Old News

(September 15) I've moved my News/Blog over to an actual blog. The link is in the section header above this post. Posts prior to September 6, 2007 will still be archived on the Old News page. All newer stuff will be on the blog. I've set it up so people can register and post comments. We'll see how that goes.

(August 20) I have multiple updates today, and more are on the way.  First, I've updated my Red Line and Lechmere pages with a few new photos.  Next, I've added a page for the E Line.  Finally, I've put up my photos from my trip to Nebraska.

(July 22) I updated my Greensboro page with photos from this year's 4th of July fireworks and parade.

(June 15) I added some photos to my Riverside Branch page, and added a page for the Cleveland Circle Branch.  I also added some new photos to my Red Line page showing the latest work at Ashmont.

(June 10) Alright, so I lied about that update.  Instead, I've added a bunch of photos to my Seashore Trolley Museum page, and added a page for Amtrak in Maine (I finally caught the Downeaster in Kennebunkport).  Enjoy.

(April 27) I have some new photos of the Orange Line and Commuter Rail waiting to be worked on.  I'll put them up eventually.

(March 28) I finally posted my photos of the final Boeing trip, along with several more videos from that trip.  Enjoy.

(March 17) The last revenue run of Boeing LRVs on the Green Line was yesterday.  I'll have my photos up soon, and I've posted two videos from the trip on my Green Line page.

(March 9) It's a good thing I went looking for Boeings (see below) when I did: according to NETransit, the last ones were retired on Tuesday after 3500 broke down.  Six of them remain serviceable if there aren't enough Type 7's or 8's available.

(February 26) I went railfanning today (in spite of the snowstorm) and got some more photos of the Riverside branch.  Among them are several photos of a pair of Boeings.  I also finally got some photos of the new #5 East Boston Tunnel (Blue Line) cars at Wellington (last three photos).

I got a 17" MacBook Pro as a birthday present to myself two weeks ago, and it works like a charm.  The Setup Assistant transferred everything over from my PowerBook, so it was almost as if I hadn't changed computers, except for the larger screen.  iPhoto and Aperture in particular run much faster now, which saves me a lot of time.

(February 6) I took some night photos of the Boston skyline.  You can find them under Whatever.

(January 21) I've finally added a page for the Red Line.

(January 6, 2007) I completely redid my Green Line page, splitting it into separate pages for each station.

(December 21) I've added a page of my photos from Seashore Trolley Museum.

I am definitely getting a MacBook Pro after January 9 (that's when Steve Jobs is giving his Macworld keynote).  I'm tired of waiting while my PowerBook takes its own sweet time converting images and videos between formats.

(December 20) I've added a bunch of photos to my Green Line pages.  They can be found on the second index page.  I also plan to add a page for my Seashore Trolley Museum photos in the next day or so.

(December 3) I went to Seashore Trolley Museum with a friend yesterday for their Christmas Prelude.  I'll have photos up later, but for now I have a few videos taken while riding a pair of the museum's New York City subway cars (an R22/R33 pair).  The first was taken looking out the front window of the R33 car, the second while leaning out one of the cab windows of the R33 and looking along the side of the R22, and the third was taken from the ground as the cars were switched from the main line back to their storage siding.

(November 30) A friend of mine I was chatting with on AIM tonight asked for some help writing an essay on Palestine.  I responded with the following paragraph, which pokes fun at the last few millenia of history there. 

        "Palestine is a worthless piece of desert that has been fought over for most of recorded history. Usually over who's imaginary friend was better.  Palestine was originally promised to the Israelites by God, who claimed they were his chosen people. This decision was very unpopular among the Egyptians, Babylonians, Romans, and Muslims, all of whom have given the Jews hell ever since. Apparently, in God's language "chosen people" means "I really hate you, so I'm going to fuck you in the ass with a 2-foot steel dildo until Judgement Day.""

(October 27) I've added a bunch of photos to my Massachusetts railroad pages: Commuter Rail, CSX, Guilford, Green Line, Franklin Derailment, and a whole new Blue Line page.

(October 24) I've added a gallery of photos showing the damage to cab car 1710, which was damaged in yesterday's derailment in Franklin.

(October 9) I've added a few new photos to my Amtrak page.

(September 9) I've added a video of Pan Am Railways #376 pulling some cars across the Third Avenue crossing in Somerville, MA, just outside Boston Engine Terminal.  It also features Lowell Line commuter trains 312 and 311 passing above the Pan Am train. [VIDEO REMOVED TO SAVE SPACE]

(September 1) I've posted episode 4 of "Celebrity Jeopardy: Daria Edition": "Decomposed Dicks".  You'll wonder what happened to my sanity while laughing your ass off.

(August 25) I've added new photos to my Commuter Rail page, a new page for the Blue Line, and a page for Guilford/Pan Am.

(August 23) I've added a few new fanfics.

(August 21) I've added a new gallery and several new photos elsewhere on the site.  There's a new gallery of Greensboro, VT under Whatever.  There's also new photos under Railroad Bridges, Interesting Railroad Photos, and Funny Pictures.

(August 1) I added some photos from my sailing trip last Sunday.  I also renamed Random to Funny Photos.

(July 29) Hola! My slides of Spain's high speed train, the AVE, are up now.  Enjoy.

(July 23) I've scanned my slides of Lisbon's trolleys and posted a page of them in my Trains directory.

(July 22) I moved the last 3 webpages over to the new server, so enjoy.

(July 21) Rose-Hulman finally deleted my website there.  Unfortunately, 3 of my webpages for trains in Massachusetts have not been moved over to the new server yet, so the links for them are dead.  These are the Amtrak, BNSF, and CSX pages.  I'll try to redo them over the weekend.  Meanwhile, the thunderstorm we're having is causing the power to flicker, so I'd better log off.

