Friday, 29th of November, 2002
Went to see the new James Bond - Die Another Day today. I've head about this car chase on ice that they filmed up in Iceland's Joekulsarlon lagoon for a couple months now, and I did get to see its full movie form today! It was a lot more than just that - there was a hovercraft chase (over land mines that would have set off because of the downward air force exerted by it anyway) that was really awesome, as well as a very long car chase in ice and through an ice building of "Zao" in a XKR (with the top down!) chasing Bond in the Aston Martin. The action was great, everything I expected and more.
Then there's driving through Ladue tonight, minding my own business going a normal 35 mph down Price Road when a cop pulls a U-turn and follows me with the headlights off. I make my turn onto Clayton Road doing about 30 in a 35-mph zone now just to be safe and I get to Ladue Jr. High and the flashing lights go on. First thing he tells me is that he pulled me over for speeding, but I just gave him my info to see what would happen. "Here's your info back, slow down." "How fast did you get me going?" (as he starts walking away and back into his Crown Vic, perhaps avoiding something) "46 mph" "On Clayton!?" "Yes, in front the church when the other car pulled out." At this point I realized there was no point in trying to talk myself into a ticket so I just let it go. "Um... ok, whatever. Thanks." It's definitely a bunch of crap though.
Wednesday, 27th of November, 2002
Here's a Thanksgiving day thought: There's a theory floating around that the amino acid L-tryptophan, a natural sedative found in turkey, causes people to be sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner, especially since it's found in sleeping pills. According to doctors, however, it's highly unlikley L-tryptophan is the main cause, since it only acts on an empty stomach with no protein present.
Monday, 25th of November, 2002
Audi's use of Porsche's Tiptronic transmission has been quite dissapointing, since Tiptronic is ages slower than shifting the gears yourself. But being the cool company that VW/Audi is, and with their involvement in racing, of course they have something better and it's coming to the market. A new Audi TT Coupe with a 3.2L V6 will come with a new 6-speed transmission called the Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG). It uses a twin multi-plate clutch with a control system that selects 2 gears at one time. So when you're driving in one year, and you're getting close to the gearshift point, the next gear is preselected, but the clutch for it is not engaged. When the driver actually shifts the gear, the clutch is opened for the next gear and closed for the original gear. The gear change takes place under load, so power flow is maintained. The electronic engine control does the throttle blip too. In order to have these 2 clutches, there are 2 sections in the input shaft, an outer hollow shaft with 2nd, 4th, and 6th gears, and an inner shaft with everything else. The two clutches are packed inside each other. This twin-clutch transmission is unique to Audi, but has been tested since 1985 in the Audi Sport Quattro S1. Unfortunately, it's only capable of handling about 258 lb-ft of torque reliably, but we'll see what happens later on - and we can't get this on an Allroad or something.
Thursday, 14th of November, 2002
They're shutting down Millbrook Blvd. between Big Bend and Skinker for 2 years, starting May 2003. It'll be all open to install Metrolink, which is going under it. There will be one lane open, however, Eastbound from Big Bend and Westbound from Skinker, meeting at Throop Drive, just for Wash U. Shepley Drive is also being connected to Forsyth now, with a new traffic light there. Some temporary traffic lights will be going up too for the 2 years of construction, at Snow Way and Big Bend, and Hoyt and Forsyth. What I'm wondering is, what are all those people who use Millbrook every day going to do?
Friday, 9th of November, 2002
This week I revisited a great movie that I saw when I was a little kid - The Brave Little Toaster. Talking appliances don't float everyone's boat, but I love it! It has some of the highest quality animation ever. It doesn't rely on speed, but it's slow moving and uses shadows and light very artistically. It's the kind of stuff that makes Toy Story a pleasure to watch, but before computer animation!
Thursday, 8th of November, 2002
You know what I realized they teach in elementary school? They teach discipline. When I was in elementary school, every day I'd wonder why various things in elementary school worked the way they did - why they would waste 20 precious classroom minutes each day to make sure that kids were in line and quiet before entering the building after recess. Why there would be days when teachers insisted that we eat lunch in complete silence. Why we couldn't just all go to the bathroom or get a drink whenever we wanted. It's all about discipline. So in the classes I teach, when one of kids comes in and asks, "May I go get a drink?" and it starts off this spontaneous desire among half the class to get a drink, I remember what my elementary school teachers did to us - so they go one by one, only one person out of the room at a time. Not like I'd even remember the order in which I told them they can go, but rather, so kids can be disciplined enough that they will learn not to just get a drink whenever they want to. Or better yet - the girl who just got a drink 20 seconds ago asking me, "May I go to the bathroom?" "Why didn't you go when you went to get a drink?" "I didn't have to go then yet." "I'll let you go in 5 minutes." And then 20 seconds later, "I don't have to go to the bathroom anymore. I held it for so long I don't have to go anymore." With a violin class this big, what a great opportunity to teach discipline in music - it's really what a lot of music is all about, and it's getting there - most of my kids are playing the same notes at the same time...
Wednesday, 7th of November, 2002
"Stop driving like a fucking idiot or I'll beat your ass up! Fair?" - University City police officer
Sunday, 3rd of November, 2002
What better way to end a week of playing violin in all sorts of places than the usual playing for morning service at church. Oh, and I went to Peter's cello recital tonight too. Now that was really awesome.
Saturday, 2nd of November, 2002
And of course, this week has to be the double-rehearsal week for the St. Louis Youth Symphony. We had sectionals from 11:00-13:00 and then full rehearsal from 14:00-16:30. From there I headed straight to the Mariott West hotel for a stroll. Our quartet played for an hour during the reception and the strollers played for dinner.
Friday, 1st of November, 2002
This morning Hannah and I played hymns and Telemann sonatas for a St. Louis Baptist senior adult luncheon. It went pretty well, even though we didn't know we'd be the center of attention during the half hour until we got there, so if I was prepared I probably would have talked a little more to the audience and stuff like that. Next time.
And I have my violin lesson this afternoon - and after a busy week like this was pretty ill-prepared for.