January 30, 2007

Et tu, Brute?

This is straight out of my kinetic theory text book...

A man is known to breathe out about 400 cubic centimeters of air at each breath, so that a single breath of air must contain about 10^22 molecules. The whole atmosphere of the earth consists of about 10^44 molecules. Thus one molecule bears the same relation to a breath of air as a breath of air does to the whole atmosphere of the earth. If we assume that the last breath of, say Julius Caesar has by now become thoroughly scattered through the atmosphere, then the chances are that each of us inhales one molecule of it with every breath we take. A man's lungs hold about 2000 cubic centimeters of air, so that the chances are that in the lungs of each of us there are about five molecules from the last breath of Julius Caesar.

Gas dynamics can be trippy huh?

January 28, 2007

The Arch

Over the New Years weekend when TinRoof came to StL to meet the parents we visited, among other places, the Arch. I hadn't been up in it since I first visited St. Louis in the third grade or so. It ended up being a lot of fun. It was a beautiful day and we had fantastic views of the city. Most noteably... the new Busch...
As an "engineer" it was pretty amazing to hear about the Arch's construction. Did you know their margin or error for merging the two legs at the top was 1/64th of an inch?
The other great thing about the Arch is the Lewis & Clark museum at its base. I find history more interesting when ginormous, life sized pictures are involved. Oh, and stuffed buffaloes... even if Tin Roof snuck up behind me and scared the bejesus out of me. Also, as UVA students, we couldn't pass up a chance to get our picture taken with TJ.

Addendum: These pictures were taken by mi hermana, whose nickname shall now be Hermana (unless she would prefer Arbusto). She is awesome.

January 26, 2007

Are you not entertained?

First off, I'd like to say I'm disappointed at the lack of audience participation this week. I was really excited to hear what some of you would say if you were the first person on Mars (cough cough Dubs cough Sandals). But I guess ya'll weren't interested. Well perhaps you'd rather I blog about politics....

Uh... the state of the union happened this week. It .. uh... was boring and I left after the first half and went to South Street for a beer instead.

Or maybe I could blog about the news...

A U.N. panel on climate change is set to give its strongest warning yet that human use of fossil fuels is stoking global warming. Of course this is nothing new to me, but I know I'll probably get posts from a relative or two telling me that the consensus of the 2,500 scientists who drafted this report is grossly exaggerated by the liberal media and that no credible link has yet been made between human actions and global climate change. Then if I really wanted to make them mad at me, I'd drop links like these on them: One Two (three?)

Or I could blog about sports...

...that is... once spring training begins. God how I miss baseball.

Maybe I'll just stick to what I'm best at - blogging about nonsense...

I hate umbrellas and here are some reasons why:
  1. It's another thing you have to carry around with you... just in case.
  2. They don't even do that great of a job usually. Your upper third perhaps stays a little drier but the rest of you still gets wet. The only way to get proper coverage is with an enormous umbrella which leads to...
  3. They are unwieldy in windy situations. You have to hang on so tight it's not even worth the struggle. I let go of an umbrella in a storm a few years ago and haven't used one since. I just gave up on them.
  4. It's just freaking water! We bathe in the stuff. We drink it. We're 80% made up of it. Why are we suddenly so scared of it?
  5. Wear a freaking rain coat. Most people already are wearing one in a rainy situation - so what's the purpose of an umbrella? Oh right, you forgot how to use the HOOD.
I have spoken.

January 22, 2007

That's one Martian step for man

... one giant le.. Oh my God! What are those creatures!?!? Ahhhhh!

Once upon a time, I dreamt of growing up to be an astronaut. That dream has pretty much faded for me for a variety of reasons (primarily that I am physically unqualified on account of my poor vision...and no... laser surgery would disqualify me). Back in the day I aspired to be the first human to walk on Mars. At the time, I had done the rough math and figured I might just be the right age if things went well for the next few decades. Clearly there have been some setbacks in recent times which has slowed the progress of space travel. And while I do expect we will see a man on Mars in our lifetime, I imagine we'll be past our prime by then. However, I'd like to get some audience participation in relation to the most important responsibility of whichever lucky American is the first to set foot on Mars. And that is:

What would be the perfect exclamation by the first human to step on Mars?

Think about it! This is the real challenge of walking on Mars. Consider the competition. "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." I mean, my God. Talk about poetry! If you're about to be the first human on Mars, you damn well better have a quote prepared to beat that. Your voice is likely to echo through time and you don't want to say something stupid like, "Boy is it dusty here" or "Meh, I see no signs of water."

So readers, what do you think? What would you say?

January 19, 2007

We have a winner

My new favorite Google search which has led someone to stumble upon my blog....

"I hate grad school"

Google really gets me, ya know?

In other news - I'm helping organize an enormous party tonight for all grad students here at UVA. It is likely to be insane as we've already had over 200 RSVPs. Hopefully food, drinks, and transportations issues will all resolve themselves. And hopefully people will like the music I've prepared for the event (if not, my feelings will be hurt). Ok I gotta go.

