Welcome to Paul's Blog
This is where I put down my thoughts occasionally.
Why Discord should betray its bot developers.
Discord is a fast-rising platform for everyone to connect through text messages and voice. Its spin on traditional IRC and VoIP clients have made it massively popular compared to flawed products such as Skype and TeamSpeak. While these features made Discord the best product in the industry, it has yet another advantage that hasn't been emphasized by other messaging platforms. Discord supports 3rd party bots on its platform that can perform a lot of tasks.
The distribution model of Discord bots is quite similar to how software gets distributed on increasingly dominant platforms such as Android and iOS. Installing software, pushing out updates, and accessing user data is done through their proprietary app store. These restrictions have allowed the platform owners to closely control which programs are available to the consumer, how payments work on these apps, and how much data they can gather about the user.
A Discord bot is no different. A developer writes some code and must host the bot to connect to the Discord servers with a licensed bot token, and Discord allows the user to determine how much access the bot has on their guilds.
The only part missing is payments. Discord has allowed 3rd party developers to create lots of bots that enhance Discord, and some even have their own premium tier and a subscription model just specific to the bot itself.
While there are many valid reasons not to capitalize on the current set of bots available, if Discord wants to take Nitro (Discord's premium subscription plan) further and add much more value to it, they should partner with bot creators and offer their premium features for users with Nitro. Alternatively, Discord should launch their versions of the popular bots available and make premium features free to Nitro users.
Micropayments are on the rise (such as Coil), and Discord could stream micropayments to the bots whenever someone with Nitro uses a premium feature on the bot. Think of this as a Play Pass but for Discord. Additional bot perks could potentially get more users to sign up for Nitro and help bot developers gain more paying users. Discord could also create a payment protocol for larger transactions and take some commission off these transactions.
Additionally, due to a lack of an official mechanism to accept payments, the bots on Discord all have their ad hoc payments system, which is a bad security practice. Adding this framework would help developers get to market faster, earn much more, and ultimately help Discord control the bot ecosystem.
The other approach would be for Discord to launch official bots with premium features only available to Nitro users. Official Discord bots would significantly improve the safety of the users but otherwise may hurt the bot ecosystem. Some might say this is anti-competitive practice, but many companies with closed software distribution systems have been creating simple applications on their own and compete with other developers. Furthermore, these developers wouldn't even have the chance to create a bot on Discord if the API didn't exist. The fact that other platforms make money off Discord by creating 3rd party applications is a missed opportunity for Discord. They should consider making their bots.
Another interesting thing is that Discord still has people going to 3rd party websites and bot listings to find a bot and add it to their guilds. How Discord controls the process of bot verification, but not the listing of bots for people to use is puzzling. It currently has a public server listing page for people to find new servers—why not add a listing page for bots as well?
Adding a bot store and a framework for transactions would greatly help with providing a secure and end-to-end user experience and would help improve the overall value Nitro delivers to its users.
One argument against this would be that bot developers would have lesser freedom, which would eventually hurt the ecosystem in the long run. I do not believe this is true. 3rd party platforms would continue to exist and will be available to consumers who may refuse to use Discord's bot distribution model. Payments could be made off Discord too. If anything, a bot store would significantly improve the experience of trying out a bot, and a payment framework would help everyone pay developers more easily. As for Discord creating their suite of bots, I think this is no different than Microsoft building some essential apps into their operating system, Oculus creating some VR experiences on their own, and Google and Apple publishing their suite of apps for their platforms too. While this may hurt independent developers, the ecosystem will eventually evolve to offer unique features outside of the official offerings.
Hack The North 2020++
So this past weekend I participated in Hack The North 2020++. I first learned about Hack The North from 2019-2020 computer club president talking about it on the club Discord server. I then planned to participate in HTN in 2020, but unfortunately the pandemic happened and it got delayed.
So here we are in 2021, with a virtual hackathon. My first hackathon is a virtual one. So sad. HTN had some very good talks leading up to the actual event. Those talks started on last tuesday and continued until friday, when we had our opening ceremony. While the talks were impressive, my favourite one happened to be the opening ceremony, where Vinod Khosla showed up and gave some very interesting opinions.
Right before 11 PM we were brainstorming ideas for a while. We had many ideas but we found that they were all taken. We finally ended up going with "Borz", which is from "BAF" and "ORZ". Then the hacking began at 11 PM.
My team involved L.Z. (BattleMage_), P.Y. (yaxollum), and myself. We have been debating about some ideas for like a month until then we finally landed on developing a social network, except we develop a command line client and we add in a group system in which groups can be either independent or under another parent group. (Just like a tree) Finally we decided that we wanted to add the ability for multiple instances of our API server to interact with one another and for a giant network. The main functionality of the network would be to just become a forum.
L.Z. decided to work on the command line client, I decided to work on the API server, and Peter decided on Sunday that he is going to work on a networking stack that allows Borz to use domains that end with .borz just like .onion.
I didn't really sleep much the night before (thanks to myself procrastinating on ICS) so I decided to just bootstrap our project and go to sleep for 4 hours. Also I did not want to work on this project without consulting my friends.
I woke up on Saturday and started working on our network with L.Z.. My approach was to implement basic API functions to create Threads and Replies. While L.Z. implements the basic UI for the terminal app, and then work together to get the client to work with the API and then complete the federation functionality to complete our network.
We settled on using Django, Rust, GraphQL, and Ngrok to work on our projects.
I quickly completed the basic API quickly and started planning on how our federation was going to work. P.Y. advised me that I use PGP for accounts, which we had discussed earlier before the hackathon. I decided that it was going to take a long time to implement PGP logins so I decided against it. Federation took a long time to plan.
At 3 PM I decided to go attend another panel on Starting a Company. I really liked this panel too. The information on there was somewhat contrary compared to what I was hearing so I think it was quite valuable. It featured VC investors from many parts of the world.
I then started to implement federation. Federation was suprisingly harder to implement, especially with the addition of GraphQL into the mix. I was coding until 7 PM, when I had to go to Olympiads for my Competition Math Class. I had to collaborate with L.Z. a bit during class to help not waste time. After class ended I started to work on federation again.
I soon realised that I would not be able to implement federation in time. L.Z. has said that he would go to sleep at 11:30 PM and I could not stablise my API in time to prepare for federation. So We decided to drop federation. (As opposed to dropping GraphQL and adopting REST)
We had to stay up all night. I debugged few things on the server until 3 or 4 and I fell asleep unconsciously until 6 AM, when I woke up again for work. The Devpost submission was due at 10 AM and the entire hacking needed to stop by 11 AM, so we had to get to work quickly. We finished off implementing a few things and fixed more bugs and I started to package the client into a Snap. I ran into bugs I couldn't resolve them in time. I also began setting up the server outside of Ngrok. L.Z. also added a way to specify the URL of the server. All this time we also worked quickly to get the Devpost up.
Then hacking ended and we could now rest for a while. I cancelled my LOA class so I could take some break before our presentation. Presentations were 4 minutes in total: 3 minutes to pitch the project and 1 minute for questions. I demoed my project while L.Z. was explaining it. P.Y. listened. We answered questions about why we chose to create a CLI client. The reasons we listed were: it's easier to create a CLI client, we want to appeal to people familiar with technology, and we wanted to take a stance against bloated apps by building something very lightweight. We were also asked a question if we implemented our own backend, which we most certainly did.
This presentation happened during Computer Contest LvL 4 class, so I couldn't listen at all for the majority of the class, as we had to practice our presentation for an hour before hand, and we had to wait 30 minutes just to present.
The result came out at 6:30 PM and we did not win. The winning projects were certainly interesting and I hope to do better next year. Myself and all my teammates have expressed interest in maintaining our project even after the hackathon ends, so we plan on making this project great. I really think the idea of allowing (child) groups under a (parent) group is really exciting as it closely matches what we see in many organizations.
So what do I think about Hack The North?
One thing was that many judges were CEOs or representatives from establish companies or startups. While command lines are favoured by many developers, I really don't think these people would like our product, which is only targeted to a niche category of users. I realised over the week that HTN is more about rapidly prototyping a new product that could potentially become a product, more so than something really cool. This doesn't mean that a project can't be both or only projects that could generate income later could win though! I really think there should be another hackathon targeted towards the niche group of technology-oriented people. I seriously doubt it will get much funding though.
Second, we were originally planning for a hardware hack, but it didn't work out because they weren't able to provide us with the hardware necessary due to the pandemic. Hopefully next year they will be able to provide us with the necessary components required to build
Third, I really think we could have planned better by coordinating what everyone would do and establishing the protocol. P.Y. were building the .borz protocol but wasn't able to complete it. This creation is really interesting but was unplanned. L.Z. were a bit confused about the federation system. I myself was confused on how the terminal client worked as I only worked on the backend. We really should have chosen a technology stack that everyone could work with and understand. We should have worked together on all aspects of the project. I think some technology choice have led to some development slowing. We could have stuck with technologies that we were familiar with (like REST) and stuck with higher level languages. (This goes back to the problem with Judges most likely disregarding the implemention details and only caring about the end user experience, when most hackers probably do care about the implemtnation details of a software)
Fourth, we could have not wasted the first night and did something productive. I estimate that I spent around 30% of my time just sleeping, which didn't really help. I plan on sleeping more before the event so I don't need to sleep much for 36 hours.
Fifth, we could have also created a simple web client to allow more people to interact with our backend. I sure do wonder what would have happened if we did that exclusively or along side the CLI app.
