b 4.0
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Sometimes the rules you give yourself for test-taking preclude some of the studying that would otherwise be necessary. For today's throw-down with NA570, I have decided that I shall not be attempting any simulated annealing or genetic algorithm problems that may appear. This means that I've eliminated a good portion of the studiable material and I can focus on the other 75% of the exam a little more whole-heartedly. The only possible drawback would be if MGP has included one of each, in which case I may be in some trouble.
For most of the assemblage, this marks the last final of their academic careers. They are carrying on accordingly, planning a post-exam brouhaha to take place at the picnic table outside NAME. It's fun to be around that kind of excitement, the kind that I haven't seen since high school graduation, but it is a little tough knowing that I have two more years of (presumably) tough exams between me and my final final party.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
People get pretty excited about new stuff, especially when the newspaper uses a city bus to show how big it is. Today a heap of buses took to the sky over Toulouse; Airbusí twin-deck, quad-jet A380 flew for the first time this morning. The debut of a new widebody airplane is a twice-in-a-decade event, so this morningís four hour jaunt was pretty significant. Iím a major proponent of large-scale transportation, so today is a happy day. Plus, it's down to one exam around here and that is good news.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
The internet connects people - with other people, with news, with information, with hobbies, with themselves. One way that that happens is through webcams. Over the years I've been a watcher of webcams, especially those at the Soo Locks and, more recently, the one high atop Harbor Tower Apartments in Escanaba. It's cool to look out over the Great Lakes and watch the ships come and go, to see the weather move east across the region, and to watch dusk spread west across the region. Even if the view out my window isn't always glamorous I can always find something interesting going on. As Chad says, it is like sittin' by the dock of the bay...electronically.
Wilfred A Sykes from Harbor Tower
Friday, April 22, 2005
Late in the day at the end of a long week, I got a hankering to cruise around online and check for boats that I had a part in designing. Here's a non-definitive list:
CABO 52 Express, McMullen & Wing 84' express, and Chris Craft Corsair 36. Apparently other programs are still under development - a grocer and a garbage-man both have boats forthcoming that I worked on. At Ross there is a buzz about the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid and these fellow's yachts are the proof of that pudding.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
I've been on two bike rides since my last post, a pleasant sign of spring, free time, and things to come in the months ahead. Yesterday was a pretty short outing - up the hill to NCRB, east through the NC, south on Huron River Drive, then home through Gallup Park. Today was back up the hill, west southwest into town, down to the stadium, back towards Central campus and home past the hospital. Both were fairly low miles, but Ann Arbor's hills made them good warmups for a cycling summer.

Without classes, one might leap to the conclusion that I'm done with homework. One would be wrong. I've spent the last two days trying to crank out the final vestiges of NA 416, but it is a comedy of errors of Shakespearian magnitude with this course. In between bouts of plates and shells, I've gotten rather a lot done on the second phase of my GSRA (empty ships) and done the typical end-of-semester organizing. It's amazing how long it can take to reduce a stack of papers to a couple of binders and a bunch of tiny hole-punch-sized pieces of paper.

Finally, it is Anthony's birthday today, so I called to wish him well and we were laughing about the ski trip. Thus the moral for today's post: go on trips with your friends. Not at the expense of family trips or travel with an SOS or even the occasional solo journey, but take trips with friends. Dave Hossenlopp (who taught me a new word today; "gank" - to borrow permanently) toasted the seniors at last Friday's NA/ME banquet with:

"There are good ships
And there are wood ships
The ships that sail the sea.
But the best ships are friendships
And may they always be."
Perfect for navarchs, who seem to be more sentimental than your average engineer. But that is a topic for another post. Meantime, trips with friends!
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
You can call it study day, gap day, skip day, a day off, or whatever other term you want, but today I've got a lot to do and a lot of time to do it - the first time those stars have aligned in quite awhile. No class, no advisor visits, and no team meetings: it is like the first day of vacay over here. If it weren't for those two exams next week I'd be sitting on a pretty healthy bank of free time.

