It’s Columbus Day! Which is not something we should be celebrating, because as everyone reading this probably already knows, Columbus was not exactly a great guy, nor was he particularly pioneering. (Note: while I like that the second link points out just how many different groups of non-Americans either possibly or definitely made it to North America or thereabouts before Columbus, I would say that the actual “discovery” of America should be credited to the people who migrated here between 10,000 and 50,000 years ago. They definitely beat Columbus.) Regardless, the university is closed today, so I decided to get the hell out of the city and participate in a new-to-me New England fall tradition: apple picking!
More on apple picking, possibly also scone-baking.
I also stopped by part of the Dudley House-organized outing to Mount Auburn Cemetery yesterday. Even though I had (and still have…) I a lot of work to do, I figured I should take advantage of these beautiful fall days while they’re here!
I especially appreciated the expertise of Susan Zawalich, a Dudley House administrator and Mt. Auburn volunteer who led our little tour. She knew a lot about the history, architecture, and art history of the cemetery, and she also happens to be one of the most awesomely nerdy people I’ve ever met. (I went to her office to buy tickets for apple picking and ended up talking to her for about half an hour about our various mutual obsessions, like Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Who, David Tennant, Shakespeare…her office is positively overflowing with memorabilia connected with these things. It’s pretty great.)
Other things I’ve been up to:
- Classes are going reasonably well, as far as I can tell. We’ve only gotten a graded problem set back in one class so far, but I’m pretty sure I’m doing okay, and I’m definitely learning a lot! Most of the new stuff in quantum mechanics is actually the math, rather than the physics; I didn’t take a complex analysis or math methods course in undergrad, so I had the pleasure of being introduced to contour integration by a one-hour discussion section.
- I’ve almost got my MPhil from Cambridge! The degree committees for the various departments only meet once per year, so I had to wait until September 24th to “officially” hear that my degree had been approved. The next graduation is on the 24th of October, at which point I will be awarded my degree in absence and be a real Master of Philosophy.
- Started going to rehearsals of the Dudley House chorus/choir (not sure what the actual name of the group is). We’re singing stuff from The Lion King (yay!), a bunch of lovely, haunting, medieval-ish Christmas hymns (including O Come, Emmanuel, one of my favorites), Morten Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium, and Toch’s Geographical Fugue, which is definitely the hardest of the lot.
Oh yeah, and there was a petting zoo on the grass in front of the Science Center a few weeks ago.
Well, that’s all for now! Apologies for this post being in reverse chronological order…but I’m in grad school now, where time has no real meaning apart from problem set deadlines, seminar schedules, and lab meeting times.