Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Conclusions and Ponderings

No, Synk, now it is over.

Having taken Dynamics several years ago, my concerns rested with with deadlines on or after the Thanksgiving break. However, death week was survived, finals completed, Dozer's graduation attended, and travel accomplished (by the way, Dozer, you can still write normal posts on this blog and not just comments). Now I can relax.

And now that school is done with for a while, I actually have time to think. And what else is there to think about besides politics?

Don't worry, I'm not going to discuss current politics; my thoughts started with musings on the kind of speeches I would give if I were running for president. First of all, I would write them myself. This would gain me big points already. Second, I would try to be as honest about my views as possible, which would make popularity difficult considering my conservative standing and opinion of the public (I would definitely try to sneak in something about how the masses are idiots just to see if I could get away with it). I wouldn't promise to do anything, but rather expound upon what I would like to see changed while explaining the constitutional limits on the President's powers as well as the possibility of unforeseen circumstances. I would try to get elected on the basis of a representative republic rather than a pure democracy, since that's how I would conduct business. Elect me based on my values, priorities, and character and then I will make decisions based on what I think would be best for the country, not necessarily what the country wants. Do you think people would listen long enough to understand? Perhaps this is where the part about the masses being idiots would come in.

After a while, my thoughts changed from aimless musings to considerations of logistics: Could I get elected? Should I? The later refers to the fact that I still have resolved in my own mind whether or not I am a pacifist. If I am, I seriously doubt I could be President. How could I order troops into battle to kill others when I am not willing to do so myself? Is it necessary to kill in order to preserve what is right? Does this change between a person and a government?

Assuming I got that straightened out, there is still the issue of how I would get support. Currently, I don't think I have enough notoriety or money to get a position with a political party. I'm not sure I'd want to, either. It seems that the major issue with political parties these days is that you need to have a lot of money and clout before you can even speak: not anyone can become President. What, then, could be an alternate route? The first thing I thought of was the internet; it was used to a great advantage in this last campaign, could it be used to support an entire campaign? The problem with the internet, though, is the fact that anyone can speak, and this includes a great number of imbeciles. Therefore, in order to be heard, you need to already have a name behind you. Even then, most of the people you will be speaking to are your supporters. Judging by the number of comments this blog receives, I'd have to do a lot of work to get a following on the internet (though by referencing this xkcd comic, I automatically win).

On the other hand, even though it isn't perfect, is there a better and viable alternative to the two-party system? There are a great number of popular bloggers I wouldn't want as President, third parties are easily crushed due to the current state of the electoral process and the media (good luck making that go away), and a no-party system would run into the same problems as people trying to be heard on the internet.

[Warning: topic change ahead]

Speaking of the internet and blogging, there is a trend I have been noticing. In the early days of the internet, the big thing was having your own web page. Here you would describe yourself and your hobbies and interests in a semi-permanent format. This developed into blogging, which, while still a form of personal expression, was a bit more fluid and was a record of the person's thoughts in a journal-type format. Then came Facebook and its Wall, where users post announcements of significant (or not) events in their lives as they happen. And now there is Twitter, a near constant stream of trivial (or not) details. In regard to information available to strangers, postings on the internet have become more and more fleeting and less and less deep. I say that Twitter has about a year or so until the next big thing. I wonder what that will be.

Oh, hey! I just got it! I'll kidnap the families of half of the electoral college, then I'll be a shoo-in for President.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

It's Over!

The all-consuming beast that is Dynamics project is finally slain!

Aside from this good news, the Powersuite placed first and second in the LeTourneau contest after a disqualification. I feel really bad for the team who was disqualified, but I am still pleased to have achieved such high rank among my peers. Playdoh's team ranked first in the class, and my team ranked second, and I believe that we were both pleased with this result.

Here are some pictures of the devices, with Playdoh's first.

Here is my device, and who is that handsome devil working on it?

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Invasion Continues

Due to lack of adequate time or funding, this month's blog title is totally unoriginal.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Gremlins Are Out Early This Year

And thus the Powersuite's invasion of the Partysuite begins...

Monday, August 31, 2009

A V8 In Every Pot

I am presently in a conundrum: which of these three cars is the best? Sound off in the comments below.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Ok, I finally have pictures from my various adventures.

I'll start with what I normally do on Saturdays: hiking in Monte Sano State Park. The pictures are from when my mom came down to visit several weeks ago. Incidentally, it was the hottest day of the summer.

Me atop a bluff:
The view from the top. The bluff looked down into a quarry with limestone excavation caves:
Me atop "Dry Falls":
The dry river:
Quite different from the hot, dry river bed that my mom and I hiked along was the cold and very wet white-water rafting trip that my company sponsored last Saturday.

