So it's been quite a while since I've posted here. So, what's going on with me?

Well, when I went back to college, I debated between doing environmental engineering or aerospace engineering. This is probably due to reading stuff like Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot as a wee nerdlet. But if the goal is to try and create a civilization worth the name, which means one that can survive and also get our asses into space, those are the two key issues, keeping our civilization running in a sustainable way here, and get into space in a real way.

So, with that in mind, I figured that there was more work to do fixing up our cities and world and it's more urgent. So, because of this, I figured it'd be easier to find a job that way. It wasn't entirely idealistic, yeah.

Then I went and graduated while all the engineering companies it turned out had gotten all invested in building cookie cutter subdivisions. Which meant they were laying people off, and all the few jobs there were were competing with people who already had experience. And ended up working retail again. Whoops.

And then my friend said the company he was working at was hiring. And so somehow I stumbled backwards into working at a company making rockets and cargo ships for the space station. Can't really fight that.

So hey there folks.

So, Linux

Mar. 21st, 2011 10:26 pm
So, for about a month now, I've been running Ubuntu Linux 10.whatever on my laptop. Partly because Vista, after coming with it and being used for a couple years, was doing really random bizarre things like not recognizing USB things unless they were plugged in when the computer was turned on.

So, how has it been working? Pretty good, really. I haven't had anything to complain about. Mostly, I'm running internet stuff, and that's supported as well or better on Linux as it is in Windows. Gaming other than flash games is harder, but I got out of the habit of a good bit of gaming through the simple expedient of being broke and busy and not having the time or money. Other than gaming, for internet stuff and writing and such, Linux is doing just fine for me. The desktop's laid out well enough, and it has a search for programs, which was one of the things I'd gotten to actually like about Vista. Made me feel like I was using command line again almost.

I realize this isn't a very in-depth review, but somewhere along the way, I stopped being so interested and entertained by figuring out all the little tweaks to make computers run right, and just want them to work like I need them to. Ubuntu's been doing that pretty well for me, and so I'm happy. I do have Windows 7 (legal, even!) installed on a partition, but I've rarely felt the need to use it.

All Done

Dec. 17th, 2010 10:38 am
So, I just finished the last final, the last projects are behind me, and everything is all done. I'm finally finished with school. All done and graduated. Woo!

So... now what?

EDIT: To expand on the "Now what?" portion a little. I started taking classes again, part time, in 2002. That started as just one or two classes a semester, and the first one was a creative writing workshop type class. But since then, there's been a couple summers I didn't take anything, but for the most part, especially the last three years and a bit years, I've been taking at least three classes all the time, including summer. Now, it's all done, and I'm an engineer (even if the FE exam results haven't come back, I'm not worried about them) and even have a ring as a reminder of my oath to use my powers for good, and not evil. But now, in a way, the easy part's over. Or perhaps, to use a different metaphor, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and now that some of those first steps are done, I'm at that point where a bunch of paths diverge, variously traveled by, and I have to pick which to take, or to pick a bit of each and make my own.
I have been doing SCIENCE! The sciencey kind of science! The kind that you see on PBS documentaries. I have been out to the Gulf Stream on a dedicated research ship, hauled up parts of the ocean floor, been seasick, thrown equipment that cost more than my car overboard, thrown fishies back to the sea, watched dolphins surfing in the bow waves beneath my feet, seen the ISS go overhead, seen the ocean turn a brilliant blue, watched a Navy weather platform colonized by seagulls, and walked through the churning engine guts of the ship.

This was all two weeks ago, and was awesome. I need to set up a flickr account, or find my old one, or something, to get them somewhere besides Facebook where the school people can see them.
So, I don't even have an RSS reader I use. I used to have one for a while, but I kept not reading things in it. Anybody have suggestions on methods of keeping up with news and site updates and the likes? Plugins, standalone programs, whatever. Maybe I should use Opera and that initial montage of site thing they have. Chrome has something like it too, but I haven't been super impressed by Chrome so far.
Somewhere along the line, I seem to have once again become what I was years ago. A space nerd who wants to save the world. Naive? Sure. Idealistic? Duh. But so what? It's better than the alternative. I may not be the astronaut, but I never really figured I would be. Right now, I just want to keep things working well enough that some day, my kids or their kids or however many generations get to reach that glorious dawn. I have a goal, and that beats the pants off just living to make the next payment on $item.
When I was younger, I didn't care much for going to hardware stores. That wasn't the kind of tools and the kind of building that interested me that much. The most fun part for me, as a kid, was the funky panel carts with the bars on them they used to have to carry boards on them. That's started to change, which is to say I've started to change. Partly because my interest has moved on from just computer stuff, which these days mostly requires a screwdriver, if that, to more ambitious goals. And things like making trebuchets, which I blame on Mythbusters. (No, I haven't done it yet. I'll have pictures when I work on it)

