Sunday, January 27, 2008

Back in Tennessee

I am not really sure if anyone reads this anymore. I am now back at work in Tennessee. It is 'interesting' to be back here.

I can imagine that as time goes I will not be terribly inclined to continue writing on the blog, and so it will likely fall by the wayside. Of course, we are working on some cool projects and I may start up another blog with some other individuals so that we can post some of our crazy work for the world to see.

In the meantime, if anyone is reading this and would like to stay in touch, just send me an email at ejacob (at) utsi (dot) edu or you can get a facebook account and add me as a friend, or call me, or whatever you'd like.

So farewell my lovely blog, it was fun writing on you and you made for a great journal for a great trip. I will miss you.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008


[Edited while I was in the Reno Airport]

Hey folks, quick update - I had more adventures. I got rerouted through [I wanted to write 'friendster' here earlier] orange county towards Reno. When I got there they didn't have it in their records that I had flew there. So I was asked by a TSA guy how I got through security. Well, long story short I got a private [also wanted to write 'dance' here] search in the middle of the airport. It was no big deal, but interesting nonetheless. The guy gave me a thorough search, checking everything, but he didn't look at my bag or coat at all? Weird. Anyways, everything went well here - I didn't win though. I am so glad to be done with the presentations. Now it is time to relax.

I'll write more later when I am not using a public computer. -Eric

Reno Redux [Things I added in the airport]

I had a lovely incident happen to me at my second talk, the professional one. The entire time that I was in Germany, I kept a Heidi Klum background on my computere. She is Germany and hot, so it makes sense. As I was leaving Germany and heading to Reno I changed my background to something more professionally appropriate. I have this awesome shot from the deep field imager, or something like that. Now, I've had this background up for a good week. I go to my second presentation and when I plug my computer in for the presentation, Bam - half naked Heidi Klum. They engineers got a good kick out of it. Fortunately it was a rather discreet black and white photo. Either way, a bit embarrassing, but oh well.

The talks went well. Dr. Flandro had a good talk too, but he went long. He just had too much stuff to talk about. Today I slept in late and that felt good. I have been going non-stop for a long time. I think it was two nights ago that I went bowling with the other student winners. It was a good group with good presentations. It is nice to see some other quality students around. So I kicked all there asses in bowling and then had a few drinks. That is the rule for me, I am good at all bar games (pool, darts, shuffleboard, etc.,) I think bowling counts as well. I was dead tired, so I was done pretty early.

The view from my hotel room. Reno is pretty nice. They got 8 feet of snow in Lake Tahoe (the reason I was stuck in Vegas.)

Today I ran into Dr. Vakili and hung out with him at the exhibitors area. It was nice chatting with him. Oh and I was hanging out with a group of Australians from RMIT, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, last night. Their head guy asked me if I would like to do an internship there for 3 months, or whatever time I want. I would love to do that, and the similar language would be a welcomed change. So maybe soon I'll be in Australia for a bit. It would make for a new batch of continued blog posts.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Viva Las Vegas

Hi folks. I found the internet in the Las Vegas airport. Let me quickly get some sympathy.

So - starting two days ago. I woke up (12am Chicago time) walked to the train station (20 minutes) got on a train to Frankfurt (2 hours) got to the airport and figured that out (2 hours) flight from Frankfurt to Chicago (9 hours) bus ride from Chicago to around Milwaukee (2 hours) my Dad picked me up and a half hour later I was at home (7pm or so). Next day - woke up early because my body is still on germany time. Got ready to fly to Reno for a conference. Flight at 4pm. Flew to Las Vegas and my flight was cancel from there to Reno because of bad weather. So then I waited in line for hours and then had to wait while they figured out how to get me to Reno. Either way I was stuck in Vegas for a night.

Now, it isn't all bad to be stuck in Vegas on a Saturday night. Unfortunetely my body is still mostly on Germany time, so while it was only 9pm or so (Vegas time) when I got to my hotel room for the night, my body said that it was 6am and I hadn't slept yet. But my body can go to hell, I was in Vegas I had to do something.

