The new Spring Quarter

Hello, my most esteemed readers,

I am just back from my Spring break, during which I labored all week to refinish one of my grandpa’s old desk. I spend a ton of time sanding off the old finish, staining the bare wood and applying the new clear coat. This Saturday, I will place the final layer of clear coat on.I will be sure to post pictures of the final results so you could see the beauty of my amateur woodworking skills.

This quarter, I am taking four classes, which amount to 18 credit hours. The classes are Math 308 Linear Algebra, E E 233 Circuit Theory, E E 235 Continuous Time Linear Systems, and CSE 190M Web Programming. Unfortunately, my organ teacher told all her non-major students that she was unable to give organ lessons this quarter because of an overwhelming schedule over the next few months, especially with her doctorate students. For this reason, I decided to add on web programming as just a fun side class. (Although, she’s allowing us to keep the keys to the practice rooms!) The class is around 200

The web programming class would actually not count for credits for my major. Although this is a freshman-level course (and I’m probably older than a good 95% percent of the roughly 200 students), I really haven’t had much experience with developing web pages, which is something that is very useful to learn. The class covers a wide range of topics such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AJAX, PHP, and SQL (don’t ask me what that means, I don’t know). My current experience with web page design is to use crutches (Microsoft FrontPage). After this quarter, I will once again create a web page, and it will be totally AWESOME. And you will all marvel at my supreme web development skills. I decided to take this class because it got really high ratings, and everybody I’ve talked to that have taken it said it was a very fun course.

The web programming class is in Guggenheim hall, a really nice-looking Tudor-archetecture building completed in 1930 and just recently renovated.


And just a stone-throw away, the rest of my classes are in the Electrical Engineering Building, which is a six-story building which was built only 5 years ago, a labyrinth of staircases and elevators which I get lost in every time I go in. The Electrical Engineering building as well as the Paul Allen Center for Computer Science & Engineering right next door are only five years old, and was a project that costed around $72 million.


Just for reference, I live in Hansee Hall, which is right here. It even has its own Wikipedia page with some very interesting information! Yeah, I realize I have to walk a long ways to my classes. I have to factor in at least 15 minutes of speed walking whenever I have to go to class. Unfortunately, my new bike got robbed, so I’m force to use the slower old-fashioned mode of transportation, using my feet. 🙁

Hansee Hall

Just for April Fools Day, click here for a compilation of some of my favorite pranks! I haven’t tried all of them yet, but I got a rather strong reaction from my sister Diane when I tried prank #4 on her. I’ll just say she is rather sensitive when you bring up the subject of broken laptop screens. That’s all I’m going to say.

Happy April Fools Day!!!

Ron Paul shows up to UW Campus

Today, Ron Paul stopped by the University of Washington to campaign. I brought my digital camera (I was meaning to bring my camera recorder, but I found out until too late that it was out of battery). But here are photos and my video from the event on YouTube. It was quite a wild crowd, I guess over 500 people, including a group of global warming activists. Anyway, here is the footage:


My new life at the University of Washington

Hello, all.

It’s been obviously quite a while since I last posted. Just a quick catch-up with my life for anyone who might be wondering if I’m still alive, I finished up at Pierce College with an Associates of Science Track II degree, and now I’m living on campus at the University of Washington.

This is my second week at the University of Washington, and I’ve been enjoying it so far. This quarter, I’m taking differential equations, Java programming (part II), fundamentals of electrical engineering, and organ lessons with Carole Terry at the University Methodist Temple.

I just wanted to upload some photos of my new dorm room at the University of Washington. I am in the Hansee hall, which is located on the North side of campus. Hansee Hall is my ideal environment, since it has all singles rooms and they implement a 24-hour quiet time policy, and I don’t have to deal with loud rap music in the hallways, and I shouldn’t have a problem with other people being distracting.

Visit to the hospital

Today, my Mom, Rachel, Sammy, Patrick, and I went to Tacoma General hospital to visit my dad, who had just undergone surgery. Earlier this week, my dad went in for a vascular health checkup after he found he had a high blood pressure. He had been feeling chest pains after his work outs and a resulting loss in his ulnar nerve, which he believed to be caused by work-related stress.

The tests revealed that two of the main arteries were blocked and he had constricted blood flow to the heart, so today he had stints put into those arteries to allow better blood flow. Stints basically are a cylindrical wire mesh inserted into the artery to widen the passageway.

After the surgery, he was calm and cordial as he usually is. Photographs of the artery before and after show that the procedure opened up the arteries and blockage was reduced considerably. The blood pressure readings on the heart monitor showed normal readings, which just that morning had been much higher. “It feels noticeably different having lower blood pressure,” he mentioned. He seemed lively, and posed with his grand-children as Rachel and I incessantly took photographs.

His blood pressure will be monitored over the next few days, and continued high blood pressure might indicate something more serious. As for now, we’re thanking God the surgery went well and look forward to seing him back in shape for some future camping trips this year.


