Melanie and Fuel Cell Locomotives

July 7, 2009

It’s neat to be news!

http://www.cnn.com/video/?/video/tech/2009/06/29/dnt.ks.hydrogen.train.ktka

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Holy Toledo Batman! A new post!

February 22, 2009

So, if i counted all the posts I’ve started since my last one back in… November… it would be a double digit number.

I’m really going to post this one, even if it’s only half finished.

I just finished a long bit of travel.  In three weeks, I went to Washington DC, Southern Arizona, and Irvine, CA.  The really sad part is that I was totally sick for the Arizona trip, which was arguably the most fun.  I went out to see some solar panels at Fort Huachuca, which is only 16 miles from Tombstone and Bisbee.  So, once I’d seen the panels, I got to go on a western movie tour.  Pictures will be up soon… I hope.

I presented my first paper in California.  That was totally nerve wracking.  Everyone tells me it went well, I just hope they are telling me the truth.  The paper was on the fuel cell locomotive I’ve been working on since i started at CERL back in June. 

I also managed to see family on two of these trips.  I spent an evening with my Uncle Bill and Aunt Hanna in DC.  Uncle Bill took me to the new part of the Air and Space museum by Dulles airport, which was really cool.  Its a huge hanger full of old planes.  Highly recommend it and wish I’d more time to explore it.  I also saw my cousins in LA while i was in California.  Bill, Stephanie, and their baby Aiden made sure I didn’t eat by myself while I was at the concert and I had a great time meeting Aiden.  Again, hopefully, some pictures coming soon, though my battery was dead while I was in DC. 

Now, the next trip I have scheduled is to Seattle in mid March.  I’ll beware the ides while I fly.  Anyone going to be around?

Phoenix and Fuel Cells

November 1, 2008

My most recent trip took me to Phoenix, AZ for the Fuel Cell Seminar and Exposition.  It was a really interesting week.  I think the entire fuel cell industry (well almost) at least shows up at this event.  Though, the coolest part (and the only part with pictures) was a Ride-and-Drive event with several fuel cell cars.  Honda, Mercedes, GM, Toyota, and Hyundai all brought fuel cell vehicles to the seminar and let us seminar-attendees drive them!  I’ve put pictures up on Picasa of me in the cars as proof.  They were really cool cars, and incredible quiet.  The only “engine” noise you could hear in any of the cars was a soft whir from the air compressor.  My pick for best in show was the Honda FX Clarity.  It handled great and had tons of power.  The GM Fuel Cell Equinox was a close second.  The Honda could get 280 miles on only 4kg of hydrogen!  The GM had a range of 180 miles on 4kg.  So if you live in southern CA and have $600 to drop on a monthly car least, you should consider the Honday Clarity. 

Business Travel

October 5, 2008

So,  I’m doing a lot of travel for work this month.  Even though it keeps me away from home and i don’t get to use my own bed and shower and all that, not to mention that i’m really awful at living out of the suit case, i think it will be pretty fun.  For one think, i get to read lots and lots of books.  I just finished Water for Elephants  by Sara Gruen and it was an amazing book.  I also just finished the first in Stephanie Meyers Twight series.  I have to go pick up the second one tomorrow.  That book i read in less than 24 hours… Pretty crazy for someone who reads as slow as i do.  I think Danny is starting to really contemplate forcing me to the library rather than the bookstore.  hehe. 

There are also a few things i like about travelling.  First, you get to turn the AC really really cold.  Then, when you stay at a Hilton with these delicious feather comforters, you can snuggle down under one and sleep like a baby.  I also like it when i get to go really cool place.  For instance, I just returned from Disney World!  I was at a conference on Space Based Solar Power (which is exactly what is sounds like and really is that crazy) and i got to visit the park while i was in town.  Below is my awesome video of the fireworks at Cinderella’s castle!  I’m going to New Jersey on Tuesday for a much more dull and shorter trip.  Then I have a couple weeks off before i go to Phoenix.  I think a trip to Topeka, KS will get thrown into my two weeks off though.  Sad. 

Anyway, enjoy the video and the photos i put on picasa of the Disney Adventure.  I have to admit, though it was really fun, it would be more fun with company!!

 

Yikes! It’s Hurricane Ike!

September 15, 2008

So, this weekend our parents both met hurricane Ike up close and personal.  I’ve put their pictures up in the picasa albums, so you’ll see that damage near them mostly includes downed trees and some missing shingles.  They were really lucky and blessed to be out of the worst part of the storm.  As of today, both sets of parents have electricity back.  My parents volunteered at our church’s Red Cross shelter last night and cut up a downed tree in the back yard today.  It looks like everything will go back to normal for them on Wednesday.

That is not the case for people closer to the coast and on Galveston island.  They need all your prayers while they wait to begin to rebuild or relocate.  For the really dramatic pictures you can check Houston local news: www.khou.com or www.click2houston.com .  Both have lots and lots of slide shows and videos.

Sunday up here was pretty exciting when we got Ike’s tropical depression remnants.  It was windy and rainy and awful Sunday morning.  Our church’s roof was leaking all over the choir loft, which forced last minute changes to the service… And this morning i discovered that my office had leaked and my carpet was very smelly!  The offending carpet tiles have been removed to dry… I hope to have wall to wall carpet restored tomorrow ;-).  We have some cool pictures of the pond here at the apartment that i will post once i have normal pictures for comparison :-).

Goodnight!

Wisconsin Weekend

September 3, 2008

We had lots of fun over the weekend visiting our friends Mitch, Travis, and Kimbie in Madison Wisconsin!  The last time I visited up there it was very very cold and the beautiful lakes that boarder the city were frozen solid.  This trip was very different and we discovered that Madison is really a very nice place in the summer. 

