A poem written by my 11 year old son, Cody

I Am

I am athletic and intelligent
I wonder when I’ll get my own book published some day
I hear the page bending and turning as if I’m eager to read more
I see a grand piano in my imaginative head
I want to read, write, play music, and video games
I am athletic and intelligent

I pretend to be a pianist performing for thousands of people
I feel my hands grab a pencil to draw something
I touch a pencil sitting on an empty sheet of paper
I worry someday the world will be polluted to were It Isn’t safe
I cry when I’m stressed
I am athletic and intelligent

I understand that life isn’t always fare
I say killing is wrong
I dream that there will be a peaceful planet
I try to be a better person
I hope I have a great time at Ira Jones
I am athletic and Intelligent

Floating the Dupage River

Today was the first day that I got to take one of the kids floating down the Dupage River.  We floated from 135th down to W Lockport St.  I wanted to take more of the kids but Cody said he wasn’t feeling very well and I didn’t want to have Caitlyn with me for the first trip.

We had a lot of fun.  It was just a float trip but it was very mellow and enjoyable.  Chase grinned ear to ear the entire time.  We saw a lot of turtles and a muskrat.  Chase accidentally tipped over his tube once and lost his shoes.  Luckily they floated.  The entire trip took about one hour.  The water was very high but that didn’t change it too much.  We have had heavy rains in the days leading up to today.

I will close for now and include a picture of what Chase and I looked like when we first embarked on our little adventure.  He looked super cute floating in his little tube.  :-)



Chase and I floating the Dupage River in Illinois.  Very fun day for us.  I think Chase will remember that adventure for years and years.

Chase and I floating the Dupage River in Illinois. Very fun day for us. I think Chase will remember that adventure for years and years.

Lincoln Park, Lincoln Park Zoo, Air Show

Yesterday, we drove down from Plainfield to Chicago.  They were having the Chicago Air and Water Show.  The parking for the zoo closed.  In fact, after waiting for who knows how long, we were finally able to get up to the lot only to be the first vehicle told that the lot was full.  So, we started meandering through the streets of Lincoln Park.  At least we had interesting buildings, apartments and gardens to look at.  And don’t think it was a relaxing meander either.  We had our four kids in the van with us and they were starting to become restless.

We finally did find a parking spot on Armitage and Bissell.  We were way behind schedule, it was lunch time, so we then meandered again (this time of foot) toward the zoo.  As we walked we scouted out little places to eat.  We finally settled on Potbelly Sandwich Shop at 2264 N Lincoln Ave.  The restaurant seemed to represent many things I love about downtown Chicago.  It was unique, compact, homey and cozy.  There were hardly any people there either.  There were decorations on the wall, nothing too great, but quaint.

My favorite item in the restaurant was the stage the used for musicians.  Since there were hardly any patrons in the restaurant, I asked a guy working there if my kids could go up on the stage for a picture.  After we finished, we continued meandering to the zoo.  I loved the gardens, buildings and landscapes.  The walk after lunch felt much more pleasant, probably from having a full stomach.

The zoo was nice, but I didn’t take pictures there.  The air show was also nice, but I didn’t get any pictures of that either.  What I did photograph was our walk and our time at the restaurant.

I love Chicago.  I love my wife and kids also.  Even though the kids, at times, are pretty energy draining.

Parameters and Units (Heat Transfer)

Notes for this screencast.

From here:   http://www.learncheme.com/screencasts/heat-transfer

Thermal energy, U = Cv (T – Tref), units J or J/kg.

Heat transfer Q (joules), heat rate q (watts), heat flux q” = q/A (watts/area).

If I want to finish all of these screencasts in one year I have to do about three per day. I don’t have time for this but maybe I will be able to do 1 or 2 until I finally lose interest or burn out. Hopefully the material gets a little more interesting and pertinent fast because at this high school level physics rate it isn’t all that fun.

Heat Tranfer Basics

These are my notes for the video for heat transfer basics.

