Hanging Out in Orlando and Stuff

Oops – I haven’t written in a while. Sorry about that!

Today was the last day of classes for the summer. I think I escaped Electrical Engineering unscathed. All I have left on my plate is one last lab report and a lab practical on Monday, then it’s two weeks of freedom. That’s the longest break I’ve had since Christmas, haha.

While Daytona itself is kinda “meh” as far as cities go, its proximity to Orlando is great (if you have a car, that is.) I’ve spent quite a bit of time down there the last couple weeks. One of my favorite things about Orlando, is that bands always play there. Minneapolis was always kind of a hit or miss city as far as musical tours, so it was always disappointing to have to miss seeing bands I liked because they decided we just weren’t important enough for a show. But everybody plays Orlando! And it’s awesome.

Myself with Juliet Simms! Too bad I’m a sweaty mess in the photo (it was like 100 degrees and super humid – bleh.)

I spent the whole day down there at Warped Tour a couple weeks ago, which was awesome. I had never been before, and almost didn’t go because I didn’t have anybody with whom to go. Well, I ended up at the show for free, courtesy of Hawthorne Heights, who picked me to work their street team for the Orlando show! Although I was promised a backstage pass that never ended up happening, I still got to get in early and for free, as well as meet the band and get some free cool signed stuff, and all I had to do was hang a bajillion posters around the grounds. It was awesome. Except for the part where it thunderstormed and they tried to shepherd the entire audience at this enormous music festival into a big barn thing. But I digress. I also got to meet Juliet Simms, who is awesome. If you don’t know who she is, she is the singer for the band Automatic Loveletter (they aren’t super well-known, so I don’t really blame you if you haven’t heard of them. Oh man that sounded so hipster.) She was touring with Warped as a solo act, and she put on a really great show – her voice is amazing. She’s on my list of musical idols (along with Lzzy Hale, Amy Lee, and Ville Valo – if you don’t know who these people are, I urge you to find out), so it was really cool to get to meet her, and she was super nice.

All the signed CDs I got from Warped Tour, plus the compilation album. Woo! I also got a couple signed posters from Hawthorne Heights and Echosmith that I somehow managed to find wall-space in my apartment for.

I also met this awesome band called Echosmith at Warped. They are really new, their first album comes out in a couple months. But get this – they are four siblings between the ages of 14-20. Yeah, the drummer is 14. And they are good. I’m really looking forward to their album. I think they’re going to be super famous someday (and I have a signed copy of their first songs ever released!)

Another thing I like about Florida is that they do a tax-free weekend in August on things like clothes, electronics, and school supplies. So a friend and I went down to the big malls in Orlando for some shopping, (something in which I don’t frequently take part, I might add.) I bought some new clothes and running shoes and coffee cup earrings. And the government didn’t take more of my money! It was a fun day. Orlando has everything – including Panda Express. Mmmmm.

Between Kennedy Space Center, Warped Tour, and tax-free shopping (plus picking people up at the Orlando airport), I’ve put quite a few miles on my car lately! It’s not too bad of a drive though.

Those are the exciting things I’ve been up to. Other things I’ve been doing include super-cleaning my apartment last weekend, writing lab reports, reading about wave acoustics (that’s literally all I’m doing in SPRL right now), and hiding inside where it’s air-conditioned. I thought the worst of the weather was past, but boy was I wrong. It’s been consistently humid and about 100 degrees outside. It’s pretty much terrible. I also dug out my Nintendo DS and started a new game on Pokemon SoulSilver, but I got stuck at the third gym and got mad and stopped playing it.

Hopefully next week I’ll have a cool research project started that I can write about – so stay tuned for that. Then the following week I’m headed back up to Minnesota to see my family ’cause they miss me and stuff. It’s about 70 degrees there right now, so I might just not come back until Florida quits being so Florida-y. Then after that it’s fall semester! I’m really excited for this fall because I’m taking some really cool classes, but more on that later. And I get to blog for y’all again in the fall, so you’ll get to hear all about it. :)

I didn’t talk about much this post, so here is an astronaut sloth for your enjoyment:

“Slothstronaut”

Peace out for now, readers!

-Lynsey

Summer B and Twelve Hours at Kennedy Space Center

Hello again to all my lovely readers!

I apologize for not having written in a while, though I haven’t really had anything interesting to talk about. Now that I have some stuff, commence blog post.

Spending the evening studying up on some circuitry.

Summer B is already well upon us; I’m taking Electrical Engineering this semester. It’s definitely a change from last semester’s math class, but so far I’m enjoying it. The material is very straight forward, and the instructor let us vote not to have a final. Although that means midterms will be weighted a lot more… could be a blessing or a curse, tune in later to find out. The thing I am enjoying about circuitry is that it makes both logical and mathematical sense. When you look at the equations, you can see exactly what they mean and why, just by understanding the way electricity is moving. And I have a good solid circuits foundation from Physics III, for which I am thankful, as most of what we have done up to this point has been review. Boy does time fly though; last week was our first of two midterms and our fifth of ten labs. That means Summer B is half over, and Fall is just around the corner!

