Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Last week the PSF group at MPIA went on an amazing retreat. The point of the excursion was to see all the research done at the institute, and forge friendships. It was a fantastic thing for me - I got the best networking experience since I came, and the people here are so interesting and fun.

We stayed in a hamlet called Mayschoss - about 30 miles away from the big radio telescope in Effelsberg. This telescope is massive - the size of a football field. It was so cool. At one point, they took us up onto the platform right beneath the dish. The cool thing about this scope is that it can move 90 deg. (downwards) and they have a system that rotates the scope 480deg. around. So cool. At one point, when we were on the deck, the scope was moving down, the base was rotating, and I was walking. I felt like I was in some sort of bizarre Einstein Paradox (which reference frame am I in?!?!?). But it was still cool.
The town of Mayschoss is absolutley beautiful. It's really really really really really tiny. It's right in the heart of wine country - as evidenced in the pictures. The hills that surround the town are quite steep, so the farmers made terraces all the way up the sides. They grow grapes and make wine the traditional way - feet stomping fun-ness!! (Ever seen that "I Love Lucy" episode?) Our first day there we hiked around the hills and through the vineyards. It was quite lovely. I met a lot of people as we walked around, talked with the farmers, flirted with the farmboys, hijacked grapes when the farmers weren't looking, and generally had a great time.
On the retreat we had our meals at a very fancy restaurant. I felt like I should have dressed up for the meals. I had venison, salmon, and eggplant all for the first time - and I really enjoyed it. The tables all had real candles - and, as I sat at the only table full of theorists, we discussed the luminosity function of said candles. I was grateful for Nana's instruction in my early early years on how to 1) eat properly with two untensils and 2) know which utensil to use when. It seemed like everyone else knew exactly what to do, and I (luckily) wasn't too far behind. bam.

Monday, October 12, 2009

You and Me

This music video really does something for me. Watch it, love it!

Friday, October 9, 2009


K, so a few posts ago I excused you all from commenting. I meant for that one post, not the rest of my blog! Please continue to comment now. You know I need external validation that I'm still loved. Without further ado: "Now for the cream..."

Holy cow. Why don't I live in Prague?
Just kidding people, I love HD. But I had the most fantastic experience in prag-oo. I love architecture, and that city is the most perfect blend of all styles since 800AD. Walking to the city every day was an awesome experience. Getting lost in the windy street, finding the most random buildings, stopping and having my breath taken away every 50 feet - literally - gosh, it was just too awesome.
I'm going to let my pictures do the talking, because I'm no good at words. Suffice it to say, you must all go to Prague. It's a magical city of wonder and beauty. Also, amazing flea market.

This is where THE defenestration of Prague happened!! The Catholics were thrown out of that "middle" second story window. Holycow all that amazing history.
ST. VITUS CATHEDRAL. Guys, my first honest-to-goodness cathedral. ooooo it was stunning. breath taking. reverence-inducing. beautiful. and HUGE!
Inside the cathedral. You must go at either sunset or sunrise, so that you get this amazing sun hitting the stained glass windows just right. I was tempted to hug the pillars, it's true.

The front of St. Vitus. it's the most amazing example of gothic architechture... EVER.
TYCHO BRAEHE'S HOUSE. his HOUSE guys. ohmygoodness, i felt like i met a celebrity. a real life astronomer that did AMAZING things!!!
That's the castle district in the back. You can see the spires of the cathedral! And the Vltava river. :)
This is in the Jewish quarter. 1st: the brown roofed building is the oldest still running synagogue in the world. in use since the 1200's. 2nd: the building with the clocks is their town hall. The two clocks are fun - one is like ours, and the other is the jewish version - it reads counter-clockwise!! haha
this building was SO. COOL. it's a CUBIST building. Prague was the only place in the world where cubism branched out into architecture. It's really a feeling you get when you see the building. I felt like it was breathing. that's the only way i know how to describe it. You'll just have to go see it for yourself!
ohohohohohoh! the powder gat and the opera house! The powder gate is one of the few parts remaining of the big wall that used to surround the city. it was one of the few areas you could get into the city. it's called the powder gate because that's where they stored the gun powder. Also a good example of gothic architecture.
that plaque says: In memory of W.A. Mozart's "Don Giovonni" which was first performed in this theather, 29.10.1798. For those who have seen DG, you'll know what this statue is of.
This is the opera house where DG premiered. it's one of the few building that still stands where Mozart actually conducted. It's really really pretty too!
The ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK. i almost fainted from happiness. Notice the fun statues on the side of the upper clock. they represent vices: vanity, greed, and the infidel. They are a little un-PC. they are made to look like a noble (vanity), a jew holding a money bag (greed) and a turk (infidel). On the hour, the apostles pass by through door at the top, and the statue of death nods his head as if to say, "you're all going to hell!" and they shake their heads - "no, we're not!!"
The Lesser Town main square. it was full of vendors, tour groups, delicious smells, gypsy bands, and other fun things.
This is a statue of Jan Hus, and the main church of the Hussites. It's like their Temple Square. Jan Hus was really the first protestant, in case you're wondering. :) The church has the most stunning chandelier made of Bohemian Crystal, which Prague is famous for.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

wait, what?

I should be writing about prague. Really, it was an AMAZING experience.
But who can write about that city when both of my brothers are ENGAGED?!?!?!?!??????????!?!!!?!?!?

Seriously, so awesome.

My brothers decided that they simply could not live without the most amazing girls ever. And they get each other for - EVER! I love the gospel. Because you know what that means? I get more sisters! Score. Since I love/adore/idolize the sisters I already have, how can I not be thrilled to get more? Gosh, I'm so excited.

How do people make it through life without a sister? ~Sara Corpening

Welcome to the fam.