Well Hello! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Here I go. I'm going to keep this shorter than normal, because time is precious for you as well as I. ALSO, there are a couple of update letters/notes for this year already on my site.
Unlike previous letters, I'm going to talk a bit more about the future than the past, because I can smell change in the air. After my summer at NASA I'm really excited to get out there for a career. So here are the plans I have...
I am working on the PICONET (web site, jump to this in this letter ) and plan to get some 55 gauges deployed at Will Rogers World Airport, after that it becomes a matter of network maintenance and working on the data that we get (plus the old data we have). This summer I'll be studying again (ever increasing as time goes) for the 2nd taking of the Qualifying Exam (my last chance at it) in early September. As the year goes on, I'll be working on the thesis based on a combination of Piconet data and the work I began at NASA over the summer.
If I pass the exam, then it's the general exam (topic specific oral exam with my committee) come late winter 2002 (Feb/March?) then the thesis defense in April/May and a May 2002 graduation.
If I fail the exam, then there is no turning back. I'll see if EVAC will keep me on into the spring, and finish the thesis work I've begun. But in either case, I plan to try to establish a career with NASA Goddard (either as an MS or PhD - I'm not too stressed about which). I can tell that that group I worked with and I are a compatible match. NASA is where I can shine - scientifically.
Will I still get a teaching certification, probably not. There just isn't time and this year will be busy enough without it!
My daily life in a snapshot:
Exercise: I'm working out with a personal trainer (Randy Coffey) at a gym called Sooner Fitness. I'm also training some of my co-workers (at EVAC). I've increased my lean (muscle and bone) weight from 124 in 1992 to 153 presently. Woohoo! I'm bicycling again (when it is above 20F) and ran the Chicago Marathon (go to the top) for the second time. Scott was sick and healing and could not finish, but he linked me up with a strong (good lookin') runner babe who kept me at a strong pace for 3/4ths of the run. The GPS confirmed my speed, and I finished it an hour faster than last year ( I wanted to be just under 4 hours, and finished in 4 hours 4 (chip final) - only 5 minutes too slow).
I'm working on getting A+ computer certification (a test I'll take in January). Star Trek Night is going strong with new Voyagers and Babylon 5's each week. There is also a bunch of chocolate and food each week. You can see what's up there (and if you are close enough to come- come on over!) at www.bikerjohn.com .
At work, I've been going through the LONG process of rebuilding rain gauges (hand machining many parts - taking 1/10ths of mm's of metal off screws and such). I mostly have only the three calibrations performed on each gauge left to do. That is still a bunch of work. We will be setting them in pairs in a 5X5 grid at World Rogers World Airport. (If my gauges had been there a month ago, a fatal small plane crash would have destroyed gauge site #19!). We are getting a great picture of how rainfall varies in small space and time scales.
In other interests:
I'm keeping up with astronomy and meteorology research topics and papers and texts. I'm playing viola at church and am interim house church pastor. I've written an exploration of astrology and it's possible roots in the gospel of the Bible (check it out here). I've kept up with X-Files (kinda good still) and have seen few movies (not enough time!). I've played with a hard rock (I think they might label some of their songs as grunge) in the last month in Guthrie, OK. They are going on tour from Chicago to New York over January (I might be able to play with them on their first venue in Chicago- but I'm too busy to go tour for a month).
My dumb cats are going great (they sleep on each other now - it's sweet). Jason is getting Married to a great girl who will soon be known as Nikki Levit (June I believe) and Mike is working on finishing his (I think he'd call it dumb, or stupid right now) MS thesis. The days of the Castle are coming to and end. :(
I've pulled out my Mesa Net (the rain gauges out at Black Mesa Oklahoma). But I really love the couple (Vicki and Monty Joe Roberts) who run the Bed and Breakfast out there go to http://www.ccccok.org/bmbb.html and make some reservations NOW... No- do it NOW!
I've tried to get out to Arizona a number of times this year, and a bunch of different things have messed me up. I'll try again in January or early February. It's only 18 hours away, but it seems like Arizona is 1,000 light years away! I can't wait to see Scott E. Long's new house and new situation room. Scott- I'll get there eventually!!!
We've had a nasty sleet storm (1 inch of water = 3 inches of sleet= tons of ice!) this week and some REAL cold weather. Neat -O!
Now some quick points:
Computer things I like:
Maximum Linux Magazine
A laptop (thanks Dad) that can connect to the internet via a cell phone (thanks Mom).
The Myth Series by, Robert Aspirin ( www.amazon.com )
The Robert Jordan Series - The Wheel of Time (Thanks Dee)
The Terry Goodwin Series - The Sword of Truth
The Left Behind Series - Tim Lahay and Jerry B. Jenkins
Most awesome dude/ bro:
Scott Shideler ( :) ).
Well, that's probably good for now. I'll type in more notes throughout
the year- so each installment of John E updates will be a bit smaller. (Yipiee).
Merry Christmas and get closer to Jesus.