Greg’s Last Day As A Cadet

The Plain, The Cadet Mess, and in the background, the Cadet Chapel

Today was officially Greg’s last day to be a cadet. At the parade this morning, Greg’s class (of 2008) was officially dismissed, and the Class of 2009 took over the Corps of Cadets. I don’t think Greg minded this in the least.

Dan, Greg, Karey, & Sue after the Parade. Check out the sweet hat.

After the parade we went down to the RV for a bit, then did a bit of gift shopping and met up with Bob, Maryann, Mandy, Bobby, and Lisa as they finally made it onto campus. Scott & Mark were strangely missing, and we later found them to have left Penn State at around 9 PM. As I type this, at 12:25 AM, they still have yet to arrive!

Hitler’s Gun & Goering’s Guest Book & Staff

On the way to get Ice, we stopped back at the Museum giftshop, and I had to go into the wars throughout history gallery and snap the above photo for my dad, who was very interested in what Hitler’s gun looked like. It was actually a gun given to Hitler by some Nazi schmuck, Hitler probably didn’t even like it that much.

Graduation Banquet

For dinner we went to the graduation banquet in the cadet mess, an absolutely massive room with six “spokes” which seated around 4000 this evening. Karey & I were technically “Mark” and “Scott” as we weren’t sure who was going to go – but since no one else was here, the four musketeers that have been at this all week went.

Last thing we did tonight was meet up with Greg at the First Class Club (a.k.a. the Firstie club). Dan & I went and got to see the place and have some beer with the cadets. Overall a great day, and there is more tomorrow. I have lots of pictures to put up (I just got Dan’s memory card on my computer), but they probably won’t make an appearance any time soon! See you all later!

Engineering & Server Installs

Greg, a Civil Engineering grad, stands next to his team’s bridge

Today was an interesting day. Karey & I sorta relaxed a bit and let Dan & Sue go to most of the events. A parade this morning (that I dropped them off at), and a cookout tonight (that I wanted to go to but couldn’t due to timing). We did go to the Engineering open house and see the bridge pictured above. Next to it is my brother-in-law, who I am sure is so thrilled that he’s been photographed to death this week (And has more to come).

Karey Snaps A Shot!

We sat in on the Engineering awards ceremony, and saw Greg get a lapel pin and sticker (for his hard hat) indicating his Graduation with Honors status. We then toured the building a bit, met some instructors, and headed back down to the camper. Speaking of the camper, remember those empty parking lot photos from earlier this week (They’re in my gallery), check this out:

One of many shots showing a crowded parking lot

The parking lot has grown in size quite a bit – car and RV wise! We have a prime spot by the water, however I believe others are getting envious! After this post I’ll be uploading some pics from today to the Gallery site, however since I spent most of the day at the RV (installing a server remotely tonight), I don’t have quite as many as in days past!

Hanging Around The Point, Seeing Some Guns

West Point Museum

Today we stayed mostly around the Point, visiting the West Point Museum (Which is right outside the main gate). The museum is really more history than just West Point, with features on large and small artillery, wars throughout history, American wars, and more. They have some other pretty neat finds, like Adolf Hitler’s personal gold-plated pistol, and a full-scale replica of “Fat Man”, the bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945.

West Point Train Station

We walked back from the Museum through Highland and ate at a Chinese buffet (Good food, bad service). After getting back on base (Much easier when you have no trunk to open for Security, they scan your drivers’ license and you walk right through), we walked down to South Dock, because we were told you can get to North Dock (Where our RV is) from there. Well you can, but we couldn’t find the mystical staircase behind the soccer field, so we had to wait for Dan to pick us up! Along the way we saw some interesting sights at the water front, including the West Point train station – a very “Harry-potter-esque” building that fits with the gothic theme very well. The real rub is that there is a giant hill that you must walk up to get to the barracks – so new recruits at one time got to drag their stuff up a hill after a long train ride. Nice.

View of West Point campus from the Cadet Chapel entrance.

In the evening we went up to the Cadet Chapel and heard the combined cadet religious choirs sing. I never thought I’d hear a Jewish Cadet Choir sing my high-school class song (“Livin’ on a Prayer”), but I did this night. They sang a good mix of religious music and patriotic, and the pipe organ was pretty amazing to hear. Many sang along with “God Bless America” (And with “Livin’ on a Prayer”…). The real attraction was the building, however:

Cadet Chapel front.

The Cadet Chapel was built in 1910, and has a VERY gothic theme to it. It is home to the largest church organ in the world (mostly due to donors continued support for expansion). The inside is amazing to view, with 56 ft. tall ceilings.

