Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Work update

As I mentioned before, it’s been really busy getting ready for Friday’s demo with our funding agency. In addition, this Thursday and Friday, we have the Fitzpatrick Center Annual Meeting. I am presenting a poster on hyperspectral imaging. A few days ago, I was nearly ‘freaking out’. Today I realized that everything is going to be fine, so I’m feeling a lot better.

It looks like Homecoming weekend is going to be a ton of fun! Stay tuned for the details.


Running Update

I have been running at the gym most evenings starting last week. At first, I was doing 30 minutes at 7 mph. Last night, I ran for 10 minutes at 7 mph, and then 20 minutes at 7.5 mph. (Total 3.66 miles) Today I ran at 7.5 mph for the full 30 minutes. (My 5K split time was 24:40) I haven’t registered yet, but I think I will run in the 2nd Annual Doctorate of Physical Therapy 5K on October 15. Vito had said he was probably running in it, too.

They actually just installed new treadmills in the Wilson gym yesterday. While I feel most of the features are quite superfluous, I did enjoy watching the blinking light move around the 400m track. The personal fans are a little excessive.


The simple things

Walking to the parking garage I found a dime on the ground the other day. Again, just let me know if you lost it.

Usually we have brown paper towels in the bathroom at work. Right now, we are lucky enough to have the white ones. I know what you’re going to say, “why’s it gotta be white.” The truth is, they just work better. Maybe they’re more absorbent, I don’t know. They do usually have the white paper towels in the 1st floor bathroom by the auditorium, but that’s a pretty far walk.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sonicare Toothbrush

Last weekend I bought a Sonicare toothbrush. The first time I tried brushing, it almost tickled my teeth. It was a very strange experience. I’ve mostly gotten used to it now, so it’s pretty fun to brush. I’d recommend getting one. They’re pretty cool. I have the e5300, which I got at Bed Bath and Beyond. I used a 20% off coupon from my stack, and there was also a rebate.

Authorized Personnel Only

COMP-I, one of our lab’s projects, has been taken to the next level. United States ITAR restrictions require that only US Citizens see our new IR camera. While this does sound cool, it is turning out to be a large inconvenience. Foreign citizens can’t be in the lab when the camera is being used.

This does provide for some amusing lab terminology. The Black Pelican carrying case has been coined “the football”. When taking data, “the package is in the open.” Also, when not in use the case must be safely stored in a locked cabinet. Thus, “the football is secure.”

Making life even more complicated, a few collaborators from Raython and Digital Optics Corporation visited us Thursday and Friday. We were mostly preparing for a site visit at the end of this week by our funding agency.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Campout 2006

For those who aren’t familiar, it is a tradition among Duke Undergraduates to pitch tents and campout for tickets to the blockbuster basketball games. In that same spirit, graduate students have their own campout, devoting Friday night through Sunday morning to nothing short of “power tenting”.

Along with some fellow ECE students, I began the adventure this past weekend. Friday evening was great. My choice to refrain from drinking beer continued, and for no specific reason, I extended that to alcohol, in general. As predicted and independent of drinking, I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with everyone and meeting new friends.

Unfortunately, with the night air, my throat took a turn for the worse. At around 2am, I lay awake coughing nearly nonstop. In the interest of health, I choose to depart from campout and do my best to recover at my house. It was sad to leave, and sacrifice my share of game tickets, but it was the right choice. Health needs to come before basketball.

However, here’s when things get exciting. I needed to return to campout on Saturday to pick up the rest of my gear. It was around 4 when I decided to make my trip over, debating quickly whether to grab a bite before or afterward. I ended up going directly and arrived just as Johnny Dawkins was announcing the raffle winners. On Friday, I bought $10 of tickets to benefit the Emily Krzyzewski Family LIFE center. First up were two tickets to the men’s basketball game versus Maryland. Next were tickets to the Indiana game. The last prize was 2 tickets to the Duke-UNC game, in Cameron. The winner announced was actually this girl Becky, who I knew. However, she was unable to be there, and so they drew another name. They called my name next!

By this time I was almost back at the tent and literally ran and shouted my way up the hill to claim the prize. Luckily Josh saw me and helped out with a “he’s here” shout. It was all pretty amazing, considering I arrived less than 5 minutes before they called my name.

It looks I will be attending the Duke-UNC game after all. And I get to invite a friend, too. So does anyone need a ticket?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Starred Thought

Lately, I have revisited some notations of wisdom. When I refer to a ‘starred thought’, I mean that a sentence is preceded by an asterisk or your own favorite importance indicating designation.

The three I chose to focus on the past couple days have been:
* Positive thinking gets positive results
* Three Stages in Life: You believe. You don’t believe. You become.
* You can only get better when you are ready to change.

Feel free to share your own. I anticipate posting future daily mottos as they unravel.

Side note: I enjoy the legitimate utilization of the importance flag (!) in emails requiring immediate attention. I’d also be interested to hear related anecdotes.

