Skydiving

INCREDIBLE! That’s really the only word I can currently think of to describe it.  I went skydiving for the first time this past weekend.  The anticipation had been building up for the past few weeks.  A fellow co-worker had gone before and this time we were going to celebrate a birthday.  The actual day of skydiving snuck up on me though.  I have had a cram-packed past few weeks with weddings, work and all sorts of other things going on.

Saturday morning rolled around and I was ready to go.  I woke up full of energy and ready to go.  The weather wasn’t looking so good though.  It was very cloudy and overcast although they said there was only a twenty percent chance of rain.  We were going to meet at 8:30 that morning and I wasn’t going to be late.  I got up, got dressed, ate some light fruit (didn’t think my first jump on a full stomach was a good idea) and got on the road to Sebastian.  Everyone met up at Skydive Sebastian but as we arrived the weather had not improved.  The weather wasn’t going to stop us though, we stayed around and watched some videos and chatted a bit with other divers.  Three hours later we heard that the first plane was going up.

Since there were ten of us jumping, all sporting shirts thanks to Long Doggers,  I got placed on the third plan going up for the day.  So we watched the first two planes go up and the divers jump.  Then I heard the call to suit up for my plane.  I got suited up, boarded the plan and we were off.  I knew that it took a bit of time to get to 13,500 feet so I wasn’t very anxious during the plane ride.  I knew as soon as it was time though I would be all nervous.

We reached jumping altitude and then it was time to go.  The pilot had originally told us that we were jumping nine seconds apart.  Well by the time we reached altitude and started jumping I was to busy to get nervous and by the time I knew it I was standing at the door and then jumping out of the plane.  This was followed by a good minute of free fall and then approximately five minutes of coasting down after the chute was deployed.  The free fall was such a rush.  I don’t even know how to describe it.  I remember that it felt like I was falling forever but in retrospect it happened very quickly.  The falling was incredible, the feeling was incredible, the view was incredible.  I have never experienced anything like it.  Since it was my first time though I was a bit disoriented at first, falling out of a moving plane and tumbling for a bit had me a bit off kilter.  I quickly regained my bearings and enjoyed the rest of the ride.

I was also surprised at how difficult it was to do stuff while falling.  I felt that I had no control over my facial expressions and my hand movement was kind of sporadic since any slight move I made was drastically exaggerated by the speed at which the air was passing.  That and trying to follow the instructions while paying attention to the camera, and trying to not look completely stupid, ended being much more challenging than I thought.  The videos make it look simple but there is actually quite a bit of work to keeping things together when you are traveling that fast.  Alright, enough of my babble (yes, I know that is what this site is called) watch the video and then sign up to jump! Oh, and if you want anyone to go with you, feel free to ask me… 😉

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St. Patrick’s Day

Most of my friends and I agree that St. Patrick’s day is amateur day for drunks.  The people that don’t normally go out and drink other times during the year (with the exception of New Years) go out and don’t know their own limits.  This makes Shamrock GlassesSt. Patrick’s day a day I tend to stay close to home.  Balloon LeprechanThis year though, I got invited to a friends birthday bash which was going to take place at Meg O’Malley’s.  So I decided to be a good sport and join them knowing that Meg’s throws a huge party for the day of green including green beer.  We got out there early and grabbed seats which were very hard to come by.  We stayed put most of the evening and watched the people and festivities.  Had a great time and saw everything from bagpipes to balloon animals.  I even found me a pair of spiffy spectacles.  Tim over at Rant has a few more photos if you want to stop by and take a look.  Everyone should check them out and ask him where the pictures of him are.  I know he was sporting a really awesome hat for a while.

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STS-119

One of the amazing accomplishments of science happened yesterday; another successful space shuttle launch.  A shuttle launch always amazes me and I have been watching them my entire life.  I can remember being a little kid and my parents waking me up in the middle of the night to go outside and see a launch.  Even though we were 160 miles away we could still see it from our front yard.  To this day I always make an effort to watch the launch in person; I can’t remember the last one I have missed.  This one was no different but I did have to work out a bit of a schedule.  This past weekend I went to my parents house and I knew that the launch was planned for Sunday when I would be on my way back home.  Having lived on the Space Coast for 7 years now I know that any launch create havoc on the road ways.  My two choices were either get home a few hours before the launch or plan to get close to the Space Coast after the launch.  I figured if I neared the Space Coast while during the launch most of the people would be funneling out as I tried to get home.  So I carefully planned my time to leave so that I would be going the opposite direction as all the spectators.  Apparently I didn’t correctly estimate the amount of spectators.  By the time I made it to Orlando (the half way point of my trip) I was already stopped in traffic from launch spectators.  I couldn’t believe there were this many people.  I crawled along the interstate at a snail’s pace.  It took me over an hour and a half to get twenty nine miles.  That was not in the plan at all.  As I sat in traffic even more people headed out to see the launch.  The interstate came to a halt just before the last toll booth I had to pass through.  This was actually a blessing in disguise since I couldn’t move anywhere and I had a great view of the launch.  So I sat there in traffic for a few minutes and watched the launch.  It was a BEAUTIFUL launch.  You can see some photos from the launch at NASA or on Rant.  I didn’t have a camera with me or else I would have taken some photos as well.  As good as the pictures are, they don’t truly depict how amazing this launch was.  The sunlight from the sunset in the smoke trail was unbelievable.  I am going to be very sad the day they retire the shuttle fleet.

