Friday, March 14, 2008


Good afternoon everyone. In fact: Best afternoon everyone.

The week from hell is behind me… for now. There will be more to come I’m sure of that, but now it is time to rest. This last week has been terrible. For those of you who have not heard my grumblings, I have had a minimum of 12 hour days. That is 12 hours minimum of constant work. That means 0 free time. That is not exactly true, because there has been an hour or two here and there where I just flat needed a break. But more or less it has been constant work from wake to sleep, minimum 12 hours a day (four of them were 16 hour days of work from wake to sleep, 0 free time). The fact that I have only had a half hour or so of free time here and there in 12 to 16 hours of solid work, study and class time is an important fact for me to get across (reason to come). “What have I been doing that could keep me busy for that many hours in that many consecutive days?” you might ask.

Well, there was the two midterms in Theoretical Electromagnetism. Those were the combination of one midterm that was split into two parts because “we have covered too much material for just one test”. To my delight and disappointment, they were open note, open book, or simply open whatever. That means that the tests were hard enough that the use of other materials is useless. Boy oh boy, did that point get driven across. The good news is that he is only going to count the better of the two for our grade.

There were the two assignments that I had to do. Both massive. One was for Quantum Mechanics and Relativity, and the other was for Thermodynamics. These assignments are not just simply of the ‘question, equation and find the right answer on the calculator’ type, but are written to take you hours to complete. The lecture notes and the text book are rendered useless at times.

There was also the midterm in Thermodynamics. That was taken this morning. And my fear on that one is that it went horribly bad. Even after studying for hours. The reason is simple (and all too common): 2/3 of the points on the test was from a small portion of the notes, and only talked about briefly in class (all of 10 minutes or so). I spent what little time I had to study on the ‘wrong things’. These ‘wrong things’ were the main topic of all the lectures. “How can a professor justify this kind of test?” you are probably wondering. The answer to that one is: “you need to be familiar with all of the material. Not just most of it” they say. Because it is obvious we have that class and that class only, with no work (because college is free, and no one needs health insurance) and no other type of life to speak of, because family and friends are for suckers. And on that note: sleep is for suckers too (all to be said in heavy sarcastic tone).

Oh, and I had to work… 40+ hours.

I ramble on about this not because I am looking to manipulate pity from my family and friends, or to brag and make you feel bad, but simply because I am proud of myself for accomplishing what of that stuff I did. I could not have made it through this week without everyone’s support. After it was all said and done, I did the best I could. Just like From Russia with Love said that I would. There is no use in crying over spilt milk, and I do not know for sure if what I have done was insufficient or in vain, or just enough to get me through. The latter is what I am hoping for.

So now it is just a couple of slow days at work until I leave for Moab on Monday. I am going to spend a couple of days there to unwind… and take pictures… which is what I want to be doing… and now can do, finally.

That is the feeling that I am trying to push across to all of you, my dear friends and family, because that is the one I have now. Without all of you helping me, if not just listening to me gripe and whine, I would not have been able to accomplish what I did of the tasks presented. I want to now share the feeling of relief, victory and accomplishment, however well they are or are not deserved. There are times when I feel regret and a bit guilty, thinking that if I had just pushed myself a little harder I could have done more. But those are useless emotions at this stage, because I know what is needed and what is not next time, because believe me; there will be next times. Next times that I will be ready for, and be able to do much, much more.

The feeling is incredible. Like the first breath of fresh air after being underwater. Reminding me of the time I was at a 311 concert with my friend Double A. The place was packed so tight that one could hardly move, and so much stuffy and smoky air one could hardly breathe. The stuffy air was so hot that sweat did nothing. My shirt was drenched, feeling like I was wearing a parka in July. The feeling was heavy, that all you wanted to do was break out and un-burry myself from the oven that was my own clothes and body. I could feel the heat coming off me like a steam, where sweat rolls down you’re face and you can feel the throbbing under your skin, with every beat of your heart pushing the heat up to the top of your face making your head ache. Then the thirst hits you bad, like you would sell a kidney for one drink of water, or anything cool, any relief from the Closter-phobic inferno when no end was in near sight.

Then someone opened the doors. The cool night air rushed in, blowing hard over me in a great wave. It moved over my skin, wiping away the thoughts and feelings of dispair, angst and fatigue from before. Lifting me free from the sticky humid trenches to some kind of heaven, where the breeze wrapped itself around me, and seemed to shift my soul to new heights and ecstasies, making the concert just that much better, if not completely worth it.

Oh, and the answer to the question I asked of myself in the “The Pressure Is On” post. For those of you who do not want to read down, the question was about personal limits, so here it is again:

“You never know what your limits are until you test what you think they are. And once you have done that, you can keep pushing. And after that, what do you become?”

And the answer that I have found:


Have a good night and sleep well everyone. I know I will.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Small Break In The Clouds…

Good afternoon everyone,

Well, the worst of the school/work week from hell is behind me, but I am not out of the woods yet. Only one more midterm to go. Wish me luck, because the degree of burnout is staggering. This is where the checklist stands right before spring break:

Quantum mechanics and Relativity- The week’s work in this class mostly just consisted of an assignment. A massive assignment. A massive assignment that I turned in this morning, after spending the better part of last night putting the finishing touches on it. There is some stuff on there that I know I did not do well on, but with all the other tasks at hand I think it was pretty good.

Theoretical Electromagnetism- The midterms in this one were terrible. Thoughts of the results are the elements of the worst nightmares of the worst people. Thinking about how I fared on these tests would make a lesser man turn to a life of crime. The tests themselves were a crime against humanity of the highest order. I’m working on the email to the UN.

Thermodynamics- Still not out of the woods… yet…

As a matter of fact, that’s how I feel about everything lately. These proverbial woods are far denser than previously expected. More on this tomorrow… maybe... if my brain is still able to function enough to type.

Plus the answer to the limits question I posed earlier (see “The Pressure is On” post below)…

Stay tuned.