Sunday, December 28, 2008

Nara Trip: Chapter One: I Go to a Park


This morning I found myself in Yagi-shi in the middle of Nara prefecture. So I decided to go to a park. In fact, I decided to go to Nara Park. After a brief stop at the Softbank store to see if they could fix my phone that got dropped in the toilet last night (no, they couldn't) and another at a Tully's to grab some coffee (left) I made my way to Nara Koen right near Kintetsu-Nara train station.


Since I first walked down some shopping streets I ended up beginning my tour with Sarusawa-no-Ike pond (right). This pond had a very lovely view of Kofukuji Temple's Five-Story Pagoda and Nan-endo Hall. The Five-Story Pagoda (below left) is a National Treasure and the second highest pagoda in Japan. Built in 1426, the pagoda now standing is an exact replica of the original built in 730. Alternately, Nan-endo Hall (below right) was constructed in the 18th century.











Also in the Kofukuji Temple complex is Tokondo Hall (above middle). You can go into the hall for a small fee, but I decided to just stay out and watch other people go in. It's like they were making prayers for me. Since this strategy worked so well at Tokondo Hall, I took it on for the rest of the temples too: other people ring the bell and acknowledge the diety/buddha while I look on and sponge off their spiritual cleansing by proximity. Come on, it's the oldest trick in the book!


As I was walking around, I of course saw the famous Nara deer (or shika as they say over here ("When in Rome... ") or Sika Deer as they say in U.S. zoos, or Cervus nippon as they say in more academic circles). While not especially excited at the nearness of them, I do think they added to the overall ambiance of the temples and shrines throughout the park.


After Kofukuji Temple, I wandered towards the Nara National Museum (right). Since it was still early when I first passed the temple, I decided to come back to it when it was colder outside. When I did, it was so late that unfortunately I only had an hour in the museum and so only got to look around the East and West wings and not the original museum building pictured here. Although I did not get to see any of the Todaiji Temple treasures, they did have a special exhibit on On-Matsuri and Kasuga which was really interesting. Although not all of the plaques on the exhibits had English translations, for the most part the beauty of the pieces, whether they were silk paintings, reliquary shrines, or scrolls of edicts or inventory, was enough. I would recommend you designate two hours if you go, though, so that you're not caught halfway through the museum at closing time.

With a bit more wandering, dazed and confused because I refused to continually check my location in my guidebook and it seemed every public map I looked at was of a different park (very confusing), but anyway I eventually found myself walking up the lantern-lined pathway to Kasuga Taisha Shrine. Unfortunately, I was so enthralled by the stone lanterns, I kind of skimmed over the shrine bit to get back to the pathways leading to, from, and around it. I guess it's a testament to the beauty of the over-all layout of the park that you can walk down a path and feel just as at-peace as if you were sitting in a quiet church. Because of this infinite regress (word choice?), I decided to put a picture up of lanterns in Kasuga Taisha Shrine (left).

Outside of Kasuga Taisha Shrine is a beautiful botanical garden. Even though it's the last week of December and all the leaves have made a brown blanket over the entire forest floor, I found the walk through the woods refreshing. It reminded me of hiking in the woods back in New York and I was left with the thinking to myself, "If it was summer, I wouldn't have to worry about startling a rattler. Isn't that nice?" And it is.

The next point of interest in Nara Park was Tamukeyama Hachimangu Shrine (right). Keep in mind, though, there is a lot between point A and point B, but this is supposed to be a chapter, not a Bronte book. Just like with Kasuga Taisha Shrine, I was wandering without a map and it made my path just a little different than the average course. I came upon the shrine through the back entrance and that's why the photo looks a bit run-down. I didn't realize my mistake until I got on the internet and tried to confirm the name of the shrine. All the photos on google were of the front entrance to the shrine which looks quite grand. The back entrance I came in and the side entrance I went out were not so grand, but their authentic/eclectic (I can't think of the word that really describes it for me) looks were yet impressive where they lacked grandeur.

Right next to Tamukeyama Hachimangu Shrine is Nigatsudo Hall (left). From what I've gathered, this place is famous for two things. Firstly, it's got a killer view of Nara city. Even though I got there a bit late in the afternoon and a haze had just settled over the hills in the distance, I was still able to see quite far and the peak of Daibutsuden Hall in the distance was the ultimate teaser for this tourist. Secondly, apparently there is some ritual (annual?) at the temple in which fires are lit to give it the appearance of burning down. Yeah, you don't believe me or think that it doesn't actually look like it's on fire, but I seriously thought that the pictures I was were of the temple burning down.


Daibutsuden Hall (right) was more impressive than I thought it would be, but also more crowded than any other area of the park. The inside of the hall is filled with magnificent, giant statues. I thought that the Buddha would be the main attraction, but he's flanked by two giant, though smaller, attendants. The detail in these giant statues is incredible. You need to put down your camera, zone out the buzz of the crowd, and just concentrate on the statues. Even then, though, you'll leave feeling like you didn't get to really appreciate the hall. At least, that's how I felt. The gift shops were in the hall with the statues as well as right before the exit. I guess that's just an inevitable symptom of being one of the main attractions of the city.

Traveling out Nandaimon Gate (below) I started heading back to Yagi. Of course, I stopped at the National Museum on my way back to the station and then had to wait twenty minutes at the station for my train(!), but it was a really great day. Somewhere between Kasuga Taisha Shrine and Tamukeyama Hachimangu Shrine I started to get hungry, but I wasn't about to over pay for poor Japanese food so I neglected to eat lunch. By the time I was on the train, I was incredibly hungry. Maybe next time I'll bring a bento.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sing When You're Winning

I know it's been a while and I'm working on something with a bit more substance, but this morning I wrote a cheer while drinking my coffee. You'll see a bunch of babble in the last verse; that's Japanese and I think different conjugations of our team name (Iku). Just use the ol' rise and fall of every other syllable of Shakespeare class:

I drink.
I sing.
I rock.
I dance.
I party hard at every chance.
I huck.
I bid.
I pillage.
I burn.
I score us points on every turn.
I catch.
I cut.
I sky.
I mark.
I appreciate a drunk land shark.
Iku.
Iko.
Itta.
Kurru.
Ultimate is all I do!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Creeps

Recently I've met the most creepy person I've ever met in my life. My list of creeps is short. When I lived in Europe, I was encountering creepy men everywhere. In college I just met jerks, but they were not creepy; they were just jerks. Now, I think that in "the real world" I have met a real creep. It's enlightening. Combining the sleaziness of being my superior and the annoyance of my own dependence upon his company, he not only has taken the cake, but he has baked the cake, hollowed it out, and is waiting inside of it to pop out at the most inappropriate time possible.

