December 2011 Archives

In Patagonia

The last two and a half weeks (I had to count it twice before I believed it hadn't been longer) have been a blur of hiking, long bus rides and rapidly changing weather, scenery and plans. Since the Navimag ferry dropped me off at 3am in remote Central Chilean Patagonia-the kind of place where even the main highway is unpaved and despite being in the southern hemisphere I still got a bit of pre-Christmas snow, I`ve been working my way south, bouncing in and out of Argentina (where the highway is still unpaved, but at least not mountainous).

It`s not always easy going-I`ve been snowed on, marooned in dead-end truck stop backwaters and just found out Torres del Paine--the world-famous national park that planted the idea of travelling in Chile in my heart over 10 years ago--is closed for the rest of January due to wildfire. And to be honest, that`s half the fun-although sometimes it takes a couple hours worth of perspective to remember that.

That's a [semi] wrap!

Yesterday, I took a nap on a hammock.  It was 82 degrees outside.  One week before, it was 14 out, and I was bundled in my bed.  Pretty big change, if I do say so myself.  My third semester at Olin has come to a close, and now's the time to reflect, relax, and recuperate for the start of another [most likely] amazing semester! 

Finals period is an interesting time at Olin.  They take place the week following exams, with the first two days being a 'reading period' before the three days of finals.  The average Oliner has a somewhat even split between final exams and final projects.  As I think I've mentioned before, my semester had zero projects.  I had two big papers and two in-class final exams.  Because of this, my finals period wasn't too work heavy, but the week preceding it was not a bundle of joy.  Regardless, I made it!    

Students and faculty partake in a variety of activities to help reduce the stress levels seen across the campus. 

Expo schedule: Packed.

This past Monday was Expo day. For me, a lowly freshman, this was significant in a few ways: one, it was, of course, going to be my first Expo, and I didn't really know what to expect; and two, it was going to be the first time I would leave Olin for more than a week. Because my dad would be coming up for Expo, I was going to be leaving that day. I wasn't going to have time afterward to hang out with my friends. Thus, I vowed to get relatively little sleep so that I could make the best of the time I had left.

So the night before, what started as a midnight birthday dance party in the West Hall antilounge slowly morphed into an enormous blues dance party. Many of us were already regular dancers; others had never danced a day in their lives.

Before we knew it, it was 3:00 in the morning, and the music was still playing. I wandered off and wound up watching a movie with the few hours I had left until morning. Finally, at quarter after 5, it was bedtime.

Three hours later, I had to wake up. My Expo schedule was going to be jam-packed: at 8:30, before Expo even started, I would have rehearsal and sound check for ORO, the Olin Rock Orchestra. This would go right up until ORO's performance at 10. After ORO, I would have to run over to the academic center to rehearse for the WiReD Event (basically a performance of the compositions that my music class had created over the last month). The WiReD rehearsal would run right up until noon, when the actual performance was. Right when the performance ended, at 1, I would have to run to a different corner of the academic center in order to present my Modeling and Simulation project. Finally, after my project presentation, I would have to run to Milas Hall for the Olin Conductorless Orchestra's rehearsal and subsequent performance. When OCO was through performing, Expo would be over.

In other words, I was busy for the next six-and-a-half hours.

On three hours' sleep.

Great planning, Greg.

Fortunately, the first hour turned out to be the hardest. Once I found a few minutes to run to the dining hall and shove some cereal in my mouth, I was awake enough for the rest of the day. I even managed to talk my WiReD professor into letting me run over to the dining hall for ten minutes to grab some lunch. Despite my poor sleeping habits, Expo ran very smoothly overall. Our performances went phenomenally (for the most part), and people seemed generally interested in my ModSim presentation - or if not, they were pretty good at faking it. At 3:00, though, I was ready to just sit down.

My dad advised me that we would either have to leave before 4:30 or after 6:30 to avoid traffic. Because I hadn't yet packed my bags, I told him it would have to be after 6:30. (Besides that, I wanted extra time to say my goodbyes.) I spent the next fair while packing, until it was finally dinnertime, and then time to go.

Dinner took a fair while, due to a combination of the facts that it always does when I'm not in a rush, and that I was sort of trying to delay my departure. Eventually, though, my time came. I had to file out. When I stood up to leave, the twenty-odd people at my table all crowded around me, and I spent the next several minutes hugging each and every one of them goodbye.

After an absurdly long time, I was gone. I treated myself to a nap in the car. After all, it was an exhausting day.

Well That Didn't Take Long

Wow. It's December 15. Perhaps more astounding than the fact I leave in 5 days is that I've been here for 106 days. That's a lot. Doesn't seem like it though...

A real shower!

Hi folks,
I finished my classes a few weeks ago (Chile runs on an "inverted" academic year from ours, where classes start in late July after a short "winter" break and thus end earlier for a long "summer" break) and started traveling into northern Chile, most of which is a very large desert scattered with mines (the mineral kind, not the explosive ones). Which I just got back from and am now luxuriating in a feeling of ridiculous cleanliness resultant from having both a shower and machine-washed clean clothes (at the same time! What excess!)

It was two weeks of a fairly fast pace-not quite "vacation" in the traditional sense but definitely something I'd do fact, now I keep thinking I need to come back for longer. I didn't even get out of Chile!

Olin picking up the UK's

A few weeks ago, I went on a weekend road trip with some friends to southern England and northern Wales.

While in Bath, I got a welcome reminder of Olin -- the BigBelly Solar trash compactor! This bit of technology -- the product of a collaboration between Olin and Babson alumni -- is ubiquitous in the Boston area. But its footprint is much larger than that, extending across oceans. I recommend watching this video to learn about the compactor.

Now, I knew that BigBelly had a presence in the UK, but I couldn't help but gasp and squeal (just a little bit) when we came upon one along an insignificant street in BATH. It just seemed odd.

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Recent Comments

  • Mel (Olin '07): I so wish I could be there to see the read more
  • Kevin Tostado: What time are the performances? As an alum in the read more
  • Brittany L. Strachota: Looks like a huge success! Keep it up. :) read more
  • Kimly Do: also also, an electric water kettle is not really necessary, read more
  • Brittany L. Strachota: We shall see. Though, 150 is an awful lot of read more
  • Chris Fitzhugh: That being said, I have a desktop and immensely value read more
  • Brittany L. Strachota: I want cookies! Also, don't forget, kids, you WILL be read more
  • Noam Rubin: Hey 2015, I'd also recommend bringing a couple cups, bowls, read more
  • Jordyn Burger: Yep! Congrats, Brendan's gonna give you cookies! [I'll let him read more
  • CSF: Is the title from The Jeffersons? read more