So I walked around for a few hours and had a few drinks. I went to Hooters, MGM, Belagio, Caesars Palace, New York New York. All over the place. Nice gals around, I think I fell in love three or four times last night. I stayed out to about midnight (9am Eric's body time.)

Today I got up at about 9am, took a shower and went to the Bodies exhibit, the one where they took bodies and preserved them in plastic and have them all chopped up. It is really cool. Then I walked around a bit. It is nice out and the sun exists here. I ate lunch at the Harley Davidson Cafe on the strip. I was explaining to my Father how bad the German service is. Waiting 10 minutes for your beer, how they never ask if you want another one, it is rough. So I did an experiment. I was watching the clock, just seeing how long things took.

I was seated and she gave me a menu, I looked at it for a bit, then she swung by and ask what I wanted to drink. I got a Hefeweisen (it is hard to order here because I was pronouncing the name correctly.) She went to the bar, got my beer and came back. By then I had figured out what I wanted to eat, a pulled pork barbeque sandwich. The order went in and I looked at my watch. Now, Vegas isn't a fair comparison, but literally I had my food in 2 minutes. No kidding, It was just pulled pork and fries, so nothing that need much preparation, but still. So then, I drank my beer and finished it while I was eating. Sat it down, a few seconds later waitress came by, asked if I wanted another, I said yes, she walked to the bar, got my beer and I had a new one. Now that is service - God bless America.

I am about to get on a plane to go to Orange County, then to Reno. I will be there at about 10:50pm. Then I have to figure out where the hell my bag went. Then get to the hotel. I have a talk to give tomorrow at 2pm. I haven't had any time to practice it yet. Guess I will have to wing it again.

I have another presentation on Tuesday, that one I will practice.

I am tired, a bit stress and I just want to go home. If all goes well I will be back on Wednesday. -Eric

P.S. I have pics from Halle, where my Great Grandpa was born and final Germany Pics. I will post all that stuff probably on Tuesday after my work is done.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Auf Wiedersehen

Well, it's that time. We are all packed and ready to go. Our train leaves for the airport early tomorrow morning. I won't be able to post anything for a while once I am home since I don't have high speed internet access there. I have some more photos. Today we traveled up to Halle where my Great Grandfather Erich Jacob was born.

We had a great time here, we met some great people, made some new friends and have a lot of stories to tell when we get home. It seems odd that we are leaving tomorrow. It feels like we just got here. Well, now it is back to work in the US and the end of our drunken adventures. At least my liver will be happy.

So Germany, Daniel, Mira, Martin and his gal, the other DLR guys, Fabian, Jan, Sabine and the girls in Cologne and everyone else we've met here, we had a great time and we'll miss you.

Hopefully someday we'll see you all again. -Eric

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Das Boot

Last night I dreamed a dream. A wonderful dream.

And you were there.

And you.

Sean, Mira, Daniel and I went out to Thanners last night for our final wheat beer night. We met up with Martin and his girlfriend as well.

And the most amazing thing happened. We found the boots from Beerfest. Sean spotted it, we thought that they were just made up, but they are real. So we just had to get one.

The glass had some German written on it. It translates roughly to 'A beer that was drank with good friends.' A nice finish to our trip here. -Eric

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Years Berlin

We traveled to Berlin for New Years Eve. Sean and I got to Berlin at about 1:30, Mira and Daniel were going to arrive at around 3:30. Sean and I needed to deposit some money into our bank account here, and since the machine was busted in Goettingen, we needed to do it in Berlin. We walked around town looking for a bank, eventually we found one. On the way I took a few photos.

Sean lifting a car.

Cool buildings.

When we met up with Daniel and Mira it was still pretty early, so we walked around the festivities. We took a ride on the ferris wheel.

This is a view of the stage by the Brandenburg Gate from the ferris wheel. It was freezing outside. It was especially cold up on top the ferris wheel. I picked up a sweatshirt later in the night because I was rather cold.

They had performances going on all afternoon, but most of them were crappy German bands that were tailored more to the teenie-bopper age. Anyways, it was still entertaining.

