Thursday, September 20, 2007

Fall Always Brings New Changes

As my blog atrophes from neglect my life continues to roll forward. Since my last writing I have started a new job, a new school year, and bought a car. But overall, I'd say nothing new is happening. The new job is a very interesting new opportunity with Utah Transit Authority. I'm working in the Capital Developments department, but more specifically in Facilities Maintenance and Design. Since engineering is like law in that you are a constant student of your art, this is as much an educational situation as a professional situation. That being said, my boss and teacher, Crosby, is giving my ample opportunity to learn new things. Crosby is one of the very few other mechanical engineers around here and I can tell that he has the same appreciation for science that I do. He likes to talk about the interesting science that goes into rail design and yesterday he used a breaker point engine distributer as an object lesson. I like the people I work with and the work is interesting. It's a good combination.

As far as school goes this semester is shaping up nicely. It's my second to last semester which has sort of given me a second wind. It's that last burst of effort before the end of the race. my classes are intro to robotics, finite element analysis, advanced controls, and Senior design. For senior design we are building a portable telescope. It's a very interesting project and as is frequently the case, it is much less trivial than we thought it would be. I will post updates about the project here as well as on the class wiki site. It definitely promises some interesting experience.

Now, as for the new car. Even as a lad I believed this vehicle to be one of the coolest ever conceived by the mind of man--and now I own one. Mind you, I can only afford a 13-year-old one, but the one I got doesn't show its age. At this point you may be asking yourself "what could this magnificent vehicle be that even at 13 years of age it commands this level of praise?" The answer is simple: Toyota Landcruiser. From 1991 to 1997 Toyota made what is known as the FJ80 and FZJ80 Landcruiser. During that time I was a teenager and made a regular practice of drooling on these when they were late models and now I have my very own. For almost 50 years Toyota has been building Landcruisers and selling them in every corner of the globe. They have been the vehicle of choice on several Antarctic expeditions and have been to almost every other god-forsaken place on Earth. All of the abuses suffered during these long years have earned Landcruiser a reputation for near indestructibility. The Landcruiser that I bought appears to have spent most of its life in Sandy, Utah making runs to the grocery store and soccer practice. As much as I shake my fist at the idea of buying an SUV for this sort of service, I am glad for it. It means that there is still a great deal of useful life remaining in it and I plan to use it all.

The Purchase of the Landcruiser also marks the end of an era. For the last five years I have thoroughly enjoyed my 1986 Toyota Pickup. My wife viewed it as her main contender for my affection. Of that's just some exaggeration in the name of fun, but it is difficult to sell. That truck has gone everywhere I steered it, and brought be back safe. It is time, however to face the facts. The truck doesn't allow for family expansion and road trips in the summer time surely result in heat exhaustion. By comparison the Landcruiser rides like a Mercedes and has eight seatbelts. Plenty of room for everybody.

Change is good.