29 January 2015

The 1st Annual Gala

As I walked out onto the stage towards the shiny, transparent podium, I could feel my smile try to waver. It felt like all of the lights, in what must have been the largest hotel ballroom in the world, had suddenly become brighter and hotter. I took slow, even steps to make sure I completed my walk without tripping. I concentrated on keeping my hands relaxed and looking elegant all around. The need to fidget with my two-fingered diamond ring in the shape of a snake was nipping at my thoughts, but I somehow managed to gracefully refuse. My glossy ponytail with large, slight waves brushed my upper back as it swayed back and forth from my stride. Finally reaching my mark, I smiled hard and looked towards the audience as my eyes adjusted. I imagined how I must have looked to them in my deep purple gown that gently hung off my shoulders, my freshly-polished crystal collar and matching earrings that must have sparkled like crazy, and my delicate, silk-lined heels that were two shades darker than my dress and made me look tall and regal. My collarbone touched my straps just enough to let me know that they were still there, and the smooth, cool fabric brushed against my freshly-shaven legs. I realized that I wasn't nervous, because I was exactly where I needed and wanted to be. I remembered that I've always had, or at least shown, grand amounts of confidence, and that I was completely ready for this. Gently, I placed my perfectly manicured hands atop the podium and remembered how happy I was. Basking in this high of joy and serenity, I took a deep breath, rolled my shoulders back, and lifted my chin just a tad before I started speaking. 

I welcomed the room, all sitting at the round tables with an assortment of hors d'oeuvres in the centers. Everyone had put their conversations on hold just for me, as this was my night after all. I thanked them for all of their contributions and assistance that had made my new organization possible. Each and every one of them had taken time out of their hectic schedules to further my cause, and for everything I was absolutely grateful. They had donated so much time, effort, and money, without which, I would still be a student who was totally frightened by the career path I had chosen in a field that may or may not have brought me any comfort in doing something right. I explained to them that this organization had been an idea in the making for five years, and that it had been my dream since the beginning to make it reality. The fact that it was, in fact, reality rendered my almost speechless, and made me feel like I couldn't possibly be awake. After all, it's future presence had snuck in to my dreams so many times prior that it was only fitting that I didn't trust it. Nevertheless, I would work as hard possible to build the organization and change the way that humans interact with each other. The increase in fairness will, in time, bring an increase in happiness. I spoke slowly and made sure to pause every now and then to take a careful breath as to keep my voice steady. I offered myself for any assistance that they might need in the coming future, and assured them that I would try to help in any situation that occurred. After a bit more praise, I invited the room to dine as their entrees were brought out, and said goodnight before any tears could be created and shed. As I walked off the stage, I was greeted by applause, handshakes, hugs, questions, and words of wisdom. These people were all very successful and probably understood every thought and emotion that I was possessing that night. The overwhelming sense that everything was perfect, and my feet weren't touching the floor came over me as I went about the rest of the night. My pulse was quick, my smile was endless, and I knew I loved my life.

                                                                                            ~ Cici

27 January 2015

Functions in C++ 3

This function adds up the digits in a number and returns the sum of them.

Line 3 : int digit_sum(int number) tells you that there is a function called digit_sum that returns an int and takes in an int that the function will call number

Line 5 : Declares an int called sum and initializes it to be 0.

Line 6 : while (number > 0) is a while loop that will iterate if number is greater than 0. 

Line 7 : sum += number % 10 sets sum equal to itself plus the remainder of number divided by 10. 

Line 8 : Sets number equal to itself divided by 10. Remember, this is how many times 10 can go in to number fully. 

Line 10 : Closing bracket for the while loop.

Line 11 : return sum returns the value currently assigned to sum as the int return value the function must return. 

Line 12 : Closing bracket for the function. 

Farewell pic :

Check out this gutsy parking job that occurred outside my house. 

                                                                                                     ~ Cici

26 January 2015

Functions in C++ 2

This function takes in a number of any size and a single digit. The function's job is to find how many times that digit shows itself in the number. 

