Archive | June 2007

Birthday Greetings Today…

…may God bless you we pray

Below are those who will become wiser this week and how I (and you may) know them.

27th – Anderson Chen (FCBC Walnut), Adrienne Lo (I don’t know here married last name off the top of my head – formerly of FCBC Walnut, now Saddleback Church), Christina Chian (maiden name “Chang” – USC AACF)

28th – Tyrone Li (FCBC Walnut)

29th – Jonathan Sum (USC AACF), Jeff Kao (USC InterVarsity Trojan Christian Fellowship)

26 on the 26th

Thank you everyone for your well wishes and prayers!  God has tremendously blessed me with Himself (God the Father, Jesus Christ His Son, and the Holy Spirit), His Word, and wonderful family, friends, and brothers & sisters in Christ.

My birthday prayer/wish for this year is that people will be introduced to and fall in love with my/our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, through me and that God would be glorified through me and my thoughts and actions.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Blessed be the Lord!

Out of This World

Chris Tomlin’s music is out of this world…literally!  Thanks to i_am_found_in_Him for the find!

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewsr.html?pid=24514

NASA STS-117 Status Report #12 9 a.m. CDT Thursday, June 14, 2007

STATUS REPORT
Date Released: Thursday, June 14, 2007
Source: Johnson Space Center

image

Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas

Solar array retraction and spacewalk preparation are the focus of the crews on board space shuttle Atlantis and the International Space Station today.

At 7:39 a.m. CDT Mission Control in Houston played the wakeup song “Indescribable” by Chris Tomlin for Mission Specialist Patrick Forrester, who completed a 7-hour, 16-minute spacewalk with Mission Specialist Steven Swanson yesterday. The crews had been awakened at 6:23 a.m. by a false fire alarm in the Zarya module, which was the result of troubleshooting Russian segment navigation computers which had just been successfully restarted by Mission Control in Moscow.

Beginning at 10:38 a.m. Flight Engineer Clayton Anderson joins Commander Rick Sturckow, Pilot Lee Archambault, Swanson and Mission Specialist Suni Williams to resume commanding the retraction of the solar array wing on the starboard side of the P6 Truss, which was about half retracted yesterday before and during the spacewalk. That job is on the schedule for the latter half of spacewalk 3 on Friday if it is not completed today.

In the meantime Forrester will work with Mission Specialists Jim Reilly and Danny Olivas to review the procedures for that spacewalk. Olivas will get in a foot restraint on the shuttle robot arm to repair the orbital maneuvering system pod thermal blanket that pulled away from the adjacent thermal tiles on launch last week. There is time in the schedule this afternoon for the crewmembers to practice the repair technique, and then this evening to conduct a tagup with spacewalk specialists in Houston before the spacewalkers begin their campout prebreathe protocol in the Quest airlock.

At 8:58 p.m. Sturckow, Archambault, Forrester and Swanson will discuss the progress of their flight in interviews with Fox News Radio and Denver television stations KMGH-TV and KUSA-TV.

The next STS-117 status report will be issued Thursday evening after the spacewalk, or earlier if events warrant.



“X” Structure at the core of the Whirpool Galaxy (M51) – http://hubblesite.org/gallery/album/entire_collection/pr1992017a/

Indescribable – Listen here (live version from Austin Music Hall) 
By Laura Story

From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation’s revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
All exclaiming

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to its light
Yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night
None can fathom

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
You are amazing God

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God
Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
Incomparable, unchangeable
You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same
You are amazing God
You are amazing God

Behind the Song:
‘This is one of those last minute songs that doesn’t happen that often. The song was written by Laura Story. Just before we were making the final revisions on the record, my producer showed me this song he had demoed with Laura. I instantly fell in love with it because of the grandness and otherness it paints of God. Yet at the same time, this all-powerful God knows the depths of our hearts. Amazing God!’ – Chris Tomlin

