November 2, 2005

Hi everyone, and welcome back to Junior’s Jiving Journals! The midpoint of the semester is past, and now the finish line is within sight…two of my courses are ending in two weeks, and then my days will be so much easier – I can’t wait…

This fortnight has been a heck of a lot of fun. I finally got my new computer! I had been planning to buy a laptop for quite a while, and I was getting a bit tired of having to borrow Cameron’s computer or run to the library every time I wanted to look something up. I now have a neat little Toshiba laptop, and I am so pleased with it! I carry it to every class with me, and take notes on it – who needs notebooks when you have a notebook computer?

Well, a LOT has been happening this past week, not only for me but also for Embry Riddle and Daytona Beach as a whole. This fortnight, two big events for Daytona took place – Biketoberfest and the Florida Skyfest, sponsored by Embry Riddle.

Guess I’ll start with Biketoberfest, seeing as it came first….during this week bikers (and biker chicks) came from all over the country and congregated on Daytona. AS the week progressed toward the weekend of Bike Fest, I saw all kinds of bikes, of all colors, designs and engines everywhere. Traffic was a nightmare. Outside pubs you could see bikes stacked side to side all the way down the block – you can get an idea of what it’s like from the picture, taken by my suitemate Ben.

Then came the Florida SkyFest. From 11 AM to 4 PM on Saturday and Sunday pilots flipped, rolled, dived and pulled negative G’s all around Daytona Beach International Airport and Embry Riddle’s adjoining campus. There were some pretty entertaining acts – like a wing walker, and a truck with jet engines on it, which raced a plane down the runway with twenty feet long tongues of flame propelling it! In addition to this military jets were parked on the tarmac – F-15s, F-16s, F/A-18s, A-10s, cargo planes…I was thrilled to be so close to these awesome beasts, who can spit out thirty foot tall afterburner flames and stroll at a speed faster than the speed of sound.

I think that if I couldn’t fly a fighter but I could fly any other Air Force plane, I’d fly the A-10 (even though the Air Force is phasing them out), just for the chance to fire that incredible gun in it’s nose, around which it’s literally built.

Despite this, I hear it was not as good as the previous years’, and I can believe that. SkyFest was definitely fun, but it definitely needs work. First of all, it got boring. Not to say that the pilots up there don’t have skill – they risk their necks every second they are in the air – but when you see the same dives, fly-bys and spirals time after time, only with different pilots, it starts to get tiring. The Thunderbirds and the Blue Angels weren’t there to alleviate that. One wonders why they don’t condense the show to about two hours duration – but then one remembers that for the first time ever Embry Riddle charged its own students for admission to SkyFest, and that there are booths set up with ridiculously overpriced eatables, which would definitely not be very popular if the show was a short one. I know I would never have paid $7 for a hot dog and a bottle of coke if I could have gotten out in two hours. And then one remembers the tuition at Embry Riddle and one does think – hmmm….now, what’s wrong with this picture??

Anyway, the first day of SkyFest I was a spectator. The second day I was a worker. I had signed up with AFROTC to help them at SkyFest, and ended up making and serving those very expensive drinks and food to people all day long. By the end of the day it was like, ‘Oh, it’s just a plane diving straight at us, no biggie’. I think military displays would definitely have made it a LOT more enthralling – but only the A-10 did a few flips – the fighter jets parked there just sat there, for the kids with grimy paws to sit in and make loud noises in. Previously, Embry Riddle had arranged military displays, but now that they are charging admission, they don’t seem to find that necessary any more.

All the same it was fun, and the pilots were certainly skilled, no doubt about that. Well. Back to the story…since I last wrote in I also spent an entire day at Universal Studios in Orlando. That was pretty fun, but again, it got boring – we spent about half an hour waiting for every three minute ride. One thing can’t be disputed – a LOT of money has gone into that place – it is a theme park in every sense of the word. One amusing thing was that after every ride we exited in the back of a store. For example, after the Hulk rollercoaster ride, we got off and came out into a shop selling – come on, guess it quick! – Hulk memorabilia. T-shirts, caps, cameras, ridiculously overpriced figurines…surely no one would fall for such an obvious marketing ploy but – yeah, you got it, there are always suckers. They’re like – wow, that ride was awesome! And look, souvenirs, why how very convenient! On the count of three, draw your MasterCard and – BUY!

As I mentioned last time, I have Honors pre-registration, and I was able to get all my classes exactly how I wanted them. I have almost nine hours of back to back classes on Wednesday but I have just one class on Thursdays and I can sleep late on days I don’t have ROTC, so I am quite pleased – it wouldn’t have been possible without the pre-registration perk, that’s for sure! I’ll be taking Calc, Honors and Physics II, CATIA programming, Honors technical report writing and Air Force II.

Before I leave you, I should probably put in a word about Homecoming. During Homecoming 2005 at Embry Riddle, I attended an outdoor concert conducted by the band Recycled Percussion, and a comedy show by Carlos Mencia after the Airshow on Saturday.

Recycled Percussion was a fun event, mainly because of its novelty. The band literally ‘rocked their junk’. The rhythm and tempo they achieved while pounding on dustbins, microwave trays and ladders was definitely unusual, to say the least. I especially enjoyed their rendition of the beats of popular songs by AC/DC, Nickelback and others. Some of their stunts even failed – like when they tossed drumsticks to each other and couldn’t catch them like they were supposed to – but that only made us cheer more when they pulled off a stunt (though I wondered if that was more fluke than skill!).

Frankly, Homecoming at Embry Riddle was not what I expected, simply because, to my mind, Homecoming is associated with football. The very concept of ‘Homecoming’ originated from the returning of athletes to their school after a victorious tour. But at Embry Riddle there is no connection between sports and Homecoming. They brought in a racist comedian – another thing that struck me as unusual, as the focus is usually on sports during this season. Mencia was funny, to be sure, but somebody needs to tell him to grasp his ears firmly and pull hard – maybe then he can remove his head from his ass. But that’s not to say that he was not entertaining! To sum it up, everyone worked very hard to make Embry Riddle’s Homecoming a grand success, and that effort went a long way!

Motto for the Fortnight: If God had intended man to smoke, He would have set him on fire.

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About Veda

**Age:** 18 **Hometown:** Torrance, CA **Favorite Movie:** Lord of the Rings, Matrix, Forrest Gump **Favorite Band:** Eminem (yeah!) **Career Goal:** To become a successful aero engineer for the Air Force and later perhaps pursue into NASA's astronaut program. **Interests:** Listening to my kind of music, reading fiction (can't get enough), trying new and often nutty things.

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