Friday, May 18, 2007

Radar Blip

So, upon retrospection, I've realized that this semester is the first time I've ever made some sort of footprint on the greater world.

I've made my first steps into the world of research. With the Kepler project, some of my work will not only have some nonzero impact on the greater scientific world, but on a particular NASA mission! Needless to say, this is amazing beyond belief.

My paleo paper was apparently *really good*. There's an outside chance that with enough correspondence with Matt Wedel, it may become publishable, according to Professor Padian anyway.

Besides dabbling in Paleontology and Astrophysics, I was contacted earlier in the semester by the Mitt Romney campaign to be a technical advisor. For a primary campaign -- one of the four men that might become the presidential candidate for the Republican party. I turned him down on moral (word choice?) grounds, but the fact remains I was so approached.

My work in general has become noticed: I'm consistently good at computers and websites, build them carefully. I was asked to help found a business with someone. An all-in-one solution, site building and computer repair. Because of my workload, I turned it down, but I was asked to get back to them ... and I was a first choice.

Most recently, I missed a phone call during my final from Microsoft. I was contacted by name and asked to call back, and I left a message (I got an extension to a human being. When does this happen?). By bloody MICROSOFT. By name. That's rather nifty! Probably not anything much, but still .... I get a kick out of it.

Somehow in the past six months, I've become more than a nobody. When did this happen?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sun's Out

So, a very long semester is drawing once more to a close. Its 1:30 AM, so, of course the right thing to do is to write a blog entry! Even though I posted on much of this earlier, I imagine there will be some re-cap.

While I know I said just under a year ago that, quote, "there is no way in HELL I'm ever doing 20 units again", I did it. I had high hopes; perhaps, without 111 it wouldn't be so bad! I really enjoyed German 1, so why wouldn't German 2 be great? GR was bound to have a bunch of Astro in it. And really, while it was hard to do 20 units, last year wasn't bad .... in fact, I'd argue it was the *nicest* semester, even if the hardest. And Cosmology! Possibly research!

The semester started with the lull before the storm. January was tranquil, mostly spent with Sara, Marya, and fellow Mansioners. Games and D&D abounded, and much time was spent with my two favorite women. January didn't last long enough, and February just started off *bad*. After about 2 weeks of 8AM German, I remembered that I just didn't learn at 8AM, and that it took about 1-2 weeks to sink in. If I didn't memorize-regurgitate for the test, I did poorly ... and if I did, it wasn't really helpful because it was just memorize-regurgitate. I quickly found that the nominally good idea of 75% homework and 25% project for Cosmo was bad ... it ultimately resulted in 9 homework assignments over the semester, each one worth about 8% of my grade. That's right. Homework assignments that were half or a third of a midterm in other classes. Oy. So, of course, GR got the tail end of things, being due 24 hours after Astro. But it was more mathematical (and the questions in class were mathematical) than I'd been wishing, which took a toll. Comp lit was a breadth, but it was taking way too much time for a PNP class. WAY too much time, too much reading and too much money in obscure books. It wasn't all bad -- Paleo was excellent, having a research position satisfying, and Cosmo was fun and interesting if stressful. I had a lot of fun with my paleo paper, as a matter of fact -- and Matt Wedel, who works on Sauropods, thought it was pretty good, and wants to talk with me more about it later.

Then the second week of February hit. In close proximity, I had a midterm, Liz had a motherboard faliure, Marya broke up with me, and I managed to get a shin splint that I didn't treat and would last for about two months. Things began to pretty much snowball from there. Thankfully, Dr. Padian lent me a spare laptop of his, which was a godsend (though I freaked out when its HDD failed, but I replaced it and reinstalled all the software and such for him). Honestly, without it I probably would not have a passing grade this semester; the two weeks I was computerless I was spending about 10-12 hours on campus a day. As a point of fact, Liz didn't return till last week -- it took 2.5 months in all, because they were waiting on a motherboard. Hey, look, I was right ...

All of this took its toll; I fell a little behind and had to spend all spring break playing catch-up, then the GRE was up and coming ... I'm still waiting on those scores. It finally all came to a head the past two weeks, when I had multiple projects and papers and midterms, all in quick sucession. I feel like I'm somewhat close to burn out - but the semester is done, and Friday's final will be the only true challenge to overcome. The paper for Comp Lit shouldn't be too bad, German will be meh, and Paleo should be easy.

This isn't to say its been all bad. Kit and I are finally going to host our DeCal next semester; "Raptors and Sea Monsters -- Mesozoic Marine Reptiles and Saurischia". I may get paid over the summer to do some research, though I'm a wee bit behind right now. Friday I'm going to take my driving test, and if I pass it, I will finally have my driver's license (though I don't anticipate using it much). Summer school shouldn't be too bad; and I will get breadths out of the way. Sara will be living with us (Well, I suppose with "me" for June) over the summer, and with the first class being at nine during the first session and not having class till the afternoon for the second, I'll start getting healthy amounts of sleep again, be able to do more research, and be able to start going to the gym again. Next semester I will be taking three physics classes including 111, but 111 and 105 will be with Peter. I'm not sure if I'll know anyone in 110, but its E&M and that shouldn't be too bad. A bunch of friends will be in the DeCal, 111 is my only MWF class (so if we finish early, I'll have MWF off), I'll be taking NucE180 with Kit and Jessica. There's a small chance Jeanina from German will be in German 170 (my final breadth!). Next semester is looking pretty strong, though I'll hold verdict on the roomie/housing situation. I do have the GRE general on the 23rd, but the math looks pretty trivial and should need at most 48 hours review.

If I can survive Friday, we'll see where life takes me the next few months. The clouds are clearing, and things are looking distinctly up.