I got home to start my spring break on Friday evening. Oddly enough, last week at school wasn’t all that stressful for me. While I did have quite a bit of homework to get done, I didn’t have any major tests like a lot of other people did. During spring break, however, I am going to have to write an essay as well as get caught up on some chemistry assignments I’ve been putting off for what seems like way too long now. We’re deep into studying acid/base equilibrium now, so, really I should look at those assignments soon.
Other things I need to get done during the weeklong break include giving the blog a facelift. To keep everything looking fresh, I try to completely redesign the look of the blog every 6-8 months or so. The most recent overhaul came last June, so now would be a perfect time to give this place some new colors. I’ll have to go shopping around for templates sometime this week; hopefully I’ll be able to find something I like.
I also have to get some prints developed of pictures I’m going to submit to an annual photography contest that the photography club/organization at UND sponsors. The contest is in its third year and is entitled “UND 24/7.” Basically the only qualifications that the pictures have to meet is that they must have been taken on the campus of UND during the 2005-2006 school year and they must show some aspect of “life” at UND. I found 5 or 6 nice-looking pictures that (I think) could potentially woo the judges. The person/people in charge of the contest seem a little old-fashioned though, since even though he/she/they do accept digital photos, anybody who wishes to submit photos taken digitally must get them printed onto an 8x10 piece of paper, a much more expensive and inconvenient (for the photographer) process than, say, sticking the photo files onto a CD-R. Also, there are three categories that photos can win in – two for film and only one for digital. Still, I would love it if one my photos ended up winning. Besides getting his/her photo(s) displayed on campus in the Memorial Union, the winners also get prizes. I’m not sure exactly what they are, but I wouldn’t mind a gift certificate or something to one of the local camera stores that sponsors the contest. In addition, if the media relations department likes your photo(s) enough, it may use it/them in UND promotional materials. That would be really neat if one of my photos ended up getting placed in something like the “advertisement” brochure that UND sends out to high school juniors and seniors.
As soon as I fix them up a bit in Photoshop, I’ll make sure to share all of the pictures that I’m going to submit to the contest. I’ve shared two of them before – they were in the batch of snow shots I took at the end of January.
Back to my to-do list for spring break, I wouldn’t mind seeing people I know who are also in town this week enjoying a few days off from school.
I can actually already check off one of the things on my list, since on Sunday evening I finished that “Ultimate Brainerd Climate Page” that I talked about a few posts ago. I can’t believe that I’ve finally finished something that I started during Christmas break in 2004. I do find it really interesting to gather that sort of data, though. It’s like collecting a bunch of pieces to a very big puzzle and then putting them all together.
Though it’s laden with the most data, the easiest chart to assemble was the one that tracks the average temperatures in Brainerd during every month of every year since 1898. I got it done in just a day, thanks to the fact that I largely just had to copy and paste data between Excel and Word.
Just for fun, I decided to confirm my supposition that the past few years in Brainerd have been warmer-than-average. I've made and posted a rather crude Excel chart that illustrates how global warming is also evident in Brainerd's climate; 1996 was the last year that was below normal (with "normal" being represented by the dashed blue line on the chart). Note that I’ve also added a red trendline to the data. This line shows that the average annual temperature in Brainerd has been rising at a rate of 0.0082°F/year, which is pretty insignificant. What would be more informative would be to know the rate that the temperature has been changing per decade. Yeah, I know it would be easy to calculate, but it's not something I feel like doing right now.