Monday, January 30, 2006

Happy Birthday Jordan!

Howdy. School starts again and everything goes to pot (my schedule at least). It’s been pretty busy since school started again. It’s turning out to be quite a semester.

Today is Jordan’s birthday. He’s still in St. Augustine Florida. Today is also his P-day so he was able to write. It sounds like he is beginning to see some great success. His letter from today is found here. Alison and I haven’t sent him anything for his birthday yet. We were planning on sending him some socks, but as was mentioned, life gets busy when school is in session.

Now onto school. For the most part things are going pretty well. I haven’t missed any homework yet or really come up against any brick walls. I’m not sure what my favorite class is yet (or what my worst class is either for that matter). I do know that the three classes that I chose to take (Micromachining, Analog IC Design, and Slavic Folklore) have been much more exciting than the two required courses (Engineering Probability and Statistics and Thermodynamics). This isn’t to say that the electives are easier, because that is definitely not true.

I have really enjoyed the Micromachining lab. We’ve only had one “real” lab so far (we had a safety session first) and it was really interesting. We were given a silicon wafer and had to measure the curvature of it with a special machine. After that we cleaned the wafer by rinsing it with methanol and another similar chemical and then rinsing it in de-ionized water and drying it in nitrogen gas. After that we soaked the wafers in a sulfuric acid/hydrogen peroxide solution and then in a hydrofluoric acid solution. After the wafers were clean and dry we put them into a furnace for 1 hour at 1000 o C. This was to grow a silicon dioxide layer. It may not sound too exciting to you, but this semester is exciting because I am finally doing things that can be applicable in real life. The first few years of EE were spent solving circuits. I still get plenty of that but we’ve branched out now.

My calling as the Elder’s Quorum President has kept me busy as well. It seems that I find out virtually daily things that I need to be doing, but haven’t been. It’s so far been a learning experience.

Alison and I got new phones a little while back. We showed them to Alison’s younger sister Abby who took the following pictures with the camera on my phone. I warned her not to take them – now they are accessible to anyone at anytime…

We are now signed up with Sprint. It’s so far been loads better than Verizon was. The biggest reason is because our phones now work in our apartment. Before, we couldn’t use our cell phones in our apartment because we couldn’t get service. The phones are really nice. They are LG pm-225. They are red, with 2 color screens and cameras. I’m excited to have a camera with me everywhere I go. I hope that I’ll be able to take a lot of interesting photos.

Well, life is good. Maybe I’ll tell you more about it sometime.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Lazy Sunday

I saw this SNL skit on the internet the other day and I just knew that I needed to share it. Here is Lazy Sunday about the Chronicles of Narnia.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

School's in Session!

Let the fun begin. School started yesterday and now I’ve had a chance to go to every class. It looks like it will be a “good” semester. Not without its challenges, of course….

My weekly schedule is shown below.

My first class is ECE 3530 – Engineering Probability and Statistics. It seems like it is going to be a pretty tough class. From what I am told by those who have taken it, it turns out to be really difficult. We have a big MATLAB project that I am not looking forward to.

My next class is ME EN 2300 – Thermodynamics. This class also looks to be a pretty tough one. If it weren’t required…

I am also taking ECE 5221 – Micromachining. This class is about how tiny devices are made. It think that I am going to enjoy it.

I also have ECE 5720 – Analog Integrated Circuit Design. I think that I am going to enjoy this class. We end up designing our own chip – with the opportunity to have the chip built over the summer.

I have been purchasing my books lately. I bought some of them at the Bookstore, but if I could find them cheaper online then I did that. I think that I have all of them that I need and I ended up spending around $340. I hate having to spend so much on books, especially when one of my books was $147.50. It’s nothing special. Hardcover - yes, full color – not a chance. At least the publishers are getting rich off of students like me that have to take out loans to be able to even go to school.

Well, today was a long day and I am getting tired. Time to feed the fish! Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 09, 2006

Last Week Off

It was sure nice to have another week off of school. It was a good week too. On Sunday night, Alison and I went up to Jacob Priest’s cabin on Bear Lake. It’s just over the border on the Idaho side. It’s not really a cabin, but a home. It’s right on the lake (if the water is ever all the way up to the bank) and it has 6 rooms upstairs and a master bedroom down. There is a big family room up and down as well as a kitchen and dining area down. We were only up there for Sunday night but it was still a lot of fun.

On Sunday night we played one game of Scene It and one game of Shout About TV (Better than Scene It). After that we watched The Truman Show. That really has got to be Jim Carrey’s best “serious” film. I don’t even know if he has any others. I really like the film.

