Friday, June 24, 2005

Background Part 1 : Ithaca

Perhaps some background. I am a graduate student at Cornell University, in the Department of Physics. My present research involves examining ancient inscriptions using x-ray techniques available at the Cornell High-Energy Synchrotron Source to uncover writing that has been worn away. I have to say that the idea is quite clever and that I really enjoy working down at CHESS. For those that don't know, Cornell is in Ithaca, New York. For those not familiar with the Frozen North, Ithaca is cold and rainy. The cold means that "rainy" should actually be interpreted as "snowy". In the bad part of the year (early January), going for a few days without temperatures above zero is not unheard-of. In snowy or rainy weeks, it's not uncommon to have mini-blizzards or heavy thunderstorms for 5 out of 7 days of the week. This means that travelling by foot or bicycle, the most reasonable options for many students, are a proposition only a madman would accept. A madman such as myself. The weather also makes skiing interesting. The courses here tend to be fairly natural (little synthetic snow, if possible), so you if you want a good course, you have to accept the frostbite that comes with it. A nice thing about Ithaca is that while places like New York city are a little abrasive, this is a very friendly little town with low crime and a very eclectic mix of people. Most of the people are crazy, but they're nice crazy, not scary crazy. In case you think that Ithaca is the liberal haven that it is, recall that we are surrounded (and infiltrated by) the gun-toting right-wingers that occupy the rural portions of much of the country. These people barely differ from one state to the next (having lived in rural South Carolina and New York) except in accent and style of dress. Also, despite their fairly liberal leanings on things like social policy (and our high taxes), New Yorkers are quick to give government agencies the finger when possible.

This was originally going to be "background in general", but that's too varied a topic to do all at once. Plus, some things need some more work put into them. Suffice it to say for now I like online and pen and paper gaming, have friends in a variety of neat (and no so neat) places, and have an awesome fiancee who I love very much.

I attach for your perusal some photos of sunny Ithaca.

This is of Beebe Lake, which is right by Cornell's Campus. It's probably actually part of the plantations or something. This spot is down on the trail, which is sort of northeast of the bridge that connects main campus to the residential North Campus. This bridge has a neat waterfall with a ruined stone building set into the cliff. Clearly I don't have a picture of the bridge or waterfall, so this'll have to do.


This is typical scenery in one of the local state parks (Treman, specifically). All of the parks here are very nice and include complimentary waterfalls.


This is a picture of an apartment in my complex. The Varna Fire Department is investigating something. I have no idea what it is: they got all geared up like it was some great conflagration, then went into an apartment where the woman who lived there had been going in and our for the past 15 minutes. I can only assume it was nothing serious. So, I'm a bit confused. The Varna guys have apparently caught onto this trend of using bright yellow vehicles. Downtown Ithaca still uses red, as far as I can tell.



At 2:38 PM, Blogger megan said...

You forgot to talk about the midget firefighters! Not only were there about five people going in and out of this building that appeared perfectly normal, but two of them were only four feet tall!

At 4:26 PM, Blogger Judson said...

It's not fair to imply that short people aren't normal, even though technically I'm fairly certain these were midgets or dwarfs and not just short. Anyway, I see no reason that short people can't be good firefighters. :-) But yes, there were 1-2 short firefighters on the team.

At 9:53 AM, Blogger freestone said...

hi Judson.

guess I am "one of those rednecks" as i grew up in Interlaken, you can almost see my childhome house in the cornell live cam, off to the NW of cayuga lake, i had a cottage there in the 70s.
I live in tallahassee, fla now.

I lived in ithaca too....Moosewood and cabbagetown and the smardara [sp]bakery.
are those photos of games only from the board set or from a computer game, i would like to play that game, if it is a computer game, i have neverwinter nights, morrowind, and baldur's gate II on my computer now.



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