2012: The Year of the Dragon, Coding and Tests

When I was in Bakersfield for the last week of December, I began thinking about the goals I (kind of) set for 2011 and about the upcoming year. Of course, I started typing out one of those reflection-type posts to recap the previous year and new goals for 2012. And then somehow, we were already halfway through January. Huh, fancy that.

Exactly one year ago, I stumbled across WordPress’ neat blogging initiative – The Daily Post – which provided daily inspiration and topics that aimed to get bloggers to post at least once a day. Thankfully, there was a less intense once-a-week version, to which I pledged in an effort to really establish some momentum on my blog. Was I successful? I didn’t end up posting once a week, but participating in The Daily Post definitely helped spur my writing of more substantial posts.

Luckily, it’s the new lunar year, so let’s just call these Chinese New Year resolutions :) And now, the goals for 2012:

  1. Learn to Code
    This is actually a continuation from last summer’s goal. However, I’ve decided to go in the direction of Java rather than C#, since I stumbled upon Stanford’s CS106A Programming Methodology course online. I’ve gone through three lectures and so far this seems like a really course (with all the materials for free online, hooray).
  2. Complete a Web Project
    There are actually two projects in queue for this – my Antarctica website and possibly a website for my father that will play with a much wider variety of HTML5/CSS3 specs.
  3. Take More Photographs
    I tend to take a ridiculous amount of photographs whenever I’m travelling, but the same can’t be said when I’m home in SF. While a picture a day is a bit ambitious, I do want to try and snap a few photos at least once a week, whether they’re food photos, event captures or even simple shots of the view outside my apartment.
  4. Become Less Awkward at Hip Hop
    Definitely a work in progress. Hopefully, taking more of Allan Frias’ classes at Dance Mission will help, hah.

Here’s to the Year of the Dragon!

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Strike? What Strike?

Elijah Wood Portrait

Yesterday, the night before the great March 4th demonstration, the professor of my wealth and poverty course proposed a simple question. He asked the class, “What is happening tomorrow? I hear there’s a strike. Can someone explain this to me?” A girl in the back of the lecture hall raised her hand and proceeded to address the injustice faced by students in the UC system, and how the strike was meant to create awareness for this issue across the state (as if it wasn’t well-known already). Most of what she said was valid; however, Professor Reich then asked, “What is the purpose of this strike? Where is the power? Who are we striking against?”

Everyone let that question sink in for a few moments. It made us think – can we really call this a strike? For the past week, campus has been dotted with white, maroon, and black posters. All of them loudly proclaim, “MARCH 4TH STRIKE!” It seems we’ve forgotten the real meaning of the word. In the past, strikes were about a group of people, namely workers, banding together to gain economic power to fight unfair wages and conditions. The workers essentially shut down the factory for the duration of their strike, which in turn was costly for the employers. So here, at UC Berkeley, who exactly are we striking against? Some say it’s the legislators – but who are they to care whether or not we attend classes? We’re not directly hurting them or their business by refusing to step onto campus. Who ends up sustaining the brunt of the damage?

In fact, we’re only hurting ourselves by refusing the very product that we are paying for. I’m not against protests and demonstrations – they’re powerful if executed in a non-violent and rational manner. And of all things to defend, public education is most definitely high up on the list, if not at the top. However, let’s stop kidding ourselves with illusions of grandeur and stop describing these acts as strikes. Instead, let us defend public education through our own means, without stripping words of their true meaning.

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Walk On You Bears

Here we are, on the eve of the grand UC Faculty Walkout that will be taking place across all the UC campuses tomorrow. I have to admit, when I first learned about the walkout I thought, “What’s the point?” Sure, once upon a time Berkeley was the epicenter of student action and protests, circa the Free Speech Movement era. However, all that has remained is the FSM cafe, where static black and white photographs of Mario Salvio and the rest of the fighters look down upon us from the walls. Every year, we have protestors at some point – UC service workers, etc.- but honestly, no one really pays them any mind. Some may object to this observation, but come on, we know it’s true.

As the countdown to the walkout gets shorter and shorter, I realized that this time things may actually be different. Instead of the normal grumbling from students about the “suckiness of the UC system,” we have a solidarity among students, faculty, and alumni alike that hasn’t been seen in years. There has been a series of faculty lectures on the walkout and budget cuts throughout the system. In particular, this video of Professor Ananya Roy is definitely worth watching:.

There’s more information about the Berkeley walkout over here. But now, it’s time for me to get some shut-eye for optimal Sproul-crowding performance tomorrow, of course.

UC Berkeley Walkout Poster

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