(megabyte) wrote,


The long road to Berkeley

I got my GSI assignment on July 20th. I will be TA'ing EE 43: Introductory Electronics Laboratory. I'm pretty happy about this assignment, it was one of the higher choices on my list (at least I know I'll already fully understand the material), and even better, the course is managed by a professor who called me personally when I was accepted to Berkeley, and who let me tour his lab when I visited. He works a lot with mechatronics, and the intro lab actually has a robotics/mechatronics semester project as part of its syllabus. He has several ME's in his lab, and one of his main projects is creating a life-size robotic fly. I don't yet know what I'll eventually be researching, but if I decide to do something like that, this guy seems to be pretty cool to work with. Unfortunately, I still don't know what classes I'm supposed to take or anything like that. When I asked several questions to the EECS advising office a couple weeks ago, almost all of the answers said "wait until August." Well, it's August, and I still don't know what's going on.
It turned out that my original room assignment wouldn't be vacated in time for my move-in, so was switched to the adjacent apartment. I requested the contact info for my future roommates. I was only sent three names, so I don't know if we'll have an empty room, or if my reassigned room is only a 4-person. In any case, I'm paying the 5-person rate, so that's what really matters. The thing that's annoying is that I received a bill for my apartment already even though I'm not going to be there for half of the month. It's also due on the 15th, so that means I'll have to mail in the payment. At least they're also paying me for all of August despite the fact that I don't need to be there until the 23rd.
And now the most important part of this entry. Stefanie and I are driving to Berkeley on the 13th. Stefanie will be driving down on the 12th and we'll leave on the 13th with the plan of arriving at Berkeley by the 16th. Stefanie is flying back on the 18th to Greensboro where Cas will pick her up and take her to Tech, after which she'll eventually make it down to Durham to move in herself. In any case, this is going to be a long trip, so I'm asking for suggestions regarding it.
We are driving approximately 12 hour days for the first three days and another 4 on the last day. We had originally planned to stop in Little Rock, AR, Albuquerque, NM, and Bakersfield, CA. This is before we found out that there's an alternate route that would take approximately the same amount of time to traverse. With the other route, we'd stop in St. Louis, MO, Cheyenne, WY, and Reno, NV. Right now I'm liking the north route better. Here are the pros of each:

North Route
  • Scenery should be nicer
  • Cooler temperatures
  • Safer cities (both Little Rock and Albuquerque are in the top 25 least safe cities in the nation)
  • Reno, like Las Vegas, has nice cheap hotels and food. The hotel/casino I'm looking at staying at is only $25/night.
  • Avoid Arizona
  • Avoid I-5
South Route
  • I was able to get a free night at Super 8 in Albuquerque by finding a cheaper price for the hotel (on hotels.com) than their own website. The last I checked, they didn't fix the price, so if you need to stay in Albuquerque...
  • I could stop by Chupperson's and only go off course by about an hour.
  • Possibly less steep terrain
  • Simpler route (the large majority of the trip is spent on a single interstate)
  • This was the original plan, so we're slightly more familiar with it
I've outlined the two routes below. If there's any reason we should take one over the other, please let me know. i.e. if there are any locations we're passing by that we should stop at, etc.

Click for mapsCollapse )

As for the trip itself, we've been trying to come up with things to keep us occupied. So far, I've got:
  • Star Wars Radio Dramas
  • Hitchhiker's Guide radio drama and books on tape
  • All of the Bud Light Real Men of Genius ads
  • Weird Al CDs
  • audio from the Daily Show
If anybody has more suggestions, please let me know.

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