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Info Dump

So, lots of stuff been going on. FIRST build season ended last night, with the robot in a more-or-less sort-of functional state. Our intake roller motors are apparently drawing around 45A when the battery drops to < 12VDC, which is an issue because they are Fisher-Price motors wired with either 10ga. or 12ga. wire to Victor speed controllers wired to 40A slow-blow thermal breakers. As such, we drain the battery from 13VDC to 10-11VDC within 15s of turning the rollers on, the breakers pop, voltage climbs back to 12VDC, and the cycle repeats as soon as the breaker closes. On the plus side, the camera is on the robot in a semi-permanent fashion, which bodes well for us once we get code for it. Autonomous routines have been discussed, and I am still waiting to hear back from US Digital on the encoder issue. On the bigger plus side, I can has life again.

I contacted my boss at Valentine, and was informed that he will be hiring me back this summer, which is pretty sweet. As such, though I attended the Career Fair, I did not need to focus on getting a job and was able to talk to a few companies for practice and to get a feel for options, and the consensus was, no one is hiring. Literally three-quarters of the companies there were actively telling people that they were accepting resumes, but not hiring on any level. Also, the swag was not very good either.

I have been taking an archery class during the first half of this semester, and it has been quite a lot of fun. I have discovered that, if I do not actually focus on aiming, posture, or position and essentially just speed-fire salvoes of eight consecutive arrows, I score 70 or higher on standard 40cm targets, where the innermost circle is the 10pt-ring. If I focus on aiming and getting a "correct" shot, I score an average of 50 for the same eight arrows. Conclusion? I need to trust my instincts more and let them do things for me. Incidentally, this has been serving me well in exams, especially in Institutions, where I pretty much wrote out my three essays in half an hour on varying economic discussions, and got a 97% on the exam.

A large amount of stuff I found in my room is going to be sold over the next week or so, as I am badly in need of money and I have no need for it. I have been taking pictures of all the items and will be putting together a webpage for the listing at my paid hosting as I am not allowed to use the MTU network or resources for commercial reasons.

I am currently thinking about ways to get my Sea Snark sailboat up here after spring break, but I am not coming up with any ways to do it reasonably. This is sad, because I really want to have some access to sailing, but the Sailing Club at MTU wants $100/sem dues, and I really do not have that kind of money.

Some happy news--I think I may have finally broken myself of the habit of nail-biting. I hope.

Some more interesting news--as soon as I have a deadline, I intend to sign up to perform a piece in the MTU Drag Show at the end of Pride Week. I have a few people helping me assemble an outfit, and it should be fun, and possibly generate some money as well. For those interested, I will be performing a song called "Forever Young", which is a song written by a British band called Alphaville, but the cover I will be lip-synching to is performed by a female vocalist, and is generally mistakingly attributed to the band Groove Coverage. However, I do not currently know who actually performed this cover, as the PR office for Groove Coverage denies that the group ever sang it.

Classes are going well, and various people around me are joining into happy couples. Now if only I could find someone, I would not have to celebrate Single's Awareness Day two weeks into every February...Oh, well, "Being single is not the same as being alone."

Ben, Krista, Rusty, and I finished watching the episodes of Eureka to date, and have started on Firefly, which Ben, Rusty, and I have seen, and Krista has seen one or two episodes of. It is an awesome little series, and it makes me mad at FOX every time I get to the end of the series and remember that FOX is responsible for killing what is quite possibly the most awesome science-fiction series ever created.

I need to repair my backpack, as one of the straps is pulling out of the lower corner to which it is attached.

I also am thinking about going through my personal possessions and removing, obscuring, or altering any and all logos I find--the theory is, I paid for (or had purchased for me) these items, and I do not want to be paying to advertise the shitty brand names that feel it necessary to slather their products with garish logos. I AM NOT A CONSUMER WHORE! Unless, of course, these companies deem it worthy to pay me to advertise their noble brands. Then, and only then, will I permit logos on my stuff. (Hey, sponsorship works for FIRST teams, why not a single person?)

I am pretty sure my plant has now recovered from its boarding and transport over break. It had a bit of a rough time coming back, because Marcus' car decided it was not going to go up the hill near McNair, so we walked our stuff from Lot 10 to McNair in -20C weather. It is once again a happy plant, and enjoying the new room layout quite a lot.

There have been a rash of people recently asking me why I still have such long hair. What? I like my hair. MINE. You no can has.

I tried to give blood when the drive was going on on campus, but I have apparently inherited my dad's excessively low blood pressure. Either that, or I was comatose that day.

I have gotten into a mindset where I see problems (testing arrows to see how straight their flight) and immediately start drafting up images and CAD drawings of mechanisms to solve them (string release on a sliding arm, C-clamp-like holder for box, rotating "fingers" to place arrow and set the nock), as well as code and likely test scenarios to run it all (pages of text, or sometimes LabVIEW code, floating in my mind like leaves on a river). It is kind of interesting. It may have something to do with FIRST, and may also have something to do with my ongoing projects to automate parts of my room and to help a guy build, from crap we found in his room, a rapid-fire NERF machine gun. It also probably stems from Firefly.

One reason I love the CSLC is presented in a case study, as follows:


Krista and Alicia's room


Krista, Rusty, Ben, Kenny, Matt, me


Ben: "You guys need a media streaming computer."


Krista: "Yeah, that would be cool."
Kenny: "I got keyboard and mouse."
Rusty: "I got mobo, GPU, and RAM."
me: "I got PSU, cables, and drives."
Matt: "I got extra 24" widescreen monitor."

30 Minutes Later

me: "OK, Ubuntu install is asking for a hostname, what do you think?"
Krista: "kokopeli, Native American trickster spirit."


Media computer built and installed from disparate components within half an hour of the decision to make it, pinned to a corkboard for want of a case (and to be more geekily awesome and open-air cooled).

This is why we love it here.