(July 15) I've put up a new page for my Rose-Hulman photos, replacing both of the previous ones.  There are some new photos and videos on the new one, while many of the older photos have been removed entirely.

(July 14) I've tripled my webspace, so I now have room to move the last few pages over from my old Rose-Hulman website (which the morons in IAIT have yet to delete).  Also, with the added room I'm thinking of adding a few videos.  I've already added one of the Southwest Chief.

(June 24) I've moved my MBTA pages over to the new server, and in the process added a few new pics to the Commuter Rail page and better historical information to all those pages.  That leaves just three pages left that need to be moved over.

I'm working at MBCR again this summer, so expect to see some new Commuter Rail photos, and perhaps some other stuff.

(May 17) We had a few minutes of half-inch hail at around 4:10 this afternoon.  That was interesting.  I've also added a new link to Acts of Gord.

(May 11) Not much today, just a new link to StupidProjects.net.

(May 7) I've posted the Automator workflows that I've created in a new page called Downloads.  They don't do much, but they are pretty useful.

(May 6) My roommates and I decided to go on an early morning photography expedition after watching The Godfather yesterday/today (whatever, I'm posting this at 2:30 AM).  I've put up a new page with the best shots from the trip.

(May 2) I've determined what webpages are going to be pulled from my website or trimmed down in the next month or so.  The Terre Haute, Brazil & Eastern/National Road Heritage Trail and Map of Terre Haute pages will be removed completely.  The Canadian Pacific (Indiana) page will be heavily cut and combined with the AK Steel and Hoosier Southern pages.  The Amtrak (Massachusetts) page will probably lose the High Speed Rail Shops section.

(April 30) All of my webpages relating to Japan have been replaced with new ones on this server.  Time to move on to my other railroad pages.

(April 28)  I'm experimenting with different homepages, one with and one without frames.

(April 26) Congress seems intent on making piracy of copyrighted material one of the worst crimes around. A new bill would make even attempted copyright infringement punishable by up to 10 years in prison. As this article notes, that's longer than what you'd get for downloading kiddie porn. That's right, looking at videos of 6-year-olds getting sexually abused is a lesser crime than making a copy of the new Goo Goo Dolls album for your friend is. As if the original Digital Millenium Copyright Act wasn't bad enough.

When the revolution comes, you can bet that the RIAA and MPAA executives will be among the first to lose their heads.

(March 28) My roommate showed me some truly ridiculous videos online.  Apparently, people down in his home state of Alabama claim to have seen a leprichaun.  The evening newscast that highlighted this story has of course made it onto the Internet where such insanity belongs.  Someone also did a rap remix of the broadcast.  These are definitely worth watching.

(March 24) I went to see UltraViolet tonight.  It's not very good.  The fight scenes look like they came from the Matrix, and would have been much more believable if they had been.  The digital effects weren't very good either: the computer generated cityscape looked like it was computer generated.  The only redeeming factor to the whole movie is that most of the violence (of which there's a lot) is committed by a hot chick. 

(March 13) I've made a new homepage.

(February 25) The last of my photos from Japan are finally up.  Woot!  They cover Hiroshima and Tokyo.  Enjoy.

(February 12) I turned 21 yesterday!  Yay!  I spent the day skiing at Perfect North, which was fun.  I've seen two movies recently, Hoodwinked and The Pink PantherHoodwinked had a pretty good plot, which is loosely based on Little Red Riding Hood.  Most of the movie revolves around the LRRH, Granny, the wolf and the lumberjack recounting to the police (who are investigating a domestic disturbance at Granny's) how they got there.  However, the movie suffers from CG animation which is best described as poor.  The movements of the characters (such as LRRH's legs when she's walking) don't look natural at times, and there are a number of short segments where the movie looks like it was done stop-motion style.  Toy Story was better done, and that was over a decade ago with slower computers.  Hopefully the rest of Hollywood will see this and decide to never hire Digital Eye Candy Studio (which did the visual work for the film) again.  The Pink Panther had the opposite problem.  The plot was only ok, but Inspector Clouseau's slapstick antics more than made up for it.  Definitely worth seeing if you like Looney Toons-style action.

(January 16) I've posted my photos from Bandelier National Monument.  And I've decided not to post any video from the burning vodka incident.

(January 15) My roommates and I had fun at 2:00 this morning burning vodka in a Pyrex bowl.  I have some before and after photos posted, and I'll post some videos posted later today.  We're crazy :)

(January 8, 2005) I've added a new page for the Daria fanfic I've written.  Some of it I had to search the archives of the PPMB to find, as I didn't write it on my computer originally.  Enjoy.

(December 31) Happy New Year!  I've added some new pages of photos from NM.  These are on a different server, as will all new pages that I add. The current pages are trainsin Albuquerque and the Tent Rocks.  Also check out one photo on the random page.

(December 17) College Humor posted a photo I submitted.  Check it out.  Now if only they'd post the other two I submitted.

(December 8) I've added a few photos to the Life at Rose and Random pages.

(December 3) The entire Kyoto page is back up.  Enjoy.

(December 1) Parts of the Kyoto page are back up.  I've indicated which photos or sections have been restored.

(November 27) The Himeji page is back up now.

(November 26) Sheesh!  We had 24 people at our house for Thanksgiving this year, which has to be a new record.  Some of them weren't even related to me. 

     I've removed the non-train photos of Japan from the site, as I have some new versions (that take up less space) to replace them with.  I may end up putting them on a different server entirely; I'm getting sick of the 2 KB/s bandwidth that's available for uploading data to my AFS drive.  I've also added a link to the podcast Ancestor down below. It's a great novel, and you really ought to check it out, especially if you liked Earthcore (check that out too, if you haven't already).

