Wednesday, April 26, 2006

"Great" minds think alike

From an AIM conversation I was having this morning with a research colleague...

(10:36:49) nlthomas99: is that it's not about blame, it's about problem solving
(10:36:54) nlthomas99: f*** who's fault it was
(10:36:56) eimmitsmith: yup
(10:37:00) nlthomas99: get 'er done!
(10:37:00) eimmitsmith: get 'er done
(10:37:02) eimmitsmith: wow
(10:37:06) nlthomas99: that is scary
(10:37:09) eimmitsmith: yeah
(10:37:12) eimmitsmith: really is
(10:37:17) nlthomas99: you forgot the exclamation point
(10:37:31) eimmitsmith: I'm not as fast a typist as you.
(10:37:40) eimmitsmith: no time for punctuation.

Same thought at the same time. Crazy stuff. Maybe other craziness will occur and I'll manage to get real work done today too.

9 minute mile

8 weeks ago I started my triathlon training. On our timed run I managed to go 1.5 miles in 15:40 and I thought to myself that if I could cut it down to a 10 minute mile by the competition I'd be happy. Yesterday after the swim in workout we did the same run and I came in at 13:06, just under a 9 minute mile. That still puts me in the last 1/3 of my training group, but I am now the fastest slow person in the program.

The big race is this Sunday. I've got my road bike rented this week so I can get used to the different handling and shifting and really like it. I'm drinking my water like I should and I'll have my pasta on Saturday. Hopefully I'll post Sunday afternoon that I was able to make it in ahead of all the moms swimming with their babies hanging on their backs. :)

Sunday, April 23, 2006

I am a pack of cigarettes

I'm on campus this morning preparing for the resumption of my usual Sunday code review meetings. A few minutes ago as I sat trying to put together a coherent picture of the code we want to produce I began seeing the objections that will be raised and the arguments we'll have this afternoon. On some of them I can see who will be on each side of the argument and how this pits me against my advisor and with the nuclear engineering profs at times. Then my imagination started going and I envisioned one debate becoming so intense that I was traded by my advisor to one of the NUEN profs in one of those, "If you two agree so well, fine. He's your student now." moments.

It was then that I realized that grad students are similar to the Hollywood ideal of packs of cigarettes in a prison. We're traded as currency amongst the professors. Not usually in the "he's your student now" sense, though that does happen occasionally, but in the "I've got a student I can make work on this project if you'll give me some of the grant money" sense. Grad students are thus shuffled around from project to project, losing little bits of themselves along the way. In the end, when they are used up, wrinkled and hollow they are tossed aside for a new pack of smokes.

The interesting bit of this is that once the discarded packs hit the floor they are swept into the garbage bin of industry research and incinerated, or they are instantly reincarnated into prisoners themselves working to secure their own carton of cigarettes. I think once I'm used up I'll wind up in the garbage bin of industrial research. If I am by chance reincarnated into a prisoner I'll try to be a little kinder to any smokes that may come my way.

I think I need to go outside now.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Could the spell check be any worse?

The oddities of the spell checker on this site have been detailed on multiple occasions. Wes noted that it doesn't thing "blog" is a proper word. I found another one not too long ago. I'm sorry for not providing links to those posts, but after 5 minutes of searching I've also decided the search feature of the site also is lacking. That is really odd considering all of this is run by the fine folks at Google.

My rant is inspired by the spell checker not giving decent recommendations for "extraordinaire" and "remembered" which I had difficulty spelling tonight. For extraordinaire the checker came up with "extraordinary". Close, but not close enough for my lazy mood. For remembered, which I had spelled "remebered" the only suggestion it had was ramparts. Ramparts? I'm blogging, not waxing poetic about the revolutionary battle I'm witnessing.

Finally, as if I needed more fodder, the spell checker doesn't think Google is spelled properly. I'm sorry, but when you're a big company and you provide a service as one of your first steps toward world domination make sure that the tools you provide know how to spell the company name. It just looks bad otherwise.

Half-baked lobster

Today my triathlon class went out to Lake Bryan to ride through the full bike course that we'll be racing on April 30. I've been out on long bike rides the past two weekends and got a little sunburn on my face each time. Today I thought I was a genius when I remembered to put sunscreen on my face. It definitely worked, but since I was truly an idiot and forgot to put it on my arms the topside from just above the elbow down is bright red... all the way to the tips of my fingers. The bottom side is still pasty white. It is going to take a couple of weekends outside to fix this mess.

