Hurricane John

Life in the land of Hurricanes

Monday, November 14, 2005

Wow Wowiee

So I'm back. We'll see for how long. I was looking through my post editor and I noticed that I almost made a post on the 16th of September, almost a month ago. But I just saved it as a draft and never finished it. Perhaps I just wanted my bald mug to stay near the top of the page longer. That face isn't much different from the one I made when I found out I passed the qualifier. So it looks like I might be hanging around Orlando for several more years till I get this PhD. Other than that not too much excitement in general except for lots of little things to few to name except I did move to a new house. Not too big, slightly less rent, and great downtown location.

IT'S FINALLY HERE. Perhaps I'm the only one that will get excited about it but just last Tuesday A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin was finally released. I've been waiting for four years for this book to come out. It had been delayed so often all of us fans were beginning to fear the worst. You can see it over on my bookshelf. I had to rush and finish the other two before last week so I could begin with a fresh slate. I don't count Sophie's World cause it's kind of nonfictiony and philosophy so I just kind of look into that now and again. We'll see if I take the time to write little mini-reviews about those books. So far I'm over 100 pages into AFFC. The pacing is a bit slower than the previous A Song of Ice and Fire books, but the fact that it's appeasing my buildup makes me happy.

Overall I'm a lot busier so reading time is at a premium. I watch less television and movies these days. I go to the gym every morning. I also need to work more at school because apparently I'm not doing enough, I may share that later.

I hope my proof of life is exciting enough and that my life changes will start to include this poor neglected blog.


Friday, August 26, 2005

I'm off to New York City

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

That's Right!

I completely lost it over this stupid qualifying exam.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Mystery Solved

This past week I have been completely down and out of it. I was extremely sleepy and practically in a daze at times. In fact, as I type this I just want to lay down my head and nap. Well it seems as the prescription Zyrtec I'm taking is rearing it's ugly side effect head and causing drowsiness. This may not seem odd because of the fact that it is an allergy medicine, and is an antihistamine which is notorious for causing drowsiness, but I have been taking Zyrtec every allergy season for the past four years now. I cannot ever recall feeling this way or sleepy unless I just always uncorrelated the two. Zyrtec works great for putting away the allergy symptoms. It also worked a lot better than the over-the-counter Claritin stuff. So for now I'll try taking it just before bed instead of in the morning to see how that works out.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

This is the creepiest scariest thing I have seen

It's a neat little interactive stop animation Quicktime movie of a doll that you can play with. Let the whole movie load and then click on glowing objects in the doll's room to have her play with them. Reminiscent of Choose Your Own Adventure?

Monday, June 13, 2005

I'm back, and most of my laundry is done

This past weekend I finally got everything (almost) unpacked and washed all that dirty laundry. It was great to think about nothing and relax in beautiful and warm Alaska. Yes warm. The weather in the southern reaches were great and even at times, 'hot.' Unfortunately I still do not own a digital camera so I am depending on my sisters to send me pictures. Likely my mother has already forgotten how to put them on her computer, let alone send them to me, Rachel will likely forget or just not get to it, and Rebecca doesn't really have a computer to load them to. But if they do arrive I'll select a few to post, unless the time in between has just been too great.

I also read a little bit. Mostly on the plane, but also on the cruise ship's library where Rebecca and I often sat in "our favorite seats." Sophie's World starts off interesting enough, but eventually just turns into another text book about the history of philosophy while trying to hide behind the ruse of being a novel. I'll probably finish but while reading something else as well. On the return flight I read in its entirety, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. So it only had a short lifetime on my bookshelf. Great little novel, around 120 pages. Brought up some interesting concepts like living forever through restored memories and a reputation based economics. If you're interested in reading this free downloads are available in all sorts of formats on Now I've begun Perdido Street Station and it's world has already begun to capture.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Anchors Aweigh, my boys,.. Anchors Aweigh

So next week I'll be entirely gone on the family cruise to Alaska. Should be a lot of fun and tons of relaxing. Perfect, because when I return it will be nothing but grinding out the books to prepare for the qualifier. I plan to do a lot of reading since at least three of the days I will be confined to the boat. But then again distractions always come up. Unfortunately the book I was so excited to read has been replaced with Sophie's World. When the book arrived it was basically a hardcover book with a soft cover. Unfortunately this means it's basically as heavy and just too much for me to want to lug so I'm bringing something lighter. It should be nice to read something different. So I guess I will return next week well read into the beginnings of a philosophical mind.

I also finished the June issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Yep I read all 160 pages of it. I really enjoyed it and have considered purchasing a subscription to a magazine digest and now I know that if I ever do that will be the one.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Links you'll want to click

I have been stock piling a few links that I think are pretty cool. I'm sure you'll want to click.

Now answering the greatest question on your mind, "Can you fully operate a computer completely submerged in a tank of oil?" Answers here.

