The Saga Continues
The Saga Begins
The sun is warm, the grass is green, the birds chirp, the gene pool spits out its cute little fountains of water.Summer is most definitely upon us. As I walked today back from Broad Institute to the houses, I was absolutely shocked at how beautiful the buildings looked! Check this out! Beckman Institute was always one of my favorite buildings on campus. And how it looked today only proved my point! Often, there are graduate students playing Ultimate Frisbee out on this lawn, as well as local Pasadena folks walking their dogs, pushing strollers, etc. Definitely one of the most picturesque places I’ve ever been to.
One of the first things that drew me to Caltech was the unbelievable concentration of people that are out of their minds. No, it’s not a mental asylum, and no, it’s not hyperbole. What I mean is that the only bound that Caltech undergrads, grads, postdocs, faculty, and associates are have is that which they impose upon themselves. In effect, we are only stopped by the limits of our own creativity. This is what inspires true greatness.
All freshmen are required to live on campus, and thus, are required to be on the Caltech meal plan. This gives us access to all-you-can-eat open kitchen food Monday to Friday from 7:00am – 11:00am for breakfast, 3:00pm – 5:00pm for mid-day snacktime, and 5:00 – 7:00pm for dinner. On top of all that, we have $450 every term to buy lunch at Chandler or Broad Café on Weekdays, go to CHouse Sunday through Thursday nights, or buy snacks/meals/convenience store items seven days per week from the C-Store.
The past week was the middle school Science Fair at The Gooden School in Sierra Madre. A good friend of mine, senior physics student Valère Lambert (see his awesome blogs here!) asked me if I’d be willing to help out the next Tuesday. I didn’t have class that morning, so I said, sure! We got up real early (7 am, can you believe it?!?!) and headed out. The tri-fold boards of all three grades were lined up on tables in the gymnasium. Val with his coffee and I with my tea, we walked around as we waited for the first period to begin. Some experiments looked very impressive for middle schoolers! First up was sixth grade. Val and I got our clipboards with grading sheets and pens. The procedure was as follows. Each student would give his or her presentation in front of the entire class, their teacher, and us (the judges). All of the sixth grade projects were in the earth sciences, seventh grade projects were in the biological or chemical sciences, and eighth grade projects were in the physical sciences. Several of the students’ projects were very impressive considering their age!
Jan 1 - Morning (in retrospect)** The Rose Parade begins at 8am but if you want a really really good seat, you’ve got to camp out your spot. Walking down Colorado St. the night before, you can see residents putting down tarps and putting up tents to claim their territory. We didn’t go to such drastic measures but were still lucky enough to get standing room on the curb. One of the silliest things about the parade were the organizers you could see walking around, keeping people back. They were wearing reallybrilliant white suitswith red ties and bright red socks and looked altogether ridiculous. Combined with thebrilliant whitemopeds that a few of them were driving around just brought it all together. The floats were beautiful and grand, just what you would expect from such a huge national event. It was hard for us to take nice pictures, but here’s a sample of my favorites courtesy of the official Tournament of Roses Facebook page.
Throwback Thursday! Tom Mannion is someone who needs no introduction. But since you, dear readers, probably haven’t met the man behind the magic, I’ll give you a brief one. Tom Mannion works for Caltech and lives a short block away from the undergraduate houses - practically across the street from the Admissions building. Tom loves to throw free (or veeeery highly subsidized) events for students. Some call him a professional entertainer, the coolest of cool, a space cowboy, the gangster of love, “Maurice”, but everyone can agree that Tom is THE MAN. (Check out “The Joker” by the Steve Miller Band if you missed those last few references.) Over winter break, Tom is hosting several events to entertain students that are staying on campus and to make sure that we are in fact still eating. (Practically every Mannion event begins or ends with stuffing your face). Tonight was a trip into different parts of nearby Los Angeles to view some particularly spectacular Christmas decorations.
Ahoy ye landlubbers! Thar be merrymaking to be had hereabouts! All ye blokes an beauties, weigh anchor, hoist the sails, land ho! Feast yer eyes, point yer pegleg, or ye’ll be a-walkin the plank! Tis the time o’ Lloyd Interhouse! Lloyd Interhouse was exactly one week ago, and man, was it a party. The theme was Pirates of the Caribbean. While Jenny wrote a fantastic post about her experience that night, I thought I’d give you, dear readers, a behind-the-scenes look at the finest event of the year.
Biggie Smalls once said, “Birthdays was the worst days, now we sip champagne when we thirst-ay.” In Lloyd House, however, Birthdays are always the best days, and we eat cake instead of champagne, at least once per week to celebrate.
Lloyd Interhouse didn’t just require construction skills (see my past post, “Behind the Scenes of Lloyd Interhouse”), there was also quite a bit of art and décor that went into it. A project I ended up spearheading was making flyers to be posted all over the houses and the olive walk. Back in middle school, we had a project to study the American Revolution where we all had to decorate our own American Constitutions. Imagine, cute little Alison, scribbling pencil crayons all over an 8.5x11. Adorable, I know. I always remembered my friend’s project though. She took a scroll of paper and turned it into an aged, frayed, dog-eared piece of super-authentic-looking parchment. It was beautiful!With this in mind, I set out to make my own torn-parchment flyers for Lloyd Interhouse! What better way to keep up the pirate theme? In this post, dear readers, I will be giving instructions, along with a load of pictures, as to how you can make your own frayed pirate Constitution flyers! (Or other aged documents). Enjoy!
Whew, this weekend was busy! Work-wise as well as event-wise. Seeing the other side of Prefrosh Weekend was certainly interesting. When we heard that there were too many lady prefroshlings attending to be fit into all the girls’ rooms on campus, my roommate and I said to each other, “Eh, why not?” and volunteered to take on not one, not two, but THREE prefrosh!!! I guess they aren’t kidding when they throw this meme around: Dearest prefrosh readers, I hope you had a wonderful time and definitely come and visit again! Wherever you’ve decided to go next year, I’m proud of you :) .
Dec 17 (published in retrospect) It was a beautiful blue sky – cotton ball cloud kind of day, so I decided to bike across Pasadena to visit the Wrigley Museum and Tournament of Roses HQ. It was a nice ride through a part of the city I’d never seen! The Wrigley mansion – yes, that’s the billionaire guy who started Wrigley’s bubblegum – definitely stuck out on the street. Imagine a pristine white two story building sitting on a wide, manicured grassy lawn surrounded by tall palm trees that I’m sure had to inspire Dr. Seuss’s Truffula trees and a multi-colored rose garden spanning the entire side of the house. Eh, why imagine? Here are some pictures!
For those who haven’t been introduced to the world of disc golf, allow me to instruct you. It requires speed, stamina, agility, endurance, bench pressing, lifting weights!