Sixth, we also could have focused on getting some of the API prizes but we didn't. I really think we could have attempted to score one of the prizes. I plan to do that next year.
Seventh, our brainstorming process was a bit of a mess TBH. We had loads of ideas and we tried to eliminate unoriginal ones, but ended up going with a social network, which still isn't original? We had to land on this because at the end all ideas were somewhat unoriginal and we knew we had to improve something that existed to be better.
Eighth, I really don't think 36 hours is enough for a hackathon. There should be a week long hackathons where we try to build quality software with best practices.
Nineth, I think presentations should be longer than just 4 minutes. Our thought process behind choosing our group projects could have been elaborated more, but we had to keep it short because of the three minute project. Some argument against this is the importance of the elevator pitch, in which one is to convey the idea of a project to someone else in record time, but I really don't think it works for some projects.
Tenth, we did bite more than we could chew. The federation would definitely have had our project unique, but we just couldn't implement in time. Leyang also had to stay up til 5 on night 2 implementing all the views. (I'm not sure how long it takes to add something to the command line client, but I would imagine it to be very long. Rust is low level and would defintely made our project slower to implement) We were all new to our choices of the technology stack so we had to get used to it while building out our project. Our choice also was a bit complicated as social networks generally need a lot of features. In the next hackathon, we would definitely do some more careful planning.
Eleventh, I regret not moving my Olympiads classes to accomodate for the hackathon. I could have saved the two precious hours and collaborated with my teammates during that time.
Overall this event was quite energizing and fun but I really wonder what the in person hackathon would have been like. I really hope the next hackathon participate is in person.
Whats next for our project?
We plan to extend the idea of group hierarchy, and try to make this a unique platform for everyone by making a simple web client that everyone could try out. The API server could also be secured by implementing some measures against automated clients.
I am genuinely interested in extending this project and making it an actual network with actual users. I hope to start working on this soon. For now, I'm tired and I need some rest.
Hello again. Long time no see.
Ok so since the end of grade 8, I haven't been posting on this blog for a year and three months, until when I took this blog down for maintenance. This maintenance took longer than expected. I now settled on Jekyll to build this site, and I must say that I like this framework. I used to dislike static web frameworks but now I think they are great.
The reason why I didn't post was because I got busy and using an outdated platform (Webgma haven't received updates in a long time) wasn't a great idea. I knew I had to rewrite it but I never got to it. This went on a long time until I started to miss blogging. Blogging helped me summarize my thoughts for review later. Whenever my mind was clogged of various pressing thoughts, I put them into words and my mind would clear up a bit. The best analogy I think I have for this is the Hogwarts Penseive from Harry Potter.
It's now 2021 and I thought that now would be a great time to fix this blog up and start blogging again. So here I am. Theres a lot to catch up and talk about so some of the future posts will talk about myself after I graduated from middle school.
As for my posts previously, I will keep them online for archival purposes. I removed the ability to comment (You can't really allow commenting on a static website anyway without an external service anyway) because I was receiving a lot of spam comments. (Although I received a post on the MaCS entrace exam post and I am really thankful for that comment! If you ever see this post, please email me!)
So just to summarize who I am now:
I am a grade 10 student attending William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute in Toronto. I enjoy programming and participating in various computing related competitions such as competitive programming or CTFs. Whenever I have time I work on software projects that I come up with.
I am really glad that I am now blogging again and I hope to post on a regular basis. I hope to cover almost all exciting things that happened since I stopped blogging. So thanks for reading! See you soon.
As expected, it is rushed.
Also this post was supposed to be published yesterday, which is 22 minutes before at the time of this writing.
I am a little bit nervous, but I don't have a special feeling like last year because it wasn't too long since I had one.
I have a lot to say! I first got there and I saw some people in fancy clothes. I found Avenue Banquet and went inside. I saw my peers and teachers all dressed up on fancy clothes, and talking. I noticed boys were easy to see who they were, but girls were harder to see who is who as they changed many things about their appearance. Everyone was gorgeous. There was a popcorn machine and the cotton candy machine. Everyone was lining up. I lined up for a while but decided against it because the line was way too long.
It was time to go in after. We lined up in alpha order by class and went inside the hall as practised; class by class. There were so many people with their cameras pointing at us! We sat and eventually all the graduates came in. The masters of the ceremonies began the ceremony. The superintendent of LN12 Family of Schools (One that our school has in), who was Linda Curtis, came and gave a speech. Then it was time for diplomas. Our class rose up and lined up beside the stage, and one by one, we received our diplomas. Each SAG's teacher came up and called out everyone's names, and our vice principal, Krisha Kumar, and our SAG's teacher hand shaked with everyone and handed out fake diplomas. Mr. Gonos down and beside the stages would give out real diplomas. They did it for all the graduates. A.Li complained that the ceremony was too long, and I agree. He counted down the number of classes left to go after each class was done.
After handing out diplomas, the valedictorian, L.M. stepped up and gave a speech. I still think N.A. from our class should have gave the speech but she went 30 seconds overtime, which placed her third. Had she didn't do that she would've been in first place. L.M.'s speech wasn't particularly interesting, it went through all the events of what happened in CVMS.
After the valedictorian gave her speech, it was time for awards. My heart leapt up. The first was David MacKay Award, and Mr. Gonos was responsible for presenting it. He came on stage and talked about how David MacKay was a previous teacher at CVMS and how he was a great teacher in many subjects, but especially in math and science. Mr. Gonos told us that he was hired to replace Mr. MacKay when he died to another school. In memory of Mr. MacKay, the David MacKay Memorial Award was made to award students that are excellent in math and science. Mr. Gonos talked about how the receipient scored top in the school in Langrange and Gauss Math Contest (After this I was somewhat sure I was going to receive the prize, and I became more nervous), how they applied their knowledge in science, how they were the leader in the robotics club, finally how they got into the "prestigious" MaCS program (After this I was really really sure that I was going to receive the prize, I somehow became less nervous). Then he announced that they were from 8A and called me up. I stood up and went out. I asked Mr. Isaacs whether I should go out or not by gesture and he pointed at the stage in response. I got up and received the award. Mr. Gonos told me to remember that he told me that he had something to give to me today, yesterday, and the award was the thing! (Yesterday when I gave Mr. Gonos my card of gratitude, he told me that he has something to give to me tomorrow) I looked at the audience and there was so many people, and they were all looking at me! I was a bit nervous, but not as nervous as I did a year ago when Mrs. Middleton presented the Gauss contest certificate to me and gave a speech in front of the entire school. I came back down stage and back to my seat.
Next was the citizenship award. Many students were awarded including me. Many students were from 8A-C, however in 8D-E, combined only had 4~5 people. Which A.Li commented that it is sad, and I agree again. The school had the Future Ace Award and the Principal's Award and that concluded our ceremony.
We were all chased out of the hall and into the front foyer. There wasn't much room for all the students, let alone both the students and the parents. I took pictures with other friends, took pictures with them and my teachers, and chatted with one another, until after 30 minutes the hall was ready again.
When we entered there were round tables set up. I went to one of the tables with some of my friends. We sat and chatted until the staff at the Avenue Banquet gave us salads. The salad was great. We finished it quickly and waited for the next dish. We predicted that the salad was the appetizer and there would be the main dish and the dessert. We were close with the guess, but the main dish took some time to appear. We got the sauce for the main dish earlier, but it somehow disappeared. The dish was fries and chicken strip. Some vegetarians got vegetarian burgers instead of the chicken strip. The fries was good. The chicken strips were okay. Some of us at the table waited for the sauce. We asked for the sauce three times before the staffs brought it to us. The main dish was overall good. I went back to the foyer to get the cotton candy without waiting for it for a long time. People started to dance at the open space betside where the tables were. But many people just stayed at their tables. The bar opened up and people went to get some drinks. There was one specific drink that was very popular. It had this red gradient color, and my friends told each other that it was whisky, and was an alcoholic beverage. I'm not too sure, but a bit positive that they were joking. I went to get one, I asked the bartender why everyone getting the drink? He said it was a great question and told me to ask others. Then I asked him if I can get the drink, and he said yes. However didn't give me the drink. Someone else then whispered to me to say please, and I then repeated the phrase but with the magic word. Then he gave me the drink. The drink was sweet, not but too sweet. It was perfect. It was fizzy too. They soon began giving out ice cream. I got it on my table and went to get a group photo. Some other groups of friends just cut the line and stepped in, but soon we were able to take our own photo, but since there were so many, my face wasn't shown for 2 out of 4 photos. When I returned the tables were cleaned, my ice cream was gone. The party was shutting down. Some people were still dancing. The YMCA song came up. Me and M.C. went to the dancing area and did three mediocre YMCA pose and stopped because people were leaving. I stayed at the foyer for quite a while. I wanted to say goodbye to my teacher and some other people, but they were gone. Some other people stayed. After a while I went out and said farewell to Matthew Chen, and started to leave until I saw the lineup to get free ice cream. A woman was handing out tickets to get free ice cream from an ice cream truck parked beside the Avenue Banquet. I got a ticket and lined up for a very long time. In that timeframe though, A.T. said that I probably just paid to get my awards (Which came to a total of 6 awards from yesterday and today). Which was very rude. I chose not to reply and I believe that was the right decision. I got a sundae and left.