Like Used Winshield Wiper Inserts

Team Edmunds is streaking! We won our third game in a row, 12-4, to improve our record to 5-3.  I went 2-for-4 (lined out to 2nd base, reached on an error by the first baseman, line drive single to right center field, bloop single over 1st base) with 2 runs scored.  I satisfied my “must get dirty” requirement by getting thrown out at home in the top of the 7th inning because I took might sweet time running from 2nd base to home thinking I would easily score on the base hit.  My excuse (and I’m sticking to it) is that there was no 3rd base coach to notify me of the “developing situation.”  I could also say that I was missing a gear because I aggravated my left groin earlier in the game running hard.  I originally tweaked it flying around the basepaths on my “home run” two weeks ago.  I’ve had problems with it before as well.  I had fun out there and that’s all that matters!  We’ll have a break until July 9th which should give me time to recover.




Here’s something cool.  A 2007 United States Grand Prix Straightline blog entry I wrote just got posted on Inside Line.  Yes, it was edited from what I originally wrote–the main thing being I got over-excited and wrote too much.  Let’s see if this could be the start of something great.

http://blogs.edmunds.com/Straightline/2949

Loser Goes Home

The Cal State Fullerton Titans lost to the defending national champion Oregon State Beavers on Saturday and the UC Irvine Anteaters lost to Arizona State on Saturday.  Because of their loses, they will be pitted against each other today at 11 AM (UC Irvine is the “Home” team).  The loser will have to pack their backs and return to Southern California, which is usually a good thing, but not under these circumstances.

Click the “GameTracker” link at the following page to get live virtual coverage of today’s game.
http://fullertontitans.cstv.com/sports/m-basebl/sched/csfu-m-basebl-sched.html


UPDATE: The UC Irvine Anteaters won, 5-4, in 13 innings to survive!  Amazing!  They’ll have to take on the Arizona State Sundevils again tomorrow at 4 PM PDT.  The Sundevils beat the ‘Eaters 5-4 in a close game on Saturday.  The loser of tomorrow’s game will be sent home packing.

Fontana Formulation


The Overall Formula SAE West-winning car of the Texas A&M team entering Turn One

Yesterday (Saturday), I volunteered at the annual Formula SAE West competition.  I mainly helped an Edmunds.com co-worker assist with timing and scoring for the 20-lap endurance event–about half of the vehicles finished if I remember correctly.  Those two black “stripes” (see photo above) that run across the width of the course are the wires used for the electronic transponder.  The braking force of cars slowing for Turn 1 and the stickiness of their tires kept lifting the tape.  My co-worker, David, and I basically had to baby-sit that from 9:15 AM to a little after 2 PM.  Every now and then, we would run on to the track while it was “hot” (cars running at race pace) to lay new strips of tape down and/or press the tape already there down more.


The location of the timing wires above was actually the first of two locations we used.  During the first hour, one of the two lines was lifted off the track surface (but not severed) around the same time the University of Oklahoma car caught fire (Can you say “BOOMer Sooner?”) which brought out a red flag.  We moved the timing stripes up the straightaway where cars wouldn’t be braking over it.  The new location served us well for the rest of the day even though one of the wires was severed by a car that bottomed out over it (it might have been the UC Berkeley car).  The other wire was unaffected and was able to still record the times of vehicles passing over it.

One of my favorite vehicles was the UC Irvine vehicle (I apologize for not having photos of the vehicles I’m going to discuss here as I was actually fulfilling my duties as a volunteer.).  I think it had the nicest livery (a.k.a. paintjob) and the shell on the car had a nice design to it.  It was cool seeing the UC Berkeley car breakdown.  I know that’s not nice to think or say, but I’m just being honest.  UCSD was registered, but didn’t show up.  CSUN and Cal Poly Pomona put forth decent efforts.  USC, UCLA, and any other UCs did not participate in this year’s competition.

