Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Suprise of a Lifetime

Material Science has been my least favorite class, but its over. I told myself, no matter what grade I get, I will not take Material Science over again. Of course, I would be forced to take it again if I failed, but I was absolutely sure I did not fail. Surprisingly, except to Sonya, I got an A. whawhawhat? How did that happen? I worked like mad on that class, but my test grades were all Bs. Even my homeworks and quizzes pointed to a B. Through some cosmic fluke, I got a 94 on my final. The final was supposed to be multiple choice and 2 worked problems. When I got to my final, there was no multiple choice. There was only short answer and the two worked problems. This means to me that somehow my pal Arch Angle Gabriel must have guided me to the answers. Don't get me wrong. I studied. ...but I studied for every test in that class, and I was consistently below average. Thank you Gabriel!
So Gabriel, there's this other thing I'm praying for...

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Weeks Ahead

I've got one more final tomorrow at 1:00; it's Dynamics. I'm actually looking forward to it because Dynamics is my favorite class. Two of my classes have already posted the final grades, and the results are pretty good. I got a B in Physics II and an A in Differential Equations. That Physics grade is a little annoying because it's a 5 credit course, so it really drags down my GPA.

Today, I have a dental appointment. Even though it's just a cleaning, I'm still nervous. I'm 32 and still afraid of needles and the dentist. I know it's rediculous. No matter how many painless shots I get or routine dental visits I attend, I still dread those events.

After the dentist, I'll be meeting the wife for lunch and then going home to study for that Dynamics final. Hopefully, this evening we'll have sushi with mom.

Tomorrow morning I will study some more and then head to Richmond for the final. After the final I will most likely do some Christmas shopping in Richmond.

Wednesday, we pick up the rental and head out on our holiday journey. I think we're planning on seeing everyone we've ever met this Christmas. Mmmm, a relaxing vacation...

The moral of this list of events I'm blabbering about is; next to seeing my beloved family and friend this Christmas, there is nothing I'm looking forward to more than the following week when there is absolutely nothing written on my calendar. Maybe I'll finally finish reading The American Sphynx. I love reading about Thomas Jefferson.

The real moral here: We all need to find a way to live closer to one another so it's not an event when we get to see one another. I would love to be allowed the luxury of taking my family for granted.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Brain Break

There is nothing cool about phase diagrams; they are as boring as they sound. They are more boring than watching grass grow because I don't have to read a chart about all the minutia that happens at each step of grass-growth. I don't care about the crystal structures that pop up when Austenite is cooled through an alpha+gamma phase, through the eutectic isotherm, and into Cementite. Oooh, look, Pearlite. Isn't that so pretty?! No, it's obnoxious. Materials Science falls under that special category of classes that is so general that its useless. The needed information will either be covered in specific classes or simply read from a chart. Arg!! I'm sure I'll appreciate the class once I'm done, but right now, studing for finals, ...ick.

thanks dad and Cory for the great picture!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

One Down

I just got out of my Physics II final, and I feel pretty good about it. I'm happy to know that I will never have to take another general physics course. I may take Modern Physics to attain a minor in Physics, but that depends on the time I have available. I already have enough credits for the minor in Math, so I might be more interested in seeing how much I need to double major in Mathematics and Mechanical Engineering.
The rest of the class sessions today and tomorrow are all review for finals, so I'm basically done. The mental marathon is essentially over, so I can take a little rest. I'll have a week after the holidays to start preparing for the Spring, but I never really stop thinking about school.
I'm looking forward to spending a couple weeks with friends and family even if it means driving all over the southeast. A change of scenery and a change of pace is always welcome.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Things for which I'm Thankful

My family managed to keep a houseful of people (including two beautiful children) quiet while I worked on Dynamics homework. My wife puts up with the absurd amount of time I put in to school on a daily basis, and I hope she knows how grateful I am. This thanksgiving weekend, I'm sure everybody would have preferred I not work on Dynamics, but everyone understood the necessity. Thank you to all family and friends that make my success at school a probability.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Making Progress

I took a Linear Algebra class over the summer because the most recent curriculum at that time at VCU showed it as required. When I got to VCU, Linear Algebra was replaced by Numerical Methods, so it looked like my Linear Algebra class was going to be a waste. Last week I was talking to a guy in one of my other classes, and he said that Linear Algebra used to count as a technical elective. Today I found out he was right! That means I'll have a very easy Senior Year. Fall 2010, I'll be taking 10 credits instead of 16. Spring 2011, I'll be taking 12 credits instead of 15. If my AA from Miami-Dade College does nothing else for me, at least it is lightening my load!

