Wednesday, June 30, 2010

LICENSE!

My driver's licence test was today.... success!

I've been practicing parking a lot lately, and we went out several times to the area around the DMV so I'd know the roads. I was still really nervous, though; my park jobs weren't very consistent, and backing in is difficult, especially for the narrow DMV spaces.

Fortunately, the instructor was very nice, and all went well. I didn't even have to go on the highway; he had me stay on surface streets. And then my park job was my best ever - dead center in the spot.

I actually got to solo today too. I went to the mall with mandachan and took the highway home. It's not as scary as I thought it would be.

I'm really glad to finally have my licence. I've got more freedom - I can go to work when I want, go places even if my folks are busy, and drive to school. Plus, now I can drive myself to my calculus course in the fall.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Order from Chaos

I went to Wal-mart today while doing errands with my folks. I bought a 2400-count box of 4.5mm BBs - almost 30 oz of total weight, enough for many rockets - and weighed them using my mini saucepan on a scale. As I poured them in, I noticed something very cool. The BBs were forming a regular hexagonal pattern, in layers. Better than half of them were in a regular pattern - a perfect large-scale model of crystalline formation. Order from chaos. Suck it, entropy.

I also bought two rolls of good masking tape for painting and two cans of spray paint - a can of blue for replacing the can my dad took to paint a sign, and a can of fluorescent orange for rockets that I need to spot at long distances. I wish I'd had it when I painted the Sudden Mach.

Sudden Mach static pictures

No, not carpet-in-winter static. Static pictures, because unfortunately I don't have any pictures from this flight. But here's what it looks like painted:



And a close-up of the fin unit. I love the design - someone at NERRF commented it made it look like it had split fins - but my paint job could have been better.

NERRF Pictures

Finally got them uploaded.

The Mozzie on the pad, ready to go. I manipulated the contrast on this one, which looks really cool and shows the haze. The pads are really over 1200 feet from the treeline to the right; the telephoto


Here's a great shot my dad took, with the G64 at full thrust and a 3-foot flame:

This one is a very plain shot of the smoke trail, run through Picasa's processing algorithm. It reminds me of the grainy shots of 1950s nuclear tests.


A sucessful return:

Other Flights at NERRF

There were a lot of great flights at NERRF, too many to talk about all of them. Some highlights:

  • Somebody launched an M flight while a number of us were out at the high-power pads. We were still a safe distance away, but it was sudden and unexpected and awesomely loud.
  • Rick Comshaw of CATO launched his 5.5" LDRS-28 rocket on a K skidmark. It was a beautiful flight, but that was before it was realized that the dirt on the left side of the range was too dry. This is no ordinary dirt, however; this is the famed METRA Moondust. Flammable dirt. The sparks started a 50-foot string of grass fires. They were quickly put out because this was a contingency that had been thoroughly prepared for, but I got an incurable urge to whistle 'Light my Fire' by the Doors.
  • There were a number of impressive altitude flights, some to 11,000 feet or more.
  • Right as we pulled in the parking lot, there was a very impressive M flight that went off the away cell. It was a great flight, but the main tangled and there was a collective groan from the crowd. Turn out that was Al Gloer going for Level 3 certification. Fortunately, the "Que$tionable Inve$tment" wasn't damaged. He loaded it up again, got it up on the pad, and... one of the altimeters blinked out an error message.
                 Then, later, as I was out searching for the Sudden Mach, I saw a beautiful M flight lift off. When the main deployed, I could hear the clapping from the flight line - 3000 feet away! He'd gotten a new altimeter and it was a perfect flight, landing right near the pads. My folks got a picture:



    He later recalled on TRF how he'd accidentally connected the middle of the parachute, instead of the lines, to the shock cord. When prepping the second flight, he noticed a piece of tape where he'd connected it the previous time. Written on the tape in his wife's (Karen Gloer of CATO Chutes) handwriting was "Not here, stupid"

Monday, June 28, 2010

NERRF 6

I had such an awesome time yesterday at NERRF. It was one of the best days I've yet had of flying. The winds were low, the skies clear, and all 4 of my flights were sucessful.

First thing after registering, I bought some reloads from Bob of Hangar 11. I bought a G75J reload for my 29/180 case, and two packs of 18mm reloads - D13-4W and D24-7T - that he gave me a really good price on.

