Tuesday, December 30, 2008

50 State Quarters

We started collecting the commemorative state quarters quite a while ago and just before Christmas I got the last one we were waiting for, Alaska. When Arizona's was introduced this past summer we took the family to the state capitol building where Janet Napolitano spoke and then representatives from the mint passed out shiny new AZ quarters to all the kids. Then they gave out free mint ice cream drumsticks for everybody. We then walked through the free museum that is a permanent fixture of the capitol building, it was a good activity.

So here is our collection (worth at least $12.50)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Clare and the Reasons

Went to a show with Jon Stone over Thanksgiving and while I really enjoyed the headliner: My Brightest Diamond, for their inventive music I'm a real sucker for a poppy song so I also really liked Clare and the Reasons, the openers. Found this video posted on their myspace site and thought some of you would appreciate this classic 80's cover.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pythagorean Theorem

For ASU students today is reading day, a day between the last day of class and the first day of finals. At UofA I think they call it dead day, maybe because you're dead if you haven't studied for finals yet. It turns out that I'm going to school anyway for a test review session but before I get myself lost in cramming I wanted to write out the Pythagorean Theorem proof I promised. This one will be much more coherent than my last post.

I did it in two parts, part 2 is the only part that is necessary but I wrote out part 1 anyway in case you wanted to follow my whole train of thought as I was on the bus trying to prove to myself that 'c' squared really does equal 'a' squared plus 'b' squared.

You might also notice that the distance formula d = sqrt[(y_2-y_1)^2+(x_2-x_1)^2] is essentially the same thing as the Pythagorean Theorem. It comes up again and again, the 3D version is d = sqrt[(y_2-y_1)^2+(x_2-x_1)^2+(z_2-z_1)^2]

We sometimes speak of magnitutes of vectors and really it's the Pythagorean Theorem again.
Useful stuff.
Now I've got to get back to Laplace transformations, which are also very useful however I won't be giving you a proof any time soon! If you need help with math you should check out Paul's Online Math Notes, a very good resource for Algebra, Trig, Calculus and Differential Equations.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

So Quadradical Dude!

Lorin seems to think that I'm some kind of math whiz because I've been getting good grades in Calculus, while in reality it's a real struggle for me to understand all of the amazing math that other people have figured out. Through all the formulas and proofs I first try to understand why it works, sometimes I can and sometimes it's beyond me so in those cases I just try to understand how to use it properly so I can get the right answers!

One basic formula that I first learned before I cared about "why it works" is the quadratic formula. I just accepted it at the time and have used it since then. Now that I'm thinking more deeply about such things, I feel a little guilty every time I use it, like I'm copying someone else's homework. Well today I put a stop to the guilt, I decided to derive it without looking at a proof.

I know most of you probably don't care too much about this but Lorin was asking if my blog is about math, no it's not a math blog but I'll do this one post for him. So here it is Lorin, an old favorite and a standard of elementary Algebra: The Quadratic Formula. Use it to impress people at parties!

First factor out the coefficient of the x^2 term, you can immediately eliminate it by dividing both sides by it (for some reason I kept it around till the next step in my work). Then you must do the dreaded "complete the square" technique, I was feeling a little bold today so I did a few steps in my head on this one. Then it's just a matter of isolating x, get rid of the square by taking the square root of both sides (don't forget your plus/minus) and simplify. My circuits teacher recently used the quadratic equation in a different form as noted in the figure, the reason why he likes it is because of the repeated b/2a term. I had never seen it like that before but now I see where it comes from.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

going back in time

Jon Stone spearheaded a memorial for Only Anything in the form of a new blog with added mp3 downloads and photo albums. He set it up the framework and then opened it up to the group (band members and close friends) to add content at our liberty. The whole premise is that we just can't let go of the good old days so we are going to relive them by sharing our memories with each other (and whoever else will listen). It came together as planned and is still growing.