General rafting (I'm in the front left seat of the raft, next to the guy in the orange shirt):
Class 5:Launching the raft:
"Riding the bull":
Staying up...:...Or not:

And, of course, my exhilarating skydiving trip. Unfortunately, in-air pictures were an extra $70, so I didn't get any of those. Instead, my boss had a friend on the ground taking pictures.

Joking with my instructor:Matt and I suited up:
The plane ride up (That's my leg; I was sitting right next to the door.):
Gliding down:The crew afterward:Skydive hair:

Oh, and one more thing...

Very Yes:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Adrenaline Junkie

Sooooo, these last two weekends have been rather exciting for me. In order to combat the slow days at work and the doldrums of living alone, I seem to have taken to extreme activities.

Last Saturday I went skydiving.


120 mph free-fall from 13,000 ft.

My boss suggested it, and I arranged a jump for him, me, and Matt Szelistowski (Former member of my Senior Design team who now also works at RMCI). Pretty much all the other guys at work were married or engaged, so their significant others wouldn't let them go. Since the three of us were relatively inexperienced, we did tandem dives with a dive instructor strapped to our backs who would release and controll the parachute.

On the plane ride up, Matt was quiet and somewhat pale, my boss was calmly conversing with his instructor, and my instructor and I were joking back and forth about who would hit the ground first if the chute didn't open. (I think that my coping mechanism for nervousness it to turn it into crazed anticipation.) I got a slight leg cramp when getting up to jump out, but it wasn't too bad and definately didn't interfere with the following experience.

The most exhilarating part of the jump was first coming out of the plane. The instructor counted down and jumped for you, after which you started falling. For a few seconds I was stunned by the sheer adrenaline shock. The track of my thoughts was somewhat along the line of:
"I'm falling!!! I'm falling!! Ok, wait, I'm supposed to be falling. This is insane!"
After I got used to the fact that I was plummeting toward the fields below, I laughed maniacally the rest of the free-fall. There were scattered cumulus clouds, and if I looked forward, I could see them whizzing past as we fell.

A little above 1,000 ft., the instructor deployed the parachute. Here I learned the funner points of parachute guidance. For example, if you pull the chute into a sharp turn, you will do donuts, with the chute in the center and you being flung in a circle like a sling. After a few such maneuvers, the instructor landed us safely on the ground. This is actually the part where the most injuries occur, because if you don't lift up your legs and slide in, you might break an ankle.

It was great fun.

Then yesterday was the company outing: whitewater rafting.

The location was a 10-mile stretch of the Ocoee River in Tennesee. It contained natural class 2, 3, and 4 rapids with a section of class 5 rapids that was constructed for the 1996 Olympics. (For reference, the rapids rating scale goes from 1-6, with 6 meaning the possibility of not surviving.) I was in one of the two front seats of the raft, which meant that I got the brunt of the rapids. There were even some class 3 rapids where I could sit up on the front of the raft, hold onto a piece of rope, and ride it like a bull as it bucked up and down in the waves.

No one fell out of our raft, but there was another raft with people from work that flipped, another one in the tour group that got stuck up on a rock, and one that got sucked down into a hydraulic (a water sinkhole). All but two of the people in that raft decided to bail out halfway down the river, after which the two survivors and the guide had an insane(ly fun) time spinning around and pulling crazy maneuvers through the remaining rapids. There were several times that our guide had us paddle back up into the rapids we had just passed, at which point we would get drenched as the raft got repeatedly dunked.

The whole experience was rather cold due to the skies being overcast and the water having a temperature of about 50 degrees. Several people were concerned that I would get hypothermia, but I was fine. All in all, it was very fun.

I would easily do both of these activities again, given the funds.

Pictures are pending.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Whistle in the Wastes

This hasn't been updated this month, so I thought I would relate what I was doing over summer break (if you want to read something interesting, check May's blog post). I am, once again, in school, taking classes through Taylor University's online program (motto: All the dry literature, none of the dry lectures). I decided that I hate Transcendentalism after sitting through both Emerson and Thoreau (respective mottos: I like thinking about things but never actually putting them into practice; I sat by a pond) and now I have to write a 7-10 page essay about a theme in a novel. As an engineer, this terrifies me.

But all of that is boring.

I went wakeboarding several times this month and got a sunburn that fell somewhere between "lobster" and "Mars" on the sunburn-redness scale. I finally learned how to jump on the wakeboard, and after a few more times may learn how not to break bones while jumping (I kid, I kid). There is an open invitation to learn how to wakeboard to anyone reading this, with the only caveat being that you have to come up to southern Wisconsin for the course.

Finally, I found Mystery Science Theatre 3000 this summer. If you would like a fairly representative sample, just click here. I would suggest it to anyone who has ever wanted to be a movie critic so they could mock a really bad movie.

