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.

November 17, 2005

Hey, everybody! Well, I don’t have much to report, really…these past two weeks I’ve been trying to study and catch up with my work. I’m trying to skip ahead a math class, for which I have to take a test immediately after Thanksgiving break, so I’m frantically trying to do a semester’s load of work in about two weeks.

This fortnight I went to two events with the Honors Student Association – a visit to the Orlando Philharmonic and a day of rock climbing near Lake Mary. The Philharmonic was beautiful – the orchestra played some wonderful music. Toward the second half I found myself dozing off, though – I had been up all night the previous night and the soothing music sort of sent me over the edge of drowsiness into slumber – but the music was beautiful all the same. No, really, it was.

Rock climbing was real fun but real exhausting. It ain’t as easy at it looks! By the end of the day my fingers and arms felt dead, but it was pretty fun.

I also went to the Daytona Beach Film Festival, where I saw several interesting things. The Student Film festival was held right here at Embry-Riddle, and I was interested to see exactly what kind of films kids my age were putting out there. Several were kind of weird, with emphasis on what I call ‘artsy’ kind of shots and angles, some were stereotyped and ridiculous, but others were funny and often thought provoking. I didn’t stay to the end – it was a bit too…pointless for me. You can’t really tell a story in fifteen minutes unless you cut out the artsy stuff and get down to it – and none of them tried enough, in my unlearned opinion. Guess I’m just too used to action movies.

I’m also working on my final programming project, which I have chosen to do in C rather than Matlab. So far it’s 2800 lines and doesn’t do what I want it to. Definition of irritation? The urge to smack your computer upside the drive for showing you unlimited streams of rubbish values. Ahhhh, the agony. I’ve gotta get this in order before Thanksgiving or I’m screwed. It’s only due in early December, but my memory is terrible and I don’t wanna have to pull another all nighter. Luckily I’m a psychic amnesiac – I know in advance what I’m gonna forget.

Anyway, between making up missed job shifts every day from 6 to 10 PM at the Annual Fund, my C project, studying a semester’s math while trying to balance my current math load, two papers due this week, staying up all night playing multiplayer computer games with my hall-mates and a physics test day after tomorrow, I haven’t had much time to do anything else. I’ve been getting a lot of emails from people around the globe, that’s pretty cool – I hope I’ve been able to help – keep ‘em coming and I’ll keep answering. My AIM is vedanayakjr and you can also email me at nayak48c@erau.edu or vedajr@gmail.com. Later!

November 2, 2005

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 20, 2005

Greetings from the beyond! How are ye all doing? Hope the past fortnight has been good to y’all, as it has been to meeee……

But before I begin this edition of Junior’s Jiving Journals, I’d like to remember herein Vinay’s dad, who died a few weeks ago of cancer. May his soul rest in peace. Vinay was a classmate of mine back in India, and let’s all hope he’s on his way to recovering from that loss.

Right. So what have I been doing this last week? Hmmm…well, let’s begin with the military. Unfortunately, I fell ill because of something I ate – fever, cramps, puking – the whole gross nine yards. It figures that the next day I would have to take the PFD for AFROTC – that’s the Physical Fitness Diagnostic, in prep for the very important PFT – Phy Fit Test. You have to do a minimum of 33 pushups, 40 situps and run a mile and a half in about 12.5 minutes at the crack of dawn.

Okay. Got up at 5 AM and puked. On an empty stomach. Ever tried that? Jogged over to the PT field and felt the sensation of Deja Fu (The feeling that somehow, somewhere, you’ve been kicked in the nuts like this before). As you can probably guess, I didn’t do my best. But considering how I felt, I did alright – I passed everything except the pushups – and missed the cutoff by just two. Just recently I took the PFT, and got a score of 90.5 out of a 100.

Which is not bad at all.

As for studies, things are settling down now. the trick is to stay ahead of your homework, then there’s plenty of time left for study and ROTC…and if you procrastinate, a bit of fun. But dates on the calendar are still closer than they appear!

I’m working on a design project for one of my classes – we design a payload of photography equipment and a rocket to take it into space. And when I say design, I mean design. Right from the CCD material to the rocket pad and fuel ejection systems, we design every nitty gritty detail and chalk our rocket together. It’s not easy – there’s a sh**load of calculations, parameters, integrations and factors that have to be taken into consideration.

