Juan Cardenas


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culture

Music, Pool, RC Cars, and New Beginnings

Last Friday a big group of us went to Pomona College for a Lupe Fiasco concert. It was an awesome experience because it was my first time on another California college campus and because we got to mingle with students outside of Tech. B.o.B opened for Mr. Fiasco, and had the crowd roaring from the very beginning (you might know him for his currently #1 song in LA, “Nothin’ on You”). After the concert we stayed to tour the large campus and hung out at their student center for a little bit before heading back to Tech.

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research

Planning ahead

This past Wednesday I met with my advisor to discuss the possibility of taking an overload (more than 51 units for freshman). We talked about extracurriculars, social life, and sleeping patterns – you know, just to make sure that I am a balanced individual – and he approved my overload. The follow-up step to this conversation was to take the overload form to the Dean’s Office. I turned it in to the deans and they told me to wait about a week for an official response. Without further ado, here is my awesome tentative schedule:

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culture

Bravo, Interhouse, bravo!

Our Interhouse party was a fantastic success! Last Friday after dinner we began building for it, and we finished by 2 AM. Basically what we do is cover the walls of our lounge with black paper, by that point we take a break and enjoy an order of 100 cheeseburgers from In-N-Out (if you haven’t tried these, think of a Krabby Patty – yeah, they’re that good!). The next step is to hook wires on the walls to create a skeleton for a lowered ceiling, and cover that with black paper too. The piano is the only thing that stays inside the pitch black lounge, which is illuminated by a single lamp. Every year we hire a jazz band and they play in this dark room adding a classy environment to the party. In order to get in to the party, people have to enter through the underground tunnels at Tech. Guests are directed by stationed freshmen with flashlights who guide the way (I was one of these!) until they reach a ladder that leads to the house. Awesome setup I tell you, right from the start. Check out all the workers behind the best jam of the year: The Sunday following Interhouse was cleanup day. A lot of alumni showed up to the Interhouse so on Sunday our whole house plus the alums gathered to go to the pool and enjoy some chit chat under the sunny weather. After that it was time for work, like in any good weekend. I worked on my math set (determinants), and studied for physics and chemistry, where we are studying RC circuits and kinetic theory, respectively. Surprisingly, the experience from being here for just over 6 months has already made us very efficient workers, and early into the evening I had finished my work. We decided to go out as we hadn’t done so in a while. Searching for a place to dine in Downtown LA was the toughest problem of the day, as a lot of places close early on Sunday. Eventually we serendipitously arrived to the Staples Center and its surroundings, and this place was packed with people and (expensive) fancy restaurants. We chose a very nice Mexican restaurant,Rosa Mexicano, which had its waiters make the most delicious guacamole right before your eyes (of course I took note of the recipe!). The place definitely exceeded expectations in terms of taste. After paying the check, however, our pockets grew holes in them so we headed back to campus – stopping on the way for chocolate milkshakes at Canter’s, a big temptation. The night ended with a funny story telling conversation on the Olive Walk, and the weather was great.

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culture

These Are Good Times

February is when it’s at. This past weekend we had the Batman-themed Lloyd Interhouse (Interhouse is a party that each house throws every year for all the other houses to partake in). This weekend we have midterms and Ricketts Hovse initiations (nothing like balancing work with a little fun); the following weekend we have the Ricketts Interhouse; fast forward another seven days and it’s Parent Day Weekend (I can’t wait to see you mom and dad), and finally, the last weekend I will also be visited by a loved one. Tell me if that doesn’t sound like an eventful month. I should have a lot of pictures from the upcoming weekends.

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That Was Then, This Is Now

The Food Representative of our House, Noah, is taking the term off so I asked him if I could sub in his stead – he said yes. I really enjoy all types of food and discovering healthy and delicious combinations, so I figured I could learn and do more by trying out the food rep position. My first meeting was Monday during lunchtime. The committee consists of theCDSManagers and each House’s representative. Basically, we run through the previous week’s dinner menu and each House’s representative relays the comments of their fellow House members on the taste and provocativeness of each meal. (The fresh oven-baked cookies always get five star reviews.) Once this process is over, the panel is opened for any other suggestions and/or comments.