How to prove that pie are squared

Hello, yeah, I understand it’s been like ages since I last posted. That’s because for the past few months I’ve virtually been taking 20 credit hours worth of classes, so I had to sacrifice most of the time I could have spent keeping my friends and family in touch with my incredibly interesting life.

What I want to talk about now is something related to geometry, trigonometry, and calculus, namely the area of a circle. Most people that have taken basic geometry in grade school can tell you the area of the circle is πr^2, but ask the average person why that is so and they wouldn’t have a flippin’ clue. I’m about to prove how exactly you solve for the area of a circle using analytical geometry and calculus.

In Figure 1, we see the geometry of the circle. The variable r is the radius of the circle, a is any arbitrary distance from the center of the circle, L is the length of the chord the distance a away from the center of the circle, and da represents a minute thickness of the segment dA with length L that contributes to the overall area of the circle. The summation of all of the dA’s (horizontal chords of minute thickness) is the exact area of the circle.

The area of the segment dA is L da. We know by the Pythagorean theorem that the length of L is twice the length sqrt(r^2-a^2). Thus:

To find the summation the total area of the circle, we will sum up all of the dA’s from a=−r to a=r:

This being a complex integral, the use of trigonometric substitution is necessary for solving it. In figure 2, the triangle is shown in more detail. The value for a could be replaced by a trigonometric equality, a=r sin θ.The integral therefore becomes:

One of the essential trigonometric identities we come across is 1-(sin θ)^2=(cos θ)^2. Since there are mixed variables in the integral, we must somehow make a substitution. A correlation between da and can be determined by the equation a=r sin θ.


When changing the variable, it is necessary to change the limits of the integral to correspond to the new variable. To find the value the limits change to, we solve for θ:

Making the final substitutions:

To complete the integration, we must recognize another trigonometric equality, namely
(cos θ)^2=(1 + cos 2θ)/2. We then derive:


And there you have it, the area of a circle. You might have thought it would be a little more simple than that, but you were wrong.

So, I realize I just made myself look like a nerd, but I don’t really care, because I just had a great time doing it. The end.

New developments…

Saturday morning, I commenced to tear down the fence that had blown over during the windstorm on Thursday night, when I noticed something a little odd about one of our trees. Our family used to get live Christmas trees and transplant them in the yard after the holiday season was over. This one particular Christmas tree that we had around 10 years ago looked normal from the vantage point in which we normally see it, but a closer look revealed it was angled directly at our neighbor’s house at a 30 degree angle! Needless to say, I spent the majority of the day working with my dad and the neighbor whose house was miraculously spared sawing off branches, cutting up the tree and by the end of the day I was able to dig out the stump. Here are some photos from this very productive weekend.

Later on that day, the Isenbergers hosted a rather spectacular Christmas party. Thank you Chad and Dana!

Sunday was the Faith Presbyterian Church Children’s Christmas Program, and my nephew Patrick got to perform publicly for the first time. Here is the segment of the program where he is supposed to be a singing angel, although he didn’t quite act like one.

Chaos in the state of Washington

As you might have heard in the news (or perhaps experienced yourself), the Northwest experienced perhaps the worst windstorm in over a decade with 100+ MPH winds on Thursday night. As I was driving to and from Seattle yesterday, I saw the beginnings of the storm and some of the worst traffic I had ever seen before. I was talking to my sister Diane online yesterday when the power cut ou

The electric company shuts off electricity when there are severe winds due to trees falling over and branches striking power lines to prevent shorts and possible fires. Being as dependent on electricity as Americans are, it would seem the world stops rotating in such instances. With all traffic lights out, all intersections are basically four-way stops. Anyway, for those non-Washingtonians, the first critical skill for survival one most master in such an instance is brewing coffee, as I demonstrate in the photo to the left. If you don’t have a gas stove, use your fireplace or maybe a bunch of candles. You boil water and pour it directly in the filter full of coffee grounds. Make sure you have a pot underneath to catch the water. Then be sure to thank me when this information one day saves your life.

Anyway, a good 18-foot section of the fence in the back yard was blown over in the storm. Looks like I’m going to have some more work around the house in the next few days. I’m not suprised the fence fell over, since it was built 14 years ago so most of the wood was rotting away, and an excess of dirt growing on our side of the fence due to annual compost and mulch spreads were enough to finally do it in. I guess I’ll get started on that tomorrow; I couldn’t do it today since I was scheduled to do some workin Gig Harbor today working for Mr. Bechtel, the organist at my church in Tacoma. My sister Sarah had part of her house’s roof blown off and water leaking through into the upstairs bathroom. I’ll be taking a look at that too tomorrow. Here are some photos I shot of the fence:

At the Bechtels’ house, I helped clear away debris scattered by the wind. Their neighborhood looked as though a tornado had passed through the area. Fortunately for them, they have a bottomless compost pile, and they’re actually allowed to burn debris on their property. I was pondering how much easier things would be if only you were permitted to burn yard waste in your backyard in Puyallup! Well, actually, I’m not quite sure about that, but probably not. Instead, we’re restricted to an 80 gallon blue bin for organic debris which is emptied only every other week, and unless you own a truck and are able to take the debris to the dump yourself, there’s really no way to prevent an obtrusive compost pile from building up. I also built a trench in order to lay some French drains.