Mainly as a reaction to not having men hit on me in high school, there were creeps around every corner in Europe. I wore my high school ring on my left ring finger and turned it around so it looked like a wedding band every time I road the trains. In Amsterdam walking around the city one night another tourist came up and propositioned me for sex. This was definitely creepy, but I just got pissed off and swore at him. Seriously, 50 euros? I'm way better than that.

During college, all the guys that were creepy got warned and told to stop. They stopped. This was made easier by the fact that they were all below me.

Now I find myself face-to-face with someone I can't fake being married with or swear at or just dismiss because he's my boss. He hired me under false pretenses, he makes inappropriate suggestions, and is overly familiar in his written and verbal communication with me. In the states, I'd claim sexual harassment and get his behavior changed faster than a NASCAR oil change. Unfortunately, I can't do that because I need his company (meaning an institution, not a social relationship) for my visa.

What if you had to deal with a creep for a limited time? I've been brainstorming and have come up with the following stratagem: Suck it up a few more weeks, get my contract translated, figure out how much notice I need to give him before I quit, get my visa, quit.

So after these six years of meeting creeps, will my newest approach take care of the creeps? Pretending to be someone else works if they don't know who you are. Swearing works for creeps who I don't need to have a relationship with. Explaining to a guy why he's creeping you out only works when you both know you're better than them. Before the 1964 Civil Rights Act what did women do in situations like this?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Daily Commutes

I'm currently in the process of looking at apartments I cannot afford. Because I am looking at the lower end of the housing bracket, finding conveniently located apartments is difficult since I work at two separate occupations separated by 1.5 hours of trains. One (Job A) of these jobs is consistently 5 days a week, but the other (Job B) is only one day a week with the possibility of more sporadically throughout the year.

I can find a small apartment for under 50000 yen near a train station that is a block away from Job A and an hour and a half away from Job B. There is another apartment twice the size of that one and semi-furnished for a little over 50000 yen a five minute bus ride from Job A and an hour fifteen minutes from Job B.

The question is this: Is a commute of over an hour a few times a week worth it if you're paying low rent on your apartment?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lost beach

When I was in Hawaii, the people I stayed with took me to the Lost set. Here are some of the photos I took with my camera phone.

This is a photo of the beach next to the set. There were dozens of giant sea turtles feeding just feet from where the water was hitting the shore. It was really beautiful there and, as you can see, the weather wasn't too bad either.

These are my friends in front of the set. They weren't shooting that day, so the entire set was surrounded by that orange fence and the actual huts themselves covered in plastic wrap. Because all beaches are public in Hawaii, they can't really keep people away from the set and even during filming, people are allowed to come down to the beach.

This is Sawyer's cabin, shrink wrapped. Since his cabin was right next to the orange fencing, it was pretty easy to take a photo of it. To see a shot of the back of this cabin from the show, go here.

Mr. Eko's church from season two.

Finally, here is a really short, shoddy videos I took of the set with my phone (if it doesn't work, it's probably hanging out with the roan):

video

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Very Badly Burned

Do you know what sheet beating is? It is when you take someone out back, cover them with a bed sheet, and start wailing on them. That is what a sunburn feels like.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Parasol



The other day I went to work at the preschool in the morning and my conversation school in the afternoon. This humidity and heat kills me, though, and even though I purposefully wore white and cotton, I had sweat about five gallons by the time I got to my conversation classes. So on my train ride, I made the decision to get myself a parasol and I stopped in the store next to my station and picked one up.

Now, I was not sure what the difference was, if any existed, between an umbrella and a parasol. Most of the parasols I've seen around Japan have been black, lace-y, and carried by old women. So I was slightly surprised to find two separate sections of umbrellas in the store. One seemed purely full of rain umbrellas. The other had a smattering of frills to it and so I assumed this to be the parasol section. I thought that this was the only thing separating the rain-deflectors from the sun-rejectors, but hoo, how wrong I was.



These are the labels from the parasol I eventually bought. Now, I don't know Japanese, but I like to think I can understand them anyway (that there are English translations helps too).

The top left label reads something like this:

"Precautions for Use!
This product has a pointed end. Be sure to check the safety of your surroundings before using umbrella.
Do not use the umbrella as a walking stick.
Do not use the umbrella if the handle of the rib tips are damaged.
Do not swing or throw the umbrella around.
Do not use the umbrella against gale force wind as it may break.
Do not touch the rib structure of the umbrella.
When the umbrella is not completely dry, keep it away from clothing and other items as it may cause color transfer.
*Please watch young children when they use the umbrella."

Unfortunately, the tag below had something else to say about the color fastness of the product:

"UVoutex Fabrics
Healthy, Cool, Comfortable
This fabric, absorbs and dramatically reduces ultraviolet rays
protects your skin from these damaging ultraviolet rays
keeps you more comfortable and cooler because of its unique shading qualities
has the qualities of colorfastness, softness and is durable through frequent washings"

So is it colorfast or not? Only time and an unexpected shower will tell.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Intellectuals v. Celebrities

On a recent road trip, some friends and I were discussing the failure of Americans to view intelligent, smart people as famous. Celebrities known for personalities and looks are more likely to be household names than people who constantly analyze, challenge, and shape the way we think.

Intelligent people should have a more prominent standing in today's pop culture, but a person's intelligence is not proved by their intellectual capabilities alone. In the introduction to their list of the top 20 public intellectuals, Foreign Policy magazine wrote that, "part of being a 'public intellectual' is also having a talent for communicating with a wide and diverse public." Intelligence is useless if you can't communicate your ideas to the public. Not only should you be in open communication with your peers with your findings and ideas, but also with the entire public as well. In order to do this, not only do you need to communicate effectively with the language of the intellectual, but also in a way intelligible to the upper, lower, and middle classes and the various ethnicities that compose our society.

It would be easy to say that the reason there aren't too many intellectuals in US pop culture is because they don't make an effort to explain their thoughts to the general public, but that's not true. Television, radio, and print are all accessible media where academics and intellectuals have presented the views to the public. Not only are there television programs like CNN's Larry King Live and CBS' 60 Minutes, but also shows like The Daily Show and its spin off The Colbert Report that use humor when presenting current events, authors, and politicians. NPR hosts several programs across the country aimed at informing the public of current politics, scientific innovations, and literary criticisms, to name some of their programming. The person with the highest IQ in the world writes a newspaper column, there are new books published every month, and countless magazines for every subject imaginable.

Albert Einstein was an international celebrity in his own time, but would you call Stephen Hawkings a celebrity? Have you read one of his books? Have you ever read one of his interviews or heard him field questions? How many people on Foreign Policy's list have you ever heard of? I'd only heard of three: Muhammed Yunus, Al Gore ,and Richard Dawkins.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bowtie!!!

