Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Another video from hypertherm, the source of my funding. I love how the beans get so hot they explode out of the can when the lid is cut free.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Pictures of pictures being taken

So, I'm not normally of the fan of the Hey-I'm-going-to-take-a-picture-of-you-taking-a-picture-of-me type pictures because they seem rather cliche to me. That being said, however, I have a cool one. This happened a while ago when I was at camp counseling the high school retreat. I would have posted this sooner, but I did not get the other half of the pair (the one looking at me) until it showed up on facebook just recently. The pictures were taken during our epic hike. At one point we were climbing off the path and down into a ravine so we could go straight down the bluff. There was a drainage pipe running under the trail so I climbed into the ravine on the uphill side because I thought it might frame a cool picture. Naturally, Amy on the other side also thought it would be fun to take a picture through the pipe, but she was on the downhill side. Without further ado, the pictures...

In other cool picture taking news. I was biking last Friday night and found the perfect place to set up a night biking shot. However, I was quite a ways into my training ride and very tired, so I did not feel like stopping to dig my camera out and set up the shot.

Edit: I know it ruins the set of pictures slightly, but in the name of honesty, it wasn't actually Amy that took that picture of me. Julia took that picture, but I don't have any pictures of Julia taking my picture on the other side of the tube, so I use the one of Amy.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Plasma torches and research

So, here's a good video to give on intro on why plasma torches are worthwhile. This is pretty low powered torch, because it's made for garage use. The industrial torches pack more of a punch.

Notice towards the end, he mentioned an oxidation reaction when cutting mild steel. Currently, I'm trying to get a better understanding of how that works and how it effects the cut quality.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I was at camp a couple of weekends ago to counsel for a highschool retreat. We ended up with 4 counselors, 2 chaperons and 7 campers, so it was pretty laid back and felt more like just hanging out than actually counseling. In the guys room, the counselors outnumbered the campers, and actually caused more trouble at night.

First of all, the drive down was terrific, because Michael and Grace were riding down with me, and it was nice to have other people to talk to.

Then, at camp we had absolutely fantastic weather. The highlight might be the adventure hike on Saturday. We decided to go up "inspiration point" which is actually a route I had never taken. Turns out that there is a reason we never took campers up that route. It pretty much turns into rock climbing at one point.

But the view from the top was absolutely gorgeous.

Of course, getting back down involved a lot of slipping and sliding because we thought it would be more fun to not follow a path.

There was also some great broomball the next day. There wasn't enough people to play a real game, so we played all-on-all against the goalie. Whoever touches the ball last before it goes in the goal scores. I was the goalie. Turns out that nobody was very good, so I was able take pictures while playing goalie.

It was also really fun to lead bible studies again. Turns out that leading bible studies is like riding a bike, once you learn how to, you don't forget. It was especially fun because I was tag teaming the bible studies with Grace. Grace and I work off each other really well, although we got a little carried away at times and started talking over the kids heads. I distinctly remember trying to explain the concept that God's allowing for us to sin and hurt ourselves and each other is actually a manifestation of his love. Except I tried to do it in the last 5 minutes of a bible study. I liked it. Grace liked it. The chaperon liked it. I don't know if the kids knew what I was talking about.

I leave you with a campfire in the strawbale hut.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Of offices and asbestos

So, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to work late. However, I then started hearing people running up and down the hall calling for Mike, our custodian. Then water starting running under the door of my office. Turns out a hot water pipe burst a couple of offices down and there was water all over the place. The custodians had arrived and there wasn't really anything for me to do, so I decided to go home. The next day, my office looked fine, but apparently there was asbestos in the water. I was getting conflicting reports on what was going to happen as far as clean up in my office:

a) Nothing, my office is fine
b)They are going to paint around the base of the walls
c)They are going to rip out and replace the drywall and sheetrock on the bottom 2 feet of all the walls.

I decided to just keep working in my office and assumed that they would tell me if they were going to do work in my office. But when I came back from class, my office looked like this.

Turns out they are also removing my sink because it was one of these sinks that caused the initial flood.

I don't know when my office will be restored to working order, but for now, I'm kind of bouncing around between a lab, the library and my apartment. Oh well.

Valentines Day

This post is coming a bit after the fact, but it was a blog worthy day. I didn't think that the romantic dinner and flowers and chocolates was really the way Cia and I work, but I wanted to do something special. So, instead, I took her to a park. This is all the information you can find online about the park. Doesn't say exactly where it is; doesn't say how to get there. The only reason I know about it is because I stumbled on it during a training ride a couple summers ago. Because it's such an obscure park, it is fairly rustic and there were only a few other people there. It was a beautiful day and just cold enough that there was lot's of cool ice formations.

Being little kids at heart, we spend quite some time kicking the ice at the edge of the river to watch it break and float off.

To make the day extra fun, we had a fire, because burning stuff is always good.

It was a fantastic day. I'm so glad the weather decided to cooperate with my plans.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Cia has interim break this week, so I drove her home to Madison and then spent the weekend hanging out with her and her family in Madison. It was a wonderful weekend for a number of reasons. Obviously, it was fun because I got to hang out with Cia and her family was just as enjoyable. To make things even better, the weather was absolutely beautiful.

On Saturday, we went into downtown Madison and walked around. Wisconsin has pretty much the coolest capital building ever. It has 4 axis of symmetry. When you stand in the center, the different branches of the building look so similar that they have to be labeled with the compass directions so you don't get lost. There is also a really cool art museum. One part of the building had glass walls and a glass staircase.