Our friends took us up to a lake outside the city and we hiked around it Sunday morning.  There are some pictures of the hike in the picasa album.  Here’s one of my favorites:

 

The Devils Door

The Devils Door

It was a very fun weekend trip and an excellent way to use a long weekend.  

In other news…
I am totally torn over what curtain rods to use.  I bought the two different styles below.  The twisty ones are only a single rod, while the silver ones are double rods.  Now, I just can’t decide if i want to hang only sheers or something just slightly more opaque or if i want a layered look on the double rods.  I’m really conflicted. any votes?
  

Wow!

August 27, 2008

I have haven’t written here in forever!  I bet i don’t have a single reader left, but i guess that’s okay. 

Well, since Rex joined us, lots of stuff has happened!
1.  I started work for the Army Corps of Engineers.  I am working in group that installs and tests fuel cells and other renewable technology at various installations around the country.  Pretty exciting.  I was already part of a war game at Fort Irwin, CA.  There are a few pictures from it in the picasa web album.  I really enjoy my new job and I think its a good job for me. 

2.  We’ve been married for a WHOLE YEAR!  WOW!  That happened fast.  We still really like being married.  Its way cool to live with your best friend. 

3.  We’ve moved!  We finally got tired of our noise upstairs neighbors, so we moved (not far) to a nice apartment complex and an upstairs apartment.  my favorite thing about can be seen in the picture….all the wonderful WINDOWS!!!!
I finally got all the box out of the living and dining room this week while Danny was in CA for a conference, so it looks more homey in here.  The only thing that i think really makes me sad in the new place is the smaller cabinet space in kitchen.  Its a nice kitchen.. just a little less space in the cabinets than at the last place.  Ah well, everything else about it MUCH better.

So that’s what’s been happening around here.  In less significant news, we saw out first demolition derby which was interesting and kinda fun, but really really LOUD!  We also went to the state fair in Springfield, IL which was pretty fun.  We saw the Lincoln presidential library/museum while we where there along with the old capital building where he served in the state legislature.  The library had some of the coolest theatres we’d ever seen.  One of them was a holographic theatre and for all my nerd friends out there it was like being in the sickbay on Voyager.  haha.

Well, that’s it for now.  I promise to try to update more frequently!

Meet Rex

June 4, 2008

I’ve been meaning to write a post of a long time, but scrap booking has gotten in the way or doing a lot of things.  Once i get started, i just can’t stop.  I finally finished the wedding scrapbook today!

We visited Texas a couple weeks ago to get our new Toyota Rav 4.  We saw our families, and visited Danny’s grandparents down in Harlingen, TX, went to see David in Austin and helped celebrate his graduation, and then we saw Julie in Fort Worth where she’s working for the summer.  I’ve put pictures up on picasa, so enjoy! 

This is Rex, the new car

It’s already May?

May 1, 2008

Wow!  I can’t believe that its already May!  I am graduating with my masters on May 11th, my 24th birthday was April 28, and we’re getting a new car on May 13th.  What an eventful few weeks. 

The last day of classes for this semester was Wednesday, but my last class (and Danny’s) was on Tuesday.  Neither of us have any finals, so we’re really pretty much done.  My parents are coming up here on May 9th for graduation and we’re going to spend a couple days seeing Chicago before coming back to Champaignfor commencement.  Danny decided not to walk and save all the glory for his PhD graduation in a few years.  We’re going home with my parents on the 12th and (hopefully) picking up the new car in Houston on May 13th.  After that the plans are a bit fuzzier.  We’re hoping to see his grandparents who live down on the boarder and visit Mexico for some shopping and tasty food.  Melissa lives down there too, so I’ll see her also if we make it down there.  I really hope that fits into the plans. 

Oh, and thank you to everyone for making my birthday great!  I had so many messages and calls!  Thanks guys, i felt very special!

Earthquake!

April 18, 2008

This morning we awoke to our very first earthquake!  We weren’t really aware of the seismic activity in Illinois, but apparently there are some moderately active fault lines here.  We’re in the Ozark Dome region that seems a moderate earthquake like what we had this morning every decade or so.  Mostly it just rattled all the glasses in my cabinets and made us think that our upstairs neighbors had taken up some even more annoying hobby.  I felt an aftershock here in my office on campus about 15 minutes ago. 

The earthquake occurred at 4:36AM about 140 miles south of us.  The google map below shows how you would drive to the earthquake location.   The USGS reports that it was 5.2 magnitude quake, but there wasn’t much damage.  There is a fault line south of us called the New Madrid zone that is much more active and has more powerful earthquakes.  This next little picture shows where the Ozark Dome boundaries are. 
The peak of the zone is just about where Champaign is, so i guess its not so unusual that we’d feel a few earthquakes now and then.  Here is a link to the USGS summary of our little quake: Illinois Quake April 18th, 2008.  The next (and last earth quake image is the shake map from the USGS.  You might have to clickon the map and see it in full size to actually see the detail.  Champaign didn’t see much shaking, but it was definitely enough to wake us up. 

I guess this is one natural disaster that i can mark off my list.  I always wanted to know what an earth quake felt like without anyone getting hurt and damage occurring.  I think i got my wish this morning.  I have to say, earthquakes are very disorienting since we generally consider the Earth to be so stationary.  I think my friend who lives in a taller apartment building felt it worse than we did. 

Just forgive any grumpy Illini this morning, we had a very early wake up call!

 

In other news, we loaded Danny’s poor old station wagon on to a truck this morning to go back to Texas.  I hope the Bug mobile has a very nice trip, we’ll miss that old car.  Bye bye Bug Mobile, we’ll see you in Texas in just a few weeks!