2 08 2008

Sipping margaritas, playing horse shoes, listening to Kenny Chesney and hawks cry. Welcome to Pullman.


Hole in 6

26 07 2008

Great time at the beach. We took the dogs to Hug Point, and Ollie tried to dig his way to China, spraying Kathleen and Rachel with sand in the process. I climbed to the top of a rock by the surf, maybe 30 feet up; the water side was like barnacles stairs, do it was more impressive looking from the beach than it really is. Then I spidermanned across some sandstone to the other beach, careful most not to dunk my camera.

Everybody else got bored of the beach, so we went back to Seaside and played minigolf. There was a helicopter tour next door that took off every 10 minutes we were there, and at a minimum of $40 a pop, they probably light their cigars with benjamins. Then we went out to the beach and flew kites. The dragon flew well, but the delta went even higher, and the diamond hovered inches above the ground despite my best engineering insight. I tied the delta to a log because it didn’t need my attention, but it didn’t come close to my 4-hour kite aloft record.

The Beach Dielectric

24 07 2008

This is the first post I’ve written on the iPhone WordPress app, so I’ll see how of goes. I wish it turned sideways for the larger keyboard, but hey, it was free.

Today tests, a dielectric analysis of different thin film samples of polymer composite, take 15 minutes each, giving me plenty of time to advance in Aurora Feint. After I upgraded to 2.0, my iPhone starts up with the pineapple now, but I miss Puzzlemaniak, my old timedump. It’s just a matter of time before Cydia gets off it feet.

Bethy’s picking me up tonight, and we’re driving home to the TC for the night. Tomorrow we’ll get up bright and early to get to Seaside to meet the rest of the Kays. I went with them last year to the Oregon coast, all piled into a van, listening to the first half of the HP7 audiobook. This time, we’re meeting two more brothers their partners, and their kids, 13 people total. We’ll need a bigger bonfire to keep us all warm.

Walking Feedback

7 10 2007

Brian’s taller than I am, and he has a longer gait, so when we walk, I feel like I have to continuously catch up to him.  I get a little in front of him, and he sees me walking faster than he is, so he starts to speed up.  That forces me to speed up to catch up to him, but that only makes him go faster.  Our pace gets into a kind of feedback loop and we go faster and faster.  I guess I’ll just have to keep the pace at a comfy saunter, and if he takes off on his giraffe legs, I’ll see him later.

Bannan Retreat

6 10 2007

The Bannan Scholar retreat had all the makings of a very boring and restricted overnight school trip, but art thrives in its limitations, eh?  We headed out after class, and even though we had twelve people in the school van, we stayed on the complete opposite side of the HOV lane at all times, and in Seattle traffic, no less.  But when you get Science and Engineering students who each know one other person int he van, max, you get some pretty interesting (and always very nerdy) conversations.  I had no idea where we were going, but it turned out to be some Christian camp up north.  The group across from out cabins was a group of kids with matching red hats and a couple rifle bags and flag poles among them.  We never figured out if they were ROTC, a marching band, or some equally creepy group of uniformly matching kids.  They did get to play capture the flag while we did some ice breakers…. although they already knew everyone’s name, and we had no idea.  Being engineers and bio majors, one of our ice breakers was to use popsicle sticks and rubber bands to either protect an egg going down a ramp or to survive a spring scale between two tables, and not one team had a broken egg or a broken bridge before the extent of the spring scale.  Not a one.  The night ended with a campfire, an infuriating game, ghost stories, and embarrassing stories.

We planned some community service projects and club activities, and the ride back took half as long as the ride out there.  I got 10 pages into my newest book — one of the only nonfiction books I’ve ever read — “Collapse” by Jared Diamond.  The prologue hooked me, and I will now reference “Ozymandias” every chance I get.  It might even get used more than “hysteresis.”

The first day

26 09 2007

I’m back at school again, and it’s starting out as the best year so far.  I’m in a campus apartment that’s closer to my classes than last year’s dorm.  I’m living with the same roommate as last year; we managed not to kill each other in such cramped spaces, so let’s give it another year.  This is going to be my busiest year too.  This quarter I have four classes: Thermodynamics, Electrodynamic Field Theory, Fluid Mechanics, and Material Science. I’m also heading up the ASME bike project, I’m our chapter’s voting delegate at this year’s Tau Beta Pi national convention, and I  have the Bannan Scholar’s retreat next weekend.

Today was only the first day of class, and we’ve already done so much.  It was great to sleep in for a couple days; we went to Archie Mcphee while Brian almost got blood drained from the scar in his butt; then to Brian’s house to raid the pantry and forget everything on our list; and jumped off a dock in our skivvies.  We finally got plates and bowls today, although we don’t have silverware yet past plastic forks and steak knives.  If only we could get to Ikea…

And the fun doesn’t stop there: we still have to have a bonfire at Golden Gardens, see the Beatles laser show, go to Ivar’s at the end of Madison, head up Broadway to St. Mark’s, head farther up Broadway to visit Selma, see some shows at UW, go to the symphony, get a double feature at the Pacific Place AMC, Blue C Sushi in Fremont, climb the giant Lenin in Fremont, climb the troll in Fremont, see the Red Bull Soapbox Derby in Fremont.  Then there’s the question of where to go on my 21st.  Decisions, decisions.

DC: Skip the gluten

21 09 2007

On the way back from Hershey Park, we stopped in Baltimore for a celiac support group.  Rachel has celiac disease, which just means that when she eats gluten — a protein found in wheat, barley, oats, anything you would normally make bread and beer with — the villi in her intestines die and she can’t absorb nutrients.  So, you know, no big deal.  Technically, it’s an auto-immune disorder, so it’s not contagious.  To help spread the word, she got an internship at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, and she was just brought on as a full employee.  It’s tough to dine out without asking the waiters about every ingredient, which limits the menu almost entirely.  Some restaurants know what gluten is; some even have gluten-free menus; but most don’t have a clue.  At the support group, Rachel’s boss described her recipe book — all proceeds selflessly go to NFCA — and gave a viewing of the video podcast series that NFCA is making.

The following day, I was suckered into helping with the next podcast.  I mostly chopped onions and peppers and, due to being average height for a male but still taller than anyone there, I hung curtains to keep stray light out of the kitchen and out of the shot.  It was a lot of fun, and I got to meet all the people Rachel has talked about.  I also learned some secrets — is the oven really down there, or is it really ont he wall behind the camera? You never see it! — and more symptoms of celieac disease.  The founder of NFCA had several miscarriages  (because she couldn’t absorb nutrients, her baby didn’t get nutrients) and a veterinarian eventually diagnosed her before any people doctor did.  Rachel’s boss Vanessa, the one in the video, had persistent migraines than the most potent of medicines barely helped alleviate; early osteoporosis exacerbated mild carpal tunnel syndrome.  After a second blood test — the first was for diabetes, which the doctor had ordered by mistake, not being familiar with ‘celiac’ — she was diagnosed.  After getting off gluten, she hasn’t had a migraine since.  Some instances of ADD has been helped by staying away from gluten.  The symptoms are wide, so if you have any chronic pains or you get sick every time you eat, you might as well get checked.