Cornell Fall 2011

Cornell Tower

It’s been a nice semester so far. The weather is so much better than in Austin, where temperatures are still surpassing 100°, and it feels great not being a freshman—I actually know where things are!  Classes I’m taking:

  • Math 4130 (Honors Introduction to Analysis I): Mostly review so far. It’s only been a week, I’m pretty sure it will get harder as the semester goes on. But I definitely think Math 2230/2240 are great preparation.
  • Phys 1116 (Mechanics and Special Relativity): Also mostly review.
  • Gerst 1210 (Exploring German Contexts I): Intense immersion learning. I feel like I’ve learned more German in the past week than I learned in my first month of Spanish in middle school. This makes perfect sense, since college is quite a step up from middle school.
  • Econ 3010 (Microeconomics): We’re covering some of the underlying theory of economics, which is intrinsically heavy on math. Particularly, a lot of what I learned in Math 2230 last year is coming into use. Having independently studied some game theory over the summer, I found this introduction very interesting; things are clicking already.
  • CS 2110 (Data Structures and Object-Oriented Programming): Almost all review. In yesterday’s section we covered linked lists, which seemed to baffle at least half the group. The 25-hour assignment due next week does not look fun though.

Of course, I am also in the band, which has started up. Once again I am impressed by the speed at which it learns the show. Everyone seems ready for performance after a mere one rehearsal.

My residence for this year is 14 South Avenue, which is on the southwest corner of campus. This is a total change from last year, when I was on the northeast side of campus. The change of perspective is certainly nice.

Here is my schedule from Schedulizer:

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

“You are guilty of being innocent of being Jack Sparrow.” Really?

An entertaining successor to the first three films in the Pirates series, On Stranger Tides makes up in comical brilliance and swashbuckling action for what it lacks in ingenuity.

Seriously—the creativity all but evaporated half an hour into the movie. Or perhaps, as an avid fan of the Pirates series, I had unrealistically high expectations. Whichever the reason, the plot of this film is a huge disappointment.

The introduction is great. We see a hilarious court scene and then Jack Sparrow fooling around with the king. The part leading up to Jack’s duel with Angelica is pretty interesting too. But once Jack is seaborne, the movie turns very unoriginal:

  • Jack is searching for the Fountain of Youth, and later finds out that he must also find two chalices. He searched for the “dead man’s chest,” among other things, in earlier films.
  • Blackbeard’s foretold death from a one-legged man, his power to magically control the Queen Anne’s Revenge, as well as other supernatural events in the movie. The first three films were full of the supernatural.
  • They must secure a mermaid and keep her captive for a certain ritual. In At World’s End, they similarly held Calypso. And of course, in Curse of the Black Pearl, Elizabeth Swann is kept captive for a ritual.

In addition, this film did not see the return Will and Elizabeth, two major characters in the earlier films.

That said, there were many impressive positive features of On Stranger Tides. For one, the music was outstanding, combining the epic original theme with a fitting Spanish atmosphere.

Also, the actors Johnny Depp (Jack) and Geoffrey Rush (Barbossa) performed superbly. When you watch them for just five seconds, you know they’re pirates. The portrayal of Blackbeard and Angelica is convincing too, but they were clearly not veteran pirates.

And then there’s humor. The best part of the movie is Jack Sparrow’s remark about jumping off a cliff: “You know that feeling you get when you’re standing in a high place… sudden urge to jump?… I don’t have it.” Granted, I saw this quote in the trailer, but it’s just so perfect.

Rating: 7/10

Four Months

Wow, I have not blogged in nearly four months!

The reason is, I’ve sorta been avoiding technology this summer. I set my personal record for number of consecutive days without Facebook, and also a record for number of days without blogging.

On the other hand, I’ve used StumbleUpon much more and following certain sites more consistently. So it’s probably a lie that I’ve avoided technology—I’ve just been avoiding certain parts of technology. More reading and less writing.

Now that I’m back at college, I feel more compelled to write, like last year. I’ll probably start with some of the movies I watched this summer, and move on from there.