Thursday, March 27, 2008
My AA from Miami-Dade College has finally paid off. TNCC is giving me credit for College Success Skills, so I can drop that from my summer schedule. I was joking with Edie Gilbert (the person who is charge of reviewing transfer credits) that it seems rediculous for me to take a class on the ins and outs of registering for college classes. I have an AA; I know how to register. She said, "Oh, you have an AA; you don't have to take that class." Yippy! I'm still on track for graduating from TNCC in 2009, but I'm not sure if I'll have to take a class or two in the summer. There are a couple of classes from Miami-Dade that I still have to get TNCC to agree to transfer. Edie Gilbert has been really helpful, so I'm just waiting on approval from the Engineering deptartment.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
I thought I was studying hard before! TNCC lets you register for the summer and fall together, so I assembled my schedule for the next two semesters. Ouch! The first summer semester lasts from May 19th through July 12, and I'll be taking eight credits! My course load is Chemistry II on Monday and Wednesday from 2:00-4:50, Linear Algebra on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 5:00-6:50, and College Success Skills (why do colleges make you take this?) on Tuesday and Thursday from 2:00 to 3:50. The second summer semester starts June 30th and lasts through July 31th, and I'll be taking Spanish II on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9:00-12:30. I get three weeks off to remember my humanity and then fall starts. I'm actually really looking forward to it. It will be a relatively light Differential Equations, Physics II, Dynamics, and Bowling!! I'm packing all these classes in so I can avoid taking classes summer 2009. I'm pretty sure we'll have our hands full figuring out how to go wherever we'll be heading next. Klaus and I were laughing about people who say, "You ought to have no problems keeping up with school; you're full-time." They must have been art students.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
I finally finished paying the fiddler for all that studying I missed due to our spring break adventures! Phew, que milagro! It's very easy to get behind in physics; that particular class seems to move so much faster than any other class. I benefited from all my hard work in statics because the last section covered in physics was statics! I can do some crazy force and torque calculations now, and I can actually imagine about a million uses for that skill. Today I'm doing the last little bit of catch-up in Spanish, so next week I'll be able to budget my time a little more evenly to school and leisure. We've really only got about 4 weeks left of classes before finals, so it's crunch time. I'll get about a month off and then I'll start the summer semester. I'm planning on taking Linear Algebra which will be Monday through Friday for six weeks, and I will also take my second semester of Spanish which should be a regular 12 week course. I won't get a real look at the schedules until April 7, so I'm not too sure if I'll be able to time my classes well. I can't believe how quickly this semester is flying by; its not too long until I'll have to figure out where to transfer. Will we have to sell our house? Will we move out of state? Will I be accepted anywhere worth going? Who knows!? Maybe I'll get into Georgia Tech and be near my Atlanta family, or maybe I'll go to Michigan Tech and be near mosquitoes. VT would be great, and ODU would be okay depending on the circumstances.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
I've been thinking about the years I spent trying to play music for a living and how fast those 10 years flew by. After a pretty terrible semester of college in the fall of 1994, I moved back to Miami from Virginia in hopes to join a band. I arrived in Miami July 5th, 1995 and by October I was in the Agency. I am in school with kids that are the age I was in this picture! EEK! Klaus, Mike and I really grew up together, and they mean more to me now as friends than I ever realized they would. This picture is from one of my first shows in November 1995. We were all really into Rush and the Police and punk music, so that's what we tried to write. It took another year and a half to finally record our first CD, but we were sick of all the songs by the time it came out. The release of Rock to the Apocalypse, named after something our producer Jeremy Dubois used to say, really managed to help our following. If you've heard this CD, you may be shocked to know that people still send me emails to tell me how much those songs mean to them. To me, it means I can't hit skip on my IPOD fast enough. I guess I must like it a little or it wouldn't be on my IPOD. The CD release party for this show allowed me to witness one of the most hilariously memorable events in my life. My dad and my step mom came to the show, and like the great dad my dad is, he wanted to stand up front with Cory. As soon as we started, a mosh pit erupted around Dad and Cory. They looked like the Haunted House pinball game when you get two pin balls at once. Brilliant! We recorded another 10 songs with Jeremy in 1998 but never really finished mixing them. The only versions of those songs I have are rough mixes, so they sound even worse! We started writing new songs and went on our first national tour in 1999 with the Grey AM. It was a lousy tour, but we really managed to have fun. Once you travel the country like that, you really can't help but want to keep doing it. We wrote some more material during and after that tour, and we, the record label, and all those who knew us knew the new songs were better than the previous ten songs, so we recorded the new songs. That material became Engines. We toured a couple more times, but after Klaus suffered some horrible family tragedies, we realized we could not continue. The Agency finally fell apart, Mike joined Dashboard Confessional, and I did nothing. Mike convinced me to join his other new band Seville. We released one CD together and then Mike quit to devote his time to Dashboard Confessional. I released another two CDs under the Seville name. It sucked. It was no fun for me. I missed my friends. By 2003 I was floundering with music. We played a few reunion shows that were remarkably well attended. We decided to write some new songs and released Turn in 2007. It was great to be creative again, and it convinced me that after all the time I had devoted to being a musician, all I wanted was to be at home with my wife. Music is great, but I'm almost 32! I'm glad I saw the country with my friends, I'm glad my music meant something to someone, and I'd love to play some more shows with the guys, but I'm much happier studying engineering. When I finally build a bridge or a skyscraper, the critics won't make fun of my clothes.
