Friday, October 28, 2011

Resume Update

I applied for an interview with Kittelson & Associates yesterday, and in preparation, updated my resume. One of my co-workers pointed out that previously, it looked like it had been designed in MS Word. It had. He suggested using Adobe InDesign and redoing it from scratch. I think the new version is an improvement. Thoughts?



Thursday, October 27, 2011

I'm Sorry, Murphy

I must have offended Murphy, because so far today everything has gone wrong.

It was all great yesterday. I spent 9 hours working on homework. I got my math homework done, my math project done, and a good start to my soils homework. I went to bed late, but I set two alarms to wake up at 8am, get to office hours at 8:30 for soils. I'd work through the rest of it there in case I needed help, get it done, then go to math at 10:30, turn in my homework and project. Finally I'd have work from noon to 5pm to do my souls lab report for next week.

Everything went fine up until this morning. First, I slept through both alarms. I woke up at 11ish, instead of 8. Missed the office hours completely, and when I woke up, math was half done. I got dressed and biked over to math class, which is about 10 minutes ride away. Got there at 11:25. (Class ends at 11:45). Then I realized, I didn't have my backpack. I checked my steps back to my bike and it wasn't there. So, I got back on and rode all the way back, made it in just over 5 minutes. Awesome, right? Well, I got to my room, and realized I didn't have my keys. But I had had them when I started the last bike ride. Which meant that they were lying on the ground somewhere between here and there.

I was undecided on what to find, backpack or keys. Since I was at Cary though, and the keys could be anywhere between it and math class, I went for the backpack. Luckily my suitemate was in his room and heard my knocking. He let me in and I grabbed my backpack. I then rode down back towards math class, looking for my keys.

Turns out, they'd slipped out of my pocket right in the middle of a bloody intersection. But, I finally got a break. No one had run over them (or my flashdrive attached is the most sturdy thing imaginable.) Either way they were unharmed. I rode back to math class, got there at 11:40. Turned in my homework at the end of class and got told that it was due at the beginning, but this one time she'd take it. Which is good, because if after all that she didn't and I got a zero on project 1, I may have just quit.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I'm working on a project for DiffyQ right now, that's included in this homework this week. During the class, we have 3 such projects. They consist of opening Matlab and writing programs to solve differential equations. Sounds fine.

The problem is that we haven't done anything with Matlab in 3 years, back in FYE. And this isn't basic Matlab, it's pretty complex stuff. That too would be fine, if they taught us how to do it. But, they don't. At all. It's not even mentioned once in class.

On the website with the assignments, there are a few tutorials. The problem is that they deal with different types of problems that what we have to do. Office hours are the only solution. But, my teacher has two office hours each week. One is in the middle of the day when I'm in class, and the second is from 6-7 pm at night, when I'm at work, which doesn't really help. Damn you School of Mathmatics of Purdue!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Extract of a Sermon from the Church of Murphy

Are you a good son or daughter of the Church of our lord, Murphy? You know that He is always watching, He sees everything and everyone, and His wrath is awesome. Tread carefully, lest ye bring it down upon you.

Murphy is above us, and around us. He is everywhere, and everywhere his influence is felt. Did you slip on a rock today? Or have your car break down? Did something that seemed the random chance happen to go the very worst possible way? Heed his warnings! For you have felt the presence of Murphy Himself. Take heed, and repent. Pray to Him, asking for forgiveness, and for mercy. For Murphy can be merciful if you are truly sincere.

Be grateful! For once, Murphy was not so kind. Back ages ago, when Raptor Jesus walked the Earth and did battle with our Lord, even the slightest of sins would see us cast from Him. He had no choice, for he was fighting for his Life against the evil one. But when Raptor Jesus was finally cast down, and Murphy gained His utter dominion of the Earth, life grew orderly. And those who are loyal are rewarded.

Let us pray.

Hear us, O Murphy, and heed our prayers. Stay far from us, and those we love. But take up our enemies in your close embrace. Deliver us from your touch, until the end of time. Amen.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Longest Nights

The thing I hate most about being sick is the nights. I always have trouble sleeping, mostly from having a clogged up nose. Tonight it's that as well as a really bad case of the chills. I'm under my big blanket, and I'm fully dressed with a jacket on. Plus (and my roommate might kill me when he wakes up sweating), I have the AC turned to full blast on full hot. And I'm still freezing.

