Saturday, July 2, 2011

Amongst the Waves of Green

First and foremost, I have to say, it is nice to have a bit of quiet time.  After a week filled with group work, outings with friends and class discussions, a bit of quieter time with friends turns out to be incredibly satisfying.  Especially when there is time to explore the surrounding area.

Cornell has a beautiful campus.  From Bailey Hall to the Sage Chapel to the Bell Tower, it is filled with wondrous halls and corridors leading to beautiful bookshelves and chemical laboratories.  It was a much needed repose from the hustle and bustle of project work.  Terilyn and I spent hours navigating our way around the area, on a quest to find the Bell Tower.

On that note, the grass around Cornell is quite comfortable.  The lawns and park areas look splendid and are very nice to just lie down in and think for a little.

But college is never all fun and no work, so summer college of course is no exception.  Today's ounce of hotel work consisted of meeting up and working together on our group project.  We met up, discussed, and worked our morning away extensively at the project.  It somewhat caught us off guard -- we did not expect it to take that long.

Powerpoint is a very strange program to navigate through, and while it is actually really simple to operate, it is difficult to make it look very good at the same time.  Luckily, we had invested a lot of work already -- which hopefully will come into play soon.

Especially interesting is the finance aspect of the hotel corporation we are doing.  Having no economic experience at all, many terms such as P/Q rate were completely foreign to us.  But with a little bit of help and effort, we managed to understand what all the graphs and charts were about, or at least, comprehend them.

Tomorrow, there will be a practice presentation for Mark and Reneta.  Our group has been practicing a little, but we need to meet up again tomorrow and work things out.

We will not accept anything less than brilliance.

Gods Need Breaks Too

While I have always tried to get a good amount of sleep every night, being able to snooze in for the first "Lazy Weekend" felt very relaxing. This program never leaves you with a moment to breathe, so this Saturday felt more of a luxury than of a privilege!

For the earlier part of my day, I decided to explore the vicinity of the Summer College dorms as I know there are other hang-out spots around that have yet to be tapped. Bracing the warm sun, I found the Appel Commons and Helen Newman Hall. From what research and exploration I have gathered, Appel is mainly used to contain the lunch cafe the rest of the students who do not visit the Trillium and the mail slots for Balch residents. Other than that, the only things available in the building are a computer lab and fitness center. However, throughout my whole experience, it appeared that the gym is closed on the weekend and I only saw one person who happened to be on a computer. While it may not seem like a lively locale, it is surely a nice place to sit and relax when refuge and tranquility may be needed.

Then there was Helen Newmal Hall, which was just as quiet and secluded, but not as updated in terms of furniture and design. The main floor featured basketball courts and dance studios, but they were unfortunately closed. There was also another fitness center on the top floor that was closed as well. Tucked neatly in the basement though is a quaint bowling alley. It seemed as if no one knew of this place because all the lanes were not yet lit and it seemed as if the employee was sitting at his booth just waiting for someone to come in. While I didn't actually play bowling myself, I certainly dabbled in some billiards throughout the day in Robert Purcell.

The main sponsored event of the day appeared to be the makeshift carnival the staff and resident advisers produced. There were various stands including popcorn, cotton candy, prizes, painting, and beverages (which I frequented). Scattered throughout the quad were activities as well. The one I attempted to try out the most was a "survival of the fittest" game where you are required to sling a foam wrecking ball at your opponents. Other games included an American Gladiators-esque spear fight and a one-on-one obstacle course. It was also quite delightful to try my best at limbo and see exactly how low I could go!

A group of students playing Twister on a large board.

I also managed to fit in some time with some of my cohorts and friends at the end of the day to play some Banagrams. While it easily frustrated me at the worst of times, it was highly exciting and stimulating to play!

A group of us playing Banagrams.

While I have enjoyed my course so far, we have never had the opportunity to do anything but eat, sleep, and learn! It was such an amazing experience to be able to enjoy the day without having to worry about any obligations. It made me feel so free-spirited that it made me realize that even the gods need to take a break sometimes.

Terilyn the Explorer

I experienced my very first full Saturday at Cornell University, which also means I have been here for one full week! If you think today was work-free, think again. :)

I woke up this morning before seven, before either of my alarms went off. At first I did not believe it was that early, but I guess I must have been so used to waking up early that I, well, woke up early. I ate breakfast while talking about vampire books with three new girls I met today in the Dining Hall. It was quite nerdy and amusing.

Then, I rushed off to finish my Power Point slides before meeting with my group at 10:30 to run through the main points we wanted to cover. At around 1:15, we all decided it was time to go enjoy our Saturday since at that point, we were so exhausted that we weren't being as productive as we had hoped. Jobel and I decided to explore the campus.

