.:. RANT
Friday, February 28, 2003 ~ 08:18 a.m.

One of the first things the Bush administration did in regards to the ISS was to cut its budget by $75 million and eliminate the Crew Return Vehicle, thereby limiting the size of the crew to three instead of seven. At the time there were a multitude of complaints, most centering around the fact that with the amount of "chores" required to maintain a space habitat, three people would not have the time to perform the experiments that were the whole point of having the station.

And now
this bullshit about cutting the crew to two.

Now wait just one second....I seem to recall a certain President (Bush?...yeah, that's the one) giving a speech the day of Columbia's loss. With just the right mixture of sadness and determination (guaranteed to tug the heartstrings of America), he proclaimed to us: "The cause in which they died will continue. Mankind is led into the darkness beyond our world by the inspiration of discovery and the longing to understand. Our journey into space will go on."

To steal a phrase from my mother, what a crock of yak butter. I didn't believe it then and now here's the proof.

Our journey into space can't stop with going around in circles only a few miles up. By reducing the crew of the ISS to two, it effectively becomes exactly what the Bush admin wants you to believe - nothing but a black hole for cash. With no experiments being performed, the government will simply have to cut the ISS budget completely. They will cite the cost of maintaining it, then explain in detail exactly how it is failing to provide what it claimed it would. Failing to mention, of course, that it was their own actions that clipped NASA's wings. Then they will trot out the old propaganda machine and convince you that the money from the ISS will go to feeding starving children somewhere - certainly NOT into missiles or other weapons.

My question is, is the White House actively trying to destroy all imagination, hope, and progress or are they just stupid?


.:. An exercise in cynicism
Thursday, February 27, 2003 ~ 08:39 a.m.

This year's homecoming theme is "A Walk Down Bourbon Street." Yep, porn and booze. I have no idea who thought it up, but I trust they won't be too put out if some friends and I decide to show up to their activities dressed thematically...

Actually, I'm not going to any homecoming activities this year. I was slightly interested in the bonfire until I found out that it comes sans stake. When they said Kappa Delta was sponsoring, I thought they meant providing victims. Come to find out, we're not allowed to burn ANYONE, so I don't forsee it being much fun. Also, I'm going home Friday so I'll be missing both hockey games, which kind of sucks.

But anyway, it's off to a fun-filled day of classes, work, and..well...not much else. Uh...yeah. Toodles!


.:. Wednesday - Tori Amos
Wednesday, February 26, 2003 ~ 10:21 p.m.

Nothing here to fear
I'm just sitting around
being foolish when
there is work to be done
Just a hang-up call
and the quiet breathing
of our Persian we call
Cajun on a Wednesday

so we go from year to year
with secrets we've been keeping
Though you say you're not a Templar man

Seems as if we're circling
for very different reasons
But one day the Eagle has to land

Out past the fountain
a left by the station
I start the day in the usual way
Then think -- well why not --
and stop for a coffee
then begin to recall
things that you say

No one's at the door
You suggest a ghost
perhaps a phantom
I agree with this in part
Something is with us
I can't put my finger on --
is Thumbelina size 10
on a Wednesday --

so we go from year to year
with secrets we've been keeping
Though you say you're not a Templar man

you tell me to cheer up
you suspect we're oddly even
Even still the Eagle has to land

Out past the fountain
a left by the station
I start the day in the usual way
Then think -- well why not --
and stop for a coffee
then begin to recall
things that you say

Pluck up the courage
and snap
It's gone again
I start humming "When Doves Cry"
Can someone help me
I think that I'm Lost here
Lost in a place called America

I have GOT to go buy this CD.


.:. Skipping class
Wednesday, February 26, 2003 ~ 04:45 p.m.

Hrm...I had a post. Then my computer ate it. With some fava beans and a nice chianti. Bastard computer.


.:. Cool thing of the day
Tuesday, February 25, 2003 ~ 09:15 a.m.

This is just a really neat article:
Sci-Fi War Uniforms. It's all about the new nanotechnologies MIT is developing. Some of it sounds pretty wild, like the BDU that transforms into artificial muscles or a splint when a body part is injured or the BDU that can sense a laser sight and change into bullet-proof armor before the bullets arrive, but it's interesting reading at the very least.

On another note, I have some kickass friends. *hug* I love you guys!


.:. Contradiction
Monday, February 24, 2003 ~ 11:32 p.m.

