amalthya: (top of the world)
I would imagine that many people's characterizations of me include my various travels and foreign exploits. I've been traveling all over the UK this go-round, and having a splendid time.

I finally got to meet [livejournal.com profile] faeriecween!! I even stayed in her nice Reading house, and met her boy AND her Boys.

I got to spend more than a minute at a time with [livejournal.com profile] woofa, a friend I've had since the Uganda days who travels nearly as much as I do!!
In actuality, we got to spend nearly a week together, at her house in Fordingbridge! And it was incredible.

I even got to see Elizabeth Grant, a friend I'd had at Chapin 8,000 years ago, who is so happy and healthy in Oxford, UK that the night with her and her fiance was extremely enjoyable, even moreso than I had anticipated.

Now I'm on my final leg of the journey, which is far shorter than my last longterm trek. Two weeks only! But I'm here, in Edinburgh, Scotland, for the last leg of my journey and the biannual International Primatologists Society Congress. If you'll recall, I helped organize the last one in Entebbe, Uganda.

Anyway, for the first time in a long time, I feel really off my game and out of sorts and sort of lonely and homesick and rather unhappy. It's a big jump; I loved being in Reading and Fordingbridge, and most people would be astonished to hear that the travel was wearing on me, but what I guess I take for granted is the chance to refresh in the evenings and a (clean) place to lay my head.

And the Scottish experience has thus far been far from refreshing. Really, it's throwing me off.

Ironic, considering I've NEVER seen more gingers than I've seen since last night here in Edinburgh. I'm here with my people! I've even been asked for directions 6 times in my 3 hours out on the street.

But yea, I discovered yesterday that the Cowgate Hostel, a place I'd booked for 5 days in March starting today, completely cocked up my booking. I'd called from Annie's sister's house to ask if I could come a day earlier (July 31st) and the idiot at the desk changed my booking to August 31st.

Ergo, when I arrived last night at nearly 11 pm, they informed me that there was no available room on Saturday night, but that I "could" move into a 6 bed dorm room and then move back into my old room on Sunday afternoon.

Of course, then they sent me on my way, up three flights of stairs (with suitcase) to a drab 2 bed room next to a shower with a view out an extremely large window to construction scaffolding and an alleyway. And no window curtain.

It was a restless night on seemingly filthy sheets and a squeaky, cheap bed. I kept waking up everytime someone went to use the sink or the shower, in a room right next to mine as every sound of the hallway echoes and rattles in underneath my flimsy door.

Short hours later, I awoke to the sounds of heavy construction, and peered groggily through my large window only to be greeted by burly, ogling Scotsmen.

Not what I signed up for, and certainly not a restful night. I got out of the hostel as soon as possible, and wandered around the town, getting a sense of the area and finally stumbling upon an internet cafe. With food, and drink!

Perhaps I felt so off because I'd had nothing to eat or drink since last night with Annie. Low blood sugar? Ogling Scotsmen? I find that my tendency for today is not to explore anymore but to get, as I coined it when talking to [livejournal.com profile] justbeast, eSolace.

I will probably wander about again to go and look at the new accommodation I booked while AT the internet cafe. The idea of staying in a 6 bed dorm room with NO security lockers was just not appealing. I'm not a princess, and I've stayed in hostels and lodgings all over Africa and Europe, so you can imagine how bad this place is to be giving me discomfort. For £50+ a night, maybe I can't expect luxury, but they could afford a window curtain.

There's also the pending worry about money, since this new place is costing me about £77/night instead of £56 and overall, I'm spending about £333 for four nights. Imagine doubling ALL those prices for their American equivalents! Gah! The poverty is crippling. I'm trying not to worry about it, while also trying not to spend any money. An interesting contrast.

So here I am, uncharacteristically uncomfortable while traveling, and actually budgeting and worrying about money and also posting on Livejournal! The horror! Who is this person?

Can you imagine?

Tell me good things happening in your lives. It will add to my eSolace. Before I go wandering through town again
amalthya: (top of the world)
I've tried to find the motivation and the time, more importantly, to get back onto the Livejournal bandwagon. According to their stats, people blog much less after they are 26. Well, I'm 28. I'm just late. Isn't that the norm for me?