We ventured into the Chemistry building, Bailey Hall Auditorium, Uris Library, Sage Chapel and hung out in the Art Quad, where I fell asleep on the grass and missed lunch. Bailey Hall was completely empty and dark and it was very eerie being in there.

I fell in love with Uris Library. The ornate shelves are filled with old, faded books and cozy study nooks. I don't understand how anyone could ever get any studying done in there though. I would be way too distracted just staring at everything.

This part of my day very lazy and relaxed and I now know where the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art is! My art teacher Daphne Schrampf asked me to visit the museum while I am here at Cornell, and I was happy to hear that the museum is open Tuesdays to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. That means I can go spend an hour there after 4 pm lecture on class days.

Anyways, after exploring and eating, I worked on my slides alone for a while before meeting up with my group again at 7 pm. I am nervous to be presenting in front of 80 people, but I think it will turn out fine since this is also how I felt before things like Mock Trial competitions. I am always extremely nervous up until the very moment the event starts. Hopefully, the same will happen with this presentation. It's another challenge, and I am up for it.

On another note, tomorrow Ms. Neal is bringing us to the National Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls. I'm sure it will be a very inspirational and enriching experience.

I am extremely excited. Extremely, extremely, extremely excited.

A Saturday Spent

While others were making good use of their Saturday exploring and having fun on their first weekend, I shied away from the heat and lazied my day away indoors. I caught up on some sleep, ate a lot of food, and spent the day working with my group on the PowerPoint slides I wished we had had the initiative to work on earlier.

For me, the project was intense, but there is still a lot more work to be done, and I just feel like our material is not up to par. I like my group members a lot. We laugh, we get along, and it's great, but I care about our results a great deal. So without further ado, I need to start being more responsible, or better yet, a more effective communicator.

It's important that I figure out how to manage my time better, because there's so much of the experience that I don't want to miss out on. This is what taking the time to create a schedule is for. There will be other Saturdays, but will I be able to effectively and efficiently delegate my time in the future?

I'm Becoming a Philosopher. (Well, Not Quite)

Today will be tough to beat, as far as having an overall fantastic day goes. Before I jump into the story of this practically perfect day, I want to explain my title. Professor Kramnick has pointed out numerous times that philosophers tend to think of everything in groups of threes, such as Plato’s three allegories explaining knowledge and its realm (the sun, the line, and most famously, the allegory of the cave). Today, my perfect day also formed a nice group of three, which happened to be my three favorite things in life as well (a shocking coincidence). This fantastic group of three which really covered everything that happened today was; food, sleep, and baseball. To me, it is impossible to go wrong when some amount of each of those things is all that makes up my day, and this day was just as good as one who knows my love for those three things would expect.

I began the day by shattering my sleeping record on this trip, staying asleep for an amazing 11 hours, from midnight till 11 in the morning. I had a quick brunch which along with a bit of McDonald’s was about all I ate (so really it was only a group of 2 and a half, but that doesn’t make me much of a philosopher so I rounded up). After this quick brunch Joe told me that Ms. Neal would be willing to drive us to Cooperstown! Apparently while I was asleep plans had already been arranged, but Joe, knowing that I am a complete baseball nerd, told Ms. Neal that I would want to go too. Soon Ms. Neal, Joe, and I were on a two and a half hour drive through upstate New York.
On that ride, my excellent day of sleep continued with a nice 90 minute nap, (filling one whole sleep cycle as I learned at last week’s crash course) and combined with my hour-long nap on the way back, brought my grand total of sleep up to a whopping 13 and a half hours!
But back to Cooperstown, what appeared to be a small brick building with barely enough room for a busy restaurant turned out to hold countless memorabilia and wonderful tidbits of information. I was able to take pictures with the bronze hall of fame plaques of both my dad’s favorite player (posted above) and my grandfather’s favorite player. There were too many amazing things to recall, and I truthfully can’t think of what else to write about it, I’m still in shock. It’s difficult (for me at least) to put into words just how incredible the Hall was, and I’m so grateful to Ms. Neal for taking me and Joe to see it.


I WENT TO COOPERSTOWN TODAY!!! It was so amazing!!! Before I get into it though, let me post some pictures:

Me at the National Baseball Hall of Fame
Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson, Roberto Clemente, and Joe Arciniega
The Hall
My Favorite Player: Jackie Robinson
Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and Joe Arciniega
The bat that Babe Ruth used when he famously called his shot
Hall of Fame
I still can't believe it! Visiting Cooperstown has been a life-long dream of mine, but I never thought that I would actually have a good opportunity to do it. This was truly an amazing experience and I am so happy that I got to have it.

