Friday, April 8, 2011

Alpha Chi Conference in San Diego, CA (warning: heavy picture content)

There hasn't been much of an update from me in a while, as I have been working on my projects at Uni, and preparing for trip for the Alpha Chi Honor Society National Conference (which I just got back from), to give my presentation on Artificial Life.

 The conference was in San Diego, California, a very beautiful place.  I was there for 5 days, and I had experienced my very first time on a plane.  I won a national award (10 are handed out, from a pool of over 11,000 alpha chi members made up of the top 10% of their universities), saw some seals at the Children's Pool Beach, and got to go to Sea World with my Aunt and Uncle!

On a side note, I'm up to about 67-68 wpm with the Dvorak layout (remember that?) when on my macbook (I'm abit slower on my main computer).  Should be back up to my 100+wpm I had in QWERTY in no time!

Anyway, there were plenty of pictures (I didn't take any, I just asked my fellow students to take some and give me theirs); I hope you enjoy!


NOTE: Big thanks to Teresa for taking the following pictures!

The plane arrived at the San Diego International Airport.  I was still in my sweater and sweat pants when we touched down.  We arrived at the Marriott in Mission Vally, San Diego after a very long (and pricey!) cab ride.

Floor view of the hotel
We had balcony rooms, I was on the 9th floor.
This was from the 7th floor.
After getting settled in, we went to Old Town, a historic park San Diego.
 More of Old Town
I didn't know I was getting my picture taken.
There were various old-west buildings
We went to eat at the Casa De Reyes, located in the Fiesta De Reyes (confusing, I know).
During the Fiesta, there were huge dance shows.
Group Photo.  From left to right: Teresa, Christie, Professor Kneavel, Robin, and myself.  I seem out of proportion.
Another group photo; I seem ever more out of proportion.
Mariachi Band statues.
We returned to the hotel, and relaxed for the duration of the night.
Banana tree!
The next day was non-eventual, except for that night when Alpha Chi had it's opening dinner.
There are some cookies on the table.
"What she doing?"
Group photo; I'm no longer out of proportion.
Dr. Ann Kneavel, our chapter's sponsor and professor at our college.  She is not only on the National Council in Alpha Chi, but has also participated in the organization for 27 years.
She's holding the cookie with the Alpha Chi seal.
Group photo, holding our respected cookies.
The next day, Christie gave her presentation in Business; it was on establishing their family's pub.
Here she is receving her certificate.
Preparing for his presentation on Viral Marketing.
...And receiving his certificate.
Group photo.  I'm not wearing my suit, as I wasn't giving a presentation that day.
Robin drinking some water after his presentation.
Teresa is our Chapter's president, and also on the national council as a student representative.
Not one of my best photos; I don't seem to know how to smile..
That afternoon I went to balboa park with Professor Kneavel and her husband to the museums and gardens.  Everyone else however (which included Teresa and her camera) went to the beach.
They're going past what looks like a bay.  Palm trees are everywhere in this part of the state.

Self-explanatory; it's the beach.
I heard the waves of the Pacific Ocean are very high.
This can be seen when you contrast the waves against the people in the ocean.
The next day, I gave my presentation on Artificial Life, in the computer-engineering department.
Here I am preparing for the presentation.
Closeup of the first slide.
I had to wait for the exact moment (10:15) to start; it was 10:13, so I just had to stand there waiting.
Here I am giving the presentation to a small audience.
...And receiving my certificate.
.
I won an award for a paper I wrote; the award is given to 10 students, out of over 11,000 of Alpha Chi's members.  Remember, Alpha Chi is made up of the top 10% of their colleges.  This means I'm in the top 10 of the top 10%?
After that, we had our final meeting; that is the president giving his speech
Funny story behind these next few pictures.  We wanted to take a group photo, so Teresa asked a random stranger walking by if he could take our photo.  The man agreed; we decided it would be better if we could have the picture taken in front of the waterfall, which was downstairs.  So she asked, "Would you be able to do that?"  He responded, "I'm the general manager of this hotel; I can do whatever I want."  In short: the manager of his expensive, 5-star hotel was the one that took these pictures.
The man on the right is Professor Rivers, our other chapter's sponsor.  He's one of the professors that mentored my winning paper.
Just the second picture.
Yes, I know I'm wearing sneakers with my suit; I took my dress shoes off after my presentation.
This plant is called "Bird of Paradise"
 