I also registered for the Spring today. ...17 credits worth of pain. MWF-8:00AM-Electrical Circuits; MWF-9:00AM-Thermodynamics; TR-9:30AM-Deformables; MW-2:00 PM-Engineering Computation; TR-3:30PM-Multivariate Calculus; and a couple of labs as well.


Saturday, November 8, 2008

The train speeds up before it stops!

I'm nearing the home stretch this semester, and the pace is exhausting. I have at least one test per week right up through finals. This weekend I will be working take-home test #3 for Dynamics and studying for thursday's Physics test #2. Next week I'll be taking Materials Science test #3, registering for the spring, and paying for parking. The following week I have a test in Differential Equations, and then we head to Atlanta for Thanksgiving. The week after that I'll have Dynamics test #4 and my Physics final exam. Finally, finals week begins. They actually spread finals over a two week period, so Dec. 10 at 8:00 a.m., I have my Materials Science final. Dec. 11 at 1:00 p.m., I have my Differential Equations final. I get that weekend to prepare for my Dynamics final on Dec. 16. Gasp!! You have got to be joking! Then we head to Miami for a "relaxing" Christmas break. I should have about a week at home before classes start up again. I plan on doing nothing.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My state went blue, but my county went red.

I don't get it. We have William & Mary, we have mixed races, I thought we had logic. How did James City County go red? Don't get me wrong; I'm ecstatic with the overall results. I drive through Charles City County everyday, and that county has the look of the typical rural red county. Nope! They voted overwhelmingly for Obama. I take back everything I ever said about Charles City County. Now I know why I always see giant bucks running around. The redneck deer hunters don't live there!! I can't believe I was actually a little nervous driving through with my Barack Obama sticker. What's more, my favorite professor of all time lives in Charles City County. I definately appreciate the great historic irony of the former confederate capital voting in the first African American President, but I'm even more appreciative of Charles City County. I drive past plantations everyday where countless african slaves toiled endlessly. Most of the plantations are surrounded by actively-worked land, but my good buddy John Deere can handle all the work by himself. No need to force entire generations to work tobacco or cotton. Now, they can vote. Now all we have to do is convince everyone that Debra Dickerson is evil so the eons-long road to national reconciliation can be complete. Listen Debra, don't try to take Barack's blackness away from him. It means too much to the rest of us!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sorry for boring blogs.

I've been taking some heat for blogging about my boring school stuff, but I really did intend this blog to be about school in the first place. Sonya's blog is our place for the more entertaining stuff. Still, I will try to keep this blog a little lighter, so let's discuss Differential Equations. Ha ha, no. Actually, I did get a 97 on my last Diff. EQ test, so I'm going to go ahead and break my arm patting myself on the back. Materials Science has been a bit of a drag. I'm scooting by with Bees, but that will have to do. Materials Science seems to be less about science and more about the names people give to things they observe. Now that's boring!! Physics is just plain cool, but its is very complicated. If you didn't know, physicists are smart, but don't ask them for advice on picking up chicks. It's just not their thing. We've been studying AC circuits, and now we're getting into Maxwell's Equations. I've learned how to calculate the speed of light and that light travels in waves. The craziest thing we learned was about energy transmission. Try to picture two waves traveling perpendicular to eachother. Actually, do not do that. It will cause you pain. Lastly, Dynamics has to be my favorite class. It's pretty dram tricky, too, but its much easier to conceptualize and solve. Of course, I posted some old homework the other day, and that's where most of the complaints of boredome came from. I still think it's neato.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

I got my new tires.

