A great weekend-

Sunday, February 10, 2008 at 10:32 pm Leave a comment

Hey everybody-   

How are things? Last week was the official week of midterms (although I still have one [edit- two, one midterm, one exam] the coming Wednesday), which made it difficult to justify a blog entry. But- after a weekend like this one, I have every reason to input some text into this text box for you all.

Considering time works forwards, I think I’ll mix it up again for you. I’ll go in reverse-chronological order. Feel free to notice that it hardly makes any difference!

Man, this morning I actually woke up after 9am, a rare event in itself! After just kindof lying around for a few hours, I hopped on my bike and went out for a spin – in 30-mph winds! It’s commonplace for me to be a jerk to myself if I feel like I haven’t been riding as often as I should; on days like that, I aim for the hills. Today was one of those days. Fortunate for me, riding just about anywhere today was equivalent to riding up a hill, I think. I’ll try not to drone on and on, but that wind did some great things for me! Notably, it forced me to be comfortable riding with my hands in the drops, in a lower position than I normally ride. I know I’ve done a good ride when afterwards, my legs are feeling it. : ) I tried to ride up Rt 23, but it seemed impossible after merely a half mile of climbing. Instead, I climbed the wall (as I often do, haha). The rest of today? I took a nap, and intend to do some homework as soon as I finish this.

Yesterday (Saturday the 9th), I woke up at 8am and did some guitar playing! I randomly remembered that I could play the jungle beat (as was first introduced by Bo Diddly) and so from there, I was off on lots of other tangents. However this whole musical stint started to pick up from, I’m really glad it has! And yeah, calluses are re-forming, which is excellent. After playing for about an hour, I hopped on my bike and headed over to EA for our Saturday work session. Prior to yesterday, the team had been really worried that their hopes to shoot the trackball would have to end. We tried a somewhat-complex hybrid system of shooting it first, where the robot would firmly grasp the ball, raise it about 3 feet by means of a chain-driven pulley, and then a pneumatic ‘kicker’ would propel the ball the remaining 4-5 feet it needs to travel – vertically. Our trials of that system were very sad. It would only shoot it approximately a foot vertically, and 3 feet horizontally! From then, we were literally ‘back to the drawing board’ and spent a little less than a full 2.5-hr session just removing everything on the robot other than the chassis! From that point, we considered every other option we could. We could raise the ball instead of shoot it, or we could decide not to try to shoot it at all. Or- as it ended up happening, we found a method of shooting the ball that another team posted about, and decided to try that out. Our version didn’t look too similar as theirs did, and lord knows it was simpler! As of yesterday at around 1pm, our robot was able to shoot the ball about 7 feet vertically! 6 pneumatic cylinders later! On a side note: I hardly had any input into this new design of theirs~ They’ve really grown to be a great, independent and hardworking team. All 6 students. After robotics, I had a great dinner with my parents (and got some laundry done!). Last night, I got around 9 hours sleep.

At the beginning of this past weekend, Friday, I had worried that I’d have a normal, boring weekend. You know, the kind when you do nothing, and enjoy the relaxation? I didn’t really want that. Anyways- Friday included two finals… I’m not too sure how to explain the school portion of things, really! At 9am, I had my Engineering Ethics midterm, a very simple two questions to explain on a sheet of paper or two. That went by very easily. After that, I had a nice little break, and then some Physics classes, and lastly, from 4-5:30, had my Intro to Mechanical Properties of Materials midterm. That midterm was, for all intensive purposes, a train wreck. I’ve been having problems with the class off and on for a few weeks now, and I did stay up until 2am or so the night prior studying… That didn’t help. I ended up successfully answering 7 or the 10 questions/problems. And the ones I did answer I was only 50% sure of. At the end of my answer to problem ten, I (most likely regrettably) wrote, ‘I wish I understood all this alot better’. That was it. After walking out of the classroom, week 5 was over. …Whew… All things have their ups and downs, I’m fully aware. Anyways, back to my backwards/forwards story. I quick rode back to my apt from there. Then, proceeded to throw on my (er, my brother’s?) suit [and my vintage internet-computer tie!] and then headed off to meet up with my friend Kristin to attend Drexel’s Crystal Ball. The way she had described it to me, it would be similar to a high school dance/prom, but complete with dinner and in a fancy ballroom in center city. Well, she was correct in all the statements. For a ~$15 ticket price, you really couldn’t go wrong attending it! Other than the whole waiting in a long, unnecessary line for over a half hour on campus for the bus, we were taken to the Hyatt, which is about a block from city hall. The room we were in was large, had a dance floor, ornate molding on the walls, and also a balcony area for additional seating (and people-watching). It started off with a bizarre arrangement of chinese and barbecue food, which we could get as much as we wanted of. This was great- I ended up eating much better than I would have done, had I not gone! After dinner, the DJ began to play more dance songs – of the 80’s variety? It was fun getting the whole dance atmosphere back in action. But dancing to exclusively-white music?? I was very surprised. Even at the real prom that I attended last year, the DJ made sure to play a whole heap of R&B and dance-type songs! This isn’t necessarily complaining, but it was humorous. So humorous, in fact, that I said to Kristin, “That DJ is so messed up that I wouldn’t be surprised if the next song he played were Hanson’s ‘mmmbop’!” From there, it was all downhill. Kristin came up with the bright idea that I should request it. Well, I actually did decide to go up to the DJ and request it. What was the next song he cued up? You got it, MMbop. Kristin and I just couldn’t stop laughing and watching people. Men and women (many of whom were in their 20’s) dancing to Hanson? We watched as people on the dance floor first did a double-take, waited a few seconds, and then actually danced to it! Steve was actually there along with his girlfriend. And guess what- when that song came on, he didn’t even hesitate to send me a text message from across the dance-floor! He doesn’t forget my having seen them play two years ago! That DJ was horrible, and Mmmbop proved it. After the Ball, Kristin and I were invited to go to New Deck, a bar over on Penn’s campus. Thinking I’d be a zombie, I somehow said sure. I met new people and had fun in that next portion of the night. Needless to say, I only got 3 hours of sleep that night!

Sick of reading? On that note, the end is the beginning is the end. Yes, that was a Smashing Pumpkins song. Maybe I should learn to play it.

Have a good one,
Doug

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You didn’t? my procrastination = your benefit.

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