Luke’s Life

Christmas Time

Posted in looong, San Antonio, Uncategorized by lrobison on December 22, 2007

I think I’ve set a new personal record for being quiet on the internet. WordPress and Flickr alike. I’m about to start my last semester as an undergraduate, and am glad for the Christmas break. This last semester I graded for the freshman Turing class to get some extra money on the side. I would have continued proctoring next semester, but I’ve taken up a research project with Alvisi doing distributed computing work. In order to graduate Turing myself, I have to have a research project which I hope to complete in record time this next semester.

Just before I left Austin for the break, my girlfriend of 2 years (not quite continuously) decided she would rather be dating another guy. It was an unexpected blow, and its thrown me off balance for the last week or two now. I’ve been keeping myself distracted so far by doing Christmas shopping for my family, reading Queen of Candesce, and most recently, fixing our water supply. On Friday, our pump blew its breaker and no testing topside have revealed any faulty circuitry, which means we have to pull all 364 feet of pipe and check all the wires and possibly replace the pump itself. Pulling 364 feet of PVC filled with water is quite a feat. We’ve done it in the past using a friend’s tripod and hoist, but decided to build our own structure this time and get our own hoist so we don’t have to rely on him so much. The plan so far is a windmill-like structure made of angle-iron, but all the steel supply places were closed by 5pm (when we decided we would have to build this contraption), so we are biding our time till monday (christmas eve) and hoping the steel supply shop will be open. Until then, we have tied our water system to our neighbors, and are using their water.

One notable update is my 57″ TV has been fixed! Well, kinda. I was able to track the problem down to a single power wire that wasn’t delivering power, and then able to short the relay that provides that power. We now have standard def. TV, although I’m hoping to be able to fix the highDef portion as well.

I’m sorry for the lack of eye candy in this post, but I’ll be updating flickr tonight, so i might have another post for you soon of any interesting or notable pictures.

ice storm ’07

Posted in looong, UT by lrobison on January 17, 2007

The forcasters really came through for us this time. We were promised ice, and boy did we get it. The first two days of school were cancelled and the campus turned white with the little pellets of sleet mixed with snow. I think it was the first time I had seen snow in Texas. So much snow that it didn’t melt when it touched the ground. I left footprints in the snow. These are new experiances for me. I’ve seen snow before… in Colorado. It was this special thing that only occurs in far off lands to the north, not something that covers familar places with white slippery particles. I wasn’t the only one enjoying our apartment doesn't have guttersthis ‘frozen rain’. I woke up to kids (college age) yelling “It’s snowing! It’s snowing!!” and rushed out side as fast as I could only to find a snowball fight in the making next door. I quickly joined in and managed to shower my neighbors in powdery ice before running back in side to warm my freezing hands (no gloves!). After a warm breakfast I was off to meet some people at Rob’s house in order to explore the campus. It quickly became aparrent that I would have to walk to his place, since the 1-inch layer of ice on my door was very happy about it’s new-found existance, and had no intentions of leaving (against my best efforts). Once I joined up with 5 other guys at Rob’s place, we took off to the nearest parking garage carying a board for snow (not a “snow board” mind you, just a board…. for snow). Every time it freezes in Austin The one other time it froze in Austin, we made the discovery that parking garages build up a paticularly thick and slippery layer of ice, which can provide hours of fun to people who love sliding around uncontrollably until they fall and hit the ground too hard. This time was no different, except that the pellets of sleet gave us a little more friction than before, but sliding down on the board worked just as well as last time. After the parking garage, we explored campus looking for slippery surface to exploit, but mostly just starting snow-ball fights or making snow men (snow midgets really).

But now it’s begining to warm up. The trees are thowing little leaf-sized peices of ice down on people, and iceicles everywhere are shrinking. Tomorrow they are only cancelling morning classes, making Thursday our first day of class this semester (rather than Tuesday). I’m ready for it though. The snow days have been fun, but are getting tedious… sitting around with nothing to do is only exciting for so long, and I think the excitement wore off about a week after New Years.

begin… again…

Posted in Houston, looong, San Antonio by lrobison on January 14, 2007

Last semester ended well for me all things considering. I got an A in Robotics and Programming Languages, and a B in Gov, EE316, and OS’es. My original plan was to take the first class of the EE sequence this coming semester, but i found out two days ago that i need a prerequisite physics class, which also has a prerequisite that i don’t have. after running around to different advising offices, i finally ended up with a waiver for the first prereq, and now i’m going to take the second prereq. Its more classes than I thought i would have to take for the EE sequence, and i think it has discouraged mike from doing it with me, but considering the signal processing focus of the classes and how well it lines up with my internship at SwRI, I felt it best to go for it. So, my class linup now looks like Linguistics, DiffEQs, Physics of Optics and Electricity, Ruby 101 (for fun), and yet another (required… *sigh*) government class.

But who wants to hear about my class schedule? I didn’t think so. Winter break is much more interesting. My family gave Elissa a true Christmas, complete with church, Jesus, and finally presents. Elissa enjoyed the shiny red tea kettle i got her, while Dad and I played with (and promptly broke) dad’s new, cheap RC helicopter. All the while Travis was waging epic wars with the game I gave him. Elissa had so much fun and enjoyed my company so much that she decided to invite me to the Buddhist new year’s service which she loathes going to every year. It was a learning experiance to be sure. I knew Buddhists don’t look to an almighty for strength in life, but I didn’t realize how much chanting played a role, to the point where Christians would refer to it as “god in a bottle”. The service was a string of people telling how they had gotten their wishes because they had chanted well enough or something like that. Of course it wasn’t all talking. There were 40 year old asian housewives trying to rap, a 50 year old guy dancing his heart out to James Brown’s “I feel good” (james brown had died like 4 days earlier at the time), and two black guys rapping about chanting every day. The arguably best part of the whole service was watching Elissa and (her sister) Chieko try to endure the service by poking fun at people and sending notes back and forth. After new year’s day I hung around as long as i could before Elissa and her family took off for Hawaii. We watched movies and went to art shows and hung out with her old friends and coco until finally I drove home just in time to see Lilia (who had been staying with my family for about 6 months) the morning she took off to return to Colombia.

The remaining days in San Antonio were spent with Javi and Andy or at Shisha’s Cafe, or fixing/playing on Travis’ computer. Travis informed me that the PVK II Beta was out. Back in the day (read: high school) my friends and I would play Pirates Vikings and Knights all day long through classes, whenever the teacher wasn’t looking we were playing. The ridiculousness of it all made the game hilarious. Pirates would be bouncing around with a swagger in their step and a barrel of gunpowder in their arms, and knights would be heaving around these huge broad-swords, while berserking vikings would be running this way and that with battle axes flailing. I’m glad I’m finally able to play it again and its brings back great memories. The new version is just as ridiculous as the last, but now with ragdall physics! how fun.

Thats all for now folks. The forcast says we have a 100% chance of precipitation, and a high of 32, so I hope I’ll be able to really see some snow, and hopefully go parking-garage-sledding. Don’t worry, I’ll take pictures.