I'm opening up to the fact that I may never get ahead. Call it the snowball effect, drinking from a firehose, whatever you like. There's only so many time units available and there seems to be an ever-expanding pile of detritus to fill them. Like I saw in a science class video back in Mrs. Knoch's class: "The universe is a loaf of raisin bread - it expands and the raisins move farther apart." Translation is that my raisin bread is growing and I can't get my raisins together. Last night was good though; got M-Trek travel squared and worked on my lingering GSRA report and spec'd out more MBA & TMI academic stuff. Today I've kicked some emails, taken a couple of mandatory surveys, worked all day, and even spoken with Robin. All in a day's...whatever.
posted at 5:18 PM - comments
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Good news for the Maize and Blue engineering lexicon today; Momentum (Michigan's Solar Car) won the North American Solar Car Race. Twenty-two hundred miles powered by the sun. Amazing. The team's blog is excellent.
I'm probably going to turn into one of those guys, but another interesting tidbit comes our way today courtesy the WSJ about how the caching of the internet is leading to resolutions in previously unresolvable lawsuits. Google's cache and a tracer called The Wayback Machine can be used to see sites before they looked like they look, and it is fascinating to me that there are starting to be ways to reproduce the history of one of the most dynamic, short-lived medias ever.
Everybody seems to be hunting for jobs these days. Jenelle surely is, Robin is (although she seems to be not 'hunting' so much as 'deciding'), and I keep bumping into people in the NAME hallways who are between jobs or looking for new jobs. Not sure what to make of it.
Meantime, everybody is gearing up for the big Leelenau Cycle and Sip weekend. Jenelle and I are meeting my parents somewhere in the 'little pinky' region of Michigan, approximately around Traverse City, for a few days of non-overlapping bicycle touring and wine tasting in the region. There's a fair amount of coordination involved, given the variance between activities and the somewhat resort-rural nature of the region. As a Mr. T talking bottle opener once said to me "I pity the fooo who doesn't bring extensive road maps!"
Back at it on a Monday. Prof. Lamb treated this week's instructor and the assistants (Miltos and myself) to lunch at a local family eatery called Flim Flam. I had the club sandwich, it was good. Pickle spear on the side.
Made pad thai noodles on Sunday. For being a kitchen hack and trying this one for the first time it went pretty well. Also had beets and beet greens from the A2 farmers market. I had not had beets in some time.
It took around 3,000 miles, but the chain on the T2k gave up the ghost on Saturday with Jenelle aboard just outside of Dexter. Luckily it was 6.5 quick miles on the 800 back to the truck to complete a rescue. Then we chased the Re/Max hot air balloon for awhile in the James.
Business school matriculation is hard. I've spent a great deal of time over the past few weeks assembling checklists, coordinating software installs, and filling out forms. For MEng I just showed up, had a donut, smiled for a Polaroid snap, and dug in. This is a not-so-subliminal test of your b-school aptitude. Like the GMAT only with a #2 pencil.
Yesterday was the second evening visit to Ann Arbor's art fairs and a very nice night around town. We took in much of the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair and the South University Art Fair, both of which would be considerable shows by themselves. When we got back to #409B we checked the map, though, and figured that we've now seen between two thirds and one half of the total festival. Crazy.
Ultimately the biggest thing that happened yesterday was China's decoupling of the yuan from the dollar. Initially this will ease tension (according to the WSJ) but I think it signals the start of a scary time for the American economy. For the past 75 years or so the dollar has been the defining force in world currency, but now China seems poised to take over that spot. My fear is that trading between yuan and Euro will squeeze the United States out of its position of power, leaving the good old USD languishing in flux, a third-wheel currency from the mold of Great Britain's sterling.
A couple of programming notes: I'm going to start using paragraph instead of line breaks to keep this bad boy easier to read. Astute observers may also have noticed the appearance of a pop-up glossary under "Intranet Reference." If you have questions about terms I use alot, check there.
I've never been to the Ann Arbor Art Fairs before, but if Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm calls it "the largest and most respected outdoor art event in the nation" it must be good. The Detroit Free Press has pegged crowd estimates at the 500k level - basically four consecutive home football games' worth of attendees. Jenelle is coming down tonight and we're going to take in the festivities, but the whole thing seems so overwhelming I'm not sure how successful we'll be at it.
