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.

summers already half over!

Posted in San Antonio, work by lrobison on July 17, 2007

how did that happen so fast?

I’m well settled in at SwRI again, working for the same guy as last year and with the same people, but on different stuff. Although just last week a bug from some of my code last year came back to bite me… old code never dies. Interestingly enough, I saw Tarun and Mickey at SwRI today. They were there with the UT Robotics DARPA Urban challenge team. Apparently DARPA is doing some qualification tests for the teams on the Institute campus, so I was able to watch the second half of the qualification tests and hang out with the team for a little while. All went well and there was much celebrating.

With Elissa spending the summer in Austin rather than Houston, we’ve been able to visit a lot more often (and with much shorter drives). I think we see each other something like 2 out of every 3 weekends. She made it down to San Antonio for my birthday/4th of July (kinda the same event) and I’ve been up to Austin several times as well. Next weekend is the official celebration of Mike getting through Marine boot camp without dying… which means I’ll be back up in Austin again :-).

I’m getting kind nervous with summer going by so fast. I had several things I’ve wanted to do:

  • Fix my bike tire so I can get in shape
  • Fix my huge old speakers for next year
  • Fix my kitchen chair so I can sit down next year…

I guess thats it. When you work from 8-5 it’s easy to put off those sorts of things to the weekends, which I spend in Austin most of the time… which means they never happen :-P. Things I have done:

  • Start pressure washing alllll of my house’s concrete surfaces
  • Take care of my registration ticket
  • Decide my ranger ham radio from the 70’s is only eye-candy and will never transmit/receive again, at least not under my supervision.

My family and I have been watching season 1 of 24, and only have two episodes to go. Hopefully after that season is over I won’t waste my time in front of the TV after the workday is over.

All this isn’t to say that the summer has all been work for me and my family.  We went to Houston for a wedding of some old friends, and then they dropped me off in downtown San Antonio at a wedding of one of Elissa’s friends (a very nice Jewish wedding… my first).  Another weekend we got to go water skiing on lake McQueeney with my cousins Tom and Dorothy.

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.

gearing up

Posted in college, San Antonio by lrobison on August 7, 2006

After Ultimate Frisbee I was starving and a hookah sounded nice, so i slipped on down to the number one SA hookah bar cafe: Shisha’s. I looked around for anyone sitting alone when i got there (hooking alone is just boring) but didn’t see anyone, but after I got my oh-so-yummy falafel wrap this girl came up and asked if I was eating alone and if I wanted company. I joined her at her table with and was introduced to some new friends: Pricilla (the friendly girl) and her two cohorts Chis and Joscelyn. Turns out we are all bored here and San Antonio, and we are all moving up to Austin for school on the 19th (actually pricilla is going to Baylor). We talked for probably 2 hours just about random people and UT and austin, and eventually come to the conclusion that we should have a going-off-to-austin party next week. It was such a random event meeting 3 people and becoming good friends because we all felt so bored in San Antonio. It really made my week to find more people like me in San Antonio, especially people I can hang out with in Austin too. Anyways, I’m happy and (somehow) not quite tired yet (work starts in 7.5 hours). New friends are so cool

looking ahead

Posted in emo, San Antonio by lrobison on July 29, 2006

I know school starts a month from now, but i’m already ready for it. Maybe its because our apartment rent starts on Aug 1st (3 days from now) and I’ve already been talking to my roomates about furniture utilities rent and the like. Jeremy will be living there starting the 1st [lukcy bastard], but I need to wait until i can make more money at home before moving up to austin. Part of it is that all my friends here in San Antonio seem to be working or unavailable or whatever… and combined with the fact that i haven’t really talked to any of them since last summer, i feel like i don’t really know anyone here anymore. I belong in Austin now. what worries me is graduation. Where do i belong then?


Posted in San Antonio by lrobison on July 11, 2006

I left work at 3:30 cause i didn’t want to be there anymore and i had the tickets in my hand, plus Ozzfest is on the other side of San Antonio, and I didn’t want to get stuck in rush hour traffic. So I made it there at 5 (grabbed food on the way) and settled in for a good concert- except that they don’t let you bring blankets to sit on the grass with, so i had to check it in at the will call. Things started out a little slow, I don’t remember the band playing when i got in, but it was not too impressive, and they were tiny from our seats in the sun. Soon afterwards Lacuna Coil came on and it was good enough I decided to try the mosh pit. The last one i was in was at a Dream Theater concert and it was awesome. This one was good… but there were a few jerks who were throwing punches from the outskirts of the ring. A quick commentary on mosh pits: They are the most confusing display of physical agression paired with caring about people you’ve never met. If you fall everyone protects you and picks you up. Thats what I love about it. But… in the fray my prized sun glasses from 1 year ago broke :-(. That might have been the most memorable part of the night.

