Thursday, April 28, 2005

Links Galore!

Good news! I just found out my Commercial Checkride is now scheduled for Friday of Finals Week at 1pm with Prof. Gross! This is very good, because Friday is a day I don’t have any other finals and I had previously been told I’d probably have Mitch on the checkride, who is much harder. Praise God for that (and pray that it goes well).

Anyway, I promised you guys links, so here they are! Note: the majority of these links are either exceedingly silly or just plain stupid, so don’t take any of it seriously. I’m serious; don’t take any of it seriously! (If you’re lucky I might give you some more serious/useful links sometime in the future)

First up in the stupid category is a whacko conspiracy theory I recently stumbled upon. Now, normally I’d preface this one with a link to the Flat Earth Society (you can guess what they believe), but their site is apparently down due to server problems. This one is even weirder than that and also funnier because of how much more elaborately stupid it is. There’s a LOT of text to read on the site, but I invite you to try reading through it all, it gets better and better (aka, dumber and dumber) as you go! Without further ado, I bring you the Hollow Earth theory:

Ever have a bad day? Well I’ve got two links for you!
-If you’re feeling stressed, follow these simple steps (remember, read all directions before beginning):
1. Make sure you aren’t in class or some noise sensitive setting (ex. library)
2. Turn your speakers on and up (don’t have to be on max, but reasonably loud).
3. click on this link:
4. Admire the nice drawing
5. Click on the pig
-If you feel Murphy’s Law is all about you, then you want to hear this song by comedian Ray Stevens: (DIALUP WARNING: 3.5 MB)

I’m sure most of you have seen this one, but in case you haven’t; here it is. Baby Got Book is a Christian parody of a very NOT-Christian rap song. (DIALUP WARNING: 13 MB)

Have problems with your laundry? I haven’t tried this personally, but I have friends who have and claim it really does work. (DIALUP WARNING: 2 MB)

This is a German parody of the Matrix claiming to be a Matrix sequel (released before the sequels) and around the same time as WindowsXP. Non-Matrix fans probably won’t get it (but you’re welcome to try). (DIALUP WARNING: 24 MB)

This clip speaks for itself as proof why Johnny Carson was and always will be the king of the late-night talk show. From The Tonight Show, “Here’s Johnny!” (DIALUP WARNING: 2MB)

In recent years, it’s become sort of an accidental fad to place a video of a friend (or yourself) doing something stupid online. Sometimes said video catches the attention of the world and you have millions of people watching your embarrassing moment. We’ll start with one of the first people made famous by this fad; a 15 year old Canadian by the name of Ghyslian Raza, aka, the Star Wars Kid:
The story:
The video: (remix version with lightsaber effects and sounds)

Next up is a guy named Gary who actually posted this video online of his own free will (Ghyslian’s video was stolen and put on by friends, if you didn’t read the above article). This is proof why Romanian pop music, an American teenager, and a webcam just don’t mix well (but it is funny when they try).
The story:
The Numa Numa Dance: (Macromedia Flash player required)

In my travels of the web, I actually came across the original music video for the song in the Numa Numa video. It’s Romanian pop group O-Zone, singing “Dragostea Din Tei.” When you click on this link, it’ll come up wanting to download an .asx file, go ahead and click “open,” where it will launch your media player and stream the video (the link is safe, I’ve tested it). If it doesn’t work, it might be because of your media player software, so click it again, hit “save,” and open it with Windows Media Player and it should work.
Incidentally, the above video provides support for my argument that pop music might actually have one almost redeeming quality. The thing about pop music videos is that they don’t have to have ANYTHING to do with the song itself! These guys dancing on an airplane wing and having two of the props turn into speakers is a wonderful example of this point. I’m sure that my being a pilot plays a roll in how funny I think it is, but you have to take some amusement from how ludicrous it is.

For a special treat, I actually found a parody of O-Zone video above done entirely in Lego: (DIALUP WARNING: 6.5MB)

And now for our last link of the day. This one is the latest culmination of the Star Wars Kid and Numa Numa Dance fad. What makes this one sad is that it’s clear they planned it out and rehearsed it, so there’s clear intent to put it online. Also, the guy on the left makes a grin suspiciously like No.6 (Jonathan Chen), a friend from Cru and Cary Quad (we call him the 6th roommate because he’s around so much). I present to you, the Annoying Asians: (DIALUP WARNING: 8 MB)

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Well, IT Flew

This morning the Airbus A380 superjumbo jet made its first flight. It'll bee the world's largest passenger airliner when it enters service mid-2006 with a capacity of up to 840 passengers. For the record, we pilots consider that a bad thing. Think about it, 840 people crammed in all economy class seating over the course of 12 or more hours across the Pacific is just a receipe for air rage and all sorts of other forms of trouble. As you may or may not know, I'm no fan of Airbus, but I do have to give them a little (very little) credit for actually getting it to fly. If you ask around, I think you'll find that most pilots (at least around here) have a similar attitude to the one I just expressed. Now, when Boeing's 787 Dreamliner makes its first flight in a couple of years, that'll be a very different story (its a medium sized, extremely efficient, and aestetically beautiful airplane).
Here's the MSNBC story on the flight:
More pictures of the flight:

