Archive for December, 2000

Every-Flavor – 12.28.00

Thursday, December 28th, 2000

Quote of the Day:
“I can’t believe I spent eight dollars on sardine jellybeans and a flying ball.”
Jan Gleason

Merry Christmas! I have been visiting my grandparents in Sun City Center, FL for the past three days and I have taken that time to gather a few great quotes for my faithful readers to enjoy. It has been a blast discovering them but I must apologize up front for the surplus of excerpts from Harry Potter books. Can you tell how I amused myself while away from home? Speaking of Harry Potter, I wish I had brought more than the second and third books from Gainesville since I am almost done with the third one and I am desperately looking for something else to read until the end of the vacation. Also I should mention that I am taking time away from my usual reading time to write this entry – so you should feel privileged to have something to read yourself!

I guess I should explain the quote of the day because no one will understand it as it stands. My mom bought me some Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavor Beans (a wizard confection from the Harry Potter books) and a golden snitch (figure that out for yourself) key chain from the Warner Brother’s store in Brandon. She figures I am a little too wrapped up in the books, especially since I also got a Harry Potter wall calendar for Christmas from my brother. Maybe I am a bit taken with the story right now but what do you expect from a good book?

The holidays have treated me well so far. On Christmas morning my parents woke up to a little surprise I had been concocting for several weeks – new stocking holders for the mantelpiece and stockings for them since they had never had any as long as I could remember. They loved it and it looks really great with all four stockings in a row. The bulk of my Christmas gifts was videos and CDs. I got four new movies to add to be collection – “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace,” “Titan A.E.,” “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home,” and “X-Men.” When I looked at them all together after they had been unwrapped I realized that my journey towards the sci-fi end of the spectrum was complete. What will Irene think when I get back to school? I am somewhat more apprehensive to divulge the titles of the CDs I received for Christmas. I would get teased if anyone around me knew what they were and I already endure enough of that to keep my mouth shut. Here’s a clue as to their nature: I am now the proud but anonymous owner of a copy of the song that defined the summer of 1997, “Mmmbop.” I think I have said too much (as she shields herself from the inevitable barrage of jokes and laughter).

I missed the annual high school friends’ get together, courtesy of Meghan, this year because I was visiting my grandparents. It is the only time each year that I see some of these people and since many of them will be graduating this May I was disappointed I had to miss the party. So if anyone who is reading this entry went to Meghan’s cabin party please email me (lcgleason@juno.com) or call me (at the same number I had in high school) and catch me up on the happenings of the Lincoln crew. The way things are right now I am not graduating in May (even though the normal four years of college will have passed) but I plan to spend June through December in California working for Boeing. This pushed my graduation date to May 2002. So I’ll be around for a possible party next year!

If you know someone who has a birthday near Christmas you may have heard how awful it is and sometimes that is the case. When you get one generic gift for both occasions it’s not a lot of fun. However, it can be really cool. My birthday is January 9, two weeks after Christmas, so I only have to make one list and I am almost guaranteed to get every item between December 25 and January 9. This makes me sound like a greedy little girl, but when you consider that my mother doesn’t start most of her holiday shopping until the semester is over, there is precious little time to find all of the wanted articles. The way my birthday worked out, everyone has extra shopping time. So get moving! I am only going to turn twenty-two once! Just kidding.

If you can’t tell, each of the above paragraphs was written with a totally different thought in mind. Usually I have the flow of the entire entry in mind when I write but tonight that button was turned to the “off” position. Just keep in mind the title of this entry – “Every-Flavor.” How many did you find? I am sure there are many other things I have forgotten to mention but it is late now and I should be going to sleep soon. Maybe I can forget the horrible shambles that is my bedroom when the lights are out. I really need to do something about this mess.

Winter Update – 12.22.00

Friday, December 22nd, 2000

With one last trip to the Tallahassee Mall this morning I have finally finished my Christmas shopping. I thought I was done a few days ago but I thought of one more thing last night. At least the mall wasn’t crowded when I got there around 10 AM today. I love giving gifts. It’s too bad that I couldn’t find a Harry Potter gift card for my dad at Border’s though. That would have been a great stocking stuffer!

The weather in Tallahassee has been colder than usual since last Sunday. You know winter is here in full force when we considered yesterday, with a high temperature of 60 degrees, to be warm. The highs have been in the mid-40s for the better part of the week so it really feels like Christmas is officially coming this year. I don’t know if many other Floridians share my opinion but I am under the impression that it should be cold on Christmas Day – or at least not 80 degrees, which has not been unheard-of in years past. On the last day of final exams, last Friday, the temperature in Gainesville exceeded 80 degrees and I got very sweaty while loading up my car to go home for the break. This annoyed me so much I actually brought home three pairs of shorts just in case. Since long-sleeved shirts didn’t seem to fir into this hot-weather wardrobe I didn’t bring home as many as I should have. Now I am scrambling to find something to wear each morning when it hasn’t even reached 40 degrees outside yet. You just never know what kind of clothes you are going to need in Florida in December. Sometimes a bathing suit is appropriate and sometimes it does snow. (No snow yet this year but we have had some sleet during the night. That’s not to say that it won’t snow – the temperature has certainly been low enough. The problem is mixing the correct temperature and precipitation at the same time in Florida. That almost never happens.)

