Saturday, December 13, 2008

Once in a Life time....

(So this is Rachelle's first blog on our blog)

You may or may not have heard this yet, but President Bush
came to Texas A&M on Friday to speak at the graduation commencement. Our friend Paul was graduating and since his family was not able to come out for it, he and his wife invited us to go with them. I must say that it was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

We left the house at 8:30 am, parked and had to go through security at the door. They had metal detectors and also you had to stand spread eagle and be scanned by the metal wand things. They allowed cameras but you had to turn it on to go through security so they could verify that it was an actual working camera. Paul sat on the floor with the rest of the grad students and we were far up to the side.

As we were waiting, on one side of the stage 10 cadets dressed in white lined the stairs to the stage.

First they announced the board of regents and A&M staff that came on the stage. Next was announced "The former First Lady, Barbara Bush" Big applause. Next "The 41st president of the united states George Herbert Walker Bush." and finally as the whole audience waited in anticipation,

"Please welcome the 43rd President of the United States, George Walker Bush." The audience exploded in cheers. I must say I was so overwhelmed. Never in my life did I believe that I would be able to be in the same room as the President.

The commencement started and the Cadet Choir Sang the Natio
nal Anthem (how cool is it that I was looking at the same flag as the president as we sang the National anthem)

Next Barbara Bush, who is recently home from the hospital introduced her husband (he's a former aggie and a great support at A&M, he comes to all the home games and his presidential library is here). Former President Bush got up and said "My son said to keep it short. So without further ado, the president of the united states!" Seriously, 3 sentences!!!

President Bush is hilarious and inspiring at the same time. His biggest message to the graduates was about determination and service. He shared a story with us about a soldier he met in a hospital. He had lost both his legs but told the president that he was determined to run again. President Bush told the man that when he was ready to run to let him know and he would run with him. President Bush related that 6 months later he got a call at the oval office and it was this soldier who told him he was ready to run. He came to the whitehouse with his steel legs and they ran around the white house. Bush said "and I'll tell you, he left his commander and chief in the dust"

He also talked about service. Texas a&m is a school dedicated in so many ways to service and he told us all that service makes us better people. He talked a
bout how his dad was a man who was able to have values and be in politics and told us that we should all strive to do service, whether your in the military or a school teacher.

The best advice that he gave was "Listen to your mother and do what you think is right even if it’s not popular,"

A couple of the funny things he said:

*"Mom, I haven't had a chance to thank you for this, thanks for my gray hair."

*A and M has a tradition around their mascot Reveille which is an actual dog. There is a cadet unit whose job is to take care of reveille and she goes with th
em to class. It is a standing rule on campus that if Reveille barks in class, class is immediately dismissed. Bush was referring to how cool he thought this was and he said "That would have come in handy at a few press conferences."

Overall it was just amazing to be in his presence and to hear his great words of wisdom. This is the last commencement he will give as President. To be there and to witness this will be something that I will always remember and cherish!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot such a cool part. Afterwards, Sean Joni and I were waiting by their car waiting for Paul to join us. Well, Airforce One landed in Waco because the airport here is too small and he was helicoptered in to college station on "Marine One". Well it turns out that the helicopters were like 200 yards from where the car was. All the sudden a big helicopter flew overhead that said United states of America on the side.....then a couple minutes later 2 MORE helicopters that looked just like it flew over head. If that wasn't cool enough, two massive Apache helicopters flew over top. They were so big. My camera was out of memory so I was able to get a picture of one on my cell phone as it flew away!!

This was one of the coolest days ever!!!


The really good pictures are from news articles, and the long distance ones are from my camera.

If you would like to read the entire speech, it is posted on the white house webiste. here is the link to the speech.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hallelujah, the prodical blogger returns

It seems like every time that I get on to blog, I am saying sorry for not blogging for so long. Nobody even checks this any more would be my bet, but hey, it is still fun anyhow, and I figured that an update would be nice and what not. So, here is what is going on with us. We had an interesting halloween. We like halloween, and if you would like to see all the really cool decorations that Rachelle made for this year, check out her really cool creativity blog.

We had a bit of a get together fiasco though. We were going to have a few friends over and get some jack-o-lanterns to breath fire. So, Rachelle was going to pick up the pumpkins right after work on friday, and I was going to get the dry ice that you need for good home made root beer. Needless to say, Rachelle tried 9 store to no avail, and I tried 3 and got the same result. So instead we just ended up eating the good food we made, and played Dr. Mario all night. It was still fun, especailly due to the dressing up.
Yeah, so needless to say, both Paul and Joni looked good, but their pet bumble bee looked awesome. I got a little hungry though, and had to open up the jelly belly's to get a snack.
So needless to say, that was a fun night.

