Continue the trend

I’m surprised at how quickly my body is responding to exercise. This morning, I managed to get through 50 laps of the pool. I was only aiming for 32, but by the time I got there, I figured I had more left in me. Only laps 41-48 were breaststroke, too. I always enjoyed breaststroke more than the other strokes, but I do find it a much more relaxing stroke, with much less effort needed. I was struggling to do four consecutive laps of freestyle coming up to lap 40, but I could quite happily swim eight laps of breaststroke without pausing for breath. 50 laps in about 40 minutes is reasonable, I guess. I’d like to get up to swimming a mile every morning, which I guess would be 70 laps. I think the pool is 75 feet, which is about 22 metres. We’ll see if I’m there by the end of the week :-)

In other news, I saw a blue jay yesterday. So pretty! Tonight, I’m planning on going firefly hunting with Ekaterin. Should be fun.

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The insanity continues!

Perhaps it’s just because it was the first thing I did in the morning. Perhaps it’s because I had a little more time than half an hour. Perhaps it’s because I’m getting fitter? Nah, couldn’t be. Regardless, rode a kilometre, 30 laps in the pool, and rode back a kilometre this morning. I’m interested to see if I crash this evening. We’ll see how long I keep this up :P

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Do something unusual

Well, unusual for me, at least. This afternoon, I decided to start my summer workout plan by heading to one of Cornell’s pools and doing some laps. Coming from Australia, I used to be a decent swimmer. Of late though, I’ve noticed that my lung capacity is much reduced, and my ability to hold my breath underwater correspondingly diminished. It’s been a long time since I did laps in a pool, and I figure it’s a good way to get some exercise.

The pool that I went to was only 25 metres long, in six lanes. I discovered that two laps (50 m) was sufficient to get me quite winded, rather shamefully. As noted above, my breathing is way off what it should be for swimming, and my stamina, well, it’s kind of non-existent. Regardless, I swam my way to 500 metres (20 laps) before the session was over (a bit under half an hour). When I was in shape, half an hour would be enough for about 1500 metres, so I have a fair bit of work to do. I came home and was ravenous, eating my way through almost two dinner’s worth of food. I’m planning on swimming in the mornings on weekdays, as that’s when the pool is open. Perhaps by the end of summer, I’ll be back up to my 1500 metres again. So long as I just do two extra laps every time I go, I should be there in a month, right?

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Enjoy a party

Tomorrow is my birthday. Tonight was my birthday party. It was a private and intimate affair, with only Ekaterin and Aris coming over. We enjoyed wonderful food and excellent conversation. Given that it was my party, I decided to go for an Australian theme. I’ve been cooking the past few days, and Ekaterin had brought back some Australian goodies from her recent trip, and so we enjoyed bubble and squeak on buns, complete with pineapple (I forgot to get beetroot), Pizza Shapes (oh how I’ve missed thee!), Vegemite, and Weetbix for our main course. Of course, the only thing there that I cooked was the bubble and squeak. For dessert, we had Timtams, Jellybabies, Minties, and the bulk of my cooking – Lamingtons, Pavlova, and Anzac Cookies (we used the pavlova for my birthday cake). We washed it all down with Lemon, Lime and Bitters, as well as a lovely Jacob’s Creek red wine (also Australian, if you hadn’t guessed). I also had Milo available, but we were all too stuffed to enjoy that too. Towards the end of the evening, I taught my American friends how to dance the Nutbush. It was a lovely evening, and I am very grateful for the wonderful close friends I have here.

Here is a lovely photo of myself and Ekaterin from the eve. Yes, I’ve done a dodgy redeye reduction on the photo, but it needed it.

If anybody wants any lamingtons, I’ve got tonnes left over here…

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Swelter in the heat

Today was a little extreme, temperature wise. The highest temperature I saw recorded was 98 F, or about 37 Celsius. It was rather humid too, making it an unpleasantly hot day. Not unbearably, mind, juts unpleasantly. It’s 10 pm now, and the thermometer in the apartment is reading 30 C… Icky.

It’s been a fair while since I’ve posted here. For some reason, I just haven’t felt like posting for a while, I guess. I’ll keep this update brief, too.

