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27 August 2007

Term 2081 Schedule

Time to start year two! And so, as usual, here is my schedule for the fall term:

Class Titles and Credit Values
ChE 0100 Foundations of Chemical Engineering6 cr.
ChE 0101 Foundations of Chemical Engineering Lab 1 cr.
ChE 1085 Departmental Seminar 0 cr.
CHEM 0310 Organic Chemistry 1 3 cr.
CHEM 0330 Organic Chemistry Lab 1 1 cr.
MATH 0290 Differential Equations3 cr.
MUSIC 0612 Heinz Chapel Choir 1 cr.
MUSIC 0630 Marching Band 1 cr.
16 cr.

Classes begin 27 August 2007; final exams are 10-15 December 2007. No classes 03 September for Labor Day, or 21-25 November for Thanksgiving Recess.

The first thing that sticks out like a sore thumb is that my Organic Chemistry (OChem) lab cuts into choir. Oh, well; that's life. I already talked to the choir director and he (very cautiously) said that I'm a fast enough learner that he can spare me for one hour a week. And that leads right into marching band, too.

Last year, the procedure was to leave choir around 17:35 (15 minutes early) to be able to be on the practice field for band by 18:15 (15 minutes late). Since I'll be an hour late to choir on Tuesdays, that doesn't work. So I'll end up getting to band around 18:35 or so on Tuesdays, which isn't great, but at least I can afford it. And it's a doubly good thing that choir doesn't start until Thursday 30 August, so I won't have to use this technique until 04 September.

Moving on to my actual classes. It seems I get off-track like this every time I go over a schedule...

Oh, 08:00 classes. I think Foundations (ChE 0100) will be okay, though; since I managed to get up today and get to the room in under seven minutes, something I could never have done living on upper campus. The elevators in Benedum are, surprisingly enough, not so busy at 07:55 as they are at, say, 09:55 or 10:55.

My professor is fluent in English, which is good, and he has a bit of a sense of humor. After going over some basic examples in class today, he said, "we could go on all day listing more examples, but instead we'll go on all semester... just in more detail." So for an 08:00 class, at least the guy's trying to make it fun. Plus, since it's two hours long, we got a break in the middle. I don't know if that will become standard, but it was nice nonetheless.

I was able to grab a bagel between Foundations and OChem (CHEM 0310). Not that that matters, because I should have eaten breakfast before my first class. Stupid alarm clocks. Anyway, this just shows that I'm slowly adapting to the new meal plan; it's really weird. But that shall be another post.

The OChem professor, George, likes to be referred to by his first name because "that's the name [his] parents gave him." So there you go, my dear friends. With very little fluff, we just jumped right into business, and started the usual "review" of past material which begins a new term. He did, however, mention that he is the slowest in the department when it comes to teaching organic chemistry, and so toward the end of the term, he'll ask us to come in on some Sunday afternoons. At least he admits it upfront, you know?

George had a good analogy up his sleeve for chemical bonding, too. He said that he was a helium atom, and he pointed out another student (again, atomic helium). He waved his right arm around, called it his electron, and had the student do the same. He mentioned that because both arms were extended outwards, there was a mutual attraction between them, so they got closer and closer until they formed a bond (a handshake). But, he added, if he were to get too close to the other atom, the internuclear forces would cause it (or the other student) to become repulsed!

So if I've got to get up for three hours of classes from 08:00 to 11:00 thrice a week, at least these people have senses of humor, right?

My Diff. Eq. (MATH 0290) professor took a similar approach to jumping right in. He's very soft spoken (i.e., hard to hear), and he has a thicker accent, although it is, for the most part, decipherable. He did, however, lose just about everybody in the class in the first step of the second example, where he did the following in one step:

I thought that's what we were taking that class to learn. I'm going to thoroughly read the assigned section to see if that's in there... and if not, I will definitely consider looking at other options as far as Diff. Eq. professors go.

That's about all; this is long enough as it is. Besides, I've got to be up for class at 08:00 again! All in all, it was a good day.

Random tangent: The left window in my room is stuck. Stuck slightly open. Facing Fifth Avenue. Ugh.


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14 August 2007


At this point, I am utterly restless.

