Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Blizzard-Like Snow

Last night Michigan was hit with some pretty big storms. First, we had thunderstorms followed by a couple of inches of snow. The worst is the 50 mph gusts! My car was under my covered parking space and still got an inch of snow on it. 100's of schools and businesses are closed on this side of the state. The bad weather warnings didn't end until noon. Yet, I am writing this from my office...

Yes, I happen to be at one of the places that didn't close. Yes, I did have class. I did notice that attendance does appear to be small and there are not a lot of students around. Oh and it is still snowing and windy (we have a blowing snow advistory). Oh and they think there is more snow coming. Lovely.

Anyway, it is suppose to get better in the afternoon (at least for a little bit). So I figured I would go ahead and have my office hours anyway. I was already here and everything. However, becuase of the weather I am highly doubting that anyone is going to come.

Other than the weather, everything is going well. I am keeping myself busy with research. As a related side note, there is a paper using fuzzy logic to explain the golden ratio. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but it looks cool. I was actually looking for something else when I stumpled over this paper.

Well, I better get back to fuzzifying data. Yep, fuzzification and de-fuzzification. Eyes glazed over yet? ;-)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Again, Not Important...

"I'm looking for corny in my life." - Iris (The Holiday)

Early this morning I noticed the Google logo change to a cool Lego version. I had no idea that Lego's were 50 years old. Wow! I felt that I just had to toss up a blog with that because I was just so surprised. Well, moving on...since I have nothing else to say about that...

The weather has recently become quiet warm (in the 40's) to my surprise. The snow is melting pretty fast (we had like 5+ inches last week). It is also raining on and off. So now it is sloggily. Yes, sloggily.

As you can tell from the quote I am going through a romanic comedy movie theme at the moment. Movies I have been watching recently: The Holiday, Roman Holiday, Little Women, Bridget Jones, etc. Of course, I have seen all of these movies many times and for some weird reason I am in the mood for the that kind of movie recently. Most likely because they all have funny parts. I think I am seeking the comedy portion.

Well, I better get back to the presentations. Unfortunately, they are so not going to write themselves on their own. What I really need is a bunch of monkeys with typewriters....

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Nothing Important...

"Details of your incompetence do not interest me." - Miranda Priestly (The Devil Wears Prada)

School has an interesting way of coming in chunks these days. I have spent the last week quiet swamped. Oh and it has been snowing like crazy. I think tomorrow is the first day since last week that the forcast only shows "snow flurries" and a temperature above 25. On Friday when I left for school it was 0 degrees with a wind chill of -10. Yuck. Did I mention recently how much I hate snow?

Back to the school thing. I have two presentations I am trying to prepare and homework. I heard rumors that I might be getting some grading in the near future. I have been studying up on Fibonacci heaps (one of the presentations). I also have been reading about red-black trees and b-trees. Fun stuff - no?

Once I finish up with all of that I have to create a presentation regarding my research. I am starting practising presenting my research material so that one day (in many, many, many, many, many months for now) I might get around to proposing. Of course, I have tons of stuff to do before I am any where near ready with proposing. But, I am slowly heading in the direction.

Complete side note: I don't know how I lived before I got my iPod Touch and super-ducky in-ear headphones. They are perfect for using at my office. Blocks some of the just noise-noise. There is this weird vent-fan thing that makes a high-pitch noise when it runs, but the headphones help block it out! I can't decide if I want to get the new software update. Choices, choices, choices...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

So Cool....

Today, Apple announce a new laptop - MacBook Air. So cool. If you haven't you should totally check it out. It is 3 pounds, 13.3 inch display, very ducky keyboard, and an oversize trackpad. The trackpad uses some of the same technology as the iPod Touch and iPhone.

Anyway, I wanted to point out the new MacBook Air in my blog. Now if you will excuse me I have to get back to working on a GUI in MATLAB for tomorrow morning. Almost done. Just a couple little things I want to finish up before I demo it for a professor tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by and reading!

Snow, Snow, Snow

Since Sunday evening it has been snowing here on this side of Michigan. There was an inch or so Sunday night, a couple of inches during the day on Monday, and possible 1 to 3 inches before morning. Alright, I have to admit that the snow is pretty (as long as I am not having to drive in it). The roads where simply wet when I was out - but that was mid-day. I hate to know what they are like now...

School is already in full swing. I am currently trying on creating a GUI in MATLAB - emphasis on the trying part. I have the design done, but adding the code has been ummm... interesting - that's a good word for it. I have the basic code pieces written, but I am attempting to make the program way more easy to interact with and hopefully make testing of what I really want to do easier. Of course, I need to complete it by Wednesday morning. So no pressure or anything!