I first loaded up the Svetlana with the G75J. The stock delay was 10 seconds, but they tend to run long, so I drilled a small hole about 1/8" in to reduce that by a few seconds. She looked very small out on the high-power pads - a 17" tall rocket among 5-foot rockets - but she flew beautifully.

Boost was fast and arrow-straight to a simulated altitude of 2430 feet. Deployment was past apogee, due to the long delay, and the chute tangled. It landed three fields over, about 1200 feet from the pad. The baffle tube was destroyed by the ejection charge (even though I'd only used half the stock charge), but it had done its duty and the chute was protected enough to carry it down safely despite the tangle.. There's a few dings in the paint and it needs a few baffle, but Svetlana has shown her worth, and earned the right to get a drawing from mandachan on it.

Second flight was the Deltie Thunder on an F12-3. Simulated altitude was 650 feet. It took off pretty straight but started to angle away from the flight line, so it probably didn't get above 550 feet. Ejection was second or two late, but the glider leveled off immediately and started some fast circling turns some 500 feet in diameter. Because it's a big dumb glider - 3 feet across, and no RC electronics like most gliders of this size - it glides fast, probably better than 30 feet per second.

It circled twice in two minutes covering perhaps two-thirds of a mile. It landed softly with no damage. The pod, though, had fallen hard. The nose cone has a dent, the glider hook is damaged, and the pod is bent. It'll take some work, but it'll fly again. Hopefully, on a Cesaroni F30 longburn.

Third flight of the day was the highlight: a drag race with Crazy Jim Henderson from Wildman. His carbon-fiber Blackhawk against my conventional-materials Sudden Mach on single-use G78-10 Mojave Green motors. Simulated to 3400 feet, 816 fps (0.73 Mach). Jim had some crazy-tiny electronics from Robert DeHate of Animal Motor Works. An altimeter about a centimeter square, and a radio-directionality tracker that was barely larger. All he had to do was to tape both to the shock cord.

They launched almost simultaneously; his was perhaps 10 or 20 feet ahead of mine. They were the exact same weight and they stayed within a feet feet all the way up to the 2000-foot cloud bank. We never saw ejection, but he got a decent bead with his radio tracker and we headed off to find our rockets.

The tracker led us over half a mile away, through the treeline, across a stream, and into a second field. He got a decent bead on the tracker, but it was in a third field that he'd have to go in from a different place, and he doubted he'd be able to get to it. As we came out, another group of searchers had found the body of his Blackhawk. The tracker, then, was attached to just the nose cone which might have drifted far away.

At this time, I went back to the flight line and prepped my next flight, the Mozzie on a G64-7 White Lightning. Simmed altitude 1850 feet. That was the fastest I have ever assembled a motor; it probably took me under two minutes. It took off fast and that G64 burns for what seems like forever - two seconds, a very long time indeed for a motor of that size. It was literally a dot at deployment. It took some two minutes to drift down; I though it was going to fall right into the treeline, but it came down about 300 feet short - a very short distance considering it was about 2200 feet from the pad.

On the way back, I rescued someone's Estes rocket from an irrigation canal. I brought it back to the lost-an-found pile and sitting there was the Sudden Mach! Crazy Jim had found it undamaged, sitting just a few feet from his nose cone and tracker. Oddly, the timer had never detected launch, so the main didn't deploy. Oh well; I'll figure that out another time, and I'll get an altimeter with deployment to use in the future. Hopefully he'll contact me soon with his altimeter data. The only bad part about the flight: it took twenty minutes to untangle the shock cords. Falling for two minutes gave lots of time for the different parts to tangle; the shock cord was literally braided to itself.

All in all, it was an absolutely great day. Almost perfect flying weather, and four successful flights, all of which I wouldn't have been able to fly here at CATO because of our limited field. I'll have pictures and information about other flights later.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

NERRF today

NERRF was absolutely great today. Four sucessful flights, and lots of fun. Lots more info, and some pictures tomorrow.

For now, a big hearty CONGRATULATIONS to Al Gloer, CATO president, for his sucessful Level 3 certification flight today.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The M-497 Black Beetle

Imagine for a moment. It's 1966. You're Don Wetzel, assistant technology director of New York Central Railroad. NYCR isn't doing so well. The Interstate Highway System is nearing completion, cars are fast, and gas is cheap. Rail transport is in decline as the infrastructure ages and the rolling stock rusts. It's five years before Amtrak will be formed, and NYCR is headed for an ugly merger with Penn Central.

