Blake

About Blake

Aeronautical Science

Hometown: DeBary, Florida
Why I chose Embry-Riddle: Ever since I was little I knew that I wanted to fly, and ever since I knew about Embry-Riddle I wanted to go here.

February 13

Happy Valentines Day!!!!!

Here it is half way through February and it is getting pretty crazy around Daytona Beach! The races are coming up, Bike week is right around the corner, and Spring Break is not too far behind that. At Embry-Riddle things are getting hectic as well because we had our first set of tests this past week. I called last week test week because everybody I know has had a test in more than 75% of there classes. I personally have had 3 tests one on each day, Wednesday Thursday and Friday. Overall I think it went quite well, but I am still waiting for my grades on one more test. I guess now would be a good time to start with my classes:

TTh – Physics 104 – Since it was test week, I took my first physics 104 test. I already went over how I didn’t get the professor I wanted and I am stuck with a class at 8:15am every Tuesday Thursday, so I wasn’t too excited about having a test. I think that the reason I did so well last semester was due to the professor. I really enjoyed that professor and the way he presented the material. This semester, I can’t really relate to my professor’s teaching style. I find that I have to take notes, try not to listen, and then review the notes on my own time and understand the material. My professor is nice, but she just gets side tracked real easy and it’s hard to focus on multiple things at 8:15 in the morning, especially when she doesn’t take attendance. When you have a professor who doesn’t take attendance, you are tempted with sleeping in other options rather than attending class, so you really have to want to be there. Anyways, back to the test . . . I studied quite a bit and I thought that I was prepared, and I was. The test had 5 points extra credit and I ended up getting a 105. So . . . I like physics.

TTh – Basic Aeronautics II – This class still proves to be challenging. We are assigned to read a chapter for every class and we have a quiz on the chapter at the beginning of every class. So far I have been doing alright. I’m not acing (Ace-ing) every quiz, but I’m not failing them either. We are scheduled for our first test coming up this week, so I’ll let you know how that goes.

TTh – Intro to Safety – Well, as it turns out, I wasn’t that interested in safety. I went to class the first two weeks, but then I dropped the course. Even though I had more classes last semester, I was getting overwhelmed this semester, even in the first two weeks. Also, I don’t need a safety course for my major or minor so I decided that it wasn’t a good idea to over stress myself just for the heck of it.

MWF – Air Traffic Control I – We took our first test and I got a 92% on it. The class is a little dry at times, but the professor knows what he is talking about so it’s not too bad. Right now, I am just learning all the basics, so I won’t get to go into a simulator until my junior year-ish. Once I learn all the basics I will be able to go into a simulator and get first hand experience on what it is like to be in a tower and direct traffic. I can’t wait for that.

MWF – Intro to Psychology – I also took my first test in Psych this past week and I have to admit that I am a little scared. He still hasn’t posted the test scores and I am getting pretty anxious. I studied so much for this test, much more than for some of my other classes, and I’m not sure how I did. Right before the test I felt very confident and I thought that I was ready, but then he handed out the tests. I looked it over rather quickly and my confidence slowly disintegrated. Some of the stuff I knew right off the bat, but for a lot of questions I narrowed it down to 2 choices. So I could have done well, or I might not be very happy with the score. I guess we’ll see. ***Special note, I found out that I got a 92 after the curve!!!

As you know if you read my last journal (which I’m sure all of you have) it was my birthday a couple weeks ago and I received golf clubs as one of my presents. I used to golf a little bit back in the day with my dad. We live on a golf course, so I would hit around a ball every now and then, but my favorite part was driving the golf cart. So many moons later, I decided it would be a good idea to learn how to golf. I have heard from many people that golfing can be a good way to get to know someone such as coworkers and or a new/potential boss. I also have heard that golfing is much more fun if you know what you are doing rather than smacking the crap out of it. So I decided that I needed to get lessons rather than develop bad habits. As it turns out, my friend Cris has been golfing for quite some time so I got a whole bunch of pointers from him. I could already tell my improvement from swinging the club once with no idea what I was doing compared to after his tips. I think that with some practice it will be a fun thing to do on the weekends.

This past weekend I did a single skydive, except this one wasn’t like the others. Usually you jump out of the side of the aircraft and begin your freefall, but I did a jump out of the SkyVan this past weekend. The SkyVan looks like a giant, boxy van with wings. I’m not sure how it produces lift, but it does somehow. The cool thing about the SkyVan is that instead of jumping out the side, you jump out the back. This allows you to get a running start and jump rather than a standing jump. I was about 4ft away from the back and I did a running start and jumped out with my arms and legs straight (like a giant X) and then pushed my head back so I did a back flip. It was the coolest exit that I have ever done, even though I have only done 19. I hope they use the SkyVan more often because it is by far my aircraft of choice for jumping out of. Also, this past jump is the first time that I beat the plane to the ground. Usually, I’ll jump out and then pull my chute at a fairly high altitude (5,000ft) and slowly float down. Well this time I pulled at a lower altitude and had a smaller parachute so I floated down quicker and managed to beat the SkyVan. After all the skydivers exit, the plane dives back toward the ground at a very fast rate so I usually watch it land while I’m still 2,000ft in the air. But not this time though.

Two weekends ago I made a trip up to Gainesville to the University of Florida to see some friends. I went with my two friends Aaron and Adam and my girlfriend Becca. We had a blast and we already have some memories that we won’t forget anytime soon. We are already planning our next trip up there, so hopefully we can do that soon. That’s what I like about Embry-Riddle, we are pretty close to a lot of different universities all around Florida. Like UF, FSU, UNF, USF, and a whole bunch of others.

This past weekend I celebrated my two year anniversary with my girlfriend Becca. We started dating in our junior year of high school and here it is two years later and I can’t believe how quick time went by! I’ll spare all the mushy stuff, but she goes to Stetson which is right up the road and I love her to death. If she’s reading this . . . Hi Becca!!!!

I found this story recently and I thought that I would share it with all of you guys. The story is about a recent graduate of Riddle and how he is one of the project manager for a company based in Hong Kong. He created a remote control dragonfly that flies by flapping wings. You can read about the story here http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/08/technology/08toys.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin and there is also a video on youtube.com. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pz0XNGJ-ep8

I thought that it was pretty cool that a graduate from Riddle went on to become the project manager of a company and design something completely different than traditional remote control aircrafts.

So all in all life is going pretty good down here in Florida and I am looking forward to the next couple of weeks. Hopefully everybody is having a good start in 2007 and staying warm. I know it’s been pretty cold around other parts of the U.S. but it is still very warm in Florida. I’m not trying to rub it in because I love the cold and I am mad that Florida is always so hot. I don’t like it when I skate to class in mid-February and start sweating. I view the warmth as a curse rather than a blessing. But if you don’t like the cold and you like to sweat 11.9 months out of the year, Florida is the place for you! It’s not too bad, just sometimes I wish it would snow, just for a day.

If anyone has any questions or comments feel free to drop me a line and I’ll do my best to answer anyone’s questions. Also, if you want me to cover a certain subject in my journal, just let me know. I am here for you!!!!! Later.

-Blake

email: wasteofsoap@yahoo.com
aim: wasteofsoap
videos: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=blakeguiles

January 30

Before I get started (which doesn’t really make sense because I am getting started right now) . . . While I get started, I have a new website on youtube which has some videos of random things. So check it out at http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=blakeguiles. Now back to the journal . . .

I have a good feeling about this year . . . I think it’s gonna be pretty fun. I like (more or less) all my classes and most of the professors are cool. I’ll go through my initial reactions and what we’ve done this past two weeks. I’ll start with Tuesday Thursday classes because I didn’t start until Tuesday.

TTh 8:15am-9:30am Physics 104 – Last semester I had a professor that I really liked for physics 103 and I saw that he had a class for 104. The only bad thing was that it was at 8:15 in the morning, which is pretty early in college. In high school I woke up at 6:00am every morning and I didn’t have a problem. But now in college getting up before 9:00 isn’t fun. I decided to suck it up though and take his class because I like his teaching style. So I go to the room printed on my schedule and I sit there until 8:30am and watch people walk in and out. There was suppose to be 35ish people and there were only 4 in the class room. I figured something going on so I went online to view my schedule and sure enough they switched the room . . . and the professor. I showed up at the proper room at 9:15am, just in time to catch the last 15 minutes of class. Apparently we didn’t really cover anything important, but I’m bummed that I didn’t get the professor I wanted. He switched schedules and now his class is already full, so now I’m stuck with another professor. I guess we’ll see how it goes.