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


I'm feeling generous tonight, so I think I'll give you guys a couple of clips I wasn't planning on putting up for a couple of days. This weekend Amy Schott of Windsor had to make a video for extra credit in her Italian class. Didn't have to be a serious film-making endeavor, just a short film in Italian. Amy asked if she could use my computer for the video editing and I volunteered myself, Dustin, Edgar, and Rebecca to help with the filming. We spent most of Saturday afternoon both helping out with production (I was the main camera guy, Rebecca did the cue cards, Dustin and Edgar were, well, I guess you could call them comic relief (not that the film needed to be any more silly). Amy spent a lot of time on the computer doing the editing and I helped when needed. The project was due Tuesday morning and I've heard it went over well with the class. Now I'm putting it up for your viewing pleasure. (DIALUP WARNING: 31 MB)

Naturally, (much to the behest of Amy), as principle cameraman I filmed a lot of extra material outside of what was strictly needed for the film. What follows is the "blooper reel" containing most of the funny footage from the film, production clips, and people just being silly for the camera. Ironically, the blooper reel is 15 minutes, 20 seconds long, while the project itself is only 11 minutes, 51 seconds long. Just goes to show how much good blooper footage I got. I'd still HIGHLY advise you watch the final production film (linked above) before the blooper reel so you can understand the general plot (what little of it there is). (DIALUP WARNING: 39 MB)

We had a lot of fun making it, so I hope you enjoyed it. BTW, for those of you who aren't regular readers, the "I want Chip dead" bit in the blooper reel was a reference to all my Creative Date stuff in previous posts (despite filming many of the players from the date saying that as you've seen, I never thought to say it myself, so now I did). I'm just hoping that this will be the last major production to come out of mine this semester. This stuff takes too much time. ;) As always, comments are welcome.

BTW, I was just thinking, if I'm going to continue putting out these videos in the future, I need to make up my own little mock production company (with logo) to put in front of the film to make it seem more professional. Any suggestions for a name or logo?

Thanks Chris

Well, my visit to PUSH (the student health center) to check on my back went well today. They had the sports doctor take a look at it to make sure that there weren't any injuries to be concerned about from that flight-from-the-couch you saw in the blooper reel video. Yeah, I actually did get hurt then (for those of you who thought it was a joke).

I landed on the back of my head, which snapped forward farther than normal as my weight shifted from the back of my neck to the top of my spine and my whole body continued to roll over the top (prolonging the time that all my weight was on that point). Nothing stopped working or turned numb, but it did hurt quite a bit and we were concerned for a while. I was fortunate to receive some treatment for it at Cru on Friday however. My friend Chris Lindsay from Windsor happens to be really good at back rubs and when she heard about it immediately started working on my back as we were standing there talking. She could tell that the muscles in my back were pretty messed up, but I was otherwise fine as best as she could tell. The next day I woke to find that the pain had subsided to being almost non-existent thanks to her help. Then Sunday night she worked on it for another couple of minutes at Prayer and Praise.

When I saw the doctor today I told him about the impact and after he tested my mobility a little bit he agreed with her assessment that I was fine. Said I probably strained some muscles in my back and some of the ligaments in my neck, but that it was nothing to be concerned about. Thanks Chris!

In other news, I need to get studying, so that's all for tonight. However, I will tell you that in a few days I'll update with a massive link frenzy, featuring plenty of silly and entertaining videos (and a couple of useful/useless/idiotic websites) to keep you from having to use your brain for hours (well, maybe not quite that long) at a time.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Instrument Checkride

Ok, it's finally time to talk about the Instrument Checkride I took last week.

I got up at my usual time (5:45) Wednesday morning to go to my 7:30 flight time (this is of course the night after the Creative Date and I hadn't stayed up late to study because I was too tired from the date). On the way to the airport I explained to my instructor that I was nervous enough about the checkride that I would rather spend all morning preparing for it than start our flying for Commercial maneuvers (noting that I was too distracted with the instrument to focus on commercial stuff anyway) and that I had run out of cross-country planning sheets, so I didn't have my cross-country planned (I was required to plan a one-way flight to someplace over 250nm away so the examiner could test my planning ability). My instructor agreed, so as soon as we got to the airport I got to work planning a flight to Akron, OH.

As soon as I finished that and spent some time talking over the checkride with the instructor, I left for the AvTech library to spend the rest of the morning studying for the Oral (as I've said, I wasn't really concerned about the flight part). When I got to the library, I stopped to talk to my boss for a few minutes and to ask her to pray for me (she's a believer), and she offered to help in her own way. You see, traditionally she buys a Subway sandwich for each of her student workers during finals week, so she offered to give me mine early because she knew I wasn't going to get a chance to have lunch before the 1:00pm checkride. The way the logistics worked out was for me to ride with her to Subway about 9:45 (she was leaving to head to a meeting), pick up my sandwich, and walk back (it's just short of a mile). I brought my Instrument Oral Exam Guide along so that I could study as I walked back, and ended up studying for 15 minutes while waiting for Subway to open at 10. Then I walked back and crammed on the Guide and on some review sheets my instructor gave me until 12.