NYCR is looking for ways to save itself; one is to follow the Japanese and upgrade to high-speed rail. However, it needs to know if its tracks can handle high-speed vehicles. You're given 45 days - and a nearly unlimited budget - to build a test vehicle.

Now, 45 days isn't enough time to build much of anything. NYCR's diesel stock isn't capable of anything over 100 mph, and there's no time to electrify even a short section of track. But you're Don Wetzel, and you're not just a brilliant engineer, you're a certified pilot as well, and like any good engineer you've kept up to date on developments.

You decide to take one of the most common local service railcars of the day - the Budd Diesel Rail Car - and attaching jet engines. Yes, that's right, jet engines. You're going to mount them on the back of the car, but then your wife draws some sketches on a napkin at dinner and convinces you to put them on the top front of the car.

You pick a pair of GE J47 jet turbines and have them mounted. Instruments are mounted to measure strain and speed, but no modifications are made to the body, wheels, or axles of the stock railcar. Your engineers attach a menacing aerodynamic front to the car, and it's ready for flight. The nickname "Black Beetle" follows quickly.



On July 23, 1966, you're ready to open up the throttle. The car is brought tto a 24-mile stretch of the NYCR mainline between
Butler, Indiana and Stryker, Ohio. It's part of a 63-mile straight line between Butler and Toledo - the second-longest section of straight track in the nation. As movie cameras watch, the Black Beetle reaches over 183 mph*, a light rail speed record that will still stand in 2010.



Although it's little more than a publicity stunt from a dying railroad, it does prove that high-speed trains can operate on ordinary track - knowledge used three decades later for Amtrak's Acela Express service in the Northeast Corridor.

The engines and mask are removed and the car is returned to regular service; it runs service for Metro-North until 1976, and is eventually stripped and scrapped in 1984 - an unglorious end for an interesting bit of history.

The jet engines, meanwhile, are used in your next crazy project: a jet-powered snowblower for tracks in winter areas. It works well, removing snow from the tracks.... plus taking the ties and gravel railbed with it. After some, ahem, modification, though, it becomes the prototype for the now-standard snow-clearing devices.

Here I've displayed the route of the M-497 and the straight stretch of rail in Google Maps:


View Route of the M-497 in a larger map

Sources
Wikipedia article
Dark Roasted Blend - source of pictures as well
Jalopnik
Excellent article on American Heritage
Book by Wetzel and two railroad historians

*Various sources give 183, 183.681, and 183.85 mph as the record.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Launch Report #39

I went out today and launched a few rockets on my own at the local field just to test things out.

First was the Heli-roc on an A10-3T. Nice boost to around 300 feet, but one of the rubber bands snapped, so only 2 blades deployed. It flipped end-over-end and was not damaged, but I need a new rubber band.

Second was the Alexi Leonov (Estes Loadstar) on a B6-4. I put the Minitimer3 - which I'll use on Saturday at NERRF - in the payload bay, with a lightbulb to indicate when the timer would fire a charge. It was severely underpowered - Openrocket indicates just 95 feet. It arced over and hit the ground; the ejection charge fired a moment later and threw the engine mount about 60 feet.

And the timer didn't even go; apparently it wasn't enough to trip the acceleration-based G-switch. Fortunately, neither the electronics nor the payload bay were damaged.

I placed the payload bay in place of the nose cone on the Bullpup - creating a ridiculous-looking rocket - and sent it up on a C6-3. Perfect flight to 300 feet, and the timer worked perfectly.

I also found two nose cones in the woods by the field. There are always the unfortunate results of other peoples' flights in there.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Invading Cows

There's a lot of problems in the world today. Hell, life sucks a lot of the time, even for the most fortunate of us. Yet, people are (theoretically) getting smarter, and our technology is certainly continually improving. What gives?

The problem, you see, is that cows are getting smarter faster than we are. And they're evil.

Take, for example, a fact. Cows produce tons of methane, just by taking a good belch every few minutes. Methane is a rather potent greenhouse gas - 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide - and cows produce more global warming than all the world's automobiles. Cows are destroying the environment.

