Veda

About Veda

Aerospace Engineering

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.

April 18, 2006

The time for adieus draws near, friends and neighbors, this is the last journal entry that I’ll write coz next semester I’ll be halfway through my sophomore credits. Oh, well, it has been fun for me, guys, and judging by the number of emails I’ve been getting from people around the world, it’s been informational for you guys as well, which is awesome, hope I was able to help most of you over the course of the year!

Anyway, to wrap things up on the job front – I have picked up a job that is both fun and much more monetarily beneficial, valet parking at the Hilton on Beachside. It’s great, because I get to drive expensive Mercedes’, Audi’s, Jaguar’s and Cadillac’s all day long. I also make a more than decent amount from tips, and its fun driving back and forth. That’s my idea of a job, having fun and making money, all at the same time. Funnily enough, most of the newer cars have park assist (that’s nice), and some Acura vans actually have cameras showing you the rear of your car (that’s insulting my intelligence), which makes my job that much easier. I’m working 32 hours a week at this job, and over the summer I’ll probably go the equivalent of full time which means I’ll be raking in the greenbacks. Hey, fine by me!

The job is so great that I quit Cold Stone’s and my tutoring job. Plus, this journal writing gig is ending after this entry, so it leaves me with two very nice paying jobs, valet parking and card dealing.

This summer, I’ll be taking EGR 120 and Statics (that’s summer A), and Humanities and Psychology at Jacksonville (Summer B). Things have been hectic getting ready for this and I’m moving off campus with three friends by the end of this semester, can’t wait! Also, finals are coming up, Physics and Math, hopefully I’ll be able to keep up my A’s with the time I’m putting into my new job!

Wish me luck with that, this is Junior’s Jiving Journals signing out, happy Easter to you all, and I wish you all success!

April 6, 2006

Hey there, journal readers! Wow, three quarters of the way through the spring semester already, I can hardly believe how fast time is flying! Seems like spring break was just yesterday too, test schedules are flying and teachers are handing out assignments left and right. In another four short weeks, by the end of this month, I’ll have one whole year of college behind me! Damn, this year’s flown by; it’s been so much fun! I already have plans for next semester. I’m joining the Avion and the Riddle Players, writing and movie making are two of my great interests and I think its time I indulged myself, hehe. Also priority registration has come and gone. I had a bunch of problems registering because of pre-requisite requirements, but then Dr Gurjar generously waived the pre-req for his class to a co-req, so I was able to register! Hooray! I’ve signed up for EGR 120 and ES 201 at Riddle over Summer A, and they’ve already slapped me with the bill (ouch). Over Summer B I’ll be taking Psychology and HUM 2211 from the Florida Community College at Jacksonville and that’ll bring me to a total of 12 credit hours over summer.

I’ve also overloaded my schedule for Fall, with 19 credits, because I don’t want to take more than 12 over Field Training Preparation semester next spring, but I do want to graduate in four years, so its necessary. Sigh, it’s going to one heck of a Fall, I’m going to be chasing my own tail, but I think it will be worth it, so wish me luck! At the end of that semester, I’ll have Junior standing, which means if all goes as planned and I don’t have to audit any class, I would be one whole semester ahead because I came in with no credits, but I would have four semesters worth of credits under my belt at the end of three. Which is perfect, it puts me right on schedule for graduating in four years. It’s like an unreachable goal, almost, so few are able to finish a BSAE in five years, but it’s been done and I intend to do it too!

I’ve been up and down the state of Florida for my blackjack dealing job, and my good ol’ car has made it worth it, with its awesome gas mileage. I love road trips, and I get paid to have fun while dealing, so this job is definitely my favorite out of all four. A close second is tutoring with First Year Programs, though when there’s no one who needs help I just surf the internet and have fun doing my own thing, which is cool.

Air Force is getting better, I’ve managed to stay out of trouble reasonably successfully so far, and I’m just hoping it will last up to the end of Spring, which is so close! Unfortunately, it won’t be much of a summer vacation for me, as I have 12 credits of schoolwork to attend to, but I’m determined to squeeze in a trip back to California, I miss my home boys and girls back in LA! No place like Los Angeles is what I always say, and nothing gets rid of the Riddle goggle syndrome faster than a flight into Hollywood, oh yeah.

Well, guys, that’s all I have for right now, hope I’ll be able to send in another journal before Finals are upon me! Good luck to all of you guys applying to Riddle out there; it was around this time last year that I got my “Congratulations! You have been accepted” letter and I hope that all of you who tried got in! See you guys in the Fall and peace out.

MOTTO FOR THE FORTNIGHT: The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.

