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Welcome to my journal!

This journal is dedicated to my adventures in the world of academia. If you're looking for my personal journal, you're in the wrong place. You're looking for /MusicOfEmotion, and it's friends-only.

Otherwise, feel free to enjoy. Maybe you'll even learn something. :D

Stupid stupid STUPID.

I am SOOOO stupid. I just can't keep my mouth shut.

When I first walked into class, the only other people there were the two girls who always were. And I don't have the damndest idea what got into me, but I decided to butt into their concersation.


And worst of all, I just didn't know when to stop. I said I'm a junior, I said I'm a junior-year physics major specializing in astronomy.

Which is just what the girl behind me (The one with the boyfriend) is.

Fuck fuck fuckity fuck fuck.

She wondered why she hasn't seen me in any of the other classes...and my excuse was "Oh, I got most of my specialized classes done at Florida Tech".


I don't think I can come to class anymore, not without arousing too much suspicion.

I am SUCH an idiot. I just want to cry. T____T

Rocket Propulsion = boring? what?


Oh my god.


Can't even think of..rational stuff to say... update later. BORRRIIINNNNGGGGG.

AIAA Away!

So, the AIAA meeting was ridiculous amounts of fun, much more so than I had anticipated. It was a little dissappointing to find out that I'd missed the SEDS meeting by an hour (D'oh!), but I still had a BLAST. I was one of five girls in a room of at least thirty, and the ONLY "physics major".

There was pizza (Papa John's cheese pizza is DELICIOUS) and soda (Earlier today, I'd said I really needed coke, or some other kind of caffienated soda, and my wish was granted!), and a bunch of very big, very fond of alcohol, very FUNNY guys who kept cracking the weirdest nd funniest jokes. One of them asked if me and Robert (Who I'd dragged along so I wouldn't feel so awkward) were freshmen. Uuhhh... NO! Junior! But hey, I guess it's not a bad thing to still look like a freshman. It means that if Patrick ever comes around and lets me back into Florida Tech, I might be able to start back from the beginning.

What I thought was hysterical was that the Project Daedalus team from SEDS came in to do a presentation on their projected sub-orbital hybrid rocket. Florida Tech was actually involved in that, and after I had done the hybrid rocket competition in May/June of 2007, I was going to be put to work on said project. I don't think I'll be able to get to campus enough to relly make a difference, but damn it all if I'm not going to try.

After their presentation, we had a paper airplane competition. Let me tell you, those aerospace engineers were coming up with some pretty screwy designs. I just did the only one I know how to, a regular ol' classic paper airplane.

There was an endurance (I read it as Endorance - EWOKS!) competition, which 4 or 5 people entered. The plane had to stay up the longest, and ironically, the only girl who entered won.

Then there was a "most loops" competition, which only one person entered, so TA-DA! He won.

Then there was the precision competition, which, by all means, I should have won, but anyway, they judged it and gave it to the other guy who made it into semi-finals. (Like, 8 people entered, but only him and I made it to the third round)

And then there was a "mystery" competition. Mine nearly flew the furthest, but go figure, the competition was the SHORTEST distance! Haha. The prize for that was one of those mustache gag glsses. Hilarious.

And everyone who participated, and even those who didn't (*coughcoughRobertcough*) got to pick a little green plastic army man. :D Sweet!

Anyway, I know I'm not making it sound as hilarious and fun as it was, but I promise you, it was EPIC!

Now I'm sitting outside in the wonderful night air, in the courtyard of the Buisiness Administration building, waiting for Robert to finish his test in the Testing Center. It's really weird, being back in this area, this building. I could still remember what lecture hall Patrick and I saw Jimmy Yawn in. Still remember looking up into the center of the building (by the stairs) and thinking that this place was huge, and so beautiful. I can remember being happy next to Patrick, and excited to see all the presentations, how I felt, how things sounded and felt around me... it's a really amazing feeling.

I can only hope I'll get to go to the SEDS national conference, or something just like it, again.

Courage and Fitting In

So, today I got brave and decided to start speaking up in class. I don't really know what possessed me to do it, but I did. We were learning about impulse, and the professor tried to create a parallel between impulse in car engines and impulse in rocket engines. So he goes on to talking about how his luxury sports car versus a 4-cylinder Honda, how if both cars floored the accelerator at the same time, the Honda would be left in the dust.

So he asks the class, "So, what does this tell us?"

And whatever prompted me to say it, I replied "Don't buy a Honda".

The whole class, including the professor, started cracking up at that. The professor even asked my name and repeated my joke for the sake of those who were watching the lecture on the video stream. I'll have to download that next chance I get (No, I'm not at all vain, nooooo).

