Feeling Like a Genius/Idiot

I fixed my website today! For well over a month, I’ve been having problems with my navbar script. It is supposed to highlight the page that you are viewing, and change the text color from white to black. It is also supposed to indent the items, to represent the levels of my site. It used to work fine in IE, but the indenting never worked in FireFox. I modified the script to work properly in FireFox, but in the process, broke the part of the script that made the text color for a top level item turn black. I was looking at my CSS file (which controls most of the formatting across the site) and noticed a stray period. Deleting it solved the problem. So I finally solved a really difficult problem, but it shouldn’t have been nearly as difficult to solve.

(For those who are into web-development, let me recommend the Web Developer extension for FireFox. It allowed me to finally know what class was being applied to the troubled DIV, and then I knew where to look in my CSS file for mistakes. Very useful, it took only two minutes to solve the problem, and I have previously spent a few hours trying to figure it out.)


I’m tempted to go on about my Christmas, but I stayed up until 3 last night reading a book, and still had to get up normal time, and I’ve been reading it at night since Christmas Eve. I’m tired now, and actually intended to go to bed quite a while ago. So you’ll have to make do with the little I’ve posted in the comments to my last post, until I get around to posting again. Not that anyone wants to know so bad that they can’t wait, but I can pretend that I have eager readers, right?…..

Merry Christmas

For some reason, I’m more excited about Christmas this year than I was last year. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I don’t have homework to do. My Dad and I were discussing this the other day. Last year, I had to work on my Senior Paper over break, and college applications were on the table. There were a few scholarship applications that were due right after break, too. I was working at the store, and still wanted some free time. Things got a bit busy over break.

I finished my Christmas shopping last Saturday, and so that front is covered. My sister and I went shopping for my parents over Thanksgiving break, and bought several things. Most were on their lists, but we also got one of those water fountain type things, with the rocks and different levels for the water to flow down. We don’t have anything like that yet, so we’ll see how it goes over.

One gift that I know will be a hit, is the gift for my sister. She’s always complaining about being cold, or needing extra blankets and such at night. I got an electric blanket for her, and I’m almost positive she’ll be using it tonight. (In all fairness, she put it on her list, so I didn’t actually think of the idea, but I still feel really good about it.)

We’ve always been a family to open presents on Christmas Eve, and so we’re going start cooking dinner soon. We always have some sort of dinner, tacos, hamburgers, or something before we open the presents. This year, it’s enchiladas, a recipe adapted from Home Ec class, which in turn was adapted from a student’s mother’s recipe. The recipe is called ‘Tino’s Chicken Enchiladas’, and, aside from the chicken, had red and green enchilada sauce, and a “cream of…” soup over the whole pan. This year, I think we’re using Cream of Mushroom. Then there’s cheese over the top of the whole thing. A bit of work to make them, but they’re pretty good. I’ll have to post the recipe sometime, maybe.

Anyway, after we eat, there’s always a rush to get everything cleaned up so we can open the presents. My parents have used the fact that my sister and I want to get to the presents quite constructively in years past, and when we were younger, we were VERY helpful Christmas Eve. As we got older, the excitement isn’t quite as much, but this year feels a bit better than last year.

After presents are opened, it’s time to get dressed and head off to Church. This year, as it has been the past 3 years or so, I’m doing incense at both masses, so I come home about 11 from the 9pm mass, and have to be back for the 9am mass. Not that I mind that much. I’ll still get more sleep than I did some nights last semester!

I really don’t know much of what I’m getting this year. I didn’t have much on my list, and we use the lists as a starting point anyway. I can tell that one of the packages is a paperback book, and I suspect that one of the packages is some t-shirts I asked for. But there are some, including a package that has all the weight at one end, that I have no idea about. Oh well, I’ll find out soon enough.


I was helping my mom making a plastic canvas thing that spins in the wind to give to my Uncle and Aunt at the gathering on Monday. I took a series of pictures, but once again, I’m feeling too lazy to post them. I’ll mention it on the blog when I do.


Just informed that it’s time to head upstairs to start cooking, and I’ve been online for the better part on an hour, so I’ d best be going.


