Monday, October 31, 2005

Operation Foxtrot (not the comic)

So, what’s been going on lately around here? Let’s just say I have a feeling this could be a long post…

Ok, first up: Operation Foxtrot. For those of you who don’t know this already, I’ve decided to start using the phonetic alphabet to keep track of my evil plots and large-scale creative-type-things (Creative dates, talent show skits, etc), otherwise things just get too confusing. A couple of weeks ago, it was my friend Tiffany’s birthday. Now, I was going to get everybody at Prayer & Praise on Sunday (her birthday was Monday) to sing to her, but I wasn’t able to yell loudly that night and the person I had gotten to agree to yell for me (Shane) chickened out at the last minute. So I had to think of something else I could do instead. As it turns out, some of the Mer’dith guys were able to get the entire dining room to sing to her on her birthday at both lunch and dinner, so that part was covered.

So, here’s what I did: I was planning to “arrange” for Tiffany to be out of her dorm room for about an hour, but I couldn’t get a hold of Bekah Jones or Carey Edwards to help. The good news was that they must have somehow subconsciously known what to do, because they invited her over for a movie night in their room on their own. I enlisted the help of Rebecca (apprentice #3) and Amy Chen to help carry out the plot. Amy’s task was simple, get us to Tiffany’s room (I didn’t know where it was and Meredith is one of the most confusing buildings on campus). When we first stopped by Tiffany’s room, we discovered that her roommate was not around to let us in. So we decided to head over to Bekah’s and Carey’s room to say hello and hopefully (subtly) find out where her roommate was. We had two problems when we got there. First, Amy wasn’t too terribly subtle about finding the information we wanted (thankfully, Tiffany didn’t even think to be suspicious). Second, she opened the door to their room all the way (and there was a mirror on the hall’s opposite wall), I was in serious danger of being spotted. I was able to cling to the wall and in the shadow of the elevator’s entryway and narrowly stay out of sight, but it was too close for comfort. Then we went to Tiffany’s room and her roommate (who had just gotten back from an exam) let us in. We immediately set to work saran-wrapping her bed and other miscellaneous items in her area (chair, keyboard, Ipod, etc) and Rebecca stretched purple yarn all over the place in an intricate web. I also pulled a couple of computer tricks out of my hat to change her background to say “Happy Birthday Tiffany!” and make her Minimize/Maximize/Close boxes (at the top-right of a program window) super huge. Then we (and some of the Mer’dith guys) went into hiding around the room and Amy went to get Tiffany (she “wanted to borrow” a CD or something like that). When Tiffany got back, she was, to say the least, surprised at all the decorations around her room. I’d post the video we took of the whole thing, but it was shot in Portrait orientation (on its side) and I can’t edit QuickTime videos to rotate it. However, here are some pictures of our handiwork:

In other news, the Romania team is reportedly doing well as of yesterday. Michelle Snow was feeling pretty sick for a while (and others’ stomachs weren’t so great), but apparently she’s feeling better. Head over to the link I gave in my last post for more details.

I’ve also recently recruited my 4th evil apprentice, but I won’t be mentioning his/her name just yet to protect the innocent (I’ll rectify that situation soon, jk). This one is in need of a lot of training (that’s normal), but also has a great deal of enthusiasm and untrained potential (example: already knows how to strategically employ interpersonal networking skills toward a desired end). I’d say more, but I won’t for fear of giving away too many clues as to the individual’s identity.

As for the exams last week: The first one (727 Systems) went pretty well, although I’d like to have done better. The second (Music) didn’t go very well at all. I had a lot of trouble identifying the exact compositions because he played mostly 2nd and 3rd movements, which are harder to identify than their well known 1st movement counterparts. Then on Wednesday, my King Air Ground exam seemed to go a little too well. I won’t get the score until this Wednesday, but I’m concerned because it seemed a lot easier than I was expecting and I was the first one done in the class (usually a bad sign). The first half was all a data-dump of memorized numbers (I know I got one wrong, but I think I got the rest right), and the second half was all working performance charts. Some of the others say they thought it wasn’t too bad either, so I’m just hoping they’re right. It’s one of those things where I either aced it or really botched it and there’s no way to tell until I get the score.

