Wednesday, July 29, 2009

XKCD has done it again

One of the favorite parts of my job so far has been picking out toys to give to our (future) kid participants as prizes. Including deciding if I should get the Lego pirate or the Lego helicopter (I got 3 of each). And instead of Batman, I went with Hannah Montana and Transformers.

Speaking of my job, the lab is nearly ready to go! After a week of working out of my PIs' apartment and another week in the newly renovated and full of windows lab with no furniture, all of our furniture was set up on Monday, so the lab is really beginning to look like a lab rather than a random assortment of half unpacked boxes and mismatched stolen/borrowed chairs.

My PIs were not stingy with their start-up funds. The lab is outfitted with 3 Mac Pros, 5 iMacs (there are only 4 of us for now), and a bunch of Mac minis with giant LCD screens for running participants. And our desk chairs are awesomely ergonomic, even if they're not as awesome as the Aeron chair one of the PIs got for his office. Yes, got some chair envy going on, but, as he joked, you need at least 20 publications for an Aeron, so I got a ways to go.

Oh, and we have a giant plush giraffe:

While picking out toys and office supplies was fun, the best part is yet to come. Our first protocol (one of the first I've ever written) has finally been approved for expedited ethics review! That means that we'll be able to run participants soon! At least, as soon as we find them. I would ask if any of y'all know any young'uns in the Rochester area willing to be research participants, but I didn't write recruiting via the YPMB Oh Nine blog into the protocol, so it's probably not allowed.

There's a thing at the Rochester public library tonight that I can't decide if I want to go to. It would mean skipping dinner (because I don't want to skip kickboxing) and showing up late. By then, the free crepes might be gone! The main draw is the subway tours. Why tour a subway, you ask? Because it's an abandoned subway!

Back when Rochester was teh shit and Kodak and Xerox were doing well, the city built a subway system. Unfortunately, Kodak's late arrival to the digital camera age eventually led them to lay off half their workforce, and Xerox wasn't doing too hot either (as my roommate put it, pdf killed Xerox), and the city's population hemorrhaged away. By the time the subway was finished, there weren't enough people left to justify actually running it, so they sealed it up and never used it.

Kind of sad, how a whole city can just die like that. There are parts of Rochester that look like the shabbiest chunks of New Haven, and then there are skyscrapers and architectural works that rival NYC or Austin or any other big city. I think it's a good Rosa-sized city.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Greetings from Washington, D.C.!

Hi y'all! Hope everyone has been having a great summer so far. Things are going really well with me. As you know, I've had the pleasure of entertaining Carly, Monica, and Rebecca and her parents at my house, although I did not see any of them there. But my mom and sister say they are all lovely, which is of course true. My June was spent at my beloved summer camp, Strong River, in Pinola, Mississippi (aka totally the middle of nowhere). I had great cabins of boys aged ten to thirteen, and spent my mornings blueberry picking and working at the high ropes course, and my afternoons on the river, plus eating lots of good Southern cooking to top it off. I could write about it all night, but I'll move on.
I came up here to D.C. on July 8th, and moved into the sweet apartment Steve picked out for us. Our apartment is slowly starting to look like home, but I'm still waiting for some furniture, so it's a little sparse right now. I started work with IBM on July 13th with a week of orientation with my fellow new hires, who are smart and interesting and nice young people, which is really good. For the past week and a half I've been doing some proposal work and waiting for my security clearance to go through, which it did today. So I'll probably be getting to work for real starting next Monday on a project with the TSA. I'm pretty excited about that, and being a big kid in general.
DC has been outstanding so far. I've seen a lot of friends from school, like Homer and Carly, and friends from outside of the band. One of those friends is from camp, and I got to have lunch last week with the her and her dad, who just happens to be Obama's new Secretary of the Navy, in his private dining hall, which was one of the coolest things I've done in a real long time. I did feel that it was a slightly hilarious scene, though, because she's only seventeen and a rising high school senior. So despite now wanting to date her, and having not canoodled with her ever, it kind of felt like I was meeting one of the parents in that important first meeting. But Ray Mabus is a really cool guy, so I just laughed on the inside.
Seems from the posts like most of y'all are doing well. I miss you all, and think about fun times with the YPMB a lot. I look forward to keeping y'all in the loop about my life and seeing everyone at The Game come November. Take care!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

hey guys? i'm scared.