March 27, 2006

Whaddup y’all, just thought I’d drop a line now that classes are about to begin tomorrow (sigh, back to the grind!). Spring break was great; I had some fun, though it wasn’t nearly as exciting as I would have liked it to be (!). I’m thinking I should have maybe gone back to Los Angeles as I was invited to, but it just wouldn’t have been worth the drive (and I don’t have enough credit card miles to fly back for free just yet). So yeah, I was in Daytona Beach over Spring break. I slept past noon every day, ate dinner at about 2 AM (I-Hop and I got to know each other very well), then went out with a couple of other guys who were hanging around here too, and did random stuff in and around Daytona. I think I’m about ready to go back to classes and face another month of classes and then I’m free!

Anyway, an annoying thing about my scheduling came up over break. Priority registration for Honors students begins the first day of class (which is tomorrow), so I wanted to lay my schedule out. Unfortunately, because I audited EGR 120, I now can’t take my Statics ES 201 class as I had planned. And without ES 201 I can’t go into Fluids, Dynamics and Solids (ah, the much hated three headed dragon). If I take Statics in the Fall, it will push the dragon into Spring ’07, which is the semester that I’ll be going through Field Training Preparation for the Air Force. Field Training is possibly the junction point for ROTC cadets, as it’s when we go off and live on an Air Force Base for a month. It’s a high pressure environment, designed to test your training, physical limits and mental mettle, at the end of which you move up from the General Military Course to the Professional Officer Core. It’s like boot camp for officers, and training for it is going to take up most of my time during Spring 07. If I have to deal with nine credits of Physics as well, either my grades or the Air Force is going to get second priority, and I’d really rather that didn’t happen.

So I’m going to have to take summer classes here at Riddle. So it happens that I can’t take Statics or EGR 120 at any other community college. And since they aren’t co-requisites but prerequisites, I’m going to have to take EGR 120 over Summer A and ES 201 over Summer B. That’ll unlock the dragon for me in Fall 07, and I’m in the clear come Field Training Semester. Oh well, long as I get to go back to good ol’ Cali for a while and refresh myself, I’m cool. Daytona is a lovely place; I really don’t mind staying here over the summer. The only thing that kinda sucks is that I’ll have no real vacation and I’ll be taking six credits from ERAU as well as six humanities credits from a community college and I haven’t decided on which one yet. Twelve credits over summer, nineteen planned for Fall, then cutting down to twelve (the bare minimum to keep me a full time student) FTP semester.

All right, well, that’s my sit as of right now, guys! Classes start tomorrow (I’ll be missing ROTC because I’ve gotta drive to Orlando for a job), and hopefully I’ll be able to keep it together for a month. Ciao, y’all!

MOTTO FOR THE FORTNIGHT: ‘Almost’ only counts in hand grenades and nuclear warfare.

March 7, 2006

Hi there, journal readers! Hope everything is going great for all you guys and gals out there on my side of the spectrum, things are looking good but not as good as I had hoped. Frankly, I can’t wait for spring break, just two short weeks away and then I can kick back and unwind for a little while. I think I’ve been working too long, and the stress of having four jobs, school work, ROTC and all the little things that come with being on your own have been getting to me. A little vacation would do me good and then I would be fresh and ready to go at life again.

This semester it seems like I can do no right at ROTC, which sucks. I’ve been getting counseling after counseling for little stuff like wearing a braided belt instead of a plain one, and for missing a spot of stubble under my lip, which is fine, I know it’s to be expected; I just wish I could stop making it happen so often! Anyway, I’m well over the limit of three counselings in a semester. This week I had a meeting with the CW/IG, the head of the Inspector General’s Staff, and next week I have to meet with the Vice Wing Commander because I’ve been getting that many counselings. Then I got stuck in the terrible bike week traffic and missed an appointment with my APAS which is a huge no-no, so I had to reschedule for today, and I’m pretty sure I have another counseling in the works for missing that appointment.

Also, over the weekend, one of the senior cadets was killed in a motorbike accident. Traffic here is absolutely terrible right now. The worst part is that I work down at Cold Stone Creamery’s, which is just by the beach. The beach is where traffic is the absolute worst, so there’s no question of me simply not using my car on Bike Week. Biketoberfest had about 200,000 bikers come to Daytona and for Bike Week, it looks like its going to be close on half a million. It takes me half an hour to get anywhere, and you always have to watch out for the bikers, they just don’t care!

Also, just last night, I dealt my first game of blackjack! It was at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa in Orlando. The good thing was, I found a bunch of guys going to the same event, and we all drove down together. I didn’t even know they were going until I walked into one guy’s room to borrow a pair of cufflinks and found out he was going to the same place as I was! That was good, because I had some experienced dealers with me, to clue me in. But I needn’t have worried and it all went great and I’m pretty pleased with the check in my pocket!

