Recapping on a Thursday, who would’ve thought?
— last sunday —
About lunchtime: I really needed to get my bike from Reliable St. The night before, Alfredo, Emanuel and I planned to go get our bikes. There were some issues that happened in trying to collect our bikes that we had worked so hard for, a couple of weeks ago. They were:
(a) Alfredo had left earlier to get his bike without telling anyone
(b) Emanuel and I got lost BUT found out Hy-Vee was a decent place to get peppers; you can buy peppers for under a dollar.
3pm: Found our way to Reliable St. Your girl Em has a bike now!
7pm: R3216 chef’s Em and Natalie made lasagna and held a fam dinner right before the gang headed out to watch Wonder Woman. I don’t think watching the 10:35pm movie was the greatest idea we’ve had. This is more so for the fact that we ALL had work on Monday. The movie ended up starting around 11pm. The highlight you ask? Majority of the trailers that started before the actually movie. Despicable Me 3 is one of them. It comes out next weekend (btw).
A lesson we learned that evening was not even about the late night movie…it was never ever say the word… m.a.s.s.a.g.e. (:
— monday —
— tuesday —
See my last blog post.
— wednesday —
Not that much happened that is interesting enough to blog about. Dr. Eliot + the rest of WATCH want the mini-WATCH group (the REU’s) to submit a paper to a conference. We may get to go to San Francisco if we do some mad research this summer. I’m excited and hoping we get published!
s/o to Jameel. He made some crazy drinks. Parental Disclaimer: they were non-alcoholic.
— today —
Dr. Mba-Wright has made me think about Chemistry and Engineering (not chemical engineering). I don’t think I’m going to switch my major but I’m just thinking about what I am doing and going to do with:
(a) Information Sciences and Technology (IST)
(b) Security and Risk Analysis (SRA)
It’s a weird mix I’ve got going on… I’m not really feeling SRA as much anymore. Hm.
— friday —
— saturday —
DE MOINES ART FEST!
I do hope my readers are faring well. This approach to my blog is and will be a little different.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have been reading papers about what VR/AR is, which hardware is best for the two environments among many other things that are in these research papers, that I still have little knowledge on.
Yesterday, during our group meeting, and based on the research WATCH had been doing, we had to defend why we were choosing VR as well as present a timeline for what we wanted done, when…if that makes sense.
It’s fair to say that we passed, however, we need to do a lot more reading and a lot more convincing by and for next week Tuesday in order to move on with our project. I just want to tackle the research question, but Dr. Eliot won’t allow us until we have the foundation we need. I respect what he is doing for us. I also understand why he is doing what he is but looking at what the other 3 groups are doing, it just seems as if we are behind.
This week, we have also been working with a software called ‘Unity’. I just want to understand the scripting language, but I feel the coaches are trying to teach us way too much in the 2 days we have for Unity. I don’t grasp the concepts as well and as fast as the others which makes it even more difficult. I say this because as I’m trying to figure out how to solve some of the problems in our given assignments, most of gang have completed the problems and moved on to other things. My major and specializations, at PSU, are not has coding-intensive, whereas majority of gang are majoring in Computer Science. I try and think about that when I’m working on my assignments…but it’s not as easy as you would think.
Aside the coding, and the constant help I will ALWAYS need (I need one of yous to be my tutor at home please), everything seems to be going well. No complaints whatsoever.
I hope I have successfully put into writing, what I am spending my time in Iowa doing. I hope this explains why I cannot always call back or return texts (on time).
P.S My daily blogs are going to turn into weekly ones. But I will divide them into the respective days of the week. This is just because I have actual work to do now…and my time structure now is COMPLETELY different from the first 2 weeks.
(Daily/Weekly blogs heading format: — # X —)
P.P.S I will add one of these letter-type blogs every so often. This is so you learn more about how I am feeling, a sense as to what I am doing, etc.
(Informational blogs heading format: — some text —)
It’s F R I D A Y! I finally have time this week to update you on everything. I have to check my phone for the pictures I have taken this week to jog my memory and help me write this particular post.
— groceries wednesday —
5pm: ISSA GYM DAY. I’m trying to get fit. I managed to do 5 laps around the track and 30 minutes of cycling. My legs are crying.
6pm: R3216 is really running low on groceries, cutlery, dishwashing soap… you name it. Right after work, Kate and I rushed downtown (and by rushed, I mean took the bus) to get everything had written down on our list. The list we had accidentally left on the fridge.
With not wanting to go back, we decided to ‘wing it’ and hit up CVS or Walmart and a few other stores that I cannon remember…and some bubble tea.