We also have taken up a new fun hobbie. Plus, we also picked it so that we can get in shape. We bought road bikes. So, most of you know that I have been a mountain biker for years, and I have never really even considered being a road biker, but around here, there isn't much mountain biking to be done. So, we got Giant OCR1 road bikes. They are really nice, but were the '08 model, so we got a really good deal. Plus we got some really cool hoists to put them in the garage, and have some room to actually walk around.

They are basically the same bike. Rachelle's has a different seat, toe clips as opposed to my clipless. And then we have her headset is set positive, and mine is set negative. We both have cyclocomputers, and then I have a saddle pack to hold the tools that we need in case we have any problems on the road. We have been a few rides, and Rachelle is really starting to get the hang of it. It took me a while to realize how much I know about bikes. I love bikes. So, needless to say, I am really happy about the fact that we are now bikers, and I have to say that we look really good in biking clothes.

We also went to the TRF, which is the Texas Rennisance Festival. It is the larges ren fair in the country, or so I am told. It was, as usual, a blast. We of course dressed up, as usual.
It was fantasy weekend, so we did the fun colored hair. We got me a rapier, and Rachelle a stiletto. Plus we also got her a Bodice. Next year we want to get her a dress, and me a good frog for my sword and possibly a dagger. Man, I love dressing up. It is just fun. Well, other than that, we are just working from day to day, and trying to stay caught up with life. We are having fun, and Rachelle is finally starting to like Texas a bit, but we still hate the fact that there are no mountains here. Oh well, life is still good, and oh yeah, we finally got our bathroom fixed. Maybe I will blog about that later, but then with my record, who know how long that will take.

Hope you all are doing awesome.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A day in Hell

So, it has been an interesting couple of weeks. So to start with, on the fourth of july Rachelle and I decided to take a nap. We heard that there was some dripping coming from the wall. It was a little odd, so we went into the bathroom next door. There was some standing water on the floor. Earlier that week I had cleaned up water on the floor that I thought had come from the toilet. So, I replaced the wax seal because I could find no cracks. Well, that was obviously not the problem because it came back, along with dripping. So, I decided to cut a hole in the wall to find, and hopefully stop the problem.

I found the problem, and got a bucket under it to catch the water, and called in a plumber. I got up in the attic with the plumber, and low a behold, he could not get up to the location to fix the problem, so he just told me what to do to fix it. It was the A/C condensation drain. On my way out of the attic, I lost my footing, and the sheetrock that is on the ceiling is not a very good floor to use when in the attic, which I found out the hard way.

About 3 hours later, it started leaking again. Thankfully I had a bucket handy. So due to the fact that the plumber didn't seem to keen to be there in the first place(despite the $300 we payed him) so we got him back the following tuesday. So he cut out the P drain and found more junk in the drain than in any A/C drain he has ever seen in 26 years of plumbing, and this problem is not uncommon.

So, next we had an A/C guy come check our our A/C because it wasn't working to well as it stood. Each day, it went up to around 80 in our livingroom. So when he checked that out, he found that the main component of our A/C unit, the condenser was just about shot. So we decieded that we would change that out as well, because not having A/C in the summer in Texas is like being in Alaska in the winter without a furnace or really good stove. So we decided to get it replaced, and that night, the temp never went below around 75. So we called the next day, and they said that they could come the following day and set it up. That night was pretty much torture. Rachelle can't really sleep when it is hot, and it was around 80 in our house all night. Well the next day they were supposed to be here by 9 AM. Well, they finally came around 11:30. I was supposed to go to Houston with my friend Brandon. I took the time to go out to lunch with him, but couldn't really go all the way to Houston with guys working on my house. So came back home and did projects at home while they worked. It started getting even warmer. By around 3 or so, I figured that I was descending into the jaws of Hell itself.

And it only got warmer as the day went on. They had to change one of the ducts, and so it was open for a while, plus the intake was in the attic, meaning that for a while, the attic was cooler than the house.

For a while, there it was alot nicer outside the house with the nice breeze blowing. Needless to say it was a long couple of weeks. So, there you go, my life so far over the past couple of weeks. Life is good, as ever, and that is kinda the way life goes...

And two blogs in one day. Man, that must be some sort of record.

Memory, memory, anybody got a memory

Memory game! This is a fun one so participate or I'll poke you in the eye. (These are the words of my friend who convinced me to put this on my blog. What can I say, I value my eyesight!)

1. As a comment on this post, leave a memory that you and I (or Rachelle) had together. It doesn't matter if you know me a little or a lot, anything you remember!

