packbat: Wearing my custom-made hat and a smirk. (hat)
For those of you who are not engineers: professional licensure in engineering is a four-step process - first, you obtain an engineering education (currently a Bachelor's degree, although I have heard a rumor that this will grow to a Master's in a decade or so); second, you take the eight-hour Fundamentals of Engineering exam to become an Engineer-In-Training; third, you obtain five years working experience in a position of responsibility; and fourth, you take the eight-hour Principles and Practice in Engineering exam to become a P.E.

The first I completed some time ago, and the second ... well, it will be approximately 120 days before I know, but I think I did well!

...and then I went home and slept like a log. (After checking the Interwebs, of course.) (:
packbat: Leaning on a chain-link fence, looking to my left (your right) with a neutral expression. (spectator)
Ah, the disorganized list. What greater bloggoriffic staple could there be?

  • Our house has a heat pump for both winter and summer ... and it's dead. Capacitor's blown, and wires of the condenser fused together. Whole new unit's needed, and won't arrive before, well:

    Joy to the world.
  • I got a lucky break (alluded to in the prior post) with respect to a presentation I am to deliver; I now have a fair bit of time to actually produce that which I must present.
  • The slide of the zipper on my leather jacket is brokened. However, the buttons on my blue slacks are fixted.
  • I would be interested in purchasing this tee-shirt, should it ever be for sale.
  • I am once again a TA for Heat Transfer Transfer Processes! (So called because the processes can transfer mass, as well ... and I have now taught you the entire mass-transfer curriculum of the course.) I come better equipped this time, as I have Asked A Professor For Advice On Running Discussion Sections. (Also, my student guide on the solution of nonlinear algebraic equations is much improved!)
  • Prof. Orzel gave a talk today on campus!
  • I reread The Moonstone (excellent! --although Ms. Clack danced a merry jig on one of my berserk buttons) and read for the first time World War Z, which my mom kindly lent me after I bought it for her (rollicking zombie fun!). I also read The Silent Tower by Barbara Hambly, and am now jonesing for the #2 in the series.

I fear I may pass out before finishing, s
packbat: Coming into the finish line after a mile race - the announcer can be seen behind me. (running)

What was your favorite subject in elementary or primary school? Does it have anything to do with your life now?

View other answers

As a homeschooled kid, "elementary or primary school" is a bit ill-defined, but at a guess ... mathematics, probably geometry and algebra.

Engineering is pretty math-heavy, I must admit.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

In recognition of United Nations World Teachers Day, let us reflect on the subjects we hated most in school but must now grudgingly admit were useful. What subject will today’s students find most useful when they’re older?

View other answers, the question has nothing to do with the setup.

Now, English was a pain in the butt, but I have to admit that it is extremely important.


Mar. 14th, 2008 11:11 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (one-quarter view)
  • Unfortunately, the turkey pot pi was somewhat underwhelming.
  • I'm thinking an external hard drive might be handy. LaCie is good, right? I should probably shop around a little.
  • I got XTC, Tom Petty, and Alanis Morissette CDs today!
  • Naturally, I am dismayed at Livejournal reaching new, untouched levels of idiocy by deleting the Basic Account option for new users. Like certain wise people (only with more laziness), I am honestly thinking about striking out on my own and just reading/reposting here. For the less lazy pessimistic, though: thanks to [ profile] conuly, a update with the proper RL contact info for complaining.
  • To the guy about the IF thing: it's still rattling around in my head - expect mail soon.
  • Anybody around here play Core War or interested in starting? (Bear in mind I'm still yak shaving - do you believe that OS 10.3.9 didn't come with GCC installed? - so I won't be sending any warriors up any hills yet.)
  • Looking at the stack of lab reports that need grading, it seems my panicking skills are fully intact. Also my procrastination skills.
  • It's quarter to midnight? Okay, I gotta go to bed - ciao!
  • (P.S. Does anyone know how to fix a flaky trackpad on an iBook G4? The button keeps sticking.)
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (chess)
  • The other prof of my class was absent this Tuesday-Wednesday, so I had to cover the whole two hours. Plus, I misread the homework assignment as being due Monday, not Monday a week1, so I thought I had to cover the entire thing, including the bits we haven't got to in class yet.

    Given that we bugged out half an hour early, I suspect I did not completely succeed. Discussion sections are the toughest audiences.

  • Picked up a bug somewhere that kicked in Thursday morning - sore throat, runny nose2, soreness of muscles ... well, no, actually that last is due to overstress on the "Lat Pulldown" machine at the school gym. Yay exercise!

  • Went to chess club last night after the gym, ran into a guy from my FEM class there. He talked me into playing blitz - 10 minutes per player - and then wiped the floor with me as soon as I slipped up and dropped a knight in both games. So it goes.

  • You see Friday's "Little Dee"? Panel four? So my brother.

  • This is the most absurd thing I've ever seen. (Well, today. So far.)

