Audaces fortuna juvat

Working towards my dream

Luck Matters

Posted by C Moon on April 11, 2008

Mine Sweeper

I enjoy playing mine sweeper whenever I have some free time, even having recorded 110 seconds at the expert level (whose typical records are in the 130-140 range). Playing this game, you can learn one lesson: Luck matters. Even when one locates all the mines except one and faces the situation to choose between the last two boxes, one can slip at the last step, guessing the wrong one. The result is simple: one may fail to complete the game. Sadly, the same applies to our daily lives. Luck matters. But remember, taking a shot, even when it seems impossible, also matters. Even if one tries hard, one can be unlucky and meet with a failure. But if one does not try in the first place, one already failed in that task without even trying. Most college admission results have come out, and some may have been disappointing. Now it is time to get over them, saying that they were only bad lucks. At least, we were brave to take those challenges under uncertainty and won’t regret of not having attempted.

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Photo Credits: (1) “Mine Sweeper” by myself

(2) “good luck to you!” by cloud_nine on Flickr

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Value of Time

Posted by C Moon on March 22, 2008

Last Thursday I was under detention for an hour for the first time in my whole life. Days earlier, during the free time after the lecture had been over, my classmate asked me about the stock market, and I asked back “주식시장 (ju-shik-shi-jang, meaning stock market in Korean)” My lapse into uttering a single Korean word, cost me an hour, as it was a clear violation of the EOP (English Only Policy). Strict enforcement of the EOP is necessary for KIS, since KIS is an international school following American curriculum while the majority of the students are either Korean Americans or Korean descendants. Last Thursday, as the penalty of the violation, I had to sit in a classroom for an hour, being required not to do anything. The one hour made me think about the value of time.

Casual calculation indicates that an hour is 0.60 percent of a week, 0.15 percent of a month, and 0.012 percent of a year. What’s the big deal of being required not to do anything for an hour when it’s less than a percent of a week?

The casual calculation has a serious flaw. It considers an hour in the context of the total hours of a week, month, or year and understates the weight of an hour. To properly measure the value of an hour, we should exclude all the pre-occupied time, such as sleeping, working, eating, or commuting. Below is a brief summary of my sunk time on a weekday:

hour(s) / day
7 for eating, sleeping, and personal hygiene
1 for the AP Biology morning session
7 for regular school classes
2 for theater
1 for commuting
1.5 for practicing Taekwondo
0.5 for typing books for the visually handicapped
1 for calling, text messaging, and e-mailing
total sunk time: 21 hours

The free time on a regular weekday amounts to 3 hours only. Similar calculation leads to 5 hours per day for a weekend (well, after taking longer sleep hours into account). These calculations do not include the time of doing homework (throughout the week, more on weekends) or participating in non-regular semi-mandatory events (mostly on weekends). It is quite tricky to include homework hours, as from time to time, I am able to finish it within the short free hours sometimes while other times I have to reduce my sleeping time to complete all the homework. Anyways, the following is the weight of an hour in the context of free time, which includes the time for homework.

The 15 free hours of weekdays and the 10 free hours on weekends total 25 free hours per week. That is, 25 hours a week, 100 a month, and roughly 1300 a year. Hence, an hour is:

4.0 percent of a week
1.0 percent of a month
0.077 percent of a year

Now, an hour is more valuable. Taking the time for homework into account, an hour is extremely valuable!

I see many students going to bed as late as 3 or 4 am in the late night or the early morning (it is hard to judge which expression is proper), and staying up all night when there are tests. In that respect, my personal opinion on the penalty of detention is that one hour should be both time for reflection and for productivity. For example, during the hour, detained students may be penalized by requiring to hand-write a portion of classic or historical works or to write a short essay on social/moral issues or to read a light but educational book such as Chicken Soup for the Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit or to participate in a community service. I personally think that these alternative penalties will better achieve the punitive and educational objectives of the detention while not damaging the value of one hour.

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Photo Credits: (1) “The Passage of Time” by ToniVC on Flickr

(2) “Bombay Clocks” by Natmandu on Flickr

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On Directing Godot: Simple Question of Will-Power

Posted by C Moon on March 8, 2008

The following is my current, tentative interpretation on Waiting for Godot (recently written for my AP Literature class), answering questions such as “Why Lucky is Lucky?” and briefly explaining why I think that it is an existentialist play. But, I am open to other opinions and eager to hear them from others. Again, the purpose of this post is to jointly search for THE interpretation for the play. It is my attempt to clear up the questions that remain unconfirmed after reading the piece several times; thus, I am open to other opinions and willing to change my interpretation.

Next to come: What is the significance of the hats in Godot?

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At a glance, it is easy to think that Waiting for Godot is written in the absurdist perspective, i.e., it is saying that there is no significant meaning in life: repetition and silence, or the “routine” is overruling the whole play that it is hard to distinguish the difference between the scenes as they are too monotonous. But I believe that when one takes a deeper look into the play and the lines, one is able to find an existentialist beliefs in this seemingly absurdist theatre piece, Waiting for Godot.

