Winter has made its way to Ithaca, announcing itself with 30 mile per hour winds, negative wind chill, and funny shaped crystalline water falling from the sky.  You know, this stuff:


Who changed the color of the grass?

I grew up in New England, so I’m used to the frigid temperatures and generally miserable outdoor conditions three or four months of the year.  When I was in fourth grade we had school cancelled because the wind chill was going to be too low.  As long as there was less than two or three inches of snow on the roads at 6 in the morning, school was on.  None of that snow day with an inch of snow nonsense.

Coming to Cornell, the weather’s been more of the same, except with more wind.  Remind me again why I thought going farther north for college was a good idea.  Right now, the temperature’s hovering around freezing, which would be a good thing (30 degrees is now warm) except that we got snow yesterday that’s in the process of melting.  If the water drains off, we’ll be okay, but if it doesn’t, when the temperature drops later tonight, Cornell will very literally be a giant ice cube.

Unless we get enough freezing point depression from the salt covering all of the main sidewalks. . . . Yes, I can connect chemistry or chemical engineering to every aspect of my life.  And in case you were wondering, basically the salt interferes with the water molecules, keeping them from crystallizing (freezing) until temperatures lower than 32 degrees F.  There are more details involving thermodynamics that I won’t get into.

Anyway, it is finally too cold for me to be wearing shorts out.  When I was growing up there was a rule that if it was less than 45 degrees out I was supposed to be wearing my winter jacket.  It counts if I’m wearing my winter jacket and shorts, right?

I’m already counting down the days until spring.

This Weekend

Men’s hockey won against both Brown and Yale.  On Friday night, they beat Brown 5-1.  Cornell had a penalty shot called against us (resulting in Brown’s only goal), the door to Cornell’s penalty box shattered, and there was an empty net goal.  Penalty shots aren’t very common, but this is already the second one Cornell’s had called against them at home this season.  As for the penalty box door shattering, that was completely unexpected, though not impossible.  I couldn’t actually see the door break from where I was standing, but all of a sudden the game stopped, the band looked over at the penalty box where the commotion was, and the door was missing.

Saturday night was a closer game, but in the end Cornell came out victorious over last year’s NCAA national champions.  (Cornell sadly ended up losing a best of three series to Quinnipiac in double overtime of the third game in the ECAC playoffs, which lead into NCAA playoffs.)  The final score was 2-1 and there was once again the chance for an empty net goal (near the end of close games the team that’s losing will often pull their goalie so they have an extra attacking player) though this time Cornell couldn’t get the puck into the net.  They did, however, hit the post.  Twice, actually.  Once earlier in the game and once during the empty net opportunity.

The New England Revolution resigned Jose Goncalves, which has absolutely nothing to do with Cornell except that I’m a Revolution fan.  This is big because he was only with the Revolution on loan and people weren’t sure if they’d be able to work things out to get him back for next season.  Goncalves played every single minute of the Revolution’s 34 MLS regular season games and is now a finalist for both Defender of the Year and Newcomer of the Year.  So you could say he was kind of important to the Revolution’s first playoff run since 2009.  By the way, the New England Revolution play soccer.*

I rode the TCAT for the first time all semester.  TCAT is the bus system around Cornell/the surrounding area and freshmen get free bus passes while upperclassmen ride free after 6 pm on weekdays and all day on weekends.  I generally don’t ride the bus unless I’m leaving campus, and today was the first free Sunday I’ve had since classes started.  So a couple friends and I took off for the wild blue yonder, also known as Target.  We needed to stock up on food.

While we were there, I realized that I have very little idea of how much things usually cost in the real world.  I do in fact go grocery shopping when I’m home, but summer produce is different from winter produce, I don’t have the luxury of waiting for things to go on sale, and I don’t buy raw meat.  My purchases totaled exactly 20 dollars and I didn’t even use my calculator.  (Doesn’t everyone bring a calculator when they go shopping?)

*This is a personal thing for me.  Frequently when I mention the Revolution or MLS (Major League Soccer) people have no idea what I’m talking about.  On the other hand, if the Patriots win a pre-preseason friendly against an amateur league team from Alaska, they make front page news.

This Week at Cornell

1) Today in physical chemistry we learned about indistinguishable particles.  I realized that indistinguishable is a rather long word.

2) I was not a fan of house dinner this week (through no fault of the dining staff; as far as I know, all the food was prepared/cooked well).  As the main course, they served Caesar salad, Brussels sprouts, lentils, chicken, and seafood cakes.  I don’t particularly like salad, Brussels sprouts, lentils, or seafood.  So I (mainly) had chicken, fruit salad, and cheesecake for dinner.

3) There were snow flurries last Sunday and Monday.  50 degrees now feels warm.

4) I spent five hours at physical chemistry office hours this week.  This breaks my previous record for most hours spent at office hours for one class in a week.  [Four, for Intro to ChemE last fall, which happened about every other week.]  On the plus side, I got to sleep before midnight on a Thursday for the first time in months.

5) I have a periodic table placemat hanging on the wall behind my desk.  There is a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (all five books) on my desk.

6) Tonight, I brought two reeds to the volleyball game I attended with the pep band.  They were both fairly awful and about half a year old.  However, I got to see the volleyball team win for the first time in the three games I’ve been to.

7) With the reopening of the Cornell Dairy Bar, production of Cornell ice cream and milk has resumed.  I now have a quart of Cornell milk in my fridge.

Bonus tip of the week: The best use for all of my textbooks at the same time: flattening my pep band music after drying it on any available surface after getting rained on at a sprint football game.