Classes Resume

January 13, 2008

My classes start tomorrow…

Monday/Wednesday/Friday:

  • 8am – Statistics (MA2720) [Does not meet Friday]
  • 11am – Technical and Scientific Communication (HU3120)
  • 1pm – Construction Planning and Scheduling (CMG4120)
  • 3pm – Construction Project Simulation (CMG4900)

Tuesday

  •  8am – Statistics (MA2720)
  • 1pm – Construction Planning and Scheduling (CMG4120)

Thursday

  •  8am – Statistics (MA2720)
  • 12pm – IME
  • 3pm – Construction Project Simulation (CMG4900)

These short back and forth breaks are gonna suck.

I’ve come to that point in the night where instead of sleeping I start to read up on my hobbies. Last night, I was reading on how to record things using my Line 6 setup. Tonight, it is on aquatic plants.

Choosing plants is one of the more difficult aspects of an aquarium to me. I can raise fish perfectly fine, but my plants tend to burn rapidly. I have had luck with some Hornwort and Anachris, but those are essentially filler plants, used to get the tank going until everything starts to grow in. However, I am not going to be using hornwort anymore. When a plant begins to die, the leaves, which are very much like needles of a pine tree, fall and decompose rapidly. This can lead to ammonia spikes, and all sorts of nasties that can lead to a chain reaction of frustration.

There are several main types of plants you want to choose. To begin with, you have to choose a ground cover, like grass for your aquarium. Then you have your background plants; the plants that will be in the back of the tank. Foreground plants: plants that are in the front of the tank, typically shorter than the background plants. And then you have your mosses, which can be used on driftwood and rocks, or set up in vines or walls.

I’m going to keep my tank relatively simple. For my own records, and to let you all kinda see where I am going with my tank, I’ll break it down here.

Ground cover
Ground cover is one of the things I suck at the most (not to say I have any expertise in any type of plant). I just simply cannot get the dang plants to shoot off runners (the roots that spread horizontally to lead to more plants, resulting in a carpet of grass/plants). I was close with my native dwarf hairgrass last time I had it in there, but there were problems with the entire tank that ultimately led to the death of all living things in it (read: Walmart goldfish of death).

There are some really cool plants that can be used for ground cover. Glossostigma elatinoides is one. It isn’t too terribly hard to maintain, and can have a neat, almost clover field style look to it. However, easy to maintain does not mean easy to grow. There’s also hemianthus micranthemoides, or HM. I might go with HM. It isn’t that appealing to me though, which is a bit of a setback. I would much prefer its cousin, hemianthus callitrichoides. HC, unlike HM, is a pain to grow, and even more of a pain to plant.

Which leaves me with a plant that I have already hit on: Eleocharis acicularis or dwarf hairgrass. It doesn’t require a lot of CO2, but the light requirements are a bit above what I have. I do plan on getting up to about 4 watts per gallon, and this should definitely make these suckers thrive in my tank. I am worried a bit about algae in the grass, as it did tend to pop up in it last time I had the plant. The hairgrass can grow to be a bit taller than most cover plants, but trimming should keep it reasonable, and keep it spreading horizontally.

Background plants

I really like rotala. I don’t know why, I just do. So, rotala will be along the sides of the tank. Cabomba should hide the heater nicely. A couple of cryptocorynes to fill out the middle should pretty much finish that off.

Foreground plants
I’ll be going with some smaller crypts and and swords for these plants. I will also have some anachris as a fast growing nutrient sponge. I love that stuff!

Mosses
I eventually want to have some mosses but that’s gonna wait until I can get the rest of the tank growing.

There were going to be more specifics for the plants, but I got tired after ground cover, and wussed out. I know what I want, just didn’t want to find links to them.

Biggest barrier to my plan: actually finding the plants. I’ll be scouring the Midland fish shops for these, and buying any I can find the day before I head up to Houghton (probably leaving Midland the Saturday before class starts).

