Birthday the 26th, and final preparations for The Maine Trip next week

Update on school

The short version is: I truly, deeply, completely, utterly don’t care.

dontcareindicator_zps52ac01df

I am VERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRY ready to leave.  To be fair, I was ready to leave over 2 years ago, but semantics is a game I do not play.

One brief update, I guess, is that the professor of the SE Asian course, Chloe Starr, turned out to be (and I am charitable here) an EXTRAORDINARILY rude, uncouth woman.  A human being who I am not willing to spend time receiving verbal abuse from.  So I spoke in a very clear and passionate way with the Registrar, and was switched out of that class and its professorial charm, to an Introduction to Ancient Judaism (which has been really awesome, actually).

Also, towards the end of “having to travel to job interviews comes the end of the spring,” I have asked for and gotten permission to do all of my final papers as early as I would life – and I finished one of them on February 1, which is due in April.  I am so ready to get out of here, as it were, that I am speeding up to finish early (as opposed to the typical symptoms of senioritis, not doing anything).

Update on work

So I have previously explained that I manage (now) 27 Yale undergrads and grad students, in our pursuit of coding 160,000+ file cards (each detailing 1 event of the French Resistance against the Germans during WWII) into spreadsheet format, focusing on the violent events.

French resistance research project progress up to this week

French resistance research project progress up to this week

It is exciting to report that I helped lead a meeting earlier this week, in which we discussed the large amount of progress we have made, as shown above.  There is a lot of work ahead, but we explained how we will eventually tie every single event into a GIS file which both points to the exact location on the map and also can allow the researcher access to the image of the file card.  Stay tuned, but just know: I might be better at typing on a French Canadian keyboard at this point, after the past few months.

Preparing for traveling up to Maine

Tire chains; LED reflective vest; Amsoil cold flow additive catalog; and military spec boots

Tire chains; LED reflective vest; Amsoil cold flow additive catalog; and military spec boots

So as the people close to me know (namely, because they cannot escape my babbling 🙂 ), I will be camping from Wednesday to Sunday next week, at Acadia National Park in Maine.  As that is near the Canadian border AND is on the Atlantic ocean, it will be a fairly chilly experience.

Preparing for Maine requires preparing the back yard for carpentry

Preparing for Maine requires preparing the back yard for carpentry

So, besides purchasing the proper gear (from military style boots, to stainless steel crampons for traction, to Thule snow chains for my tires, and more), I decided on designing and fabricating a sled with which to haul gear – as I have been in touch with the NPS park rangers at Acadia, it will be a hell of a hike through snowy wastes from parking lot to camp site.

Sizing out the deck for the two plastic boxes and the cooler

Sizing out the deck for the two plastic boxes and the cooler

The joy of Craigslist means I got a pair of kid’s skis for $25.  When combined with approximately $8 of purchased hardware, and then scrap lumber and plywood:

The sled with boxes and cooler, and shovel in its holder, now with the tow rope

The sled with boxes and cooler, and shovel in its holder, now with the tow rope

At the end of the day, then, the sled will be very useful, especially as I have to bring my own firewood and would prefer to not carry that across unplowed terrain in my arms, over a million trips back and forth.  Thankfully, as per below, Icarus has been training to tow this sled (not least of all because I am fresh out of huskies):

Ike has been training to be a sled-towing dragon for months now.  The snow here is simulated by paper towels, as it turns out.

Ike has been training to be a sled-towing dragon for months now. The snow here is simulated by paper towels, as it turns out.

Also, in the event that my Ike/sled combination fail me, the Thule snow chains (similar to these) for my front tires SHOULD mean I can crawl out of the wastes regardless of terrain, road, and weather conditions:

Thule show chains looking DAMNED sexy

Thule show chains looking DAMNED sexy

I also had a chance to get out to REI in Norwalk, and got some MicroSpikes for my combat boots:

The MicroSpikes BARELY fit my size 16 battleships/boots

The MicroSpikes BARELY fit my size 16 battleships/boots

The snow and ice doesn’t stand a goddamned chance.

A quiet birthday, focused on growth of all sorts

Finally, then, I would just again speak to the wonderful benefits of the plants I have put into my bedroom – the air is fresher and cleaner, I sleep more soundly, and I have yet to wake up with chapped lips or cracked knuckle skin yet (as they help regulate the humidity in the room).

Today I got the nepenthe I ordered for myself (thanks Greg H for helping tempt me into doing this).  It is a carnivorous plant native to Borneo, the Philippines, and thereabouts, and they have pitchers (hence the moniker “Asian pitcher plant”) which collect rainwater and then create nectar-smelling digestive enzymes… so bugs are attracted in and then never escape.  Given the huge pile of spiders in this basement, I wouldn’t be dissatisfied with even 10% of them being eaten by this beautiful plant – but its just gorgeous to look at).

Beyond sled building, plant arranging, and working on the French Resistant project, today was fairly delightfully introspective-friendly, which I needed.  Plus, a good warm-up (cool-down?) for the northern frozen wastes next week!!

Asian pitcher plant in my basement, my birthday present to myself

Asian pitcher plant in my basement, my birthday present to myself

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