TTh 9:45am-11:00am Basic Aeronautics II – Right off the bat, I can tell that this class is going to help me out in the long run. I have found out that there are two distinctive types of professors in college. There is the easy professor that teaches (kind of) and even though you got an A, you don’t really remember much. And there is the hard teacher that you have to work your butt off to get an A or a B, but you will remember the information for years to come. My basic aero teacher is going to be a harder teacher and have a harder class, or at least I think.

TTh 11:15am-12:30pm Intro to Safety – I’m not actually sure why I chose to take this class, but I think it will be fun. I don’t know if I want to have a minor in Safety, but if I do, I guess I’m on the right track. The first two days we just talked about ourselves and our professor gave his background. My professor has 4 or 5 degrees of various levels, speaks 4 languages, is the head of the Safety Department here at Riddle, and co-authored the text book we use in class. So he is pretty qualified. He has held a ton of positions in various large companies, but he is also down to earth. He always says that the students are paying clients of his and he will do everything he can to help us. He doesn’t think he is better than everyone and that his time is more important. He also makes jokes in class and some of them are pretty funny. I’m not sure how much I am going to like the subject of safety, but I think I will enjoy the professor.

MWF 1:00pm-2:00pm Air Traffic Control I – I am pretty sure I want to minor in ATC and this is the first class you need to do that, so I figured I’d try it and we would see what happens. I think that I am going to like it for a couple different reasons. For one, if I fully understand what is happening in the tower, I think it will make me a better pilot. Also, if something were to happen to me that would restrict me from being a pilot, I think being an ATC would be something worth pursuing. I can already tell that I am going to like the course and the professor seems to know what he is talking about, so that’s always good. Also, one of my fellow journal writers is in my class. I’m sure you guys have read about Cat and if you haven’t you can do that here http://www.erau.edu/db/journals/st3.html. She is an AT major and I just saw her today in class. Small world, kind of.

MWF 2:15pm-3:15pm Intro to Psychology – I’m not going to lie when I tell you that I was not looking forward to this class at all. I really dreaded taking this and was upset when I found out that as an Aeronautical Science major I was required to take it. My sister is a senior in high school and she is taking psychology and both my mother and girlfriend are taking tons of psychology classes in college. So I figured I could at least take one. To be honest, I’m not sure why I didn’t want to take psychology because I can already tell it is going to be one of my favorite classes. I think it has something largely to do with the professor because I have Dr. Kring and he is one of the coolest teachers I have ever had. He seems like a really nice guy and I think he is hilarious. He takes the boring parts of psychology and makes them a lot more fun. I hope this class will be as fun and entertaining as I think it is.

So those are all my classes! I think I got a pretty good schedule except for not getting some of the teachers I wanted, but it’s all good. In other news, the Rolex 24 just took place for all those race fans. For those of you who don’t know what the Rolex 24 was, it was a 24 hour race that took place at the speedway where the Daytona 500 is raced. I didn’t go, but a couple of my friends went and they had a lot of fun. It is pretty cool living near the race track because for the past 3 weeks, you could walk outside and hear the cars running laps. And then when the race started, it got real loud. Not anything to keep you awake at night, but if I opened my window, I could faintly hear the roar of all the engines. That race was just one more thing that Daytona has to offer! The traffic wasn’t too bad, but when the Daytona 500 rolls around, the traffic will be pretty crazy. Something to look forward to, I guess.

It has been kind of difficult getting back into the school rhythm. Getting up early and going to classes isn’t the problem; it’s more of studying and doing h/w outside of class. There is so much to do around here, and there is always something going on. The Rolex 24 was just one thing that happened this weekend that distracted a lot of students from studying. I went with my friend Adam and we went jet skiing because the high was 71 in Daytona, so we figured why not go jet skiing. We went in the Inter-Coastal and headed south to the Inlet which separates Daytona Beach from New Smyrna Beach. We went next to the jetties which is where I use to always go with my friends in high school to surf. After 2 or 3 years of going there, it was not uncommon to see different kinds of sea life, especially sharks. Almost all of my friends and me have been bumped by a shark at that location, so we wanted to get a closer look on a jet ski. I’m not sure why; it seemed like a good idea at the time. So we headed out that way and hit some monstrous waves. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty scary. So we quickly turned around and headed back in. By the end of the day, it was in the low 60s both in the air and probably in the water. The sun disappeared behind the clouds and it got even colder. Only in Daytona can you go jet skiing in the end of January! Before we went in the water, we went skydiving in Deland and that was a blast as usual. Adam and I jumped out at the same time and connected in the air for a couple seconds. It was pretty wild! I try to make two jumps per week, as long as my budget allows it. I still get such a rush every time I jump. It’s unlike anything that I have ever done!

This past Wednesday on the 24th, I celebrated my 19th birthday! 18 is a big birthday for obvious reasons, but I was not as excited about 19. The only thing I can think of is that it is the last year you are a teenager, which I’m not sure if that is a good or bad thing. Unfortunately, I got pretty sick right around my birthday but I have been getting much better. But now my girlfriend and roommate are sick. Woops. However, on the bright side, I am feeling much better! On my birthday I went to Carrabba’s with my mom, dad, sister, and girlfriend and I had a lot of fun. I can’t wait until next year; I’ll be 20 which is better than 19 because it is even. I’m not sure of my logic there, but I think that makes sense.

So I guess I am doing pretty darn well here at Riddle. I have been having lots of fun and I am enjoying my life in college. To all you high schoolers out there, hope your year is going well and make sure to stay focused because you definitely don’t want to miss going to Daytona for the next four years. Not only will you miss all the stuff I have already talked about, but you will miss unscheduled, sometimes sad events like this one where a humpback whale got washed ashore in Daytona. It is sad to see events like this happen, but if it happens, it is interesting to see it first hand (like some of my friends) rather than just on a website.

Now I must go do some work so I don’t fall behind, but stay tuned until next time when I will talk more in-depth about my classes. Also, I’ll cover how I pick up new hobbies because I don’t want to do school work. I love to procrastinate and now I have found fun ways to do that. For example, I am learning how to play racquetball and I taught myself how to juggle yesterday! The fun things you learn when you don’t want to do school work. And be sure to keep checking the videos website http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=blakeguiles because I upload stuff on there on random days. Some stuff useful and other stuff just random. Also, feel free to shoot me an email if you get a chance. I have gotten probably around 6 or 7 so far and I hope there is more people reading these than 6 or 7! I am here for you guys so if you have any questions or if you just want to tell me how awesome my journals are [which I already know 😉 ] send me an email! Good Bye ! ! !

P.S. Something interesting that I found online is quite intriguing and I thought that I would share it with you. It is a video from Spain that shows a Non-Newtonian fluid which in essence is a fluid that has characteristics of a liquid when there is no stress on it, but behaves like a solid when a force is applied. In a nutshell, you can put a spoon in it and see it is a liquid, but when you can also run across it! Just like walking on water!!! I thought it was pretty cool. You can see it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2XQ97XHjVw. It may take a minute to load, but it is well worth it!!!

-Blake
email: wasteofsoap@yahoo.com
aim: wasteofsoap
videos: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=blakeguiles

January 16

Well here it is, 2 weeks into the new year and I still can’t believe that the break is already over. It was suppose to be over a week ago but, the Christmas tornado that traveled through Embry-Riddle delayed us one week. If you haven’t heard about the tornado yet, I’ll go into more detail later. Anyways, I’ve had a crazy couple of weeks that I need to tell everyone about so let’s start with December.

December 12th to 24th:
After I finished my classes, most of my friends went back home but I stuck around campus a couple extra days to fly. I did some more activities and then I accomplished my first milestone in flying. I soloed! My instructor and I flew from Daytona to New Smyrna and flew in the traffic pattern a couple of times. Everything was going good and nothing was out of the ordinary. After a little while we landed and she told me to taxi to the hangar. So we taxied over to the hangar and she told me to shut down the engine, and I did, then she hopped out, turned around and said, “Go do three traffic patterns with full stops. Have fun!” And just like that, I was alone in the plane. I started the engine, finished all my checklists, and proceeded to the runway. I called the tower when I was ready to take off, then he cleared me for takeoff, and then I took off. I did everything as usual, except when I looked over to where my instructor usually sits, there was no one there. Just me and the plane. It was an incredible experience. Just to think that I was the sole operator of that aircraft and that no one was there to help me kinda freaks me out, but at the same time I absolutely love it. That experience is one thing that I will remember for the rest of my life. Also, it really makes me glad that I am at Embry-Riddle and that someday I will be flying planes for a living!

After my solo, I was done flying for the remainder of the year and I went back home. I went to work some for my dad to get some extra money because my bank account was getting pretty low. In high school I worked a lot and I had some money saved up, but then I got to college, and now, not so much. I didn’t have a job last semester because I wanted to stay focused on school and try to have as much fun as possible. Well, I did just that, but now I don’t have money. So I was glad I got the chance to work and save up some extra money. I worked up until Christmas and then I got to do some fun stuff. Not to say that working isn’t fun, but I did funner stuff. Or “stuff that is more fun” if you want to be correct, but that is longer.

