Sunday, July 31, 2005

Gratuitous Google Post

Looks like the folks at Google have done it again. First they started with a nifty mapping tool, and then they added a feature that showed satellite images as well. Now they've come up with another option that overlays a satellite image and a map. So now it's actually possible to identify landmarks while you're looking at a map.

Now all we need is a traffic monitor feature that tells us how fast things are moving.

Bo, show me something better at MS and I'll take this back, but you guys really need to get moving!!


I stand corrected... C'mon MS marketing, surely you can get more press than this.

Friday, July 29, 2005


There are times when it becomes necessary to look back and think about things that have been done or left undone. In fact it's hard not to do a little reflecting when faced with the death of a relative. Once somebody's gone the only really important things left are memories.

Robert Burns, the Scottish poet, once wrote a poem that touched on the subject of hopes and memories, part of which reads:

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain
For promis'd joy.

Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But, och! I backward cast my e'e
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

Loosely translated and summarized (as though I really understood Scottish) "Foresight and hope lead us to despair. It's better to live in the present and not know of the past or think of the future."

I thought about this for quite some time and eventually decided that I don't really agree with that philosophy. If I only lived in the present I'd really have nothing to live for. Looking back on my life makes it seem nicer because bad memories are just memories and good memories seem even more pleasurable. Moreover, the future has yet to be written, and nobody really knows what is possible.

If you take anything away from this little rambling let it be this: Appreciate what you've had, enjoy what you have, and look forward to what is yet to come.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


I've got some links and other material I'd love to share with everyone, but right now I have other matters to attend to. I'll be spending some time with the family this week, so there probably won't be any posting for a while.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Quote of the unspecified temporal interval

This one is a bit off-beat for me, but I think it's about time I dusted it off and shared it with everyone.

Love is something far more than desire for sexual intercourse; it is the principal means of escape from the loneliness which afflicts most men and women throughout the greater part of their lives.
Bertrand Russell

Friday, July 15, 2005

Mail Call

Well I've been waiting for a while now and it finally came in the mail today!

(of course I did take the liberty of "correcting" the name for the web)
Now all I have to do is figure out where to hang it.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Bad News

I just noticed over at the "Nation of Riflemen" that the BATF is imposing yet another restriction on gun enthusiasts. Apparently they are banning “any frames, receivers, or barrels for firearms that would be prohibited from importation if assembled.‚” The problem here is that these parts are often identical in illegal and legal firearms. So if there is a fully auto or other illegal version of your perfectly legal firearm, you won't be able to get replacement/repair parts. And of course this may also make it impossible to import otherwise legal firearms which share the same parts as some illegal firearms.

So now we get to sit back and watch the prices climb these rifles and their parts. What really hurts is that this will impact the M1 Carbine, one of the wonderful old military rifles that I've been salivating over.

At least the rifle isn't being banned outright, though that's still somewhat of a risk here in Illinois. Pardon me while I go work off a little frustration.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Quote of the unspecified temporal interval

I've made an odd discovery. Every time I talk to a savant I feel quite sure that happiness is no longer a possibility. Yet when I talk with my gardener, I'm convinced of the opposite.
Bertrand Russell

Sunday, July 10, 2005

It was in the stars

Have you ever heard something so odd that it made you contort your face like you were eating something really sour? Well hold on because you'll either get that look on your face or break out laughing.

Most of you probably heard how NASA launched a probe into a comet in order to make a crater and study the comet's structure and material. Well apparently not everyone is pleased with this little adventure. It seems a Russian astrologist is worried that this will change her horoscopes. So worried, in fact, that she has decided to sue for damages. And I thought I had heard everything...

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Home Once Again

I have just heard the sound of ultimate satisfaction and triumph, and it sounds quite a lot like my front door closing behind me.

That's right I'm finally through with traveling for a little while. Now if you'll excuse me, I've been looking forward to doing a little housekeeping.

Quote of the unspecified temporal interval

On engineers and engineering:

I take the vision which comes from dreams
and apply the magic of science and mathematics,
adding the heritage of my profession
and my knowledge of nature's materials
to create a design.

I organise the efforts and skills of my fellow workers
employing the capital of the thrifty
and the products of many industries,
and together we work toward our goal
undaunted by hazards and obstacles.

And when we have completed our task
all can see
that the dreams and plans have materialised
for the comfort and welfare of all.

I am an Engineer
I serve mankind
by making dreams come true.
- Anon (supposedly found during the construction of the Konkan railway)

In case the quote doesn't give it away, things have gone pretty well at work. I'm the only one from my workgroup who is left at the plant. Here's hoping there are no glitches! (and that I'll be home tonight)

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Things That Make Life Fun

I have some wonderful friends and they have a knack for making life interesting. (Not to mention fun!)

Before I left the university campus I had to do something a little wacky and unusual to wrap things up. So I decided that I would join a small group in an unusual (and legally questionable) activity. A campout on the main quad. And of course thanks to Anna there is photographic evidence of the whole event.

Me Breaking a fire ordinance or two by lighting up my camp stove on the quad (with Paula shivering in the background) Of course as luck would have it, the moment we committed to spending the night on the quad it decided to rain and drove us under cover.

Here are Lindsay and Adam taking shelter from the rain in front of Davenport Hall.

Eventually the whole gang wound up under just a few blankets so we could keep warm. Anna, the ringleader of the gang, is seen on my right, dodging the camera's flash.

In a stunning (and quite rare) turn of events Paula managed to capture and try on my treasured Tilley Hat.

All too soon dawn came to the UIUC campus and I had to get up and drive myself to Chicago so I could move into my new apartment (pictures of which will follow if I ever manage to get away from this job in Minnesota)

It was a fun time and a delightfully wacky way to end a memorable college career. Many thanks to Anna and all!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Quote of the Unspecified Temporal Interval

"Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems."

-Scott Adams

How true it is...

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Birthday USA

Have a happy 4th everyone! Celebrate, relax, and be safe.