Friday, May 19, 2017

Alex's Japanese Final / Poke King


Song:  Cello Ascends

Artists:  The Piano Guys



Alex took his final in Japanese today.

He thinks he did well...
and he is quite sure he got an 'A' in the course.

So...
we decided to celebrate by going to a new restaurant in town.



My wife had read reviews for a small nearby restaurant named 'Poke King'.

We decided to go there...
and was I glad we did.

I loved the food!

It is a very simple restaurant with fresh ingredients.

Poke is a name given in Hawaii for a raw (or cooked) seafood salad or ingredients over rice.


 I had boiled and marinated octopus, shrimp, and tofu...
with some shredded crab and diced green onions over rice...
and with Truffle flavored Ponzu.

It was fantastic...
with but an easily fixable flaw
(more on this later).


Alex just had ice cream...
as he was not hungry.

I am going to take my mother here tonight...
and I will then start marinading some pork loin 
for a special dish I will cook for her in five days.


Anyway...
after eating our meals...
I went up to the counter and asked to speak with the manager.

The co-owner came out and I could tell he was from Hawaii...
or had at least spent time there.

He was young and I could tell this was his dream.

As I really liked the place...
and I want him to really become successful...
I offered him some advice.

I first told him my background.

I said that I had lived in Hawaii for four years...
and I had lived in Japan for four years...
and that my mother was from Japan...
as well as my wife.

So...
I told him that I knew rice.

I said that I loved everything...
except that the rice was a little hard.

I then went on to tell him what they have been doing wrong...
and how they could correct it.

I knew that they were used to cooking at or near sea level...
as where most of the population live in Hawaii.

I said that his shop was almost a mile up...
that he needed to get pressure compensating rice cookers...
or that they would need to soak the rice longer...
and to add more water.

He took my advice well...
and said that they were working on consistency with their workers.

I then told him I love the concept...
and that I loved their food...
and that I would be back.

I fully intend on becoming a regular there.

The food is so healthful...
and delicious.

It was filling...
and the taste was so fresh.

I love this place.


------------------------------


Alex has but two more finals to take next week...
and then he will be finished with hell year.

Although he will be studying all summer long...
as well as getting a part time job at a mathematics school...
most of the pressure is off.

He will, however...
still have an upcoming advanced Physics specialized test...
and he will be working on all of his university application essays...
so...
some pressure is still on I guess.

In the fall...
Alex will be taking Differential Geometry at UNR...
and he will also be taking third year Japanese at UNR...
along with his other high school courses he will be completing online.

---------

Last night...
my wife called her mother in Japan...
and had Alex talk with her in Japanese.

My wife said that her mother started crying when Alex conversed with her 
in Japanese.

-----------


We will be going to Las Vegas in less than two weeks...
for the ARML Nationals.

Afterwards...
we will be driving to Southern California to take three 
University tours.

One at Caltech...
one at UCLA...
and one at Harvey Mudd College.

Later in the summer...
we will be touring Stanford University...
and also UC Berkeley.


Although this means nothing to the universities if you take the tours...
and it in no way helps in the application process...
it will definitely hurt the applicant if he lives nearby...
and does not take a tour.

So...
in preparation for Alex's university applications this Fall...
off we will go!  :)





















Thursday, April 27, 2017

Alex's Dinner And Movie - Gifted



Song:  Morning Has Broken

Artist:  Cat Stevens 


On this night...
we went to have a quick all you can eat sushi dinner...
and we then went to the late showing of the movie 'Gifted'.

And...
although the movie is well worth watching...
and it is a touching story of a gifted child in a custody battle...
it didn't touch on too much of the elements of the gifted child.

This is what Alex wanted to see...
as well as his mother.

I really wasn't all that interested as
I have lived through Alex's life...
well...all of his life  :)

So for me...
it turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

I thought it would be more of a documentary...
but it turned out to be a very nice story.

(all of the photos were taken by my wife with her iPhone).


We ate at this Japanese restaurant.

We had all you can eat sushi...
and then just walked around the corner to the movie theater.


 Although this movie theater is much smaller than the IMAX theater where my mother and I 
had recently seen the movie 'Born In China'...
it still had some comfortable reclining seats.



 When we arrived...
we were the only ones there.

However, shortly thereafter...
another four people showed up.

It was a 9:50 PM showing.


The screen was much smaller than the IMAX screen...
but it was adequate.

Whenever I go to the movies...
I always try to see them at the IMAX theaters.

This particular movie wasn't playing there...so...


---------------


It was good for Alex to get out for a night of relaxation.

He has been studying a lot lately.

He still has many major exams coming up soon.

He is also going to the ARML Nationals as part of the NNV Math Club Competition team
in Las Vegas, in a little over a month.


---------------


This movie had touched on a controversial topic as to the value 
that socialization of a gifted child plays in his/her life.

This has always been a hot topic ever since we learned of Alex's giftedness.

