It was a weekend that came into being because of Mom's birthday and featured the celebration of that event in several forms, with family + one in attendance. But years from now when we talk about the weekend, it might not be the great meal at Zingerman's or the stroll through Ann Arbor or the great Vermont spice cake Robin made or the gift-unwrapping or even the canoeing that we'll talk about. What will probably come up amongst the five of us when we talk about "Mom's birthday in Ann Arbor" are the events of Saturday afternoon, of the transition from sitting on the steps of a gazebo on an island in the Huron River to sitting (and standing) on the bleachers of Michigan Stadium just 3 hours later - without any concept that the former would lead to the latter. Even when we set out from 409b in the direction of State Street I wasn't convinced, but things worked out reasonably well and the Paul Bunyan Trophy was on the line so we didn't worry too much.
And what a game. Under the lights at the Big House, in the midst of a sea of 111,609 college football fans, flanked by my State connections, it was truly a fall classic. Everything that makes college football what it is was on display: Michigan's enormous stadium and the pregame procession towards it, the splendor and giant brass sound of two marching bands (and State's is without parallel), the brutality of the Big Ten ground game, the finesse of the forward pass, and the genius that is collegiate-rules overtime, thrice. When it wound down under the lights Michigan had gained the victory, but who really cares...afterwards all anyone could say was "what a game." No question mark, hardly any exclamation needed, simply "what a game."
posted at 2:47 PM - comments
Wednesday, October 27, 2004
Life as a graduate student is an interesting amalgamation of the school skills I've been repressing over the past two years and the life skills I've been building during that time. Today's case-in-point: study breaks made to call around and shuffle finances from my working life. There's more to consider as a grad student, but also less. Family comes to town this weekend, bringing the considerations of hosting that would be associated with an adult. Homework has been assigned today, bringing the considerations of completion and grading that would be associated with a teenager.
The whole of the Eastern Time Zone will be moonless for about an hour and 20 minutes this evening for the last full lunar eclipse until 2007, which should be cool. There's also baseball, a Quarterdeck Society (QD) meeting, and a heap of stuff to get done ahead of tomorrow's 0800 departure for Lake Express.posted at 3:56 PM - comments
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
It has been a busy start to what will be a busy week. The name of the game this week (on top of CPC, IOE, and NA580 stuff) has been my big group project in NA 562 - Ship Production. I could go on another tirade about working in groups, but suffice it to say that when a group member announces one week before the project is due that her section of the ship weighs 400 tons you have a rough few days ahead. I'm scheduled to sit with the groupie in question for awhile tomorrow night and I have a nervous mix of fear and loathing in my belly. It is inconceivable to me that somebody can get to their second year of graduate school and not know a) what ship blocks are and b) to ask for help when you need it, and doubly so when there are other necks on the line.
posted at 2:56 PM - comments
Monday, October 25, 2004
Hoowah! Michigan won in a great game, and the Holt v. Grand Ledge matchup on Friday could not have been closer. On an evening suitable for a movie, Holt went on a game-tying drive with less than two minutes to go, missed a PAT, went to OT, picked off a pass in the end zone, and doinked the winning 23-yarder off the upright to wrap up the conference. Classic, classic, football.
In true Michigan fashion I started off the weekend by heading to Yost Ice Arena on Friday for the noon public skate. There were only about half a dozen folks out on the ice for the 50-minute session, and it was pretty awesome to be down on the ice skating over the block M and under all of those banners.
In non-sporting news, it was a busy weekend. We spent a fair amount of it cooking, truth be told. Friday night was chili for the weekend, Saturday was nachos, plus we made about 3 gallons of soup to freeze for Robin, who has recently decided to have mono. Whippeee! Jenelle delivered the stockpile on Sunday along with a stack of DVDs, so hopefully the path to recovery will take the form of empty zip-loc tubs and Saltine wrappers strewn around the sofa in front of the TV.
posted at 11:18 AM - comments
Thursday, October 21, 2004
It was inevitable. You could call it my density. I nearly slept thru NA 580. Instead, I woke up too late and pedaled my butt off to get there on time - sans shower and sans breakfast. Thanks to Michigan time (a convention wherein all classes at the U start 10 minutes late) I made it, but I am feeling like a college student more than ever.
Apart from my day's anecdotal beginnings it has been pretty slow, fairly work-oriented, and without excitement. There was good news yesterday of a probable ship inspection aboard Lake Express next Thursday, so I'll be out on Lake Michigan going 40 knots in late October. Where's my Carhartt when I really do need it?
posted at 8:12 PM - comments
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Holy Halfway Point Batman! The semester is half-over and I've been reduced to cliche movie lines to help try and comprehend it. Luckily the U had a two-day study break to mark the occasion, so I have had a nice long break since my last post.