Sadly, I don't have anything profound to discuss, point out, or anything. Not that I normally do, but I can't even fake it. Well, I better get back to work. Unfortunately, I don't have any monkeys to do my coding for me so I have to write the program myself ;-) Thanks for stopping by and reading. (Aren't you shocked I made yet another update?)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Reading List

As promised from my last blog, I was going to point out some books that I am currently reading. I picked up these books during my vacation over the semester break. I have included (if possible) a link to the historical location where I purchased the books.

Martha Washington: First Lady of Liberty by Helen Bryan: This book covers Martha Washington's entire life and is rich with details. Although there is not much historical information about Martha Washington before her marriage to George Washington, the author did through research and found much informaiton. I most enjoyed the years regarding the revolutionary war and Martha Washington's role in helping George Washington. The book also talks a lot about women's role in colonial american life. I also enjoy the way the author presented the historical facts without interrupation and then clearly stated when she was interrupted facts. In some cases, she even provided more than one plossible interrupation. Excellent read. I actually read most of this while we were in Colonial Williamsburg (since we had stopped at Mount Veron first). Right before we had tea at one of the taverns I read that it was the tavern that Martha Washington and her children often ate with George Washington when he went to Williamsburg. Then when we were at the tea, they made reference to that fact! (I was very surprised!)

Jefferson's Secrete: Death And Desire In Monticello by Andrew Burstein: This book mostly focuses on the later years of Thomas Jefferson's life. The book dives into the question of Sally Hemming's children and the relationship that Jefferson might have had with her. The book actually discusses various interruptations of the facts and historical writings of Jefferson regarding the issue. The book begins by discussing Jefferson's views on medicine (and his dislike of bleeding people). I found the book to have many sections of this writing from the years after Jefferson was president. These pieces give us a unique view of Jefferson in his later years. I was very interested in learning Jefferson's involvement in many behind-the-scene political matters. This book is not a biography in the traditional sense, but takes a unique and interesting dive into the mind of Thomas Jefferson (focusing on his later years). I picked this book about at the Jefferson Visitor Center Museum Shop and I have currently read a little over 3/4 of it, but figured I would go ahead and write up a little summary for your enjoyment.

The next book I plan on reading is Mr. Jefferson's Women by Jon Kukla. I picked up this book at the Monticello gift shop and I can't wait to start it. After I finish it (and a few of the others I picked up) I will write up summaries and post them here for your reading pleasure.

Thanks for stopping by and reading! Have a happy weekend! Hopefully, we don't get to much snow.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Return to the blog

Sorry about not updating. The end of the semester got very busy with a class project, research, grading, and teaching. I just never got around to updating my blog. It was on my todo list, but I just didn't get to it. Then I went on vacation - Virginia for about a week. And because I have nothing better to talk about it today I tell you about my vacation.

The trip was mostly to visit historic places in Virginia. Of course, there was a lot of shopping involved (hey, this is me we are talking about). I did a lot of book shopping on this trip actually. I purchased several books relating to each historic place and I have already started reading two which I will save until another blog (hopefully) later this week.

Mount Vernon - The home of the first President of America, George Washington.  During Christmas time they have an addition to the regular tour, you get to see the third floor.  There is also new museums and exhibits in the Ford Orientation Center and Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center.  If you haven't been there recently, the new exhibits are totally worth the trip.

Colonial Williamsburg - This is were we actually stayed the bulk of the trip.  Although I have been before, it was different this time because I was an adult and I understand a lot more about the history time period.  I really enjoy this historical period.  The place was decorated for Christmas including many of the shops and houses.  There are also special dinner options, we went to this wonderful Christmas feast were I had a salad with the absolutely best ranch buttermilk dressing.  Fun filled fact: when the American revolutionaries stormed the Governor's Palace they removed the weapons on all of the walls, but only after they carefully cataloged each of the weapons.  Therefore, when you visit today they have replaced the weapons with reproductions based on the catalogs.  (Governor's Palace is also one of my favorite buildings to visit).  The Folk Art museum, which I had not visited before, contained many interesting pieces of art.  Although, I will never understand why anyone would want to collect mourning folk art.  However, another fun fact:  Mourning folk art became more common in America following the death of George Washington.

Jamestown and Yorktown - Each place had interesting exhibits.  Not much specific to tell, but interesting exhibits.  You can actually see the original foundation of Jamestown at the Jamestown.  For even more information see the America's Historic Triangle website.

Monticello - The home of Thomas Jefferson (president and author of the Declaration of Independence).  Although I have been before, this time we took the special candle light tour which included seeing the third floor dome room.  The view from Monticello is amazing, but even more amazing from the third floor.

The whole trip was a ton of fun and if you have never been, I totally recommend that you do.  I enjoyed the step back in time.  I also learned that there are many similarities in politics of then to politics now.  Hopefully, I didn't completely bore you during this blog.  I am really going to try and update a little more often - stay tuned.