Month: January 2007

Looking up stuff again

Words: Lucubration, imbroglio, obloquy, galvanometer, argal, ineffable, garret, klystron, scrofula, bucolic, vitiate, quidnunc, fusillade, stationary or standing waves, ersatz, internecine, lixiviate, flocculate, aesthete, spancel

Stuff: What is pasteurization? What is windchill for -60F at 600 miles per hour (formula works out to -172F)? What is DEWline? Who was that WWII Russian general whose name I forgot, the one who was touted in one of my history classes as the best Russian tactician of his time? General Zhukov. The story I got in my class was that in wargames, Zhukov was assigned the German side, and the rest of the Russian generals were assigned the Russian side, and Zhukov won. So they switched sides, and Zhukov beat all the Russian brass from the other side as well. What is the highest number of safeties in a professional football game? Three, in 1984, Rams vs Giants. How is slugging percentage calculated?

Unanswered: When did public view of alcohol consumption go negative? It seems to me that alcohol at one time was enthusiastically and publicly enjoyed by pillars of the community. When and why? Is their a relationship between wavelength and particulate diameter concerning the propagation or absorption of electromagnetic frequencies through a polluted medium? I discovered I’m very bad at searching through scholarly papers. Why don’t FM stations interfere with each other? Couldn’t find a clear answer on why there’s very little crossover with FM compared with AM, although I have my own ideas based on intuition. What were Edwin Howard Armstrong’s technical contributions to the military WWII, that were classified in the ’50s and ’60s, but might not be classified any longer? In his biography, the fact that he worked on classified projects is mentioned, but at the time of the publication it was apparently still classified, so I wondered if any of it had been declassified since then. It also appears that any information I might find on this subject is easily drowned out by his contributions to FM. Can I find Armstrong’s article A Tribute to Tesla, on page 378 of the April 1943 issue of Scientific Monthly? Apparently not. All I can really find is references to it and the occasional quote from it. I was interested because in both Armstrong’s and Tesla’s biographies, the other is mentioned in passing but I can’t recall any correspondence or any time they actually met, so I wondered if it was purely professional regard that led to Armstrong acting as pallbearer for Tesla.

Posted by snaotheus in Stuff I Looked Up, 4 comments


I don’t have a lot I’m going to put in here, I’m just putting up a demonstration and explaining why.

Anyway, Krisdi and I went to see Unwritten Law last Sunday, and it sounded like crap. I thought it sounded clipped, a term which KrisDi understands (she is an electrical engineer, you know), but didn’t have a feel for how it sounds. So, I wanted to show her and verify what I thought.

So I made a demonstration. Which is available here, if you want to see and hear it.

Also, I instituted a ‘challenge’ thing in order to comment to reduce the amount of spam comments. Lately I’ve been deleting up to 50 spam comments a day. So, if you want to comment on my blog (which I enjoy), you have to answer a question correctly. Don’t worry, it’s a very easy question. I know Mom will be interested in this, so if she wants, I’ll help her set it up on her blog too.

Posted by snaotheus, 13 comments

Catching Up

Well, let’s see. KrisDi got a new job in Washington, so she’ll be moving up there at the end of January and starting February 4th. Our lease here in California ends in April, so if I don’t have a job up there by then, I’ll move up there and mooch off her until I can find a job myself. If I do find a job, I’ll move up there before then. That’s definitely the biggest news. I’m excited (and applying for bajillions of jobs). Mom’s on the verge of micturating within her drawers.

Other big news, Mom’s friend Rob finally moved out of her house, so now she’s free (I know it’s true because I drank to it last night). Finally! Now she can sterilize her cat-dander-infested home so KrisDi and I can visit her without bursting into gigantic walking welts (which is unpleasant, believe me).

Oh, and more big news! I saw both my brothers at the same time (first time in 3+ years), and yes, elder brother (EB) has been reinstated to “brother” status (after a moderately lengthy stretch classified as “distant cousin” [quite a feat in a family without uncles or aunts]). Man, I love my family. They’re awesome.

With swimming, I have now flip-turned with moderate success. I was able to flip-turn successfully enough to go four lengths (7 flip-turns) without stopping (or drowning completely). But that was before I went on vacation, so we’ll see where I am when we go swimming on Monday.

KrisDi and I had a nice visit at her parents’. We went to the Hofbrauhaus in downtown Chicago, where I drank two liters of beer before going to another bar and drinking three pints (pictures). That was too much. I had one of my family’s patented “Puke regularly for a suprising number of hours.” My number this time was surprisingly low this time — only five hours or so. The Polacks also fed me cowduni (A+! Meat and potatoes fried in and smothered with bacon!) as well as the regular Polish stuff, the names of which I can’t remember (the only one I remember is pierogi). We went to KrisDi’s aunt’s for a family function (pictures), and opened some presents on Christmas Eve (pictures) and Christmas Day (pictures).