Anyway, back to research.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Everyone I know goes away in the end

Ghillie, Frisbee, Expo, Blue, Matt Turner, John Martin, Gordon Strodel, Brad Boyce, Justin Rowe, Dan Wert, Tim Hutchens, John Tanner, Richard Godley, etc.

At first, this post was just going to be about all of my friends who graduated/left this year, especially since I did not graduate with the rest of my class and will be staying an extra year at LeTourneau. However, now that I have moved to Hunstville, AL for my internship and spent a week in my studio apartment, I realize that the other side of graduation produces similar feelings of lonliness. Not to the point of depression by any means, just nostalgic. In addition, I don't yet have a computer at work and I just internet in my apartment on Friday.
~~internet withdrawl~~
I really felt kind of isolated. It also didn't help that, as I kept spending money getting settled in, I wasn't able to check on the status of my bank accounts. And, without the distraction of internet flash games, I once again learned that there is nothing good on TV. EVER.

There was also some confusion getting moved into my apartment. When I arrived last Sunday, I found out that there was still some paper work to be completed before I could move in, and the soonest it could be completed was Monday. Fortunately, I was able to spend the night with somee guys from work and, since I wasn't officially supposed to start work until Tuesday, spent Monday running around collecting the necessary forms and was able to move in that evening. Since then, I have kept myself occupied by unpacking in stages and working on my various summer projects that I make for myself.

By the way, I have just completed the first of said projects: I have scrapped my old refridgerator with the broken door and removed the freezer unit. It still works, too. Unfortunately, since I do not have a camera here, I am unable to post pictures of the bare-pipes freezer or the freezer box carnage. I will also not be able to post pictures of any of my future projects, either. Oh, well.

As to work, since I don't have a computer yet, I have spent most of my time reading literature about how a helicopter flies and operates in various conditions. It's a lot of information to absorb, like taking a month of aerodynamics in a week. The guys at work a pretty cool, I even know a lot of them from LeTourneau: Nate Brower, Matt Szelistowski, Cameron Bostien (sp?), and Joshua Hasty are all there. Another third of the workforce is made up of engineering students from Bob Jones University, and most of the remaining third come from similar Christian schools. As such, we all have pretty much the same religious and political views.

I haven't beeen able to go up in a helicopter yet (I don't know when that will happen or if it even will. It depends what I'm working on), but I have seen several up close. These include the AH-64 Apache, UH-60 BlackHawk, CH-47 Chinook, and OH-58 Kiowa. I was even able to sit in the cockpit of the Chinook, but I wasn't allowed to touch any buttons.

Apache (Missile-laden death machine):

BlackHawk (Heavily armed troop transport):

Chinook (Can carry a ton. Or 15.):

Kiowa (Light fighter/scout):

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What is that thing?!?

I believe that my part with my digital project is almost done. And here are the pictures. Pity the person who coded all the VHDL so I could make that wiring. I just want to know how it will be received by the class.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"Infinite Vector Starlight Singularities"

Here in the Powersuite, PlayDoh and I are working on peer reviewing exegesis papers for our Historical Books class. Both of the papers we received to critique were written by elementary education majors, and they contain some rather humorous errors. Here are some of the funnier ones:

"Are you ready to dive in? Let's go."

"The events would be placed between the temple of constriction und Zerubbabel and the arrival of returnees to Jerusalem that is discussed in Ezra."

"When Mordecai heard of this he tore off his clothes to express the bittter grief he was going through."

"The fact that Moses was such a great leader is evident, which makes sense that the Israelites needed a new leader to take charge."

"After all, the Israelite 'nation' was fixing to become an army and 'conquer' the promised land."

Heh, heh. Good times.

Oh, and the title of this post comes from Touche. The term he was trying for was "singularity functions."

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Momentous Occasion

The fact that the Powersuite never sleeps is not new information for anyone who frequents the floor, but the occurrence of one member wishing another goodnight and having the reply be good morning is not an entirely common situation for anyone. However, when Play-Doh woke up at 4:00 AM on Friday morning, Grey was still up from Thursday night, making a full cycle from Thursday morning to Friday night not only a possibility, but an actuality. We are the pitiable creatures who never sleep. We are Engineers.


And a cool pic for your trouble

Now, the cool pic

Thursday, April 2, 2009

So it is down to you, and it is down to me (if you ignore the other two guys in the room)

As many avid readers may have noticed, this blog has not been updated by someone other than Grey for approximately one year. The last non-Grey person to post was Pebble, in late February early March last year. Well, no more, says I! This is to be an open forum for four people to post on; no more, no less. There should be an equal right for all the scourges of the power suite to post the blog. Freedom of the Press! Long live liberty! Or at least until I become dictator. Hehehe.

For your trouble, here is God coding the Universe.

I wonder what language that is...

