alexiscartwheel: (30 Rock - Liz on the beach)
I got up at the dack of crawn this morning to catch my flight to Baltimore. I did not get stuck in the airport for hours like I did the week before, but I left my cell phone there. My sister is going to send me one of her old phones tomorrow, so even if it doesn't turn up in lost and found (I already called the airline, but airport lost in found is closed on Sunday) I'll have a phone to use withing a few days. I'm still irritated with myself though.

I wanted to nap all afternoon, but I dragged myself out of the apartment to Trader Joe's. I hate going to Bethesda because it's hard to park and I always seem to narrowly avoid traffic accidents, but it was worth the trip. I'm going to be really busy this week, so I got some easy frozen stuff (mmm... tamales) and didn't spend that much money. Yay!

I go back to work/school tomorrow. I still have a that term paper proposal to write by Wednesday. And two more jobs to apply for. And I'm tutoring tomorrow. And I have a bunch of meetings. And I probably have something for that other class that I pretend doesn't exist. Bleargh.

Yeah, so basically I am crabby. I need to find a good book to read (to inspire happy thoughts). I started reading A Local Habitation but I had to leave it, since I suspect the library wants me not to steal it. Or I could just read COPL.

OMG WHAT IF I HAD LEFT COPL AT THE AIRPORT. Big sigh of relief there, guys! ;)
alexiscartwheel: (hp - ginny weasley)
Chocolate covered pretzels are one of the best foods ever invented. Crunchy, salty, and sweet all in one. You just can't go wrong!

I'm back from Toronto (more about my trip later) which means no more mini-vacations for awhile and more getting up early in the morning (at least for the remainder of this week). I'm aiming to get to sleep early tonight since I need the rest, but in the next few days I'll be answering comments and catching up on my flist.
alexiscartwheel: (aj reads the news)
Strangely, sitting here in front of two laptops does not make me accomplish twice as much work. (Although it does make me look like a nerd. My old PowerBook seems huge now.) I'm supposed to be writing a paper for my archives class--the prof calls it a lit review, but three articles does not a lit review make--and I've been avoiding it all day. I spent five hours cleaning the house (the kitchen was disgusting, and apparently no one else that lives here cares), and now I'm just dawdling and periodically making snacks. I do at least have one of the articles open now (on the other computer) so I can learn all about archiving blogs.

And now for something completely different... Everyone go read this article about train travel from tomorrow's New York Times. (Tomorrow's paper! It's magic!) It really makes me want to go on a cross-country train trip. Plus, I'd just like to go to San Francisco and New York anyway, so it'd be a good excuse. :)
alexiscartwheel: (dw - rose)
Sooo... I'm really tired. But I am having a pretty good time in Columbus.

My flight yesterday was way too early, but otherwise not bad. Everything was on time, and I pretty much just sat and watched Green Wing. Mom and I had lunch at DaVinci's and took Murray for a walk in the Park of Roses (on a hot day, getting hit by the sprinklers feels pretty good). After that I came home and crashed.

I think I might be turning my mom into a Doctor Who fan. I was watching "Turn Left" on SciFi last night (they cut out the bit with Wilf and the saluting!), and Mom came in and asked what it was. She said she thought Doctor Who was an old show (I think she saw some Tom Baker episodes on PBS at one point), so I explained the basics of the show. Then we watched "Rose" and "The End of the World" since I conveniently had the DVD in my computer.

Today was the big family party out in West Jeff. Dad's entire extended family is in town for the weekend (this is including cousins and even some second cousins and their children). I got to explain the whole yes I'm living in Kansas but I'm moving to Virginia in four weeks thing many times over. I had too much food and too much rum punch and got in a swimming pool squirt gun fight with my cousins. Yes, we're all dignified adults and stuff. My brother and I were talking on the way home about how weird the huge family stuff must be for our cousins spouses. We're used to the various, um, quirks of our relatives, but it could definitely be overwhelming if you didn't know everybody. Tomorrow we're all going out to dinner, which should be crazy.

