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Memoirs of a Mad Scientist
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:: Sunday, March 31, 2002 ::

Rough Weekend


Chester's been having a rough weekend. He's been very stressed over settling into a new place. Consequently he's been spending a lot of his free time in the bathroom cupboard.



Since he's spent about a month of his life at the animal shelter couped up in a cage, he's become used to that way of living. I suppose having all this open space to move about in has been a little overwhelming. After I left him in the bathroom the first time, I came back in and he'd disappeared. Turned out he had pried open the cupboard door and snuck in with the door closing behind him. I just decided to leave the door open since that seemed to be his new safe spot.



I left to go to Portland for Easter Sunday and left Chester locked up in the bathroom. When I came back he was a lot more relaxed and extremely demanding of attention. Right now as I type this he's chilling out on the floor next to me. I've found that I need to deliberately ignore him to make him physically relax in his surroundings. He seems to use people as an anchor of stability in a stressful environment. He seems to be doing okay if I'm in the room somewhere with him, but I have a feeling he'll run back into his cupboard if nobody is around.

I also walked into the bathroom to encounter a litter box explosion. It seems that he didn't like the plastic liner I put in there and decided to tear it all up. So out came the plastic along with a pint of litter onto the floor. I removed the plastic to avoid any more accidents of that nature and swept up the huge mess. Hopefully we won't have any mishaps in the future of that magnitude.
:: everist 6:03 PM [+] ::
:: Friday, March 29, 2002 ::

New Cat


Well, I down to the Heartland Humane Society today with the intention of adopting a cat. I finally took my camera this time.



Like I said before, the building is very high quality and well funded. The cattery in particular appears quite comfortable for the cats that live there. On the left is the cages for the cats who don't do too well with other cats. On the right is the communal pens for those cats that get along with others.

So one of the first things I did when I got there was go visit my chosen cat Gilbert.



Gilbert's a real friendly cat that loves attention and I was sure to get him. However my mom recommended to me that I perform a couple tests on him before I took him home. Those were: putting him on my lap and seeing if he'll stay there, and holding him in my arms and seeing if he'll relax. To my dismay he failed both of these tests. He jumped out of my lap when I put him there, and he tensed up when I held him in my arms.

Kind of depressed, I went to go visit my cat of second choice: Tom Love MD



Tom was extremely friendly and didn't mind so much sitting on your lap and being held. Although he was a bit more hostile to other cats as he started hissing at the cats in the other cages when I took him out. No big deal since he's in a very stressful environment. So I picked Tom.

First things first, I changed his name to Chester since I didn't really like the name of "Tom Love MD". That was just the name the staff gave him when he came in a month ago. He was a stray who came in with a gash on his ear and 3 broken teeth. He's since been treated, neutered, and his broken teeth removed. The shelter guessed his age at 5 which would seem consistent.



We took him home and put him in the extra bathroom. He was a little nervous at first but quickly adapted and began seeking lots of attention from us. We took this opportunity to start brushing him since his fur is a little coarse and he's beginning to shed. He didn't mind the brushing one bit, but we didn't seem to ever "finish" the job.



We got almost enough fur off of him to make another kitty. After that we gave him some alone time to relax a bit in the bathroom. After about an hour, the neighbors came over to see the new kitty. I ushered them into the bathroom but the cat was nowhere to be found. To our surprise, he had opened the bathroom cupboard and crawled inside with the door closing behind him. Apparently he likes that spot better than the carrier box he came in. I decided to let him stay in there, and I kept the door open to make sure he didn't get stuck in there.

Like I said, Chester is extremely friendly and he's got this cute habit of rubbing his face over whatever part of your body he can reach. If you put your face up close to his, he'll rub his nose all over you. Fortunately he's got a warm nose, but unfortunately he'll wipe nose goo all over your face.
:: everist 5:18 PM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, March 27, 2002 ::

Cat Sitting


It's spring break, and I've been spending it at my parents house catsitting. It's not so bad. I've been lying around a lot, watching movies, reading, and doing important stuff that I haven't had the time to do during school like job-searching and filing my taxes.