** Somehow, I have this picture on my phone. It is dated for Wednesday, but I don’t remember the background story. but enjoy Me and Cy #4 though! (s/o to Kate and the stranger)
7:42pm: The nose pads on my glasses fell off. Right after our downtown trip, I had to rush to “Pearle Vision”, located on the other side of town so I could have my glasses fixed. s/o to them for being the only optician open past 7pm.
— rocks thursday —
5pm: The text message from Anna read: “Let’s meet at the sate gym around 5“. After reading this, I was feeling some type of way. First the heights at the ropes course, and now this!? Oh man.
However…I wasn’t as scared this time. Although I did fall maybe one too many. Please enjoy these pictures of me trying out a new sport that I am actually beginning to love!
(Penn State’s IM Building, after it’s renovation in August, is going to have these rock walls! I am going to be going ALL the time now! It’s quite exciting.).
— fibbage friday —
7pm: Your girl was starving and saw some corn in the fridge…Here is what happened:
My pun game strong (;
Very late o’clock: Most of gang went and played games in Alfredo, Austin and Sush’s room. A good game of fibbage was played…a game that I definitely have to take back home with me! It so dumb that it made all of our nights. After the 9th round of fibbage, I really don’t understand what happened. Sofia, Austin, Sush and Alfredo were climbing on top of each other, hiding fidget spinners (UNDRTHEKYBORD), let’s just say the night turned weird really quickly…Then Alfredo decided to look for his phone in the crack of the couch. I’ll just say he found a quarter amongst many other things.
Even later o’clock: WALMART TRIP FOR ICE CREAM!
— sleep saturday —
Gang decided to hit up the farmer’s market really early on the morning, whilst I decided to catch up on some ‘zzz’s’. I sent Kate a list of things to get while she was the the market…and she returned with pots of herbs! It was really amusing! Natalie, and Kate also got me a little present! It was the best ever!
My afternoon, was mostly spent by cleaning the apartment, and facetime-ing family and friends.
As the day goes on, I will be writing a blog, finishing some homework, waiting for my sister’s prom pictures…and joining gang at the barbecue later tonight.
11am: For our luncheon lecture today, it was Dr. Kelly who gave a talk. When I had first heard he studied “psychology”, it was hard for me to be interested, at first, because I thought I was more of a ‘sociological’ person. However, as he spoke about the research he did, I quickly became eager in wanting to know more about that particular study.
— questions —
1) How did you find a grad. program/school that fitted your technological interests and psychological interests as well?
2) Is there any reason (or research) as to why and how the SDK1 was better than the SDK2?
3) What do you plan to with the information you have obtained about distance perception, and navigation.
4) Could sociology be used in your study in any way?
5pm: We are supposed to go rock climbing. (lol) It’s really hard for me to actually say this but I am really excited. Gang here has already seen me scream when we went for the ropes course last week. There’s not much more that they can see from me when it comes to my fear of heights…I hope.
If I thought I was busy before, it was a complete joke. By next week Tuesday, I need to have read about 10 papers and know a great load of VR and AR.
8am: RAIN; Waking up to a gray sky and windy weather has perhaps been one of the highlights here. (j’adore la pluie). Jumping out of bed, I hit up on my morning routine and left for Howe with my umbrella, backpack and all.
11:17am: I shan’t compare my work to anyone else’s. What I can say is that a difficulty has been overcome – Maya.
— yesterday —
There will be no time stamps. Not much happened yesterday for a complete breakdown.
Gang tried their ‘artwork’. We light painted…Is that the word? But it was a fantastic experience, an awkward feeling, but to the left, are our results!
Another exiting bit of the day was when team WATCH (Brittney, Austin and I) finally figured out what the acronym stood for. I find it kind of ironic for how Dr. Eliot has created an acronym for his team. On the first day, I recall him saying he didn’t really like acronyms(?).
Can someone please help me out with Maya? I don’t think I can process things in 3D. I’m willing to make you dinner.
— to be updated later —
Wow, it has almost been a whole week since I have posted something. I apologize, but I have been very busy reading.
— # 6 cont’d —
I think I’ve gotten Angelica hooked on TJ’s bubble tea! A group of us went to get some tea. I would like to believe we used it as an excuse to ‘cool down’ after a whole hour of fighting over the color of shirts we are making. The fight was really ridiculous, and after finding common ground, polls were made on the GroupMe continuing what we thought we had left behind in the JB Conference room.
