Day 1

This camp is the third week of my camps and was also new to me.

It was about making LEGO Mindstorm robots.

On the first day we learned the rules, then set out at once to make and program a robot called a Tribot.

A Tribot is a robot with three wheels that senses obstacles to a certain distance in front of it (depending on how you program it). When it does it turns until it finds a spot where it can move.

The programming of a Mindstorm is simpler than video game programming, but I still don’t know much about it, since I only followed instructions.

After lunch (home lunch), it turned out that we would not be making robots the whole day. In the afternoon, we would be making video games!

We made video games using a game-making program called…Game Maker. All the games we made were for smart phones.

The first game we started on was an action game. We didn’t script (type) anything (the control script was already included) but we did program some things. It would be too complicated to explain now, but I have to say that using Game Maker takes longer to learn than Scratch (another game making program I used the week before).

Day 2

Today we made a batter bot. it senses a ball rolling on the ground and hits it away. There are automatic and manual versions.

For the afternoon we continued on our action games.

Day 3

Today we made a robot that follows black lines and sounds notes if it senses certain colors. It senses color using a light/color sensor, but it has to be very very close to the ground.

At game making time we started a new game called a defender game. All it was was a main character in the middle shooting projectiles at enemies that are trying to get at things the main character is defending.

Day 4

Day 4 was actually Friday since Thursday was July 4th.

Today we had a choice of making either a catapult or a mastodon robot. Most people made the catapult (of course) but I made the mastodon, because it was cool (as you can see in the video below).

In the afternoon we finished up our games; we added health and a boss to our defender game. Then it was time to go (after the counselors put our games on disks).

This camp was pretty fun in that I got to make robots and more games. I would have liked it better had I been able to keep my robot (but financial issues and such). I might go to it again next year.

Go-Kart Camp

Posted: 08/09/2013 in Uncategorized

My Go-Kart

Day 1

Camp Galileo was a new camp for me, so I was unfamiliar with it. One thing I learned was that there were actually two camps: Camp Galileo and Camp Galileo Summer Quest (GSQ). Camp Galileo was for the little kids, and GSQ was the one I was in. GSQ is divided into majors: Go-Kart Building, Website Design, Video Game Design, Chefology, Fashion Design, and Comic Book Workshop.

My instructors for Go-Kart were named Mac, Murry, and Aaron (if I remember correctly). The classroom was a place covered in plastic, with tools placed on counters along the wall. There was also that smell of wood, which I liked. We first learned about the base process of innovating in GSQ: Identify Goals, Generate Ideas, Design, (then in a circle) Build, Test, Evaluate, Redesign, and at some point Share.

We also noticed a sample Go-Kart that was built in Go-Karts Extreme. It was called the “Shark” for its cylindrical shape, painted gill design, shark mouth shaped steering wheel, and an opening and closing mouth in the front.

We started by doing demos on the various tools. We were first shown how to use a carpenter’s saw. For those of you that don’t know, using a saw is harder than it looks. You have to saw perfectly straight or it will take more energy to cut. There’s also the keyhole saw, for making smaller, more precise cuts. But they lay unused on the tool table for the whole week.

I forgot to mention, there is one rule that always applies: wear gloves whenever you are using tools.

After that we had a snack break, and I had snack from camp. I got a fruit stick.

After snack, we continued on the demos. This time we learned how to use an electric drill. The first thing we learned about it was, you should not drill the screw directly into the wood, or else it cracks. You have to drill pilot holes (holes drilled by the drill bit) first, and then put in the screw.

After all the demos, it was time for Game On! Game On! It is a 30 minute period in which majors compete against each other in camp games, which could range from relay races to dressing up the staff. I forget what we did that day, but I think it was a relay race. Game On! is optional, and I didn’t feel like participating, so I just sat around waiting for lunch.

Lunch was right after Game On!, and I had lunch from camp too. Today I got dumplings. I put soy sauce on them for more flavor, but they got all soggy so I don’t think I ate all of it.

