Thursday, July 26, 2001
boy! (and coop scoop)
yesterday i saw the boy who is in town. (kent!) it was so good.
good good good. :) so happy.
i spent the good part of today at work making this week's coop scoop. i'm gonna have to start doing part of it at home; i can't afford to waste so much on-the-clock time doing the trivial coop scoop. but it was fun. in another life, i would be a journalist/graphic designer/layout person. coop scoop is different from technique; one is fluffy, the other serious, one is supposed to look gawdy, the other clean and concise. i like both ways. i think i produced a good issue.
Wednesday, July 25, 2001
back to the future
the building i work in is at one corner of a big parking lot. i get to work at 8:00 or 8:30, but a lot of people come in earlier than me and so i always have to park on the other side of the lot and walk to my building.
someone who parks in the same lot has a delorean. you know, the car from the back to the future movies. i don't know where the guy works, but i see the car a lot and it always amuses me. today he pulled into the lot at the same time as me and parked nearby, so i got to watch him get out of the car. the door opened by swinging up on its hinge, and i looked for the flux capacitor. i thought about asking him if he's everything had anything weird happen at 88 mph. i was amused. ah, simple pleasures.
i have a new obsessive song. eve 6, "here's to the night." i put it on my july cd and have been listening to it at work, which has been very slow lately, probably for two reasons. one, i'm tired. i haven't caught up on sleep in a while, and though the cold i was fighting last week has gone back into hiding, i still feel its effects. two, my project has reached a point of treading water. i worked like crazy for the last month to update code and add new analysis capabilities and run preliminary numbers, but now i've reached the point where i don't fully understand what i need to do next. i need to compare each point along the dps trajectory to every point along the crv trajectory. it sounds simple, but my elementary programming knowledge makes it more of a challenge. hopefully i can figure it out by the end of the week. as soon as i do, my project moves into the exciting phase, and i get to start producing substantial data. woo!
another favorite new song is fuel's "bad day." it comes close to describing my life from january to may of this year. bad days...again and again and again. summer has been much kinder to me. and with that, i think it's safe to say that i have officially begun to ramble, so i'll quit typing. :)
Tuesday, July 24, 2001
missing the show
last night we were all hoping the shuttle would come down on the second opportunity; if it had, we would have gotten quite a show here in houston as it blazed across the sky on the way to a landing in florida. unfortunately, thunderstorms at kennedy made them postpone the landing until tonight, and it'll pass too far south. sigh. space is neat.
we went to the astros game as well. they lost, but we had fun. certain people make me sigh with thoughts of what could be. but boy can we talk the talk.
Sunday, July 22, 2001
jumping out of perfectly good airplanes
today i jumped out of a perfectly good airplane for the second time in my life. this skydive was scarier than my first, which was weird. i felt the wind a lot more during freefall, and was really having to work to breathe normally. then i felt bad while under the parachute, probably because i hadn't had anything to eat all day. problems aside though, the jump was a lot of fun, and the view unparalleled.
it has been a quiet but nice weekend. friday was a two movie night, as jason and i saw both america's sweethears and jurassic park 3. neither was great, but both were entertaining. saturday we headed up to the galleria for dinner and then to amy's for ice cream.
but the best part of last night was on our way home after ice cream. jason was riding with me and we were talking about life at school...when suddenly i found myself talking about how stressful my last semester was. now that i am happily removed from the situation and can look back on things, i realize that i was not a fun person to be around.
jason said he'd gone through the same thing, and i remarked how i wish i could somehow apologize to everyone i negatively affected last spring. i wish i could say "i'm sorry" to the friends that i put through hell. then jason said, "you know what? they're you're friends. they stood by you because you're important to them. don't underestimate that."
he is so right.
Thursday, July 19, 2001
question of the day
question of the day: is it possible to really be friends with someone who makes you feel inferior? whether it's intentional on their part or not...can you ever really trust them, and be comfortable enough with them to let a real friendship grow?
my instincts tell me the answer is no, but my friend keeps proving them wrong.
Tuesday, July 17, 2001
when i'm an old woman...i'll know how to knit
i think i am getting a cold. poop.
traffic was horrible on the way to jen's house after work yesterday. i think this area of town gets more and more crowded as the months and years pass--i know the hustle and bustle has definitely increased since i started coming here four years ago. but i finally did reach her house; jen is teaching me how to knit! though it is funny to watch myself playing around with needles and yarn like the stereotypical old woman, i just thought it would be fun to learn. i bought some blue wool/acrylic yarn and am making myself a "bobble hat." it will be wearable...i hope!
last night i had the sudden urge to call stanford and tell them i'm not coming, that i've decided to stay here and work full time. of course i'm not actually going to do that because i do want to go to graduate school, but i'd been thinking about kent and curt and carter and liz...all these friends who have begun life after college while i'm just "between schools." and as i sat there, knitting and watching the braves game in perfect contentment, i realized that if i took a job, i could do that every night. i could come home at the end of the day and not worry about any homework assignments or upcoming tests or meetings. maybe one more year will satisfy my urge for more education, and then i can slow down.
...or maybe not. either way. the thing is, i'm starting to be ok with it. when i went to get the mail on saturday, there was a georgia tech alumni magazine with my name on it. i remembered that i'd graduated...and for the first time, that thought made me laugh.