(November 14) As you might have guessed from the photo above, it's now that week that every student loves to bitch about: Finals Week [dramatic chord]!

(November 4) 9th and 10th weeks suck!  I have way too much stuff to do.

To make things worse, Coca-Cola announced that they were going to discontinue Vanilla Coke by the end of the year.  I'm basically addicted to the stuff, which I consider superior to regular Coke.  I'm starting to build up a small stockpile to last me through May.

(October 26) Sorry for the lack of updates recently.  I've been really busy with school work.  Fortunately, one of my three projects is done after this week. 

I'm really getting into having videos in iTunes.  I've added a number of videos of my own (all formatted for the iPod), some music videos and trailers I downloaded back in the days of iTunes 4, and several TV shows from the iTMS.  I bought one episode of Lost and all 4 currently available episodes of Night StalkerNight Stalker is really cool, so I'll probably keep downloading those episodes as they get released.  I do have a few complaints about iTunes' video support.  Music videos purchased with albums prior to the release of iTunes 6 can't have their video kind set to "Music Video" (they're permanently set to "Movie"), and you can't set the video kind of any TV shows you import from your computer to "TV Shows".  Speaking of which, Apple forgot to include a way to rip video from DVDs.  You have to search for third-party applications.  At least one, Handbrake, can convert from DVD directly to an iPod-compatible file, although it's very slow, taking over 4 minutes to convert each minute of video.

I've added a few pics to Life at Rose. 

(October 6) I had to get the motherboard in my PC laptop replaced today.  It seems that after two years of use the connections to the monitor came loose.  I adjusted the position of my screen in class and it went all screwy before turning off completely a minute later.  Fortunately, IAIT was able to repair it in just a few hours.  Based on anecdotal evidence, that craptop was long overdue for a hardware failure.  Most of my class has had to replace their hard drives at least once, and I know a few people who abuse their laptops so much that they have replaced practically every component except the frame at least once. I'm now worried about my hard drive dying next, because it's way overdue for a failure.  Or rather, I would be worried if I still used that computer for everything :-D

(October 1) I just added photos of the Pep Rally and Bonfire.

(September 30) I've added some photos to the Life At Rose page, so check those out, and also some photos to the Random and Railroad Bridges pages.

(September 27) One of my ancestors is now in the Slush Pile at the Darwin Awards (click on the link for "Doctor's Orders Smorders").  Fortunately, his intelligence genes don't seem to have been passed on.

(September 14) I've added a few pictures of Starrucca and Tunkhannock Viaducts to my trains page.

(September 13) Last night I listened to the first episode of Ancestor, Scott Sigler's follow-up to Earthcore.  It's off to a great start.  If you liked Earthcore, you'll like Ancestor.  You can subscribe to it in iTunes or go to http://www.project-daemon.net/.

(September 12) I think I've found a way to add the rest of my Japan photos without removing any more photos.  If I recompress all of them (including the ones already posted) to a lower quality I can put them all on and still have more free space than I have now.  Of course, that will take me a long time, which I don't have much of at the moment.  Maybe during the short break in October...

(September 8) I tried out a demo of the game Postal 2 that came with the latest issue of MacAddict.  It's a first person shooter which is sort of like Grand Theft Auto; there are some missions, but the main point of the game is to, well, go postal and raise some hell.  It's somewhat more graphic than GTA3.  For example, I decapitated someone with a shovel, and if you set bodies on fire they really look burned (you can get a pretty close-up view, too).  All in all, I thought it was pretty fun, and I'm definitely putting it on my Christmas list, if I don't go out and buy it sooner.

        Yesterday Apple replaced the iPod mini with the iPod nano, a pencil-thin flash player with a color screen and click wheel (essentially, it looks and functions as a miniature version of the full-sized iPods).  I think there are two major problems with it.  The lesser problem is that the nano loses the color choices of the mini (it only comes in the usual white or black).  One of the nice things about the mini was the fact that you could get it in whatever color you liked best, rather than one color Apple thought everyone should have.  The bigger problem has to do with the nano's case.  It has the same polished casing that the iPod has, which of course scratches and shows your fingerprints easily.  My favorite feature of the mini was its anodized aluminum casing, which can withstand a lot of day to day use without scratching.  Putting a case over the nano would easily double its thickness.  At least I don't need to worry about replacing my mini for at least a year (unless the battery dies over the winter), which will give me plenty of time to look at the case options for the nano for the inevitable time when I'll have to get one to replace my mini (hopefully by then a higher capacity version will be out).

(September 2) I've added a link to the Bathroom Server on the upper left of this page.  Now anyone can see if the bathroom in my dorm room is occupied or not!

(August 30) Sorry I haven't done anything here for a while.  After I upgraded to Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger I was unable to log in to my Samba folder, and my PC refuses to connect at all through the new modem my dad got.  The former error is now corrected and I can update the site again.  I have the page for the regular JR Lines almost done, so I will post that soon. 

UPDATE: I have the JR Lines page up; however, I had to delete the Robotics Team page to make room for it.  Several other pages or parts of pages are also on the scrap line, including: the Terre Haute, Brazil & Eastern page, the High Speed Rail shops section of the Amtrak page, parts of the Red Line, Commuter Rail, Canadian Pacific (Indiana), CSX (Indiana), Steamtown, and Life At Rose-Hulman pages.  If you want copies of these pictures, I suggest you copy them now.  Please do not use them without contacting me beforehand, though.

(August 4) The pages for the Transportation Museum, Shinkansen, Hiro-Den, and Meitetsu Railway are now up.  I've also updated the Kyoto and Tokyo Subways page with pics of the Tokyo subway.