Mom just got her cable reinstalled last week, and I've just discovered that we apparently have a DVR. I can fast forward through the commercials!
alexiscartwheel: (dw - ten and rose)
The week of Memorial Day, I spent a day on I-70 and another for in Columbus, Ohio. I helped my mom move home, and I visited with my dad and both my siblings. I also got to do lots of important stuff like eat grilled food every night, get my haircut (I am too lazy to find a new salon), bike in the old neighborhood, buy cat food, drop by my high school, and play with my dog. Actually, the dog came with us pretty much everywhere for two days. Mom and I took turns walking him around Grandview while we got haircuts, and we picked a place to meet the sibs for lunch based on who had outdoor seating.

Anyway, I took some pictures along the way. Below the cut to save your f-list. )
alexiscartwheel: (carmen ohio)
Free Wi-Fi in the airport!!! A-woo!!!

My flight is actually about to start boarding, so I don't have time to make a real post about what I've been doing in Columbus, but I just had to play with the Wi-Fi and the special new armchairs with electrical outlets in the waiting area. I heart you, Southwest.

And just so this entry is about something: here's a fun video my brother showed me. It's from the website willitblend.com. I can't figure out how to embed it, so here's the link. As it turns out, you can blend Weezer's new single "Pork and Beans" with a can of pork and beans. Remember kids, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. :D

alexiscartwheel: (carmen ohio)
Ugh... five hours of sleep followed by eleven hours in the car do not agree with me. I felt pretty crappy this morning, but luckily that wore off. It would be a drag to spend my entire mini vacation feeling ill.

The drive yesterday was fairly uneventful. I only drove for about two minutes, in a parking lot somewhere outside St. Louis. Mom thought she was too tired to drive, but when I stalled at a stop sign, she decided me driving would scare her too much. I really must have some one teach me to drive stick properly. (I can make the car go, but I always stall when I try to stop. And I have issues with third gear.) So I was the navigator, which I'm actually good at. Not that it's hard, when the entire trip is on I-70.

Sadly, we could not stop at the Blue Springs Cafe for "mile high pie" again, because we drove through Pierron an hour before opening. Boo. We tried again in Vandalia after seeing signs about a historic statehouse and Abraham Lincoln, but the only restaurant we can find in town was completely burned out. (Bummer, that.) I did get some pictures of Lincoln's face painted on a wall and a "Madonna of the trail," but I haven't uploaded them yet.

My dad's cable no longer has BBC America. It makes me saaaad. :( Not that I'm actually here to watch the cable, but it's a fun novelty.

This afternoon I went for a short bike ride. I did a meandering loop around the old neighborhood, which I guestimated was about five miles. Last summer I went on fifteen mile rides about three times a week, but I'm too out of shape for that yet. Biking is one of the very few exercise activities I actually enjoy, so it's too bad I don't have my bike in Kansas.

The Doctor Who TV movie is hands down the worst Who story I have ever seen. I could go on for a really long time about how many things were terrible about it, but I'm sure many others have done so before, so I won't. I really do want to know why the Master had glowy green eyes and kept sliming people, though. WTF! Too make up for that, I'm watching "The Sea Devils" which has Three and Jo and the Master (sans glowy green eyes, avec rubbish beard) and is infinitely more fun.

And a note for the DW fans on my f-list: Apparently there are spoilers/rumors going around about the Moffat two-parter, but I'd rather not know, kay? I'm happy with my trailer-squee, and I'd like to stay that way and be surprised by what's to come. So please don't tell me anything. :)
alexiscartwheel: (sc smart is sexy!)
My late birthday presents came from Amazon yesterday! Dad gave me cash, so I ordered Doctor Who Series 1 on DVD and Duffy's new album Rockferry. :D

Five day weekend coming up! Mom is moving back from Phoenix, and since she's coming through KC on the way, I decided to go home with her. Monday is Memorial Day and I'm taking Tuesday and Wednesday off to spend in Columbus. I haven't seen any of my family since I moved here in February, so I'm pretty excited.

David Brooks writes today about the cultural cachet of geekdom. He says, "in a relatively short period of time, the social structure has flipped. For as it is written, the last shall be first and the geek shall inherit the earth."