Dear '09,
I miss you all a lot. You know how, when you miss someone, you start to see them subconsciouly in the faces of strangers? Even ones that don't really look anything like the people in question? Well, I saw Alex crossing the street, Carly on the train, etc etc.
This isn't helping the fact that I've got a tremendous amount of anxiety about moving, settling into Baltimore, and going back to school. I'm really not at all sure that I want to go to school at all, or that I want a job in academia... It's kind of crushing me right now. :-(
I wondered if y'all had any thoughts for me-- what career path (aside from academic) did/do you see me in?
On a happier note, I got to see some dead folk this weekend (Hudson and Hergenhan), which was nice. And I also now own a car-- a not-thrilling but perfectly practical 2004 Chevy Malibu.
<3 to all!

PS-- sorry for being a buzzkill.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Are we there yet?

First, my apologies for being relatively MIA thus far this summer; this whole planning-for-my-new-life thing while still working in lab takes quite a lot of time! That said, I am definitely starting to get antsy. I move to Philadelphia in a little over a month--my program starts after Labor Day, so I want to make sure I have time to familiarize myself with the city before it starts--and I feel both incredibly prepared and totally unready. Sure, I've done all the things that Penn asked me to do--I filled out my payroll forms, I sent in my W-4, et cetera--but every time I look at the pile of things I took home from school that I need to sort through before the end of August, I shudder. What to bring? What to leave? And of what I leave home, how much can I actually afford to replace on my grad school stipend? The next year will be a Budgeting Adventure.

One way or another, the ball is rolling, and I am anxious to get the next stage of my life started. Sitting around in lab, tying up some loose ends from my senior project... that's all well and good. But get me to the City of Brotherly Love!

I mean, come on, there are hot pretzels. And Cheese Steaks!

...and science, too, I guess.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

what I did with my summer vacation

Basically: went to Mississippi, went to Texas, learned how to be a teacher (ish), went back to Mississippi to find a house/etc, went to Washington, tomorrow leaving to drive back to Mississippi. Phew!

So you know (or you may not) how everyone says TFA institute is so horrible and OH MY GOD THE WORST FIVE WEEKS OF MY LIFE? really wasn't. I mean, it was hard work, sure, but somehow I managed to get through it, and it really wasn't half bad. Even though I did have to get up at 5 every morning. I took some classes, and I taught some classes, and I learned a LOT (lesson 1: you might think 6th graders could share markers without throwing them at each other; you would be wrong). I also convinced my class, who then spread the rumor throughout the entire school, that I was 51 years old and looked so good on account of all the plastic surgery. (Lesson 2: 6th graders are gullible as hell).

At the end of institute, I was chatting with my adviser and he asked me if I felt ready to teach for real now. Putting aside the question of exactly how well teaching 6th grade social studies will prepare me to teach K-6 general music (jury's still out on that one), I came up with the following analogy:
This summer, it's like I was learning to swim. I was wearing little water wings, and there were a bunch of people around me, holding me hand and making sure I didn't drown. The water was about two feet deep. No problem. And now they're THROWING ME OFF THE DEEP END INTO SHARK-INFESTED WATER.
I'm exaggerating a little. The sharks aren't that bad (how much trouble can five-year-olds cause, really?) (famous last words!) and I'll still have people holding my hand. But still.

Anyway, so I then went back to the Delta for a few days where I had a whirlwind of findaroommatefindahousemeettheschoolsuperintendantbuyfurnituremoveinopenabankaccount HOLY CRAP being a grownup entails a lot of stuff! It was crazy, but after two and a half days I am now moved into a two-bedroom townhouse in Greenwood, Mississippi with one roommate and (as of now) very very little furniture.