Right now everything’s more of a rapidly dimming memory since I’m writing this in the last weeks of summer, so I might forget a few things (like lunch or games) or get them mixed up.

So, I think I ate soggy dumpling for lunch that day, but it might have been something else.

After lunch we got out all the wood we needed for the go-karts. We went outside and got the pieces from either a storage shed. The pieces came in ready-made bundles wrapped with plastic. The chassis, two rectangles, and four triangles were what came in each bundle. We carried them outside, two people to each, and set them down in rows.

Then we went inside and started making mini go-karts. They’re basically paper cut-outs of the go-karts we will make. Specifically, it is the chassis and all the shapes cut out in paper so you can cut and tape it however you want. You can even color it! Not only that, but the pieces are all (pretty much) to scale.

After all the fun with the mini go-karts, we took out the wheels. They were in little cardboard packages, and the box said it was for “soapbox racers,” so I guess that’s what we’re making.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the go-karts we were making didn’t have engines, so it relied on either gravity or someone pushing it. I was sort of crestfallen when I heard about this.

So anyway, we took out the wheels, opened them up, and took out everything that was inside. Apparently the steering system came with it, and it looked complicated.

It was after we took out the wheels when the day ended.

Day 2

Agenda:

  • Install back wheels

Today we installed the back wheels and I think a little of the front wheels.

The back wheels were made out of plastic (unfortunately not rubber) and attached by brackets. It took most of the day because it was our first time using the drills, and not only that; we were forced to use two wrenches each and while there were plenty of crescent wrenches, there were only three ratchet wrenches. And it took a while to screw on the wheels since we had to figure out which way to tighten them, and just the right amount.

We only got one component of the front wheels done it was a hollow bar that screwed onto the bottom of the chassis. On there was supposed to be attached to it the wheels and steering.

Day 3

Agenda:

  • Install front wheels and steering
  • If there’s time, start hood

Today we installed the front wheels, steering system, and built the hood.

The front wheels are more complicated than the back wheels. They are attached to the ends of the hollow bar and are able to swivel. The steering is simpler than I had thought. A steering pole connects to the hollow bar and also two little bars which are attached to the wheels.

There was a change in Game On! activities today. Instead of regular Game On! we would be holding a soccer tournament. I’m no good at soccer so I didn’t sign up.

Actually, we were all notified beforehand that the soccer tourney was happening on Wednesday. There were sign-ups for doubles starting on Monday.

So anyway there was a soccer tournament, and we also started on our hoods. I seemed to be the only one who made a hood to cover my feet. Then the day ended.

Day 4

Agenda:

  • Finish hoods
  • Make seats
  • Paint

Today we finished and attached our hoods. Mine was a bit off for some reason so I screwed on some scrap wood to fix it but now it doesn’t look that good. After the hoods we did the seats.

Game On! progressed with the soccer tournament as normal. It would be concluded the next day.

After all that, we started painting the karts. I painted mine red and black because at the time those were my favorite colors. However, I was a little late because my hood took longer to attach. Because I was late, I did a sort of shabby job painting. I named it “The Cow” because of this.

Day 5

Agenda

  • Finish painting
  • Make and paint steering wheel
  • Car Show!

Today was the last day of this camp, so we had to hurry a little. First we finished painting. After that, we did our steering wheel. It was attached to the steering pole by a pin. I shaped mine like a triangle, painted yellow.

Today the soccer tournament reached its finale. The unlucky people who got to win the camper’s part of the tournament had to now fight the final boss, Mac and the Director Big T. The campers lost, sadly (I forget the score).

At the end of the day, we didn’t have enough time for a test drive. We were all disheartened at this news.

At the car show, we parked all our karts in a semicircle and sat in them. When the parents came, we each took turns saying our name, the name of the kart, one or two challenges we overcame, and an appreciation for another person. After that I looked at other majors’ work, then went home.

However that was not the last time I went there. On week 6 I went back to do Inventor’s Workshop, which I may blog about another time.

