Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Black Rock Mountain Bike Fund Raiser

Tonight Chris, Tiffany, and I drove up to Salem to see the Black Rock Mountain Bike movie premiere at Northern Lights Theatre.  There was a huge raffle of over $35,000 worth of gear and BRMBA (Black Rock Mountain Bike Association) raised 10,000 from the event for trail maintenance and building.  Chris got a raffle ticket for $25 bucks but unfortunately didn't win anything.  The movies were great with a ton of really cool helmet cam footage of the Black Rock area and Pacific Northwest all the way up to Whistler, B.C.  I can't believe I didn't know about Black Rock before a week or so9ec30e4317e71fedd818896203061d7a
ago.  It is the only place in the country where the Forest Service actually maintains the land strictly for mountain bike use.  There are tons of bridges, see-saws, jumps, gaps, log rides etc there.  It's a freeride mountain biker's dreamland and I've never been so happy to own an overweight freeride Kona Coiler Dee-lux.  I can't wait to get out to Black Rock and ride the trails after watching the movies.  All the stuff in my favorite mountain bike films is out there.  Bridges built high up in the air over the forest, big jumps etc, the place has it all.   Their moto, "Build, Ride, Respect" says it all. 
    After the movie and raffle we headed to Chris' parents to say hi and grab (steal...) some sweedish fish from the kitchen... :)  Great night.. The pic above is just one of the areas in Black Rock....  Click here to check out BRMBA.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Chris Holm Rockin' it out

Went down to a small wine bar downtown tonight to see my buddy Chris Holm play acoustic guitar before heading to Bombs.  Eleanor and I met up with Tiffany at the wineCimg7400Cimg7395
bar to provide an audiance (groupies) for Chris.  He really is a great musician and singer and it's cool that he writes his own music as
well.  He plays every tuesday now that he's done with school and records in his apartment.  It's always nice to have a musically talented buddy that you can watch play at a bar.  :)


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Northwest Pow

Headed up to SkiBowl today with Chris, Tiffany, and Brycen today to hit the slopes.  It has been snowing all week in the mountains so we were all excited to get up there.  The mountain had about 2 feet of fresh powder.  Tiffany had to wake me up because my alarm didn't go off so I drove about 90mph to make up the time.  We took a few runs down through the trees but the snow was pretty wet, heavy powder and Chris and Brycen had a hard time dealing with it on their boards because it was getting mounded up in places by other skiers.  So, after taking a few short drops of some ledges we headed over the eastern side of hte mountain to hit some groomed runs.  It was pretty fun wippin' down the hill switch and hittin' the park there for a while, but after getting some lunch ($25!!! - still don't know why I got so damn much) we decided to hit the backcountry.  This required a short 10 minute traverse over the Cimg7389
ridgeline.  We took two runs down and on the 2nd run Brycen and I found ourselves in some deep untracked trees.  I got some video and a few pics of Brycen who got himself hilariously stuck in a tree! (see pic).  After the 2nd run I could tell the backcountry was tiring on the Chris and Brycen who had a hard time traversing as a snowboarders so we headed back to the other side of the mountain for a few more runs.  We skied right up till 4:30 pm then headed down the truck where we met up with Hartz coming back from his skiercross at Meadows which he won (only one in his class).   On the way home Brycen passed out asleep.  I followed him on the way home and we almost were able to land a banana peel on his windshield but the wind caught it and took it over his truck.
    When we got back to Corvallis I dropped of Tiffany then headed to Hartz andCimg7392 Holm's place.  Shilo had been cleaning the kitchen all night but it still looked like
a freakin' chicken had gotten loose in the place!  I sat down on the couch for a second and next thing you know Hartz is hurling pillows at me.  I ducked and BAM!, the pillow hit a ceramic lamp and smashed into the floor.  I laughed a bit about how the place looked more like animal house than any frat I'd ever been to and took off.  haha. 
    It was a great day of skiing in the fresh snow.  It was really funny to see Brycen struggle through the powder and it's always fun to ski with Tiffany who always is giggling down the mountain.  I didn't even have to eat dinner when I got home because of the fried chicken, fries, cheesburger, chili, and coke I had for lunch for $25..... what an idiot.... :)


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Salmon Bowl

Today I helped out Eleanor and Coral with the Salmon Bowl, a nationwide competition of high school kids in Oceanography.  I was a timer while my buddy Mac was the scoreCimg7384
keeper for two rounds.  It was a ton of fun and some of the questions were pretty hard. This evening Eleanor and Anna had a party at there place of all the volunteers.  I went over with my friend Kristen Splinter for a few drinks before heading home around midnight.  Highlight of the night was Sam piss-drunk in a wife-beater talking about his position in student government.  :) 


