Archive for September, 2000

The Tuesday Update? – 09.26.00

Tuesday, September 26th, 2000

So it seems that my Sunday updates will be moved to Tuesdays instead. I guess the week is just more structured as to allow me a little writing time on Tuesday nights and that’s OK with me – I just didn’t see that it worked out that way. Of course I shouldn’t be sitting here in front of my computer right now since I have a structures exam tomorrow afternoon but I am downloading a homework solution so maybe that qualifies as study time. (This excuse it attempting to justify my slackness to myself rather than any of my readers so the explanations only have to make sense to me.)

Looking back to my planner pages for last week I had seven uneventful days since my last update. In fact, only my homework assignments are listed as “activities.” I guess you get a break from the action every once in awhile but you can’t expect them to be regular. I don’t expect to have another week like this for the rest of the semester due to my classes, my IPPD project, and my clubs. Speaking of IPPD, we are well on our way to developing our project plan (our deliverable that should be ready by next Monday). We have a teleconference with our two Boeing KSE liaisons tomorrow morning so we hope they can answers some of our questions about the design process then. Since we are into our fifth week of the project things are starting to get rather in-depth and complicated. I can’t see the straight line that leads from where we are to the finished product but I know it exists, or will become clear as we move along it during the weeks to come. This is a very exciting opportunity for me and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

I did get one very important thing done last week. Finally I was able to reserve the Reitz Union Auditorium for the Boeing Southern California visit in November. That was a major relief for me. I still need to reserve three interview rooms for the two days after the “Meet the Recruiter” presentation but that’s a piece of cake. I can’t wait until everything is planned – then I will have to start the advertising process. At least I know that through AIAA, SWE, and Alpha Chi Omega I will be able to target all of the engineering majors and many others as well. This event needs to be packed with people or else Boeing might not come back to recruit at UF anymore. Pressure!

Talk about your generic diary entry! I am sorry there isn’t anything interesting for me to write about this week. I am still working on The Fellowship of the Ring and I am about halfway through it now. I bought “The Little Mermaid II” this weekend and I have already watched it twice! I highly recommend it to any of the original movie’s fans. Other than that I am following the trail of the college student – some studying, some sleeping, and more than a little procrastinating (like right now). Won’t things ever change? *grin*

The Lord of the Rings – 09.19.00

Tuesday, September 19th, 2000

My most recent fascination has been with the works of JRR Tolkien. (I have a wandering obsession that roots itself on something quite strongly from time to time. Right now it has found a nice home in Middle-Earth.) My dad and I listened to the audio dramatization of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy on our way from Los Angeles to Tallahassee in August and I have set my mind on reading the books since then. The truth is that I have read The Hobbit twice before but I didn’t pay much attention to detail until the most recent reading. (That may have been because I was assigned to read it for summer reading once.) They do say the third time’s the charm and that has certainly proved to be true in this instance. I was enchanted by the story, the characters, and the presentation; I could hardly wait to find some time when I could sit down and devour another chapter about hobbits, wizards, and grand adventures. It is quite an author indeed that can keep a reader so captivated and I am always appreciative to find one of this caliber.

(I have a confession to make, however. When I was in high school I tried to start reading the Lord of the Rings and gave up less than one hundred pages into the first book. How embarrassing! Let’s hope that I have more interest, and perhaps patience, this time around.)

Now that I have passed onto The Fellowship of the Ring, the first book in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, I am interested in the upcoming movies for these novels. I went to the official site and found merely a beautifully decorated page with lots of animation but little substance (at least this is what I perceived). After doing a little searching on yahoo I found Sir Ian McKellen’s Lord of the Rings Site and wandered around there for a bit. This actor will be playing the crucial role of the wizard Galdalf the Grey in the new cinema production. I was most interested in the cast of these movies and, to my amazement, here is what I found:

Elijah Wood as Frodo Baggins
Sean Astin as Samwise “Sam” Gamgee
Ian Holm as Bilbo Baggins
Cate Blanchett as Galadriel
Liv Tyler as Arwen

Granted these are the only names I recognized among the main cast (besides Ian McKellen) but they surprised me! I told my roommate, Irene, that I thought it was a joke at first but after looking at a few more webpages I discovered that it was not. Maybe I am not looking at this project with the right perspective but somehow I was expecting something different than what I found. With such an excellent story to build upon I am hoping to see a wonderful product from this venture. In such a situation, however, there seems to be as much opportunity for miserable failure as for tremendous success. If it is not done “just right” there will be many unhappy moviegoers and literary fans – and I will be one of them. (Of course I will still pay to see these movies so don’t expect box office sales to flounder even if the movie bombs.)

