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Sunday, October 31, 2004
And again
 
NU once again upset a top 25 team, with their 13-10 win over No. 17 Purdue. Go cats!

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Friday, October 29, 2004
And now 14
 
One more week gone by, just one more week of classes left. Too many assignments still left to count, and with my test that was supposed to be today being moved back to next Friday, it gives me something to do for every class next week. So in a week my load should be 1 paper, 1 final, 1 presentation, 1 assignment, and 1 test lighter. 2 more finals, another paper and a lab practical report will still have to get done in the following couple weeks, but after week 14 (next week) I think things will be a lot easier around here. Hard to believe it will be November soon too. Then its just a few weeks till I get to come on home and visit everyone.

Tonight will be my weekend concession to fun, with dinner and a movie with a couple people. The Manchurian Candidate I believe. Off now... till later.

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Monday, October 25, 2004
Hippo. Hippo. Hippo. Mop!
 
Doing some random blog reading this evening after finishing up my lab this afternoon, and came across someone with one of the coolest jobs ever, traveling around the world for a year taking pictures of hippos which will then be painted onto porcelain plates. You can read all about her adventure here. The funniest part about it was that it turns out she's just one step removed from me in the 6 degrees of seperation game. Turns out Sarah (or Mo as many of you know her by) from Northwestern is currently (or maybe just finished) traveling with her for a 10 days in Italy. Small world, ey?

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Sunday, October 24, 2004
A squirrel in New Hampshire
 
After a one day interlude, the deluge of rain is back again, this time with thunder and lightning to spice things up a bit. Unfortunately most of it has been some really great cloud to cloud lightning, making sitting and watching the window a popular pastime for procrastinators. I did manage to get out earlier when it was just drizzling for a bit of a walk to stretch out the legs a bit, and decided on my way home that caramel slices would be another wonderful way of making the time go by. So they are in the oven now, and will just need to be topped with the chocolate and thrown in the fridge till they set. Eventually I'll have to get down to some work, but there will be plenty of time later as the Sunday night movies are definitely not top quality this week.

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Saturday, October 23, 2004
I could have jumped the grand canyon
 
Woke up early this morning to go on a bit of a hike up in the Blue Mountains. The plan was to meet at Central (the Railway Station) for a 9:02 train up to Blackheath, where the trail we wanted began. We got to the station at 10 to 9, got our tickets, and went to the train. We were told by the conductor that to go directly where we wanted we should get on the train he was standing by, and that the doors were opening in 4 minutes. Meanwhile, a train on the same track pulled out, heading towards where we wanted to go. The doors opened on the train he told us to get on, and then he said it doesn't leave till just after 10.

After a few moments of frustration where we realized there was nothing to be done on our part, the 6 of us headed to a cafe to wait out the hour rather than just sitting on the train. A coffee and a chat later, and we were back on the train, heading towards the mountains.

The group consisted of myself, Lisa, Joe, Sherlee, Anna, and Christina. For the 2 hour train ride we kept ourselves amused by a variety of reading materials, and plenty of cat naps before our heads rolled and we were woken with that stiff neck feeling. Regardless, we made it there in one piece (well 6 pieces I guess), just after noon.

As Christina had been there before, she lead the way towards the first track, and we passed down a road with beautiful houses and made our way into the bush. We started on the Fairfax Heritage Track, which ended in a beautiful beach just big enough for the 6 of us to stand on after about 1.5 km. Then it was on to the Govetts Leap Descent as we made our way another several km to the picnic area where we dined like kings on a wide variety of jewish breads (challah and rye), organic peanut butter, mixed berry and plum jellies, 2 kinds of honey, tuna, several different cadbury bars, truffles, cherry ripes, apples and oranges. It was quite a spread for the 6 of us eating off of a bench and a stone wall.

After lunch we tackled the 3rd section of the walk, the Cliff Top Track. This bit took us around the top of cliffs as its name might suggest, with great views of waterfalls and dazzling drops to the sea of forest green below. While beautiful in and of itself, it paled in comparison to the following part of the hike, the Grand Canyon Track.

While not exactly the huge cliffs carved out by the mighty Colorado, it was still an impressive sight. For several hours we threaded our way down the side, clambering over stones and trees, many of which had burned somewhat recently. At the bottom the temperature dropped to the pleasant high 50's with the cool, humid air refreshing us after the long afternoon in the sun. The treck along the canyons floor was often a slosh through small rivers and streams, often followed by a half-slip down a mossy rock, although that seemed to only happen to me. I landed on my feet every time, so it wasn't really that bad.

As we made our way to the end of the trail on the canyon floor, we had to prepare ourselves for the walk back up. With the sun slowly dropping, the minutes were precious, and the goal was to make it back to the top while sun still shone on the far walls of the cliffs. We chased the sun all the way up, seemingly making ground only to find it jump ahead as we encountered several long flat sections. In the end though, we just caught it, and from there made our way up the last steep bit to return to civilization.

