Solanum tuberosum

I was originally going to write this post about how a friend and I took an unnecessary two-mile walk in subzero temperatures the day before classes started.  Then I realized it could be summed up in one word: cold.  Either that, or stupid.

I also have no desire to write about my first day of classes, during which I spent four hours in a variety of windowless lecture halls all in the same building.  It’ll be better after I have a more set schedule, but for a first day, it was somewhat exhausting.

Then there’s the clarinet sheet music for Lord of the Rings that I ordered.  Don’t judge a book by its cover at its finest.  The book says clarinet on the front.  There’s an alto sax fingering chart inside.  In fact, there’s also alto sax music inside.  It’s the wrong part.  Rather than reorder the book and have another one from the same batch get shipped to me, I’ve decided to transpose the part.  All twenty-five pages of it.

Just so it doesn’t sound like my life is completely depressing, there’s good news from the Cornell Dairy: it’s serving Cornell ice cream again.  Also, the steamed broccoli at dinner was really good tonight, and French toast sticks go well with applesauce.

And that brings me to what I actually decided to write about today.  Potatoes.  Solanum tuberosum.  Potatoes are in the same family as tomatoes, eggplant, and petunias.  A diet of potatoes and milk contains all the essential nutrients and – just kidding.  I’m not really writing an entire post about potatoes.  I’m writing a post about all the things that I wasn’t going to write about but then wrote about anyway when I wrote this post.  Confused?  So am I.

Just one more potato fact: potatoes are one of the grains used to make vodka.  And in case you wanted to read more about potatoes, visit this site: http://www.kew.org/plants-fungi/Solanum-tuberosum.htm.

To make up for having to read about potatoes, enjoy these pictures of Ithaca and Cornell.

Ice sculpture on the Commons

 

Fall sunset

Vacation

After spending the first two weeks of winter break “recovering” from the semester and the week after that thinking I should probably be doing something productive, the end of vacation is approaching.  No, I still have not done anything really productive.

I’ve been trying to catch up on eating, sleeping, and reading, two of which will most likely be in short supply upon returning to Cornell.  I hauled The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy home with me so I was obliged to finish it so I wouldn’t have to tow it back to Cornell.  Similarly, I’m really hoping to finally finish The Silmarillion, which is a history of Tolkien’s elves.  It’s interesting, but very dense and full of names of varying degrees of unpronounceability that all sound the same.  As for The Hitchhiker’s Guide, things stop making sense somewhere around the third book, but that’s what makes it so great.

After going to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in theater, I reread The Hobbit so now I know how the third movie should end.  My other movie watching endeavors have included The Perks of Being a Wallflower (stayed surprisingly true to the book and captured the characters well), The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (my second time seeing it; still really liked it, but this video has some good points), and Catch Me If You Can (interesting, but throughout the entire movie no one noticed that his checks had stickers on them?  Really?).

I also put together a thousand piece puzzle.  A few years ago, I realized that thousand-piece puzzles generally do not, in fact, have one thousand pieces.  [The math that follows refers to rectangular puzzles; the puzzle I just did was actually not rectangular – it was horse shaped.]  Mathematically speaking, this makes sense: the factor pairs of one thousand are as follows: 1 and 1000, 2 and 500, 4 and 250, 5 and 200, 8 and 125, 10 and 100, and 25 and 40.  All but the last pair would make an extremely narrow puzzle, and even with the last pair, most puzzles are more square.  To avoid more math, I’ll just end with the fact that the world’s largest puzzle has over 32,000 pieces.

Resolved

Most years I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, but this year, I’m not going to either.  Instead, to mark the end of one year and the beginning of another, here’s a list of 8 things I’m thankful for in 2013.  [And maybe later I’ll make a 4th of July resolution and have a Valentine’s Day egg hunt.]

1. Surviving my first year and a half of college.  I could say that after a rocky start it’s been smooth sailing, but I would be lying.  Every semester presents its own challenges, some of which start with M and end with -athematica.

2. Office hours.  My favorite place to wrangle answers out of the TAs enhance my knowledge of such subjects as Fourier series, the Schrodinger equation, and much more fun.  Seriously, though.  I’ve gotten a fair number of homework assignments done at office hours thanks to TAs and other students.

3. Camping.  Last summer my family went to Acadia National Park for vacation and camped for most of a week.  Not only do I voluntarily sleep on the ground, freeze, haul water, and get bug bites, but I also enjoy all of it.  Except maybe the bug bites.

4. Hiking.  Dirt, sweat, and more bugs.  What more could I ask for?

4b.  Also, trees and grass.  I was never more thrilled to be heading back to Ithaca than after visiting New York City over Thanksgiving weekend.

5. Hezekiah.  For those who haven’t been introduced, Hezekiah is my clarinet.  We’ve been through a lot together in the past seven or so years.  We’ve been to a districts concert, Madison Square Garden, NCAA playoff games, and a whole lot of other pep band events.  I’m glad we’ve gotten to experience so much together.

6. Peanut butter.  One of my favorite foods.

7. Spending Christmas with my family.  We didn’t have any “big” plans for Christmas day, so we went to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in the theaters.  I really liked it, but I’m not a Tolkien purist.  The only thing I could do without is the 300 foot falls that don’t seem to hurt anybody.  Apparently gravity works differently in Middle Earth.

8. Family and friends.  Things tend to be much less terrible when you have fellow sufferers.