Monthly Archives: June 2014

Irony and Corrugated Boxes

Many of you know that I spent about a year after finishing my Masters degree working at a paper company, specifically in the part of the group that focused on making corrugated board and boxes. For just over a year, the majority of my time was spent thinking and stressing about getting the right paper to my box plants so they could keep on making those boxes.

It sounds dull, and I was so excited when I was out of the world of boxes…but somehow, once it’s in you, you can never seem to escape it. Anytime I see corrugated anything, I take quick notice of it, and I love to check the stamps on the bottom of boxes so I can check to see if they come from one of “my” plants. I haven’t hit the jackpot yet, but it’s bound to happen someday.

I thought I was done working with boxes, but I quickly realized that this summer I would spend quite a bit of time working with boxes. One of our studies is looking into the effects of AR on depth perception, and we quickly chose boxes as our “object” to be tested. It’s gone through many iterations, but it started with just plain boxes…

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Then we added wheels, to make them easier to move, of course.

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We painted it black next…

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Upon arrival to the UK, we upgraded our corrugated style. Hugh Jackman keeps us company during the workdays.

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Of course, we need him to move (he’s our trusty “pedestrian”) so we had to attach him to a cart. In the process, we might have hurt him a little bit.

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Nadia is the one in the pictures. She’s working hard to give Hugh the support he needs to walk straight and tall.

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Of course, we make some time to have a little fun while we’re working.


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Running around






We’ve officially been in Nottingham for a couple of days now, so we’ve finally started to settle in. Monday started with a quick tour of campus and a delightful breakfast overlooking the lake (pictures to come in a later post). We got to meet with our UNott contact, Gary Burnett, and we began the Nottingham portion of research. We’re only just beginning, but we did get to play around with the Pioneer AR display some. After work, we went to Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem. There’s a lot of folklore to go along with the place, but the most notable thing about this restaurant is that supposedly it’s the oldest pub in England…if you ask someone from Nottingham anyways. It’s also built into the rock at the bottom of Nottingham Castle. Pretty cool!

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After dinner, we went and found the famous Robin Hood statue that’s just around the corner. It’s also at the base of the castle. I’m saving the castle visit for the future. I’ll report back once I tour it! We had way too much fun and definitely acted like loud Americans!

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Today’s research got a little more hands on. We even got some more of our tools for the research. This is a life-size cardboard cutout of a car that we might use. Gary picked the color, and yes – it’s pink.

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After work, I decided to go for a run. I originally planned to run into Nottingham City center, but mid-run I decided to change my plans. Our campus is right next to the massive Wollaton Park. I heard that there were these practically tame deer in the park and I thought I remembered that Wayne Manor was in there too. I wasn’t certain, and I actually lost hope about the mansion. Luckily, I was wrong. There were just so many trees blocking my view that I couldn’t see the house until I was right next to it. Stunning…

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The house was set high on a hill, with a beautiful view and the grounds were near perfect. I feel like the thing that makes England feel most different from the US is the attention to detail when it comes to parks. There just don’t seem to be parks like this in the US…maybe central park. But that’s just one park in a huge city, while these parks are plentiful around Nottingham and the UK (and really Europe in general).

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There was also this beautiful lake to run around. I accidentally ran through some restricted area…whoops! On the other side it only said that no dogs were allowed, I promise! Either way, it was a successful exploration of the city. I decided to skip the Elton John concert and so far, I’m glad I did. I had a relaxing evening that’s left me feeling rejuvenated and excited about working tomorrow. Here’s to hoping we can get my PowerPoint VBA code working so I can contribute to the research projects as well!

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The Beginning of Summer and Nottingham

I bet you thought I was never going to return. I did. The last few weeks have been really crazy for me. I started doing my summer research full-time. This included leading a couple of undergrads and I volunteered myself to write a couple of programs. I also moved out of my apartment and into storage. Since my lease ends while I’m in Nottingham for the summer, I had to come up with a backup plan for storage. It is nice to have it all done so I won’t have to worry about it once I get back. Add a last minute trip to Chattanooga to top it all off and let’s just say I was more stressed than I’ve been in a while. Somehow my to-do list never seemed to decrease in size no matter how much work I did. I still did manage to squeeze in a little fun though.

I’ve enjoyed the hikes around Blacksburg, and after many trips to the Cascades, I got to explore Barney’s Wall as well. After taking a wrong turn and then realizing the hike was 2 miles longer than anticipated, we were pretty tired! The view was well worth it though.

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Many more cookouts were had, including a breakfast-themed one at the St. Jeans’ house.

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I’ve never been one to crash weddings, but I must say it’s a lot of fun! Tom, Ari, Jon (left to right) and I were invited by the bride to crash the wedding. It was pretty exciting! We had a lot of fun dancing and hanging out and eating loads of candy.

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A couple of pictures from our weekend in Chattanooga. I finally got to take everyone to Food Works, one of my favorite restaurants. The food is delicious!

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After 13 hours of traveling and a lot of crying children, the group made it to Nottingham. After another couple hours of wandering, we found our dorm. It didn’t disappoint! it looks straight out of Harry Potter. We have rooms to ourselves that are pretty nice and spacious. So far, we’ve just been adjusting to the time change and getting our grocery situation set up. i’m not sure how far away the grocery store is, but it takes about 2 hours to go there and back for a quick trip.  Below, you can see our dorm, and a fun sign that I saw on my run this morning. I’ve been twice in two days, and I think I finally have the basics. You can’t buy too much in one trip since we’re walking for so long!

Tomorrow is our first day of work…a little excited, a little nervous about it all!

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