January 18, 2007

Some Questions

I've got some questions I need answered. And maybe you people can help me.
  • Question the first: What is the point of building a bathroom with a window? At what point will this window's shade be opened? Never! Unless the house belongs to an exhibitionist. It just seems like a waste of a window to me.
    • Sub-question: Why is it that in the Chicago area many of these bathroom windows are in the shower? Seriously! Talk about impractical. The worst part about this is that the window frame (usually made of wood) tends to get gross and warped and... gross. If I ever get to move back to Chi-town, I refuse to live in an apartment where the shower has a window (though I've already lived in an apartment where the shower was in a closet).
  • Pregunta dos: Why do people not make full use of their scarves? All too often I see someone wearing a scarf which practically touches the ground and yet they don't even have it wrapped once around their neck. If you're inside, that's one thing - this can look cool and trendy. But if you're outside and it is cold, don't be an idiot! I suppose it could just be Virginians who, as I've previously discussed, have difficulty dressing themselves.
    • Sub-pregunta: People do this with hoods on sweaters and coats too. I like hoodies, but I feel too many people never make use of the hood itself. Why is this?
  • Three: What on earth is the deal with all the interest in Judy Winslow? (or rather, Jaimee Foxworth) Of all the google searches leading people to my blog, the vast majority of them have to do with people wondering what happened to the forgotten Winslow child. (If you missed it, I've tackled this subject previously.) I'm starting to consider whether or not I should re-title my blog "The Judy Winslow Fan Club". Anyway, since this post will undoubtedly draw more curious googlers, here's a picture we can all smile and shake our heads at as we silently contemplate Judy's fate.

    • 3b: Why did a google search for "licking feet videos" lead someone to my site? Ok well admitedly it was cause of my second Randy Beaman post, but still! I suppose the real question is - what on earth was this pervert hoping to find with such a search?
Maybe there are some things we're just not supposed to know the answers to.

January 15, 2007

Video Bonanza (episode 1)

I promised it, and here it is... My first ever YouTube Video Bonanza!

I'd like to begin with a presentation of Casablanca as performed by the 30-Second Bunnies Theatre. For those of you who have not heard of this troupe, well, it's pretty self explanatory really. Movies performed in 30 seconds... by bunnies.

Now I'd like to move on to a beautiful cover of Hey Ya as performed by a big folk singer who has a beard of which I am envious. It's amazing how his interpretation gives new meaning and depth to the lyrics. Anyway, I still think the phrase "Shake it like a Polaroid picture" is sheer genius.

Mixing it up a little, here is a video from the days of yore. Well, my days of yore anyway. This is a clip of Boomshaka playing basketball at a playground in Florida over Spring break 2004. Also, yours truly is the cameraman and narrator.

Finally, most of you know of my love for barbershop music. If you've known me long enough, I've likely forced you to listen to mp3s of quartets I once sang with. So here now is a performance by my favorite quartet and arguably one of the greatest quartets ever: The Gas House Gang. I promise you won't be disappointed.

One time, OK, see, one time (part 2)

One time, OK, see, one time Randy Beaman's aunt was sitting on the, on the front porch and she, and she was in her bare feet, and she felt a lick and she thought it was her dog licking her feet but it wasn't; it was this crazy guy that did that a lot.

'K, bye.

January 12, 2007

Mace and Space

Can I just tell you that this has been a totally crazy week? Now, I'm not a terribly big fan of just blogging "today I did this" and "tomorrow I'm going to do that", but some of these stories are entertaining or at least unique - so I share them now. Side note: Keep your eye on the blog for a YouTube video clip bonanza....coming soon!

So the other day, a buddy of mine got sprayed in the face with mace. Seriously. And he wasn't even attacking anyone! Actually it was a dude who sprayed him. The way he tells it, he pulled out onto the road just as someone was making a right hand turn at a nearby red light. The person should have stopped and then proceeded, but rather just went ahead and turned as though the light were green. This led them to think my friend had cut them off. In his rear-view mirror, my friend sees the driver shouting and flailing about. At the next light, she pulls up next to him. So he rolls down his window thinking they're going to exchange words. But before anything is said, the driver's boyfriend shakes up a can of mace and blasts my friend in the eyes!! Do you believe that?! Who does that? Even if he had cut them off - is this an appropriate response? Good lord!

In other news, I've finally been blowing things up this week at work. Like, for real blowing things up. Not just modeling the blowing up of things with "columns of numbers" (as Quantum is fond of saying). I spent some time this week learning the experimental procedure for the work that hopefully will validate my models. It included firing a laser at a paper (burning tiny holes in said paper) and then firing the laser at tiny carbon particles until they blew up. We got to watch it all on a high speed camera. The best part is, firing the laser is done by pressing a giant red button which then emits a terrifically satisfying beeping noise. I must say, I almost felt like an actual, honest-to-god engineer. Of course the real fun has yet to come. Some time in the next few months, we'll be taking the rig to NASA Houston to fly it on the Vomit Comet so we can blow particles up in microgravity! I'm quite looking forward to experiencing zero-g and believe you me I'll blog plenty about it (hopefully with pictures included).