One day it's this, one day it's that. Mutually exclusive statements, issued within days of each other. One made my heart leap, the other brought it crashing back down. How can I possibly know which one is true? And how much of myself am I willing to risk to find out?

Hot chocolate seems to have magical powers of healing. Are these documented? Is there a Surgeon General's recommendation on hot chocolate packages, because if there isn't, there should be. It does wonders, honestly.

The SGA meeting was...okay.
Kat assures me we'll get our money. I don't doubt it. I actually did well on the hydraulics test from last week, although skipping another class to study for hydraulics is now coming home to roost. The boat still looks good, and for most of today sanity was maintained.

I'm heading up to Tennessee this weekend. Home is where I understand things and everything fits into its own definition, with very little fuss. My parents seem to be looking forward to having me home for a little while and it will be nice to just relax and enjoy their company.

current music : 'Make Up Your Mind' - Theory of a Deadman


.:. 770 pounds of moose
Monday, February 24, 2003 ~ 10:07 a.m.

So it took the equivalent of a baseball bat between the eyes, but I think things are on the up and up for now. Call it a moment of clarity, if you will. I promise it's not solely caffiene-induced.

Tori Amos kicked much ass Saturday night. The concert was wonderful and I am now completely sold on her new album. Gotta have it, gotta buy it, must go to Best Buy...which is actually a good idea because I need a new keyboard anyway (mine's in the process of giving up the ghost).

And remember, kids. No matter how bad your day is going, it's probably not as bad as having a
770 pound moose land on your car. Although when all was said and done, it was really the moose as had the worst time of it.


.:. The longest night
Monday, February 24, 2003 ~ 05:33 a.m.

Today is going to seem so remarkably normal because the sad truth is, nothing has changed except my perception. Ignorance really is bliss. A large part of me wishes for nothing more than to bury my head in the sand and pretend like this weekend never happened. The rest is trying to block off every emotion in a vain attempt to restore some semblance of order.

Things would make a lot more sense if I had something or someone to blame besides myself.


.:. NASA Fundraising
Friday, February 21, 2003 ~ 02:28 p.m.

*grin* Dale Gardner on Discovery in 1984 after recapturing a satellite.


.:. Was I supposed to know this?
Friday, February 21, 2003 ~ 10:13 a.m.

Apparently there's an Engineering Banquet today in the UC at 11. I think I might have heard something about it two weeks ago, but I don't think it was ever officially declared. Oh well. I probably wouldn't have gone anyway. The only attraction would have been the free food.

For some reason there's hardly anyone at work today. I've got a little to do for the morning, but since my boss isn't here, he can't sign off on anything else for me. I just might end up skipping out of work early if nothing else comes my way.

Funny how it can be so beautiful during the week and then pour down rain on the weekend. Not that being cooped up inside can be so terribly bad. :-)

current music : 'one thing' - gravity kills


.:. So what now?
Thursday, February 20, 2003 ~ 12:51 p.m.

*snicker* This is just too funny not to comment on. What kind of person has to have someone "manage" their blog while they're out of town????? Apparently someone out there. I'm not kidding! I accidentally read it in
Jeff's friends list while searching for intelligent people's blogs. Some chick is managing her friend's LJ while the friend is out of town. *shakes head sadly* Now that is what we call seriously damaged. If I ever start thinking that you, my beloved readers, will pine if you don't have something to read on my blog EVERY SINGLE DAY, please, put me out of your misery.

Okay, enough mocking the silly people. As of yesterday, everything is finally finished! The canoe report, the annual report, the water quality presentations, the water quality test, our conceptual design, and last, not least, the hydraulics test yesterday. Everything is done and I suddenly have three days in which nothing HAS to be done. I have a presentation to work on for the canoe....and that's it.

I honestly don't know what to do with myself.

On another happy note, Todd's back in town. Already he's bored off his ass at work, but I've threatened to bite viciously anyone who tries to send him away again any time soon. And I will too. I hate it when he's gone. Grr.

Jen, thanks for calling last night! *hug* I'm doing much better now, so you don't have to worry about testifying in court or anything. It was good to hear from you, though. :-)


.:. D&C Engineering, Inc.
Tuesday, February 18, 2003 ~ 02:45 p.m.

Our Senior Design presentation was...interesting. Barbara seems to think our group did really well. I'll take her word for it. It sure as hell didn't feel that way. Our paper looks pretty good, but I got the feeling that the faculty present didn't really like our presentation. Or maybe it was just that they didn't like Josh. That could be it, since he's managed to single-handedly alienate every consultant he's spoken with. Either way, it wasn't exactly unmitigated hell, but it wasn't a very comfortable experience. I hate that one day Gopu tells us that we can't do something, then the next asks us why we didn't. "Because you bloody well told us not to, that's why!" Feh. At least it's over.