Last weekend I saw a coupla movies, including BATMAN BEGINS in the Student Center and FLIGHTPLAN, which was not bad. I’d recommend it. Dan Ahdoot, a comedian, performed in the Student Center this Friday. I went to the beach a few times and chilled. Also my Air Force instructor has arranged visits to two Air Force Bases in November – Shaw and Charleston. We get to fly in Air Force planes on the way, so that promises to be a lot of fun.

I also went to DJ training this week but I wasn’t able to follow it up with the required three hours of training with another DJ while he’s doing a show – my schedule always conflicts…oh well, I’ll manage it sometime soon.

BiketoberFest is coming up soon, next weekend. People who were here last year say that if you can get out of Daytona, do – or buy yourself very expensive earphones to drown out the bikes! Gas prices will shoot up, Main Street will be snarled in traffic jams, motorbikes will be stolen…Homecoming is on October 28th, so there should be something fun to report there!

Also, as an Honors student, I have priority registration, which begins next Monday, so I ‘ll get first dibs on whichever class I want to take…no standing in line, no finding that a class I really want is full, no having to settle for classes at inconvenient times…I’m really bummed about my schedule this semester, so I intend to have all my classes in blocks that’ll allow me to sleep the hot afternoon away. Dont ask me what made them schedule a class from 4:45 to 5:45 PM – all I can say is that while some people drink at the fountain of knowledge – others only gargle.

Well, I think I have to study now (on a Saturday night!), so I’m gonna sign off with my motto and say goodnight. Keep those questions coming, and I’ll help out best I can… nayak48c@erau.edu, vedajr@gmail.com or AIM me at vedanayakjr. Goodnight, everyone…peace out!


MOTTO FOR THE FORTNIGHT: Show me a man with both feet planted firmly on the ground and I’ll show you a man who can’t get his pants off.

October 6, 2005

Hey, hey, hey , it’s time for your fortnightly shot of Junior’s Jiving Juice from yours truly, Veda Jr. A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away….

Whoops. Wrong reel. Backtrack…

Embry Riddle. Well, these two weeks sure have been momentous. I don’t think I ever realized how nice things like sleep and regular meals are, and I no longer remember what leisure time means. Sound familiar, anyone?

Earlier I had written about the AFOQT – my scores recently came in. Well, they aren’t great. And compared to my SAT scores, they’re dismal. But I’m pleased as punch, coz I expected to do much worse, what with time playing hide and seek so’s I can’t study. Free Time. It’s like a mirage. You think you see it, it almost crystallizes…then you realize you really imagined it. Well, I never wanted to be a pilot or nav, so that didn’t matter to me.

Anyway…The AFOQT consists of five subsets, each independent of the other. Pilot, Navigator, Academic Aptitude, Verbal and Quantitative. Their purposes are self-explanatory.

The scores are in nationwide percentile, and mine were – Pilot 52, Nav 71, AcApt 90, Verbal and Quantitative 86. I was pretty happy with the Pilot score – I’d have probably gotten a large zero if it hadn’t been for Cameron – he has a Private Pilot License and he gave me a crash course in how to interpret gauges and some common aviation FAQs, and I didn’t do bad at all. Nav was brilliant, donno how I managed that! I expected higher in Verbal and Math, but oh well.

Okay, another word before I quit about my military career. We had an ‘Ability run’ last Friday – we had to join a group based on how fast we could run 1.5 miles, or 2.4 kilometers. I joined the 10 minute and 30 second group because I thought I was in shape – on my scholarship PFT I ran it in 9 minutes so I thought it’d be a breeze. Guess what? WRONG! Some days you’re the dog, some days you’re the hydrant. But just this morning I ran the same distance in just over nine-and-a-half minutes. I’ve vowed to train regularly…if time doesn’t play truant again.

Hmmm…speaking of time, very early after my last entry I realized that I had tried to swallow an elephant, when I could only chew a chicken. My schedule got so frantic with ROTC, work, studies and all the clubs I had joined that I just had to dump some. Either that, or dare gravity from my fourth floor window. So I didn’t pursue either Arnold Air Society or the Motorcycle Club. I really want to join the AIAA, but their meetings are on Thursdays and I have to work Thursdays, but I’m hoping to resolve it somehow. As for the ISA, I’m dithering on that…maybe I’ll attend one of their meetings and then make up my mind. But I am definitely going to pursue being VJ the DJ!! Hopefully, as a second hand musician, I will be found noteworthy! (yes, the pun was deliberate) First training session is this weekend, so lets see what happens.