What causes heart attacks? Clogged arteries? What clogs arteries? Fat. Fat from juicy steaks and burgers, that's what. Cows are trying to kill us all.

One of the biggest drags on the economy, and a major source of corruption: farm subsidies. In the name of feeding cows.

At this point in my rant, I usually start taking requests. Here's a few:

Depression: Cow manure stinks. It spreads misery. Have you ever seen a cow smile? Didn't think so.

The oil spill: Cows eat feed, which is frequently made from petroleum byproducts. Yes, that's right, that oil rig was feeding the invading hordes of bovines!

Religious wackos: The Israelites worshipped a golden calf. It just got worse from there.

Teenage pregnancy: Cow farms create large gaps between concentrations of people. People get bored. Old folks play Scrabble; teenagers get pregnant.

Cancelation of Firefly: The cows from "Shindig" and "Safe" got tired of being abused by Adam Baldwin. So, they gave the Fox execs mad cow disease, and they cancelled the show.

Our school's tiny budget: The cows in the Vo-ag program eat all the money.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Getting Ready for Licence Test

Now that I have an appointment for my licence test, I'm practicing specially for it. I have to pay attention to maintaining a speed just barely below the speed limit (less flexible than normal driving), stopping *exactly* on stop lines (rather than just past for better visibility), and nailing park jobs. You have to back in practically perfectly to get your licence.

To that end, I'll be using my sister's car. It's a tiny Honda Civic, versus the Odyssey van that I usually end up driving. The spots for test takers at the DMV are just 8 feet, 8 inches between the lines. The van is 7 feet wide; the car is 5' 7". That extra 17 inches makes backing in between the lines a lot easier.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Now a METRA Member

I am now officially a member of METRA - the METropolitan Rocket Association. They're the primary rocketry club of the tristate area and the home club for NERRF. This year, all NERRF fliers are required to be METRA members.

I would have joined anyway; they're a great club, and joining allows me to fly high-power rockets at any of their launches. Plus, as a junior, membership was only 5 bucks.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Mapping the Oil Spill

Via Strange Maps comes ifitwasmyhome.com. It's a real simple interface. All it does is let you visualize the area covered by the Gulf oil spill by centering it on your hometown.

Beware: depressing.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer!

It's summer! Finally! I am done with junior year. Done with exams! Time to actually breathe and enjoy myself!

Orbital Transport: Painted!

I decided to rename it to the Orbital Transport. Less profane that way than 'Orbital Fatass'. Although, ironically, I also removed the 'profanity' tag cause it wasn't useful.

Here's what it looks like witht he white and red layers of paint, but no detailing. Sorry about the poor quality; my mom's camera wasn't focusing very well.

And the underside:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Painting the Sudden Mach

The actual paint job may be a secret until NERRF. But I will say that I've started the paint job on the Sudden Mach. I primed the rocket (hooray for awesome automotive primer), sanded it smooth, and applied the first coat of paint.

Two Years

Apparently my little slice of the internet here turned 2 years old the other day, the 10th to be exact. And I completely missed it. Go me.

Ah well, it's not like I have a hell of a lot to say. And mandachan's 2 year post beats anything I could possibly type up.

Let's see, in the past year I have:

  • Gotten my Jr. Level 1 High Power certification
  • completed AP Chemistry and AP Calculus
  • started thinking more about college
  • played Metallica in Jazz Band
  • still not gotten my licence
  • started a webcomic
  • blogged from Hawaii
  • build a bazillion more rockets
  • rode commuter rail and the T in Boston
  • reached 500 and 750 posts (this is #817)
  • turned 17
  • played varsity tennis
  • gone to another NARCON
And of course, I still have my kick-ass girlfriend / muse ♥

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Another one of those geeky moments

Been a while since the last one that I wrote about. Yesterday, I managed to identify a train from 2 miles away by nothing but sound.

So, I was out golfing. In the rain, which is not a lot of fun, but I had some good shots. The golf course is only about three miles from the train tracks, so I could hear trains when the rain was light.

At one point, I heard a train whistle to the southwest, then later to the southeast. The pitch shifted a bit between them, so I guessed, based on the Doppler effect, that the train had to be moving at a pretty decent clip.

