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December 2007

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Well, Christmas has come and gone. It was a good one. I was given seasons 4-7 of The West Wing. I love this show so much. It’s such a smart, funny, well-acted show. I also got a bunch of Best Buy gift cards. I spent those today when I went to buy an external hard drive. I got a 500gb MyBook. I reformatted it and partitioned it so both the pc and the Mac can use it. The Mac partition will be used with Time Machine. My Christmas prank on my sister was great. She got me good as well and gave me this really cool picture of the first pitch on opening day of the first Cardinals game at the new Busch Stadium. It’s very cool. Can’t wait to hang it somewhere. My other sister got me a cool Cardinals baseball (well, it was from my nephew) and the Wii Zapper which I am using to play Medal of Honor: Heroes 2 and, of course, Link’s Crossbow Training. It was a great Christmas. I hope everyone else had a great holiday as well.

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These past few days I’ve had a huge influx of traffic. The reason behind it is someone stumbled upon an article I posted back in 2005 and liked it and thus it was shared with thousands upon thousands of people around the internet. On Tuesday I had about 900 visits, Wednesday went up to 7,110, and today so far I’m at 2,243 and it’s not even 9 am. WordPress is known for not handling large traffic spikes, especially on shared hosting (which is what I’m on). Luckily, after Tuesday’s small influx to 900 visits I decided to download and enable WP Super Cache. It has worked quite well and my site has been loading fast and the server seems to be handling all the traffic quite well. So, we shall see how long this traffic spike will last and how the shared hosting of HostGator handles it.

and all through the school, kid after kid were acting a fool. The teachers were grumpy and pulling their hair, with the hopes that winter break soon would be there. Today I had to remove a kid from ISS. He couldn’t control himself any longer. On top of that, I also received four new visitors today. The teachers are giving me early Christmas gifts it seems. Or should I say they are giving themselves early Christmas gifts? The n00bs are actually working and aren’t talking, so that’s good. What’s also good is that tomorrow I lose three of my more talkative kids. I have no doubt that their vacant seats will be filled by the end of the week. The excitement of Christmas and two weeks off is building in these young kids and they just can’t control themselves. One of my favorite sayings is The sweet just isn’t as sweet without the sour, because without the sour you really don’t know what sweet is. I love this quote and it strikes true for this week. This is a sour week, but it’s going to make my break that much sweeter.

(the second line in the poem was written by Trix)

In 1903, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Orville and Wilbur Wright make the first successful flight in history of a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft. Orville piloted the gasoline-powered, propeller-driven biplane, which stayed aloft for 12 seconds and covered 120 feet on its inaugural flight.

Orville and Wilbur Wright grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and developed an interest in aviation after learning of the glider flights of the German engineer Otto Lilienthal in the 1890s. Unlike their older brothers, Orville and Wilbur did not attend college, but they possessed extraordinary technical ability and a sophisticated approach to solving problems in mechanical design. They built printing presses and in 1892 opened a bicycle sales and repair shop. Soon, they were building their own bicycles, and this experience, combined with profits from their various businesses, allowed them to pursue actively their dream of building the world’s first airplane.

After exhaustively researching other engineers’ efforts to build a heavier-than-air, controlled aircraft, the Wright brothers wrote the U.S. Weather Bureau inquiring about a suitable place to conduct glider tests. They settled on Kitty Hawk, an isolated village on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, which offered steady winds and sand dunes from which to glide and land softly. Their first glider, tested in 1900, performed poorly, but a new design, tested in 1901, was more successful. Later that year, they built a wind tunnel where they tested nearly 200 wings and airframes of different shapes and designs. The brothers’ systematic experimentations paid off–they flew hundreds of successful flights in their 1902 glider at Kill Devils Hills near Kitty Hawk. Their biplane glider featured a steering system, based on a movable rudder, that solved the problem of controlled flight. They were now ready for powered flight.

In Dayton, they designed a 12-horsepower internal combustion engine with the assistance of machinist Charles Taylor and built a new aircraft to house it. They transported their aircraft in pieces to Kitty Hawk in the autumn of 1903, assembled it, made a few further tests, and on December 14 Orville made the first attempt at powered flight. The engine stalled during take-off and the plane was damaged, and they spent three days repairing it. Then at 10:35 a.m. on December 17, in front of five witnesses, the aircraft ran down a monorail track and into the air, staying aloft for 12 seconds and flying 120 feet. The modern aviation age was born. Three more tests were made that day, with Wilbur and Orville alternately flying the airplane. Wilbur flew the last flight, covering 852 feet in 59 seconds.

During the next few years, the Wright brothers further developed their airplanes but kept a low profile about their successes in order to secure patents and contracts for their flying machines. By 1905, their aircraft could perform complex maneuvers and remain aloft for up to 39 minutes at a time. In 1908, they traveled to France and made their first public flights, arousing widespread public excitement. In 1909, the U.S. Army’s Signal Corps purchased a specially constructed plane, and the brothers founded the Wright Company to build and market their aircraft. Wilbur Wright died of typhoid fever in 1912; Orville lived until 1948.

The historic Wright brothers’ aircraft of 1903 is on permanent display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Via History.com

This weekend was a busy weekend. Friday night was happy hour with people from work. A couple people who don’t usually show up came out and it was fun. I really enjoy the people I work with, even though I never get to see them throughout the day. I’m with the kids from 7:15 until 2:15 without a break. I eat lunch with the kids in the classroom. I never deal with any teachers. The only people I deal with on a regular basis are the hall monitors and the lunch ladies. Needless to say, I really enjoy happy hour as it gives me time to really get to know my fellow co-workers.

After happy hour on Friday I went to my sister Lisa’s party. Her and Kevin were having people over to show off the new floor and the wall they knocked down in the entryway. It looks really nice. They had quite a few people stop by their place to check it out, as well as enjoy some tasty food (except the meatballs), beer, and friendships.

I woke up on Saturday to about four inches of snow. For once the weather people were right. It snowed off and on all day. Why couldn’t this happen during the week so we can have a snow day? I would really like one right about now. The snow did put some extra stress on the day as we had plans to go to my Grandma’s house for her holiday party. We made it out there, but it took about an hour longer than it should have because it was snowing heavily again and the roads weren’t in the best shape. Coming home was even worse since it snowed another two or three inches while we were at the party. None of the roads looked like they were plowed recently. It wasn’t until we made it back into St. Peters that we experienced decent roads. Good job St. Pete! Anyway, I had fun at my Grandparent’s place. There’s some pictures on my Flickr page if you want to check them out. No, we weren’t opening Christmas gifts. We did a white elephant thing and all the gifts were items from our homes.