The day after I went to Ponce Inlet Park near Ormond Beach for the honors student association picnic. It was fun. In the wake of Rita, the waves were awesome…some were almost 5 feet above my head! I was half scared I’d drown coz I had just one week’s experience in staying afloat, but I quickly got the hang of riding the wave and letting it carry you toward the beach. Awesome! I can’t wait to learn swimming better so I can have even more fun diving into the waves.

Had my Math and Physics exams this week – I did okay, I’ve already done it all back in India. I also attended the Embry-Riddle chapel this Sunday – I guess I have a lot to be thankful for.

I have a job at the Annual Fund of Embry Riddle – the pay is marginally better than most jobs on campus. We call alumni for four hours a day, three days a week, including a compulsory Sunday, and ask them if they want to donate money back to our school. Money we get is used to help and enhance the experience of the students, and several student clubs and organizations depend on Annual Fund money to run and conduct activities. To my surprise, I made 2100 dollars in my first two days, which is some kind of record.

It’s a demanding job. It can get really boring at times, meeting the same responses, saying the same things. Well, if I had to relate all the anecdotes from my job at the Annual Fund, I’d be writing for ever, and I’m sure you have stuff to do, so I’m gonna sign off here. For those of you too lazy to scroll down, my contacts are vedajr@gmail.com, nayak48c@erau.edu, AIM vedanayakjr (I don’t use Yahoo or MSN – too much spam). If you have any questions at all, do contact me and I’ll be glad to help out best I can…till next time, cheers, dudes!


Motto for the fortnight: Always borrow money from a pessimist. They don’t expect it back. And if you do a good deed, get a receipt…just in case St Pete is like the IRS.

September 22, 2005

A big hello and welcome to Junior’s Jiving Journals, everybody! Join me as I take you through life here at Embry Riddle – and hopefully the ride won’t be too bumpy!

So let me introduce myself, take my bows. My name is Veda, aka VJ, and to those unfortunate people who feel like making a ‘Darth Vader’ joke (you know who you are), do yourselves a favor and don’t. That said, I am originally from Torrance, California, though I have lived for several years in India, near Bangalore, so I guess you could say I’m from either place. I’m in aerospace engineering (if you haven’t already gathered that). So far my activities include Air Force ROTC, the Honors Society and Student Association, the Indian Students Association, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, working at the Annual Fund, learning to swim, skate and keep ahead of the workload here at Riddle.

Now, onto the main event…

Well, where to begin? I feel overwhelmed just thinking about it. That first week of college rates as one of the most disorienting yet exciting times of my life. It’s all about how many roads you travel down before you admit that you are lost! It was especially so for me, cause I couldn’t attend most of the preliminary introductory stuff that happens over orientation, which began on the 24th for US citizens. I had a problem with my exit permit while leaving India, so I couldn’t fly on the 21st as planned and I missed Orientation ( Maybe that’s why they call airports Terminals). But I managed to get a flight to Chicago a week later, and landed up in Daytona Beach on the 27th local time, jet lagged to hell and back, but very excited at my first real taste of American life all on my own.

Well, because I arrived late I found I was behind on quite a few things, most of all on ROTC. So that meant running around…then running around some more…

Anyway, I got my Eagle card, checked into housing, met my roommate Cameron (who’s from Canada), and ran around campus like a headless chicken chasing down one thing or the other. But the fun began on my very first night at ERAU – we went to a show by a hypnotist, Tom DeLuca. I didn’t think I’d really see much that would impress me, cause I knew and I still know that it’s all one big trick, but what I saw there was so good it made me wonder just how much the hypnotist had paid his volunteers to make them do the crazy stuff that they did. It was the best hoax I have ever seen in my life – and if you weren’t as cynical as I am you’d have believed it, it was that good.

He sort of hummed to them (with a lot of flamboyant hand gestures for theatric effect), then for almost 75 minutes made them do and say and act out the nuttiest stuff.

He made one girl unable to say her name, another believe she was the ‘Chief of the Fun Police’ (she screamed obscenities at the crowd for laughing) and another to forget the number six. She knew she had ten fingers, and kept counting them, but got eleven, because she skipped from five to seven -and if it was an act, her perplexed face was pretty well rehearsed. Loads of other hilarious stuff too…in any case, trick or not, I laughed pretty hard, which made it an entertaining evening for me.

