28 September 2010

I am Demongo, Ruler of the Pit of Hate

I'm doing homework.
Correction: I'm trying. I don't want to. I don't want to write papers. I don't want to study. I don't want to plan for grad school. I don't, in fact, want to sit here, in a chair.
I want to move. How? I don't really care.

Today, my brother bought me an oil change and new windshield wipers. These are things I held off buying for the past three months. He introduced the fact by sending me a message saying, "I'm borrowing your car. <3">

Right now, my hands are swelling. A lot. I worry that my rings will not come off. I'm not concerned enough about it to take them off.

I believe I am getting sick. I've noticed that I'm having difficulty breathing over the past few days, and I'm becoming tired over easier tasks. I knew it was coming, since the weather here has been fluctuating, but it's still not fun.

Lately, though, my mood has been pretty good. I'm not as concerned over things as I have been in the past. I was worried about paying for my GRE and Chemistry subject exam, and that stressed me out a lot, but I found a good solution pretty quickly, so I'm not too worried about that anymore. The biggest worry now is doing well on both exams.

I have a marvelous opportunity this Friday. I'm going to the eye doctor for the first time in two years and, since I have noticed a significant change in my vision, I will likely have to get new glasses. What style should I choose? I don't know, but it's exciting to think about the possibilities.

Last week, I began the technical part of my research experience. I was mostly just helping out an experiment that was already going on, since my materials had to be ordered, but it was still a lot of fun. I got to burn a bunch of TLC (Thin Layer Chromotography) plates, because it helped the spots to show better. It was another one of the moments in life where I felt like I was really a chemist.

I need to study. I have an exam for Analytical Chemistry tomorrow. We take our exams during lab. I don't know why. It allows for more exam time, sure, but it still feels weird. Shouldn't I spend my lab time doing...labs? NOT TOMORROW.


14 September 2010

Forever Ephemeral

I had something to say here. A whole list of things that I thought of in the shower, and suddenly, they are all vanished into the Aether.
Speaking of Aether, or ether, as it is now written, is a pretty interesting thing. In metaphysical terms, it was deemed by Aristotle as the quintessence, the fifth element. It was the thing that the universe above the terrestrial earth was made of. It was where the gods lived and what they breathed. It's the kind of thing that one could imagine everything else sort of popping out of. Like words.
Tonight, I was working on my research project, and I had finally found a paper on Perkins condensations that I could access (without paying 30 pounds), and it turns out that I don't really know if it was what I was looking for. The language of the paper is so dense and complex that it's hard for me to pinpoint anything useful. Thus, I'm going to have to tell Dr Mullins tomorrow that I'm at a bit of an impasse, as it took me two hours just to find that one paper. Maybe he can point me in the right direction. Or else fail me in research. One of those.
Earlier in the day, I went to visit Dr Masingale, who I'm tutoring General Chemistry for. At one point, he asked me a question that dealt with density, but I couldn't think of the word "density" for some reason. That's when he handed me a plastic container of water, and then another container, a smaller one. As he handed it to me, he said, "Careful. Unless you've been lifting weights, you're going to have a hard time with this one!" And it was true, because the liquid inside of the bottle was Mercury. I don't know how he ended up with so much Mercury, but he told me he "accumulated it over time." I got so excited to be holding this bottle of this element I'd never seen for myself, to experience for myself how dense it really was. I really wanted to open the bottle and pour some out onto my hand and play with it. Then I remembered that mercury poisoning is no fun.
I also had my first workshop session today, for Organic. I think it went pretty well, although I've noticed that I'm still really awkward when it comes to public speaking. I don't think I'll ever be totally okay with it. I always just start panicking a little, and shove it down, because I know that I have to get to friggin' work. One question was really weird, though, because it involved Ca3N2, which I've never heard of before. When I looked up the structure, I was really surprised:

This is what it looks like. Just know that Ca and N should NOT be forming double bonds with each other, because of their difference in metallic character, etc. I want to know why it happens. Of course. I always want to know why weird things happen. I think that's why I liked Inorganic a lot; I learned that two metals, Cesium and Gold can form an ionic bond, even though they shouldn't. These are the kinds of things that keep me tied to something. I'm just curious.
I think I'll talk to Mullins about this Calcium-Nitrogen structure tomorrow, as long as he doesn't fire me as his research student. But that's unreasonable, right? I can't expected to find all the information forever, right?


11 September 2010

Are you there? Can someone answer me? Come where I can see.

The weather here has been fluctuating a lot. It's very suddenly turned into the time of year when I am prepared to get sick, because I know it will happen.
Today is sunny-ish (about as sunny as it gets in Syracuse), and about seventy degrees. Yesterday was pretty nice, mid-sixties. Thursday, though, was cold, rainy, in the fifties. This is the sort of thing I should be used to; I've lived here for three years, now. It is precisely one of the reasons I cannot stay here after I graduate. I am the kind of person who likes the sun and warmth, who likes to experience autumn to the fullest, being able to take in crisp autumn air and move comfortably from tank tops to T-shirts to sweaters, and finally into my winter coat. I like the smell of autumn. It's a gorgeous smell, and I miss it greatly when I'm here. I remember, one day last spring, I was walking home from class and smelled autumn. I stopped right where I was and looked around me. I thought I had been deceived as to the time of the year, the place. I got hopeful. That's when the smell disappeared and it rained.
They say that Syracuse has only two seasons: Construction and Winter. I believe it sometimes.
I've officially started my research. I've got a proposed synthesis, and almost all of my information, so hopefully we can start working on it soon. Dr. Mullins gave me my own pair of lab goggles to bring to the lab. It sounds weird and kind of corny, but having that box sitting in my room, with a pair of clean, new goggles makes me feel like a real chemist, like I'm finally becoming the thing I set out to be when I started here. Goggles shouldn't do that. But they do. I'm excited to do research. And also scared.
I want to spend a day outside without worry.