Shortly after its conception, a new spark was ignited as Jon Stone saw an upcoming Thanksgiving trip to Arizona as an opportunity to have not only a digital memorial but an actual flesh and blood Only Anything revival. It is not a total flashback as it won't be the original 5 together again with guitars in hand, we have some substitutes lined up. In fact, Jon and I will be the only original members participating but we are doing it in the spirit of old times. Any input from the other members is appreciated.

The events include playing a lot of music (old and new) and getting some recordings of it. In trying to decide what to play we have both picked some old songs and agreed to finish an old song idea and come up with a completely new one. The problem for me is that I have many new song ideas that are promising but all incomplete and time is ticking away. When I told Jon that I was planning on pitching 4 or 5 snippets of song ideas to him he got pretty excited and suggested that we instead raise the bar to do a whole new Only Anything album. Clearly this would be a long term project as we are both doused in schoolwork.

We quickly dismissed this idea as impractical and reverted our focus back to the few songs that we want to do this Thanksgiving. We really try to keep our feet on the ground but as an example of our stubbornness let's look at the new blog and call it what it really is: evidence of our inability to let things go. So, I wouldn't be surprised if in some time down the road there is an announcement of the new Only Anything album (limited release).

Don't hold me to that but feel free to browse www.onlyanything.com to experience music, photos, artwork and other artifacts from the greatest band that ever was. Some of those old songs are better than others, we just put it all out there though. Good or bad, it's history. Eventually we will get some better video up there, I know it exists.

Friday, October 10, 2008

little kid media rocks!

Generally, I don't really like going to the movies. There's a lot out there that I'm not interested in. I find myself enjoying books and movies geared towards a younger audience. I tried reading Love in the time of Cholera because we got it from the library and some people have recommended it, but I hated it and after forcing myself to get half way, I realized I was wasting my time.
I now recommend to you 3 movies that aren't so "mature"; I have watched each one twice and I count none of that time as wasted. So here it goes, 3 movies that you should watch for a good time!

Son of Rambow - Totally liked it. Especially how Will says "Lee Carter". Watch it and you'll see.

Little Manhattan - A 10 year old in love, but it resonates with this 31 year old.

Millions - Good movie, Strange at parts but still refreshingly different. (the band Muse in soundtrack!)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

We are complete

It turns out that when I said in the last post "it may have been a dress rehearsal, a week before.." I was pretty much dead on. We were back at the hospital exactly a week later and Sophie came shortly after that!


I got a surprise package in the mail, an ipod shuffle. Apparently my friends love me a lot. Jon, John and Mat all went in on it. It is a must have for every cool college student. An ipod wasn't on my wishlist but, as I was setting it up I couldn't get over how something so small could play so many songs. It's my first mp3 player and I can say already that it's going to get a lot of use.
Thanks guys.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the limit of y as t approaches infinity

This time she's not so early, but we still have some time. She just may be a little early yet; not as early as her previous babies but at least we got another ultrasound out of our false alarm trip to the hospital. Baby was probably not much more than 6 pounds as of Friday Sept 5. Contractions every five minutes for about 5 hours doesn't necessarily mean you're in labor. Who knew? It may have been a dress rehearsal a week before the actual debut. As we get closer to the due date, my classes have been getting harder. Physics is attempting to take over my world. The first exams are coming up next week.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

school days for all

School is in full swing and I think I should be able to keep up with it. I just keep thinking that at any moment now the baby may decide it's time to come, then we will experience what it's like for the kids to outnumber the adults 2:1 in this household. The kids may revolt and take over! I'm not really worried about that actually. Every afternoon we have the boys do homework at the table, sometimes there are struggles but it always gets done. I do most of my homework later in the night and some in-between classes at school. I've only gone to school for 4 days of course but I'm already making habits.

