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19 November 2007

My Father's Brother

I am not, in fact, referring to my Uncle Dave, although he does indeed fit that description. I am, through a different definition of brotherhood, referring to myself.

The Final Degree of Initiation for ΜΚΥ was Sunday morning, and I'm pretty sure I mentioned that I was a pledge. I say "was" because, as is implied by the "final" in "Final Degree of Initiation," I have "finally" been initiated, and am now a Brother! A Brother of the Fraternity that my father helped to found in 1978, which thus would make me, in a sort of esoteric sense, my father's brother. Or more specifically, my father's Brother.

And pretty much the whole of the Brotherhood went to the Waterfront afterwards to have a good lunch at Fuddrucker's. It was my first time there, and it was really good food. So that's awesome.

Sadly, my "Big Brother" Kevin was recovering from having recently been ill, so though he attended the ceremony, he opted not to join us for lunch. Oh, well. Hopefully he'll get better soon.

Panther football: What more can I say? After a long Friday, I slept through the first half of the Rutgers game Saturday, then I got up, did some things, ate, and proceeded to watch the last seven minutes. And what a seven minutes they were! Once again, a spectacular game-winning pass to the endzone is turned into what ultimately was a spectacular game-losing penalty for offensive pass interference. But if you look at some of the injured players and redshirts sitting out this season, things are looking up, I'd say. Just not this season. Oh, well.

Exams: All but one midterm is now in the books. Friday 09 November was my ChE exam. Since our professor has been out presenting at conferences and our TA has been lecturing in his absence, I got the score back but not the actual exam. I got a 97%, which is really good, and even though I can't be certain where my mistakes were, I'm pretty sure my hunches aren't far from the truth.

Friday 16 November was my Diff. Eq. exam. And unlike the last exam, this one literally was the practice test with different numbers. With the exception of one fraction that everyone seemed to have trouble expanding, the test was easy as pie. Now, the jury's out on exactly which kind of pie is easiest, as we're still waiting for figures from the latest experiment to be calculated. But it was definitely as easy as pumpkin pie, if not apple.

All I have left is an OChem exam on Wednesday 28 November, which, I vow, will go much better than the previous one. And I can say that with confidence because I actually do know most of the material now. That last one was just an unfortunate combination of everything bad all at once. I also have to give a presentation in ChE Lab on Thursday 06 December, but it's only five minutes, and my part isn't very technical in nature. Then I have one final each day from 11 through 13 December, then I'm off until 07 January 2008. Whoa, that'll feel nice.

Thanksgiving: I'm actually quite excited for the holiday this year. I think this will be one of my most thankful Thanksgivings in recent memory, simply because it will be a welcome break from what is often a monotony of work and labs and exams and rehearsals. Granted, my break is cut short because I have to be back for the Pitt football game on Saturday, but I'll be fine. I'll get to enjoy myself both in Girard and in Pittsburgh.

For those of you wondering, I'm leaving Oakland on Tuesday evening after choir rehearsal, spending Tuesday night at Jana and Richard's house, and leaving with them first thing Wednesday morning. It looks as though I'll be with my dad's side of the family on Friday, which is closer to Pittsburgh, as I'll have to return early Friday evening.

Christmas: There are only 37 days left. Are you ready?

Obviously, I'm not. But, um, I might actually have a bit of a list this year! I have taken note of a few things that I could actually use! So for those of you who ask me year after year, "What do you want for Christmas?" and are tired of the same old "I dunno" response, you may well be surprised when you ask me this time around.

Granted, my list is at three items right now, and I'm sure I have more relatives than that, so... good luck. I think I'll hold off on announcing my list until I can think of more items, or sometime around the end of classes (07 December).

Getting older: As if my own departure for college weren't enough, now we're starting to have to deal with Laurel's. It's exciting, but as if the paradigm shift from "I'm a kid, woohoo!" to "Ohmigosh, I'm growing up" wasn't enough stress on the system, I am now shifting further to "Ohmigosh, we're growing up!" Apparently, seeing people younger than you reaching milestones you've already reached makes you feel old; I don't know.

But sombre as the feeling can be from time to time, I do find it exhilarating. Being the oldest of the "actual" cousins of the Cousin Club, you'd think I'd have felt this more often by now whilst watching my cousins grow up, but there's just something about the leap to college that is much more significant. Hmm... how about the nascent stages of adulthood? Yeah, that's probably it...

Anyway, since you all liked responding to the last time I mentioned getting older, what do you "old people" think about this? When did you first come to the realization that reliving past memories vicariously through those younger than you gives you a weird feeling? Does me talking about my first coming to this realization make you feel old now?


I know that I've got more to write on life in general, as I've been pondering a great deal of things lately, but I'm getting a bit weary of writing this, as I'm sure you may well be of reading this. Besides, I have hardly any schoolwork to speak of this week (or rather this next day and a half), so I should be able to post again.

But all is well, life is good, and I'm thankful for that! I'm excited to see all of my relatives for the holiday. Bye.

Random tangent: It is a well-known fact that spinners spin, heaters heat, and other things of that nature. It so follows that panthers panth and otters ott. Discuss the implications these findings have on society as we know it today.


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04 November 2007

What? You Want a Title?

Living at the corner of two one-way streets isn't any fun. Back when I lived on upper campus, I'd tell people to "turn left here, here, or here," just to see what they'd pick, and which way I'd go home this time. Now, there's really only one way to get here. You can't even approach it from both sides like on a normal street. Boo.

In other news, Daylight Saving Time ends today. There's just something about "November" and "Daylight Saving Time" that doesn't make much sense to me. But that's alright, because it's meant brighter evenings. Granted, having an 08:00 class five days a week, I'm quite ready to shift that hour into the morning, because it's been a bear getting up these last couple of weeks.

