Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I'm Employeed!

Just got the news this morning: the RoadSoft contract for 2005 was approved by the 'ad board' -- the final hoop to jump through in getting our 2005 contract approved.

Translation: I'm employeed for the year of 2005.

For those of you who don't know, my terms of employement are hard to explain, at best, but I'll try.

I work at/for Michigan Technological University...kinda. My paychecks say "Michigan Tech" on them, but my department has nothing to do with the faculty who teach students. We're kind of like a research department. I work for the Technology Development Group (TDG.) The TDG is a branch of Michigan's Local Technical Assisstance Program (LTAP.)

What's LTAP again?
Every state has an LTAP center. A quote from here puts it like this: "LTAP's mission is to foster a safe, efficient, environmentally sound transportation system by improving the skill and knowledge of local transportation providers through training, technical assistance and technology transfer." See the previous link for more details. Basically, we're a sort of clearing house of information and training for civil engineer types of people. Our LTAP here at Tech is a little different than most LTAP centers in that we have this TDG thing.

So, as you might guess, that makes us a part of the Civil Engineering department here at Tech. But we're a bit different. (Catching the pattern here?) We're like a research group in that we're what you call 'soft money'. The University support us at all. No general fund dollars come our way. If we don't bring in contracts, we go home. We don't work. As far as I've ever known, the contracts we deal with are yearly. So, every year we basically sweat in our boots until we find out if our contracts will be renewed for another year. If not, we sweat a lot more while we scramble to find new jobs.

Buuut anyway... I need to get going.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

RIP Beer Fridge

Well, I guess my beer fridge is dead.

When we bought our house, it came with two refridgerators. One nice new one, and an older one. I was suprised at home much space it had. I immediately claimed it as 'mine', for use only in my devious beer-brewing schemes. I gutted the thing to the point where I could fit 5 corny-kegs in it, and still have room for about a case of bottles. I could fit 6 kegs if I didn't want any bottles. Did I mention it also had a nice freezer? This was a nice fridge!

Well, since this summer, it's been running more and more often. It's never had a problem keeping things cool, and the freezer's always kept things frozen solid. But, it's gotten to the point where it's running all the time, and never turning off. Which, I guess is fine, if you can stomach the extra $30 a month on the power bill. So, for now, I've unplugged it, emptied it, and defrosted it. It's a sad sad sight.

Please, a moment of silence...



Ok, that's enough. In other news: I brought home the medium-sized dorm fridge that's been at the office for the last 5 years. It's the new beer fridge. Sure, there's no room for kegs, but hey...we'll figure out a way to cope.

Friday, December 03, 2004

This is the coolest thing! Below is a screenshot. Just click-n-drag like the instructions state.

This is so cool. :)

Check this out, it's a picture from the Astronomy Picture Of the Day. APOD: 2004 November 30 - Lake Effect Snow on Earth

I just thought it was a pretty cool picture and wanted to share.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Stout Floats

You know what's suprisingly good? Stout-Floats.

Take your favorite stout, and make a rootbeer float out of it. All you need to do is replace the root beer with stout. It's suprisingly good!

At our last homebrewers club meeting, we made them using Bell's Cherry Stout. By itself, Bell's Cherry Stout isn't my favorite. Like 'Delbomber' said on, "...this beer's strengths are it weaknesses. The combination of chocolate with sour cherry is original and unique, but the biting acidity makes it difficult to enjoy the bottle to its entirety." But, add a bunch of vanilla icecream? OH YUM!

I definately need to try this with some different stouts, maybe even make a sort of stout-smoothie or something.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

How Depressing

I decided to pull some pictures off of a couple full Compact Flash cards, and put some of the pictures on the family blog before leaving for the long weekend.

Everything went fine with the first card. The second one? had some major 'issues'. Chkdsk 'fixed' the problems, but that also ment that I lost a bunch of the photos on the card! In all, it looks like I lost 30 pictures. I'm not even sure what was lost!

But anyway, keep an eye out on the family web site for some of the pictures I was able to recover.

Monday, November 22, 2004


Ok, I installed and spent a little time trying out Firefox.

I saw everyone get excited when it hit 1.0, I've got friends saying it's 'the bestest ever'...figured I might as well try it.

It's great. I only wish it had a few things that I'm used to in Avant. From what my friend says, they're probably available as an extension...

A skinable, extensible, standards-compliant web browser. Who'da thunkit?'s bottled!

Earlier this year I brewed an India Pale Ale when my dad was up an visiting. That was on September 25th. I racked it to secondary, and dry-hopped with with about an ounce of Fuggles about 3 weeks later. Just this past weekend I bottled it. It's a little over-due for bottling, but bulk-aging in the basement certainly didn't hurt it. :)

All I have to say about it right now is: WOW! This is a lot better than I was expecting. I wish I had my notes here, as I'd describe how it tasted when I was bottling it.

It's great when warm, flat beer tastes this good. It usually means it's only going to taste better once it's carbonated and slightly chilled. (Hmm, by "warm, flat beer", I mean un-finished, un-bottled beer, not beer that's been sitting out overnight...)

Speaking of carbonation, if you saw my post over at ThePolls, you might have caught the part where I said I brough some of my Raspberry Wheat beer to Noah's friend's 1st birthday party. I did something wrong with that beer. Don't get me wrong, it tastes great, the taste isn't the problem. The problem is, I must have misweighed the corn sugar when I was bottling because it's _COMPLETELY_ over carbonated. It's not to the point of being a 'gusher', nor is it a batch of bottle-bombs, but you literally need a large pitcher just to pour a 12oz glass. When you pop the cap, you have about 5 seconds before it starts pouring foam out of the bottle. An impressive, if not messy, display.

Oh! This weekend I stopped by a friends how to drop off a Zymurgy magazine he'd let me borrow, and he sent me home with a bottle of his recently brewed pale ale, which uses his newly-acquired Burton Ale yeast. It's supposed to be an interesting yeast. I haven't had the chance to try the beer yet, unfortunately. I think I'll try to harvest a sample of the yeast when I do open the bottle.

Friday, November 19, 2004

...and here's a picture of the almost-finished product. Ya know...that doesn't look very impressive for the amount of work that went into it.

What's this? Nothing in particular, really. I just like showing off screenshots that make it look I'm smart! Hehe. It's like the guy who is, um, 'lacking', who buys a big-flashy-expensive car, in order to make up for his, um, perceived 'inadequacy'.

But seriously, all crude-jokes aside, this is just an in-progress piece of software I'm writing for work. What you're seeing is a map. I need to make an algorithm that will give me a line that's offset on the left or right side of any given line. (This offset line will represent a guardrail.) What you see here is an intermediary step in creating the offset lines with a bunch of extra labels for debug purposes.

Personal Blog

Ok, first post. This is my personal blog. If you want to see the Jason & Heather Poll family blog let me know and I'll fire you the URL.