Anyway, after that, I actually started contributing to the discussion, like correcting him when he said that impulse was in Newtons rather than in Newton-seconds.

And when he was trying to find out the mass of the space shuttle, I quickly googled it like I always did in my Civ II class. I got about 2 million kilograms, but he apparently was referring to the shuttle, in orbit, sans fuel and booster rockets and EFT, which is the ORBITER, NOT the shuttle (But whatever...), so he told me I was wrong and that it was 100,000 kg. Bah.

And then I really chimed in when we got to what's called "specific impulse". Apparently, specific impulse (Isp) is impulse divided by the change of weight (on Earth), and that ratio is a way of telling you how efficient your engine is.

Note that it's the change of [i]weight[/i], not the change of [i]mass[/i]. The equation was derived by rocket scientists in the 1920's-1930's, so now it's become a standard out of sheer habit.

But you'll note something about specific impulse... because it's the impulse divided by the change of weight, the units end up being [i]seconds[/i].

Yep, that's right. I said seconds. Right now, there are hundreds of rocket scientists around the world who are measuring the efficiency of their rocket engines in a unit of TIME.

Pure idiocy.

So I chimed in and asked why, if it's widely recognized that that's ridiculous, the standard hasn't been changed. After all, it wouldn't require deriving a new equation, it would just require omitting one unnecessary factor from the one we already have, a factor that makes the eqution needlessly complicated anyway.

The professor's response was that "I am a scientists, while you are engineers. Whereas I, the scientist, find this ridiculous, engineers are creatures of habit, and since everyone was used to calculating specific impulse in seconds, that's how it stayed".

Which is SO stupid, and SO unscientific, I can hardly wrap my mind around it. But the class was over then, and people from the next class in that room were already peeking in, so he had to let us go.

Urgh. I believe this requires some more investigative research.

Anyway, the whole point of this is, after actually piping up in class this time, I felt SO!!! confident. I haven't felt that confident in a LONG time, especially on a college campus.

And let me tell you, it's a great feeling.

Suddenly I was walking taller, faster, and prouder on campus. I explored an area I hadn't seen before, and complimented some random tall black guy on his classic Nintendo controller belt buckle (A ThinkGeek product, obviously). Walking towards the student union building, I snuck up behind a squirrel that was drinking water from the bench and poked its tail. When it didn't really seem to care, I actually petted it down its back a few times. I was smiling, and singing along to NightWish, and I saw two people (A boy and a girl, I think) looking at me and laughing. And now I'm sitting in the middle of one of their malls, next to a palm tree that keeps popping out sparrows, happy as anything and finally feeling like I'm fitting in, like I look like I belong here, maybe that people are even looking at me thinking "Hey, look at that sexy/pretty/good-looking smart chick! I should go say hi!".

And Ralph actually walked by while I was sitting here to tell me that he'd be in the student union building until 6, if Robert and/or I wanted to join him. Asked me what class Robert had a test in, talked about what he'd heard about a class... a conversation that any normal college student could have had!! It felt SO GOOD!!

Later today (Around 7:30pm), I'm actually going to go to an AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics) meeting. Should be pretty cool. I wrote it down on Tuesday, but the location was still TBA. So I went back to check it today, and found out that not only did they have a location now (Still gotta look up where that is...), but they're going to have free pizza and prizes there too. Sweet! :D

I can't wait!
So, I'm back in Rocket Propulsion Technology, sans the long-haired hot guy, and the professor is just as unprepared as eve. He's sitting at his desk, mumbling to himself, trying to derive an equation that he doesn't understand from the textbook.


And every few minutes, he makes a comment about how his back hurts and he had to take medication, or how the school has been screwing with his schedule, and how that's caused him to have no free time to figure this stuff out before class.


Which, I suppose, is okay, since I'm in no place of mind to pay much attention, anyway. I was stupid enough to go onto the Whine About Relationships thread on the XKCD fora and now I'm in a terrible mood. Yes, I get it, I'm obsessive, I have Stolkholm Syndrome, but whatever you want to say, that man ruined my life, and I love him regardless. That is love. Accepting a person for all of their flaws. So STFU.

There is also a couple behind me who keep whispering to each other and laughing. They're closer to each other in their chairs than RichandAmy, and it's bothering me. Bah.

But that wasn't a very academic rant, which is what separates this journal from my regular journal, so blah.

...and after typing all of that, he's still deriving to himself. Hah. Notfunny.

Notes From Class

Actually, there was something pretty cool I learned that I didn't know before. About how aerobraking is used for getting probes to Mars. Here's what I typed on the subject (I've got other stuff written in my actual binder, but I don't feel like transcribing that):


Now when we go to mars, we don't use retro firing. Instead, we use aerobraking.

