Saturday, December 27, 2008

Cool pictures

Last night I was out for a walk late at night because it was really warm. It also was quite foggy, which made for the possibility of some really cool pictures. I took a lot of pictures, most of which are not very good, but I managed to take a couple of the coolest pictures I've taken in a while. They were a little difficult as they involved figuring out where the shadows fall, propping my camera in the right spot with a 10 sec timer and then getting myself into the right place.

It looks a little bit egotistical that I've used myself as the subject, but, honestly, I was walking alone. There was nobody else to use as a subject, and these kinds of conditions don't happen very often.

Friday, December 26, 2008


Upon arriving home for Christmas break, we had a neighborhood party at our house, which involved this heirloom punch bowl...

... and the coolest looking plate of cookies I have ever seen. The girl that lives next door made this.

Overall, the party was a good time and I got to know my parents neighbors a little. I even talked to my t-ball coach (at least, I'm told he was my t-ball coach, I don't actually remember him). Turns out he is actually a really great guy; works in Aerospace engineering and bike commutes along my favorite highschool bike route; my kind of guy.

We celebrated Christmas eve early because the parents and Rachel had gigs on the real Christmas eve. Here is the spread of food we had.

Note that the china and silver here are also heirlooms. The heirlooms seem to come out around the holidays.

Christmas morning was relatively unexciting, as the parents had another gig. Rachel and I made chocolate chip pancakes ...

... and Rachel made a Christmas tree out of the chocolate chips ...

... and Jeremy tried to flambe cheese.

The morning's shenanigans also included playing dominoes with the presents. (Turns out that one of them actually contained a glass picture frame. Luckily it didn't break)

Overall, a nice day to just sit around and chill with the family.


I have been quite lazy about updating my blog lately, but now that I'm on Christmas break, I have time, so I will have to catch up. The obvious things have happened: I was really busy at the end of the semester ... I finished finals ... It snowed ... It was cold ...

The exiting news, however, is that I am finally on a research project. My original understanding was that I would be doing the numerical modeling for the cutting surface in a plasma cutting situation. However, because of the way funding is working out, it looks like I might also be doing experimental work for it, which I find quite exciting, because both the modeling and the experimental work look really interesting. The only downside (or benefit, depending on how you look at it) is that I now have a lot of stuff to do over break. I am reading the theses of my predecessors to get familiar with the project. I also need to learn as much as possible about the equipment from another student before he graduates in a few months.

A rather exciting perk that came with the research position is that now I have an office in the Mech E building. I feel like I'm really moving up in the world now. It isn't a particularily nice office but still, it is nice to have a place to dump my stuff when I come in to school. I also don't have to carry everything back and forth between my apartment and school anymore. I also have 2 office mates, which I've found that I really enjoy. Previously, I never talked to anybody at school. It was a classic case of being very alone even though there are a lot of people around. But now, I have someone to say hi too in the morning (other than the bus driver). Unfortunatly both of my officemates will be gone within a few months.

Speaking of people at my school, another exiting thing about my research group is that I am the only American. It is kind of a weird experiance after being at St. Olaf, where "diversity" means only a different color of skin. Here, my advisor is German and the other students in the group are Korean, Indian, Egyptian, and Japanese. Communication sometimes takes a little effort because they have varying degrees of fluency in English.