Busy Busy Week

Exams are over!  Or so I thought until our calculus teacher told us we have another one next Thursday, a mere two weeks after our first calc exam.  Last week I had tests for matlab and physics, which went pretty well.  It gets confusing during the week when you have homework due dates all over the calendar.  Some assignments are due Tuesday in class, some due Wednesday to the teacher’s office by 4 pm, etc.  Wednesday is also my first ROTC test on basic knowledge…this weekend has been trying to cram in the last bits of information for that.

Last Saturday was the ropes course, which was cool.  I was bummed we didn’t get to use the climbing tower, but what we did was fun.  They had obstacle courses about 15 and 30 feet in the air.  Of course, everyone did the higher one which consisted of walking on a wire while holding on to an unbalanced rope with a partner, jumping from hanging platforms, and walking with your partner across an unstable bridge.  The last event that people could do was a rope swing.  After climbing 30 feet in the air on a pole, the swinger was hooked up to two ropes and after jumping off the platform, they swung back and forth for a while.  Most people did it upside down too.  Right as we were leaving, it started pouring rain; I’m not sure if the groups after us got to go up or not.

This week, our video game addiction level increased dramatically.  I think I wrote a couple posts back that we always played Nintendo 64 Super Smash Brothers.  I was mistaken with the word always; this week someone brought a Game Cube with Super Smash Bros. Melee.  The game console was on for at least 12 hours/day with various people playing.  Most of the people who were good on the N64 had to rethink their strategy because some of the characters in Melee had different strengths from their older counterparts.  A lot of us were also playing Halo ODST which came out late last week.  It’s a really cool game with some neat new features.

Yesterday was the all day production of the school newspaper, Horizons.  I do graphic design for them and I think yesterday I made about 6 or so graphics.  They’ll be in the issue when it comes out on Tuesday.  If you do not attend Embry Riddle and would like to see the newspaper, you can read the stories online at http://www.eraunews.com/ and if you’d rather see the print version, a pdf is available for download at the bottom of the left-hand side navigation bar.

When I got back from work last night, we all relaxed while watching Bad Boys 2, which I highly recommend if you haven’t seen it.

Below is a panorama and another picture I made from the sunset pictures I mentioned last week:


I photoshopped in the background text and cross

I photoshopped in the background text and cross

Week in Review

Well, this week was pretty crazy. It was sort of a wake up call to me that this this year is going to be different from last year. Wednesday was my first exam, for my calculus class, and it really caught all of us off guard. Last weekend we started cramming in all the information on the practice exam, while working on all of our other homework. I ended up getting a B+, which was kind of disappointing since all the points I lost were from one problem, a one step problem at that. Tuesday night was three hours in the library working on calc and physics homework, and studying for my exam Wednesday. All of my classes have picked up in pace a little, and one thing teachers are absolutely adamant about is the late work policy. I learned that one the hard way.

A lot of my weekend was spent creating a flash animation/narration for a story in the book Arabian Nights. First we spent a couple hours recording voices and transforming them into female and Darth Vader voices. After that I had to draft up some characters that a 3 year old with a crayon could have drawn better. Finally we reached the stage where we added sound effects, music, and of course, the Star Wars intro. It’s because of that and other copyright law infringements that the video isn’t posted publicly 🙁

The highlight of my week, which seems to have become a feature on my posts, was getting a replacement phone for my Samsung Glyde. It was a touch screen and would randomly click somewhere very distant from the location of my finger. I just got my LG Versa in the mail and it’s great. It’s actually intuitive! Another added bonus is the tilt accelerometer that shows a full keyboard sideways but just T9 and numbers if held portrait. Overall, it’s a much better phone and I’m very happy with it. Lastly, it allows AAC files which means it’ll play all of my iTunes music.  It’s good for me since I couldn’t fit my iPod in my pocket with my phone, keys, and wallet anyway.

I got my bed raised this week, which the maintenance guys took to heart.  My bed was on the middle of the riser, about a foot off the ground.  I am now three feet off the ground, which is awesome!  I know have to either jump into bed or climb up my chair and dresser if I’m feeling lazy.  Getting down is a little easier, slide down the side and you’re already upright 🙂  Sorry, no pictures this week, but I hope to write in the next couple days after the ROTC ropes course tomorrow.