This summer I need to find a job because I'm planning on going right back to school in the Fall. I'll have graduated already, but I want to continue my education and get a Mechanical Engineering degree. It should only take me about 2 years and a lot of work. Problem is, whose going to hire an engineer for only a summer job? The job market is pretty poor right now, and most people want career employees. I'm not ready to go there yet. I'll probably have to find work through a temp agency or something. Hopefully they could help me out.

I'm also planning on adopting a cat from the Heartland Humane Society in Corvallis. I went and visited the cats on Thursday and Friday, and I think the cat I want is Gilbert. You can see a picture of Gilbert on this page. He's black and white and real big and stocky. Kind of funny looking. He's seems to be friendly enough. Of course I still need to make my pet deposit with the landlord, file an application to adopt, and buy tons of cat supplies. But those are mere details. I'll probably do all that stuff tomorrow or Friday.
:: everist 3:35 PM [+] ::
:: Thursday, March 21, 2002 ::

Scream!




Well, finals are finally over. Last night I stayed up until 12:30 studying, but couldn't get to sleep until 2:30am. Then I got up at 6am to go to a final at 7:30am. After that I studied some more for a final at noon. Needless to say it has been an exhausting day. On top of that I did my laundry, did some reading, went to the bank, bought school textbooks, practiced guitar, and am now writing this.

One of the side effects of getting up early is that you get to see sunrises:



There's also not that many people around at 6:30am on campus. I sat out in the freezing cold in front of the Bagel Sphere waiting to get a breakfast snack. This is a shot of me from a bench trying to keep warm:



So now that finals are over, what do I do? Well, I have a whole week that's free, and half of it is going to be spent babysitting the cats at my parents house. You see the whole family but myself is going on vacation to beautiful Palm Desert, California. Not that I mind being left out. I've been to Palm Desert before, and its nothing to get worked up about. Its all golf courses in the middle of the desert with hundreds of super expensive houses out in the middle of nowhere. Everywhere you turn is collared-shirts and security guards. There's about a 100:1 Latino/Caucasian ratio with the whites acting as the real estate owners, and the Latinos are their diligent servants. The whole landscape was never meant to support the amount of greenery and frippery that is now lavished upon it. I estimate that it requires hundreds of millions of gallons of imported water a day just to keep the damn thing from drying out. A day without running water in this desert environment would be disastrous to the golf courses and man-made ponds.

So instead of vacation, I'll probably spend time with some friends in Portland. I plan on spending more time with my guitar, reading a book or two, and working on some of my extracurricular hobbies.
:: everist 9:58 PM [+] ::
:: Monday, March 18, 2002 ::

Finals Week


I haven't updated in a while because I've been busy preparing for finals. This week is finals week and I just got done with my hardest final. Now that its over, I only have easy finals to take, so I thought I'd spend some time to update my website.

I haven't been taking as many pictures I've done in the past. I think I'm in a photography drought. Usually in the past, I just took pictures of everyday things I encounter in my life, but now I think I've covered most of it. As a result I've been a bit uninspired to go out looking for new things. Perhaps I'll devote some more time in the future. In the mean time, lets look at a bit of the backlog pictures.



This is a small slough or creek that I walk over on my way home. This shot is from the bridge on Kings Blvd. As you can see, its quite nice, and you couldn't possibly tell that this is in the middle of suburbia and next to a very busy road. When it rains heavily or snows, the water level significantly rises and turns brown and muddy. Kind of expected I suppose when there's high erosion from the lack of vegetation.



There's also some garbage in the creek. Above I took a good shot of a rusted folding chair. Besides this obvious blemish, the river looks like its in good condition. Of course, looks can be deceiving because there could be significant deviations in pH, nitrate levels, oxygen levels, etc.. I don't have a kit to go down there and check it out, but I didn't see anything living in there. Of course, its still in winter, so in Spring things may yet come alive.

