My first round of exams has come and gone, and with the exception of one class, I did fairly well in all of my exams. It sounds like everyone in the one exception class is equally concerned that anything above a 30 will be seen as brilliant. At this point in our careers as students in the mechanical engineering department we’re used to that. Gone are expectations of an A meaning you scored near 100 on everything. In a few weeks the second round of exams will come around, and I’ll be more prepared this time – or at least more evenly prepared.

Clearly, since I’m posting this, I survived the 68 miles in Little Rock. Those hills were way harder than I expected, and by the time I got to them stopping was not an option for me. If I’d walked up the hills, like many did, I’d have finished the ride in the back of a truck. Thank goodness for having a 30-speed with good hill-climbing gears. It was a good time, and I look forward to doing more cycling events in the future.

Beer is a big deal to me. You should know that by now. The pale ale I brewed over the Independence Day weekend, with my friend Joseph, was well received. It needs a little more body, and I’ll either solve that by a higher mash temperature to preserve more sugars the yeast won’t ferment into carbon dioxide and alcohol or an addition of some Munich malt to the grain bill. Depending on how I decide my school schedule needs to look over the coming weeks, my second original recipe beer (autumn amber ale) will either spend a little longer in secondary or it will make a trip into a keg this weekend. Next on the list of recipes I’ve been working on is an oatmeal stout. After that we’ll see what comes next. Maybe a wit or something. Who knows.

As far as photography goes, school has been keeping me too busy to enjoy that hobby much right now. I still haven’t made any prints from my Scotland negatives. I need to replace the relay in my darkroom timer before I can do any of that anyway. For a while I was kicking around the idea of buying a Hasselblad, but reviewing negatives from my Mamiya C3 gives me no reason to spend that extra cash on a format I already have well represented by three different cameras. What I do not have is a camera that produces 4×5″ negatives, and that is next on my list. In fact, I’m planning on making that step as a Christmas present to myself this year. I’m looking at a used Shen Hao field camera to fit the bill. Perhaps my next trip to Scotland will involve a 4×5″ camera. If my sister thought I took a long time taking photos last time, she hasn’t seen anything yet!