Frogs, Fish, and Rain

The past week has been fairly busy.  I guess the most notable thing was my being hired as an assistant for Doug Dickey in the admissions department.  I’ll be doing mostly website related work: posting calendar events, updating broken code, and updating the Facebook account.  My second week of classes wasn’t too bad, although I had a little more homework than the first week.  In our Lego class, we began construction on our monster of a vehicle for the upcoming competition.  We have to build and program a robot to grab or scoop golf balls and then take them and drop them in a hole before returning to the start point.  My partner, Brittany, and I pretty much finished the building last week and I worked on some of the program blindly yesterday so I can test in in class next week.  I’ve also started work on a flash animation for my honors class that tells a narrated story.  I’ll see if I can post it when it’s done.

It’s definitely nice having a three day weekend to get everything done and relax also.  The only issue is the crazy weather here.  For example, I walked into a Horizons (school newspaper) meeting yesterday when it was fairly sunny.  We took a 15 minute break and…well, the video below explains.


It was absolutely pouring with a ton of thunder and lightning.  You can here the rolling thunder in the background; sometimes one thunder clap would last ten seconds.  It’s pretty much like that every afternoon, except not as bad.

It started raining on us last night when we were out catching frogs at the lake.  We ended up bringing back two and decided to get an enclosure at Petco.  After much consideration and a little help from the guy at the counter, we ended up with a Beta fish (below);  He is yet to be named.  As for the frogs, we set them free behind our dorm when we returned and they are living happily in the wild again.

beta fish

beta fish

This morning we went hiking in the dells, which is several miles of rocks surrounding all the lakes.  They’re really neat and I got some cool photos.  We did a lot of rock climbing for a couple of hours before heading.  I can say without a doubt that everyone was completely wiped out when we got back.  Someone told me their abs hurt from having to breath so much.  Hopefully we will all be acclimated soon, especially with having to run in ROTC.

Below are some rock climbing pictures


First Week

My first week of classes officially ended around noon today, and if this post has a time stamp, you will see that it is past 1:30 am.  Everyone in the dorm is still up watching movies, or playing ping pong and Super Smash Bros.  All in all, this week went very well.  All of my teachers seem very nice and although a couple of them manage to go off on crazy tangents not related to the curriculum, I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.  Probably the biggest thing that happened to me this week was getting hired by Horizons, the school newspaper, as a graphic designer.  I’m excited for the opportunity and already completed a couple projects the past few days.

My favorite class is definitely Intro to Engineering (a.k.a. the Lego class).  That is literally what the class is about…building Lego robots, programming them on the computer and making them follow lines, carry balls into a hole, or in my case, creating a battle bot 🙂  Later in the semester we’ll be building motorized blimps that will have to race across a building.  I’m one of three or so mechanical engineers in the class (everyone else is studying aerospace engineering with the exception of a couple electrical engineers), which is ironic since it’s essentially a robotics class and the minority group in the class will be majoring in a robotics field.

Last Sunday was our AFROTC orientation, which took almost all day after all the events we had.  The class seems like fun, but very demanding.  Cadets are only required to participate 5 hours per week: 2 hours of physical fitness, 1 hour of classroom studies, and 1 hour of “leadership laboratory” which consists of drill and ceremonies.  There is a small catch however; in order to become the model cadet that the unit is looking forward, much more is required.  I plan on joining the color guard team, which meets for 2 hours 4 days per week.  I’ll just have to see how heavy the homework load is to make sure I can balance everything, but with my schedule spaced out the way it is I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t work out.

Everyone here in the dorm is pretty cool and we all get along.  It is true that up until yesterday there were people living among our group of 20 that we hadn’t seen, but I think I’ve met everyone now…I certainly hope so at least.  Tonight, we did something called Ice Blocking.  Our RA, TJ, went and bought blocks of ice and we went to a large hill by the soccer field and slid down on the ice.  It’s a ton of fun and I’m almost certain we’ll be doing the same thing next weekend.  The second highlight of my day was the long awaited arrival of Mac OSX Snow Leopard.  It was released today and although it doesn’t have too many new features, my machine is much faster now.  One of the other guys in my dorm is a die-hard Microsoft fan, and I’m 100% Apple, so we get in a few laughs beating on each other’s system.

