Sunday, August 28, 2005

The story so far...

Classes are going okay. Instrumental Analysis is kind of caught in suspension at the moment; Prof. Rice had some sort of crisis and is taking a brief sabbatical, so we're reviewing electrochem. E-Chem, for those of you not in the know, is the study of potentials (voltage) in galvanic and electrolytic cells. It's pretty neat stuff and the math is simple, if you can keep your oxidations and your reductions straight (which is always a challenge for a chemist).
Physical Chemistry is a duke's mixture of Physics (at least the quantum mechanics part is, although I'm sure other parts are), calculus, and linear algebra. We leapt in with both feet on the first day with "Postulates and General Principles of Quantum Mechanics." I shall quote to you the First Postulate and then we shall never speak of it again.

Postulate 1. The state of a quantum-mechanical system is completely specified by a function ψ(x) that depends on the coordinate of the particle. All possible information about the system can be derived from ψ(x). This function, called the wave function or the state function, has the important property that ψ*(x) [the complex conjugate of ψ(x)] multiplied by ψ(x) is the probability that the particle lies in the interval dx, located at the position x.

Ahem. Moving on. German Philosophy is awesome merely because Prof. Leventhal is teaching it. It should be just as fun and stimulating as the first section I took this spring...even if I do skip some of the readings *cough*.

Maria came over on Saturday. Since I refuse to speak euphemistically, I will merely say that I had a wonderful time and that I am fantastically lucky to have found the lady I used to fear I'd never meet. We went out to dinner at Casa Maya and got coffee and spent the evening together. Altogether, it was an amazing day.

Today I didn't do all that much. Finished my P-Chem problem set and helped my friend Anna get her act together. She was in Austin trying to get on American Idol and needed notes for both Instrumental Analysis and Physical Chemistry. After letting her photocopy them, I went to the Grind for a frappe (kind of like a frappacino).

Whilst standing in line, happened to notice a lanky bearded youth with his arms outstretched towards me with both the manner and expression of a bad horror movie zombie. His buddy explained the situation by exclaiming,
"Your hat is awesome!"
The zombie then took my hat and put it on his head, at which point the saner one began asking me questions ("Is it from France? Where'd you get it? Is it from India?") I told them that it was black cashmere and that I got it for my birthday, upon which I retrieved it from the head of the obviously stoned zombie.
"You stole it," he said in the vague way a busy man will answer a trivial question.
"I can't steal what's rightfully mine," I countered. "Ponder that."
"I'm not gonna ponder anything. You stole it."
I moved down the counter to get my coffee. Turning to a blonde athletic-looking girl standing by the rear entrance, I asked her if she thought they were stoned or just naturally crazy. She shook her head. "Probably a bit of both. It seems a bit early in the year for that kind of thing though..."
"Potheads know no season," I reflected. Picking up my drink, I bid the two stoners goodnight. The sane one grinned and waved; the zombie merely glared at me in what he probably thought was a menacing way (it's hard to do when you're zonked). Strolling across the UC Terrace towards Bryan, I realized that I had dealt with--hell, am friends with--stranger people than the zombie and wondered if they were stoned as well. Probably not; most of the weird people I know are probably too crazy to be potheads. Just as well.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Okay, in response to a (very welcome) post from one my anonymous readership, here is what has been going on in my life thus far:

-My dad and I went to Chincoteague (on the eastern shore of VA) for vacation from August 13th-18th. I spent a lot of time in the sun and as a result I got severe sunburn on an ellipse covering my shoulders and in a bunch of Jackson Pollock-esque smears down my back. This developed into a cold-like state in which I got a fever, headaches, and ultimately a sore throat which is now being treated with penicillin.

-I came back from vacation and prepared to return to W & M in my usual laggardly way. My room is spectacular; expect pictures of it very soon, after I've finished straightening up a little. We have three windows, closets, built in shelves, central AC, and over two hundred square feet of floor space. After a visit to the Bursar's office to clear up some billing problems and a trip to the medical center for the aforementioned penicillin, things have been running rather smoothly.

-I also now have to marry the lovely Maria--or one of us has to throw the other off of the Crim Dell Bridge. Those of you who know the legend of the Crim Dell Bridge know that to which I refer. For those of you who don't, Google "Crim Dell Bridge." You can also find a section talking about the legend on the Wikipedia entry for "College of William and Mary."

And, for those of you who care, here is my schedule for the upcoming semester:

Instrument Analysis 9:00 - 9:50 AM
Physical Chemistry I 10:00 - 10:50 AM
Modern German Critical Thought II 11:00 - 11:50 AM

Creative Writing, Poetry 5:00 - 7:30 PM

Instrument Analysis 9:00 - 9:50 AM
Physical Chemistry I 10:00 - 10:50 AM
Modern German Critical Thought II 11:00 - 11:50 AM
Instrument Analysis Lab 1:00 - 4:50 PM

Physical Chemistry Lab 1:00 - 5:20 PM
Instrument Analysis Lab 7:00 - 7:50 PM
Physical Chemistry Lab 7:50 - 8:50 PM

Instrument Analysis 9:00 - 9:50 AM
Physical Chemistry I 10:00 - 10:50 AM
Modern German Critical Thought II 11:00 - 11:50 AM

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Dad and I went up to Morgantown to visit our cousins for the twins' birthday (see last year's post on this subject here). They were moving around a lot more than I would consider normal for nine-month olds--technically it's their first birthday, but developmentally they're considered to be about nine months. It's pretty cool to watch them crawling around, getting into things, making babbling noises, etc. After what they went through it's a miracle of sorts that they made it this far. And so far they're advancing by leaps and bounds--I wouldn't be surprised if they were taking their first steps before autumn is over.

The twins with two of their grandmothers (they have four total, lucky them). Their older sister is in the bottom picture as well.
In order to add a little flavor to the trip, my dad and I traced Stonewall Jackson's 1862 march across Massanutten Mountain to Front Royal. On the way back, we also went through Fort Valley, which is in the middle of Massanutten. It's kind of a "hanging valley"--I'm not sure of the numbers but it's probably about 100 feet or so off the floor of the Shenendoah Valley proper. It's a really lovely, picturesque place, and I wish I had some pictures of it, but by the time I remembered the camera we were going back up one of the rocky walls of the valley. Next time, perhaps.
Instead, there's this:
A great view of the Luray Valley from near the summit of Massanutten.
And this...
Perhaps the only picture you will ever see of me with a toothpick hanging out of my mouth.

POSTSCRIPT: It has been brought to my attention that there are quite a few people passing through here, usually with a stop at Gates of Vienna. Far be it from me to demand that y'all comment on here...but I would appreciate it, since the comment boards on here are a bit sparse. Especially those of you from W & M--every now and then I find out one of you is reading this but you never leave a note. Please do...