This morning I discovered GraphJam, thanks to a post at The Park Bench. The graphs there are more fun than anything that I remember from math classes. (Calculus, if I recall, was all about a man walking away from a lamppost.) Tears for Fears as a Pie Chart )

Sadly, there is no Battlestar Galactica or Doctor Who tonight, and no more Moonlight ever! Whatever shall I do? There is that Bollywood movie from Netflix though... :)
alexiscartwheel: (Default)
On Wednesday morning I took my first trip to the top of the Washington Monument. It was closed for years, so I’ve never had the opportunity before. The views from the top are pretty cool, largely due to the fact that D.C. has so many instantly recognizable buildings and monuments. On the ride down, the elevator slows so you can see various decorated stones in honor of George Washington that were place on the inside walls of the Monuments. I had no idea that such a thing existed, so it was an unexpected treat.

alexiscartwheel: (reading)
Today was my first big touristy day in Washington, D.C. I started out the morning with a tour of the Capitol. I’d been there once before on the Inaugural Parade trip with the OSUMB. That time we waited outside (in the snow) for over an hour, then we sped through the building in less than ten minutes. Our guide had lost her voice, so she didn’t say much. Today’s tour still wasn’t particularly lengthy, but it was much more interesting. I think my favorite bit was the cool trick the guide did with the crazy acoustics in the original House chamber. He stood at the other side of the room and spoke in a normal voice, but the strange acoustics amplified his voice.

After the Capitol, I headed across the street to the Library of Congress. The official tour at the Library of Congress is much more satisfying than the Capitol tour. If you’ve never been there, you should go. The interior of the library is incredible. There are mosaics, paintings, and sculptures on pretty much every surface. It’s great to look at, but on the tour, the guides also explain all the symbolism involved. Among the many quotes that are painted around the great hall, my favorite is “Art is long and time is fleeting” from Longfellow’s “A Psalm of Life.” We also got to see the main reading room (from above, the tours don’t actually go inside), which made me want to go be intelligent and studious. I also, inexplicably, almost fainted again, but I'm pretty sure that had nothing to do with the tour.

I had lunch at the cafeteria in the National Museum of the American Indian, which serves Native foods. Best lunch on the Mall, seriously. (The museum itself is worth a trip, too.) I walked across the Mall and through a big anti-abortion rally on my way to the National Archives. I was amazed to see how many of the protesters were high school or college students; it kinda seemed like a giant high school field trip, but with more banners and leaflets. Once I made it through the crowds to the Archives, I was pleasantly surprised by how deserted it was. Again, the only time I visited before was Inauguration week, and it was packed. This time, I actually had time to read the displays. Aside from the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the Archives also has a fun and interactive permanent exhibit.

After all that walking, I was pretty tired, but that didn’t stop my aunt dragging me to the gym with her. (I have now been to the gym three days in a row. I think that’s some sort of record.) I went to my first ever yoga class, at which I discovered that yoga with an instructor is much more enjoyable than yoga with a video. The instructor said yoga could help with fibromyalgia, so I’ll have to think about taking more classes in the future.

So far, no plans for tomorrow, but there are plenty more free museums to visit. Later in the week I’m heading the University of Maryland to check out the library school. Yes, I may actually be getting my life back on track! :D

ETA: Pictures may follow once I get un-lazy and load them from my camera.
alexiscartwheel: (carmen ohio)
... and you thought all we had was corn.

Props to Port Columbus both for having free Wi-Fi and for making me chuckle with their ads. It's funny cause it's true!

I have nothing else of consequence to report, but I've got an internet connection and a laptop with a battery that lasts longer than 2 minutes, so why not take advantage of the situation? Based on the crowd--or lack thereof--here at the gate, it looks like my flight to Baltimore will be mostly empty, which is fine by me. My aunt is delayed in Winnipeg, so she won't make it into Dulles until an hour after I arrive in Baltimore. Luckily, my dad's cousin can pick me up, so I can visit with some family instead of visiting with BWI. Nothing against BWI, I'm sure she's a lovely place, really, but the airport is not the first place on my list of fun places to hang out. (They might be able to move up the list without all the "unattended baggage" announcements. They ruin the ambiance.)