Well, the next big event was AFROTC. The others had started training and drill and gotten uniforms – there were loads of rules and protocols to be learnt. But I guess I was lucky – we’re all divided into groups called flights; my Flight Commander called me up and gave me a rundown of all the rules, and helped me out with the drill.

There’s still a lot I don’t know and a hell of a lot to remember or you get your hair yelled off (whatever’s left of it after the regulation haircut), but I think I’ve gotten the hang of it. And I donno about you, but I find a weird pleasure in yelling GOODMORNING, SIR! at the top of my lungs. And when you watch us practice, all the flights together, it does look impressively military.

Okay. So the first week, I was exhausted. I mean bone tired. I had been getting up at 4 AM to be at drill by 5:15, and going to bed at midnight so I could catch up on all my homework and studies. I had been going on all cylinders. I had put my head together only to find the rest of me had fallen apart. Monday was Labor Day, so I was looking forward to the extended weekend. But on Saturday I got an email saying that the Detachment was organizing relief for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. They would be filling up a 53 foot tractor trailer with supplies – mostly water – for the victims, and they needed Cadet Volunteers to drive around town from 1100 on Sunday and request local businesses to contribute money or supplies to help those poor people.

I got up at 10:00 AM (after my first eight hour straight sleep in a week) and read the email at 10:30. I gotta tell ya, I felt like ignoring it. What the heck, I might never have read it. Besides, it’s voluntary, right? And I’m weary, I haven’t eaten, and I just don’t feel like trudging around town in the stifling humid weather and asking people for money. But then I thought of all those people in New Orleans – I think we all have – and who knows – some day a hurricane could strike Florida and I may be stranded without help. So with a few others I drove around a part of town, and solicited local businesses help. There’s a lot of community spirit, and I think people really are helping the best they can.

A quick word about my classes – I’m taking Honors Humanities, which is good because Prof Kain’s classes are discussion based and really stimulating. Also I don’t have to take COM, a basic writing course – instead I’ll be focusing on Transhumanism and humanism with reference to Frankenstein, Goethe, Bacon and Sophocles. I’m also taking Calc I with Spradlin, Intro to Engineering (EGR 101), Intro to Computing (EGR 115) with Kindy, ROTC, Physics 150 and UNIV 101 – which is a class about making it through college, attending classes, that kind of stuff. I don’t think I really need to be told that – I’ll be spending almost a quarter of a million for that unique ERAU education, and since I’m not made of money (like some lucky folks), I don’t think attendance will be an issue with me!

Embry also has some awesome equipment in the Lehman Building and I can’t wait to get in there and try it out. I also learnt to swim! Yeah, I know it’s unbelievable that I didn’t know before, but Cameron’s a champ swimmer, he competed at the Junior National Level in Canada, so I learnt pretty quick. I also intend to learn skating, cause it’s just such a pain walking across campus from class to class.

I also went to the Student Activities Fair last week. All the clubs and sororities and fraternities set up booths along a long walkway, and you can walk down, see what you’re interested in and sign up! They have clubs for everything – from flying to Japanese sword fighting, from space payload design teams to a model UN…and everything in between.

I joined the AIAA, the Indian Students Association, the Motorcycle Club, Arnold Air Society…and…the radio station! That’s right – if my application is accepted I will be on the Eagles Radio waves as VJ the DJ! Everyone here at Riddle is so busy, but if enough people call in I’m thinking of doing a request show or something. So you all better tune in and jive to my music and tell me if I suck or not (Statutory Warning: If you think I suck I reserve the right to tell you to stuff it in a possibly graphic manner).

Recently I went with the Honors guys to the beach – we had some fun, swam in the waves, surfed, played beach volleyball, pigged out and stuff like that. I wanted to go along with some pals to watch LORD OF WAR but couldn’t…because I had to take the AFOQT the next day. That’s the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test, which you have to take if you wanna be a fighter jockey or wizzo…or graduate as an officer, for that matter.

Despite the crazy schedule, the humidity, the lack of sleep and the irregular meals – I’m enjoying myself, I’m happy, and hey, what more can you ask for!

Well, that’s it from me for now – I’ll be back in two weeks with more! You can catch me by email at vedajr@gmail.com or nayak48c@erau.edu. My AIM is vedanayakjr, although I’m not on AIM very often. So if you have any questions, comments or insane ravings to share, do feel free to get in touch, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

Till next time, keep jiving, dudes!

MOTTO FOR THE FORTNIGHT: Beware of the toes you step on today…they may be attached to butt you’ll have to kiss tomorrow.