At about 12:15 I walked over to Hanger Six to check the maintenance logs on the aircraft and preflight the plane before we started. Then the test began... (Cue the ominous background music)

We started out with the Oral and spent about 45 minutes sitting in his office (the examiner was Larry Gross) with him interrogating me on the minutiae of instrument flying. I got a good amount of it correct, but also made some mistakes by either simply forgetting some detail (Alternate minimums for a field with a precision approach are 600 and 2, not 600 and 1 like I said) or when I had a question on something I hadn't studied (in the Oral Exam guide, the part that talks about Low-Altitude Enroute Charts uses the legend from the charts published by the government, and I was carrying a chart published by Jeppson. Apparently there are a few differences in how they depict things). Overall my performance on the Oral was, as Larry put it during the debriefing at the end, "a little weak" (meaning it was acceptable but not a strong performance). Then we walked out to the airplane and started the flight portion of the test...

At this point I was feeling ok because, to my knowledge, the worst was over and I was surviving thus far. My first mistake was that I didn't program anything into the GPS units before we started the flight, simply because I blanked on how best to set it up for the clearance he had given me. We took off and started flying east to pick up an airway in the direction of Indy, then proceeded to hold at OCKEL (an intersection on the airway between here and Indy). My hold was pretty good, even partial panel, and my unusual attitude recoveries went well.

Then I was cleared for the GPS 28 approach to runway 28 partial panel (my Attitude Indicator and HSI were covered by post-it notes to simulate a failure). I made the mistake of not reporting to "ATC" (Larry pretending to be air traffic control) when we were leaving the hold and when I started my descent for the approach (two required reports that I just blanked on). The approach went well, even though I was fighting some very strange wind gusts from the north on final approach (almost straight west). There was a thunderstorm about 12 miles north moving in causing the weird winds.

We did the missed approach up to Boiler VOR to do the VOR-A approach full panel. The approach went well and we missed out to EARL (the local NDB) for a practice ILS 10 approach. During the missed we hit an updraft caused by the storm, so we were climbing at over 500 feet per minute with a level attitude for over 10 seconds (I announced we had hit an updraft and explained why I believe it was such so that he wouldn't dock points for "poor altitude control"). The ILS was the weakest part of my flight, because I continued having problems flying perpendicularly through the gusting winds and keeping the needles centered, especially when we got down close to the runway. As you may or may not know, and ILS approach is like flying into an ice cream cone, the closer you get to the end the narrower the course is, requiring more precision on your flying. Towards the end, it is only about 10 or 20 feet wide to be on course, small enough that a gust of wind can knock you off. If you get far enough off course that one of the guide needles (horizontal or vertical) goes all the way to one side, you have to abort the approach and try again. Right around 200 feet about DA (Decision Altitude, where you look up from the instruments and; if you can see the runway, you land, if you can't, you go missed approach), I was centered one second, and the next I had full deflection on my glideslope. I told him I had full deflection and would have to go missed (thinking that I probably had failed right there), and he took the airplane to bring it around and set up for landing on runway 28 (which he had me do).

After we had landed (a little hard), we taxied onto the ramp and I shut down the engine. He had been perfectly silent during the taxi-back, so I was beginning to think that I had failed with that ILS approach. Once the engine was off he said "Well, you did ok." Because I didn't know what he meant by 'ok' and his tone of voice was very neutral, I asked "Is 'ok' good or will I see you another day?" His response? "Well, I hope that you'll see me another day, but you passed." We went into his office and did the debriefing where he told me everything I did wrong (with my instructor standing right there listening), and that was that. I don't know what my exact grade is yet (I haven't been out to Hanger 6 to see it), but I think I only passed just barely considering my weak oral and the problems on the flight that I mentioned.

Now I get to spend the next week and 4 flights preparing for my Commercial Checkride, which promises to be even harder because the Oral covers more material and the flight portion is on maneuvers I haven't done since last fall, and then in a different airplane. That and I have to study for my Flight Instructor FAA Written Exam, practice Nolan's ARTCC (Air Route Traffic Control Simulator, part of the lab for my ATC class), and study for my other exams, all in the next two weeks. Basically, for a lot of people around here thing start winding down for the last couple of weeks of the semester. For me, things get busier and busier.

Link Time!

A friend was recently commenting on my using some term that she'd never heard in actual speech before, and being something of a linguistics buff she decide to try to identify what dialect of American English I speak. Thus, when I found this little quiz online, I decided to post it here for your viewing pleasure. (Actually, this is a good topic for the suggested comments today, click on the link below, take the quiz, and post your results)

Your Linguistic Profile:

75% General American English

15% Upper Midwestern

5% Midwestern

5% Yankee

0% Dixie

Many of you have heard me saying that I'm planning on buying a Tablet PC this summer to bring to school next year (which will greatly help my note-taking in class next fall). I think I've finally found a model I would be happy with (I've been researching them since last fall and they just announced this one). I haven't decided exactly how I would configure it, but those of you who are computer buffs will enjoy looking at the specs on Toshiba's product page (for those of you who aren't as into computer specs, but like pictures, you can see more pictures of the unit by clicking on the Product Tour link on the right side of the page):

Like to know what's popular on Google these days?

Or, ever wonder how exactly Google works so well and almost always finds what you're looking for?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Murder! On Video!