My Summer Vacation

Posted: 08/19/2012 in Vacation

This summer I went on vacation to the general area of the Great Plains. I flew to to Denver International Airport, and then drove for half a day to Rapid City, South Dakota. During the ride, we went through the Plains, and I saw lots of rock formations.

During the vacation, I went to a whole bunch of different places. Here I have a list of them and details about them:

Mt.Rushmore

Mt. Rushmore is a huge sculpture of the heads of (from left to right) George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. It towers hundreds of feet above the viewing platforms and has a big pile of rubble beneath it.

Crazy Horse Memorial

A memorial for a brave Native American. Mt.Rushmore would fit inside the head area. The memorial is a work in progress.

Bear Country USA

a drive-thru wildlife park. You don’t see much at first, but if you’re lucky enough to come at feeding time, like us, then you will see more bears than you could have imagined in your life walking toward a few trucks loaded with vegetables. Some even walked across the road or just sat in the middle. The fastest anyone goes is probably 10 mph.

Wyoming State Museum

A museum about the history of Wyoming set in Cheyenne, Wyoming’s capital, in the vicinity of the library, Capitol, and governors’ mansion, all of which I went to also.

I-80: We drove on Hwy I-80 most of the time to go between Wyoming, South Dakota, and Colorado.

Denver Zoo

In Denver, I went to the zoo. It was much bigger than San Francisco’s, and had more animals and shops. There was also a small train that ran through about a quarter of the zoo.

Rapid City: the second most populous city in South Dakota. It is close to Mt.Rushmore. We stayed at a hotel called “Sleep Inn.” Is that supposed to be a joke?

Keystone: probably the smallest town I have visited. It has a Wild West theme to it and is close to Mt.Rushmore.

South Dakota Air and Space Museum

This is home to lots of airplanes. The inside of the building has lots more, including a missile silo and the cockpit of a plane.

Mt.Evans

This is my favorite. We drove up a mountain 14,000 feet high and climbed up a rickety rock path to the summit. Actually, we were a few meters below the summit (some other people were taking it up) but it had the same view.

All in all, the vacation wasn’t the best, but I did get a lot of sightseeing done.

A Review on The Avengers

Posted: 05/29/2012 in Film, Review

The movie The Avengers is about a group of superheroes that work together to defeat the villain, Loki.

They are: Iron Man, Black Widow, Hulk, Hawkeye, Captain America, and Thor.

In the beginning, there’s this thing called a Tesseract. I don’t think that the movie reveals what it was made for, but it appears to open doors to other Tesseracts. There is one on the planet Asgard. Loki uses it and goes to earth and controls and kills people.

The group of superheroes, dubbed the Avengers, meet on this high-tech flying boat. Loki attacks them and four of them fix it (the other two are currently on Loki’s side).

After all of the Avengers compromise for a while they go off on their own without permission to stop the portal that is slowly opening up.

They arrive too late, but they do some amazing fighting with the aliens that came through the portal.

Then at last the chance comes when Loki is knocked out and a nuclear missile from a rogue jet heads toward the city.

Iron Man then does his stuff and destroys the alien base and slips through just as Black Widow closes the portal.

At the end Thor and Loki (who are brothers) go back to their homeland while the rest of the Avengers go off in their own ways.

The Avengers is a combination of mythology and science fiction, with a lot of humor.

Watching it is a must!

Here’s my recent recital from this Spring.

I play Variation on a German Air by Henry Colmar and Bach’s Hungarian Rhapsody duet with my teacher.

Video  —  Posted: 05/28/2012 in Music, Video

Jimmy and Timmy Frankie had a strange family.

First of all, their parents liked everybody in the family to have names that ended in long e’s (like Tammy, Tommy, or Jenny). Strange things seemed to happen only to them, like the time some pirates came on shore and headed straight towards their house, or when a slice of cheese suddenly became alive and did some magic to turn their dead great, great, great, great times 10 grandfather into a zombie. But this is the story of when some colonists somehow went through a time portal/machine and told them about something. Something secret. You will find out later on.

In this adventure Jimmy and Timmy will find out “random, important, earth-shattering facts,” as famous philosopher Markie Twainy (yes, he was part of the Frankie family; an ancestor) described it.