The mechanic did not notice the sound from my engine as was to be expected, but they put on my tires. They're some brand I've never heard of ....Christie Yamaguchies or something. I don't know. I guess you have to special order Goodyear tires if you want to buy Goodyear tires from the Goodyear shop. People are stupid.

Monday, October 27, 2008

New Tires

I am getting two new tires on my truck. There's also some crazy sound coming from my engine the comes on somewhat arbitrarily. I don't really know too much about cars, so I'm always left to trust the mechanic. We have a guy that works on Sonya's car, and we feel pretty good about it him. Unfortunately, he does not work on Nissans, so I have resorted to the Goodyear in town. I've been there before, and they seem to do a good job. I figured, I need tires, that ought to be the place to go. So when I dropped my car off, I figured it would take a few hours. Nope. They don't have my size tire, they have to order them, and they won't be Goodyear tires. What the heck is that all about?!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Hate Yorkshire Terriers

I made friends with the backyard-neighbor dogs. If you've ever read "Children of a Lesser Dog," you may have seen pictures of the Bizzarro versions of our dogs. They are actually quite sweet, and they seem really happy when I take the time to go back there and say hello. I've done a good job of ignoring them for a long time, but I noticed a new dog there the other day. Curiosity got the better of me, so I climbed through the woods to take a peek. It's a daggum Yorky. ...piece of ***. My hatred for that breed dates back to a time when my old roomates came home with one. They made no real effort to train him, so he relieved himself all over the place. I know I should blame the owners and not the dog, but all of my subsequent experience with them has been similarly bad. This little nightmare in the backyard is no exception. As I said, I made friends with Josie and Dixie. I go back there now and pet them. I try to pet the new little piece of garbage, but all it does is leap and try to bite my fingers. It's obnoxious.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Major Nerd Alert

This type of problem is a lot of fun because it looks like a fairly complicated spring/mass system, but you can do all the calculations in just about one equation. Yeah work-energy equations! Yeah Sir Isaac Newton!!
This section was all about linear constraints (kinematic constraints), but it's really all about fun with pulleys. This one was challenging.
Here's another Kinematic Constraint problem. I probably spent three hours messing with this one until I realized my error in logic. It was still a lot of fun even after all the extra time.
This problem was fun because it nearly made my TI-89 graphing calculator explode. Its literally impossible to solve this equation without technology because it requires you solve for two trig functions simultaneously. You would be forced into a deadly game of trial and error if you ever wanted to do it by hand. Why would you ever want to do this by hand?!
This was one of the earliest assignments we did. If you can read my chicken-scratch at the top of the page, you can see it's a pretty intense gravity problem. Actually, it's not too hard, just a little abstract.

If anybody was wondering the kind of stuff I'm doing in Engineering School, here's your taste.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Reading Days


Fall break at VCU is called "Reading Days." It's a chance to get all caught up on classes. Of course, I've got tests in every class directly following this little break. Here is where I will be spending reading days. Notice my sweet rolling book cart

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I am sick to death of debates. They tell us nothing other than both of these guys listen to the news and reviews of previous debates. Dickain tried his best to not sound completely like a growling dog, and Obama seemed forced to pander to that group of Dumbocrats that think he needs to sound tougher. I like Obama how he is naturally and attempts to "get tough" fit about as comfortably as a swear word from my dad. If you don't know my dad, he doesn't swear much, so it sounds funny when he does. I appreciate that about him. These debates just cause me stress. Nobody expects to hear anything new; we're all just waiting on the Ford-esque gaffe that shuts one of the campaigns down. If these things were about facts they could be done and over in five minutes. If you really pick through the voting records, you'll see evidence that bothers you on either side. The whole choice comes down to personality and intelligence. The main thing I learned from the two debates thus far is these guys both need to invest in a good thesaurus. Maverick ...Main Street ...Fundamental Difference ...911 ...blach...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bookshelf on Wheels

I want a rolling bookshelf for various reasons. Here's my stash of texts from four semesters of Engineering School.

