Archive for February, 2001

I Should be Working – 02.24.01

Saturday, February 24th, 2001

Quote of the Day:
“Greek Week for me is an exercise in futility (much like the astrodynamics take-home exam).”
Shrew’s News – February 23, 2000

How many other things should I be doing right now besides typing at my computer? Let’s see, I have homework due on Monday, an exam and homework due on Tuesday, a project due and an IPPD review on Wednesday, another exam on Thursday, and one more homework due on Friday. Everyday will be like a soap opera – full of drama but not very exciting to watch. The light at the end of the tunnel, the thought that is helping me get through it all, is spring break. I will be going home on Friday for a relaxing week in Tallahassee. I haven’t made any plans for that week because I wasn’t sure if I would need to pack up my things so they would be ready to move to Ft. Myers. I guess I still don’t know since my dad hasn’t made a decision about his job opportunities.

Speaking of my dad, yesterday was his birthday. I got an email from the Warner Brother’s Store online a couple of days ago regarding an order I placed last November. One of the items was supposed to be a Christmas present for my dad but I have never received it. It is possible, according to the email, that the order has finally been shipped and I might be able to give my dad the item for his birthday when I am home. This is only a small possibility, the way I see it, and I have lost much faith in Warner Brother’s since the demise of their online store. From my viewpoint it seems that the holiday season wiped out the retail side of WB. The online store shut down before Christmas because WB couldn’t accommodate the volume of orders and now all of the WB stores will be closing. I can only speculate as to what caused this withdrawal but I am sure it isn’t that simple a matter.

Greek Week has finally come to an end. (Check out my feelings on the subject in the quote of the day.) Most of my sisters, including my roommate, are at the Swamp for the awards ceremony now. We’ll see if Alpha Chi Omega walks away with the trophy again this year. If that happens we will get to keep it permanently because our name occupies the winner’s plate for the past three years. With all of the effort we have been putting into this event it would be a major disappointment if we lost. It could very well happen, however.

Back to work, Lauren. I spent much of today in search of an air filter for the IPPD fluid tests but with no success. Most places I called didn’t have an idea what I was talking about, even though it seems like a simple request to me, and other places weren’t open at all on Saturday. Lowe’s seemed the most promising place to find what I was looking for but no luck there either. I wish there had been time for me to work on this last week so I wouldn’t be scrambling now but nothing is ever that easy.

Heart of the City – 02.20.01

Tuesday, February 20th, 2001

Quotes of the Day:
“Mystery Science Theater 3000”, “The Touch of Satan” – aired 02.17.01 on the Sci-Fi Channel
1) “That’s not a name, that’s a bad Scrabble hand!”
2) “Well, I suppose the plot’s not gonna unfold itself…”
3) “Wait, where’s my immortal soul? I must have left it back at the farm.”

I am thoroughly enjoying the recent storyline in “Heart of the City,” my favorite comic strip. I will stop posting them all here but I would like to give a URL where you can read the strip each day. Go to Kansas City Star Online or San Jose Mercury Comics where they have “Heart of the City” updated daily. This is one of the few comics that I have to read everyday because it is so cute. My friends Kathe once told me that the little girl, Heart, reminded her of me. That must be why I like it. Anyway, the Valentine’s Day/Star Wars theme that has been going on for awhile is hilarious and it reminds me of my high school years. As Heart has learned, sometimes using your science fiction knowledge to impress boys does work!

Return of IPPD – 02.17.01

Saturday, February 17th, 2001

“The next 19 years have to be great because the first 19 have basically sucked, except that I’ve gotten great friends out of it.”
Kathe Roper

I rushed home from a 5:30 PM IPPD meeting because I had forgotten to program my VCR to tape “Ever After,” that Drew Barrymore Cinderella movie from a couple of years ago. Luckily the meeting finished about fifteen minutes before the movie was supposed to start but when I got home and checked the TV schedule I realized that it isn’t on until tomorrow night. Oh well.

I added something new to the page today. If you check the upper right-hand corner you will see the imood.com graphic that displays my most current mood setting. I saw this feature on someone else’s diary and I thought it really added depth to the written words. When I put my experiences into writing my goal is to characterize my thoughts as accurately as possible but sometimes it is hard to describe feelings in prose form. So the purpose of this mood indicator is to concisely specify my most current mental state and hopefully provide background for the paragraphs of explanation that follow. I will try to at least update it everyday but it is likely to be more often than that. I can’t promise anything more since the next two weeks are going to be a frantic whirlwind for me but I’ll do my best.

