Cornell In The Fall

So what have I been up to since my trip to Cleveland? That’s a good question. I don’t have much of an answer, I’m afraid. And, sorry, but I still haven’t taken a picture of my office to put up yet. Patience.

I did have the pleasure of getting a visit from Greg this weekend. In fact, being a better blogger than I, his version of the weekend went up Sunday. Here I am, reporting it on Tuesday. But I have pictures, so ha ha!

My Friday started out on a not-so-lovely note, what with receiving a take-home exam in a class I’m not doing great in. It started getting substantially better, however, when I started said exam that afternoon and got about half of it completed without significant trouble. Since the exam is due this Friday, and I’d nearly finished the other homework assignment due this week, that meant I wouldn’t feel stressed about spending my weekend with friends.

I was in the middle of cooking a paltry, last-minute-running-out-of-food-items meal of pasta with chicken, mushrooms, pesto when Greg knocked on my door. I’d had Aladdin on for entertainment while cooking, but that quickly took a back seat to the hours of talking and catching up. And, because British humor makes everything better, we topped the evening off with a couple of episodes of “A Bit of Fry and Laurie”. (Dear God, Stephen Fry has the most amazing grasp of the English language–but that may be a topic for another day.) Then off to bed.

McGraw Tower

Saturday morning, we managed to rouse ourselves and get to campus in time for the noon chimes concert in McGraw Tower. It’s not really fair to say that the chimes are one of things Cornell is famous for, but it is fair to claim that they’re something that anyone who went to Cornell definitely remembers. In addition to chiming the hour, there are daily concerts on the tower’s twenty-one bells, making them some of the most frequently played chimes in the world. Since it was Family Weekend for the Class of 2010, lines to climb the 161 stairs to the top of the tower were fairly long, but we made it in. We dashed around the top of the tower, snapping photos of the surrounding views, the bells ringing overhead as a student below us played “Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera. That was followed by a song I didn’t recognize. We then headed down a flight to the room where the student chimesmaster was playing (and the volume was a little less ear-ringing) just in time to catch Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” and “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid. It was really quite impressive to watch the chimesmaster playing because it involved standing on one foot while ringing a bell with each hand and one foot. Quite the dance. The concert concluded with “Far Above Cayuga’s Waters,” the Cornell alma mater, and then we got to fight people down the stairs.

Ezra Cornell

We then wandered about campus a bit, taking in the sights and the history as narrated by me and some of the legends and such I’ve read. The autumn leaves made a wonderful backdrop for the statues of Ezra Cornell (above) and Andrew Dickson White, the university’s first president. Even on a day that was relatively gray, some of the colors were still spectacular. We swung north to get a view of Falls Creek Gorge, which was much changed from when I saw it with Mark a few weeks ago. The rain made a huge difference. (As an aside, when I took a look at Six Mile Creek on Friday, it looked more like Six Miles Of Rushing Muddy Flood Waters River.) Instead of taking Greg out toward the Plantations and the eastern reaches of campus, we circled back through the science, labor, and hotel buildings–with special attention toward the Space Sciences building, which is home to the Mars Exploration Rover project. Our final stop, prior to the obligatory Engineering Quad tour, was at Uris, where we took a peak at part of the brain collection there. In particular, I had to point out the brain of Edward Rulloff, a nineteenth-century genius and murderer who plagued this area and who now has a Collegetown restaurant named for him. Since I pass Rulloff’s every day and salivate over their list of specials, we decided to try lunch there, a decision I do not regret in the least. Excellent sweet potato fries.

We picked up a bottle of chianti on the way back to the apartment, and, after a brief pit stop, continued our extensive walk by heading down to the Commons to visit a couple of used book stores. I really need to start carrying some paper and a pencil with me into these places so that I can write down books and authors I want to check for at the library. It’s ridiculous how many books of interest I find. I also got a kick out of discovering a copy of a German geometry textbook from 1929 that was written in Altschrift so that I could barely make out the letters.

Still haven’t made it to the new independent music store in town. Still need to.

When we got home, we jumped straight into lasagna making and Joe, Joanna, Greg, and I had a lovely dinner of that together. Since we lost track of the time, we had a brisk walk back up the hill in order to make it to campus in time to see A Scanner Darkly, which is based on a Philip K. Dick story (like Minority Report was). The rotoscoping they did on the live-action in the film made things a bit bizarre and tough to follow, but we decided that was probably the purpose, what with drugs and addiction being the primary topics of the story. As always, there was a twist, which I’m pleased to say I guessed before the big revelation at the end. Ah ha, my father would be so proud.

Back to the apartment in time for some SNL, which was not, I’m sure, as fantastically and unspeakably wonderful as I expect this weekend’s episode to be. I’m every so slightly looking forward to Hugh Laurie hosting.

Sunday was back to gray and rainy, which meant that Greg slept past nine, but I, thinking he might wake up like on Saturday, got up earlier. One of these days I’m going to write an ode to the sleep I’ve missed. Or something like that. I did eventually wake Greg up by starting to make blueberry muffins, but I think he forgave me. Joe joined us for breakfast, and, although Greg had to head off in the early afternoon, Joe ended up staying the entire day. I’m nice and distracting like that.

Jon got home and joined us for dinner, dessert (apple crisp!), and The Incredibles. All in all, a lovely weekend.

3 Responses to “Cornell In The Fall”


  • I did eventually wake Greg up by starting to make blueberry muffins, but I think he forgave me.

    Absolutely! Sorry if I annoyed you by staying insensible on your couch for so long.

    I’m going to have to try to make it back to my apartment in time for SNL this week. Your excitement is catching…

    And I see what you mean about deciphering the Altschrift. Some of the words are quite readable, but I have no clue about the seventh word in the last line in the first column of your image! “Ubsdyu(ss)” — where (ss) is that beta thing I can’t type — is the closest I can come, but that doesn’t seem too phonetically possible. Otherwise, I’m actually a bit surprised at the number of words I can pick out.

  • Oh wait — it’s “Ubschu(ss),” isn’t it. Kerning, anyone?

  • No, you didn’t annoy me. I annoyed myself ;-)

    That ‘beta-thing’ is written as a beta, actually. I don’t know what the proper spelling for it is in German, but we say ‘ess-zett’. And the word you’re looking at is, in fact, “Abschuß” or “Abschuss,” rather than “Ubschuss”. See what I mean about it being difficult to decipher? Even the letters you think you know aren’t what you think they are!

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