This play is strange. Every time I read it through, I get to face more unanswered questions. One such question, which consequently becomes one of my arguments why Waiting for Godot is an existentialist play, is this: While Beckett does not have problem in leaving the boy to be called “boy” in the cast, why does he bother naming Lucky “Lucky”? Lucky is dominantly called “pig” or “hog,” but the name remains in our mind since Beckett mentions the name in the cast list. What is the significance of the name? My answer to that question at this moment is that Lucky is a symbol of person who is “tied” to a figure such as God: “Pozzo,” who, in his words, says that he is made in “God’s image,” tells Lucky everything that he should do, but Lucky ends up with no life of his own and no thought of his own. Without one’s own will to manage one’s own life, there will be no meaning in life.

So, given that the play conveys existentialist beliefs to the reader, who is Godot that Estragon and Vladimir is waiting for? Many probably guess that Godot is the image of God, with “God” and “Dieu (French for God)” combined. Estragon and Vladimir are waiting for the God-like authority figure to come and give directions to change their monotonous, dull life. This argument is supported by noting the time when the play was actually written: After World War II, people were depressed, aimless, or even “AP-PALLED,” as Vladimir puts. They were unsure of their present time and their presence. They reminisce the old past, saying, “We were respectable in those days.” They wait for Godot in order to ask him “What do we [Estragon and Vladimir] do?” Returning to the question of who is Godot, supposing that Godot is God, will he ever come? I would say, in the existentialist view, it is totally up to Vladimir and Estragon. Remembering that Godot sounds similar to French slang of old boots, there’s a connection that can easily be made: Estragon’s boots and Godot. What would boots symbolize in this play? Estragon’s taking the boots off would be partially due to his decision to wait for Godot. Keeping the boots on, or the “Godot” on, what can Estragon do? He can leave, and initiate the change himself.

My conclusion, that all the two need in order to escape from the doldrums is their own decision to leave, reminds me of one scene in the second act of the play: When Vladimir tries to help Pozzo up or Estragon tries to help Vladimir up, they fail and everyone stumbles on the ground. But Vladimir and Estragon easily get up when they decide to try on their own. A truly ironic, absurd, but funny scene. But as the two say, it demonstrates that it is a “Simple question of will-power.” Will the two possibly leave, “drop”-ping Godot? I am not sure, but I hope that eventually learning everything is a “Simple question of will-power,” Estragon will put his boots on and the two agree to leave.

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Photo Credits: (1) “Waiting for Godot” by Naccarato on Flickr

(2) “Boots” by The 4/30 Murders on Flickr

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On Directing Waiting for Godot: Introduction

Posted by C Moon on March 7, 2008

With Mr. Hadley’s kind invitation, I am having the honor to assistant-direct Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot. This piece by Beckett seems one of the most controversial plays in how to interpret. Even critics have extreme views on this play: some say that Beckett is trying to deliver his absurdist beliefs through this play, while others say it is existentialist beliefs that he attempts to deliver. Even after reading the script 5 times, I still have many unanswered questions. Sometimes my preliminary, yet once confident, interpretation was later turned out to be not quite right, which prompted me to continue searching for the right one. Thus, I plan to write from time to time about how my interpretation on Waiting for Godot changes in the process of analyzing this enigma a word at a time. I was told that Samuel Beckett once said that “It is not up to me to interpret my plays, but is up to others to interpret them.” I hope that each upcoming post of mine on Waiting for Godot makes people discuss their opinions openly and eventually we together come up with a satisfactory interpretation.

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Photo Credits: “2006: Waiting for Godot” by pierofix on Flickr

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Authority vs. Personal Judgment

Posted by C Moon on February 27, 2008

After the World War II was over, there was a fervent discussion on whether human is by nature “evil.” Holocaust by the Germans and Rape of Nanking by the Japanese are only a few examples showing how cruel people can be to other people who do not belong to the “Us” group, the in-group. While many people asserted that there was something wrong with the Germans, there is an experiment that makes us ponder on whether we can blindly accuse Germans on their wrongdoing: Stanley Milgram’s experiment on “The Perils of Obedience.” To learn more about Milgram, read “The Man Who Shocked the World“.

Milgram’s design is quite ingenious, though controversial on some ethical grounds. The experiment proceeds as follows:

(1) A subject who is selected from the volunteers is told that he will have an experiment on whether punishment will improve one’s performance.
(2) The subject and the researchers’ confederate decide who will be the teacher and who will be the student by drawing a lot, but it is predesigned to make the subject the teacher.
(3) The subject, or the teacher, accompanies the student, who is being tied down to the chair.
(4) The teacher is asked to give a more severe electric shock every time the student gets the question wrong.