But firstly, with regard to the zucchini sneaking I mentioned in my last post, it didn't happen. We simply didn't have enough to go around. Plus, a full-page article on the front page of the local newspaper's Food section robbed us of the stealth aspect. Oh, well. Next year, right after we watch the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics, we can try again.

Good; now that's out of the way.

My brother and both of my parents are at band camp for the GHS Marching Band overnight, leaving me alone in the house doing laundry, packing for college and my band camp, and wondering why the tax bill from the school district sitting next to me wasn't opened sooner (good thing it's not past due!). Sure, I could've been doing all of these things during the daytime, but that's not how I operate, you silly goose! I often catch a "second wind" around 01:00 or so, and I've been using that energy to actually be productive (and to blog just a tiny bit as well).

And I've gotten quite a lot done. Mind you, I have a heck of a lot more to go, but at least I'm getting there.

I mentioned earlier that I'm leaving for Pittsburgh second thing Thursday morning. I say "second thing" because of the follow-up appointment for my wisdom teeth in Erie at 08:00 on Thursday. The plan is that I'll be all ready by late Wednesday afternoon to pack up the van, then I'll head out to Alumni Night at the GHSMB band camp for the evening. First thing in the morning, we head out to Erie, I "open wide," and then we jump on the Interstate, getting to Pitt by noon, ready to move into my new place of residence. It's "Big Move #3" because #1 was moving to Pitt last year, and #2 was coming back home. Although I guess if you count the family moving to my current residence back in 1992, it would be #4. Nah.

Meanwhile, the freshmen will be at their mini-camp learning the ins and outs of Pitt Band. If my move-in goes quickly, I may stop by for the last few hours to help. Then it's a traditional "meet-'n-greet" dinner for the trumpets, where I'll get to meet all 15 freshmen, and try to learn their names as fast as possible. That's right: fifteen newbies. So as long as nothing happens, we'll have a grand total of 40 in our horn line, up significantly from 31 last year. I'm excited!

In fact, I'm restless.

One thing that hasn't been contributing to my restlessness, though, is my mouth. It seems that as far as the pain from my surgery has gone, someone finally flipped a switch Monday morning. I took a dose of ibuprofen before bed Sunday night and didn't have to take another until 21:00 Monday. I'm actually able to eat pretty much anything again, and even sneeze without hurting myself! You don't know how it feels knowing you aren't allowed to sneeze even though you need to until you've experienced it. It's hard. You need the relief, but those things are so fast everything could pop right out. So you half sneeze, half stifle, but you still feel weird afterwards.

Does anyone else share my pain? Probably not.

The point is that my recovery has gone splendidly. Another kid at my church, however, who went to a different surgeon the day after me, isn't doing so well. Apparently his bottom teeth were so difficult that they took 90 minutes to remove, and they gave up on the upper teeth until later. Nevertheless, oozing and bleeding and lots of pain are still in his life. I'm blessed that they're not in mine.

Now, I don't know if his complications had more to do with the actual teeth or the competency of the oral surgeon, but I feel that I need to give a shout-out (and pitifully minimal free advertising) to him who helped make sure that I wouldn't have to go through anything like that: Thank you, Dr. Alonge!

I think that's just about it. I also think my last load of laundry is done. I've got quite the day or two ahead of me; Pittsburgh is just 56 hours away.

And I'm so restless I just can't wait.

Random tangent: Happy 17th birthday to Alec, my friend from Music Camp. I don't know if he ever reads this, but whatever; it's the thought that counts.


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07 August 2007

VRD, or Not

I'm writing today because it's technically Visit Randomness Day, and it would be a shame if I didn't celebrate it. I know, I said I was going to scrap that holiday and come up with something different, but I didn't get around to it; maybe next year.

The thing is, because of all the emails I sent out last night to my family and friends regarding my recovery from my wisdom tooth surgery, I've had 40 visitors on Randomness today.

I'm still quite surprised at how well I've been doing. Today was the first time I could "legally" brush my teeth since the surgery, and despite my being afraid that I would "break" something, I was able to be careful enough that it didn't hurt at all. I only had to take two doses of ibuprofen today, too! I'm quite amazed!