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Out with the girls

Friday night ended up being a pretty laid back night for me.  First I went over to Anna and Eleanors (correction: Eleanor & Anna's) to chat for a bit.  Anna wasn't feeilng so hot so nothing crazy was going on.  Pam was there as well as Jesse who I was happy to see pulled through his shoulder operation just fine although he's going to have a Minty_lips_21707_004
long recovery.  After that I met up with Julie and Lyndsey and the three of us went downtown to the Peacock for a quick drink.  Lyndsey was quite buzzed from bowling earlier so she stayed at the bar longer than Julie and I who took off around midnight.  I was glad to get back to my bed early because I had to get up at 6am the next morning for training.

Saturday night on the other hand got completely out of control.  I met up with Lyndsey, Natalie and Julie next door and we all went out to a party at Jame's on VanMinty_lips_21707_011 Buren street.  As usual his party was rockin', the keg was kicked before we got there and the band was wailing away.  Even though his house was packed he still said it was
a small party!  haha.  Good ol' undergrads!  Make me feel young again.  After having a few drinks there we all took off for home to call it a night.  It was definitely a night I won't forget! Good times with good friends.  Quote to remember, Lyndsey - "My lips taste minty". 


Saturday, February 17, 2007

CMRU Snow Protection Training

Today we drove up to Tombstone in the pass to learn all about placing snow protection on climbs.  Snow protection includes climbing tools such as pickets and flukes and digging bollards in the snow.  When properly placed these devices can hold a lot of weightCmru_training_21707_033
as we found out.  I'm not going to go into details about any of it because unless you are an avid mountaineer you will fall asleep.  I will point out one interesting fact though.  When we placed an ice axe in the snow perpendicular to the slope about a foot deep, packed it in, and tied a caribeaner and rope to it, it took 3 of us pulling on it with all our strength to dislodge it from the snow.  THAT IS HOW STRONG SNOW CAN BE. We actually ended up bending a picket clean in half before the snow gave way and it wasCmru_training_21707_031
pulled through.  Obviously the strength varies with the snow conditions but last year Jason said they had one picket so secured Cmru_training_21707_029
in the snowpack that when they attached to climbing rope to the truck winch it actually pulled the parked truck sideways before giving way... unreal.  It was a beautiful day with blue skies.  After learning a bunch of new rope skills and placing snow protection we learnedCmru_training_21707_039 briefly how to read a snow pack for avalanche danger and also how to properly use avalanche beacons to find buried avalanche victims.  On the way I took a few pics of the moss covered trees up in the South Santiam river... pretty cool with the light
passing through them and the mist rising off the river.  I got home early enough to even go on a bike ride in MacDunn.... and man am I out of shape!  :)


Monday, February 12, 2007

Glider Bob

Today I volunteered to go out on the Elakha (COAS research vessel) to retrieve our autonomous glider named Bob.  Let me first tell you a little bit about the Glider and provide a link :)   

The glider is a torpedo shaped research instrument that travels around the ocean due to changes in it's bouyancy.  A bladder inside of the $100,000 instrument fills with air and brings it to the surface and then deflates so that it can sink into the water column.  By attaching wings that are angled it also is movedGlider_bob_21307_008
forward by this sinking, rising motion.  It has a range of several thousand km but right now OSU is using it just off the coast of Oregon.  It has sensors on it that measure temperature, salinty, oxygen content, water pressure, and it's path indicates current direction.  When it is at the surface it recieves a gps fix which then directs it back onto path, although a strong current can often carry it well off it's intended path.  In fact when we picked it up a current had dragged it 7 miles to the north of where it should have ended up :)

It was an early morning trip out with Tristan and Anatoli to pick it up in calm seas.  I think it was 7ft swells over a 10 second period if I remember right.  I was able to hook it with a gaff on board and then they hauled it on board the ship.  Everything went smoothly and I was back on campus by noon.  It was really great to finally get out on our research vessel and on the Pacific for the first time. 


