A day in the life

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Update on life...

I have more than a couple of updates on the last few months...

1. I have moved to Athens, GA. It is a pretty sweet town and I would recommend visiting. I've moved into an old home they turned into three apartments. It has what realtors call "character" which means it has neat things like 12' ceilings and two fireplaces, but it also means it has weird old house sounds and leaks like a seive in the winter.

2. I am almost done with grad school. I've been working diligently on my thesis, but I can't seem to get the damn thing done. If someone wants a bedtime read to put the to sleep, let me know. I'll be happy to send you a copy of the page turner "Lateral Prediction of Depth-Averaged Velocity in Compound Channels."

3. I have spent the last few months training for and completing the Ironman triathlon. I'm pretty excited about finishing. I finished the 2.4 mi swim, 112 mi bike, and 26.2 mi run in 13hr 17min 39sec. Thanks to all of you who call or watched online. Your rewards are the pictures.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Dear Ayn Rand fans,

I am sure that no one is checking this blog any longer, but on the off chance that they are, I thought I would spark some controversy.

During the many hours of driving home over the Thanksgiving holidays I listened to Atlas Shrugged. The comments that follow have the following disclaimer: yes, it was an abridged version, but the message was still pretty clear.

A few comments on the work:
1. Ayn Rand did not hang the moon.
2. The "Hollywood" ending is a bit ridiculous.
3. Sacrifice is not what is wrong with America.
4. John Gault's radio broadcast was a bit lengthy.
5. I thought The Fountainhead was as just as good as this book, and half the length as well.
6. For all you little objectivists: We the Living is only about 60 pages and can become your new anthem to rally behind.

Good day gentlemen.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Half the man I need to be

I finally have something to blog about (other than thesis research that is). This weekend I accomplished one of the larger feats of my life. I finished a half ironman. It was in central Illinois, so as I'm sure you can imagine, the course was flat and sunny. For those who are unaware of midwestern geography, central Illinois has about 30 feet of elevation gain every 50 or 100 miles, and the vegetation is lush corn and soybean fields. I did however endure through the sun to finish in a little more than 5 and 1/2 hours. I was pretty proud of the effort.

Random things you probably don't know about triathlon participants:
-Approximately half of the entrants think they are Lance Armstrong or Marc Allen (8 time Ironman winner)
-The guys who wear the ridiculous time trial helmets and finish behind some of the women on the bike are hilarious
-The people who think the skin tight race jerseys are for after the race are some of the more vane people I've met in my entire life (they used phrases such as, "I don't mean to brag, but...")
-By the way, all of these people are the same guys

Any ways, time to bury myself back in my thesis research.

Friday, May 05, 2006

so i'm a deliquent blogger...what of it?

I suppose I'll do a "where are they now?" blog.

So I haven't blogged for a reason. I've been ridiculously busy. One of my teachers gave a project that he discribed in class as "well...I don't want a master's thesis, but..." He doesn't want what?! How can a professor justify giving a project that he can at all compare to a thesis. Retarded!! Oh, and on top of that he's been on sabatical in France since March (and not answering emails). Bastard. Any ways, 1 month of my life and a 60 page report later, I'm done with that shit. On a side note, if anyone wants to know about delta progradation in Coastal Lousiana, I'm your man.

Other than that Chambana has been kinda slow. I spend most of my time schooling, eating, training for triathlon season, and calling the womanpiece. Speaking of which...Amy is coming up here this summmer, so that's pretty exciting. She's going to be here from May 6th to sometime in early August.

In other news, I'm really looking forward to triathlon season this summer. I've got a couple picked out that I'd like to do, and I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life. Today I did something ridiculous. I registered for next April's Ironman!! Therefore, I encourage anyone who reads this terrible blog to clear April 15, 2007 for going to Tempe, AZ and watching their friend Kyle subject his body to the rigors of 2.4mi swimming, 112mi biking, and 26.2mi running.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Colorado requires many forms of recovery

Last weekend was awesome for the following reasons:

I got to hang out with my girlfriend in Colorado, see friends I haven't seen for a few months, eat big city burritos, ski at breck, drink fresh beer at new belgium, watch courtney rage girls at hockey, aid a friend in emptying a frig full of beer, sleep on three couches, play beer pong, win many games of beer pong, enjoy beautiful sunny weather in colorado, go for a walk in my favorite park in fort collins (pineridge recreation area south of Hughes for those interested)

Parts of the weekend that were less awesome:

Having my skis taken - Some guy took my skis at 9:00am from in front of the lift office. It was clear that it was an honest mistake because he left his rentals, which were almost identical to mine. The guest services folks at breck were terrific and helped adjust the bindings to fit my boots and told me to enjoy the day and sort it out when I was ready to go. So I skied all day and when I got to the bottom I called his rental shop to get his number. I call him and he says, "I'm glad you've got my skis. I'm where YOU took them." I sort of blew that comment off and went to where he took my skis. He wasn't there. I called him back and he kept saying that I was where "I took HIS skis." Finally I figured out that he was at the bar overlooking Rocky mountain superchair. He was outside already with a friend, and they both got into my face like I had done something wrong by trying to correct his mistake. He claimed that he skied all day on his skis and went into this bar at 2:30 to get a drink and came out and they were gone. His amazingly annoying, fat friend kept saying"Who does that? Who takes someone's skis?" This is all absolutely ridiculous since at 2:30 I was on peak 9 with his skis latched onto my feet. Either way I got my skis back and so did he. Come to find out upon returning my skis, he called my ski shop and yelled at all of the 16 year olds working there. what an asshole.

Being exposed to strep - Another portion of the weekend that proved less desirable was being around court's roommate who had strep throat. I made a point not to touch him, so I wouldn't get strep. I began to get freaked out because court was describing one of her friends with strep as having 'bleeding pockets in the back of her throat.' Vomit. So then I became REALLY careful about being exposed to this kid. What happens? three days later I have strep and cannot do anything. Thus, my entire week has been devoted to being sick (gross).

Willard Airport - Champaign's wonderful airport has an absolute knack for losing my luggage. I have flown into CMI 5 times, and they have lost my bag 3 times. I shan't be checking luggage here again.

Although one of the negatives of the weekend lingered on to the next weekend (sickness), I would call the journey to Colorado a success.

I don't know when I'll make it out there again, but it can't be too terribly long (Thus far I've come back 3 times in 9 months).

Monday, December 12, 2005


Amy sent me this. I thought you guys might like it....I say you guys because I'm pretty sure only flick, bryce, mike, rosie, jon, and I check these blogs.

The Hubris of the Humanities

The best argument against "intelligent design" has always been humanity itself. At a time when only 40 percent of Americans believe in evolution, and only 13 percent know what a molecule is, we're an argument at best for "mediocre design."

But put aside the evolution debate for a moment. It's only a symptom of something much deeper and more serious: a profound illiteracy about science and math as a whole.

One-fifth of Americans still believe that the Sun goes around the Earth, instead of the other way around. And only about half know that humans did not live at the same time as dinosaurs.

The problem isn't just inadequate science (and math) teaching in the schools, however. A larger problem is the arrogance of the liberal arts, the cultural snootiness of, of ... well, of people like me - and probably you.

What do I mean by that? In the U.S. and most of the Western world, it's considered barbaric in educated circles to be unfamiliar with Plato or Monet or Dickens, but quite natural to be oblivious of quarks and chi-squares. A century ago, Einstein published his first paper on relativity - making 1905 as important a milestone for world history as 1066 or 1789 - but relativity has yet to filter into the consciousness of otherwise educated people.

"The great edifice of modern physics goes up, and the majority of the cleverest people in the Western world have about as much insight into it as their neolithic ancestors would have had," C. P. Snow wrote in his classic essay, "The Two Cultures."

The counterargument is that we can always hire technicians in Bangalore, while it's Shakespeare and Goethe who teach us the values we need to harness science for humanity. There's something to that. If President Bush were about to attack Iraq all over again, he would be better off reading Sophocles - to appreciate the dangers of hubris - than studying the science of explosives.

But don't pin too much faith on the civilizing influence of a liberal education: the officers of the Third Reich were steeped in Kant and Goethe. And similar arguments were used in past centuries to assert that all a student needed was Greek, Latin and familiarity with the Bible - or, in China, to argue that all the elites needed were the Confucian classics.