Now all I have left is my Hydraulics test tomorrow and I'm (relatively) home free! Hopefully Todd will call and tell me that he's coming home tomorrow! Yeah, that would definitely improve my week. ;-)


.:. Ever wonder?
Monday, February 17, 2003 ~ 09:45 p.m.

Ever wonder how much one person can take? I'm pretty close to finding out. I have the distinct feeling that if just one more thing goes wrong, I'm going lose it. I don't think I've ever been more thankful than I was tonight when I realized that it would be Amiee busting her ass as project manager for our Senior Design presentation tomorrow.

I just got an very...disheartening email from our ASCE advisor. He's right about everything, but it doesn't help to hear that the fact that I was too tired to write my own name, much less a fucking design paper, just might cost us the competition before we even get to Miami.

I just want to crawl into bed and hide there until May.

So, how much stress can one person deal with at once? Let's find out....


.:. New bedtime reading....
Sunday, February 16, 2003 ~ 10:30 p.m.

My dad found
these articles, and thought I might be interested. "Domus 1 is a pressurized self-supporting membrane structure." Hell yeah I'm interested! Question is, why are they studying this stuff in Wisconsin and not in Huntsville????

I finally feel like a human being again. Yesterday I spent a very enjoyable evening at Jessica's in the company of Jared, Pat, Jeff, and that other weird guy. I stayed long enough to watch Sum of All Fears and Pluto Nash, then made my way home. For the first time in two weeks, I got to sleep in. In fact, I was still dead to the world when Mo called and woke me up at 12:30 this afternoon. Nothing like a good eleven hours of uninterrupted sleep to partially restore your faith in humanity, I always say.


.:. I think this qualifies
Saturday, February 15, 2003 ~ 01:50 p.m.

I worked on the annual report until 2 AM, crashed, then got up at 7 AM and worked for two more hours to print it all. I left late for practice and almost got into a wreck on the way to campus. Finally got to campus only to find that I'd missed Dr. Toutanji (whose signature I needed) by just a few minutes. He finally came back, signed the report, then Jackie took it outside in the rain and got it soaked. So I sent Jackie off with the disk to reprint what he could and headed down to the pond with everyone else. Turned out the pond was flooded, so we had to take off our shoes and freeze our feet. We finally got onto the water, only to discover that apparently sewage was leaking in from somewhere and the pond STANK. Thoughts of E.coli and other unmentionables forced us off the pond and back up to Johnson.

So my morning sums up to this: No sleep, near death experience, work ruined, and wading through shit.

I'm going back to bed now.


.:. It is finished. It is done.
Friday, February 14, 2003 ~ 08:24 a.m.

Sometime around 12:30 this morning, Todd and I finally finished the design report. We started printing at 11:30. Thanks to an undisclosed sponsor's laser printer (names have been omitted to protect the guilty), we didn't have to take it in the ass from Kinko's ($1.29/page, $.20/min for the computer x 81 pages and approximately 1 hr computer time = $117), and the report looks really good. Although by then I think I would have called it quits even if it looked horrible.

On the down side, Todd told me last night around 6 that he was leaving for Kentucky at 8:30 this morning instead of 8:30 tonight. There are several words I'm learning to hate, one of them being "overtime." I'm pretty disappointed because I'd expected to see him a little this afternoon, now that we're done with that paper. One of these days I'll learn not to get my hopes up where anything about his job is concerned. I'm just hoping that when he gets back from this particular jaunt (in JUNE!) that we'll actually get to spend some time around each other that doesn't involve staying up until ungodly hours working on ASCE crap.

Speaking of ASCE crap, I still have the annual report to do. It's due tomorrow. Does it ever end???


.:. And kiss your ass goodbye...
Wednesday, February 12, 2003 ~ 02:12 p.m.

What the....?
Duct tape? I'm sorry, but if terrorists attack using chemical / nuclear / biological weapons (circle one), duct tape just isn't going to help. Bread and circuses, my friend. I can see it now: "As long as people feel safe, they won't panic, so if we tell them to use duct tape....everyone has duct tape! They'll instantly feel better! Oh, and we'd better tell them to buy soap too so they can wash off all the nasty chemical / nuclear / biological (circle one) contaminates." Then Tide gets on board and starts marketing a new anti-radiation detergent while Home Depot comes out with do-it-yourself radiation shielding instructions. "Pull the aluminum foil over the window and duct-tape securely. This is not only protection against radiation and cosmic rays, but also the alien mind-reading devices and the IAO."

