 🙂 )

I want to mention my lil’ brother and one of my best friends, Jemuel since today is his birthday. “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you…happy birthday to youuuuuu – happy birthday to you!!)

Big day.

Day 2, 88 days to go

Hi. Uh, hello world.

Hello World

Hi Everybody.

I’m finally going in. Yes. I’m starting a blog.
My blogging ambition is to blog daily for the next three months (gulp).
I sit here listening to NPR’s All Songs Considered and cringe at the idea. I’ve been considering this for quite a while actually. I use to journal religiously – but that was years ago. This is a bit different, especially as I’m now writing to an audience. I’m afraid that I won’t have content worth reading, or that my writing style will cause reader’s eyes to bleed and I’ll be banned from the internet (or something horrible like that), or that (more realistically) I would just not stick with it and fall off the face of cyberspace. However, you never know if you don’t try it. Besides, I’m on an adventure – and it would be swell to have you along. (Oh, and I seem to have an extra dosage of willpower so let’s put it to use.)

I am a pre-undergrad, independent student, navigating the somewhat treacherous waters of Academia with her sign set for college. I am also a digital fabrication instructor, community Fab Lab “guru”, program developer, progressive education enthusiast, aspiring community organizer and a huge fan of Italian gelato . My academic ambition is to become a Biomedical Engineer and consequential proponent of progressive STEM education for the masses (because knowledge + skill = power).

I’m working with something called The TIE Project We’re just getting started and we’re hoping to launch our first public impact project in July for the summer. We’re tentatively putting a Fab Lab (will do a post on Fab Labs a some point, for now in our local YMCA. We’re working with Fab Central (at MIT) to get machines and materials. I spent some time today putting together a draft program and sent it to our group for review. The current schedule provides 20 hours per week of programming – not including staff/volunteer training time… I’ll be the main lab manager and program coordinator…and I may need to take a job this summer. Something we need to work out. Hopefully we’ll get more staff. 🙂

Yesterday I had my first water tubing and skiing experience. I had the time of my life – it was awesome. I did find out just how out of shape I am, and that coupled with all the bouncing, holding on for dear life and being dragged through the water at 30 MPH amounts to a certain amount of pain. Apparently the amount of pain is proportionate to the amount of fun had. Exercise routine – here I come. As soon as I’m done with this I’ll do some sit-ups :).

Day 1
89 Days to go.


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