Interior, it was dark outside so the lighting isn’t the best

The interior is fairly plain religiously (as the Chapel is home to Protestant services), however the massive ceiling and high arches do not disappoint. The 18,000 pipes in the organ also inspire enough religious zeal to make this a very impressive house of God!

Well, that’s all for today’s update. Today our agenda has us going to an Engineering open house and a crawfish boil!

New York City

Waiting for the Metro-North train from Garrison to NYC

On Tuesday we went up to NYC from West Point. Before we left I had to take care of some computer issues on a few servers several hundred miles away. So the day was interesting – see something historical, check Pocket PC to make sure nothing blew up, see something historical, etc.. Anyway, we took the Metro-North down to Grand Central Terminal, and then made our way down to Battery Park and onto the ferry over to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.


Lady Liberty

We elected to stay on the boat and not file off at the Statue. Probably a good choice considering how long the tour at Ellis Island lasted. We took the audio tour, and by the time we were done looking all throughout rooms like this one:


Ellis Island Registration / Main Room

… it was around 5:30 and my phone was dying from the “Get signal/drop signal/get signal” dance and MSN Messenger running. We went to TGI Fridays for dinner (near the WTC site). We looked at the WTC site then road the express up to 42nd street to walk down to Grand Central. Along the way we saw a Sanrio Store! Karey had go into it – it had a giant Hello Kitty on top of it! I bought her something that resembled a small bag, with pockets. I don’t know exactly what it was as all the writing was in Japanese! Anyway, we were tired and made it back to West Point around 10, where we all collapsed fairly quickly. Today we’re heading to the West Point visitor center and museum, and generally relaxing before more festivities kick in later this week.


Security Tent

As one last note, to get to the ferry to the statue and Ellis, you must pass through airport-style security. Myself and my comrades made it through in under 1 minute (for all 4 of us, mind you), however the people in front of us apparently had more metal objects than most foundries or steel mills. They were leather-clad bikers who were very annoyed (and thus took longer) at the process. And I thought activities at West Point were primarily revolved around “waiting”. Of course when it comes to the military, the prolonged waits make sense: After all, why do you think Wars take so long!

Day 1 In West Point – Memorial Day!

The view from our campsite, looking at the Hudson river.

Today we hung around the West Point area, the base and also out into a few little towns to buy supplies for the week. We’re set up in a parking lot on the North Dock on West Point’s campus, with a very nice view of the Hudson river and some interesting and friendly “neighbors”.

Karey peeks out the RV door!

After we got back from getting supplies, we met up with Greg and heard how he was doing on his last week at the Point. We then went and watched their graduation formation exercises, and got to see Greg lead his company (Marching around the square, a la Monty Python?). Today was a beautiful day, around 85 degrees and sunny!

One large Armstrong gun! (150 lb, 8 inch) Seized from the Confederacy in 1865!

You can’t go anywhere on West Point without tripping over history. This gun is at Trophy Point, along with a bunch of other interesting artillery. We’re forming up plans for the rest of the week, so look for more posts!

Weekly Happenings

Well, this week has been an interesting one. A LONG one as well!

First of all, I’m typing this on my new IBM (Lenovo) Thinkpad x60 Tablet, which I absolutely LOVE (I’ve actually retired all of my other Laptops and use this one exclusively now). The 12.1″ screen is actually extremely usable, as opposed to my previous Tablet which just didn’t cut it while working at home. The usual IBM perks (i.e. fullsize keyboard, Thinkvantage Junk that’s actually helpful) have been nice as well. Blogging from Word is also nice!

This last weekend we Upgraded Dark Energy with some snazzy new hardware (which is making it run absolutely stunningly). I commissioned a new Win2k3 Virtual server to be a backup domain controller and Intranet host. BJS Employees will soon have a Sharepoint intranet to use for collaboration, and the Admin Team will have an Admin Wiki & Sharepoint site to themselves as well. This has been my diversion this week.

This last Tuesday was my M.A. Thesis defense meeting. I passed, with minimal revisions to make (Which I hope to do in the next 2 – 3 weeks). This should put me on track to graduate sometime this summer, or fall, or at least some time this year. It also frees me up to focus on my Dissertation.

Karey’s been a madwoman this week working on stuff for the approaching holiday. I was at school pretty much all day Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (the latter day to grade Cognitive Exams). Today I’m relaxing and catching up on some projects around the house (And typing this blog post).

Happy Easter Everyone!