Line 2 : int number_times_appear(int number, int digit) tells you that there is a function called number_times_appear that returns an int and takes in an int that the function will know as number and an int the function will know as digit

Line 4 : int integer = number declares an int variable named integer that is initialized as having the value number, which is the first parameter that the function takes in. 

Line 5 : int count = 0 initializes a variable count to 0. 

Line 6 : Does the same thing as line 5 except this variable is named times.

Line 7 : while (number) starts a while loop, and the loop will iterate as long as whatever is in the parenthesis is true. Once this statement is false and the loop stops iterating, count will be the number of digits in number.

Line 8 : Says, now number is equal to itself divided by ten. When a number is divided by another number, the output is how many times the denominator can go into the numerator. Note that these are both int values, so if the number is something like 123847 and you divide it by 10, the output will be 12384. No decimals or remainders. 

Line 9 : count++ increments count by 1.

Line 10 : The closing bracket for the while loop.

Line 12 : for (int i = 0; i < count; i++) means that the for loop will iterate as many times as there are integers from 0 to one less than count

Line 13 : int num = integer % 10 initializes a variable num to be equal to integer % 10. The % or modulus  returns the remainder from if you divide the first number by the second. So 12387 % 10 would equal 7.

Line 14 : if (num == digit) checks to see if the two variables are equal to each other. If they are, the next two lines will iterate. If not, line 19 will iterate.

Line 15 : Increments the variable by one.

Line 16 : Does the same thing line 8 does with this variable. 

Line 17 : The closing bracket for the if statement.

Line 18 : Starts to else statement.

Line 19 : Same thing as line 16.

Lines 20, 21 : Are closing brackets for the else statement, and then the for loop.

Line 23 : return times is the int the function returns. This tells you how many times the digit was in the number. 

Line 25 : Closing bracket for the function.

Farewell pic : 

A kitty from the zoo !!

                                                                                                  ~ Cici

Functions in C++

The below picture is a function in C++. Let's walk through it ..

This function was created to see what percentage of a dna string was cytosine and guanine. This function assumes that every string that's passed into it will only consist of four letters :
A, T, G, C
to represent Adenine, Thymine, Guanine, and Cytosine.

Line 2 : double tells you the data type that the function will return at the end.
ratio is the name of the function.
(string dna) is the parameter that the function takes in. When the function is called, whatever string is called with the function will be known to the function as dna.
The { is used to tell where the function begins and ends. You will see that it is matched with the one at the bottom on line 14. This is C++ syntax.

Line 4 : double is the data type for the variable you're making called length.
The = tells you that the variable length is being assigned to the value of dna.length().
Most lines in C++ end in a semicolon. That too is just syntax.
.length() is a function built in to the String class. It will return how many characters there are in the string that calls it, which in this case is dna.

Line 5 : double count is a variable declaration, and it's assigned the value, 0.

Line 6 : for (int i = 0; i < length; i++) is a for loop. For as many integers there are from 0 to the value, length, everything under the for loop (between the curly brackets) will iterate through. One again, the curly bracket at the end is the beginning of the loop.

Line 7 : This is an if statement. So, if the character located in the string dna at index i is a 'g' or 'c', the next line will iterate. (BTW, those two vertical lines together like that mean 'or'. If there were two ampersands (&&), that means 'and'.)

Line 8 : count++ is the same thing as count = count + 1 or count += 1. All three of these will increment the value count by 1. So, every 'g' or 'c' the loop finds will be counted, because when one is found, count is incremented. 

Line 9, 10 : The next two lines are just closing brackets. The one in line 9 closes the if statement, and the one in line 10 closes the for loop. 

Line 12 : return count / length is the double value that the function returns. Remember that both count and length are doubles. This is just dividing count by length, or returning the ratio of the number of 'c's and 'g's to the total number of characters in the string. 

Line 14 : A closing bracket for the entire function to let the computer know that it's gotten to the end of the function. 

Farewell pic : 

If you can't tell, this genius is parked on the grass .. He drove up onto the curb and decided to park in the grassy area between two real parking spots. 