  • I'm seriously short of non-C items.

Well, that's mostly all. Cheers!

1. 2.8%, unless the missing "a" is highly significant3, in which case it might be as high as 11% or more. ^
2. I'd elaborate on the viscosity and color, but no-one wants to read that junk. ^
3. Or unless Irregular Webcomic readers are a nonrepresentative sample. Which, of course, they are. ^
4. Now with x% more meaninglessness, where x doesn't mean anything! ^
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (tired)
...I just finished Point Number One on my list. A PDF of three elementary heat transfer problems solved exactly, plus a long digression on root-finding algorithms that I wasn't actually qualified to write.

Dying now, kthxbai. *whump*

(P.S. I'm actually kinda proud of those five plots - the heat conduction equation turns out to be amenable to Fourier analysis, so I wrote some MATLAB code to calculate the first 200 frequencies and coefficients so I could determine the solution for any time t > 0.01 'seconds'.)

(P.P.S. Somehow I'm thinking I spent more than 20 hours this week on the class....)
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

What are your plans for this weekend?

View other answers

1. Type up solutions to example problems to send to the Heat Transfer class I'm a TA for.

2. Income taxes.

3. Homework (Finite Element Method class and Partial Differential Equations class).

4. Scan the micromechanics textbooks I borrowed to see if I want to do research in that direction.

5. Research the candidates for the primary on Tuesday.

Edit: Oh, and 6. Update the website for the UMD ASME chapter.

Yeah, this is going to be ... fun.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (chess)
Someone came to my office hours today!

As you may have guessed, the semester has begun again at UMCP - I'm only enrolled in two courses this time (the Finite Element Method class and the Partial Differential Equations class), and while I'm seeking a new advisor, I'm working as a T.A. for the Heat Transfer class. My duties: second half of Wednesday discussion, lab report grading, and six hours a week in one of the T.A. offices.

Although my visitor this morning isn't the only person I've helped as TA (although the rest were ASME lounge regulars – even, coincidentally, the fellow whose question I answered in class) and I made not a few rookie mistakes during the session (didn't have the student work problems herself, didn't give her enough of a chance to ask followup questions, only gave her Newton's method as a root-finding algorithm...), it's still pretty cool. Hey! This person came to talk to me!
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (tired)
Dear Self:

It's a sign error. It's always a sign error, when it's not a syntax error. F-ing put that minus sign there already so we can go home.

Your humble servant,
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)
This fall at UMD, I'm taking advantage of my 10-credit tuition remission/fourth year of the four year scholarship free registration to take another non-engineering course dear to my heart: PHIL282: Action and Responsibility. I mean, just read the catalog entry!
If what science tells us is true, that every event has a cause, can we still have free will? Does a horrible childhood mitigate a violent criminal's blameworthiness? Is anyone ever truly responsible for anything? This course deals with these problems in ethics, philosophy of mind, and metaphysics, covering such topics as personal agency, free will, and responsibility. The current version of the course will focus on theories of free will and responsibility, and the related phenomena of reactive emotions (like gratitude and guilt) and excuses (e.g., accidents and mistakes).

The required text for the course will be: Robert Kane, A Contemporary Introduction to Free Will (Oxford), possibly along with further readings containing highlights of contemporary debates over issues of responsibility.

Written requirements will include midterm and final exams, plus regular short writing assignments.

(Incidentally, I've started reading the book - it seems pretty good, and about as easily readable as philosophy can get.)

Now, most of you aren't taking the class. But it occurs to me it'd be interesting anyway to see. (And, after all, my stance could easily change over the semester.)

(Oh, if you're not sure, go ahead and be ambitious and say what you think. If I omitted your stance, of course, that's different.)

[Poll #1043677]

20% Cover

May. 1st, 2007 11:38 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Half-Face)
Methinks I have a wee bit of work ahead of me, but I liked the intermediate stage. Please forgive the poor photography – it's just sitting on my bed, here.

57.85 KB )
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Half-Face)
So, first color version of a possible cover:

I have chosen the title as well – "The Device", no relation to the album or the band – and a masthead:

As for what the contents will be ... I have no idea*. Suggest something?

* Not strictly true. The first installment of Jeffrey 'Channing' Wells's "Chicken And Stars" might well be featured prominently.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Green RZ)
Wednesday, after reminding us to put our 'Split Complement' pieces on the board in the hall for all to see, gave us our final problem for the semester, the culmination of all we had worked on before – designing the cover for a new magazine.

There were three main things we had to consider.
  • Subject. He recommended working an issue dear to our hearts, here.
  • Format. Does it have a closure? Vertical or horizontal? Regular binding, spiral binding, some other binding? Does it have to be rectangular? Etc.
  • Audience. Is this a mass circulation magazine a la Newsweek, or a 'boutique' magazine like 2600? (No, he didn't offer those examples.)