The most important thing that happened of late is that I went to a conference called the Eastern Gravity Meeting at Princeton. The conference was a lot of fun, and I was awarded the “Best Student Talk” prize, which was very nice. I stayed in Princeton for a couple of extra days to spend time with Ifni, and we had a wonderful time together.

One of the talks in particular at the meeting inspired inspired me to pursue an analytic calculation pertaining to numerical relativity, so I’ve spent the past few days learning how that works. I probably won’t spend more than a week or two on it though. It is rather tangential to my work.

Otherwise, life moves on. I’m enjoying my tapdancing lessons, and otherwise having an easy summer for the moment.

I received a rather odd message on Facebook yesterday. Somebody I never heard of asked if I had attended Oxley College in Bowral some number of years ago. I confirmed that I had been there for almost a year, back in 1996. Today I received another message saying that the class of 2001, of which I was a member for that time, is having a ten year reunion in Bowral later this year, and I would be welcome to join. That year was probably the most miserable year of school I’d ever had, and I left after three terms or so. I can’t imagine wanting to go to this reunion to greet the people who made my life hell fifteen years ago.

Anyway, enough of that. Aris turns 21 tomorrow, and I still need to pull her present together. I’ll try to post a little more frequently… I’m sure I said that the past four or five times I posted too, didn’t I? Ah well.

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Back to Work

Not much to report for today. I went to school and did some work. Most of the day, I was in one of the libraries. Given the sudden dearth of undergraduates, the place was almost empty, and I was able to nab one of the nicest seats in the house – a lovely couch in a beautiful room, right in front of a window overlooking the Slope and the lake. It was lovely, until the library also noticed the dearth of undergraduates and decided to close at 5 pm, instead of their usual 24 hour acccess :-)

Yesterday was a lovely social day. It started out with yoga in the morning followed by lunch with the crew, then bubble tea with Aris before dropping her off at the airport, and rounded out with dinner with Ekaterin, who is headed off to Australia for a holiday. Given that a number of my physics friends are also away at the moment, this is going to be a fairly boring and hopefully productive week ;-)

Otherwise, the prophecised “Rapture” didn’t occur on Saturday night, much to the relief of physicists, who would have had a hard time explaining it. Here is my favourite take on the turn of events.

Otherwise, for the rest of this evening, I’ll be filing away papers that have accumulated over the past few months, and generally getting work done.

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Enjoy the sun!

The past three days, I have done no work. It has been wonderful :-) Don’t worry, I fully plan to get stuck back into things come Monday. I just felt like I needed a mini holiday first.

Yesterday, on a whim, I wanted to buy a frisbee. And so I did. I am now the proud owner of a frisbee. Today has been pretty good. Actually, scrub that. Today has been really quite good. It started out with some piano practise. Mostly on the Rachmaninov Vocalise, although I pulled out some old pieces just to give them a bash, too. Afterwards, my housemate and I declared the weather to be “sublime”, and so we took my frisbee down to the park by the lake and threw it around for a while. We followed this by a quick trip to the shops to get some groceries (mmm babaganoush!).

After shopping, I went and helped Ekaterin move house for a few hours. I did so much lifting and carrying! She was moving from the third floor of one house to the third floor of another, about two kilometres away. Regardless, it was good to be active and exercising and helpful all at the same time. At her new house, a skunk came out to say hi to us. It was quite happy to just munch on something only a couple of metres away, not worried at all by our presence. I’ve seen skunks here before, but only ever fleetingly, and never so close. I was excited ;-)

After moving, I went home, showered, had a quick dinner, and then headed out to a dance recital that Seri had invited me to. The recital itself was enjoyable, and then there was a party afterwards, because the teacher is leaving town. I enjoyed the party, and got to dance with some friends I see rarely, which was nice. However, I was once again hot and sweaty, for the third time today. I can’t remember ever taking three showers in the one day before, but it appears that I’m going to do so today! Hmm, if I take the third shower after midnight, does that count as the same day still? ;-)

Otherwise, I’m now back home. Tomorrow I’ve got yoga in the morning, I’m dropping off Aris at the airport in the afternoon, and Ekaterin is coming over for dinner in the evening. A good weekend!

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Spread your good mood

I’m done! Done done! With my semesterly duties, at any rate. Now, I can get stuck back into research without distractions! Yay!

