I'm home in IL for the holidays, wandering bored through a shopping mall because my mother's returning things, when I get a phone call.

"Hey! So, ah, Eric found this design competition..."
"Where are you?"
"We're in the library. I know you're in Illinois, but - are you by a computer?"
"I'm almost afraid to ask, but when's the deadline?"
"Ah.... midnight?" (It's 6:30pm.)

There goes my evening. The next 5.5 hours were spent happily chatting away on phones and laptops while simultaneously brainstorming, developing, and presenting 4 different product concepts for the (month-long, apparently) competition. Papers flew. Pixels flew. I completely bewildered my mother by asking her to pose next to an electrical outlet. And the final products were... not too bad, in my biased opinion - downright decent if you consider they were done with no planning on a randomly assembled distributed team in the span of a night, minus dinnertimes.

Random acts of engineering. That, plus the excellent potato-leek soup we had for lunch, just completely made my day.

Speaking of distributed teams, I just want to say I LOVE MY TEAM*. Phil and Hiroo from Scotland are gorgeous designers and absolutely wonderful to work with for our distributed engineering design course project, and Chandra was infinitely patient with everything and totally kickass at making our prototypes both structurally sound and manufacturable. Hopefully I made up for my ineptness over videoconferences (can't... read... lips...) by introducing shiny software; since it was a more mechanical-ish design challenge (coffee cup holders) I thought my computer skillz would go unused, but awareness of online collaboration tools was definitely helpful.

*originally intended to refer to the distributed team, but thinking about it right now I can honestly say I love every single team, group, and committee I'm on this semester - not just "like," "tolerate," or "uh... it's a valuable learning experience," I really love the people on them and the spirit in them, which is incredibly unusual... and boy, it feels good. I want this feeling more. The world is such a happy place when you have awesome teammates to work with.

It's 2am Eastern, so I'm getting an early snooze in an attempt to make up for sleep debt. G'night, folks.