Another vehicle I really liked was the Wichita State entry.  The exhaust note of their car sounded just like a Subaru boxer motor!  They also had a funny LED brake light pattern on the back of their car.  I thought the exhaust note was so interesting that I had to ask them what kind of motor they had in the vehicle.  They said they were using a Yamaha R6 motor with a custom exhaust.  It sure sounded awesome!  My interest in this car actually helped them later in the day (they don’t know this) because the person with the “run order” list said the Wichita State car hasn’t been on the grid yet when it was supposed to have been there.  Because I had talked to them earlier in the day, I was able to inform him that they already ran.  Did you all know that Subaru/Robin, a Fuji Heavy Industries sister company, have engines that power go karts?  Subaru also announced the KX21 Sports Kart engine on Dec 7, 2006.

There was one car there that had a supercharger which was really cool to listen to as it drove by.  One car had a turbocharger and a quiet blow-off valve.  It ended up breaking.  Other interesting vehicles included:

  • University of Hawaii’s entry – it came to a stop on lap 12 or 13 after the first driver (the 20-lap run is broken into two 10-lap runs done by different drivers) started experiencing transmission issues (we all could hear its gears grinding) around lap 6 or 7
  • Hunan University participated for the first time.  Their vehicle broke on lap 12.
  • Tokyo Denki University (or something like that) participated in this year’s event and disappointed me with their vehicle’s performance.  However, I think it did well in terms of fuel economy.


Michigan State had a really cool entry.  Above, you can see their car getting a little squirrelly while accelerating out of Turn 1.  They finished in the Top 10 but were visibly disappointed with the result.

Here’s some video footage of Auburn University’s 2004 Formula SAE car:

This year’s Overall Top 3 teams were:

  1. Texas A & M University (making them back-to-back Overall winners)
  2. University of Kansas
  3. Auburn University


This definitely would have been an awesome thing to participate in while I was still in college!   Oh well.


Keep an eye on this young man

Lewis Hamilton is a 22 year-old British rookie sensation taking the world of Formula 1 by storm.  Today (Sunday), he won his second (consecutive) race to increase his lead to 10 points in the 2007 F1 Driver’s Championship (10 points = 1 race win).  He seems to have his head screwed on fairly straight.  I think he’s a great person for many young aspiring racers to look up to.  Keep your eye on him and his adventures in the world of F1.


More Than Meets the Eye

Before

After

Now that the hype/marketing machine is in full swing for the Transformers movie coming out on July 4th, I decided to jump on to the bandwagon by geting one of the coolest Transformers ever!  Meet Smokescreen from the Transformers Alternators/Binaltech series.  He starts out as a 2003 Subaru Impreza WRC rally car before transforming into his Autobot robot form.  He currently resides on my desk at work.  This particular Transformer is pretty difficult to transform.  The fact that it is based on the 2003 Subaru Impreza WRC rally car makes me think little of its shortcomings as a toy.  This Transformer movie should be a great addition to anyone’s collection!  Just remember this Transformer as you’re watching the movie/extended GM commercial!


Cravings

Lately, I’ve been craving taking a drive on a nice twisty road and going go karting.  I don’t think I’ll have time to get my fix for any of those in the next few weeks.   Who’s interesting in doing either with me?


Regarding my previous rant on the outrageously high stage in the “Praise Center,”  I found sitting on the very end of one of the sides of the room seems to help a little bit.

I hope everyone had a great Father’s Day.  If you are a child of God (John 1:12), never forget our Heavenly Father!

It’s Official…

…no pay cut for me.

UPDATE: The Vehicle Testing Assistant position I applied for was offered to someone else.  I thought I would’ve been such a great fit for it because I’ve seen some of what this person does by going out to California Speedway with them on March 28th and I have experience and knowledge of the inner workings of automobile dealership service departments–places the Edmunds.com long-term vehicles are taken to when they need servicing.  I also thought the fact that I was an internal candidate would have given me the “inside line” (pun intended), but alas that was not the case.  The most exciting prospect was that it could have possibly put me on a track to become an editor who evaluates and writes about vehicles.