I believe there was a new episode of Moonlight last night. Sounds like a good way to pass the time before I can board my plane! :D

Barcelona

Jan. 3rd, 2008 05:47 pm
alexiscartwheel: (cj)
This morning I had a strange dream, and even more strange, I actually remember it.

I was at the airport checking in for a flight to Barcelona. I went to the United counter, and the woman who took my luggage started ragging on me for arriving late, because my luggage should have been checked five minutes before. (I had apparently arrived only one hour prior to my international flight.) Then I had to go to a second counter to check in and get my boarding passes. That's boarding passes, plural, because I was continuing on to London. I'm not sure why I would have a connection in Barcelona instead of Detroit or New York, but I guess even in the waking world I wouldn't put it past an airline to do something ridiculous and illogical like that.

I thought it was very strange that in the entire check-in process, no one had asked to see my ID, and then it hit me... I forgot my passport. I checked my watch and saw that I only had 20 minutes before my flight departed, not nearly enough time to make it home and back again. (How one hour became 20 minutes is beyond me. Dream time is just tricky like that.) I was standing in the airport freaking out about how I was going to miss my flight to Barcelona, and lost all that money from my expensive plane ticket, and how could I have been so stupid to forget my passport...

And then I woke up.
alexiscartwheel: (marie)
Dad and I left Montreal yesterday around 6pm and stopped for the night in Watertown, New York. The folks at the Weather Channel and the local meteorologists were all going on about the blizzard due to hit Saturday night and continue through the day on Sunday, so we were a bit worried that we might get snowed in at Watertown. Luckily, it seemed relatively clear this morning, so we decided to go for it. The hotel was nice and comfy, but I still didn't want to laze around their all day.

Along the way home I we experienced almost all the possible forms of precipitation (just no hail), but the snow didn't get too bad until we hit Pennsylvania. The driving didn't get to bad until we hit Ohio, where it was still snowing just as much, but the interstate wasn't plowed. Instead of clearing the snow, in Ohio we just freak out and drive like idiots. And, inevitably, spin off the road. At the same time, the Cleveland Browns were playing a football game against the Buffalo Bills. According to the radio commentators, the field was covered in several inches of snow. Gotta love the lake effect.

During the drive I finished reading Starlight and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and started re-reading Eclipse, which Dad had grabbed off the top of my pile of library books for me. I didn't get very far into Eclipse before it was too dark to read. Edward and Bella's conversation in the first chapter about Wuthering Heights got me thinking, and I spent some time composing a mental essay of sorts. Which means, sometime this week you can likely expect to hear about my thoughts on Wuthering Heights, Eclipse, and my general dislike of love triangles in fiction. Unfortunately, before I can do that, I've got a much less interesting review of literature to write for one of my classes. :(

We did get back to Columbus safe and sound, though slightly later than we had hoped. For the last few hours of the drive I was suffering from severe radio ADD. I'm sure Dad probably thought I was crazy, but there's only so many times in one day that I can listen to the same songs over and over. Elvis singing Blue Christmas was okay the first time, but by play number four I wasn't as amused. Anyway... it was just a long day. I'm not even going to attempt unpacking tonight; I'll wait until tomorrow when I've had some sleep and the sister/organizational guru can help me.
alexiscartwheel: (marie)
You know that scene in Home Alone where they’re all running through the airport to get to the gate on time? I think that scene gives a pretty good idea of what my day was like. We got stuck in traffic on the way to the airport because of a car accident on 270. We finally arrived at the airport half an hour after I was supposed to check in for my flight. Luckily (sort of) there was a delay, so I wasn’t actually late.

alexiscartwheel: (Default)
I originally didn't think that coming home for Thanksgiving would fit into my plans for the semester, mostly because flights from Montreal to Columbus are pretty expensive, and partly because I'd have to miss several days of class. But at the last minute, I decided to do it anyway!