In all of the excitement over various things going on here and a general lack of enthusiasm for the whole situation, it occured to me while I was in the pool last night (??) that I never bloggered about the return of the NHL. I'm a pretty big hockey fan and a pretty big proponent of capitalism, but when the two came together this year it was ugly. "U-G-G-L-Y, you don't need no alibi! You Ugly! You Ugly!" Now that it is back, Detroit has changed coaches (in two sports, but that is a story for another time) and I'm ready to watch the highest-speed team sport. But while I watch this season, and probably for a year or two to come, I'm going to have a bitter taste in my mouth knowing that those who make up the sport hung me out to dry so that they could squabble over my entertainment dollars. I think the fans should strike - not for a season, but for a day. Split that revenue, you spoiled egomaniacs.
posted at 12:35 PM - comments
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Sometimes I really lack the motivation to do stuff around the house. On those nights, it is a bit of a blessing to be a grad student researcher, because I can just cut bait and head up to my office and toil away on a research project until the wee hours. Last night I stayed up way too late adjusting the cost savings figures for one of the fleet architecture concepts I've been working on.
Architecture is a funny thing; it has been the topic of the past two courses taught at SNSSDP so I'm getting a better sense of what it entails. One of my first jobs was as an assistant architect - of the computer network variety. Then I progressed to being a student and ultimately a professional architect - of the naval variety. Now I've spent a few weeks heading towards a new architecture (thanks Le Corbusier, knew you'd like that one) - of the systems variety. And so I am discovering that architecting (not necessarily architecture) is what I really enjoy; to start with an idea and a blank or nearly-so piece of proverbial paper and create the relationships, dependencies, and technological tie-ins required for the end result to be functional and logical is art.
Time for a new feature: Totally Unrelated Fact of the Day!: At speed, an Indy or F1 race car creates enough downforce to stick to the track even if the track were inverted.
posted at 3:51 PM - comments
Monday, July 18, 2005
For some reason, peer pressure I suppose, I up and joined thefacebook.com. If the Beach Boys were still recording they would certainly do a song about this sensation that is sweeping the nation. I've got friends and familiar places all over with this thing; it's strange how I'm the second-oldest RRHS alum on there, but there are tons of familiar faces. Anyway, look me up if you went to a school bigger than Webb and want me as an official friend. Or not, I'm really not that into it. posted at 9:45 PM - comments
Saturday was, by all accounts, the wackiest weather day of my life. We left Lansing pretty early and headed to Grand Haven under a few puffy clouds on a clear, hot day. By the time we got to Grand Haven, it had rained twice, a thick haze had appeared, and the temperature had fallen a bit. The sun was trying to burn through, though, so we jumped on our bikes and rode from Grand Haven to Ferrysburg and out to Lake Michigan on the north side of the Grand River. Along the way it alternated between rain and not, and when we got to the top of the dunes that parallel the lake, we could almost see our breath - despite the dewey fog. After we'd ridden back to Grand Haven to eat our oriental salad lunch along the river, we noticed it had gotten hot - despite the fog. We spent some of the afternoon on the beach, where temps ranged into the 90s on shore and held constant at 53 in the water - again, still with thick, couldn't see the lighthouse fog. Finally, in the evening, after we'd seen downtown and gone on a mini driving tour of the city, the sun burned through. It was about 5 in the afternoon and we decided we'd better take our chances walking the breakwall and taking pictures before the soup closed in again. It didn't, luckily, and the musical fountain performance was seen bright and clear later that night, after we'd walked the town and eaten at Luna's Mexican Cafe and toured the museum. Here's the ubiqitous Grand Haven photo, as proof of life:
Sunday was a lazy old day if there ever was one, but we wound it down by seeing "Wedding Crashers" at the cinema. We rarely go to the movies, but this one was well worth it. ROTFL would have been the thing to type if we had seen it at a 1994 chat room.
posted at 12:19 PM - comments
Friday, July 15, 2005
Dang! I am having eighty billion skillion problems with blogger.com today. I was just as pleased as punch after they fixed the "Number of Posts" feature on their 'dashboard,' but now I can't really post and I can't get the archives to publish. Blast!
posted at 10:13 AM - comments
Thursday, July 14, 2005
There's exciting news on the job front swirling around Lansing and Dearborn Heights this week for Jenelle as she moves towards good news. The education job hunt is so different than the business job hunt that I can't really relate to all of the hoop-jumping she has to do, but this district seems to have minimized that aspect of the process and we like that.