— ALFREDO DAY —
The future president of America had his birthday today. #20&Turnt. We kind of held a party for him in his apartment. We got pizza and burritos and just played a handful of games! It was a great way to celebrate the start of the weekend.
an Alfredo in his element: UNFORTUNATELY, I CAN’T SHOW THE VIDEOS OF HIM. HERE ARE A FEW PICTURES.
— ROPES COURSE => DEATH —
If you know me, then you know I am scared of heights. I love being on the ground and nowhere else…However here are some pictures from Saturday.
What I have learnt from Saturday is:
1) I trust my
cohort family now.
2) I am STILL scared of heights
3) I am not THAT afraid of going out of my comfort zone
4) I will try new things
5) I am going to miss my family when I have to go back to PSU.
S/O to Chris, Sof, and snapchat for the pictures:
After the ropes course, gang went to Aldie’s (THE BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD) and Walmart to stock up on food. As soon as we hit Freddy, people went right into cooking their dinners. R3216 made some stir fry & Sush’s room had some wicked baked mac & cheese! Dinner was just poppin’ all over the place.
I believe it’s fair to say that I have read more papers this week than I have ever done in my life. Yes, this also includes the English and Literature classes I had to take throughout my high school career. (sorry, but not really).
7:42am: YIKES! I was supposed to be up 20 minutes ago. Due to the snooze blues I got hit with this morning, my routine had to be altered for the second time this week The reason for this case of extra z’s is probably because I found out there is an 8:45am bus that I can take to Howe instead of the 8:28am bus(es) that force me to wake up much earlier. *shrugs*.
12:33pm: Alfredo got on a beat, and killed it. (I’m stealing the picture from Brittney, once she posts it). s/o to her because that’s what I do when the pictures are not really mine(?).
4:03pm: The internet on my phone still does not work. Times are hard. Anywho, is there anyone out there would please like to help me out with C++? I’ll love you forever!
Signing out early today.
p.s. Gang has some good stuff being cooked up for the week of the 30th.
There will be no pictures today, although, I am sure gang took some pretty cool shots today. S/O to Paul.
5pm: The 9-5 time block was just filled with C++. I got a very confused today and may have to use the two hours I have tomorrow morning, to revist and recode everything I did today. I know I cannot do much coding tonight. The fatigue has taken over.
6pm: GYM. GYM. Crash. Let’s just say, I have set up a schedule to go on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
7pm: So if you didn’t know this about me, my minor will be in Sociology. (I have 2 more classes to take). I enjoy talking, but more so, listening to people and hearing their perspectives on anything, really. Natalie blessed me with this opportunity. What we spoke about is confidential (; but she spoke straight facts and had me thinking about viewpoints I never would have thought twice on. #mindblown. But with all this praise I am giving my roommate, I also have to add how she tried to kill me at the gym. She had me doing workouts that I am just not fit for…yet. So being me, I decided to make her my personal trainer. I’m scared but excited for our next gym-day.
10pm: It’s getting late, but it feels like I haven’t done much work yet. Bummer. I sure do have to make use of the “free-time” I have tomorrow and be as productive as I can be.
My goal for the summer is to have more personal conversations with everyone. (It’s an aim, alright?) … and get my body toned… and to successfully do our group project and get a publication out.
The atmosphere of the morning has been very calm. There was a 2-hour push towards the start of the work-day which has helped everyone’s moods quite a bit.
7:15am: Waking up before my alarm usually annoys me, but it happened today, and I was totally fine. My morning routine began and I didn’t forget my tea unlike yesterday.
Luncheon: Going to grad school in a MUST for me. Thank you Dr. Oliver for helping me confirm this. The questions I need to start asking now are:
- Which grad. school do I attend?
- Who is my professor going to be?
- Do/Should I start with a Masters, before getting a PhD?
- Where do I want to be situated?
This list goes on and on. (Not really). Dr. Oliver, also spoke about the different ways PhD students get paid to go to school. There are two main ways: Fellowships and Assistantship stipends (i.e. TA/RAs). A lot of information was obtained from this talk, and I’m glad to have received it because it is the type of information that’s hidden or not spoken about much.
2pm: WATCH had a meeting today, or what felt more of an interrogation. The paper I was reading all of last week, and thought I had understood, did not do much to really save me. However, I am grateful for this meeting. I went into it thinking “Yes, I strongly know what’s up” when Dr. Eliot, asked how we found the paper, to “I need to do more background searches”. I was humbled real quick. All in all, Dr. Eliot said we had done a ‘decent’ job.
End-of-Work: The next hour was used to play games. I ended up playing Gin Rummy and Codename. Both, interesting but played a bit differently than what I am used to.
6:23pm: Back to being exhausted. Back to reading papers.
