Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Yes, I am a blogger. This post will cover my entire summer!

Got my first A- in graduate school at USC, so that would be far beyond my wildest dreams. The course was Linear Algebra, which actually made sense. Now I'm started back into some random processes which is completely lost me by this point, and I’m only 2 weeks into the 14 week semester.

Hiking has been good this summer, but I still want to get out of SoCal sometime before end of season. I got to Baldy twice at the end of July to get prepped for a run up Fish Creek trail to San Gorgonio peak. The planned weekend would have been great: we had 6 people all set to go, camping a Sat. night, and then hiking the whole 20+ miles on Sunday. Water's tough to get anywhere beyond 1.7 miles in without going significantly out of the way, so a day hike was a smart way to go. BUT the mountain had a huge T-Storm that weekend and we postponed. Three weeks later, PB AC and myself made it up, but the rest of the group couldn't reschedule. It's too bad really! The hike ended up being pretty killer long, but not too steep at any moment. Saw wreckage from a C47 airplane flown in 1954 from Offutt out to March here in CA - the plane didn't make it, and this trail goes right through the wreck. Got to the top in 6 hours, and down in 3 hours. Spent about 1.5 hours at the top sleeping, we were all exhausted.

One hike up baldy was interesting - the rain really came up at the end of my hike. I reached the top, and saw clouds rushing up a valley below me, then being blown back on itself after rising a bit; there was a lot of cloud friction, and indeed, the thunder followed. I got out of there very quickly due to the possibility of lightning. I was about 1.5 miles from the bottom and the rain came hard. I ran, and made that trip the fastest I've ever done that peak. The rain was just about to flash flooding conditions, I would guess.

Hiking one weekend at altitude, and then going back the next weekend actually carries over the acclimation, I believe. The run wasn't too strenuous, but I felt bad for all the people I saw on the way down. I will not tell them to turn around due to the weather or trail. I could only show them my GPS, which indicates how far they are from the top, and how far they are from the bottom. Beyond that, they are on their own to make the decision. I told the people about the clouds I saw at the top, but so many were not worried and kept going. I hope they made it out ok! I was drenched, but still got in my new car to drive home.

I also went wine tasting with ES for my Bday which was a great gift. My parents came out to CA to surprise my aunt and uncle for their 40th wedding anniversary. They surprised me also, since I was going to be going home only a couple weeks later in August. My trip to Omaha was excellent actually. Played a lot of golf, saw a bunch of friends, and went to a secret German style family pub in the basement of some other bar. Also rode JW's motorcycle, which was really fun but risky. Didn't want to drop the thing, so I just kept it nice and slow in a neighborhood. Maybe I’ll reward myself with a motorcycle someday, but now is not the time. Saving for a house down.

Took two trips in 5 days to San Diego for the Objectivist convention down there. Thanks to the dentist with whom I had lunch; he told me about TMJ, and gave me some clues to figure out how to hold my jaw to relieve the chronic pain I'd had previously. Ever since early July, I haven't had any pain just from a simple change in what was a bad habit. What an amazing life change!!!! And the convention was excellent also, offering up some philosophic food for thought. The 2nd trip down was to eat dinner on the aircraft carrier they have down there in SD - the USS Midway. Dr. YB had a 2 hour rendition of the battle for Midway from WW2, which was an excellent recount of the events that lead to American victory over the Japanese. ES was with me for the weekend, and we got to the wild animal park and fed some Giraffes!!!! It was really an experience - the giraffe we fed was so slow and calm and gentle also. Cute thing! Later we saw it mackin' on some lady giraffes by eating some really high leaves on the trees. You go, giraffe (Ivan).

Between the summer and fall semesters I had a bunch of time to do a lot of things I don't normally have time for. Went to Disneyland on the annual passes, rode Space Mountain which is pretty cool now. I read Harry potter, which I don't recommend to anyone! The series has childish themes with 2D plotlines. Saw March of the Penguins, which was great. Also got FBH online with a forum with RH and JK. Jonspace went down, so this is a great replacement.

I bumped my webhosting down to remove the database feature - It'll save me some bucks, and I haven't done web development for a long time. I'm starting into video gaming, but not anything hardcore or long term. Just have a hankering, and I've learned quite a bit about the new PCI buses that are in computers these days, not to mention the architecture of systems. A lot has changed since I got my PC in 1999, and I have not kept up as I should have as an engineer.

The job!!!!! oh the job. It's been going quite well - things are coming together, and I've got a few people working on a sub-project for the lab which I developed. Now I just have to make it a success and I'll get some great exposure to the managers who can get me promotions. Traveled to Austin, TX on business, and I must say that is an impressive town. Had a great time talking with the other engineers over beers after hours. I work with a lot of really sharp people - I swear, MENSA level some of them.

That's the summer, as promised. The future: I'm planning on vacations, possibly much skiing this winter. Xmas in Omaha, Italy possibly at some point. Vegas in March for my brother's 21'st bday. And the family is discussing a cruise also.

Life is good - I'm enjoying life, rather than wishing I was further along, and feeling bad for not being something better. I make goals, but I think it's important for me to enjoy where I am when I am, but at the same time push the envelope, and stay a little outside my comfort zone. School is a good source of the latter...

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