Caroling, Trees, Elections

Been busy these last few days. Last night, several people from our church got together and went Christmas Caroling. It really is quite fun, if you come prepared for the weather. This year, the wind let up for most of the night, and it really wasn’t that cold. A good experience all around. A lot of the people we caroled to don’t get out too much, and this is a real experience for them. It really makes their Christmas. We had a group of 25 or so, plus two young ones that ended up falling asleep in the car. (we carol mainly to people from the church, so we have to drive to the houses, and the whole affair takes 2 to 3 hours.)

It was actually the second time I’d been caroling this week. At school, during finals week, it is quiet hours 23 hours a day. That leaves one hour (9-10pm) for ‘blowout hour’. Sunday they had an eggnog chug, and other assorted activities. I missed that one, I can’t remember why. Monday, there was the “Fr. Brad Social’, where the pastoral resident (Father Brad) hosts a social in his room. It’s just two doors down from me, so I decided to wander down and see what was up. They were serving root beer floats, and there were a lot of people there. It was proposed that we should go carol to the girls in Mehling, the nearby all girls dorm, and about 7 of us decided to go. Michael, (the guy who thought of caroling) had prepared a songsheet with 3 songs, and had the chords for hi guitar, so we had accompaniment. So off we went. Of course, I realized when we got over there that I’d left my wallet in my room, and didn’t have my ID, required to check in. So I just hid out behind the group, and ended up getting in without checking in. (That’s not really kosher, but don’t tell anyone, okay?)

We began caroling on the first floor, and as we passed the first three doors, two of them were slammed shut. We were wondering if we could really sound that bad. Actually, though, the girls really seemed to like it, several running to get cameras for scrapbooks, or other stuff. We went from one end of the floor to the other, then up the stairwell to the next, singing one song per floor. The three songs were: The First Noel, O Holy Night, and What Child is This. Despite O Holy Night being a hard song to sing, I think we actually sounded pretty good at it, and it was our favorite of the three.

By the time we got to the eighth (top) floor, it had been almost half an hour, but we were doing pretty well. There were four or so girls working on homework or something in the little lobby area outside the elevator, and so we ended up singing out whole repertoire to them, as well as being photographed about 10 times. Then we rode the elevator down, singing, and stopping on every floor, for a few seconds. We actually picked up a passenger or two on the way down, who didn’t really know what to make of the situation. Then we sang a carol in the lobby, and made out departure, with about 5 minutes to spare before quiet hours resumed, at 10.

Tuesday was the RA Balloon Launch, where we got a slingshot, and the RAs stood at the end of the field, and we launched water balloons at them. They were not allowed to duck out of the way on an incoming balloon. None of the RAs got hit square on, though we got several hits in the shins, and one that was just barely over one’s shoulder. I got a few good pictures. I may decide to post them later, but I don’t feel like uploading them to my computer resizing them, and then uploading them to the net tonight.

The Saturday night before finals, I was in my room and heard a loud sound come from the basketball courts below the dorm. There were several people gathered down there, I saw out my window, so I went out to see what was going on. Turns out, they had an old computer, and two monitors, and were smashing them. This was put on by Ryan Hendricks, as an official activity. The idea being to let us take out frustration and stress on the computer equipment. The bang I heard was the first monitor exploding. They had an aluminum baseball bat to hit the stuff with. The computer case was strung up to the basketball hoop with a power cord. By the end, the stuff was pretty much destroyed. I didn’t think to get my camera until after the smashing was over, but there was some videotape taken, so it’ll show up in the end of the year video. I got a few pictures of the cleanup, but nothing too exciting. I salvaged a computer chip from the junk pile, but I’m not sure what it belonged to. It’s not the processor, but other than that, I’m not too sure. But it’s kinda cool.

We put up our Christmas trees yesterday and today. We have two, a fake one downstairs and a live one upstairs. The stove is in the room downstairs where the tree goes, so a real tree would dry out way too soon there. Michelle and I decorated the fake tree with all the glass and other nice ornaments, the tree upstairs will be decorated with all the ornaments that have been made over the years. My mom crochets ornaments, and my Michelle and I have made our share of ornaments over the years, in school and whatnot. Dad lit that tree this afternoon, and will decorate it tomorrow, I think. He’s off until after Christmas, now.

