Parkfield och Nobelpriset: Switching Gears

Bullet pointed recollections of the last four days, in which I oscillate drastically between worlds.


  • Problem set, problem set, lab, problem set, group meeting, ACE hardware, under the sink and into the car…
  • We take the scenic route to Parkfield, the Earthquake Capital of California, and one of the biggest races of the collegiate mountain bike season.
  • We get to Parkfield quite late. It’s cold. Commence night 1 of sleeping on the ground next to the stupid Reno Santa Cruz people.


  • Cross Country race was fun, if a little short. I know I’m not fast enough to be an A-racer, but I’d almost like to upgrade simply to be able to ride longer. Get my money’s worth. Ah well, with very little time to train, I ‘spose I’ll just be happy with 2nd in B’s and a pint glass full of rootbeer.
  • I am faster than Katie Hall (at dual slalom).
  • 60 servings of pasta to 16 people
  • Pixie bikes should not be sold to men between the ages of 18 and 30. For safety reasons.
  • Humboldt has a…techno car?
  • Kestlefest needs a new bike frame, a knew knee, and some shirts with sleeves on them. Oh yea, and some deodorant.


  • Holy heck there was a rattlesnake chillin’ on the short track course
  • I made it up the stupid climb out of the creek all but once.
  • Greatest Burrito Ever, King City CA
  • A liter of Horchata. A LITER.


09:00 I call my mom to let her know I’m alive, if feeling a little under the weather.

Mom: Hey, how’d your race go?

Me: I got second!

Mom: Cool! Did you win any money?

Me: I won a pint glass!

Mom: Uh. great?

16:00 I’m taking the easiest midterm of my life in Wheeler auditorium. We finish at 17:00, and stay afterward for a the lecture. It’s about children in El Salvador who have rotting teeth because they are being fed massive quantities of junk foods and candy, and about how horrible candy companies are for marketing to children. My friend sitting next to me pokes my arm. I look over and he’s offering me a Swedish fish candy. I die a little on the inside. Of Irony.

19:00 My head is screaming and my nose is a faucet. Stupid Parkfield. Stupid Dirt.


04:00 In the morning, sitting awake in my room on a conference call with Geneva. It’s raining outside, and still, very dark. But it’s midday in Sweden, and the Royal Academy just announced the prize in Physics. I turn to my old friend google and…Oh my God, I know who that is….

13:00 The entire Physics Department and then some has converged on 1 Leconte Hall. It’s not everyday someone in your department wins the highest honor in Science. I’m standing in the hallway with thirty other people because I can’t get a seat, but I can still hear. It’s all acceleration and supernovae: anecdotes of all-nighters at the Keck telescope, of futile searches for the sun’s companion star, of the ‘holy shit’ moment when you discover something and can’t convince yourself that it’s real. Don’t worry, I took notes. More on that later.

14:30 Undergrads are cordially uninvited to the champagne reception. Instead I go to lab to languish in stochastic misery.

22:54 I’m sitting miserably at my desk, headache having recommenced after twenty minutes of staring at my computer screen to write a stupid blog post.

//time to throw in the towel//


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