Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Thoughts about stuff (from Romy)

I have a spare bit of time to just write stuff, so I thought I'd put a little down here. It's entertaining to look back on this type of stuff in a few years anyhow.

There's one thing that keeps kind of annoying me (aside from people in CA not knowing how to drive). I keep getting these chain emails from people with various messages in them. I know that in one respect, it's the thought that counts; a way to say hello without saying hello. But I think that some of these chain mails are just stupid and that people should really think before sending stuff out.

The one that got me thinking about this was a petition email about not allowing illegal immigrants to collect social security. I did a quick search on this topic and (although I couldn't find very reputable sources) it appears this was an issue that came up in May of 2006 and was voted down. So it may have been a real issue. But the petition aspect was silly. What weight is carried by names of people who are not proven to exist? There's no contact info, no address, only a name.

And this just reminds me of another thing I've been noticing here in CA. People lack common courtesy here. I can't say I'm the best with common courtesy, I forget to return phone calls for instance, but when dealing with other people face to face I really can't understand the lack of it. I think it is partly a lack of situational awareness. It's not just at Berkeley either, where people may have a lot on their mind. It's all over this area. People don't hold doors, say thank you, understand right of way laws, or really have any clue of life around them.

Sorry for the rant.

To change the topic a bit, school is going along well enough. I'm TA-ing ME40 which is Thermodynamics, and it's really quite a bit of work. I think I enjoy the teaching aspect of it, although preparation for teaching takes up a large amount of time; that explains all the crappy profs I've had over the years.

You know, I thought I realized how large an impact weather and location has on mental health, but I really didn't until we moved here. There's never a really crappy day. It's never really cold enough to wear more than a light jacket, the sun usually shows up even on rainy days, and there are mountains, forests, and an ocean right next door. Yes, there are quite a lot of people in this area, but 5 minutes up from our apartment is a large and almost continuous park that runs the length of the east bay mountains. On weekends we can actually go cool places. It's just a nice feeling. When summer would come in Chicago, you had to seize the day essentially since there are so many days where you can't do outdoor things during the rest of the year.

Topic change. The bus is coming along slowly. The fuel injection in on, and has been on for over 3 months now, but I don't have too much time to get it working right. I believe I found one problem though, and that's the exhaust system. I took the catalytic converter off, and wha-la, it runs, although it won't idle. The idle issue may be due to the timing being off. It was difficult to set timing when the engine wouldn't run more than 4 seconds with the catalytic converter on. So I'll set the timing this weekend probably, and get some material to make a cat replacement pipe. I'm also thinking of getting a wideband O2 datalogger so that I can tune the idle and load air/fuel ratios. This too may be part of the problem. The bus fuel injection was designed to run with a much more conservative camshaft than what is in the engine currently. I think the duration and overlap may be affecting the fuel injection adversely too, hence my desire for the datalogger for tuning.

We'll see though. I may be able to get it running acceptably without it; I'll know soon enough.