Last night I used some of Gram's expert advice and some good luck to get a new operating system onto Jenelle's troubled laptop while she made stirfry. After dinner we took advantage of Michigan's long dusklight to wax the Jimmy. After that we watched Scrubs and The Office, which are the first and third funniest shows on TV. And after that, I pitched in to help make fruit pizza for some work colleague's bridal party this afternoon. (FYI: Fruit pizza is like regular pizza, except that everything is one stern warning from your mother worse for you. For instance, the tomato sauce and cheese mixture of pizza is replaced by a cream cheese, Cool Whip, and sugar blend. Tasty, but not good for you.)

Monday, April 18, 2005
I'm in the office at NAME. It's late - work is getting emailed around more and more slowly. Am I a slave driver? We're virtually finished but now we're fighting our way up the hockey stick. Color printing (all printing, really) is a pain. I miss my new art...thanks be to collegiate art programs, warehouse-driven neglect, and slashed prices. How can you (and by "you" I mean me) ever know how to act? What are you supposed to do; to feel? Is 'personal' not the most impersonal way? I have to quit. One of my stopping conditions is three consecutive questions...adieu!
Friday, April 15, 2005
Tax day has been and gone, but my forms were mailed some time ago and I can now expect to see a direct deposit refund of my overpaid Federal Income taxes no later than May 17th, 2005. If the IRS can, on their supposed busiest day of the year, provide me with virtually real-time information on the status of my filing, maybe we are ready for e-voting.

Real life was barely that today as I spent a good deal of time helping someone throw money at a project. Lots of it. It's weird to see how some people react - Stevie T was at one extreme, Fuss-Fuss at another, and now the triangle is complete. I guess desperation takes many forms; I've been there and can relate to all three, but it is hard to watch. When that was done, it was time for the NAME Annual Banquet. I didn't get any awards, scholarships, or recognition, but I've quietly gotten quite a bit done for Quarterdeck and feel like a decent citizen of the department. Throughout the night, the lone other Webbie and I compared notes and were, as always, astounded at the difference between the two institutions.

Thursday, April 14, 2005
This afternoon GE luminary Jack Welch was on campus to give a talk and discuss his book "Winning." Business is a strange world, celebrity-wise, since people are generally famous for being rich, felons, or both. Jack (apparently the world is on first name basis with this fellow) is a rare exception to that; his tenure as a General Electric executive lasted for decades and his reknown as manager-supreme lives on. What's weird about the whole thing is that he doesn't seem that remarkable...no features stand out the way they would if you'd been to a talk given by an athlete or a politician, and yet he's been wildly successful in every function that has come to define to upper-level manager. May we all be so lucky.

Away from the business side of life, the engineer in me continues to keep up the good work on homeworks and projects. Wilke and I sat together for about 10 minutes this morning and came up with a concept platform that should be about the cheapest thing anybody could possibly design - a two-legged TLP. Stability? We don't neeeeed no stiiiinking stability.

There was a breakthrough of sorts down in the bowels of the NAME building this afternoon. Even though I wasn't outside living it up with the frisbee crowd or touring southeast Michigan with the cycling crowd or laying around with no shirt on like the underclass crowd, it was a satisfying few hours as I got Team B's offshore-platform calculation spreadsheet finalized and got Solver to run. Once everything was situation normal the fun could begin: it sounds (and is) a little bit like an enginerd, but I enjoyed having the flexibility to create configurations and find which worked better than the others.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Hard to believe it is only Tuesday, but I guess we soldier on. I had to get up early this morning to take a shower before the water was turned off at 8. (As an aside, this is the life of the college student...getting up early means a shower before 8 AM.) Then off to work, where I crushed through some homework, fine-tuned my NA570 spreadsheet for the optimization of offshore oil platforms, and had a somewhat disheartening meeting with Lamb in which a couple of weeks worth of work was erased and we discussed a new direction for my first research project this semester. Sometimes I really feel like these projects are so vague that it almost doesn't matter what I write, but apparently they aren't so vague since some of what I wrote is, apparently, wrong. Not the end of the world, but some guidance in the mid-stages would have been helpful.
Monday, April 11, 2005
Back in the days when recess and football plays drawn with fingers on palms ruled my world I was known to have occasionally grass-stained my jeans. Good news, folks! Those days are back - I've got a nice green skid mark up and down my left leg as a result of my lunchtime Frisbee antics behind NAME.