Christmas to New Years Eve:
On Christmas Eve I went to bed pretty late because I still had some wrapping to do. I woke up around 7:30 and my sister and I went to see what Santa brought us. I ended up getting some new clothes, a lot of gift certificates, a lot of DVDs, and a new iPod. I got some smaller stuff too, and overall I was very happy. My sister and I got our parents pictures of us because we thought what would someone want from us and we decided it was pictures of us. Our parents actually really liked them which is good. After opening presents we headed to our family’s house and had some delicious food. It’s always good to see family because I don’t get to see them too much. Some of my family had to drive from Gainesville and they said it was some of the worst weather they have every seen. We all met in Orlando and there was a monsoon outside. It was raining pretty hard and it was even harder in Daytona at Embry-Riddle. I’m sure most of you have heard that a tornado came through Riddle and did quite a bit of damage. I’m still not sure of all the specifics, but I do know that we lost quite a few planes. Some buildings were damaged while others weren’t touched. Unfortunately, many of you might know more than I do so I won’t be of much help. I do know that you can go to this website http://www.erau.edu/db/rebuilding/ and see some pictures of the damage.

When I heard about the tornado, I was in the Orlando Airport getting ready to fly to New Hampshire. I was pretty bummed about it, but everything turned out to be okay. I flew into New Hampshire late Christmas night to go snowboarding with my friend. He went to high school with me, but he use to live in New Hampshire so he goes up there every now and then. I flew up and stayed there for a couple days and I got to snowboard twice which is good. Living in Florida, I don’t really have a chance to snowboard all the time, so when I get to I enjoy that much more. I busted out some tricks and did quite a bit of falling over, but no broken bones or black eyes. Overall, it was a success. My friends and I are thinking about planning a trip over spring break to go snowboarding somewhere. It should be fun if we decide to do that. When I got back to Florida, my girlfriend and I went to see the comedian Lewis Black, which was amazing. That was my Christmas present from her and we went and had a great time. Lewis Black is one of my favorite comedians and I was so excited about seeing him live.

After the Lewis Black show, I just hung out with some friends from high school and was more or less a slacker. I got to sleep in and just relax which is very nice. Nothing really crazy happened so I guess I’ll move on. For New Year’s Eve, a couple of my friends went to New York to watch the ball drop but I just sat on my couch and watched it instead. I turned on the TV and saw the ball 2 minutes before it dropped. My friends were there for 8ish hours before the ball dropped. They said it was pretty crazy, but I enjoyed not having a million people around me. But next year I might head out there just to see the infamous ball in person. We’ll see.

New Years Day to Present:
On January 2nd my mom and I flew over to Los Angeles to see the one and only Price Is Right with Bob Barker!!! I don’t know if there is any one out there reading this that doesn’t know who Bob Barker is, but if there is, I suggest you immediately find out. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Barker The man is a legend and so is the show. My graduation present from my mom was to see Bob Barker and The Price Is Right so we flew out to L.A. and we actually got to be in the Price Is Right audience. The show airs on February 12th on CBS at 11:00am Eastern. If you happen to watch it or TiVo it, I am in the third row a couple seats left of the 1st contestant’s podium. When the far left person bids, you can see me to the left. Also, one of the last people to get “called on down” is an old lady and she was in the row right behind me and she walked by and I patted her on the head. Seriously, watch on 2/12/07 and see my “pat an old lady on the head.”

If you are unfamiliar with the PIR process, at 6:00am you get a priority number and come back at 8:00am and get a permanent number. Well, we tried on the first day and got there around 5:30am. We were there a half-hour before they opened the gates and we got number 365. The studio holds 325 people. So needless to say we didn’t quite make it. They sent us home and we found out that even though the gates open at 6:00am, people get there much earlier. So, in order not to make the same mistake, I camped out on the street from about 10:00pm the night before. I had a blanket, chair, and a pillow; I was set. I had my iPod and some Sudoku puzzles and I took a couple of 15 min naps. Eight hours later, I was number 21! We were pretty much guaranteed to get into the audience. So we got a number at 6:00 and then again at 8:00 and then went back again at about 10:00am. We sat in line for a long, long, long time. They had to process everyone and that took a lot of time. So as we sat there, we started to make friends with others and played games like UNO. Well, a couple seats down from me there was a guy doing magic tricks and some of them were pretty cool so I wanted to show off my skills as well. I have always loved magic and I know a couple of cool tricks so I thought . . . what the heck? How is a crowd of 40 strangers different than my mom and in front of a mirror? So I walked over and awkwardly introduced myself and told everyone to kneel down and put there hand on the ground. I told them to twist there arms until they couldn’t anymore and I did the same, but then I did it one more full rotation. Some of the people started screaming and freaking out and I started to laugh. They thought it was pretty cool though so I borrowed a deck of cards and did some more tricks. Everyone seemed to like them and I didn’t mess them up too bad so that’s good.

After some tricks, there was a short interview with potential contestants and the producers to see who gets picked. I guess they didn’t like my mom and me too much because we didn’t get picked, but we still had a blast. So after the interview, we moved to a different sitting area and there was quite a bit of people crammed together. The group of people that I showed the trick to earlier sat next to an old lady and they wanted me to show her those tricks. Well a magician isn’t suppose to do the same trick twice to a group so I hesitated showing it again. Well I had my name tag on so everyone knew my name and they all started to yell “Blake! Blake! Blake!” trying to get me to do the trick, so I finally gave in and showed Francis (the old lady) the trick. It did the trick where I give the person the Queen of spades and switched it with the Queen of clubs and kept switching back and forth. I pretty much confuse the person and then tell them to flip the cards over and there two red aces. So I did this trick to Francis and she turned the cards over, had a brief moment of disbelief, then she threw the cards in my face! It was pretty funny! So if anyone would like to see some magic tricks when they’re in Daytona, just give me a call.

Anyway, back to the PIR. After waiting and waiting we finally were let into the studio around 3 or so. We all walked in and sat down and there right in front of us was the stage that hasn’t been changed in like 40 years! The producers came out and talked to us for a little bit and then eventually we started the show. They called four people down and then Bob Barker walked out and everyone went crazy! It was actually Bob Barker! The show started and when we went to commercial and while in a commercial, Bob talks to the audience and answers questions. Some questions were serious and others were like when he was going to have a rematch with Adam Sandler in Happy Gillemore 2. Bob answered all questions and was actually very funny. The whole audience laughed at pretty much everything that he said. All in all it was amazing. Unfortunately Bob is retiring later this year so not to many more people will be able to experience the PIR. But if you get the chance, it is one of the best things I have ever done!

After we saw the PIR we were tourists and did a whole bunch of touristy things like pull of the side of the road to take pictures of the Hollywood sign. We also went on the Warner Brothers Studio tour which was very entertaining. The whole trip was so much fun, even the traffic. I have never seen a traffic light telling you whether to get on the interstate or not before L.A. There were so many cars ever where and everyone was going slow, it was fun. The whole trip was a blast and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Once I got back from California, I became a slacker for a couple days again . . . then the Florida Gators won the championship. My dad’s business is mostly collegiate items so when the Gators won, business was booming. I went in for a couple days and they were pretty much going 24/7 getting stuff done for the Gators. If there are any Gator fans out there and you want a license plate for your car or some decals, just let me know.

After I was done working, I went back to Skydive DeLand and did some more jumps. My friend Adam has wanted to get certified for a while now and he finally started the process because that was his Christmas present. We went and while he was in the ground school, I did some more jumps and I am definitely in love with skydiving! I did 5 more jumps over 2 days and I am pretty much a professional now. I just completed my lucky 13th jump and it was amazing just like the previous 12 jumps. I took some pictures and videos and hopefully I’ll have them online soon. I hope to make jumping a regular activity, something like a couple times a week. I enjoy it so much and I recommend trying it if you get a chance! Or if you are somewhat hesitant about jumping out of a plane at 13,500ft, you can go to SkyVenture in Orlando. SkyVenture is a wind tunnel where you jump in and two or three large fans blow 120mph wind and you can skydive safely just a couple feet off the ground. You can check it out here http://www.skyventureorlando.com/. I took some pictures and videos of that as well and I will hopefully have those online in the next week.

Now I am moved into Riddle and I have a new roommate and we revamped our room in a very good way. The new room design is much better than before and my old roommate moved back home and my friend Adam is my roommate now. Once again, I took some pictures of the new room setup and I’ll put them online soon. Also, I got a haircut, so I might put some pictures of that as well.