Anyway, I got an idea. You know how back in the 'pulp' days they had sci-fi on the shelves at drugstores?

Yes, exactly.

As far as decisions so far, I've come up with (a) it's going to be PG, non-SF-fandom friendly stories and essays, and (b) it's standard large format, like Sports Illustrated and Aboriginal Science Fiction.

So, the point of this post: I'm going to have to come up with some description-of-what's-inside text; does anyone want their name on the cover? (And if you have a story that fits the bill I can try to illustrate, still better.)

[Note: Will be away from computers for weekend, as laptop is dead and PC in dorm.]

House Tour

Mar. 27th, 2007 08:59 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (tired)
So, housing deadlines for next year are coming up, and I need to decide where to go – and so do my roommates. And one of them is seriously looking for a house. Today we looked at the one closest to campus.

Read more... )

So, is it a decent house? All we have heard of the landlord was highly positive (this certainly doesn't sound like a 'rent it to the college idiots so we can collect the insurance when they burn it down' type, although they are not local), and it is near campus. The current tenants are obviously less-than-ideal, which would explain the poor conditions prevailing at the time of the tour, and my prospective co-tenants are (mostly) straight-arrow guys. It is supposed to be wired for high-speed Internet, as well.

The other option, of course, is commuting from home – an hour trip ($1.85 off peak, $2.50 on, one way) taking the Metro. Or, if I'm lucky, staying on campus somewhere.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (challenge)
I haven't mentioned it here, but one of the classes I'm in this semester is ARTT100 – "Fundamentals of 2-D Design". The latest assignment centers around making a piece with a single letter in a square. This reminded the teacher of a story from when he was in his freshman art class, and his teacher was introducing a similar assignment.

Now, I want you to choose a letter. R, say, or Q, or P. And I want you to really get into that letter, the essential R-ness of the letter, or Q-ness, or....


Jun. 6th, 2006 07:45 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Half-Face)
In complete defiance of the terrible portents associated with the dread date of 06/06/06 (as well as the less-terrible association with the dread date of 1944/06/06), I proceeded out my front door today to meet with some acquaintances from my Intro to Drawing class for some friendly figure drawing. I decided to leave early — we were meeting at 4 and it usually takes less than an hour to get over there, so I left at 1:50 – thinking that I could drop off an erroneously-sent gift card at the office from which it came before we met. Having given myself an hour to spare, I made the meeting ... with ten minutes to spare. By both speedwalking and outright running while carrying a large Masonite board, a smaller-but-still-largish sketchbook, and a toolbox full of art supplies.

Ironically, I was the first to arrive.

Anyway, the group of us (in the end, only 4) soon appropriated an unoccupied studio. The models that ... well, I'll call him "Our Fearless Leader", for convenience of narrative &ndsah; he was the one who got everyone's emails at the end of the semester to set these things up. Anyway, the models that Our Fearless Leader had contacted about working for us all proved unavailable, so we merely rotated sitting up on the model stand, Our Fearless Leader once again taking the first move. I then went up second, and the third in our group (who, in keeping with the tone of this production, I will dub the Cute Asian Girl) followed me.

However, in the middle of the Cute Asian Girl's turn, an art teacher showed up, and revealed that an advanced drawing class was held in the room starting at 6:10, although she added that we needn't move, as they weren't using the model stand today. (We moved.) What she also informed us of, however, was that the class would be having a model in from 6:30 to (insert time here – I forgot) for her class starting next week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and that she had no objections to the presence of a few extra artists beyond those in her small class. We were all interested at this news; Our Fearless Leader has already stated that he plans to attend.

In any case, we moved, and the Cute Asian Girl finished her poses. At that point, we checked the time (6:15), and mutually decided to depart. The fourth member of the party, the Nice Blonde Girl, who lives in my general direction, offered me a ride home, which I gratefully accepted.

...and that's m'dad, showing up with takeout downstairs. Ciao!
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Half-Face)
When I saw the cue this week, my mind went immediately to the most recent portrait I have drawn – the self-portrait final project for my Intro to Drawing class.

The sketch )

In the actual scene, of course, there was stuff in the closet. Oh, and a bed, right in between the 'camera' and myself.

Strangely, my classmates thought the result was excellent.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (RZ Ambigram)
Ever wondered how to write a resumé? So have I! And now, thanks to three courses, two seminars, three critiques, and a number of long-forgotten websites, I can tell you!


A Brief Summary of the Resume Advice I Have Received )

So, that's the bulk of the advice I've gotten. Anyone else have suggestions?
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Half-Face)
The drawing class studio was ... disorderly is probably the word. There were the strange, rectangular frames stacked towards one wall (they looked like a modern art exhibit, but were probably some kind of stools), a strange miscellany of artifacts, mostly in unusable condition, littering another wall, and a sort of low, large table in the middle. My imagination suggested that the models might pose on that table when the time came for students to draw them.