What?!?! Two posts in one night?!?! Yep, there's this one with the long-awaited Murder Mystery Night videos, and then there's the one below which is really Thursday's post delayed a couple of days. The clips are relatively low quality compared to the originals so that the file sizes aren't too big for you dialup types. Let me know if there are any quality problems with the videos (ie. they don't work, the audio doesn't match the video, etc). Anyway, I'll put the Murder Night links in the order you'll want to look at them if you haven't seen any of it before:

First up, I'm re-posting the link to the original invitation we gave the girls (you'll probably want to take a look at it again to brush up on the storyline):

This is the video we started the night with to help set up the plot: (DIALUP WARNING: 18MB)

Here's a PDF of all the characters in the game, including both *cough* flattering *cough* pictures of each and a profile on who they were (including information that was to be kept secret from the other players (motives, opportunities, etc), the seating arrangement, and a list of all the clues that were given out during the night. Side note: there was a glitch in the PDF writer in the MATH building computer lab, so the blank square on the seating arrangement chart should say "Ross Tomazin" (Matt Chupp's character). Also, if you weren't there, you definitely want to read through this PDF before you watch the next video, or else it will make little or no sense:

This is a clip of the last ~20 minutes of the date itself. Should give you an idea of what it was like and how the game was played (feel free to leave the PDF of the characters from above open as a reference to who people are). At the very end is a listing of the voting results: (DIALUP WARNING: 43 MB)

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for...THE MURDER: (DIALUP WARNING: 22 MB)

Lastly, the crowd favorite, "The Unshot Footage Blooper Reel." Some of it is extra murder footage (remember, we shot multiple murders so that the murderer wouldn't know that he or she was the murderer), extra "I want Chip dead" clips (with people squirming before actually saying the line), actual bloopers, and just general silliness with the camera: (DIALUP WARNING: 24 MB)

As usual, comments and/or questions are welcome on any of the above. I think it's safe to say that there will be a few "What on earth just happened?" moments, especially if you were expecting some of the more random events on the blooper reel to make any sense. In those clips, there's usually a story to be told of how they came about, so feel free to ask.
G'night all.

Good News and the Lost Post

The post that follows was all supposed to be posted Thursday night, but Blogger was down for maintenance when I went to post it and then I forgot that it hadn’t been posted. The one bit of news I want to add to it now (Saturday night) is the fantastic news that happened about 2am this morning: my friend Edgar Williford accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord. You know what? That’s SERIOUSLY AWESOME!!! (read: God working in amazing and unexpected ways) Praise God!!
Now, onto Thursday’s post:

Here's a riddle for ya:
I went to bed last night at 3:30 am and got up at 5:45 am. How then did I get significantly more sleep than normal?

Think about it, then scroll down...

  • If you guessed that the world is moving at a high relativistic speed relative to me, and thus I experience time at a different rate than the rest of you, then you are highly imaginative but also quite wrong.
  • If you guessed that I meant I went to bed at 3:30am the day before (aka, Wednesday morning) and got up at 5:45 Thursday morning, that would also be wrong because we all know I had my checkride in that time in the middle.
  • The correct answer is that I (inadvertently) took a 5.5 hour nap Wednesday evening.

I got back from my checkride, got a large McDonalds chocolate shake (gotta celebrate passing somehow, right?), and was so exhausted from what's turned out to be the busiest 3 days of my semester thus far that I took a nap at 5:45. I was planning on getting up at 6:15 to go meet Natalie, Dustin, and Edgar for dinner, but when my alarm woke me up then I decided I was a) no longer hungry because of the shake, and b) so completely exhausted that I didn't want to do anything but sleep some more. So I set the alarm (or so I thought) for 7:40 so I could get up for cell group. Well, my phone was acting weird that night and decided to let me set the alarm without turning it on! Then the secondary alarm I set must have gotten bumped because that one can be deactivated by hitting the button on the side of the phone. So needless to say I didn't get up then. I didn't wake up again until 11:15pm. As soon as I realized what time it was, I kicked myself for missing cell group, then immediately went over to my leader's room to see what I'd missed. The good news is that I just didn't get the email that cell group was cancelled because of the Creative Date the night before. (I had previously figured it might be, but because I hadn't heard it was cancelled I'd just assumed we were having it). The good news is that I didn't miss anything. Then, being 11:30 at night and having already had 5.5 hours of sleep (which is a normal night's rest for me), I obviously didn't feel like going to bed at a normal time. Thus I surfed the net for a while, copied some video from the date from the camera over to my computer, and watched some Smallville episodes that I had taped on my computer and hadn't yet seen (and a TNG ep. I had on there too). Then I went to bed at, you guessed it, 3:30am.

Moving on...

The Date went very well overall. As I mentioned before, we had problems getting started, causing an awkward half hour where the girls were (very patiently) sitting around waiting for us to get started, but then things really got going. The volume on the TV showing the intro video wasn't very good (even on max), so people had trouble hearing the video, but once we got passed the slightly boring "History of the World Since 2005" 5min lecture, they could hear the audio better and really enjoyed it. Then they went around and introduced themselves, both by real name and game name and talked a little about their character (mainly what they do for a living).

After we started serving the lasagna and gave them their first couple of clues, it was still pretty quiet because nobody was quite sure what they were supposed to be doing, but some of the guys really put in the effort to start a discussion and people picked up on it well. We passed out more clues about every 5 minutes, but some of the clues didn't help any because they weren't yet relevant. For example: one character's alibi was that he was at the movie theater watching Star Wars Episode IX the night of the murder, but because of the timing when we passed out clues, he hadn't yet said that before everybody knew that specific movie didn't open until the next day. After a while, people started suspecting certain individuals, and then it really got interesting. Some people were coming up with wild ideas that I'd never even thought of while planning it (it's actually really fun to see what they come up with when they do that, being one of the two people who actually know the whole plot).