Just had a Calc III exam, and got pretty heated up at myself about that, because I expected to score 100%, but I overthought a problem, thought I saw a trick question, and answered it a bit too cleverly. Turns out the straightforward answer was the right one, and I lost points on it. Damn, that annoyed me (after all my devious thinking!). My COM class is starting to annoy me too, we recently had to write out a detailed instruction manual on how to assemble a Lego all in words, no pictures. Try it, why don’t you. You’d chuck the damn things at the wall in five minutes.

Anyway, I can’t wait for spring break. Time to unwind. Relax. Ahhhh. I’m going to break this off on that happy thought, and bid you guys adieu.

MOTTO FOR THE FORTNIGHT: You might be an engineer if you think Spring Break is a metal fatigue failure.

February 23, 2006

Wow, so much has been happening I really don’t know where to start! Life’s just streaking by, class and ROTC are great, with the exception of EGR 120. Yeah, I know it’s dumb, but I can’t win with that class. And when I got in my first test and received my first ever F, it was like the world had stopped spinning. I was in one heck of a depressed state for like a week, because just the day before I had been a straight A student. I decided to cut my losses and yesterday I audited the class. I’ll still attend class and learn stuff, but it won’t affect my GPA. I feel kinda bad that I flushed down 3 K, but better that then flushing my GPA. I guess I’ll work on it over the summer, and retake EGR 120 next fall. By that time I’ll have enough practice to be able to manage.

Yeah, that was like a major bummer (I’d never failed a test before in my life), but the next week something better happened. I got myself a new car! It’s a Saturn SL, and it gets an obscene gas mileage of 40 miles to the gallon. My suitemate Ben drove me to Orlando and stayed with me the whole day while I ran from pillar to post to make the sale legal and get all the paperwork in order, then I emptied out my bank account and drove my baby onto I-4! It feels so great having my own car, I’m now free to go where I want, when I want. I’m planning to change the lighting, put in new speakers and wheels and perform a couple of upgrades before the summer is out.

Anyway, ROTC is going great, we had a Physical Fitness Evaluation and I got into a friendly competition with another flight mate of mine. We ended up pacing and ultimately trying to beat one another, and achieved awesome run times! Guess all that gym time is paying off.

And just about three days ago, I actually had five jobs! One was journal writing, of course. The other was Math and Engineering Tutoring, down at First Year Programs, I think I mentioned that one before. But since I now had a car, I decided I wanted a job that paid better (insurance still has to be paid!), so I went off campus and got myself three jobs.

The first was a temp job at a flower shop nearby. It was almost Valentine’s Day, so they were drowning in calls for roses and bouquets and lilies and teddy bears and candy boxes and anything shaped like a heart. I worked about twelve hours there on the computer, typing up orders that came over the Internet, entering it into the database, typing up Valentine’s Day cards (if I ever write “I love you, Poopsie-woopsie” to my girlfriend, shoot me, please, I swear you’ll go to heaven) and inflating giant balloons that say ‘Be Mine’, ‘I love you’ and ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’. On February 14th I made even more dough by delivering flowers to ladies across Daytona, Holly Hill and Ormond Beach. I was very happy because, thanks to Google Maps, I had no problem finding my way around town, and because of my Saturn’s mileage. Most people spend more on gas than the gas allowance the store gives them, but I pocketed 60% of my gas allowance, because I didn’t use that much gas!

Then I took my money and git, so that isn’t a job any more. I also went to Port Orange and attended a training session to be a blackjack dealer. It’s a sporadic job, and they call you when they need you, but the money for one night’s work is excellent. Several of the events I would deal cards at are in Orlando and Jacksonville, so the farther away it is the more I get paid, so that’s pretty cool too.

The third job is going to be my bread and butter; pretty much it’s a job at the Ocean Walk theater complex, at a novelty ice cream chain called Cold Stone Creamery! I’m serving ice cream to all the kids who come down to watch movies, and I make tons of money. Tons of money always improves my mood.

So that’s five.

This last weekend was a three-day weekend, which I wasted completely and happily, chilling out, going to the beach, doing random stuff with people on my hall. Classes are going well, I now have to work on a mere fourteen credits, so I have a lot more free time on my hands, which is nice. I find myself often driving down to the beach in the middle of the night and just to spend some quality time with myself, and get my thoughts in perspective. It’s been pretty cold out lately, but I’m hoping it will warm up soon. Spring break is almost here, and I can’t wait!

More next time, dudes! till then, chillax, and keep Jivin!

MOTTO FOR THE FORTNIGHT: Tact is the art of making guests feel at home, when that’s where you wish they were.

February 9, 2006

A lot’s been happening over the last two weeks! First of all, I took my first ever flight in a small aircraft. I know, it’s ridiculous. I’m in an aviation university, and I’ve never flown in anything smaller than an Airbus. My suitemate, Scott Hasbrouck, is a pilot (he had his pilot’s license before he had his driver’s license, his parents had to drive him to his first solo!), though he’s studying aerospace engineering, same as me. He needed to keep current, so he took me up with him as an observer. We flew in a tiny Piper Aero that weighs less than his car!

Anyway, it was the most magical thing. For those of you out there already flying, more power to you dudes! I loved every second of that flight. Amazing! In almost no time we were bumping up against Cape Canaveral’s restricted airspace, then we turned back toward Orlando and Daytona Beach. Along the way Scott put us through some very sharp banks, and 2-G plus forces, and allowed me to take the controls for a while. Wow! The view was incredible, and though I’ve flown before, its been only commercially, and there’s a certain feeling of liberation that comes with flying a mile high in a tiny little aircraft that you just can’t get with a plane weighing more than a fleet of semis. I’ve always ribbed my other suitemate, Ben, who’s studying Aeronautical Science, saying that people like me build planes, monkeys like him fly them. But after that flight I sure envied him! Pretty soon I decided that if I could get the funds together, I’m going to try and get a minor in Flight. After all, I’m at the world’s best aviation university and why not take full advantage of it? And I’m sure flying skills would not go unappreciated in my job and after all, it is the Air Force.

Okay. The dreaded EGR 120 test came and went, leaving me with a 51. Yeah, it was that bad. I’m going to have to do something about that, or my perfect GPA is going to get flushed, and after what happened at the AFA luncheon, I’m not eager for that to happen.

Oh, yes, I forgot to mention that, didn’t I? Or was I saving it for effect? Anyway. Last time I wrote that I was awarded the General Spruance Merit award for being ranked the No 1 Freshman cadet in the detachment for Fall 2005. I was told that I would get the opportunity to meet General Spruance and receive the award from him, in person. We even have a building here at Embry Riddle named after him and if you’re coming to Riddle, you’ll come to know Spruance Hall very well, it’s where you go to wrestle with all kinds of red tape, ha ha. I thought hey, that’s pretty cool. Little did I know that I would not only be meeting General Spruance, but the former Chief of Staff, USAF Four star General John Jumper!

January 26, 2006

Hello, everyone, welcome back! Junior’s Jiving Journals are back for another semester of rabid fun and wisecracking! Spring 2006 is here, it’s the start of a brand new year, and all is well with the world. Now for the bad news.

Nah, just kidding. Last semester was great and I was able to achieve a 4.0 GPA, and I really hope to be able to keep that up this semester too! I found out at our very first AFROTC Lead Lab that I had been awarded the General Spruance Merit Award, which carried a cash prize of 1,000 dollars. I was the only AS 100 level cadet to be selected for this prestigious award.

This semester in ROTC I’ve been placed in Bravo Flight. Ours is easily the best flight in the detachment. Our new flight commander, C/1st Lt Hibshman, seems pretty cool and laid back, which is great. As a flight, we’re pretty motivated. During the past few weeks we’ve had quite a few flight meetings (last semester we could barely manage any) and I’m pretty sure we’re going to win the Spirit Rock contest this week and we’ve been competing against Charlie Flight, who have (aptly) nicknamed themselves ‘Charlie Cows’.

About my classes, I’ve had trouble where I least expected it, and found none in the areas I thought I would. I anticipated that MA 243 and PS 160 would be troublesome, but I find that Calc III seems even easier than Calc II, and PS 160 hasn’t gotten complicated in the last two weeks of class. EGR 120 is where I’m coming up against a stone wall. Most people have problems later in the class, when we begin CATIA, and find drafting a piece of cake. But not me. Drafting is pretty much engineering drawing. Right now we’re doing exercises where you’re given three views of an object, top, front, and one of the sides and you have to draw a three dimensional sketch of the body. Sound easy? It probably is for you. I’m sick of people pointing at my workbook and remarking “I totally loved that class, dude, it’s so simple.”

It’s not!

Okay, it’s not for me. I just can’t do it. Don’t ask me why. All I know is that whenever I sit down with my drafting workbook I feel like I missed the bus. I sketch for about an hour, then triumphantly ask Cameron if I got it right. He takes a look at it, says ‘Nope’ and goes back to his work. Another buddy of mine looked at my efforts, picked up a piece of paper, sketched for a few seconds, and showed me a drawing that didn’t look anything like mine. ‘That’s the answer, dude,’ was his response.

I have a test next week in drafting, and I’m going to fail it. What makes it even worse is that it’s the simplest damn thing in the world. Everyone can do it, even an eight year old kid. And I can’t. It’s not even something I can learn, or practice I just don’t get it. I have a genius level IQ, and I can’t draw a three dimensional sketch! Apparently I can’t ‘see’ things in three dimensions. One girl on my hall has an IQ thirty points above my own, and doesn’t let a day go by when she doesn’t remind me of that. I bet if I could do this I’d have a comparable IQ, coz if I remember correctly, there are a few 3-D visualization questions on an IQ test. But then again, they say your IQ never changes, which would imply that I can never learn how to do these drawings.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit paranoid. But I still can’t do it! I’m gonna try and attend to that this weekend, and hope for the best, I guess. It’s just extremely annoying when something so stupidly simple is the hardest thing for you.

I signed up this semester with Riddle Players Theatre Company at the Activities Fair. I think I’d like to go in the direction of Riddle Productions, a film making offshoot off the Theatre club. I’ve always had an interest in that kind of stuff. In fact, in the ninth grade, I once invited my entire class over to my house to try and film an ‘action movie’ on my camcorder. It didn’t work out quite as I had planned, because the story line got ‘lost in translation’, but you get the point.

I’ve also got myself a different job, tutoring at First Year Programs! The Honors Director, Dr Kain, recommended me last semester and I got the job and I start Monday! Guess a 4.0 can come in pretty useful.

I’m also looking into living off campus next semester. I think it’ll be pretty cool, in addition to saving me a heck of a lot of money. Also, I’m checking out community colleges around the country. I wanted to take some humanities courses at DBCC over the summer, to stack up credits and save money, summer school at Riddle is ridiculously expensive. But apparently Riddle won’t recognize that credit, or that of any community college within 50 miles. The administration feels that if you are within 50 miles of Riddle over the summer, you might as well take classes at Riddle. Apparently it would be equivalent to ‘cutting their own throats’. That is the most retarded thing I have ever heard, and it pissed me off for quite a while, until I began to see the positive side of it. I’m now free to take classes anywhere I want as long as I have a car that’s able to survive a cross country drive. So that’s what I’m going to do this summer I’m going on, you got it, ROAD TRIP! I’ve always wanted to drive around our great country, just see the sights and now I get to do it while collecting credits. Right now I have my eye on Santa Fe, NM and Jackson, MI, though that will most likely change. I’m thinking one six week summer course in Santa Fe, pick up six credits; then drive north and do another three. There’s a lot to America, and I want to see as much of it as I possibly can!

Anyway, all that is in the future, so let me not jump the gun. So far, except for EGR 120, all’s well on the studies front. Next week I’ll start my new job, rejoin the Campus Radio station and start out with the Riddle Players. NASCAR is going to kick into high gear as well. Wal-Mart already has NASCAR posters and overpriced memorabilia on the shelves, which means it’s officially race season! I can’t wait to see the races it’s pretty much the biggest event to hit Daytona Beach, so that’s where I’ll be. Happy New Year to everyone out there, by the way, and keep it chill, dudes!

MOTTO FOR THE FORTNIGHT: Love thy neighbor ñ tune thy piano.

January 12, 2006

Greetings to all in the New Year 2006! Hope all of you guys and gals out there had a great time these holidays! Ah, the time draws near, when the fun stops and the buck drops. The beginning of the new Spring ’06 semester is here. I used to hate the end of vacation time, because it meant dragging my sorry ass through another semester of high school, but now (much to my own astonishment) I find that I am actually looking forward to college starting up again! While I can’t say that I am sorry the vacations are over, I am not completely bummed out at their conclusion. I expect the coming semester to be a lot easier than the past one, first of all, simply because I’m used to everything at Riddle by now, and I’ve crossed the bridge from high school to college; and secondly, because this semester I am taking 6 credits of humanities and 3 credits of CATIA, which is computer drawing. Pretty much, I’ll only have to work at Physics and Math, I guess. Of course, those words could also be on my tombstone, so let me not shoot my mouth off too fast.

Also! I recently found out that I aced the placement test that I took at the end of the Fall Semester to jump over MA 242 and go into MA 243 and I was quick to drop 242 and get myself into an available 243 class. I’m happy about this because for one, I’ve saved myself 4,000 bucks in ultimate tuition; and two because I’ve saved myself a semester of Math I already know. This was possible only thanks to the generous help of Dr Nirmal Devi in the Math Department, who set aside time to make, administer and evaluate the placement test to me. Calculus III is pretty challenging so I’ll have to work at it, but at least I’m learning something, not sitting in class bored out of my mind.

Well, about my winter vacation, then! I didn’t do anything exciting just lazed around, did nothing most of the day, and enjoyed it completely. After the hurried hassled days of college, when every hour of every day was budgeted out, it was nice to chuck my PDA aside and know that I had the entire day to myself and the day after that, and the day after that as well. Ahhhh, the bliss of being lazy. Those idiots who say hard work is the only way are just that, idiots. I shot some pool, watched the NFL football playoffs, fooled around on my computer and lay in a semi-comatose state in front of the TV for hours and hours. I think I must have watched every episode of FRIENDS there ever was, because I worked my way through about 40 DVDs of FRIENDS episodes.

Anyway, I’m not really being sequential about this so, when the holidays began the dorms began clearing out, people driving and flying back home. I had break Housing till the 23rd of December, so I stayed behind until there was no one left. Now that was weird. I was so used to the usual commotion and activity in the halls that when they were left empty it didn’t feel like I was in the dorms at all! But I quickly got used to it. I slept real late, lazed around, and played computer games on my suitemate’s computer.

This break was really a lazy one for me. It was so nice to not have every minute of every day planned out. I decided that I would have maybe three things to do that week and I would do them, but then again, if the mood settled on me, maybe I wouldn’t! I don’t care what any one says, lazy breaks are the best kind.

On December 23rd I drove down to Holly Hill and stayed in a motel there for five days. I made it a point to run on the beach every morning, and I spent a good part of Christmas Day lazing on the beach. I also drove up to Tampa Bay one day. After those five days I drove to Orlando and picked up Dan, just off his flight back from New York, and stayed with him in his Port Orange apartment for the rest of the holidays. We certainly did NOT get drunk on New Year’s Eve and we did NOT hit on some lesbian chicks at a club we went to.

The playoffs began the next week, so I watched some very entertaining football, Dan’s a Giants fan and when Eli Manning got sacked three times in the last half of a game he was about ready to explode. Just before the holidays ended his roommates Megan and Ben drove down from Maryland too.

And then it was time to go back to the dorms. Like I said before, usually I hate the end of break, because it’s time to go back to the drudgery of school. But this time, to my surprise, I didn’t feel that way. I was actually looking forward to going back to school! Not that the break sucked either, because I certainly had some good times. I just didn’t feel bummed out that the vacations were over, I didn’t mind going back, really. I’m enjoying my life here so much, why would I want to be away from it for longer than I have to?

MOTTO FOR THE FORTNIGHT: Save a cow. Eat a vegetarian.

December 22, 2005

Well…it’s hello and goodbye from me through this journal entry – the holidays are upon us!

After a full semester of hard work it’s nice to be able to wake up in the morning when the sun is shining and there’s nothing really pressing to stop you from being utterly lazy. I love the feeling – I’m already addicted to it.

The results of Fall 2005 are in and….***drum roll***…FOUR POINT OH! Yes, I know it is shameless of me to gloat, but what the heck, I’m gonna glorify myself anyway. A perfect score! I am currently sitting on a 17 credit 4.0, and it feels goooooooooood. A copy of my first semester transcript is posted below, for those of you who are curious to know what a 4.0 looks like on paper –

I managed to secure an A in every class I took. Air Force Leadership Lab was a pass or fail course, and as my transcripts reflect, I did pass.

Next semester I’ll be taking 6 credits of humanities and CATIA, so the workload should be a lot less. I feel most gratified – at least my 17,000 was well spent. Of course the trick is to keep it up, and hopefully I’ll be able to do that.

And it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! All the stores, of course, have their decorations up, and Christmas music piping from every nook and cranny in the mall – it’s that time of year again! I love Christmas. Personally, it is my favorite time of the year, and not just because of the one month vacation, though that does have a lot to do with it!

I’m pretty much alone in the dorms right now – I’ve gotten Break Housing up till the 23rd of December. It seems so strange – there’s no roommate (Cameron has gone back to Canada), no suitemates (Ben flew up to California yesterday and Scott’s visiting his girlfriend in Kentucky), and no one on our usually bustling hall! It’s a sensation I haven’t gotten used to just yet, but I’m enjoying it alright.

Well, that’s it from me for this semester – I’ll be back in the spring with more jiving journals! Hope you all out there have a great holiday, don’t forget to hang up your stockings, and I’ll talk to you again in the New Year 2006. Peace out, dudes!

MOTTO FOR THE YEAR: HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

December 1, 2005

Well, it’s getting toward the end of my first semester at Embry Riddle – and how fast the time has passed me by! It’s really quite amazing, now that I stop to think about it…anyway, let me not go off on a tangent – I will remain completely focused on myself.

A lot’s happened this past fortnight. Let me start with a weekend trip I took with forty other AFROTC cadets up to South Carolina and Ohio. We visited Shaw, Charleston and Wright Patterson Air Force Bases from Thursday to Saturday, and did and saw so much that I don’t know where to start! I got a first hand look at real active duty Air Force life and jobs, and after seeing it, I’m doubly proud in what I’ve chosen to do.

Anyway, to start off, we departed from Embry-Riddle at 4 in the afternoon, aboard a bus. It was a long six hour drive up to Shaw Air Force Base, SC. We had to take our PT uniforms, SS Blues and the Det T along with us for the trip as well. We arrived at about 10:30 PM, and drove through the base to our quarters. We were put up in temporary residential quarters run by the Air Force Inns. I got on the bus in humid 75 degree (Fahrenheit) weather and got down in 26 degree winds, with a wind chill factor of 10 degrees. Dressed in a T-shirt and shorts, which is what I wear every day in Daytona Beach – with a thin jacket on, I emerged into below freezing weather! Oh yeah. Doesn’t say much for my common sense, I know, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. To those of you hailing from places that get snow regularly, let me tell you that this was the first time ever that I had experienced to below freezing weather! Unbelievable, I know, but there it is. California weather is just like Florida, and India is eight degrees from the equator, so when I got to South Carolina, I felt the cold! I don’t think even veteran snow boys would brave that cold in shorts. To cut a long, freezing story short, I waited for what seemed like forever to grab my bags and ran off to find my room. So it figures that I wouldn’t be able to find it quickly. That’s Murphy’s Law for you.

The next morning I was up long before the sun would rise, because we had to do Physical training with the 682nd squadron, whose job is to back up the US Army on the ground if the need arises. So 0540 found me out in even colder weather, clad in a very inadequate PT sweatshirt and pants. To say that I felt cold would be a woeful understatement – I would have gladly rushed into the nearest KFC and asked to be put in the pressure cooker at that moment. We waited for what seemed like hours before the entire group assembled and Capt Chivington, our APAS, led us to the Dining Hall, where I actually enjoyed scalding my throat with hot coffee. Then we drove down to the PT Pad across the base, where we split up into four groups and PT’d with the 682nd squadron. They gave us quite a workout, and for once I wasn’t grumbling – in fact, I was cursing the fat kids for not allowing us to do a full sprint. Ahhh, the warming wonders of a run for your life.

We then returned to our rooms, showered, and got dressed in our SS Blues uniforms for a day-long tour of Shaw Air Force Base. We were going to get briefings from people all over the base, in various jobs and capacities, to get an idea of what our day to day life in the Air Force would be like. Our uniforms had to look impeccable, so I spent some time ironing it (again), and even if I say so myself, it looked pretty damn fine.

We were scheduled to receive a brief from the Shaw Wing Commander, who is pretty much the Head Honcho on the base, but he was engaged in a war simulation and couldn’t make it. The PA officer and a Sergeant on a flight crew spoke to us, as well as an engaging Colonel who was an F-16 pilot. The pilot wanna-be’s got their fill from him.

Next on the itinerary was a static, up-close display of a real F-16 fighter, which is based at Shaw, which is also the headquarters of USCENTAF, the 9th Air Force and the 20th Fighter Wing. It was completely awesome! We even got to climb up to the cockpit, though pictures of the cockpit and the flight line were forbidden, as they are classified. It was so cool, to be able to see those massive beasts sitting on the tarmac, cockpit open – ready to fly out at a moment’s notice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(thanks to Chris Higginbotham)

Throughout our day at Shaw, F-16s roared above, roaming the skies, flying on a leash because they can’t release their massive potential above CONUS, or the continental United States. We saw the training arsenal the F-16 carries – Sidewinders, HARMs and cluster bombs – it’s incredible to think that those tubes carry tons of explosive death…

The rest of the day we received briefings from members of the Operations squadron, and ‘shadowed’ members of several on-base professions – men and women of varying ranks and personalities, such as weather. At the end of the day I was pretty tired, having stood on my feet all day. The last brief of the day came from Maj. Gen Forsythe, a man who left a deep impact on me. He was matter-of-fact, no BS, and just invited us to ask us questions. As he admitted, ‘I’m not full of shit. I know most generals are supposed to be (and I know a few who are, though I won’t name names), but I’m not. He’s flown in Vietnam, aboard most aircraft the Air Force has or had. Anyway, there was one story he told us which really struck home. He’s been moving from base to base all his life with his family, and the entire family has to uproot itself and grow new roots. Anyway, he has a daughter who, naturally, grew to dread and hate the day her father would come home and announce in a falsely cheery voice, ‘So who wants to come to Wal-Mart and buy jumbo cartons?’ As she grew into the teenage years, of course she found her true love, and of course Daddy General had to move – as you may have guessed, they didn’t have the most Brady-ish relationship.

