20 November 2010

Four Roomies and a Pseudo-Roomie

It's almost Kayla's birthday!


Seriously. This has been a long week. And now I'm done with that physics exam, so all I have to do this weekend is write my term paper. Ugh...

But I'm really excited because my friend Katie from Nevada who is going to college in Chicago is coming to visit tomorrow and coming home with me for Thanksgiving because she's too far from Nevada to go back for just a few days. And my roommate from Texas is coming with us for the same reason. So it'll be really fun to show them around Kansas City next week during the holiday.

Monday is another of my roommate's birthdays and we already started celebrating today by going shopping and then ordering pizza, playing Boggle, and eating the cupcakes another two of my roommates made.

If all this talk of roommates is confusing you, let me state it more clearly.

I have three official roommates, Hailey, Kayla and Leslie. And then we have two psuedo-roommates, Ramona and Kerra, who just hang out in our room a lot. That makes six of us, so there's never a dull moment.

18 November 2010

Hot / Cold

I live in a house that was built in the 1920s. Of course there have been some repairs done since then, but our heating system is still pretty old-fashioned. We have steam heat, which, once turned on for the season, cannot be turned off. And this is some intense heat. We "voted" to have the heat turned on a few days ago, when the 25th person out of the 49 that live here signed the petition.

I was cooking today around lunchtime and when I finished I was so warm from the combination of cooking and the radiators that I literally couldn't stay inside. So I left with nothing but my ID card to get back in and walked around for a while. Eventually I was starting to feel comfortably cool, so I went back and it felt like a sauna when I walked in the door. I guess some people like it this warm, but I don't. At least not yet. We'll see how it goes once the weather starts actually getting cold, i.e. snow.

Another special thing about Watkins scholarship hall is that our fire alarm goes off pretty frequently. This happened again tonight, for reasons unknown to me, but probably because of something burning in a kitchen. Determined not to lose time waiting outside for the all-clear, I grabbed my physics notes and book, tagged myself out, and went to the library to study for my test tomorrow.

I think the fact that these two items are what I took out of a presumably burning house (although fire alarms go off often enough that I didn't really expect a fire) is a sign that physics is taking over my life. Unfortunately this is all too true, at least until Monday when I turn in my term paper.

After that, I'll be home free.

17 November 2010

Practical Praktikum

The most exciting thing that happened today is that I had my interview for an exchange / internship program in Eutin, Germany that is offered through KU's German department. As I understand it, Lawrence and Eutin have many exchange programs, and this is one of them. It would involve doing an internship in Germany for six weeks in the summer. I wasn't sure whether I would be successful in my application because I'm a freshman and I think they are looking for juniors. But I am a year older than most freshman and I can already speak German, so that can't hurt. I'm not expecting to be able to do this this year, but I thought that I might as well give it a shot and see where it goes. If if doesn't work out, it's possible that I could try again in the future.

So I walked in to the interview not knowing whether it would be in English or in German, but the professor there greeted me in German so I just went with it. Even though it's not much of a problem to hold up a conversation and answer questions and explain my views in German, I can tell I have gotten worse since I returned. Use it or lose it, as they say. Hence my main reason for wanting to do this internship anyway, which is to use my German.

Since I think my roommates are some of the only people that actually are reading my blog at this point, I will throw in another shout-out to them. They often say I am too practical when I shoot down their great, yet impractical ideas (but only in the most friendly way, of course). It just so happens that the German word for internship is Praktikum. So if the people making selections for the internship could hear from my roommates, they would know that they should choose me for the Praktikum since I am so practical. Get it? Practical, Praktikum. Okay, I'll stop now.

So the other most exciting thing that happened today was that I am the proud new owner of a hat and gloves made of alpaca wool! From Bolivia! Another roommate shout-out: the four (sort of five) of us from 104 are all Bolivian-friendly and have alpaca items. If we had taken a picture of ourselves with our alpaca wool gear, I would have posted it. But alas....

And the last most exciting thing of the day is that I got free food from the honors symposium! The honors tutorial classes were supposed to present their projects at this, but my group didn't have to do a presentation because it's sort of impossible to present what it was we did all semester. This mostly involved standing in front of one or two works of art and making connections with other ideas for an hour and a half per week. At the beginning we were all a bit confused about this, but once everyone got to know each other we decided it could be fun. And it turns out that it is fun, but the ability to look at that kind of detail and make those connections is something that came from practicing, strangely enough. And it's not really a format that can be presented in three minutes. So we didn't present, but I did get some food!

16 November 2010

Lenk im Simmental

For my honors tutorial project I am considering the Thomas Cole painting In the Simmenthal from the Spencer Museum of Art, which happens to depict the general location of my first host uncle's house in Switzerland. I have actually been to the area so the painting was particularly interesting to me for that reason. Below is a sketch I did of it so I would have a nice black-and-white version to compare with this photo I took there:

Lenk im Simmental
Thomas Cole In the Simmenthal

It's such a beautiful area. I wish I could go back right now and go skiing, but unfortunately I still have to focus on school for another few weeks. Also, plane tickets to Europe are super expensive.

15 November 2010


You've just wasted another perfectly good hour listening to Car Talk.

And by listening to Car Talk, I mean designing a title image, color scheme, and layout for your blog.

And by you, I mean me.

Hooray! Now for some physics...there's nothing like a few thermodynamics problems to make you forget you ever wasted time designing a blog.

The only reason I wrote this was in order to procrastinate.

Also because I just finished reading through the recent posts on the blogs of two of my roommates. What an inspiration you are, my friends!

I've heard it said that when you are procrastinating from doing a particularly nasty task, it seems like you actually get a lot of things done--they just happen to be things that you don't really need to do, at least not yet. And certainly not as much as you need to do that particularly nasty task. For me, the nasty task is all of my school-related work this week. I have a math project, a paper and presentation for my honors tutorial, a term paper and presentation for physics, a physics test to prepare for, not to mention my regular physics homework (probably the most difficult assignment of the year, according to the professor).

Physics is particularly stressful this week because 25% of my grade will come from this exam and paper. But if I could just stop writing on this post, and doing all of those other sort of unnecessary tasks I have been occupying myself with, I might actually have a chance at success.