                                                                                                        ~ Cici


21 January 2015

Shop The Sales, Save The Money

I have a terrible need to shop all the time. I like sales, I like new things, I like pretty things, I like sweaters, I like .. stuff !! I've never had the biggest budget, so I learned young how to shop the sales. Here's how it's done :

1. Create a junk e-mail address and when a site asks you to sign up for their updates or whatever, do it. For example, if you do this on HankyPanky.com, you will get a $10 coupon !! There is no minimum order this has to be used on, so once I got a low-rise, hot pink, lace thong with 'GEMINI' in rhinestones on it for $1.50. It was originally like $30, which is 95% off !! I used my $10 off coupon, and the thong was on sale for $11.50, and they were having a free shipping weekend.

2. Shipping is really expensive. If you're looking for great deals, you're probably going to have to find the sites that are having specials of free shipping with no minimum order. To look specifically for sites that are having shipping sales, go to ShopStyle.com, click offers, and then click shipping. You'll notice that they also have a discounts tab, which shows you every sale that they have found. Keep in mind that this is a style site, so this isn't where you will find deals on stuff you can't wear. 

3. In your e-mail, you will either get sale alerts, or maybe even coupon codes !! If you get a code, go see if there's a sale going on at the site so you can get double sale. If you get a sale alert, go try to find a coupon code. Another really good place to find those is at RetailMeNot.com. Another example of my success, is that GarageClothing.com was having like two weeks of free shipping with no minimum order. They also have a sale section. I also found a coupon code. So, I got a couple really nice, sheer, button-down shirts for under $20. One of them is black with an eye patter in white on it. The other one is a dark purple. 

Another thing I forgot to mention about adding yourself to e-mail lists, is that sometimes you're invited to secret sales, or you can get into the sale before those who aren't on their mailing list. Also, you can search for keywords in your e-mail, like Free Shipping, or Clearance, or Sale, or Code. 

Also, if you're not opposed to catalogs, they also sometimes come with coupons in them. 

Farewell pic :

When I insisted on taking some of my senior pictures on a see-saw. There are also some on a slide, swing, and driving a fake car. 

                                                                                 ~ Cici

Fun With Python 3

Lists in Python.

In the above program, I have made a list and then said to print all of the strings in the list five times.

colors is the name of the list, and every string in the straight brackets is an item in the list. 
for x in range(5): is a for loop. This is saying, for all x values in a range of 5 values, do the things indented under the loop. So, when x is 1, it does the indented commands, and then x becomes 2, and does the indented commands, and so on until after it goes through the indented commands when x is 5. 

In computer science, we start counting at 0. So, colors[0] is referring to the item in the list colors at index 0. Index zero is the first item, in this case the string 'Red'.

Note that after the list, there is a semicolon. This is just part of the Python syntax. There's also a colon after the for loop, which is there for the same reason. You also need a colon after defining functions. 

If you wanted to add an item to the end of the list you made (later in the code), you would use append

When I say print colors, that means I want to print the list, not the items in the list. 

Now, I don't really think I like how I've printed the items .. so I'm going to change it.

Uh-oh ..

If you want to put something into your list, but not at the end, you'll use insert. If you don't know the index you want to insert the new item, you'll need to use index.

So, I decided I wanted the new color to go before 'Orange', so I found where 'Orange' was, and then inserted 'Teal' at that index. When I set orange equal to colors.index('Orange'), orange was set to the index number. From above, it's shown that 'Orange' was at index 2, or colors[2], so now, 'Teal' is at colors[2], and 'Orange' is now at colors[3].

Farewell pic :

My best friend and I got matching cases and keychains at Claire's.

                                                                                           ~ Cici

Piano for Beginners

I find it easier to learn a new piece, or instrument, when I have the piece I'm trying to play memorized. This makes it so that I can focus on my technique and less on reading the music. We all know that there are different kinds of learners (auditory, visual, kinesthetic). When I started playing piano when I was a toddler, I learned by the Suzuki method, which is by ear. I would listen to the pieces, and learned how to play by ear. If you're a visual learner, take a look at the music and try to find the patterns. For example :

This is a pretty easy piece. Your hands are one octave away from each other, your lowest finger of each hand on C, no black keys, obvious patterns.