Although my grades for this past semester turned out to be the best I have earned so far in college I am still not satisfied. I got A’s in aero-thermal processes, experimental methods, aircraft stability and control, and IPPD but a lone B in aerospace structures has ruined my otherwise overwhelming happiness with these marks. I was sure I was going to get a B+ in structures with the grades I had gotten previously and my perceived performance on the final exam I emailed my professor about this and I am still waiting to hear the verdict. My GPA for the semester is a 3.81, much higher than any other semester, and that brings my overall GPA to a 3.44. I am very happy about this but I think I deserved a B+ in structures nevertheless. We’ll have to wait and see what happens. I calculated the grade myself and it is very close to an 85, the lower-end cutoff for a B+, so the professor’s decision could go either way.

My biggest project for the break is to clean out my room in case my parents have to move at some point in the future. Yesterday I went through two shelves on my bookcase full of old high school math notebooks, prom issues of Seventeen, and declarations of love to several different sets of initials that I have long-since forgotten. I was able to eliminate three-fourths of what was on these shelves but not without a few smiles, a happy memory or two, and more than one blush of embarrassment. My notebooks and course materials from engineering classes that I have left at home will have to be kept at least until I graduate, and a few other things that I found are worth saving (like my diary from my trip to Europe in the summer of 1997). Otherwise I have been hoarding a bunch of junk in the bedroom that I haven’t lived in for more than three weeks in the past year and a half. It’s kind of like free storage space. I am cleaning it out to make room for someone else’s stuff – or maybe mine when I go to California this summer and I have no where else to leave my extraneous belongings.

Maybe that you have gathered that my life is dull. That’s a welcome break from frantic, however. It won’t be long before I have to return to that world to deadlines and sleep depravation. I am trying to remember that each time I wonder what there is to do in Tallahassee.

Take a Moment – 12.13.00

Wednesday, December 13th, 2000

Have you ever wished that your fast food order took longer to be prepared? It was a first for me too. I was starving when I went to Schlotzsky’s tonight to pick up some dinner and as I waited for my order a familiar song came on the radio. It was one of those moments when you forget everything around you and concentrate on how happy the music makes you feel. I know all of my faithful readers have heard this story recently but it was such a great feeling that I thought I should share it. The funny thing about the week of final exams and the holidays is that we often forget to stop for a moment and drink in the atmosphere of the season. So as I was sitting in Schlotzsky’s I let my mind wander while the music calmed my frazzled nerves. The song isn’t one that anyone would know (just like my favorite song) because I am convinced that I am the only person in the world that knows about it, besides radio DJ’s, but I love it all the same. When the guy handed me my sandwich and said, “Sorry to keep you waiting,” I wished that the delay had been longer.

It seems today that the “Race for the Whitehouse,” as the news networks have been calling it, is finally over. Due to the unfavorable rulings by the Supreme Court yesterday, Al Gore conceded the race to George W. Bush tonight in a national address. I thought it was a pretty good speech but he could have left out the part about disagreeing with the Supreme Court. The whole checks and balances thing set up by our forefathers over 200 years ago was working perfectly yesterday and our Vice President decided to criticize it. At this point I didn’t care who won the election because it doesn’t seem to matter anymore. No matter what happened, half the country was going to be disappointed and the Congress is already spilt between the major political parties. At least it seems this more than month-long struggle through the Florida and the rest of the nation will come to an end. Gore was right when he mentioned that this is a sign of the strength of the US democracy – in the end we are going to be able to work out our problems through the institutions of our government. I do see major changes happening to the electoral process in the coming presidency, however. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next four years.

I only have one more final exam before I can say that the semester is officially over. My structures exam is Friday at 12:30 PM and I can’t say I am on the right track studying for it so far. My aero-thermal final on Monday was so horrible that I would rather not think about it any more than necessary. The stability and control final was this morning and it went surprisingly well. There is no way I can pull off an A in that class but the way I figure it my grade is going to awfully close without actually crossing that line into the next grading tier. I think our semester grades will be available online on Monday night so I will find out how everything turned out then.

