Because of Sliced Almonds

A snapshot of life at Cornell, except without any pictures:

Since I have a dining hall in the same building that I live in as well as an unlimited meal plan, I usually eat breakfast in the dining hall on weekdays.  Pretty much every single weekday, I have a glass of milk (2%, because skim doesn’t have any taste to me) and a bowl of oatmeal.  Lately, I’ve been topping my oatmeal with blueberries, dried cranberries, and sliced almonds.  On Friday morning, I was going to switch the dried cranberries for raisins, just for a change.

Then I got down to the dining hall.  They were out of sliced almonds.

Naturally, my response was not to eat my oatmeal with blueberries and raisins, but to decide to top my oatmeal with raisins, coconut, and cinnamon sugar.  It turns out that it’s a pretty good combination.  [Disclaimer: I also like eating applesauce and yogurt together, I dipped my French toast sticks in applesauce the other night, and I once ate broccoli and banana at the same time.]  So thanks to a lack of sliced almonds, I have discovered a new combination of toppings for my oatmeal and you know that I have no reservations at all about mixing food groups.  Cereal, peanut butter, and ice cream, anyone?

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:

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

Ice sculpture on the Commons


Fall sunset

Fall 2013

From my last post you may have surmised that I haven’t spent much of my vacation time dwelling on anything academic related that didn’t come up on Jeopardy!.  While that is partially true (I have not solved one variation of the Schrodinger equation since setting foot in my house) I have had to prepare somewhat for next semester (three words: very expensive textbooks).  Also, I’ve been meaning to write this post.

Last semester I took a fairly standard ChemE schedule, as evidenced by the fact that I spent a vast majority of my time with other ChemEs.  I didn’t have much choice, but here are my opinions of my third semester schedule.

Disclaimer: Please note that if I say anything remotely negative about any of my classes, it does not mean that I thought the professor didn’t have any idea what he/she was talking about, the TAs were all useless, or that the material was irrelevant.  It just means that personally, I didn’t like something or I felt something wasn’t working for me.  For example, I don’t like celery, mushrooms, or the New York Giants, Knicks, Rangers, Yankees, or Red Bulls.  But that’s all just my opinion.

Physical Chemistry I: Good class overall.  Time consuming, but as with most of my classes, I had to get through it to graduate.  The first semester of p-chem covers variations on the Schrodinger equation with the goal of correctly modeling what electrons in atoms and molecules are doing.  The short answer: it’s complicated.

Mass and Energy Balances: This class can be summed up in two rules: energy cannot be created or destroyed; mass cannot be created or destroyed.  No E = mc2 in here.  While Intro to ChemE, which I took fall semester of my freshman year, had us design processes given certain parameters, Mass and Energy focused more on the math – calculating reactant and product streams with or without chemical reactions occurring at some point in the process.

Linear Algebra: Probably my most “under the radar” class of the semester.  I went to lecture, attended discussion, did my homework, took the exams, and passed.  No six hour long weekly homework sessions (p-chem, every single Thursday night).  No eight hour long project marathons (mass and energy).  No writing essays at one in the morning (history of science).  With everything else going on during the semester, it was kind of nice to get a break with linear algebra.

History of Science in Europe I: Most surprising class.  I will freely admit that I enrolled in this class because 1) I needed a liberal studies class, 2) it fit in my schedule, and 3) the word science was in the title.  It turns out I was actually interested in the material, which covered the development of science from Aristotle to Newton.

Day Hiking: Just for fun, I enrolled in a PE class.  We went hiking around Ithaca, on the Finger Lakes Trail, and in some of the state parks nearby.  I enjoyed it and the class got me off campus for a few hours on the weekends before everything froze over.