About 20 minutes before dinner ended we turned on the video camera, so when I get the videos ready for being posted online (couple of days, hopefully), you'll be able to see what it was like. Then we had everybody write down who they thought the murderer was on the slip of paper assigning them their seats and turn them in before we adjourned to the TV to watch the ending. Only one person accused the right murderer.

The videotaped murders were the big hit of the night. We showed both the final murder and several alternate endings we'd filmed and people really enjoyed the various silly ways of killing Chip. The reason we had multiple endings was so that the actual murder wouldn't know that he or she was the murderer and would still be suspecting those around them. After the murder we showed the blooper reel, which had a mix of actual bloopers, extra footage, and a few bits where we were just being silly with the camera. Again, another huge hit with the crowd. Right as we were finishing up the blooper reel, my roommates John and Eddie (who aren't in the cell group and weren't part of the date) carried in the limp "dead" form of Chip and set him down on the floor in front of everybody. That reminds me, I still need to show him the videos; he hasn't seen the final product of all our hard work yet.

Anyways, that's about the summation of the Creative Date. Because of how long this post is already, I think I'll save the details of my Instrument Checkride for another day (tomorrow if you're lucky, but otherwise over the weekend or worst case from work on Monday). I'll be getting the videos from the date recompressed and posted as soon as I can, but first I should probably be studying for my exam in Bernie's Commercial Ground class tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

I'm Beat

Uff-da, I'm exhausted! Hence the nap that I'm about to go take. :) Real quick before that:

-I passed the Instrument Checkride! Although I think I only just barely passed; a pass is a pass. I'll talk more on the specifics of it later.

-The Creative Date went well. The computer crashed while it was rendering the DVD, so we had to improvise and hastily hook up my laptop so we could show the video. We also had problems getting a room to have it in (they didn't want to let us use the room) and the food wasn't ready until much later than expected. So it got off to a rocky start, but once people got into the game and the plot started coming together it went well. We didn't get to develop as many of the characters as I was hoping, but some people really got into character and it was a lot of fun. Hopefully I'll be able to get the videos up on here soon, but it'll still be a day or two.

Now, about that nap...

Monday, April 18, 2005

Ode to a Chiropractor

Dr. G, Dr. G,
oh how I miss thee!

When my back’s out of place,
you fix it with grace.

When my neck’s out of whack,
you crack it right back.

Yeah, so my burst of poetic inspiration above means one of two things:
A) I, like my grandfather, am turning into a bit of an eccentric poet in my old age.
B) While shooting video for our creative date the other night, I was tumbling off a couch and landed backwards on my neck with my body rolling over me, messing up my neck and upper spine and making us think I might be seriously injured. We don’t think that there’s anything seriously wrong at this point, but my upper back does ache. This problem is probably only compounded by the fact that I haven’t seen my chiropractor since January (when I was last home).

Things continue to be EXTREMELY busy with the schedule I talked about a few days ago. I just don’t have enough time to get it all done. Pray that I have extraordinary amounts of energy to keep up this pace with little sleep for the next couple of days.

That’s all folks!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Busy, busy

Ok, so here's how things are lining up:

Friday (today)
11:45am - Meet with Amy to get voice recording for Creative Date (CD) video
1:30pm - Lunch at Earhart
Later Afternoon - Preparing character profiles for CD, perhaps beginning to distribute them
3:30pm - MAYBE (hopefully) flying so I don't have to fly Saturday morning
7:00pm CRU!!! I have to do EveryStudent shirts again this week, but that's not hard
Later - The traditional After-Cru Movie Night, if Natalie's sticking around instead of going home we're going to watch Groundhog Day and (time and DVD availability permitting) SG-1 Windows of Opportunity (arguably the best Stargate episode ever, and like the earlier movie of the night centered around time loops)

7:30am - Flying if I don't get to Friday afternoon (likely)
9:30-11:30ish - Catching up on sleep
Afternoon - Finishing character profiles and distributing them, maybe some film work
Late afternoon - My parents arrive for the weekend

Morning - Church
Afternoon - Some special honors thing in Elliot
Late Afternoon - Parents head home (with some of my stuff)
7:00pm - JVAG meeting

Cramming for exams (esp. Checkride)
Finishing CD videos (hopefully)

7:30am - Exam in Mitch's CFI Ground class (moderately hard)
Afternoon - Finishing CD prep and cramming for Checkride
8:00pm - Creative Date (I've already talked about this one a lot, it'll be a lot of work but should also be a lot of fun)

7:30am - Final pre-checkride review flight with my instructor
9:30-1:00 CRAMMING!!!!!
1:00pm - Instrument Rating Checkride with Prof. Larry Gross as examiner (I've heard he's not too bad on this checkride, but it'll still be extremely hard)

9:30am - Exam in Bernie's Commercial Ground (moderately hard)

As you can see, it's going to be an extremely busy week. Needless to say I might get in one or two updates all week. After the checkride on Wednesday I'll definitely update with how that went and how the CD went the night before. I'll also hopefully be able to post the videos for the CD online for your viewing pleasure.