Broken Trust = Loss of friends

I entrusted some of my friends back home with with some very private details of my life.  I asked them to please support me as a friend and honor my trust until I was personally ready to talk about the private matter myself for my own reasons.  I was waiting for a very personal and private reason to tell people about my daughter Ellie and I believe it was my decision and right to do so, but apparently one of my so called "friends" thought they should take it upon themselves to talk about my private life behind my back breaking my trust.  Some of my friends also took it upon themselves to unjustly accuse me of not doing what is right when they have no clue about what I'm doing, how hard I'm struggling, and how difficult it is for me to be so far away from my daughter and loved ones.   I find myself judged unfairly and my trust broken by friends I grew up with.  This saddens me deeply.  I even heard that when they spread the news and had a good laugh over it at my expense.  I have never ever laughed at anyone that has been in the situation I found myself in last year.  I have lost friends tonight, but then again, true friends wouldn't have stabbed me in the back and broken my trust like they did as soon as I left town. 

I'm glad that people know about my daughter Ellie.  I'm a proud father and I've happily been telling everyone I know about her since Christmas.  I don't need to explain why I waited to tell people because that is nobody's business but my own.  I'm sincerely hurt by this news and I have lost friends because of it.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Broken Back & Kegorita

YesterdayI went skiing with Toshi and Aaron.  Aaron decided he wanted to enter an extreme skiing competition at SkiBowl but I declined because it cost 25 bucks and Kegorita_21007_021
half the course was closed due to lack of snow... this was a big mistake because as it turns out Aaron got 3rd place and won a tasty pair of gloves and goggles.  I on the other hand came away from the day with a smashed up back. 

Toshi and I decided because of the conditions that we would head up to Timberline in Truckzilla to check out the park there.  The resort was engulfed in a fog bank thatKegorita_21007_025
only rose at the end of the day as we were leaving.  After a few quick runs on groomers Toshi and headed to the Park to check it out.  The pipe was awful.. no only 2 feet of vertical when I need about 5 to really have a good time.  Basically I need a superpipe, not a small one.  So I headed to the park for the next run and after about 3 medium sized jumps and hitting them with full speed successfully I kept Kegorita_21007_055
going anticipating the rest to be around the same size... nope.  The 4th one I hit was enormous, and I hit it with way to much speed.  Not only that but the lip of the jump was at a steeper angle than the others which through me back seat.  I was much higher than I thought I would be and started to roll up the windows but it was no use.  I came down hard near the bottom of the transition on my back.  I used the tails of my skis to absorb as much of the impact as I could and they blew off instantly even though I had the din cranked to 13.  I'd say that I fell from 15-20' upKegorita_21007_033
onto ice and the only reason my back is still functional is that I was still slightly in the tranny and had good forward momentum.  Regardless it knocked the wind out of me and for the next 2 hours it hurt to breath.  At lunch I took some advil which is best for inflamed muscles.  I felt a lot better after which made me feel better knowing that it was mostly just badly bruised muscles and not a broken disk orKegorita_21007_023
spine or anything.  The wierdest part of it is that my back felt best when I was twisted skiing backwards which I decided to do for the rest of the day.  We left Timberline as it was dumping fresh snow, picked up Aaron at SkiBowl and headed home.  Even though I was hurt and in a lot of pain I'd rather ski like that than comfortably sit in front of a UNIX computer any day!

last night was Anna and Eleanor's "Kegorita" birthday party at their place complete with a DJ, a Blue Grass Band, a pong room, birthday cake, Margaritas, a pinyatta, and of course a keg.  It was a formal party so everyone had nice outfits on.  Some of us had on ridiculous outfits as you can see from the photos.  I wasKegorita_21007_001
handed a home-made "anna's special" margarita as soon as I walked in.  I was sitting on the edge of the couch stiff as a board with more sore back talking to Brianna holding margarita.  As I drank it slowly (I hate tequila) and talked to her my glass kept getting filled up without me noticing.  It was Eleanor... walking around with the Kegorita_21007_011
bottle of Jose Cuervo filling it up and making my drink stronger and stronger... I blame her for my poor game of pong with Aaron that followed in which we lost by a cup.  I ended up giving my top hat and Cane to Toshi who looked a lot better with them in his suspenders.  Funniest outfit of the night definitely went to Jan who came in wearing a pink blazer and the most ridiculous sunglasses ever. 

As the night progressed into a total shit show of drunkeness the keg was tapped and a ridiculously large game of flip cup ensued that pitted COAS against non-COAS.  COAS ran the table dominating the game, only losing once out of the 8-10 games weKegorita_21007_030
played.  I didn't realize it but in two games I actually played with cups of strong margaritas instead of beer. 