I’ve been a lot busier with school this semester than last, which is ironic because it’s a junior-level undergraduate class versus the master’s level class I took last semester. I suppose it’s probably the lab component that’s keeping me busy – an extra 4-6 hours a week, plus writing two reports. As a result I haven’t had as much time to spend in SPRL, but with CEDAR behind me my task for the time being is just reading up on some literature. A good, firm understanding of one’s field is always great, but doesn’t make for good blog content, so I’m afraid that’s really all I have to say about that.

The fourth of July holiday came and went, and I didn’t really do much. I’ve learned to play some new songs on my acoustic guitar, and picked up a copy of Final Fantasy VIII. Per countless recommendations I’ve also started (and nearly finished) watching Game of Thrones. I won’t say anything that could spoil it for those interested in watching, just that it certainly lives up to its hype. I also went down to the Port Orange library yesterday to see a guy from NASA give a presentation on Mars. It was a really cool presentation, and I even slipped him a business card afterwards. I don’t know if I’ll get anything out of it, but I never pass up an opportunity to give my business card to a NASA employee. :)

The Atlas V lifting off! Not a great photo, but you really can’t get anything much better without one of those fancy schmancy cameras that I’m not fortunate enough to own.

Standing underneath the Saturn V at the Apollo center. It is a massive beast of a rocket!

I know that all isn’t very exciting, so now I’ll get to the exciting part: last Friday. It all started with waking up at 5 am and leaving the house with the sun still down. If you know me, you know that that does not happen. In fact, I live by a general rule that if you wake up and the hour is not yet double digits, it’s too early to be waking up. So, you may be wondering what got me on the road at 6 am, and the answer is SPACESHIPS. You may or may not be aware that on Friday there was the largest Atlas V launch to date, which took place around 9 am. We booked it down to Kennedy Space Center and arrived at about 7ish (the sun didn’t come up until we were well down I-95), and then got on a bus to be taken to the Saturn V center at KSC. If you weren’t aware, KSC has bleachers set up there, and it is the closest you can get to the launch publicly (i.e. without sneaking onto secret government property.) After a ten minute delay due to upper-atmospheric winds, the rocket finally went off at 9 am sharp, and boy was it a sight.

One of my pictures next to Atlantis. What a sight it was!

I think we spent half the trip posing in front of cool signs.

That was pretty much the best day ever. After the launch, we spent the day at KSC, and didn’t leave until they closed at 7 pm. And let me tell you, if you’re a space-enthusiast, KSC is even better than Disney World. We saw the new Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit first, and it was AWESOME. So well done. There were some really cool short movies before you even got into the exhibit, with the last one being projected onto a dome so the shuttle footage was all around you. Then the screen lifted up and right in front of you, not more than ten or twenty feet away, is Space Shuttle Atlantis. You could get within nearly an arm’s reach of it – it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. The Space Shuttle exhibit is also home to the Shuttle Launch Simulator (which was at KSC before the Atlantis exhibit opened, though I had never had a chance to ride.) That was a really cool experience. They say that astronauts have ridden in it and said it’s as close to a real launch as you can get in a simulator.

Panoramic picture of Space Shuttle Atlantis. Click for the full-sized beauty!

NASA shuttle astronaut and astrophysicist, Dr. Sam Durrance.

Standing next to a full-size lego model of the Mars Spirit/Opportunity rover. Of course they can’t display the real ones because they’re still over on Mars.

Another cool thing at KSC is the Astronaut Encounter, where they have an astronaut come give a presentation and then you can take pictures with him afterwards. He gave a really great speech, and it was cool because, not only was he a shuttle astronaut, but also an astrophysicist. We also watched an IMAX film about the Hubble Telescope, walked around in the future explorers building (they had some cool Mars stuff there), and took tons of pictures all over the park. It was really a twelve hours well-spent. It was dark again by the time I arrived back home, and I collapsed into bed and slept straight through until about noon.

KSC is running a deal on annual passes right now in celebreation of the new shuttle exhibit, and I highly recommend taking advantage. It is only $5 than general admission, and because parking is $10 and the pass gets you free parking, it’s actually cheaper to get the pass than it is to go once at the normal rate! Plus you save 20% on all food and 10% in the gift shop (which is literally the coolest gift shop I have ever been in), and can get guests in for $10 off. It’s only about 45 minutes from campus, and makes for a fantastic trip – so head down there! I plan to go at least two or three more times before my annual pass expires.

That’s all I have to say for now. Another week starts tomorrow, and before long August will be upon us! (I apologize for the photo-heavy post, if you have a slow browser!)