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).

Two Truths and a Lie

Out of all the icebreakers I’ve had to endure, Two Truths and a Lie is one of the ones that I dislike least.  To play, you come up with three things about yourself, two of which are true and one of which is a lie.  The goal is for everyone else to figure out which of your three things is a lie.  I know most of my readers don’t know me personally, but I thought for fun I’d post some sets of Two Truths and a Lie and see if people can guess the lies based on what they think of me from reading my blog.  Not that the answers are directly on the blog, but if you know that I’m a chemical engineer and one of my things is “Math is my least favorite subject,” that’s probably a lie . . . or is it?

While you’re thinking about that one, here are some sets of Two Truths and a Lie.  They’re (somewhat) themed to make things (a little) less random.  Enjoy!

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Leave your best guesses in the comments and I’ll reveal the answers in a few days.

The Four Seasons Revisited

Ithaca isn’t actually awful all of the time.  And we do really have fall and spring.  [Of course, shortly after I wrote that, we had a day of temperatures in the high 70s (in Fahrenheit) immediately followed by a day that started out with rain that turned into hail/sleet that turned into snow. . . . Incidentally, that sounds a lot like post-winter.]

Anyway, I’m going to pretend it’s not 23°F outside and that it’s not snowing and that the weather is occasionally not terrible.

In fact, sometimes it’s even nice enough to do things like go hiking (though I would like to try winter hiking some time).  The following picture from last fall proves that the leaves on the deciduous trees in Ithaca do lose their chlorophyll* around October and that is indeed sun in the upper right corner.

Hiking at Buttermilk Falls

I know I’ve already posted the next picture (and, actually, the one above . . . multiple times), but last semester there were a couple of the best sunsets I have ever seen.  Here’s one of them:

And I looked for a picture of spring in Ithaca, but all my pictures from this semester either have 1) snow, 2) a grey sky, or 3) both, so I had to find a picture from last year.  AAIV (the Christian fellowship I participate in) had an event at a nearby state park and the weather was fantastic.  In fact, some people may even have thought it was too hot.  But seriously, I would take too hot over the snow that’s currently flying past my window.

Treman State Park

To finish this post, my freshman year, I would frequently walk past the lake on North Campus to get to class.  I decided to create a series of photos that can be appropriately called “The Four Seasons.”

*The loss of chlorophyll, a green pigment, allows the red/orange/yellow pigments, which are present in lesser amounts than chlorophyll, to be seen during fall.  This is the phenomenon known colloquially as the leaves “changing colors,” i.e., normal people don’t usually see yellow leaves and think “chlorophyll loss.”