Here is the bowtie I made for my father for Father's Day. Having never seen him in anything but a necktie before, I must say he looks quite dapper. I used the pattern in the Knitter's fall 2005 magazine with Wildfoote sock yarn in the color tom cat. (linen stitch, two US#0 dpns)


The dashing young man waiting for his date.

A close up on the accessory.

Prom Night '08: Woot!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What should I knit?

Recently, my father bought me a tush-load of Wildfoote sock yarn. Now he's already told me that he doesn't want socks, so I'm going to make him a bow tie instead. It will not however take a tush-load of yarn to make a bow tie so I'll have plenty left over to do with as I please.

Sock yarn is very exciting to work with. It is much thinner than the more commonly used yarns and the smaller gauge is much more finished and durable than the preferred larger gauges of today. (For more info, see Interweave Press' Knit So Fine and Kristen Rengren's article for knitty.com The Joy of Vintage Patterns.) Unfortunately for me, picking a pattern is like picking my nose with my pinkie toe: really hard. They're all so pretty! I've narrowed it down to 5 different types of patterns though and hopefullly that will help.

The first is the sock. Socks are generally quick to knit. I have three nice patterns for socks in the correct gauge. Two are lacey patterns from Interweave Knits magazine (spring 2006 and holiday 2007) and one is a ribbed thigh-high (um, I'll probably shorten that) from Knit 1 magazine (spring 2006).

The second is the cardigan. Cardis are pretty vintage in the knitting scene: the old shell and cardi combo as they say. I have a cute 3/4 sleeve pattern from Knitter's (fall 2005) that, if I double up the yarn, I can make on US size 5 needles. I don't really want to double up the yarn, but the cardi is just so cute.

The sweater is another knitting standard. I've found two nice patterns that have the right gauge from Vogue Knitting magazine (winter 2007/08) and Interweave Knits magazine (winter 2007).

Lastly, there's the dress. The dress isn't really a standard, but the lacey pattern I'm looking at from Vogue Knitting magazine (spring/summer 2008) has a delicate and classy feel to it.

Anyway, vote or don't vote. I've got to find a pattern for a bow tie...

In other news, I learned gas is 50yen more expensive per liter in Japan that the US today.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Adventures of G'Cinderella (it's a soft "g")

In today's adventure: Cooking Magic!

G'Cinderella was sitting at home playing with her mp3 player when her not-so-evil genetic mother came home one afternoon.

"Hello not-so-evil genetic mother," G'Cinderella said, "How were your meetings this morning?"

"They went really well. Did anyone call while I was out?"

"Why yes, Mary Lou called, but I told her you'd be in meetings all day. She left a message and is waiting for you to call her back."

"Oh, good," cried mother. "I'll call her back later. I know that you're exponentially busy right now sitting around not doing anything, but your probable genetic father and I have a meeting tonight. Would you mind terribly if I asked you to make dinner?"

With a sigh and a moan, G'Cinderella agreed. She made sure to note that she had made dinner at least two weeks ago as well. This increase in culinary activity made her wonder if her parental figures might try to foil her attempts at escape in order to keep her on as their own personal Mary Poppins.

After mother left, G'Cinderella said with a sigh,
"What can I make? Maybe keish pie?"
She looked in the fridge.
She looked in the freezer.
Maybe she'd make chicken wings.
No, that wouldn't please her.

To the cupboards she wandered and looked high and low,
"Split pea soup! That's a recipe I know!"
But it was a bad plan.
She didn't have ham!
Open went the cookbook
And G'Cinderella took a look.

Her thoughts they did wander to how she was thinking,
Enough of this poetry, it'll drive me to drinking!

After opening up a cold can of Dr. Pepper, G'Cinderella wandered over to her mother's music collection with Ol' Blue Eyes in mind, but could only find one cd. After putting it in she was finally able to think clearly and decided to make carrot soup. Not only was it easy, but she even had time to clean up as the carrots were boiling to mush!

When the parents arrived home, they eventually ladled out some of that good ol' carrot soup. "Delicious!" they shouted between mouthfulls. In ten minutes the soup was gone. All the dishes were put away and the counters wiped down already and the parents turned as one to G'Cinderella to inform her to clear her nights for the next week.

G'Cinderella went to bed with her head down, but her stomach full. Her head was also full, but with thoughts of how much she wish the soup had tasted as bad as carrot soup sounds. Next time... next time.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Online Messaging

In college, I was a big fan of Gaim. This software combined the features of MSN messenger, aim, and google chat into one program so you didn't have to have 3 separate programs running at once. Last week, I went to download Gaim only to find that it was now called Pidgin. Anyway, I downloaded the software and have been playing with it for about a week after setting up or re-activating my screen names and deleting buddies I never talk to on MSN messenger, aim, and google chat. There was an unknown buddy I didn't delete. That was put in its own "Random" section.

Now, today I decided to find what other messenger services there are out there on this world wide web of ours. Obviously, the first place I looked was on facebook. When I first downloaded Pidgin, I went on facebook and put up my screen names for the three services I used so I could get to chatting right away. Now I went back to see what other services facebook suggests I use. I realized though that facebook doesn't have a spot for MSN chat, but instead I listed myself under Windows Live. So many questions ran through my head: Is this the same thing? What does MSN stand for anyway? What the hey is Windows Live? Is there a such thing as Windows Dead? Do I know anyone who uses this?

To answer my first question I did what anyone would do and downloaded Windows Live. Yes, it is the same thing as MSN chat. I confirmed this because I was not only able to sign in, but the one friend I have who uses MSN was right there on my buddy list. After uninstalling Windows Live (because I have Pidgin), I was able to answer my next question with a quick wiki search. Of course it stands for Microsoft Network. Duh. Why wouldn't everything be run by them? Ah, it really brought me back to my Hotmail days... Um, as for the "What is Windows Live?" question, I decided it was a pretty stupid question and therefore did not need to be answered. Also, a google search of "windows dead" did come up with a post on this blog about the Windows Live software. Lastly, does anyone use this? Well, I know that my friends over in England did and do, but that's about it. A search of profiles on facebook showed me that two of my friends have either the word "windows" or "live" in their "Quotes." Looking at the profiles of people that have recently posted on my wall, all I found out was that the random screen name on aim I didn't delete actually does belong to someone random.

In conclusion, I'm not even sure if Windows Live actually works with Pidgin since I've only seen the one person whose screen name I know on it once and, although I am able to talk to myself, it's hard to check if it's working if you never actually use it. I guess I'll stick with the chatting services I do know and stay "Out to lunch."