Now, there's only two services that operate on that section of the Northeast Corridor. There's the Northeast Regional, the local service. However, it stops at Mystic and Westerly, just nine miles apart, and it's only two miles from the Mystic station. Therefore, it would not be at full speed when passing the course.

I, then made a guess that this train, which I could not see, was the only other service along that section of the NEC, the Acela Express, the high-speed service. What a geek I am.

I was, of course correct.

My reasoning was as follows: On weekends, no Acelas stop at nearby New London Union Station, so they have a straight-shot run at better than 110 mph from New Haven to Providence. This train, going northbound, left New Haven at 131 pm and did not stop until 307 at Providence. It was likely going around 120 mph when passing by, accounting for the pronounced Doppler effect.

Friday, June 11, 2010

32 Cesaroni Certifications!

Yes, that's right, 32. Thirty-two. That's a huge number of motors. 137 total firings over 4 days, from 3-grain 24mm Fs to 4-grain 150mm Os. They include the first CTI Pro-24 motors - 3 3-grain Fs and 5 6-grain Gs.


Pro24-3G:
F30-WH/LB-6A     White / Long Burn    73 Ns
F79-SS-13A             Smokey Sam                68 Ns
F240-VM-15A        Vmax                             68 Ns

Pro24-6G:
G65-WH/LB-8A        White / Long Burn     144 Ns
G84-GR-10A              Green3                             131 Ns
G107-WH/DT-12A   White / Dual Thrust  139 Ns
G117-WH-11A            White                              142 Ns
G150-BS-13A             Blue Streak                    143 Ns

Pro29:
2G: G68-WH-13A            White                            108 Ns
3G: H54-WH/LB-10A    White / Long Burn  168 Ns
4G: H135-WH-12A          White                           217 Ns
6GXL: I243-WH-13A     White                            382 Ns

Pro38:
1G: G58-WH-13A         White       137 Ns
2G: H110-WH-14A      White       269 Ns
3G: I175-WH-14A       White       411 Ns
4G: I242-WH-15A       White       548 Ns
5G: J290-WH-15A       White      684 Ns
5G: J270-GR-13A        Green3    650 Ns
6G: J354-WH-16A       White       819 Ns
6GXL: J394-GR-13A   Green3    970 Ns


Pro54:
2G: I100-RL/LB-17A    Red Lightning / Long Burn    614 Ns
2G: J430-WT-18A          White Thunder                            821 Ns
3G: J760-WT-19A          White Thunder                           1266 Ns
3G: J140-WH/LB-P        White / Long Burn                     1211 Ns
4G: K940-WT-18A          White Thunder                           1633 Ns
5G: K261-WH/LB-P        White / Long Burn                    2021 Ns

Pro75:
3G: L820-SK-P                 Skidmark       2946 Ns
6G: M2020-IM-P            Imax               8429 Ns
6GXL: M1545-GR-P       Green3            8187 Ns
6GXL: M2080-SK-P       Skidmark      6827 Ns

CTI Pro150-40000: O3700-SK-P     Skidmar    29920 Ns

AMW 54-2500: K1075-SK-P      Skidmark       2245 Ns

A few of the highlights:

F30-WH/LB-6A: long burn. 2.4 second burn in a nearly full F motor.
F240-VM-15A: super-high acceleration. Probably will get you to Mach.
G65-WH/LB-8A: also long burn. This motor could push 10,000 feet in a small rocket.

I100-RL/LB-15A: 6.14 second burn I motor in the 'soda can' case. Way cool.
O3700-SK-P: One huge Skidmark.



Article on Rocketry Planet

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Finally getting on top of driving

After procrastinating for waaay too long, I'm actually on track to get my licence soon. I've now completed 2 of the 4 state-mandated 2-hour instruction periods, and a third is scheduled for next Tuesday.

Even better, my licence test is scheduled for the 30th! Now I just have to figure out pulling into parking spots backwards.

Of course, mandachan already beat me to it. But she's just that good.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Masking

It took me the better part of two hours to mask the Orbital Transport for red paint for tomorrow. Here is the result:

Green tape is finer for masking details; blue tape covers more area. Lots of area. Only one stripe and three fins (one on the bottom) on each side will be red.

New Motor Certifications

Ah, I love new motors. Aerotech and Gorilla have new loads certified; Frank Kosdon has new loads as well but did not announce details. Test sessions were on May 29th and 30th.