My mom and I went to the Cheesecake Factory at the Yorkdale Mall. The restraurant however, didn't meet our expectations from seeing the lineup. There wasn't much lineup for us, as we only had to wait 10 minutes. The food was mediocre compared to the attention it was receiving. We walked around the mall after that and my mom took some photos of me. I saw some other people wearing fancy clothes as I was. I think they were graduating as well. Then it was time to come home.
Also we had a principal who was new at the school at the beginning of the year, but stopped appearing at the school two or three months ago. She was hated by all the students. I was just neutral with her. We had two acting principals during the timeframe, and until the end of the school year she never appeared. Not at the school. Not at the graduation. Maybe she appeared at school today. I wasn't there because I went straight to grad from home. My mom said that she probably had some conflict with parents and chose to cause disadvantage to the students, for example, shortening the grad trip to just a day from 3 days overnight. When I came back home, there was an email in my TDSB Mail inbox from Linda Curtis, and it said that Mrs. Lerner was retiring, and was getting replaced by someone else. Just like that. No farewell. No, nothing. My mom predicted that she was actually being fired. I agree.
The CVMS grad was fun and it would be memorable. However, I wish that it would have been in the evening (The party was from 12:30 to 4:30), and the party was way too short (2 to 4). However the party was good and what else do we really need for the graduation?
I will miss all the CVMS graduates of 2019, knowing that I'll never meet most of them again. Hope I bump into them somehow later in life!
This post will be updated with further thoughts and memories.
I remember a year ago, thinking that a graduation after just a year of school is meaningless, as I wouldn't know anybody. I was proven wrong. So many things happened in this 9 months that I had with people in CVMS. This goes to prove that there is always someone for everyone as long as people look and try. This year I have learned that I always have to be myself, and not be someone else. A valueable lesson which may impact the times to come at Mackenzie. I'm grateful for everything in CVMS from Viperbots to my teachers, to my friends and to the last amazing celebration we had together as Vipers. I will really cherish the lessons and the memories earned. Just few months ago, I was eagerly waiting for school to end, but now I'm nostagic of the memories. I really don't understand my past self, and this shows how people change over time as they mature. This is all I have now and I'll create further updates soon.
CVMS Graduation Awards Ceremony
Today we had our graduation awards ceremony. We had Math Awards, Scholastic Challenge Awards, Sports Award, Most Growth Award (e.g. in math, sports). I received #1 in school for Lagrange (I also got a medal for it!) and Gauss Contest (I tied with R.T.). Got a distinction award for Scholastic Challenge and CCC Junior division. I think I got the most awards or certificates in all of graduating students. Anyways, that was that, and the ceremony was over.
After that we had the dress rehearsal for our Graduation Ceremony tomorrow. We were told that we are to improvise how we sit as they didn't know what the layout of the grad ceremony would be like. We went through pretending to hand out diplomas for everyone. It was period 4 after the dress rehearsal, and we were to go to our normal period classes. It was French, but we were allowed to do anything we wanted to do. I played some card games with M.C.
We had a normal lunch. After lunch, we (8A SAG) went to the science classroom to meet Mr. Gonos and get our yearbooks. We first got our yearbooks signed within the class and then we went out to Maxome Park for the water balloon fight. Everyone was first signing yearbooks, however when the water balloons actually arrived, I thought that I could keep signing yearbooks and do the balloon fight after. However, all the balloons ran out after a minute or two. After getting my yearbook signed, I hung out with friends, had some fun (M.C. threatening to pant other people, me swinging J.L. around). Chatted with Mr. Epstein on our FLL's robotics coach, R.C. who I thought went to William Lyon Mackenzie, but went to Marc Garneau. But Mr. Epstein suggested that I could do some of my volunteer hours being mentors to the future CVMS robotics team. I went on the swing soon after and the school was over after that.
I went to Mr. Isaacs and Mr. Gonos to gift my cards, and went to Mrs. Rothauser to get my yearbook signed.
I got my glasses after and that is all there is to today!
CVMS End of the Year Class Party and Track Day
Surprisingly, this post is not checked for errors.
Also, this post was meant to be posted yesterday.
Today, our class had a party. The party was mostly just playing video games with friends. Mr. Isaacs brought her daughter. People brought 7 Up and Chips and Oreo. Me, M.C. and K.N. started playing diep.io. I joined in. It was mostly fun. I played for 30 minutes and then went to get food. The food was great, it was just sweet and savoury. We kept playing, and then started to watch funny videos on Youtube with M.C. and K.N.. Then it was recess. I had some trouble during the recess as I couldn't see things properly, as I lost my glasses with its legs gone. I came back and did another round of diep.io and some other .io games. After that, it was perio 5, and we went out to do some sport activities. We had 100m, 400m, 400m relay, for boys and girls separately, and co-ed 400m relay and tug of war. Our class, 8A, won all the relay races and the tug of war. We went back and had another one hour of party. We got our report cards, and then it was time to leave.
I calculated my average, and began to leave. I left the school at 3:40, a full 20 minutes after the school ended. My mom was waiting outside and she was angry at me because I took too long to come outside. We were supposed to go and get an eye exam! We missed the exam, as we booked a reservation. But since my mom didn't tell me about it beforehand before she placed a reservation, I think the blame shouldn't be on me.
Grad Trip CVMS Grade 8
This post was rushed. It may contain errors.
We just went on a grad trip for grade 8 yesterday. We went to Camp Robin Hood for the day. I went to the school, and only 11 (or 10) out of 28 people in our classroom was present! I believe around 1/3 or 1/2 of the entire grade 8 student body came to the trip. We waited for the bus and we left at 9 AM. The bus ride took around 30 minutes. We got there and we first went inside a white dome. We did bunch of activities such as group rock, scissors, papers that is like tag (I do not know this game's name). And this weird game where we partner up and move to other sides of the room and each round run up to meet each other at the middle and we pose whatever pose the camp leaders tell us and go back to the sides one the leaders say "watermelon." (I do not know the name for this game either!) Then we separated into groups. I was in group 2. There were four groups and we each rotated in each section. We first went to do this activity where we as a team (group 2), carried a dodge ball or a tennis ball by putting them on a elastic band with strings attached to pull on it. We were somewhat successful. The first time we did it, we didn't know that we couldn't put the ball inside the elastic band and carry it. It was fun. After the activity, we played Squirt (or Splat) and this reaction game where we are supposed to catch a ball when the ball gets thrown to us and not react when it's faked. After these two games, we moved to the shooting range for archery, and. It was okay. Mrs.Chester was very good at archery. Then we went to rock climbing. M.C. and C.L. was exceptional at this. I only did the ladder, firecracker, and the side wall climbing. We had lunch after, which consisted of hamburger, pop, chips, and apple, and for seconds they provided us with hot dogs. The grade 8s rested for a bit at the basketball court beside the cafeteria, and went on our stations again. We first went to the spider web, where everyone had to go through holes surrounded by strings without touching them without someone going through a hole someone else has already gone before. After the activity, we had a balance beam where everyone had to go on and tried to balance the beam, we had it for few brief moments, but we weren't able to sustain it. Our final activity was 9 squares. I think that activity was pretty fun. We met back at the white dome, and we got freezies and after that it was time to return.
Back at Cummer, we had around 20 minutes, so we played manhunt with: me, M.C., J.Z., J.Lu, J.Luk, K.N., A.L., J.T., R.W., A.D., E.R., etc. and after the game my energy was drained completely, but it was fun.
So my thoughts on the trip? Well, it was fun except that a lot of other people couldn't join us, and the trip was way to short. Also because we were divided into four groups, we weren't able to interact with other groups at all except for in rock climbing as we also had another group with us.
For CVMS, the grad trip for grade 8s has always been a trip to Ottawa. However, the new principal, Mrs.Lerner, have said that the trip was too expensive, as it costs $550 this year. So she decided that we should go to this camp called Camp Manitou, for about three days and two nights. However the teachers have cited troublesome students as the reason for this mediocre trip. They didn't want to spend three days with annoying students. I do understand their feelings, but I don't think it was a good decision. Anyhow, all the troublemakers from the school didn't come to the trip because it was "too expensive." (About $50) Turns out the current grade 8 students went to a end of the year trip to another camp for three days. They said it was awesome. Best of all, the trip cost about $75, which is really cheap compared to this camp. I'm not really sure what my opinions are on the camp, but I think it's mostly happiness with a trace of disappointment.
By the way, next week we are having parties and celebrations all week, so I'll keep this blog updated. I haven't updated this blog within weeks, so I really have to keep this alive.
CVMS Open House Carnival
So my school has an annual open house to show all the Grade 5s who will be moving on to middle school. There is a carnival in the open house and our job was to create a game and run it and collect as many tickets (sold at the entrance) as possible. Now time travelling back to 2018, CVMS had another carnival called "Eco-Carnival" where we were to build carnival games out of recyclable materials. It was fun. I pretended to be a player and made the game look popular.
