quasigeostrophy: (Default)
Passed my thesis defense this morning/afternoon.

Public presentation went okay. I still stumbled a bit, but got through it. The defense itself was rough, but appropriate. It felt like less of a 'defense' and more of a discussion of my thesis and what things could be tweaked and/or explanations for why I did things a certain way.

Got really nervous during the few minutes the committee decided my fate, but that didn't take too long, and they each came out and shook my hand.

Then I went to lunch with my labmates to blow off steam. About to turn in my paperwork and head home to collapse. I'll have plenty of edits to do before I turn in my final thesis next week, but I've been told by my advisor not to worry about them until Thursday. :-)


Dec. 12th, 2008 08:36 am
quasigeostrophy: (Default)
If anyone wants to pray to the Grad School Funding Gods, cross fingers and/or toes, send vibes, or whatever, today it would be greatly appreciated.

The Purdue Homeland Security Institute is supposed to notify finalists today for the fellowship for which I applied. Given how well-received my proposal has been by the faculty on my committee, I'm hopeful, but they're not among the Institute's reviewers, save perhaps one of them.


Oct. 24th, 2008 08:42 am
quasigeostrophy: (medical)
"Get in, get out, quit frakking about."

That has to be the most efficient and painless (in more ways than one) flu shot experience ever.

Last year, Purdue offered them to employees and graduate staff for free and it was first-come, first-served, on one day, in one place. The line and the wait were horrendous.

This year, appointments. Multiple times and days. Multiple locations.

I meandered into the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility right before my appointment time of 8:00am. People were there, but there was essentially no line. Fill this out, go here, sit down, turn your head that way, cough, get stuck, here's your copy of your paperwork, kthksbye.
quasigeostrophy: (Dru needs Geek)
(That's not similar to a song title, too, is it?)

Forgot to add this to the post this morning, but I don't think it's generic enough for most college towns. The big marquee outside Mackey Arena rotates through messages about upcoming concerts, sporting events, etc. It also displays the temperature.

To a tenth of a degree.

This morning: 57.3 F.
On the way home this afternoon: 84.7 F.

Say it with me now: Geeks. :-)
quasigeostrophy: (Dru needs Geek)
It seems the College of Engineering at Purdue has undertaken a new marketing campaign: Engineering Impact.

I was walking from Math to the parking garage after class this afternoon, when in front of the steps at the entrance to the Mechanical Engineering building I saw a new glass sign with the new Engineering Impact design at the top. The text below:

Before Neil Armstrong took the most important step in history, he stepped in here for Thermo.

I have a feeling these signs are going to start popping up all over campus. As long as they don't show up in the bathroom.

Oh well, still not quite like the Feynman shrine section in the CalTech bookstore, IMHO. :-)
quasigeostrophy: (Dru needs Geek)
Video of Inefficient burger-making machine from Rube Goldberg contest at Purdue

Nationals are April 5, at the Purdue Armory (more info at the link).
quasigeostrophy: (Dru needs Geek)
This year's task was to make a hamburger in the least efficient way.

Purdue Society of Professional Engineers wins Rube for fourth year in a row
quasigeostrophy: (snoopy share)
On Tuesday, a flash mob came up and worshiped the engineering fountain for exactly one minute (link to video shared by [livejournal.com profile] elmegil):

When I was at Purdue the first time, as a freshman out of high school, that fountain looked a lot more like the one at Grant Park in Chicago, with a nice concrete bench rim around it and smooth edges. Just as my first year of college was wrapping up, they started rebuilding it into (almost) what it looks like now. The powers that be named it "Aspiration". To me, it should be "Agitation", as it looks like a washing machine agitator. After years of people running through it, particularly after imbibing too many liquid recreational chemicals, they installed the steel tube in the center. It doesn't help.


