Archive for October, 2000

Home Sweet Home – 10.27.00

Friday, October 27th, 2000

I am going home to Tallahassee this weekend to see my family! The last time I saw my parents was in mid-September when they came to Gainesville for my sorority Family Weekend. The last time I was home was Labor Day and that seems like a long time ago. I find that I am getting to love Tallahassee more and more knowing that it won’t be long before we leave. I have never known any other home than our house on Tralee Road that we moved into in August 1979. I was born in Tallahassee and I realize that it has been a part of me ever since. I hate to leave but change is inevitable. I spent the past twenty-one years calling Tallahassee home and I will never forget that it is where I come from.

On a lighter note, I won my elections on Monday night so now I am the Alpha Chi Omega warden (ritual chair) and songleader for the spring and fall 2001 semesters. By the time that we walked into chapter on Monday night I already knew that I had most of the house on my side but after the elections and all of the congratulations had been uttered I was convinced that everyone wanted me to win. It was almost funny to see that I was the heavy favorite. In January I will begin my new positions’ duties and then I will probably wonder why I wanted them at all but until then it makes me happy to know that my sisters trust me with these jobs.

I can’t say that there is anything else to add to my running life’s commentary at the moment. We are more than halfway through the fall semester and the flood doors that have been only allowing a small leakage of schoolwork and social events to escape will soon open and pour out all that the holiday season has to offer. Wal-Mart has already begun to showcase Christmas wreaths and ornaments and this means that very soon life will become an endless flurry of activity, as always happens this time of year. I must remember to keep my eyes upon the homework and studying that must be done before letting them stray towards the thought of my family’s annual Christmas tree decorating session, which takes place the weekend after Thanksgiving. This is going to be the last Christmas for us in our house and in Tallahassee, I suppose. Another thought to be left for another time. Now I remember that I will see my mother, father, and brother this evening. A smile warms me heart.

Oddities – 10.23.00

Monday, October 23rd, 2000

It has been more than a week since my last entry and this time is wasn’t for a lack of excitement. Only a lack of time, energy, and health has kept me from writing recently. Strange things have been happening so let me list the latest oddities for public review.

1) I am sick. For those who know me you will realize that this hardly ever happens. I can count on one hand the number of times I was sick in high school. Since I have been in college this has happened more often due to living in a dorm atmosphere and higher stress but still I can say that I have gotten sick less than a dozen times in four years. This stupid cold has lasted for almost a week and it is driving me crazy. As usual I can trace the origin of the illness and pinpoint the exact time that it took over my immune system. After our Preliminary Design Review (PDR) at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) on Tuesday I probably relaxed enough for the virus to dominate my willpower. It’s funny how strong your body can be when it has to be. I have found that I can keep an illness at bay if there is need enough (for example an important design review) but it always finds a way to hold on until my will backs down. So I get sick in the end – it’s better than feeling horrible during something important.

2) I missed class last Tuesday. For those of you who know me you will realize that this also hardly ever happens. With the courses that I take I can’t miss class without missing something big. As I mentioned in Oddity #1, I went down to KSC with my IPPD group on Tuesday to present our PDR to Larry and Jake, our Boeing liaisons. That’s a pretty good reason to miss class, right? Anyway, I was extremely anxious to get this presentation over with considering the amount of time we had put into it and my fear of public speaking. We left Gainesville at 6 AM on Tuesday morning after Melissa, Andrew, and I had been working at the design cell until 1 AM getting everything ready for the trip. I spent the car ride down to KSC making note cards for the presentation as soon as the Sun gave enough light to read and write by. In the end the presentation was very long but successful, from my point of view. Our group chose a total concept to focus our project on and that was the main goal of this visit. As a bonus we got a tour of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and the Oribter Processing Facility (OPF). In the VAB the external tank (ET) and two solid rocket boosters (SRBs) had already been mated in preparation for the shuttle launch scheduled for November 30. We saw the ground side of the current disconnect that we have been “hired” to redesign so that gave us an idea (be it very small) of what our end product should look like. In the OPF we took a look at the disconnects on the orbiter Endeavor that will be flying on November 30. I have had the opportunity to look at orbiters before but this one was being readied for transport over to the VAB for mating with the fuel tanks. This means that it was almost flight ready and all the more impressive for it. By the end of the day we were all exhausted and the trip home was quiet. I went to sleep that night at midnight and almost overslept for our 10:30 AM meeting the next day.

3) I was up until 3:30 AM on Friday night (October 13). Alpha Chi Omega initiation started when we had roll call at 6 PM and I didn’t crawl into bed until 3:30 AM. What a pain. My explanation of this little time problem is that dinner should have started a lot earlier (about two hours) than it did. I guess even then we wouldn’t have been finished until after midnight but it wouldn’t have been quite as late as it tuned out to be. We had one new member pass out during the ceremony (this always happens but everyone was upset about it) and I was feeling pretty faint myself. It had been a long time since dinner and we were all tired because it was so late. I am surprised that more people didn’t pass out! Since our song leader wasn’t in attendance I took over her part. Emmy and Jen, two other members of my pledge class, sang the supplementary initiation songs with me even though they hadn’t had time to learn them. Actually it sounded pretty good. By the time we all went to bed we had initiated our fall new member class and that is something we can be proud of.