:: everist 10:06 PM [+] ::
:: Friday, March 08, 2002 ::

Cat Etiquette


I must confess that I haven't put up anything about cats in a while. I have a few cat pictures that have been sitting in the queue for a while, and I think its time that I showed them off.

Every cat has its own personal set of rules, its own personal protocol that you have to follow or fit into before a cat will allow you the privilege of gracing your unworthy hands on its magnificent fur coat. And this cat is no exception.



When I first saw this cat I called upon him, and in response he called upon me. He seemed friendly enough, but all my calls and invitations to come over to me did not seem to impress this cat. He called to me again repeatedly and gave me the look that said, "I don't care one way or another if you come over here or not, but I sure as hell am not answering your summons like a petty servant."

He began walking away and I caved in. I had lost the battle of wills and approached him to stroke his magnficinent-- one could say god-like-- fur.



He was quite friendly, but he also didn't seem to care that much. Perhaps he was a nihilistic cat, and not so full of himself as I had previously thought. Perhaps he had some bad child-hood memories that made him numb to the world all around him. If so, I feel sorry for this poor cat, and I wish him luck on his soul-searching.

:: everist 4:04 PM [+] ::

Memories of Snow


It was a very exciting day yesterday. It was very very cold. It snowed, hailed, and melted off and on all day. Apparently it snowed earlier in the morning and stuck to the ground, but this is only rumour and hearsay since I slept through all my classes yesterday and cannot confirm this myself.



This is around 5pm yesterday, about the time I decided to get out of the house and do something semi-important. It started out hailing as I was driving to the bank, but quickly turned into a lot of hail, and then finally into a flurry of snow. The snow was quite intense, and sadly this picture is only the waning end of that event.

Although this morning I woke up to find patches of snow on the cars and trees as I was walking to the bus stop. It was all melting very rapidly and one could hear the sound of dripping all around. It was quite a surreal experience knowing that a fantastic drop of snow had created this sometime between yesterday evening and last night, and I was only witnessing the disappearing aftermath.
:: everist 3:53 PM [+] ::

One-Armed Villains


A weird idea came into my head today. I was thinking about what I would do if I made an adventure story. I didn't think much about the story, but I knew for certain that the villain would have only one hand. Furthermore, the villain would have in place of the missing hand a weapon of some kind.

You see, having a prosthetic in place of the missing hand just isn't evil enough. What's more, its too practical. So the replacement hand has to be a hook, or a retractable sword. Of course, these blade like weapons are a little too mundane for my taste. They have to be something fantastic and completely useless like a flamethrower!

Well, a flamethrower does have its uses as an area effect weapon. But can you imagine using your prosthetic flamethrower in a hand-to-hand combat? I think you'd end up burning yourself more than the enemy. Furthermore, you have the problem of finding a place to store all that fuel somewhere on your person. It can't be a big backpack tank because that destroys the image of being evil and ominous. It has to be somewhere concealed, and most likely small.

As a consequence of having a small tank of fuel somewhere hidden on your person, it's going to be a small amount of ammo and you'll have the extreme danger of that tank somehow rupturing and igniting on your person. So in the final combat scene between the hero and the villain, the villain is almost certainly going to die in flames from his own fuel tank.

The moral of this story? If the villain hadn't been so pre-occupied with looking evil and intimidating and equipping himself with foolish prosthetic replacements, he might have been able to win that final battle with the hero. If he hadn't have won, at least he would have died a more honorable death by the blade or bullet of the hero. Even further, there might not have been a fight at all, because he had dressed normal and worn a normal prosthetic, thus people never fully realized he was evil enough and completely ignored his evil ways.

So all you villains out there missing a hand, please stick to normal prosthetics.

:: everist 3:24 PM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, March 06, 2002 ::

Maximum Wednesday


A lot of interesting things have been happening lately. I haven't had that much homework to do this week, so I've been kind of bored. When I don't have homework to do, I usually end up wasting my time on unimportant things, but when I am loaded with homework I spend more time doing cool things that aren't homework related. Fortunately, I have a couple things due on Friday, so I've been more busy today.