And of course the countdown in German. I have more to this video. There were fireworks for a while to the right.

After we rang in the new year we walked around to some of the other parties.

There was trash everywhere, it looked a lot like a war zone after the celebrations. The haze and the lighting only added to the effect.

We needed to kill a little time before our train left to come back. We walked back to the Gate and then up to the train station and we got some coffee and waited. We slept on the train, with alarms set so we didn't miss Goettingen. After arriving in Goettingen we walked back and quickly went to sleep. It was a fun adventure. -Eric

Monday, December 31, 2007

Hamburg Christmas

Eh, I have been slow at this. I guess things are just winding down and I am preparing to leave. In the meantime here are a few photos from Hamburg and Christmas.

The Docks in Hamburg.

Sean and I had to leave our guns and baseball bats at home. How are we going to have any fun?!

It was foggy.

Opening some presents. We got Daniel a UTSI sweatshirt. He got us some DLR calendars.

Alright, I have some more pics I want to post, but Sean and I are leaving for Berlin in an hour, so I gotta go. Cya later. -Eric

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry Christmas

Hi everybody - just checking in after Christmas. We had a lovely time in Hamberg with some of Daniel family. Now we are at his parents home near Dortmund. I have some photos and such to post but I have to finish this technical paper so those things will have to wait. One week and one day until we fly out. Tomorrow we have to meet with the apartment guy and check out. We will probably move our stuff to Daniels Saturday or Sunday. Then Monday is New Year Eve in Berlin. Then we return for a couple days to rest and pack and then Friday we head out. See you all soon :) -Eric

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Rockets, Planes and Cats

I've always really liked this photo. This is one of my cats at home, Eddie. Hmmm, today is Saturday, I woke up later and Sean and I went into town to do some laundry. We stopped at the Christmas market and had some Gluhwein and Currywurst. Then we went back to the apartment. After dropping off our clean laundry and taking a nap we went back into town to do a little Christmas shopping. We also stopped at the grocery store to get something for dinner.

Right now I am working on my technical paper for the Aerospace Sciences meeting in Reno when I get back. I would really rather not be doing this right now. Oh well. I've been thinking of all my projects that I want to work on when I get back. Rockets, Planes, Scramjets, Submarines, etc. I am going to try my best to get some other students involved in all these projects at UTSI. I figure I only have a year or so left there, so I need to get cracking.

We will be moving out of our apartment next week after Christmas. Then we will party as much as we can before we leave. -Eric

Friday, December 21, 2007

Where Did I Go?

Ok, I disappeared from the blog for a short moment there. I had meant to post something yesterday, but I forgot my power cord for my laptop at the office and my batteries died. But praise the Lord my laptop has risen from the dead.

So. Lets catch up on some old going-ons and then we'll talk about the pasts few days events. Now, Monday I worked and then left for Cologne in the afternoon. I met Sabine at the train station after she was done with work. I was great to see her. Now... I would love to give you every detail of my time in Cologne, but in the name of privacy I'll have to leave you hanging. Maybe it is best - like the song - you say it best when you say nothing at all. Oddly enough, being the sap that I am I did write something down. I wrote what I would have written on the blog.

Though, I will show you these photos:

They have a great Christmas market in Cologne, much bigger than the one here in Goettingen. I really enjoyed walking around there. It was cold, but the cold is welcoming when you have some warm Gluhwein to sip on. And check out the kick ass hammer and sickle boomerang in the photo above.

This is a pic of the shore of the Rhine at night. I was standing on the main bridge that crosses the river. The Rhine is gorgeous at night.

Ok, I'll give you one pic of her. I have to write something about her. I haven't held back too much on the rest of the trip. I think there are only a few things I haven't put on the blog. So here it goes. I am going to miss this girl. I had a lot of fun with her. She is a beautiful girl and I love that long red hair of hers. In the end these things come to an end. It is like in Casablanca - "We'll always have Paris."

I think I watch too many old movies.

Frankfurt Train Station.