4) I got up at 3 AM on Saturday morning (October 21). This is actually a really funny story. I was awakened by someone banging on the door to my room as it was opened and shut very roughly. One of my sisters was looking for my suitemate Jen but she mixed up our rooms at first. I heard her yelling for Jen to move her car so she could get hers out but Jen refused because the sister was drunk and in no condition to drive. Then I hear loud expletives fading away down the fall and Jen screaming at the sister as she goes outside. It turns out the this sister was looking for her roommate who had wandered off at a bar and in her drunken state she started running down the street towards the Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) fraternity house where she thought her roommate had gone. I looked out into the hallway and Jen tells me all of this. I was worried that since it was the middle of the night that something would happen to my sister so Jen and I drove over to the AGR house to look for her. No one was around. A truck pulls into the AGR parking lot and we ask the guy if he has seen two sorority sisters wandering around and he tells us that he just drove them back to the house. That was a relief but as soon as the worried state left my brain I was furious that this whole event has gotten me out of bed at three o’clock in the morning. What a mess. I was back in bed at 3:15 AM.

This week is going to be a little quieter and less stressful than the previous few and I am looking forward to that change. I am going home this weekend to see my family and pick up my winter clothes than I will need soon (I hope). Until then I plan to rest as much as possible, try and get over this stupid cold, and read a lot of Return of the King since I started it last night. My kind of life!

Friday the Thirteenth – 10.13.00

Friday, October 13th, 2000

I think it’s ironic that we scheduled Alpha Chi Omega fall initiation on Friday the thirteenth. It just goes to show how much the universe hates this little ritual, not just the sisters of Gamma Iota chapter alone. So that being said, I have to be at the house at 6 PM ready for it to start. Right now I am in the aerospace computer lab waiting for my IPPD meeting to start at 4 PM. Here’s how I expect my weekend to shape up:

Friday, October 13
4 PM-5:30 PM – IPPD meeting
6 PM-12 AM – Initiation
12 AM – Bedtime

Saturday, October 14
9 AM- 1 PM – Sorority Post-Initiation Retreat (times arbitrary)
REST OF DAY – Work on IPPD, study for Experimental exam, do homework

Sunday, October 15
ALL DAY – IPPD, Experimental exam, homework

Did you know that you can watch the shuttle launch from Gainesville? I didn’t know this until Thursday night when a group of us that were studying for our stability and control exam saw a ball of orange flame ascending towards space from the third floor of the aerospace engineering building. What a sight. You could see the solid rocket boosters separate and start falling back towards the Earth much more clearly than we did watching the launch at KSC. I was very impressed by the view. The moon was almost full that night and that added to the whole atmosphere of awe that seemed to hover around the aerospace students. It was very cool.

Speaking of KSC, my IPPD group is going down there this Tuesday to present our Preliminary Design Report (PDR) to our Boeing liaisons. That means I have to arrange to miss that day of school and that means taking the experimental analysis exam a day early. Yuck. Even though that and getting all of the homework that is due Tuesday ready to turn in on Monday is a major pain I think we have been given another chance at making our PDR what it should be. The group has really rolled up its sleeves to get everything done. I feel bad that I haven’t put in as much time as I did last week towards this effort but sorority activities have been keeping me busy during the last couple of days and that doesn’t stop until sometime tomorrow. I have been doing some research, however, and I hope to finish tomorrow and have it ready for the report. There just aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes.

I had better go and see if our design cell is free yet. I know that putting together this PDR is going to be a lot of work and it makes me kind of depressed to think about that. Usually if I dive right into the task at hand and get as much done as possible immediately it makes me feel better. My grandparents send me an email when it comes time for final exams every semester and the general theme of the message is ATTACK! They have the right idea.

P.S. There’s a full moon tonight to go along with this whole Friday the Thirteenth thing. Look out for werewolves!

Seasons in Florida? – 10.10.00

Tuesday, October 10th, 2000

I am sitting in my room wearing flannel pants and a long-sleeve shirt. At first inspection this might not seems like an important detail but consider that it is only the beginning of October and I live in Florida and now maybe you will see my point. For the last two days it has been unseasonably cool here – I would even venture to say that it has been cold with respect to even a Florida winter. My plan was to go home in a couple of weeks and pick up my winter clothes, since I didn’t think I would need them until at least November, but I wish I had them now! I am lucky to have a couple of pairs of jeans here but the bulk of my warmer wardrobe is in Tallahassee. I have no doubt that the temperature will resume its normal early-October equilibrium soon but for now I am enjoying the chance to wear long pants and not get sweaty walking to class while it lasts. I wish I could convince myself that this cool weather indicates the coming of autumn but historically we don’t have that season here and I can’t ignore the fact that summer never ends until at least Halloween.