I put off taking pictures of my room long enough, so here they are:

Getting Settled

What a weekend!  We left San Diego dark and early Wednesday morning and after stopping at an outlet mall and getting food, we finally arrived in Prescott.  After dropping our stuff off at the hotel, we drove around town showing my mom the school and downtown (she didn’t come with my dad and I last time) and just relaxed.  Then we got another early start and got to ERAU to unpack the car before 8 o’clock.  Luckily, it didn’t take too long to get unpacked and go through the various stations for my Eagle Card, Finance, etc.  We were all pretty exhausted after all the meetings, which were spread out across the whole day.  On Friday, we came back early again for more meetings and in between a few, we managed to make it to WalMart.  Money sure does go fast when you’re just walking up and down aisles and realize exactly how much “stuff” you need for a little dorm room.  Today my roommate, Trevor, and I just chilled.  After a 7 o’clock ping pong game, which probably woke up people in the dorms to either side, he went golfing and I decided to check out the school’s brand new student activity center.  I stayed for a while playing burnout on a full arcade style steering wheel and chair setup.  Since then, it’s been on/off ping pong and youtube videos.

It’s been surprisingly easy to adapt to Embry Riddle, and I think I owe most of that to my visit during spring break.  The food has been great compared to what I’ve experienced at other cafeterias and I really can’t complain about my dorm.  Although we’re in the “trailer park” at the back of the campus, our dorms are the largest on campus and, as you may have figured out, we have a ping pong in our common room shared by about 20 students.  No more than 10 people are there at a time and it’s been great for meeting people.  I think I like it better than the 4-square dorms on the rest of the campus where I stayed during my ambassador visit.

Later today, I began looking forward to classes Monday…mostly to see how different (or similar) it will be to high school.  I guess that will probably be my next blog post.  I plan on posting pictures of my dorm then also.

10 Hours, 52 Minutes

Wow.  Time just flew by this week.  I leave for Embry Riddle at 4:00 am tomorrow morning, which I am not looking forward to.  It’s kind of a bummer that I can’t help drive there since we’re taking a rental car (you have to be over 25), so I’m taking Season 4 of the TV show 24.  We just finished packing everything into the car, and seeing how much space it took in a minivan, I have NO IDEA how it’ll all fit in my little Dodge Caliber.  I keep finding stuff around the house that makes it’s way into yet another box or backpack.  I just hope it gets easier and easier to pack as the years go on.  Right now I have mixed feelings about leaving…I’m excited to start school at ERAU, but I’m still a little anxious.  Either way, I’m sure I’ll have a great time and right now I’m just looking forward to orientation.  I can’t imagine how my dog, Jetson, is going to react when I get home in four months.  He can get super excited when I come home after being gone for two hours, let alone several days.  I guess my next post will either be from Embry Riddle or a hotel very close to Embry Riddle.

Below is a picture of Jetson 🙂



Final Days

I leave for school next week, and so I’ve started packing a little.  The thing is, most of the stuff I’m taking is what I use everyday, which means I’ll be doing a lot of last minute packing.  The hardest part is deciding what can or can’t go…mostly a space issue.  Right now I’m pretty excited about starting in a couple weeks.  I’m curious as to how I’ll adjust to the crazy school schedule.  Since my last post, I’ve learned to drive my new manual transmission car pretty well, except sometimes I’ll stall if someone’s really close behind me at a light and I freak out.

I’m really going to miss the beach…I’ve been squeezing in as much time there as possible.  I went yesterday with a group of friends and although the waves were barely noticeable, we did catch a couple.  I like biking even more than going to the beach, so in that way I’m excited to be going to school next week.  I’ve heard there are some really good trails not far from the campus; hopefully that will become a weekend routine for me.  If anyone reading this knows of good trails, feel free to leave a comment for me.

I stopped by my high school yesterday to return the second half of my ROTC uniforms, about 25 pounds worth.  They were having their indoctrination for the incoming cadets.  Instantly, when I walked in, I realized how small all the high schoolers looked, especially the freshmen.  It’s funny since I was one of them just a three months ago.

I better get packing 🙂

It’s…a Brand NEW Car!

Last week was very exciting for me…I took advantage of the cash for clunkers stimulus.  Our family had been talking about getting rid of our 18 year old Jeep Cherokee, but since I needed a car it never seemed like a good time.  When we heard about cash for clunkers, I realized this was the golden opportunity.  We figured it would go until November, as the government had planned.  Well, my dad got a call Thursday afternoon from an auto dealer saying they just received an email letting them know the government was cutting the program off at 9pm due to a budget shortage.  The entire 250,000 car stimulus was used in one week!  So when he got home and told me, we rushed over to look at a Dodge Caliber he had seen.  Upon arrival, an older couple was already buying the car so we started strolling around.  One of the salesmen came up and told us another one had just come in that day, so we went to see it.  This one was the SXT Sport and, unlike the other Caliber, it had tons of features.  It had never been test driven, or driven at all for that matter except to get gas.  I ended up buying the car for $8,000 off sticker price with the Chrysler discount and turning in our old Jeep.  For a few minutes we were freaked out because we couldn’t find the Jeep title, which was necessary for the trade.  So after 4 hours at the dealership, we finally drove my new car home.