(August 3) I can't post the new Japan pages I've created.  I made them on my PC, which now is unable to open up the folder on the RHIT server where my site is located.  In a total fluke, my Mac has better a VPN connection now, probably due to the new cable modem we got last week, which works a whole lot better than the old one.  Maybe I can try to transfer the pages over to here and post them with Contribute.

UPDATE: I've transferred the pages and photos for the Shinkansen, Meitetsu Railway, and the Tokyo Transportation Museum.  I have to go back and edit the links in the Shinkansen and museum pages, though.  That will be tomorrow's project.

(July 29) I have all my photos from Japan scanned in now, so I hope to post them by early next week.

(July 9) I now have pages for the Kintetsu Railway and the Kyoto Subway up.  Tomorrow I'll try to do a page for Kyoto.  I still have most of my pictures from Hiroshima and Tokyo to scan in.

(June 30) I'm sorry it's taking me so long to scan in my photos.  I'm trying to do one or two rolls a night.  Tomorrow I should get the last of my Kyoto pictures in and I'll see if I can make pages for the Kintetsu Railway and the Kyoto subway.  Most of the other pages will have photos from the whole trip on them, and I don't want to do those pages until I have everything scanned in.

(June 23) If you look up in the site directory to the left and on my trains page, you'll see I've put up text indicating what the pages for my Japan trip will be.  The non-train stuff may be split up into multiple pages, depending on how much there is.  So you know, I've scanned in the first two rolls of film, so there's "only"  21 rolls left to do.  I've been too busy to do any scanning this week, but I plan a marathon session this weekend.  May the Force (preferably the electric and magnetic forces) be with me.

        Today the MBTA received 4 new bilevel coaches from Kawasaki for the Southside commuter rail lines, numbers 904-7.  CSX finally brought them over from Beacon Park at 5:30 PM last night after letting them sit there for three days.  At some point last night the local graffiti artist spray-painted one corner of the 907.  This morning I was able to take some photos of the new cars, although another manager looking them over told me not to post them on the Internet.  I'm sure there's some BS reason about security for that. 

(June 18)  The trip to Japan was great.  I learned a lot of neat things and saw lots of neat things.  My photos will come back tomorrow, and I'll start scanning them in ASAP.  That will take a week or two, as will putting those pictures on here.  I expect to have several different pages for the various rail lines and other stuff.  I'll post more updates as I get stuff done.

(May 23) You may have heard that Yahoo! recently launched a $60 per year music subscription service, a price that's only a third of what competitors offer.  Steve Jobs says that Apple employees have a betting pool on when Yahoo! will raise the price (it's well below Yahoo!'s costs).  Jobs himself is betting on five months from now.  I thought this was rather amusing to hear.  Also, the power went out for half an hour today.  What is it with power outages during spring finals around here?

(May 22) I've updated the Japan itinerary with the new flight information.  There are two versions posted.  One is the group itinerary, one is my personal itinerary.

(May 19) I saw the midnight showing of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith this morning.  While waiting for the movie to start, a fellow Rose student asked for all the Rose students to raise their hands (this included most of people in the theater I was in), and then asked, "Do you know who becomes Emperor at the end of the movie?"  The answer: Jack Midgley, Rose-Hulman's beleaguered President.  The movie itself was great.  I particularly liked the orbital battle at the beginning; I only wish it hadn't been so fast paced, so I could have gotten a better view of everything. That seemed to be a theme for the whole movie, as it tends to switch between scenes very rapidly, as if Lucas didn't have enough time to show everything. 

The movie also introduces some major issues with the Star Wars timeline.  At the end of the movie there is a scene with Vader and the Emperor looking at a partially completed Death Star.  If this scene does take place within a few months of Palpatine becoming Emperor, as the movie suggests, then it means that the first Death Star took 20 years to be built, while the second one was well over half-done within three years, a difference in time that is quite implausible.  It also flat out contradicts the information about the developement and construction of the Death Star given in the books Darksaber and the Jedi Academy Trilogy.  According to those books, the plans for the Death Star were finalized at the Maw Installation, a facility that only Grand Moff Tarkin knew about.  This facility was established between 5 and 10 years before the Battle of Yavin (Episode IV), and was also the home of the skeletal Death Star Prototype.  I wonder what explanation Lucas has for this.

(May 16) I've posted a final version of the group itinerary for Japan.

(May 13) The power system around here needs some major repairs.  We had some thunderstorms today and several times the lights flickered or even went out completely for a few seconds.  I hope we don't have a repeat of the infamous 10th week Blackout of last year (look through my Old News for a detailed description of that day).

        Fedex made an interesting screw-up yesterday.  A package I had ordered from a company in Argentina left Buenos Aires, presumably was flown to the US, and 37 hours later showed up back in BA (according to the online package tracker).  Note to Fedex: you're supposed to unload the plane first before sending it back.

(May 11) I've added photos of the GATX tour.  Go to the Trains page and click on GATX. I've also added some photos of Rose-hulman's ducks and a few weird things I've seen to the Life at Rose-Hulman and Random pages.

(May 10) Today the Student Government Association voted no confidence in Dr. Midgley.  Between the SGA's almost unanimous vote and the faculty's 2-to-1 vote last week, it is clear that most people on campus want Midgley out of here.  The question now is when the board of trustees will have their own vote of no confidence, and whether they will agree with the majority of people on campus.  A for me, I'm currently neutral on the whole matter, as I don't know enough about Midgley and what he's like to come to an informed conclusion about him.  Also, nothing he has done has affected me personally, so I have no reason to complain.

        I dropped off two rolls of film to be developed today, so I should be adding new photos starting tomorrow, covering the trip to the GATX yard and some stuff on campus.