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Going in to a quick “week ahead” mode for a second.

  • Thursday-Saturday: Hang out with family. Saturday I will pack for Kiln, MS mission trip
  • Sunday: Driving to Toomsuba, MS to visit grandparents night before mission starts
  • Next Monday-Saturday: Work with Samaritan’s Purse to rebuild houses, or whatever they assign us
  • Saturday or Sunday: Drive back to Liberty
  • Following Wednesday: Drive to Midland
  • Thursday-Friday: Hang out with Jill
  • Saturday: Drive to Houghton
  • Sunday: Relax. Stay far away from cars for a while. Get to bed early so I can get to class at 8am the next morning.

Last point is important. It is 4:30am EST, which is about the time I have been going to bed lately. Going to force myself in to getting up earlier, and getting to bed around 1am EST for the rest of the week. Working with Samaritan’s Purse ensures that I will be waking at 6:30am EST or earlier each day. Obviously, something needs to change 🙂

Breaking

December 16, 2007

I am intentionally screwing up my sleep schedule. Tomorrow I plan on getting up around noon (since I kinda started this screwing up thing early) and Monday I am getting up at eight or nine in the morning (got an exam at ten in the morning). Tuesday I want to get up around 1pm, and Wednesday at 2pm to be ready for my exam at 3pm.

Why?

Endurance! I have to drive at least 12 hours on Wednesday, and I am looking forwards to it. However, I am leaving Houghton anywhere from 4-5pm. This means I’ll be driving up til 3-7am (local time) Thursday morning. No big deal to me, but I know my mom is freaking out a bit.

What worries me more than staying up is the thumping, clattering, almost knocking sound my car is making at high speeds. I think its just a splash guard thingy or a fender come loose. If this is the case, oh well, it’s just annoying sounding. However, if it isn’t the case, I have a major problem, because it could be something sinister (an engine knock would be a heartbreaker). The other thing weighing on my mind is definitely weather. I don’t think I’m worried yet. If it gets snowy, that’s one thing. If it gets rainy and icy, that’s another. At some point I do break down and say “Screw it, I’m sleeping in a Walmart parking lot or a truck stop

A few new Vista gripes. First of all, as in my XP install, when I have a specific thumb drive plugged in Windows fails to load. It could very well be a BIOS setting, but I’m set NOT to boot from anything other than CD or HDD. It only happens with my 1 gig drive as well, which is weird.

I guess my second complaint isn’t as much with Vista as it is with components. I have been trying to get iTunes installed, and it just plain hung up at the same part every time. Finally I got ticked, removed a stick of RAM (the one I suspect is bad) and tried again. It worked. Woohoo. Moral of the story is, one bad stick of RAM will cause some funky behavior (but hopefully you knew that already). The computer functions normally with it, but there are just some quirks that occasionally show themselves.

Other thing I don’t like: Windows Error Reporting. It ate up 3 gigs of space real quick. I understand the need for it, but it doesn’t need to munch gigs so fast. Took me a while to find how to turn it off, but it was nice to have the space again.

Apparently, Vista SP1 eats up space as well (for installation), so I need to check that. Hoping that the official version doesn’t prove to back up this claim.

There are also a couple of good things going on for Vista. The update manager is much nicer now, and if you can figure it out the security center is actually pretty handy for accessing certain components. The Start menu redo is kinda neat. But by and far, the best new part of Vista is the networking. BAMO! It works. There I see all the computers on our network and all the shared media. Totally awesome.

Bobby Flay is tha man! Marc Ecko, not so much.