Back to 2019. So each class had few students working together to create a game. Our group had me, M.C., V.L., N.A., E.R., J.T.. Since M.C. and V.L. couldn't participate in the carnival because they had other events to attend, A.K. and A.L. were to replace them. They also helped prepare for the carnival V.L. decided that we should go with a balloon pop game. E.R. brought in darts and R. (from another class) brought balloons. On the day of the carnival, which was May 2nd, right after school, we went to room 107 to get our stuff, including the balloon board, balloons, darts, etc. We went to the gym and started to set up our station. We blew the balloons up and attached them to the balloon board. We also decorated. We were done after about 50 minutes. Mrs.G told us that we were very organized. (Which I agree with!) M.C. and V.L. then had to leave because M.C. had to attend TDSB All-City Ensemble concert play music, and V.L. had to go to classes. It was now 4:10 PM and we had 50 minutes before the concert. Mrs.G told us that we could sit at the bench beside the cafeteria door to talk about stuff that we as students don't want teachers to listen to. She told us that if she was our age, she would jump at the opportunity. We did go outside. E.R., N.A., and A.K. sat at one bench and A.L. and me sat in another. We talked about music including meme music, and shortly after I brought out the Chromebook I borrowed from my class and started to develop a program to keep track of players and how much they won. Then it was 5 PM and it was time for us to start the games. At first most of us just bought baked good and ate them, but Mrs.G came over and told us to start the our carnival game. So we did. However after the first three customers, all of our five darts were broken. We were doomed.
Luckily I came up with a game fairly quickly. The new game was about juggling the balloons. Players were to go into a fenced area (fenced area with benches) and if the player paid one ticket they would have to keep the balloons in the air for 30 seconds. Every 10 seconds we would throw in a balloon. If the player paid two tickets. They would only have to juggle the balloons for 20 seconds. with two balloons maximum. Suprisingly, this game did much better than the previous one, with people lining up to play. Now, one of the reasons I believe lead to this success it because people got curious when they saw flying balloons in the gym and decided to check it out. Even before we change our games, we decided to throw balloons in the air to attract more people. After a while A.L. asked N.A. about the BBQ. We both ordered some food. N.A. told us that they are only serving food until they run out, so we ran out to get some food. N.A. said that she could manage the game on her own when I asked her. We came back and for the rest of the carnival, things went smoothly. Almost at the end, we started giving out our balloons for free. This attracted people, but not new players. However, we had to get rid of balloons, so it worked.
After the carnival ended, we cleaned up. We put the posters away. The plastic thingys that stuck the posters on the wall that was used over 20 years now. Everything, and then it was over.
The carnival was fun, just like the CVMS Eco Carnival back in 2018. It will be one of the memorable experiences here at CVMS. One that I will cherish. Mrs.M once said that only the extra-curricular activities you do at school will be remembered when you look back at your school life later on. It's true. When I look back on my life. Activities done with your loved ones stand out and gets recalled.
While writing this I just recalled an event in when I was in grade 7. Our grade 7 and 6 teachers have finished reading the book called wonder. We went to see the movie on the day of the release. We were very excited. We laughed at certain parts. It was great. I just bought this book called, "365 Days of Wonder". If you haven't read the book, read it. It's great.
For now, good bye.
CVMS Spring Concert
This is rushed, so watch out for errors.
Today there was the Cummer Valley Middle School Spring Concert. Yay.
I am in CVMS Band. We played Regal March, New World Symphony, Alpha Squadron. The Strings played four songs and they much more advanced than the Band. My friend, M.C. is in Chamber Strings. This concert had much more people than in the last one. The cafeteria was filled. People gathered beside the cafeteria entrance and waited until 6:20 PM to get in to get ready for the concert which started at 7:00 PM. We did pretty nice, except that I wasn't able to keep up with the song at times, which isn't surprising because I missed around 5 practices, but I did okay. According to M.C., the other people in Chamber Strings which had the same instrument stopped playing and he was the only one playing with this instrument, and he was very nervous. Mr. Wang, the teacher responsible for the CVMS Strings and Chamber Strings, made funny movements when finishing the songs. After the Strings and the Band finished, we went to the music room behind the stage, and we disassembled our instruments. Some people decided to stay in the Band and Strings room until the concert ended or leave, but I decided to listen to the Choir and the grade 6 String and Band. The choir was very good. They sang three beautiful songs (four if you could the initial do-re-mis). I remember the last song they sang, and it was "Count on Me." The grade 6 String played "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," and they kind of didn't sync with one another. The grade 6 Band played, "Row the Boat" (I'm not entirely sure what the song name exactly was), and the instruments created unpleasant noises frequently, like constantly, but every musicians start somewhere don't they? Anyways, after the concert, my friend, M.C. saw Chamber Strings going upstage to play the last song and ran back to the music room to get upstage late, but he did it in time. The concert then ended, and we cleaned up. Mr. Wang gave out prizes. Then we started to go home. I walked with M.C.. He told me that last year CVMS had a band teacher named, Mrs. Huge-Tomsic, who was an amazing band teacher, who, along with 5 other teachers left CVMS last year. M.C. also told me that he is going to TDSB All-City Ensemble String to play some more advanced songs on May 2nd. I kind of regret not joining All-City Band.
During the last few months, I had some doubts on band. I do not know much about music theory and this started to bother me. I considered quitting band. For my high school grade 9 course selection sheet. I put band as my second choice for optional course. I thought it would be too complicated for me. Looking back, I am really glad that I didn't quit band and I regret putting band as my second choice for optional course, because I now understand the importance of music. There is a clear difference between playing music and listening to them. When you are listening, you are immersed into with other musicians and get interconnected with one another. You become the music. I forgot to recognize this for a long time now, and I deeply reget this. Onward, I believe I will use this occasion as a reminder that music is important and an integral part of everyone's life.
Also because I am staying over at someone else's house because my mom went to Korea to stay over at my Dad's, neither of my parents could attend the concert. I was hoping they would come, since the last CVMS concert, neither of my parents could come for the same reasons. I hope they or at least my mom or my data can attend the next one.
Time Travel: Elementary Graduation
Okay, I just noticed that my graduation post didn't include the details of the graduation so I am going to recall the events of the graduation.
It's 10 something, and I am wearing special business-like clothes. We are in the classroom. It's weird seeing everyone in such special outfits. Mrs.Middleton comes in and says, "So, it's nice seeing everyone in these clothes," or something like that. We lineup just as practiced and march into the gym where our parents were waiting. We sit down in the chair we were assigned before, and our grade 7 teachers begin speaking. They read this picture book about a kid who was afraid of grabbing chances and flying off. Then we sit up and we line up all around the gym, and one by one, we get called up to get a medal and to shake hands with the teacher. I hug Mrs.M when it is my turn. Then a few moments later, we are done! We are now free to take photos in the gym or outside. There is a photo zone in the gym, as well as a word cloud posted around the gym for everyone graduating, that included words that other classmates used to describe you.
Vice Principal Mrs.Macdonald told my mom to come tomorrow as well, and we would find out why.
We had our graduation party later this evening.
The next day, with our normal clothes, with sharp but already distant memories of the grad party last evening, our class meet again and head off to the gym for the last grad ceremony. We congratulate sports teams and band teams, etc. and we get to the people who did the Gauss contest. The teachers call us up and we each get certificates for the gauss, and Mrs.M give certificates for people who participated in the Gauss contest, who got into the top 25%. I start to worry because I was just singled out. Now, Mrs.M calls me up and starts to give a lengthy speech, I can't focus to listen to the speech and I just look down. Later I start to focus. This is because I had stage fright. She told everyone that I got 24/25 because I ran out of time, and everyone went "awww..." (This isn't true because I went home, and tried solving the problem, and I couldn't and, when Mrs.M emailed me and said that if I had 10 minutes longer, I might have solved the last question, I didn't bother to tell her no) Mrs.M declares that this is the highest score any Titan (The mascot in my elementary school) has ever received, and everyone starts clapping, and some people stands up. I get a medal. After the ceremony, we go to our classes and we have a class discussion, by making a circle with the chairs and discuss topics, just as we did for many fridays before in Grade 6 and 7 in Mrs.M's class. We end the discussion and we are dismissed, people start to leave. For many of my classmates, this is the last I have ever seen of them. I see other classmates hugging Mrs.M, I tell her that I am not going to hug her because I already hugged her at the graduation ceremony. I wait for a while and leave with my friends. We decide to go to Petro, as we did occasionally. This is our biggest petro meetup yet, with all The Tribe members. (Now we are call our group, Kool Kids Klub) While on our way to Petro gas station, some kids recognize me and congratulate me. We get to the station and we buy some slushie. We go back to school and hang out.
I remember until then and kind of forgot what happened afterwards. I remember looking in the window and seeing Mrs.M. She waved to us. That's all I remember for now, and I will add more details when those memories flow back to me.
I normally don't get political here, but because this is an important issue, I can not not create a post on this.
Also, I will update the post soon to add the picket sign that I made for the walkout.
Yesterday, I participated in Ontario's province-wide protest to the cuts to the education funding. The new cuts and changes to the schools would include
- 20% of the funds cut
- Increase of class sizes of 27%
- Cut of 18000 teachers
- Less funding for specialized programs
- Less funding for Ontario Autism Program
- Mandate 440 hours of e-learning
- Province wide cell phone ban
- The list never ends...