2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It's about Freakin' time!!!!!! (a life update)

So, I am alive. Not by much, but I am alive. So here is the scoop. I have a very different perspective on my time here in texas, and here is why, Everything has changed. I have changed my degree to a Masters in Chemical Education. So yeah, pretty different than a Ph.D in Chemistry, but it is a much better option. So here is the when, the why, and the what the heck.

Well, I switched to Masters about 2 months ago, and have just been really busy and I am just now getting around to telling everyone. It took a good couple of months to switch, and a trip to the temple to make sure I wasn't making a bad choice, but it is now done, and I am in the thick of my new degree.

Why, because I recently admitted to myself that I hate research. Don't get me wrong, I dig playin' around in the lab, but research is just to much for me. It can get really, really discouraging. Needless to say, a 10 percent success rate on reactions is pretty good in chemistry, and I was not diggin' that. Well, I have always wanted to teach, and I came here to get a degree so that I could do just that. So, switching to chem ed means that I will still be able to do that, I will not have to kill myself doing something that I hate for the next 3 or so years.

So what does it all mean. Well, it means just this:
I will be done in one year
The research I do will be an educational project, and will be done in the fall/spring this year
I will be taking classes again, and I am now
I will no longer be stuck in a lab all day
I can tutor more, which means a little more money
I will still be teaching labs each semesters
I will teach in High School or community college instead of a university
I will now retain more of my life because I will no longer inhale braincell killing chemicals all day
Overall, I am HAPPY.

I have been a bit less happy than I used to be due to hating research, and once I admitted that to myself, I have new life. Man, I actually like waking up and going to school in the morning. Well, ok, so I still don't like waking up, but I like going to school.

Well, I have been taking a class this summer, an educational technology class, online. I hate online classes. I have never really liked the idea of an online class, but now I know from experience that I am not a fan, and it is even worse because it is summer. I have had to learn more about excel, I learned filemaker pro (a database program) inspiration (a content mapping software), and I am now learning dreamweaver, (a webediting program). And all this in just 4 weeks. It has really kicked my butt. I have also had to teach lab twice a week, and do the labs as well, so I have been quite busy. Rachelle has been alot happier due to the fact that I am no longer miserable.

So, all in all, we are really busy, but happy. It is a good life, supposing I survive this class.

Monday, April 21, 2008

NOOO! Not summer, anything but Summer!!

For the past month, the weather here has been awesome. I love the whole 70-80 degree thing, and the nights are pretty cool, mostly around 60. It has been really quite nice. Relaxing in the awesome hammock is the coolest, and working in the yard is not torture. Oh the great spring weather in Texas.

But, this morning I woke up to something quite disturbing. It was warmer outside than it was inside at 8 in the morning, which can mean only one thing. Summer. (if you listen carefully enough, you can hear a piece of me dying) I hate Texas summers. They are hot, they are humid, I am sticky, and there is no relief unless you have air conditioning. The shade is the same temperature as in the sun. It is just wrong. (more dying)

I have only one hope, fall. It is now only a short 7 or so months away. I now begin the long trek through summer, and hope that dehydration does not take me before I get to fall. It very well may, and I may welcome it, it depends on how hot it gets this year. I pray for rain. Please, if you call yourself friend, pray with me.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The epic battle continues

I have finally gotten around to putting music on my blog. Do I dig, it? Well, it doesn't really matter, because I do not have speakers on my computer at work were I normally check blogs, so it does nothing in respect to my own listening experience. Not to mention I am usually listening to my sansa when I am at work any way. So, I really did it for you, my dedicated readers (all three of you), so I hope you like it. I am more than willing to change the playlist to suit your own fancy, so go ahead and fill me in on the changes you want.

There is one part about the music that does bother me, granted, it has nothing to do with the music itself. I use Mozilla Firefox for all my web browsing needs. I am well aware of the fact that most use Internet explorer, and I used to be one of them. I have been converted by firefox. It is awesome, and I love all the features it has, not to mention it is way more user friendly than explorer. So, I use it almost exclusively. There are two things that firefox does not due the way I like it. First, the music on blogs overlaps onto the posts, which makes it really hard to read at times. The second is launchcast radio. It is only compatable with explorer. I hate both, so the battle continues, will I use firefox because it rocks, or will I use explorer because everyone else does. Well, most of you are very aware of the fact that I do not always do what everyone else does, so I will stick with firefox, unless I am using launchcast, which is pretty seldom anyhow.

I would also at this time like to encourage all of you to go ahead and try firefox. It is awesome. Plus if you like to listen to music while you are online, you can also put on foxytune which allows you to change your music (track, pause, volume, etc.) right from the bottom corner of you browser. Man I dig computers!!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Bet Gone Really Wrong.