I did buy a bed, though, which was the highlight of last week. Partly because it meant I no longer had to sleep on a pile of blankets on the floor, but mostly because it was delivered by two muscle-bound young men (Chris: no. Good grief), both wearing grimy baseball caps, identical t-shirts with Confederate flags, BOTH NAMED CODY. Amazing.

And so now I'm back at home for a couple of days, and tomorrow, my parents and I leave to drive back to the Delta!

School starts August 3rd. Yippee!

Monday, July 20, 2009

gainful employment

I got a job!!!!

I know I posted it on facebook, but since I like you guys better than most of the ppl I'm facebook friends w/, I wanted to share w/ you all.

I'll be working at the Department of Homeland Security, putting together the Secretary's daily briefing book. I start in a few weeks, and I'm super excited.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Chapter One of Life as a Real Person

Scratch the whole teaching 3rd grade and Spanish thing. I will now be teaching kindergarten, which as we all know means one thing - naptime! Whew, this is like my third assignment change since Wednesday. I guess this is what they meant when people told me teachers need to be flexible.


Friday officially marked my one week anniversary in New Orleans. I've settled into my new sweet apartment (after my air conditioner not working for the first day and a half; I did get to sleep in Ned's bed for a night, though!). My school's professional development started on Wednesday, and I've got to say that I am so impressed with the people I'll be working with. My two principals are incredibly cool, and so focused on closing the achievement gap and making our school be a shining beacon in the dark of the New Orleans public school system. I've also found out what I'll be teaching! Ms. Cooper will be helping out with 3rd grade language arts and teaching Spanish! This is a little different from what I was originally hired to do, but I think it will work out for the best, and I'm pretty damn excited about it. I'm still a bit nervous about the whole teaching thing, but I've got a great support team, and I've already recruited a veteran teacher to be my mentor.

Hmm...I'm starting to realize this post is a bit boring. I guess I should also mention that one of my principals bought two other teachers and me a round on Bourbon Street as he was out bar hopping with four other gay principals. This amused me greatly. Meh, anyway, time to go attempt to cook dinner.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

updates vaguely more relevant to my life next year

I am a little bitter that this posts things at the time when you start typing, instead of when you hit "publish"- because I definitely didn't write most of the last post at 7:20.   Monica did, in fact, beat me to publishing her post.

Just wanted to add that before we left, I got an apartment for next year!  So you'll all have somewhere to crash for the game.  It's in the 9th square, just on the other side of the tall buildings on the Green. 116 Court St, to be precise. The place is furnished and comes with a flat screen TV, desks, a stocked kitchen, and sweet views of the Green!  And it was a sweet price.  I'm on the 11th floor, which is also awesome, and explains the sweet views.

I'll be living with a girl named Yeney, pronounced ja-Nay.  She's also an incoming 1L, right out of undergrad, from Duke/Miami/Cuba, in reverse chronological order.  She seems quite nice, though very quiet- I'm a little worried that she'll be a "constantly stressed out at law school" person, but that's probably fine.   She seems way more worried about school next year than I am, and I'm reasonably studious... I'm very aware that I'll be doing a ton of work, but the fact that YLS is just plain pass/fail first year means that I'm much more excited than anxious.  That said, I'm excited about her, and we're looking forward to learning how to cook together.  

Steve has already claimed my bed for the Game.  Just FYI.  Sigh.

Ok, have a great night!  And I'm going to post one further picture from our trip:

Hooray!  I don't know why my font just turned blue.  Oh well.  We thought you guys would want some representation at Graceland.  Elvis lives.  Rock on.