Anyways, so the students, including me got angry and decided to walk out of the school and protest. This protest became a movement and became a province-wide event. The walkout was agreed to be on April 4th of 2019, which was yesterday. I decided to join the protesting movement here in Cummer Valley Middle School. We had 200 students walk out to protest, out of 600 students in our school. The protest was from 1:15 PM to 1:45 PM, a span of about 30 minutes. During lunchtime yesterday, I decided to stay in and create a picket signs, I wrote "#CUTSHURTSKIDS" (Yes I know the 'S' after the 'HURT' doesn't need to be there, but I decided it wasn't worth fixing it during lunchtime), two of my friends, M. Chen, and V. Liu, my classmates and friends has helped me create the sign. (They helped color the letters) We then put rulers on the back to keep it rigid. Then I put it in my locker to get it later. After lunch, we had a science test, which I brought the sign to, and after the test, it was time for the walkout. With the announcement, I headed to my locket, put my stuff in and went outside. Outside, everyone was just hanging around, not doing much. I held up the sign and started saying, "Cuts hurt kids." Some people joined, some people criticized us, saying cuts, meaning actually physical cuts, do hurt kids, also that we shouldn't have put an extra 'S' in. My friends then joined me, and we walked around people who were doing nothing. Soon the crowd formed around the road, on the school property, with people yelling 'Doug Ford Sucks,' and people screaming whenever cars when by. I and my friends stoop a bit separated from the crowd and yelled a bunch of phrases, that I made such as 'Stop the cuts', 'Cuts hurt kids',' We say no', and 'Doug Ford Sucks, Yes He Is', and my friends made the phrase, 'We say no, to the cuts', and so on. Half of the cars that went by stopped to look at as and acknowledge us, the other half just went by. Although around 1/3 of the people who walked out, did so to skip school, the rest was out for the real deal. A few people, including us, had picket signs. Overall, it was a fun experience for me, and it was my first experience fighting for my rights. This helped me better understand my rights to protesting and how it works.
Konnect Camp 2019
Yesterday I came back from the Konnect Mentorship Camp 2019. The Konnect Camp is a weekend camp for high school students, who's ethnic group is Korean Canadian. It was a fun experience. On March 9th Saturday, I boarded the bus at Earl Haig. An hour and 40 minutes later, we arrived at Braeside Camp. Then the camp started with the introduction of the leaders of the Konnect camp. We did an icebreaker and was divided into four groups. We then made our cheers and did a survival game thing where we imagine that we are on an island, and then we are to select a few items from a list of 20 survival items, and then later present in front of everybody else. Then we did our career mapping, where we wrote about our values and what we aspire to become. After that, we had this activity named, "Anonymous Confession." We basically wrote down our concerns for our school, family, and self on a sticky note, and then formed into groups, and read other people's confessions. We then had dinner. Most of the activities in the camp resembled those above. However, there were a few activities that I liked more.
There was the Mock Networking, which happened after dinner, where we dressed up in our semi-formal clothing, and we basically talked to other people, about anything. For example, I asked one of the leaders who graduated from William Lyon Mackenzie about the school, and another kid asked me about Scratch. Another activity I liked was Mock Interview. The Mock Interview is self-explanatory. You practice interview for non-existent jobs such as Professional Fortnite Dancer. You also get to debate with others. Activities like these make the camp educational, unique, and most of all, fun!
Now, the theme for this camp was Konnect Monopoly. So basically, for this year, for each of the four groups, there are points. Points are given when a team does well on an activity. Also, there is a die that when you roll, based on what face you get; you get to add, and take away your points, and even multiply and divide your points. Now, my group, which was called Team Chicken, did okay on the activities, but because of the dice, we got to triple our points. Because of this, at one point of the camp, we had more points than the rest of the teams, more than threefold. However, because in an activity called "Lighting Round," so many points were given out, we were almost caught up, and in the last dice roll, we got +100, while two of the other groups got x2 and one other group got x1. Finally, with the points, we could bid our points to get prizes.
Aside from the camp itself, the facility was also good. As I mentioned before, the camp was hosted on the Braeside Camp. The camp was good, especially the cabins, where you get the luxury of having fewer people in each cabin compared to others, and a washroom in all cabins, which means we didn't need to go outside for washroom in a chilly, cold, winter. The staffs were very very friendly. The food was provided by the staff, and it was good! (Although some other people complained about the food.
The Konnect Camp staffs themselves were very nice, and they taught me a lot about high school life, about universities, and career options. Overall, the camp was worth my time, and I plan on returning next year, and if possible the year after that as well.
More importantly so, I have realized how lonely I was, being in a new city and all. I mean, I do have friends in school, but I don't hang out with them outside, so I've gotten way lonelier than before. I have realized the importance of meeting many new people, especially those from the same/similar culture. If you don't meet up with people with the same culture, I strongly advise you to do so. Anyways, this camp would be one of the most memorable camps I've attended so far.
A very rare coincidence.
This blog post may contain errors because it was rushed.
Let me tell you a story I think I have never told you guys before. So last January, I was attending this coding workshop thing that taught the R programming language. Note that this was in Korea. Now, the attendees were divided into 7 groups. Each group had its own mentor. Now, because this stuff was easy, my mentor decided to email me an example of an R program, so I can learn more. I showed her my email (My enigmatic.network email) and she proceeded to send me the email. After that, she asked me to confirm if I received the email or not. Because my enigmatic.network email forwards all emails to my Gmail account, I proceeded to log in to my Gmail. Now, back in grade 6, when I created my Google account, I decided to put my school name in my Gmail address, because I thought that maybe sometime in the future, someone might recognize the school name, and I was right. When I typed in my Gmail address, my mentor recognized it and asked me if it was a school name. It turned out that she studied abroad at the same school in 2010, in grade 5! Isn't this such a rare coincidence? Meeting an older alumnus a few thousand kilometres away from the school? I asked her if the school she went to was in the city the school I went to was in, and she said yes!
Life is such a fickle thing. I could have decided not to put my school name in my Gmail account, I could have not attended my previous school, I could have not attended the coding workshop, I could have gotten a different mentor, and my mentor could have not decided to send me examples of R programs! What were the chances of this happening? Out of 7.5 billion people in the world, what are the chances of meeting an older alumnus a few thousand kilometres away from the school?
This question, I will search for an answer for the rest of my lifetime.
FLL CVMS Viperbots 1 Regional Competition
So two days ago I woke on at 6:30 to get to school before 7:15 to go to a First Lego League(FLL) regional competition. The competition was hosted by Westview Centennial Secondary School. There were two teams from our school, Viperbots 1, and Viperbots 2. We got there in one of the Viperbot 2's team member's parent's car with others and waited for others to arrive. (I was in Team Viperbots 1!)
@CummerValley1 is ready for today’s robotics competition @WestviewCentSS! @adamepstein2 @CVMSvp @lorinczi_karen @mgala19 @audley_salmon @LC2_TDSB @tdsbMsP @tdsb pic.twitter.com/m3DsTDyHFT— Nandanee Sawh (@nandanee_sawh) 2018년 11월 24일
I handed out cue cards that I created. We signed in and went to the cafeteria to set up our area. We had a bit of time to set up our robot, and then it was time for the opening ceremony.
@TDSB_Robotics @tdsbfll Cummer Valley is mostly awake and proud to show off our skills! pic.twitter.com/qObZMRc9q0— Adam Epstein (@adamepstein2) 2018년 11월 24일
Energized by the opening ceremony, we went back and quickly worked on our robots. However, our robots were far from being ready. Soon, it was time to do our first robot practice round. The robot competition went as the following: There were three practice rounds in the morning. The scores earned in the practice rounds didn't count. After that, there were three real rounds, where the best score is used to rank the teams. We got a score of 0 out of 300 in the first practice round. Keep in mind that there were 15 teams at the regional competition, and the best score was 125. Then after the first practice round, it was time to go to our Core Values judging.
The FLL competition is divided into three parts. The first part is the Core Values part. It represents a team's values on teamwork, cooperation, etc. The second part is the project. In FLL, each year, there is a theme. This year's theme was space exploration. We were given a task to research the restraints to space exploration, and find a solution to this problem. The third part is the robot design part. We get to explain our robot's design and innovation to our judges.
For the Core Values judging part, we had to do a task as a team, and answer a few questions. The task we had to do was get a lego brick out from a small hole, with an oven glove on. We quickly completed the mission by pressing a long lego brick onto the brick in the hole and bringing it out. The judges exclaimed that we were very quick. We answered a few questions on how we cooperated. However, we didn't tell them everything, as the few people including me, didn't include others who wanted to also work on the robotics piece of the competition. I know I will feel guilty about it whenever I think about this competition.
After the Core Values judging part, we had to go to another room to showcase our robot design. This one, I will feel a little sad about, as I think I had some innovative ideas, but it really didn't get through the team. We sucked at robot design showcase because our robot sucked. I honestly think there were way too many engineers on the team.
Finally, we got to the project judging part. We came to another room. We prepared ourselves, and we entered the room with a bell ringing. (Using an app on J.L.'s phone, she's on the team) We proceeded to do the skit that I wrote based on the girls on my team's research. I've got to say that it was perfect, except that we read from the cue cards too much. They asked us a few questions. Then we were out, with a grin on our face. We did very well in Core Values and in our project piece!
We later did 2 practice robot games and we both got 0. Lunch started. We had pizza lunch! Teams started to get callbacks. A callback happens when judges have multiple teams that are doing the same level of performance, and they have another three judges judge again to rank teams. My team, Viperbots 1 got one callback on Project. The other team from our school got two callbacks, on Project and Core Values. We worked on the robot.