What many do not realize is that a gifted child's peers should be his intellectual peers...
not necessarily his age group peers.

Plus...
it also heavily depends on if the child is introverted or extroverted.

Alex is introverted...
as are his mother, and I.

Much too much emphasis is placed on "socialization".

What is unnatural is to try to force a child who is introverted...
to act as if he were extroverted.

Many gifted children crave solitude.

They do...
however, love being around their intellectual peers...
ones whom they can discuss topics of their mutual interests.

However...
many simply wish to be around them for a few hours...
only wishing to have much alone time to recharge.


Most in society looks upon a person who loves to be alone...as strange.

I have found that a man who prefers his own company
over the company of most others...
to be a far better man.

He knows what he wants...
and he revels in the planning and execution of his life plans.

While he will readily mix in with a group of mature individuals...
it is for a relatively short period of time...
and he then wishes to further pursue his goals in life.

A person who closely observes his surroundings and ponders on them...
instead of talking of mostly inconsequential topics with others...
is a person who values life far more.

He thinks more deeply and sincerely.

He is an introvert.

It is really simple...
the more you talk...
the less you may truly listen and observe.

I value the person of far fewer words...
but of far more thought...
and of far more efficient and effective actions towards his goals.








Monday, April 24, 2017

ARML Local - End Of Year NNV Math Club Award Dinner



Song:  The Time Will Come

By:  Phoenix Music



The Local ARML competition took place at UNR yesterday.

This was for all of the members of NNV Math club to vie for an opening on the team
going to the ARML Nationals in Las Vegas in a little over a month.


The testing took many hours.


As there was still time before the contest ended...
I sat outside and looked up at the clouds.

There were a lot of things going on in the sky on this day.

Although the winds were relatively calm on the ground...
there were rapid divergent winds on high...
and so, a much greater probability of rapidly changing images forming.

As, from my perspective, these moments were fleeting, since clouds from differing altitudes
were moving in differing directions, I was still able to capture some of the many tigers...
great winged fire breathing dragons, one Ankylosaurus battling a Tyrannosaurus...
and many headshots of many great beasts in the sky.


A White Tiger in mid stride...
his head lowered as he is gathering momentum
and storing energy in his sinews just before his final charge and subsequent great leap
at his most dangerous foe...
another white tiger which is threatening his family's very survival 
in an attempt to take his territory 
(a rogue predatory beast of whom lives to destroy and steal from others...
instead of building a better life for himself).

 (In my world...
a White Tiger lives in tight family units for life...
 he lives for his family...
 revels in the hunt...
and for the prospect of justified combat...
as he is assertive...not aggressive :)


A winged fire breathing dragon in flight, with a dragon rider mounted atop.

You can see the bat winged creature spewing
his flamed breath from his great open maw.

You may see the fangs of this creature if you look closely.

You may even see the correctly angled and air filled wings 
amid the dragon's powerful downstroke...
as it hovers to deliver a ball of flame.

The Dragon Rider is an archer...
and he is holding his bow at the low ready position.

I had a great time looking up at the sky until the competition had come to an end.
The clouds had so many stories to tell.

----------

After the competition...
we had an hour's wait...
and we then drove to the end of the year NNV Math Club dinner and awards.

This is where they made the announcement for the team members going to the
ARML Nationals this year...
as determined by the earlier competition.


The math club setting up for the ceremony.


We sat down and awaited the initiation of the ceremony.



We were about to begin.


The first event was...
eating.


Alex and I were sitting with other ARML team members.


Sherry Griffin...
the founder of the NNV Math Club...starting things off.


This senior member of the club had been the awards announcer.

He has been one of the driving forces at NNV Math Club.

He was always sharing his knowledge with others...
and he always helped out the younger members.

He had placed second in the earlier competition.

I had talked with him before this event.

He was just accepted to one of the world's greatest Math and Science universities
(among others which had accepted him).

In a few months...
he will be off to live in the dorms of this great institution.

He was positively beaming the whole night.

This is the time of year where the students get their acceptance and rejection letters
from their university applications.

By this time next year...
Alex will have gotten his.



This is a picture of this year's ARML Nationals Team from NNV.



Alex had tied for third place at the local ARML competition.


This is the youngest team ever fielded from NNV.

Many of the members are new to the club.

Alex is standing in the background.


We are getting ready to go back home here.


We were almost home here.


After arriving at home...
Alex had shown us some interesting documents he had received
as part of the end of year awards.

Each member of the team had been recognized by Nevada's Senators...
and by its Governor.






It was nice for the children of the NNV Math Club to have been recognized by the State of Nevada.

The founder of NNV Math Club has really worked hard to nurture and grow her math club.

She really excels in reaching out to the community and making the social
and business connections necessary to support her endeavor.



Alex received this award for all of the volunteer work he has done in helping out 
in teaching at the math camps and with organizing and putting on his own math competition.


Although there is still the ARML Nationals next month...
and Alex's own math competition the month after...
Alex has been winding down on his math competitions.