The girls used the cane I brought to beat the hell out of the pinyatta.  I found out today that it had rubber bouncy balls in it (which explained the confusion I felt this morning waking up to rubber balls in my pockets).  A couple older dudes that apparently are COAS alumni wandered into the Kegorita_21007_005
party that nobody new.  They were harmless so we let them party for a bit with us.  I guess later after I had left they asked if they could crash there and Anna sent them packin'.  haha.  I also heard that Anna herself finished the keg at around 4am with a keg stand... Pretty damn impressive. Kegorita_21007_014

Kristin Splinter and the girls showed up later at night and I ended up walking home with Julie to make sure she got home safe (plus she only lives about 500 feet from my house).  I had a great time which is clearly evident from how bad I feel today.
Somehow I managed to step on glass which I had to dig out of my foot this morning as well.  Anyway... Thanks Anna and Eleanor... It was a Tasty party for sure.


Sunday, February 4, 2007

Superbowl Sunday @ Brycen & Abby's

Well, today was the Superbowl.  Bears vs. Colts and the Bears got their ass handed to them by Manning!  I do have to say that I believe the only reason the Patriots weren't there again this year was because Brady's arm has become so tired with all those heavy rings that he just couldn't throw the ball like back in the day.

Chris, Aaron, Eleanor, Anna, Brycen, Abby, Pam, Brendan and I all gathered for the big game at their place.  Everyone brought food they cooked or picked up at the storeCimg7245
and Brycen fired up the grill for burgers at the half time show (Prince) which was awful (Prince, not the burgers).  Eleanor (huge bears fan from IL) was pissed as hell at the outcome.  She was pretty excited when the bears returned the intial kickoff of the game for a TD, but after that it was pretty much downhill for them. 

During the first half I had about 5 beers but then switched to root beer floats for the 2nd half because I had to go in to school to finish up some work.  It was a great time and I thank Brycen and Abby for their hospitality! 


Saturday, February 3, 2007

Getting Schooled...

Ok, time for me to vent a little bit here by telling you what I'm up against here. 

1.  I've gone back to graduate school at one of top research university's in the country after 4 years of being out of school not really using my brain and slowly forgetting what I had learned. 

2. My research involves having a pretty thorough understanding of the UNIX computing environment which I had never worked in before coming here and haveCimg7239
had to teach myself on the side.  If you don't know UNIX let me digress:  It looks like dos.  If you add one extra space to a script or a / or $ where it shouldn't be, the system locks up and you can't do a thing.  This is especially frustrating when you can't find your mistake on pages and pages of numbers or when my advisor leaves for the day thinking that I'll have everything wrapped up for the following morning. 

3.  My research also involves higher level math and physics, examples being matrix theory and applied differential equations and seeing that I haven't had a math or physics course in 7 years I'm pretty lost. 

4.  Because I haven't had math in 7 years my advisor felt it necessary for me to catch up on math so I'm now taking Differential Equations with undergrads which I've been Cimg7241
told here is the hardest undergraduate math course offered and unless I have an expert knowledge of Integral and Differential Calculus I will fail.  Hmmm.... I remember taking integral 7 years ago but have no clue what it involved.  So... I've spent 80 bucks on Calc for dummies books and am in the process of teaching myself the two courses (integral and differential calculus) that are needed in order to pass the Differential Equations course I'm enrolled in...Essentially I'm taking 3 math courses in one right now... and not doing well. 

5. Lets talk about hours here... My research assistantship demands 20hrs/wk.  I am in class 14hrs/wk.  The professors ask that as students we prepare atleast 2-3 hours for each lecture they give.  I'm taking 4 classes.  One of them doesn't have any prep work for it so I'll just use the other 3 which meet 3 times per week.  So.... 3x3 = 9.  So for each of those 9 hours of class (and I'll low-ball it here) I am asked to spend 2 hours preparing for it.  So 9x2 = 18hrs/wk prep for classwork.  But wait... I'm teaching myself Image0031

two other math courses, how to work in UNIX, and learning the background of inverse modeling for my research so we should easily tack on another 10hrs/wk for that as well.  And, I have to work on the side to pay my bills.  The schedule I've attached is the one I would have if I still was bartending.  Now I've found other data entry work that fills those hours up anyway that I'll get paid for.  So, I'll low ball it again and say 10hrs/wk of outside work.  Lets add those hours up now shall we?  20 + 14 + 18 + 10  + 10 = 72 hrs/wk of classwork/work/class/research.  On a week like midterms (this upcoming week I could spend 90 hours).   I'll say that between waking up, showers, breakfast, lunch and cooking dinner it's about 20hrs/wk for that.  72 + 20 = 92.  I also go to Corvallis Mountain Rescue meetings once a week or have training for it all day on saturday so we can add on an average of 4 hrs/wk for that as well 92 + 4 = 96.  I also work out for an hour each day to stay in shape.  96 + 7 = 103.  There.. 103 hours per week.  The rest of the time is is my time.  Now for the fun of it lets break down how much "my time" I have.  24hrs x 7 days = 168 hrs/wk.  I like to get 8 hours of sleep a day.  8x7=56.  168-56 = 112hrs of "awake time".  112hrs "awake time" - 103 hrs "busy time" = 9 hrs/wk "my time".  This is a little over 1 hour a day when my day starts at 8 am and finishes at midnight.  And oh, look... I've just wasted the one hour of "my time" writing this!

