October Sky (Pictures)

I’m alive! Barely, but alive, I promise. And I posted before LesleyT, so I win at life, despite still being traumatized by yesterday’s Orbit Mechanics test.

My life in a sentence: Work work sleep eat work work class class eat work work work work frisbee shower eat work work want to go to bed but just remembered that I had some other work work. Yeah.

Some cool things that managed to happen:

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Quotes from the Dark Side (aka Grad School)

My math prof on algorithms: “… switch off the thinking part of your brain … [because] … you see an algorithm – you start thinking about it – [and] you become emotionally involved.” (He emphasized the part in italics.)

Professor: “How is your semester going?”
Me: “It’s going all right – I’m looking for a research advisor.”
Professor: “What are you interested in?”
Me: *goes into semi-exhaustive detail*
Professor: “Aggghhhh funding!”
Me: “But I don’t have to be paid this year because I have a TAship.”
Professor: *fails to take the hint* “Ah … well … good luck!”

Me: “So … I’m looking for a thesis topic and advisor.”
Professors: “It’s okay, you have a TAship this year – you don’t have to worry.”
Grad Students: “Get one ASAP or you’ll be here forever!!!!!! Like me!”

Girl walking past me talking on phone: “I’m a science major in an engineering class for engineers, and I don’t know how to do the first problem set even though it’s been explained to me three times, and I WANT TO SHOOT MYSELF.” (Sheesh, chill out. It’s only the second week of class.)

Me: “In my rocket propulsion class, the grad students get to earn their keep by coordinating the rocket launch project.”
Peter: “How is that punishment?”
Me: *smirks slightly* “Exactly.”

I give you …

Purdue University, presented by TxDOT, OkDOT, Hank the cowdog, MoDOT, Bass Pro Shops, LBJ’s Andrew Jackson Expansion Memorial (aka the Gateway Arch), IlDOT, construction, Neil Armstrong, Home Depot, tornados, and the letter R (reserved).

Some pictures:

Springfield, MO: Bass Pro Shops - the largest one in the world and the only game in town

Springfield, MO: Bass Pro Shops - the largest one in the world and the only game in town

St. Louis Science Center: I want one of these in my room. Talk about an aid to procrastination!

St. Louis Science Center: I want one of these in my room. Talk about an aid to procrastination!

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A Definition of Engineering

In two days, I will finally have the right to place “B.S Mechanical Engineering” after my name. (I won’t be holding a diploma with that title for several more weeks, however – the cardboard tubes they’ll give us during Commencement will have a noticeable lack of diploma.) Over the past four years, my concept of engineering has definitely changed.

I think my original idea of what an engineer did and was developed from my parents (engineers who built cool stuff), from popular media like Star Trek, Stargate, and Jules Vernes’ works (engineers who saved the ship/team/world from imminent destruction), and from my fascination with 18th and 19th century inventors (engineers who were engineers before there were engineers). I thought it was awesome, and so I wanted – you might say was conditioned – to become an engineer. After all, who wouldn’t want to invent (current technical term: “design”) really cool, innovative stuff that would save the world, and possibly end up on a space shuttle in the process? And best of all, engineering and science were quantifiable; they could be described in numbers and figures, and everything could be predicted or simulated.


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Due to popular demand (you know who you are) and the fact that I have time to procrastinate, I’m able to provide another installment of gee-I-guess-I-should-post. But I have been busy. Really truly.

Recipe for Lame Excuse

  • 1 week of preparing internship “exit” (more like midterm) presentation and doing it before a corporate VP and a bunch of contract managers
  • 3 weeks of hectic finishing-up of internship project and MATLAB programming
  • 1 week of Orientation Week in conjunction with the last week of internship
  • 1 week of starting up classes and ordering books and going to classes and going to kickoff meetings for extracurriculars and playing a lot of frisbee and looking at grad school research areas and faculty

So that’s basically been the past month or so. Oh, and there was packing and moving into school as well. My family, or most of it, came down to help E and I move, so that was really nice. And my classes this year … these are the classes I want to take; the foundation has been set, so now for the really fun part. Intro Aero and Thermal Design should be fine, CFD should be interesting/challenging (and the prof was my research prof a few years ago and is really good besides), CAD will be more busy-work but pretty brainless, Senior Lab is focusing on power and should be interesting, and Senior Design … could be hell or could be really neat, depending on the project and people involved. For the record, I am not a fan of the international collaboration component.

I registered for the GRE this evening. I’ll be taking it in late September, so I have about three weeks to brush up on my vocab and learn not to make stupid mistakes in high-school level math. What really gets me is that this is supposed to be graduate level – and it’s like another SAT. I mean, no calculus?

I guess that’s everything new that’s been going on with me – exciting, huh? But it’s nice to not really have homework yet. Oh, and my room is awesome.


Yesterday was interesting. I acquired both a bicycle and a roommate – two items that shall drastically change my life, albeit in different ways. After all, the two are slightly different: a bicycle is a machine; a roommate is a person. I paid for the bike; the roommate was free. The bike is of local manufacture (I think); the roommate is Belgienne.

Before I elaborate on either of these, I’d like to draw your attention to the sidebar (assuming you’re viewing my blogsite and not my Facebook feed. If you’re on Facebook, click on the “Imported From” link to get to my site. Ahem. Sidebar. Under “currently…” there are a few links. These are just five random stories from my RSS feeds that I thought share-worthy. I’ll be changing these fairly often – possibly every day – so enjoy. And check out the xkcd that makes a not-so-subtle tribute to Firefly.
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