Couple of links to tide you over until the next update:

This is a crazy video prepared by some Cru people. It's extremely funny and has gained some level of fame across campus. The only thing I don't like about it is that they didn't think to put the Cru logo at the end, so hundreds of people on this campus have seen the video and even linked to it without ever knowing it's a Cru thing. Warning, the download is 60mb, but completely worth the wait:

I've told some or most of you about the Jet Warrior I designed for a class project last fall. As a review, we were doing a sales presentation group speech on a jet engine (the Williams FJ-44 series, in case you care) to our Aircraft Powerplants class. As a way of making it actually a sales presentation (the other groups were really just doing informative speeches) and making it funny, I decided to suggest retrofitting our Piper Warriors with jet engines. So for our intro and conclusion I talked about the many benefits of going to the Jet Warrior. The link's to a zip file with three pictures of it and a text file explaining the pictures a little. I suggest you look at them in the following order:
Throttle Main - This picture shows how much more simple the engine controls would be with the jet. This engine features FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Controls), which is very similar to the computer in your car's engine to control all the settings for maximum efficiency. Our normal airplanes are still flying on 1970's engine technology because the FAA, in all their idiocy, has made certifying a new engine too expensive to be profitable, so nobody has made better engines. Because of the simplicity of FADEC, I took out the mixture and the key (not in picture anyway) and left it with just an On/Off switch and a throttle.
Jet Warriors on ramp - shows a side view of a Jet Warrior taxiing by, with other Jet Warriors parked in the background. Notice the placement of the engine just behind the wing. This picture gives one a good idea of what the design changes would entail, including changing the nose from holding an engine and prop to something more aerodynamic.
Side Vertical Climbout - When you are flying solo with fuel tanks not full, the thrust from the FJ-44-3 engine exceeds the weight of the airplane, thus allowing you to do a vertical climbout. Basically you are playing rocket in a Warrior. Side note: one other notable airplane that can do this is the F-16 fighter.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


First up for tonight, the special project I mentioned in my post this morning. And despite my hints to the contrary with Josh, it does not involve a light VTOL aircraft for the military (this also comes with an apology to those of you I already killed to protect the secret). My project is the planning for a “Creative Date.” For those of you who don’t know, a creative date is a Crusade event where a guys cell group does something fun as a fellowship time with a girls cell group. In this case we’re planning a murder mystery night (kind of like a live-action version of the Clue board game).

We’ve planned it so the date is next Tuesday night, and our cell group has divided into sub-committees to plan the various aspects of it. Actually, I think we are down to three subcommittees, with only two people each; one is in charge of preparing the food, another in preparing the setting (the room we’re having it in, and the third is the plot. I’m working with Dan Logsdon on the plot (I get that duty because doing a murder mystery night was originally my suggestion and Dan was kind enough to volunteer for it, he’s been invaluable in helping come up with interesting characters).

Each guest will be assigned a character with a full profile including name, occupation, some personal history, what their motive would be to kill Chip, when their opportunity would be to kill him, and their alibi (no promises about having strong alibis though). The murderer will also know that he or she is the killer. They will arrive at the dinner, get a briefing (most likely via a video I’m preparing) on the future “history” of the world since 2005, then commence having dinner in character. Clues will be distributed to people as the dinner progresses and they will do much of their detective work by simply conversing in character. Then at the end of the night everyone gets to guess who they think the killer is and we’ll watch a video of the murder itself.

Our victim is Chip Pollock, a good friend of mine and a senior in Aerospace Engineering (seriously one of the smartest people you’ll ever meet). The stage is roughly 25 years into the future, with Chip having become a Thomas Edison of sorts for his engineering work on revolutionary space propulsion methods. He is killed while on the verge of announcing another breakthrough.

That’s all I’m telling for now because some of our players may find this blog and I don’t want to give anything away. I’ve spent many hours over the last few weeks dreaming up the plot, and even more hours over the last few days pulling it together. As our invitation to the girls (delivered in person to their cell group tonight), I put together a newspaper from the day after the murder announcing Chip’s death. Took me about 10 hours to get together, but I was able to look at screenshots of the covers of real newspapers (St. Paul Pioneer Press, Chicago Tribune, etc) to get design ideas and fonts that look realistic. I also threw in all sorts of “easter eggs” (if you don’t know what those are, look at this link: scattered throughout the paper. In a moment I’ll link to a PDF of the Newspaper Invitation, and I invite you to try to find all the easter eggs (and those of you I’ve already told them to are not allowed to point them out, that would be cheating). Most of the items in the paper are actually integral to the plot, as I’ve spent 6+ hours making detailed timelines for the next 25 years so we can have a cohesive plot. Many of the events in my timelines will never make their way into the parts of the plot that are part of the game; they are merely foundation material to help me set the stage. For example, a manned mission to Mars is a current event, and I worked with Chip (whose Senior Design class project with a bunch of other Aero Seniors has been to design, in detail, just such a mission) so that the timing of the Mars landing would coincide with an actual launch window and transit times. So yeah, it’s been a lot of work and will continue to be as we prepare character profiles over the next few days, but it’s a lot of fun. Now, onto the actual invitation the girls got:

In other news, it’s link time:

Just in case you were wondering, I can reassure you that America is in no danger of a “stupid persons” shortage in the near future (and a nice way of proving it):

Wow, just wow. I mean seriously, this is a perfect example of what happens when engineers get too much free time. I really don’t need to say anything more about it, but you can: insert your favorite engineer joke that applies to this clip in the comments area (watch the whole thing!)