Speaking of DST, this is the fourth time I've had to change my alarm clock this year, and the first time I'm actually home to do it. Why four times, you ask? Well, I got the alarm clock for my 17th birthday in January 2005, seven months before lawmakers decided to change the dates for DST beginning in 2007. It had this (then-)great feature of automatically setting itself for the time changes. Unfortunately, the 2005 rules were hardcoded into the clock.

But Tim! Can't you just tell it to ignore DST and change it manually?

I wish I could. However, the manual states that "If you live in an area which does not observe Daylight Saving Time, you will have to manually undo the automatic time changes on the first Sunday of April and the last Sunday of October."

Bah. I guess they weren't worried about selling that model in Arizona.

Anyway, I must change it four times a year now:

  • The second Sunday in March - After 01:59 EST, the time "springs forward" to 03:00 EDT (as per the new rules), but the clock ticks on to 02:00 EST. I tell it that it's 03:00, but it assumes it's 03:00 EST. Forward one hour.
  • The first Sunday in April - At 01:59 EDT, the clock thinks it's 01:59 EST, after which it observes the old-style "spring forward" to 03:00 EDT... but it's really 02:00 EDT. Back one hour.
  • The last Sunday in October - After 01:59 EDT, the clock performs the old-style "fall back" to 01:00 EST... but DST hasn't ended yet, and it's still 02:00 EDT. Forward one hour.
  • The first Sunday in November - After 01:59 EDT, the time "falls back" to 01:00 EST, but the clock, thinking it was 01:59 EST and that DST has already ended, ticks on to 02:00 EST. Back one hour.
At the very least, this is a nuisance. But it is an otherwise good alarm clock, and I suppose I can bother to remember both sets of rules. In fact, I have done so with no problem, because I'm amazingly good with remembering dates, as anyone who knows me can tell you.

Anyway, of the four dates listed above, this is the first time I've actually been home to change it. On 11 March ("spring forward"), I was in New York City for the last night before leaving from the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament. The weekend of 01 April ("un-spring back"), I was with my family, enjoying my brother's school musical. This past Sunday, 28 October ("un-fall forward"), I was just returning from the band's trip to Louisville, Kentucky. Granted, I was technically back by 00:30, but I went straight to bed, and I don't really consider myself to have returned until I woke up in the morning. Today is the first time that I will not be going on a trip, only to come back to an incorrect "smart clock."

My atomic wall clock, though, has given me no trouble, as Daylight Saving Time information is encoded in the broadcast signal. Lucky me.

I also realized that I never got around to posting my arrangement of The Star-Spangled Banner from Independence Day. I mean, I wrote it in July, recorded it in August, edited it in September, let it gather dust in October, and only just now converted it to an MP3 in November. So here it is; enjoy:


The Star-Spangled Banner, arr. Timothy J. Parenti, 04 July 2007.
All rights reserved.

Yeah, I know... it's a tad on the "quick tempo" side... I must have been feeling a bit perky that day. Just think of it this way: faster tempo = shorter time = smaller file = less bandwidth used. Although, who really cares all that much about bandwidth anymore?

I feel like I'm running out of things to say, and yet there's a whole month of stuff missing from this blog. Yet I don't want to ramble on and bore you either.

Um. Last time I posted, I had just taken my first OChem exam. Well that one went decently well, and I just took another one this past Monday. I haven't gotten my grade yet, but that one definitely did not go so well. The combination of the trip to Louisville immediately prior and not being able to study much whilst there really didn't help, although neither is really an excuse for drawing blanks so large as I did on Monday.

Oh, well. My only consolation, I guess, is that I pretty much understand all of that material now. Which means I can still build on it for the next exam.

In ChE 0101 lab on Thursday, we did an experiment with a "spinning bowl concentrator." Basically, we took iron shavings and sand, went to great lengths to ensure that all of the iron was magnetic and one size, while all of the sand was non-magnetic and another size, mixed them together, and used complicated means to separate them again in a fluid-based system. It seems utterly redundant, but the point was the process of the separation, which will involve tons of calculations. And in order to do those calculations, we have to know exactly what we started with. Hence making a mixture and separating it immediately thereafter.

My ChE 0100 professor is out of town for the next two weeks presenting at conferences, so the TA is going to teach us. We'll get our professor back for two days before Thanksgiving Break, so it's like he's gone for three weeks! Depending on how you look at it, this could be a good thing or a bad thing. And quite frankly, I'm not sure many people in the class itself know where they stand on this.

Um... Pitt's won a couple of exciting games (Cincinnati and Syracuse), but we've lost a couple, too (Navy and Louisville). Both of the losses were in spectacular fashion, as only Pitt can do.

Well, that may not be entirely true, as I'm sure there are plenty of others who could lose just as spectacularly, but could I really care less about them?

Meanwhile, basketball has started up. I'm pretty excited.

Also, my Uncle Dave from Tennessee was in town this week for a conference of sorts, so we met up Thursday night and had some food at The O. It was a good time, especially since I only ever really see him for Independence Day and Christmas.

Other than that, I don't really see all that much to say. I know I'm going to be kicking myself in a day's time (i.e., 25 hours today), knowing just how important were those things I've forgotten. But you know what? That's the beauty of having this here blog. If I find myself in that position, I can just write more.

So now I'll be like bromine, and do what we pay good leaving groups to do... leave.

Random tangent: Off and on, I've been feeling artsy. I figure I'd like to take a picture every day, as a combined method of release as well as honing of my photography skills. But alas, I don't have the diligence... yet.

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