So now the break is done and school is about to start so the next journal will be all about my classes and my first reactions to them. If anyone has any questions about my break or anything else, just let me know! My break was good and I am looking forward to another semester and telling you guys all about it. This semester should be good and I’ll tell you all about my classes next journal so you will have to stay tuned! Hope everyone had a safe and happy new year and be sure to check for pictures in the next couple of days! See ya later!!!

-Blake
email: wasteofsoap@yahoo.com
aim: wasteofsoap

December

Well here it is at the end of the semester and I still can’t believe that I am at Riddle and done with one semester. I have officially finished all my classes and I am pretty sure I got all As and one B, which I am very happy with.

I found that Riddle is a challenging school, but it is something that I have great interest in so I found it pretty easy to do well. I picked my classes for next semester and I am pretty happy with the schedule. I’ll tell you what it is and all that next journal, but for now I’ll talk about the past two weeks and what not.

So, I guess we’ll do something different and start with classes . . . Speech- I am now able to speak in front of large groups because I am a master speaker. Well, not really, but I can prepare a speech about skydiving and be somewhat entertaining. I finished everything I was assigned and I got an A in the class. All in all, I don’t know if I would want to do it again, but I am glad I took the class and I think it will help me sometime in the future. Oh, and since my group debate was my final, I don’t have any other test, so that’s a plus.

Physics- We have been reviewing for our final this past two weeks, and that’s pretty much it. I will take the final on the 12th and then I will be done. Not only with physics, but all my classes. So that is something to look forward to.

Business- My group that I was in had to do a presentation about what we learned in the class and it was more or less an excuse for me to go up in front of 40 other people and make an idiot of myself. I find it hard to do an entire presentation without any laughing, so I always try to make it interesting. We did a skit that showed the difference between manipulation and influence and I was the crazy person who manipulated people. It was fun and I am pretty sure our professor liked it, which is usually a good thing. We have a final on the 10th and it is the type of final that you can’t study for so I’m not stressed about it.

Basic Aeronautics- We took our 3rd exam last week, which was kinda like our final. We only had 3 exams and we aren’t scheduled for a final which is good, kind of. My first two exams weren’t bad, but I could have done better. And since they weren’t the best, it was really hard to get an A in the class so I ended up with a high B. It’s definitely not the end of the world by any means, just next time I will make a little more effort.

College Success- Haven’t had this class since Thanksgiving, so nothing really new. There is one thing though . . . I used to go to Einstein’s before class and get a delicious turkey and cheese sandwich on a bagel, but since I don’t have that class anymore, I don’t go there anymore. I think I might go grab one for lunch soon though. MMmmmmmmmmhhhhhh, delicious turkey cheese bagel treat. . . . . . . . . .

Meteorology- We took our 3rd exam in this class as well and we also have an optional final. But unfortunately, I don’t need a final in meteorology; I need one in basic aeronautics. I have an A in the class and I got a 94 on the last test, so I won’t be taking the final, unless I get really bored. But even then, probably won’t.

Flight- I have been progressing along in a reasonable fashion and I have been enjoying every second of it. It is frustrating at times, but it is so much fun. I have been building up to my solo and every lesson I get a little bit closer. Well I have reached a big point recently, which is my check ride. A check ride is a flight right before you solo that is with an instructor that is certified by the FAA to determine if you as a pilot are capable of flying alone. Well, I just had my check ride and it went alright. It wasn’t too good, but not too bad either. I made some mistakes but I definitely learned from them and overall it went pretty good. I ended up passing which means I am almost going to do a solo flight! I have one more activity where I review some basic things before I solo. So, I should solo in the next week or so!!! I still can’t believe that I am going to solo soon, but it will hit me soon enough.

I have been pretty busy with classes lately, but they are winding down and finals are approaching fast. A lot of my friends have early finals and they are already on their way home. As for me, I should be here until the 14th. Even though finals are coming up and last-minute projects are trying to get down, my friends and I still try to have fun.

In other news, one of my friends has been playing the lottery a lot. He would always go to the 7-11 and spend any where from $10 to $50 on scratch-offs. He usually never wins, and if by the off chance he does, he just spends the money on more scratch-offs. At first it was kind of funny watching him walk around saying “I’m gonna go play the lottery, anyone wanna come?” He would get so happy but never win. Well eventually, some of my other friends and me told him he needed to stop wasting money and if he was going to waste money, waste it on something entertaining. So with that in mind, we decided to go to the local dog track and waste some money there.

All in all, we had a nice dinner and lost $5-$10 a piece and had fun. The way I look at it, we could have seen a movie, but instead we saw dogs run around a track. So I guess the lesson learned is that there is always a funner way to lose money than you are currently wasting it. And I was going to say “more fun” but “funner” just works better. After our fun time at the dog track, myself and two of my friends headed up and over to Gainesville to visit some friends that attend the University of Florida.

I don’t know how many people are into sports, but the Gators are going against Ohio State in football in January and the entire city of Gainesville went crazy when they found out. We were visiting and just checking out the huge campus of UF and everyone was going crazy about their football team. At Riddle, I don’t really feel a sense of strong school pride when it comes to sports, but we do have some good teams. But the Gators worship their football team and they were very excited when they found out they were going against the Buckeyes. My friends were probably the most ecstatic and even a week after the news they are still talking about it nonstop. Anyways, we had fun in Gainesville and it’s always cool to see other college campuses and there are a lot around Florida.

On another totally random topic, I went with my step-brother to see George Carlin perform in Clearwater (right outside of Tampa). If you don’t know who George Carlin is, I suggest you stop reading this and go Goggle George Carlin and read everything you can about him. He is a comedian in his late 60s and has been in the industry for nearly 50 years. He has always been one of my favorite comedians and I am so glad that I got to see him. Although his comedy isn’t for everyone, I think he is very insightful, thought provoking, and downright hilarious. Also, it was nice getting to see my step-brother who is also a freshman and attends UCF in Orlando.

Overall it was a lot of fun and I look forward to February when I will go see Ron White with my step-brothers and family. I don’t know if there are any Ron White fans out there, but I am a huge one and you will definitely hear about the show come February.

A couple days ago I got an e-mail asking about meal plans, roommates, and stuff to bring to Riddle. I thought I’d go ahead and just post it in my journal in case anyone else was curious.

Meal Plans: As a freshman, you are automatically enrolled for 14 meals per week. This means that you can use your card at various locations to get a meal which can be big or small depending on where you go. Once you have used all your meals for any given week (Sunday through Saturday) you have $100 in Riddle Bucks which is just like cash at any food location. So if you use all your meals you can still buy food with Riddle Bucks. From my own experience, I have found that 14 meals per week is too many for me. I personally don’t eat breakfast all the time and some times I will go out to eat with my parents or friends, which means at the end of the week I have extra meal plans that I can’t save. So if you think that you will eat breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday at Riddle, you might want to get 19 meals per week, but I personally wouldn’t get the unlimited one, because the unlimited one is only unlimited at the buffet style place. Pretty much you can go there all you want and eat all you want, but I can use 1 of my 14 meal plans and go inside and eat all I want anyway. I’m not sure if that makes sense but the buffet is all you can eat no matter what, you just have to stay inside the dining area, once you leave you will have to use another meal to get in anyway. So in conclusion, I think that 14 meals is plenty because I don’t know anyone that uses all of them. Also, you can always upgrade once you get here to anything. If anything is still unclear, just let me know or go here . . . http://www.erau.edu/db/dining/meal_plans.html

Stuff to bring: First off, I would highly recommend bringing a computer. Although there are several different places around campus to use a computer, having your own is the best. Other than a computer, I have some small storage bins in my room along with some small little bins. I find out that these come in handy when you are organizing stuff and they are good storage under your bed. I bought these from the Target up the road for a couple bucks, so no need to bring them down unless you really want to. You do have a desk with drawers and a dresser that can store a lot. Also, there is some room in the closest for storage bins and stuff. A list of common things can be found here http://www.erau.edu/db/dorms/housingfaq.html. I have a laundry hamper thing that helps with keeping my clothes off the ground and helps when I go do laundry.

In terms of dorms, I personally wanted to live in Doolittle and it just so happens that’s where I am. I’m not sure if I requested it or not, but you could call housing and ask them. (386) 323-8000 or at dbhousng@erau.edu. If you want an ROTC roommate, you will probably have to request it, but I’m not sure. Just contact housing because they will know better.

Hopefully that will answer anyone’s questions about meal plans or stuff to bring. Once again, if anything is unclear, feel free to shoot me an e-mail and I will do my best to answer any questions.

You won’t be hearing from me until early next year, but feel free to e-mail me at any time. I check it daily and will try to write you back as soon as I get the e-mail. As for the next couple weeks, I plan on working a little bit to get some money saved, going on my solo, spending Christmas with my family, snowboarding in New Hampshire with my friend, and going to Los Angeles to see Bob Barker and the Price Is Right!!!