All look same

Today at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, a very accomplished and world-renowned French hornist approached me. I was flattered that he would pick me out to introduce himself to me. He asked me how I was as he walked toward me. I started to reply "Good, how are you?" when he began to move in a little too close, so as to give me a hug. I instinctively backed away, and he definitely looked puzzled. He awkwardly asked, "Should I not hug you?" with the most quizzical look ever. I paused for a moment, thinking he would realize his mistake, when for a good 20 seconds he did not. So I said, "I'm sorry I don't think I am who you think I am." It took him a few seconds to figure out the situation. He profusely apologized, saying, "Oh dear! I'm so sorry! I thought you were Sarita!" Sarita, while is Asian and actually looks a little like me, is in fact 10 years older than me, taller by at least a foot, a professor at Yale, and from Australia. The French hornist told me it had been a while since his glasses had been updated and this was a clear sign he needed to get a new pair.

Thank you world.

I miss you all!
ps. i gotta figure out a way to do a digital Mickey!

(soon to be) on the road again

ROAD TRIPPPPPPPPP was awesome. I am planning a more extensive post later - maybe co-written with Carly? Hmm. But it was sweet. We saw 4 bears! and 20 (ish) states! and lots of 09! Alex in Pho-town, Rosa in Austin, Rita in Houston, Greg in Memphis... it was lovely.

Here is a picture:It's at the Marfa Prada, in West Texas. It was my favorite roadside attraction by farrrrr. It's a Prada store but it doesn't actually sell stuff. I love it.

Here is another picture:

It's a bison and it's not using the camera's zoom. We were just minding our own business when he trotted our way (I locked the doors, fyi, obviously) and started rubbing himself on these wooden posts. Conclusions: all animals just want to be rubbed, and bison are adorable.

Here is yet another picture:Here we are in front of the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park. It was like a different planet but definitely one of the cooler hikes we did. Look at those things! Wtf!

But alas, the great American road trip is over. Well, this leg, at least. In the (sad, sad) days since Carly left me for the East coast, I've been planning my hike of the John Muir Trail! It's been pretty good, so far - some small fighting with dad but it's no big thang. I'm mostly just getting psyched for the trip! It's my dad, my sister, Robin and me - we've all hiked together before so we know it'll work in that respect. Now I just have to keep telling myself that yes, of course I can walk 220 miles with a 40-50 lb backpack on! Of course!!

So yeah, now the people at my local outdoor store recognize me. I got an, "Oh hey, it's you again!" when I bought bug spray today. It's not so bad to be recognized there, I guess.

ps I feel old - no more facebook OR oci. ahhhh.

9000 miles what whaaat?! ETC

This post is probably going to be somewhat epic, as Monica and I clearly should have been posting while we were traveling for a month.  Whatevz.

In case you were unaware, we took a ROOOAAAD TRIIIIIP after graduation in a (totally failed) attempt to get our wanderlust under control before more school.

So first I'll do the trip summary- it was called the Epic Square- in numbers!!!  Then, at some stupidly late hour some other night, I will write about some of the most hilarious moments. 

9000: miles 
21: states
2.5: Countries; we could see Mexico, like, 10 yards away once.  And we went to Canada.
5: Mississippi River crossings
10: national parks
10: stories high that the spirally slide in the City Museum of St. Louis was.  
4: versions of America the Beautiful we used as a soundtrack at key dramatic moments.  Elvis and The Muppets were the best.  
7 million: "national forests" or "scenic highways" or other things that you've never heard of that were gorgeous to drive through.
65ish: total miles hiked, not including lots of walking in the cities
8: Members Of... we saw or stayed with (Rosa, Rita, Ned (sort of), Alex, Greg, Robin, Chris, Ali)
4: bears- 3 grizzlies, and 1 light brown Black Bear.  One grizzly was very near us on a trail.  WE ALMOST DIED.  Kind of. 
3: cop cars, including some Border Patrol, it took to give me my first speeding ticket, for going not very fast on a very empty road.  Grumblegrumblegrumble.
1/3: the fraction of the yearly total rainfall that fell while we were camping outside at Big Bend.  In a year, it rains about 5 inches; while we were there, it rained 1.7 inches.  Desert fail?  We hiked in the desert and it felt like a stroll in Seattle in the fall.
1 Tornado.  Yeah.  The drive through West Texas, in the desert, in an unbelievable rainstorm, with a (admittedly not huge, but very real) TORNADO about 400 yards from us on a deserted road with nowhere to turn, was super exciting. w00t
2: times I left really important things in really stupid places
0 moose: great failing of the trip