As a final note, I would like to congratulate Tom McCaleb on being named a Rhodes scholar this week. There was an article in the Tallahassee Democrat and I you can read the text version of it that I saved here. I haven’t seen the boy since last December and it looks like I won’t be around for the annual holiday gathering this year, so I thought I would put up this little tribute to make amends for my absence.

The Calm Before (and After) the Storm – 12.06.00

Wednesday, December 6th, 2000

It is 12:15 AM (technically on Thursday, I guess) and I am going to bed as soon as my hair dries. This seems like freedom for me! I have freedom from IPPD, freedom from school, and freedom from any other possible obligation. Of course this blissful feeling will only last for a short time but right now my little room in the Alpha Chi Omega sorority house might as well be paradise as far as I am concerned. I can go to sleep tonight without setting my alarm, without worrying about what commitments I have tomorrow, and without making sure that my backpack has the right notebooks in it for the next day’s courses. Today was the last day of classes for University of Florida students so finding some warm clothes to wear when the cold front comes through isn’t so important since there is no reason for me to leave the house tomorrow. I decided that as soon as I got out of my structures class this afternoon my brief break from responsibilities would start. I vow not to even pick up a textbook or other related material until Friday morning (when I will start studying for Monday’s aero-thermal processes final). I really need some time off.

My last diary entry should be sufficient to explain why this break is so necessary to be sanity and well being, but if you missed the “Why My Life is a Mess” installment I will quickly bring you up to speed on the most recent happenings. First I should total the number of hours I worked on IPPD since November 29 (date of last entry) just to give you an idea of the time I spent away from home for this project. And the grand total is: 36 hours. Wow. I didn’t know it would be that much, but I didn’t embellish at in my design notebook, where my time sheets are kept. I was working so hard on this project last week that I completely forgot about a structures quiz that was scheduled for Friday. I got to class that day, saw that everyone else was doing their last minute studying for the quiz, picked up my bag, and went back home. If I had taken the quiz I would have failed it and there was no reason for our professor to have to grade a sorry paper like that. Fortunately our quiz grade will come from two out of three quizzes throughout the semester and I did pretty well on the first two. It had just gotten to the point where I wasn’t functioning correctly in normal life because of the burden of IPPD. I was so stressed that day that I went into the bathroom and cried after I left structures. I didn’t feel bad about missing the quiz but I knew that I couldn’t keep going if something didn’t change soon.

Sometimes it just takes few tears to dismiss the things that are bothering you. As soon as I got home I had a newfound strength and I am certain that was one of the important things that got me to where I am today – in front of my computer with my composure still intact. Hard work has never scared me but my idea of a heavy workload has changed somewhat over the last few days. Take yesterday, for example. I got to class at 8:30 AM, the usual time, and had three hours of classes. At 11:30 AM I went down to the IPPD area and worked on the SLDR report with Melissa (a fellow Mod SQUAD member) for an hour and a half, after somehow conning some group out of a design cell. At 1 PM I went back up to the aerospace engineering building to meet my stability and control project group and finish our report/presentation that was due that night. Let’s just say that we finished everything just in time – it was due at 6:15 PM. The class presentation session lasted until about 7 PM and then it was back down to the IPPD design cell. I didn’t get home until after 2 AM and my head didn’t hit the pillow until 4 AM due to an aero-thermal homework assignment. My alarm was set for 6:30 AM. Now you can see why my life is a mess. I spent eighteen hours on campus yesterday and my first meal didn’t come until 4 PM when Ammy was kind enough to run to Burger King (which I had been craving for about a week) and grab some food. I need to remember this day, count my blessings when they come, and never take rest and relaxation for granted. Trust me, I am appreciating this little break from obligations to the greatest extent.

At the risk of harping too much on IPPD, I would like to announce that the Mod SQUAD successfully presented our SLDR on Monday afternoon to our peers and this morning to our industry sponsors. Incidentally, that is the reasons I got up so early this morning. I had to walk over to the Reitz Union before 8 AM (our presentation was at 8:40 AM) and change into my suit, pantyhose, and heels when I got there. It was just too cold to wear the dress outside this morning (28 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Weather Channel when I watched the local forecast before I left the house). I didn’t have any role in the actual presenting process for IPPD this time so our presentation wasn’t that big of a deal for me. The only reason I was nervous was because I wasn’t sure if Tim and Andy would remember all of the crucial things they needed to say. Otherwise I was just there for ornamentation and to prove that we did indeed have seven people working on this project (even if not all were very helpful).

My roommate is at the Alpha Chi Omega semi-formal right now but she will be coming home soon, I am guessing. That means I need to get to bed before she arrives. My hair is still wet but I know I am exhausted because I am making so many spelling errors. Final exams are coming up soon so expect an update on that situation before the end of the semester. I am leaving Gainesville on Friday, December 15 after my last final and I will be home for the three weeks after that. That will seem like heaven.