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Pride and Prejudice

Riding a train during rush hour is like the worst high school dance ever. At my high school, they'd bus in kids from the other prep schools and cram us all into a space half the size of the gym. It was crowded and hot and thoroughly uncomfortable. You could walk from one side to the other in search of water or light and get groped from any direction. People were so compacted into the space, most of the time they weren't even trying to molest your person on purpose. I'm surprised unplanned teen pregnancy and the herpes weren't more common among the dance-going populations.

So that is what riding a train during rush hour feels like to me. This morning I straddled some "sleeping" guy, gave and received full body feel-ups to at least three men, and had some ten-year-old kid's head fall onto my chest every time he fell asleep. Alright, I think the kid was doing that on purpose. Cheeky.

Needless to say, I like to pretend I'm anywhere else when I ride the train and this is where Pride and Prejudice comes in. Riding the trains, I finally read the whole book. Silently and to myself. Yeah, I'd definitely read it again. Aloud and to someone else. Reading the first few chapters with Molly&etc, the movies seemed to have followed the book "to the T," but then it started to expand and go more in depth than the movies (as books tend to do). I give it five thumbs up. Unfortunately, memorable characters such as Mrs. Bennet were less than memorable when read silently. When I listen to her talk in my head, sure it's funny, but all the people in the train look at me when I start laughing out loud. This is very awkward since there isn't a lot of room for head turning.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Judyta from Poland

An inquiry was submitted for ad #38768 posted on GaijinPot
Details follow:

Name of sender: Judyta Williams
Email of sender: judytawi@email.com
Message: Hello,

This is judyta from Poland.

I am writing from the hospital in Cote d’Ivoire, therefore this mail is very urgent as you can see that I am going home.



I was told by the doctor that I was poisoned and has got my liver damaged and can only live for some months.

I inherited some money ($5.700 Million) from my late father and I cannot think of anybody trying to kill me apart from my step mother in order to inherit the money, she is an Ivorian by nationality.

This liver problem started immediately after the will was reveal to the family, so I want you to contact

This nurse with this information below:

Mrs Hannah Christopher.

Address: Rue De La Princess L/G 152 CoCody

Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire.

Email: hannahchris@email.com





She will give you the documents of the money and will direct you to a well known lawyer that I have appointed to her, the lawyer will assist you to change the documents of the money to your name to enable the bank transfer the money to you.



This is what I want you to do when you have gotten the money:-

(1) Give 5% of the money to my nurse, Mrs Hannah as she has been there for me throughout my illness and I have promised to support her in life. I want you to take her along with you to your country for her to continue her education because she just finish her secondary education I want you to enrol her in to the university.



(2) Give 90% of the money to Charity Organisations and Churches on my name so that my soul may rest in peace.

The remaining 5% should be for you and the people you wish to help in life.



Note:

This should be a code between you and Mrs Hannah in this transaction "25486345" any mail from her, the barrister he will direct you to, without this code "25486345" is not from the barrister, Hannah, the bank or myself as I don't know what will happen to me in the next few hours.



Request the lawyer's international passport, his name is Alexandre Clement. And let Hannah send you her National ID as to be sure of whom you are dealing with. Hannah is so little therefore guide her.



And if I don't hear from you within two days, I will look for another person.

May God bless you and use you to accomplish my wish.

Pray for me always.

Judyta William.

Thank you Father.




This message was generated as an automatic response from
GaijinPot's classifieds. We sincerely apologize if this message
was received in error.

GaijinPot Classifieds
http://www.gaijinpot.com/classifieds/
Contact GaijinPot
http://www.gaijinpot.com/services.php

Thursday, May 15, 2008

From the Wonderful World of Employment

Those of you who have been with me from the beginning will remember my memorable tale of merriment and melancholy when I attempted to interview for a position at Baltimore's Museum of Industry. If you don't remember, here is the actual post. The other day I had a job interview in Tokyo just as memorable, both in the merriment and melancholy categories.

A man I will call H.M. contacted me about the possibility of employing me as a teacher with his company. H.M. does not own said company, which we will call C.E.R., but runs one of the branches and asked me to come in to meet with both him and his boss. After getting over my initial fear that I would be sliced to death with my own resume and left for dead by some psycho anti-gaijin, I put on my nicest "employ me or die" outfit and headed out.

Firstly, this place is in the Ota ward of Tokyo and a good hour and a half from my parent's house. I made it the entire way without getting lost, although I did get confused in Yokohama station and literally stood on the platform staring blankly at my train for a full minute trying to figure out if it was actually my train. The train waits for no one and closed it's doors to roll off down the line and leave me staring stupidly behind it. I did eventually regain my senses and ended up getting to the correct station on time instead of early.

One of the first things H.M. said to me when he met me at the train station was that he does not like Japanese people. Odder still, the owner of C.E.R. (a Japanese man), also declared that he does not like Japanese people. Also, that his goal is to have every Japanese person speaking English. Oh yeah, and the school is named after a condo he owns in the mid-west of America. Who owns vacation condos in the mid-west?

So they asked me to come back the next day, which I did, and teach two classes, which I also did, then told me that I will come back next Friday and teach the same classes, which I will. They'll try and process my information for a working visa and the pay would be awesome if I could get full time hours. So this is good, but I'll still apply for some positions on base (which will give me more vacation time and eventually may allow me free housing) and see if I can't get one of those.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

You Tube? "Cleaning My Nose"

Mr. Herve

An inquiry was submitted for ad #38768 posted on GaijinPot
Details follow:

Name of sender: charles
Email of sender: ch_herve100@yahoo.com
Message: From Charles Herve

Abidjan Cote d'Ivoire

Email: ch_herve100@yahoo.com



My dear,



I am Charles Herve and I inherited an important sum of money from my late father who died in a recent crisis in Cote d'Ivoire. I wish to request for your assistance in investing this money in a lucrative venture under your directives and guidance in your country. I want you to assist me for the transfer of this sum of Eight million, five hundred thousand United State Dollars ( $8.500,000 ) to your account designate hence I will give you the contact of the bank where the money is so that you can contact them immediately and discuss with them since I do not know much about financial issues. I will give you some resonable percentage from the total sum for your assistance while I pray that you do not betray me at last. Please it is important you contact me immediately for more clarifications on the next step hence it is my wish to relocate to your country as soon as this transaction is concluded.



God bless you.



Charles Herve.



Tel: +22508622124.


This message was generated as an automatic response from
GaijinPot's classifieds. We sincerely apologize if this message
was received in error.

GaijinPot Classifieds
http://www.gaijinpot.com/classifieds/
Contact GaijinPot
http://www.gaijinpot.com/services.php

Friday, May 9, 2008

Earthquakes? How inconvenient.

