Fall Term

After six months, I've finally tested for pre-third kyu. Sophie was amazing, practicing techniques endlessly, putting up with hundreds of bad throws, and smiling through it all. Thanks to good teachers and hard work, the test went beautifully. I'm really happy about the whole thing: techniques feel more natural, timing comes easier, and now that it's over, I can take more time to work with beginners! There are a couple of new students who are putting in a lot of hard work, and I'm really excited about how fast they're learning. I hope some stay!

Being treasurer has been an adventure this term. I finally got the budget figured out... kind of... and then the test came! Proofreading all the paperwork then accounting for various fees and forms took several hours last night, but I think it's finally in order. Now that I've fumbled my way through this test, I think the next ones are going to go a lot better.

The physics ultimate team, Physbee, is still undefeated! The last few games have been spectacular: playing an hour before dusk, the light rolls over the clouds and sweeps over the whole campus. I wish I had real shoes, though: much as I love my hiking boots, they are not the best for sprinting. ;-) Maybe I'll try and get some this weekend.

Classes are, as expected, pretty hardcore. I'm taking Psychopathology, Math Structures (really, proofs), and Atomic and Nuclear Physics. I'd say A&N is hard, only after Bill's classy/compy courses, every other class feels somehow like a relief. Still, Olin is starting to feel like home again: last Monday, I was in the lab until 4:30 AM. Error analysis is, well, the hardest part of everything. The cool thing is that our labs are pretty close to "real science": we've replicated the Millikan oil drop and Rutherford alpha scattering experiments, and actually got decent results from them! I think it's totally awesome that you can sit down, play with an oil spritzer and a voltage source, and work out the charge of an electron. :-)

Some interesting software projects have been on the back burner during all of this: a class-oriented Ruby interface for working with various LDAP directory implementations, and a backup system I'm calling Archivist. More on those this winter, when I have time to really talk about them.

UPS still has my computer, but I think the insurance stuff is finally going through. Now I just have to fix the damage they caused. I am never shipping that box again.

For midterm break, I'm headed out to Madison again: going to get a lot of psych reading done, and hopefully have a good time dancing! Before that, though, I've gotta get structures HW out of the way, and get started on this electron diffraction analysis. Over and out!

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