Feb. 17th, 2007 08:17 am
quasigeostrophy: (Default)
  • I should have known none of the seniors in my radar meteorology class would get my Torchwood t-shirt yesterday morning, when before lab most of them were talking about The O.C..
  • Looking back at Thursday's headline in The Indianapolis Star of "Promise: Roads clear by Saturday" makes me laugh that they didn't consider that we're currently getting 2 - 4 inches of more snow.
  • I don't feel so bad for being achy after all the shoveling Wednesday, when my radar & dynamics prof/advisor's husband, who is fairly fit, was still achy yesterday as well. :-)
  • I need to start studying for my atmospheric physics test that is next Friday, although it's open book/open notes/according to the prof, "open anything" (I joked about bringing my laptop). Also next Friday I have dynamics homework and a radar lab due. The former looks easy, the latter, I'm in the middle of, and it's a pain.
  • I'm bummed Trader Joe's seems to have stopped carrying the ginger slices I love. I got a bulk order of chunks from a place called The Ginger People, and it's pretty good, but has had waaaaay too much sugar added.
  • I need to order a t-shirt from Pandemonium Books in Cambridge, MA. They're one of the places I love to hit regularly when in the area (in fact, it's probably one of the few places we'll venture away from Ipswich for over spring break). I want to get one of these to help them stay in business, as they've got an awesome selection, particularly of UK-published imports.
  • More later as events warrant. :-)
quasigeostrophy: (Default)
And I need to go shower. Four separate shifts to get the driveway shoveled. I'd go out for about 20-30 minutes, get tired, come in and rest for about the same, and go back and do it all again. But it's done. And I still don't have to go up to Purdue tomorrow, because my advisor and I agreed to cancel our meeting - besides, Tippecanoe County Schools are closed through Friday and this works out better for her situation, too.

Toni took some pictures of my progress with the driveway and walkway. Here they are in order:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Sorry, but I just don't have enough of a brain to write captions at the moment.
quasigeostrophy: (weather book)
89%. That's what I got on my first dynamics exam celebration of knowledge. A couple of careless mistakes at 5 points each, one more of a D'oh! than the other, and I could have had a 94 or a 99, but I'm fine with it. My advisor is helping me shift my concentration from perfect course grades to emphasizing my research, so I'm working on that.

Today we got to the point of deriving the general equation for the more exact form of my username (geostrophic balance - we don't study quasigeostrophic approximation until 2nd semester dynamics, I think).

Back at It

Jan. 10th, 2007 06:29 pm
quasigeostrophy: (Default)
Semester/Holiday break wasn't quite what I planned, but isn't that life? Got a new sump pump installed and motivation to start tossing a lot of the basement clutter, thanks to a low but comprehensive flood over New Year's weekend. Got another estimate and go-ahead from the insurance adjuster for the roof replacement, including all our hail-damaged window screens and temporary roof patching (14 shingles) to hold us until winter is over. We think we're going to paint the kitchen and master bedroom water stains ourselves and save on our deductible. Chauffeured Toni a lot due to her shoulder issues. Thankfully, she worked from home a lot while I was home, so that usually just meant PT and various appointments. We did go with Toni's brother to see our niece at a gymnastics meet at the Convention Center last Saturday. She did okay, and it was fun to see. This is Toni's brother's middle child. I've been blamed for years by her brother for her advanced sarcasm, and boy is it coming out. She's only 11! :-)

Monday was the first day back to school. I have classes only Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and I have all three classes each of those days. My advisor's husband teaches radar and dynamics, and in-between for atmospheric physics I have the first prof I met there back at the start of my application process, an older south Asian gentleman with one name who has much more of a sense of humor in class than I expected. And he gives open-book/open-notes exams.

I'll have to go up to campus on most Thursdays, too, because my advisor has scheduled weekly meetings this semester (she's not teaching and she's trying for tenure) beginning at the end of January (after much of the department gets back from the AMS conference in San Antonio next week). And she's already given me a lot more work for my research. By the time of my first meeting, I need to write up not only the brainstorming ideas for visualization I came up with over break, but she also requested a formal survey of meteorological visualization software, particularly for radar, currently in use. She's working on a paper for BAMS (Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society) for later this year, and this might possibly mean co-author credit for me. It will also be good foundation material for my thesis.

I can tell I need to readjust to the commute again - three weeks off was just long enough to get used to not doing it. Tomorrow is allergy shots, take Toni to PT, and start on some physics homework. Over the weekend, I still need to finish assembling our new stationary recumbent bicycle along with finishing some other minor household tasks. And no school Monday. :-)
quasigeostrophy: (Starbuck Cat)

Woohoo! Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a math grade out of my ass! :-)

ETA: I think I'm happier about these than I expected to be, and I've thought about why. Sure, I already took over the same classes that I did poorly on up there 22 years ago and I aced them this time, but I did the do-overs at IUPUI. This time I can now not only say that this was back up at West Lafayette, where my academic monkey-on-the-back was born, but also these classes are beyond the ones that gave me the initial trouble.
quasigeostrophy: (weather book)
Note to Self: Don't ask just any professor just any particular question in the field. He or she isn't going to know (or care), if it isn't in his or her concentration. :-)
quasigeostrophy: (Default)
Caffeine intake has already begun.