I realize now I forgot one small detail; it’s a manual transmission.  So, for the past week, I’ve been going around our neighborhood with my dad learning stick shift.  I’m already fairly proficient and last night we practiced starting up on steep hills.  It’s a really cool car and I look forward to bringing it to ERAU this year.

Here’s a picture of the car, the color is surf blue pearl I think:


My Life

I think the last I wrote was when I got back from Cancun.  Since then I haven’t done much except work and the beach a couple of times.  If you don’t already know, I work at a flight school (www.sdfti.com) as a webmaster/graphic designer, and I also do some other marketing work.  Last week, for example, I developed both a print and web version brochure for us.  A lot of my other work is attracting visitors to the site, like creating facebook ads that show up on the right hand side (they’ve been surprisingly successful).  I normally work 6 or 7 hours mon-fri, so I can’t do too much else during the week, and it gets kind of old sometimes.

Luckily, I’ve been able to squeeze in a little beach time the past couple weeks.  I went yesterday with a friend and the waves here in San Diego were huge.  I love boogie-boarding and those were the best waves I have ever caught; some were a little too powerful though.  When I was body surfing I decided that instead of diving under a breaking wave I’d turn my back against it and caught the full force of a five foot wave on my back and neck.  I hope that remains a once in a lifetime experience.  It’s almost a ritual for me to dig holes at the beach too.  Yesterday, we hit about four and a half feet deep before water seeped in through the bottom.  Further up the beach last week, though, another friend and I got to six and half feet.  Then some little kids wanted to jump in and play.  Another thing that amazed me yesterday was that the water was actually warm.  Now for San Diegan’s, that’s a very loose term, but it wasn’t just tolerable, it was comfortable.  That’s something very rare around here!

Recent Events 2.0

I promised that I’d write again last week to finish up Cancun, but I was overcome by laziness.  I’ve finally summoned the courage to write.  Firstly, we saw some pretty awesome fire dancers there, and you can see pictures on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/soccerkingpilot/sets/72157620949223744/.  We also saw a magician one night and although I figured out a couple tricks, some were pretty…well, tricky.  Continuing, the following day I went ziplining.  That was pretty fun, but it wasn’t in tree canopies the way I envisioned it.  Instead, we were in a quarry with water.  I hear Costa Rica is good for ziplining, and I’d like to do that sometime also.  Feel free to leave comments if you know of good places 🙂  After the zipline, I went ATV riding for the first time.  That pretty much made up for any disappointment the ziplining had brought on.

Ziplining Towers

Ziplining Towers

On Tuesday, the weather called for storms, and storms there were.  I was in the pool playing water volleyball with three other people during a downpour (not to mention the wind).  It was so intense that on the side facing the ocean, you couldn’t see anything unless you used you hands as a visor.  The rest of the hotel guests had retreated to overhangs or given up and gone inside.  Coming home was a little interesting.  We got to our Dallas connection on time, but everything fell apart from there.  We got in the line for customs.  The foreigner line had 12 agents, ours had 4.  The citizen line (ours) was twice as long as the foreigner line from the start.  We were told that the computers were running slow, and I still wonder if it was a side-effect of the July 4 cyber attack.  Well, we moved through the line at a decent pace, and then we were lined up in front of a stall since we were next.  There were about five people lined up in front of each stall.  Well, our guys’ computer froze and we were the very next people in line for 20 minutes.  As a side note, all the other stalls worked fine so people kept going in the stalls next to us.  When it finally started working, it took him less than a minute and a half to check us through.  Looking over my shoulder as we walked away, I saw that the line had almost doubled it’s original size and had found it’s way past the bathrooms and toward the terminal.  By the time we got to our baggage, they had already turned on the sign with our flight number and we were the last ones there to get our bags.  We proceeded to “walk with a purpose” (aka jogging) through the airport to the gate.  When we got there we found our plane had just taxied out.  Long story short, we took the next flight home to San Diego, but we weren’t to happy.  We actually got the last seats on our next San Diego flight and in row 33 of 33, we could see nothing except engine and rivets out the window.  Pretty exciting.

Now that I’m back in San Diego, I think I’ll still go to the beach, just a little less often since the water is freezing here.