Due to the pending shut down of Napster I spent some time in one of the engineering labs this afternoon downloading songs. I am listening to them now so if you find any discontinuities in my writing you will know that the reason was music distraction. I hate to admit that the songs I downloaded were mostly from Brittney Spears, Backstreet Boys, and the like but at some point I am going to have to get over being embarrassed about liking their music. Right now I am listening to “Summer of ‘69” by Bryan Adams so that is more respectable for my engineering friends. I am going to have to make a list of songs to be sure and download before Napster to forced to go offline. Now that I have this Zip drive for my laptop I actually have portable space to store mp3 files. Since I am only going to have my laptop with me in California between May and January I need to have an adequate selection of music ready to entertain me while I am there! (Especially since I don’t own a CD player besides my car.)

Two weeks until spring break – I don’t know how I am going to make it through these weeks, though. I know I say that every time things get hectic but the familiar anxiety always sets in just before the rush starts. At the IPPD meeting tonight we discussed the quick disconnect (QD) component experiments that were scheduled to start on February 4 but have yet to be executed. We have had lots of problems that were either unforeseen or not our fault so that is the reason for the delay. I was very worried about this meeting because of my lack of effort since our last review in January. We have another review on the twenty-sixth and that is the reason the experiments need to be done as soon as possible. When I walked out of the meeting, however, I was more encouraged than when I walked in. Andy and I are going to start the health monitoring system test on Monday so that leaves the rest of the weekend for me to work on other homework that is due this week.

Right now I need to make a run to the grocery store and pick up five cans for the Greek Week food drive. Alpha Chi Omega has been the Greek Week champion for the past two years and if we win again the trophy will be retired and given to us. So, of course, we are doing everything in our power to win – even buying out every can of food in every grocery store in Gainesville. That’s what we had to do last year but it worked. Why mess with success?

E-Fair Exhaustion – 02.16.01

Friday, February 16th, 2001

Quotes of the Day:
“Mystery Science Theater 3000”, “Hobgoblins” – aired 02.10.01 on the Sci-Fi Channel
1) “This is Old Guy Radio – WOLD!”
2) “I could watch this forever, and I have a feeling I will be.”
3) “This scene really makes me want to go clubbing – the director of this film!”

When I got home yesterday I was so worn out I wanted to have “Full House” administered to me intravenously to get the full relaxing effects of the TV show. Irene laughed at this request but I think she understood it when I fell asleep as soon as I lay down on my bed. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast but the overwhelming urge to rest got the better of my gnawing hunger. When I tried to get up later it took quite an effort to pull myself off the bed. I was in bad shape.

The cause of this suffering in a combinations of things but I ended up in this state mostly because of the Engineering Fair. The exhibition started on Tuesday afternoon and lasted until yesterday at 3 PM. I spent a total of thirteen hours sitting at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) student chapter exhibit during that time, either explaining our mini wind tunnel, talking about the International Space Station, or supervising the “Don’t Hit Mars” game. The general public seemed to enjoy the display and the kids loved getting candy for throwing tennis balls at a target. (The game consisted of a three-colored felt target and the object was NOT to hit the red Mars representation at the center. It was a joke about the NASA Mars mission failures.) Awards are presented to the societies who participate in E-Fair and AIAA was fortunate to receive one first place, two second places, and a third place. The first place was in the theme integration category. Danny says we were guaranteed to win that one considering the E-Fair 2001 theme was “2001: An Engineering Odyssey” but I think it was still a great accomplishment. AIAA has to compete with the chemical engineering society and they make ice cream at their display every year. For that reason they always place better than anyone else in the service/honorary organization category. In any case we are proud of our trophies because they show we did better than last year! I took some pictures of the display and the wind tunnel so was soon as I finish the roll of film in my camera (and fix my scanner) I’ll post them on my webpage.