The most fun part of the whole trip was Monday morning. Sean and I (with whom we rode up) went out on the four-wheelers. We went out onto the frozen beach and were just riding around. I didn’t expect to be out for that long, but it was a ton of fun and we were out there for almost 2 hours. Poor Alison got stuck reading the whole time we were gone. We would do donuts on the ice sheets and then we had a lot of fun going up and down a frozen creek bed. Don’t worry, we had out helmets on.

After we had our fun four-wheeling we helped clean before heading home. Today (Monday) was also the day of most of the big bowl games. We missed most of them, but we were able to see a bit of the Fiesta Bowl (Ohio State beat Notre Dame) and the Sugar Bowl (West Virginia beat Georgia). The next day was the Orange Bowl (Penn State beat Florida State) and then the best game of all, the National Championship Rose Bowl. In that game undefeated Texas met undefeated (for 3 years) USC. Texas won by overcoming a 12 point deficit in the last 5 minutes. It’s too bad the BCS is such an unfair crock.

This week I went with Alysia and Dad to see what was inside Mom and Dad’s safety deposit box. There was mainly a lot of silver coins and junk silver coins. It was cool to see. Alison and I will have to get one eventually – as my coin collection continues to grow.

The rest of the week was full of work and a bit of reading. Other than that – school starts soon…

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

Alison and I spent New Year’s Eve at Spencer’s house with her family. We played a few games, Alison and I tried to defend our title as Trivial Pursuit Champions. Unfortunately, we were unable to win the game. We usually do pretty well as a team, but tonite just wasn’t our night.

Before we went to Spencer and Korrin’s house, Alison and I went to the Jazz game. They played the Philadelphia 76ers. We didn’t think that the Jazz would be able to win but they were able to pull it our in the end. It was an awesome game, and we had great seats. One of the fellows that I home teach was able to get tickets from his work. He’s not really a sports fan so he offered them to us. We’re both glad that he did. J

The other big news from this week is the trip that I took with my parents to San Francisco to watch the Utes play in the Emerald Bowl. We left early Wednesday morning and made the long drive to Sacramento. When we got to Reno we had planned to take I-80 over Donner’s Summit, but after calling Scott he advised us to take highway 50 through South Lake Tahoe. It was snowing pretty hard over the top and it took us quite a while to get over the summit. When we got to the Rees’ we saw on the news that it was good that we had taken highway 50. The top story on the Sacramento news was the bad weather on I-80. A plane had crashed right off the interstate and they had mudslides all over the place and the interstate was down to 1 lane.

That night at the Rees’ we watched the movie Fantastic 4. It was ok. Pretty much like all of the rest of the comic book movies.

The next day we left for San Francisco and got there in about 2 hours. We parked the cars at the San Francisco Marriott Hotel and then just walked to the game – stopping at an Italian restaurant on the way. The game was at SBC Park – which is where the Giants normally play. The Utes were slated to play Georgia Tech (#24 in the nation). Nobody expected the Utes to do very well, and we were going to the game to have fun – definitely not expecting a win. Nonetheless, the Utes put on a show we will not soon forget. They ran all over the Yellowjackets and won 38-10. Here is a press release on the game.

Of course we were thrilled to see a great game (in our opinions). After the game, I will admit, I “stormed” the field to celebrate with the team (the real reason was to find out if the turf was “spongy” like Fenway Park… see Fever Pitch).

After the game we walked back to the hotel to celebrate by eating at a crappy Chinese restaurant. We stopped by the Cheesecake Factory to get some cheesecake for dessert. We walked through a few stores – but no major shopping for us.

The next day we spent the morning at the hotel (ate a wonderful buffet breakfast – normally $18) and then went to Pier 39 for an hour. While there I browsed a couple of stores and then watched the Sea Lions for a bit. After the adventures at Pier 39 we got on the road. We had originally planned to stay in Sacramento tonite (Friday), but the weather was stormy the whole drive and we were afraid that it would only get worse. We decided to try and go over the top on I-80 so we had to buy chains. We had heard all sorts of things about how bad it would be, but it turned out to not be that bad. It was rainy and a little snowy the whole way until we got to Reno. We decided to drive as far as we could and we made it to Elko before we felt that we should stop.

It turns out that we were very blessed to have gone over the pass on Friday, rather than waiting until Saturday. There was a 1000 foot mudslide at Truckee (near Donner pass) which shut down I-80. Added to that the interstate was underwater at Vacaville (between San Francisco and Sacramento). Northern California has had record flooding from the storms that have been coming through.

All in all it was a great trip. We didn’t expect the Utes to win but they did so that was exciting. It was a fun night with the Dickson’s to celebrate the new year. 2006 looks good. I’ll let you know!