The most notable thing that has happened since my last diary update was the presentation of my IPPD group’s Preliminary Design Report (PDR) this past Monday. Actually, I guess the story starts about last Thursday when the group suddenly realized how much work has to be done before we would be ready for that presentation. Looking back at my design notebook for the past week I logged thirty-two hours for this project and if I was going to lie about that number, don’t you think I would lie more moderately? Anyway, the presentation didn’t go too well for several reasons. Immediately after the torture of watching five other groups show their totally different presentations we decided that a meeting was in order. It turned into a dinner meeting at Schlotzsky’s because we were all starving but in the end we got a lot accomplished. We came to the agreement that the presentation would have to be totally revamped before our second trip down to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). This will require a lot of work on everyone’s part but it will be worth it.

Speaking of KSC, I need to check and see if the shuttle launch went off as scheduled for tonight. My IPPD group had scheduled a trip down there for today so we could present our PDR to the Boeing liaisons but the shuttle launch that was originally supposed to take place last Thursday was pushed back until today. It may have been delayed further but I haven’t checked on the status recently. Right now we are working on rescheduling our trip for next Tuesday. I have an exam that day but I will just have to take it early – no big deal. At least this gives the Mod SQAUD enough time to complete our project renovations before we present it to the guys that really matter. This time we have evenly distributed the workload amongst the seven of us and hopefully that means that we will all have a good view of the project development. I think that if we all work together we can do amazing things in this endeavor.

In other aspects of my life, this Friday is initiation at Alpha Chi Omega. That pretty much takes me out of the loop from about dinnertime on Friday until Saturday night. Since I am an older sister it is important that I be a part of the event because very few of us still know all of the ins and outs of the initiation anymore. By the way, I was chosen to run for the office of Warden (Ritual Chair at most other houses) for this spring and next fall. I’ll let you know how the elections go. Anyway, I am very passionate about ritual and I want it to be better ceremony that the one from last spring. What a mess. So my weekend isn’t going to be that much fun. I expect to spend any time away from the sorority house working on IPPD at the engineering building. What happened to this thing called a “life” that I am supposed to have?

Nice Things – 10.04.00

Wednesday, October 4th, 2000

I was asked to be the stand-in song leader at initiation practice tomorrow night. That might have something to do with the fact that I have been around for the past three years and hardly anyone else remembers and/or knows the initiation songs or it could mean that my singing voice hasn’t deteriorated as much as I thought since I was in high school. At any rate it made me feel good that my sisters thought about me when they needed someone to teach the new sisters the songs. I have feeling it has more to do with my age than anything, however. I was just thinking yesterday that I might be able to get out of initiation, which takes place one week from this Friday and is the bane of a sister’s existence, but then I realized that I have to sing during the ceremony. Someone said today that the house would be lost when I graduate (if that ever happens) and I am beginning to understand why. Speaking of being lost, on Monday during chapter I wasn’t just leading most of the sisters in the ritual, I was also leading our president! The Alpha Chi Omega sisterhood is in a sad state indeed!

I guess my whole “Tuesday update” idea has already fallen through. It’s too bad, however, that my habit of looking in my planner to see what I have been doing for the last week hasn’t been lost as well. I can just hear a great sigh coming from the three people who actually read my diary on a regular basis. For the mundane updates that have been flowing from my fingertips recently I must apologize. If you can be patient for a little longer I promise that the semester will provide more interesting things for me to write about. My next two weeks and weekends are booked with events. Until then let’s go back to the planner and see what activities were important enough for me to either write down or remember without such pencil scratches.

We had our first structures exam last Wednesday and I am happy to report that they were returned to us today in class and I got an A! That’s a confidence booster for the rest of the semester so let’s hope I can keep up hat pace. The aerospace engineering department annual picnic was held on Saturday at Kanapaha Veteran’s Memorial Park. Since we had been in the middle of a relative cold spell (meaning that it was below eighty degrees in Florida in September) I didn’t know what to expect for the weather conditions. It did rain briefly but otherwise it was a beautiful day and not too hot. Very rarely do the aerospace students get to spend much time together away from class so it was nice to interact with my fellow undergraduates in a different environment. Too bad the AIAA officers decided to have Sonny’s cater the barbeque. Today at the AIAA meeting Stu affirmed that Sonny’s has got to be my least favorite food and when I think about it I agree wholeheartedly. I went to the Lockheed Martin information session on Monday night to see if they were interviewing for intern and co-op positions. It turns out that they weren’t but I did get free pizza out of the deal plus an idea of why I might not want a job with the company after all. It was a productive two and a half hours.

At this moment I have my aero-thermal processes homework strewn all over my bed and begging to be pored over. I haven’t successful with previous review, however. It’s really too bad that I have had this assignment for almost two weeks and I didn’t start working on it until today. This just confirms my overwhelming slacker nature, no matter how hard I try to smother it. Here’s a little preview of next week’s schedule so maybe you will come back and read forthcoming entries: Big/Lil Day at Alpha Chi Omega is tomorrow and I have a new grand-little, the IPPD group’s second trip to KSC and this time for our preliminary design review, interviews with United Technologies, and Alpha Chi initiation. I am getting anxious just listing these things so I think it’s time to get back to my homework and let THAT drive me crazy instead.

P.S. I have been learning some cool language from The Lord of the Rings. Notice the use of the word “bane” in the first paragraph. I should try and write an entry in the Middle-earth speech sometime.