Speaking of, I found the way to the fallout shelter under Tech Hall this morning. I didn't have time to actually go downstairs (and it looked all creepy and dusty), but now at least I know where it is. I'd been wondering ever since I saw the fallout shelter sign on the outside (a sign I mean to steal one day). Give me that and a role of duct tape, and when the terrorists bomb the shit out of Northern Alabama, I alone will survive to emerge and begin my new world order! Muwahahaha. Err...yeah.

Seriously, that article is going to create a whole other group of the same nuts who stockpiled baked beans for the year 2000. Pretty soon, there won't be a bottle of water, a roll of duct tape, or a can of Vienna sausages to be found in a store in the entire US. I'm sorry, but if the Apocalypse comes tomorrow, I don't want to be stuck underground munching on Spam.


.:. When Amoebae Attack
Tuesday, February 11, 2003 ~ 02:09 p.m.

This is a comic for Mike and Pat. Incidentally, it is in no way related to the title of this post.

Turns out Todd's actually going to be in town for most of Friday! :-) While it still sucks that he's leaving town again so soon, at least that's better than leaving Thursday or something. Given the last time he left town for "a few days," I fully expect that once he gets up to Kentucky, they won't let him come home until June. His luck, they'll probably ask him to leave tonight. I wouldn't put it past them.

I'm finally recovering from the hell weekend. I think having a bright, warmish day helped significantly. If it had been raining this morning, I'd STILL be asleep. When I rule the world, the workday will start at 10 and Wednesdays will be mandatory days off. Furthermore, when I rule the world, there will be new sets of laws passed prohibiting the flagrant abuse of Spandex (by both men and women) and the rampant overuse of chrome on cars. This is my solemn vow.

So...what to do now? I'll probably abandon work around 4 and head home to do the various things that all seem to be due tomorrow. The best part? The PowerPoint Presentation on Amoebic Dysentery. Oh yeah. 100% pure joy at learning the gory details of that one. *mops up the sarcasm from the keyboard* Seriously, someone remind me one more time why I'm an environmental engineer.


.:. I'd ask why, but I think I already know
Monday, February 10, 2003 ~ 08:44 a.m.

We decided last night that only the insane join ASCE. It's true. It takes a very special kind of person to spend so many thankless hours on a concrete boat. Short bus special.

I think I feel worse today than I did yesterday. I got nine hours of sleep, so I should be good to go, but apparently that's not how it works. When we conned Dr. Leonard into moving our test to today, I knew I'd regret it. Sure enough, if I manage to stay awake for the whole thing, much less do well, it'll be a miracle. Caffiene is required.

There is so much to do this week. The canoe design paper is due Friday, the ASCE annual report is due Saturday, our senior design conceptual presentation is due Thursday, and I have a test today. I'm not even going to try to have a social life for the next week and a half, mostly because sleep deprivation makes me bite. *grr*


.:. So...tired....*snore*
Sunday, February 9, 2003 ~ 03:50 p.m.

Of the last 48 hours, 37 of them were spent in Johnson Research Center. The boat looks awesome. And now all I want to do is sleep.


.:. Adventures in QIS
Friday, February 7, 2003 ~ 07:54 a.m.

So I come in to work and log into our database system.

Computer: System Automatic Update


Computer: Problems must be reported to system administrator

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Computer: Checking every single file associated with this program. All of them.

I hate you.

Thirty Minutes Later:

Computer: garble, blurble, cough, choke, wheeze

What the....?

Computer: The rights you have are not sufficient to perform this function.

My rights? What? Okay, fine. Just stop whatever you're doing and let me work.

Computer: System Update Failed. Would you like to Reindex now? All users must log off of system.

No, no I wouldn't.

Computer: Choose 'Okay'

No. I want to work.

Computer: You cannot exit. Choose 'Okay'


Computer: Fuck you. Choose 'Okay'

I hate QIS.


.:. Brain goo
Thursday, February 6, 2003 ~ 01:37 p.m.

