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June 2nd, 2009

05:48 pm: Giving Blood
I gave blood today for the first time. That was definitely a good experience to have. There were almost no complications in my case so it wasn't really very interesting. The person who took my history (I don't remember her first name) had the last name sondahl, which seemed rather related to mine.

Also, they made me lay down as a first timer, which was a little disappointing, because I wanted to watch. Then they elevated me gradually, after the whole process was over, and kept asking me if I felt at all dizzy. It was actually a little hard for me to judge if the elevating change had to do with giving blood or due to that I usually feel that way after having been lying down from my clonodine.

I would be hard pressed to say I enjoyed it, but the whole process took over an hour and a half and I didn't have a concept that that much time had passed. So, I must have enjoyed it to some extent.

May 11th, 2009

01:34 pm: The EE goes to EE
A few weekends ago, Hannah and me went to "Engaged Encounter". It's basically a cheap (cost wise, not quality wise) substitute for premarital counseling that's highly subsidized by the church and takes place over the course of a one weekend getaway. It's somewhat religiously oriented, but I did not feel it was outrageously so, such that it would not be as useful for me and hannah. Really, you'd have to ask hannah about that though; she'd be a much less biased judge (or maybe as\more biased but in the other direction). So, it was a whole weekend focused on working on avoiding large marital conflicts, and understanding things about the way your partner operates, to the same end.

Before I go into the weekend structure and events that affected me. There are a couple observations about random things I'd like to make. The sleeping arrangements were a pretty funny societal commentary in my opinion. A Christian event with engaged couples, obviously the sexes were split for the engaged couples. What I didn't expect was that they put all the guys in a single basement room, with bad bathroom access, and cheap looking (although surprisingly comfortable) beds. The women were put in the rooms in the same hall as the bathroom 1 or 2 to a room (I think there was only one woman who had her own room, other than that it was 2), in comfy small bedrooms, with much nicer beds (although hannah's was a little [really] creaky). Now is when I acknowledge that they really don't have enough rooms for every two people to have a room, still, it felt to me like a social expectations comment needed to be made.

The other thing that struck me is that it seemed like an awful lot of the couples in attendance were already living together, which I did not expect. There were also whole sections of the questions, (which I will talk about later) geared towards people who had been married before or had kids coming into this marriage, and about if you were having sex or living together already. That showed to me that in some ways, at least, the church is having a shift in expectations to accommodate a more modern\reality of marriage. Given those things didn't necessarily apply to me, but interesting to note, none the less.

The weekend structure was that there were 3 lead couples who had been married for some time. There were a number of different topics that they were to talk us through. They normally would just explore their own experiences and their reflections on them that had to do with a given topic. After they had shared with us, we went off individually to write about our thoughts on related topics, normally in the form of questions that were provided. After some time of writing, you would get together with your partner and read each other's writings. After both people were done reading, then you would talk about the topic.

I really liked this format. I found myself feeling less restricted from saying things or worrying about how I was saying it. The one complaint I had was that I never had enough time to write. I often was only able to answer maybe 40% of the questions in the allotted time. I understand that the time limit was the weekend though, and there were a lot of topics to cover.

One thing that I did that weekend as we were talking, that I feel is a big benchmark for me in my relationship with my future wife is, while she has certainly see me drop tears before, she had never seen me weep. That happened, during our talk about forgiveness. I didn't nearly get to finish writing that time, and it was all supposed to be our thoughts about a single thing. While I was trying to relay the rest of my thoughts, (as I'd really just written the background about what I wanted to say) I got all teary and out of control. I'm glad that's happened.

Other than these sessions, meals, and free time, there were a few other things that happened. The one that was of particular interest to me, such that I will now talk about it, was an anonymous questions box. A little box that we could write questions on, that would be answered by other engaged couples. During this time, there was to be no input from the married couples, just from the other engaged couples.