Now to the story.

Jimmy’s half of the story, in his point of view:

It all began on a normal Frankie family day. Mr.Cheeseman was busy sending zombies into our house. The pirates that he turned into oversized cats were busy chasing them away as part of The Deal. Then the furnace started making some weird noises.

It was sort of like a growl, roar, meow, and bark at the same time. So it went kind of like, “Groameoof!” It sounded a little distant.

Then a whirling sound, like what you’d hear in a warping sound in a video game, and a pop. Then another one of those “Groameoof”s. That’s when I realized it was a sneeze.

Dad groaned.

Mom called, “Jimmy, go check what’s happening to the furnace,” like it was any regular day (actually, it was).

I nodded to my twin brother, Timmy, which really meant, “Come with me” in our secret code.

So we went downstairs to check on it.

OK, now let me tell you, it was not winter, so the furnace wasn’t on. No need to tell you the exact date. So it was strange that it was making noises like it was on. Or not on. Well, strange in this house is everyday.

What we saw in front of the furnace was a memory I would never forget. Wait, maybe I would, because I don’t remember the time some terrorists attacked our house. Or was it tourists? Anyway, our parents told us about it. But they said that it happened when I was little. Or maybe I would get a souvenir or something, like those oversized cats. Or maybe—

Oops, maybe I’m getting a little off topic. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Hurry up and get back to the story already! Well, FYI, I need to tell you these things so you can get used to the family.

And now you’re thinking, O_o.

So now I’m thinking, >:-(. Why hadn’t you thought of that before?!

B-)

OK, enough with the emotes.

So now, what we saw was: two men dressed in an old-fashioned way, one of them sneezing (Groameoof! Groameoof!) and saying, “You know Bob, I really detest this pollen! Where are we anyway?” and the other man, Bob, said, “I don’t know, Sam.”

Timmy looked at where our flowers were on the stool a few feet away from the furnace and said, “Oops, sorry,” picked it up, and put it in the backyard. That was when they noticed us.

Suddenly one of them (Sam, I think) drew a long, thin saber out of a scabbard that we hadn’t seen before, and swung at Timmy. He looked just in time to pick up the nearest thing—a screwdriver. Then the man sneezed (that’s when I knew he was Sam, the sneezer) and misaimed so the blade clanged onto the screwdriver. The noise was loud enough to wake up dad from his usual daydreaming.

Now, if you think I have parents who do not care about me whatsoever you are WRONG. They would give their own lives to save ours. And that’s why Dad came running down the stairs with a baseball bat just in time to whack the two men on the head. Really hard.

Mom quickly ran down to see what was happening.

“Jimmy, go get some ropes,” snapped Dad, “Timmy, put away that screwdriver.”

We always had some rope just in case some thing like this happened.

So I went upstairs, looked inside the emergency toolbox. The bundle of ropes was not there as it would be usually. So I went back down and told Dad.

“Try looking in the glove compartment,” he answered, “I might have brought them to work yesterday. Here are the keys.”

Dad was a “mountain rescuer,” as he called himself. Fortunately, he did not rescue mountains, but lost mountain climbers. He always went to work with our dog, Sir Barrier (when he stood, he was like a small shaggy, smelly, metal barrier, and he was as brave as a knight) who now was, unfortunately, at the vet getting healed for a broken leg.

I did as he commanded, and found it. Then I watched Mom and Dad tie the two men up.

Suddenly, Timmy broke the silence.

“Who are they, any way?” he asked to no one in particular.

“Colonists, by the looks of it,” answered Dad.

Timmy and I looked at each other, silently asking each other the same question: How did they get here?

OK, have you caught up with the story yet? If not, here is a short summary of what has happened so far.

The strange Frankie family had some colonists in their house. They turned up mysteriously next to a noise-making furnace. The father of the family had knocked them out and tied them up.

Isn’t there anything better than that? :D

Anyway, now it’s Timmy’s turn to tell his half.