Monday, July 16, 2001
there's so much water!
ohhhhh it is going to be a very long monday. i'm exhausted and have a sore throat. it's probably the old "haven't gotten enough sleep" thing coming back to haunt me, but hopefully i can fix it by going to bed at a decent hour tonight.
yesterday i spent the day at six flags waterworld with liz, jen, irish john, and john's roommate jason. we'd planned on doing both waterworld and astroworld in one day, but soon realized we'd be completely worn out, and so decided to stick with waterworld and save the astroworld passes for another day. besides, waterworld was great fun and we didn't want to leave! we rode the slides, floated in the wave pool, and burned our feet on the hot concrete (you'd think a water park in texas would figure out a way to keep the ground cool, but nope).
it was really nice to see liz though. she sounds so excited about work, and about being in houston. yet another person who is joining the real world. i saw her apartment (which is extremely nice!) and was immediately envious of her new furniture and sparkling kitchen and enormous bathroom. someday i too will have my own place, someday...
Saturday, July 14, 2001
day after beach party
i spent the day sitting on the couch watching tv. sometimes napping. by dinner, my headache was almost gone so i did manage to get up to make some hamburger helper. hooray. so what did we learn today, kids?
1) the alcohol i drank at beach party last night was very very good. 2) the effect that drinking a lot of alcohol has on a person the next morning, as it turns out, is not so good. i suppose that's what a screwdriver, a tequila shot, two shots of goldschlager, and a cup of something green will do, especially when you forget to eat dinner beforehand! ;)
despite having to sleep on the floor and waking up with a solid headache, beach party was fun. the house was absolutely beautiful--definitely the nicest house i've ever been to a beach party in. i met a lot of co-ops i didn't know before, talked to some random naked guys, took sticker pictures for everyone i could find, lost my scissors, ruined another pair of flip flops, saw some old friends who flew in just for the weekend, smoked a cigar with nick and company, spent time in the jacuzzi with curt, and danced to my heart's content.
Friday, July 13, 2001
motivating myself for work
lunch today was weird, and not in a bad way at all! jen and nick and i headed to jason's deli for sandwiches, and began talking about the division that nick and i work in, and all the different jobs there are for people to do. i have some interest in being a flight controller one day, and so i was curious to know the various paths people have taken to become one. since nick works in their group and talks to them more than i do, i figured he'd have a good idea.
the conversation was completely normal, but somehow i left lunch extremely motivated to get back to my desk and start churning out more x-38 simulations and graphs galore. though i already like my project, suddenly i was extremely excited about designing the dps jettision! i don't know if anything like that has ever happened.
normally i just go to work and make my computer do what i need it to do to get my required tasks done in the time allowed. i don't get too enthusiastic about my programming or sim runs, because although the end result is always interesting, the process of getting there is dull. something today made it seem fun. i wish it could be like this every day.
Thursday, July 12, 2001
settling in for the long haul
this summer is different from those past. instead of being around solely co-ops who are living life to the fullest for three short months before returning to school, these days i watch some of my friends prepare to begin their "real" lives in houston.
in some ways, i really envy them...for having decided where they want to live, for choosing a stable career, for moving on without looking back, and even for being able to get nice furniture and frame their pictures and buy things without thinking about how they'll transport it to wherever they go in a few months.
as the summer progresses, i find myself becoming more at ease, maybe even happy(!), with the decisions i struggled to make before graduation. i am excited about driving out west, and excited about going to stanford, wary of the innumerable changes to come, but looking forward to seeing what graduate school holds for me.
but i still envy the ones who are settling in.
Wednesday, July 11, 2001
sometimes in a conversation, i hear something that triggers this enormous chain of thoughts that i don't really like. it happened today on the way back from lunch.
i find myself comparing the events in my life to those in others, and wondering whether mine should match theirs. in some instances, i really wish i could say i'd done the things or had the experiences my friends have had. i imagine what would have had to happen in my life to get me to where i wish i was...and most maddening is when i see a fork in the road, and realize that i walked the wrong way.
for the most part, i think i tend to take the right path. sometimes though, my insecurities get the better of me. when away from the group, i am more reserved than i ever want to be.
Wednesday, July 11, 2001
way to go, dad!
my dad is an interesting guy. he works crazy hours, doesn't like to be wrong, and eats tomato soup and spinach--together. he's always there when you need him, but is usually very predictable. then sometimes he surprises you.
my mom is wonderful. she deals with two dozen energetic kindergarteners each day of the week and still has time to make sure her own kids are taken care of. for years, she's been saying she wants diamond earrings, but i don't know if she ever really expected to get them.
yesterday was their 25th anniversary. dad surprised us. mom got the earrings.
Tuesday, July 10, 2001
apollo 13 comes to life
sometimes i am reminded why i am becoming an aerospace engineer, and why i keep coming back to work at nasa each summer. last night was one of those times.
pooja set things up for all the co-ops to watch apollo 13 in the old mission control center. on the screen, i watched ed harris sit at the staged flight director's console and work with other actors to bring tom hanks, bill paxton, and kevin bacon home while sitting at the real flight director's console where the real gene kranz worked with real flight controllers to bring the real jim lovell, fred haise, and jack swigert home.
the experience was surreal. thirty years ago, the room we were sitting in was the center of seven flights to the moon. today, it looks the same as it did then. a little cleaner perhaps, and a lot less crowded with handbooks and papers and calculators and cigars, but still the same.
in one sense, it is inspiring to be able to gaze into the room preserved as it was when it made history. on the other hand, it will never again do more than gather dust, because we stopped shooting for the stars.
i want to be working here when we go back to the moon. or on to mars. i want to be here when mission control becomes the center of the universe again.