Outings and intersectionality (oh my!)

David L., Kristine R., and I are on the hunt for the crispest apples! (PC to Mengmeng Ji.)
David L., Kristine R., and I are on the hunt for the crispest apples! (PC to Mengmeng Ji.)

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!

David went for the ladder; I just climbed the tree (he got more apples). PC to Mengmeng Ji.
David went for the ladder; I just climbed the tree (he got more apples). PC to Mengmeng Ji.

More on apple picking, possibly also scone-baking.

The first of many ascents of hedge maze bridges.
The first of many ascents of hedge maze bridges.
Awkward hedge maze selfie! PC to David.
Awkward hedge maze selfie! PC to David.
Never too old for school buses...
Never too old for school buses…
Fruits of my fruit-gathering labors: apple-cheddar scones!
Fruits of my fruit-gathering labors: apple-cheddar scones!

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!

Nice quiet day in Mt. Auburn Cemetery.
Nice quiet day in Mt. Auburn Cemetery.
Washington Tower at Mt. Auburn Cemetery.
Washington Tower at Mt. Auburn Cemetery.
View from the top of Washington Tower.
View from the top of Washington Tower.
This grave reminded me of my family's dog, Tillie. Wish I could cuddle with her as I get over my cold! Seeing her on Skype just isn't the same.
This grave reminded me of my family’s dog, Tillie. Wish I could cuddle with her as I get over my cold! Seeing her on Skype just isn’t the same.

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.)

Susan Z. gives an introduction to the history of Mt. Auburn.
Susan Z. gives an introduction to the history of Mt. Auburn.

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.

Not-quite-baby chickens look pretty funny.
Not-quite-baby chickens look pretty funny.
The lamb was SO SOFT.
The lamb was SO SOFT.
The goats were my absolutely favorite. This little guy kept trying to eat my fingers, though!
The goats were my absolutely favorite. This little guy kept trying to eat my fingers, though!

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.

My pathetic attempt to capture the majesty of the super-blood-blue-moon eclipse.
My pathetic attempt to capture the majesty of the super-blood-blue-moon eclipse.
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