Monday, May 30, 2011

Days Three-Seven: Camp and Cockroaches

Explanation for the four-day spread: lack of internet leads to lack of blog entries leads to lack of motivation to re-update when internet is finally found, and it's actually really, very comical watching a group of 15-odd physicists stuck in the woods, internet-less. Some people actually begin to lose their minds.

Anyway, the other REU interns from all over the map came together to Clemson's outdoor lab for the weekend, and we got to know and like each other very much so that we could essentially part ways for the rest of the summer. Thanks a billion, for that. Seriously, though, we ended up learning and doing a lot together. Each of the professors gave a talk on his specific field of research, and gave a snippet of what exactly each student might choose as his or her research project so that we each have something of interest to write about for JSARA.

In between the talks and cookouts, we did quite intrepid things like going on a canoe trip. I think that my canoe was clearly the most adventurous one, as Ninos, Tom and I only wanted to explore the bays and inlets in front of everybody else. Hence, we were out there way longer than everybody else; but the explorer's spirit paid off in a way that neither Ninos nor I really expected. Upon taking a swim to a distant bay when we returned, I stumbled upon a wooden crate on the deserted shore. (Honestly, I didn't see it at first because we were watching all of the fire ants do their thing. Physicists also enjoy insects.) Anyway, there was a rubber snake draped over the tree, and I was almost positive that I was going to find a severed head or some kind of dead animal when I opened the lid. Upon opening the crate, I jumped back in surprise, so those watching me from the far-off dock probably assumed that I had found a severed head. In reality, there was definitely a wasp's nest in there...but the angry wasps flew off and I stole their treasure. Mardi-gras beads and plastic reptiles. Ninos and I collected enough beads for all of the students, and swam back triumphantly. Honest-to-God buried treasure on an otherwise remote shore. Oh. Yes.

We tried, momentarily, to figure out what the crate was for. One of us suggested that it might be a geo-cache, but again, we were internet-less and couldn't look it up. (Update: just looked up geo-caching in Clemson. A few good candidates, but all in the wrong location. Also, there was no logbook in the crate. Sigh.)

That night, we all celebrated with a grill and a few guitars. Sausages and a jam session with Dr. Wood and Dr. Webb? I think so. We had a marvelous time, and I learned a couple of new chords (since I only know about three and a half.) And grilled corn? A revelation.

Anyhow, the four of us Clemson kids returned back on Sunday morning, and I absolutely kept in bed basically all day and watched season four of The Office. It's nice to be lazy every so often.

Today, though, I finally got my gym membership and worked out (hooray!) and stuffed my brain full of more gamma-ray-burst knowledge than it had ever consumed before. Made dinner for the guys, and won a game of HORSE later. Successfully captured my first non-Madagascar-hissing cockroach, released it outside, and realized that, oh, this is South Carolina and they are climbing underneath the crack in my door. So gross. I do not try to kill them because 1. That is a mess. 2. I maintain that they represent a species that cannot be killed; perhaps even by a gamma ray burst. So, I sealed my door (I hope) and am not going to think about it while I try to sleep.

For now, ice cream and Big Bang Theory.


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