There are a million stories to tell, and I'm sure we'll tell them when we see you, or, you know, next time I'm online and putzing around and want to write down stories!  Everyone we met was super helpful- I think they were more protective of us because we're two girls.  Lots of cowboy types telling us how we looked "too young to run around all on our lonesomes!" and other such things.

I had high expectations for the trip, but I would have assumed that at some point, something would go wrong; it seemed like it never did, except maybe the hailstorm or weather problems in the desert.  It was honestly probably the best month of my life, I can't believe it's over... and I would gladly get in a car and drive another 9000 miles tomorrow.

In the meantime, I'm home for a while... and Katzman is coming to visit me this weekend!  Yaaaaay friends, I'm really looking forward to having him.  We will do geeky things like go for a bike ride or to a state park near here.  w0000t.

Sometime soon, I'm gonna head to DC to stay with my sister for probably 10 days to 2 weeks ish.  Not quite sure when, but Ned Steve Rachel and whoever else, lets hang out!!!  I miss you all.


PS- anyone else just get facebook invited to Stephanie's GREEK FESTIVAL?   She's my favorite person on facebook, I think.

PPS- about halfway through writing this, I called Monica and discovered that she is also writing a blog post! Dunno if she's posted yet, we'll see! Hers includes pictures. I may add more that I like later.  That was a month worth more than 2  blog posts, especially since so many of you were involved.

PPPS I hope you all like Elvis.  Just saying.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Cooking, Cleaning and Finding a Job

I gotta say, despite Rosa's depressing post about being a real person sucking, I'm loving being a real person.

I took a page out of Rebecca's book and tried being a domestic diva -- SUCESS! A day of cooking later, I have many delicious things frozen in my freezer. Who'd have thunk? And unlike living in a dorm room, I have a real kitchen, with a real full sized fridge (!) and dishwasher and sink and al of the other things that go in a kitchen. yes! And when it came time to clean up my mess, we had real cleaning supplies -- i wasn't scrambling around trying to use paper towels and clorox wipes.

Speaking of cleaning, that was my other task in my first few days of living in DC (woo! unemployed! lots of free time!). I'm living in a house w/ 4 other people -- 3 guys, 2 gals (including me). At least 2 of the guys have lived her for almost a year, and they didn't own a vacuum/broom. Oy. So I went and bought of those and now the house is rather nice. :)

At the moment I'm still looking for a job, but things are looking up. I have 2 serious job prospects, that I'm hoping will pan out. More info in a week or so, when hopefully one will be more concrete. I'm also doing some freelance research assistant type stuff for my boss from last summer. That means lots of time over the past few days sitting at my desk and writing -- it's like college! Except with air conditioning. And getting paid.

Any of you coming through DC (CARLY? MONICA?) should drop by. We have a couch you can sleep on!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Domestic Diva

So, I haven't had much to do at home; therefore, I decided that I would try my hand at being a domestic diva by learning how to cook. The problem is, entrees don't excite me enough to be worth my time cooking while I have someone else (i.e. Mom and Dad) there to cook for me. However, things like dessert we only get if I cook them. Here is a list of what I have cooked so far and their relative successes:

Snickerdoodle cookies - these may have been the best damn cookies I've ever tasted. We devoured them

Peanut butter cookies - good, but not nearly as good as the snickerdoodles

Raspberry and Thin Mint homemade ice cream - hand cranked for the 4th of July festivities in Jefferson. It didn't place, but I think it should have. Really damn good.

Peach cobbler - complete disaster but not my fault. I followed Paula Dean's recipe because it was the easiest one I could find, but you couldn't taste the peaches though all the butter.