I should be busy, but I will try to write down everything that happens so I can post it next Journal! I hope everyone has a wonderful, safe holiday season and I will see you guys next year!!!! Adios!!! -Blake

e-mail: wasteofsoap@yahoo.com aim: wasteofsoap

November 27

Well I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday because I know that I had an unforgettable one. It’s hard to believe that the break is already over, but sure enough it’s back to school again. But, I only have two more weeks of school until finals so that is very exciting. I’ll be sure to post about all of that next journal, but for now I’ll do a class update and tell you about my crazy week.

Speech- I gave my final speech (the debate) and I think it went pretty well. We were debating on whether or not Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles (UCAVs) should be used in the military. My partner and I said that they should be used and we won the debate. It was almost unanimous. There was only one person who voted for the other side! I would like to think that my organization and public speaking skills won us the debate, but my partner is 22ish and has served in the military for 4 years and knows a lot about the subject. I think that we will call it a team effort.

Physics- I have to admit that I am a nerd to some extent because I really enjoy math. I have always loved it and that is one of the only things I am really good at. Well, the physics we are learning now has a strong base in math and I am doing very well. I got an A on my 3rd exam which makes my grade above 100%. I am not trying to brag or anything; I’m just saying that I am happy because I usually don’t get 100% a lot.

Business- This class is coming to an end and we are preparing for our final project. It’s also our first project, but it counts as the final grade. My group and I are doing a project on everything that we have learned and we are trying to make it as funny and educational as possible. We’ll see how that goes.

Basic Aeronautics- This is one of my most important classes because everything that I learn in this class I use when I am up in the plane. So that means it takes a little bit more time than my other classes because if I forget a physics equation in the air, it’s not a big deal; however, if I don’t remember how to use a sectional, I’m in big trouble.

College Success- I successfully completed this class with an A and no absences. That is good because I am guessing that the most skipped class in freshmen year here at Riddle is college success. I have no statistics to back this up, but I’m going on a hunch. Nevertheless, I am done and couldn’t be happier!

Meteorology- One major thing about this class is a term paper that you must write which is 25% of your grade. I was a little nervous about it, but I feel much better now that it is done. I wrote several pages about tornadoes or stovepipes as they are apparently called. I’m just glad it’s over.

Flight- Flying is going pretty well and I am quickly approaching my first solo. I have to do a couple more flights with different instructors so they can make sure that I know what I am doing and that I will be safe. Hopefully my solo will happen before the next break, which I think it will. Anyways, I went on a crazy adventure with my instructor to deliver a package. Right as I was about to start my engine and taxi to takeoff, I was asked to deliver a package to a local airport. Both my instructor and I agreed and they ran it out to our plane. We then did all our checklists and took off and flew to Flagler airport. We landed there and turned off the engine and got out of the plane and walked to a hanger and tried to find the right person to deliver it to. Unfortunately, they told us to go to the wrong airport so we had to go to Ormond instead. So we started the plane back up and flew to the other airport and did the same thing, except this time it was the right airport. It was pretty cool because you don’t usually get to leave the aircraft unless you are done flying. I enjoyed the whole experience and I am glad that I got to be a delivery boy for an hour or two.

Well if you read my last journal, I said I was going to do a break down of what goes on hour by hour for a couple of days just to give you some insight on what a typical day looks like. I then decided that my life is so hectic right now that it would be best to wait until January. I’m sorry if I got anyone’s hopes up, but just wait a month or so.

With that said, let me tell you about my awesome break. The weekend before the break was especially memorable because my girlfriend took me to see the Blue Man Group in Jacksonville. That’s one of the cool things about Daytona because you are driving distance from Jacksonville, Orlando, Gainesville, Tampa, and Miami. So if there is something that is really cool happening there, it’s real easy to get to it. Anyway, I saw the BMG and it was incredible. The tickets were expensive, but worth every penny. The amount of preparation that was put into the show was insane. There are so many different things going on and all of them were entertaining. I highly recommend that if you have the chance to see them, do it immediately.

After the BMG, there was 2 days of school which were pretty uneventful. After that, Thanksgiving break was here which means I drove my friends to the airport, and then went with my dad and sister to Sarasota, FL. My grandparents live in Sarasota and we had a family reunion of sorts. The main celebration was my grandparent’s 50th anniversary, but we also celebrated Thanksgiving and had a family reunion. We stayed at the Ritz-Carlton, a very nice hotel, and went fishing, swimming in the ocean, and we went to a Tampa Bay Lightning game. All in all it was an experience that I won’t soon forget.

First off, Ritz-Carlton . . . amazing!!! This was by far the nicest hotel that I have ever stayed in. There is no way to describe the level of luxury that is at the Ritz. I was very disappointed when we had to leave because I had to return back to the dorm which is almost like a prison cell compared to the Ritz. But it’s not too bad coming back; I miss my empty fish tank. We celebrated my grandparent’s 50th anniversary and I had a lot of fun. I always love seeing my grandparents because, for one, I am pretty sure I have the sweetest grandmother ever and the wisest grandfather. I love both of them so much and I don’t get to see them every week or anything so it’s nice to see them. While at the Ritz, I also saw my Aunts, Uncles, and cousins that I rarely get to see, so that was very exciting. Its funny how all my life everyone has always told me when I haven’t seen them for a while that I am growing up so fast and getting so big. Well after seeing my cousins, I almost didn’t recognize them. They are getting so big so fast!!! I really liked seeing all of them and I am already planning a trip to see them again. We had so much fun lounging around and ordering room service and Shirley-Temples. I can’t wait to do it again soon.

Three of my cousins live in Atlanta and are fans of the hockey team the Atlanta Thrashers and coincidently, the Atlanta Thrashers were playing the Tampa Bay Lightning, so of course we had to go. I bought 6 tickets and we went and saw them, and Tampa Bay prevailed in overtime which didn’t make my cousins very happy. I rubbed it in their face and laughed, but I did it nicely. We had fun though and it was a good experience overall. We also went fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and caught a dozen or so small fish. They were big by my standards, but apparently there are bigger ones than 14 inches. But once again, we had fun and made some memorable memories. For example: Bananas are bad luck on a boat because in the olden days Banana spiders went on boats and killed people and stuff (that is the short version), and we had a dozen or so bananas for some reason. So the Captain threw them overboard to get rid of the bad luck. So that might be why we didn’t catch any fish. Oh well, lesson learned.

On Thanksgiving, we had a huge buffet of millions of different types of food, all which were very good. I personally only tried 4 different kinds, but I heard from others that everything was very good. I’m a picky eater, so eating a lot on Thanksgiving isn’t real important to me. But other than that, delicious food.

In other news, I am still looking for a car so if you find a good one give me a call. I think my dad is getting mad that I am driving his car around so much so I need to find one soon. Just call me.

Well, thinking back to when I was a senior in high school, I remember reading the student journals and thinking that I personally didn’t car a whole lot about their journal writer’s personal life. I mean I did to a certain extent, but I was more concerned about Embry-Riddle and life there. So if anyone is tired of hearing things about me, just let me know. I think it’s important to tell some things about me and my life but I want to stick to important information about life here at Riddle. I plan on writing things about flying, like specifically everything that occurs, the different activities, and what you do. So give me some feedback, if you like hearing about some awesome things that I do, shoot me an e-mail. If you think I should be talking more about how the tests are, what specific professors are like, or any other aspect of Riddle that I haven’t covered just let me know. As much as I enjoy writing these journals (no sarcasm there), these are for you readers so let me know what you want to read about. I am here for you, so let me know. Anyways, me being the stereotypical student, I haven’t done any work over the break so I have to make sure that I am not falling behind. Until next time, be sure to keep checking the pictures website to see if I post anything new because I do it on different days. Also, watch out for marshmallow fights. I won’t go into too much detail, but I had one the other day, and those little buggers hurt! Just remember that and the fact that an alligator can hold its breath for several hours. You learn something new every day! See ya!

-Blake
email: wasteofsoap@yahoo.com
aim: wasteofsoap

November 13

Numero Cinco

If I had to sum up the past two weeks in one negative sentence it would be: I got into a car wreck and totaled my car, my fishes died, I fell off my longboard, and I only got to fly twice in the past week. If I had to sum up the same two weeks in one positive sentence it would be: I still can’t believe that I am really at Riddle having the time of my life! Although this past two weeks has been hectic, I still love it here. I’ll tell you what went down this past two weeks, but first (as usual) a class update:

Speech- I just got done preparing my final speech, which is actually a debate. I am in a group of 4 and we are debating on Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles. I don’t really know much about the UCAVs but I think that I’ll do alright. The debate is our final exam so hopefully I’ll do well.