To honor Disneyland's 50th anniversary, here's a bunch of crazy pointless trivia. I especially like the basketball court in the Matterhorn and the Pillsbury Doughboy.

Cornell research has been working on replicating robots. They are cubed in shape and as can be seen in the videos, as long as a new piece is near by, they work to duplicate.

Ever wonder all the different objects that children ingest? Now you know.

Tell me, who doesn't like circus hamsters?

This is just how far someone will go when pushed to the limit and 'goes postal'.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Hurricane outlook

So the forecast is out. 12-15 expected tropical storms, 7-9 hurricanes and at least 3-5 of those would be major hurricanes. Of course this is for the whole south east including all the countries in the Caribbean. So they do not expect as many to hit Florida, especially central Florida. But who knows? These guys aren't always the best predictors of location and path. So who knows what destruction comes my way this time? I'll let you all know when the first is spotted which will go by the name of Arlene.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Dune is done

I finished Dune and it's on to the next novel. Dune was quite good and had great world-building but I think the ending was weak, or rather rushed. No resolving. It also had some dull moments but it felt almost real and historical. The imagery of the colonization of Dune was made extremely real and believable. Definitely a classic and defining for science fiction.

As you can see sitting on my bookshelf is Perdido Street Station. I hadn't heard of the author China Mieville until just a month ago but it sounds like this newer author writes stupendous stuff. The same kind of fantasy that Gaiman writes. I think the most common description of his stuff is 'horror fantasy.' His newest Iron Council is up for a Hugo and has rave reviews. I'd probably start with this one except that it's still only in hardcover. Perdido isn't his first but his second, and probably his most hailed. I recently ordered it along with another of his, The Scar so they haven't yet arrived for me to begin. In the meantime I'll probably read from F&SF and other short fiction, particularly a novella or novelette.

Micrometer madness

Recently in my experiments I've had to scan across a sample by hand. This means using a micrometer for small step sizes. I've forgotten how infuriating using a micrometer can be. It doesn't help that the one micron markings wrap around the knob and out of view. They end up being tucked underneath and the table gets in the way making it impossible to see. I then have to use a mirror which isn't to helpful because depending on your point of view determines which markings are lined up. Ugh.

Here's a few more links from people who have lots of talent and inhuman patience.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


What exactly does SF stand for? Science Fiction? Speculative Fiction? Short Fiction? Recently, to me, it stands for all three. Back in January or February the nominees for the Nebula Awards were posted. They're awards for Science Fiction and Fantasy works in primarily four categories: novels, novellas, novelettes, and short stories. The difference? Typically short stories run 7,500 words or less; novelettes, 7,500-17,500; novellas, 17,500-40,000; and of course novels are greater than 40,000 words.

Fortunately the publications normally make it easy to read the nominees by making all of the short fiction available online for free. So downloaded each into Word to read on my own time. I made it a goal to read all the short stories and form an opinion for myself which one was best. As I continued to read these stories I kept stumbling upon more, reviews, suggestions, all sorts of material relating to shorter fiction based on speculative fiction. This is the mainstream that most of the best work is published. Not in longer novels but shorter works. I've enjoyed it so much I find myself reading a lot more but just quick stuff. It's nice to sit down for 10-20 minutes and finish a complete tale. I may even subscribe to one of the monthly publications in the right-hand column. So I'm enjoying all of this speculative fiction that's out there, and sure there are duds some times, but there's always a better one to pick up and push the bad one out.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Reading under trees and other reflections

Yesterday evening I went down to Winter Park to relax and rewind. First I went the Black Bean Deli to pick up a sandwich. Yummy. But I also received some bad news, Havana Cola is going out of business. Apparently it was a one-man operation and the guy had a major heart attack and there's no one to pick up the reins. Hopefully this is only temporary. The Deli was already out of Mojito but had some of the Cola left over so I picked up a couple to save for special times. They'll only have it until they run out and because of its popularity, that won't be long. Sure Coke has released their product with lime but it doesn't compare to Havana.

After the chit-chat, I grabbed my sandwich and took it down to Central Park. It was just a beautiful day with a cool breeze. Unfortunately there are a bit too many tame squirrels around. It was very difficult to eat in peace. It doesn't help that later when I left I saw some people feeding the squirrels. It was their sole purpose for being at the park. That really pisses me off. Anyway, after finishing dinner I read some on a park bench near the fountain. It was nice and quiet and just perfect. Even the bench didn't seem to be too uncomfortable but it started to get dark pretty quick so I had to stop.

The main reason I was in Winter Park last night was to catch the 9:30 show at the Enzian. It was very interesting documentary, Inside Deep Throat. I'll let you look up exactly what it's about. It does make me want to talk to people who lived during that time and what they felt about it.