One of the first things I tried to do, waiting in the room for class to start, was identify the purpose of the debris in the rear. My eye caught a skeleton - for anatomy lessons, perhaps, though it was broken. A tricycle, sans wheels, lay on its rusted frame several feet away, in the midst of another pile of things. I began to compose a sort of still-life in my head, of a broken skeleton (there was more than one, there may have been a skull I didn't see), lying as if it had fallen from driving the tricycle. It would be a post-apocalyptic scene, perhaps.

After a couple minutes of such contemplation, I decided to perch on one of the numerous round high stools in the room. They were those metal stools, four legs, a circular frame with wood in the middle, another circle acting as a support lower down. I was not even settled when another individual came in - one of those lucky, healthy people who could be thirty or could be fifty. A moment's exchange of words revealed him to be the professor. He advised me to sit in the other half of the room, telling me that he would be speaking from that end. I did so, grabbing for myself a chair with a hard back.

As I sat there, deciding whether to occupy myself with a few moments' drawing or with the reading of more online fiction, the teacher began to arrange the tables and easels for the class. Observing my laptop, he asked me how to connect to the local wireless internet - I answered in a somewhat muddled fashion, but told him what I thought he would need to know. Soon after, he suggested I review the handouts he had spread out before class, and moved on to arrange something else.

There were four handouts, neatly stacked. In a moment, I had gathered a copy of each, and returned to my stool. I was amused to see that the inventory of items I had found for the other drawing section did not apply. Reading through the others (skimming, rather) told me little that was unexpected, and less that I remember, although I was amused to see "John Cage" attributed as author of one of them.

That reading complete, I found myself again dithering over the two options, sketchbook or laptop. In the end, I found myself needing neither - the ten minutes I had to spend vanished well before I reached an conclusion. I grabbed my notebook for the class, and was ready when the teacher began.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)
Hey, [ profile] nanakikun? Have you tried the Kung Pao Chicken at the Panda Express? I think you might like it.

In unrelated unquestionably related news, my tongue feels like it's making atmospheric reentry at Mach 10 without a heat shield. Ow.

Edit: Tongue, not tounge. Thank's ^z!


Dec. 2nd, 2005 01:36 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Half-Face)
Quick question: You're me. You're walking back from playing not-DDR at the campus video arcade, when you see a few pieces of paper flip by, being carried by a gust of wind. What do you do?

Why, you pick them up. You pick them all up, or as close as you can get, and deliver them to the person who lost them.

Technically, I didn't get them all, of course. Some of them probably blew far enough that I couldn't get to them, some of them probably blew in the direction I didn't explore, and some of them blew into some of those odd trenches in front of or behind buildings which serve to let light in the lower-floor classroom windows. Actually, I did retrieve some of these last papers, including three which required me to climb an eight-foot high concrete step to reach, and I did get the papers in the bushes around campus. Also, three people helped me; two gathered a few pages for me, and a third looked up the address of the professor who lost them while I was fetching the ones on top of that step. But I was the one who did most of the work.

The professor will probably just throw them away and print the files out again, of course. But it was fun, nevertheless.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Green RZ)
The big campus Stuff-You-Can-Do-On-Or-Near-Campus 'fair' was yesterday and today, and I just found out about a creative writing club there. The little handout is relatively sparse, but it appears that they do regular poetry and writing workshops throughout the semester on Monday and Wednesday nights. I missed the first meetings of the semester, but I probably can attend the Wednesday meetings if I get my act together with my homework.

This will be good. The 'eleventh' interest which didn't appear in the interests meme below was 'writing', and regular workshops like this would be a great incentive to write both poetry and fiction. Hopefully they'll send an email out with info on how to sign up, although I'm not sure I should submit anything for review the first time. I hope this will be fun.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Half-Face)
One of my teachers this semester is working on a long-term project which, among other things, studies the way water boils in zero gravity.

The technical details )

I like this research a lot. I guess it's partially because zero-g is always cool, thanks to science fiction, but it's also because I like stories about the mechanics of phenomena, and this one's a good story.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)
My first day of class has gone quite well. There were many familiar faces in my classes, which is a fine thing, and there were no obvious disasters. However, when I went to get my last textbook (excepting the two textbooks that weren't on the list at all) I found that none of the three campus bookstores had it. Disappointing.

However, after ascertaining this, I ditched my pack in my room, picked up my umbrella and three CDs I didn't like, and went shopping. After a brief stop for dental floss, I went to the CD/Game Exchange, and handed over the three discs. Then I went to browse the shelves as one of the clerks calculated the exchange value of the discs.

There were several likely-looking albums in the $2.50 and $5.00 sections of "Rock" – I finally decided to just pick up Eurythmics Sweet Dreams are Made of This. I would have gotten a second $5 disc, but an especially cool song came up on the muzak in the store, some song I never heard of, and I caved and bought that album.