Conduction, q = -k dT/dx  (in the x direction)

Convection, q = h A (Tsurf – Tsurr)

Radiation, q = ε σ A (Tsurf 4 – Tsurr 4)

q is heat per unit time.

q” heat per area.

q’ heat per length.

This is all from here.


Obviously this is all really simple stuff from my early days in physics but I am starting out here just to make sure I am on the same page with these engineers from the ground floor.

Happy Sunday.

John Brown Hist 119, LearnChemE Thermo

I thought I would get back into posting opencourseware stuff that I go through.  Now that I have my new job downtown I have been going through a lot of material.  Initially, I was going through material on the train going down and back but now I am driving.  On the train I could watch lectures.  In the car I am stuck with audio.  Even with this change, I have finished France Since 1871 plus a lot of other lectures for other subjects.  Right now I am going through the audio for the Civil War course Hist 119.  Today I learned about John Brown.

This weekend I intend to go through 4 screencasts for thermo.  My plan is to go through one course for fun (history, psychology, etc.) and one course for work (thermo).

I took thermo from a physics standpoint back in undergrad, now I am going to try looking at it more through a ChemE perspective.

Anyway, I will close for now.  My wife and I are watching Blue Jasmine.  Strange so far but good.  :-)

I love weekends.




45 years since landing on the moon.

I saw a story on Foxnews today about it being the 45th anniversary for getting two men on the moon.  This is one story that both my mom and dad told me about several times.  They watched these events unfold in real time on live television.  Years later, in the 1980s, I watched a VHS tape of the events with my dad.  He gave the play-by-play of how it unfolded for he and my mom back in 1969.  At that point in time, no one would have ever thought I would have pursued physics and engineering for a profession, but I did end up doing that.  Reading about the event, both from an engineering perspective and from a social setting is pretty fascinating.

Dad told me on more than one occasion how he thought that this was the beginning of regular trips to the moon, building a moon base, etc.  My parents got to live during the heyday of the US.  NASA was pretty amazing at that point in time and was firing on all cylinders.  By the time I got to college in the late 1990s many people in the engineering and physics community were not thinking near as highly as they had in times past about NASA.  Many folks had little good to say at all.  My father had a tremendous amount of pride in the United States.  He felt that every other place on the planet was lacking by comparison.  He would certainly be sad to see things now.  He would blame it on the left wing folks 100%.  I don’t have anywhere near the amount of pride my father had.  I don’t think the US is what the rest of the world should model themselves after.  But I digress.  It is interesting, however, to see how quickly perspectives can change from one generation to the next.

It must have been pretty amazing to watch, in wonder, the events that unfolded 45 years ago today.  I don’t really have too much else to say about this except the fact that it made me think of my parents when I saw the news story this morning and I thought I would post a bit to my WordPress account.

Below I am posting two pictures that show what my parents looked like around the time the US landed on the moon.  My mom was about four months pregnant with my sister when Apollo 11 took place.  Both pictures posted here show them in early 1970.  This was the closest I could get when I did a quick scan their slides this fine Sunday morning.

Note:  I got the NASA picture from here.




Aldrin stands beside LM strut and probe.  This is one of the many great pictures that were taken 45 years ago today.

Aldrin stands beside LM strut and probe. This is one of the many great pictures that were taken 45 years ago today.

Trip to Iowa and Nebraska 2014

Last week my wife, kids and myself all drove to Omaha, Nebraska to visit my sister Kelly and her youngest daughter Jazz.  They drove out from Denver.  We had a lot of fun and stayed on Carter Lake in Carter Lake, Iowa.  We really enjoyed ourselves.  We lit off a lot of fireworks, went to the zoo, ate lots of food, visited a museum, and even did a bit of fishing.

The only bad part for me was that I was fighting off a nasty infection near my jaw.  I have been on amoxicillin clavulanate for over 30 of the last 45 days.  I hope it eventually goes away, I don’t know how long it is OK to take those meds.  Most people only take them for 10 days but not me.