Ok. I rode the train back to Goettingen on Wednesday and when right to the office. We were giving a presentation at work the next day so I wanted to finish up some things. But, mostly I just spent the time bull shitting with Sean about his time in the US.

This is a photo of Germany at high noon. You can sort of see the sun, it is the bright spot just above the buildings on the left. Again - this is at noon.

So yesterday we gave our presentation. It went well. We introduced them to combustion instability, showed them what we do in the US, showed them what we did here at the DLR and talked about what more could be done. I think we have succeeded in convincing them to continue some C.I. CFD research with Daniel. He is happy about that. It would be a great opportunity for us to continue overseas cooperation.

We went out for dinner that night.

Today we went to work again. Even though we gave our ID's back and stuff on Wednesday. We just finished a few things. Sean had brought some apple cider back from the US. They drink tons of apple juice here, but no apple cider. We didn't know if they didn't have it or if they just didn't know the translation. So today we gave some to Daniel and Martin. They liked it and confirmed that they don't really have that here in Germany. I'm glad we could share something with them.

Sean also brought some US coke and snickers back with him. We gave some to Martin. They taste different to me over here. This way we could do a direct comparison. I told him to take them home and he could try the taste test with his girlfriend too.

And that was our last day at the DLR. In two weeks we travel back home. -Eric

Thursday, December 20, 2007

100th Post and 4 Months

I meant to post this on Monday. That was the 17th, which exactly 4 months after we got here. So, although Sean was back in the US and on his way back, it has been 4 whole months in Germany. So, tomorrow is Friday and that leaves 2 more weeks here. I guess I am ready to go home. Also, by chance this is my 100th Germany related post on the blog.

I can't write much more now, Sean and I are giving our presentation today on our work here at the DLR. Uh, I'll talk to you later :) -Eric

Oh yeah, Sean did graduate. So he is officially Dr. Fischbach. Congrats.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Peenemünde Rocketry Museum

Finally I am getting around to finishing the Peenemünde posts. On the last full day we were there we went to the actual museum in Peenemünde. We were rather surprised that we could fill up all of our time so thoroughly in such a small town. We were expecting to visit a few things and then spend some time relaxing. Well it turned out to be rather busy, but still a great trip.

The museum is located in the old power plant. This is one of the few remaining building left from WW2 and the actual rocket research.

There was a nice model of the V-2 launch site. This is where we were the previous day in the woods. Not much is left.

This picture is turned sideways, but it doesn't effect it. There were plans to build a larger rocket and launch it at New York. Fortunately the war ended before that.

This is part of the old power plant. I took a lot of pictures here because the lighting was great.

A chess board. They were trying to show the cold war as some kind of rocket chess match. I liked it because I am a chess player. It gave me a good idea for a chess board. I suppose their message wasn't getting through to me :)

This is what the left you with at the end of the museum. Here in Germany they have to play the balance between Nazi's and Rockets. They can't be too pro-rocket/technology or they will be accused of being Nazi sympathizers. So here we are, rockets are going to kill us all - I guess. When we got to this display I joking threw down my head phones and said to Banuti, "Fine, I get it, rockets are evil. I quit."

Lucky for us good ol' boys from the States - rockets are cool! -Eric

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Come On Canada

Hey Hey.

I haven't been posting enough. My life will not be thoroughly documented for this four month period unless I pick up the pace.

So... I was working. Ha. Ok, I got some good results, things are looking good. The 'trouble' with science is that it usually works out that successfully answering a question only leads to more questions. There is beauty in that. My good results have only given us a myriad of ideas to work on. But lo and behold, our time here is coming to an end. Well, we can work more, we'll just need to do it overseas.

We had our second DLR Christmas party last night. This time it was a dinner. So we had a lovely meal and then sat around and got drunk. I spent most the time talking to Mira and Martin's girlfriend. What can I say, I like to chat with the ladies. Maybe it is a product of being an engineer and always talking to just guys. Unfortunately, these gals are taken :)

Daniel was explaining to the boss here what we were working on and the good results that we've had. The boss (Klause, I like to refer to him as Klausie) asked if we could give a presentation on Tuesday. Eh, I had to tell him that I will be busy making a short trip to Cologne. Also, Sean is returning on Tuesday. Anyways, we will give a presentation later in the week (Thursday or Friday.) It will be a good opportunity for us to show them the work that we do at UTSI.