I’m not really sure how to update Perelandra at the moment. Last I mentioned it, we had just gotten a lead on a new band (now officially designated “Betry”) but hadn’t yet made any attempts to establish contact. Well, we still haven’t. Yeah, not much of an update, I know. To expand on that a little farther, we’re still in discussions with the Station Manager on if we should even try on this one or not. The problem we’re facing is that where (for example) Naples, Chray, and Arbes were all transmitting (either intentionally or as a malfunction) when we were concerned with them, Betry is utterly silent. Based on what we know so far, we’re convinced that Betry has a lot of potential for a strong, wide bandwidth connection, but we’re going to have to wait until we get at least a flicker of signal (and Manager approval, of course) before we can do anything. We’ve also recently learned that there’s another competing station in the same position we are, but they haven’t received anything either and are reportedly also waiting for the go-ahead from their Manager.

Anyways, this has been a huge update. Fall Retreat is the next thing to talk about, but that’ll be a long update in and of itself, and I have to go in 10 minutes, so I think I’ll stop here. Quickly, Fall Retreat was seriously awesome and God worked in many powerful ways (including a few people coming to Christ and a huge answer to prayer for me). So I don’t know when I’ll be able to do it, but that’s an update to look forward to.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Seems I Just Went Through This...

I’ve had two exams today (727 Systems and Music Appreciation) and one coming up tomorrow morning. Needless to say, those combined with everything else going on makes for a pretty well fried brain. Sadly, because I have a bunch of stuff going on tonight (Cary/Windsor dinner, a special service at my church, and swing), I have to get to studying right away or I’ll bomb this test. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch up on updates soon, including Operation Foxtrot, my new 4th apprentice, the latest Perelandra developments, the Romania team, and all sorts of other fun stuff going on.

Really quickly: the Romania missions team is going to try to keep a blog semi-updated during the trip, so for those of you interested, the link is:

Even more quickly: I just signed onto Skype, so if there are any other Skype users out there; give me a ring.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Navs and CTF

It seems to have been a while since I made an update of this thing, so let’s see what I can cover before I have to get to work on my homework for tomorrow…

Probably the most unusual thing about the weekend was that I didn’t go to Cru on Friday like normal. I haven’t been to Navigators since the start of my freshman year, but I decided to pay them a visit for one night. One reason was their speaker that night, a guy by the name of Zade Shaw. Zade was a Navs Bible Study leader in Cary until he graduated last spring and is a really solid guy. Another reason was that one of the nights I visited freshman year they had their annual game of Capture The Flag out on the Purdue gold course and I had a ton of fun. I decided that regardless of if I decided to join Navs or Cru, I’d try to go back and join them in later years. So, when I heard that Zade was speaking and CTF were on the same night, it made for a pretty easy decision. Naturally, I knew certain characters would give me a hard time if they heard I was going “dark side” for a night, so I chose to keep the number of people from Cru who knew I was going to a bare minimum.

I have to admit, it was kind of weird to see all sorts of Cru people I knew at dinner (Windsor, Mer’dith, etc) and know that I wasn’t going to see them that night. Once I got to Navs though; it was cool to see some of my friends like the Cary guys (Phil, Tim, etc) and the girls from Swing (Hope, Bethany, etc). Sometimes it was really funny, like when Bethany saw me, said “hey”, and about 2 seconds later does a very bewildered-looking double-take with: “…wait, aren’t you in Cru?” Zade’s message was a great summary of John Piper’s concept of Christian Hedonism. Afterwards; CTF was a lot of fun with 4 games and my team winning on the tie-breaker (I don’t count the 3rd game because the other team blatantly cheated). What’s “blatant,” you might ask? When both teams split up to go place their jails and hide the flags, they sent two people over with us (we didn’t know they weren’t on our team) who promptly volunteered to guard the flag while the rest of us tried a “fool’s blitz” tactic.

You know what…let’s just leave it at that for tonight. I have a lot more stuff to talk about (and pictures to post), but it’s getting late. One other quick little note: my parents are leaving tomorrow (Friday the 21st) with a team from our church on a 3 week missions trip to Romania. Please be praying for them at every opportunity. They don’t anticipate being in situations where infection is a possibility (and they have that Tamaflu (sp?) stuff just in case), but Bird Flu is a concern over there (the country has been killing thousands of birds to try to keep it from spreading). So yeah, please be praying for their safety and that their ministry would be effective.


Friday, October 14, 2005


This is both really cool and not a little scary (A column today in the Washington Post):

Aviation Glossary

I came across this recently and thought you guys might get a chuckle out of it (especially those who know anything about flying).