After the exam I blazed a trail for Fairchild Auditorium on the campus of MSU for the student orchestra's first performance of the season. It was very good, with a nice selection of uptempo classical music. Robin plays violin in the ensemble and was, apparently, pretty much awesome. (Or so I assume...to be honest, I really could not tell.)
Last Friday I took in my first Great Lakes / Great Rivers SNAME section meeting during the day and then that evening was my first Michigan hockey game at Yost Ice Arena. Whew! Those are some enthusiastic fans. If the Big House faithful were that into the sport of football, teams would just not come to play there. It was a fun game even though Michigan was let down by supposed goaltending phenom Al Montoya and settled for a tie even though they outshot UNH by 48-29.
Saturday was just a lazy old day. Actual Michigan fall weather led to a slow start and even then we kept activity to a minimum: a trip to Uncle John's Cider Mill in St. Johns was the day's marquee event. We did some damage, with a peck and a half of apples (including some Northern Spies labeled "not generally for eating" that I found deeeelicious), some apple butter, a loaf of cinammon bread, a pumpkin, one dozen apple donuts, and two gallons of cider. With all of our apple-related goodies in hand we trucked home and watched Seabiscuit and pigged out.
Sunday was a work day for Jenelle while Robin and I got together for some picture-developing and other random stuff before spending some time with Nancy and Vince.
Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday were days of work, catching up and moving ahead. But between apple eating and buying new sneakers and framing new black and whites the discretionary time flew, bringing us up to date.
Finally, a parting shot from the other Michigan Big 10 school.
By popular demand, another U-M North Campus picture today to complement yesterday's image of Maya Lin's Wave Field. Today it's the '47E Reflecting Pool outside of IOE.
I've got the Thunderclap in my headphones today - "Something In the Air" is on, and any one well-versed on this site knows that means it is test day. My first examination as a graduate student starts in just under an hour in my IOE441 Production Planning & Inventory Control class. My notesheet is ready and I'm ready. This stuff is cool. (As an aside, isn't 23, almost 24, sort of a strange age to be up until 0100 putting together a cheat sheet? Seriously.)
posted at 2:08 PM - comments
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Walked to class this morning armed with the DSC-P7 and snapped a few pictures. This one came out best. Other than that it has been work and class all day around here. Excel Solver continued to be a black fly in my Wednesday champers until I downloaded and installed the Premium version, after which I enjoyed my Wednesday bug-free. Get it? Bug free? Excel? Hump day. Awesome.
posted at 3:20 PM - comments
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
There's no easy way to see when posts have been during the day as a function of the lifetime of a blog, but I suspect that the later posting times on BrownCow have generally occured during school times. It's been late nights all around lately as school continues its return to the memory that I held of it. As I've said, it's nice to be working hard and late, but somehow the idea that I have to lock my laptop and head for the car at the end of the night is a detraction.
Fall has definitely arrived on North Campus...colors are slamming some of the maples along my bike route in a major way. The tree by A&A that was a rainbow is now straight-up crimson from tip to trunk.
Slow news day when working late and trees turning are the exciting things. Huh. Another debate goes down tomorrow so hopefully that will generate some bloggage.
posted at 10:37 PM - comments
Monday, October 11, 2004
Another busy weekend in the LP of Michigan. Things started out on Friday with a Holt High School football contest against Okemos - won by the home team in the pouring rain and made memorable by the dark-stadium light show put on by the marching band at halftime. We had a bit of a fall classic at home, too, with venison brats and corn on the cob (aplenty!) for dinner before the game. Saturday was the 4th home game on the Wolverine's varsity football schedule, a tilt against Big 10 sleeper Minnesota. With 111,518 on hand at the Big House, M pulled out a come-from-behind victory capped by a six-play, 87-yard spectacle of a drive that concluded in big #89 (Tyler Ecker) rumbling over two tacklers and 31 yards to the south endzone. The best part about a giant play at the other end of the stadium is that it takes about 3 seconds from the time you see the linesman's arms go up until the wall of pure white noise hits you. And after that, pandemonium in the student section. There must have been 200 people being hoisted to count points; the whole northwest corner was one chaotic sea of jumping, screaming, high-fiving fans. It was so loud that the only indication of the band playing was the emphatic pumping of fists from the other sections with each "hail" to the Victors. MMMMmmmmm GO BLUE!
After the game, we swung by Tubby's for subs and then proceeded directly to The Arb for a walk around some of the grounds and a picnic along the Huron. It was a quintessentially fall day, complete with a spectacularly tart apple imported from the UP.