Chocolate mousse - good (anything would have been good after the cobbler), but I think I maybe burned the chocolate a little bit or something - it wasn't completely smooth and had little bits of chocolate sprinkled grittily throughout.

Also, I broke the kitchen faucet in my house last night. Granted it was already a little broken but I gave it the final nudge it needed to completely fall apart. Oops. Guess it's a good time to move out. New Orleans here I come! God, I've got a ton of packing left to do.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Texas adventures

I'm not going to lie, you guys. Houston kind of blows. It is HOT and humid and seems (at least in my experience) to be long on the faceless concrete urban wasteland and short on the character and/or charm.

Still, though, Texas has highlights!

1) Carly and Monica came to visit on their road trip!

(seen here in my oh-so-charming dorm room)

2) I went to San Antonio this weekend!

Two of the major attractions in San Antonio are pictured below; can you spot them all?

"Yeah, so then the Texans went up to Santa Ana and woke him up from his siesta with a gun in his face, and they were like 'Surprise, we win!' and he was like, 'Awww, shit.'"

--Texas history according to Ben.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


I take it back. Being a real person sucks. Rochester has this thing called the mobile DMV, where they have a roving DMV office that's in a different place every day of the week. So I drive to the nearest place that's open on Thursdays, see no sign of a DMV, pop into a carpet selling store, and am informed that the mobile DMV hasn't been there in about three years. Great...

Fortunately, the carpet sellers are kind enough to look up the next nearest mobile DMV that's open on Thursdays. I drive there and have to stop and ask for directions again. It turns out that it's just across the street. You mean, you can't see it? After all, there's an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of paper in the corner of the window that says DMV. Duh.

I go in. Hooray! No line!

Oops. Their computers are down, so they can't really do anything to help me. What was it I needed anyway?

I tell them that I need a NY license. "Oh no, we don't do drivers' licenses here. You have to go to the main branch." I resist the urge to demand to know what kind of DMV, mobile or otherwise, doesn't do drivers' licenses.

I try to register my car, which is tricky because my dad's still the owner. I pull out the paperwork that I had to foresight to have my dad print and sign back in Austin, along with a photocopy of his license.

"No, that's the wrong form. It's useless. You need this form, and this form, and we need the car owner's original signature here, and here, and here, so you're going to have to get him to mail it to you. No scans or faxes allowed. And you need 6 points of ID for the car owner. An out of state license is only worth 2 points."

I'm given a sheet of different forms of ID, from passports to utility bills, each with their own point values. A passport is worth 4 points, but after I call home, I learn that my dad's between passports right now since he just became a U.S. citizen, so we're going to have to cobble together some other plan. A work ID is 1 point, his naturalization certificate is 3 points, and his TX driver's license is 2 points. That makes 6 points!

Though it's all pointless.

The mobile DMV lady gives me (incorrect) directions to their main branch. After an unplanned detour on the Lake Ontario Parkway, I eventually find it inside a mall, stand in line for half an hour just to get a number, and am told that my estimated wait time is 4 hours and 29 minutes. It's recommended that I come back some other time, when it's not right before a holiday. I'm also told that I don't need to re-register my car because my dad's the owner, and if he's a Texas resident, the car can keep its Texas plates. If I get pulled over and a cop tries to ticket me, I can tell him that the DMV said it was okay.

Hooray! I call my dad. He points out that I still need to get the car inspected every year, and that my Texas inspection is about to expire. I tell him I'll be damned if I'm getting back in line to wait another half hour just to ask a question and head to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to buy curtains.

So, 3 hours after I left the house, no NY license and no proper car registration. But a new green curtain!

See how being a real person sucks?

On the plus side, I've already been invited to three BCS events from people I've never met: a gathering to watch So You Think You Can Dance, a BBQ, and a roller derby match.