In general though, I think the worst thing is actually not the physical problems, but a distinct sense of loneliness. It always happens when I get sick and I'm laying in bed awake. It's dark, everyone else is asleep, and I'm there alone. In that state of mind everything seems exaggerated. I do have very few friends, but they are all great ones. But during this time the only thing I can think about is how few they are, and how far away. I've been on dates here and there, been in a full on relationship. But during these times the only thing I can think about is how empty the bed is, how empty my received texts folder is, the zero calls I've gotten from someone so close I can share everything with them. My family is the greatest ever, my parents are both still married, they are paying for me to go to college. They love each other, and they are always doing things for me. But on these nights I only think about the rough parts. My dad yelling at my mom, my mom holding things in, times when I can see unhappiness peeking out.

These nights are terrible, and I'm glad this one is almost over, even if I am dead tired and feeling like crap. This one did start out better though. One of my best friends pushed me into getting Batman Arkham City, and I played it for a while while texting her back and forth about it, and a good time was had. Eventually she went to bed though, and so here I am.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mood Boosting Music

Browsing through Youtube last night, and found quite a few songs that were all of similar feel. Good mood music? Light electronica, good stuff. Playlist below, enjoy.


Goodbye Gaddafi

Okay, several things here. First, Gaddafi is dead. A lot of people are really looking into this, it seems be was beaten and killed after he was captured, which itself is bad. The ethical position here is that no matter his crimes, he shouldn't be tortured (kicked and punched in his case, there are worse tortures). Yet, my gut feeling is one of "hells yeah".

I've always believed in my more rational moments that no matter what, we don't torture back. Why? Because we're the good guys. That's what makes us different. Yet I can't seem to muster any sympathy for Gaddafi. He had a nasty decades long reign in which be committed a drastic number of crimes and abuses, and unlike Mubarak of Egypt, when the protests finally started, he didn't quit. He fought on and plunged the country into a full civil war, causing the deaths of so many more.

It's difficult for me to care. However, there's another reason that he should have been treated well, and that's not for his sake, but for the sake of the new leaders. They need credibility, they need public opinion. And even though abusing him helped appease the crowd right now, in the long run, treating him humanely would have done more good for their cause.

But they didn't, and it's done. Still, I won't be shedding any tears.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Well Shit ....

I got my grade back today for my 3rd exam. Soil mechanics, or in more colorful terms, geotechnical engineering. I got a 68%, which is a D. A high D, but a D nonetheless. The problem with this exam is that I didn't blow off studying. I studied for quite a while, I made up a cheat sheet. And even more frustrating, is that I knew how to do everything. 4 sections, 3 main problems and 1 misc section. I knew all 3 of the big parts, but knew I'd miss a few on the misc true/false questions, and I did.

The big point loss came though, from running out of time. 10 minutes more and that grade would have been an 88 easily, but I ran out of time and didn't finish the last problem. I also realized with 30 seconds left that I made a mistake in the beginning of said last problem. I went back and fixed it, and wrote out what I should have done. I didn't have time to redo all the calculations though, and I wrote that. I got zero partial credit. I find that harsh, but not unfair.

This is really sort of a blow to me, because the past few weeks have been really difficult. I went home for fall break to recharge and came back in a good mood, ready to take on the rest of the semester. And then this happens. And it happens on an exam where there was really nothing I could have done better in preparation. It's the kind of thing that makes me question whether I have what it takes to be an engineer, because this isn't supposed to be on of the hardre classes.

I walked out of class after looking at the graded exam, which was passed back at the beginning. I walked around for a while outside, and then came here. Frankly I want to curl up into a ball and sleep, because sleeping I get to start over with a new life, however temporary the dreams are. But I can't.

So I came to a computer lab, pulled out some engineering paper, and started working ahead on thermo homework. I've got a thermo exam next week, which is going to be rough. I got a 97% on the last one though, my only decent test score this semester. My plan then, is to focus my efforts for the rest of today on thermo. I'm going to study this entire weekend for this exam, and hopefully blow it's head off, because I need to reassure myself that I can.

And if I do fail this next exam, even after these weekend of extra studying and in a class I'm good at ... then I'll reassess whether this is the career choice I really want to be in, and if a change might be necessary.

Damn It's Late

It's 4:30 in the morning, and I have an exam in 6 hours. Yet I am awake. Why? Funny story ....

I was sleeping quite well when suddenly my stomach decided to explode on me. Not sure what happened inside, but it was painful and there may have been the followup to nausea. I've tried to lay back down, but every time my stomach again protests. So I popped open the computer and here I am.