My contact in HR said the decision makers may have thought I was a poor fit because they wouldn’t want me going down to an entry-level position (even though that is what I totally wanted).  Maybe she was just saying something nice to comfort me.  After all, I know HR people have taken psychology classes and all that jazz.  To her credit though, she is always nice to me.  In my reply to her e-mail, I asked if I could know why I wasn’t the one chosen for the position.  She said she would ask the people involved and try to get back to me.  I figured it would be good to know because there may be things I can learn about or work on/improve upon.  I believe this is a “dream” still worth chasing while I’m “young.”

I think it was a little easier to swallow the disappointment because I overheard something a few feet away some of the people involved were discussing.  The facts that my desk is across the aisle from HR and we’re in an open-air environment didn’t help too.  I tried to put 2 and 2 together and developed the “hunch” that I probably didn’t get it.  That all happened on Wednesday afternoon which gave me some time to “prepare” myself for the “bad” news.  During this time, I was convicted that I needed to fully trust God with this situation and not worry about it so much myself because I know He is in complete control.

This afternoon, I e-mailed my contact in HR to find out what was (really) up because she told me last week I would hear something by the end of this week.  I also didn’t want to be thinking about it at all over the weekend.

I believe knowing I probably didn’t get the job, helped God’s peace come into the picture (Philippians 4:7).  The cool thing about God’s peace in Christ Jesus is that it surpasses all (human) understanding.  The average person may think, “You must be really disappointed,” or “That totally ‘stinks!'”  But I find myself thinking, “Yeah.  I’m disappointed, but God has blessed me in so many other ways that I can’t complain.”  I exist to live for Him after all.  Not my will, but His will be done.  May what happens as a result of this give Him the most glory possible.  After all, this is what I originally prayed for and I hope this is what you all out there who were praying for me were praying for as well.

I tried focusing on the fact that I have a great job here at Edmunds.com still (even though I’m still at my work computer working on something as I write this).  The people and the environment here are great.  I also remembered there is so much more to this life than we think–whether it’s our jobs, our stuff, or things other than God we think we may find fulfillment and satisfaction in.  Last night in small group, we read 1 Peter.  I was reminded of the unspeakable joy God gives  His children (1 Peter 1:8) and the Newsboys’ song “Joy.”

He gives and takes away…

Blessed be the name of the LORD.
Blessed be His glorious name.


Here’s Edmunds.com Editor-in-Chief, Karl Brauer, on CBS’ The Early Show this morning discussing gas…gasoline that is:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/06/15/earlyshow/main2933590.shtml


The Star Spangled Banner – Hendrix/Le Mans-style

Driving the Wheels Off a Car

Have you ever heard the saying that a person “drove the wheels off” a vehicle?  Here’s one person who did!  ( for the owner and poor Mazda RX-7)

Possible explanation from an Internet forum:

quote:


Summary: he bought a set of dedicated wheels for his track tires; the tire shop gave him the wrong lugs; you can see the result.

I was working across the track at another corner when it happened. It was not pretty.

I was just hitting redline when I got to that slalom, so he was
going at least 40 or 45 mph when that happened. It pretty much sucked.


quote:


They were tight when he put them on, the car passed tech inspection.

The explanation was given to me by people who are far more
mechanically inclined than me, e.g. they bring their race cars to SCCA
events in covered trailers.

Apparently the threads on the wheel studs were different than the
threads on the lugs. The felt tight because some portions of the
threads were in contact with the lugs and sufficient to hold the wheel
on when the car was stationary or moving slowly.

However, as soon as the car reached a certain speed, enough force
was generated to rip the threads out of the lugs; the threads in the
lugs themselves were stripped out of the lugs are were laying on the
track and stuck to the guy’s new Toyos.

The example given to me was of an old car whose wheels actually
rusted to the hubs; you can beat the wheels with a mallet and shake the
car back and forth and the wheels won’t come off, but you can then
drive the car slowly and they will loosen enough that they can be
removed.

I suppose that a really experienced racer (like the guys that
figured out what happened) might have recognized that the lugs were
wrong, but weekend amateurs- like me- would probably assume that the
lugs were OK as long as you could torque them to the proper setting and
they felt like they were properly affixed.

Bummer for the car, it was really, really nice- pristine condition.
Hopefully the tire company owns up to its mistake and does the right
thing so he can get the car back on the road.