Update "Soon"

I have been working like crazy on a special project that, for the moment, I am not at liberty to discuss. Also busy preparing for my Instrument Checkride (which could be as early as the start of next week), so that takes a lot of time. The good news for you is that there is an update coming soon! Potentially as early as tonight, I will be disclosing some of the details on my special project. So to give you something to look at while you (anxiously, of course) await my next update:
Jonah Goldberg wrote a syndicated column that was printed on the Opinion's page of today's Exponent (Purdue's student newspaper). They didn't post it on their website, so here's a link to the same column elsewhere. Finally something out of the Exponent that actually makes sense (figures that it's syndicated):
While you're looking at the news, I'd advise you also take a look at yesterday's letter to the Opinion's page by Emily Cushman:§ion=letters&storyid=411lettercushman
Also see today's cover story, also on the Jake Campaign issue:§ion=campus&storyid=AgreeWJake

Thursday, April 07, 2005

" idea..."

So the truth comes out on the “Do you agree with Jake?” flier campaign that I talked about a few days ago. Thanks to Rebecca for the comment as soon as she found out the information. This morning the Exponent had two articles and one letter related to the issue. The cliff notes:
"We had absolutely no idea a similar campaign had been done before," said Aabha Suchak, co-president of the cultural committee. "If we had known about it, and that Matt had died, we probably would not have done the campaign. We are truly sorry if we offended anybody."§ion=campus&storyid=jake
The second story is about how the fliers violated posting policies:§ion=campus&storyid=fliers
And the letter on the Opinions page (also from Aabha):§ion=letters&storyid=onlinesuchak

In other news, I’m losing one of my roommates for next year. Scott feels that God is calling him to move to McCutcheon (there Rebecca, I spelled it right, you happy now?) for ministry purposes. Most of the Cru leaders in McCutcheon are graduating, moving to other dorms, or going off campus next year. So Scott will be joining Justin Blignot to be the new leaders for the guys there. That leaves me and John Cobb in a small triple back in Cary and hoping to find a roommate before they assign one by potluck for us. So if you know anyone who doesn’t have a roommate yet (even if they are currently assigned to a different dorm), let us know.

My flight to Mount Comfort went well yesterday morning, although it took shorter than it was supposed to because as soon as we got onto V51 headed down to Indy (part of our route), Indy Approach asked if we could do Direct MQJ (flying straight from where we were to Mount Comfort instead of taking the route we had filed). Basically we cut the corner on our route and slashed the time it would take us to get there. Then when we got there we got on short final for Runway 16 and there was a truck driving on the runway (he wasn’t supposed to be there), so we had to add power and land on 25 instead. Now for Amy’s perfectly logical question about why it’s called a “cross country.” It’s called that because the purpose is to practice navigating and operations when not in the local area and going somewhere else. If I were to do a cross country to South Bend, and another one to, say, Nashville, I really wouldn’t gain that much more useful experience going on the long one because you are using the same skills for cruise on both flights, it’s just that one is a lot longer than the other. So there’s no real reason to spend the extra time and fuel ($$$) for no extra net benefit. A cross country in aviation is defined as flying to any airport greater than 50 nautical miles (1nm=roughly 1.1 normal “statute” miles) away. Why not call it “cross-state” you ask? Simply because when you’re cruising at 100+ knots, it takes so little time to cross a state that it’s not really worthwhile thinking of each one as a distinct unit.

By the way, does anybody have any ideas for some fun/silly/very slightly serious newspaper headlines for about 15-25 years in the future? For example: “Cubs win World Series.” I can’t talk about why I need them just yet, but I do and I’ll tell you about it as soon as I can. Actually, I think I’ll make this my obligatory comments plea today; so give me any ideas you have, no matter how outrageous or silly.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Yet another nice day weather wise (not quite as nice as yesterday, but close). :) I wasn’t able to get any flight slots though, so I’m stuck on the ground. Nothing really important happened today, so I thought I’d share the joys of Facebook with those of you who don’t have it. Basically Facebook is a website that allows you to make yourself a profile (with your real name instead of an alias) and then connect to your friends from your school. It’s limited to people at your school and uses your (or whatever school you’re from) email address to confirm you are actually a student there. You can join groups of people with common interests, search for your friends, “poke” people, message them, there’s even a capability to link to friends from other schools if they have Facebook there. It was started by a group of Harvard grad students and has since grown really big, even including about half of the Purdue student body. It's proven really useful for me because I've been able to use it to get contact information for people I wouldn't otherwise have (including helping us get the information needed to distribute shirts on time a couple of weeks ago). So, for those of you who aren’t already on Facebook, here’s a link that will allow you to view my profile:
Click here for my Facebook

In the morning (weather permitting) I'll be making a cross-country flight to Mount Comfort, IN, which is just outside Indy. Hopefully the weather will continue to be nice so that I can get my flying done on time.