One thing I noticed about this question box time was that it seemed that a lot of people didn't like how their questions were interpreted. I noticed this several times in other couples and at least a couple of me and Hannah's questions were also like this.

There was one question in particular that I thought was very interesting because of the controversy that it aroused. The question was something to the sort of what should we do if our kids do not want to go to church of put up resistance in going to church or something of that sort. I also thought it was interesting because of the motivation for a couple without kids to ask this question fascinated me. I think there are two things that were commonly agreed upon; it depends on the age and their reason for not wanting to go. While everyone seemed to agree that these two factors would change their answer, what their answer would be, given any set of circumstances, as we discussed a few of them, was radically different. Fun stuff.

Maybe it's just been a really long time since I've been among a bunch of non-intellectual (and non-married) type males but I really had problems relating to a lot of the rest of the men at engaged encounter. Oh, how they do love to talk about sports and cars and manly things. I really mostly just had to ignore it while sleeping. The rest of the time was spent with my Hannah. She's mine! It worries me slightly how little I cared about almost every topic of conversation between them.

11:06 am: A nice little godsend
I showed up at UP today for my first round of summer classes. When I got there, the room that BIO was supposed to be happening in was in use for an exam. I went to check that the room hadn't been changed last minute (which happens a surprising amount). When I did I noticed that my classes were not going to start until the 18th. I had always had one week off before, but apparently due to us finishing early this spring, instead of starting sooner, I get another week off.

I should have checked the date instead of assuming it was the same but I can live with that mistake.


Current Music: Frightened Rabbit - Modern Leper

May 7th, 2009

03:23 pm: Drive test
I took my drive test for my license last Friday. I guess I misread the things that were supposed to be brought as I did not have my social security card, which is a necessity for them to actually print you your card. I was allowed to take the test anyways though, with the idea that I'd have to bring all my paperwork back and get the actual card later. I don't really plan to drive much under circumstances that are different than my permits conditions, but my permit will expire this June, which would make it more of a pain to eventually get my license if I don't do it soon. Also, car licenses are required for motorcycle equivalents, which at some point I plan to look into, maybe this summer, maybe not.

I failed due to one of the grounds for automatic failure. I didn't actually notice that I had turned onto a one way street evidently. I don't remember it being well marked, but of course, I wouldn't. I actually didn't know until after my test that one way streets weren't labeled at all lights. As a result, I made one turn into the wrong lane (going into the one way street) and one turn out of the wrong lane (out of the one way street). Either of which are individually grounds for immediate failure.

I also got marked off for a couple things I can't understand. One looks like it says downshifting (I did take the test in a manual transmission), I still have yet to understand why that would be a bad thing. I also got marked off for "stopping on a crosswalk" with the qualifier "waited too long". I can only assume that this means that I stopped properly, then moved onto the crosswalk for visibility and she did not like how long I was there before I felt there was a sufficient opening.

That was an interesting experience though. I guess I'll get to do it again.

Current Location: Basement
Current Music: Last resort

May 4th, 2009

12:25 pm: bikes and stuff
So, I have a few updates in terms of biking I guess. Let’s make a story out of it, shall we?
I had this goal of biking out to forest grove all the way. Since Hannah is planning now, to not be living at school next year, I thought that I should get it done now, or I’d not get motivation to go somewhere in long biking distance for a while to come. I tried twice. The first time I got a flat tire at about the 25 mile mark (out of 30) which was pretty lame. My bike continued to get flat tires a number of times this semester, this time, I may have found out why.
I usually used the UP bike shop to get tires repaired because it only costs a couple bucks to get a new tube there and the labor is free. This time, when I went there, they were too backed up to accept new bikes so they told me they could sell me the tube, and I could do it myself. I’d been a bit suspicious of the number of flats that I’d been getting and I was willing to do the repair myself. I took down the tube size I needed off my wheels and went to get the tube. It turned out, they don’t actually carry the size of tube that the wheels said I should use…..epic win
So, I decided I should probably go see if the right size of tube might do me any better. Thus, I needed an online expedition to get myself the right size of tube. Of course I got lazy and didn’t get around to it for a bit. Then one day my bike (as well as hannah’s) disappeared out of our side yard. Apparently stolen. While I wouldn’t say I’m happy about it, I think it’s pretty funny that someone stole my flat tired bike. So, at least I didn’t have to deal with the flat tire.
From then on I’ve been using bikes that the UP bike shop loans out for free. With one of those bikes, I did make the bike out to forest grove all the way. The bikes happen to be a bit too small for me though so the long ride turned out to be a little painful… Worth it!