Next Disturbed and System of a Down played, they were cool, but i just didn’t get into it. I was tired and it was getting late by then, and I think my tastes in music have drifted away from metal. Not that it wasn’t a good time, but I think i’ll stick with the smaller more intamate concerts from now on.

mmm beeeer

Posted in college, San Antonio by lrobison on July 5, 2006

The Gangso now I’m 21. My birthday (the 3rd) was on a monday, and the following day was the 4th so it was a holiday for everyone, meaning I had a perfect set up for a party. People leave after work on monday, party monday night, and go home after sleeping in on tuesday. So I invited the whole crowd, and most of them made it. Mike even drove all the way down from Decatur (TX) way up north. The best part of the night was in no way the alcohol. Sure that made it fun, loosened us up and all that, but the best part was the friends. We had a blast talking and making jokes around the bonfire, cutting down dead trees with the axe, shooting fireworks at each other. We spent almost the whole night outside, and alex nearly killed us with an ‘artillery shell’ that he dropped in the middle of our seats. The blast sprayed pretty blue fire 10 feet in all directions, but we scattered fast enough that no one got hurt. The pully on my treehouse was also a big hit, and jeremy thought he could lift himself up by putting his foot in one loop and pulling on the other, but the effect was more like catching an animal in a trap, and he quickly was flipped upside down with his foot in the air. Everyone laughed at him, and elissa decided to prove he was an idiot by doing it the right way, but she failed equally spectacularly. The entire night was filled with laughs, and i think the group picture captures it perfectly. The next morning no one was too hung over, we were mostly just tired, so we napped and watched the shuttle launch and napped and watched the world cup until everyone had gone home. It was the best 4th of july ever

Summer Job

Posted in San Antonio by lrobison on March 29, 2006

I’ve been playing phone and email tag with several people from Southwest Research Institue (SwRI) over the last week or so while trying to get a job. I just got the final call today. I have job!!!! A good one too. I’ll be doing programming, probably some little python projects, possibly a proof of concept thing. yaaaaaay!

My life has been a lot more normal since I dropped EE316. I still have spanish to worry about, and I’m kind of fretting over the Graphics test, but all in all I think I’m finally managing to get up to a solid A-B average. Its about time I make up those first 2 semesters. Elissa keeps life interesting, and provides me with daily breakfast company after my 8am class, even when she doesn’t have any classes that day. Today was the first day all semester we didn’t eat breakfast together i think: she had to go to some office hours.

I saw V for Vendetta at the draft house. Nothing better than spending quality time with elissa, a milkshake, and natalie portman. I wasn’t sure what to expect from V. Its gotten a lot of mixed reviews, but I have to say it was an interesting plot with good characters – and natalie portman was amazing as always. The Drafthouse was kind enough to show SNL’s natalie portman rap video just before the movie started. I thought that was a good addition.

Spring Break: the ultimate study break

Posted in San Antonio, school, UT by lrobison on March 17, 2006

today’s accomplishments:

  • drive to austin
  • get parking ticket
  • reduce parking ticket to a warning with my charming good looks
  • see demolished mobile home blocking traffic for 7 miles
  • search (without success) dorm for camera
  • take and pass two EE tests (yay!)
  • find another route home to avoid said 7miles of traffic
  • search (without success) home for camera
  • completely give up on ever finding that camera
  • decide i’m going to play pool with erik
  • end up at a coffee shop with no clue of where the pool hall is
  • sipped a latte while chatting with an old friend (*flicks wrist*)
  • missed being killed by only 3 feet due to female driver

… its been a full day

Long Time

Posted in San Antonio, UT by lrobison on February 23, 2006

Its been a while since any personal posts. I don’t think i want to turn this into a tech blog, so i’ll probably keep it to personal things from now on, except for the possibility of interesting projects. Or maybe i should start a second blog for that….

Well, I can’t find my own camera, so after giving back my parents i have nothing to take pictures with. So sad. I’ll have to steal Elissa’s camera to take a picture of the sweet necklace she gave me. My old one broke when I was playing with it (made of fishing line). This one on the other hand is made by ingenious hippies, who decided the core of the necklace should be made out of the same stuff they use to support bidges: steel twine. I think I’m more likely to hang myself on this rather than break it.

You know what sucks? My girlfriend getting mono. I really feel bad for her, with all her normandy work, being perpetually tired is not what she needs right now. If it weren’t for studying in the same room and eating together I don’t think I would ever get to talk to her. We are both swamped with work. I’m taking 18 hours and she has the Normandy Scholars program.  And on top of that, I wish Rex (the ex bf) wouldn’t complicate her life by giving her a guilt trip over his own mistakes.

Elissa and I decided to go to San Antonio to visit my parents last week. I think everyone got along. Looks like my parents like her and she likes my parents. I told them both they would. It made me happy that she wanted to get to know them.

Mom made Grandma Robison’s famous buttermilke pie, and we all just about died of pleasure. I now have the recipie, so this weekend I plan on trying my hand.