Made myself breakfast polenta with maple syrup and bananas and blueberries for breakfast today. Makes me happy. It’s exactly what I need—something warm and filling and homey. It always reminds me of Papa making breakfast and all of my family sitting around the table together.
Something tells me it’s a recipe I’ll take with me to college on those days I need some serious comfort food.
So… I have to get this out, again, before I lose it. I apologize in advance for the sloppy writing—I’m writing this on the edge of sleep and with my eyes closed. So it’s all stream of consciousness and no speelcheck.
So my team lost in the final round—again (same thing happened in Portland). And we were very sad and the driver was sad and angry and it was bad.
But the driver pulled his sulk away when one of my friends who waws feeling down but whent to comfort him anyway started crying. He comforted her. And that helped him. And I fixed up a misunderstanding with one of my friends and sat by another while she recoverd rom the emotional overdose that is a regional. And what makes me hapy is than in the end, where we had started outas balls of angst and sadness and anger and coiled rustration, we came together agains as a team nd were at least smiling and joking a little with each other by the time we left.
Sure, there are problems with the tieam. Lots of us are too focused and some of us are not focused enough. We don’t always care. Sometimes we’re too arrogant. We don’t always know how to have fun and we have trouble interacting with other teams.
But we built a good robot. And that arrogance that kills us—the thinking that of course we’ll win, and then feeling such disapointment when we don’t—can also save us. We sulk a while and then once we’re done feeling sorry for ourselves, Coach or our driver or one of the other mentors or our scout lead kicks us in the pants and we get back to work. We’ll jsut have to be better this time. And of course, this time, it’ll happen
We have to keep telling ourselves that or we’ll break. I preper to smile away the pain than wallow in it in times like this. Too much wallowing is bad, because then you just simmer in your anger and it festers like a cancer and then you’re through. You become mad at thw orld and turn away from it and that’s when people start jumping off of bridges or becoming sociopaths.
Sorry. Like I said—writing this at the edge of lsseep. Literally have y eyes closed at the moment. Anyways.
I love my team in that when there’s peopl.e feeling bad and crying, us who are feeling crummy can cast aside the crumminess anyway to cofort. I love that wet ook a rookie team to the finals even if they weren’t necessarily the best thoice. They were so happy. We really made their day.
I love that after it all, I could feel uplifted eoughh by the comforts of my friends and dthe fact that they loved me to yell ‘Sota bots sota bots pop opo pop’ to the team that defeated us with a smile. To cheer them on and tell them good job, like full of gracous professionalims and it felt so FIRST.
Gosh, I’m really degrading now, so tired. Will crash soon. Won’t even stay up for dessert.
But. I love you al. You’re awsome. And I know some of you are blaming yourselves and feel angry and feel like we don’t care about tha t face that we lost. And that’s okay. Because I”v felt that too today. But for now, don’t rain on my stinking parade and just let me hug you and laugh in delirious ness because I’m so tired but I love you all anyway and my this is dissolving into mush how can I stil be useind words like dissolving when I’m this tired?
Anyway. Pulling my brain back on track. End result—so we lost. We’ll improve and get better once we get back to work. So there were hurt feelings. For the most part, they were fixed by the time we left the regional. So we lost. So what? The governor and Dean Kamen visited our pit! We got another website award and an industrial something or other award (it’s late, I forgot what exactly it was)! We’re still alive! We’re still friends! We can learn and get better! We will!
Tip up your chin and snarl defiance at losing. Let all that arrogance shine for one moment. We are going to get through this. We are going to make the others care and we’re going to win a blue ribboned medal sometime this competition season.
We are the few. We are the proud. We are the Skunks.
And I don’t care if you want to wallow. I’m happy and I’m going to go to bed. So suck it up and turn your negativity to something productive. And eat some chocolate. And if you want, ask me for a hug on Monday.
And now I’m just rambling, so I’m going to sign off now. Love you all. Even those who are negative. Even the freshmen. :P Gosh I’m sleepy.