The only problem was that we were now at the top of the canyon, about 5 km away from the train where we needed to be. With our options limited, and the road almost deserted, we started that walk. With an ever quickening pace to ensure that we made our train, we put road behind us and made it to the tracks about 10 minutes before the train. Then it was just a long ride home followed by dinner at Seoul-Ria, a korean bbq place in Sydney, where we had an excellent seafood soup and seafood pancakes. I know it sounds a bit weird, but it was delicious. A quick walk to the bus stop and a short wait later and we were on the last leg of the trip, home to a shower and a good night sleep.

Ill probably get some pictures up on this one soon.

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Friday, October 22, 2004
Testament to geekiness
 
I've always enjoyed hard science fiction (the names are made up but the science is real), but every once in a while something a bit spacier catches my interest. Many years ago, when I had just graduated from the kids book section in B & N, I had gotten a significant gift certificate to there from my step mom's father. So off my dad and I went, and although I picked a wide variety of books out that day, a number of them were by Alan Dead Foster, a fairly prolific sci fi writer who did many of the 80's novelizations of movies in his genre. It wasn't that day, but several months down the line when I discovered a book of his in a used book store, The Last Starfighter. It was an enjoyable read, earth boy gets kidnapped/cooerced into space to save the universe, but despite the cover proclaiming 'now a major motion picture', I never thought abotu seeing it. Fast forward about 10-12 years and it's a Saturday morning where I've woken up decently early, say around 9ish. I'm at my dad's house, on break from college, and make myself a bit of breakfast and turn on the TV, not expecting much. I flip around, and find the movies starting soon. One title catches my eye, 'The Last Starfighter'. Those back of the head electrical connections are sparking as I realize that it must be the same one I'd read many years ago. And it was, low budget and classic mid 80's style gave it a good luck and it was fun to watch.

That might seem like the end of the story, cause where else could a book like this go? The last place I (and I'm sure all of you) would expect would be to Broadway. And yet, it has been remade into a musical, 'The Last Starfighter, the Musical'. Apparently remaining pretty true to the original story, it's playing at the Storm Theatre from now till the end of October. Sadly, I will be missing this spectacular event, but I would encourage anyone out there to go try it out. Tickets are only $19, and if anyone does get there and they happen to have a cd of the show pressed, I wouldn't mind checking it out.

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Thursday, October 21, 2004
I can talk too
 
It's not often that I get trumped for words in 3 successive posts, but I guess that's what happens when you live your life in the computer lab. Incidentally, that's where most of them come from too, but it's a lot easier to throw it up on here than to type a full entry of my own thoughts out. Anyway, today was Oktoberfest here, and despite the piles of work in my inbox, at 4:45 myself, Andrew the first, Josh, and Aofie took a quick jaunt down to the roundhouse for an hour of music, beer, and bratwurst before heading up to our class (which was at the local hospital today). We were a few minutes late getting up there, but the prof, hailing from NJ himself originally, was fine with it as we knew he would be. We got our assignments back, he gave us a few notes about the final, and then told us that he was meeting a guy for dinner who'd just flown in from Canada and so let us out at quarter after 7 instead of taking it till 9 as we expected. Thus, a band of us headed to the Royal, our favorite after class pub just across from the hospital and had a beer and some wedges before heading back home and having to get geared up again for some more work on the lab reports due tomorrow. One of the reports is basically done, just needing a conclusion, while the other still has a bit more to do, but both are definitely finishable by noon tomorrow, 5 hours ahead of schedule.

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QOTD
 
"This paper's got Dolly Parton fractions all over it." -Josh, on our Mechanical Properties of Biomaterials labs, where scores of 2.5/2 and 4/3 were a common sight.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2004
QOTD
 
"Aha! I stumped Medline!" -Andrew I, when searching for our beloved professor there.

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QOTD
 
"It's like conservation of r's." -Lisa, on why so many Australian words either lose an 'r' or pick up an extra one.

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Monday, October 18, 2004
Political Cartoons
 
Just a quick list of the ones I've run across so far, including the JibJab ones.
This land is your land
Good to be in DC
Presidential Horror Show
Political Bohemian Rhapsody

Enjoy them for now, and let me know about any other ones you've found.

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The Red Meat Vitality Boogie
 
After years of being ingrained to the 'Beef, it's what's for dinner' campaign back home, it was nice to get a different take on the same idea with Australia's 'Red Meat- Feel Good' ads. Featuring dancing butchers and rocking seniors in various ads, it lacks the catchy Hoe Down of Copland's Rodeo, but more than makes up for it with 'The Vitality Boogie' and a lot more action than a sizzling plate of meat on a dinner table. And for those of you who'd like to watch them, you can find 3 low quality versions of them here.

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Wednesday, October 13, 2004
It needs more...

The future's so bright...
 