Yesterday, I was watching Tucker Carlson’s MSNBC commentaries, and Willie Geist introduced me to www.elfyourself.com, where you can Elfamorphize yourself. (Click on the photo to watch me make an elf of myself!) I had a long overdue half-hour laugh. You upload any photo of yourself, rotate it and resize it so your head fits in a face template, and watch yourself do the elf dance. You can also call a number, leave a voice recording, and have your elf speak!

(Link no longer available)

Well, it’s been a productive day, and I got a long day ahead of me tomorrow, so I better stop here and hit the sack. Good night!

Yay, snow!

Today, the great city of Puyallup experienced around 2¾ inches of snow, which was a pleasant surprise for me having been in the desert for the last three winter seasons. Can’t wait to go skiing again! I got an email from my Archaeology instructor informing me that classes had been cancelled for the entire day. When I was in grade school, it is always a welcoming thing to hear that classes had been cancelled. Unfortunately, my Chemistry and Calculus teachers were both going to give us information today about what to study for comprehensive final exams next week. I’m just not as capable for fully appreciating a full day without school as I would like to be. I just finished shovelling the driveway and the sidewalk, and plan to study a little, learn some Christmas music on the piano, and later have dinner with some friends.

Anyway, here are some photos that I took around the house while the snow was still fresh:

A visit to a graveyard

Today, I involved my mom in an extra credit assignment, namely to visit a graveyard and snap various photos of headstones, categorize them by decade, and draw conclusions based on evolving headstone styles. We went to the Woodbine Cemetary in Puyallup. This is the same cemetary in which Ezra Meeker is buried, one of the late 19th century Oregon Trail pioneers and the one who named the city of Puyallup (which supposedly means ‘generous people’ in some Indian dialect) and its first mayor. Although one of his greater contributions to society was his introduction of hops to the area (horray, beer!), and was even recognized as the “Hop King of the World”, until his crops were destroyed by hop lice. Then around the same time Anheuser-Busch adopted the nomenclature “King of Beer”. His Victorian mansion is now a museum in down-town Puyallup and is still one of the major attractions of the city alongside the Puyallup Fair itself. Besides Ezra Meeker’s grave, I also saw Vitt Ferrucci’s grave (actually, future grave, since he’s not quite dead yet, although his wife died in 2005). He is a vetrinarian who served on the Puyallup Board of Education, and who has a junior high school named after him. Two of my sisters, Sarah and Diane, attended Ferrucci Jr. High.

Visiting graveyards is something I should probably do a little more often, since it reinforces to me the idea that we will only live a little while on Earth, and and the manner in which you live has direct implications on whether you face eternal life or damnation. Just last night, I heard a sermon by Rev. Robert Raburn based on Phillipians 1:27 – “Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” (ESV), and how it is too often to not think seriously about the manner in which we live, but such is the critical factor which determines life or death in the afterlife. Every gravestone represents a soul that must face judgement and go either to heaven or hell, when all the sudden, your accomplishments, the amount of joy you’ve had in life or size of your gravestone doesn’t really matter anymore.

It started snowing today, which would be the first time in over four years I have seen it snow (last four holiday seaons, I was in Texas, Qatar, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. It’s kind of hard to get Christmas spirit in any of those places. Ironically, Christ was born in the Middle East. Funny how that works. To the left is a shot I took in the back yard when it was snowing pretty hard. And if you’re reading this post, Sarah, for memory’s sake, I posted a few photos of the tree Andrew proposed to you under before and after I obliterated it:

Before:

After:

Sammy meets great grandmother

Today my sister Sarah, Andrew, and my parents drove down to Portland, Oregon to visit my dad’s mother who is now living in a rather nice care facility, and is my only living grandparent. Needless to say, she was suffering from Alzheimer’s, so she was unable to even remember who her own sons were. It used to be that whenever I visited her, hugs and kisses were mandatory before laying foot in the house, but it seems that’s changed a little bit. Needless to say, we succeeded at conveying to her the idea that she had a new great grandchild, and afterwards she was in very good spirits. My dad duplicated several old photos of relatives, siblings, parents, and children, with which we decorated her walls. The entire time, she preoccupied herself with stuffing Patrick’s mouth with multiple cookies. I learned a new side of my grandmother today, as she was more comical than I had ever seen her before.

Here are two video clips and some photos I captured.

Some photos:


Leona holding her great grandchildren.


Grandma pondering over a photo of her family. After recognizing herself in the picture, she responded “What am I doing in that photo?”