I'm listening to it now: The Strokes, Room On Fire. It's pretty good; I think it's prog rock, like Brian Eno, but I'll probably check online.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Half-Face)
Everything is going fine here in my new dorm. My mom generously came over and gave me a ride to acquire a PC computer (as opposed to the Macintoshes I currently use) so that I might install any needed software for the semester. I still lack a monitor and a power cord, however. She also gave me a ride to a Staples for some printer paper and other necessities, and I got myself some inexpensive black cherry soda at a nearby supermarket.

In the meantime, I've begun to form an acquaintance with a few of the others in my suite. In fact, I have played several games of cards with one of my neighbors, and I have chatted awhile with my roommate as we got dinner at the dining hall. The other three residents of my suite I have met, but not engaged in any prolonged conversations with (although I provided minor assistance to one of them in setting up his X-Box on the network).

Other than that? Now that both my roomie and I have all the necessary cords plugged in, I've moved my dresser back against the wall and set my paintings up in an attractive manner. Also, [ profile] nanakikun was generous enough to IM me Myst III: Exile (all 3GB!), and I have installed it on my lappy here.

Oh, and classes start tomorrow.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)
All has gone quite well. I woke at 6, showered, fetched the paper for Mom, and we got out and to the campus right on time for the 8 a.m. check-in. After transferring my stuff into my room, we returned to the storage locker for most of the rest of my stuff, and went home for the last bit. We got everything in the room by 11, and in the three hours since then I've set up the voicemail, set up the computers, put away my clothes, made my bed, and most of the other little things I needed to accomplish. Also, I ate a burrito for lunch.

Right now, I'm heading off to check my mailbox. Ta!
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)
Today, I went to the National Air and Space Museum with one of my Scout friends. It's in a new building now – it used to be downtown, near the Mall, but it's out near Dulles now. There were four of us there: me and my friend plus his father and his friend. We split into two pairs to explore the exhibits.

The museum was as fun as it was last time, back in DC. It looks more like a hangar now, which is a good change, and I think it may be larger. However, the cafeteria, which wasn't particularly good in the first place, has now been reduced to a glorified McDonald's. Fortunately that's not what we came for.

A few memories I have of exhibits there:

  • A Langley flier. Famous as one of the last near-misses in the quest for heavier-than-air flight. Looking at it, our guesses were that poor wing and propeller design (the former only one curved sheet, the latter hardly curved at all) were the causes of failure. Of course, we know nothing about aerodynamics, so make your own judgment.
  • The Enola Gay was there. B-29 Superfortress, if I recall correctly; it was mostly unpainted.
  • There were several interesting helicopters and ... autorotors? I don't remember what the prop-planes-with-heli-rotors-on-top are called. Especially notable in that corner were the helicopter with two rotors whose circles intersected, and the helicopter with apparently only one rotor and no tail rotor. I wasn't sure how it kept from spinning – my friend had suggestions, but they didn't sound plausible to me.
  • There was an entire section of airplane engines as well, most of them for prop planes. Standing in front of one pair of engines, we spent a couple minutes trying to identify which corresponded to which sign, since both were 4-cylinder inline with the same displacement. I finally identified the bolt sockets on one from the blurry picture of a plane containing it before my friend noticed that the stands were marked with the names.
  • There was an entire case of prototype spacesuit designs which the Apollo program never got to use. The sign advertised that some were 'hard' suits, with higher internal pressure (convenient for reducing difficulties with the bends) and constant volume (making them possibly easier to move in). The sign also said they were working on them for use on the Mars mission.
  • There was also an android which NASA used to test the suits.
  • Last of all: There was the model of the 'mother ship' from Close Encounters of the Third Kind on exhibit. The sign pointed out that the animators, perhaps in their boredom, attached many joke items to the hull of the model, including an R2D2, a mailbox, a cemetery, a pair of airplanes, and many other things. My friend and I found most of the items they listed on the sign, with the exceptions of the VW bus (which a stranger pointed out), the mailbox, and the submarine. We never did find the latter two, but we found a couple other modeled items instead, including a door (like the door of a house, one of those four-pane jobs) and a 55-gallon drum (also known as a 44-gallon drum if you're British not American not from the US).

After returning from the museum, I got together materials for the dorm room at school and packed them in my mother's car. We then drove to the storage locker, where we picked up several more items for my dorm room at school, and repacked the car to contain them all. It looks like we can get just about everything in just two trips.

"Just about everything" will include my dorm fridge, my desktop computer, my DVDs, my clothes, my laundry detergent, my shower stuff, my other bathroom stuff, my bookcase, my textbooks, my notebooks, piles of mass-market paperback novels (mostly sci-fi), and other sundries. It will not include the paintings I got at the Prevention of Blindness thrift store a few weeks back. Since I probably won't get to hang them, I'll have to arrange to lean them against things, and in the meantime they shouldn't be in the room.