I had a point in here. I’m sure I did. I think it was something like my team makes me proud even when we’re not-winning a regional, because at the root of it all we can push past that to make sure our friends are feeling better again. I’m proud of our driver for comforting my friend. I’m proud of my friend for talking with me and getting over our misudnerstanding and for us coming out stronger in our friendship because of the talk. I’m proud of the parents coming to watch us, and I’m proud that organizers pick us to volunteer because they know they can trust us to do the work. I’m proud that we can realize our mistakes and that we will work to fix them. We’re not going to just sthrug and go ‘oh well.’ We’ll get mad that there were misakes and then we’re going to make ourselves so much more better. That was totally good grammar. I don’nt know, I’m dyinng of tiredness right now.
Anyway. Love you all. Sleep well. I know o+I will.
Will upload the pictures I drew during regional tomorrow when I’m awak and can remember how to wokr tehcnology.
Okay. So. Long day. Awesome day. Gonna crash any minute now, but I want to get this out. I want to remember it.
I’m on a FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) team, and today was full of much awesomeness at the Seattle Regional. To start with, Dean Kamen, the founder of FIRST, was there.
Me and two of my friends went to help out as VIP tour guides. The organizers put all of us kids from all of the teams up in a line so as the VIPs came out of their lunch, they could just take one of us and go tour around. And while we were waiting, Dean Kamen came out and was high-fiving us down the line.
Me and my friends were already fangirling all over the place before he got to us. And when he did, he high fiver my two friends—and then when he got to me, our team uniform must have finally registered, because he was all, “Hey, (team number), I know you guys!”
And we went “Yes that is us!” and beamed like idiots after he kept going. And later one of my friends was able to talk with him for longer, and he told her that he appreciated the help we were giving the rookies teams, and to keep up the good work.
When we told Coach, he did his little smile and even clapped a little in imitation of our fangirling.
So much awesomeness. But it gets better.
After lunch, I was hanging out with our QA people and the organizer came up and grabbed me. She said there was ‘a very important VIP’ coming, and she needed a Skunk (me) and she needed someone from Bear Metal. She’d already got two girls from Bear Metal, and they recommended me.
And when I said sure, I’d help, she told me that the VIP was the governor.
Governor of Washington.
That was when I did a dying-fish gasp and went, “Oh gosh. Okay. Um. Alright.”
And so me and the two girls from Bear Metal got to act as student tour guides to the governor. She and Dean Kamen walked around with us, and we showed her a match and we showed her the Turkish teams and then it was time to show her my team’s pit.
And I blanked. I actually said to her, “I’m sorry, I’m blanking because this is just so—so awesome you’re here.” Luckily, she laughed and hugged me, and my words came back.
I don’t know exactly what I said. It was something about my team being committed to a quality product and the mentors and how FIRST is about this giant support group and lots of people coming together to produce an awesome end product. But I’m not sure. I do know the governor kept her arm around me the whole time. I do know that one of the guys gave me a thumbs-up during and after, our driver told me, “You dun good. You dun really, really good,” and another gave me a hug.
And the governor told me, “You did good, kiddo,” and gave me another hug. And… and it was amazing.
And I also want to write how nice and gracious-professional the two Bear Metal girls were. They made sure I didn’t get left behind and they made sure I had time to talk. And they joked with me and made me feel like a part of the group while we waited for the governor. They encouraged me and helped talk me down from my nerves. I really, really don’t think I’d be able to do as good without them.
And I want to write about Dean Kamen.
He’s a little guy—only about 5’ 6” ish, slight of build. His eyes kind of are like a hound dog’s. Always a little sad looking. He’s earnest. He’s got a soft voice which is kind of raspy and is accented with New Hampshire.
Once the teams knew that he was down there in the pits, he got swarmed. Everyone wanted to see him and get him to autograph something or just to shake his hand. It was like at a rock concert or something with a celebrity. People just wanted to be near. But the difference was, the person they were idolizing genuinely cared about their futures and what they were doing. There was a connection back.
And I watched him take pictures for the publicity stunts and everything—he got this tight little smile that didn’t reach his eyes all the way. But when he was in the thick of it with us, he was grinning so wide and he was laughing and talking. When he was explaining the match to the governor, he got so animated showing her the different robots and talking about FIRST. This is his passion. He genuinely believes in us and in FIRST.
