Monday, November 5, 2007

Where has Brad gone?

Breathe deeply, my dear friends; breathe deeply. I still exist, and I still wish to become an astronaut. Things, as "things" are wont to do, have gotten a wee bit crazy in my life.

First and foremost, I have decided to bump up my hour commitment at work from 80% (or 32 hours) to the standard 40-hour week. Coupled with my 6 hours of classwork (and associated travel time), my leisure time has taken a considerable hit. Working on the weekends is now the norm rather than the exception.

So why have I decided to take on a hellish schedule? An obvious answer might be money. And while the extra padding in my wallet is nice, the true answer lies in my workload. Put simply, I noticed that my employer needed some extra work from me. Since working hard only gets so far, I offered to work an additional 8 hours each week. I'm still adjusting to the new schedule, but no one ever got anywhere by taking it easy.

In more specific terms, I have certainly been up to plenty of shenanigans. Halloween is, shall we say, an important Madison holiday. Aside from the typical children under 12, pretty much everyone between the ages of 18 and 30 dons a costume. I tend to take pride in making an original costume that is truly unique. This year, I used my basic knowledge of circuitry to make a ghost costume. This was not any typical ghost costume, mind you: it was a Pacman ghost costume. Beneath the white sheets, I wired up both red and blue LEDs to simulate Blinky's in-game appearance. By my side, my lovely girlfriend Marie dressed up as Ms. Pac-man. We were a hit, especially when we chased each other, turning only at right angles.

More recently, I served as a technical judge for a LEGO tournament last weekend. The participants, aged 9-14, displayed some serious creativity and ingenuity. I can only hope that all of us judges imparted some sense of excitement for the engineering field. The world would do well to encourage them in their pursuit of the sciences.

I close this post with yet another example of my perpetual undertakings: my current location. I am presently in Pennsylvania on a business trip. Rather than sitting in a conference room listening to a paper's exposition, I get to assemble parts of my design into a working rock-crusher. And not just any rock-crusher... no, no, no. This behemoth is a prototype for a lunar-based autonomous mining machine. While I can't delve into specifics due to company secrets, let me assure you that you will not want to get in its stone-obliterating way.

It is here that I now sign off. Thanks for reading. I will strive to keep you abreast of my activities on a more-regular schedule.


Marie said...

It looked like the kids were definitely excited about what they had accomplished with the LEGObots.
I thought your presentation speech to them was great--way to encourage the "future engineers"!

I know I've said this before, but best couples costumes idea ever (perfect for us, anyway).

Love the post and thanks for the shout out. :D

Have fun in PA and come back soon.

Your loyal reader, M.

Christina said...

Great blog Brad! :)