This year homecoming was later than usual, occurring after fall break and on the same day as the Red/White hockey scrimmage, in which Cornell plays Cornell.  For the first time, I went to the fireworks show at Schoellkopf Field on Friday night.  All my pictures are pretty awful, except for this picture of the marching band:

There were a few dance groups that performed, and the marching band played the fight song (“Give My Regards to Davy”) as they came into the stadium and performed another piece before the fireworks.  It was fun, and fortunately not too cold . . .

Unlike the next day.  I left my room after lunch intending to go to the tailgate for awhile, work in Olin for a couple hours before the football game (yes, really), see as much of the football game as I could, go back to West for dinner, pick up my clarinet and music from my room, and go to the Red/White game with the pep band.  Note that until I get my clarinet, I do not return to my room.  This is important because I left West after lunch in shorts.  I did have two jackets, but I was wearing shorts.

We were walking around during the tailgate, so it didn’t feel too cold, then I went inside.  At the game, however, we sat while play stopped every 3.2 seconds (I played soccer, where the longest stoppage is about 3.2 seconds) and by halftime, with Cornell losing 0-17, I decided it would be good to leave before frostbite set in.  But not before the band’s halftime show.

Hockey that night was great, with the band and the teams (men’s and women’s) splitting up between red and white teams.  Lynah was regrettably empty (there was apparently also a concert that night), leaving it to the bands to heckle each other.  At the end, the men’s team got into a fight that I hope wasn’t actually a fight, because really?  The ref’s solution was to kick both lines off the ice and bring on the women’s team.  By the way, this is what happens when you fight (look under the score):

And yes, I am very aware that the hashtag they actually wanted me to use was #CUHome

Radical Reels

A couple weeks Some time ago, I had the opportunity (finally) to attend the Radical Reels film festival.  Cornell has been a venue for Radical Reels all three years I’ve been a student here, but this year was the year I decided I would go, even if I did have prelims on the evenings directly before and after.  Thanks to my West Campus house, I managed to secure a free ticket, though after getting to see this year’s show, I would pay for a ticket myself if I couldn’t convince someone else to buy one for me.  This is the equivalent of my endorsement for this film festival because the last things I’ve bought (or would have bought with my own money if I wasn’t home and could use my parents’ money) are pencils (5 for $2), books that cost less than $2, and an ocarina (end of summer gift to myself from the farmer’s market).

Radical Reels was described to us as all the adrenaline from the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival, which includes films about other things like conservation rather than just jumping out of planes and falling skiing down vertical cliffs gently rolling snow-covered hills.  While some a lot of Radical Reels was about things I wouldn’t personally do (wingsuit flying, anyone?) and/or can’t (so I grew up in New England and can’t ski down the bunny hill without falling) it was still a lot of fun to watch.  There were a couple of climbing films in the mix that I especially enjoyed.

Bottom line (it’s also below): I’ll be trying my best to get to Radical Reels next year as long as it comes back and I’ll even pay for my own ticket with my own money.

That said, I also want to mention Cornell Outdoor Education (COE), who arranges/facilitates the event.  I’m not affiliated with COE in any way except that I give them money so I can injure myself.  I’ve taken a couple PE classes and gone to the challenge course, and I regularly climb at the main climbing wall and the bouldering wall.  Through all that, I have predominantly had positive experiences with COE.  The worst thing about anything I’ve done with COE is that my hiking class walked too slowly, but I walk between 3 and 4 miles an hour as my standard pace, with a backpack on.  Relative to other people, I also apparently slow down when I go downhill and speed up when I go uphill.  So as long as you walk like most of the rest of the human population appears to, you won’t have my “hiking with other people” problems.  The hiking was still nice; I just apparently walk very fast.

To end this post with a picture, here’s me hanging upside down ten feet in the air at the climbing wall last spring:




Fortunately for everyone, I am not writing an entire post about an alkane.  I am, however, studying alkanes in my last required semester of chemistry.

As a member of Cornell’s illustrious chemical engineering program, I need no less than five semesters of chemistry plus two semesters of chemistry lab to graduate with the much coveted bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering.  After one semester of general chemistry, getting AP credit for the second semester of gen chem, an entire painful wonderfully enlightening year of physical chemistry, complete with lab, I am currently enrolled in the final required semester of chemistry, organic chemistry (plus lab).  I’d heard from upperclassmen than people tend to strongly prefer either physical chemistry of organic chemistry but I reserve the right to withhold my judgement until at least the second orgo prelim.

We began the year doing nomenclature, then during the past couple weeks we’ve also started on mechanisms and reactions.  It’s been going all right so far, and I think it’s more understandable than the last part of physical chemistry II.  In one of the derivations we did in p-chem II, even after making corrections to the initial general equation to be solved, the answer we got was about 1021 times larger than it should be.  Naturally, the solution is to define a correction factor that equals 10-21 and multiply the derived answer by it.  Problem solved.  If it works in p-chem, my orgo lab results could use some correction factors as well . . .

One of the things that makes organic chemistry different from p-chem, at least up until this point, is that it’s been more visual.  The entire first semester of p-chem is based on the fact that you can’t know exactly where a quantum mechanical particle is (without losing all information about its velocity) and the second semester of p-chem contains things like entropy, which can’t even be measured, let alone drawn.  In contrast, orgo consists of molecules that can be visually represented by various forms of stick drawings as well as by model kits:

And yes, my penguins got in on the fun: