Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Great Pumpkin: A Rochester Update

Now that my first semester as a graduate student his half way over, I’m realizing that this 5-year adventure is going to go a lot more quickly than I had imagined. It was almost five months ago that Moody and I were unpacking all of our stuff and hanging out in a bathtub full of cold water for hours at a time to escape the 106° summer heat. But it seems like no time has passed at all!

I feel like a little bit of a black sheep in my program, because I’m 5 years younger than the next-youngest person in it, with many of the other PhD-seekers well into their thirties and even forties. In some ways, it’s not as weird as you might think (I don’t know what’s in the water here in Rochester, but none of these 30-something-year-olds look like they could possibly be older than 25). But I think there’s a certain level of resolve needed to go after this degree, and it’s expected to come with age and experience. As a result, I’m not always taken seriously. If I were a dude, I’d grow a beard and look oh-so-distinguished. Problem solved. Moody’s been growing a prodigious beard, and, just yesterday, he bought a toasty grandpa cardigan from Banana Republic. When beard and cardigan join forces, I’d put him at about 65 years old. Lucky duck. Anyway, I've decided to embrace immaturity for just a bit longer. Abusing graduate privileges can be oodles of fun. For example, there are a number of lounges and study spaces on campus that are devoted to phd-seeking people, and it's great fun to go in there and eat an apple as loudly as possible. The physics and engineering phds, in particular, get super enraged. Cookies work as well.

Halloween is coming up! Sadly, I don’t think we’ll have an occasion for dressing up, but we had planned an excellent corny couple’s-costume: Moody was going to be the Doctor, and I was going to be the TARDIS. As it is, I think we’ll probably have a beer and candy-fueled double feature movie night. We keep buying big bags of candy to put away for the holiday itself, but can’t manage to leave them unopened for more than a day or two. I’ve been in a Sour Patch Kids-induced semi-comatose state for about a week now. And I’m ok with it.

We jumped the gun a little on buying our pumpkins. We picked one up two weeks ago on our weekly Wegmans trip, but, failing to remember that a pumpkin is a fruit and, like any other fruit, needs to be kept cold, woke up after a few days to find a big soupy pumpkin mess in the middle of our living room. In case you didn’t know, rotten pumpkins smell terrible. Now we’re biding our time and praying to the pumpkin gods that we’ll be able to find what we need a litttttttle closer to Halloween. Moody hasn’t ever carved a pumpkin before, which I consider a crime. Soon to be remedied.


  1. need to see pics of brian with a beard! also, dan and i carved a pumpkin 2 weeks a go and it rotted on my front step and was disgusting. also, everyone in research doesn't age either - one guy here is 72 and looks 50! everyone else here has like children and wives and stuff and i feel like a baby as well.

    also, dan and i are trying to plan a trip up to rochester to see you guys! more in the future on that...

    <3 meg

  2. Unfortunately, we realized that Brian's boss was going to take one look at his beard and fire him, so off it went. Having to be presentable is such a burden.

    And yes! Please do visit, we'd both love that, and we definitely have the room.