If you were to connect the dots between the notes in each hand, you could see that both hands do the exact same thing at the same time. Also note, the first two measures of the first line are the exact same as the first two measures of the second line. These measures are also the exact same as the first two measures on the last line. 

If you can see better in color than in shapes (connecting the dots), maybe highlight those three identical two-measure phrases one color. Now, it's clear that they're the same. On the third line, the first two measures and the last two measures are not identical, but very similar. They're the same shape, but they start on different keys. Basically, once you learn the first two, the last two should be a piece of cake.

So, now, you almost have the whole piece, and you really only needed to learn two things. The last two measures of the first, second, and fourth lines are different from each other and aren't part of patters, but they are very similar and related.

If neither connecting dots/seeing shapes, or blocking patterns worked for you, you could always try listening to the piece and trying to match what you hear when you try to play it. 

Almost every piece I've learned, I listened to or had heard before. But, after learning it, it goes in my repertoire and I usually don't look at the music ever again. That's because over time, I do learn it kinesthetically, and it's all just muscle memory. I can tell if I made a mistake because I can remember how it's supposed to sound, and I can also see the patterns in my head to help guide me if I get stuck. This is why I think being able to play music is so important, because it incorporates so many different ways of thinking and learning. 

If color blocking patterns doesn't work, color each note. Make a Cs one color, Ds another, and so on. 

The last way to easily learn a piece is to label every note. Using the piece from above, and noting that the pinky is the fifth finger and the thumb is the first, here's how the right hand would go ..

[ 1 2 3 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 3 1 3 2 2 2

1 2 3 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 3 5 4 3 2 1 3 1 ] x 2

[ 2 2 2 3 4 3 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 5 4 3 3 3

1 2 3 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 3 5 4 3 2 1 3 5 3 1 ]

Because in this piece the left hand and the right hand are doing the same thing, whenever the right hand plays a 1/thumb, the left hand plays a 5/pinky. 

Also, on the music, notice how there are curved lines and dots above some notes. The curved lines mean that you want to connect all of those notes smoothly. The dots mean you want to jump off them right after you press them, kind if like the same motion you would make if you were dared to touch a hot stove. 

Farewell pic :


                                                                                    ~ Cici

Worst Wednesday Schedule

This semester has the worst Wednesdays in store for me. 

4:50 am -- Wake Up
5:20 am -- Lift / Dryland (2 hours)

7:30 am -- Breakfast
9:00 am -- Get Ready For Class

10:00 am -- Calculus
12:00 pm -- Introduction to the Petroleum Industry
2:00 pm -- Data Structures
3:00 pm -- Physics Lecture
4:00 pm -- Swim (2 hours)

6:00 pm -- Introduction to the Petroleum Industry (2 hours)
8:00 pm -- Friends

Farewell pic :

To make this Wednesday better, it decided to snow today, making everything slippery and wet and cold.

Today's News

Sorry For The Wait 2, the mixtape from Lil Wayne is out, and Joni Ernst was the GOP senator this year who gave the rebuttal for the State of the Union Address. In the address, President Obama spoke about his economic proposals. John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, has invited Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, to speak to congress.

 In other news, Sarah Roemer and Chad Michael Murray are married and pregnant, and New Kids On The Block has decided to go on tour again. The Club Nintendo Rewards Program is being shut down by Nintendo. The Super Bowl this year will be Patriots vs. Seahawks. Let's hope this one is better than the last, because last year's was pretty embarrassing for everyone, and a little hard to watch.

Michael Moore tweeted some controversial comments about snipers the other day, and ski champion, Lindsey Vonn spoke out about Tiger Woods and his missing tooth. Don't forget that the Winter X-Games are going on right now in Aspen, Colorado. Yolanda Foster was diagnosed with Lyme disease at the age of 51, and ASAP Yams died at age 26, and Anita Ekberg, actress, died at age 83.