The fishing was very fun.  I kept catching large bluegill and nice size largemouth using one of my surface poppers.  Surface popping is probably my favorite type of fishing.

We found that some of our firecrackers would ignite underwater which was very, very fun.  I don’t know how many firecrackers we watched go off underwater.

I will stop typing and just post the pictures.  #GoodTimes

Slides from 1960s from Mom and Dad

These are some pictures from after their time lived in California.  They were very lucky not to be hurt as they left California to move to Texas.  They left that blue truck (or van) in California that has been shown so many times in my blog posts.  They started driving Mom’s red car, while towing a trailer across the desert.  Around Boulder City, Nevada the car and trailer started to sway back and forth.  They were both very lucky not to be injured.  They rolled their car.  You can see some of the damage shown in the third picture in this gallery.

Mom was asking Dad as they drove to stop in Las Vegas.  They never did though.  I am thinking that they were pretty strapped for cash and that is why Dad didn’t want to stop.

When Mom saw the last picture of Dad standing next to the road she remembered several parts of this trip from California to Texas.  After their car accident, they got back on the road and a semi was heading for them when their car and trailer started to speed wobble back and forth.  It scared both of them really bad and the truck driver was really angry at Dad.  They were both shaken up.  That wasn’t the last scare they had on that trip either, a white truck almost hit them when he highway ended at the one they were on.  They could see him coming toward the intersection for a long time and mom told dad to slow down.  Sure enough, they would have collided but the white truck just ended up going in the ditch instead.

Lastly, Mom again said why they didn’t like California.  There were too many people, no place to do a picnic, plus Mom and Dad liked the Rockies too much.

Having been to Souther California myself a couple of times, I can safely say it wouldn’t be for them.  Even if there were fewer people, those fewer people definitely wouldn’t be their type.  LOL.

Happy blogging people.




Mom and Dad visit Disneyland (1965)

After she finished talking about California the next slide that came up was a picture of a ship at Disneyland.  My mom said, “Oh Disneyland.”  It must have brought back some good memories for her.  I visited Disneyland with her in 1985 when my brother graduated from high school.  When we were there, she brought up this trip pictured below several times.  I can tell that she must have had fun, made some great memories, and really enjoyed the experience with my dad.  I know I remember my dad talking about this trip to Disneyland as well.  He had fond memories as well.

When my mom and I were there in 1985, one thing she pointed out was that the submarine ride was very, very nice for her and my dad.  But her opinion had changed some about it for our visit then.  In 1985 she was a bit disappointed that the mermaids weren’t real women and she also said that she could tell that it was starting to show it’s age.

I believe in 2009 and 2010 we visited Disneyland with Cody and Chase.  The first visit, if memory serves me correct, Chase was in his mommy’s belly.  Second visit the next year, he was too young to remember anything.  Cody on the other hand still remembers the visits.  I took Cody on the submarine ride probably in 2010 and it was all about Finding Nemo.  We looked at a mix between underwater views and 3D views of Nemo et al.  While I was on the ride with Cody I couldn’t help but think of what it was like in 1985 and 1965.  The way Mom describes the ride in 1965 sounded by far the best.  Still a nice ride, but nothing special.  But I always think of Mom and Dad whenever I hear about the submarine ride in Disneyland, California.

If you look at these pictures it is pretty interesting to think that Disneyland opened on July 17, 1955.  So I am guessing that while they were there they probably saw some sort of acknowledgments around the park stating that Disneyland was having its ten year anniversary.

Also, some of these pictures were posted in the journal posts that my mother kept.  I am happy to have her pictures, journal and DVDs as a way to remember and learn more about their lives before I was born.  I post to this blog as well.  Someday, maybe, their descendants will read this and ponder their lives somewhat like I do.  But that is only a ‘maybe.’  It is pretty likely that none of my family will visit this blog or read about ‘those who came before them.’  However, I enjoy it, so I will keep posting.  Until next time…