First, the Gorilla loads. The first three have cylindrical-cored Bates grains.

Smallest is the I392BL-18A Black Lightning (sparky) load for the 38-640 case. It's a 39% I motor with 446 Ns; max thrust is 508 N at 0.4 seconds through the 1.13 second burn. Propellant is 270g of the 657g loaded weight.

Also for the 38-640 case is the I462WC-18A White Cloud, a 73% I motor at 557 Ns. Max thrust is 557 N at 0.4 seconds through the 1.2 second burn; propellant weight is 292g of the 690g loaded weight.

For the new 38-780 case is the J607WC-18A White Cloud, a 5% baby J at 678 Ns. Max thrust is 804 N at 0.35 seconds through the 1.11 second burn; propellant is 360g of 868g total.

Then there's two 75mm loads. For the 6000 Ns case is the M745WC-PS White Cloud, a moonburner with 5368 Ns (5% M) over a 7.2 second burn. Max thrust 1424 N at 0.75 seconds; propellant is 2900 of 5511 g weight.

For the 7600 Ns case is the M1085WC-PS, essentially the same motor with a little more propellant and power. Also a moonburner. 6958 Ns (36% M); 2267 N max at 0.75 seconds through 6.4 seconds total; propellant weight 3832 of 7008g total.

Jim Harris of Gorilla also certified 54mm spacers. Congrats.

Aerotech certified three high-power loads, plus the 29mm and 54mm spacer systems finished certification. The 29/360 case needs a special spacer.

Smallest of the three loads was the I170G-10A Mojave Green load for the 54/426 "soda can" case - the sixth reload for that case. 419 Ns (31% I); burn time is 2.4 seconds:
Propellant weight is 227g out of 528 total.

For the 75/3840 case is the L1520T-P, a Blue Thunder load. 3716 Ns (44% L); 2.36 second burn:
Propellant weight is 1854 of 3651g total.

The final motor certified by Aerotech was the L400W-P for the 90/5120 case. It's a moonburner with the regressive thrust curve and 4642 Ns (81% L) total impulse. Propellant weight is 2696 of 5170g total; burn time is 12.24 seconds:

Aerotech will also have some new Metalstorm loads coming out soon.

All information and images from this story and this story from Rocketry Planet.

Monday, June 7, 2010

ARML

ARML was lots of fun this weekend, though a little disappointing at times.

First, I learned on Friday night that I'd been put on the Connecticut B team; I was confused because I was on the A team last year and I aced States this year. But, for other reaons, I didn't take the AMC 12 test, which lowered my team ranking.

The math itself went well. I contributed well on the Team Round (10 problems in 15 mins for each 15-person team) and the Power Round (One giant multi-part question in 60 minutes for the 15-person team), but our scores for those rounds were nullified after some idiot on the team thought it'd be funny to text our coach during the Power Round. Jerk.

The next two rounds went better, though. The Individual Round gives in 5 sections - each 2 problems in 10 minutes. (No calculators in this competition, by the way). I got 5 of the 10 - a pretty score. Only 2 people on the CT team got 6s, and only a few fives. My five was good enough to be best on B team.

In the Relay Round, each team is divided into 5 3-person miniteams. Each member of the miniteam is given a question; persons 2 and 3 require a number given to them by the previous person to solve theirs. You have 6 minutes to produce an answer from the final person. My miniteam got 1/2, a decent score.

Overall, Connecticut teams did pretty great. A team was 17th nationally - their best score ever, and the overall best (accoridng to my coach) for a state team that, unlike the single-school and county teams, can't meet very frequently for practice. The proctors calculated our B team score before subtracting the two rounds; we would have been 24th of 65 - pretty decent.

Even though there were a few disappointing bits, I still had a lot of fun and did good math. And got comprehensively beaten at half a dozen card games, from Spoons to Tricks to Set to Pro-Set.

States

Finally got time to post on the first part of the adventures of my four-day weekend.

Thursday was states. It was foggy and damp to start out with - not great tennis weather. But Yale has 22 nice courts, and it's such a greta place to play. I happened to draw an exchange student from Spain, currently at Avon High School, in the play-in round. He beat me 6-1 6-1, and it was ugly. Junior year of tennis: over.