(May 5) Today's ECE250 lecture was on the use of electrolytic capacitors as explosives.  We had an amusing time watching Dr. Herniter deliberately connect capacitors to a power supply backwards, causing them to explode.  Most of them provided just small pops, but the last one outright exploded, sending pieces of itself halfway across the room.  Dr. Chambers was heard to say "Cool" when he saw Dr. Herniter doing this.  After all, who doesn't enjoy watching stuff blow up?

(May 4) I bought the Japanese version of Talking Panda's iLingo translation software for my iPod today.  It has several hundred generic phrases that the average tourist might need.  The 'notecard' for each phrase has four different versions of the phrase: one in English, one in Japanese with Roman characters, one in Japanese with Japanese characters, and an audio file of the phrase being spoken, this last one being the whole point of the software. Most of the phrases are of the sort that you would find in any tourist phrasebook, but there are a few which are quite ridiculous.  Among other things, the software includes pick-up lines, how to ask for directions to the nearest Apple Computer store or 'love hotel', and how to say "Ouch!".  I am curious though as to why they think a tourist needs to know how to ask someone to marry him/her.

(May 3) The faculty voted today that they had no confidence in Dr. Midgley's ability to lead Rose-Hulman.  It will be interesting to see if the board of trustees decides to sack Midgley and look for a new president.  Having 3 presidents during my time here will be almost as odd as when my elementary school went through 5 or 6 music teachers when I was in 5th grade (while I have a low opinion of most of my classmates from that year, even I don't think we were that bad).

        I've posted a calendar of my upcoming trip to Japan.  I may update it from time to time as I get new information, so check it out once in a while.  I'll leave a notice in the course's ANGEL site if I update it, so other members of the class can get immediate notification.

(April 28) As if the Klingon pain stick wasn't enough, Dr. Herniter has also built a handheld "stun gun" version, using an inductor, a capacitor and a MOSFET, which puts out an even higher voltage!  We're all in deep trouble if he ever gets together with Dr. Sherman, my torture- and summary excecution-advocating statistics professor.

        Yesterday I signed up for a cheap ticket to the midnight showing of Star Wars Episode III when it premieres on May 19.  I'm going to hate having to get up for my morning classes afterwards, but what the hell.  80 people signed up for the 250 tickets that RHA has available in the first 22 seconds that they were being offered (sign-up was through the computer network).

        For the last month I've been listening to the world's first podcast novel, Earthcore by Scott Sigler.  It's a serialized audiobook being distributed as a podcast, and it's pretty good.  If you like sci-fi novels, you'll probably enjoy it.  Check it out here.

(April 26) Well I never got in to Star Wars Celebration III.  By the time I got there at 9:30 Saturday morning, all the tickets for Saturday had been sold out.  Phooey.  At the other end of the scale, the tour of the GATX yard went well.  We had mostly sunshine while we were there, in the middle of an otherwise cloudy and rainy day.  At some point I ought to have the photos from the tour developed and put up here. 

        There are several people who are always late for my ECE250 class, and some of the other students seem to have an informal betting pool to see who can guess how late they will be.  My friend Adam and the other guys in his suite in New Res have way too much time on their hands, as evidenced by their setting up a Bathroom Server that lets anyone in the world know if their bathroom is occupied or not.

(April 21) My electronics professor, Dr. Herniter, is officially insane.  He brought to class today a device he built which he calls a "Klingon pain stick".  What it is is a yardstick with a series of capacitors and diodes attached to it.  When connected to a power supply, the capacitors charge up and provide about 600 volts at the output leads.  I imagine that would hurt a lot if you were on the wrong end.  I wonder what the legal and moral implications of teaching students how to construct torture devices in class are?

        Tomorrow I'm going on a tour of the GATX Rail yard in Terre Haute, which should be fun.  On Saturday I'm heading to Indy for the Star Wars Celebration III convention.  If the Force is with me I'll be able to get in to one of the talks George Lucas is giving in the morning.  Even if I don't, it will be a fun time.

(April 18) I've added a few more pics to my Life at Rose-Hulman page.

(April 12) I'm moving all the pictures on my site into an images folder, with the goal of making it easier to find a page when editing my website (you won't believe how much lag there is in scrolling through the list of pages and images currently).  There shouldn't be any broken links or missing thumbnails, unless you look at the page while I'm moving the pictures.  If such is the case, go to another page and come back a few minutes later.  I also just sent in a roll of film to be developed, so expect some new pictures on the Life at Rose-Hulman page by the end of the weekend.

(March 17) Today in ECE250 (Electronic Device Modeling) we learned how to cook hot dogs and pickles.  You're probably wondering what cooking has to do with electronics.  Well, rather than cooking the hot dog and pickle on an electrically powered stove, he stuck a pair of electrodes into each one and sent a current through them!  The resistance of the food caused it to heat up.  It was pretty cool to watch, especially when one of the electrodes in the pickle started sparking. According to the professor, pickles also glow green when you do this, but the lab was to bright for us to see this.  There was no mention of how safe to eat the cooked food was.

(March 10) The other morning there was a swan on Speed Lake.  At some point I'll get a few pictures of it posted on here...whenever I get around to finishing that roll of film.  This afternoon it was hailing a bit.  The hailstones weren't big enough to hurt anything.  Other than that, there's nothing worth reporting around here for the moment.

(February 28) I've been home for break for a few days now.  Last night my family went to see The Producers at the Colonial Theater in Boston.  It was pretty funny.  According to the playbill, they are doing a remake of the original film.  That ought to be fun to see when it comes out near the end of the year or so.

      Today I have to go in to the dentist and have a cavity filled, oh joy.  Then I'm heading out to my grandfather's house to help him a bit with his computer.  I'm also probably going to be helping him plow the driveway, since it's supposed to snow this evening.