—- I’m going to the gym tomorrow! —-
— Well, that’s the plan —
— lol —
– help me pls –
I also have a free upgrade for bubble tea. I have to redeem this by tomorrow. If anyone want’s to go with me, please lmk. (:
We are already in week 2! I have started feeling the fatigue. Mind you, “work” hasn’t actually started yet. That’s a bit of a problem.
8:16am: I woke up late(r than normal) which forced me to rush my morning routine. I forgot to make my tea but at least I will make it to the bus stop on time.
Question: Tea or Coffee? What do my readers prefer? and why?
9:47am: This began the intro to C++; so far, so good. I just know that I have to translate what I know in Java to C++. It’s going to take a little time and practice to do so which makes me think I am not as advanced as everyone else here. During our free time, a lot of people were already trying to mess around with loops and if-else statements, whereas I was still trying to get my IDE and compiler to work on my laptop.
12pm: Lunch vs. Grad-School talk. I picked lunch. More so for it being the only meal that’s guaranteed and free. 7 or 8 people from gang made the same decision as I had while the others went to the talk. Hopefully the talk went well(?).
Post-UDCC: The lunch-gang went to the Muscle Beach of Howe Building and played around for a bit as we had finished lunch early and wanted to chill before coming back to work. Also, 30 mins before C++: 2 of the day.
5pm: My work day is over and it’s time to satisfy this fatigue with sleep…the joke
s on me though because I still have a research paper to finish reading before tomorrow. I’m going to FT a few friends and complain. What’s an Em without a load of complaints?
— To those reading, please just iM or FT me. Whatsapp/GroupMe/etc. do NOT work for me at this time —
6:18pm: Kate’s awesome!
7pm: I’ve spent the last hour and a half lying outside; it was very productive! A whole research paper has been read, and understood! Maybe. The first C++ assignment has been completed as well!
Em’s going to be sleeping early tonight! I hope you can hear, feel, and see my excitement.
p.s. My family is beginning to use corn-puns. idk how to feel . Here is example #1.
Today has been another fun-filled day, hence the post I’m cooking up. (This will be used later).
12pm: “Hard work = Neat bikes” this was the equation I learnt today. In order to get a free bike here in Ames, the VRAC REU group (aka gang) needed to do some volunteering at “Reliable St.”. What Kate, Chris and I did was plant some raspberry bushes. Everyone else had either finished their work, or were in the hot garage, baking while trying to fix up their bike. Unfortunately, the bike I had chosen has to be picked up later on in the week because it’s tires are still flat. ): It’s beautiful though; you’ll see pictures of it soon.
2:23pm: Had to go to the mall to get some 90-degree-type-of clothes. I was unprepared for the heat up here. UN.PRE.PARED. There were some amazing pretzels that I got too! Because what is a trip to the mall without buying some sort of pretzel? Right after the mall, Kate and I headed up to Walmart to get some stuff for dinner. (I’m tired of going to Walmart just to get things for the kitchen. I’m used to having all the spices at home just chillin’ in the cupboards).
4:15pm: Missed the bus, had to get a Lyft. Did you know there were only 2 people in Ames who worked for Lyft? #JamesFromAmes
4:55pm: Picnic time! Other REU’s were there but I feel like the “gang” is the closest. We played frisbee, ate some decent food, and played cards. ‘Spoons’, well, in our case, ‘Forks’, was the best game out of the many we played. We had people screaming and jumping right out of their seats!
S/o to Chris for this picture with us and Cy! Right now, we’re at #3. I also think this was the most ratchet version of the mascot. *shrugs*
Sometime after the picnic: Sush’ really wanted to have a water fight! I joined in on the fun – mainly because he had ‘minions’ balloons. I believe if anyone wants to get me to do something, their incentive has to be minions-related.
9:00pm: DINNER WAS A SUCCESS! I’ll just show you the pictures… You can call me “Chef Em” right about now! I’m hot, just like the steam coming from the food. (;
NB: We start working with C++ tomorrow, I don’t know how I feel about that. I hope it goes well. /:
This post is NOT mandatory. That’s why it has no numbering to it. I’m beginning to like writing. We also did some great things today so that might be the real reason. It’s up to you to read on, or not.
10:11am: This is my third time waking up (lol). I woke up the first time…and second…and third to messages on the GroupMe with people changing the times of when we had to get ready for “Perfect Games”. This is the first weekend since I’ve been out of school that I haven’t been able to sleep in. Yikes.