The boys on the first day of school
Sally fingerpainting
I now have my drums set up reasonably well with improved hi-hats. I don't play them with a baby inside though.
If you want more interesting blog stuff to read you can see the Only Anything Imaginary Band group blog that I have made some contributions to recently, it has been growing with lots of historical content from my teenage years. Oh nostalgia!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

getting down to the rudiments


On craigslist I met a Mr. Smith who lives in Maricopa and needed to sell his drums because his dog cries and complains every time he tries to play them. He doesn't like strangers coming into his house so he met me in the parking lot of a school and we did the transaction. I went to shake his hand upon greeting him and he pulled away putting his hands together in praying position and did a little bow while saying "please don't take offense". None was taken but Mr. Smith was turning out to be a real character. He sold me his drums for an extremely cheap price, that's the only way I'd be getting drums. I don't go on craigslist often but I'd been looking specifically for drums this summer and as soon as this ad was posted I jumped on it because I knew it wouldn't last 24 hours. The drums are of decent quality, Premier brand but the cymbals it came with are indistinguishable from scrap metal. Marisa had no problem with me bringing these into the house, we are hoping one of our kids will want to learn eventually and we can have a family band. For now, I'm the one who plays them and I'll get some tension out between school assignments by banging on them a bit.
Soon I will record them and add some drums to a song I'm working on. The song is called "Lonely Eyes" and it's turning out really well. Tonight I just recorded an electric guitar solo for the song and I think it's one of my best solos yet. The main part of the song is very moody and minimalistic, when the guitar comes in it's a very strong and dynamic moment.
I haven't recorded the vocals yet but a funny thing happened when I was recording just a rough vocal take to get make sure everything was fitting together. Marisa was watching TV at the time and some of the sound from it was getting picked up by the microphone, just as the last note is playing you can distinctly hear the phrase "nobody wants to die Bobby" loud and clear. I don't even know what show it was from but it sounds really cool and I think I'm going to leave it in the mix. Something for you all to look forward to!

Monday, August 18, 2008

bienvenidos bandits

Jon Stone may be making some progress with me, if this ever sees the light of day, and I suppose it will, rss will see to that. There will be no twittering or tweeting and minimal texting; texting will be a last resort, will be sounding alarms, will be getting out the fine china. The world and its trends aside, this could be a great value if only for the sake of record keeping. So may this be the time it sticks, and with good fortune this blog will not be found among the company of my previous abandoned blogs. For this blog I have no expectations and it will have no theme except for my life, anything about my life is fair game. I will let it change as I change and I hope this will be its saving grace.
Soon Marisa and I will have child #4, I will start my second year at ASU and I will stop working as an all-night airport taxi van driver. All these things should happen in the next month. The boys are already back to school, 5th and 3rd grade. Next year Shule will be in middle school, an undeniable example of just how much life really does change.
That crazy job I've been doing this summer has had ups and downs, I can't imagine taking that job as a long term career but people do it. I work from 5pm to 5am four or five shifts a week. Too much wasted time. The good days aren't quite good enough to make up for the bad days. You may remember Chris Farley from SNL "living in a van down by the river!", well I've been spending my summer "living in a van down by the airport!". That's what it feels like. I'm nervous about getting lost in the technical studies again because that takes a lot of focus and a lot of time too but I'm thinking it's better than living in a van down by the airport for the rest of my life.
I did get to see the whole Phoenix metro area which was interesting; I know my way around pretty well now.
Modern Differential Equations, Circuits I, Computer Assembly Language, Physics II electricity and magnetism
That is my course schedule, it's only 4 classes but it's going to be a lot for me, the novice electrical engineer. There are some significant labs in there. I will probably be tutoring College Algebra again for about 5 hours a week. I want to tune pianos on Saturdays and I'm really getting the urge to play some music in a band setting again. The memory of Radiohead on stage at Grant Park has the opposite effect of discouraging these urges. Thanks to a gift from Kelby, the Line 6 Toneport, I have new home recording capabilities. I've started a few songs but it will be weeks before I finish because I only work on it one or two hours a week. I got a very good deal on a drumset and learning to play it is a long term goal, separate post on drums coming soon.