While the procedure seems simple, there is a constant pressure given to the subject: The pre-taped voice of the student is played, shouting out to stop or giving no response as the level of the electric shock increases, and there is a person asking the teacher to continue on giving the shocks. Interestingly, most people, in fact, more than half of the subjects, go on to give the highest level of the shock 450 volts (consider that the domestic electric supply of USA is 110V, of UK 240V, and of Korea 220V), labeled as “xxx,” meaning lethal. If you were thrown into such situation, what would be your decision?

Below, I am attaching a video that I’ve recently encountered: A recent recreation of Milgram’s 1963 experiment.

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Photo Credits: “Electric Char – Andy Warhol” by fibonetti on Flickr

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Technical Difficulties; Again, Moving to Another Blog :]

Posted by C Moon on February 23, 2008

It has been almost six months since I’ve started this connective writing project. Many people visited my blog, and I am quite thankful to every one of them. I have to inform you that I am moving to another blog, due to technical difficulties in setting up my feedburner account: it tells me that my feed is invalid (for more information, visit this page from FeedBurner Help Center).

So, I’m having a new start here. I wish this journey of mine will interest you in many directions.

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Photo Credits: “Moving and then Disney World!” by princess_of_llyr on Flickr

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Audaces fortuna juvat?

Posted by C Moon on February 16, 2008

Recently, I was asked what “Audaces fortuna juvat” meant. I myself learned this phrase from my brother, as I never had a chance to learn Latin. I had chosen it to be my blog title, since it is the phrase that constantly inspires me. And I’d like to share it with everyone. The literal meaning is that “Fortune favors the bold.” Only the brave aim for high goals, and only the bold have the courage to stand up in great difficulties with an undaunted soul. Once translated into English, the phrase is so obvious. Only when one tries, opportunity opens up. When one does not try, nothing will change. This is one of those lines that just stick to one’s head and really do ring true. Stagnant water loses its purity. Do not fear and step forward. Then new opportunities will spring up.

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Photo Credits: “Old Steps, High Tide” by BURИBLUE on Flickr

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Reflection: Still Afraid of Posting

Posted by C Moon on February 11, 2008

It has been about six months since my AP Literature class started this visionary blogging project. It was a new experience to me, as I never planned to broadcast myself through the Internet (though I knew what blogging was). Up to now, (694 + 214) people read my blog and some of them left comments. I am not sure whether this is a success or not, but thus far, I am quite contented with what I have achieved.

Before writing this reflection, I went back and watched the video clip that I posted after the first month of blogging. As the subtitle of my blog says, my theme was to show the process of “Working towards my dream.” I still hold that goal, and am trying to share my opinions and interests with people. The blogging project has helped me actually start experimenting on what I thought would be interesting but might take a lot of time.

Blogging is a powerful tool since people are connected with others whom they even did not have a chance to meet. However, the challenging part for me, from the very start of this project, has been my deliberation in making my works public. I write many preliminary posts, spend time in editing them, and post only some of them. Since the posts are published with my name, I try to publish only the works that meet some standard and represent me well. I am not quite sure whether my practice is good or bad, but I will continue for quite a more while.

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Photo Credits: “small world” by bass_nroll on Flickr

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Reflection: The Goal of Blogging

Posted by C Moon on February 11, 2008

My goal of blogging has been all along to portray my life journey, “Working towards my dream.” I know that many blogs have a concentration or two, but I wish to keep the current scope of my blog.

I enjoy learning and participating in something new. This semester, I am lucky to assistant-direct a theatrical production. I love reading detective stories. Agatha Christie is my favorite mystery writer and her stories inspired me to consider a detective or a forensic expert as one of my career goals. I am enchanted with martial arts of the world. I am a 4th-dan black-belt holder in Taekwondo, and aim to learn more others (my next interest lies in capoeira). I love watching the Nature. Photography, capturing moments in time and space, interests me. I hold many other dreams and want to learn various things. I may become a scientist, a mathematician, a detective, an archaeologist, or something else in the future.

Considering time constraint and my limited ability, I do not think that I will be able to express all these aspects of me on my blog. However, I will continue to try sharing myself with others and stepping into the broad virtual world.

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Photo Credits: “A World in a Marble?” by seeks2dream on Flickr

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A New World: Drawing 3-D Images

Posted by C Moon on January 27, 2008

Surfing around the internet, I discovered an interesting post, featuring how to actually draw a 3-D image (though the post is written in Korean, the pictures are self-explanatory, so take a look if you are interested in!). Some impressive examples are the following:

When I first saw the images, I misunderstood that they were 3-D structures rather than 3-D images and were built in the middle of a city. After learning the process of actually drawing these images (thanks to garster07, who wrote the post), I became utterly amazed. Both thumbs up to these artists!

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Photo Credits: (1) “A boat, a pond, and a man” by Apostolos Letov on Flickr
(2) “hole” by Apostolos Letov on Flickr
(3) “pit of agony” by Apostolos Letov on Flickr
(4) “twins” by Apostolos Letov on Flickr
(5) “Batman & Robin to the rescue” by mindcaster on Flickr
(6) “An Olympian feast” by Apostolos Letov on Flickr

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