According to good old Livejournal, I haven't blogged in about 1.5 months. So I'l start from there, and give you some photo accompaniment, too.

And I've been sitting on this entry for nearly a month. Sad, eh? No more excuses.

Johnny & Azania's Wedding )

My New Computer )

Chagi )

Adam Updates )

* Lauren's birthday and CU friends


* Reviews: Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Crystal Skull

* Reviews: The Incredible Hulk vs. Iron Man

* Visiting Ohio & Chilling with [livejournal.com profile] justbeast

Hurricane Harbor )

* + 2 Cats, -1 Cat +1,000 Cat Abandonment Sympathy

* Dad's moving out

* Unpacking the apartment - potential dates for a housewarming

* Back and Forth to Maryland

* Link to MLOAD

*


It appears that I've run out of steam, but I will leave the list of things I meant to talk about with the hope of writing about them all in the future.

I will certainly mention now, though, that at the end of September/early October, I'm going back to Congo. It doesn't mean I won't finish my studies, or that I'm leaving New York for good, or anything else. It just means that I have the most incredible opportunity to do masters/senior thesis /doctoral dissertation-level research that I've been CONSUMED with preparing these last couple weeks. I'll be part of the Wasmoeth Wildlife Research team, but pretty much solo on this project. I'll also be helping to take care of and rehabilitate 2 orphaned chimpanzees.

The extra-crazy part? Adam wants to come with me. Nuts, right? We'll see if it actually happens.

Oh, and while my regular journal might stay only-sporadically updated, remember that I'm pretty rigorous about posting to the community [livejournal.com profile] thegarlicbite and I started:

[livejournal.com profile] mylife_onceaday


So, if you're keen to see what I'm doing while I'm not updating here, check out:

My Daily Photos There


And I do promise to update more. But for now, I'm running on low battery power and low energy!

Grog

Apr. 12th, 2008 08:41 am
amalthya: (Marbles In Your Nose)
Wow, maybe "reunion" should be synonymous with "drunk".

But, I'm on my way down to Maryland to see Cherry Blossoms and Adam and whoever is free!

We're thinking about hitting the Cherry Blossoms tomorrow, Sunday, and we're around today if [livejournal.com profile] grysar or Reene are too.

Anyone have any plans?

[I'll write about the reunion at some point when gnomes aren't tapdancing in my head]
amalthya: (top of the world)
It'd been so long that I'd ben "gone" that when I put my glasses on today at work, my eyes felt strange and strained.

But I am back at work today, and, for all intents and purposes, things seem exactly as I left them. But I've been so far since I was last here!

I went snorkeling for the first time ever. Traveling abroad seems to me to be a lot like snorkeling. At first, breathing through this tube is foreign and difficult. You can't believe that you'll actually get air to breathe and you resist. But once you stop resisting, and breathe, and look down below you through the clear crystal water and watch the color fish weaving in and out of the reefs below, it's just incredible.

Adam and I started off for Colombia last Saturday morning, excessively early, to catch our 6 am flight to Panama City and then to Cartagena, Colombia. We took Copa Airlines up on their offer to give us vouchers for later travel if we agreed to take a later flight, though we regretted it after they barely made us to our next flight and lost Adam's reservation. Oh, and flagged us for "random search". Hi insult, meet injury. Have a free pat-down too!

But even upon arriving in Panama, I was already glad that we had come. Warm, muggy and yet still breezy, an airport full of palm trees and sun, I felt like I was back in Uganda again. It was also really nice to take off the multitude layers of sweaters, coats and rain gear that we had donned for the freezing rain that waved us goodbye in New York.

Our later flight offered us a quicker layover in Panama, and who did we run into but the Frenches (another family that is an Epworth tradition). I caught up with Mrs. French and Adam and I tried to stay awake before our next flight. I had slept the entire way to Panama but he hadn't slept at all yet.

We got to Cartagena at last, and managed to navigate our way to our secondary hotel. They were supposed to send a taxi to come and collect us to take us to the hotel we were staying at the first night, but no taxi, and we didn't even have an address! Upon arriving at the second hotel (where everyone else was staying throughout the week) we had an additional stutter start when we discovered that we had no reservations, and even worse, the hotel manager called us liars!