When I finally arrived home I was pleasantly surprised to see the D'Backs and Giants locked up at two and the Backs threatening. Unfortunately I laid down on my bed and promptly fell asleep. I woke up about 30 minutes later to find the game over. I was happy to see that the Backs scored 1 in the eighth and Lyon came in and promptly saved it, but I was mad that I once again missed the scoring. This always happens. I'm listening, I lie down, doze off, wake up from just 15 to 30 minutes later to find that my team has scored. I guess I just need to sleep more and they'll score and win more.

That's about it for now.
Check this guy's demented taste in paintings. What's with the bizarre fetish with Lincoln and bunnies?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Books, books, books

You may notice a new little feature in the right hand column. It has a list of the currents books/publications that I'm currently reading. Recently I've found myself watching less movies and reading more (more on this a little later). It's a nice change of pace. I still watch plenty but just not as much. I've also been watching less television. I still catch my shows and watch them when I have time. I plan on using my summer to catch up on a lot of them but reading is where it's at right now. Basically the only thing I watch now is sports related. The Suns are cooking so I watch them roll through the playoffs and the Diamondbacks are playing well and here's to them staying above .500 throughout the season. The better they play the more chances I get to watch them, otherwise I just have to hope that Baseball Tonight gives them some credit and shows a highlight once in a while.

And here are a couple of stories that are particularly interesting and disgusting:

A very cool and detailed sand sculpture

Exploding toads

Friday, April 22, 2005

Remove the caffeine

I have averaged a caffeinated drink each day this week. Most likely because I have been working on some sort of project all week and I love that caffeine. I even had a jumpstart with an Adrenaline Rush Wednesday night. Anyway I need to remove all that caffeine from my diet and lay off the soda again. One week out of 52 can't be bad, right?


So I'm back. Yesterday was that big day when everything was due. I wasn't to happy with my presentation. I would have liked it to go better and there were some points I forgot to talk about. I nearly pulled an all-nighter Wednesday night to finish my laser design project. Among the other many things I have going on I also had to spend some time in the lab to try to get so good results for a progress meeting, so that also extended my night into the wee morning hours. I'm actually pretty happy with the laser I designed. It's an ArF excimer for LASIK surgery. Sure it could have been better, but not bad for the few days I had to work on it. All that's left is finals next week. I was really worried about the strange scheduling of finals. I have my first at 7AM on Tuesday and then the following two on Thursday back to back. Here at UCF they give three hour finals so those back to back meant taking finals straight from 1 to 7. Well my laser engineering professor decided to surprise us with a take home final due on Monday. On one hand I'm sad that my weekend disappeared, yet now I only have one final on Thursday and I'll have two knocked off by Wednesday. Plus the take home will interfere with studying for Tuesday's final, which I must do well on.

Other stuff is bound to happen, bizarre and strange incidents, and momentary lapses in time. For example like last night.. but that's for later.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

I am not dead

Despite my lack of presence and though my previous post may lead to certain conclusions, I am not dead. First I thank all those who have continued to check in to see if there are new posts only to leave frustrated and questioning, "What's up with John?" Well these past few weeks have been tough, and while I did have time to post, I just didn't. It's the end of the semester here with finals just two weeks away. I know, they're very early here at UCF. Next week is also jam packed with a homework, presentation, and design project all due. Yes, those assignments all come from the same class. Also for the first time we actually have a deadline on our lab research. We need to have a paper written ready for submission by June 1st. Allowing for about a month to write it we need good data analyzed by the end of May. Unfortunately we're still having trouble getting our setup to give us usable data and I'm really busy and unable to work on it. So in about a couple of weeks my life should be back in order with only about a few things on my agenda. I don't suppose it will be any more exciting but those who want to will know about it anyway.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

I think I'm sick

Just thought I'd say that

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Just sittin' around

And I thought, 'gee it's been awhile since I posted.' I've managed to crawl myself out of my depression hole that was dug for me last Saturday. Sunday's Easter picnic helped a lot. Myself and a group of friends went down to Wakiva Springs to have grilled meal out in nature. I had been meaning to get out there for some time and now I know I'll have to get back. I mostly sat around in the steamy 88 degree air but others played some ultimate and but later we went on an evening hike.

Tuesday I had an exam and it only went kind of okay. Strange thing about this place. I can never tell how well I did and I'm always surprised by the final score.

The most exciting part is that my old optics friend Shane will be in town on business the whole week for the SPIE conference and we'll being hanging out tonight. I think we're heading to the beach, which means some Dixie Crossroads!I haven't been to the beach in awhile, well actually I guess I did go to Miami beach just a couple weeks ago but I haven't been to Dixie Crossroads in a long time. I really crave some rock shrimp but I doubt I'll eat as much some previous visits. Playalinda will be closed by the time we get there so I'm not sure which beach we'll try, either New Smyrna or Cocoa. I'll leave that choice up to Shane

Friday, March 25, 2005

U of A baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bring on Illinois and on to the Final Four. Salim Stoudamire is the best shooter in college basketball and he's also absolutely clutch. That was one amazing game and be sure to catch the next one on Saturday. Well it's late so I'll try to say more tomorrow.

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