Physics- Nothing new in this class. I have my 3rd exam coming up and then I have a final. I have an A in the class and I actually enjoy it. The teacher actually teaches, which is good because some teachers don’t actually teach. So I’m happy about that.

Business- Nothing really groundbreaking in here either. Classes are still short and my group has started working on our final which is a presentation that we have to give to our class. We are supposed to present what we have learned in the class and our group is going to try to do something along the lines of Office Space. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Basic Aeronautics- This is still one of my favorite classes because I enjoy what we are learning because I apply it when I fly. I am actually learning things that apply to what I want to do when I’m older. That is something that never happened in high school.

College Success- Good news: Only two more classes than it is done with. We have a class on Thursday and then next Tuesday and then it is over. I must admit, the class had its ups and downs, but overall I am pretty happy that it is done.

Meteorology- Once again . . . nothing really new in this class, but I am starting to work on my term paper. Everyone is required to write a 5-10 page term paper about a weather related subject, and I choose to do it on tornadoes. So come next journal, I will be able to blow your mind with various facts about tornadoes, so stay tuned for that.

Flight- Unfortunately I have only flown twice in the past 2 weeks which is somewhat below average. I am getting ready for my solo by reviewing everything that I have learned so far. It is pretty much all the basics that you learn first like stalls, traffic patterns, basic maneuvers, etc. One of the hardest things to do though is communicate with everyone around you. You have to talk to 10 different people in order to legally fly in Daytona, which is in Class C airspace. It can be stressful at times, but it is still pretty cool to be able to fly all around Central Florida a couple of times a week. I still am trying to grasp the concept of me flying a plane for a living because that sounds like a dream!

So, this past two weeks had its ups and downs and part of the down area is the fact that my car was totaled. A quick background to how it happened: I was driving down the road (imagine that!) and I was in the left lane of two lanes. Up ahead there was a traffic light where people were turning off of their road and onto my road, going in my direction. 3 or 4 cars were turning and right as I went through the traffic light one went from right lane into the left lane, which was my line. I locked my brakes up and honked my horn but I still slammed into him. My airbags didn’t explode out of the dash and I am fine. My car (a 2000 Nissan Maxima) really took all the damage. I was going about 35 when I hit him and my car just folded. So unfortunately my car is totaled, but I am 100% healthy which is a good thing. If you check my pictures album I will put up some before and after pictures of my first true love (sorry Rebecca).

Other than that, all my fishes have died. I started with 5 and just recently I was down to 2. I was cleaning my tank and I put my fish in a small cup. Well one of them jumped out and tried to commit suicide, but I quickly put him back in. So I covered the cup and cleaned the tank. When I was done I went back to see a small hole where the cover started to slide off. Sure enough the other fish managed to find that small hole and completed what the other fish tried to do earlier. I went from 5 to 2 and now I was at one. Well when I looked back in the cup to see the first fish, I saw that he was upside down. I am neither a fish expert nor a marine biologist, but fish don’t usually swim upside down. So I put him in the new tank and he was still upside down, so I banged on the tank and he started swimming around real rapidly like he just consumed all of the world’s coffee and ran right into the side of the tank and floated upside down. He didn’t really move anymore after that. So in one fell swoop, I lost the 2 closest things that I could call pets. So I had a mini ceremony and now I must move on. I can’t live in the past. I must accept the fate that has been chosen for those fishes Rockey and Morris.

On a slightly more positive note, I looked like an idiot in front of 20 or so people on the sidewalk last week. I got the bright idea to hop on my long board and have my friend pull me with his bike. Well everything was going fine until I was going a little fast and someone rapidly changed their course from out of my way to in my way. I snagged the bystander’s ankle and flew off my board to get a little bit of road rash. My legs and arms are healing, but my pride is wounded. I always get made fun of by my friends and my RA, but I guess I deserve it.

Other than that, I have been practicing this new thing called time management which is where you do stuff way before it’s due so you don’t have to do it at the last minute. It’s pretty cool because you feel real productive and your stress level goes way down. I recommend it to anyone who is up real late doing things that were assigned weeks ago and that have a high stress level. It really does feel nice to not wait until the last possible seconds to complete something. However, I have procrastinated all my life so once I started to manage my time more effectively, my brain freaked out. So to make up for it, I spent last weekend doing absolutely nothing, I mean nada, zip, zero. I was doing so well, but then I stopped working and now I am kind of regretting it. Oh well, I was doing good for a while. Hopefully I will start to manage my time a little better and get back into that habit that makes me feel so good.

Well hopefully in two weeks I will have some more positive stories that I can share with all you guys, but for now I must end this journal and do some other work. Maybe next time I’ll do a break down of what goes on hour by hour for a couple of days just to give you some insight on what a typical day looks like. I dunno, we’ll see what happens. I hope that everyone enjoys there time where they give thanks (or more commonly referred to as Thanksgiving) and I will do the same. See you later readers!!!!!!!

-Blake
email: wasteofsoap@yahoo.com
aim: wasteofsoap

October 30

Halloween is just around the corner, so you know what that means. Well, you might, but I’m not sure. I’m too old to trick-or-treat and I am too poor to buy candy and give it away. I’m right in the middle. Oh well, I’ll figure something out. Anyway, since it is the end of October, that can only mean one thing . . . Biketoberfest is over!!! For those of you who don’t know what Biketoberfest is, you can find out some stuff here (http://www.biketoberfest.org/), but its pretty much thousands of bikers riding through Daytona and hangin out. There was some pretty crazy stuff going on.. There were so many bikes everywhere. I have lived in Florida all my life and have yet to go to Biketoberfest until this year. The reason being is that it takes so long to get anywhere because there are way too many people in one area. But me and my friends wanted to go check it out, so we drove down there to see what it was all about. There were definitely some sick bikes there and a lot of crazy people. Walking down Main Street in shorts and a collared shirt, I couldn’t help but feel that I didn’t fit in. Nevertheless, we had fun and I look forward to Bike Week which is another biker thing that will go on in a couple of months.

Now I’ll do a little class update:

Speech- I gave my informative speech just the other day and I think it went alright. It was definitely informative, but not very humorous. It was entertaining because I showed the video of me going tandem and a lot of crazy pictures of me in the air. My favorite part about the speech was that on every slide, there was either a picture or a video of me. I like seeing me.

Physics- A quick story before I talk about physics . . . My girlfriend Rebecca is a lot smarter than she gives herself credit for. Often times she’ll take a test and before hand she will say that she will probably fail it and that she’s not ready. Then she’ll take the test and not only get an A, but the highest grade in the class. Well, in physics, I pulled a Becca. I thought that I was going to fail and I ended up getting the 2nd highest grade in the class. Go figure.

Business- Not much has changed since last time. Still pretty much the same class, except there have been two occasions recently where I wake up at 8 and go to class and when I walk all the way across campus, I find out that class is canceled. That usually isn’t a good way to start the day.

Basic Aeronautics- This is still one of my favorite classes. My professor is pretty crazy and I always find myself laughing at something in his class. We have a test next week, so I will most likely be studying for the next week or so. I feel confident with the information we have learned so far, so I think I will do fairly well on the test, but we’ll see what happens.

College Success- I finally know how to succeed in college, but I can’t say because it is a secret.

Meteorology- I have a test next week or “exam” as they call them in college. I got a 90 on the last one, so hopefully I can pull another A this time.

Flight- My flying has been going alright this past two weeks. You are supposed to have an activity roughly 3 times a week, but I have only had 1 for the past couple of weeks. I have a flight block Monday, Wednesday, Friday and my instructor instructs Tuesday through Saturday, so I only have an activity 2 days a week. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to fly twice a week because of weather and plane malfunctions, which leaves me with 1 day a week. But my instructor is trying her best to schedule me on different days so that I don’t fall behind.

So all in all, college is still much better than high school in my opinion. But all those of you out there that are in high school, just hang in there because we all had to do it.

When I’m not doing things related to school, I’m trying to have fun and so far I have been succeeding. One thing that I have been having a blast with is skydiving. I finally got certified and I did my first solo jump! It was about 5 weeks in between my lessons, so I needed a refresher course, but I did all 7 jumps with my instructors and 1 solo jump. For my first solo jump, I dove out of the plane then did a front flip followed by a back flip. I then started tracking which is when you bring your arms to your side and fly more horizontally (gaining distance on the ground). Then I did 4 or 5 spins to the left and 4 or 5 back to the right. Then I pulled at about 5500 feet and cruised back to the ground and landed right next to the target. It was one of the craziest things that I have ever done and I can’t wait to go again and again.

On a less exciting note, I cleaned my fish tank.

