D&D, Hyperloop, and JSON Files

Hello World!

Dungeons and Dragons is a pretty strange game. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a roleplaying game where you pretend to be a fantasy character and fight monsters. Kind of a cross between those games that little kids play with plastic swords, an online RPG, and Magic: The Gathering.

Carxes
A 3D rendering of my character, Carxes Caryinax

We showed up to our friends house 7:30, brought out some food (thank you to Jordan for his wonderful cake) and started battling in a fairly standard tournament fight. Then one player decided to cover their character in herb butter so they would be slippery during the tournament, another character painted himself to look like a changeling, and another character got extremely drunk. Next thing I know it’s 1:00 AM, all the characters are painted like other species, one player is roleplaying two characters who are sleeping together, and two players are discussing how pimps are portrayed in the media. I love this game!

I have a programming professor who I’m now convinced wants more than anything to scare me. His class is very easy and graded 100% on homework. I’ve been doing well in his class, but whenever I tell him I’m having a good time he looks offended and says that it will get harder (which is hasn’t). Recently, I went to him for help with a randomness function (he was quite helpful) and at the end, I asked him how far along it looked like with my project. He said that I was a very behind, but if I tried really hard I might be able to finish it in time. I went home, and finished it very quickly! Several days early in fact. I don’t know why he has this whole thing about his class being hard, especially because his class has a difficulty rating of 3.3 on ratemyprofessor.com. Most people seem to have a very easy time in his class, but he is somehow convinced that it is difficult. Kind of strange.

Part of the JSON File
Part of the JSON File

My research is going pretty well! What had been holding me back the most was the fact that I could not get all the data to display itself as a JSON file. A JSON (Java Script Object Notation) file is a near-universal data structure, which most programming languages can parse. I was put in charge of writing the Python script to generate the JSON file based off the information from the MongoDB database, but I’m not good with Python and have nearly no experience with JSON and databases, so it was pretty tough! I finally got help from some of the grad students, who solved it in about two hours. Later they ran it by the professor in charge of the operation, who provided a much more elegant solution in about 30 seconds. I wish I had asked him weeks ago, but the bottom line is, it works! I now have a JSON file to work with!

My Calender
Wednesdays aren't even that busy

One of the great joys of being an engineering major is walking by parties late at night, being invited, and using this as an opportunity to complain about your situation. You see, as an engineering major, you have very little opportunity to drink. Of the five people in my apartment we have two who have never had alcohol ever in their lives, one who has had it a few times for religious purposes, one who drinks occasionally but has been known to go to frat parties without drinking anything (I have no idea why), and me, who has gotten drunk a grand total of one time. I’ve heard some pretty good responses from engineering majors to party-goers, ranging from “no time” to “pick a real f**king major you lazy twerp.” My personal favorite is “I have a midterm next week,” something that I wish weren’t always true.

Our LIMr
Our LIM

Hyperloop is going pretty great! We held a general meeting on Saturday where people came up and talked about what their teams are doing, and we’re certainly moving along quickly. Most of the teams are still in their research phases, but it’s only November so that’s where we’re supposed to be. The power team has started soldering the power supply prototypes, the business team has gotten us some nice grants, and we’ve begun to plan how all the structures of the pod will fit together! I think there’s a pretty good chance we’ll get in the tube this summer.

The Salad Bowl

As an engineer, I don’t typically hang around the humanities buildings, which is kind of a shame because some of those areas are pretty nice. I was recently with a friend of mine from D&D who is a linguistics major, and he showed me this neat area called the ‘salad bowl’. It wasn’t super well furnished, but honestly none of the humanities areas at Davis are all that well furnished since we’re an engineering school. It was kind of neat!

May you be ever victorious in your endeavors!
M.E.W