Friday, June 29, 2007
So this is a little splice of life here at the "Networked Autonomous Vehicles" lab at UIUC. Currently we're trying to get SLAM working on the truck, as well as a decent motion/path planner. That way it can be truly called autonomous, instead of an extremely expensive and unneccessary replacement remote controlled vehicle.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
I am SO out of shape. It's incredibly ridiculous. After a brief excursion on Memorial Day playing soccer, a few snappy movies on the subject, and a 2 year mission in Spain as an undercurrent, I finally capitulated and bought some cleats with one objective -- wake up and play soccer at 6:00 am, 3 times a week.
I know, it sounds crazy. But I did it. On my first day out on the field I pushed myself to be the best teammate. I don't remember all the rules, and I am a clumsy dribbler, but I played my best...for 20 minutes. Then I was wheezing with every breath, and seeing spirals dance through my vision. I kept up this pathetic state for another 40 minutes and we finally quit.
I just about died that day. Syler stopped by and split my head open...well it felt that way at least. My insides wanted to be my outsides for a change. OK body! Lesson learned. I won't jump in full throttle after years of inactivity and expect to shake it off. I'll go easy next time.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
I have the pleasure to serve as the Assistant Scout Master in our church-chartered Scout troop. Because our ward is in such flux right now, I was also the only leader available to go out and stay for the whole week. Let me tell you, I was initially nervous to leave behind my fledgling family and my recent research for an entire week. Two days into the camp, I didn't want to leave.
I love Scout Camp! More to the point, I love Scouts! What an awesome program. I hear tell that some church members don't like it. I hear tell that they wish it wasn't "pushed" on us and our children. What these people lack is a clear vision of all that Scouts can do to mold young men into powerful, resourceful, honorable men...and have fun while doing it!
We had about 20 boys altogether in our campsite. They were a composite "troop" made up from 3 different wards/patrols. There were 8 from my troop. I really got to know most of these boys really well. They are a rowdy crowd, but I enjoyed being there to lead them and push them to take advantage of all the opportunities at camp. I, for one, took advantage of serveral things myself, including some kayaking, and a river canoe hike. The boys were able to take lots of merit badges, ranging from Wilderness Survival to Cooking to Sailing to Golf, and everything in-between.
My favorite moments of camp:
- Watching the scouts try to start a fire by smothering the flames
- Teaching the scouts the proper way to start a fire
- Using the Scout Law as a standard of conduct, and reminding the scouts to live by it
- Attending the classes to inspire the boys to enjoy themselves and participate
- Kayaking for my first time
- Waking up at 6:00am to the sounds of a forest coming to life
- Going to meals where I didn't have to cook or clean up afterwards
- Learning how to lead