We then realized that one of our motors wasn't as strong as the other one! Right before our presentation, one of our teammates dropped our robot. We thought that was the cause of this problem. We didn't have any other solution! We were doomed! Luckily, one of our two coaches, Mr. Epstein borrowed a motor from Don Valley MS to replace it for the robot game. We quickly had to build our robot, we started to disassemble our robot. Then we decided to get everyone to practice our presentation again before doing the callback project presentation, which didn't go well, as some of us weren't serious. Then we realized that it was time. We just left our table in the cafeteria with just 6 minutes to get to the room! Then Mr. Epstein stopped me and said that leaving robot components(legos) on the ground was unacceptable(Which I agreed with), and told me to find 3 other teammates to help me clean up. It took me 4 minutes to find other teammates that went ahead, and I told everyone that we only had a minute to get to the room nobody on our team knew its whereabouts. Luckily we really had two minutes, which J.L. told the team about. We took a minute and a half to find the hallway the room was in, and 20 seconds to get there just in time. With Mr. Epstein waiting in front of us. He explained that we shouldn't have left the components on the ground. Then the judges opened the door from the inside and let us in. J.L. rang the bell, and once again we did the skit well. After the project presentation, Mr. Epstein congratulated us on the presentation, saying that he never have seen us do the presentation that well.
We went back and were told that we only had 10 minutes before the game, and furiously built the robot. Mrs. Bushell, one of our coaches other than Mr. Epstein, told us that they mixed up their schedule with Viperbots 1, and that we had 20 minutes before the game. We finished our robot, and honestly, it was better than the original, as it was less cluttered and took up less space.
We went to the gym to do our first real robot game. Before the game, Mr. Epstein said that after the game, the judges will show the drivers(Ones who are actually setting up the robots and running the programs, our team's drivers where L.L. and K.N.) a tablet with our scores on. He told us that the referees will tell us to sign it by tapping a button on the screen, and if we didn't agree with anything on the tablet, don't touch that tablet and tell the referees that you don't agree, and they will either correct their mistake on the scoring, or go ahead with the scores. Then we asked him if this one was the real game, and he said yes. We again got zero on the robot. This was because I switched the wires connecting to the controlling brick, thinking it would help, but switched the wrong ones
We went back and I told others that we would be better off if we started from scratch on our programs. Others agreed. I went to find the light sensor, thinking that we had an hour before the next robot game, but we didn't. We only had 30 minutes. However, luckily our team got 16 points on our second one. When I went back, our team was on fire! Our inner team's skills suddenly emerged. **We went from zero to completing 6 missions in one hour!** I suddenly noticed the sudden progress of our team. Right before the last and third robot game, we had 6 missions working, which would give us 60+ score, which would place us at top 6 or 7! However, our robot worked only if we placed the robot on the right place, meaning, if we placed the robot a little off, it would fail, and that is what exactly happened. We again scored zero.
We were furious. Alas, the competition was over, and we had to clean up. During the closing ceremony, the judges gave the teams that performed well in each of the three pieces of the competition and the best team overall a plaque. We anticipated if we would get a plaque for the presentation. We didn't. We got nothing. We set a record in Cummer Valley for being the worst team ever! Our teammates were depressed. After the closing ceremony, Mr. Epstein gave a word to all of us. He said that even if we had ups and downs, if we had fun today and along the journey and learned something, it was worth it. I agree. I also awknowledged that 80% of all our work was done today and asked us what we thought about that. I had fun, and it was a great learning experience for me. I don't know about others, but I think it was worth it. However I knew some of us on the team didn't really feel valued, and I will forever remember this and if there is ever another project like this, I vow I will make sure this won't happen again in teams that I will be on.
Back at home, I felt very sad. Me being a new kid at a totally different province makes be very lonely at Cummer Valley, and the thing that I looked forward to every week was robotics club, and it ended(As far as I know, but Mr. Epstein said we will meet again in near future). A thing I enjoyed about school was gone! I met other kids in other grades in the club, and I got to work with them! I am forever grateful for my experience on the robotics team @ Cummer Valley, for our coaches, Mr. Epstein and Mrs. Bushell, and for my teammates. When I think of Cummer Valley, the second thing I will think of will be robotics. Thank you to everyone at FLL for making this possible.
Because of the end of something I enjoyed at Cummer Valley, I think my last night's dream after the competition was influenced by the competition. My dream was about going up a mountain in Vancouver(I think) on an elevator, and seeing my friend, Stalepillow's house up the mountain on a floor. On a different floor, there was a tennis court with people partying. Back on the floor with my friend's house on, in the dream, I knew that it was previously owned by my another friend, Diamonddino, not Stalepillow, and now it is being owned by a man who turned it into a hotel, with a chapel connected to it. I explored it and met the man and the hotel was deserted except for myself and the man in the dream. Then, suddenly my dream turned into a scene showing Diamonddino at an elementary school in a suburban area right before sunset. The dream ended right after the scene.
I think the dream happened because I was sad that I will no longer be meeting regularly with my robotics team twice regularly every week, and I haven't really established close relationships with others outside of the club that much and thought about my friends back in Vancouver unconsciously.
I still have one question: How did our team suddenly do 80% of all our work in the last hour of the competition?
FLL 2018 'Space Exploration': Solution to space radiation
This is rushed. This will be updated to fix possible errors.
I am part of the robotics club in school. We are in the First Lego League(FLL) competition. Each year, there is a theme for FLL. This year is 'space exploration'. We were tasked to find the challenges to space exploration, and find a solution to the problem. That's the research part, which is only one-third of the entire challenge. One of the other parts is 'Core Values', and it shows our beliefs in teamwork. The final part is though, the robot design. We get to do challenges. I will go over that in tomorrow's competition blog post. This blog post is about our research on our solution.
We decided that space radiation would be a huge barrier to space exploration. We researched the types of materials that would block out radiation. We found polyethylene would be useful to block out radiation. However, this only blocks a bit of the radiation, which is still a problem.
We concluded that materials wouldn't be enough to block out the radiation.
One solution we came up is mutating humans to withstand radiation. Although this would be highly unethical—if the entire humanity is in grave danger, would it still be unethical?
P.S.: Here is the source code for our robot!
MaCS Program Entrance Exam
Edit (2019 Feb 9):
I got into MaCS!
Today I took the MaCS entrance exam. The MaCS program is a specialized program that offers an enriched curriculum in Math, Science, and Technology. When I first got there, we had to register. The line up was very long! However, the line progressed quickly. The line went into the school gym, and there and registrants were to line up by the first letter of their last name before each registration booth. I thought that my line would be long because there was gotta be a lot of registrants with the last name starting with L. When I entered the gym, I noticed that the letters were grouped together. I looked at the 'L' booth. They had a separate booth for just L! (Take an L) We went outside the gym and waited in the hallway before the test. I met few people that I met before while waiting. Then at 9:40, 20 minutes before the test, I went back to the gym and waited 5 minutes. The grade 8s were split into three groups. My group went to the small gym. Then, we got instructed, and I began.
The exam was surprisingly easy! It just required some common sense. There were two parts to the test. The first one was 47 multiple choice questions, and the second, an essay. I think I nailed my multiple choice questions. It was quite easy. As for the essay, however, I think I wrote a dangerous essay. So, there were two choices of subjects for the essay. The first one was: 'Should high school students be allowed to vote?' and the second one was, 'If you see a kid getting teased or bullied, what would you do?' I chose the former. I was supposed to write the essay double-spaced, however, I forgot that, and I wrote my first paragraph. After I wrote two sentences in the second paragraph, I realized my mistake and proceeded to delete my paragraphs. I made similar mistakes three times, and this cost me 15 minutes out of 90 minutes for the test(Very expensive! That 15 minutes could have been used to check my answers for the multiple choice questions!) When I was writing my essay, I thought that some teens don't have the ability to make good judgements. So I wrote about discouraging those who aren't serious about the election. After the exam, I told my mom what I wrote. My mom was surprised when I told her what I wrote about my essay. She told me that it was highly unethical to discourage uneducated people from voting. Then I realized my mistake.
If I were to give a tip to grade 8s writing the exam, here are some.
• Every few minutes, check to see if you made any stupid mistakes(Like, writing answer on the ORM sheet incorrectly.)
• Try to finish multiple choice questions in 30 minutes.
• Finish your essay with 15 minutes left in the test.
• Use that remaining 15 minutes to check your answers.
• For math, study with the questions from math competitions. You will nail it.
• For science, study with your science textbook. The questions will be about the scientific inquiry and its process. Study the Skills Handbook section of your textbook, and if possible, the vocabularies too. However, studying the skills handbook would be sufficient.
• Good luck!
By the way, I have this gut feeling that I am going to get into the MaCS program.
Time Travel: Clayton Park
We walked in a town of Cloverdale(Clayton). We walked toward the new high school. We turned around to a small road to a familiar place that we've all visited last year: Clayton Park! We put our bags on the ground and listened to instructions and boundaries. Then they told us we are free to go. We all said, "Not it!", as we've done it for the past few weeks, and shouted someone out as the "it" for manhunt(Oh how I regret not joining the first manhunt game after school at Hillcrest), and ran off into the woods. We hid, and we ran.
We hear a loud airhorn(I am not sure if it was an air horn, but okay), and we went back to the picnic table we started in. We had BBQ lunch(which was just hotdog with chips and pop). We went back. I kept playing Manhunt. I found Diamonddino and Johnnyegg with a bunch of girls from school. I followed them from behind, but not with them because I had nothing to do. Then wandered off and then I heard a metallic sound from below. I stepped on a metal object! I thought that I could probably place it near me so that I would be notified immidiately when someone comes near me. So I decided to keep it with me. Then I ditched it nearby the opening close to the baseball diamond in the park and walked around.
Soon I saw Stalepillow. We decided to join together. Then I mentioned the metal object. We decided to go find it, and we couldn't. Then the day ended, and we looked forward to the Playland trip.