Since I got my multitool, I've been carrying it with me most places I go. And I usually find a use for it at least once a day. The little one with scissors, or the screwdrivers, I've even used the can opener...once. But carrying it, there's a lot of times that I wouldn't have done something, but when I have a dozen different tools in my pocket, I can. The other day I fixed a shower head on a hose, because it was broken. It was just held together with three screws, and just needed to be straightened out. But if I hadn't had the tool, I'd probably have just sworn at it and decided to buy a new one, or make do. I probably wouldn't have thought to go get a screwdriver. In a way, it's a method of applied laziness, hacking my own behaviors. Because I know I won't go get something special to work it, but if I have it with me, I will.

And having tools available changes how you interact with the world. Not just because tool use is what separates us from animals (except some apes, and some otters, and some birds, and...) but because 99% of the environment most of us live in was built or adapted by humans. With tools. When you have tools too, you can interact with those parts of the world on the same level, rather than them just being something that's there, and does what it does. Part of that's a matter of mindset too, though. Interacting with the world, as opposed to passively accepting it. Which goes back to my hacker heritage in computers. :)

I'm not sure that I have an actual point here, or that I'm pointing out anything many others before me have, but it's all I've got the time for today.
Fire in the Sky. Every. Single. Time.

But I don't feel at all bad about that. Buzz Aldrin did too when he heard it. On national TV.

A downloadable version, and some of the rest of the songs, which were commissioned by the National Space Society, can be found here.


Dec. 7th, 2009 09:09 pm
Yay, research!

... Now I just need to figure out how to make the time work, and the money.

Also, I need to find time to build a trebuchet. A fairly little one, for practice.

100 Years

Nov. 23rd, 2009 04:54 pm
While there's lots of times that looking at something that happened and saying "It won't mean a thing in a hundred years" is helpful, since it lends perspective, I'd really like to do something in my life that would mean something in a hundred years.
Hey. Yeah, it's been a while. Bit of dust on this old place. Well, old in internet age, this LJ'll be five and a half in... Huh. The archive says the first post was in May, 2004, but I KNOW there were earlier ones, saying stuff like "This is just here for me to watch other people's LJs" and we know how that turned out. So, about five and a half years, we'll say. It's close enough. But that's just a number, not really a milestone. I'll get to those in a minute.

First though, I wanted to apologize to people, for not being around much, and not being around or talking to people much for the last while. Maybe a year. Part of the blame I can place easily on being busy, what with everything that's gone on. I'm back in school studying engineering, for about another year after this semester. I moved hundreds of miles, got a new job, got an apartment, got married, etc. So, a lot going on, and intermittent net access through it all. And I've barely mentioned most of that here. Which is what I feel a little weird about. I haven't mentioned much of that here at all, or anywhere, really. Haven't been able to be online and talk with people as much as I used to. That and I don't often talk about myself (which is why I've had a blog for five years, uh huh.) But I wanted to apologize to everybody for not being around, though I don't know how much that's going to change, 'cause I'm still busy.

Two of those reasons I'm busy are the milestones I mentioned in the title. The first? Last Monday, I turned 30. Which on the one hand is just a number, and doesn't seem very important, but on the other hand is made into this big huge thing culturally. And the other thing is we're buying a house. Despite these, I don't really feel like a responsible adult though. And I'm back in school, but there's far worse places to be, and I'm lucky I landed my internship when I did, and have been able to keep it. But I still find myself thinking things like "I wanna be a Science Hero when I grow up!" Or, in other words, this XKCD. Though I haven't made lego buildings in a while. My legos are in Virginia.