I have a dentist appointment tomorrow, and a haircut on Wednesday. I should be all ready for the holidays. We’re having the annual get together for my Dad’s side at our house this year, on Sunday. It’s tradition to do it after Christmas, so that we can spend Christmas at home. We’ll have four of the five siblings here, the last lives in Boise and doesn’t always come. It is a long trip for them, well over 6 hours of driving. My aunt from Puyallup, (outside of Tacoma) is coming down, and will be spending the night here. The other two brothers live in Portland, just an hour away.

In other news, I’m finally getting a newspaper again with some regularity, and have discovered that the Governor’s race here in Washington is still as undecided as it was the last time I heard. Except that there are now more ballots in dispute. For those not following WA politics, the current Governor, Gary Locke (Democrat), chose not to run again. The race was between Christine Gregoire, the current Attorney General, a Democrat, and Dino Rossi, a former state Senator, and a Republican. The general consensus was that Rossi was really a long shot, and that Gregoire would win easily. But Rossi did well. Washington law allows ballots postmarked on the date of the election to count, so many ballots arrived after the election night, and they didn’t have an official total for a long time. When they did, Rossi lead by about 200 votes, out of about 2 million cast. That triggered a automatic machine recount, and Rossi came out of that with a lead of 42 votes. A hand recount is now in progress, and with all counties except King reporting, Rossi’s lead has increased by eight votes.

But it’s not quite that simple. In King county, last week, they just happened to discover 576 absentee ballots that had been erroneously rejected due to mismatched signatures. Apparently, something had been done wrong when the signatures on the registration forms were scanned into the computer. Of course, King county is the county where Seattle is located, the most liberal (Democratic) county in the state. Something tells me that these ballots will tip the election, if allowed to stand. Then last weekend, they discovered another 150 ballots that had been rejected incorrectly. Republicans sued to stop the ballots from being counted, and last I heard, the court agreed that it was now too late to be adding new ballots to the count. King county, and presumably the Democratic party are appealing the decision.

I should note that the discovery of the ballots probably isn’t as suspicious as I make out. Apparently, a county executive somehow discovered his name on the list of invalid ballots, and this led to the discovery. But it was convenient that they found these extra ballots when they did. Another day or two, and the count would have been certified, making it official.

The whole mess has been going on for quite a while, and now the former Sec of State is calling for a new election, as we really don’t know who was elected. I understand that the legislature could order a new election, as could the State Supreme Court. We’ll see how this one turns out. We may not know till after February who the new governor is.

Enough for one day, even though I didn’t write this all in one sitting.

And guess what I just discovered! You can’t dial a connection when the phone cord is not plugged into your computer! It only took me a few minutes to figure it out, as I had the same problem yesterday. Wake up!


Another quiz

I noticed that Celtic had borrowed my mutterings idea, I went over there to see how it turned out. I ended up stealing one of her quizzes, because I’m already bored. Yeah, the first order of things is sleep, and I’m tired, but I want to be on the computer for some reason. I bet if I wandered over to the bed, I’d be asleep in 10 minutes flat. But on to the quiz:

What Flavour Are You? Cor blimey, I taste like Tea.Cor blimey, I taste like Tea.

I am a subtle flavour, quiet and polite, gentle, almost ambient. My presence in crowds will often go unnoticed. Best not to spill me on your clothes though, I can leave a nasty stain. What Flavour Are You?

It continued “If you were not tea, you’d be”:

What Flavour Are You? I am Vanilla Flavoured.I am Vanilla Flavoured.

I am one of the most popular flavours in the world. Subtle and smooth, I go reasonably with anyone, and rarely do anything to offend. I can be expected to be blending in in society. What Flavour Are You?<

Actually, the descriptions are only about half right. I’d like to say that I’d leave a stain, but more than likely, I wouldn’t. And in my world, the most popular flavor of ice cream is chocolate, followed closely by strawberry, Neapolitan, orange sherbet, cookie dough, raspberry, and mint chocolate chip. Vanilla trails a distant second.

My, didn’t this turn out to be a positive post! Well, maybe I should go lay down………zzzz

Unconcious Mutterings, week 3

Okay, these have been going on for a lot more than 3 weeks, but it’s my third time doing it. I haven’t looked at the list yet, but I’m about to paste it into this post. Here goes:

    1. Plot::kitten


  • Farce::fake



  • Unexpected::freak



  • Siren::ambulance



  • Ben::psychodanceparty



  • Freshman::me



  • Quicksand::stuck



  • 24 hours::quiet



  • Spunky*::brionna



  • Vicious::tiger



*EDIT 12/17 I’ve come to the understanding that spunky carries a meaning that isn’t the one in the dictionary, to some. I have to say that here, I was thinking of the “peppy, lots of spirit” type meaning. Which I just discovered isn’t even quite the dictionary meaning. But now you know I wasn’t trying to offend anyone, even if I did.