(February 20) Well, the first Pepsi+iTunes bottles started appearing on the back of store shelves here in Terre Haute on Friday, so my guess is that Terre Haute stores have a 3 week supply of Pepsi at normal rates of consumption - and they got their last shipment of non-iTunes bottles just before the contest started.

(February 16) I hate the week before finals.  It's just cram, cram, cram!  Ugh!  On a happier note, I got a copy of Toast 6 for my birthday, in addition to the stuff listed below.  I used it to make disc images of my Starcraft CDs, so I can play the game without the discs being in the computer.  It turns out that the game runs better with the disc images, especially with regard to cinematics.  It seems my computer doesn't keep the disc spinning all the time, so the first few seconds of a cinematic are pretty jerky as the computer spins up the disc. When I'm home for break I'll make disc images of my other computer games.  I'd do it here, except that I don't have the serial numbers so I can't install the games.

(February 11) Happy 20th Birthday to me!

(February 7) I just got some spam from Napster offering me a trial of its new Napster-To-Go service.  If you don't know what that is, it's a music subscription service that let's you have access to Napster's entire library of songs and transfer any you want to a compatible MP3 player for $15 a month.  Of course, if you cancel your subscription you lose all that music.  It also only works on Windows.  Clearly these guys are unaware that I use a Mac and am very happy with my iPod and paying $0.99 a track for my music (which I own outright).

      I also got an Airport Express wireless base station for my birthday (which isn't until Friday), so right now I'm listening to iTunes and surfing the web wirelessly in my dorm room.  I also got a 9-pin to 6-pin Firewire cable, so I can now use the Firewire 800 port on my Powerbook with my existing Firewire 400 devices.

(February 3) As of 12:10 PM today my Compaq craptop is in retirement.  I got and installed a copy of Maple 9.5 for my Mac, so the PC is no longer required for math, its last daily service.  Now the Mac handles all day-to-day functions, leaving the PC with almost nothing to do.  Up yours, Bill Gates!

(January 31) My website has been up for a year now!  On a sadder note, my Powerbook has lasted exactly a week before officially becoming obsolete.  Apple just announced new Powerbook models.  Nothing particularly interesting about them except for an accelleration sensor and a track pad that can be used for scrolling (obviously they have faster processors).

(January 25) My Powerbook arrived yesterday, so I've been spending most of my free time playing with it and loading programs onto it.  I've now figured out how to edit my website from my Mac, which is what I'm doing as I type this.  I've gone through trial versions of several editors, most of which can't either can't open up my existing web pages or can't display them properly.  I've settled on Contribute from Macromedia.  It can open up and properly display my existing pages, and I can add images and create thumbnails of them with a minimum of effort.  Interestingly, it's better than its big brother Dreamweaver at creating thumbnails.  It seems the only major thing left for me to do is figure out how to access the files stored on my external hard drive.

(January 21) Naturally, right after I posted the rant below, Apple shipped out my Powerbook.  According to the online tracking system, it's now sitting in FedEx's Memphis, TN sorting facility.  By Monday I should have my Powerbook...and there will be much rejoicing.  I just hope that they shipped it with iLife '05, because it would be kinda annoying to have to shell out $20 or whatever to get a copy of it when I got the Powerbook after iLife '05 is supposed to start shipping.

(January 20) I have the laptop bag, I have the Bluetooth mouse, now where's the laptop, Apple?  Apparently Apple is having some part supply issues, so they have yet to ship my Powerbook.  The bag is pretty good.  It has plenty of pockets for storing everything, provides plenty of protection, and actually has a defined shape.  My old bag had less of a defined shape than a cube of jello.  I have no idea how well the BT mouse works, but it looks good.

(January 12) I finally ordered myself a Powerbook, even though they still have yet to speedbump it.  I've given up on waiting for that to happen.  Best guess based on the current promotions at the online Apple Store, they won't speedbump the Powerbooks until mid-April.  It will be nice to finally have a laptop that works.  If everything gets here by next week, a week from Monday my PC will be an oversized paperweight.  Maybe I should bring out my back issues of Steel Wheels and use it to flatten them out.

(January 6, 2005) Happy late New Year!  Christmas was pretty good this year.  I got a microwave, some books and DVDs, and this really neat LED light stand along with a glass block with a steam locomotive etched inside it.  When you put the block on the stand the LEDs shine up through it and the light gets reflected all around.  It looks really cool.  Maybe I'll post a picture of it at some point.  I've also added a new pic to the random photos page. 

(December 17) Christmas break is almost here!  Tomorrow I face the first day of the two-day drive home.

(December 1) I got a new stereo for my car today.  It's a pretty nice unit.  My favorite feature is the AUX input on the front, so I can plug my iPod directly in.  No more using a tape-deck adapter and setting the volume to max!  This will make driving home at Christmas much more pleasant, since I won't have to strain my ears to hear the iPod over the sound of the road.  On a different note, Apple still hasn't speedbumped the Powerbooks!  Based on the current special deals on its website, I'm now guessing that they won't do so until January 11.  Presumably the extra time between updates means their going to add some new technology to the Powerbooks- perhaps a dual-core G4 or maybe (though unlikely) a G5 processor.  I wish they'd hurry up and do the speedbump, because my PC (Piece of Crap) here is going to hell in a handbasket.

(November 18) At last, Thanksgiving Break! A whole week off from classes before the winter quarter starts!  Anyway, tomorrow when I get home I'll be immediately heading out to Acton to help set up the Norwegian Fair.  I've been doing this for several years now, helping my grandmother, who makes all the signs for the fair and used to run the raffle.  It's had work, but fun.  I'm also hoping that Apple will announce speedbumped Powerbooks on Tuesday.  I can't wait to get one.

(November 4) Bush is looking at another 4 years in the White House.  I'm looking at property in Canada.  Can you get broadband internet in the Northwest Territories?