Unfortunately though these flights have basically ruined my performance opportunities. The flights were originally scheduled for this month, but we have been postponed until March - likely preventing me from accepting the role in Company as well as preventing an escape to Chicago. I'll admit I'm disappointed, but I suppose when God closes a door he opens a window.

Finally, I had my audition today for the radio-style-play gig I mentioned. It went decent I suppose but I don't expect to get the part. The crazy thing is that the woman I read with had driven all the way from Baltimore for the audition! That's nearly three hours! Yee-ikes is all I gots to say.

So....uh....enjoy the weekend!

January 09, 2007

I think I can, I think I can

Why is it that some days (like today) are days in which I have no motivation and can't figure out what to do with myself while other days (yesterday) are so full of big decisions that I verge on a breakdown? Yesterday was very stressful - though I suppose in a good way. I've had several different performance opportunities fall into my lap at the same moment and it's been a bit overwhelming. First I should set the context in that this semester I will likely be taking two classes and TA-ing in addition to my normal research load. On top of this, I usually am involved with a choral group and jazz ensemble on campus. Meanwhile I have bible study, worship team practice, GCF, and Awanas which take up time each week. Oh...and a girlfriend. Hopefully you can see why any decisions regarding my schedule are complicated.

Sunday afternoon a friend convinced me to audition for Company up at the Four County Players. It's a show I've liked ever since seeing a David Schwimmer look-alike play the role of Robert at NU my freshman year. I've been offered the role of Larry. The major drawback to involvement is the playhouse is a 25 minute drive which means lots of commute time (and gas money). So I have yet to accept the role (though who am I kidding, I probably will).

Meanwhile, I've been trying harder to work out a scenario in which I could spend a few weeks in Chicago helping out with Be The Groove. They have some performances in March/April that I'd like to be a part of. After a long discussion with some of those folks, it's unfortunately looking less possible to make happen, primarily because of my TA responsibilities. Have I mentioned lately that I hate grad school?

Finally, I received a call yesterday about an audition for some sort of radio-style play which is to be broadcast via cell phones. I didn't really understand, but what I did understand is that it's a paying gig! So...looks like I'll be auditioning for that as well.

Life is funny like that I guess. When it rains, it often indeed pours. I just wish I had longer to make some of the decisions. I'm not great at snap decisions especially when they're all interrelated... unless the questions are "Would you like to watch a movie?" and "Would you like to eat cinnamon rolls?" I will always answer yes and can do them simultaneously.

January 08, 2007

Comptroll this

I think I'd like to be a comptroller some day. That has to be one of the best jobs ever. Mainly because I don't know a single person who knows what a comptroller actually does. Go ahead, just try telling me the definition without Wikipedia or Webster's. You can't can you? I figure if I was a comptroller, I could have a fancy sounding title but be able to slack off all the time. Sure I'd have to suffer the occasional comptroller-related jokes... like... uh... "How was your day comptrollin' for booty, Dr. Church?" (sorry, it's the best I could do)... but it would be worth it cause I'd be paid a lot for doing nothing.

January 04, 2007

I am not original

Upon Googling the word "blogatus" it turns out I did not in fact invent this word. I guess it's my fault for being so late to join the blog game. Ah well. Maybe next time.

Guess who's back?

And it's not Slim Shady.

I arrived back in C'Ville just before midnight last night after a nearly 12 hour drive from StL. It was quite a day let me tell you. The highlight was probably the first four hours, during which TinRoof and I listened to A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction as read by the cast of the Daily Show. It was entertaining. Also, a guy in West Virginia offered to give us a free tank of gas if we took this stray dog with us that had shown up at the gas station that day.

Now I'm back in my windowless "office" and wondering how many days (hours?) it will take before I return to the less relaxed and happy version of myself. But since I'm sure you're all dying to know what I was up to during my blogatus (sweet, I totally just invented a word), let's see if this helps...

Top 5 Meals I ate over the Holidays
  1. The Melting Pot. As previously mentioned, this was a present to the family from my brother. The meal was pretty much orgasmic. Plus it was a good time with the family.
  2. White Castle. I know it must seem odd for this to be placed so closely to a meal at the Melting Pot, but I really love whiteys (way better than Krystal) and I don't ever get them on this stupid "east coast".
  3. Christmas morning breakfast. My family eats the same thing every Christmas morning/day. Homemade breakfast burritos (my dad and some friends invented these many years ago in Texas...then McDonald's stole the idea), cinnamon rolls, orange rolls, and fresh fruit salad. Deeeeliciousness.
  4. A tie between the broccoli chicken braid my mom made Tuesday night (one of my favorite dishes she makes) and New Years Day lunch at my grandmother's place which consisted of the Midwestern/German tradition of pork and sauerkraut. I really don't care much for either of those things, but the corn and mashed potatoes and bread and whatnot were all fantastic. Really the pork was fine, but I didn't touch the sauerkraut. TinRoof earned HUGE bonus points with my family for trying the following: pork, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, corn, and ketchup...mixed together. They claim that's the only way to eat it.
  5. 3 beers and some homemade chips. This was essentially my dinner one night with my friend Voce99. We spent one evening at our favorite pub in Belleville (an Irish one) catching up over beers and the most enormous plate of chips we had ever attempted to eat.