Closeup of the "head"
We had the remainder of the day off, so we got lunch at In-N-Out (I got a Double-Double), then Christie, Teresa, and I went off to The Cove.  Robin went shopping at the mall.
The moment you reach the cove, there are sandstane cliffs and seals everywhere.
Sea Birds and Sea Lions (or seals, not sure) are resting on the cliffs.
There is a small beach at the bottom of the cliffs.
The waves are higher than they look.
I didn't know I was getting my picture taken.
Due to the nature of sandstone, it's very easy to carve your name into a wall.
There is a cave in one of the cliffs.
Teresa making her way to the other side.
On the other side, there are various rocks with tide pools.
Barnacles and other shellfish have attached themselves to the rocks.
Teresa standing next to a tide pool.
I was going to try to make it to that rock structure out there.
...But the tide began to surge.
Effort to make it out there was hopeless, lest I get stuck.
Very small crabs were everywhere about the rocks, and hundreds of hermit crabs in the tide pools.
Here are some more sandstone cliffs.
This may give you some scope on the size of the cliffs (you can see the cave).
More sea birds.
More sea lions.
People far out in the ocean waiting for some waves.
More seal/sea lions
There was as kid standing on the rock, then a huge wave came in and soaked him.
Waves crashing against the rocks
And now it's time to go.
Oh look, bird of paradise!
We began walking down the cove, there were more cliffs everywhere.
Person walking along the cliff
I spotted a cleverly designed lifeguard box.
How many words can you spot?
I have no idea what type of plant this is; the texture was like that of sea weed, but it was terrestrial... And everywhere.
Update:  A friend in the area (thanks Gwen!) was able to tell me that the plant is called an Ice Plant.
More cliffs (the picture doesn't do justice to how high these were).
Christie doing her Titanic scene.
I decided to walk down to the cliff's edge and look out at the ocean.  I didn't know my picture was being taken.
Then Christie wanted to do it...
...And so did Teresa.
 Now they tell us.
From the look at the landscape, it seems the cliffs go off for a very long time along the shoreline.
Then we saw something in the vegetation.
It was some sort of squirrel.
The cliffs can be easier seen while trying to snap a shot of the squirrel.  You can see the wooden pavilion in the distance, and the cliffs we were standing on.
This animal looked liked the cross between a squirrel and chipmunk, and dug holes in the ground like a groundhog.  I later found out that it is a California Ground Squirrel.
It seems to like that unidentifiable flower that's growing everywhere.
Stunning closeup.
I'm not sure when this was taken, as I didn't know it even was being taken.
We made it down onto another beach, where there were other large cliffs.
Teresa carved her name into the sandstone.
Christie next to the cliff, so you can get a sense of scale.
I'm trying to climb the climb the cliff.
Which prompts Christie to do the same thing.
Though I made it up...
...and she didn't.  And no, I didn't know my picture was being taken.
Teresa also climbed on the rocks as I climbed down.

Once again, I didn't know my picture was being taken...  This was when I was climbing up a second time.
Success!
After climbing back up to the top, we see this sign..
More Ocean from the top-view of the cliffs.
In the distance, we can see the Children's Pool.
Another ground squirrel!
Outside the pool, there are two groups of protesters (not shown).  One group wants to close the beach off from the public and leave it exclusively for the seals, and the other group wants to keep the beach open for the public, and share it with the seals.  There was a moderate amount of arguing going on between the two, and it seems like an on-going battle.

Nobody really knows why the Harbor Seals like to stay here; some think it's because they have protection from the sharks.
Spotted harbor seal.
More seals
I didn't know my picture was being taken.
The other side of the pool.
Some steep cliffs.
Don't worry, we didn't go in the water.
...Or eat any clams.
Two more seals resting on the beach.
The waves get very high at this point, and most people standing in the railings long enough got soaked.
Can you guess if I knew that I was getting my picture taken? :)
Can you guess now?
Not the sea shells engraved into the structure (meanwhile, I head over to the cliffs).
Wild flowers.
Standing on the edge of eternity.
More climbing on cliffs.
A very deep crack in the sandstone.
I jumped over the crack, and tried looking down to see how deep it was.
...It was too deep for me to want to be that close.
So Christie tried to take a picture of it.
This gives you a rough idea of the height (though there is no scale, trust me, it's deep).
The wind carved interesting patterns into the sandstone.
We saw a very large wall, not sure what it was for.
Some guys trying to surf.
A very large plant (at least 10ft tall) that looked almost like Aloe Vera.
Palm trees, they're everywhere.
The intersection of Coast and Coast (get it?  Coast-to-Coast?).
I palm tree cleverly shaped to look like a pineapple.
A very large strange-looking plant.
Some rose-looking plants.
A small shrub garden.
Some red Jade.
An interesting looking plant; not sure what it is though.
Update: It's called a succulent (thanks Gwen!).
That night, I went to bed, but the rest went out for a night on the town.
We had the entire next day off; Teresa, and Christie went back to Old Town, and Robin parted ways.
Fun Fact: Those tall cactus-looking things are not really Cacti; it's an African Milk Plant.
Apparently there was an Auto Show.
Several "pimped out" vehicles.
And while they were at the car show, what did I do that day, you ask?

I went to Sea World with my Aunt Sissy and Uncle Ray! 
 Can you believe that my Uncle Ray is 80?!  He doesn't look it, nor does he act like it

I'm waiting for the pictures of Sea World to come back, but when they do, I'll post them...  There is as Walrus, and it's bigger than a polar bear!

2 comments:

  1. The "huge wall" you mentioned in one of the captions for a picture, is probably used for water damage blocking from floods and Tsunami's since earthquakes are very frequent in CA. Also, it seems like a very epic trip. :3

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  2. As I was saying, the flower that looks like a rose is most likely an hibiscus. Loved the pictures.

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