There was a boy at her high school who was making fun of this General’s daughter because her father was in the military. He kept needling her, and one day she decided she had had enough. She printed out her pop’s biography, listing all his meritorious achievements, and got up in class one day and read it aloud to the class. When she was done, she said, ‘This is what my father has done for this country’. She made such an impact on her class that after the bell had gone, a group of guys took the kid who had been badgering her and beat the crap out of him. When Gen Forsythe was telling us about this, he choked up and started crying! He was embarrassed about it after ward, but that human touch was what lit up our interaction. He made me, and I’m sure all of us there, proud of what we’re about to do for the country we love.

 

 

 

 

(The AFROTC gang with Maj. Gen. Forsythe)

Dinner at Cici’s was informal and interesting, as you can probably see…the next day we were up at 4 in the morning to board the bus to Charleston Air Force Base. Stupidly, I didn’t have my government ID on me, but they accepted my photo credit card as ID and let me through. We waited for what seemed like hours in the terminal (I hate airports after I had to wait 72 hours in Bombay’s Sahar Airport to board my plane to Daytona) and then took a C-17 Air Force plane up to Wright Patterson AFB. Flying in the C-17 was the coolest thing ever! We were lined up facing each other in chairs of webbing, the massive bay doors to our left. Some Junior ROTC kids and a few other enlisted Air Force personnel were also on the plane with us. I was pretty damn excited about flying on a military plane, to be sure!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, she revved herself, pawed at the ground, and heaved her great butt into the air. I got to go into the cockpit and check out West Virginia from 28,000 feet – the Interstate Highway looked like a noodle.

As we were landing and taxiing to a halt, the pilots opened the bay doors, so we could see the earth rushing by just beneath us. Now this was cool, no doubt, but what with the relative motion and the ten degree winds, I quickly decided Ohio could keep its weather to itself, thank you very much. Cold!

 

 

 

 

 

I was glad when we got into the Air Force museum, which was a short drive away from the airport. I saw loads of cool planes, including the prototype YF-22, the B-2 (which struck me as strange at first, as its cockpit is still classified, until I realized of course they’d have removed the avionics (duh) before sticking it in a public museum), the Titan ICBMs, the Black Widow, the A-10…name it, it’s probably there. Which is why I was kind of disappointed that we had just under two hours to go through the three enormous hangars – they were big enough to hold the B-52, so you can imagine their size! Seeing as we flew across the country on a military transport, they might have given us a bit more time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh well. Back to the C-17 – but not before I bought a ridiculously priced ear muffler from the museum.

 

 

 

 

 

Hey – at least I didn’t feel like I was wearing icicles on the sides of my face when I got back to Wright-Pat (!) We took off on the same plane we came on, heading back to South Carolina, and weather only a few degrees below freezing. Whoopee.

 

 

 

 

 

On our approach to Charleston, I was awakened from a doze by a drawling Yeager-style voice over the intercom, languidly informing us that we were about to take a 10,000 foot dive to liven things up. Shortly after that the plane slid forward and we began shooting toward the ground at an incredible speed. Wow, that was fun! We all lifted our hands and legs into the air, and experienced a novel sensation – of near-weightlessness! I was kinda disappointed when it was over! The JROTC kids didn’t take it so well, though – a couple of them were really petrified and I think a few threw up too.

 

 

 

 

 

The pilots wanted to show off, and they certainly made an impression! I heard that they actually wanted to just surprise everyone with the dive! Half the people were asleep – we had had an early start – and they wanted to wake us up with a free-fall. Picture it. You’re fast asleep on a plane and when you wake up it’s plummeting at a frightening rate. What would you think? OhmigodwearecrashingIAMGONNADIENOOOOOOOOO! I think it would have been awesome, but the pilots were dissuaded on the grounds that there might be panic.

Darn.

A long drive later, we were back in Daytona Beach.

This past fortnight two of my courses ended – EGR 101 and UNIV 101. I’m thankful, because it means that my schedule is going to be that much easier! Not to mention less homework! I had an Air Force Lead Lab final, have a GMC AF class final coming up, as well as two papers, a 1500 line C/MATLAB project, four assignments and I’m afraid to think any more, because I’ll remember pending work and panic! The next two weeks will be crazy, but it’ll be worth it.

This semester has been a blast so far, and I have no doubt the others will be too. Cheers, dudes, and have youself a blast too!

MOTTO FOR THE SEMESTER: Diplomacy, ladies and gentlemen, is the art of saying “nice doggy” until you can find a rock.