I headed over to Classically Liberal and caught this video. Besides being thought provoking politically, it's also just enjoyable to watch because of how well it's done graphically.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lonely It Stands On the Hillside

Lonely it stands on the hillside, overlooking the bay.
The years untold have been kind as it has watched and waited.
Tall and strapping, it fears nothing, but that was not always the case.
Once it was short and weak, greener than the rawest recruit on the fields of death.
Of its brothers and sisters, none made it through that time, save itself.
Yet make it it did, and so lonely it stands on the hillside, overlooking the bay.

Tall wooden masts flow side to side as it watches, eternally on guard.
A sense of haste, man with fire, guns, war.
The valley changes, the bay grows filled with oars, yet still it stands.
Slowly its comrades fall, fueling an expansion they aren’t even a part of.
Yet somehow it survives; its perfect placement appealing to some quirk of aesthetics.
And all the while, tall wooden masts flow side to side as it watches, eternally on guard.

The years pass as it keeps its stoic watch.
The bay below transforms and transforms anew, each passing year bringing new motion.
Green and trees fight an ever losing battle with buildings and roads, reaching far as the eye can see.
Wood and stone turn to iron, iron turns to glass, and the city turns its eyes to the sky.
Striving ever higher, finally cresting even the great tree itself, far up the hill though it is.
And so the years pass, as it keeps its stoic watch.

Everything ends, in fire, screams, and death.
Mushrooms on the horizon, the people look up and run.
Walls of fire wipe across the earth, buildings crumble, damns break.
The metropolis below is wiped away as if in the blink of an eye.
Yet the tree endures. Tilted sideways from the blasts,
it watches as everything ends, in fire, screams, and death.

Lonely it stands on the hillside, overlooking the bay.
Time scours clean the rivers and the air.
Green slowly creeps down the valley walls,
obscuring the ruins of those foolish enough to think themselves masters of the universe.
Eventually no evidence remains, only green and brown, and scurrying of small feet returns to the valley,
as lonely it stands on the hillside, overlooking the bay.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Love These Things


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fall Break

I just got back from Fall Break, which was definitely needed. The past 3 weeks burned me out, with 3 exams, lots of labs and homework, and more importantly, the career fair. So, I went home and slept ... quite a bit. I did hang out with some friends back in my hometown though, which was nice. We had a cookout, and then we had lunch at a bar the next day. A bar! I went to a bar. Crazzzzy, I know.

Drove back this morning after getting a hair cut. We had an interesting drive, because there was a merge left sign, saying that the right lane would be ending in a few miles. I merged early, and I got steadily more annoyed as our lane slowed and the right lane kept going fast and passing us. They'd go up until the very end and then get over, slowing down my side. So after a few minutes, I pulled back into the right lane myself. And then I stopped.

Not really stopped entirely; I went the same speed as the car beside me in the left lane. I almost got rear ended, and the truck behind me did honk a bit, until he realized I wasn't moving. It slowed down the number of people merging up at the end, and as a result the left lane started actually moving.

The weird part though, happened at the end. We got to the merge point ... and it didn't merge. There was a traffic truck, on the side of the road, and that was it. Then we all sped back up. Not sure if it was a sadistic joke being played by INDOT, or if we got there right at the end as they were cleaning up. But my actions we based on the idea that there WAS a merge, and I'm glad I stopped the people of the right lane.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Efficiency vs Simplicity

For the Pre-Vet site that I recently finished, I used images because IE doesn't play with rounded corners. But I took the easy method and just made 9 images, one for each color, each image something like 700 by 500 px each. This made for simple coding. but it's terribly inefficient, because of how much bandwidth the images use. It's acceptable to me because simple is more important than efficient, since the person taking over after me has no web experience, and the person after her might not as well (the site being for a club with changing student webmasters).

However, in the future I may need to work with rounded corners on a site where bandwidth is important, and also where the box needs to be resizable. The method I'm thinking of would be a composite. Using an image for the inner and outer corner, and making the inside of the box resizable. Hopefully I can have the browser flip the image so I can use the same pair for all 4 corners.

I've got 4 hours left at work today, so this shall be my goal. Updates to follow.

Edit (3:47 pm): IE as usual sucks. My original goal was to use two images, one for the inner circle, and one for the outer. But IE can't use the transform:rotate css style. There's a special rotate, but when used, it turns all transparent pixels to black, which adds what appears to be a 1px thick black border around the image. So I had to rotate and make 4 copies of each image, which pushes the total image size from 6KB to 24 KB. This still blows 69KB (the previous number) out of the water though.

And the thing is, I could just put in two different CSS files, one for IE, and the other for all the rest. The rest can use border-radius, and so have 0KB. The ultimate!