So what's the plan? Get moved, and finish school, and the rest I'lm taking by ear right now. Gonna have to start looking at finding jobs and taking the FE exam and that sort of thing soon, but not yet. Responsible Adultness? Well, gonna have to keep faking it. And try and get out more, instead of just letting responsibilities become excuses not to do the rest of the stuff I need to do. Cut back on the empty calories of flash game distractions and spend more time catching up with people I know. Send letters, the actual physical kind, 'cause it's really cool to get stuff besides bills and spam in the mail. Just need to figure out how to make the time, I've got two half-finished letters that've been sitting around for months.
No matter what I do, or how well I do it, I'm never going to be as awesome as Buckminster Fuller.
Hmm. I'm beginning to suspect that to do lots of the many things I want to do (one of which is to find an old building and turn it into a factory of awesome), I'm gonna need a significant amount of cash. Not Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark level of money, but quite a bit of dough. Now to figure out how to get it in ethical ways that would leave me the time to enjoy a factory of awesome. Which leaves out some of the more entertaining possibilities, like heist capers, for both reasons.
Proscrastination is one of my greatest flaws. But really, it's kind of pointless. Procrastination is a matter of putting something off in favor of something more fun. But whatever you're going to do is probably not as fun as having stuff accomplished, in the long run. And it's harder to have fun doing it when you've got this other stuff you're supposed to be doing hanging over you. But it sure seems easier in the short run.

So basically, what I need to do is apply the hacker principle of applied laziness to the rest of life.
And so I return to the welcoming wilds of internet-land. Sorry everybody. I know I've been kinda a crappy friend to a lot of you, falling off the face of the Interent like that. I can place blame several places, but really, life just got busy. Moving, school, working, planning a wedding, spotty internet, that kind of thing. I'm not dead, or sick, or suddenly abducted by a convent of amorous alien nuns or anything like that. So you all can relax. I am sorry for vanishing like that and barely being available to communicate with pretty much anybody. Hope nobody worried too much. Now I'm trying to get back more into the flow of things. No more moving of living out of boxes, for one. Internet access is still spotty at home, and school and work and the general business of living take up quite a bit of time. But I'm not dead, at least that's something, right? Even if I have been crappy by disappearing like that. Sorry folks.


Sep. 8th, 2008 08:34 pm
A month and a bit without a computer and I totally get out of the habit of LJ.  I didn't even post on my birthday yesterday or anything.  So, what's going on?

I'm in classes, that's part of what's kept me busy.  Taking math, math, engineering that's math, drawing (for engineers) and materials.  I've got an internship with an engineering company, which basically means filing and some paperwork and learning things.  And working part time at yet another Starbucks.  Haven't unpacked everything yet.  Bought a laptop more powerful than my desktop, but haven't even needed it yet.  Watching MIT opencourseware for some of the classes while I'm doing homework for those classes.

That's about all for the moment, plenty to keep me busy lately.  I'll try and get back to posting more.  And reading my LJ more too, I haven't forgotten you all.  I'm just busy.


Jul. 7th, 2008 10:27 pm
A week ago, I arrived in these wilds and began setting up a base camp. Now that the barest semblance of civilization has been established, I have begun casting about for the necessities of life. Thus far the natives have been relatively welcoming. I shall write more as things develop.

Moving Day

Jun. 27th, 2008 11:51 pm
Sunday is Moving Day.

Saturday is Test-Pack the Car and Panic over Last Little Things Day.


Jun. 18th, 2008 09:16 pm
Packing brings to mind one eternal question:

How did I end up with so much STUFF?
Well. Interesting couple of weeks it's been.

My fiancee's dad has melanoma. They don't know how bad it is yet, waiting for test results. But it decided one course of action. We'd been talking about moving down to Savannah, GA, where her folks live. Now there's no question about it. We're moving down there before the end of the month. So I'm going to be busy job hunting, cleaning and moving my crap, and generally getting ready for this. I may end up with a lot of stuff I don't need or want, mostly books and comics, which will either be sold or given away. Maybe I'll do an ebay page, though that's harder to do for stuff I'm leaving here.

Things never stop changing, do they?



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