161 Things Every Cornellian Should Do, #31

31. Spend a summer at Cornell and enjoy Ithaca’s few months of warm weather.

I spent upwards of thirty-five hours a week in Olin for the entire summer, but when I wasn’t working in a windowless basement room, I had the weekends and evenings free to explore Ithaca.  Here’s the summer in pictures and commentary:

On average, I had one peanut butter and jam sandwich a day.  Over the course of the summer, I consumed four and a half pounds of peanut butter, between three and four dozen eggs, three pounds of cheese, and five and a half gallons of milk, among other things.

There was construction everywhere all summer, including a project right in front of Olin Hall that I had to navigate every day to get to work.

I’m on a quest to see how many things I can bake in a muffin tin.  So far I’ve done apple pies (shown above), bread pudding, eggs, brownies, and chocolate cupcakes.  I cooked for myself made sandwiches all summer so I tried out a bread pudding recipe with the end slices.  I also successfully cooked chicken and managed to make dinner every night using only a single pot and frying pan.

I went hiking a couple times when I could find someone to drive me.

There was reading for fun.  [Books shown: Our Town, Thornton Wilder; Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis; 2061: Odyssey Three, Arthur C. Clarke; Animal Farm, George Orwell.]

And trips to the farmer’s market.

Peach picking.  I haven’t been apple picking in years, and this was my first time picking peaches.

And finally, expeditions to the Plantations.  Besides the pouring rain that deluged us every time we tried to leave Olin, summer was great.  There were no problem sets, which meant that after leaving Olin for the day, I had nothing to do.  Ironically enough, even after being outside for decent portions of the summer, the closest I got to being sunburned was during a field hockey game after classes started.  The sun was out for once and the band was in prime roasting position on the metal bleachers . . .


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.