Monday, March 17, 2008
The subject of Statics has intimidated me ever since my good friend Klaus described it to me about ten years ago. The text book, like a physics book, is filled with Greek letters signifying all kinds of abstract notions. The class, now that I'm fully engulfed in it, still intimidates me. Its getting a little less abstract, though. Schools usually insist that physics be a prerequisite, but Thomas Nelson doesn't seem to have that same policy. They should. It's not that you need to know too much physics (you really need to know a ton of trig), but there are a few things that they teach in physics class that you really need. Vector Algebra is a necessity, torque is useful, and experience with relating forces is a big plus. Still, without all that very useful information, I trudged onward. This is what we in the Engineering Student Community like to call "putting the cart before the horse." The good news in all of this after getting our grades back on the first two tests, I got a 93 and 94 respectively. Holy Cow!!!! I need to talk to some actual engineers because I don't feel like an A student. I've heard some folks say that by the time they finished school, they didn't realize they learned anything. I'm sure that's why it takes 3 to 5 years to get a licence. It takes that long to fully put all the pieces together.
Friday, March 14, 2008
I took a test in statics and its had me nervous. This subject is really interesting and my first purely engineering class. I got a 93! I have never been more proud of a test grade. Apparently the rest of the class did really badly because he said the grades were horrible. He gave a "Pop Test" today that was open book to try to boost the grades. I'm not sure it helped. Statics is something you study for about a week in Physics, and, like the name suggests, you need to set the problems up so that net forces all equal zero and stuff doesn't move. Mainly, we've learned how to break forces down to component vectors, sum forces, and calculate moments. Moments are the engineering equivalent to torque. We've started looking at truss designs and its pretty crazy stuff. I really wish I had taken Physics and Calculus II prior to Statics, but I've just got to work extra hard this semester. I think it will pay off in the end, though.
Sometimes we study things that are just amazing that they are actually know-able. I've included some images of my previous job. These should thoroughly explain my motivation.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
We're now 2/3rds through with our string of trips and house guests. I'm exhausted. It was great having Juliet and Camilo here, and we really can't wait to go visit them in Boston. One of the many great things about having out of town guests is you take the time to see all the local stuff you tend to take for granted. I haven't been to Belle Isle in Richmond for a long time, and it truly is one of my favorite places to spend a day. We were there on one of the windiest days I've ever experienced and a storm was rolling in, so we had to abbreviate our visit more than I would have liked. It was still beautiful. We also took an abbreviated tour of D.C.. It doesn't matter if you are there for a week or for a day, you will walk until your feet are filled with contempt for their masters. The American History Museum is closed for a complete renovation, so there is a very small American History exhibit in the Air & Space Museum. It worked out perfectly for our little trip. Last night we grilled chicken and hung out on our new deck. I lit a fire in the fire pit, and we drank some drinks. It was sweet.
We got up this morning at 5:30 to drop our guests off at the airport. We get about a day and a half to recover and then Sonya's mom arrives. She has been here several times, so we most likely won't be doing too much sightseeing. Honestly, I can't afford any more time away from school. I need to study, study, study. Sonya's mom will likely cook some of my favorite food, and I will be able to do school work. I can't wait to get home, do my physics homework, and eat garbanzo beans. You never knew anyone could make garbanzo an event. I'm not a huge fan of hummus, but she turns those little chicks into something grand. We saw a dish when we were in Spain that looked like something similar, but we couldn't really understand the description on the menu. It turned out to be garbanzo and beef tongue. I had never had beef tongue, so I was intrigued. My curiosity, having now been met, affords me the right to refuse beef tongue if it is ever again offered. Gross. The weather is supposed to be sunny with highs in the 60s when Sonya's mom is here, so we should be able to enjoy the new deck some more! Sonya's mom leaves on Monday, so we can finally get back into our little routines. I need that.
House guests, like fruit, are beautiful, but they tend to get a little too ripe after a week or so.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
As you may have read on Sonya's blog, we spent a long weekend in Chicago which was pretty great, but when we got home, I went right to back to work on the deck. I'm proud to say, "finito!" I've actually got some more stuff I plan on doing like replacing all the old white plastic lattice with the pressure treated stuff and building a gate to keep the dogs (or maybe kids someday) from getting off the deck. I've cut most of the lattice to size, so all that's left is to tack it up. Its the perfect job for my little electric brad-nailer. This has been one of the most rewarding projects I've ever done. I used just about every tool I own, I kept my creative juices flowing, and I've added value to my home. You can't beat it. Oh yeah, I helped keep the economy chugging along by shopping at the struggling home improvement stores. Home Depot, Lowe's, and Ace all owe me a debt of gratitude. I don't think the beer-brewing industry is struggling, but if it was, it would owe me, too. Here's the last group of deck pictures.