Today I swung by the DLR to help them clean up a bit. Then I walked to town with Martin and got a hair cut and got some food to eat. Now I am eating and blogging. After this I will swing by the train station, get my tickets for Cologne and then do some laundry. It is a full 'exciting' day.

In the meantime, I have to finish reviewing Dr. Flandro's theory, finish the CFD work, prepare this new presentation, start and finish my technical paper for the Aerospace Sciences conference in Reno, Nevada which is due in two weeks, also make the presentation for that, and revise the student paper presentation for the international competition. Plus + Hamberg for Christmas, then Paris, then Berlin for New Years and then I die :) Basically my life for the next month is me holding on, closing my eyes and praying for mid-January.

Ok - I have no pictures - but, but... I have a great great great video for you. I forgot to post this before. It is pretty hilarious. Short Background: this was taken two days before Karneval. Sean, Mira and I are in Cologne at the base of the historic Dom - really really drunk. Oh, and for any Canadians reading, I'm sorry :)

Ah, now I remember. My Grandma also sent me some cookies. I got them in the mail yesterday.

And my Grandpa found this hat at Germanfest in Milwaukee and decided to send it to me in Germany? I don't know. I think I will wear it to work on Monday :) -Eric

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

You're Not From the Public Radio, Are You?

I guess I haven't posted in a while. Let me fill you in. Sean left for the US today for his graduation. He will be back here in a week. He is probably just getting to the airport in Chicago now.

I have been working, I've been verifying the mathematics in Dr. Flandro's newest combustion instability theory. I had a bit of a break yesterday so I got back to working on some CFD (computational fluid dynamics) results. I don't know what I did, but the thing I was having a problem with works now. So for the past couple days I have been running simulations of the experiment I did for my masters thesis. It is exciting when you get things working. Maybe I'll post a vid in a few days.

And now to the title of the post: they have a public radio/television station here in Germany. It differs significantly from our PBS. Here it is a lot like a normal network station, but the kicker is how they get their funding. In the US, we donate to PBS, they always have those telethons to raise money. Well here you are required to pay a fee to the public media service if you have any device that is capable of receiving their transmissions. Now, it gets a little crazier. In the constitution it says that the government can have no control over the public media, which is a fine idea, except for the fact that the public media service can pretty much do whatever it wants as a result. In order to prove that you have a TV or radio or computer they may try to get into your house by pretending to be someone else. The government can't stop them.

A while back we got our letters for payment, which we promptly threw away. We are not paying anything. Because they can be tricky, Banuti warned us not to let anyone into our place unless we knew them or knew why they were there. Yesterday Sean left the office early to get some things before leaving. When he was leaving from our place a couple guys came by and wanted to fix something. Well, we don't speak German, so Sean had no idea. Though he immediately was skeptical and asked if they were from the Public Radio (or whatever it is called.) The guys were confused, maybe because they probably didn't speak much English. Anyways, long story short, they were just here to fix the thermometer on the radiator. That is probably not as climactic of an end as you were expecting. But still, evil German public television, that is a bit odd :)

Uh, lets see, I have one more Peenemunde post to do, I'll finish that soon. So that is it for now. I am working on some CFD stuff at the moment. -Eric

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Cradle of Spaceflight

Last Monday, when we were in Peenemunde, after touring the town we visited the 'cradle of spaceflight.' At this location a rocket was launched which made mankind's first breach into space and gave birth to modern rocketry. It is because of the work done here that we have a space program, that we made it to the moon, that we have GPS and weather satellites and so many other space based technologies. Obviously, this location is important to us :)

[I enjoyed the large pictures, so I am going to stick with that for now] We had a kilometer or so walk through the woods to get to the P7 launch site. This is all restricted area, so we had to 'sneak' in. It was no big deal, but the wooded area around the site is extremely dangerous. There are old bunkers and holes which are covered by brush which you could easily fall into. Also, there are unexploded bombs from WW2 air raids. The photo above is of an old cold war building. Not much is left from WW2.