I used my memory and the search feature to do some research before this next rant. This semester has generated (effective after this post) the two most acidic, slamming reviews of courses I've yet had. My beef today is with IOE/ME/MFG 583 Science Base for Reconfigurable Machine Systems. Sounds fascinating, right? NNnnnnnnnnnnn. So sorry! The answer we were looking for was "no, it's an utter waste of time." This dink of a professor assigned a homework due the same day as our major project, then changed the assignment twice, then provided the worst notes ever compiled, then gave only hasty non-assistance to questions, and all of this is on the topic of signal processing. What the hell is going on? Two of my classes this semester are useless and I'm stuck taking them both and putting up with the lowest level of instruction from this guy. To make matters worse, he grades like a monkey hopped up on crack and my group is teetering on the brink of B/B- land unless he reverses our totally arbitrary fortune on tomorrow's presentation. Is it too much to ask to just go to class, get what is on the syllabus, be provided the material required to do the homework, and receive a fair grade? I just want to go to school and learn, and I HATE CRAP LIKE THIS.

Sunday, April 10, 2005
As of 4:30 yesterday, it is official: I'm Stephen M. Ross-bound. In exchange for a fairly hefty deposit, I got six nice coasters. They are branded-leather and look really sharp. Can you tell that I'm bitter? When I was admitted to U-M as an undergrad I got a t-shirt and dinner for myself and my parents.

Another thing is official - spring has arrived. There are flowers blooming and trees budding all over Ann Arbor. This, of course, has no effect on the students here, and to celebrate the arrival of the fairest of the seasons I've got a full docket of meetings and homework to crank out during the day today.

Friday, April 08, 2005
Today was the first juried activity of my post-admit MBA career: the Ross Business Challenge. Happily, it went pretty well...good enough for a 'good' or an 'excellent.' We made a ping-pong ball carrier, marketed it for emerging economies, and cleaned up - annual profit, $29.9m. Nearest competitor (developed nation marketer) annual profit, $4.9m. Two groups in other rooms made slightly more, but top three is fine for me. I think b-school is going to be fun. The rest of the day was all about riding hither and yon on the buses, a TMI dinner, good verging on great news from the Office of Career Development regarding placement and mean numbers.
Thursday, April 07, 2005
It's all happening! Today is the opening day for Go Blue! Rendezvous 2005: the beginning, first, kick-off event for my career as an MBA candidate. Sadly, the weather is a little drab and I've got plenty to distract me from the b-school jamboree, but I'm in high spirits all the same.
Monday, April 04, 2005
Apart from MSU losing and not being able to go to the riots, it was a pretty great weekend. Dairy Store, frisbee outside, taking care of extended errands, watching the game at Jack Breslin, all in all a fine couple of days. Sunday we went to Hawk Island and failed to fly a kite but had a nice walk around the lake and played some catch in the beautiful post-spring forward dusk light. We were up late, too, working and then watching "Napolean Dynamite" until after 1 - just like college kids do. Not sure where I stand on the film...it was like the strangest movie ever done. Gosh!
Friday, April 01, 2005
Back in the day I had an Aiwa NSX-3330 home entertainment system; one of its really killer features was a karaoke function that allowed Robin and I to really belt out the hits in the basement at Maywood. This afternoon I am really craving that outlet. It would be pretty fun to dance around and sing along with my new mainstream fave "Mr Brightside" or my latest eclectic selection "Lonely is the Night." At the end of the week there just isn't much that does it for me like creating some amplified 80's-pop.

As some of you know, North Campus can be a pretty remote place. As hopefully just about everybody knows, there's a business school down on Central Campus. At that school, they teach about supply and demand: if people demand something, supplying it is a way to a) make money or b) make them happy. On North Campus, though, they don't get this and so the gym closes at 11. It matters not that when they flash the lights there are still 50-100 people there, time is up please head home. The U is trying to make 'the NC' a more hospitable place and they could start by keeping NCRB open later.

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