Justin Beiber's Calvin Klein ad was parodied by Kate Mckinnon of Saturday Night Live. That episode was hosted by comedian, Kevin Hart, with musical guest Sia who brought along her start dancer, Maddie Ziegler of Dance Moms. Sia has been in news lately due to her music video for 'Elastic Heart' that stars Ziegler and Shia LeBeouf, because people fear pedophilia is a theme of the video. Betty White turned 93. It was also Aaliyah's birthday last week, and Frank Ocean sang a tribute song to the late singer.

Adam Lambert was a guest-judge on American Idol, and Ian Somerhalder of Vampire Diaries and Nikki Reed of Twilight are engaged after 6 months of dating. The movie The Grand Budapest Hotel is back in theatres after getting nine nominations for Oscars. Miley Cyrus took a bath .. not sure why that's so important, I just know that Hannah Montana should not be getting naked in front of a camera. Zooey Deschanel is pregnant. Grace Miguel, Usher's business partner, is engaged to Usher. The new 50 Shades of Grey trailer debuted during the Golden Globes. Also, did you know that there is a 50 Shades parody on stage ?!?!

Farewell pic : 

It decided to snow today. 

                                                                                    ~ Cici

20 January 2015

Fun With Python 2

Functions are a huge part of coding. If these weren't used, programmers would need to write codes that were extremely long and messy. 

Here's a simple function :

This means that I defined (def) my function named greeting as such. It takes in one parameter, name, and then goes through the rest of itself. 
First, it prints a string 'Hello, ', and then prints the name that if was given, and then some exclamation points. 
Then, it asks what the date is, and stores the user's answer as date.
Then, it prints the last string, addresses the user, and prints the date that the user input. 

The first line is calling the function greeting with 'Cici' input as the parameter, name.
It prints the first string and addresses the user.
Asks for the date, and then the user replies.
Then, gives a goodbye salutation to the user.

Another very simple program is this one :

This program prompts the user to enter 10 numbers.
count is a variable that is initialized as 1. 
The while refers to a loop called the while loop. Basically, this is saying , while something is true, do something. So, while count is less than 11, do the things that are inside the loop, which in this case is the rest of the function, as recognizable by the indentation.
The last line is saying that now, count is equal to itself plus 1. So the variable count is just counting how many times the loop runs and the loop will stop once it has run ten times. 

Here is one more example of a function. This one just tells you whether a number is even or odd.

Here, I used the modulo, or %. So, if the number that was input is divided by 2 and there isn't a remaining number, the number must be even. Like, 8 / 2 = 4, remainder 0. 7 / 2 = 3, remainder 1.

The if and else are an if/else statement, which is basically, if something is true, do this, otherwise (or else) do this. So, the number will be divided by two, and if there isn't a remainder, the program will print 'Even. '. If this is not true, and there is a remainder, the program will print 'Odd. '.

Farewell pic :

Lucy running.

                                                                                         ~ Cici

Fun with Python

Python is a pretty basic language. In C++, to print a message to the console, we needed a whole bunch of lines of code, but in Python, that's not necessary. 

This was me just playing around with the shell. All you have to do to print in Python is type print, and then in quotations or double quotations, type your message. 

You can also do math easily too. Below, I asked to be shown all of the things I can do with the math module. 

These are a few examples of math operations you can do.

Notice that sqrt returns the square root of the number you put in the parenthesis.
And pi returns the first few digits of pi.
Similarly, e returns the first digits of e.
The pow function returns the first parameter to the power of the second parameter.
If you just want to square something, ** works for that.
Otherwise, addition, subtraction, and multiplication work in the ways you think they would. 

If I were to enter in 3 / 5, I would not get .6 out. The numbers 3 and 5 are integers. The decimal .6 is what we call a double. If you divide an integer by another integer, the value returned will be how many times you can put the second into the first, which in this case is zero. If I want to divide these numbers and get .6 out, I would need to type 3.0 / 5 or 3 / 5.0 or 3.0 / 5.0.

Notice how when I divided a decimal by a decimal, I got a whole number with a decimal. That's because those decimals are doubles, and if I divide with a double or multiple doubles, I will get back a double no matter what. 

Also in that picture, I used the % symbol. This is actually used a lot in coding, and is called modulo. Basically, it divides the first number by the second number and return the remainder, like when you did long division and had remainders instead of decimals. 