And since I will have to get up at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow, I shouldn't stay up typing. Adios!
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Half-Face)
Just a fast set of bullet points:

  • Return to the dorms is Sunday, August 28 – three days from now. Check-in starts 8:00 a.m., so I will plan to arrive early.
  • I just finished reading the fourth (and probably last) book in the Hyperion series. They were all excellent.
  • ^z just forwarded me a link to a blog entry about "local names" (like in computer code), and suggested that a format for such entities might be valuable in my hypothetical 'trade language' conlang. I agree; hence, this note.
  • [ profile] nanakikun got me cool Dominic Deegan merchandise while he was at Otakon. I am deeply in his debt. I am also wearing the shirt he got me.

That's all for now – it's late, and my bed calls. G'night!
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Half-Face)
There are three places to acquire textbooks at my university – the Store The School Owns (Store One, for convenience), the Store The School Doesn't Own But It Sends All The Freshmen To Visit During Orientation (Store Two), and the Store That Always Puts Buckets Of Advertising Cards In Classrooms Near The Beginning And The End Of The Semester (Store Three).

Store One and Store Two both get their class book lists directly from the school, and therefore always have the right editions of the textbooks. This is a good thing, naturally. Store Three does not guarantee editions, nor accept returns, but it is cheap.

Naturally, I went to Store Three. Because it's cheap.

Incidentally, Store Three is right down the street from a bagel shop, and said bagel shop had a deal on two tubs of cream cheese (any flavor! Including lox!) and 13 bagels, $10.99 plus tax. So we have bagels, as well as books. And that is nice indeed.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
So, as promised, "What I Did Last Summer Yesterday".

Yesterday was dedicated to my job search. The first thing I did was to go to my school website, and there I found that I needed to attend a little workshop so I could get jobs through their system. I also found that one was scheduled that afternoon.

So I went.

While I was there, I also picked up my final exam from my Materials class. Esp. thanks to the extra credit, I did very well.

More importantly, though, I got a bunch of really good advice about my resume, and so I rewrote it significantly. I uploaded it to the site today, so everything's good.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
I saw the second one awhile ago on [ profile] nanakikun's LJ, and when I Googled for it, I found the first one. The first one ran rather slowly, so keep that in mind if you try it.

Cut for meme-ness )

Oh, and I finished finals today, and moved out of the dorm. But that's incidental.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
I'm leaving this dorm (for probably the last time) tomorrow morning. Right now? I'm eager to go.

I admit that I enjoyed dorm life this semester. I'm living in an honors dorm, which is nice. I made a number of friends, people with whom I could chat, play pool, and do homework. I played a lot of N64 with my roommate and the guy across the hall, for example. I'd say that from when I get up in the morning until 10 PM every day, this dorm is a fine place to live.

Please note that it is after 10 PM.

I am appalled at the behavior of many of my floormates. Not by the behavior of those I know – as I said, I made friends with a number of them, and found them to be fine people. No, the ones I'm thinking of are a few others whose names I don't know, and whose faces are barely familiar. I'm sure it's only a few. The damage they do, however, is far more than their share.

I don't remember every event. They only occur intermittently, they vary in intensity. But right now, the bulletin board for this half of the floor is in pieces on the floor. There is water (or something else) spilled all over and around it, making a slipping hazard. One of the trash cans has been dumped, further down the hall. The faceplate of the water fountain is gone. The plastic cover for the paper towel dispenser is busted. There's the partly-burt remains of something in the sink, and I'm not even sure what. All of this happened within the last three hours.

I have heard no remorse expressed by any of those responsible. We got a warning letter from the dean, and I've seen no change. We even had an obligatory floor meeting, solely for the purpose of discussing this.

These are honors students.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
In line with my original plan, I have now packed the tea equipment. Ironically, I have also almost-emptied the dresser, as well as the bookshelf; there were a number of envelope/receipts/bank statements in there, as well as a surprisingly large number of plastic bags.

Right now, the bookshelf has been folded and put in one of the 'buckets' that the school provides, along with everything else. Now I just need to wait for Mom to arrive so I can bring it all out.


Oh, by the way, don't use that "Fun-Tac" stuff (or whatever it's called; it's like Silly Putty, only sticky). It ruins your posters. Makes oily marks, doesn't come off easily, and all that.


*starts humming tunelessly*

packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Curiously, it has turned out that the volume capacity of the Mini was far greater than previously estimated. As a result, all the Tuesday items managed to 'ship' in one load. Thus, I box and bag some more, getting ready for 'tomorrow' (hey, I haven't gone to bed yet!).

Note the following modifications to the Wednesday list:
  • Typo: Dresser => Bookshelf (dressers already mostly-empty)
  • The printer is no longer an exception in the 'everything on my desk' section.
  • The tea stuff is not yet packed – it may be packed in the morning.