I've decided what I'm doing for the chemistry final. I'm going to read through what I hadn't read in the text that was covered in the first semester class, go through a sample ACS test I downloaded, and give the ACS study guide questions a once-over. I'm not going to kill myself this weekend.

Monday is transition day. After the final is over, I'm heading straight for Purdue to take care of several things:
  • Register with Payroll for research assistantship job and attend student employee orientation meeting.
  • Get commuter parking pass.
  • Get student ID.
  • Check with Financial Aid on student loan status.
  • Turn in immunization form with Student Health Services.
  • Check with Student Health Services about getting my allergy shots there.
  • Check in with EAS Department graduate secretary to get office assignment, keys, etc.
  • Chat with advisor briefly if she's available.

So, one test and the eight-month affair with IUPUI will be over. I was talking to a classmate the other day about how, in a sense, it seems like I haven't learned anything from a conceptual standpoint. All of the concepts, theories, and ideas have either been refreshed from years ago when I wasn't doing as well or didn't get as far, or they've just seemed intuitive to me. What I've learned in these eight months of fundamental classes are methods for mathematically dealing with those concepts. So, even though I've always understood how certain chemical reactions are spontaneous or not, now I can say to what extent. Or even though I've had a feel for how a vortex spins around, now I can figure out how much.

This intuition is something I need to be wary of, though, too. It can get in the way of scientific reasoning. Back when I was in a script writing class for my first degree, I heard a great quote from William Goldman, the brilliant writer of The Princess Bride, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, etc. He said (paraphrased) that a difficult thing a writer sometimes has to do is kill his children, meaning he may have an idea in which he's fallen in love, but it just doesn't fit the story and doesn't work. I see an analogy in being a scientist and the danger of intuition being wrong. Preconceived notions for how something works may be difficult to deal with when one is staring in the face of data that points the other way.

I need to psych myself up for the transition to Purdue. I've come a long way since I started back at IUPUI, not just from what I've covered in the classes, but in the mental discipline for dealing with a heavy science course workload and vanquishing the demons from not doing well in this stuff the last time. I still don't think it has set in that what I'm finishing up was nothing compared to what is ahead. The 'A's may not come so "easily" (heck, from some comments I've seen, I'll love a 'B' in EAS 421, my own advisor's atmospheric thermodynamics course). I take heart in one thing, though: at least I'll be learning the topic I came for!! There's a lot of motivation in that. I do enjoy the material, but I want out of these fundamental classes already and I want to be studying meteorology for crying out loud. I probably still have a lot of math ahead, but that's okay - it will tie in as I am studying meteorology in other classes. What I'm not sure of at the moment is the research assistantship position - I really don't know what I'll end up doing on a day-to-day basis yet, but, from what my advisor has said so far, that's normal and okay. It will come.

Need more caffeine...
quasigeostrophy: (EAS)
I'm in! Via e-mail a few minutes ago from the Purdue Earth & Atmospheric Sciences department graduate secretary:

Congratulations! I am pleased to inform you that the Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences Graduate Committee will recommend your admission to Graduate School at Purdue University for the Fall 2006 Semester for advanced study towards a M.S. degree. Formal notification will come directly to you from the Graduate School, from whom you should hear in a few weeks. Prof. L-T has indicated enthusiasm to act as your initial advisor. As such, she will assist you in formulating an initial (first semester) program of coursework and thesis research leading to the M.S. degree. Prof. L-T is pleased to offer you an appointment as a one-half time (20 hours per week) Research Assistant (RA) through the auspices of her NSF visualization grant.


I know it says "M.S." but when I was at the admissions expo a couple of weekends ago, I talked with Dr. L-T about a Ph.D. She said it should be no problem after a semester or so to petition the graduate school to change my status. This gets me in! And I have to pay about $600 per semester in "graduate staff fees" but otherwise, tuition is waived and I'll be getting a stipend. Enough to pay for gas, food, and possible lodging if ever I'm there so late I don't want to drive all the way home.


Now, the real work begins...


Feb. 25th, 2006 06:56 pm
quasigeostrophy: (Bugs drag)
I almost forgot to mention that at last night's dinner, several of us current and prospective EAS grad students decided we should form a Purdue curling team.

When someone said that he wasn't sure where we could get stones to practice, I said, "Several of you are geologists! You don't know where to find granite rocks?"

quasigeostrophy: (hurricane)
Now this class sounds like fun! Watch disaster movies and critique the geosciences used therein! :-)


quasigeostrophy: (Default)

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