On another literary note, I was having a rather interesting conversation today with my aerospace friends about books we have read (and coincidentally the movies that have been made of them). After a few minutes of discussion Andy breaks in with, “You guys need a Blockbuster card!” I have nothing but respect for Andy but I am of the opinion that the images you create in your mind from the written word are more tangible than anything projected on a screen. When I read a book my imagination creates visions of the characters and their surroundings that are all the more real because I made them myself. You can’t rely on Hollywood to do all of that work for you. In fact, that “work” is what I like most about books. Don’t misunderstand me – I love movies. I will be one of the first people in line for Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings next year. The difference between me and the person standing next to me, however, may be that I have read the corresponding text and he hasn’t.

Monthly Wrap-Up – 09.16.00

Saturday, September 16th, 2000

SECOND ENTRY IN 24 HOURS: It has been about one month since I left Los Angeles and the fall semester at the University of Florida is in full swing. Before I start my usual weekly updates (which hopefully will be posted on Sunday nights from now on) I thought I would take a look back at the past month and highlight some events that I think were important. I posted my typical weekly schedule earlier so that might explain anything you don’t understand. So looking at my planner…

August 23 – My fall classes started. I guess there isn’t much more to say about that, but every journey must have a first step!

August 25 – I found out which Integrated Project and Process Design (IPPD) group I was assigned to. This was a big deal because it dictates what kind of work I will be doing for the next eight months. My group is working Boeing/NASA venture down at the Kennedy Space Center (this is the project that almost all of the aerospace engineers wanted to do). We have dubbed our project the Modified Smart Quick Universal Autonomous Disconnect, or Mod SQUAD for short. Throughout the school year I will be explaining this project in greater detail because it will probably take over my life my April and that will be all I have to talk about!

August 26 – The last round of sorority Rush, Preferentials, took place and caused much anxiety. In a matter of an hour I went from not rushing to rushing, not rushing to rushing. Let’s just say that everything took place at the last minute. I rushed out of three different rooms for three different parties and for one of those I single-handedly ruined the whole party. (It’s a long story that involves some guilt on my side and some on the side of the Prefs chair.) Through tears of frustration my phrase of the evening was, “Can we please make this a little more stressful?” I think I redeemed myself by putting together a duet with Jess for the Prefs ceremony in about five minutes and pulling it off. It was wonderful to have everyone telling me how good we sounded and I was rather proud of the arrangement myself.

August 27 – This was Bid Day for the sororities, when we find out how Rush paid off. Alpha Chi Omega was fortunate enough to have 61 girls on our bid list and that was quota that Panhellenic decreed the night before. Two out of three of the girls that I rushed during Preferentials were on that list (and are still with us today).

September 2-4 – I went home for the Labor Day weekend to visit my family. I had only seen my mom for a little more than 24 hours when I was between LA and Gainesville. There was an outflow of my belongings to Tallahassee and a smaller inflow back to Gainesville. The inflow included my desktop computer, my mom’s old TV, and a new VCR. I guess I’m just a technology junkie.

September 5 – The Mod SQUAD and Dr. Fitz-Coy (our faculty coach and my astrodynamics professor from last spring) went down to the Kennedy Space Center to meet with out Boeing liaisons, Jake and Larry. We had a five-hour meeting where we outlined the customer needs for and various functions of our project and then took a brief tour of the facilities. It was raining so we just drove around the space center and were able to catch a glimpse of Shuttle Atlantis on the launch pad. Also we were fortunate enough to get our hands on a car pass for the September 8th launch.

September 6 – The first AIAA student chapter meeting took place. Stuart and I both volunteered to be the Engineering Fair (E-Fair) chair so we were given the position jointly.