Monday, April 04, 2005


Around Purdue today, there was a sign that there might be trouble afoot (hmmm, "afoot," that’s sort of a strange word if you think about it. Moving on…). Many of you have heard about the “I agree with Matt” outreach campaign a few years ago. Someone is trying to copy it, with an unknown identity or motive.

For those of you who don’t know what it is, Crusade did an outreach that consisted of blanketing the campus with flyers asking “Do you agree with Matt?” Then hundreds of Christians (including those from Cru, Navigators, IV, and others) all wore shirts that said “I agree with Matt.” They even took it to the extent of driving around campus in a pickup with a megaphone shouting “I agree with Matt.” After a week of this (when all of campus was abuzz because nobody knew what it was about and it was irritating), they had a strong Christian guy by the name of Matt walk around wearing a shirt that said “I am Matt.” They announced that he was going to be speaking at a meeting and he used it as an opportunity to preach the gospel. A semester or two later he was killed in a car accident, which also allowed Cru to bring the issue back up by having close friends talk about what he stood for and share the gospel again. Many other Crusade organizations around the country (even the world) have duplicated the same style of campaign with a lot of success.

Now, what’s this potential trouble I mention? Main campus has been blanketed with flyers asking “Do you agree with Jake?” today. There are easily twice as many flyers as we had out for the outreach, and nobody knows who is behind them. Obviously, many of the people (mainly staff) who were around for the Matt campaign will think we’re doing the same thing again, but it’s not us. We’ve gotten in touch with people in the other two main ministries on campus (Navs and IV) and they don’t know any more than we do. Pray that this is not someone with intentions of doing us harm or spreading a bad message with their copycat tactics.

Otherwise, it’s been relatively quiet around here. Yesterday I ran sound at church (4.5hrs) and then almost immediately had to be at the airport for a flight to Dayton, OH and Muncie, IN. Many thanks to Natalie, who by being willing to drive me to the airport, enabled me to be able to get a very quick bite of lunch in the middle there. Today I had my one class (test Friday to prepare for) and then spent a couple of hours wandering around campus enjoying the nice weather and the opportunity to be on main campus. This semester (and this upcoming fall) I’ve been banished to the airport, with no classes on campus. I also need to get studying because I’m probably going to have my Instrument checkride by the end of next week. Without going into detail, it is the second hardest exam I’ll have all semester, consisting of a flight test proving my skills in the air and an insanely difficult oral test where the examiner interrogates me for a couple of hours on anything and everything IFR related.

Finally, in response to Grandpa’s comment to the last post: Knowing you, sometimes I wonder if your college days were anywhere near as “boring” as the official story makes them out to be? Just kidding, but he does have some pretty interesting tales from his Army days (ex. the instructor climbing outside the airplane to reattach the fuel cap during his first flight).

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Ahh, the joys of April Fools

First of all, it was my Mom’s bday, so happy birthday Mom!

Second, the keys to an awesome prank were handed to me on a silver platter on Thursday and the execution of said prank went beautifully ([inside joke warning] and yes, TLL Tilla!). Rebecca told Dustin and I about Carmela’s desire to color Rebecca’s hair blue sometime this semester and because Carmela is transferring to Portland at the end of the semester, we decided to go through with it. Dustin and I immediately started planning exactly how we would carry out said prank, right in front of Rebecca (well, actually it was more like me outlining the plan for Dustin right in front of Rebecca, as I’m in the process of training Dustin in all my evil ways). The plan was very simple: we ambush Rebecca, duct tape her, dye her hair (it was spray-on temporary stuff), and then proceed to get away (either by scattering in various directions or jumping into a friend’s pickup and driving off). Now, before you start questioning my mental health because this plan wasn’t needlessly complicated (as is my usual style), let me clue you in to my underlying plot: The key problem with this prank is that, having been told about the opportunity the day before April Fools, it’s next to impossible to create that crucial element of surprise needed to pull it off. So I immediately started hinting that it would be a while before we could put this together, if we could even do it at all. As you all know, sometimes the anticipation of something is just as much (or even more) fun as the actual event. Rebecca would get the joy of anticipating us ambushing her sometime in the final few weeks of the semester and I went out of my way to build that aspect of it up. I was joking about ambushing her at random times, even sometime when she was walking to or from class. Basically she bought enough of what I was implying that she didn’t seriously suspect that we would be able to pull it off the very next day. What happened? I think I’ll let her tell you via the April 2nd post on her blog:

The reason Carmela didn’t help us pull off the plan was simply because we couldn’t get a hold of her in time. After we got done, we made a stencil of the Cru logo and dyed it onto the back of my head. If I can get the pictures from Chip I’ll post them on here, but I don’t know when that’ll be.

BTW, I was able to get a package of the dark chocolate M&M’s I mentioned on my last post and they are very good. And to answer the objections of Rebecca about said M&M’s, I don’t think the baking ones count as dark chocolate, I think they are classified as semi-sweet instead.

Finally, while I’d like to update you more on the events of the last few days, I have to end this post so that I can prepare for my cross country flight to Dayton, Ohio and Muncie, IN, at 1:30 tomorrow afternoon (essentially right after I get back from running sound at church). IFR cross countries are, shall we say, interesting. Hmmm, seeing as how I gave free advertising to Rebecca’s blog today, I’ll extend the same favor to all of you: feel free to post a link to your blog/xanga/livejournal when commenting to today’s post.