Sunday was spent largely working, but with breaks enough for Robin and I to wash 4 cars, including the grimy beast formerly known as the James, for a couple of whirlwind bike rides to and from Burcham Woods to the MSU library, and even an all-too-brief trip to the Dairy Store.
posted at 2:41 PM - comments
Friday, October 08, 2004
I took care of business this morning with the honchos from NAVSEA. The presentation was informal but the material was conveyed and the feedback was very productive. Now it is officially the weekend. Having Fridays open is going to lead to a harsh adjustment when I eventually return to having Fridays structured with something like "class" or "work." But, for now I'm enjoying it, with a nice weekend ahead that will include a pair of football games, hopefully some time at the Arb (weather permitting) and general enjoyment of fall. There's a maple tree outside of Art & Arch on my ride into work that is just about the whole spectrum of yellow-to-red and it makes me want cider in the worst way, so maybe there's a way to fix that this weekend. Cider, brats, corn on the cob, apples, football, technicolor foliage. Mix equal parts. Enjoy.
posted at 1:14 PM - comments
Thursday, October 07, 2004
There's generally something going on at NAME, in the form of a SNAME Student Section / Quarterdeck meeting or a presentation by some luminary from industry or a dissertation or just some general hangin' around, but last night it was dead quiet when I walked the halls and retrieved the Jimmy from the parking lot - the last vehicle there. It reminded me very much of those years spent making the walk from the library to my room at 2 or 3 AM...see 8-1998 thru 6-2002 for reference. It's good to be feeling productive again, to be getting work done, and to be staying ahead of the game early in the semester. There's something intangibly gratifying about wrapping up a combination CAD drawing-presentation-project at 0215 that is just different (better?) than shoving off at 1730 and saving it for the 'morrow.
posted at 1:13 PM - comments
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Yesterday afternoon I got to feeling ahead of the game and Jenelle was feeling behind, so we combined forces at her place to try and level the field a bit. I did domestic stuff (although I was stymied by the most basic plumbing task...getting the bathroom sink stopper back on) while she cranked out some work for school.
Been a too-quiet week around here as things get pushed back, back, waaay back towards the end of the week. The big-wigs from NAVSEA will be here on Friday, so I get to make a presentation on what is still a fledgling project, the CPC, Friday morning. Plus, a long-hand homework assignment is due in IOE 441. It kills me that I'm still required to drag out paper and pencil and calculator to do financial-planning type stuff. Sure it's easier to grade, but it is NOT easier to complete. Baaaaahh academia can get your goat in no time flat if you let it.
posted at 2:49 PM - comments
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
Blue Monday yesterday as bad news came from Tauber and the weekend faded faster than I would have liked. I worked late at NAME and made it home in time to catch some mediochre football, eat some ice cream, and do some more work. Today and tonight look to be much the same, with plenty to get done and nothing wildly exciting on tap. As I noted in an email, it feels like "a week during the semester of a graduate student" - hardly still life but not the most exciting thing going.
posted at 1:52 PM - comments
Monday, October 04, 2004
We popped in War's greatest hits album on Sunday and "All Day Music" seemed to capture the whole weekend.
BWOOHHHHHHHHH!!!! Fade in: Thursday, autumn, busy. A small SUV rockets westward in need of a wash and wax, chasing the setting sun.
Thursday was Jenelle's birthday. She turned not quite as old as me. It was, though, by her admission, more like Thursday than anything else. To change that we headed to Red Cedar Grill to cash in the mis-dated gift certificate we received one February Saturday nearly 8 moons ago. We enjoyed a nice meal and a huge chunk of delicious "Happy Birthday" carrot cake compliments of the house.
Friday was a busy day, with plenty of scrambling to get emails off and back and work started before meeting Robin for lunch and some catch in the park. In the mid afternoon I took off, swinging by Jimmy John's for dinner-in-the-car food and then to Jenelle's to kick off our trip to Chi-town. We got rolling and eventually reached the city in time to check in and essentially crash, both wiped from a week of work and school.
Saturday we got up and wandered the surprisingly quiet city in the direction of Shedd Aquarium by way of Grant Park. We wound up spending much of the afternoon at the aquarium before heading off to do some shopping along Michigan Avenue (Crate & Barrel was a highlight) and then wander towards Navy Pier. Along the way, outside a great-looking Italian joint, our path crossed that of a Navy crew on leave who had just had their meal paid for by an anomymous stranger to the tune of $250. That's what I'm talking about. We had caught the Italian mood, though, and found a good bistro-esque eatery on Navy Pier where we enjoyed a nice dinner before taking in what can only be described as a surprisingly good fireworks display. Once the grand finale had gone up, we aimed our walking shoes towards home and (with the help of a Starbucks stop) made it there in time for SNL.
Sunday was perfect and sunny (as was Saturday) and we both just enjoyed the time in the car, relaxing, watching the countryside scroll by as we headed back towards life as we know it. Mom and Robin had dinner ready and waiting after I said goodbye to Jenelle, but the night held academic agendas for Robin and I, so I skeeedaddled and got some stuff done.
BWOOHHHHHHHHH!!!! Fade out: Monday, autumn, busy. A dude in jeans racing around A-duece in search of hockey tickets and a late admittance to Tauber Manufacturing Institute is getting overly warm. Work gets done, class gets attended.
"music is what we like to play
all day all day all day all day all day
to soothe your soul"