Earthquakes at night are okay. I live on the second floor of a house and sleep in a bed towered over by three ceiling-high bookcases. If the world was to fall apart around me, there's really not a lot I could do to save myself. So I roll over and go back to bed without much thought. I usually don't even remember there was an earthquake unless someone reminds me the next day.

The other night, two shock waves from an earthquake rolled past my house. After being woken up by the first wave and turning over to go back to sleep, I was shaken more violently awake on the second round only to wonder briefly if the ground was shaking enough to make the towering bookcases in my room fall on top of me. Then I rolled over and went back to sleep.

A few mornings later, I was reading a book in a chair with my coffee all snuggled in my bathrobe when another shock wave hit the house. I heard my mother get out of bed upstairs when it passed. Now, when it's the middle of the night and I'm half awake and can just let the shaking lull me back to sleep, that is one thing, but when I'm up and conscious, well that's just rude. If I can visualize my parent's four-post bed with my mother still lying in it crashing down and crushing me in my bathrobe, coffee mug in one hand, book in the other, I categorize that as not cool.

Other places I'd categorize as "definitely not cool" to be when an earthquake hits:
train
apartment building
cable car (did that)
motorcycle or scooter or bicycle
scuba diving

Monday, April 28, 2008

Metro East Regionals '08

This Sunday I had the opportunity to watch Pitt women (Danger) play in regional's back door bracket for nationals. It was awesome. On Saturday, I unfortunately had to work all day, but I drove down to Princeton and booked into the same hotel as Danger. From what they told me, they came in to Saturday's play strong. Ranked third, they stomped G-dub (ranked 14th) and Messiah (ranked 11th), but unfortunately lost to Maryland (ranked 2nd) 15-9 during the last game, putting them in the back-door bracket for Sunday. From what they were able to tell me about the Maryland game on Saturday, Pitt was just too tired and run-down to give it a good go. This was unfortunate, but apparently true. Now, on Sunday I saw nothing to confirm reports that Danger played with anything less than their very best.

First game Sunday was against Penn's Venus (ranked 8th going in and would end tied with Penn State for 5th). This was the first time I'd seen this years team play and I was very impressed. I came in a few points behind because I needed to catch a cup of coffee, but Pitt women kept a steady lead (I think) the entire game. One of the great things about the way Pitt was playing was that even thought they stayed a few points ahead of Venus most of the second half, they continued to play as if they were behind. This style of play I think really characterized all their games on Sunday. Anyways, the game ended 15-11 Danger.

Second game was against NYU (ranked 4th going in and would end holding seed). This game was really exciting. Alright, so the Venus game was great, but that may have just been my excitement, I'm not sure. The NYU game really was exciting though. The entire first half we were back and forth on points. Yeah, intense. After the half, though Danger came back to will 15-9.

So after playing NYU, Danger was in the position to move up and take 2nd place and the remaining spot at nationals. Third game was a rematch against Maryland (ranked 2nd going in). Maryland had played against Ottawa (ranked 1st and without real competition the whole weekend) for first place while we were up against NYU. There was really no contest in the match. Ottawa was winning 6-2 when Maryland decided to pull out their good players and just keep putting their rookies on. I can only imagine this strategy was meant to save their energy for the game against Danger. Maryland lost the game against Ottawa 15-2.

Good story, don't know if it's true: Maryland called a foul against Ottawa on Maryland's endzone. Instead of contesting it, the Ottawa girl just laughed and told her she wouldn't score anyway. What balls. Dude.

There had been an hour between the second and third games. At the end of the NYU game, Danger's adrenaline was up and I think that the hour between the games was more harmful than helpful, giving their body's time to rest, yes, but also lowering the adrenaline levels that allowed them to push their tired bodies as hard as they needed. As it was, Maryland took half 8-6 and came back after half to take the game 15-7. So Maryland is going to nationals and Danger held seed at third. Really, I think they played great and I've never been more excited on the sidelines.

Soon to come, a rundown on all the Danger girls.

You can find all the actual scores and final rankings here on the official upa scores website.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I only know that I'm sure I am hooked on the mem'ry of you

'97 Saturn SL - MUST SELL - $1200 or best offer

1997 Saturn 4-door

Must sell in next week!!!

Well maintained
Saturn bike rack on roof
Just passed PA inspection
AC and heat
CD player/radio/AUX hook-up

Asking $1200 or best offer

I love my car, but am moving out of the country and can't take her with me. Please contact me with any questions or to set up a time to look at her/take her for a drive. Thank you.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Springtime, running, and shorts

So springtime has finally come around to this quiet little Pennsylvania town. It is a time for change and rebirth. I decided that I am moving back to Japan. This is reason for excitement and anxiety, but goes well with the weather. One of the great things about going back to Japan is the possibility of playing ultimate on the regular again. In May alone there are at least two tournaments going on and I'm in terrible ultimate shape. Obscene amounts of coffee and french fries every day do something to a girl. With that in mind, I've decided to get back into shape beginning with a run yesterday.

Both of my roommates were track runners in high school and college, but I've never been much of a runner. The first spring I played ultimate I sprained both my ankles multiple times so that by the time sectionals rolled around I was waddling around on two kankles with my shoelaces off my sneakers. In fact, the following spring someone video taped our team playing during spring break when my shin splints laid me up for three months. Looking back on that footage, I'm surprised I was ever able to run again.

I digress; back to running now. My roommate was nice enough to let me go through some clothes she was giving to Goodwill and I came across a few runner's shorts. You know the kind: really short with built in undies (spankies). So yesterday, since it was such a fine day, I decided to pull a pair on and try them out. Immediately I was hit with a dilemma: um, is this underwear or not? With the roomies out at a tournament I decided to wing it and just go with what was most comfortable.

Thoughts on the "right" way to dress for running kept me company my entire run. I was quite comfortable on my lower half, but was coming to regret my choice to wear long-sleeved under armour. Why not go with the less-is-more tactic when it comes to running? More skin-to-air contact means a cooler body and doesn't that make more sense in the spring/summer? It slowly became clear to me that men competing in the Olympics went around in the buff not because they were all homosexuals, but because it really was just more comfortable that way. Unfortunately, I don't think running without a sports bra would be comfortable at all. Maybe running in a sports bra and runner's shorts is the way to go. So what if I got a little jiggle in my middle? It's my body, I do what I want.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Bold As Brass

[This post contains material of the intimate variety and should not be read by my family. Don't say I didn't warn you.]

I currently live with two very good friends of mine, Caley and Justin, who happen to be engaged to each other. This is a very good situation for me, but I understand their need for some personal space and try to make myself as scarce as possible at certain times. When they're out and I have the house to myself however, I do take the liberty of doing things I would not do otherwise such as walking around in my sports bra or taking a long, quiet bath.

It came to pass one day that I had the house to myself all morning. I took this opportunity to straighten up my room in anticipation of a visit from my dad in the evening. I washed all my clothes and bed linens and sorted through some papers I had lying around. Since I was cleaning everything in the room, I decided to take my boy toy out and give him a good cleaning too. (Of course these sorts of things should be cleaned as often as they're used, but some extra attention doesn't hurt either.) I recommenced the general cleaning, fixing the bed, straightening up the kitchen, etc. Finally the time came to go to work and I left the house with only the dirty bowls left to be washed and the dog left outside.

About an hour into work I realized that the house was not ready for my father to come visit. Aside from the dishes not being done and the dog now soaked from the sudden storm outside, I had left my boy toy on the bathroom counter to air dry and never put him away. Justin would be home already and my father would be there by the time I returned from work. Knowing that Justin was fond of using the guest bathroom for number two emergencies and my father would undoubtedly need to use the restroom after the drive, I was anticipating embarrassment all around. I called my roommate immediately. Justin didn't pick up so I couldn't warn him from entering the guest bathroom. I called Caley and gave her warning, but she was spending the weekend out of town and could do nothing to protect me from fate.

Fortunately, fate had my back. My father called to say that he was not going to come over that night. Still, Justin would be home. I awaited the end of my shift in a state of anxiety. There was a chance he would avoid using the guest bathroom altogether. If he did use it however, the strain on our relationship may be too much to bear. At 9:30 I rushed from work, rehearsing a light-hearted yet apologetic speech for my poor roommate to assuage any discomfort he may be feeling at the sight of my boy toy bold as brass on the front of the bathroom counter.

When I got home I immediately rushed into the bathroom and grabbed my boy toy from the counter and put him back in his place. Only after I had him safely and discretely stored again did I realize that my roommate was not in the house. His car was not in the garage, but the door had been unlocked, the lights had been on, and there was no note as to his whereabouts.

To this day, I don't know if he ever went in to that bathroom and saw that boy toy sitting there at a full salute on the counter or not. If he did, he has done a first class acting job keeping it to himself. Still though, he did run out of the house awful quick for no reason that evening. Eventually I learned he had gone to Home Depot and there will always be that suspicion in my mind that he went into that bathroom, looked at the counter, and immediately left the house in search of a place to reinforce his masculinity. Who's to say he didn't? He's not talking.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Paralyzer

Why would you make a song about not moving that's so darn fun to dance around to? If this song was really playing and some chic was really "standing still," I would say she's probably deaf and blind.

Monday, March 31, 2008

PROMISES Message

Dare to wink at someone driving past today. Listen to your heart beat fearless and love completely. Make your eyes dance. Be twinkle.

Friday, March 28, 2008

BAM!

Literally just finished a gauntlet with some of the yarn left over from my sock/tabi project the other day. Virb, you totally got this one.

US#7dpn, 1 skein Lion Wool
CO 36 and join
K1P1 rib for 10 rows
6 rows stock st
knit loose piece of yarn onto 6 st
continue stock st in round for 30 more rows
K1P1 rib for 10 rows
BO
[thumb]
remove loose yarn
pick up 14 st and join
knit 3 rows stock st
knit 5 rows P1K1 rib
BO
sew in loose yarn

Knit Now, Suicide Later

Lately, I've been spending a lot of time sitting around wondering what I'm should do with myself. You know, occupationally. I could work at Giant, be a nanny, or go back to Japan and write a book, but the fact of the matter is, I'd much rather sit on my butt all day reading newspapers and knitting. This doesn't really get you out of the house much though. I'm reminded of a saying a resident hottie in my freshman dorm (Yeah, I'm talking to you Dave) loved to recite, "You can sleep when your dead." Ah, puppy love. Anyways, so now I'm telling myself I can knit when I'm old and house-bound, but who's to say that when I'm up there in years I wont have crippling arthritis of the hands? What if I can't knit anymore!? Oh, the wasted years! I think I might just be forced to stab myself with my useless knitting needles.

Conclusion:
You can sleep when you're dead, but you can't knit when you're arthritic. Knit now, suicide later.

On a side note, facebook.com says I'm more desired than 50% of all people. Now, if you take into account that about 51% of all people are actually women, then you could say I'm one of the most desired women in the world (right next to the lesbian-inducing Nicole Kidman). So then why don't I have a date for the b-day? Easy, the ugos are keeping me down.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

American Tabi

[For those without knitting skilz, this may get boring/technical. For those with knitting skilz, the pattern is still probably going to be confusing. Virb, if you want to make them let me know and I'll send you a step-by-step.]

I finished my first pair of socks this week. I wanted something I could wear around the house since it's always a bit on the cold side what with the wind around here and trying to conserve heat. I also wanted something that would allow me to slip on my flip flops for quick runs to the store. Plus, I got a great pair of hiking boots last month and I only have one comfortable pair of hiking socks. I finally decided on a high ankle wool sock with a split between the big toe and the little toes.

I bought two skeins of Lion Wool from Wally World. Here is the pattern I came up with on US#7 dpns:


[ankle]
CO 40 sts and join
work 10 rows in K1P1 rib
work 10 rows in stock st
[heel]
put front 20 st on holder
work other 20 st in stock st for 15 rows (for heel flap)
K13, turn, sl1, K7, turn, sl1
K8, turn, sl1, K8, turn, sl1
K9, turn, sl1, K9, turn, sl1
K10, turn, sl1, K10, turn, sl1
K11, turn, sl1, K11, turn, sl1
K12, turn, sl1, K12, turn, sl1
K13, turn, sl1, K13, turn, sl1
K14, turn, sl1, K14, turn, sl1
K15, turn, sl1, K15, turn, sl1
K16, turn, sl1, K16, turn, sl1
K17, turn, sl1, K17, turn, sl1
K18, turn, sl1, K18, turn, sl1
K19, turn, sl1, K19
pick up 12 st on each side of heel flap
K from all needles (64 sts total)
K11, dec1, K18, dec1, K31
cont. decreasing at top on heel flap until 40 sts remain

[foote]
K40 in stock st 25 rows
[toes]
next row, K35 then knit CO 6 and join 10st after CO start to create big toe (16 st around)
work big toe in stock st for 9 rows
row 10 - dec every 4 st
row 11 - dec 4 times evenly and BO
pick up 6 st along big toe knit CO
K36 around toes
dec 2 at pinkie toe every other row 4 times
dec 2 at pinkie toe and 2 at big toe once
K last row then use 3 needle BO
fin.

(Note about photos, in the first photo, the little hole between the big toe and the rest is just a loose strand I haven't sewn in yet and in the second one you can see my mom's sweater vest project lying on the floor... waiting for her to send me the rest of the yarn... so close to finished... SEND ME THAT BLEEPING YARN!!!)

