Catastrophe Rising

"I'll carry your world"

Category: Life

Tales from a stressed-out College Student

Hello Everyone!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on here and I’m sorry it’s taken me so long…I’ll try to post on here maybe once or twice a month from now on.

I’ve you’ve kept up with my antics on Twitter, you’ll know that I’m finally done with the fall semester which was honestly one of the most challenging semesters I’ve ever had to go through. I don’t know about you but I feel like Fall semesters are always kind of a pain in the neck compared to the Spring semester.

Despite the challenges, I came away with good grades and I’m officially on track to graduate in just over 4 months. I’m so relieved. Though honestly, I feel like I would probably stop going to school after this semester anyway, degree or no degree.

I did learn a lot though so I’ll list a few things real quick.


I actually had kind of a hard time learning this but I find it really useful. XSLT is kind of like using a database and it’s kind of similar to using SQL, only you’re not really querying anything. The XSLT file has a list of things and you use XML to access certain parts of them. Here’s some pics from the homework I did.

This is part of the XSLT document, which in this case features info on movies.
This is the main XML document which is the file the user actually goes to when visiting the web. The Element tags in the header allow for extra control on content display.

I honestly hope to learn more about this and learn what else I can do.


Linux Penetration Testing

Even though my concentration is Web Development, I’ve also decided to obtain my school’s Cyber Security Certificate. This past semester, I took one of the security courses and while it was definitely challenging, I also learned quite a bit.

For my first project, I had to get into 3 Linux VMs at least once and I was successful! It felt really good when I was finally able to get root access, even though it was really challenging to figure out how.

This is one of the screen shots I had to send to my professor in order tp prove I got root access.

I’ll do a more detailed post about the steps I took to get root access to each of the machines but in short, I used an HTTP vulneability and used a SQL injection to exploit the vulnarability on this machine.

Anyway, that’s all I have for now. I hope everyone has been doing well and Happy New Year!

This is not the End

A picture from a beach vacation I took with my family

I’ve been really scarce on here lately and it’s been for a good reason. My final year of my undergrad has begun and it has hit me full force.

This semester, I’m taking 17 credits and while not all of those command as much of my time as some of the others, I still find that I’ll have a lot to do as far as completing projects for those classes. I already feel intimidated just thinking of one of those projects.

I’m also working 2 jobs and while both of them are conveniently located on campus and near my house, they both take away from my precious free time.

And since I’m in my final year, I need to think about find a job for after graduation. Yes, I’m finally going to be entering the real world as a tech geek within the next year. I’m excited for that upcoming new phase of my life but I’m also scared and worried about finding the right job for me.

With everything that’s going on, I think I need to take a little break from blogging. Believe me, this is in no way the end of Catastrophe Rising but I do need to take a step back and focus on my life and the tasks of making sure I stay on top of things so I can graduate in May.

I’m so thankful for all the support you readers have given me. Your kindness has meant the world to me and I will always cherish that. And I’m not going away completely. You’ll be seeing plenty of me on Twitter and you can still use that to say hi. Or if you want to email me, that works too.

I’ll start blogging again when things calm down a little bit. It may not be until November or December but I promise, I will come back.

Until then, email me or tweet me.

Au revior.

Up & Up & Up

My bullet journaling progress so far

So as you can see, my new theme is up! When I thought about my what I should do for Catastrophe Rising’s next theme, I thought about what inspires me. Which of course led me to my home state of Virginia. I immediately decided that I wanted to do something related to a map and after going over a few ideas, I settled on the grayscale one you see above.

My hometown isn’t on that map of course, because even though I’m pretty open when it comes to the Internet, I still like to remain safe. So you won’t find me in any of those places you see. At least not for long periods time.

If you follow me on twitter, you’ve probably seen me tweet about all the problems I was having with CSS and how frustrated I was with getting every element in the right place, even going so far as to post my problem on Stack Overflow. There was a point where I was even ready to give up and try again at some other time. But I didn’t. I persevered and kept trying and eventually, I got the results I was looking for.

While I was proud of the previous theme, I grew really tired of it’s dullness and I wanted something that looks more modern and vibrant but still unique. I think this theme (which I appropriately named Atlas after the song by Coldplay, whose lyrics are below the title) achieves that result beautifully.

While I was working on my theme, I also took the liberty of updating the other pages, shortening my About page to be more readable instead of listing every single anime or book that I’ve come across. ?

This will probably be the last theme I’ll craft until I graduate, mainly because I’ll need to be able to focus on my studies and make sure I finish off on a high note.

What do you guys think of this new theme? If you find any malfunctions, let me know so I can fix them.

P.S. The title of this post is from another Coldplay song in case you were wondering.