Laundry will be dropped – the bedsheets will need washing anyway, and the net volume change is small in comparison. Fridge will go out as soon as practicable, possibly 'tomorrow'.

Also, many of the boxes/bags that will not be needed will have to be packed as well.


May. 16th, 2005 09:00 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
As my dearest mother has reminded me, I must leave the dorms Saturday. In fact, I must leave the dorms before Saturday, as Saturday is the last day, and the traffic on Saturday will be horrific. Thus, I must leave the dorm Friday.

Now, the dorm contains many objects. Several of these (the desks, the dressers, the beds, etc.) were supplied by the school, and therefore must remain in the dorm. The rest has to go. And much of the rest has to go before Friday, since the volume of the dorm room is far greater than the volume of the hatchback.

To achieve this task with any degree of efficiency, I must be methodical. Not being naturally inclined in that direction, I shall attempt to fake it for the next four days. And the first thing required for fake methodicalness (remarkably, this is an official in-the-dictionary English word, but I digress) is —

The List.


  • In the first carload shall be (at the minimum) the following items.
    • A stack of textbooks, notebooks, handouts, essays, exams, and other paraphernalia, leftover from last semester.
    • An under-the-bed storage box, containing two boxes of Ziplock bags, a box of small trash bags, and an assortment of toiletries, software boxes, and school supplies emptied out of my closet.
    • A box, containing an iMac, all the cords, and a couple towels.
    • A faux-leather tote bag, containing my important papers, some notebooks, and a large sketchbook.

  • In the second carload will likely be several of these items.
    • The clothes currently hanging in my closet, the hangers, and those clothes from my drawers that I do not require for the remainder of the week. Est. volume: one large laundry bag (from bottom drawer in dresser).
    • The stuff in the bottom of the closet: bags of sheet music, sleeping bag, mattress pad, and whatever else I find there, except the poster tubes and one spare pair of shoes. Est. volume: the two bags, and two Peapod bags (one with stuff sticking out the top).
    • The soy mayonnaise and half-block of sliced American cheese, from the fridge.

  • The fridge will be unplugged and opened after this step. It needs to be room temperature, clean, and dry in time to be removed later.


  • Conquer the dressers. All books not required for the last two exams will be bagged, all nonbook materials except the flashlight and basic first aid materials will be bagged. The flashlight and basic first aid materials (as well as the books not already bagged) will move approximately four feet to the right, and two feet up; this will place them on the dresser, leaving the bookcase empty.
  • All (by which I mean, all my) posters will be stripped from the walls and placed in poster tubes (or a single poster tube, if practical).
  • The excess materials on the drawer and the desk will be packed. This includes:
    • The books currently on the dresser.
    • The tea-making materials on my desk.
    • The speakers on my desk.
    • Everything else on my desk, except the printer, the phone, and the laptop (if applicable). This includes the broken desk lamp upon which I hang my keyring-lanyard. Said broken desk lamp may be discarded, rather than packed.


  • Will do the laundry after the morning final. Then all laundry, all laundry equipment, and the spare pair of shoes will be packed.
  • If possible, the fridge will be removed as well. Two days should be sufficient for cleaning/removal.


  • Everything not already packed and removed will be stuffed into backpacks, except Thursday's clothes, the bed linens, and the bucket with the remaining toiletries and the shampoo. Thursday's clothes and the bed linens will be bundled for carrying back home; the bucket will be carried separately, or have the clothes and linens stuffed in it for convenience. Said linens probably won't fit, however, and will have to be carried separately.

Plan to be altered as needed, of course.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Sorry I missed yesterday. I had a paper to finish revisions on and email in, and my section of another paper to complete and email to my group leader. I completed both, however, and I finished a final exam this morning as well.

To make up for the delay, I shall bore you out of your skull with blathering tell you about microelectromechanical sensor devices.

And if you didn't understand micro-electro-mechanical, you really will be bored )

Now that my diaristic obligations have been fulfilled, I shall nap. Or try to nap. Or just lie in bed for half an hour. Yeah.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
I want to be an editor of a scientific magazine.

Okay, that was really random. I'm need to explain myself.

As you may (or may not) have gathered, I am a engineering student at the University of Maryland. A mechanical engineering sorta-junior, to be more specific. And I'm a very good engineering student.

But ... I'm not really sure if I enjoy engineering, per se.

I have a stack of homework to do right now. When I got out my books to set them on the table, I could feel my good mood fading. All that math and all that physics and all that work ... ugh. I don't want to be doing that all my life, even if I know that homework problems are vastly different from the problems I'd face working in a job.

Then I was thinking about computers, and I began wondering how much I really enjoyed writing code. I mean, sure, I was the MATLAB hacker in my Fluid Dynamics group (wait, are we meeting tonight? Oh no!), but I was pretty frustrated, debugging that code.