September 8 – At 3 AM my alarm clock went off and I was crazy enough to get out of bed. At 4 AM a van pulled up outside my sorority house and I was crazy enough to get in. At 8:45 AM the Shuttle Atlantis lifted off the launch pad and it was a spectacular sight – not crazy at all. Yes, I sacrificed a good deal of sleep to be there on the NASA causeway with my camera in hand and three other Mod SQUADers by my side but it was worth it. I was afraid there would be a delay of the launch because of several storms in the area but nothing kept the main engines from firing on schedule. It was amazing to see the spark that started the ignition and feel the ground shake as the sound of the launch finally hit. I felt like a little kid. We got home at noon and it seemed like a whole day had already passed!

September 9 – As a favor to my sorority house I signed up to work concessions at the UF vs. Middle Tennessee Sate University (MTSU) football game. We were assigned to fill cups of Coke so that other people could carry around the stadium and sell. This might have been an OK way to spend six hours if not for the working environment. Our sorority is paired with Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity for the concessions and we don’t have a very good opinion of these boys. Mostly they were lazy and only talked about getting drunk. Every few minutes they asked us what we were doing after the game and if we wanted to go to a party with them. One of the guys, who was shorter than me, kept standing as close as he could to me and “accidentally” brushing his hand against my butt! He did this to the other girls too so that was just sleazy. I would consider working concessions again if not for the guys who will be there too.

September 13-14 – Again I have the joy of hunting for a summer internship. The Career and Internship Fair took place at the O’Connell Center and I spent much time talking to recruiters there. I gave out my resume to six companies: Lockheed Martin, United Technologies (Pratt-Whitney), Boeing KSC, NASA KSC, Raytheon, and United Space Alliance (USA). Not all of these are possibilities but a summer or summer/fall job but it can’t hurt to have contact with companies that might provided me a permanent position when I finally get out of school. I didn’t get any interviews but that was because most of the businesses are coming back in October or November for that purpose. This is an ongoing storyline so stay tuned for updates.

September 16 – Finally we have reached the present. My parents are on their way to Gainesville right now for the Alpha Chi Omega parent’s weekend. There will be another inflow/outflow of stuff to/from Gainesville this weekend. Maybe my room will finally be livable!

(Hey, this update only took me an hour and a half to write!)

Weekly Schedule – 09.16.00

Saturday, September 16th, 2000

In an effort to keep my diary updated regularly, I thought I would include this weekly schedule. It shows how much is going on with me this semester and also why I haven’t had time to keep this webpage up to date as well as I would like. My goal is to put a scheduled entry here every week but I need to catch up on the past month first! Please come back soon and check on my progress.

Here are the activities that happen at the same time every week:

8:30-9:20 AM – Aero-Thermal Processes class
1:55-2:45 PM – Aerospace Structures class
4:05-4:55 PM – Integrated Product and Process Design (IPPD) class
5 PM – IPPD group meeting
6 PM – Alpha Chi Omega chapter meeting

8:30-9:20 AM – Experimental Methods class
9:35-11:30 AM – Stability and Control of Aircraft class
1:55-3:50 PM – Experimental Methods Lab class
5 PM – Aerospace Structures homework due

8:30-9:20 AM – Aero-Thermal Processes class
10:30 AM – IPPD/Boeing teleconference and group meeting
1:55-2:45 PM – Aerospace Structures class
4:05-4:55 PM – Integrated Product and Process Design (IPPD) class

8:30-9:20 AM – Experimental Methods class
9:35-11:30 AM – Stability and Control of Aircraft class
7:30 PM – IPPD group meeting

8:30-9:20 AM – Aero-Thermal Processes class
10:30 AM – IPPD/Boeing teleconference and group meeting
1:55-2:45 PM – Aerospace Structures class
4 PM – IPPD group meeting

And here are the events that happen sporadically or every few weeks:
HOMEWORK (usually an assignment per week in each class)
IPPD group meetings (whenever necessary, usually one per weekend)
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) meetings (once a month)
Society of Women Engineers (SWE) meetings (every two weeks)
Alpha Chi Omega activities