On a slightly more exciting note, I bought a long board. I got a Sector 9 from a place called Maui Nix. It’s a pretty sick board. Two of my friends got one too, and it’s pretty fun just riding around campus. Also, it’s a breeze when I have a class that’s on the other side of campus because I can make it 10 times faster than if I was walking. So that’s always a plus.

On Sunday the 29th at 3:00pm, my intramural volleyball team (The BAMFs) played the first game of the playoffs. At 3:37pm, The BAMFs were promptly eliminated. Our record for the whole season was 0-4. And for the playoffs, all we did was added 1 to the 4. So all in all, we were 0-5 which isn’t all that bad when you think about it. Oh wait, it is. Oh well, we had fun. Every game we had the other team, the spectators, and the referees not only laughing at us, but with us. So even though we didn’t win a single game, I am fairly confident that we had the most fun, aside from the ultimate winners of the season. Next year will be different though, I have a feeling . . .

Other than that, homecoming weekend just happened and I’m not really sure what happened. I know there was a parade and a tailgate party type deal, but other than that I have no idea what happened. So if you wanted to find out about all that stuff, you might want to hit the back button on your browser and look at other student journals. Sorry that I couldn’t be of more help in that area, but eh. All I do know is that I saw Jamie Kennedy along with loads of other people, and I was a little let down. I have never been a real big fan of Jamie but I thought that I would give him a chance. Some of the stuff was funny, but he rapped at the end and I couldn’t understand what he was saying. In my opinion, the guy before Jamie Kennedy was twice as funny as him. Oh well, though, maybe next year will be a better year.

Well I think I should probably go study for my upcoming tests. Hopefully everyone out there is enjoying themselves and reading all my journals. If you do read all of them, and can summarize all of them and right back to me, you will win a prize. Something like a Gatorade or a soda. I’m on a college budget so I can’t go too crazy. Stay tuned for the next journal!!!

-Blake

October 16

Well here it is in mid-October and I’m already nearly half way through the year. As more time goes by, the more I get into a routine and the more normal college feels. The first couple of weeks went by and it was somewhat surreal. Everything just felt weird, but now I am getting use to it and I definitely think that it is a positive change. College is certainly a fun experience, at least so far.

I guess I’ll start with my classes as usual:

Speech- I am finished with my 3rd speech which is an “informative speech.” It is about skydiving, and I can’t wait to present it. A lot of people’s speeches are usually serious and not very exciting. But I can’t do that. No matter what I do, I always try to incorporate some sort of humor in it. I don’t like to be monotone and boring; I like to be funny and exciting. For my first speech I made fun of myself for 3 minutes and for my second I read a couple pages of George Carlin’s book. As more time goes by, I tend to open up and be my usual goofy self. So I can’t wait for my next speech.

Physics- I did good on my first exam, but my second exam that is coming up is getting me kinda worried. So I’m going to make sure that I study extra hard to keep my A in the class.

Business- The hardest part of this class is to convince people in my group to show up to every class. I have yet to miss a class, but some of my group only shows up about half the time. So that can be a pain sometimes, but hopefully my group will get that worked out.

Basic Aeronautics- This class is still one of my favorites because it’s all about planes. Being a flight student at Embry-Riddle, planes fascinate me. I never knew that so much work went into designing and operating a plane. I definitely have a lot of respect for the pilots who make it seem so easy.

College Success- Nothing new in this class really. I took a mid-term a couple of days ago. 100/100. Yep.

Meteorology- My professor is definitely pretty crazy. I enjoy his corny jokes and totally random comments. This class keeps me entertained to say the least.

Flight- I now have over 12 hours as a pilot, so I’m pretty much official. If I were on a 747 and the pilot fell asleep, I would so be able to navigate and land safely. Well almost. Actually, I wouldn’t want to put myself in that situation yet. Maybe when I break 25 hours. I flew on Friday the 13th which was pretty exciting, but I didn’t go far. I am currently learning traffic patterns, so I just flew in and out of the airport. I did a total of about 6 or 7 landings and take-offs. Not the most fun thing to do in a plane, but I like the fact that I can see myself progressing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not anywhere near the best, but I am getting better. So that’s pretty exciting.

So as far as school goes, that’s pretty much it. I find myself with very little free time, but I’m staying busy and having fun.

Just recently I drove down to Tampa with my girlfriend and two friends to see the Tampa Bay Lightning, and it was awesome! They played the Florida Panthers and won 4-1. Like I said before, I’m not a real big sports guy, but being in that arena and watching Vincent Lecavalier score the first goal 5 minutes into the game is incredible! I was so pumped all through the game and I was so glad to see them win. I’ll post some pictures up on the website so be sure to check those out soon.

Speaking of sports, my intramural volleyball team is off to a rocky start. So far we are 0-2 with only 2 more games before playoffs. I know that our team isn’t the best in terms of winning, but we definitely have the most fun. We constantly make our own players and other teams laugh because we have such a good time. Other teams tend to yell at their players but we just laugh and have a good time. We may not be the champions at the end of the season, but I can guarantee we have the most fun, and that’s all that matters (aside from winning).

Other than that, I haven’t really done anything else too exciting this past 2 weeks. I have been keeping myself very busy though, but the load is getting lighter so I will hopefully be doing some more fun things soon. I’ll be sure to keep you all posted if anything happens over the next 2 weeks. Until then, hopefully this weather is going to get a little colder in Florida and hope all is going well with all of you out there. If you enjoy reading this, let me know, and if you don’t, make sure you keep that to yourself! Later

-Blake
email: wasteofsoap@yahoo.com
aim: wasteofsoap

October 3

Well here it is a month into school and already it feels like I have been here forever. Not in a bad way of course. I have pretty much got a routine down and have been keeping busy. I seem to have my hands full but I’m pushing through. The classes aren’t too bad, but I have 17 credits worth of them. The usual is 12-16 but I guess they thought I really love school so they gave me more. But it’s all workin out. On Mon. Wed. Fri. I have Speech and Physics and on Tues. Thur. I have Business, Basic Aeronautics, College Success, and Meteorology. Overall, they aren’t too bad. They are just like high school when it comes to good days and bad days. Some are great and some just really suck. I guess I’ll tell you a little about them so far.

Speech- Already did a 3 minute personal speech and a 6 minute dramatic reading and I’m working on my informative speech now. The class is pretty easy and you watch a lot of presentations by other students. At first I was kinda scared to talk in front of 60 people that I didn’t know, but I found out there was only 20 or so and everyone has to do it, so it’s not too bad.

Physics- Let me tell you right now that I am definitely a math person so that might explain some things. We had our first test and I got a 104, so calculus in high school really helped, but if you don’t have it, no big deal because most of my friends did pretty good. Any of you guys out there who are taking physics right now, that definitely helps because I know someone who took it in high school and he is way ahead of the rest of us. But once again, not a big deal if you have never had physics before.

Business- This class is interesting to say the least, but it’s at 8:15 in the morning which is very early in college, so I’m pretty sure they are trying to keep that stuff a secret (any Lewis Black fans? I stole that from him ;). So far we have talked about mousetraps, marshmallows, and systems. I’m a little lost in the class, but he says things will start to fall in place soon. And best thing about the class, no tests!

Basic Aeronautics- This class is pretty cool because its all about planes. I like planes, so I like the class. My professor is pretty cool and really funny. He is very energetic and always livens up the classroom. We have taken one test so far and I got an 83. Not what I wanted but not bad to say the least. So I’m really gonna hit the books for our next one to make that an A.

College Success (University 101)- This class is mandatory for all freshmen. The class varies from professor to professor, but covers the same material: How to succeed in college. I can tell that a lot of you are asking yourselves, how do you succeed in college, and this class answers it. By studying, time management, and hard work. I personally already knew this, but nonetheless, I’m still in the class. This class was pretty fun during the first couple of weeks, but now it is getting a little dry. It’s not my favorite class, but it is informative, so all in all, not too bad.

Meteorology- So far only one test and I got an 88. I was pretty surprised at this, but I guess I knew more than I thought I did. I’m pretty sure our professor has ADD, but that can be good at times. I never know what interesting stories he will tell us on any particular day.

Flight- I have flown 5 times and been in 4 sims and I am pretty psyched about attending this university. It just blows me away that someday I will be flying for a living. Just to wake up in the morning and walk to the flight line, hop in a Cessna and fly to Ormond, New Smyrna, or Cocoa Beach. Some of my friends already have their private so they are planning out cross-countries to Miami or Gainesville. I love being able to get up in a plane and just fly around and learn all the procedures. It’s a lot of work, but its well worth it.