Ever have one of those days where your brain just feels like it's oozing? I only have one class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but today I had the distinct pleasure of getting the parking lot design for our senior project dumped on me. Woo hoo! Total responsibility for something I know nothing about! I finally found the codes for it, but the design wasn't the hard part. No, it was the hour and a half I spent playing with AutoCAD that turned my brain to jelly. See, the help files aren't installed, so I'm having to learn everything based on a printed list of commands (with no descriptions as to what they do), previous experience in a radically diferent version of AutoCAD, and sheer luck. Fortunately, that kind of thing comes to me pretty quickly, so once I get over the woeful ignorance part, I should be able to do well enough to pass.

The ASCE meeting last night took damn near forever. At 9 PM, I was beginning to despair that morning would find our frozen and emaciated corpses sitting around the JRC conference room, boat themes listed next to the sloppily scrawled message "We cannot get out..." I finally just called a vote and we made a decision that put us back exactly where we had started....which by then was okay be me. Now we just have to finish up the design paper and get it turned in, then I can focus on the other ten gazillion things I have to do.


.:. Now where's that panic button?
Tuesday, February 4, 2003 ~ 01:59 p.m.

Every week, at about his time, it suddenly occurs to me how very behind on homework I am. This is usually because I realize that I have three or four things due Wednesday (none of which I have started), along with whatever else I have going on. Tomorrow is no exception - and of course I have an ESC meeting I have to go to tonight. I utterly loathe school. If it just didn't follow me home, I'd love it, but this incessant workload that requires me to have no life...yeah, that part sucks.

I went to the city ASCE meeting today with Jackie. I fully expected it to be a dry, boring, and very professional meeting - and I couldn't have been more wrong. The people were funny (haha AND hmm), the lecture was really interesting, and it was a very relaxed atmosphere. The food was even good. Straining to hear over the banter in the back, I learned a lot about all the current projects going on in Huntsville, including the Memphis-Huntsville-Atlanta interstate. Did you know that they're going to completely tear apart the downtown area between the VBC, library, and park?

Todd's on his way home! They are currently in Amarillo, TX and should get into Huntsville sometime around 4 AM. Yay! :-D


.:. Sad, but true
Monday, February 3, 2003 ~ 12:24 p.m.

God, I love messing with people. Especially with people who don't get my particular brand of humor. *contented sigh* Some days, I believe the internet was created just so that I could interact with other people and piss them off.

Today has been pretty much non-productive in the extreme. Work was boring, class so far has been boring, no homework has been done and I've pretty much spent my time contemplating when I'll get to go home for lunch (because I'm starving!) and mastering my case of the hiccups. Oh, and surfing blogs. I've done a lot of that too.

In fact, today's most interesting blog award goes to
Datach0mper where the debate over Monkey's post is developing quite nicely. Go, read, post, argue. That's what it's all about, people.


.:. Not a record...
Monday, February 3, 2003 ~ 11:42 a.m.

Damn, but this is a
good editorial.

"In discussing foreign policy, Bush laid out a tough standard: "America's purpose is more than to follow a process. It is to achieve a result." By that standard, Bush, too, has failed. ...in the few minutes Bush spent on what he had "accomplished," he spoke of processes, not results."

Too true, too true. That's what happens when a president gets distracted playing God's chosen warrior....

But, in a less-anti Bush frame of mind, I recommend this particular article. It accepts the war, but questions which war we will end up fighting.

"But Bush still has a problem that goes beyond style: We don't know if this war is primarily about (1) taking weapons of mass destruction out of Saddam's Hussein's hands, or (2) removing Hussein from power, or (3) bringing democracy to Iraq and revolutionizing the politics of the Middle East."


.:. Hiss
Sunday, February 2, 2003 ~ 06:10 p.m.

I'd rant, but I think I've already
expressed myself well enough elsewhere. If it later becomes apparent that I need to elaborate, then I will. After all, never let it be said I don't have opinions. ;-)

On a happier note, Todd's (finally) coming home Wednesday! *dances around the room* Or at least, that was the last thing I heard. It's about freaking time too! Of course, this does mean I have to lose the harem....


Saturday, February 1, 2003 ~ 12:04 p.m.

The wreckage of Columbia has scarcely cooled, but already the future of the space program has been called into question. My biggest fear is that in the aftermath, the government will find its long-sought reason to prune the space program back to nothing.

What happened this morning was an accident. When astronauts board a space shuttle, they know there is a risk that they will never come home. Yet they still go. To them, the opportunity to explore, to learn, and to forge a better future for the entire world is worth the very real danger. It would be an insult to their memory if this tragedy becomes the means by which humanity's dreams of space flight are once again postponed.