Perhaps I should explain a few of those. But I don’t feel like it–if you want to know what was meant by some of these, post a comment. I’ll say that #1 and 5 will be known to Aloofers, and a college student would probably get #8.

List provided by :

The End is in Sight

Almost to the end of the semester. I’m done with classes. Finals are next week. I have two real test finals, one Tuesday (Physics) and one Wednesday (Calculus). I have take-home essay finals due Wednesday afternoon (Philosophy), and Thursday morning (History). Or, in place of the History essay, I can come to class and take a real essay final Thursday.


Last week, I mentioned the Design competition. On to the results.

Our team did pretty well, the paddle wheel worked good, and we had about 30 points worth of whiffle balls. Then disaster struck. Well, it wasn’t that bad, but it was the end of the competition for us.

Missing set screw.Our device used two motors, one for each of the rear wheels. This was the drive system, but it also was the steering. Bu going forward on the right wheel, adn backward on the left, the device would turn to the left. By manipulating the power to the two wheels, the device was very maneuverable. However, about 30 seconds before the end of the competition, the small set screw in the right motor fell out. (Left) The screw holds the spinning gear in the motor to the axle. After it was gone, the motor still turned, but the wheel didn’t turn with it.

That meant that the motion our device could make was a bog circle. We were close to out area, and Martin, the guy driving, almost got it arround the barrier infront setup area, where we were trying to get. If we’d had anohter 15 seconds or so, we might have gotten back. As it was, time ran out, and we, having returned 0 balls to the startup area, got 0 points.

Destroyed deviceOther teams did better, although some did worse. One team had their frame built entirely of balsa wood, and it was basically a jail cell without a bottom. That is, all the supports were vertical, with no cross bracing. They bumped into someone else, which kind of damaged their device, and then were accidentally rammed by another team–the picture is of their device after the competition. Surprisingly, after their device was destroyed, another device accidentally knocked a ball into their startup area, and they got a score of 2 points.

Another device was built to stand up, about 12 or so feet tall, and then fall down over the arena. It has two towers, and a cross bar between them at the top. After it fell, the cross-member would be pulled towards them, sweeping up all the balls that were inside the device. If it worked, it would have been a major point scorrer. However, as i said several times before the competition, it will either work perfectly, or not at all. There were so many things that could go wrong, all of them vital to the success of the deveice.

Did I mention that the device was probably 12 feet tall, when standing? And that the room where the practice board was set up had only about 10 foot ceilings? They never had tested a start from vertical. And did I mention that you only had two minutes to set up? THIS is what got them. When properly set up, the posts should be vertical, and parallel. This is so when it falls, they are the same distance apart the whole way back, rather like a train track. Imagine a train track where all of a sudden, it got narrower. The train would get stuck. They set it up with the bottoms of the posts too close together. I could instantly see that they would get stuck on the way back. However, their failure was more spectacular than that.

They had two lengths of 50# fishing line running to the top of the device, to stabilize it. Each length ran to one of the two posts. You may recall, the rules stated that once the time started, you could not touch teh device, and before the time started, the device had to be within the startup area (which had no upper limit). This meant that they had to use a remotely controlled mechanism to cut the strings. When they set up the device wrong, it caused the strings to not have as much tension on them as they should have. When they went to cut them, it took a bit longer than they epected, and then it cut one of the strings. I was talking with one of the team members afterwards, and he said “As soon as if cut only one string, I knew what was going to happen.”

Twisted.The side that had had the sting cut started to fall, but was still supported on the other side. This caused the device to start twisting, and then the whole thing fell down, with the rails twisted, across each other. It had been a bit controversial if this group should be allowed to compete at the same time as other groups, and had been decided that as there was one extra goup, they would compete solo. So after their device collapsed, they decided to use the remainder of their time to give a demostration to the audience of how it would have worked. Unfortunately, the twisting had damaged the device, and it would no longer pull all the way in. Another score of 0.

