Back in the Saddle

Since moving back to West Campus for the school year, I have started a new set of classes of only moderate terribleness.*  I’m getting sucked into the spinning vortex of problem set terror, already sleep deprived, and slightly hungry, so overall, all’s well in ChemE land.

Besides classes, I’ve also worked a couple shifts for Cornell Productions, including Ordinary People’s event at the Cornell Cinema the other night.  Pep band started up and we’ve had our first rehearsal for the semester as well as a field hockey game.  Ironically enough, after spending the entire summer in Ithaca, the closest I got to getting sunburned, which doesn’t happen easily to me, was at the field hockey game.  In September.  I have determined that the combination of direct sunlight (radiative heat transfer) and the bleachers (reflection = even more radiative heat transfer) caused my near encounter with fried skin cells.

By this point in my college career, I’ve fulfilled my PE requirements, and so I’m taking Small Boat Sailing for fun.  Last weekend we learned to rig the boats we’ll be taking out and then we had to capsize the boats on purpose.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  The water was cold, but the coldest part of the class was when we got out of the water and the previously windless day turned into a strong breeze in about thirty seconds.


No pictures from sailing, but here’s Cayuga Lake as seen from Taughannock State Park.

Other than that, my parents and brother came up to Cornell for Labor Day weekend.  We stayed in a cabin at Taughannock State Park and hiked there, Buttermilk Falls, and Watkins Glen, and also went to the Corning Museum of Glass.  It was a fun weekend, but it was surprisingly crowded at the state parks and the museum.  I think the fact that it was a holiday weekend plus the “last” weekend of summer contributed to the crowds.  Though the temperature has dropped considerably since then and the sky has returned to its standard greyness.  Pre-winter, here we come.


Watkins Glen

*My classes actually aren’t terrible at all and in fact, are less annoying than the dozens of emails I get every day.   Contrary to what appears to be popular belief, I do not need three reminders before every event.

A Room with a View

After four 1.2-mile-round trips between the apartment I subletted for the summer in Collegetown and my dorm room on West Campus, I successfully moved back onto campus for the school year.  In the end, I biked 0.6 miles; walked 2.4 miles; walked another 1.2 miles hauling my backpack, a full suitcase, and other miscellaneous random stuff; and got driven the final 0.6 miles.  It was a fun day.

Once I arrived at my room, I became aware that my double was in fact hosting a couple of extra guests.  They were climbing around on the window screens, but don’t worry, nothing in the room was in danger of breaking, because they only weighed about a tenth of a gram.  They also had six legs and occassionally buzzed.  Yes, we had bees in the room.  Right now, we don’t appear to have any friends visiting, but they seem to be able to crawl through cracks somewhere because our window has not been opened except to let the bees out.

In addition, our fan has been running at gale-force speeds for most of the semester so far because our room is about sauna temperature ten degrees warmer than the rest of the suite, the common room of which is air-conditioned to approximately ten degrees below freezing some inappropriately cold temperature.  After analysis, we determined that the combination of the vent placement, our exceptionally large windows, and the shape of the room prevent effective cooling.  Isn’t West Campus great?

But seriously, West Campus is nice.  I can get full meals without leaving my dorm.  I have floor space in my room (as compared to my first double on North Campus, which, among other things, featured one bed blocking a closet and the sink room door, the combination of the other bed and a bookcase leaving most of the room accessible only through a narrow opening, a chair that felt like it was going to fall apart under my scrawny mass, and a hole in the wall).  So I’m really not kidding for once when I say that I enjoy living on West Campus.  Plus, this is the view from my room:


The Fellowship of the Penguins

Back over spring break, I mentioned that I was working on a project involving penguins, and I might post about it soon.  Well, it’s only three months later and I’m finally getting around to posting about it.  [I know I also said I’d write about spring semester, but then I remembered I spent most of spring semester doing problem sets.  The past sentence just about sums things up and I’m counting it as “writing about spring semester.”]

Anyway, first off, here are the penguins, who are named after the members of the Fellowship of the Ring from The Lord of the Rings:

They have adventures around campus like visiting the AD White statue on the arts quad,

and rooting for the Big Red.

I started the project just for fun and also to take a look at things from a different perspective.  Campus looks different to a two-inch penguin.

In other news, I’m back at Cornell working on my summer project.  Summer has defiintely finally arrived in Ithaca, complete with thunderstorms a few nights a week and 90% humidity.  It’s still been nice, and the penguins seem to be holding up just fine in the heat.

There’s No Place Like Home

After having four finals in four days, I had most of two days to do nothing pack and then I headed home for the first part of my summer, where, according to the forecast, it will rain during four of the next seven days.  On the bright side, the forecast looks even worse for Ithaca.  [Sorry to anyone reading this from Ithaca.]