Airfoil: Reynolds wrap for manufacturing aircraft wings.

Airspeed: Speed of an airplane. Deduct 25% when listening to a Navy pilot.

Angle of Attack: Pickup lines that pilots use.

Arresting Gear: A policeman’s equipment.

Bank: The folks who hold the lien on most pilots' cars.

Barrel Roll: Sport enjoyed at squadron picnics, usually after the barrels are empty.

Carburetor Icing: A phenomenon happening to Aero club pilots at exactly the same time they run out of gas.

Cone of Confusion: An area about the size of New Jersey located near the final approach beacon at an airport.

Crab: The squadron operations officer.

Dead Reckoning: You reckon correctly, or you are. .

Engine Failure: A condition which occurs when all fuel tanks become filled with air.

Firewall: section of the aircraft specially designed to let heat and smoke enter the cockpit.

Glide Distance: Half the distance from an airplane to the nearest emergency landing field.

Hydroplane: An airplane designed to land on a wet runway, 20,000 feet long.

IFR: A method of flying by needle and ripcord.

Lean Mixture: Non-alcoholic beer.

Motor: Word used by student pilots and yankees when referring to the engine.

Nanosecond: Time delay built into the stall warning system.

Parasitic Drag: A pilot who bums a ride back and complains about the service

Range: usually about 30 miles beyond the point where all fuel tanks fill with air.

Rich Mixture: What you order at the other guy's promotion party.

Roger: Used when you're not sure what else to say.

Roll: The first design priority for a fully loaded Kc-135A.

Service Ceiling: Altitude at which cabin crews can serve drinks.

Spoilers: The Federal Aviation Administration.

Stall: Technique used to explain to the bank why your car payment is late.

Steep Bank: Bank that charges pilots more than 10% Interest

Tactics: what a clock sounds like when it needs fixing.

Tail wind: Results from eating beans, often causing oxygen deficiency in the immediate vicinity.

Turn & Bank Indicator: An instrument highly ignored by pilots.

Useful Load: volumetric capacity of the aircraft, disregarding weight of cargo.

Up: A chant used by pilots taking off from Colorado Springs, who want to discover the meaning of life.

VOR: Radio navigation aid, named after the VORtex effect of pilots trying to home in on it.

Windsocks: socks that need darning.

Yankee: Any pilot that asks Houston tower to "say again".

Zero: style and artistry points earned for a gear-up landing.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


My Mom found this in a recent Chicago Tribune. Thought you guys might like it:

Let me know if you can't read it; Blogger seems to want to downsize it a lot and I haven't figured out how to fix that yet.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Amazing, utterly amazing. Today, I crossed the mark of 10,000 visits to my blog since I started tracking them in April. Most of that traffic is for the M4 review, but I’d say that about 30% of my visitors are people who actually know me.

As I was studying for 2 of my 4 big exams last week, I noticed just how technologically complex my world has gotten and had to get a picture of it. To set the scene; I was studying for my exam on the Boeing 727 Electrical System and my Middle Ages through the Baroque Period Music Appreciation exam, both of which were on Tuesday. So, Tuesday morning, I was multitasking by studying for the systems exam while listening to the compositions for the music exam at the AvTech Library.
What you see here is the M4 Tablet PC on the center of the table (with a scan of the study sheet questions on the left side of the screen and my handwritten answers on the right; perfect evidence of why the high-resolution screen is so worthwhile for me), a handmade protective sleeve for my M4's optical drive (made in true college form of cardboard, foam, and duct tape, lots of duct tape) propping up the M4 for a better viewing angle, my MP3 player to the left of the M4 hooked up to my headphones and playing Bach, my cell phone to the right of the M4, my folder with the music listening guide under a printout of the digital picture I'd made of the electrical section of the 727 Flight Engineer's control panel, my backpack on the upper right, and the Music textbook on the far right of the table. By contrast, just think of how much stuff I'd have to have to study all this without the Tablet: notebooks for each class, CopyMat packets of professor's Powerpoints printed out, the very-heavy Ryan Airlines 727 manual (or at least the Electrical section), etc.

In other news, I just got back from October Break, which is the first of our two breaks during the Fall semester at Purdue (the other is Thanksgiving). I went home Saturday morning, spent the afternoon visiting my brother at Trinity International University (the undergrad counterpart of the seminary my parents met at). Personally, I think his dorm looks like a cell block, but he's adamant that it doesn't. What do you think? Can't you just see this space enclosed with bars instead of doors at each room?

