Monday, June 25, 2007

Wide open spaces

See, recently I was telling a good friend about this experience I had on my mission. On our day off, a group of us went to the St. Louis "Children's Museum." This museum was actually more of a large, multilevel play area indoors. There are caves, tunnels, fake hollow trees, and more. (We went to play sardines.) Anyway, I was telling my friend about this narrow, cement tunnel that ran under the main floor. I suppose it was built with children in mind, but that didn't stop us from going through it. It was too narrow to turn around in, and just barely big enough to pass someone else in, and even then, only if you weren't afraid of human contact. A lot of it.

I guess it didn't bother me at the time all that much, but thinking back on it makes me a little nervous. I'm not claustrophobic or anything, but it was rather tight. One of the ends of it was easy to enter, being straight. The other end was a ninety degree vertical turn, which was narrower than the rest of the tunnel. I remember it being very difficult for me to enter or exit that end. I just don't like the idea of having a difficult or impossible exit, and no way to turn around, and wondering if I'll be able to crawl backwards to get back to where I started. But especially with all of the kids clogging it up, too.

So, having just recently related this memory to my friend, what did I do with my weekend? I went caving with the elders' quorum! In reality, the path we took through the cave was very open for all but one time. (That one spot, Fat Man's Squeeze, did make me a little nervous, though. I had to take off my helmet to fit through.) However, there was a pair in our group that did a lot more "exploring" of small offshoots. I joined them for a bit in their first adventure, as did one or two others. But then I realized there were a number of us in this rather small area, with more talking of joining us, so I got out of there rather than press on. I'm not sure if I was most nervous about the small tunnel I'd used to enter the area, the congestion in the area itself, or the possibility of one of the others clogging the tunnel (which would block my exit).

Don't get me wrong. I had a great time. And the one dose of exploration was really fun. I think I just have this thing about personal space. And while having rock in every direction of my personal space might make me a little fidgety, I think it was the people that began to make me really tense. (I remember not being all that comfortable in Time's Square at New Year's, too.) So, basically, I'm just anti-social. I think we should all be allowed one neurosis.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Go fly a kite

I was excited by the weather forecast for today: 17 mph winds. Since I bought my stunt kite about a month ago, there have been two or three days with wind speeds over 10 mph. While the kite is supposed to be able to fly in 5 mph winds, I've found that even on windy days, the wind can be very inconsistent. As it was today. Within 20 minutes of getting out there, the wind stopped entirely. And I had to put up with an "expert" kite flier who, while driving by, pointed out to me that "it's better when it's in the air!" Of course! Now I know what to do next time! But seriously, we get the stillest summers here, and the windiest winters. It's messed up.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The system is down

Right off, I'm gonna say this: don't expect daily posts. I certainly don't. But yesterday, after meeting with my graduate advisor, I came back to my apartment to get some more work done. However, my laptop would not boot up. I've had tons of problems with the hard drive in the past, and I think it recurred while trying to boot. So, the system got pretty much screwed up. I went through my normal tricks to get it to at least boot, but none worked. Mind you, this hard drive contained the only copies of files which I've been working on for months toward my thesis project. (Not the paper itself, which doesn't yet exist, even in my imagination, but the project.)

Thankfully, I knew just what to do. I hooked up the hard drive in my desktop and recovered the files with some software I'd previously bought. Then, I put it back in my laptop and reformatted. Now, I'm reinstalling everything and determining what files I want to move back to the laptop. I'm actually somewhat grateful that I've had these problems in the past. I had the proper adapters and software, and I knew how to use them. If this were the first time this happened, I would be panicking. Really, really, really panicking.

Thankfully, the hardest part about all this is being patient. No, maybe it was trying to track down the disc with the tools I need. The school owns the software, so I had to go from professor to professor, student to student to find the disc. And I still failed. But I found a student with a copy of the programs on his computer, which was good enough.

The hardest part of this project so far has been getting everything working together. Let's see if I can remember how to set everything up again. Here's hoping.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

New kid on the block

Well, here it is. The inaugural post. I caved. I just couldn't face myself in the mirror any longer and call myself a computer engineer. How does a person in such a field get by with only living in the real world? (Especially given that people in the field don't do too well at that to begin with.) I'm almost ashamed to be so late to the blogosphere. Almost.

I'm always late to the game. Well, it seems I've been playing catch-up for as long as I can remember, anyway. I didn't get into Harry Potter until book five hit. I've spent the past 4 years reading old Tom Clancy novels. (And that's just his work, not the spin-off he started, but didn't write. I don't think I'll be reading those.) I was late to The Mars Volta, and then had to discover the preceding band, At the Drive-In. Very late to 24. I got caught-up on that (five seasons' worth) just before this past season started. (And, well, I think I'm done with that show.) Now I'm working on The West Wing. Seven seasons -- three down, four to go. I could go on.

So I guess I (or anyone) shouldn't be surprised that I'm just now getting a blog. There are a few reasons I kept avoiding it. I'm lazy. I don't live an exciting life, unlike many I know (who already have blogs, so I can't steal their stories for my own, unfortunately). I don't know many (or even two) people who would be interested in what I might have to write about. But, as I said, I'm lazy, and, at least for this post, I'm avoiding a little work as I type. I just wish I had some clever idea, a unique way of blogging. A way to show what it's like being an awkward nerd like I am. But, alas, I am not the creative type. Darn right-brainers and their articulate...ness and ingenuity. (Thanks,, I didn't want to use the word creative again, but couldn't come up with a synonym.)

I still don't know what this blog will be "about." I wonder if I ever will.