I was quite proud of myself for successfully navigating the public transit system to make it out to the airport (one metro train and two buses), which saved me the 40 dollar cab fare. I could've done without, er, lugging my luggage up and down the stairs at the metro, but I lived through it.  My flights were on time and unextraordinary, which is just the way I like it. Rachel came to pick me up from the airport, and she brought Murray! He was a little bit more interested in sticking his head out the window than in me, but oh well. He's a dog, he can't resist an open car window.

Yesterday Rachel and I made pecan pies, and I tried to make pie crust. I say tried because my crust was a dismal failure. I've only made pie crust once, one year ago, and I was supervised. I think I also used  a different recipe, because last year I used a food processor, but this time I used a mixer. At any rate, the crust was all crumbly. I finally was able to roll it out, but then it just fell apart again when I tried to put it in the pie plate. Oh well. One of these days I'll get better at baking. At least the pie filling turned out right! Pecan pie is great. Almost all the ingredients are some kind of sugar. Mmmm...

I can never talk about pecan pie without thinking of the movie When Harry Met Sally. "Waiter, there is too much pepper in my paprikash, but I would be proud to partake of you pecan pie!" It cracks me up and drive Rachel nuts. So basically, a win-win situation. For me.

Thanksgiving dinner was delicious, of course. Grandma, predictably, kept trying to get us to eat more food. Haven't had potatoes? You should have some potatoes! Do you need another roll? Have you had any vegetables yet? Fortunately, eating lots of food isn't a problem when all the food tastes great.

After dinner we visited with family, then I went with Rachel to her boyfriend's house. We all played Goldeneye on N64 on Phil's gigantic TV (it's seriously the biggest TV I've ever seen--Phil said it's 63 inches). I'm awful at video games. I think I lost almost every single round, but I did manage to kill Bond (Phil) once by slapping him. Who needs weapons?

It's so good to be back here. Dad asked me on Wednesday night whether it was weird being here, and I was a little bit surprised to find that it's not. It feels... normal. Which is strange, since I haven't actually lived here at any point in the last four years. Which is nothing against where I'm living now, because I really like it there too. I'm here until Monday, so I've got the rest of the weekend to relax a bit and maybe even do some shopping. School? What's that?
alexiscartwheel: (marie)
Thursday was our final day in Ottawa. We checked out of our hotel in the morning, but luckily we were able to check all our bags in the cloakroom at the National Gallery. Roaming around Ottawa with a rolling suitcase all day did not seem like a very fun plan.

I thought there was a lot of interesting stuff to see at the National Gallery. They have a large section of Canadian Art, which was very cool since it was mostly artists I'm unfamiliar with. In addition to painting and sculpture, the Canadian Gallery includes some First Nations art and an entire chapel that was relocated to the National Gallery. I'm not usually big into contemporary art, but there were several pieces in that gallery that I enjoyed. One was a multi-room installation; one of the rooms had a disco ball on a see-saw operated by a pulley attached to the door. Pretty crazy! European and American Art had its own gallery as well, where I saw some works by artists I know and lots of St. Jerome's. Was someone in acquisitions at the National Gallery really into St. Jerome?

In between two stints at the National Library, we walked out to Rideau Hall, where the Canadian Governor General lives. Tours of the house aren't offered during the week, but the grounds are open to the public. We mostly admired the fall foliage and played with our cameras before heading back downtown.

All in all, it was a good trip, even though everything didn't necessarily follow the original plans. I saw some interesting new sights, learned a little bit more about Canada, and, of course, got to hang out with friends. I'm glad I decided to go instead of just sitting around my house for the entire week off!

Parliament

That's me and Meghan standing in front of Parliament. There are some more photos (including the Alexandra bridge sign!) at my Flickr page, which I think you can access by clicking on the photo.
alexiscartwheel: (marie)
What better way to spend part of the “Study Break” than by going on a road trip? Meghan, Rosanne, and I decided to spend three days of our oh-so-productive week off in Ottawa, the nation’s capital. We planned to leave Tuesday morning, drive to Ottawa, then have the next three days to spend be tourists. However, like all good plans, ours fell apart pretty quickly.

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