While I was there I was able to meet some of his suitemates (and prank several of their computers) and get a tour of the campus. Sadly, we stopped by the football game to find that Trinity was being absolutely pummeled by the visiting team (I have no idea who they were). Saturday evening I went home to have a home-cooked meal with my parents, and then hung out with Jake, Natalie, Toby, and Melissa at Steak 'n Shake.

Sunday we went to church and then picked up Scott to go to Bob Chin's Crab House for lunch (one of our family's favorite restaurants ever, but we don't go there often because it's a long drive to Wheeling and expensive). That evening I had Jake and Taira over to hang out and play some Halo. They both knew of my reputation as an evil genius, so by the end of the night they were bidding to try to get me to team up with them to help prank the other one. Naturally, it was my plan to cancel on them both and go solo against them both, but circumstances prevented that (more on that later).

Monday was a relatively relaxing day wherein I spent most of the morning/early afternoon running errands with my Mom and getting a MUCH-needed adjustment from the chiropractor. Monday night I bought a cheap, beat-up used bike to use on campus and not worry about rusting out or being stolen and then hung out with Jake and Taira again, eventually helping Jake saran-wrap her car after we'd "left," then coming back to get her to go prank him. Sadly, due to a glitch with her cell phone, we weren't able to meet up, so I went solo and saran-wrapped his car as well (actually, that's fairly difficult to do by oneself; I had to employ a couple of tricks to pull it off). I was originally going to get some of that washable window paint they use on cars at a wedding and butter (to smear inside the driver's side door handle), but time/distance issues made getting the extra supplies impractical. The most ironic thing about the whole incident is that Jake went home paranoid after helping me with her car, so he waited by his window (which is directly over where he parks his illuminated-by-floodlights car) for 45 minutes watching for me, then I show up just a few minutes after he gave up and went to bed (concluding he was safe). Needless to say, he was in for a surprise when he woke up and looked out the window; I believe his phone call to me right afterwards started off to the effect of "You punk!..."

Tuesday was spent packing, doing laundry, pulling out the winter clothes, and trying to figure out how to mount the bike rack on my car. Eventually, once I left home 1.5 hours later than I'd originally planned (I was trying to get back for something at 7), it turned into a Murphy's Law day. I had to stop for two long trains crossing the road I was on, but they were going in opposite directions in just such a way that the second one didn't start crossing the street until the first one had just finished on the parallel track (right when you think the wait's finally over). Then the pump at the Jewel-Osco gas station didn't print me a receipt and it took the guy behind the counter about 5 minutes to coax the computer into making one. Things made a turn for the better when I was able to stop by the Snow's house for about 20 minutes and visit with them. Then I hit the road and came back to Purdue, making the trip from the Snow's Wheaton home to Purdue in just over 3 hours (really good time) because 294 had very little traffic and I bypassed the I80/I94 multi-decade construction nightmare to get to Indiana. The rest of the ride was uneventful and I got here right about 7pm.

In other news, it looks like the now-dormant Perelandra project might be revived in the near future. It's too early to say anything for sure yet, but we might have a lead on a new band (no, not like a musical band, think like a TV channel) to try to establish contact on. Again, it's too early to say anything for sure, but I figured I'd at least mention it for those following the research.

Finally, one last note before I sign off for the night; I just got back my score on the big exam in 727 Operations on Friday (the hardest of the 4 exams last week). I was expecting to either do really well or flunk it, and I guess the two bonus questions must have worked to my advantage because I got a 100%! My average score in the class (coming from all quizzes, homework, and this test) just jumped from 80% to 94.29%! If you can't already tell, I'm happy about this, very happy.

Monday, October 03, 2005

No Update Today

Yeah, so it's Monday afternoon and I'm at work, but instead of giving you guys a nice update on the good (Cru), the bad (Saturday's PU-ND football disaster), and the odd (Gorilla and Chicken and Shane, oh my!) of life at Purdue; I must instead study. I have two big exams tomorrow (one covering the entire electrical system of the Boeing 727 and the other covering music from the Middle Ages through the Baroque Period) and another big exam (lots of rote memorization covering everything so far in my Boeing 727 Procedures class) on Friday. Then this weekend is October Break (hopefully I'll get a chance to update before then or during the break). So yeah, please pray for me and I'll update again when I can.