Admittedly, I was a little upset when Ms. Neal woke me up at 9:00 AM with her text message, but when I saw that it was regarding a trip to the Hall of Fame she was instantly forgiven. I replied as quickly as my half-awakened brain would allow me to and then went ahead and got some more sleep.

At about 1:20 PM we began to drive and continued onwards for about 2 1/2 hours. I also have to say that I was a little disappointed when we first arrived at the Hall because from the outside, it really doesn't look like much. However, once you get in and start exploring, it just seems to go on forever.

There are three floors to the Museum, all of which were thoroughly explored by Nick and myself, and every one of them has it's own great treasures. The first floor has the Hall, which I posted above, and the second and third contain various baseball artifacts from throughout history, such as Babe Ruth's bat.

We walked around for about 3 hours and finally decided that it was time to hit the gift shop and go home. We drove for about another 2 1/2 hours, of which Nick was knocked out for almost all, and finally arrived home around 9:15PM. Nick and I, and probably Ms. Neal, are very tired from this spectacular day of American tradition, but would like you all to know that there is nothing like Cooperstown. If you are a baseball fan, you HAVE to go. You will truly will not regret it.

Joe Arciniega, Future Hall of Famer, signing out. Good night!

Carnival InThe Quad

I am, as my parents will tell you, a morning person and I always have been, but today was different. I slept in until 11:45 this morning, the latest I think I have every slept in before. Feeling like I had already wasted half of my day, I quickly changed my clothes and went for a short run around campus. After that Vivi (Genevieve) and I played a little soccer to keep our ball skills up for when we come back home. By this time I had unfortunately missed breakfast/brunch so had to chow down on a cliff bar (perfectly acceptable breakfast in my opinion).

Once I got back to the room, as was mentioned on my best friends Masao’s blog, I had a skype date with the one and only Masao MacMaster. Our chat ranged from talking about our programs and how the first week went for us respectively. It was a great addition to my morning.

While I talked to Masao I realized how much I was learning here. I hadn't really stopped to think about everything I am absorbing from Professor Kramnick's lectures until I was talking to Masao about them. I realized that the horizon of my knowledge I had pre-Cornell was now expanding rapidly or with every lecture. I told Masao about Plato because to me Plato's ideals are the basis for our society now. Plato suggested that the system of democracy in Athens was a foolish way of governing a people. He thought that instead of letting everyone lead only the philosophers should lead because they were the only ones who could think and were the only ones who could understand that everything has an idea that is more meaningful than its appearance. The philosophers could understand the essence of things were as the workers and military mean could only understand the appearance of things. I couldn't believe how much this reflected our society. Our government tells 'lies' to protect us just like the 'lie' about the metals that Plato uses. It is strange how things can just hit you when you are skyping.

After my wonderful chat with Masao, I went to the carnival put on by the RCA’s in my building and the other hall up on a pretty good carnival with a ton of games. The only one I played was a' try and throw the football through the hole' game and I was not every good. The reason I didn’t play the other games was because I was so tired from my silly little workout.

My day was not every academic, in fact I didn’t do anything school related--that is what tomorrow is for.
Until tomorrow, Over and Out blog readers

Ahhh...The Long-Awaited For Weekend

Honestly, my day's schedule has not included much, but that is not because of lack of things to do or opportunities. The sole reason is that I took advantage of having no set schedule and slept in. Until almost noon! That is one of the great things about being away from home in this environment. Not until college will I ever have sole control of my schedule like these three weeks, learning crucial time management abilities.

So after my leisurely sleeping in, I went and got breakfast- lunch if you are attuned to the rest of the world. My afternoon was very relaxed as well, I attempted to play some soccer with Taylor but it was too hot! This humidity is really killing me. After napping (more sleep!) for a few minutes and watching some of the women's world cup soccer, Cornell Summer College was hosting a fair, full of arts activities, carnival games, and bouncy obstacle courses! It was a wonderful way to spend the rest of the afternoon and I even won tickets to get a prize for my little brother.

Next, we went to dinner, the usual cafeteria all you can eat buffet! As promised, I went to go watch a movie with the gang down in the little theatre after dinner and practicing violin for a few minutes. I had never seen this movie before. People stared at me in shock when I first announced it, and now I fully understand why. Forrest Gump is my new favorite movie! I cried tears of both joy and bittersweet sadness, and loved all 140 minutes of it. Thanks for another little belated birthday present everyone.

Now I'm off to bed after doing a quick outline for my essay for class. Goodnight, but first go rent Forrest Gump from your nearest Blockbuster!