As is fairly standard for me, I have unpacked only what is absolutely necessary: my phone and my laptop.  And some smaller things like clothing and toothpaste.  It’s nice to be home, even if there is only non-dairy milk in the fridge.

It doesn’t feel like I’m done with my second year of college, especially since some of my friends are still in Ithaca taking finals, but I’ve certainly learned a few things over the past year.  For one, no matter how early you start your problem sets, you’ll still be working on them at 2 am on Friday morning.  You can even start over the weekend; those “few questions” you have to get answered at office hours on Thursday night will still take three or four hours.  And then you’ll have to go to office hours for another class after that.

For another, the weather will be nice as long as you have something to do that will keep you indoors all day.  Case in point: finals week.  All week long as I’m frantically cramming equations into my brain reviewing for finals, it’s sunny with temperatures in the seventies and eighties.  On Friday after I’m done with finals, it pours and the temperature drops thirty degrees.  Naturally, I have to run around campus filling out paperwork.

In addition, I guess I probably also learned a lot about physical chemistry, biomolecular engineering, fluid mechanics, and introductory macroeconomics.  But for the next few weeks, I will be enjoying my time at home doing such fun activities as Going To The Dentist.  Then I will be heading back to Ithaca to work on a project.  I’ll also be going back in time and writing more about spring semester later.  Get excited to hear about more fun activities like Office Hours, Walking to Class in the Snow, and Studying Until Your Brain Falls Out Your Ears*.

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and this may not really have happened

The Reveal

I know you’ve all been waiting eagerly for it, so here are the answers, with some commentary, to my Two Truths and a Lie post.  [If you didn't get a chance to guess the lies and you want to, go here first.]


1a) I have been playing the clarinet for more than half my life.

1b) I never learned to play all twelve major scales on the clarinet.

1c) I have been the only clarinetist at a pep band event before.

I started clarinet in fourth grade, so I’ve been playing for ten and a half years now, which is indeed more than half my life.  It is also true that I have been the only clarinet player at pep band events before.  Not that you can usually hear the clarinets (except for this one part in “Call Me”), but it’s the principle of the matter.  It is not true that I never learned all my major scales.  In fact, I not only had to learn the major scales, but also the scale in thirds, scale in fours, variations of arpeggiated scales, and the chromatic scale.  It was totally my favorite part of clarinet lessons. <— That’s a lie.


2a) Although I’ve gone to over 30 hockey games in Lynah Rink with the pep band, I have not gone ice skating at Lynah.

2b) I have never pulled an all nighter (to do homework or for fun).

2c) I have never been to the top of the clock tower to see a chimes concert.

I don’t know how to ice skate, so I haven’t tried ice skating at Lynah yet.  I also have yet to pull an all nighter.  I’m more of a morning person than a night person, though this semester may have necessitated otherwise.  However, I have most definitely been to the top of the clock tower and have seen a chimes concert.


3a) The hardest class of my first semester at Cornell was Honors General Chemistry.

3b) I have the first 43 elements of the periodic table memorized.

3c) When I came to Cornell I was deciding between majoring in chemical engineering or mechanical engineering.

I do have the first 43 elements of the periodic table memorized.   This is mostly unintentional, like how I know the molar masses of a lot of the common elements, and is due to the past five years of chemistry.  It is also true that I was considering both ChemE and MechE when I came to Cornell.  Intro to ChemE fit nicely into my four-lectures-in-a-row-on-Monday,-Wednesday,-and-Friday schedule, so I took it, enjoyed it, and affiliated two semesters later.  It is not true that Honors Gen Chem was my hardest class my first semester.  That honor would go to none other than Intro to ChemE.


4a) When I took Basic Rock Climbing last spring, it was the first time I’d been rock climbing.

4b) I joined Asian American InterVarsity because they were the only Christian fellowship to give me a quartercard.

4c) I played coed intramural soccer last fall and my team made the playoffs.

When I came to Cornell, I was looking for a Christian fellowship, and out of all the fellowship groups on campus, AAIV was indeed the only one to give me a quartercard.  I went to one of their large group meetings and enjoyed it, so I stayed.  The first time I went rock climbing was actually in middle school during a project adventure unit.  The middle school I went to had a rock wall on one side of the gym, and I got to climb it once (the only time I’ve ever seen the rock wall used).  Last fall after a five year break I made my return to competitive soccer and played for my dorm’s coed-intramural team.  To make the playoffs, we had to win more than half our games, but we lost a couple games into the playoffs.


5a) I have been known to wear shorts with a long sleeved shirt and two jackets.

5b) At dinner today, I ate cookies and cream ice cream with curly fries.

5c) Umbrellas are my favorite accessory and I always carry one in my backpack in case it rains.

My only comment is that I don’t like umbrellas and I don’t own one.  The other two are true.


To summarize: the lies are 1b), 2c), 3a), 4a), and 5c).