Monday, March 9, 2009

Clorox Bomb

Saturday was Film Fest, and this year I finally entered something. It wasn't much, just a short commercial, but I think it came out really well (It also took a lot longer to edit than I expected). It can be found here:

Clorox Bomb

Unfortunately, even though we filmed and recorded in HD, YAC must have recompressed it or something and the quality came out terrible. The YouTube version is probably better. It didn't win any awards, either. Oh, well. I have ideas for next year.

However, the fact that I didn't win didn't stop me from having fun at the ceremony. Lately, YAC has been trying to make the whole thing more ritzy, and they've introduced a red carpet entrance. In the spirit of fun, they still tell people to be as extravagant as they want when dressing up, but I decided to take things a step further.

I had bodyguards.

And then I thought, what if those bodyguards were needed...?

Heh, heh, heh...

When our group entered, the triangle of "celebrities" was myself, Shutter, and Gauge (with date Christy). We were surrounded by our bodyguards Dozer, Beaker, Expo, Treads, and Hopps. After we had posed for a few seconds, Vici, dressed as a hippie and yelling something about the environment, broke trough the paparazzi and made a run for me. He was taken down by Dozer and Expo who dragged him out the back while the other bodyguards swiftly escorted us to our seats. It was great fun.

A video was taken of the whole affair and should be up soon. Further pictures are available on the 41 website.

The red carpet video is up now!

Vici meets bodyguards

Thursday, February 26, 2009

41st Post!!!!

The original purpose of this post was to let everyone know that I am feeling better now and that all of my tests came back normal. I'm really busy now, especially since I'm directing a skit that I wrote for Hootenanny and producing a movie for Film Fest.

That's all I was going to write until I noticed that this was going to be the 41st post of the Powersuite blog, which meant that I would have to post something special. So here is a clip of the always awesome Singing Tesla Coil, also known as the Zeusaphone:

Hmmm... it seems Blogger is not cooperating in showing the clip. So here's the link instead:


Interesting note: the primary on this Tesla Coil operates at 41kHz.

I'm hoping to build my own Zeusaphone (albeit a much smaller one) for E-Lab 3 by connecting the output of a keyboard to a power amplifier then through a flyback transformer. We'll see how that works out.

Friday, January 23, 2009

I'm not dead yet

But I may be working on it.

Since about the beginning of December, I've had a nagging cough. It started out as something little and mildly annoying, but over the course of the break joined forces with nasal congestion and got worse. I started coughing up phlegm. I've always had nasal problems at home, so I expected things to get better once I got back to LeTourneau. However, not only did the cough not go away, but I started getting really fatigued. This was something that I could not afford, so this last Tuesday I went to see a doctor. A chest x-ray showed that, while I didn't have an infection or pneumonia, my lungs were 10-15% filled with mucus. The doctor determined that, unless lab tests showed something deeper, this was due to sinus drainage and gave prescriptions for an antibiotic, an anti-allergenic, a steroid, and an emergency inhaler.

The medicines have been working pretty well. My cough is down, I can breathe more easily through my nose, and I haven't had to use the inhaler. Unfortunately, I have to take the medicine three times a day, and it causes dizziness and drowsiness. This has greatly reduced my productivity. I've told all my professors, and they seem to understand, and I've been able to grind out enough homework this week to stay mostly caught up, although my projects are starting to fall behind.

Yesterday, I was called back into the clinic for further lab tests, and I got a call from them this afternoon. It turns out that, while I don't have anything like mono, I do have elevated levels of bilirubin in my blood and they want me to come back for follow-up testing in two weeks. Having no idea what bilirubin was, I did some brief looking on the internet, and it turns out that it is a naturally occuring enzyme that is a result of the breakdown of red blood cells and is typically filtered out by the liver. There is a small portion of the population that has eleveted levels of bilirubin and are perfectly fine, or it could just mean I have a little harmless jaundice.


It could be a sign of clogged bile ducts in my liver, liver disease, pancreatic cancer, or even sickle cell anemia (I kinda doubt I have that one).

So I could be fine or I could not be, but I won't let it worry me until I'm told I actually have something. I may not even worry then.

On a lighter note, here is a picture of a fractal I've been working on. I originally described it using AutoCAD, but that was taking too long so I had Wharf write a program to generate it:

Friday, January 2, 2009


For some reason, everyone around here has been writing haiku (yes, that is the plural form) recently. Fjord started it when writing something for his birdwatching website, but it quickly spread to the rest of us. Although usually made extraordinarily boring by public school English classes, haiku can actually be quite fun. For those of you who don't know, a haiku is a for of Japanese poetry that follows the structure of:

[5 syllables]
[7 syllables]
[5 syllables]

Here are some that I've written about LeTourneau:

We all have no time
Dr. Kim speed - none can catch
Make sure wife can drive

Dr. Lee's Statics
T is now in the freezer
Because I say so

Dynamics first day
Dr. G walks into class
You've already failed

I haven't slept in three days
Still stuck in the Lab