Other than that, all is going well here. The plumber came and finished installing our sinks which finally arrived for the new bathroom. My brother actually started reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It's been raining a lot today, too. Oh, well. It looks like the weather will be pretty decent tomorrow night for zucchini sneaking!


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06 August 2007

A Few Grams Lighter...

...and much less wise. It's no big deal, though. I like to think it was mostly bad wisdom that they took out, anyway.

All that sleepy-making medicine wore off around 15:00 today, and I took some ibuprofen just after that... just before the numb-making medicine wore off.

Right now I've got this thing wrapped around my head which kind of reminds me of playing Caesar Rodney in 1776 back in 2004 (see left). The only main difference is that the one I'm wearing now has cold packs to make my mouth bleed less and to (very marginally) dull the pain.

I remember very little between about 09:00 and 12:00, but picked up little bits and pieces here and there. Good news came back regarding the health of one of the surgeon's family members, which was nice to hear because the original health issue took the surgeon away from his office in July and was the reason for my "tooth delay." I heard something about another appointment, just a check-up, which I've been told is going to be at 08:00 on Thursday 16 August, conveniently the day we were going to have me leave for college again.

But I don't feel like I should be going to college. I've determined that surgery makes you three. As in "three years old." So right now I'm a three-year-old with a blog, trapped in a 19-year-old's body. That sounds like it could be dangerous.

Daddy read some numbers from his "Drug Book" and told me how long the various drugs would last, and we think we figured out when everything happened pretty well, because pretty much everything has worn off by now. Actually, you'd think I'd be in heaps of pain right now (8 hours post-surgery), but I'm not. It's more like tiny anthills of pain.

Anyway, Daddy took good care of me, changing my gauze every so often and the like. Daddy also made me some chicken noodle soup and cooked zucchini bits that I could eat for lunch, even though it was 15:45 and it took me nearly an hour to finish my meal. Both Daddy and "big brother David" were helpful with getting me water, and they also went to the grocery store to buy some Tim-foods.

When Daddy was cooking my soup this afternoon, he was telling me about how the different parts of my mouth were reacting to "the trauma." And I said that, from a national perspective, it was like my mouth was the Cabinet and all my teeth were the Cabinet members, and some foreign entity just came in, picked a few, and "took 'em out." I must be pretty smart for a three-year-old.

Daddy also said that when I finish the second half of the noodle soup, I can have the alphabet soup he just bought. There's even Jell-O that's chilling in the refrigerator now! I'm so happy!

Switching gears a little bit, I had mounds of fun with the Cousin Club at the ninth annual Fun Week and at the family reunion. Seeing everyone was fun, but the point of this post is to tell all those people how I'm feeling since they all went home and can't just ask me. So there'll be more on that later.

They gave my teeth to Daddy in a little envelope/baggie thing, and I just weighed it on his little postal scale for weighing letters. The whole bag weighed just over three-eighths of an ounce, which, for you Metric-ators like me, is about 11 grams.

Now we just have to wait until my grades come in December to see how much wisdom I lost. ;)

Random tangent: My brother actually "laid low" most of the day without being asked. So that helped. He's playing video games now. That's about as random as I can get right now; I'm tired.

Photo credit: Daddy! Taken after our performance on Sunday 21 March 2004.


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01 August 2007

Camp Pictures

First, my apologies for not updating. At first, I was engrossed in the book, then I came to the realization that summer's almost over, so I have to wrap up my little pet projects... which, unfortunately meant at one point doing a complete coding overhaul to a website I was working on. Then I started playing with my new camera, and here we are, on this day I like to call "the first of août." I just think the name is so cute.

Finally, I've picked the camp pictures I'm going to show to you, for the most part. The main problem was that I don't have photo releases for the campers. The camp does, but not me. And I don't want to open that potential can of worms, so I'm going to leave the campers out of it for now.

But my campers were sooooo cute! So if you get the chance, ask and I'll show the other pictures to you. Or maybe I'll go around asking for the necessary permissions. But probably not, so you'll just have to imagine.

Anyway, I've uploaded 37 photos to Flickr. The photostream begins here. Enjoy.

Random tangent: Wisdom teeth out this coming Monday... eek! Just over two weeks until I pack up for Pittsburgh again. See you all then!

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