Without some fluency in science and math, we'll simply be left behind in the same way that Ming Dynasty Chinese scholars were. Increasingly, we face public policy issues - avian flu, stem cells - that require some knowledge of scientific methods, yet the present Congress contains 218 lawyers, and just 12 doctors and 3 biologists. In terms of the skills we need for the 21st century, we're Shakespeare-quoting Philistines.

A year ago, I wanted to ornament a column with a complex equation, so, as a math ninny myself, I looked around the Times newsroom for anyone who could verify that it was correct. Now, you can't turn around in the Times newsroom without bumping into polyglots who come and go talking of Michelangelo. But it took forever to turn up someone confident in his calculus - in the science section.

So Pogo was right.

This disregard for science already hurts us. The U.S. has bungled research on stem cells, perhaps partly because Mr. Bush didn't realize how restrictive his curb on research funds would be. And we're risking our planet's future because our leaders are frozen in the headlights of climate change.

In this century, one of the most complex choices we will make will be what tinkering to allow with human genes, to "improve" the human species. How can our leaders decide that issue if they barely know what DNA is?

Intellectuals have focused on the challenge from the right, which has led to a drop in the public acceptance of evolution in the U.S. over the last 20 years, to 40 percent from 45 percent. Jon Miller, a professor at the Northwestern University medical school who has tracked attitudes toward evolution in 34 countries, says Turkey is the only one with less support for evolution than the U.S.

It's true that antagonism to science seems peculiarly American. The European right, for example, frets about taxes and immigration, but not about evolution.

But there's an even larger challenge than anti-intellectualism. And that's the skewed intellectualism of those who believe that a person can become sophisticated on a diet of poetry, philosophy and history, unleavened by statistics or chromosomes. That's the hubris of the humanities.

Monday, December 05, 2005

America's most watched network

Rosie and I elected to not get cable for our apartment in Urbana. While I think this is still a good idea, I would like to comment on the networks that still broadcast. At our home we receive signal from PBS, the God channel, and CBS. How is it that the God channel can stay on the air and Fox, ABC, and NBC can no longer afford to broadcast signal? Is it due to all of the donation going directly to the "TV ministry"?

Anyways, due to our limited options, I find myself watching more CBS than I am accustommed to. While CBS is "America's most watch network," I find it to be ridiculously bad. It seems the executives at CBS have elected not to show a variety of programming, but instead only crime drama, reality TV, and Inside Edition. While they may supply America with other programming, these are the programs that are on whenever I'd like to watch TV. IT is my belief that CBS is "America's most watched network" not because of programming, but because they are the only network broadcasting free television.

Crime Drama...
I'll let you in on the crime drama secret. EVERY SHOW IS THE SAME. They all start with a crime (obviously) (approximately 10 minutes to throughly explain the crime). This is followed by interviewing the victims obvious killers, family/friends/lovers (~15 minutes). Then they find a key piece of evidence they missed at the scene and send in to "the lab" for analysis (15 minutes). At this point they introduce and interview about 3 new characters, one of whom is the killer (10 minutes). They then unravel all of the clues and chase the killer down (5 minutes). The final 5 minutes are reserved for the feel good moment of the show where the detective makes a connection with either a coworker or someone close to the victim.

Not only are all of the shows the same, but they are all warping society into some sort of crime addicted blob. I actually saw the DA of Champaign County say on the news that there have been less convictions in courts in the last few years, and some people believe it is due to shows like CSI that find unrealistic amounts of evidence that are never present in actual cases against criminals. Absurd.

Inside Edition...
This show is "Hard Copy" with the name changed. In case you've never seen Inside Edition, the idea of this show is 20/20 meets tabloid. It takes pseudo-intelligent pieces and places them between celebrity gossip and worthless "believe-it-or-not" sorts of stories. Although not a show I like, my major beef with Inside Edition is that it comes on at dinner time every night. Can CBS not afford to hook America up with something entertaining (like Seinfield) to watch during dinner?

I guess my point is that CBS is worthless (except for the fact that it is free and occasionally has football on).