Today I managed to finish my homework for the week, so anyone who has read my earlier blogs knows how fantastic that makes me feel. I am a little bit ahead!!!!!!!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Denise Quayle

Why has nobody made the connection between Sarah Palin and Dan Quayle. We've only known our friend Mrs. Palin for a short time, and she's already left of with some real verbal gems. Look for the CBS interview. Foreign Policy Experience?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

No time for blog Dr. Jones!

I'm finally starting to get some feedback on my performance here at VCU and I'm pretty happy. While my grades aren't as stellar as they were at TNCC, I feel like I'm at least keeping up with the pack in all my classes. I don't have as much time to devote to Differential Equations as I would like, but I still managed to get a B on my first test. That's nothing to sneeze at! I'm consistently getting As in Dynamics, B+/A- in Physics II, and today I should be getting my first Material Science test back. I've been getting As on my homework in that class, but that's a measly 10% of the grade. By-the-way, what's the best way to write the plural of a letter grade? I don't want to use an apostrophe because my letter grades don't own me or anything!! Anyway, the stress level is pretty intense now, and that's a change from TNCC. I got stressed at TNCC around test time or when I got bogged down on hard stuff, but now I'm in a nearly perpetual state of stress. I guess that's what I should expect from Engineering school. If there was ever a class you looked at in a college catalog that made you gasp opon merely reading the title, I have to take it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

...like trying to shovel all of the sand from the desert

I keep doing homework, but I never get a feeling of accomplishment. The homework is listed for the whole semester, so I always see what's next to get done. Its all I can do the stay on track, but I want to get a little ahead. The work load is just too much to ever be ahead.


Monday, September 8, 2008

My Brain Hurts

I was working on a problem in Dynamics for about three hours that I just couldn't figure out. I had done the previous four problems in no time, but like most things in life, the last one was a doozey. I needed to get some other work done, so I left Dynamics to get started on Physics. By the time I got to Physics, my brain hurt. I was fatigued. I went to bed. The next day was ridiculously busy. We had brunch with mom, we went grocery shopping, I changed the oil in both cars, Sonya's car started smoking, I mowed the grass, I took a shower, and then I got back to work on Physics. It was 4:00 pm. Crap, where did the day go? Since Sonya's car was smoking, I had to delay getting back to homework to finish the grocery shopping. Okay, its 5:00 pm, now I can get back to homework. It took about two hours, but I think I got my head wrapped around the physics homework. I kept working until 9:00 pm, and then I cried "uncle." (Sometime between 5:00 and 9:00, we ate dinner.) Sonya had already prepped breakfast for the next morning, so all I had to do was prep the coffee. By 10:30 we were asleep.

This morning we actually got out of the house by 7:00 am, so I could drop Sonya off at work and still get to class in Richmond by 9:00. When I get home, I have to call a tow truck to get Sonya's car to the shop, get as much homework done as possible, prep tomorrow's breakfast, pick up Sonya from work, take her to Newport News for a class, and try to finish any lingering homework while we're in Newport News.

I have no idea what tomorrow is going to be like, but I think Papa Dios is getting us ready for something. We know of nothing on the immediate horizon, but I can't help but feel like, in the immortal words of Richard Dreyfus, "This means something."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Neoprene is cool stuff.

I have a new routine of putting my bike in the back of my truck, driving to VCU, and then riding my bike the half mile to class. Today it is raining, so my task is a little more complicated. My backpack is not waterproof though it is a bit water resistant. I was concerned about the safety of my laptop until I remembered it is in a neoprene sleeve. I honestly wondered why they always make the sleeves out of neoprene, but now my internal stupid question has been answered. My computer has its own little dry-suit. That makes my happy, for everything in my backpack would have been soaked if the rain were just a little more severe. Now I can blog from the comfort of the quiet room in the Trani Life Sciences Building here at VCU. By the way, that is the best name for any building here at school. The Tranies are infamous here in Richmond.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Let the home work begin!

I spent the first half of Saturday doing Dynamics homework. The problems were really interesting, and I felt well prepared for them. We jumped right in to some pretty cool Physics involving gravity equations. As usual, I got stumped for a long time because I was misunderstanding the text, but the problems took no time once I realized my mistake. Today I'll be doing Differential Equations, but the homework is Calculus review. Material Science is going to be a little like Biology because there's no way to learn it other than to read it over and over. Physics II seems like a really cool class, and the professor works really hard to make sure everybody gets it. Bare in mind, these are all first impressions, but I'm pretty excited to finally be in a real Engineering community.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Last Week of Freedom?