The ride went well. I was able to finish strong and pass a couple of folks in the last 2 miles (the bike is 13.5 miles), one of which is a guy in my swimming group who is a jock extraordinaire. Fast swimmer, fast runner, but not fast enough on the bike today. That's fine too. I need my good days. He'll beat me soundly on our 3.5 mile run on Thursday, but at least then I'll have remembered to put sunscreen on my face, neck, and arms.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Run Thru The Vines

This morning I participated in the 5k race at Run Thru The Vines -- a very fun event where the race begins and ends among the grape vines of the Messina Hof Winery. I've been to this event several times before as a photographer for Rec Sports, but the last time I ran any distance as part of a competition was my junior year of high school and it was only a half mile. Given that and I'm still much larger than what folks at these events consider your typical runner I'm happy with my finish.

I was the 100th finisher and came in at 29:32. I finished by myself basically so there wasn't anyone for me to run down at the end. To give you an idea of how slow that time is let me list a few folks that I noticed finishing ahead of me... one of the guys from my triathlon class (more on that in a sec) and his dog, several 10-12 year old girls, and a bad ass mama that pushed her toddler around the course in a jogging stroller. I wasn't beat by the cute little red-headed 6-year-old boy that was in front of me most of the race. I pushed past him with about a half mile to go and didn't look back.

I'm still thrilled to have finished in the top 100 and with a time that was a little faster than my target time for the upcoming BTU Tri-o de Mayo triathlon. That's right, my stupidity doesn't stop with wanting to run a 5k.

Towards the end of last semester I got the idea that I wanted to train for a triathlon to lose weight. My initial thought was to train for a quarter-distance Iron Man triathlon (0.6 mile swim, 28 mile bike, 6.55 mile run), but training on my own I was only wanting to swim and bike and leave the run out of it. I signed up for a triathlon training course at the Rec Center and we're 6 weeks through the 9 week program. The distances of the BTU triathlon are shorter (0.3 mile swim, 14.5 mile bike, 3.1 mile run) than my initial idea, but I realized quickly that this is much more my speed right now and something I'll probably be able to finish and feel good about.

So after biking the full distance yesterday in a time I'm very happy about and successfully finishing the 5k today and scoring a sweet t-shirt for the event I'm feeling pretty confident about where I'll be in 3 weeks. I know I won't win it, but right now my goal is completing, not competing.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Pictures of the Princess

It was pointed out to me that I haven't posted any pics of Ana here in a while. Without further ado I present pictures of Princess Ana, benevolent (most of the time anyway) ruler of the Smith house.

This last picture is just after her bath. When Ana gets excited and wants to get something or go after someone she sniffs. She'll wrinkle up her nose and sniff at whatever it is for several seconds before going after it. Her way of saying (in her best Inigo Montoya voice), "Hello, my name is Ana. You are the current object of my attention. Prepare for playtime." It is a lot of fun to watch... unless she's sniffing at you, in which case it is time to run.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Yeah, I'm an ass

Yes, folks, the bit about Lidia not being able to help move the desk for much longer was a joke. My own lame April Foolery. It worked too well on my mom earlier in the day -- FYI, it's fun listening to your mom swear at you over the phone when she realizes she's been had.

My apologies to Bubba's Sis, the first to notice my ruse. I had read her post earlier in the day about her dislike of April First pranks, and I felt bad when she feel for mine. Sis, I promise when we are really expecting again to proclaim it from the page top.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Busy Day

I think I've done more today than I've done in a long time. First was the relocation of my desk/PC to mine and Lidia's bedroom from Ana's bedroom. Ana needs room to play now that she's mobile, and we need to make room for another bed while Lidia can still help move the desk.

Then a trip to Best Buy to pick up a new monitor. 17" LCD is a big step up from the 21" CRT behemoth on my desk. It is amazing the amount of space I have now, and I didn't give up much in desktop real estate.

After that trip came the run to Wal-mart for a filing cabinet, cookies for Ana and Lidia, Dr Pepper, and all the other various groceries we could remember that we needed.

Back to the house then to setup the computer, monitor, and to throw all the crap randomly on the desk. I think the PC wires are the most organized they have ever been. Zip-tied and baby guards over the two spare outlets. It is a site to behold. The next time you come visit you're welcome to crawl under the desk and check it out. As for the pile of crap on the desk, I'm to tired to put it all away now. I'll leave organizing the desk for tomorrow.