Saturday, September 27, 2008

It Smells Different...and an excuse

Stepping out of Mom's car at my Grandma's house yesterday, I was struck by a sudden realization.

"Oh my gosh! I smells like St. Johns County!" I blurted.

Having never been away from home for more than a week or two, it has been quite a transition living down in central Florida for the past month-and-a-half. Though Melbourne is geographically close to St. Johns County, the lifestyle is worlds apart from that of my home. Maybe that difference can be connected to the difference I sense with my olfactory nerves.

Maybe it's the live oaks dripping with Spanish Moss. Maybe it's the expansive pine plantations. Maybe it's the smell of the soil.
I couldn't tell you for sure, but it smells oh so sweet.

And now for the excuse...
I have been trying to keep up with the "post every other day" routine on this blog.
However, this past week, some things called "Calculus" and "FORTRAN" and "Chemistry" got in the way of that.

I got an 84% on a calculus test...acceptable, but nothing to rejoice over...just means I have to work even harder (if that's possible)
I got a 6/20 on a chemistry quiz...In my defense, most people bombed that quiz...But I still need to study more.
Had a FORTRAN midterm.
Finished writing a 3-page program for FORTRAN.
Wrote a 4-page paper entitled MEMORIES OF A CRACKER CHILDHOOD.

I love my home, and writing on this blog helps to connect me back with my roots...
...But gettin' learned is more important.

This weekend, though, is about re-fueling on family, friends, wilderness, and rurality.
I hope to share some of that with you over the coming week.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Into the real world

"Somewhere beyond the sink-hole, past the magnolia, under the live oaks, a boy and a yearling ran side by side, and were gone forever."
-Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
...Studying most of today...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tacos are pleasing to me...

To my astonishment, the art community has not accepted my concept of the Linear Dog, but I know that, with time, they will come to realize its genius.
I drew this on my Puerto Rican roommate, JJ's, dry erase board Sunday night. I am making a genuine attempt to learn Spanish, but sometimes I have to resort to this phrase and "Lucy you got some splainin' to do" to get me through everyday conversations.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Knee-slamming happiness

Around noon yesterday I strolled into my FORTRAN class and delightfully plopped into the office chair in front of a computer terminal. I was fresh off the high of receiving an "A" on my first of three chemistry exams, so my morning was off to a good start.

As I always do, I opened up my FIT "Squirrel Mail" account to check on the daily happenings around campus while waiting for my professor to begin his lecture. Before my eyes was a message with the simple subject "greetings."

When I saw the name of the message sender, I gasped. I let out a stifled "Oh my gosh!" Trying to remain somewhat quiet and controlled while other students worked around me was nearly impossible. I pumped my fist and inadvertently slammed my knee against the side of the desk I shared with another terminal. The monitors rocked, and the guy across from me glanced up. I didn't care. Opening the message, my eyes devoured the text before me:


"Lauren tells me that you are majoring in meteorology and hope to work at the National Hurricane Center one day. I think that's great. We still have room for a lot of improvement in hurricane forecasting and need all the help we can get...."

The message went on much further; it was long! I didn't expect this type of extended response.

The former director of the National Hurricane Center, a man who had been a household name during the hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005, a man whom I have idolized since I began closely studying hurricanes when I was 12, has sent me a personal email!

He went on to tell a story of a young high schooler who came to visit the NHC about 10 years ago, and said he would some day work for the Center. I immediately recognized the name as one of the newest Hurricane Specialists at the NHC, Eric Blake. His story is very much like mine. It struck a chord.

"...I wish you the best in your pursuit of meteorology. Give my friend George Maul my regards at FIT when you run into him.

Best regards,

Max Mayfield"

Looks like Mr. Mayfield is friends with my department head, too. I love the connections that college has suddenly given me!
I jokingly told my roommate, JJ, that I was going to enlarge the text to poster size, frame it, and hang it on my wall...It was a joke...But now I wonder about actually doing it...

I owe my sister many thanks for getting this to happen. A student in the bible study group that my sister leads is friends with Mr. Mayfield's daughter. My sister spoke to her about my interest in meteorology, and the rest is history!