(Couch)-Surfin' in San Diego

"Go West young man, and grow up with the country." Someone famously remarked that way back when, and though this country may be a lot more grown up than when that remark was first made (if not more mature), I am still "young", and as of the last time I checked myself in the mirror, I am also still a "man". So I followed those instructions, taking my wagon train (2 big suitcases, backpack & odds and ends) on the 21st-century equivalent of the Oregon Trail (Continental Airlines flight 1426) and found myself in the promised land, of soaring palm trees and perfectly tanned and chiseled beach bodies, and gentle yet persistent surf.

Of course, there's been a few bumps along the way too. I've been in San Diego since June 14, but I haven't blogged until now because I haven't had Internet except at work, and I haven't had Internet except at work because I've lived in four different places in the last two weeks. It all started when the septic system in the first place I was subletting backed up and flooded the bathroom and adjacent carpet, meaning that the carpet had to be ripped up and rendering the place unlivable. So the grad student I am subletting from, who was fortunately still around and extremely nice and helpful through all this, scrambled to find me places to stay. I am finally in the place where I will be staying the rest of the summer, though the place is being repainted and refinished this week, but once it is finished it will be like brand new! And it's in a beautiful neighborhood (where I hope to be living starting in the fall), 2 blocks from the beach, with shops and eateries within walking distance (even if they all close by 9pm), and grandiose Spanish street names like Paseo Dorado and Camino del Oro. The houses in this neighborhood usually sell for $3-5 million--it's one of the wealthiest in SD, but also happens to be very close to work, and there are a couple little apartment buildings that are actually affordable for impoverished grad students!

The biggest adjustment from Yale life (which many of you can probably relate to at this point) is the lack of constant bombardment with activities, extracurriculars, shows, parties, etc. The grad students I've met so far (most of the first years have yet to arrive) are amazingly chill and cool people, but mostly 25 or older--some of them are married, and most of them have established routines and things to do on the weekends. The one tradition that does seems to bring everyone at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (my subdivision of UCSD) together is the Friday evening get-together called TGIF--or TG for short, which I suppose just means "Thank God". And thank God we do, in a beachside lounge with ample amounts of free or very inexpensive beer. It is here that one faculty member about 30 years my senior told me the Governator's cuts to UC funding were like "cutting off your own dick", and where I met the director of one of the major programs here, who as it happens used to play tuba in the Dartmouth marching band. He bragged a lot to me about coming to the Yale Bowl and humiliating the Yale team...I broke the news to him that times have changed. I'm also signed up for surfing and ballroom dancing classes that begin next week, courtesy of the UCSD Recreation program (which has classes in everything from kung fu to hula hoop dance). And if I still get bored I can always go lie on the beach...yeah, it's a tough life here.

And if I haven't persuaded you to come visit me yet, here are pictures from my work area and neighborhood!

Happy summers, and keep posting about your adventures on this blog! Because, believe it or not even living in a place like this, I still miss y'all, but reading about your lives (no matter how much of a shitshow you think they might be) always makes me happy. :-)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Home sweet home

I just moved into my new house in Rochester, which I'm sharing with 3 others who already live here: two girls (Celeste and Meredith) who are grad students in the BCS (Brain and Cognitive Science) department, plus Meredith's boyfriend Cameron.

They're all really nice. Celeste came to pick me up at the airport, and when we got home, Cameron was out on the porch roof washing my windows while Meredith was finishing up dinner for us all. After dinner, the three of them plus another BCS grad student helped me lug all of my crap from the first floor (where they'd let me store it for all of June) to the second!

I like my new house! It's pretty old, but in a nice way, with molding on the walls and stained glass on the landing between the first and second floors. I had a nice uh-oh moment when I realized that none of the plugs in my room were grounded, but my housemates soon dug up a bunch of converters for me. See? I told you they were nice.

Tomorrow is errand running - I need a NY license, which means handing in my Texas one (sad!) - and Rochester exploring. Hooray! On Friday, Henry's coming up to visit for the long weekend. Hooray! And then I start work on Monday. Hooray!

Being a real person is exciting, at least for the first few hours.