You may have noticed that instead of posting a one-liner in the quote area I put a short dialog.  I hope you enjoy the expanded possibilities for humor this offers.

(October 16) I thought I had witnessed every way in which a college student could be a complete pain in the ass last year, but this just takes the cake.  I went to take a shower last night and discovered that every showerhead on my floor had been stolen.  This morning I bumped into Eric Hayes, the director of residence life, who informed me that every showerhead on campus had been stolen, and it might take maintenance until Monday to replace all of them.  I hope they dish out some serious punishment to whatever jerk(s) did this, because this definitely goes beyond the line separating pranks from vandalism.

In other news today, it's not even 10 in the morning as I write this.  On a Saturday morning.  I'm heading off to the Great American Train Show in Indy (do you seriously think that anything other than trains could get me up this early on the weekend?).

(October 7) I've finally added those pictures of the dorms.

(September 26) I've posted the photos from my September 4 railfanning trip, so check those out.  I'll be adding some photos of campus in a few days, so stay tuned.

(September 25) In preparation for a batch of new train photos from all over southwest Indiana, I'm reorganizing the navigation structure of my railroad pages.  Instead of being organized by city and then railroad, they will be organized by state and then railroad, with the various locations I've photographed each railroad at organized alphabetically.  Some pages will remain intact or mostly intact, while others will be lost entirely as the photos they contain get scattered to  several new pages.

(September 22) Sorry I haven't updated the homepage in a while.  I've been kinda busy with classes.  The only interesting thing I've done for a while is that on September 4 I went railfanning across southwestern Indiana with Dave Honan.  We saw nine trains, plus two derailments at Norfolk Southern's yard in Princeton, IN.  A pretty good day, except that I caught a cold and was miserable for the next three days.  At some point I'll get the photos from that trip posted, but first I have to finish off a roll of film.  Dave has suggested that I reorganize my train photos by railroad instead of location, to simplify the navigation.

(August 26) I added a new page for random photos, even though I have only one.  I've also added some photos to my Green Line page of the Atlantic Avenue El shuttle platform at North Station.

(August 10) All the photos from BET are up now, so check them out.

(August 9) I have some new pics of the Robotics Team from last spring up, as well as a picture of my fan duct-taped to the wall.  Also, some pictures of Boston Engine Terminal are up (with more on the way) and there's a new page for the Orange Line.

(August 5)  I got some film developed, so I'm beginning to scan in and post some new pictures.  I've already posted a few of the BNSF business cars, and I will be adding some photos of Boston Engine Terminal and some last-minute pics from school over the next few days.  Enjoy.

(July 23) Today the Norfolk Southern and Burlington Northern Santa Fe business car fleets were parked outside the Boston Engine Terminal (where I work) while they waited to be transferred to North Station this evening for the Democratic National Convention.  The BNSF cars are stainless-steel streamlined cars (built by Budd?) and are probably either ex-Chicago, Burlington & Quincy or ex-Santa Fe.  The NS cars looked like they might have been rebuilt heavyweights.  I wish I had had my camera with me.  Speaking of the DNC, this site has a really funny song about the traffic jams expected during the convention.  Anyone familiar with the Boston area will appreciate it.

(June 23) I added a page for Commuter Rail to the Boston section of the site.  I'll be adding more photos to it when I've scanned them in. 
I spent all of two days working at the Highland Lodge.  This was probably best for both me and the Lodge.  I got a summer job working for Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co. instead.  I work in the Commuter Rail Maintenance Facility (also known as the Boston Engine Terminal) in Somerville.  I get to see what locomotives are in the yards when I walk in every morning and watch the trains arriving at and leaving from North Station whenever I get a chance to look out a window for a few minutes.

(June 12) I've added some new information to my Green Line page.  Also, the first slides I plan to scan in and eventually add to the site will be of the AVE, trolleys in Lisbon, subway and main line trains in London, and commuter rail trains around Boston. 

(June 5) Ah, summer vacation!  It looks like I'm going to be working in the kitchen at the Highland Lodge in Greensboro, VT this summer.  The nice thing is that my parents have a summer house less than a mile from the lodge, so I don't have to worry about accommodations.  I can even bicycle to the lodge.  My other plans for the summer include re-importing my CD's into iTunes using AAC encoding instead of MP3 and scanning in some of my older slides and photos.

(May 24) My brother sent me some interesting information concerning my question above (Have you ever wondered what the other 98% of 2% milk is made of?): he says that the other 98% of 2% milk is made of the same stuff that McDonald's used in its chicken McNuggets before they switched to real white meat.  He also sent me the truth about the Star Wars problems in my physics book: the government made the changes in accordance with its plot to take over the world, made by Ben Franklin 230 years ago.  The Japanese discovered this plot in the 1950's and immediately went to work on their own scheme for world domination which involves robot dogs and a monopoly on TV so they can beam their subliminal propaganda directly into your brain.  Unfortunately for both the U.S. and Japan, they are just pawns in the Illuminati's well-advanced plan for world domination, which will come to fruition when they take control of the stock market when it crashes in 2027.  Can anybody put me in contact with them?