Matt Rode met the same fate; 1 doubles lost a long play-in match 5-7 6-7. Rahul and Calvin, since they were 1 and 2 singles, didn't have to play play-in matches. 2 and 3 doubles both won good matches, so 4 of our 7 players / teams went on to the second round.

Rahul won his second-round match 6-1 6-0, and Calvin didn't have to play due to a forfeit. Both 2 and 3 doubles drew very high seeds, so they were doomed from the get-go, but they both won some games and made the matches tough.

Rahul lost a looong three-set match. Calvin started out losing, but as soon as he won a few points, his opponent went downhill and he won. I'm pretty sure he lost his next match, though, which was on Saturday.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thesis Paper stats

This is by far the hardest thesis paper I've writen - literary criticism rather than scientific facts and arguments. But it still has rather impressive stats:

7 pages
2205 words
9 paragraphs

5.1 letters per word
24.5 words per sentence
10 sentences per paragraph

Crazy Week

I apologize for not posting a lot lately. I've had a pretty hectic schedule, but it's all suddenly clearing up, right on schedule.

Today I finally finished my English thesis paper. (More on that later). With that out of the way, I don't have any more thesis papers until 2011, since both English and Government will be in the second semester of my senior year.

Tomorrow, I have states for tennis. Since the team won more than 8 matches (we were 13-3), all 10 of us on varsity get to go to Yale, where they have 20 nice courts, to play. As a 4 singles player, I have to win a play-in match just to enter the regular tournament; I know nothing about my opponent. If I win that match, though, my first opponent would be the #1 player from Waterford. Even though I'm doomed, it should be a lot of fun.

On Friday, I leave for the AMRL national math competition at Penn State. It's one of my favorite events of the year: three days of hanging out with some of the smartest people in Connecticut, doing math, and having fun. I unfortunately won't be able to post from Friday morning until Sunday afternoon, but with any luck I'll have a few automatic posts.

Then everything really frees up. Barely any homework, just studying a bit for finals, and lots of free time. Lots of building and flying and sciencing (science is a verb now...) and posting to follow; I hope for June to be the first month since February that I post an average of more than once per day.

Building 'n stuff

I got lots done on Monday. First thing was some work on the Sudden Mach. I reglued the spacers to the Blue Tube couplers, then I added a third fillet to each of the 6 fin / body joints.

Next I made a stand for the Buckeye IV. Not too hard, just 4 2" sections of dowel and a wooden base, but it looks so much nicer standing up.

I then did a lot with the finish on the Orbital Transport. Sanded the first coat of primer, applied and sanded the second coat of primer, then two coats of white. Red paint coming sometime soon.

Finally, I've decided on my next Friggin' Crazy Project, to be completed after the Sudden Mach is done. I'm taking the 1/48 scale SR-71 and converting it for flight. 24mm motor mount, etc. Not gonna be easy, and it'll prolly crash, but it'll be cool.

Boston!

I had an awesome day in Boston with mandachan and my family on Sunday. My awesome parents got tickets to the Red Sox game and we all drove up in the morning. We parked at the Hynes Convention Center and walked over to Fenway, stopping along the way to walk partway across the Harvard Bridge to take pictures of the famous smoot markings. (I'll have pictures later).

The Red Sox / Royals game was absolutely amazing. It was my first time at Fenway, so I was absolutely astounded by everything. The Sox won 8-1, with David Ortiz hitting a 3-run homer and Jason Varitek hitting a solo shot.

Afterwards, we all walked around the Back Bay area, including Boston Common and the Copley Place Mall. Just for fun, mandachan and I decided to ride the T out to the end of the Green Line where my folks would then pick us up.

We got on the Green Line D Branch at Hynes Convention Center, but there was a problem. Turns out there was scheduled construction down the line - but there weren't notices posted until the platform, by which point we'd already paid our fares. So, we had to get off at Fenway station, get on a free shuttle bus to Reservoir, and then get back on a Green Line streetcar (the Green Line runs modular light-rail streetcars instead of heavy-rail trains) to Riverside.

It only added about 15 minutes to the trip, and thanks to texting (and 2 bars of cell signal 20 feet underground, next to the ticket machines) I was able to keep in touch with my folks. So it was a bit of an adventure, but all was good, and it was fun. Whole day was tons of fun.