We use atmospheric drag - you open up your solar panels and graze them accross the atmsphere. The drag will slow you down. The molecules of the atmosphere (CO2, in the case of mars) cause the drag.

You MUST graze the less-dense atmosphere at the top, because if you try to graze deeper into the more dense atmosphere at high velocities, the pressure will break your instruments. You need JUSt enough drag to catch it into an eliptical orbit, so each time it grazes the atmosphere, it gets slower, and the orbit grows smaller (e diminishes)

For Mars, it takes approximately 370 orbits to achieve a near-circular orbit. In order to get a perfectly circulr orbit, however, aerobraking is not enough. You need thrust.

Aerobraking is incredibly useful, because you need less fuel mass, so you have more room for instruments! You get a beter scientific bang for your buck!


That was rather interesting, especially the diagram I've got to go along with it.

What was idiotic, however, was the conversation before we got to that part. I was silent during all of this, but I should think it was pretty obvious what I was thinking.

Professor: How do you brake in space?

Sarah: Reverse thrust.

Professor: Good, we do do that, but there is a simpler way.

Hot guy: Jettison mass?

Professor: That would just make you go faster.

Hot guy: No, in the opposite direction.

Sarah: You mean throw stuff out in front of you? Then you'd run into it!

Professor: Easier, think easier.

Class: .....

Professor: We use aerobraking!


Sarah: We were making it so complicated, and that's so simple!

............uh.....how is that a "simple" was to "brake in space"? The was the question was posed, it sounded as though he was talking about braking in deep space, in which case reverse thrusting is about your only option. Aerobraking is only possible in the presence of a, duh, ATMOSPHERE. That hardly counts as the common definition of "space".

Rocket Scientist

So, since Calculus III was so unbearably boring, I had Robert log me into his UCF account so I could look up other classes. And I finally settled on ETI 4835 - Rocket Propulsion Technology. I took my laptop with me because there were only four other people in the class (Since it's an ASC class) so I'd blend in better.

Well, that served two other purposes. So I could take fast notes, since he actually put the textbook pages up on the screen, and so I could blog about it during the class, since it was EASY. Yep, easy, but at least it was more interesting than Calc III. Anyway, here's what I wrote:


This class, too, is ridiculously easy. It's all basic physics. Granted, I'm learning some new terms and equations, but it's all logical, and the kids in this class are having SO much trouble with it. I mean, come on! Sarah, the most vocal person in the class, claims to suck at physics. But she's an engineer?!

I wish I had the textbook for this class, though. This stuff really is incredibly fascinating still, even if, thanks to Patrick, I'll never be able to do this stuff for a living.

And oh man, the kid in front of me is SEXY. Not so much physically beautiful, but he's got long brown hair (Down to, like, mid-back in a low ponytail) and thing blackwire glasses, but just the way he holds himself... he's reading some kind of PDF on the screen (Martin Strong-Oak?), and he's obviously computer savvy, and very smart but not at all cocky, just specialized and technical and practically geeky. Yum. This is what I don't get outside of the university setting. Smart, geeky men.

He's using AIM, too. Damn it all, if I only knew his s/n...or his name at all...and could connect to the freaking internet.

Oh...my god. The professor asked the difference between F = m (dr/dt) and F = d(mr)/dt, and thought Sarah was BRILLIANT for realizing that in the left euqation, the mass had nothing to do with time. DUUURRHHHHH. How is that brilliant?


I'm not really sure what else to add to that (Mostly because I'm HUNGRY, but thanks to Bright House fucking up my bill for this month, I have -$170 in the bank right now), but yeah... GREAT class, very interesting stuff, but we only covered, like, two equations in that period, and not at all comprehensively. The professor didn't even know what the textbook meant 3/4 of the time. he actually couldn't figure out why F=m(dot)C was, essentially, a specialized version of F=ma that only applies to rockets for almost half the freaking class. DURH.

I definately think I'm going to keep attending, though. Even if I understand the stuff better than most of the students AND the professor, it's still damned interesting stuff. And it gets me out of the house and away from Paul (A rant which belongs to another journal...or the XKCD fora...), so rawk on.

Plus, it's in the same building that most of Space Vision 2006 (The SEDS national conference) was in, so that's kind of cool. Lots of good memories, there. I don't remember ANYTHIGN going wrong between me and Patrick there, and those memories are hard to come by now.

Anyway, I DO have some stuff to say about UCF itself.

This. School. Is. Freaking. Huge.

I feel so intimidated being here. I mean, Florida Tech's entire library could fit inside UCF's student union building. They have eye doctors and haircutters and tons of on-brand food merchants (Subway, Mrs. Fields...). They have an entire sushi bar in a little out-of-the-way convienence store. It's just MASSIVE! I love being back in school, but I feel like I don't belong. I feel ugly, and out of place, in a sparkling beautiful giant school.