So those are my classes. Now I’ll tell you what goes on in my free time. Just recently, I have started training to become certified to skydive on my own. I have done 4 out of the 7 jumps of the AFF program and I hope to do the last 3 sometime soon. It is pretty exciting jumping out of a plane, but even more so when there is no one strapped to your back! I have learned a lot and I’m already having a lot of fun. I can’t wait until I have my license and I can just wake up on any given morning and decide to pay $18 to go 13,500 feet in the air and jump out and freefall for 60 seconds then pull my chute and enjoy the beautiful view all around me. I definitely recommend that you try skydiving if you get the chance. Its only $135 to do a tandem (with an instructor on your back) which is a pretty good price compared to others.

Other than skydiving, I have been doing other things like playing on an intramural volleyball team. Our captain is one of my friends that was captain of his varsity volleyball in high school and he is pretty good. Me, not so much. But we have fun and that’s all that matters. Our team name is the BAMFs (any Dane Cook fans? He’s my hero).

On top of that stuff, I have decided to pledge the Sigma Chi fraternity. Once you get to Riddle, although it is a long time away, I recommend coming out to some of the stuff the fraternities offer because I can already tell it is one of the best decisions that I have made to pledge Sigma Chi. I hope to become a brother some time in November, but right now I’m pledging. Even if you think Greek life isn’t for you, you should go around and check out all the fraternities next year. And if all goes to plan, stop by Sigma Chi’s booth and say hi. I don’t want to go too into detail about pledging, but I already have made memories that I am never going to forget. Like late night stops by Denny’s, semi tires in the middle of the road on I-95, and some crazy things about people that I am just getting to know, but I can already tell I will know these guys for the rest of my life. It’s a pretty cool experience.

Also, hanging with friends on my floor and laughing as hard as I have ever laughed. Some quotes which will make no sense to you make me laugh so hard. Like:

“10 foot is a lot of foot”
“I’m gonna put gas”
“Smoke break”
“I think I broke the rule”

I am actually still laughing as I type this. 10 foot is a lot of foot for those of you who didn’t know that. (Sorry Adam, I think it’s hilarious).

Last week we took my friend’s 2-wheel drive Explorer off-roading and had to pull it out with my other friend’s Xtera. I’ll put some pictures up on my album. That was one of the funniest things to have happened so far. I can’t wait until our next off-roading adventure.

I know that more has happened and I can’t remember it, but if I remember it, I’ll post it next time. Also, if you are ever in the Daytona Beach area and feel like dropping by, feel free to contact me and I can show you around. If you want an unofficial campus tour and find out what its like first hand, just let me know. I don’t know how the university would feel if I had someone follow me around in my classes, but I can try to find out if any one is interested. The way I see it, it’s the least they could do. If you guys are gonna cough up 30-40k for tuition, you should get to at least see some classes first hand. But anyway, if you are around feel free to give me a call whenever.

Until next time, any questions post them on the discussion board and I’ll try to answer them. So far, I have been having an awesome time and can’t wait until I see what this next few weeks brings in. Hope all of you are having as good a time as I am, and if you aren’t, don’t worry. It’s a lot of hard work to get here, but once you get here it is well worth it.

September 28

It seems just like yesterday when I was sitting in high school thinking about Embry-Riddle. Every day I would go online and look at the student journals and read them over and over wishing that I was there. Now, one year later, I am writing the journal and I can’t believe it. I hope that over the next year I will be able to provide insight to what it’s like to be a freshman here at Riddle. When I was reading these journals last year, I had so many questions that were unanswered. In this journal, I hope I will answer everyone’s questions including the ones that I had. If you have any questions, I can be reached at the e-mail wasteofsoap@yahoo.com or on AIM at wasteofsoap. Feel free to ask any questions. I will also be monitoring the discussion boards so post there if you would like.

With that said, I guess I’ll tell you a little bit about myself. I grew up in Debary, which is a little town 30 minutes away from ERAU. I have lived there my whole life. I was in the I.B. program at Deland high school and graduated in 2006 with a 3.8 GPA. I’m not really a sports kinda guy, meaning I don’t really play anything on a team and the only sport I watch on TV is hockey. My team of choice is the Tampa Bay Lightning. I enjoy doing things that’ll get me hurt. In the past I skateboarded and biked; now I have moved on to snowboarding and skydiving. I love to hang out with friends and chill. Now that that’s done, I can tell you guys what you are really interested about. Embry-Riddle.

If you want to know how many students attend Riddle, or how it is ranked nationally for its aeronautics programs, you can go to the website. I’m not here to tell you what you already know or what you don’t care about. I’m here to tell you from first-hand experience, what it is like to attend the greatest university in the country, and possibly the world.

We’ll start off with dorms. I live in Doolittle, which I think is what fits me best. You can view the different dorms and floor plans at http://www.erau.edu/db/dorms/dbdorms.html. I liked Doolittle for various reasons, like location, one roommate, only 7 others to share a bathroom. You can make your own decisions in terms of what fits you best. But no matter what dorm you stay in, the lifestyle is pretty much the same. First of all, no matter what time it is, I can guarantee you that someone is awake. Whether you have a late study night until 2 or wake up for a flight at 5, someone is up, and they are probably yelling. Depending on whether you think it is a good thing or a bad thing, there are RAs on every level (Residence Advisor). They make sure that you have fun, but are still respectful to others. For example: I needed to get up real early for a flight and I wanted to make sure I got a decent amount of sleep, and the RA made sure no one was having a yelling contest at 2 in the morning. Another thing I like about the dorms is the sense of community. It is real easy to make friends while living in a dorm. Most people don’t know anyone, so you are all in the same boat. Someone from your hall might say, “Hey, we’re gonna go grab a bite to eat, wanna come?” Which leads us to our next item: Food.

Some colleges have Taco Bells and Mickey Dees on campus, and some have one cafeteria. Embry-Riddle is right in the middle. We only have one chain restaurant, which is an Einstein Bagels. Other than that, there is a cafeteria type place, an all you can eat place (as much as you want), a small sub type place, a very tiny Chinese place, and a burger joint (Propellers). Over all, there are plenty of different options to eat. There are burgers, chicken sandwiches, grilled cheese, spaghetti, chicken, deli sandwiches, pre-packed salads, salad bars, ice cream, cereal, meatballs, fires, chips, fruit, cookies, rice crispies, Chinese food, subs, and a whole bunch of other stuff that I probably forgot. For drinks, there is Coke and Pepsi drinks (bottled and fountain), milk, chocolate milk, orange juice, apple juice, Gatorade, Sobe, and coffee. There really is a big selection when it comes to food. Now that you know what there is, you might be askin yourself, how much does it cost? Well, all freshmen are required to have a minimum of 14 meals per week. You can get more if you like, but the least you can get is 14. One meal varies from place to place, but it is usually 1 entree and 1-3 sides, except at the all you can eat place where you can eat all you want. If you have any specific questions about the different places or the things that you eat, just let me know.

Now that you know what to eat, you might be wondering when you’re gonna eat. My schedule is very different than all of my friends. We all have classes at various times. Your schedule depends greatly on what classes you are taking and when they’re available. My schedule consists of 4 classes on Tuesday and Thursday from 8:15-3:30 with about an hour and a half break. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I fly from about 8-10 and then I have 2 classes from 1-3:15. Some of my friends are done by noon all week and some go until 6. It varies but I think no matter what your schedule is, it is much better than high school. Some classes will let you out early and you can just run by your dorm if you want. I think it’s pretty cool.

The major thing when transitioning from high school to college is the new sense of freedom that you have. You are all the sudden on your own. If you haven’t heard a lot about this yet, you will. The university loves to drill into the mind of the freshmen that you make your own decisions now, so don’t mess up. The truth of it is that you are on your own, but there are many different people there with you incase you need anything. I found that it has been a pretty easy transition for me and for other people as well. The most important thing is to have fun. I haven’t even been here for a month and I have already had so much fun and have so many stories. I’ll go into detail more if anyone wants me to, but already I have done laundry at 2:30 in the morning, went to Hooters with a bunch of people, had my first flight in an airplane (as the pilot), and gone out and about around Daytona (karaoke bars are very fun as long as you aren’t singing).

Well I don’t want to write a novel on the first entry so I guess I’ll wrap it up. One more thing though, I’m not sure how many people will read this thing, but if you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask! I regret not asking the questions I had a year ago. I wish I had, because then I wouldn’t have gone to Riddle in the dark. If anyone has a question about ANYTHING, just go on the discussion board or drop me a line.

Hope everyone’s year is going good, cause mine has started off great. I can’t wait to finish this year and share all my experiences with you. Next journal, I’ll probably talk about fraternities and skydiving. I hope to become a pledge for Sigma Chi and get AFF certified with skydiving in the next week or so. So until then, stay in school, drink your milk, and make sure that read every one of my journals and tell me how good they are, and if you think that they are bad, that is your opinion, and it’s wrong. 😉 Oh boy, I used a smiley. I told my self that I wouldn’t do that. Oh well. I’ll talk to ya guys later. -Blake