Sunday, February 20, 2011


Hey everybody!

Check this out!

It's my name!

On a cubicle!

I have my very own cubicle!

How cool is that?!


Would you like the grand tour?

(Answer: You bet.)

Yes...I thought you might...

Here it is!

I have a nice big wrap-around desk,
a computer with a nice big monitor,
a nice big office chair,
a big fancy phone with my very own extension,
a desk lamp,
a Varian water bottle,
a moustache mug,
a daily crossword puzzle calendar,
my first Engineer's Notebook,
and the project I am working on.

Here's another view.

I have a second office chair,
a small bookshelf with some textbooks on it,
safety glasses (which I have to wear every time I go get office supplies,)
and lots of drawer space.

So what do you think?

Yeah, I know, it's pretty barren at this point.

Give me a break! It was only my first week!

My Dad says I need to figure out how to customize my "geek-o-sphere".

So I am open to suggestions.

How do you think I should jazz up my cubicle?

School memorabilia?
More books?
More papers?

I really need some help here.

Imagine what this could become...

Just to let you know, my first week went great!
I think I will really like this job. :)
I really like everyone I work with, and the projects we work on are really interesting.
Plus it's really cool to work is such a huge place with so many cool things going on!

I will do another post in the future outlining some of the awesome things about the place I work, bur for now I hope you are satisfied with a little peek at where I will be spending the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sparks are Gonna Fly!

Today was fairly interesting.
I went to work at my new job (which is awesome,) followed by paintball practice.

While we were at the paintball place, all the lights suddenly went out.
We went outside to see what was what, and saw that all the buildings within eyesight were dark.
A lady said that the sky lit up blue and flashed a few times.
That can mean only one thing...blown power transformer.

So I packed up my stuff and headed home.
Did I mention it was a freaking blizzard outside?!

While I was driving along on the freeway I suddenly saw the sky light up like the lady had described.
I looked over and saw bright blue sparks erupting from the transformer on a nearby powerline.
Suddenly all the lights on the freeway went out.

But wait, there's more!
As I was coming up one of the main streets in my place of residence, I suddenly had to change lanes because a big pine tree had fallen down and was blocking part of the road.

To top it all off I saw a car with its hazard lights on, slipping and sliding, unable to make it up the hill leading to my street.
The weather was just too much for that little car to handle.
I was glad my car did well.

It's been a long time since I had such an exciting drive home.
I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I Guess I Can't Be a Bum Anymore...

The other day I got this thing in the mail.

I looked quite officious.

I opened it up and found a rather thick packet.

Inside, among other things, was this piece of paper.

I got a job!

I start on Monday!

Finally I get to start my career as a mechanical engineer!

I guess my days of being a bum are over. Oh well...

I am actually very excited to start my career.  I've been so focused on finishing school that I hadn't really thought much about the next step.  It feels really good to have a plan for the future, and the promise of income again.  (I haven't worked in over a year and a half.)  I guess it is time to repay those student loans. :)

The other day, when I was talking to Robin about my new job, I had a realization.  I realized that I had been feeling pretty down and depressed for quite a while because I was embarrassed by my situation in life.  Still in school, living at home, no job, 28 years old and single, etc.  For the first time in ages, I feel proud of what I am doing! I now have a degree, have a good job, and can finally move out and become independent!

This is a really good feeling.

Monday, February 7, 2011

TRON: Legacy, and the Uncanny Valley

TRON: Legacy has been getting mixed reviews, but I rather liked it!
It won't be winning any major awards anytime soon, but it was very cool and very fun.
I would give it three and a half stars out of five.

When I first heard about TRON: Legacy over a year ago, I was almost certain that it would be a stand-alone movie that would introduce the younger generations to the concepts of TRON.  After seeing it for myself, I was very surprised at how much the plot depended on knowledge of the first film.
My understanding is that very few young people have seen the original 1982 TRON film, and I think the new sequel would be more than a little confusing to those people.  This may be the reason it has generated some negative reviews.

If you are one who has actually seen the original TRON, congratulations! You have reached an elite level of nerd-hood coveted by many.

Now for my review:

I was very impressed by the performance of Garrett Hedlund who played Sam Flynn.  He did an excellent job, and I think he is destined for movie stardom.  I would like to see him in some more actiony-type-movies.

Olivia Wilde was very good in her role as Quorra.  I liked all of her scenes, especially her fighting scenes.  I wish they would have made the importance of her character more apparent though.  They made a big deal about how she was the last of her kind, and how essential she was, but they never really explained why she was so special.  Perhaps I just need to watch it again.

I was less impressed with Jeff Bridges performance as Kevin Flynn.  True Grit was definitely his better film this year, and possibly the best of his career.  In TRON: Legacy they played the hippie/zen card quite heavily with Bridges, and that seemed strange for such a high-tech setting.

I wish more of the plot would have revolved around Tron himself.  You don't even find out who he is until nearly the end of the film, and he doesn't seem to have much impact on the plot.  I think it would have been better if they had revealed Tron midway through the film, and then had the plot hinge around his character more.  They briefly explained Tron's background, but you don't really get a full sense of his importance unless you have seen the first film. It was nice to see Bruce Boxleitner return though.

The film is definitely visually stunning.  I always had the impression that this new TRON movie would represent what the original TRON would have been like had better technology existed back then.  I was right!  This film brought the concepts and art of the original to a spectacularly new level! It definitely didn't disappoint on the visual front.

Check out the differences between the films in these two trailers.  (By the way, the modern trailer for the original TRON makes it look WAY cooler than it actually is.)

Pretty cool huh?

My only real complaint about TRON: Legacy is the issue of the Uncanny Valley.
If you have never heard of this term, it refers to artificial beings with human-like characteristics.  There is a point when something artificial looks human enough to be convincing, but lacks a certain "living" quality which gives it a creepy appearance.  In TRON: Legacy, this was the case with the younger CGI versions of Jeff Bridges.  If you look at the still images he looks incredibly real, but once you see him moving and talking, you can tell something isn't quite right. 
In fact, the Wikipedia article on the Uncanny Valley actually uses Tron: Legacy as an example.

It is an interesting issue with modern CGI and robotics.

Ok, there you have it.  I hope you have enjoyed this quick little review.  I am eager to hear your thoughts on the film if you have seen it.

OH!  It is also worth mentioning that this film has a KILLER soundtrack!  If you like techno or electronica even a little bit, you will love the music from TRON: Legacy.  Daft Punk combines techno with an epic orchestral score for a very unique and thrilling sound.  Give it a listen.  I am totally digging this music!

"I fight for the Users!"

Of Mice and Men

A few weeks ago I read Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. I thought it was excellent! It is very genuine, human, and moving, but also very sad. You can't help but fall in love with the simple minded Lennie with his love of animals, and his simple dream for the future. He has a very innocent way of looking at everything, and it breaks your heart when bad things are happening all around him.

I love the descriptive language that Steinbeck uses. He has a way of simply and effectively connecting you to the characters and the setting. He doesn't use flowery overly detailed descriptions that drone on for pages and pages; he states things very simply, but very accurately. You know exactly where you are, who is there with you, and what is going on around you. When you read this book you feel as though you were actually there with the characters as a silent observer. It is very captivating.

I really liked this book, but it is definitely a very sad tragedy. There were several jaw-dropping moments for me. If you haven't read it yet, try not to be caught off guard when bad things happen, otherwise it might not be a very satisfying read.