Today I participated in a cross country competition. AND I GOT INTO TOP 77 OUT OF AROUND 82 PEOPLE OMG OMG OMG XDXDXDXDXDXDXDXDXDXD :ok_hand::ok_hand::ok_hand::ok_hand::ok_hand::ok_hand::ok_hand::ok_hand::ok_hand::ok_hand::ok_hand::tired_face::tired_face::tired_face::tired_face::tired_face::tired_face::tired_face::tired_face::tired_face::tired_face::tired_face::tired_face::tired_face::tired_face::tired_face::tired_face:
Anyways, let get back to the topic. After during first break today, I went to the gym to go to Earl Bales park. We rode 3 buses to get there. The grade 4s were going on when we arrived. This was the order that the cross country race-thing went: Grade 4 girls, grade 4 boys, grade 5 girls, ... grade 8 girls, and grade 8 boys(Although I am not sure whether if grade 3s and below participated or not). The track was around 3KMs. I was extremely slow. But its okay. Because it was better than I hoped for. After all, what's important? Being in the top 10? No, it's having fun, and I did. When I finished my race, my school's team's chaperone(a teacher) told me that I had the biggest smile(I guess that's good?). I also achieved my goal of not stopping in the middle of the race.
When I was within 10-meter range of the finish line, I felt my legs loosen up. My locked muscles just unlocked. I used my unlocked muscles to run and finish the race ahead of the kid who was 3 meters ahead of me when I was 10 meters behind the finish line. When I ran across the finish line, the kid ran past me. The judge said, "Cummer first, green shirt(IDK if it was green though). Does that mean that all along race, I had the energy to speed up, just that my brain kept my body from using that energy, as a backup, and let my body use it when it realized I was nearing the end? Idk. But this was definitely a great experience and I couldn't stop grinning after the race until I got home and I still grinned at home for a while.
P.S.: I learned my homeroom teacher is a rapper today, and now I am his fan!
Time Travel: Playland
I arrived at school. The atmosphere was frenzy. We all were separated into groups. I went into a car with a woman with one tooth on it which was smiling, whom I joked that the woman looked like Baldi. (Only who were in the car to the Playland with me will know what it is) We now arrived. We get off. We walk. We walk to the stadium. We sit. We wait. We get a paper bracelet. We put it on. We walk to our school area. We listen to instructions. We get dismissed.
Everyone runs off, and I and my friends run to the log ride! We line up. In a matter of seconds, there is a considerable amount of people behind us. We wait. We go on the log ride. We get off. We get in groups and we go around Playland and we enjoy the rides. We went on alien abduction, sky chair thingy(idk), and a bunch of other things. Then I couldn't go on the best and the most speedy ride, the rollercoaster because I was a little late to the party of my group of friends. I get a little sad. Then I go on more rides. I watched **Anime is Toxic** and **Stalepillow**'s dad ascend high into the air and hear **Anime is Toxic**'s scream. Then almost at the end of our Playland day trip, **BzeLL77** came up and said, "Hey you want to go to those shops with me? I don't have anyone to go with me." So I made a deal, that if I go with her, she would go on the rollercoaster with me. Then she agreed. So it happened. I went around Playland with her and she went on the wooden rollercoaster with me. Then the day ended. I am not sure if my decision to go with **BzeLL77** was wise, because I could have spent my time with my tribe friends, but I am sure that I made that day one of my memorable days in my life. Who knows? I might have been sick to go. I was lucky that day.
This blog post was supposed to be posted 2 days ago, which is the day PythonAnywhere replied to my ticket
And, this is rushed so please be aware of that please.
So I deleted the home directory of my server that I was using to host my website, and as I was using SQLite3, it also deleted my database for my site too. I was using it to store all the information my site generated accidentally. Which is very very unfortunate. All my users, all my blog posts, and my comments, polls, to-dos, MIBs, were GONE. I contacted PythonAnywhere, which was the host for my website, and tried to gather as much as a backup there was on the internet (Some Google Cached pages and the Internet Archive, but it was very helpful. THANK YOU GOOGLE AND INTERNET ARCHIVE!) and had a bit of a breather.
I tried to stay positive because I realized that there was no value in just being frightened because it would just make my feeling worse and would not solve anything. When I realized what I had done, there was a feeling that overswept me that was a very frightening experience. It was as if I was going down on a roller coaster, but it's much scarier because you know that once you go on it, you never come out. Something you worked on for around 4-5 months, just gone! The next thought I had was that I was thankful for what happened. Confused? I realized that if I was really unfortunate, I wouldn't be having this problem. Instead, I would be worried about living and finding food, and whether if I would survive tomorrow. The problem I met was a first world problem, which usually we find very bad and problematic when there are third world problems which is much more grave on a new level. Also, with this, I realized the importance of backing up my important files. If this accident didn't happen, this might have happened later on when I could have lost much more important files. The important thing about this incident is that this is a learning experience!
The next day PythonAnywhere replied to my ticket. They said they had a backup before the damage. PHEWWWWWWW! I was very fortunate. I hope this never happens again, and hopefully, people would learn from my mistake. Once I read a story about a man who deleted a database of a company with thousands of customers. Like 200,000 users. Very unlucky. It was all because of one incorrect line of code, and that deleted the entire company. I wish him luck for other adventures he partakes in.
When I heard this story I thought that it wouldn't happen to me, and it did. I was planning to move to DigitalOcean to host my website, and what if I did? Would they back up my files for me? Who knows if it weren't for PythonAnywhere,? So go and back up your important files and don't get into the same situation, and be grateful for the things around you. Have a nice day, and GOD BLESS PYTHONANYWHERE AND ITS STAFFS!
I arrived in Toronto! Yay. So there's definitely fewer greens here. When I first arrived here, it just got this impression that Toronto is very similar to Korea. Stores are closer, subway stations are closer, everything is in foot range. I live in a condominium now. It's nice living in a condo in the sky after living on the ground for 3 years. We went to IKEA and got bunch of drawers and couch. My condo is beside this big street named "Yonge street" We walked far on the streets because we didn't have a car. But yesterday, the car that we mailed to Toronto from Vancouver arrived! So we went to pick up the car, and while we are checking the car for any scratches and dents, some employee of the service we used closed the parking lot that we were in, which was surrounded by a fence. We had to wait there for an hour before somebody came and unlocked the gate. It was somewhat fun and mostly boring and scary but it's memorable so its good. So everything well and okay in Toronto and things are going okay.
This is quite rushed.
Unreal: Last day in Vancouver (w/ Time Travel!)
This was supposed to be posted yesterday on July 30th.
So I said goodbye to three of my friends today. Sad.
I said goodbye to Goldenlemon(pete), Anime is Toxic(Gman13), Guinoala(Squishy fire guy), Angelic Potatoes. I hugged them. I said goodbye. I was at Brenden's, and I went to Cactus Club Cafe with Brenden's Family. I ate dinner at Cactus Club Cafe with them and played Minecraft with Brenden before I had to go. I came back. I saw my messy home, without proper furniture and things packed. Still, things seemed to me that I wasn't leaving my home in Vancouver tomorrow at 9 PM forever. It felt unreal to me that I would be leaving Vancouver tomorrow. It doesn't seem real. Now I got things in front of my eyes, yet my mind still refuses to believe all of this. How can this be possible? I think it's my emotional part of my brain functioning right now. Rationally, I wouldn't be thinking, "Oh I will be leaving tomorrow.". But my brain is irrational right now. It's saying "Oh I think I might be leaving for a vacation tomorrow". Now, now, why is it thinking irrationally? Moving to another city is something I have experienced before. But knowing that I will leave my friends back when I am moving is not an experience I have known before. Because my brain encountered something it didn't encounter before, maybe it decided to default back to the irrational, emotional part of the brain. That is my theory. Anyways, I am still confused and sad. Help me, please.
Edit: This is a mini time travel part of this post newly added on Nov 17 of 2018.
So the day of my departure, I went back to Goldenlemon's because I forgot my phone there. I suggested to Goldenlemon, if he and I wanted to go to Peachwave together. He agreed, and we went to Peachwave. We got some yummy frozen yogurt. I pulled out two gift cards. Those were the ones I received at birthday parties that I went to. However, I realized that one of them was used. Luckily Goldenlemon had brought his own money. (Sorry Goldenlemon!) We walked back and played some Fortnite and said the last goodbye to him. I walked home and on the way back, I heard a word. "Paul!" I turned around. It was Gman13! He and his dad were in their car. They offered to drive me home, and I was grateful, but I refused because I wanted to look around Cloverdale for the last time. We hugged and we said farewell. While I was walking back, the sun was starting to set. I gave one last hard look at Hillcrest Elementary School and left. When I came back home, I met some Korean friends I made at scouts. I played with them and waited for my landlord to come. At nine, my landlord came. We chatted and we said farewell. We got picked up by the airport taxi. As the van left the town of Cloverdale, my memories seemed to fade away. As we drove on highway 99(I think), the sun went below horizon and the sky was dark purple. We finally arrived at the airport. We checked in and saw the duty-free area. This also brought back memories, from my trip to Vancouver to the USA trip. When we were going through the security check, we realized that we were late. We panicked. Then right after the security customs, there was a man with an airport electric cart waiting for us. He asked us if we were Seongok Park and Kyunghan Lee. After we confirmed this, the man told us that he would escort us to the boarding gate. We quickly went through the airport duty-free area and there we were, at the gate. However, there was a line before the gate, but somehow we got to go in first. (I think it was for a different plane now.) We boarded the plane, and we settled in. After a while, the plane took off. Upon seeing the nighttime view of Vancouver, countless memories in the Greater Vancouver Area touched my soul once again.