I played hoops last night and got fouled royally (royally? What are we, 9?) and wound up on the same near-tailbone muscles that I think got crushed in a blowout game at St. Joe's of Brooklyn back during Webb days. The main differences, as I see them, are: 1) that contest mattered, this one was just a late-night pickup game, 2) the St. Joe's guys were good and that made it seem like less of a dirty play, and 3) I have to work today, whereas at Webb I spent a whole Saturday on the couch melting ice with my butt.
posted at 1:01 PM - comments
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Trotted out to head up to work this morning, grabbed my WSJ, and what to my wondering eyes should appear? Thunder Horse platform listing and threatening to totally disappear. A few years back (2001, perhaps?) the world quietly snickered when PetroBras #5 slid under the surface into the Atlantic, but I wonder what reaction would be like if Thunder Horse matched its fate? In BP & ExxonMobil's defense, there was the small matter of a category 4 hurricane named Dennis. This goes to show that out-engineering nature is simply not possible.
Some wonder what I am doing at this so-called "summer job." I discovered that the short course actually has a website! Crazy. Anyway, http://www.umich.edu/~snssdp.
I purchased my parking permit for next year; I anted up for the Student Yellow and Blue After Hours package. The crux of the issue is that I desire to be able to park at the Hill Street Structure late at night so that if my b-school diligence extends beyond that of the M-Ride bus system I won't have to walk home. Anyway, now my M-Card is a swipe card!
posted at 12:48 PM - comments
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Whoa Nelly! It's time for a two-fer! I'd had quite a little break since last post so now I am making up for lost time by noting an article that appeared in CNN.com's Travel Section: Waterfalls dazzle in Michigan's Far North. Worth a read if only to confirm that which you already know.
posted at 4:19 PM - comments
Let's review things that kids like: cousins, zoos, and Chuck-E-Cheese. Saturday Jenelle and I rounded up some of her young cousins and combined all three. We saw every animal at the Detroit Zoo except for the non-cooperative gorillas and orangutans and the missing arctic foxes. That included being about 12" from the mouth of a polar bear (inside a plexiglass tunnel while the bear swam above...Hannah, on my shoulders, 'touched' the bear's paw as he stood on the tunnel roof.) and seeing an eagle quasi-attack a peacock.
Sunday we hit the Lansing River Trail on our bikes, after some cycling-outfitting errands, and saw most of the city and most of the trail. It was Jenelle's first trip aboard the 2000, an arrangement that compensates for our different levels of experience.
This week has started fast and furious at work - we're really earning our wages now.
posted at 10:25 AM - comments
Friday, July 08, 2005
Clean house, clean clothes, clean dishes. Sleep all night, want to all day. Internet chores. Class. Phone. Class. Computer, phone, copies. Class. Lunch. Repeat. Early morning bike rides. Mentor a youngster. Mentoring? Learn about mentoring. Bike ride home. Shape minds, record presentations, eat fruit salad. Salad salad salad. Frisbee in new old shoes; soccer cleats for the football player. Dinner at Tios with a new friend, pictures from every corner of the continent. Stucchi's. Ooooh Snap. Indoor movies and outdoor movies. Top of the Park, top of the morning! thefacebook.com, MLP, SNSSP. Alphabet soup. Hmmmm soup...soup for lunch. Internet chores. Class.
BrownCow started its life as one of the myriad "of the Week" sites pushing the most current fad or the most popular cultural development. Virtually everybody was purveying Top Ten lists or "Best of the Web" suggestions, and I miss it.
Top Ten Things That Interfere with my Fourth of July
10) Laundring your best summer clothes.
9) Campers on the road.
8) People from Indiana.
7) Ice cream being so melty.
6) Brat cooking sticks burning and falling into the fire with my dinner still attached even though I really was watching it heat up and trying to be careful not to let it burn up and fall into the ashes.
5) Deer standing in the tall grass by the side of the road.
4) The tall grass by the side of the road.
3) Not enough fireworks.
2) Supreme Court Justices waiting until the day before the holiday to resign.
1) The 5th of July.
There you have it! It's a throwback edition of BrownCow.
In all truthfulness, quite a good holiday weekend up north. We didn't see any ships from the bridge and it was too windy to get to Rock Island or waterski very much, but we saw people and had good food and boated and golfed and just had a Fourth of July time of it.
Now I'm back at the 'U' and getting into my new job, which appears to be, essentially, going to six weeks of class and getting paid for it. Gravy?
posted at 12:12 PM - comments
Friday, July 01, 2005
There's a certain magic in a 1.5 day week. It was a short day today ahead of a noon-time departure for the UP; time enough for a meeting and some collating and a tiny bit of work before heading out.
I've really been trying to take better advantage of having a camera on recent trips. Although Constable might shake his head, I feel like I'm working towards the crossroads between good photos, obsessive quality, and intrusiveness. Having a Sony PowerShot really helps. This past week I tried to extend my use of it as a real camera, not a hard-sided replacement for disposables, and the results were fairly impressive, I thought: