Re-Up

In about 18 hours I fly out for Bangkok, Thailand, where Kelsey and I will begin our two-week vacation in Laos and Cambodia.

We will spend the first couple of days in Bangkok, then head for Luang Prabang, Lao People’s Democratic Republic.  Fun times in the jungle highlands abound.  We will also spend about three days in Siem Reap digging the wat temples, and a day or so in Phnom Penh.  I’ll return to six more months of Beijing on Feb 22.

Damnably excited.  Especially after the stress-fest which has been dealing with getting the new website up at work.  In the meantime, look out for a new BrainCanvas post come Monday.

Another Set

I don’t have much time before I need to lay me down, but I need to continue the exercise.

I have an unholy mountain to climb in the next 72 hours. On Wednesday I have two tests and a presentation, on Thursday I have a test, and it ends about six hours before I need to be at the airport to volar a España.

It’s so much that I almost can’t even “see” Spain over the mountaintop. I have to give myself solace in the fact that I only have five Mondays left at Georgia Tech (not counting finals week). That’s nice.

Another huge difficulty is in our senior design project, the maglev train. Very, very ambitious. Too ambitious probably. We’ll see. We’ll pass anyway, but barely. F+. Click.

I probably won’t get truly struck with excitement for Spain until I’m there. That’s just the way it tends to be with me and travel, it’s just going down the road. It’s all a long road that goes on forever, not some huge exciting sea change.

But I am of course looking for that sea change, if and when it comes. I’m ready for something completely new. New parts of my brain need to be stretched, and the parts that have been blown out and salted over for the last five years need time to heal. Whatever it takes. But the learning curve can’t stop.

Catching Up

It’s been a really long time since I’ve posted, which isn’t great. I’ve tried to keep up better as a legitimate right-brain exercise, since that’s definitely a mental muscle I don’t want to lose.

There are now less than two months until I graduate from Tech with a bachelor of science in electrical engineering, with a co-op and international plan certificate, and a Spanish minor. I am counting down every day; it’s like being on a very long run and seeing the finish line get closer. I am pretty much just on momentum right now with inertia, but I try to run every now and then – in real life and in this metaphor.

Speaking of running, I’ve run more regularly recently, at least three or four times a week for the past few weeks, but I’ve been sick with a mild ear infection since the weekend. The medicine leaves me really dehydrated and I overheat easily so I can’t keep it up for now; disappointing since I want to badly to get back into a routine for getting back into shape. I’ve been (generally) eating better as well, or at least eating more consciously.

Last weekend was RoKS, which was my last in fact – my first was way back three years ago the same weekend in Jacksonville, FL in the spring of 2006. We went down there all the way because we had to accommodate the three kids from Miami to come there; naturally they quickly died out as they had before. Wasted money and time by the higher-ups. Anyway, I was a faci at our RoKS and it was a good experience, although I think a lot of the flow of the conference could have been better. I still made my session enormously late but I think I facilitated one good session I made with Dani from UNC about the AIESEC Way and the AIESEC Experience, and my big thing was to make it so the delegates got into small groups and had 30 seconds each to describe their most pivotal AIESEC Experience to the group. The person per group who gave the best story within the 30 second limit came to the front and said it to the whole session. It was designed to both prep them for the idea of selling the AIESEC Experience through their stories (and to keep the stories short and understandable) and to hopefully get the newbies hooked on the sweet stories of older members. I think it was a good move because the people who came to the front of the room had really interesting stories. Also we did a Twitter feed for the conference, you can see the results here.

I am listening to some really fresh rap on WREK right now on Wrekroom Renaissance. It’s making for the perfect background.

Most of what’s driving me on this blog is my interest in content creation. Think about how many people have really interesting and constructive ideas but don’t ever put them down for anyone to know about? A great novel, a hit song, solutions to problems, a new recipe, an allsome film? We’re uniquely lucky with the Internet to be very easily able to put information out for the whole world to see. Of course, this has to come with the right expectations of responsibility and a good bit of education on it, but I sure hope they never censor the Internet. Freedom is great.

Recently I’ve had several conversations in which I spent a while trying to explain my views on things like politics, religion, morality, the economy, etc. and it goes on a really long time and people get lost. Then at the end they say “you have to be thinking really long term, aren’t you?” And I say “Of course I am!” I know most everyone’s capable of thinking really long-term, but maybe a lot more people are indeed focused on the really short or medium term and not about their long-term future, or that of their children. I’ll have to figure out how to better frame the logical progression from our current state to my desired vision so people see how it is causal and relates to the here and now.

Oh man, now it’s that sweet funk on WREK, Electric Boogaloo. I LOVE Thursday nights. So very solid.

Only a week until I leave for Spain with my sister. We’re going to Sevilla, Valencia for the Fallas where I’ll stay with my old roommates, and Madrid. Truly she will learn the way of the nomad.

Okay, about time to hit it.

A Late Conversation of Respite

I had a pretty hard test today in VLSI and Advanced Digital Design, which ended at 6. I came home to relax. I wound up having three really different but difficult conversations online, at the same time. It taxed me, and even though it’s late I needed someone else to talk to.

I found a friend on Facebook chat who I used to play music with, but who got wise and left Tech after a year even though he was on a football scholarship. Like magick, he had this to say:

Preston

kind of random here, but are you happy you left tech

2:11amMyFriend

definitely

im not psyched about having left school

but tech was not for me at all

2:12amPreston

so even the negativity of leaving school was outweighed by the positivity of leaving Tech

2:12amMyFriend

not the way i was experiencing it anyways

outweighed idk

it was a tradeoff

i mean the last 3 years havent been a walk in the park

but at least im able to be what i want

2:13amPreston

true that man

2:13amMyFriend

why do u ask?

2:13amPreston

looking back on all of this I’m just so tired, I feel like there’s a lot of life I’ve wasted

2:14amMyFriend

ya i mean everybody has there regrets

hindsight is 2020

2:14amPreston

at the same time though it has shaped me and will enable me to do a bunch of good stuff

but, this is my youth

2:15amMyFriend

ya i hear u

i mean are you 23 at this point?

2:15amPreston

will be in Feb

2:15amMyFriend

ya idk

dont stress about youth

were still young

2:16amPreston

I needed to hear that

2:16amMyFriend

i kind of get that way sometimes but it seems to me that it just sort of perpetuates it

stressing about not taking advantage of whatever though

you just miss the next thing if you do that

And there is my night.

Hallelujah

Twelve years ago, in 1996, AIESEC United States moved to dissolve its own compendium, and thus ended the student-run nature of the organization on a national level.

Sound familiar?

On Sunday, October 19, 2008, in Kresge Hall at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, the National Plenary of AIESEC United States held the first legislation since that time.

Twelve years of struggle, strife, anger, high times and low times, opaque structures, “need-to-know” bases, CNDAs, sidelinings, secret conversations in hotel rooms and across the world, member obliterations, and my own Local Committee’s obliteration came to an end.

We got the history, unfiltered and full-on, for the first time. We heard the shocking current state of the organization as it has been dropped in our hands. And then we took on responsibility and we got to work.

Normally we’re running out the door at six in the evening on Saturdays for national LTMs. We groan when we get outside, and we make coalitions to talk about the farce that went on in the meeting. We roll our eyes, get very frustrated, threaten to quit. We despair.

This time, we voluntarily forewent dinner until nine, and even then wanted to stay and order dinner in to keep working, but at that point we were pretty ahead of schedule so it wasn’t necessary. We all had such high spirits, and a delicious dinner with Chicago-style deep dish pizza did nothing to diminish that. Neither did the beer tower that Dave, LCP Austin, and I shared that night.

We reconvened again at nine in the morning to do legislation. After a humorous education by Naoufel and Missy, we arranged ourselves, LCPs the ones to wield the votes. We established our structure, our elections process (the part I worked heavily on), and our business development structure. All were passed by acclamation, but not after some good discussion and amendment.

Notably, LC Madison was the proposer to open legislation, and LC Georgia Tech was the proposer to close legislation, with LC Yale seconding. I used my speaking time for the proposing to express how proud I was to be in that room with those people, after our struggle together and unfortunately at times against each other, to come to this seminal moment in the life of AIESEC US, in my own life, and I believe in AIESEC as a global organization. After Alina from Yale noted that this was the first legislation in twelve years, we closed our legislation by acclamation.

There is a huge amount of work to do before Winter Conference in St. Louis. There is so much to be careful about due to the financial mess we have been left in and our vulnerability to litigation, albeit unfounded. Despite all of this, we have risen above, we have taken on responsibility, we have come into the role we are destined to play and are bound to pass on to generations of the future, generations who have a world to change just like we do.

It’s cool to be an LCP!


“12-year-old William Yuan’s invention of a highly-efficient, three-dimensional nanotube solar cell for visible and ultraviolet light has won him an award and a $25,000 scholarship from the Davidson Institute for Talent Development. ‘Current solar cells are flat and can only absorb visible light'” Yuan said. ‘I came up with an innovative solar cell that absorbs both visible and UV light. My project focused on finding the optimum solar cell to further increase the light absorption and efficiency and design a nanotube for light-electricity conversion efficiency.’ Solar panels with his 3D cells would provide 500 times more light absorption than commercially-available solar cells and nine times more than cutting-edge 3D solar cells. ‘My next step is to talk to manufacturers to see if they will build a working prototype,’ Yuan said. “If the design works in a real test stage, I want to find a company to manufacture and market it.””
– from Slashdot

Well, that just makes me feel even better about being here in the lab after midnight, trying to make VLSI programming work in my fifth year of college. It’s reasons like this that I feel a constant burning hatred of being in this place, while young Billy in Oregon is already doing something spectacular in 7th grade.

WHERE IS MY SOLAR CELL LAB, GEORGIA TECH?!

I think I have already shaved ten years off of my life with the stress of ennui and rigamarole.


Amidst This Fading Light

I didn’t check my email for over 24 hours, and I not only cooked tonight, but I did it with no meat. Plus we cleaned about 70% of the horror that has been our house.

Soon, very soon, I will begin playing with my camcorder and seeing what that will look like on here.

On LWCMMAC14

This is about the eighth time I have tried to copy this disc of old AIESEC GT videos, which I spent eight hours in the fall transferring from VHS.  I’m also painfully hungry and a small bag of pretzels ain’t cutting it, but I am hoping for some deelish food after tonight’s GPM.

The itch of playing music grows more prominent.  Willy B and Shaun managed to keep the house downstairs, praise Xenu, with our friend John in there for the summer and none other than f’ in there for the rest of the duration.  That will make a downstairs full of musicians and an upstairs with one.  Rock on.
This past weekend was our summer leadership team retreat.  It was remarkably shorter and noncontroversial, relaxing at the lake was great and we also got to have lunch at Maddie’s which was furthermore relaxing and delicious.
I have gotten, a little, back into gaming.  The Wii is so easy to play and I’m really digging on Smash Bros. Brawl and Zelda: Twilight Princess.  Some people hate on games, but for me, I learned a magnificent amount about many things from them, and I still have love for Final Fantasy which was more influential than just about any book I read for an assignment.
The disc finally burned successfully.

T Minus (The Final Countdown)

Yesterday, I think I saw someone die. Not literally, but metaphorically, like you’d hear in a song or in a poem. Maybe they were already dead, but the fact remains that the last time I had seen them they were alive.

It was a strange experience. The waves that washed through me made the lunch difficult to digest.

Death comes before rebirth, of course, but I am shaken. What will happen? I must wait and see, but then what? It’s a huge burden to have over my heart for this upcoming week. Exciting, and dreadful.