After an hour or so we made it to the site. This is us rocket scientists in front of what is left of the v2 assembly building.

We walked around the corner and found ourselves at the launch site. They would move the rockets on large sleds from the assembly building to the launch position. The railway was still intact. The pool above is the cooling water for the launches. The launches took place just to the right of this photo.

At the launch position there is a monument. It was a bit controversial for this to be placed here, but all it says is that this is where the A4 rocket was launched, which is simply a fact.

This is the fire hydrant which you can clearly see in the old videos of the rocket launches. It kind of looked goofy too.

This is one of those good holes to fall into. It was getting dark so we went back. It might seem like we didn't see much, Maik even warned us before going that it was going to be a long walk and there wouldn't be much to see, but we insisted. We needed to see the site, to stand there and take it in. Our profession started here, now it is our job to continue the journey into space. -Eric

DLR Christmas Party

Howdy Partners. [I accidentally checked big pictures when uploading, so today is a big picture day.]

Yesterday we had our DLR Christmas party. We had a lovely lunch and then went ice skating. We managed to not fall. The ice was a little wet because it had been raining and wasn't very cold out, so it sucks to fall.

We had some Gluhwein and then went back to the DLR. Once we were there we had coffee and cake. Just if you didn't know already, Germans are nuts about their coffee and cake. We got out of there around 6pm or so. Then we went to the Christmas market. We had a bratwurst and some more Gluhwein. It was after that that the 'work' portion of the night ceased. Mira, Daniel, Sean and I were with Martin (which is pronounced differently here, it is more like Marteen.) He is a guy we work with and he is a lot of fun to chat with. So we all decided that we needed a beer, just one :) I love that game.

While walking to Thanners, our favorite local bar, we ran into Martin's girlfriend. He joked that he was lucky that he didn't tell her that he was still hard at work running simulations. So now the six of us went to the bar. Spoiler: We had more than one beer.

After Thanners we stopped by Martin's place. It is right in the heart of the town. He has a gorgeous place. He showed us around. Daniel wanted to see his guitars. I had a shot of vodka.

Next we went to the underground bar in town. It is a old wine cellar or something. It is a great place, but we had vowed, in the name of capitalism, to never go there again because we always got terrible service. However, Martin and his girl hadn't been there, so we sucked it up and went. Thankfully we had good service this time.

That is Martin, he is from Dresden. He works on Monte Carlo simulations of rarefied gas. As Banuti put it, speaking in a soft voice as if to a child, "come here little molecules."

After a few beers we called it a night. We got back at around 1am or so. Sean and I made some tea and ate some leftover pastries that we had. It was a great day. -Eric

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Peenemünde: Day 3 - Morning

Maik was going to show us around Peenemunde. We met later in the morning and he drove us around the island. He first took us to see where all the scientist had lived. Many of these buildings had been destroyed in bombing raids, but they have been rebuilt.

We saw the old train stations.

This is the location where Wernher Von Braun lived. All the buildings are destroyed.

After the brief tour around town we went for a tour of the airport. The guy there had all sorts of cool parts and a lot of technical expertise on the subject. He had a nice scale model of the island in his museum.

Strike a communist pose. Peenemunde was used as a base by the GDR forces during the cold war. So it is kind of a Russian/German mix of history.

He took us for a ride around the airport. There were old bunkers from the cold war era which would house aircraft. We saw V-1 launch ramps, the place where the ME-163 was launched and more. It was pretty cool. What was even cooler was that the guy had an awesome dog. He could open doors.

This was the air raid shelter. It was destroyed after WW2. It was pretty huge.

After the airport tour we swung back by the rental. We were going to take a stroll out to the V-2 launch site. It was a bit of a hike into the woods. Since it was getting late we ate something quick, warmed up some and then left. I will post that adventure next. -Eric