I took this photo over the past summer. It's weird, but this is the only recent photo I have of me and my father. He's getting lonely back home, since both my brother and I are gone now. He calls me a lot more than he used to. He won't admit that he's lonely. I should think it annoying, but it shows me that he really misses us and loves us and isn't concentrated on his crappy girlfriend all the time, and that makes me happy.

06 September 2010

Too Tired to Know, Too Drunk to Tell

The first week of school is over. I haven't posted much all summer.
Over the summer, I was bitten by a cat. It turns out it didn't have rabies, but I didn't know that, and got rabies shots in my foot and arm. It was not a good time. The Hydrocodone they gave me for the pain, now that was almost a good time.
As a result, my foot swelled up for a week, and I couldn't wear anything that wasn't totally open-toed, so I was confined to flip-flops, which is a weird thing to say. It meant that I couldn't work for a week, and both myself and my boss were extremely displeased about that (even though I hated that job).
I went camping in Rhode Island with my mom for vacation. During the drive there, I got sunburned, because we had the top down on the Mustang, and I didn't wear sunscreen. Since I had gotten my last rabies shot that morning, I had a Band-Aid sunburned onto my arm. When we got there, we went to the ocean, and I almost drowned, because I wanted to go Boogie-Boarding when the tide was coming in. It didn't work.
Then it stormed. It was a good thing we put the rain guard on our tent, or all of our things would have gotten wet. Later that night, we got a fire going and roasted hot dogs for dinner. It was really nice to sit by the fire and be outside. The next morning, I woke up to fresh, open air, and it was one of the best feelings I've ever experienced. We went to the ocean again, and I succeeded in Boogie-Boarding, but I kind of wished the surf was like the day prior, to make it more interesting. I got a really bad sunburn that day.
I also went horseback riding and to Ausable Chasms with my mom, but a few days prior to Rhode Island. It was a lot of driving, but a lot of fun, and the Chasm was really beautiful.
I went to Lake Taghkanic a lot. It was nice to just grab a bunch of friends and go, without thinking much about it. It was nice to bring sandwiches or hot dogs and enjoy the sun and water. I miss all of those people dearly already.
When I moved here, it was pouring. Rain all over the state of New York, and so I had to drive in it for three and a half hours. It was not a fun time. And the moving in part was even worse. My Converse shoes got completely soaked, and by the time they dried, I had received my new ones in the mail.
Then I had training for a week, which was not fun. It was eight hours of training, learning stuff I knew I would never use again. Then RESNET weekend came, and it was a lot of kids not knowing what an ethernet cord was, or having random problems that were easily fixed if they just stopped to think for a minute. By the time the total seventeen or so work hours of RESNET weekend was complete, I never wanted to help another student. That's when the workweek, and the school year, started.
So far, I have at least three professors who care about attendance, which is mildly annoying. I thought professors were supposed to care less about that sort of thing as you got into upper level classes. I'll get over this, of course, but it seems pointless to me.
Also, I'm officially a research student! It's exciting, but the process to get there was pretty exhausting. I had done some very low-level research, and then Dr. Mullins, who is my research advisor, told me to write a proposal. It was pretty stressful, and it ended up getting finished at three in the morning, but he said it sounded great, and it was submitted. I have to have some information gathered for tomorrow, but I haven't done anything yet. I have the whole night, though, so I'm not too worried.
So, as far as this semester goes, I have five classes, six hours worth of lab, three jobs, and research going. It's going to be stressful, but I'm sure it won't be unbearable. At least I'll be able to keep as busy as possible.

I should talk about not-school school stuff.

I live in a six-person suite in Foery, which I normally call Forble. I really like all the people here, and for one, I feel like I live in a comfortable place.
Over the past week, I've learned to play the game Apples to Apples, which is threatening to take up a lot of my SHOULD-be homework time. In this game, you get a card with a word on it, and each player, except one, holding seven cards each, matches their cards to it, either by choosing a related or unrelated one. The player who doesn't play a card is the judge, and picks which card they feel relates (or doesn't) to the target card best. It's a lot of fun and becomes really hilarious. I've played it in varying groups of the people in my suite and my friends, and it's always a great time.
One of the best parts about being here now is that my brother also attends Le Moyne, so I get to see him nearly every day. It's great to be able to go and hang out with him when I'm feeling stressed, because I know that, without a doubt, I can count on him to make me feel better somehow.
I've also met quite a few people since being here, as well as meeting up with old friends. I never realized I had so many.
Today, we had Laser Tag, and we played it a lot. One of the rounds, I got the most points, with 9000 of them!
That being said, this weekend has been pretty lonely. I usually go away this weekend, but this time I didn't. It's not as though I entirely regret it; I had a lot of fun. But it still had some degree of emptiness in it. It's hard to admit it; I'm not sure why I'm mentioning it now.

I'm looking forward to this year.

This motion is intentional. I just wanted to see what would happen.

At Ausable Chasm

Ausable Chasm

Harrier Hill Park

Ausable Chasm

High Falls

Ausable Chasm

Ausable Chasm