I woke up. We were now soon going to land at the Toronto Pearson Airport. We landed safely, and I set my foot on the other side of the continent.
Things do come to an end.
You know, time goes pretty fast. When summer school started my grade 6 and 7 teacher, Mrs. Middleton told my class that there were only 10 weeks of school left. I was surprised that there was a little bit of school left ahead of us, but it went by so quickly! I thought grad was going to be far away, but it just came! I was told that I was going to Camp Luther when summer break started, and I thought that it would be far away before the time for me to go to Camp Luther would come because it was almost a month away, but it came quickly! When I went to the camp, I thought that it would be kind of long because I would spend a week there. But it just went by quickly. What I am saying here is that time will go fast, and things don't last, and they do and have to come to an end someday. Today, I said goodbye to my friend, Stalepillow. I first met him about three years ago, and we became friends after, but now I have to say goodbye to him and other people. It was fun meeting new people here in Vancouver, but things do have to come to an end. Things don't last forever. So, shouldn't we try to enjoy our life like tomorrow will be the last day of the universe? Thats what I think. If we procrastinate infinitely, someday the chance to do something will disappear. So before the chance flies away, I think we need to do things when I have the chance.
Note: This was supposed to be published yesterday on July 18th. Thanks.
Here in Vancouver Canada, I have met some pretty amazing people. However, sadly I am moving to Toronto, which means I would have to say goodbye to all those people. I've said farewell to some people already, unfortunately. I've said goodbye to my coach, Ryan, who taught me and my friends Floorball, I've said goodbye to my math tutor, my teacher who taught me for two years who was the best teacher I've ever had, and today, I had my last meeting with my scout leaders, Kevin and Traci. They really helped me go to new places in BC and they have introduced me to Geocache and Munzee. They really are great people. Today's meeting sadly had few people, so I wasn't able to have the opportunity to say goodbye to many other people, such as Scouter Tom, and other scouts. I am yet to say goodbye to my friends and my neighbours, but I will have to soon. You see, humans are designed to be social. We are engineered to find our people. When I first came here, it was HARD. Yet, I started to find some people, and I did make friends. It feels unreal to me that this routine I had for 3 years is changing now. It often does feel like things in life continues forever, but it doesn't. Nothing ever lasts forever. I am spending time in Vancouver like I will never come again. I am trying to enjoy this current moment as best as I can. I am currently living like I won't be in Vancouver tomorrow. To me, I realized that I should try to enjoy every moment in life as possible because it might never return again. Because, who knows what might end suddenly?
Elementary Celebration (Graduation)
This post was updated. It is finalized
10:35 AM Update
I am excited, I have this strange feeling in me that I can't describe. It's unreal. It feels like a dream. I remember my first day of school. When I woke up, my mom was at my bed, with a bunch of paper that had a list of names. She went through them, and she found my name. It said that I was in Division 1-1 (Grade 1, Division 1), and my number was 7. I reluctantly went to school. I went to my division and met my teacher. I gradually got used to school, and I got my first crush (don't judge me please). I also remember when I fell and cried. A grade 6 girl helped me get to first aid room. I wonder, was I a good example for primary kids to follow? Finally, I have this memory of me looking in at a grade 6 class (In Korea grade 6 is the most senior class in Elementary Schools), and I thought, "That stuff looks hard. How will I get through that stuff?" But I did it. I got through grade 7 and finished Elementary School successfully. Today would be my second-to-last day in Elementary School, and it's sad. I am going to miss my friends and teachers. But I will have to move on in my life.
9:43 PM Update
So I went to the graduation party organized by the parents, and it was lit (fun). It was interesting because it was three hours that was amazing but that won't ever return again. My mom told me that I shouldn't hide in a corner and not dance. She told me that it's worthless to spend that precious three hours like that. However sadly, my friends spend that time bottle-flipping. I am not sure if they enjoyed doing that, but I am sure they could have spent that three hours better. I vlogged during the party. I sometimes wondered, wouldn't it be better if I enjoyed that moment instead of walking around with my phone, trying to capture everything?
June 28 (The next day) Update
So school is officially over, but I am quite sad. My friends and I kept saying, "This is the last time I will (something)." Three years at Hillcrest. It's sad to leave. But Mrs.Wilson, who was at this school for 18 years, who retired today, how sad would she be? Anyways, I got a medallion for winning Gauss Contest, and I am happy. I will miss Hillcrest and just being in elementary school in general, but the time has come for me to move into High School. It feels like days ago, and a long time since I started grade one back in Korea, but it's surprising how time goes so fast. Maybe it's the best thing to embrace this and try to spend our time wisely. But the thing is, we make mistakes all the time. We will sometime, spend our time unwisely someday. So why not make those mistakes now, and when times goes so fast later in life, we don't make the same mistakes.
Human greed has brought the humanity to where we are right now, but it has caused some problems. Over time, our greed has expanded from demanding little, to demanding so much more. For example, a roller-coaster where a kindergartener would laugh at nowadays was the scariest thing you would find in an amusement park back in the old days, even to an adult. Similarly, the media you would find online, on the TV, etc. has been getting more stimulating than before. Now, is this a good thing for the humanity? To me, I think this could lead us to humanity's doom. You see, we are constantly looking for a better experience of the world, and when we do that, we take up more resources than before, and then we want more and more. Our greed is just like a train without a break. It gets faster and faster, yet it never stops. Now if we keep going this way, something negative would happen to the humanity. Our resources would be depleted, and there would be a lot of people still wanting more. So the solution would have to reverse our greed and make the humanity humbler. But so what? Everyone will point at each other and say that the others aren't humble, so why should themselves be humble? This is another problem caused by the humanity. We tend to be selfish. Everyone is selfish in some way, it's just how selfish? We kids ask for the latest phone or a gaming console on Christmas, yet many kids in Africa die of malnutrition. We also buy the latest products, when we still have fully functional ones. We turn on the heater and the air conditioner when we could just wear more clothes or wear shorts. We use cars to get to places fast when we could just use a public transport or a bike. And, all of this is bound to harm humanity soon, because climate change caused by us, will cause natural disasters. Either way, we as a humanity have a big problem right now. So what solutions do we have? "Right now, the politicians and the scientists are working it out." So, if we un-sugarcoat that statement, it means that there is no solution currently. Also, when our resources get depleted, what would we do? Would we team up and share our left-overs? No, countries would start a war and try to take over all resources. Even with a doom looming over the humanity, we would just start another war.
Today, we did band performance. I was very VERY nervous before the performance, but during it, I was focused on the music, so my fears went away. The fears I had before the performance wasn't that big, but it frightened me still. I am looking toward to next performance in June.
My thoughts on 'Boys 4 Real'
‘Boys 4 Real’ is an after-school program that ‘equips’ pre-teens with skills that will help them in high school. The program is run by YWCA, and is a companion for a similar program, ‘Welcome to my life’. Which is basically the same thing for girls. We meet at Clayton Secondary School at Tuesdays, and do whatever that’s related to the day’s subject, and after we are done, we merge with the girl group, and we work on the community service project. The community service part is what we spend our time before we leave. So far we were just brainstorming ideas on what we might do to help our community. We also have gym time every week. Today’s topic was healthiness. We discussed about healthy relationships, body, and mind. Our group discussed about healthy relationships. After that, we made healthy snacks. We splitted into 3 groups and made Guacamole, Smoothie, and Yogurt. My group made Yogurts, and when we were finished we tasted other groups’ foods. Then we did community service project, we got together in groups, and our temporary groups for today was just people from my school, Hillcrest! I shared my ideas of educating people about the environment. I also shared my teacher’s idea from community service project at school from last year, about selling coupons for local stores, and finally, I shared what I did in Grade 5: Young Entrepreneurs project(YE). The YE is about creating products, and selling them on a day. Back in Grade 5, I didn’t understand that I had to design my product, so I sold Google Cardboard in YE. So that was it for today’s session for ‘Boys 4 Real’. I think the program is good, and deserves more participants because there was only 11 boys in the program. The girls did sign up for their program more and the waitlist had to be made. I think everyone who is worried about high school should be in the program, because it’s educational, and fun.
I participated in the Canadian Computing Competition(CCC). The CCC is a programming competition as the name suggests. The competition is three hours long, and in that period, the contestants are to write programs for 5 different problems. The problems usually are about calculating all possibilities for an activity. The fifth problem gets really hard. In this contest, I got 60/75 points, and the cut-line for Honourable Mentions was 61 points, which I was very disappointed about. However out of 3017 junior contestants, I got top 80, which is top 3% of the participants, and that was unbelievable to me at first. So, I am happy, but disappointed at the same time, so I promised to myself that I will do better next year.
You know, I haven't posted who I am in my blog. So I am going to do that now.
I am a 12 year kid who lives in B.C. Canada. I code as my hobby. I develop chat bots.
Yeah. Find me on Github: https://github.com/hillcrestpaul0719
These are my chat bots:
Enigma Bot is my bot that is available in many social networks or chat platform.
Youtube: Enigma Bot
Google+ Enigma Bot
Email (Not available anymore): firstname.lastname@example.org
Skype (Not available anymore): Addison A.
Yeah. I will update this post soon. Please keep an eye out!
Hello there. This is my blog. It's powered by Django and Python. Thank you for visiting! -Enigma