Department of Corrections

The other day, I refrained from correcting my professor in class. His lecture notes refer to Raleigh scattering. The phenomenon which he almost surely intended to refer to is Rayleigh scattering, after Lord Raleigh. [I suspect that Durham’s proximity to Raleigh, NC increased the probability of this error.] One may be interested to know that this phenomenon explains why the sky is blue. From wikipedia:

John William Strutt, 3rd Baron Rayleigh (12 November 1842 – 30 June 1919) was a British physicist who (with William Ramsay) discovered the element argon, an achievement that earned him the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1904. He was the second Cavendish Professor of Physics at the University of Cambridge, following James Clerk Maxwell in this position from 1879 to 1884.

Secondly, this professor also described the Photoelectric effect. He mentioned that Albert Einstein won his 1st Nobel Prize for its discovery. While not actually wrong, this does suggest that Einstein won more than one Nobel Prize. He did not.

I was praised by a fellow officemate for exercising discretion in not publicly correcting the instructor. This is the more politically correct approach, and I am glad that I took it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Having a good day

I’m almost fully recovered from my cough. The past couple days I’ve had a sore throat, but I’ve been trying to eat well and drink plenty of water. It’s working out well.

I ate lunch today with Katie at the Loop. She drove across the country with her friend before the semester started. It sounded pretty like they had a good time.

I ran at the gym today. (30 minutes, 3.47 miles) I am making a better commitment to leading a healthier lifestyle. I may try to lift weights soon, but I am somewhat inexperienced in that area. I will need to figures out a routine/circuit. I suppose I am on the lookout for an exercise partner. I am making an effort to eat 3 meals a day, because I have been skipping breakfast for a while.

Tonight, I’m going over to Kenny and Samantha’s (new) house to make ECE campout T-shirts. The Graduate School Basketball Ticket Campout is this weekend, and we’re kicking it up a notch.

The second episode of the third season of House, M.D. is on tonight. It has been one of my favorite tv shows lately. I can’t wait to watch it.

I think I’m going to give up beer for a period of time. The length right now is indefinite. I feel that when I do drink beer it doesn’t settle very well with me and for that matter doesn’t taste altogether that good. I’ll continue to ponder the subject of alcohol.

Trip to Florida

This past weekend I was in Florida visiting my grandparents (mom’s parents). I flew to Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) via Atlanta on AirTran. I’m starting to like that airline because of the XM Satellite Radio. When in Florida, it’s all but obligatory to drive on the classic road including Military Trail, Donald Ross, and US-1. If you’ve been you’ll know what I mean.

It was good to hang out with them. I’m glad to see that they’re both keeping busy. My grandpa is involved with the home owner’s association and is the chair of the committee building a new guardhouse. You can never be too careful. Especially when half the residents aren’t there for the summer, those houses would be sitting ducks if it wasn’t for the top notch security in place. Complications are also ongoing regarding the 2 country clubs in their development. There is talk of merging; everyone would have access to two 18-hole golf courses, administrative costs would decrease, etc. Unfortunately, life is never that simple. In other news, one of the batteries died in the golf car, and they had to replace it. (Power Up)

Also, thanks for the new sneakers and watch!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering September 11th, 2001

I will soon share thoughts. Right now, everything is just hitting me pretty hard.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Trip to Las Vegas, NV

I was on a direct flight to Las Vegas from Durham, which worked out really well. Arriving in the evening, I picked up our rental car. When I turned on the car for the first time the radio was playing Van Halen’s “Jump”; this was going to be a good trip.

For our first night in Vegas, Tony, Richard, I went to see comedian Ron White. Unfortunately, Gregg’s flight was later that evening so he couldn’t make it. Ron was drinking Scotch as usual, and it was a fun show. Somewhat pricy, but whatever, it was a vacation. Due to the incompetence our hotel, the Excalibur, Gregg wasn’t able to get the key Tony left for him at the front desk. Names were entered wrong in the computer, and they were just dumb.

We drove out to the Hoover Dam on Saturday. It was quite hot outside. (>100 °F) The dam was fun to see, though. The tour was fair, but the views were great. The sheer size of the dam is amazing. We took a couple pictures there, but Tony hasn’t had a chance to send them out, yet.

I gambled a little bit. I lost a little bit on Roulette, but won on Blackjack and Craps. Overall, I was down marginally, something like $10 or so. Craps was lots of fun though. I won $50. I did manage to loose in a small Texas Hold ‘em poker tournament. I was in with pocket Aces and a small flop came up. I called someone’s “all in” correctly reading that they had a lower pair. Everything was looking good until the River card, when they paired up their other hold card giving them two pair. Annoying, but that’s poker. I did last longer than Tony and Richard. Gregg wisely decided not to throw away his money.

Spell Check

Thanks two Janelle’s advice I will bee sure too use spell check four all future posts. I’ve also red this won twice; its free of error.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I just finished reading 1776 by David McCullough. By the way, he's won the Pulitzer Prize twice. I liked the book, although it took me a long time to get through it all. There are lots of names and places, and it sometimes gets confusing. As you can probably guess, the book was about the first year of the American Revolution. If you read it, you'll see how amazing it was that we actually won.

Anyway, I've been getting into a habbit of reading lately. This was a good start.

Coming soon, I'll recap this past weekend's trip to Las Vegas with Gregg, Tony, and Richard.