I've suddenly become very interested in the subject matter of my CS class. We're talking about very large/hard/unsolvable problems. Its kind of hard to explain what these are. Basically, you have a program that won't finish running before the end of the universe, and you have to cope with that fact and find ways around it. Its very interesting. Its also very very geeky.



I haven't taken any new pictures for a while. I haven't been very inspired lately. Mostly I've just been going through the motions of day-to-day living and grabbing scraps of entertainment whenever I can.

I went over to my neighbors' house yesterday and watched JAG with them. My friends were getting very involved with the show, so I felt obliged to join in and yell out insults at the characters whenever they did something particularly naughty. It was almost exactly like a soap opera except not as slow and stupid.



I've also become re-interested in my old pet project, Near Earth Asteroid Mission Planning. Actually this project is significantly smaller in scope than when I originally planned it, but its still huge. There's so much stuff that I don't know, that I will have to learn before I can get started. So most of my time is spent reading about Orbital Mechanics, looking at pieces of software on the internet, and looking for past research. I don't know what ever made me pick such a large project to pursue, but I've been consistently interested in it since last Summer. Actually the subject matter of my CS class directly applies to my project objective which has made the class much more enthralling to me.

:: everist 8:44 PM [+] ::
:: Monday, March 04, 2002 ::

Mexican Food!


I went and had Mexican food with my roommate on Saturday. Here is the story:


This is Logan eating tortilla chips.



This is me eating tortilla chips.



This is the almost empty chip basket.



And this is Logan having more chips.

:: everist 7:26 PM [+] ::
:: Saturday, March 02, 2002 ::

Mornings


Usually when I wake up in the morning, its not an easy process. I admit that morning's are the worst part of the day for me. I have to argue with myself why I should get out of bed, why I shouldn't skip class, why I shouldn't sleep until noon. I usually win that argument, but sometimes I don't.

Regardless if I win or not, I usually set my alarm clock 2 or 3 hours ahead of when I should be getting up on the off chance that I might be willing to get up early. Honestly, I can't remember the last I "felt" like getting up early. So what ends up happening is the alarm wakes me up, I reset the alarm clock an hour later, then sleep until it wakes me up again. This process continues until I absolutely have to wake up. And trust me, I usually push it to the very edge.



So I'm usually dragging myself out to the street to meet the bus.



I've got into a habit of showing up to the bus stop at least 10 minutes early because the driver doesn't always stick to the schedule. I remember one time the bus was early and arrived just as I was running out there. Actually several people were running after the bus, and I just happened to be the last one. I happened to be in front of the bus as the driver thought that everyone was onboard and was startled when he saw me in front of him. When I got onto the bus he proceeded to scold me for my carelessness, but I didn't really hear anything he was saying to me because I was too focused on showing him my pass which he refused to look at. I just merely nodded my head until the sentences stopped, and he looked at my pass. He acknowledge my legitimate right to be on that bus, and I took my seat. What lesson did I take from this? Show up early to the bus stop so it doesn't take as long to show the driver your pass. ( I need help )



The bus ride is pretty short. You take your seat and do your best to ignore those around you. You go out of your way to avoid eye contact and when somebody asks you a question, you pretend that you didn't hear them. If the bus looks like its going to be full, clear out the seat next to you ahead of time to avoid the altercation of someone politely asking you if they can sit there, and you politely responding that they can.

Of course these rules only apply if you don't know anybody on the bus. If you know someone that comes onto the bus, you say, "Hi", and ask them how they are. That's usually the extent of conversation and the rest is silence until you reach your destination. If you know a person and you regularly see them on the bus, you can usually get away with a short glance before ignoring them.

Finally the bus stops on campus, everybody gets off, and the crowd disperses. Everyone walks in their separate directions, and I usually go get a bagel before class. Some juice too. Mmmmmm juice.

:: everist 9:05 PM [+] ::