Gotta Stay Stateside - My Show's On!

As many of you know (I'm looking at you, TallE), I'm currently adrift in the seas of minimum skills, minimum wages, and minimum hours at my local Giant grocery's deli department. It's not bad work. It's not great either. Many are asking, "Genny with a 'g', you are a reasonably intelligent person with two degrees out of college. Why don't you get a real job?" Firstly, I kind of like the minimalist feeling of Giant. Secondly, have you ever noticed how unpretentious normal people are? It's great. At work, people talk about things like what day cares are good around here and when their trucker boyfriend is coming back into town. I really kind of like it. Especially since I don't want to leave the US.

I don't want to leave the US because my show comes on over here. It's called Paradise Hotel 2 and until I can watch that quality programming online, I'm staying stateside. If you're going to watch reality television, you can't go wrong with a show based on who hooks up with who and who back stabs who. For example, during last weeks episode, Charte (the ultimate instigator) totally got turned on by the entire group and kicked off. Meanwhile, Krista (the virgin) is still totally insecure about herself and Raheim's aggressive mood swings are getting rediculous. Alright, I'll stop there. I know there are only about 30 other people that watch the show. I hate how stupid the show is, but I love how stupid the people can be. All the "sharing is caring"? Well, that just reminds me of Dawson's Creek and a whole generation was hooked on that one.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

New Freedom

Sorry it's been so long.

I quit my job at Fossil Rim (sorry Rob, but no rhino scratching videos). I moved from Glen Rose, Texas to New Freedom, Pennsylvania stopping to see Charlie in Wilmington, North Carolina along the way. I now have a room in Caley&Justin's new home in New Freedom.

As I explore my options for a new job, I've got a part time gig in the deli department at Giant's grocery store. I know what you're thinking, but I really enjoy the work. My co-workers are all nice enough and the work is enough to keep me occupied. I'm I looking for a management position? Nah, I'll let someone else take care of that responsibility. This way, I get to learn everything I never thought I wanted to know about my deli meats, cheeses, and store-made salads and slaws.

(Note to knitters: I'm almost done with my mom's sweater vest. Expect pics some time in April.)

Friday, February 29, 2008

Video: Roan Walking Past

Here is a video I took about two minutes ago of a Roan walking past my house. On the hill behind her, first you'll see four Hartman's Zebras and them another Roan.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Insomniatic

I think there might be a connection between cooking, baking cookies, and insomnia. Have there been any studies on this?

Symptoms:
-Long periods of contemplation over ex-loves.
-Imagined spider bites from imagined brown recluses between real bedsheets.
-"Tired" missing from the menu.

Possible Causes:
-Homemade cookies.
-Homemade chili.
-Homemade ceasar dressing.
-An open window with no screen and a recently acquired knowledge of the brown recluse.
-Stupid boys.
-A cup of coffee 12 hours ago.

5 hours 'til work.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Still Knitting Strong

Don't worry, not matter where I go I still knit. Two of my most recent projects have been a shrug and a head scarf.

The shrug came from the Spring 2006 issue of Interweave Knits magazine. It is called the "Streakers Shrug" and was designed by Pam Allen. The recommended yarn is la Lana Wool Streakers!, but I used some Noro's Cash Lane I bought on sale instead. Except for only knitting a 3 inch, not a 4 inch, hem, I was able to follow the pattern exactly. The Only problem I have with my finished project, and this may be related to my missing inch, is that it falls off my shoulders a lot. I made the larger size to accomidate for my long wingspan, but if you are on the smallish size with a longer wingspan, I recommend you just add a few inches to the cuffs on the smaller size (the sizing is by wingspan).

The head scarf is knitty.com's Calorimetry. I used the last of my Lamb's Pride Worsted. Because the gauge was off and I have a smaller head than most, I didn't cast on as many stitches as Kathryn Schoendorf's pattern called for.

Well, I'm on go #5 or #6 for my mother's vest so I'd better get back to it. Laters!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Fossil Hunting & Cave Dwelling

Today, when the other two interns were off, the education dept. went on a group trip to go fossil hunting. Our host, "Bussy", lead the 6 of us ladies, a volunteer from Fossil Rim, and two people from the local magazine doing a story up to a ranch where he showed us the best ways to find fossils then let us walk around for a bit collecting them. I didn't get any photos of the area, but I did get a bunch of fossils. Here are some pictures and what I think they are:


Ammonites - interior molds


???


Gastropods - interior molds


These are two complete arrowheads my boss found. They are very fragile, so it's really a great find. A specialist is going to take a look at them and tell us what kind of arrowheads they are.

After the fossil hunt, Bussy took us to a cave cut into the rocks by water. A solutional cave cut out by a river didn't have many fossils to show, but I got some shots of the area, so here they are:




Lunch time! Also, Bussy told us a story about the caves' first family of settlers and about the discovery of a 7' woman's mummified body they found there.


Baby stalactites!


Bussy at the top of the waterfall that marked the end of the caves.


Well, that's the end of my day. What did you do?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dinosaur Valley National Park

Last weekend, my Janine and I took our day off to go to one of the other local parks near exciting Glen Rose, Texas. Dinosaur Valley National Park (DVNP) is a few minutes from Glen Rose in the middle of this gorgeous countryside (blackland prairies). The park is named for the various fossilized dinosaur footprints that have been preserved within the Paluxy River.

This is one of the two "life" size dinosaur statues here on the park. Of course, this is a Tyranasuarus Rex (which never lived in this area) and this is an old statue (the tail is dragging on the ground).

One of the great things about this park is that you can swim in the Paluxy. Since the hiking trails follow the river and it's estuaries, this is a really great thing in the summer (I imagine). Unfortunately, there are no life guards; that's what the jugs are for.

As this area has gone through a bunch of different environmental phases, there are some pretty interesting rock formations. On our hike, Janine and I spotted this cool rock formation that looked like a giant diving board. GIANT. The photo doesn't really show you how long it sticks out, but it stuck out a good 30 feet from the cliff.

This isn't a very good picture, but it shows a couple really great things I like about this area. The water is so clear, it's amazing. Also, the land is real flat so you can see miles in the distance, but there are always beautiful trees and soft hills decorating the view. I'm not very good with words, so I'll leave it at that.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

US SE RT 08 Conclusion [Part 2]

Saturday, 2 February, 2008

I wanted to start on my trip at noon, but as my brother and I are sitting around having brunch I walk in to his kitchen to find it full of smoke. "Um, Charlie, have you lit anything lately?" Apparently the furnace broke. So after a late start I was on the road to Texas. Along 76/74 there were multiple "Ron Paul for President" signs. Unfortunately I wasn't able to go back up 87, so I couldn't test out TallE's theory of fried chicken fries as gas. I'm sure it would have worked.