This was supposed to be my last week of freedom until the fall semester begins, but then I made the decision to transfer to VCU. Now my classes begin this week on Thursday, and there are a ton of preparations to be done. I already have assignments on Blackboard. This week, instead of going bowling or finishing my Thomas Jefferson biography, I'll be reading Dynamics, Material Science, and Physics texts. I'm not at all bummed to be diving in this way, but the end of summer just crept up on me. As each new semester progresses, the new material makes the previous semester's lessons feel like kid stuff. I'm not even going to try to do any reading for Differential Equations until after the first lecture; that would be just nuts.
Now I'm at a real university, so there is actual help to be found. I have tutors for all my classes at my disposal, so a phone call to Klaus won't be my only option when I'm near tears in frustration. I'll probably still call him because he happens to be gifted at explaining complicated things. He's also gifted at guitar, piano, and accurately imitating languages he can't actually speak. Although, he does speak Spanish and a little German.
Speaking of my gifted bandmates, Mike just got the call of a lifetime. Rick Rubin called Mike's management and said, "I need to get this guy back to L.A.." You see, Mike had just moved his family to Nashville because L.A. is too freaking expensive. They arrived in Nashville on August 12th, Mike's birthday is August 13th, and he was back in L.A. on the 14th. He got back home August 16th, and I called him immediately. He stayed at the studio which happened to be a 6-bedroom mountaintop house overlooking the Pacific ocean. Wow. He hung out with Rick Rubin for a while, and Rick asked to hear some of the Agency CD. Mike told me Rubin said, "Wow, I didn't know you guys were this good." It feels pretty good hearing that somebody as influential as that likes my music. It sounds like Mike's session career was made this week. I don't think I'll ever be more excited for a friend as long as I live.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Goodbye TNCC!

I am officially a student at VCU! I've registered and paid for all my classes and dropped all my TNCC classes. I'll be in Richmond from Monday through Friday. That's 100 miles a day. I wasn't planning on transferring to VCU until the Spring, but I couldn't stop thinking about how weak my Fall TNCC semester was. TNCC is clearly not really capable of keeping up with agressive students, so they didn't offer enough class sections. My classes were going to be late at night, and there were schedule conflicts that kept me from having a full load. As soon as I looked at the VCU schedule, I realized they mean business. I literally could not make my schedule conflict. They did such a good job planning the classes that I could actually choose any class section without worry. The registration process was easy with the exception of having to get an override for my Physics II class. It was closed, but they let me in.
A little experience goes a long way, too. A group of people walked over to the Physics department for overrides, but the person in charge was no where to be found. They waited a few minutes and then took off. I waited another 40 minutes and got the exact spot I wanted, and I met my professor who told me not to worry about buying the book. I already own two calculus-based physics books; I don't need another.
Another bit of wisdom got me out of some nonsense. Apparently, I need to take an ethics class, but that sounds like perfect summer semester material. The advisor was trying to get me to take it during the fall, but I need to take engineering classes during the spring and fall since they are not offered during the summer.
All and all, I am stoked!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Chris does not need shots!

By request from Sonya:
1. Chris needs your sex talk...
2. Chris needs this. (How vague.)
3. Chris needs to give me cancer. (I don't think I have that power.)
4. Chris needs tech support. (Thanks Jason.)
5. Chris needs a job. (That's why I'm in school!)
6. Chris needs quiet time on Flickr. (I don't take time for intentional misspellings)
7. Chris needs your wish list.
8. Chris needs to get laid.
9. Chris needs suggestions for 130 Christmas cards!
10. Chris needs a nickname. (Chris is a nickname!)

Oh yeah, the doctor told me I already had all those shots! Sweet!!!!