Cassidy Currently: 11th Edition

A view from a recent hike I did

Wow, can you believe that we only have one more week left of July? This summer (and this year) has gone by really fast. I can’t believe that in 4 short weeks, I’ll be back in my college town, preparing for my final fall semester as an undergrad. This year definitely needs to slow down a bit. Anyway, I haven’t done much blogging this month so I decided to go ahead and catch you up on my latest shenanigans.

I Dyed a Few Streaks in my Hair Purple

I had been wanting to do this for awhile but decided that it would be better to wait and get explicit permission from the superiors at my internship (which is a government position) before taking that step.

When I was in my teens, I totally against dying any part of my hair. I was content with my mousey brown locks and decided that the only drastic change I would be making to them was their length.

But as I grew up, my opinions changed and I become more open to trying different things. I eventually became bored with the monotony of hair and wanted something that would set me apart from other people.

I’m really happy with how it turned out. I talked to my stylist and I told her that I wanted the purple to be more pronounced on one side and less pronounced on the other. For the less pronounced side, I was going to opt for having a streak of my hair that was simply underneath the top portions, but my stylist made it to where it looks like I have highlights on the one side.

Sadly, the color is only semi-permanent and will eventually fade. I’ve been using sulfate-free shampoo and taking luke-warm showers to prolong the color. And while I am sad that the purple will fade, it’ll mean that I can try out different colors. I think maybe I’ll do turquoise the next time. When I graduate next Spring, I’ll probably dye the locks red since it’s one of my school’s colors.

Another Hiking Adventure

When I told my supervisor at my internship about my first solo hike that I mention in my previous post, he suggested another hike for me to try on the Appalachian Trail.

This one wasn’t nearly as long or challenging as the other one but I still got the same content feeling as before. The overlook I hiked to was only the first one in the hike one of my books mentioned but I was due for work in 4 hours and I didn’t want to take the joy out of my adventure by rushing through it.

To my slight annoyance, the overlook was packed with day hikers like myself and it was hard to get some peace and quiet, especially since they were so many kids around. But at least I was able to get someone to take a picture of me with the view in the background.

I’ll definitely continue to do more solo hikes in the weeks to come.

Falling in Love with Local Shops

While many of the hikes I do are only about an hour or so away from my house, I try to add onto the adventure by visiting coffee little shops in nearby towns after I do my hike.

Even when I’m at home or in my college town, I love visiting coffee shops. There’s one in my college town that I frequent quite a bit, not only because of their open mic nights but because the shop is non-profit and all of the proceeds go to helping children in Nicaragua.

To me, each local coffee shop has their own personality that is exhibited by its decor. Most of the shops in Virginia have a very rustic feel which makes me feel right at home.

I’m also falling in love with local restaurants and their cuisine. Being a picky eater may hinder me in some ways but that doesn’t stop me from finding something I like on the menu.

In my recent visit to a local shop, I even tried one of the signature cocktails and while it was sweater than what I usually go for, I still enjoyed it.

This lovely drink is called Virginia Slammer


Anyway, that’s it for now. I’ll get back to my Month in Review posts soon so expect one for July in the coming days. Peace ✌?




It is not the trail we conquer but ourselves

On Tuesday, I used my first day off in 2 weeks to do my first solo hike on the Appalachian Trail. I was going back and forth about bringing my dogs along with me for an added sense of safety and also so I would at least have some sort of companion with me. But after thinking it over, I decided that bringing my rambunctious Lab-Mix and my Goldie would be too much. So alone it was.

The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) spans 2,200 miles (3,541 km) through the mountains and wilderness of the eastern U.S. and I’ve grown up living less than 2 hours from the trail. I’ve always been in awe of it. I’ve always admired the hundreds of thru hikers that have completed the entire trail in one go and just the sense of community it offers makes it a total sanctuary for me.

So after a stressful couple of weeks both at work and with people, a hike on the A.T. was a must for me. I thought about doing a 9 mile out and back hike but after thinking it over, I decided it would be too much me at this point, given my physical state and how I’m not as fit as I could be. So I did a 3 mile hike instead.

It took me less than an hour to get to the overlook and since it was the middle of a Tuesday, there was no one there except me. It was actually really nice though. The weather was gorgeous and there was a nice breeze blowing.

I actually didn’t feel the loneliness at all when I was on the hike. I found out that I actually enjoy hiking a lot more when I’m by myself because I don’t have to keep up with any companions (I tend to be really slow when it comes to hiking) and I could stop whenever I needed to in order to catch my breath. My goal was to reach the overlook without taking any long breaks and I was able to achieve it.

Anyway, stupid me didn’t get a picture of the overlook (because I was too busy enjoying it) but I did take a video. Also, since I was alone, I experimented with my iPhone’s timer in order to get some shots of myself and they came out really cool, unique, and candid. I’ll leave you with those. Until next time!