Current Location: forest grove
Current Music: none
12:21 pm: Some "fun" with a robot
So, this semester was very likely the hardest semester I have had thus far in my college career. Due to that, I haven’t written an entry for something like 3 months. That means, now, we get to hear tim talk about a bunch of stuff he’s all but forgotten along side a bunch of stuff that’s fresh in his memory. So, over some span of time now, I will be doing a blog-athon about the past 12-13 weeks highlights that are still memorable enough to talk about.

School has been pretty intense since the middle of the semester the upper division EE class entitled “microprocessor interfacing” (should have been called embedded systems/ controller design) was a real trial in a number of ways. It started out as nice discussions about hardware design considerations with a little assembly programming. About half way through the semester, when we were assigned our first of four labs. At this point, I took a look at our syllabus and realized just how back loaded this class was.

We had completed about 10% of our grades work at that half way point. That worried me a little bit, to say the least. We were also getting enough experience in assembly programming that we were to start our main end project for the term. An autonomous robot. (robot that avoids running into things)

Supposedly, the physical part of the robot was built for us, just without the electronics setup done (the motors were mounted on a frame). So, the project was split into three parts for the three people in the class, the physical part (given to me), the avoidance algorithm (given to MJ), and the sensor interfacing (given to Zubin).
In case anyone has forgotten(you’re crazy if you haven’t), MJ is a graduate EE student, and Zubin is a 7 year senior EE. As the term progressed, it came out that there were some… creative differences between my two group members. They both had very different ideas about how the project should be run.

Eventually I became involved too, despite my best efforts to remain neutral and point out what I felt were the strengths in both of their methods. This made for a very frustrating project. As far as playing to our strengths, I think it turns out that we failed to do that. I actually turned out to be the most gifted coder in our group, doing the physical stuff which heavily involved circuit debugging, which either of our other group members had much more experience with than me. The good thing about that is I now am much more experienced in such debugging which will make all the classes that should have taught me that, a whole lot easier, when I do take them.

At any rate, through much disagreement and pain and hard work, due to what I still think is faulty hardware, the robot never ran. We put plenty of work into that project for an A but according to the grading rubric, we should have something more like an F due the terribly limited functionality. I really don’t know how we will get graded but I learned a huge amount from that project, so that’s good.

I think the most frustrating part for me was that it felt, with the exception of Zubin (meaning Dr. Lu and MJ) people didn’t really trust that my opinion meant anything. I was much less educated, but ultimately I feel as I was assigned to the physical part of the project, they should trust my judgment about that sort of the project. I was unable the entire term to convince them that there were some pretty severe hardware problems that I was unable to fix.
After finals week, I left and told MJ what the state of the robot was (as Lu continued to extend the deadline for that project again and again in hopes that we could get it to work). MJ was never able to fix the physical problems either as it turns out. That, at least was a bit satisfying to me.

I really wonder (more than care) what my grade will be in that class. That’s a hard decision to make for Dr. Lu. This is the last time the course happened before the accreditation visit and according to the grading system on the syllabus, we should all get D’s or worse in the project.

Despite how painful it was, I got a lot out of it, so, as long as I pass, I won’t complain too much.

Just in, my overall grade is apparently a B in this course. That is acceptable.