Today, I found out one of my teammates on the softball team (she actually works for Deloitte & Touche) graduated from high school with Mark Prior’s sister.  How cool is that?!


I got my T-shirt today!

To find out more and/or purchase one for yourself, a family member, or a friend, go to www.christsc.com.  All of the proceeds will be put toward missions.


What’s been in the Edmunds.com garage lately:

2007 BMW Alpina B7

I was able to ask Senior Road Test Editor, Josh Jacquot, about the car when he passed by this morning after turning in an expense form.  Let’s just say it needed new shoes/rubber was burnt.

2008 Audi TT Roadster

Here’s what Edmunds.com’s Editor-in-Chief, Karl Brauer, had to say about the vehicle.
http://blogs.edmunds.com/karl/534

We’re Talking Softball…

 
Team Edmunds’ co-ed softball team won tonight (Monday night) 22-5!  Granted the team we beat was winless, but it was a good win.  We generated some offense in the first few innings.  The first time we played this team, we had to rally in the bottom of the 6th inning.  I think I had a “good” 1-for-3 with 2 walks.  It’s hard to remember everything.  I walked in my first plate appearance.  Grounded into a fielder’s choice at my first at-bat.  I reached on an error the next time up and ended up at third base.  On the next at-bat, I think I hit an infield single.  It might have been an error by the second baseman now that I think about it.  If it was, I was 0-for-3.  The next plate appearance, I walked again.  I know I scored at least three times tonight.

Defensively, I only had one ball hit to me in right field (four outfielders) in the top of the 7th inning.  I almost made the most amazing “Web Gem” of my life and a short fly ball.  I came in hard and dove head-first (full extension) to try to basket-catch the ball.  I was sure I had it until I came to a stop on the ground and saw the ball squirt out.  If it was a baseball instead of a softball, I think it would’ve stayed in there.  Oh well.  :shrug:  I really wish I would have come up with that catch though!  My teammates said the impact with the ground was probably what caused it to squirt out.

I slid into 2nd base once (and covered the 2nd baseman in dirt doing so) and into 3rd base once to satisfy my need to get dirty.  I believe if you don’t get dirty, you’re probably not playing hard enough!


I’ve also been trying not to get anxious about the position I applied for.  There are two verses that have really helped me ever since I learned them in 11th grade – Philippians 4:6-7.

Philippians 4 (entire chapter – New American Standard Bible)

 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


To all “my” dear former Sunday School students (Classes of 2005 and 2006) taking finals this week, I’m praying for ya’ll!

Saturn Aura vs. Honda Accord and Toyota Camry

Hope ya’ll get a kick out of this!  I had some downtime here at work and went to Saturn.com to check out this new promotion for the Saturn Aura where Saturn dealerships will now have a Honda Accord and Toyota Camry for prospective shoppers to compare alongside the Saturn Aura.  The problem I have is that the Accords and Camrys in the comparison aren’t similarly equipped.  I will say that the Saturn Aura XR is a fine car from what I’ve read.  Edmunds.com just got a long-term Aura XR last week.  I don’t know how good or bad of a car the Aura XE is.  While browsing Saturn’s web site, a pop-up window to speak with a Saturn live consultant appeared and I figured I could use a good laugh.  It even seems like they switched “consultants” in the middle of the conversation.

Did you know the Saturn Aura is really a rebadged Opel/Vauxhall Vectra (Opel and Vauxhall are GM’s European brands) that GM decided to bring over from Europe?  The upcoming Saturn Astra is a rebadged Opel/Vauxhall Astra.


http://www.saturn.com/saturn/SaturnIndex.jsp

Note: The finalists for the 2007 North American Car of the Year (winner in bold) were the Honda Fit, Saturn Aura, and Toyota Camry.  Edmunds.com’s Editor-in-Chief, Karl Brauer, voted for the Honda Fit.  The North American Truck of the Year finalists (winner in bold) were the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford Edge, and Mazda CX-7.