Today I have to go to the doctor and get vaccinated for school. No, I'm not five! I am, however, terrified of needles. It makes me sick just thinking about shots. No matter how many times I've had blood tests or shots and feel no pain, I'm still scared. I might be able to get out of it because I was vaccinated before my short lived stint at FIU in 2004. I'm not sure how long the vaccines work, but here's hoping... Speaking of FIU; I hated that place more than junior high school. Every system they had was designed to be a big pain in the butt, and my advisor put me in classes for which I was in no way ready. I dropped calculus at FIU and felt retarded; then I went to TNCC and got an A. Back to shots - I was reading the fine print on my vaccines, and it seems and can get a waiver. The recommended ages for these things is 18-25. I think 32 is old enough to be able to get out of it; also, I worked for a year as a waste water treatment plant operator. That must have built up my immunity!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Computers aren't cheap, but I am.

As I can't contain my excitement at transferring to VCU, I've been fiercely reviewing their website for advice and general expectations. VCU requires all students have a computer - preferably a laptop. Well, I own a laptop which I purchased in 2003, which was super-fancy back then, and which is quite antiquated now. Upon looking at the price of new fancy laptops, I remembered the pain I experienced the first time I shelled out the dough for my VAIO, and I couldn't bare to go through it again. The problem I now face is that my laptop is showing its age and runs a little slow. It also has a small, by current standards, disc drive. I have endeavoured on a quest to maximize my computer for the least possible expense, and this is what I've done. First, I have upgraded my memory to the maximum 1 gigabyte at a cost of $25. Second, I bought a 160 gigabyte disc drive for $80. Third, I bought a new battery for $70. Finally, I removed Windows from my laptop and replaced it with UBUNTU which is a free Linux-based OS. My buddy Jason is a computer whiz, and managed to get my Belkin wireless PC card to work with the new OS. Linux is the OS that all engineers and people in the know swear-by.
One of the deciding factors for me in keeping my laptop and switching the operating system to UBUNTU was the poor reviews I've seen for Leopard (the new MAC OS) and VISTA (the Microsoft OS debacle.) Mainly, memory has become so cheap that software writers have become lazy in their programming, and they have gone graphics-crazy with the interface. Linux is simpler, more secure, and more adaptable. It does require some know-how, but UBUNTU has been nearly Windows-like in its ease of operation. Their are plenty of other Linux-based OS options out there; most folks seem to like Red Hat's Fadora Core.
I think the UBUNTU folks must know me, or I am just a perfectly predictable demographic, for they included all of my favorite games. You get solitaire, mahjong, and Tetris. Also, all of my old files open without any issue using the Sun Microsystems open-source OpenOffice.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

2 blogs for the price of one.