There's few things more exciting than getting an email from a professional that you look up to. And, yes, I would rather meet Max Mayfield than any movie or tv celebrity that ever lived. Weird? As I've always said, I kind of like being "weird." :-D

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Life

You might be curious, so here's my schedule for this semester, along with some color commentary:

University Experience: Perhaps the biggest waste of a credit-hour I have ever seen. It's very laid back, I like the teacher, and the topics are easy. I just think it's a waste of time to tell us the obvious things about college life such as: "It has been proven that students who study perform better in their classes than students who don't." Pffft.

Composition and Rhetoric: Great class. Strict grading, but the essay topics are interesting, a couple actually very exciting for me. You'll hear more about this class in the future.

General Chemistry 1: Study and reading. Nothing hard, just a lot of time. Blowing up hydrogen balloons in class is fun. Flushing sodium down the toilet to make a "geyser" is even better.

Calculus 2: This is the math that makes some aspiring engineers (and meteorologists) contemplate changing their major. It's hard. There's nothing you can't do without hard work and commitment, though.

Computer Programming with FORTRAN: [CAUTION: NERD CONTENT AHEAD!] Yes, Fortran still exists. Believe it or not, it is still quite prominent in some government work and in numerical weather forecasting (which is why I'm taking the course.) And, contrary to popular belief, Fortran does support object-oriented programming (as of 2003). However, we are using Fortran 95, so we still get to deal with the wonderful world of Unix.

The courseload has been bearable, but it does take a lot of time. Fortunately, the courses are interesting, and it's cool to obtain a higher edumucation.

I'm off to go try hyperbolic trig functions again. It's just not sinking in yet.

Friday, September 12, 2008

"Florida Lacks Character"

Those were the words of one of my roommates who happens to be from a certain state in the Northeast U.S. I will share with you the full discourse of our short conversation that occurred tonight.

...I'll give you some time to guess how the conversation went...In the mean time I'll share some more thoughts...

When I decided on attending FIT this past summer, I knew that I would be in the minority here. This is an acclaimed private school well-known for its aeronautics/astronautics and marine biology programs. Private is the key word there. This school is packed with northeastern students from affluent families...Now my family's not poor, but we certainly couldn't afford FIT's astronomical tuition if scholarships didn't help ease the pain...And we all know about my little Southern streak.

...Have you guessed how the conversation went?...

"Florida lacks character. Up North we have all of the colonial buildings and everything that adds character."
"You've never been to North Florida. Melbourne has no character. My hometown does."
"No it doesn't. Florida has no character."
"Ummmm...My hometown is the oldest city in the U.S. It was established in 1565. We have some old buildings and a little history, too."
So? [Something was said here, which I forgot]"
Well, [classic St. Augustinian line here] my hometown was undergoing urban renewal when the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock."
"Yeah, but they have Southern accents where you're from. I hate Southern accents."

Are some of my northern readers getting a better understanding of why it's hard for me to erase the word "yankee" from my vocabulary? This was not the first time blatant ignorance has reared its ugly head, and I know it won't be the last :-D

I was going to post some beautiful pictures of my characterless hometown, but I just realized that those pictures were left behind during my annual seasonal migration.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


It's hard to believe that it has already been a month since I left my home and came down here to South Florida to get an edumucation. My life has changed drastically - more than I had expected.

Naturally, this change in lifestyle will translate to a slight change in the way this blog is oriented. My feet have not come in contact with the soft muck of a swamp in over a month...
Actually, I haven't even left the city since I arrived here.
What a change.
Therefore, you may see more philosophy, reflection, and thought on here than before...
College makes you think about a lof of things...
I'll share some of those thoughts with you.
But, as always, every one of my thoughts and actions contains some form of a Minorcan Factor, so the title of the blog will remain the same.
I'm still the same old Minorcan Florida Cracker, just in a different habitat!

I'm excited about sharing some of my experiences with you, but for now I'm off to my chemistry lecture and my FORTRAN software development class.
Wednesdays are my busy day.