Then I thought of writing. And that maybe I liked writing. Sure, I've been griping about the papers for my honors class, but those were academic papers. Philosophical academic papers. Whereas these journal posts, I'm enjoying these, I think.

That's where I got the idea. And I know I'm a competent team leader (thank you, Boy Scouts of America!), so maybe I could pull that off. The typographical errors thing might be troublesome, but there are separate proofreaders, right?

Okay, so it wasn't well thought out. But it's something I should think about. I suppose I'll think about it some more after I've finished that one page on MEMS sensor devices for that other class (which I haven't even started researching yet, excuse me, I think I need to panic, thank you).

Well, in any case, Happy Mother's Day.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
I have very little to say today. Been working on the fluids project – MATLAB gave me a lot of trouble, but I managed to bludgeon the code into shape for the simulation. Still not being very productive, what with stalling on finishing readings, etc. Had a phone long conversation with my brother.

Interesting thing about me: I have a hard time maintaining long conversations on the phone. I don't know why. Maybe I just have a hard time concentrating without something to look at. Maybe people talking on the phone talk differently than in person. Maybe it's the subject matter. I don't know.

Other news? I guess I bought some songs on iTunes with some of those Pepsi bottlecaps. That was probably yesterday, but still. I bought "Back on the Chain Gang" by the Pretenders, and "The Queen and the Soldier" and "No Cheap Thrill" from Suzanne Vega. Oddly enough, my main motivation for seeking out more Suzanne Vega was a positive mention of her music on someone's LJ. I don't even remember whose.

I should get ready for bed. And read some of the reading for class, tomorrow. And build a time machine so I can hop back a day and do all my homework for the week without missing updates on peoples' LJs or webcomics. Also, I need to remember that backpack of stuff I wanted my brother to take home for me.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Wait, when did I leave the dorm? Ans.: Yesterday, after making the previous post.

Err, Friday, after making the previous post. Yeah. Just ignore that little chronological glitch, please.

In any case, my situation then with my book has been resolved in the most favorable manner possible. That is, I checked a copy out of the library. Now I just need to call the Borders to tell them I don't need it. And call the dentist, because I missed my appointment. And visit the Honors office to ask bout my scholarship, because I could really use that book allowance.

Naturally, I will be using my 3-hour break between classes tomorrow for DDR, instead.

Now, I need to finish my 'lab report' for my Electronics class.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Wow, I've missed almost a whole week on this.

In recent personal news, I'm coming up on the end of the semester in my classes. My last midterm was today (many of my classes had more than one), and I only have a few more homework assignments before finals. Summer is at hand!

In more recent news, I'm recovering from a bit of a bad cold. Well, maybe it's not a cold, but it is illness; an elevated temperature, a runny nose, and an intermittent cough. I think it's past it's peak, though, so I should be better soon.

In even more recent news, I just ate a sugar cookie. It was pretty good, especially by college dining hall standards.

That's all for now. Maybe more later.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)
If I was smart, I would have finished my materials homework and my part of my materials lab days ago.

If I was even barely smart, I would have skipped reading all my blogs and comics, and finished those assignments earlier today.

I need to get off this computer. Seriously.


Apr. 1st, 2005 01:21 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
I notice that I have a much easier time writing for fun than for school.


Well, duh!

*returns to writing*
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
I'm a morning person.

As far as I can tell, this is an unusual thing. This isn't to say that I've done studies or anything - I haven't. All I know is that I haven't heard many people say that they like mornings, and I have heard many people say that they hate mornings, waking up, early classes, and so forth. That is not to say that I like early classes - I don't - but merely that I like mornings and waking up.

On the flip side of this, however, is the fact that I don't like staying up late. In fact, given the opportunity and the means, I'll gladly hit the sack at 9 PM. When I have been awake all day, I get tired and cranky. I am lucky in that my normally-ebullient nature can compensate for this, but I still would rather get to bed early.

Unfortunately, I have a paper I need to work on, and I live in a dorm where lights-out is typically 12:00 AM. Worse, I seem to be depressingly stupid this evening, when it comes to starting the essay. Or even starting the outline. I only have one other assignment ... curses, two other projects (but one of them is tiny) to complete before Monday, however, so I guess I have time.

Still, it's not fun being a morning person when it's evening. I should finish my stuff so I can go to bed.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Right now, I have a 3-4 page philosophy paper due Friday, I have a (fairly short) electrical engineering homework assignment due tomorrow, I have an electrical engineering lab project due next Monday, and I have a group project (that hasn't been really started yet) due Friday.

Oh, and I need to type up my notes for one of my classes and send it to the teacher. He's organizing a class set of notes for us.

My plan? Brainstorm and outline the paper over the next hour or so, meet my group at nine to divide responsibility for the project, check to see if I can run the lab project in the computer lab as soon as the meeting's done, and finish the electrical engineering homework after that.

Suddenly, an intimidating load has turned into a manageable one.

Let's rock.


packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

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