11am: We’re at ‘Perfect Games’. I attempted bowling. It was interesting. I would like to play again though and work on my game. I also played pool…for the second time. My friends back home would be proud of me for wanting to do it again. (If you want to know what happened to me the first time, come find me).
I played many other games too. Most memorable you ask? Basketball. I broke a record on that game. Then I broke my own record when I played it again…. and I broke my record’s record AGAIN! I found my niche at the arcade! I was ecstatic, swear down.
post-Perfect Games: Went downtown to get Bubble Tea…and some new corn-gear. One item was a cap! (; I sure do love my caps! I’m also trying to collect some decent ones whilst I’m here in Ames. I’m very corn-tent with this one. s/o to snapchat for the filter.
5:25pm: I am in VRAC attempting to read my first paper. It’s not my ideal way to spend a weekend but it’s my future. I guess its good I get a head start some time or the other. Right?
Back to reading. Peace.
9pm: Calling it a night in VRAC. I’ve reached the 4th page on this paper I’m reading. I hope I can finish it (with understanding) before Tuesday. I think it’s time for some TV when I get back to Freddy.
Friday started out really well! Ms. Amy had donuts out for us in the morning as it was Donut Day. I had no idea there was a specific day for donuts but I guess I have to start assuming everything people eat, drink and use has it’s own day. *shrugs*
9:45am: After taking the Myers Briggs test for the umpteenth time, I found out that I am now an ISTJ. A couple of months ago I was an INFP – I guess the only thing that’s stayed the same is the “I”… but it’s okay. I’m glad to see that I am changing. Also, ISTJ’s description suits me way better that what INFP had to say about me.
10:32am: I am in love with VR/AR. It’s official. We had a technology tour of what happens here in the VRAC, and got to use some pretty wicked gadgets. (yes, I used the word gadget). The Samsung HMD, and the C6 made me motion sick – I didn’t like the feeling that much. Everthing else, however, was amazing. I want the Oculus…or the Painting thing for my birthday. (Christmas works too).
— with this being said, I feel a little better with my research project now. I still have a lot to learn though —
12:15pm: Lunch at the UDCC again. I am trying to count all the cardinals that this campus has and take pictures with/of them. So far, we’re at #1. Shoutout to Austin for taking this picture of Brittney, Sophia and me.
Art Walk Time: Honestly, I don’t think we got to see as much art as we wanted. We got down to 5th Street and after we nicely got kicked out of the outside-paino center, we walked into the music store and I swear everyone’s
inner Beethoven came up to life. It was really cool that everyone knew how to play an instrument. (I wish I knew how to play one *sobs*). Straight after the music shop, the group was on a quest for food…but because we’re college student, I’ll clarify a bit more…pizza. We actually did find a spot for pizza shortly afterwards and ordered 3. Tell me why the total was $60? It’s whatever though. The toppings we got were mad crazy. I had never heard of a “taco” pizza before so that’s what we got as a group. That and pepperoni, and a thick-crust buffalo Idaho-supreme. I give the spot a 6.5/10 though, I’ve had much better pizza. It was an alright experience though.
Just chilling with everyone today was amazing, and I’ve enjoyed myself yet again.
p.s we saw another cardinal. We’re at #2. Thank you Sush’ for the picture!
It’s 9:45am. We should be blogging. I don’t know what to say yet.
— y e s t e r d a y —
Somewhere before 11am: We went on a tour of IA State, at least half of it. It’s real nice and reminded me of PSU a little – especially with all the construction going on. We played frisbee too and I learnt some mad skills that I am really proud of!
12pm: Lunch was phenomenal at UDCC. I even went for seconds and tried “buk choy” for the first time. It was really interesting blend between spinach and celery, but I would do it again.
After work: Kate and I went downtown looking for bubble tea (my favorite). To cut 3 hours into a couple of lines we got lost trying to look for uni-mart, saw a snake (to which I screamed), and made a number of wrong turns downtown. However, I GOT MY BUBBLE TEA! We also saw some “corny” t-shirts. (;
— t o d a y —
The 1st day of June was another one filled with a lot of information. Goodness gracious! I’m not going to talk about what’s on our calendar so how about:
After work: Guess who went downtown again? Kate, Devi, Jameel, Emanuel and Chris were with me too. You want to guess what we got? Bubble Tea! We then went to the comic book store and just had an awesome hour of chill time…you can honestly see through the pictures:
After downtown: Room 3216 tried to make dinner. We are alive…surprisingly. We’re thinking of ordering out tonight. We have to go to Walmart because SOMEONE tried making pasta without salt…and cutlery…and bowls. We’re jokes tonight.
also, I’m done with pictures for now! *sorry*