So then we went to North Dakota to visit my family, which I’ve already mentioned was fun. We also got to go shopping for more clothes at this point, because United Airlines is stupid, which I’ll talk about later. EB’s girlfriend’s daughter (EBGFD) proclaimed me ‘gross,’ and then apparently decided she liked me a lot. She also had trouble telling the difference between Northwood and me. EB gave EBGFD Magnetix for Christmas. EBGFD played with them for about ten minutes. Then EB and I played with them (and drank) until about five in the morning (pictures). Then we went out and bought more at Wal Mart. I made the tallest tower (with KrisDi’s help — she was subcontracted to build the construction elements [pictures]). Then, when attempting to make a bridge, Northwood and I accidentally made a wheel or something (pictures).

New Year’s was awesome, of course (pictures). It always is. Except that one year that we didn’t have it, because Wilmbo wanted to ski instead. Anyway, I played Apples to Apples for the first time, which was surprisingly fun. We also played Fluxx, which I didn’t think was as much fun. I got to see Mr. and Mrs. GirlAndi, which is always fun and gave me the chance to greet my unborn future daughter-in-law, as well as Tom and his girlfriend and Wilmbo’s family. Ambient Shadow even showed up (and frequently disappeared).

Let’s see…before the vacation, I got to go on a trip and tell the captain of a ship that his equipment was broken and that sucked, but don’t worry, we’re trying to fix it. The day after I got back, I got to drive down to San Diego and verify that it was fixed (we had contractors and a sailor working on it over the holidays), which it was, so that’s over now, which is nice. Unfortunately, I still have to fly to Norfolk on Tuesday, and there are rumors I’ll be going to Louisville the week after that, which makes it pretty hard for me to help KrisDi move. But, as long as I have internet access, I can keep finding and applying for jobs. If you know anyone hiring electrical engineers in the Seattle/Tacoma area, let me know!

Now, let’s see if I can get my vacation travel debacle down:

1. 20 December, flying from home to Chicago, with a connection in LA. United called us up and told us our flights were cancelled and we were booked for the next day. Then we called them and said, “What the hell?” They told us the flights weren’t cancelled, we were booked on two flights on two separate days and they didn’t know why, and, by the way, did we really want to travel on the 20th? “Umm…yeah…that’s when we booked the flights, isn’t it?” Massive weather delays in Denver that didn’t affect us. Aside from the frightening phone call, no real problems.
2. Chicago-Denver-Bismarck on the 28th. Massive weather delays in Denver, which again, amazingly, didn’t affect us. However, United’s deep-seated incompetence did. When we checked in at Chicago and gave them our luggage, they stuck it on a baggage claim belt, where it went in circles in front of a bunch of strangers while KrisDi and I flew to Denver. When we landed in Bismarck, and our bags didn’t show up, the guy at the counter didn’t know how to work the baggage tracking system, so he brought someone else, who told us our bags were in Pierre, SD (WTF?). We didn’t see our bags that day. The next day I called United, and they told me our bags had been sent back to Chicago, where they were split up. KrisDi’s went back to Chicago, and mine went to LAX. What kind of slug-brained degenerate thought LAX was anywhere near Bismarck? I can kind of see Pierre, the capitol of South Dakota, versus Bismarck, the capitol of North Dakota. But Los Angeles? I don’t get it. Anyway, KrisDi and I bought more clothes (as I mentioned), and the next day we found out that our bags had made it to Bismarck that evening, but United hadn’t bother to call and tell us or deliver them as promised, and we went in the morning of the 30th to claim our bags. It didn’t seem like they had any plans of notifying us or delivering them. So that sucked.
3. January 3rd, Bismarck-Denver-LAX-Home. Weather was beautiful, so we were hopeful, until we found out our plane in Denver was broken and our flight was canceled. Figures. Even better, United apparently didn’t care if we made it home that day or not. KrisDi got booked for the next day, but I got booked for late that evening. Luckily, KrisDi’s mom is cool, because she got us both flights through San Francisco to LAX and home. Roundabout, but effective. Plus our last flight was overbooked, so KrisDi got to give up our seats in exchange for free contiguous-US round trip tickets for each of us and a shuttle ride home. Shockingly, our bags were there to greet us.

The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore: Cheeky hilarity! I enjoyed it.
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole: Man, I’m not sure if I’d recommend this to anyone. Somewhat hard to read, just because you’ll hate the main character so much. But, almost all the rest of the characters are good, and the story is very wacky throughout.
Prince Caspian and The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis: If you’ve read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, you basically know how these stories go. Imaginative and fun. I liked them, of course.

Little Miss Sunshine: Very good!
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Much better than I expected! I genuinely liked this movie.
Mysterious Island: This movie was crap. But it was the variety of crap that you can sit around and laugh at, so I had a good time. We couldn’t figure out whether this or 20,000 Leagues was supposed to come first, because Captain Nemo dies and the Nautilus explodes in both of them.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Damn kid actors. I’m of the opinion that most movies with predominantly kid characters should be animated, because then you can have grown-ups do the voices. Overall, I thought it was okay, but the pathetic attempt at teenage angstiness was…well, a pathetic attempt at teenage angstiness. Good thing I don’t care about the series.

And, on a completely unrelated note, between iTunes and my iPod, I’ve listened to 27 days, 18 hours, 24 minutes, and 12 seconds worth of mp3s. This calculation is no longer up to date, since it took me more than one song to figure it out. It also only counts songs played completely, not partial songs.

Posted by snaotheus, 7 comments