Well, there’s a lot to say today. I think I’ll start with yesterday though. Yesterday was a fairly normal school day. I spent most of it playing with Mathematica, learning various things about it. I found it slightly amusing that within 18 hours of purchasing this software, I’d already found a bug and submitted a bug report, which was subsequently confirmed by the development team. It was only a user interface bug, not a mathematical one, but gosh it was annoying!
In the evening, I went to the Cornell Ballroom Club, where we spent an hour learning the basics of the Quickstep, and another hour learning the basics of the Cha Cha. I was a little bored with the Cha Cha, as it was covered only a couple of months ago, and I’ve got a good memory. Regardless, it was fun, and I enjoyed dancing with my friends, as always.
A big storm has been blowing across the USA, and yesterday we were receiving snow storm advisories, with up to a foot of snow expected to fall during the evening and night. A lot of people were hoping for so much snow that school would close. My prediction on the amount that would fall took two words: not enough! Regardless, I was hoping for a good snowdump. I do like a good snowdump 🙂
In the evening, I finally got around to sitting down and writing, putting all the thoughts that have been whirling through my head lately onto paper, and just emptying my mind. I started writing just after 9 pm, and it wasn’t until well past two in the morning that I felt like I’d finally gotten through everything. It feels much better to be still and calm again inside, and hopefully now I’ll be able to focus on other things. This rather large bout of writing was why there was no update yesterday.
I didn’t have anything on today until the late afternoon, although there was a talk I could go to at midday. However, I received an email from Cornell late last night saying that the university would be closed until 10:30 am because of the inclement weather, and so I decided that that would be a good reason to sleep in (and besides, I really needed that sleep). I woke up at about 1 pm this afternoon, and spent a relatively quiet afternoon at home. I haven’t felt well all day; it feels like there’s a cold coming on, but for the moment it’s just an annoying chesty cough, and my head feels a little hazy 🙁 I hope it gets better soon.
One of my housemates stayed home today also, as he had nothing on at school. In the afternoon, we decided to make a snowman just outside our apartment. It had been a long time since I’d made a snowman! We discovered, much to our delight, that you can actually roll snow into big lumps (I wouldn’t call them balls) really quite easily – we quickly rolled up the base of our snowman. The lump we rolled up for the body was too heavy to lift, alas! We ended up making a fairly decent snowman, to our approving eyes, and decided that he shall be known as Bob the Snowman. We put some sticks in for arms, a carrot in for a nose (I expect that to get eaten by deer tonight!), some rocks for eyes, and some pieces of gravel for a mouth and some buttons. I can look out my window and see Bob at the moment 🙂 Here’s a couple of pictures of Bob.
I went into school in the early evening. It had started to snow thickly again, and the roads were all white. I hung around and did stuff for about two hours, but started feeling pretty awful after that, and so I came home again. I ate dinner, and made a list of things to do this evening. The first thing I’m doing is writing this blog entry, mostly because I can do that while doing something else at the same time…
The new hard drive that I ordered a couple of days ago arrived today, so one of the things on my list of things to do is to install it on my new laptop. As I’m writing this blog entry, it’s purring away behind me installing Windows 🙂 The new drive is really fast and quiet. It’s so pretty! I’m looking forward to finally having my new computer up and running at full functionality.
Otherwise, I have some work stuffs to get done tonight, and hopefully I’ll be in bed early enough to get a good night’s sleep and knock over this cold before it really starts. In other news, though…
CYCLONE! Wow, Yasi is/was a big cyclone. I’ve been watching the coverage from the ABC closely. Cyclone Yasi beached off the coast of Queensland just a little bit South of Cairns around midnight local time, and it was apparently one of the strongest cyclones on record, a massive category 5. The satellite imagery of the cyclone was amazing. The ABC has a list of wind measurements in various towns. I glanced at it from time to time; the highest I ever saw was about 150 km/h, but gusts were predicted to be up to double that. There are some amazing photos around the various news outlets. I don’t know many people who live up in that region, although I do know a few, and my thoughts have been with them. Here is a story of a child who was born in an evacuation centre in Cairns, thanks to Yasi. Here is a comparison of various strong cyclones that we’ve seen: Yasi, Larry, Katrina, and Tracy. It’s an interesting comparison; you can see just how big and strong this thing was compared to others that we’ve seen. I didn’t realise that Tracy was really not all that large for the destructive power it had. I’ve a sweet spot for cyclone Tracy in my heart – it’s responsible for me being here. Here has a list of quotes from people in Queensland. I was particularly moved by Anna Bligh’s quote (the Premier of Queensland):
“We will be thinking of you every minute and every hour between now and daylight … We look forward to seeing you safe and well tomorrow morning.”
It feels like Queensland fell out of the frying pan and into the fire, given the massive flooding they’ve had to endure, and now an enormous cyclone. My heart goes out to all those who are affected. News is starting to drift in about the aftermath – perhaps the worst I’ve seen so far is that water stations in Townsville and Magnetic Island have been badly damaged, and both places have less than a day’s water in reserve. Good luck, guys. You need it.
In other news, the protests in Egypt suddenly turned violent overnight. I’ve read reports of pro-regime supporters apparently being paid to demonstrate violently across Cairo. I feel really bad that what looked to be a successful, major, peaceful demonstration devolved into violence in this manner, and I hope that the situation calms down soon. I know there’s nothing I can do, but once again, good luck guys. You need it. It will be interesting to see what the end result of this unrest is. I don’t doubt that it will have ramifications for Egypt and its neighbours for a long time to come.
In more personal news, one of my cousins was married a bit more than a week ago. I was, unfortunately, on the other side of the world, and unable to attend the ceremony, but I wish the happy couple all the best. My grandmother sent me an email where she said that she was asked to read a passage from the Bible in the ceremony, which was one of the most beautiful pieces of writing she’s ever seen: 1 Corinthians 13. I must admit, it is quite pretty. Go and read it. You know you want to.
The other news my grandmother gave to me was that her sister, my great aunt, has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer. This disturbed me somewhat. Not that I know my great aunt well at all, but it’s just a horrific illness in a long line of cancers in the family. My mother died of cancer 23 years ago, my aunt died of cancer five(?) years ago (2005, I think), my grandfather died of cancer before I was born. I know there’s more – I had genetic testing for BRCA-1 at one point in time, and the person assigned to my case found out the complete history of cancers in the family, and that whole side of the family tree has been riddled with them. I feel terrible for my grandmother, who really doesn’t need this to be happening. By the description, I gather that my great aunt is not at all well. As my father commented, “Here we go again.” My prayers are with you, Aunt Shirley.