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Adventures of the Techers

This past Saturday a group of us woke up early to go on a day trip in the Zipcar. Sebastian, an international from Costa Rica, contributed some deliciousgallo pintoto our breakfast. (You should really click on that link, it looks so good.) Then we were off the Getty Center, a pre-20th century art museum and research institute. My favorite sighting was Gauguin’sHead With Horns; and I was also very pleased to see a piece by Toledo’s esteemed El Greco. Aside from their collection, the Getty’s modern minimalist architecture is astounding. I will spoil you with three pictures this entry, but I won’t expose pictures of the Getty itself as you have to experience it on your own. However, this is the view from one of the Getty’s gardens: After the Getty, we went to Beverly Hills.We walked into Ralph Lauren to look for a nice sport coat, and the cheapest one we found was marked at $4000.Although we couldn’t afford any of it, we reassured ourselves that in a few years these expenses would represent change from our pockets.In short, the Hills is a beautiful piece of LA filled with mansions, high-end stores, neat buildings, sporty cars, and very tall palm trees. Check out this bad boy we stumbled upon (From left to right: me, Dev)

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Downpour!

It hasn’t stopped raining since Monday. It’s kind of inconvenient because campus doesn’t have drainage so the walkways flood somewhat. But it’s definitely fun to get a different taste of campus. Yesterday I was walking back from chemistry lecture when it started to pour. I tried to avoid getting wet, but then my friend Rocio and I just decided to make a run for it. I also went to the Paseo Mall and bought a nice Italian coat for the cold. Today I got soaked again on the way back from chemistry recitation, but it’s always great consolation warming up in my alley’s shower (the largest shower shower in Ricketts.) The weekend was awesome. We took the Zipcar out to Santa Monica. We found parking at the Santa Monica Pier and had dinner at Bubba Gump. Afterwards we walked Promenade Street, famous for its shops, white lighting and dinosaur-shaped bushes. Once we covered all of Promenade, we got back in the car for a one hour expedition to Mount Wilson. I had never driven up a mountain before, it was exhilarating. The road meandered so much, and I forced myself not to look to the side until we finally got to the top. We finally reached the peak and parked on a side road; we got out of the car and walked to the edge to admire the view:

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The Art of Exploration

Wow! This week was awesome. Let’s start with Wednesday, when I took a walk around campus with my fellow skurve Chris Estrada. We went to Millikan Library (the tallest building in Pasadena), and first stopped on the fifth floor. The fifth floor and its two neighbors have the nicest layouts, very modern office cubicles. Then we elevated to the top floor (9th) to see the panoramic view of Tech, Pasadena, Downtown LA, and the other surroundings. The timing was perfect, it was sunset. Also, the windows of Millikan have rounded edges, which make you feel like you’re looking out of a submarine, very retro. Our last stop in Millikan was the basement, where we found the greatest collection of reference books. There was a star atlas from 1925 that was made in Germany, a collection of volumes of immigrants to the United States, another set of volumes of Facts on File, so many interesting things. I even read some books in Chinese – well, more like flipped through the pages. It was so strange but fascinating to realize that there are millions of books written in completely different alphabets and characters. The point is, there is so much interesting reading material in just that basement to keep a person from being bored for years and years.

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clubs

Lights, camera, action!

Last week ended on a great note. On Friday we had our first lecture with David Politzer (he won the Nobel in physics!) and it was amazing. The lecture consisted of a series of demonstrations on electric fields. My favorite was theKelvin Dropper. It was very cool to be able to see things like these in action and understand what was going on. I can say that I’m very glad to have picked the practical track for physics because I’ve learned why the window on a microwave has a black mesh with see-through circles on it – and other very interesting things like that.

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California Cruisin' and The Week in Review

At school we have a service called Zipcar, which some of you might have heard of. The way it works is once you sign up, you are given a card that grants you access to one of the two Zipcars on campus (we have a Prius and a Matrix, nice cars). Then you can go online and make your reservation for any time slot that you need to use the car (for a small charge per hour). So after a long wait, I finally got my card and I took the Matrix out for a ride with some friends to our local Target. We got a lot of grocery shopping done, and I got the chance to buy anti-viral tissues for my cold.

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travel

Hello 2010!

Hi guys, Now that I’m back at Tech I’ll be blogging for the winter term and I’m excited to share my next 10 weeks with you. I’ll begin by talking about the winter break.

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