Now that E-Fair is over I can concentrate on other things that need my attention. The middle-of-the-semester rush has begun and it is almost time for midterms to show up between countless homework assignments, projects, and labs. I am pretty sure I will have two exams the week before spring break and I already have one scheduled for the week after spring break. This is the time when professors realize they have been too easy on their classes and decide to dump as much work on them as possible in a short period of time. At least that’s how it feels to the students. I have completely neglected IPPD since our review in January. Between turning in one assignment and starting another I just haven’t had any time to think about it. As soon as this inattention catches up with me I won’t be sleeping until the leak detection system tests are completed and appropriately documented. It scares me just to think about it. For now I am going to do my best not to go crazy with worry but still make some progress in setting up the experiments.

My parents are planning to come down to Gainesville and visit me tomorrow but I am on the verge of telling them not to come. The pink post-it notes on my computer monitor are telling me that I have many assignments to work on this weekend and the two days coming up aren’t nearly enough to make me feel good about the prospect of getting a lot done. I was really looking forward to seeing my parents but it might turn out to be better for everyone involved if they don’t come. I am going to do as much work as I can tonight and make the decision then.

Did everyone have a good Valentine’s Day? Mine was pretty good. I’ve realized that a normal day spent with your friends is much better than being with someone and getting disappointed on Valentine’s Day. I got several valentines from my sorority sisters and one from Danny (teletubbies). I also ate more candy than I usually do in a week! (That’s saying a lot considering my usual weekly candy intake.)

I have to go to my propulsion class now. I have a feeling the quality of this entry isn’t what it should be but that may be because I am not typing at my own computer. It’s funny how something like that can make a difference.

Shenanigans – 02.12.01

Monday, February 12th, 2001

Quotes of the Day:
“Mystery Science Theater 3000”, “Space Chief” – aired 02.03.01 on the Sci-Fi Channel
1) “You know, Space Chief should really try going into space sometime.” (Servo)
“Yeah, he’s more like lower atmosphere Chief…” (Crow)
“Barely off the stupid ground Chief…” (Mike)
2) “Not many movies can support a full minute of radar coverage – for example, this one can’t at all!” (Servo)

I am sure I won’t have time to write another entry before Valentine’s Day so I would like to wish all of my readers a happy holiday now. I am preparing for this “codependence holiday” (a phrase coined by my best friend Jennifer in high school) in my own way. Everyone is getting a valentine from me on Wednesday so I think that will be amusing. I just hope I get at least one in return! (I already got one from my little sister Melissa today, come to think of it.)

I will be spending much of Valentine’s Day, plus tomorrow and Thursday, at the University of Florida Engineering Fair. The AIAA team put together our wind tunnel for the final time this afternoon and it is almost ready for the E-Fair display. Between Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and today I spent a total of eighteen hours working in the aerospace machine shop working on this contraption. This doesn’t sound like that much from the number but it felt like I spent the entire weekend looking at the blue and orange device that we have been building from scratch. I have watched this project evolve from the time I was up to my wrists in fiberglass resin on Friday night until I was putting together the plexiglass pieces for the test section this afternoon. It’s a good thing I know a lot about it because I have to sit at the AIAA/Sigma Gamma Tau booth on Wednesday from 8:30 to 11:40 AM and after 3 PM plus on Thursday from 10:40 AM until we tear down the display. I will have to explain the wind tunnel to lots of school children and E-Fair judges who will recommend us for awards. When Stu called me tonight he said that the tunnel looks really good when it is all put together so maybe we have a chance of a good showing this year. Last year AIAA walked away with four third place ribbons and that project doesn’t even begin to compare with our current one. I guess I’ll have the results of the E-Fair later in the week and I’ll post them here. Until then I won’t be home enough to even look at my computer!

Many thanks to Stu who provided the title of this entry, even if it was unknowingly. When I started typing a little while ago I had a few things in mind as shenanigans but they all seem to center around the Engineering Fair. Sometimes your life runs into a period where you have a definite focal point and everything else revolves around it. So this week seems to be with E-Fair. The course of life will take me away from this point on Thursday and towards something else equally overwhelming but undoubtedly equally as boring to the average diary reader. I’m just trying to record my life as it happens. We’ll see if what happens next facilitates my inner writer.

Amazon – 02.08.01

Thursday, February 8th, 2001

Quote of the Day:
“It seemed incredible that their very lives hinged on a carpooling conversation, but in life it is often the tiny details that end up being the most important.”
The Reptile Room, book two of A Series of Unfortunate Events

The week is almost over and I haven’t written a word for my diary. I am wondering if my readers think this is a bad thing or a good thing! I have been spending most of my time on schoolwork and that is never an interesting topic to write about. Let me just mention that I had three homework assignments due this week, and exam yesterday, and a lab report due today. I am exhausted. Too bad there is much work to be done on the AIAA windtunnel for the Engineering Fair next week and more assignments due next week so I don’t have a completely relaxing weekend on my hands.