Blog #1 - Charlottesville
Sonya and I decided to cut down on our Carbon Footprint this year and keep our vacation fairly local. This is easy because Virginia is a remarkable place. We drove the measly two hours to Charlottesville and stayed two nights at the Boar's Head Inn. Upon our arrival to Charlottesville, our first stop was for lunch at Michie Tavern. You can read all about their strange hours of operation and delicious food at the link. After lunch, we drove the short distance up to Monticello where we found large crowds and construction of a new visitors center, so we turned around and headed to Ash Lawn-Highland. We've been there once before, but it was late in the day so we didn't enter. We did notice the last time we were there that Ash Lawn is owned and operated by the College of William & Mary, so we figured we might be able to get a deal this time since Sonya is under the employ of the college. We were right; Sonya got in for free! The location of Ashlawn is arguably even more beautiful than Monticello though the house is much more humble. We spent an hour on the guided tour of the house and another hour walking the self guided tour of the grounds. By the time we were done with Ash Lawn, it was nearly check-in time at the Boar's Head.
We checked-in at 4:00, and Sonya took a nap while I hooked up the laptop to research dining options. We decided on C&O Restaurant. What a great place! Sonya had the Grilled Ahi tuna filet with horseradish-ginger sabayon, bulghur-feta croquette and Endive radicchio salad, and I had the Duck breast with blueberry-rhubarb glaze and curried Israeli couscous. Delicious! After our dinner, we realized the restaurant is right next door to the Charlottesville Pavilion where Willie Nelson was playing that night! Sadly, the concert was sold-out, so we headed back to the inn.
The next day, we awoke to realize the power was out in the room. Thankfully, the AC was running on generator power, so it was still comfortable in the room. Sonya was supposed to have a massage at 2:30, so we decided to walk down to the spa around 11:00 to check-in and enjoy the pool. We put on robes and walked over to the pool only to be told it was closed due to the power outage. By this time, I was getting a little more than annoyed and certainly not relaxed. They told us the the power was still on at the Sports Club, and we could use the pool there. So we walked the several hundred yards in our robes. By the time we arrived at the pool, we were sweating. The Sports Club pool is not private and was filled with screaming and yelling kids. We swam briefly and read our books. I am reading The American Sphinx, and Sonya is reading Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea. It was too loud for me to concentrate, so we decided to ask someone there if the power was back on at the spa and if the pool there was open. The kid we asked ran over to ask someone - though he had a phone right next to him - and he said the spa and spa pool were open. We walked back down to discover that he was of course wrong. I was very un-relaxed at this point, and it was now quite hot in the spa, so Sonya cancelled her massage appointment. We walked back to the room, and as we approached the door to our room, the rest of the generator power went out, and the emergency lights came on. We entered our room and the AC was off. Nooooooooo! Seconds later, the power was fully restored! Huzzah!!!! Sonya called the spa and rescheduled her message for 3:15, and we headed down. The pool was open, the AC was on, and life was good. I was still a little disappointed to discover children playing at the spa pool, but they were reasonably quiet, and I was able to read. Aaaah, this was relaxation like I've never known it. Sonya got her massage, I swam to cool off, and life was all better.
That night, we decided to head to Staunton for our second-favorite German restaurant. Edelweiss is first for atmosphere, but second for quality of food compared to Eckhard's. We pigged out and bought our favorite German dark beer - Köstritzer Schwarzbier.
The next day we ordered breakfast in bed, and checked-out at noon. We headed up for a wine tasting at Barboursville Vineyards. The ruins of the Thomas Jefferson designed estate are there in the background as you taste 16 different wines for a mere $4 per person. Virginia's wine country is simply amazing. Next we drove to James Madison's Montpelier. Go there.
If anybody thinks we defeated the initial idea of reducing our carbon footprint though all the mountain driving, we reduced our carbon emissions by at least 1.47 metric tons by avoiding air travel.

Blog #2 - VCU
I found out upon our return from Charlottesville that I've been accepted to VCU. I have orientation on August 12th, so I'll be transferring in the fall as long as I can get all the classes I need. We're now considering buying a tiny, fuel-efficient car for my commute. I'm also looking into a vanpool service, but class schedules are a highly limiting factor on such things.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Miami Druekes have returned home from their trip to visit we Druekes of Georgia and Virginia, and we are sad to see them leave. They flew in to Richmond on July 4th and stayed for a long weekend. It was a brief visit, but we managed to see the sights.

Abigail has been snapping pictures with her new phone and took this one of Elizabeth. I showed dad how to send the photos via bluetooth to the computer, so now we have a copy of Abby's picture.
The family left on Monday, July 7th for the mountains and eventually Atlanta. They took a leisurely five day drive to Atlanta and looked at mountain towns in which they may soon wish to retire. After a nice long weekend in Atlanta, they returned to Richmond for their flight home. We were able to join them on Tuesday to take in some sights in Richmond. First we visited Bottoms Up Pizza where Lisa and Jeremiah both served duty.
We were surprised to find no dish named for Jeremiah or Lisa, but there did seem to be some homage to Uncle Steve and Aunt Jo-Jo. I'm not sure on their connection to the Restaurant, but we were happy to see them honored.
In 2004, Hurricane Gaston made its way through Shockoe Bottom and flooded many of the businesses. We took these photos of Dad (since he's the tallest) in front of the flood line painted inside Bottoms Up.
After lunch, we headed over to the VCU Engineering School so they could see where I should be going pretty soon. Sonya was also interested in the decor since she's in charge of the committee for the interiors at the new Mason School of Business at William & Mary.
Sonya was happy to see the equations painted on the walls and knows I'll be quite happy there. I can't wait to transfer!!