6.  At this point in time I should be starting to think about what I want to do with the research for my Masters here.  How can I do this when I don't even understand the research I'm doing?

7.  I think I may be the only one here without a laptop to take with them to class or home to continue work or something.  This is a big disadvantage as I'm a much faster typist than note taker by hand.  Thankfully, Jason has let me borrow his old one but the battery is dead and it constantly needs a wall outlet which leaves me in the back of the room squinting at powerpoint presentations.

8.  I function well socially but now I have no time to socialize.  I find myself meeting everyone out at Bombs on Tuesday night just to run around in circles trying to make quick conversations with everyone I know because I have so little time throughout the week to maintain friendships here.

9.  I'm thinking about switching advisors and my research here.  If you've never been in graduate school let me tell you right now, THIS IS A HUGE MOVE.   It means letting my advisor down so that I can move to an area that interests me more and if I don't do it right it could leave me without funding.  Right now I think I'm going to try to finish out the research I have now until it's done with at the end of the calender year, but I have to start looking around now for something where I can use the skills set I already have to my advantage.

10.  #10 is my personal life.  An elderly father who is sick, a daughter who I love but can't be with, a mother who worries about me and doesn't understand where I'm coming from right now, and a girlfriend whom I love.  All the people I love are on the other side of a continent from me.  The activities that keep me sane - going to the mountains for biking, skiing, mountaineering, I seem to not have time for anymore. 

Thus is the life of a graduate student.  To give you a better understanding of what I'm trying to learn look at the pics and read this:  It's one of the paragraphs in a paper my advisor told me should be an easy read.

" We have used an iterative backprojection method based on that described by Hole [1992].  For the inverse step the model is parameterized in terms of constant slowness cells, the cells being equal in size to the node spacing of the forward step.  The slowness in each cell equals the average of the slownesses of the nodes at the eight corners of the cell.  (1) The ray-path-averaged slowness perturbation for each ray passing through the cell equal to change in t/l, where t is the travel time residual of the ray and l is its total length, and (2) the number of rays passing through the cell.  After the rays are traced the slowness update for each cell through which at least one ray passes equals the first sum divided by the second sum." 

The best part of this is that it doesn't reference to an equation or figure anywhere for a better understanding.  If you understood it please give me a call and explain it to me!


Do you remember your prom? Me neither

Well, it was last night at about 9pm when I was sitting in the lab working on my take home midterm when I heard about a huge prom party bash going on downtown.  So, I Prom_2207_014
figured my brain was shot enough at that point to tag along with Julie and her friends to the Prom.  I biked home and quicky changed into the outfit you can see in the pics.  The top hat was definitely key and it got passed all around at the party.  We all had a bunch of beers at Julie's place, which conviently for me is about a minute walk around the corner from where I live.  All the girls showed up to her place dressed in old prom gowns or equally ridiculous outfits. 

After getting our pre-game on we headed off to the party in South Town Corvallis (wayyyy sketchy part of town on a dead-end) with 6 girls in the car and me.   Not tooProm_2207_020
shabby for rolling up to a prom party in a top hat and cane.... WhenProm_2207_026
we got there it was packed and I kid you not, when I walked in my 97' Junior Prom song "Moon Dance" was playing!  It was way trippy.  I didn't know many people there but began to make friends quickly.  The Jonny Cash cover band was on stage ripping it up with various tracks and there was even a room decorated for prom pictures.  There were lasers and even a spinning disco ball.  These guys had definitely gone all-out for the party.  The only people I knew there besides the girls was Jed, Levi, and David. 

We all had a great time and Julie used my cane throughout the night to stabilize her torn up knee (which she needs to get fixed immediately so she can ski!).  I ended up Prom_2207_023
getting the last beer and kicking the keg ironically.  From there IProm_2207_029
had a couple more brews I found in the fridge before getting a ride home with the girls around 2am.  It was a great night and as you can see I got some great pics of the party.  At least at this prom I brought a camera so I could remember what happened!  haha.  The walk home joyously was just around the corner!  yeah!