My most recent obsession is amazon.com. Ever since I finished The Mists of Avalon I have been buying books like crazy. I have no idea when I am going to read all of these but I still visit the website at least once a day and it sure is fun to know my bookshelf is more than full. The quote of the day comes from a series I have been reading called A Series of Unfortunate Events. My favorite thing about these books is that one of the female characters, a fourteen year-old named Violet, is mechanically inclined. At least literature is acknowledging women in engineering now. The best part about looking for books online rather than in the store is having Amazon recommend others that are similar to ones you already own. This feature has been so much fun. I guess I just love to read so much that anything that helps me find more books more conveniently is a blessing – like the used bookstore! In the past two weeks I have read four books, but they were pretty short so that statement makes the accomplishment seem more impressive than it really is.

I should be working on my propulsion homework right now but I decided instead to write a little. Now that I am sitting here and thinking I can’t come up with anything else to say. Sometimes no matter how much time passes there is nothing interesting enough to tell anyone else about. So I resign to end this dialogue here with hopes that next time I get the urge to write there is a basis for this desire.

Employment and Exasperation – 02.01.01

Thursday, February 1st, 2001

Quote of the Day:
“Unidirectional bonding strip…” (Buzz Lightyear)
“Mr. Lightyear wants more tape!” (Robot)
“Toy Story”

I finally got my co-op offer from Boeing today. Yesterday I talked to the college recruiter and he gave me the number of a person to call but she called me today before I even thought to pick up the phone. Last year when I was offered my internship the lady though I was weird not to accept immediately but this year the lady was surprised when I didn’t need any time to decide that I wanted the job. The difference is that I have been expecting this call since November and a lot of things depend on where I am going to be spending the months of June to December. Now that I have the job wrapped up I can get my student status for the fall and housing situation for the spring taken care of. By the way, I got a raise from last year – $17.15 an hour! That’s only seventy-five cents more per hour but it will add up after seven months of employment. My only job worry now is that I might have to be in California on May 25. That’s the date the lady gave me when she called with the offer. I probably won’t be back in Tallahassee until May 4, after finals are over, and I think my dad and I are planning to take a two-week trip out there. That makes my time spent at home very short. I guess I’ll worry about that when the time comes.

The other thing on my mind right now isn’t that easy to write about. Not that it’s a really horrible thing but it is bothering me for several reasons. I don’t like to step on other people’s toes or annoy them with the things I do. Having a roommate for the past four years has taught me to be more easygoing and flexible with my habits. I try not to go to sleep too early and make my roommate turn out the lights. I try to be quiet when she is sleeping – no matter the time of day. I try not to talk too loud on the phone. I try to keep my side of the room clean and my stuff out of her space. With these attempts I have gotten along wonderfully with my last three roommates. Now the problems have moved from just my room to the entire suite. We have thin walls between the bedrooms and that is the major issue that has been causing us to get angry at each other lately.

My personal crisis concerns the amount of TV I watch. I’ll admit that I have the TV on a lot when I am home but I don’t think that’s such a big deal. Sometimes I feel guilty for sitting in front of the TV so much but I can’t figure out why. So now when someone tells me that they can hear everything that I watch it makes me feel horrible for bothering them and being such a couch potato. Actually, I don’t consider myself a true couch potato. First of all I don’t have a couch! Second, I always have something else to do when the TV is on. I have already mentioned once this week how I like to do my homework while watching TV so the very act of vegging out makes me more studious. Third, I love to read books so TV hasn’t made me ignorant of the benefits of literature. So why am I defending myself if I am the only one making accusations? I wish I didn’t like to watch TV so much and it makes me self-conscious that I do. That’s the bottom line. I either need to cut myself off completely or accept the TV junkie that I am. Wow. It’s amazing how much better you can feel after addressing your insecurities, even if you can only discuss them with your self.

Once you accept a job the offers just start pouring in! Someone else from Boeing just called me about a co-op position and I had the opportunity to tell him that I am already employed for the summer and fall as of today. Everyone wants me in their work force!