Hell Week

December 11, 2007

Don’t really feel the burn yet, but here’s my upcoming week and a half or so:

  • Tuesday: presentation at 2 for Construction Project Management
    • Work on Structures project after
  • Wednesday: Turn in final Structures HW, get Structures take home final exam at 9am, take final Equipment Management exam at 2pm, final Const. Proj. Mgmt. class at 3pm. IME documentation due by midnight
  • Thursday: IME meeting and Structures project
  • Friday: Final Safety Management quiz is due in class at 10am, possibly get back Structures and Equipment Management finals
    • Head out to the KBC for well deserved pints!
  • Saturday: Complete Structures project (if not done already)
  • Sunday: Church (if I can get my car out and no major parties are thrown the night before), football and studying for Safety final
  • Monday: 10am: Safety final. Structures project due by 5pm, want to turn it in after Safety final though
  • Tuesday: Pack, get oil changed, buy snacks and caffeine for road. Study for Project Management final
  • Wednesday: 3pm: Project Management final. Hit the road as soon as I am done, about 4pm?

As you can see from the previous post, I should be getting in around 13 hours after departing, which makes it about 4am. I can handle that as long as there are no late night ice storms across the midwest like those occurring right now.

Holy Toledo!

December 8, 2007

Why does it seem like there is a ton of work ahead for me in the last week and a half? What’s left for me for this semester:

  • Presentation for Safety Management (done, should have presented today but other presenters went long)
  • Presentation for Const. Proj. Mgmt. (doing Sunday or Monday, presenting Tuesday)
  • Final Safety Management quiz (sometime next week)
  • Construction Equipment Management final (next week)
  • Structures final (next week)
  • Safety Management final exam (Mon 17th, 10am)
  • Const. Proj. Mgmt. final exam (Wed 19th, 3pm)
  • Structures final project (due Mon 17th)

The only thing I see in all of that that even remotely worries me is that blasted Structures project. I’ve been ranting about it for a while, and it worries me a bit that I won’t be able to figure it out. I’m devoting all of this weekend to finishing the joint analysis, which is about 60% of the project itself, and has held me and Kevin up for two weeks. I know that once I get that done the rest of the project will fly by. It’s all stuff I’m decent to excellent at.

Staggering amount of quizzes and exams in a week span aside, I don’t think that there is that much on my plate for some reason. I’m more worried about getting home safely than many of the exams (though not implying I’m blowing off the exams as a mere trifle). I just want to figure out the truss project. If anyone has any method to explain to me what I am doing wrong, by all means let me know.

As mentioned, I am worried about getting home safely. Typically, this doesn’t bother me at all, but this time around, it’s a bit different. I know the route from here to Midland like the back of my hand and I love the journey, especially in the winter when everything is so majestically covered in snow. But I’m not going that way this time (as of now). Instead, I am taking M26 out to Wisconsin, up in to Duluth and all the way down through Minnesota (which I am not a fan of) and Iowa (which I love!) and then finally in to Missouri. I’m on a total of 4 different roads the entire trek, with I-35 being well over 50% of the trip alone.

Highway driving is alright, but there is something foul that emanates from Duluth to the Iowa state line that just screams “unsafe!” to me. I guess I just don’t like Minnesotan roads for some reason.

If you haven’t figured out by my Flickr stream, I love taking pictures casually out the windshield while in the car. In the UP, I have the roads figured out enough to where I know when there are sharp curves ahead so I know not to take a picture so as not to crash. Driving home for Christmas is going to be different. Pictures will still be taken, mind you, but the country roads with all their curves and slopes will not be the subject.

Also, I’ll be driving through the late night. This is my favorite time to travel for all sorts of reasons. The folks I’ve met in truck stops and convenience stores and rest stops are ten ways past colorful characters. The roads empty out a great deal around 1-2am, and by 3am there is hardly anyone on the highways at all. And the night just adds a sense of relaxation to my trip. The day isn’t bad, but it doesn’t always intrigue me.

Jill and some girls are going to Grand Rapids for a pampering day or something. Hoping that the cyst on her back won’t give her any discomfort. Man, that thing looks painful.

It’s late, and I will wake when I please. Probably to a blanket of another three inches of snow.