If you want to see further results (just numbers, not pictures or commentary), see the course website. My team was E1, the team with the tower was E2, and the destroyed device was Team E7. All were in my section of the class, hence the E.


I happened across a quiz, today:
You are .html You are versatile and improving, but you do have your limits.  When you work with amateurs it can get quite ugly.
Which File Extension are You?


Got to run if I’m going to make it to lunch before it closes.


Too Busy!

I was intending to get out a post earlier this week, but it’s not going to happen. Competition results, finals week gripes, and much mouch more coming eventually. I even have a post drafted, about half done. Too much to do to elaborate–I’ll try to get to this this weekend, or else next Thursday.


Hurting, Tired, and Busy

I really need to go to bed soon. I was up until late Wednesday night, in part due to the fact that Nik and a few others came in and started playing Halo at 1:30. In all fairness, he asked if I minded, and I said no. I really didn’t think they,d still be going at 3, though. I went to bed a few minutes after 3, and I guess they quit about 3:40. None of them had classes until after 11, though. (My first class Thurs is at 9:45, not terribly early, but enough that 3 is a bit late.)

Then last night, I went out to Café Procrastiné about 10:40, and they were decorating the lounge. Well, Nick Zubach was, and maybe one other person. So I helped, and we quit decorating at 12:30, or so. We had Icicle lights all the way arround the room, at the top, and colored lights in various places. There is a tree, all decorated, and the mantle has garland arround it, as well as more lights. There’s even a train set arround the tree. After we finished, there were a few of us out in the lounge, just talking. The movie White Christmas was played, but by the middle of the movie, just Ryan and I were left. At 3, I decided that I was going to bed, and wasn’t going to bother the finish the movie.

After we decorated, while we were talking, several lights were starting to fall down. The duct tape just wasn’t enough, I guess. At one point, I had just turned the train on for one trip arround the track, adn then walked across the room to re-tape some lights. I heard the train get caught, and went back that way. I chose to go over the back of the couch. As near as I can tell, I put my foot on the top of the back, and pushed off, and my foot slipped back down towards the cushions. At any rate, I was going forward, and my foot was still on the top of the couch. I fell, and stopped myself with my arm. I was a bit sore after that. 😉 Actually, my arm still feels kinda funny. I don’t really think anything is wrong, but I have an appointment Monday at the health center, and I’ll have someone look at it if it still feels wierd. Otherwise, I’ll cancel. It kinda feels like a bit of growing pain, or something. I feel it ont he inside of my arm, though, and when I lift something with my palm up, I can really feel it. We’ll see how it goes.


Starting at 1:00 tomorrow, and lasting til about 4ish, is the Design competition. My team is now in decent shape, we finished the device about 5:30 tonight. I don’t remember if I’ve blogged about the competition yet, so I’ll run over it briefly.

As part of my Intro to Engineering class, we have this competition. You are given limited parts, and you have to construct a device that will collect whiffle balls from a competiton arena. There will be four devices in the arena, at the same time, competing for the same balls. There are four balls the size of a softball, worth 10 points each, 8 balls the size of a baseball, worth 5 points, and 50 balls, worth 2 points each, the size of a golf ball. There is a 2 minute time limit. There are 4 prizes the easiest to explain are: one for most points, one for most ingenious. YOu have the option to stop collecting balls at any time, and so there is a prize for the most points per total time collecting. So if you aren’t going to get any more balls, you may as well quit, so you don’t run up your time.

As we built this, we were charged fake money for supplies. You got a basic kit, and then had the option to purchase additional supplies. There is no spending limit, and you have nfinite money to spend, but the fourth prize is for the most points per dollar spent. To my knowledge, very few people built their devices with an eye on this prize.

The competition is a pretty big event. Besides all teh freshman engineers, there will be a lot of parents, and they invite prospective students out too. I had the option of having invitations sent to some of my high school teachers, and sent ones to Mrs. Collins and Mrs. McAndie. I doubt either will come, but I thought they might be interested. Mrs. McAndie told my Dad a few weeks ago that she won’t be coming.

Here is what my device looks like:

We have a paddle wheel to scoop up the balls. This is a design shared with about 20 other devices. And to my knowledge, all of us thought we were the only ones that thought of a paddle wheel.

I have to show up at noon tomorrow, and we find out the order of competition at 12:30. I’ll try to take a few pictures, but we’ll see.

Until later