Current Location: Forest Grove
Current Music: none

February 3rd, 2009

02:02 am: You can skip the first two paragraphs if you don't care about the intelectual rants
I can’t really tell at this point how long this phase will last but like the typical male, I seem to have become infatuated with motor vehicles as of late. More in a theoretical, efficiency sense, than in a lusting after a nice car sense. I guess what started it was something a conversation, me and Hannah had. She became upset with me for presuming that the poor in rural areas could do without a car. Being once in rural poverty once herself, I can understand the ignorance bothering her. I didn’t say anything at the time, as I deemed it not a time for confrontation; However, I, once again started thinking about more affordable ways to get around. The foremost of which was a smaller motor vehicle. When I started to research motorcycles, I found that as far as what is sold in the US, there was not one motorcycle that would get above 80 mpg max, as an advertised mileage. (as a point of reference, the best non-hybrid cars get in the 40-45 range tops) However, almost every motorcycle was advertised as getting from 0 to 60 in under 5 or 6 seconds (depending on class). This strikes me as a very odd feature to find so desirable; Even if you were on the highway at rest with no cars in sight, I’d find this an odd thing to want. Anyways, looking into scooters in this country and others, we don’t even sell things in this country that get near countries like India, which is just stupid. Their best is about 50 KPL ( about 117.5 mpg) Also stupid, is how much our motorcycles cost, you might as well have a car here. I think I’ll be sticking to my petal powered bike for a while longer. It seems such a beautiful balance of everything. I suppose one could make the argument that my bike costs a great deal of maintenance costs though. I’m rather prone to bike braking…

On another note of motor vehicles, something that I’ve enjoyed (and not enjoyed sometimes) doing myself, while driving, is observing things that are sociological laws of the road, while not being legal and often in no way I can understand being good ideas. There are more obvious things like that everyone wants to move faster than is fuel efficient on the highway. There are also things that I’ve been more surprised with such as rules about how long to accelerate and when to break when you are coming to some kind of stop. One of the largest reasons that I prefer driving manual transmission to driving auto is that neutral is so much more accessible, thus, when there is a red light a fair distance ahead or, even more, a stop sign/more guaranteed stop I like to try to coast to it. Sometimes, even if this causes no delay (which it very rarely does more than a couple seconds, and because of when I’m doing it, it doesn’t cause lights to be missed) I pay attention to how close I get followed etc and notice this makes other drivers uncomfortable. Even more interesting to me, is that when I do this with no other cars behind me, as having only a permit I am always with people in a car, this stopping pattern can make me feel that passengers in the car are uncomfortable. This could be me being self conscious; I don’t think that’s what it is though.

Chemistry is a great source of aggravation right now. Mostly chemistry lab, though it’s largely due to a lack of having covered the material in lecture that we’re expected to have down by the time we get to lab. We still haven’t covered the material in lecture that we should’ve known going into last week’s lab. This week’s lab was just terrible, awful, no-good, very bad. The other thing that doesn’t seem to help me though, is my lab partner. I became acquainted with him in engineering statistics this last summer. He seemed fine, so I thought I’d be his partner. He is a complete ass. I don’t know if this is a legitimate stereotype but he spent some time in the navy. Having already passed the lecture (but dropped the lab), he’s great at making me feel like I should know things. It’s not even his fault that I don’t have the right knowledge for the lab. He also spends a whole lot of time, not only flirting with the lab aid, but trying to instigate sexual comments about me and the lab aid. All this really isn’t even as bad as vector calc though, so, I guess that means it can get worse. Still, one can hope it gets better.

Oddly enough, my favorite class by far is my highly programming oriented class. I still am convinced that I won’t enjoy the coding but starting over with a completely new assembly language that I’m expected to know nothing about, but knowing where my knowledge tends to fall short in programming, having had plenty of classes to see my pitfalls, is making this course really ok!

