Last week was the PHS Robotics cookout. Overall, I think it was a huge success. We sold almost 100 burgers (the kids ate the rest). You can see my awsome grilling skills below:


It looks like no one is there in that picture, but actually there was quite a crowd behind me:

Hamburger Crowd

In other robotics news, last Saturday was “Mall Day”. The team’s performance was pretty weak at the mall, but they’ve redesigned the arm so hopefully we’ll do much better on game day.


My car is out of gas, there’s no money in my wallet, the battery is dead in my laptop, and I haven’t eaten since breakfast. Thank God it’s Friday.

Maybe I should start writing country music…

One week down

I’ve survived my first week without tea and Dr Pepper. The first morning without caffeine I actually felt OK, but I did get a little worried when I tried to put my left shoe on my right foot. Thankfully it didn’t fit.

Since I cut out caffeine it’s really easy to get to sleep at night. I used to sometimes stare at the ceiling for hours. Now it seems like as soon as my head hits the pillow I’m asleep. Even better when the alarm goes off I actually wake up. I don’t always get up, but at least I hear it.

Also, now that I’m not drinking so much sugar, lots of things taste different. Before I really didn’t like grapes very much, but now they taste really sweet. I like the taste of apples and bananas a lot more now, too. I had a few cookies at the robotics cook out last night and they tasted so sweet I could barely stand it.


I’m really trying to improve my health these days. I’ve been tired for a long time and I knew I had to do something about it. It seemed like no matter how much sleep I got, it was never enough. The only thing that was keeping me going was caffeine.

Paige and I started working out at Aerofit several months ago. I noticed that the more I exercised, the less tired I was. Before we started working out regularly, I would’ve said that exercise makes me tired. But now after I work out I feel energized. It’s a good feeling.

Also, I’ve completely cut out sweet tea from my diet. This is going to be a shock for some people. No more “Tone Tea”. I quit cold turkey. One day I was watching a show about sugar on the Food Network. They said that the average American used to consume 30 – 40 pounds of sugar per year, but now we’re consuming around 60 pounds a year. I did a little mental math and figured out that I was eating around 100 pounds a year just in sweet tea. That’s about 100 pounds too much.

The next thing to go after sweet tea was Dr. Pepper. Today was my first day to be Dr. Pepper free. I had a bit of a headache this morning, but it wasn’t too bad. I’ve had nothing but water to drink today. I think I can make it. If you own any stock in the Coca-Cola Company, now’s probably a good time to sell. They’re going to see a significant decrease in revenue now that I’ve cut out the Dr. Pepper.

I think the next step for me is going to be more fruits and vegetables in my diet. Nothing crazy at first, but a few more bananas and apples wouldn’t kill me. Maybe even one or two meatless days per week. We already have pasta and sauce for dinner on some nights so it shouldn’t be too hard to add a few vegetarian dishes.

I’ll keep everyone updated on how it goes, and how I feel.

Tasty Bookmarks

I have a few problems with bookmarks (or favorites for you Internet Explorer users). On any given day I use at least three different computers. Not only that, I sometimes use more than one web browser on the same computer. Obviously when I bookmark an interesting web site at work, I have a hard time getting to it from home.

Also, I’m really picky about organizing my bookmarks. I have folders set up for lots of different categories. This is great until I run into a site that fits into more than one folder. For example: I read lots of weblogs so I have a “Blogs” folder for all of these, I also visit lots of sites about design so I have a “Web Design” folder for these. Now, where should I put a weblog about design? In both folders?

I had actually started working on a program to solve these problems. An online bookmark manager that I can log in to from anywhere and see my bookmarks. As with most things, this has already been done. I’ve seen several of the other bookmark programs out there, but I wasn’t really happy with any of them. That is, until I took another look at del.icio.us the other day.

del.icio.us solves both of my problems above in a very elegant, easy-to-use way. Not only can I get to my bookmarks from any computer, I can also assign multiple categories to each one. Best of all, it’s free.

There’s another benefit to using del.icio.us. They describe their site as “Social Bookmarks”. You can see everyone else’s bookmarks and the categories that they’re using. For example, to see my bookmarks go to http://del.icio.us/AnthonyLewis/. Under all tags, click on python. This will show you only the 5 links that I’ve classified as python sites. Now click where it says python from all users. This will show you every site that anyone has classified as python (a lot more than 5).

Basically what I’m trying to say is if you’re a geek looking for a way to manage your bookmarks, check out del.icio.us. It’s pretty cool.

Where’s my rocket?

It’s official, SpaceShipOne has won the $10 million Ansari X Prize. They succeeded in making two manned flights to the edge of space within two weeks. This is an amazing accomplishment for a private company.

There are a few more details in the CNN story. The most interesting part to me is the fuel – nitrous oxide and rubber.

A fuel tank about six feet in diameter at the center of the craft holds liquid nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas. A hollow tube leading from the tank to the engine nozzle is filled with solid rubber. The combustive combination produces thousands of pounds of thrust…

I’m a little sad that John Carmack’s team, Armadillo Aerospace, didn’t win the prize, but I’m sure they’ll keep working on their ship. I don’t think any of the teams were doing it for the prize money anyway, since most of them have invested over $10 million.

Now that we’ve gotten pretty good and getting from the ground to space, I’m ready for someone to start working on the warp drive. How many years until the Vulcans show up?