(May 22) Yesterday was interesting.  Around 1 pm we had a brownout, apparently caused by the A/C in Myers breaking down.  About 20 minutes after that the now-overloaded transformer that supplies power to the entire campus died as well, resulting in a complete campus-wide blackout.  I was waiting in the hall outside O205 for my 8th hour Physics III prof to show up and unlock the room when somebody passed me with a caving lamp strapped to his forehead!  After that I concluded that nothing serious was going to be done for the rest of the day.  Shortly thereafter (around 2:30) the emergency lights started going out in Olin and and Crapo, leaving the hallways in complete darkness except where there was a classroom door with a window in it, allowing a bit of sunlight from the room's windows to enter the hall (provided of course the room had windows).  In physics all we did was one quick problem before ending class.  My 9th hour Calc III class was more interesting.  Not even a loss of power can prevent Prof. Rickert from teaching his math classes!  So we sat in the room as usual as he did some review problems on the board, using a candle and 3 laptops to provide some light in the windowless room in Crapo. 
        After my classes were finished, and seeing that the power was unlikely to return anytime soon (the original estimate was that it would take 6 hours to 3 days), I decided to go in town to take care of some business (and enjoy some A/C!).  First I went to Walmart to get a lock and some boxes for packing my stuff in over the summer.  I came back to see if there was any power yet (nope), dropped off the stuff I got at Walmart, and since a sign on the door said that dinner would be a salad and deli bar, went back in town to eat at McDonald's.  After dinner I went to see Troy.  In case you didn't know, this is a remake of the 1956 movie Helen of Troy (itself apparently a  remake of a silent, b+w 1927 film of the same name that's now lost), which is based on Homer's Illiad and Book I of Virgil's Aeneid, with some parts taken from a few other closely related myths.  Troy is a pretty good movie, and is much better than USA's 2003 remake of Helen of Troy
        When I got back from the movie, I wandered down towards the Union to see if it actually had power or just had the emergency lights on (it turned out to be the latter).  On the way back I stopped on the bridge over the spillway from Scum Pond into Speed Lake and started talking to Andrew Geiger, who was just hanging out there waiting to watch the campus power up again.  We talked about how it was weird to see the lake in complete darkness, with no lights to see except for the emergency lights in the Union, a glow from Terre Haute, and the occasional flashlight or pair of headlights.  with the lights out, we were actually able to see the stars, something that can't normally be done on campus because of all the light pollution.  Andrew informed me that the replacement part for the transformer had been airlifted in 45 minutes ago (this was at 10:45 pm) and that power should come back by 11pm.  I decided to try and get a picture of the lake in complete darkness while I could, but my camera refused to take the picture.  Finally, between midnight and 1am the power began coming on in stages, starting on the east side of campus.  Overall it was a pretty good day, and a fun way to end the quarter.

(May 18) The Sith have taken control of the company that publishes my physics textbook!  No, really!  At the end of the chapter on relativity there are 3 problems based on Star Wars, one on Dune, and a couple others which I'm sure are based on some other science fiction works I'm not familiar with.  Weird, huh?

(May 16) I posted the latest photos from the MRRC and the Robotics Team, so check them out.

(May 10) I finished off a roll of film today, so expect some new photos of the Robotics Team and the MRRC by the end of the week.

(May 10) My room has been invaded by crickets, and they're making a racket!

(May 6) I have discovered that Orcad makes Windows look as well-designed as Mac OS X.  Seriously, the first time you use it you have to look at a manual or ask someone which part of the program to open first.  I don't think even Microsoft would hire the idiots who programmed it.

(Apr. 30) I got back from my grandmother's funeral at about 1:00 AM this morning, and only got 6 hours of sleep before getting up for breakfast before my first class.  Thank goodness Indiana doesn't switch to Daylight Savings Time, or it would have been only 5 hours! Nevertheless, I did not enjoy driving from the airport in Indy.  It was quite a struggle for me to keep my eyes open during the last half hour of the trip.  And yet I slept badly anyway.

I also got my website's URL published in the May issue of Steel Wheels, the monthly publication of the National Railway Historical Society's Boston Chapter.

(Apr. 16) I've finished adding my Green Line photos.

(Apr. 13) I've added some new photos of the Red Line and Green Line to my Boston trains page.  I'll be adding some more photos of the Green Line later when I've scanned them in.

(Apr. 11) After driving for 17 hours over the course of two days, covering 1100 miles and listening to a sizable percentage of my music collection, I've returned to campus.  When's bedtime?

I'll be posting some new photos this week as I scan them in.  To be included: some stuff happening here at Rose-Hulman, the Green Line's West End El between North Station and Science Park, and the Red Line at Capen Street.

(Mar. 26) I got an iTrip radio transmitter for my iPod today.  Initial installation of the station playlist was a bit troublesome, because I had to download and install MusicMatch (what a piece of junk!) first, install the station files into MusicMatch, and then transfer them into iTunes before syncing them to my iPod.  Apparently Griffin hasn't updated the installer CD since before iTunes for Windows came out last October.  Hard to tell how actual operation is.  Setting the station works fine, except for the fact that you have to completely reselect whatever you were playing before changing the station.  My radio's reception of the signal ranges from great to nonexistent, but that may just be the antenna.  Hopefully the iTrip should work better in my car.
Why is it that every jukebox program for Windows that I've seen except for iTunes has a crappy interface?  Navigating the software is anything but intuitive.

(Mar. 9) I've posted some new photos of railroad activity in Terre Haute.  Enjoy.

(Mar. 7) March break is over.  I hate having to go back to work tomorrow.  Worse, the printer is out of paper so I can't print my schedule!

(Feb. 8) I've moved my Model Railroad Club page over to the MRRC website.  It is now under the "MRRC Layout Construction Photos" link.  The "Rose-Hulman Model Railroad Club" link will take you to the MRRC homepage.

(Feb. 5, 2004) I've been appointed the new webmaster for the Rose-Hulman Model Railroad Club's (MRRC) website.  I'll be moving my MRRC pages over to the club's website when I get a chance.  Don't worry, though- I'll keep the link so people can still view my photos of the new layout being built.

(Feb. 4, 2004) I've added a new page to the Model Railroad Club part of this site to provide weekly updates.  Since it takes me a while to get my film developed, I'll just post weekly updates and add the photos later when they get developed.  I might add a similar page to the Aerial Robotics Club section.