The last thing I needed to do was to write the solutions for and grade the final homework for the general relativity course. It just turned out that the final homework was a right royal pain, and most certainly obeyed the 80-20 rule. My final solution set came out to 20 pages of typed up notes, and I’m very glad that I finished that. Tonight, I went to the library and told myself that I wasn’t leaving until I was done grading those papers; I finished at 1:15. Ekaterin was in the library grading too, except that she expects to be there until well past daylight.

The weather this past week has been rainy. Very rainy. Every day. However, just this evening, it was absolutely beautiful outside as I walked home at 2 am. A fine mist lingered across the campus, and although it was overcast, it wasn’t raining, and that just made for a lovely temperature and surreal feeling as I walked home. Somebody has strung up christmas lights along a bridge across one of the gorges; they’re being powered by batteries, and they look lovely. Ah, such a good mood just now :-)

I think I’ll take off the next couple of days (Thursday and Friday), and just do administrivia, and otherwise enjoy life for a bit, before settling down to get work done in earnest come Monday. I’ve got a number of friends who are leaving over the next few days too, so I’d like to spend time with them. It’s kind of strange to think of the current graduating undergrad class. I’ve taught a number of them, but I only developed a relationship with a small handful of them. They started at Cornell the same time I did, bright, young and starry eyed, and now they’re finished, moving on to bigger things. Quite touching, really.

Here is a video tribute by some of the graduating students (I don’t know these students in particular, but the video is well worth watching – in fact, I insist that you go and observe it now!).

And, finally, a physics question. Actually, more of a phsyics joke. Enjoy.

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Get Better

Today is the first day that I’ve really felt a lot better. Although the weather outside was beautiful, I spent most of it inside, writing the solutions to the general relativity exam that is currently ongoing. I made a mistake somewhere in the afternoon and accidentally dropped a term, which caused me a couple of extra hours’ work, alas. No bridge tonight – we’re done with the league for the moment. However, we have made it into the finals, and so I look forward to reporting on how that goes. For the Thursday night bracket, there were 7 teams, and we came in a very clear second, by a fair margin on both sides. First place there went to University of Chicago. In the Friday night bracket, there were three teams basially tied for first: Unversity of Michigan, Stanford University, and University of North Carolina. They all scored about as well as we did. I look forward to the finals :-)

I really don’t know that I have all that much else to say, other than “Platypus!”

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Still sickly :(

I was hoping my throat would get better over the past couple of days. And, indeed, it has – at the expense of my chest. What was just a throat irritation is now a good chesty cough, unfortunately. Still have a feeling of general malaise, but I guess I’m holding up for the moment.

A few things to report over the past couple of days. Firstly, the bridge tournament continued on Thursday night, where Cornell once again crushed the opposition. Not quite as much crushing as I might like, especially since 2/3 of the bad boards were my fault (although I feel justified in blaming partner for one of them ;-) ). It’s uncertain as to whether we’ll make the finals at this stage; we’re certainly in the top six teams. I’d put us in fourth on my optimistic reading of the numbers, but you could also read us as being in sixth place too. The ambiguity comes from some noshows on various weeks, with one of the weaker teams not playing the strongest team, and thus having an artificially inflated average score. We’ll see how it pans out soon, I guess.

Yesterday was the annual Slope Day at Cornell. It’s the last day of “classes”, where nobody goes to class, and instead a big concert is put on the “slope” (there is such a location on campus :-) ). Despite predictions of rain, the weather turned out beautifully yesterday, and there was a big crowd. I wasn’t so much a fan of the music (rap), but the atmosphere was vibrant, and I ran into a variety of friends. Wasn’t feeling particularly great though, and so came home to rest, and ended up playing the piano for about two hours.

Last night, I was invited to go bowling with the crowd I’ve been bowling with of late, about once a month. I ended up bowling five games, with all the scores above 100, including a personal best of 133. I was proud :) For the 133, I had 3 spares, two strikes, and six nines. Apparently you do get better at bowling with practise. Funny that, eh?

This weekend I’ll be taking things quietly. On my list of things to do are cleaning, a small amount of work, shopping, and resting. I felt rather loved this morning, as I had three friends message me, which is basically unheard of. Thanks, guys :)

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