Sunday, April 29, 2007

I was just looking through the old archives of my blog, and whammo, nostalgia-ville. It is cool to have a readily accessible, searchable diary at my finger tips. It's even better when I don't want to be doing school stuff!!

Along those lines, last week was undoubtedly my hardest week of school EVER. Who ever told me that grad school was easier than college was full of shit. Thanks to some of the factors mentioned in my previous post, I spent about 80 hours in the computer lab last week. When you log that many hours in one place a number of things happen. First, you lose track of time. Things that seem like they should take a few minutes end up being hours and hours of work. Ludicrous. Second, you make friends with all of the other people who are in the same boat. Bitching is the common lingua franca. You complain about anything and everything, but primarily the amount of work that you have to do and the shitheads who finked out on you and are making you do all of their work. By the end of the week I wasn't even really interested in bitching about people, I had exhausted that avenue of vengeful pleasure. Third, you learn to enjoy late late late night commutes. It is absolutely blissful to ride one's bicycle through an otherwise crowded and obnoxious city free of interference by motorists or pedestrians. I didn't touch the brakes all of the way home. Bliss after a fashion. Finally, you eat whatever you can get. When you're up for seemingly days on end, you digest food as if you were a marathoner. It just fuels the fire, brain fire that is.

This week is my last of tests, and then, merciful heavens, I'm done. Jennifer has promised me that when I get done with school I get to do lots of fun repairs on the house. Yippee! Though honestly, I don't think I'll mind them as much as I did school these past few weeks. Maybe my carpal-tunnel will heal itself to a degree by the time I go to work this summer.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

News Flash: By common consensus of my peers, my Planning Workshop group is tied for first place in the rankings of dysfunction. The other is that of my friend Johnny, who's teammates include a girl who doesn't really speak English and one who habitually lies about being shipped to Iraq at any minute. I think that mine trumps, however because our group never once met as a whole outside of class time. This in comparison with most other groups that have been meeting once or twice a week for the entire semester. I'd rather not get into the details of why my group sucks so badly at this point, but I'll just say that of the five of us, one was gone for a month, another is a man who yesterday drank 6 cups of coffee and 12 Diet Cokes and smoked a pack of cigarettes and the third is from Texas, enough said.

On a happier note, I was voted to be the "Best Aaron" of the three in my program. The people have spoken.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

This past weekend, Trophy Bikes (my home away from home here in Philly) hosted what was dubbed, "Lighten Up--An examination of the Lightweight Bicycle" which was basically a plug for some of the nice, custom bikes that we sell there. Matt Bracken, president of Independent Fabrications was there with his super-fly bicycles and just as cool, Harry Havnoonian of HH Racing was on hand with his first bicycle ever. It was a wonderful evening for bike nerds of all stripes. I happened to have my camera on hand and took some pictures. The first photo is of the Havnoonian chainring. The holes are in fact "speed holes" and were impeccably drilled to save weight. The second shot is of the seat cluster of the I.F. The bike is made of titanium, with the center sections of all of the main tubes in carbon fibre. The cool thing about this particular frame is its aesthetics; the titanium bits were coated in the gold nitride coating normally reserved for drill bits and the paint on the carbon bits changed color with the angle of the light. Wicked.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

My sump pump is nearly keeping pace with the water oozing in through the various cracks and crevices of our house. We realized that basement leakage would be a problem when on New Year's Day Jennifer and I bailed about 400 gallons out of the subterranean portion of our house. The next day I decided to buy and install a sump pump. Unfortunately, due to the clay-like subsoil, water seems to pool around the foundation and seeps its way in through the wall, rather than through the subsoil into my little sump-pit. The sump vomits forth a full 40 gallons every five minutes or so, and I just pray that it doesn't decide to freak out, or we'll probably be really screwed tomorrow. OUr basement is a little water course, and in a different setting, like a cave, it would be really pretty cool. No such luck here. Just a pond.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Ok, here are two jokes that I invented myself. I don't know exactly how funny they are, but they seemed good inside of my head, usually a bad sign.

Bad joke number 1:

Person 1: My dad's sister was is totally crazy. She's always ranting and raving about the Elders of Zion and other conspiracies.

Person 2: What is her name?

Person 1: Honestly, I don't know. We just call her Auntie Semite.

Bad joke number 2:

Q: What is the most forbidden oldies song that Radio Free America would broadcast into Afghanistan to break the will of the Taliban?
A: "Haram-alama-ding-dong."

Someone should probably kick me in the head for those, but it's amazing what seems to be funny when you're up to your eyeballs in school.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

So, school sucks. Not that it's a revelation to anyone who is currently studying anything, but it's just particularly sucky when you are easily distracted and it's been super nice outside. I have spent a preposterous amount of time looking at bike crap recently. Its something that I totally love, and more importantly, it's not Growth Management, Land Use Law, Planning Workshop, Regional Economics or Analytical Planning Methods.

Five classes is about three classes too many if you want to do the best possible job in each. As with the rest of life, it's an exercise in triage. Things that should have been number one priority, in a perfect world, suddenly get bumped down the list when due dates roll in. At least I've got my summer employment figured out. I'll be working for the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), yet another high minded, good intentioned, toothless planning organization. I will be working on putting together Environmental Impact Assessments for some cities in southern New Jersey. It will undoubtedly be a good experience and it will hopefully allow me enough time to ride my bike a lot. It will also pay me somewhat better than the bikeshop did, which I may be able to parlay into a new bike frame.

I had originally hoped to be wildly successful in the early season bike races, but I am not sure how often I'll really be able to get out and race. I did one last Sunday, a flat 50 miler in New Jersey, and fared modestly well. I really don't know how to handle flat races, the smart slackers can just hang out in the pack, and skinny guys like me don't really have much luck. I guess I've just got to choose my battles a little better.

For now though, back to homework, I've got about 1 million things to do in the next three and a half weeks, let's see how I fare.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Yet another awesome forward from Paul Singh. The Incomparable Bar on Wheels. I cannot tell you how awesome this would be in Philadelphia! Think of the ruckus!

On another note, I'm totally vegging out this weekend after a brain-murdering last week. All I can say is that you should never try to write an economics paper all in one night. The funny thing is, I tried to do it over the course of a week, but it just didn't work out. Another thing not to do: read economics after bedtime, because no matter how hard you try, the knowledge will not go in.