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New Bowling Ball: Secret Agent

This past week I bought a new bowling ball.  It’s a Storm: Secret Agent.  A friend of mine already owns one and I have thrown it a few times.  It seemed to work really well with my throw.  I picked it up Tuesday and had it drilled.  I was slightly worried about the drilling since the ball I had been throwing wasn’t originally drilled for me.  After it was drilled I had some practice with it.  As I figured the holes needed a bit of adjusting.  I always seems to have trouble getting the thumb hole correct the first time.  On one practice throw the ball didn’t even leave my hand.  I ended up falling over the foul line with the ball still stuck on my hand.  Everyone said it looked like a bad fall but I was too busy laughing to worry about it.

I was planning on getting some extra practice in with it before league this week but that didn’t happen.  I was a little worried about using it for the first time in league with out a good amount of practice with it since it is drilled a bit differently than I am used to.  I ended up having no problems in league.  All my games were above my average.  My first game was above 200.  I had a few goofs where I threw the ball incorrectly but that is just something that I have to learn.

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Magic Game

Most of my friends know that I’m not a huge sports fan. The only time I ever watch them on TV is when I’m somewhere (friends, restaurant, etc.) and they happen to be on. I do tend to enjoy going to games though, that’s much more entertaining.

This past weekend I was over in Orlando at my friend’s place  and he asked if I would like to go to an Orlando Magic game on Tuesday (the 17).  It was only $20!  I called some friends and by the end of the evening I had secured 3 tickets for Tuesday’s game.  Right after work on Tuesday (a little early actually) we grabbed some food and headed to Orlando.  The game was a blast and the Magic won.

I’ve talked with a few people at work about going and most of them were interested.  I know I’m planning on going to a game in March and I know it would be fun if we had a larger group this time (although the Silver Stars were great fun also).  If anyone is interested in going, let me know.

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Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur’s Court

This past weekend I finished reading A Connecticut Yankee at Kind Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain.  It was a very enjoyable story and was definitely a page turner for me as I wanted to know how “the Boss” was going to get out of each predicament he got himself into.

Probably the only thing that I did not like about the book was the dialog of the people from the sixth century.  It’s not that the dialog didn’t add to the story, but it was extremely difficult to read.  Of course Twain did this on purpose as the English skills of the sixth century were not that of what they are today.  There were many passages that I had to read multiple times to decipher what the individual was trying to say.  I couldn’t imagine living in a place (and/or time) when I knew the people were speaking the same language but what they were saying was not decipherable.

I also found it interesting how Hank (the Boss) drew similarities between the sixth and nineteenth centuries.  I’m no history expert but most of the stuff described seemed feasible.  It was amazing to me that although the world is changing at a rapid rate, there were still things that had lasted centuries.  The big one that comes to mind is slavery.  It never really occurred to me how long slavery had actually existed.  In the grand scheme of things, abolishing slavery is still a very new thing.

This brings me to probably the most enlightening (for lack of a better word) part of the book.  I’m sure most everyone has heard many sayings to the tune of “we’re all cut from the same cloth.”  Twain does an excellent job showing that an individual out of their normal context is just like any other person.  The labels we give people are just that, labels.  They don’t make that person any smarter or stronger than anyone else.  For example, if you were to take the President of the United States and drop them off in a remote village somewhere, they would just be a stranger in the village.  To the villagers the President would just be another person.  Since they are unaware of what the label of President means, they would not place any value upon that label.  It really just boils down to the fact that we are all humans no matter how you want to group or label us.  I think the following quote from the Declaration of Independence ties up my thoughts neatly on this matter:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

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My Old PC

I know it’s getting old but I just can’t part with it yet.  This is mostly because I don’t want to purchase a new computer just yet.  I am working on saving up for a new computer sometime (I’m thinking about a MacBook, any thoughts?) but I don’t want to part with the money yet if I don’t have to.  Well a friend of mine posted here that they had some extra RAM that they didn’t need and were thinking about selling it.  I was talking to them online today and I found and old spec for my PC.  Reading through it I found out that my PC will only handle 1Gb of RAM.  Not really anything amazing this day in age but I’m currently running on 512Mb so doubling what I currently have wouldn’t hurt one bit.  We continue chatting and I find out that the RAM he has is 1Gb sticks.  Sweet!  So we’re checking everything out to make sure that the RAM will work in my PC and I find in the spec that to get 1Gb I have to have 2 sticks of 512Mb, BUMMER!  I guess I’ll be sticking with my 512Mb for a while.  I’m afraid to open my case and check because I’m going to bet that I have two 256Mb sticks in there and therefor I’d have to get two 512Mb sticks instead of just one.