It’s… it’s… I don’t know. I don’t know how to quantify it.
I was almost tearing up when I was talking about my team and FIRST to the governor. I actually meant my words—it wasn’t just the sales talk and the pitch. One of the others probably could’ve made it more polished. They would’ve remembered the statistics. But I’d like to make myself believe that this was a little more heartfelt.
My friend hugged me when I got back up to the stands. She said she’d seen me down by the field with the governor and her entourage and I’d looked so nervous. She said she was so proud of me, and she was so happy she was going to cry and I was going to make her cry. And she was proud of me and she hugged me.
Again, I don’t know how to quantify the feeling I get when someone I deeply care about says something like that to me. I feel—worth it. Wanted. Loved. Belonging.
I think at the end, that’s what FIRST is about. Belonging. And I think that’s why I love it and why I love my team.
It’s late. And my post is over and I’m going to bed now. I love the world right now. Sleep well.
Just want to get this out here before my brain loses it. It’s a bit and piece from the Mechanica ‘verse—the one that includes Mirage and Mama J and all the other assassins. Please excuse sloppy writing. I’m tired and I’m going to head to bed after this.
Also I have no idea where Mama J’s manner of speaking comes from or what it’s supposed to emulate. My brain was just like ‘lots of apostrophes.’
She found him crouched behind one of the loops of generators in the engine room, limbs tucked up into the small space.
With a sigh, Mama J leant back on her tail, propping her hands on her hips. “Yer goin’ t’ getch down frah there on yer own, or do I ‘ave t’ cahm ‘n’ getch yer?”
The slim shoulders moved in a shrug.
“Yer gonna ‘ave t’ face ‘em someday, ‘atchling.” She hooked her claws into the ladder and began climbing, heavy tail swinging behind her. When she got to the top, she pushed Mirage’s slender form out of the way and then settled beside it. “Whah was it thi’ time?”
Mirage pulled himself into a tighter ball. “Nothing.”
Mama J snorted. “Sure, ‘n’ I’mma Ecksiian pretty-girl.” She wrapped an arm around his shoulders and tugged until he fell half-into her lap, and then proceeded to engulf him in a hug. Resting her chin on top of his head, she muttered, “C’mon, laddie, out wi’ it. Whah ‘appened?”
He huffed, thin fingers flexing. “I’ll never fit in here, will I? I’m too soft. A noble.” He spat the word out as if it burned. “Just a pretty little bauble.”
“Don’ let Kiriin-AI hear yer talk like that,” Mama J replied.
“Kiriin-AI is a ruling princess of Six-By-Night.” Mirage shifted, fingers flexing again. “She can hunt-hack, she can fight—all I can do is turn invisible.”
“An’ that’s a good skill, righ’ there,” Mama J admonished. “Real cloakin’—tha’s special.” She chucked him gently under the chin. “Stop mopin’, ‘Raj. We all got our place in th’ League, ‘n’ we all got our rank ‘n’ our toughness t’ back th’ rank up. Yer gotta make a place fer yerself. I can’t keep protectin’ ya over ‘n’ over agin—sooner or later yer gotta stand up and make yer own way.”
He frowned. “What, as an etiquette teacher?”
“Pfft. Dream a lil’ bigger, ‘atchling.” She tugged a lock of his hair. “A spy, silly one. Think about ‘t. But yer gotta start trainin’. Yer can’t rely on me fer everythin’ anymore. Oh, I’ll still watch out fer yer,” and she ruffled his hair. “But stand on yer own feet!”
Mirage looked away. “You seem awfully confident in me.”
She stood, stretching out the creakiness of old bones. “Tha’s whah a mother does fer her ‘atchlings. Give ‘em enough confidence to start walkin’, an’ then step back.” She touched his shoulder. “‘m goin’ back t’ team’s quarters—got sahm paperwork t’ fill out.”
Mirage watched her climb back down the ladder and saunter out of the engine room. And then he sat back, the nanos washing his skin over in silver and silence and then the coolness of invisibility, and thought.