http://www.saturn.com/saturn/sidebyside/index.jsp

Chat InformationPlease wait for a site operator to respond.
Chat InformationYou are now chatting with ‘Shanita’
Shanita: Good Evening! May I have your first name please?
you: Loren
Shanita: Hello Loren.
Shanita: How can I help today?
you: Good evening to you too.
you: I’m looking at this Aura vs. Camry and Accord comparison.
you: I can’t help but to think it’s not a fair comparison.
Shanita: Why would you say it is not a fair comparison?
you: The vehicles aren’t similarly equipped.
you: V6-equipped Saturn Aura XE against 4-cylinder Camry and Accords.
you: That’s not fair.
you: 16″ wheels on the Camry and Accord versus 17″ wheels on the Aura.
Shanita: Am I able to assist with any questions you may have regarding the AURA?
Shanita: I have not heard from you in a few moments. Are you still with me?
you: I just would like to know why they aren’t making similarly equipped Accords and Camrys in this test drive promotion.
you: That would be the right thing to do.
you: The Aura XE in this case is like bringing a gun to a knife fight.
you: It’s not an apples-to-apples comparison.
you: Saturn shouldn’t mislead the consumer like this.
you: The Aura is an EXCELLENT product.
Shanita: Did you have any questions regarding our Saturn vehicles I could assist you with?
you: Why resort to something like this?
Shanita: Thank you for your feedback.
you: May I get some answers to my questions?
Shanita: Weare here to assist with your online purchase. If you have questionsregarding Saturn products or services, I would be more than happy toassist you.
you: My questions pertain to Saturn products and how they’re represented. Do they not?
Shanita: Can you clarify your questions please?
you: If Saturn knows they have a great product in the Aura, why aren’t they pitting it against similarly-equipped Accords and Camrys?
you: What is their reasoning for not doing so?
Shanita: Iam sorry Loren but we do not have that information available to us onour site. Your local Saturn retailer would be in the best position toassist. Have you used our compare tool for the vehicles?
you: Yes. That is how I got the information that this comparison being presentedto consumers is an unfair one. I’ve also been using Edmunds.comextensively as well.
Shanita: I can understand that.
Shanita: I would not say that it is not a fair comparison, it just so happens to be Saturn’s AURA has more to offer.
Shanita: Did I mention Saturn’ s AURA recently won another award for interior of the year
Shanita: The AURA is a great vehicle.
you: Let’s say we were to equip the Accords and Camrys similarly with V6s,17-inch wheels, and so on, consumers would see how much more it wouldcost them to get that content in those vehicles compared to the Aura.
Shanita: The ACCORD and the CAMRY’S could not measure up.
you: I would think this would work more to the Aura’s advantage.
Shanita: The Accord and Camry vehicles are the AURA’s competitors as far as mid size sedans.
Shanita: The AURA comes out on top.
Shanita: It seems to just have happened that way.
you: The Accords and Camrys aren’t being fairly represented in the comparison the way they’re equipped.
Shanita: Are you interested in the AURA?
you: I would like to know why.
you: I’m interested in the Aura being *fairly* compared with the Accord and Camry.
Shanita: Wouldyou be interested in test driving the AURA as well as the other twovehicles? Right now Saturn is providing side by side test drives withall three vehicles for interested customers as yourself to compare.
Shanita: Ifyou are interested in the AURA, we have a special test-drive offer thatI can send you. It is good for a $25 gift card of your choice. You canselect from dozens of national and local retailers.
you: I already know all this.
you: Thanks for “trying” to answer my questions.
you: By the way, my workplace just got an Aura XR last week.
you: Have a nice day and God bless.
Shanita: Great!
Shanita: Thankyou again for visiting Saturn.com. Also, a short survey will appear atthe end of the session. I would greatly appreciate it if you would beable to complete it. It should only take you about a minute. Pleaseexit the chat by selecting the “Gray Close Button” within the chatwindow when you are done chatting.
Chat InformationChat session has been terminated by the site operator.

I think the comparison is an apples to oranges one.  In my opinion, it’s like bringing a gun to a knife fight.