It also really makes me feel at home intellectually, which is odd because I’m in with a graduate level EE and a 7th year EE senior. This was actually the first time I realized how well versed in hardware computing I was in anything comparable to a formal education. Also, since it’s a 3 person class, everything seems more out in the open. For example, our second homework was joked about as a class because two of us (the grad student and me) seemed to miss listing the CPU as a component of a microcontroller. That’s really truly sad!

The wedding date and location have been changed, but are once again fairly settled on. Everyone seems happy; Wootz! I also think it’s really interesting the groups of people me and Hannah invite. I feel more like inviting those who I feel are really close to me. She pretty much invites a lot of people for reasons I would not, including some people who apparently invited themselves. As it is here’s the guest breakdown:

Tim’s family invites: 16

Hannah’s family invites: 43

Tim’s friends: 7

Hannah’s friends: 27

Mutual friends: 6

I think it’s a rather interesting comparison. I’m also completely fine with Hannah inviting who she wants to, so this is in no way a criticism. I just think it’s interesting how different the view of this event is. That is of course very common for men and women to see a much different purpose in the wedding itself.

I guess that’s about it…

Current Music: Phil Wickham - Always forever

January 15th, 2009

01:02 pm: Misc
Due to my apparent lack of need for sleep lately, I have found time to write this post. I’ve also found time to play games of warcraft. So far I’ve played two today and they were my two favorite types of games, which are the following:
1)A great, exciting game with a worthy and well mannered opponent.
2)A game where my opponent was a bad mannered, jerk, who failed to adapt to me not playing the cookie cutter strategy, and was thus dominated. At the end of the game he decided to share that his loss was entirely due to “fucking lag”, not his lack of units that could attack my air units; thus of course I was a “lucker newb”.
Sometimes the bad mannered internet gamers can make me so happy :)

In actual news, wedding plans recently came back to scratch, so, that was actually a great relief to me. I like the open discussion part much better. If only that part could last forever, while we sneak away and get married…

Uh...here’s a joke about women:

I don’t know that I have all that much to say really, back to school… Oh, so there was California that was acceptable, except for the part where Hannah’s family is pretty vicious about poking fun at vegetarianism. I don’t seem to mind that nearly as much as her. As a matter of fact, they all seemed very pleased with the compromises I make to vegetarianism. Still, they probably shouldn’t be so harsh. But, families all suck somehow. It could be worse.

On another not very important note, as I've never really liked fake meat too much, due to it mainly tasting like slightly drier regular meat, which I was never a big fan of to begin with, I forgot that bacon was always too greasy for me. Fakeon (Fake bacon) is actually really good. If any of you, like me, enjoy the general taste of bacon but find it too salty and/or greasy I highly suggest it.

In case it's of any use to anyone, here's my schedule this term.

I mention it mostly so people will hopefully never (ever ever ever) bother me on mondays, EVER!

Guess that's about it unless people care that my bike was broken again. It's fine now, apparently.
(ever ever ever!!)

Current Location: Nice dark basement!

January 6th, 2009

08:11 pm: I hate the people using the word Indian to describe native americants for this reason...

There is no Indians (the kind from India) listed so I have a hard time distinguishing what is meant by "Indian Americans" because there is also an "american" category. I did figure it out (it meant native American) but these sorts of things should be clearly labeled on the graphs.

On another slightly related note (in that Hannah is native American), the advantages Hannah thinks avocados have health wise are as follows "It's a healthy fat!" and "It's good for non ingestion uses, like in hair!"

Current Location: My Cuddle Bunny's place
Current Music: NONE!

December 16th, 2008

07:06 pm: Something lost. Something cleaned.
I seem to have lost my ring and as of a few days later, have yet to find it. How will people know what a pimp I am if they can't see my ring!?

Also, for the first time as far as I can recall I made the dishwasher sud out, due to my choice of liquid soap after not finding any of the solid kind. So, in addition to getting the dishes washed I got the kitchen floor here washed!

Good times.

Current Music: Dido - Thank You
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