Anyways, I wanted to get to Georgia before I stopped for the night, so it was straight on to I-95 and South of the Border with me.



South Carolina was pretty much the same as North Carolina only more southernly.

By the time I got in to Georgia, I was really tired, but I didn't want to stop until I was on the other side of Atlanta. Unfortunately I couldn't make it that far and stopped at a motel near Meriden for the night. Now, I know motels are the butt-crack of overnight lodging, but I think they're pretty nice. The walls are usually sound, the water is always hot, and cheap food is guaranteed to be near by. In this case, the food was KFC. After those fries in South Carolina, it only seemed right. Yes, it was as gross as you think it is. Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed it. After a nice long shower it was to bed with me to rest up for a drive the next day to make up for lost time. (Unfortunately I was unable to get a photo of the GA welcome center because it was too dark.)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

US SE RT 08 Conclusion [Part 1]

I have been without internet for quite some time now, so I was unable to give proper updates on how the road trip went. Fortunately, I have it now AND I have all the time in the world to send out the 411 so here it is:


My travels began in Wilmington, North Carolina along the Atlantic coast. The great thing about Wilmington is location. Yes, it has your rows of strip malls up and down the city, but it also has a quaint little downtown area that transforms from antique shops, a used book store, and a great coffee place during the day and a dozen or so bars and clubs at night.

While some people have those cute southern accents, the majority of young people in this college town talk with more subtle regional accents. The most interesting sight in the city is a giant Ron Paul sign in someones front yard along one of the main roads. I wish I had taken a photo, but the majority of my stay looked like the photo above.


On the days that were sunny, I headed out to Wrightsville Beach a few minutes away to study for my internship on the beach. Wrightsville Beach is one of the highlights of Wilmington. Actually, it might be the highlight. Even in January it was gorgeous and breezy. People constantly go for walks along the water and the parking is free out of season.

While I've never visited my brother in the summer, I can't wait to go back after my internship. Surfing is popular along the coast there as is SCUBA. Also, my brother and his boss just opened their tattoo parlor/art gallery there last week and while I saw it right before I came to Texas, I look forward to seeing it after it's been lived in for a few months.

[Photo of shop here.]

Monday, January 28, 2008

Fried Chicken Fries???

Driving from Fayetteville to Wilmington in North Carolina along US 87, I stopped for a snack in a mom and pop's gas station. The sign on the builing said, "North Carolina's Best Hamburgers!" Reading this, I had to stop. I went in and there weren't any burgers. There was fried chicken, however. Lots of it. Personally, I'm not big on fried chicken and since I was hoping to eat while driving, fried chicken seemed like a bad choice. I asked the woman at the counter for an order of their fries, displayed in the center of the fried chicken thighs and breasts like some unidentifiable extra chicken appendage.

After getting back in the car and back on the road, I open up the styrofoam container and pull out one of the longest steak fries I'd ever seen. It was a steak fry in the truest sense: literally a quarter of a giant potato was sitting in my hand. I bite in and promptly spit it back out. The fries had been dipped in the fried chicken batter before they were put in the grease themselves. I did eat all the fries and be the last one I had started getting used to the fried chicken-like crust with the mushy potato center. If you're ever on US 87 about fifteen miles outside Wilmington, North Carolina and you see a gas station with a sign for "Carolina's Best Hamburgers," stop in and get an order of fries. They're definately a taste you wont find anywhere else.

Friday, January 25, 2008

SE US RT 08

Today I planned out the route for the great SE US RT 08 (South Eastern United States Road Trip of 2008). Below is said route:


View Larger Map

Thursday, January 24, 2008

North Caroliner: Couldn't Be Finer

I travel a lot, relative to those who don't travel as much as me. In US though my travels have mainly been confined to the North East, except for the occasional trek south for spring break or to visit my brother here in NC. This time I'm in the South though, I'm here not for pleasure, but business. That's right, it is a straight-laced, no nonesense, keep your hands where I can see them and four on the floor assignment. That assignment? Well, I've already told you. Gosh, you could at least pretend to read the blog.

Tuesday: Finally got to Fayetteville at midnight. Charlie dropped me off then headed out to Wilmington. In the morning I went out and tried to start the Saturn and Fiat. Neither car started up. After hanging out with the tow truck guy as he took an hour to super-jump both cars, I was off to get the Fiat's oil changed. Spent the rest of the day looking for a place that would change the oil on the Fiat. Apparently due to a low muffler, no one wants to use their lift on it or drive it over their pit - I know, it is a mystery to me too. Take nap. Get internship.

Wednesday: Spend the morning calling garages to see if they'll change the Fiat's oil. Find out that people with thick Southern accents have trouble understanding me. A lot of trouble. Like, I could have been speaking Swedish. Finally find a place to do it. Change oil in Fiat. Put Fiat in storage. Take nap. Change oil in Saturn. Change air filter in Saturn. Replace light on Saturn.

Thursday: Buy coffee. Bring Saturn in for check-up. Go shopping.

Now, what does the first part have to do with the rest? Well, I've had the opportunity to interact with a lot of service people the past couple of days and I can tell you that either I have an inaccurate memory of how people in the service industry act in US or service is just nicer in the South, because except for a silly high schooler at a sporting goods store today, everyone was real nice. They weren't even the more formal "let me serve you" nice, but the friendly, chummy kind. It was... nice.

How much does service change when you go to a different place?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

2008: It's Gonna Be Great

Two very important things going on right now:

1. Going back to the states.
2. Got an mp3 player.



Let's start with no. 2. Ever since I touched Molly's Creative mp3 player, I knew I had to be just like her. Last Thursday I became the proud parent of a Creative Zen V: Plus. Unfortunately, I have been unable to name it. I've always named my computers (Matthew, Oscar, Samuel.) and I don't feel like this mp3 player should be any different, but I just cannot pick a name. The problem is, I think this mp3 player is a chic. This is a picture of it; I wanted to get a photo of my actual player, but I think I've packed my camera.



That brings me to my next important thing. I'm heading out to Raleigh, North Carolina tomorrow. Technically, I will be staying with my brother who lives in Wilmington. While I'm there I will be putting my mother's car in storage and selling/fixing/donating my own car (Virgin Mary), both in Fayetteville. For those not familiar with North Carolina geography, Raleigh is two hours west of Fayetteville and Fayetteville is two hours west of Wilmington. Also, I haven't talked to my brother about how I'm going to take care of the cars from a different county or even if he'll be so kind as to pick me up from the airport.

Fortunately, there is a silver lining to this seemingly impossible conundrum:

!!!!!DUNKIN DONUTS!!!!!