Even now, sitting at a table in the library, I feel like people just KNOW I don't belong. My nose is too pointy and my expression isn't cheery enough and I'm just exhuding an aura of "wrong".

I'm probably imagining it, but the size of this place is just so [i]intimidating[/i]. I miss my tiny, comfortable Florida Tech. With it's devoted-to-math-science-and-engineering bookstore. I miss that. I miss knowing I can lean over to any given person, make a joke like "What is the integral of 1/CABIN dCABIN? Houseboat!", and know they'll understand it. If I do that here, with my luck I'll get someone who's majoring in restaurant management. (You think I'm joking, but there was a whole shelf devoted to those textbooks in the bookstore...)

Quick edit (5:21pm): I must look like I belong, because some Indian guy just pulled up a chair at my table and started taking notes. Uhhhh... a little rude, but okay.


I will say one thing for UCF, though. As much as I don't agree with having a cafe in the middle of the freaking library, their food is GOOD. If they had something like this at FLorida Tech, me and Patrick probably never would have left.

Their drinks range from tea (him), to coffee (me), to hot chocolate (me), to smoothies (me & him).

And their food? Oh gawd, their food! They have veggie wraps (me), ham and swiss subs (him), SUSHI (him!), and sliced pita bread with hummus (me & him). I didn't mean to buy anything when I came in to sit down, but I got REALLY hungry and those granola bars I stashed away just didn't seem appetizing enough. So, since the pita bread and hummus was only $2.12 after tax, I went for that.

And boy, am I glad I did.

I would just like to say, hummus, especially on pita bread, is AMAZING. Now I know why vegetarians love it so much (Hummus is, like, purreed garlic with a dash of orgasm), and why it's a good idea to eat it before going out drinking (Pita bread is massively dense and absorbent). I've spread the hummus out on the pita bread (With the aid of a coffee stirrer, since there are oddly no utensils here), which was cut into what look like eights, and it's like a mini vegetarian indian pizza of deliciousness!!

Oh. My. Gawd. I need to get some of this stuff for home. This shit is bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S!!!

Quick edit (5:52pm): Wow, I really wasn't kidding about this stuff being good to eat before drinking. I am the most AMAZING kind of full right now. I'm definately full, but not the overly-stuffed kind or the want-to-eat-more-food kind. I'm actually the perfect-content kind, and let me tell you, it feels GOOD. I am DEFINATELY going to try to make this a regular part of my diet.

Calculus III

I hojestly cannot believe what an unbelievable joke that was. I didn't even get half an hour into the class before my eyes were glazed over and I was doodling absently in my binder. I actually started drafting up a livejournal entry while [i]in[/i] the class. Here's what I wrote:


Well, at least my fears have not, as od yet, been realized. This is [i]cake[/i]. Maybe I'm in the remedial class, how insulting would that be?

At least I know that yes, I still feel at home in the classroom. SO at home. Hell, I'm even drawing the same "fancy eye" I drew in class at Florida Tech.

Though this class is like a weird mix of basic physics and trig. He talks about vectors and dot products, then gives an angle in [i]degrees[/i]... where's the calculus?!?!

There's an hour more to go, but I think I'll skip out at 4:30 and try the other calc III class.


But when I went upstairs to the other Calc III class, the same bullshit - cross product of vectors - was up on the board, and there wasn't an empty seat in the room. So since I'd already been rude enough to the first professor (I actually walked out about half an hour into the class to check the room number because I was SO sure it couldn't possibly be calculus III), I didn't rejoin the first class I'd been in.

But gawd, what the hell? I don't know if calc III is supposed to be that easy (Patrick had said that III was the easiest of the three, but I didn't really believe him...), or if I know more than I thought I did, or if UCF is just a joke of a school compared to Florida Tech. I really, REALLY hope it's not the third one, because that will make the sting of the blow of having Patrick get me expelled all the worse.

But, I mean, gawd, look at some of the stuff that professor actually said:

"Let's assume you know it. If you don't, just trust me".


"I keep switching between notations, I hope you don't mind."

And he said both with a SMILE. GAAAHHHHHH.

This was a TOTAL waste of time, and just makes me feel worse that Florida Tech really was an amazing school and my only oppourtunity for a good, mind-stimulating education.

I don't think I'll be doing this again. Robert's already said that he's probably only going to come up to this campus maybe once every week or two, so I'd never get the full force of any class... besides, the only other class that goes on while he has class is a grad-level quantum mechanics course, and I heard through the grapevine that dear old Scott is going to be going here for grad, so that's probably a horrendous idea...

I just, as always, wish things were different.