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October 01, 2011

Happy October

   Pictured is a wind turbine in the Blue Sky Green Field wind farm.  There were two wind farms on the way to Manitowoc, and this one was very close to us.  As we approached, Amber asked if we get closer to one of the turbines—something I had very much wanted to do. Although I have stopped at two wind farms in the past, I've never been next to a turbine while it was running, and had always wondered how it sounds.  With a steady breeze, all the turbines were turning steadily.  Doing a simple second count, I estimated they were turning about 15 RPM.  After reading about the field, I found I was fairly close—they turn at 14.4 RPM.
   After a fuel stop, we found our way to the pictured turbine.  Standing about 100 feet from the tower, I could hear a slight "swoop" sound as the blades went by, but it was more faint than the sound of the wind in the corn field we were surrounded.  After taking a couple pictures, Amber and I discovered something that turned out to be a lot of fun.  Looking directly up at the spinning turbine, you could see a massive 134 foot (40 meter) blade coming directly down at you, then turn up and out of the way.  We both laid down on the ground to stair up at this phenomena—it  was like being on a carnival ride.
   This tower stands 162 feet (50 meters), and can generate 1,650,000 watts.  Under the tower you couldn't hear the passing of the blades, nor the 60 Hz hum of the transformer over the sound of the wind.  I was already a fan of wind power, but this experience has made me even more so.  What a great way to make electricity.

1 comment has been made.

From Noah

October 27, 2011 at 3:18 PM

Wind power definitely does kick butt! Problem is, only a few lucky areas have strong winds during peak power usage - if the wind is blowing at 3AM, the power company can't use it very effectively. Nice photos!

September 01, 2011

UW-Madison Orientation

   Student orientation today at UW-Madison, and I was required to go.  My last required meeting was extremely productive, and resulted in me signing up for classes.  Orientation, not so much.  Despite being a transfer student, we sat through several people talking about how one makes it as a student at UW.  I folded my napkin into a paper crane, and a postcard on academic requirements into a fancy airplane.
   The second part of orientation moved us around to several group were we could find information about joining research projects, studying abroad, ext.  While more useful, I found I had learned most of this information in the sign-up for classes.
   Once done with orientation it was time for something I had to do: finding my classes.  The campus, to say the least, is much larger than UW-Rock County.  I had printed out my class scheduled, and a map (which printing quite poorly) of where each of the buildings were.  So I biked around to each of them, found a good bike rack (all the buildings had good racks) and searched for the class rooms I would be using.
   Some of the buildings are fantastic.  One of the buildings had a physics museum with a bunch of demos I had to play with.  By far the oddest building was the Humanities building, which I think was designed to be a hybrid labyrinth, and 1950ies sci-fi set.  It took me awhile to find my class rooms, but it was an interesting tour.
   After that, it was off to the bookstore.  I had put this off probably too long, but it needed to be done.  Naturally they were out of one of the books I needed.
   So once all this traveling was complete, it was time to head back home.  Madison is an easy city to bicycle.  Many of the one-way roads, and closed areas to motorists are still accessible by bike, and I found it makes biking easier than driving.  All day there was a huge quantity of foot traffic—people everywhere.  Yet was an easy coexistence between cyclists and pedestrians.
   The weather was awful with temperatures in the 90ies, and I returned home a sweat monster, but it was a good endurance test.  I will not be required to bike this long with my backpack for classes, and the heat is probably as bad as I am ever going to encounter.  And tomorrow, the first day of class...

1 comment has been made.

From Liz

WI84

September 03, 2011 at 8:47 AM

I still think it's weird... I start on the 6th. I still haven't found my classes but I've found the buildings. I haven't started school that early since grade school, always been after labor day since I started in the UW system.
   Took a bike ride in my new city today, and visited a bike shop as I have read that bike registration is required for all bikes in the city.  Naturally, the shop didn't have any stickers, and I couldn't find the government office.  I did, however, get some information about the risks of biking to school with a high-end bicycle.
   Pictured is Zach at Renn. Faire on Sunday waring my coif.

1 comment has been made.

From Mike D

Akron Ohio

September 03, 2011 at 9:07 AM

Love the ren faire pics, I haven't gotten to go this year due to several factors. Maybe next year. Oh and don't forget to post some pics and info of the new box once you get settled in.
The Kobold's Cave

The Kobold's Cave

   After moving yesterday, it is now time to unpack.  My computer was setup quickly, and the first tune it played had to be "Kobold Cave" from Quest for Glory I.  It's haunting melody I have loved since I first played the game sometime in the middle 1990s, and it seemed a fitting piece to christening my basement layer.  It's a mess right now, but I have some time before school begins to get things under control.

August 26, 2011

Return from Iowa

   My contract in Cedar Rapids, Iowa has been completed.  Last weekend I moved my bench, computer, and anything else I didn't need for the week to come to my home in Madison.  Over the week I had been preparing for the move.  Normally I move on Saturday after spending the night packing.  But I didn't feel I needed the extra day this time, so my goal was to try and move Friday afternoon.  So after a day of writing documentation, and saying goodbye, I went back to the apartment.  I disassembled the box--an operation that only required a razor blade, and loaded everything into my car.  I had cleaned pretty much everything in the previous days, so all that was needed was a quick once-over.  I finished by mopping myself out the door.  I'm not exactly sure when I finished, but I know I was on the road before 4:00 pm.

August 20, 2011

Congratulations Zen and Amy

Player 1 and 2

Player 1 and 2

   Today was the first time I've really enjoyed going to a wedding.  Zen and Amy did not do a traditional wedding, and we were all the better for it.  Instead, they decided to have a cerimony that embodied what they enjoyed doing.  There was a strong emphasis on gaming--console, board, and role-playing games were all there.  There wasn't a strict time-table, no limousine, no bouquet toss, and no chicken dance.  The ceromony itself was conducted by a game/dungeon master (naturally) who gave us an overview of where we were, and what our characters were doing.  It was quite amusing and everyone watching laughed out several times throughout.  The vows were said after a role for initiative to see who went first, and the whole event seemed the most honest display of true affection I've ever witnessed at a wedding.  In all, I think the best description of the experience I can find was the comment someone made: "If your wedding had a squeal, I would go."  Amy, for whom I've known about 15 years, the wedding seemed very fitting.  And Zen, who I have known over 23 years, I can state unequivocally: it was definitely Zen.