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Easily Sidetracked

Being a software engineer I love to tinker especially when it comes to something that is software related and it happened to me again tonight.  I had my night all planned out.  I was going to come home, do some cooking and then work on two entries that I want to get written.  Well once I sat down at my PC and started talking with some friends, I started tinkering with my blog.  One change here, another over here, update this page and so on.  These are all things that I need to get done eventually but they were not on my list of things to do tonight.  I must say though that the tinkering has definitely improved the blog.  I downloaded a new theme (credit for the theme goes to Design Disease) and already have an idea of where I want to go with it.  I made a few edits to it here and there for my liking and now I am much more happy with the layout of everything.

Since I had already ruined my scheduled I decided to learn some stuff about my blog.  I spent some time learning about trackbacks and pingbacks.  I must say that I am quite surprised at how advanced blogging actually is.  I’m still new but I definitely learn and find new stuff every time I log on.  Some of my friends have also started up a blog (I guess everyone’s New Year’s resolutions included writing more) and we are constantly pointing out features to each other.  Having my friends blogging to is forcing me to work harder on my blog so that I may stay one step ahead of them.  A little friendly competition is healthy, right?

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The Piano Move

This a post from a blog that I had a while ago but never kept up with.  I decided to repost it here (originally posted August 11, 2008) so that everyone may continue to enjoy the story.

It started off Friday afternoon.  The plan was that my friend was going to pick me up at 3 PM so we could drive to the airport and pickup another friend at 4 PM.  With this in mind I planned to leave work around 2 PM so that I could get home, quickly pack some clothes and be ready when my ride arrived.  I didn’t get out of work until 2:45 PM.  I rushed home and got some stuff packed just in time to hear a knock at my door; my ride had arrived.  We hopped in the car and we were off to Orlando.  We got there on time, picked up our friend and headed to their apartment.  Everyone arrived shortly thereafter and then we were off to dinner.

During dinner the question came up as to what the night’s events would entail.  We decided that we wanted to go to Howl at the Moon to celebrate my birthday (which was Sunday).  It wouldn’t be anything special just have a few drinks an head back.  We got there about 8 PM so I figured we would be leaving about 11 PM.  At 2 AM as they are closing we finally leave.  This is much later than I was wanting to be out.

The next morning came very quickly.  We were scheduled to pick up the truck at 10 AM on Saturday but didn’t leave Orlando until 10 AM.  I called the UHaul place to let them know we would be late and they informed me they would be there all day.  We drove over (just about an hour and a half drive), picked up the UHaul and then headed to my parent’s house.

Thanks to a friend of the family who had this dolly contraption, loading the piano was pretty simple.  We took our time and got it in the truck with just about no issues.  We did have to carry the piano about 3 feet to get it out the door since there was a lip in the doorway the dolly wasn’t going to make it over.

Once the piano was loaded we had some lunch with my mother and then we were on the road.  We were heading back to Orlando to drop off my friends car and then we would ride together in the U-Haul to Sebastian.  The plan was that my friend’s girlfriend would pick him up after we delivered the piano and got something to eat.  The trip to Orlando was almost un-eventful.  Since I was in the U-Haul my friend was following me.  I saw the sign that a toll was coming up so I merged to the right so that I would be out of the way of traffic.  Almost immediately after the sign for the upcoming toll was a sign that said the lane I had just merged into was an exit only lane, Great!  By now the lane I had left just moments ago was filled with cars.  So I put on my turn signal as a notification that I was changing lanes; it wasn’t a question at this point.  I saw a spot and squeezed in as the barricades for the exit were quickly approaching.  During this whole adventure I was completely concerned with me and the truck but apparently my friend had the same type of issue.  We both made it through.

The rest of the traveling was completly un-eventful.  Just cars and the open road.  We arrived in Sebastian much later than I would have liked, it was close to 7 PM.  My friend and I wasted no time getting the piano out of the truck.  We had a small issue getting it down the ramp (the dolly wasn’t cooperating).  We rolled the piano to the front door and again had to lift it to get it over the lip and then rolled it into its room.  Once we had it in the room we took it off the dolly and spent a good 30-45 minutes cleaning it.  The piano had been sitting in my parent’s house untouched for a few years and with this had collected a bit of dust.  After the cleaning we moved it into its place where it sits today.

Now it was time to return the truck and head out to dinner.  We called up the 800 number we were supplied.  To our surprise they were closed for the night.  This wasn’t at all how I had planned for the night to end.  We decided that since it was getting late we would just take the truck back to my place and I would deal with it in the morning.

PHEW!  After all of that the piano is now settling down in its new home.  Now all that is left is to get it tuned and start playing it.

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Magical Yellow Line

I’ve always wondered how they got the line on the football field to show where the next first down was.  Did you know they use sound to do part of it?  Check out this video that explains how it works.

Sorry everyone.  After tinkering with embedding the video for about half an hour I decided to just link to the page instead.  I’m probably performing a newbie mistake but I can’t get the video to embed unless it automatically starts playing (which I don’t want).  Feel free to inform me what I am doing wrong.

The Mystery of the Yellow Line

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