Among the other neat buildings there was a picnic shelter at a park near the Cia's house. I think it totally looks like a sniper tower, but I might have an overactive imagination.

Of course, I had to climb it.

We also walked out on a frozen lake, which I always enjoy for some reason.

It was a beautiful weekend.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Weekend of goodness

This weekend has been a quality weekend. On Friday, I officially started my on-the-bike training for this season. I did a 2 hour ride, which isn't too long, but at this time of year, is quite brutal. I haven't ridden that long for a few months and to make it harder, the temperatures were in the single digits and there was snow on the ground. Half way through the ride, I was already really tired and by the time I finished, I was so tired that I just laid down on the floor. But, it reminded me how much I enjoy biking and how much I love the endorphin high I get from it. This is what I looked like after the ride.

Then, on Saturday, I went down to Saint Olaf and did a Lord of the Rings marathon with Cia. Yes, we watched all three of them. We wanted to watch extended edition of all three, but Cia was missing the 2nd disc from Return of the King, so we had to watch the regular edition for the last half of Return of the King. It was epic. It took all day. We had to take food breaks, although for dinner we ate pizza while we continued to watch.

Then, on Sunday, I decided to visit some friends in dinky town, because it had been far to long since I had seen them. It turned out that there was a sledding expedition planned, to which I was very amenable, because I love playing, and playing in the snow is one of the best. Immediatly upon arrival at the park, a woodchip pile was discovered and climbed.

Then, of course, there was some sledding. May I introduce you to Flaming Death, which is being ridden by Nicole.

We ended up wandering around the park (I think it was a golf course) for a long time before we finally found the big hill.

And of course, it is always fun to put too many people on one sled.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Fun facts for the day

This morning was an even colder walk than yesterday. Fun facts about dressing for the cold:

I wear ~14 pounds of clothing. I was at the gym yesterday and weighed myself with just a towel and while fully dressed for the outdoors.

I wear ~$500 worth of clothing. I worked it out while sitting at the bus stop this morning. Most of that cost came from the boots (insulated hiking boots), the lobster gloves (which actually did quite well in -24 degree temps today), the biking tights (windproof, waterproof, uber warm long underwear), and the 2 jackets.

If I pull my hat low enough and my face mask high enough, it makes my vision slit small enough that my breath keeps moving warm air through the entire opening, which keeps my eyelashes from frosting up and freezing my eyes shut. It also means that I have essentially no skin exposure, because there is always warm air moving through the opening for my eyes.

When it get's this cold, snow does not stick to my boots. It is quite convenient because my office floor stays dry.

I have worn my face mask enough this winter that it is starting to smell like decomposing food and stinky breath when I wear it. It is not very bad yet, but I should probably wash it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Adventures in Commuting

Listen to this song while reading this post. I will explain it later. (You can watch the video too, if you want, but the song is the important part.)

It was -21 degrees with a -40 degree windchill for my commute this morning. It was epic. I wore 2 skin tight baselayers, a t-shirt, a long sleeve shirt, a sweater, a fleece, a softshell jacket, biking tights, long underwear, jeans, wool socks, insulated hiking boots, a balaclava, a hat, and lobster gloves. I was actually decently warm, although it was a little hard to move with that many layers on. My hands, however, were a little cold, so now we know the limit of lobster gloves.

Between my facemask being pulled up high and my hat pulled low, my vision was reduced to a horizontal slit. It was actually rather surreal. There where crystals of ice floating in the air that sparkled in the sun. Also, as the sun was coming up, there was almost a rainbow type thing that formed on the horizon to either side of the sun, probably due to the ice crystals. As I was walking my vision started to blur as ice crystals formed in my eyelashes and on my hat and facemask. To really top it off, I was listening to Andy Hunter during the walk (the exact song that you are listening to right now if you followed my instructions). I wish I could have gotten a picture, but I didn't have my camera with me, and even if I did, there was no way I was going to take my gloves off.

On the bus, I had a rather silly adventure. Somehow I ended up making eye contact with a lady across the aisle (which is weird in and of itself because nobody makes eye contact on the bus.) Being a rather nice person, I smiled at her. Then I realized that I still had my facemask on, so she couldn't see me smile and probably thought I was just some creeper that was staring at her. Whoops!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Camp Reunion

Over the weekend, I went to the camp staff reunion at Sugar Creek. It was a wonderful time and made me realize just how much I like the people that I met at camp and how much I miss them. Take for example, Mandy, it is impossible to not be happy around her...

It has been quite rare in the last few months that I have been able to just goof around and play. At St. Olaf, there were people that still liked to play, but it seems like nobody does now that I'm in grad school. Or else I just haven't found the people that like to play. As such, I had to get my fill of playing over the weekend.

This is the new dining hall that is being build at camp. We definitely explored it.

While in the new dinning hall, some people thought it would be a good idea to lick the wall (because there was ice on the wall).

Tim, Patrick, and I hiked up to Jesus Point after exploring the dining hall. While up on Jesus Point, we decided to take a picture in the "Pilgrims Pee Pose". This refers to the manner in which 3rd grade boys (the pilgrims age group) go about peeing outdoors.

We also decided to do a "tackling Patrick off of Jesus Point" picture.

Yay for friends!