This year...
besides having been ill for many months...
Alex has been spending many more hours on his school work in this all important year
that a 3rd year high school student must really work extra long and hard on...
as in a few months...
Alex will be submitting his university applications...
and his 3rd year high school achievements will be the ones the universities 
will be judging the most closely.

So...this year...
Alex's math competitions were put on the back burner...
as he had been studying for his ACTs and SATs...
his advanced classes and exams...
and for, especially...
his SAT II Physics exam...
coming shortly.

Also...
this summer...
Alex will attempt to work at a local private math school...
and he will be preparing his university application essays.

Although Alex's GPA and various ACT and SAT scores speak for themselves...
it will be the essays to the universities which will either...
set him apart from the pack...
or put him squarely in the pack.

Alex will really have to prepare and write his essays well...
as each university usually has its own question or questions...
from which the essay will be judged.

As Alex will be shooting for the stars...
while it is our hope that he will reach them in the form of acceptance letters
from his top choice universities...
he may well not...
as we have been reading about many very talented students
with exceptional resumes being rejected by all of the top universities.

Alex...
as well as we, his parents...
are prepared for the many rejection letters almost all students receive.

However...
 we are also confident...
that while Alex may not reach the stars of the university world...
he will still reach the moon...
and it will then be a matter of distinguishing himself through his work there...
and later, in graduate school.

Either way...
Alex will never give up.

Alex will achieve his ultimate dream of becoming 
a College or University professor of Math...
and an author of many books.

The major life milestones we know Alex will achieve:

1)  A good math university

2)  Earning his Ph. D in Mathematics

3)  Publishing his first book

4)  Most of all...
living his life fully...
and well...
and which will, hopefully, include...
a daughter in law for us to gratefully accept as our own daughter...
and Grandchildren upon whom we may dote.  :)





Saturday, April 15, 2017

An Interesting English Assignment: Design Your Own Test


Song:  Spring Waltz

Composer:  Frederic Chopin



One of Alex's recent English class assignments involved having to pick
a short story and to design his own test on the story.

It took Alex about four hours to pick out and read the 30 page story...
and to then design and type out his test.

I found this assignment to be interesting.

One of the favorite methods in the Army in getting a soldier to learn 
topics in the military is to have them have to give a class on it.

This forces the soldier to do a lot of research beforehand...
 in order for him to be able to teach it to others.

This method of active learning is so effective because in forcing the student 
to become a teacher, he has to dissect and thoroughly understand each component...
and how everything interrelates...and he then has to be able to relay this information
in a fashion which is not only conceptualized and reasonable, but prioritized.












Alex is now studying for his AP Micro Economics class.

I was surprised at the amount of math involved in this class.

Of course, math is Alex's strong point...
so, he has no problem in this class.

Me...
I struggled to get a passing grade in my Statistics class at university...
precisely because math is my weakest area  :)

(Where did Alex get his mathematical capabilities?
Both, my father, and my wife's father...were engineers.
My father...Electrical...her father...Civil).







Thursday, April 13, 2017

Alex's First Published Article - A Rewrite


Song:  We've Only Just Begun

Group:  The Carpenters


Last week...
Alex's English teacher had asked him to re-write a short biography 
of the student artist Marissa as shown below...
for publication in a Reno Newspaper.

There were two articles...
one by Rafael, and this one by Alex.

Alex loves to write reviews.

While this wasn't a full interview and write up as I had envisioned it would be...
it was still an honor for Alex to have been asked to do the re-write.

One of the reporters of the Reno News and Review had contacted
North Star to have two students who are particularly strong in English...
to do the two re-writes for publication.

The artists were asked to submit their brief biography and pertinent facts
for the article...and then they were emailed to Alex and to Rafael.

Below is Alex's submission to the paper.

It was just published today.







It had only taken Alex a very short time to write and submit this to his teacher...
who then forwarded it to the newspaper for publication.


While it wasn't much...
it is his first publication.


------------

On another note...
Alex received the results of his latest ACT and SAT exams.


Many top universities superset the ACT and SAT scores.

This is where they take the top scores from all of the most recent scores...
and make a conglomerate score.

On Alex's second to the last ACT...
he had a total score of 35 out of 36 on this one exam alone.

He had a perfect Math and Essay score.

On his last ACT...
he had gotten a perfect score on his Math and Science.

So...
as a conglomerate superset...
Alex now has a perfect ACT score of 36 out of 36.

Alex had also raised his SAT score by 20 points.


While Alex had also gotten a perfect score on his SAT II Math Specific exam...
he must also do well on his upcoming SAT II Physics Specific exam
in order to even be considered by many of the top universities.


Alex will have two years of a foreign language finished before his 
senior year (in Japanese).

He will take his third year of Japanese at UNR in the Fall.


Right now...
Alex is doing another English assignment where he will have to
design his own English test.

This will prove to be a very interesting assignment...
as Alex loves to design tests and competitions  :)


















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