Finals Fall 07: The Postpartum

After my little run-in with the guardrail on RT-89, I needed an actual mental breather, so I went to Boston and had a romantic date with B, her loveseat, a jar of nutella, Love Actually, Newbury Street, and my credit card. First we went to Chinatown and got facials (B says this is exactly analogous to paying someone to wipe your butt...I totally was awesome) and giant bowls of pho. B's was twice the size of mine and she finished more of hers. I'm glad we're friends because she could probably mop the floor with me, if she wanted to. Then, we put lights on her tiny Christmas tree and did this: It was awesome. The only thing missing from that picture (besides me) is my cream soda cocktail. And every lit candle in her entire apartment. In the morning, B played hooky so that we could go for a session of Retail Therapy. My credit card still hurts, but it was SO worth it. We hit Betsey Johnson and Kate Spade. Hard. Then I gave B a hug and went back to Hanover.

And rather than do work when I got back, I went to Al Grande's dinner party. I domed myself on chips and salsa and we all watched movies and smack-talked each other until Al started reducing the balsamic vinegar for (I think) the chicken. It was totally delicious in the end but OH MY GOD my lungs haven't burned that badly since that time I tried a bong hit and choked so hard that I blew snot all over my own face. And I wasn't even in the kitchen. I cried for my inhaler. After dinner we all jumped in the hot tub, and in the snow, and back in the hot tub. And then we sat there until none of us could keep our eyes open any more. THAT is how you have a dinner party! Though his awesome Rambo knife was pretty appealing, too:

So then, I've left myself with 4 days to finish two problem sets, a final exam, two final projects, and present on the Hybrid to the Review Board.

It took me 6 days, but the presentation went surprisingly well, I aced the exam, and the problem sets happened (that's the important part...). By the time I got to the final projects, I was about two tacos short of a combo platter. But so was the rest of my electronics lab, so they still understood me when I started speaking Lobster. For instance, rather than just assume no one would touch his stuff, or put up a sign that said "Don't Touch," he taped this to his circuit:
If you look at that picture up close, that is a soldering iron, being operated at 850 degrees F, being stabbed into "your" eye. While "you" are sleeping. The part of the sign that was cut off said "If you touch..."

This is what my workstation looked like at 8 am on the day the project was due to be presented to the professor. Dublin Mudslide for breakfast; iTunes rockin'; dead electronic components everywhere. If you care, I made an operational amplifier out of discrete transistors, or at least I intended to. What I really made was just the first stage of said amplifier. Had I given myself three more days, I might have actually finished my project. If it were possible to jerry-write a final report, that is exactly what I did. I hand-wrote 5 pages, stapled printed attachments, made a photocopy and showed it to my friends who didn't believe that I actually submitted that crap for a grade. But the professor thought it was funny, or just felt sorry for me, and gave me an A-.

My other final project (and I'm not even kidding about this) was to drive around a circular course (of my choice - 8.3 miles) in my own car and measure how much gasoline I used each time. I did three runs each in both 2WD and 4WD, then compared my results to a computer simulation program, using my best estimate as to my speed vs. time during each lap (I tried real hard to keep it consistent) and using a cycling tool on Google maps to find the elevation profile of the course. It was two days late, but the professor loved it so much that he wants to use the concept to make an additional lab for the course in the next offering. He said it was the best project, by far, he'd received from the whole class, and if it weren't so late, and so disastrously put together, he'd give me an A; instead I got another A-.

And then? Then I celebrated. :) And not even by going to the gym...

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