Many, if not all of you are aware of my peanut allergy. Many of you are also aware of my aversion to peanuts and any peanut containing concoction. Well, I have recently learned the history of how peanuts have come to be a food item. It began long ago as a bet. Centuries ago, there was a tribe of people that lived in a region where peanuts would grow wild. One day, one of the children of this tribe bet another child that he would not eat a peanut. You see, long before this, the peanut was periodically eaten when there was nothing else to eat, but when a chieftain ate one and died, they were seen as the devil's food. (they are grown beneath the ground anyways) So, a bet to eat a peanut was quite the bet. Well, this child decided to take his friend up on the bet, ate one, and did not die. So, this practice of eating peanuts became a show of strength and the lack of fear. Those with a peanut allergy would die, those without it would survive. From that point it became more and more extravagant, having to grind up the peanut and eat the paste, or mixing it with other equally deadly foods. Later when explorers saw this, they tasted the peanuts, and peanut butter, and due to the fact that they were delirious from their adventures so far, they recognized it for the protein it contained and convince themselves that it actually tasted good, and from there it was all history. So the next time you sit down to eat anything containing peanuts, remember that you are eating the devils food that is only food because of a bet gone wrong!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

One more barrier passed!!

So, I recently found out that I passed my fifth cumulative exam. As a graduate student in chemistry at Texas A&M, you are required to pass 5 cumulative exams. These exams are given the second saturday of each month, and there are test from each division of chemistry. (organic, inorganic, analytical, physical, biological, and sometimes nuclear) You have your choice of which to take, and so you can look them over, and take one of them. Granted, once you are there looking at the tests, you have to take one. Generally, people will take the one from the division that they are in, but it is not required by any means.

Well, the professors write them, and hence have to grade them, so it tends to take a long time to get results back from a cume, but just the other week, I found out that I have passed my fifth. You are allowed to take 15, and you have to finish by the time you have been able to take 20. Yeah, kinda strange, but that is how it works. Well, due to the fact that I was gone one semester, I had until February to pass five. I passed my fourth in september, but the cumes from Oct. and Nov. where just not my cup of tea, or perhaps they were cups of tea, and I just prefer hot chocolate, I am not quite sure. But alas, the cume from December was a good one, and perfectly suited for someone from my research group. Needless to say, I Aced it like a mad fiend! It was a good feeling to not only be done, but to finish it out with a good solid A.

Since we got back from our christmas vacation though, it seems as if we haven't stopped. The few nights we don't have anything going on already, we plan nights with friends. While in the end this means that we don't really have any free nights these days, we are sure having alot of fun. In fact, the other day, the Moores came over and we had a rematch game of squabble seen it. It is one of the many versions of the poplular game Seen It. Yeah, the movie game. This one is basically guys vs. girls, or as the box states, Chick Flicks vs. Guy Picks. The first time we played it was a couple of weeks ago, and the guys won. And in the rematch, we won yet again. Plus to top it all off, we won by shouting out The Princess Bride before the girls could get it. (nice work Paul) Needless to say, we have been having a blast.

I have also started a new D&D gaming session with a few people I know from school. In fact, there are two guys that I know from chemistry, and then their significant others. Sadly one lives in San Antonio, so she can not often come to play, but the rest of us have alot of fun. I hope it continues to be as fun as it is now. We stopped playing for some time because it was no longer fun, but hey, people change, and your life changes. It can't be helped, and even if it could be helped, I am not sure I would want it to.

Rachelle has also picked up quite the project. You see, there are quite a number of dancing groups here on campus, and so they decided to get together, and do their own little 'So You Think You Can Dance' competition. Granted it is just each group showing off their own style, and then doing one of the other styles also. Well, Jackie, one of the older students in our lab is in a group that does traditional mexican dances. They happened to draw ballroom out of the hat, so Jackie asked Rachelle is she would choreograph a number for them, so she is. She worked with them on Sunday and will work with them more tonight and thursday night, and then the competition is on Friday. She has had alot of fun putting the number together, and I had some fun with this fun little program called audacity. It is a freeware music editing program that I found, ans so far I really like it. I took the song that Rachelle is using (Short Skirt, Long Jacket by Cake) and cut it down to about 2 minutes, and slowed it down by about 10% or so. It was alot of fun doing it, and plus it is now perfect for the number. I hope the routine works out like Rachelle wants it to.

Well, there is much more I could talk about, but I am out of time, so until I post again, I hope you all have a freakin awesome January (and February as will if it comes to that)