Summer 2009 Etc

Using MS Word

I was inspired to write a document about the features of MS Word for my debaters.  However, when it got long enough, I decided to release it to the entire debate community.  It’s posted to my website at if you want to read it for yourself.

I go into a bunch of the features that Word has the most people don’t know about that will help people format their documents more precisely and quickly.  This is particularly important if you use large documents or a lot of documents or if you make documents that a lot of people end up using. 

It’s long, but it’s (mostly) comprehensive and is searchable and indexed if you ever want to learn about one specific thing.

Also, my Paperless Debate template might be helpful even for nondebaters if you want to deal with documents quickly.


Since I’ll be 19 on September 15 and, at the beginning of Summer I didn’t even have a permit, I decided to start learning to drive. 

I still don’t really want to drive in any situation, but I realize that there are times when friends need rides or where public transportation isn’t an option. 

At this point, I still don’t have a license, and I’m not quite comfortable going fast, but I’m starting to get the general feel for the car.

Union Meeting

The Union (Plumbers and Pipefitters Union Local 290) president said that he would mention a scholarships that I won from the union at one of the union meetings.  This prompted me to attend a union meeting.

A lot of it was just logistics – jobs that are in town now, proposed changes to the union constitution – but it was a nice look into union politics.  For instance, I saw the need for lobbyists to push through pro-labor legislation and lawyers to fight back when companies use illegal anti-union tactics (ie, refusing a union contract in favor of a non-union contract even though the union was the lowest bidder).

Labor for the win!


The Train Back to Stanford

As much as I wanted to smuggle myself in the luggage compartment in the video game car, that didn’t quite work out this time.  As it turns out, all things electric in that area had failed.  None of the arcade games and none of the outlets were working.  I then spent about 15 minutes looking around for an outlet.  This Coast Starlight didn’t have any outlets in the Café car.  The only outlet that I could find was in a horribly inconvenient location by the stairs in the viewer car (the one that has glass walls so that you can watch the scenery).  I plugged my power strip (with a long cord) into that outlet, put it in a convenient location, and found a seat.  Shortly, every slot in my power strip was full – mostly people charging their phones. 

I spent most of my time writing this.


My (tentative) Class Schedule

I’ll take CS103 (mathematical foundations of CS; 5 units) and CS107 (the next intro programming course; 5 units). 

I’ll take Urban Studies 131, a weekly lecture series on social entrepreneurship (1 unit).

I’ll take a Feminist Studies class on relationship abuse (2-4 units).  I know a few other people who are taking it.  I’m not sure whether I’ll take it for 2 or 4 units.

I’ll take a history introductory seminar on US foreign policy in the Middle East (3 units).  The professor seems very cool.

That, in total, is 16-18 units.  I’m not quite sure what I want to do with my remaining units.  I might take a one unit voice class.  I might take a one unit yoga class.  I might take a two unit intro to music theory. 

I might end up taking the feminist studies class for 2 units, looking for a 3 unit class, and taking the voice class, the yoga class, or both.