Martin Orr's Blog

Training continues

Posted by Martin Orr on Saturday, 09 July 2005 at 20:21

In the last three days we have done a further two exams. On Thursday I scored 21 and this morning I got two questions.

Besides this, we went to a baseball game. This is a game in which it is almost impossible to score: the game lasts for nine innings (both teams batting in each inning) and the score was 7-5 which is about average or slightly higher. Basically it is pretty hard to hit the ball (or at least they only go for it rarely), and when you do hit it it is almost always caught. There were really only two innings which were exciting, in which most of the runs were scored.

Yesterday our leader Geoff went to Mexico. The leaders go to the IMO early and select the problems. After they have seen the problems, they are of course no longer allowed to talk to us. Tom Barnett-Lamb came to assist Adrian (our Deputy Leader) in training us.

-- Martin

no comments Tags baseball, imo, usa

Start of training

Posted by Martin Orr on Wednesday, 06 July 2005 at 19:29

Each of the last three days we have done a practice exam. The first was easy, and if you assumed the same medal boundaries as last year we would have got 4 golds, 1 silver and 1 bronze and been placed second to China. I scored 20/21. Yesterday was rather harder, I was the only person to get question 3, but I scored 21. This morning was very hard and no one got more than one question. I think I did get one but it hasn't been marked yet.

In the afternoons we have generally relaxed for a while, then done a sheet of problems. Today we went to the Houston Museum of Natural Science, where they have a large collection of tropical butterflies (live, flying around in an artificial rainforest). It must require a lot of work to maintain this and the associated exhibition, to ensure that there are always creatures in the correct stage of their life cycle in the different displays. They have huge racks of butterfly pupae and we saw a staff member come and collect all the butterflies that had emerged today.

And if you are interested in the weather it is now raining, very heavily and has been since we left the museum. (Are rain drops really bigger in hot countries?)

-- Martin

no comments Tags imo, usa

Houston Arrival

Posted by Martin Orr on Sunday, 03 July 2005 at 21:41

We travelled yesterday to Houston, Texas for our training camp. This meant leaving home at 5:30 am, and then a six-hour time zone change. Staying in continuous, mostly natural light for 22 hours, with 30-minute dozes at peculiar points during the flight should have destroyed my natural sleep cycle; then a solid 9 hours sleep has got me synced up to Houston time.

On the way I went through Gatwick South Terminal, which strikes me as probably the worst designed airport terminal I have been in: I came out of the domestic baggage reclaim area, and straight into Continental Airlines check-in area (of course this is where I wanted to be, but I doubt it is where most people want to be when they come out of domestic baggage reclaim).

The people in immigration impressed me favourably. They seemed fairly good-humoured and efficient. Matthew was caught out though on being asked to prove that he was going to leave the country, since he didn't have our tickets. Some others were in difficulty simply on being asked when they were going to leave. One thing they are good at is realising that they can make use of the time you are standing in the queue to check your forms are filled in correctly. In Gatwick, the American security people were even better: they actually moved with you in the check-in queue, while asking the questions about did you pack your own bags etc. in great detail.

The temperature here is very hot and it is reasonably humid. It looks like what you would expect a hot country to look like (well I do anyway): brown and green, with softly-coloured buildings and everything fairly spread out.

We are staying in Rice University, where we have a very nice chef who cooks wonderful meals (even for vegetarians) and is continually offering more dishes - except there is far too much of everything already. Perhaps this is because there are very few other people about.

-- Martin

no comments Tags imo, usa