So today ended up topping up at 38C, just a hair over 100F. After a sweltering morning in a classroom without air, and only an occasional stale, warm breeze coming through the windows which only open cracks I went downtown with Sherlee on a top secret mission. After the long ride on the bus through lunchtime traffic we got out and wandered through the Pitt Street Mall and the various other shops and stores that surrounded it. Gift purchases complete, we did a little shopping of our own, and I actually found a pair of sunglasses that looked good on me. A little more expensive than I wanted, but such a rare find that I couldn't say no. Sherlee got a pair as well, and then after a brief stop for a drink I caught the bus home, to my breeze ventilated apartment. It saves on the electricity, but on a day like today it would be nice to have ac.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004
100 degrees
 
It just sounds much more exciting than 37 (which is technically 98.6, but close enough). That's what the expected temperature tomorrow here is. Today it was in the mid 90's. Last week- high 60's to low 70's. Where did the days of the high 70's to low 80's with no humidity go? We jumped straight into the first heat wave of summer 2 and a half months early. Oh well, it's still just gorgeous, and I guess I can suffer through it, even if it will mean going through half a bottle of sunscreen a day.

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Monday, October 11, 2004
The Iso-dam
 
It's come to my attention that some of you people out there may have stumbled across this page while looking for info on BME 308. Unfortunately, you won't find any of my old lab reports here, although I'm willing to answer any questions you might have about them. So feel free to email me questions you might have that it's too late to bring up to Walsh (and whoever else is teaching it this year, Perreault?). I'm in Australia so your 2 am questions the day before the write ups might have a shot at getting answered before you have to sweat through those long hours in the lab. One last thing; All of you should consider coming down under for grad school here at UNSW, where the biomed program is great and you'll get to have a wonderful time too. Ask Olga, she'll tell you.

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Saturday, October 09, 2004
Update
 
The results are in (enough of them to matter anyway). The coalition government will remain in power with John Howard as their leader for the 4th consecutive victory. In addition to taking over 80 of the 150 seats in the House of Representitives, the coalition is also poised to take a majority in the Senate, giving them ultimate control over the Australian government for the next 3 years. We can only hope this is not a preview of the American elections next month.

In US election news, liberterian and green party candidates Badnarik and Cobb were arrested for attempting to serve papers to the Commission on Presidential Debates. Anyone seen or heard a word of this from a major news outlet or was it just swept under the rug?

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Preview
 
In anticipation of the upcoming US presidential election, I'm about to head out to watch the live results of the Australian Prime Minister elections as they come in. Will Labor finally be toppled? Will the Coalition regain the majority position? Latham? Howard? More updates later tonight...

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Friday, October 08, 2004
Good riddance
 
Another week gone by. Three more assignments turned in, one paper, one problem set and one lab. Next week (week 11) is a paper on a connective tissue of my choice, followed by 2 labs and the lab books associted with them in week 12. The following week is anohter lab report and 2 quizzes. Week 14 is 2 papers, one on spinal cord injuries and one on amputees (both the biomechanics of...) as well as a final, an oral report on the biomechanical properties of artificial and another presentation that is still to be confirmed and a problem set that will likely be due. Following that will be finals, with one on the 19th of November in the afternoon (The Physics and Chemistry of Artifical and Biological Polymers) and another on the 25th of November (yes Thanksgiving) (Mechanical Properties of Biomaterials). So thats my life for the next month or so. Hopefully I can get some of it done a little early to take the pressure off the end, but its still going to be a stressful month. I'm looking forward to it being done and relaxing over the summer (and winter).

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Monday, October 04, 2004
A little bit of history
 
Another one for the history books- the x prize, the 10 million dollar reward for the team completing 2 3-manned ventures into space in a two week period was just won. SpaceShipOne and White Knight (its carrier) both landed successfully just minutes ago. Although technically to win the prize the pilot must survive for 24 hours post flight, seeing as how there were no issues at all this is basically a sure thing. The best part of it all was that I got to watch it all via webcast and feel like I actually get to be a part of it. It's just an amazing thing to be able to watch history in the making.

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Go cats!
 
And for anyone watching out there, Northwestern beat Ohio State this weekend, 33-27 in overtime. It was only 33 years since we last beat them (and 4 years since we last beat a team ranked under 10 [Against Wisconsin in September of 2000 when it took double OT for us to win]). Alas the goalposts are still standing, as the students once again failed to topple them (although we came close after the Michigan game in 2000 [NU 54 Michigan 51] when we did manage to bend them sufficiently to need a post celebration adjustment).

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Its just another manic Monday....
 
I'm home- the trip to Perth was amazing and the paper is getting written very slowly. It's going to be another busy week, just of the work kind as opposed to the play kind. I'll post the full details of the trip and the pictures sometimes this week (once we get all the pictures sorted out between the 8 of us). I'll try and catch up on emails later this week too, its amazing that on my week away I got at least twice as many as when I am home. And now I'm off to the wonderful world of paper writing where the biomechanics of the rehabilitation of cerebral palsy patients awaits me. Now I just need an icon of a little guy swishing a cape around and disappearing under it. I'm not quite sure why, but it just seemed to fit.

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