So, if you divide 3 / 5, we already know that that will equal 0, but the remainder is 3.
If you divide 5 / 3, you will get 1, but because we're using the mod, we get back the remainder still. So, 5 / 3 is 1 remainder 2, which is why the output there is 2. 

Another cool built-in function Python has is one that tells you how long a string or message is. 

Farewell pic :

The view of my campus from the top of South Table Mountain.

                                                                                           ~ Cici

19 January 2015

Friends - The Show

This isn't that important, but just wanted to let you all know ..


It only took me 19 days.

                                                                        ~ Cici

Cici in China - Part 3: Birth Family

One of the days we had scheduled in China, we were going back to my orphanage. Unfortunately, the one that I had been in had been torn down, but a newer one had been put up in it's place. When we were taking a tour, somehow, my nanny recognized me !! Even though it had been ten years, she recognized me and came and gave me a hug. 

When I was in school and girl scouts, I got my classmates and my troop to raise money and make posters for my orphanage, and we brought a bunch of vitamins and fun wall art for them. When we were talking to the orphanage director, there was a girl there who was missing half of one of her arms, and my mom told me that she remembered her. She said that she had been about 14 when she left with me, and that she had watched us leave. 

After we left the orphanage, my mom wanted to go to the city hall or something to see if anything had been found with me when I had gotten to the orphanage or something. I have no idea where we ended up, maybe a police station, but our translators were speaking to a guard in this building. While they were talking, a lady in a blue dress walked by us and waited for the elevator. It turns out that she was eavesdropping, and she turned around and joined the conversation. My mom and I had no idea what was going on. 

Eventually, she led us all up to her office, and she got on the phone. We were told that she had worked on orphans in 1995, and said she could help us. A few minutes later, I was asked if I wanted to meet the women who took me away from my family. This was back when I didn't really understand why I hadn't been able to stay with my family and was still a bit bitter, but I did say yes. Then, they brought me a red piece of paper with some Chinese on it, apparently saying when I was born. When the women who took me got there, they were very nice. They also looked at the red piece of paper and told us that they had written it, and that they had lied about my birthday to keep me from being tracked back to my birth family so they wouldn't get in trouble. Turns out I was actually born four months earlier than my birth certificate says. 

Next thing I knew, I was asked if I wanted to meet my birth parents. I of course said yes, as did my mom, as long as they weren't going to get into any trouble, which we were assured they weren't. By this time, other people who worked in that office had been filtering in and out to see what the commotion was all about, and there were also some news reporters and cameras that would come in every so often. The office was getting a little crowded, so we moved to an office across town, which we presumed was the mayor's office. 

When we got there, we were greeted with a whole bunch of cameras, reporters, and more cameras. And after a few minutes, they walked in !! My mom noticed the resemblances right away. They looked at my hands, because they remembered that when I was a baby I had very long fingers, and they checked my hairline because I guess it's weird in the back. 

They invited us back to their house, and I got to meet my sister, my brother-in-law, my sister-in-law, my sister's son, and my brother's son. They were very hospitable, and nice, and I forgot that I had been dreaming of that day since I was little. It is very rare to meet your birth parents if you're a girl adopted from China, and we did it all by accident. 

 Their duckies !!

 My sister and I in their kitchen.

 My birth family !! (My brother couldn't get off work ..) Those little ones are now 17 and 13 !!

Farewell pic :

A kite in Tienanmen Square. Those kite flyers can get their kits like a mile up.

                                                                                             ~ Cici

Cici in China - Part 2: Pandas

This part isn't much of a story, but it has some great pictures !!

These are the pandas from Chengdu.

This picture below is 100% real. This panda's name is MaoMao. 

 I do have a picture of my holding a red panda named MiMi, but I can't find it. I got to feed her an apple !!

Farewell pic :

There were lots of coi ponds around, and you could buy fish food for them for really cheap, which was one of my favorite things. If you threw in one little pebble of food, they would all swim over and swarm like this, and their mouths were all make wet, sucking noises that were kind of gross.

                                                                                        ~ Cici