Cleaning

November 13, 2007

Not the sleep-madness Lackey style cleaning yet. I’m just going over what needs to be done so I can leave on Friday.

  • Clean out my room of all junk and the like
  • Clean up the room in general
  • Clean out my car
  • PUT JACK AND TIRE IRON IN TRUNK
  • Figure out if it’s worth doing laundry here or waiting and doing it at Jill’s
  • Vacuum out car
  • Sort through notes and homework to see what I need to take with me

Thinking about stopping and getting some local smoked fish and pasties Friday on the trip.

Excited for the UPS truck tomorrow; I get my first new coat (a nice Carhartt) since freshman year of highschool! I’m hoping it is nice and warm.

Exams…well, they happened. No clue how I’ll come out but my mental state is a bit clearer now. Need a good 24 hour period to reboot in to non-panic mode.

RMA-ing my video card sometime soon. It be jacked up.

Falling asleep to the Food Network. I’m so freaking hungry now.

Blogged with Flock

Exams

October 9, 2007

Passed my first two exams, both with grades I’m happy (not ecstatic [WOTD btw]) about. Passed my structures exam with a B. Was really shooting for an A, and I was almost sure I had it, and I would have. Except…I completely forgot the final step to a column design question (had Fa, needed to do P=Fa*Ag) and selected the wrong axis when finding the slenderness ratio of a built up column (chose Ix, needed to choose Iy, and knew I was doing something wrong when I chose it but didn’t realize until I handed the exam in). All in all, I’m not disappointed about it, I just wish I would have gotten those simple things down like I wanted to.

Equipment Management exam was a B-, which I’m not happy with (contradicting my first statement, but only halfheartedly contradicting), but considering I didn’t have time to complete one entire page, and that it sounds like there were other folks in the same boat, I can deal. Had I finished that page, I would have had an A easily. I literally needed only five extra minutes to do it.

Added supports to my loft, I can now sleep on it comfortably, but for ease I am sleeping on the floor tonight. Had really funky dreams about it falling apart both nights I slept on it (lucid dreams with external factors [car horns, conversations outside your room, etc] do not a restorative sleep make).

Today:

  • Wake up at 7:30 for my 8:30 running class
  • Go to my last fly-fishing class at 10:00
  • Get back home at noon, throw on some chicken to simmer, hop in the shower, get out of shower, finish chicken with some teriyaki, mozzarella and pineapple, and make me a melt
  • Do a construction case study that was technically due yesterday but because the book was on a 24 hour course reserve in the library, folks abused it and took it home. New due date is Wednesday
  • Go to Construction Project Management lab at 2:00pm. Sim subcontract negotiations
  • Come back, do Structures and Equip. Mgmt. homework for Wednesday. Quick study for CPM exam on Wednesday
  • Bust chops to get 2 more IME posters made, plus brochures. Using Photoshop and Illustrator as I usually would is proving to be slow work with such an old computer, but the results are amazing. I’m truly proud of the business cards (a bit template-y) and posters (100% original design, baby!) I have cranked out so far.
  • Sometime in the evening, teleconference with Flock folk. Typically just the interns plus Mike and Evan, supposedly have Clayton joining in for a 1.0 previewcast thingamajigger (already have 1.0pre, trying to dogfood it on this machine doesn’t work)
  • Do a bit of Flock work perhaps. Been bad this week and last due to school.
  • Clean room, build shelves
  • Beat Phantom Hourglass (on last dungeon [I think?])

For those wondering, my new computer parts still have not been ordered. Hopefully this week? Please?

Looking for a phone call or email to tell me something good today. I practically NEED it to be positive.

Craving either Sonic burger with a limeade or a Chic-Fil-A 20 pc. nugget pack, plus fries, plus original chicken sandwich, plus lemonade, plus a happy meal from my childhood (Adventures in Oddesey tapes were the best!). Thinking…screw Sonic, give me my youthmeal!

Lackey 4.1 taking over, better than Lackey 3.2