|added Sat September 23 2006 at 8:55 PM
|I'm looking at the last week of September already, and I haven't written anything in three weeks. I offer no apologies whatsoever, as you'll note that the last entry was immediately before school started. It's going to be a long semester, but I hope to get a lot out of it.
I was called to do the directory for my ward, which has taken a surprising amount of time. I wrote a php/MySQL application to do it, which definitely helped in the long run, but tracking down everybody became quite a chore. I managed to get a picture of every single person in the ward in just under two and a half weeks, and it was supposed to be done printing on Friday. I haven't heard from the bishop (who was supposed to pick it up), so hopefully I'll show up to church on Sunday and get to see it. We have only met as a ward once since school actually started (we met the Sunday before school as well, but only a little over half the ward was there that week), so all in all I'm proud of the accomplishment. I'll probably be the one to make the winter directory as well, so my database application will definitely make things a lot nicer then, since I won't have to make a whole new layout, just add and delete a few people. I'll try to post a cleaned up version sometime later so that if anybody wants to take a look at what I did (and/or improve on it), they can.
School's going to be really busy. I have 15 credits, and the closest thing to an easy A is the Computer Science class that has the fourth highest failure rate in the university. I don't think I'll have too much trouble with it, though. My statistics class looks like it should end up being pretty easy, but I have to keep on top of the homework (I've already missed one assignment and will have to turn it in late for a penalty). I accidentally slept in one day last week and missed a quiz, but I think that he will drop a few of the lowest quiz scores.
My senior project (capstone) course should be interesting. We are leading a collaborative effort between a dozen different schools around the globe to design and build an adapted Formula One car. I don't know much about cars, and I'm not the best CAD modeler on the team, but they seem to look to me for the majority of their IT solutions. I'm doing an independent study project class on the side associated with this capstone class to learn TeamCenter Community and Engineering. Unfortunately, we've had some troubles getting the proper version installed, so I am just now starting to set it up the way we want it. I feel bad because it's supposed to be the backbone for our collaborative efforts, but the majority of the time wasted so far was completely beyond my control.
I might (probably will) be going to Australia sometime in the next couple months as part of the capstone class. I turned in my paperwork to get a passport on Friday, and we'll be figuring out the travel schedule soon. They want a student from our team to visit each of the schools involved, and since I don't speak a foreign language, I can't be in charge of China, Korea, Mexico, or Brazil. My biggest hope for the class, though, is that we will actually complete the project and build the car at the end. I want to be able to drive it.
My last class is Numerical Heat Transfer. This is going to be a tough class, especially since I didn't really like Heat Transfer all that much. This is supposed to focus on the numerical methods involved, and hopefully by the end I'll have a bit of an advantage because of my programming background, but right now we're dealing mostly with the mathematical models and it's pretty hard to keep up.
Finally, I'm auditing a dance class. It's a class I took a couple years ago, but I want to take the next class and don't really feel ready for it. I could probably be ready for it with just a couple weeks of a refresher but since they don't offer that, I'm auditing a class that should be really easy for me to keep on top of. Most of the girls complement me on my ability to lead (I'd certainly hope I can by now), although a few still need to learn that I don't follow very well and have no intentions of learning right now. I had to stop one girl and ask her if I could lead - she started making up excuses (which were probably valid, since most of the guys don't lead very well), but at least she was better about it. It's not that I'm sexist , just that if there isn't a clear leader, then it's hard to keep it together. For whatever reason, it is customary for the guy to lead and so I expend a majority of my effort to giving a clear and easy to follow lead.
Pete Ashdown is still running for the US Senate, and I'm still supporting him. Today I spent an hour handing out pamphlets before the BYU-Utah State football game. It's hard to tell how effective that was because I'm certain that the majority of the people I gave pamphlets to will give it little more than a cursory glance and throw it away. My only hope is that one or two of them will fall into the hands of people that will really care and convince others to care as well. The biggest problem that Pete's having right now is simply getting his name out there. He's running against a "Good Ol' Boy" that has been Utah's Senator for the last 30 years. Hatch has tons of money to waste and all the name recognition a politician could ask for.
On top of it all, Pete's a Democrat which most Utahns think is a dirty word. If they actually read Pete's position on most things, though, they'd find that he's as much Republican as he is Democrat (no offense Pete - you're not much of a Dem). I have a few Pete Ashdown shirts and plan on wearing one two or three times a week as the election gets closer. I think I might also spring the money for an official Pete Ashdown sweatshirt and might make myself an anti-Hatch sweatshirt. In general, it's not the opposition that concerns me nearly as much as the general apathy, and I don't know how to get people to open their eyes and see the importance of this election.
I just got home from a date. I took a girl from the ward to World of Dance. It was a really great show, with a huge variety of different dancing. It's hard to pick a favorite because they all really did a good job. It made me wish I had the time to be that good, but I'll have to settle for social dancing. The girl I went with is incredibly cute and nice - probably too nice. I know that she'd be incapable of telling a guy that she's not interested and it would be almost impossible to tell if she was (because she's so nice to everybody). Talking with mutual friends, she isn't really interested in being in a relationship, so I don't think I'm going to pursue it at all. I do have at least one other girl that I'm specifically interested in dating right now, but she already had plans for this evening. Hopefully I'll be able to give a positive update on that front whenever I write again (honestly, it will probably be another few weeks)
It's been nice to have so much commentary on several of my recent entries, and I do apologize for letting down these new readers. I have had several things I wanted to write about over the last few weeks, but I just don't often have a spare hour to spend on giving a thoughtful and meaningful approach to the subject. Some people don't realize that when I write on a controversial topic, I usually spend lots more time researching and figuring out a solid way of stating my opinion. Every once in a while, I can whip something good out from a gut reaction to something that I read, but in general it takes much more time and energy. Next semester is probably going to be considerably lighter of a load, so you can look forward to reading more like that at that point. Until then, you'll have to be content with sporadic updating. I hope to do a complete bottom-up redesign (I've been saying that for a long time, haven't I) which will include an RSS feed, but until then, just keep checking in on me.