Timmy’s half of the story, in his point of view:

Yeah, it’s my turn. Who’s cooler, me or Jimmy?!

Anyway, when we silently asked each other that, Dad seemed to read our minds. Not by answering, but by saying a command.

“Timmy, go check the furnace,” he said.

I nodded to Jimmy, which is code for—wait, he already told you? Oh, good. Now I won’t have to explain it.

We looked all around the furnace. Not a thing that was unusual.

“Nothing, Dad,” Jimmy called.

And he gets all the glory.

Then the colonists suddenly woke up and screamed, “We are the messengers!” together, thereupon Bob took a folded scrap of paper, handed it to Mom quickly, scribbled something on the floor some kind of pen (where did he get that?), then disappeared in a flash of bright light.

Everybody was silent a moment, then Jimmy commented, “Sam left his sword.”

What a random comment.

Right then and there I decided to at least do something before Jimmy. So I read what was on the floor.

I had to twist my head and squint a little, but I managed out, “Turn the heating contraption off forever.”

See, this is one of those “random, important, earth-shattering facts.” They have nothing to do with the story.

Oh well, on with the story, once again.

Then Mom read out the paper: “If you don’t, the universe will start to collapse on itself (as it is already doing so right now; we can only stall Time) and Dark Matter will become a rogue against the laws of physics, defying gravity and pulling the universe apart, marking the end of life as we see it right now.”

“How do they know about dark matter before it was discovered?” I pondered aloud.

Dad shrugged. So did everyone else.

We did as they told us to and bought portable heaters instead, to be saved for winter.

Marking the end of this story as we see it right now.

Yes, I know you’re thinking, That wasn’t exactly half of the story, blah blah blah. Who cares? At least you know what will happen when the universe ends.

Oh yeah, I also forgot to add the part when they realized that the furnace was an ATTLP (Automatic Time-traveling Landing Port). If they didn’t stop it, the next time they used it it would malfunction and cause the universe to go into chaos. So the Frankie family, once again, were the heroes of the day, or rather the universe.

Making Pancakes

Posted: 08/24/2011 in Journal, Video
Tags:

Last Saturday, I made pancakes for breakfast. They tasted really good, so I want to share with you. First of all, let me tell you all about the health benefit of homemade pancakes and that is that you can make your breakfast as healthy as you like. For example, if you add eggs or milk (instead of water) to the pancake mix, you will be adding in more protein and calcium. Also, you will get vitamin A if you add fruits (fresh or dried), eggs, and milk.  You will have vitamin B if you add whole grain mix, vitamin C if you add berries or raisins, and vitamin D if you add egg and milk. Wheat and dried fruits also contain iron and carbohydrates. Vitamin A helps your eyesight. Vitamin B helps your body make energy. Vitamin C helps you heal when you have a cut or gash. Vitamin D is friends with calcium; it helps the bones grow. Protein is a building block of life; we need it for our energy. Iron is another building block; it helps us grow and heal. Here is the recipe I used to make pancakes: Ingredients:

  • 3 cups pancake mix
  • 2 ¼ cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 banana

Prep: We have an electric griddle, which I preheated to 400° Instructions:

  1. Put pancake mix in a large bowl.
  2. Pour in milk.
  3. Stir well with an eggbeater. Batter may be lumpy.
  4. Crack and add eggs.
  5. Stir and beat until there are no major lumps.
  6. Add blueberries and cranberries. Stir.
  7. Get banana and peel. Cut into slices. Add slices to batter, then stir gently.
  8. Turn griddle temperature to 350° and use a ladle to pour batter onto griddle.

Tips:

  1. When stirring in fresh fruit, be careful not to mush them.
  2. To know when the pancakes are ready to flip over, look for bubbles. If there are a lot of bubbles, flip it over. Then listen for the sizzling sound. If you don’t hear sizzling, it is ready to take off.
  3. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly first!!!

When I made my food I shared it with people like my neighbor friend and she was happy. I just want to express my pride. Making your own food is fun and healthy. To me, cooking your own food makes eating it that much more tasty!