Drinkable and More Than Remotely Pleasant

Exams are over and I just finished my haircut/massage/pedicure day (I’m surprisingly reliable in my planning, no?). It was glorious. When the massage girl asked me to pick between three different massage oil fragrances I picked the one that smelled like grapefruit and rosemary and as she was massaging me and the room filed with that glorious smell I realized why I liked it so much. It reminded me of a cocktail. And I got super inspired. So those of you who enjoy my cocktail artistry – I’m working on a grapefruit and rosemary concoction that I am hoping will rival the ginger martini. But that’s a lot of pressure. So let’s just say I hope it’s drinkable and more than remotely pleasant.

My new pedicure and a lovely view of my sausage toes.

My new pedicure and a lovely view of my sausage toes.

So much has happened!! This post has no actual theme or message. It’s just me rambling on about the end of my horribly stressful semester and reveling in the joy that it is finally over. As you all know I hate group projects. Well my massive and stress-inducing group project this semester was to design and build a horizontal motion conveyor (wtf is a horizontal motion conveyor?) for cereal with three randomly-assigned teammates. Skipping over the long and uninteresting details of the project, after three long months of laboring over this silly device, we produced a machine that did a fine job of shimmy-ing cereal down a metal pan but failed to catch much of it in the plastic bin at the end due to our pan legs being too close to the end of the pan. An extremely small detail that went entirely unnoticed until two days before the competition and about which really nothing could be done at that point. So our cereal beautifully lurched down the pan and proceeded to fall mostly on the floor, in front of the entire class and on video. Good times. Hooray for humiliating and painful learning experiences!

The Acsnaileration horizontal motion conveyor.  Soaked with blood, sweat and tears. She ALMOST worked right...

The Acsnaileration horizontal motion conveyor. Soaked with blood, sweat and tears. She ALMOST worked right…

But, like soldiers in battle, shared stress tends to bring people together and I met some excellent people this semester. Since I was no longer rushing back and forth to work, I was able to spend long, draining hours in the engineering building just like everyone else, becoming slowly dehydrated and subsisting on cheese sticks and cheap foil-wrapped chocolate candy. In the trenches I managed to find some awesome teammates for my senior design project and I’m really excited to work with all of them next semester.

In my quest to have the most enjoyable and low-stress final semester possible, I decided to drop Intermediate Dynamics, an elective which is not particularly relevant to my interest area (energy) but that sounded interesting when I signed up for it. And I’m sure it would be interesting, but also extremely difficult and most likely the source of several instances of extreme test anxiety next semester that I’d rather avoid. So instead I signed up for Brewing and Distilled Beverage Technology, which is three credits and meets only once a week at the off-campus distillery lab. Could life get any better?

But of course things that sound too good to be true usually are and I received an email yesterday informing me that “due to unforeseen circumstances” Brewing and Distilled Beverage Technology will now be taking place on campus in a lecture hall. Um, what? I signed up to learn how to brew beer and make whiskey…in a lab…with brewing and distilling equipment…and…yeah. After dropping Intermediate Dynamics I also signed up for Turbomachinery as I was waiting for a seat to open up in the brewing class. That class, which is extremely relevant to my area of interest (it’s about pumps and turbines and compressors and all those nerdy things that fascinate me), will be significantly more stressful and probably less fun than brewing and distilling, but considering the recent turn of events, I will probably go to both classes the first week of school and make my decision then.

Also, I discovered this semester that I really like heat transfer. A lot of people really struggled in that class and I kind of kicked butt, so that was a nice surprise. My professor put me in touch with a retired (but still very active) professor who is working on a project with several colleagues to construct a database of exact solutions for conduction across a wide range of geometries. So a research job pretty much fell into my lap for 8-10 hours per week next semester. I need to go back and try to remember how the h*** to solve partial differential equations…but I’m not really one to back away from a math challenge, so I’ll give it a shot.

I realize after going back and reading that last paragraph how horribly nerdy and dry it was for all you non-engineers out there. I’m truly sorry.

I feel like I could tell you so much more, but I’ve topped 800 words so I better let you all get back to work, or parenting, or whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing instead of reading this blog. I’ve got a few more ideas simmering, so look for more posts over the next couple of weeks. Hey, I’ve got to find some reason to spend hours at the coffee shop now that studying is over. I am not sure how I’d cope if my hair stopped smelling permanently like espresso.



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