It was, by no means, the way I wanted to start out my vacation. But my Aunt Martha handled it wonderfully, putting us up in her rented house next door. The room, consequently, was much nicer as were the accommodations. We had a private room and a woman who fed us and washed our clothes. AND a pool! I discovered as well that I had a depth of Spanish hiding inside. Encantado!

We started off with a bang! Well, a bang and a snooze. The rehearsal dinner was held at a charming ocean-side restaurant, with live music, a cool breeze and delicious food! I even managed to say "I am a vegetarian, I don't eat meat" and they made me, specially, some grilled eggplant with Stuff. Poor Adam, exhausted from the day, fell asleep, upright, at the table, in his suit.

Had there only been some soup for him to fall into!

Sunday was another early day, when we woke up at the crack of it to go out to an island off the coast of Colombia. We arrived at our own little private beach, complete with AYCD beer, lounge chairs, sunny beaches, coconuts to drink out of and music filtering through the air from a stereo at the top end of the beach.

Oh, and a bunch of haggard-looking locals, very keen to sell us coral and pearl necklaces.

And I did, I bought some! Some as gifts, some for me. People know that I'm usually more keen on earrings than necklaces, but maybe I'll just change it up! For a little while, at least.

We also swam, and snorkeled, and the water was so salty! I was glad to have the snorkel masks to protect my eyes. It was like the beach at Fire Island, but much prettier, mostly because the water was so radiant.

I was the only light-skinned person I think NOT to get horribly sunburned, but I know by now from Gingers 101 what to do.

We literally spent ALL DAY at the beach. We went out with the other "youngins" in the posse to see other locations in the islands. We (foolishly) decided to jump off the boat and swim around. I didn't count on 1) Adam's trouble swimming in choppy water and 2) My inability to heave my ass back up into the boat without benefit of a ladder or anything else.

All loss of dignity aside, we still had an awesome time, and I'll admit that I was sad to have to go back to the mainland. Additionally, I hadn't gotten the camera to work yet so I had to contend with a day of no picture taking either!

We got back, pooped, and had more people over for more DINNER!

Dinners in Colombia are so late. It felt really strange to us that, while we were only an hour off of our regular time GMT-wise, things all seemed to start at a much later hour every day. Dinner reservations at 10:30pm shouldn't seem strange, I guess, coming from New York, but they did!

The company was nice too, seeing people I hadn't seen in years and years, though I've discovered that I'm pretty much set in my ways of Conservation Conversations. I've transitioned into a phase where, when I talk about my time in Uganda/Congo and the chimps and their outlook, it's difficult to not be depressing. And really, when you're depressing, no one wants to talk to you about it any more.

I was most glad to have Adam there. He brought a sense of levity even when I was feeling heavy with family drama. He was always eager to go with the flow, and I think, for the first time, I actually had free time that wasn't parameterized. It was not "have fun for 3 hours and then go and do X."

It was "have fun..."

The relief of that was immeasurably good. Even now, despite everyone else being the same cranky people, I feel like this weight has been lifted, and I've floated through the day. One of my coworkers said I seemed "spring-y". And I feel it too.

The wedding itself was beautiful, and we danced until past 1 am. Even though we went home early, I didn't feel like we missed anything. After the wedding was over, we had three whole days to decompress. And do more nothing. We went shopping, had lunches, tasted wines and generally relaxed as though we had no cares in the world.

Manicures and pedicures are huge in Cartagena, and roaming ladies who'll come to your house, or come to the beach, or come wherever you and your hands and feet are to pamper and paint them.

It didn't feel much like I was that far away from the US, funnily. Sure, everything was in Spanish, but isn't it like that in parts of California?

Everything was clean, and pretty, and brightly colored and full of flowers and relaxation.

Getting back to New York, Adam and I were both deluged with bullshit. Fred had done a terrible, irresponsible job taking care of the cats. My mother decided to yell at me, and Adam's mother immediately tried to guilt him into visiting. I don't know how long it'll last, but for now, even when the shit hits, (like it seems to be doing right now at work) I can just imagine being in the pool in Cartagena, or lying in the hammock with the breeze gusting through, playing sudoku on my DS.

Classes tonight, work tomorrow. You can't expect the world to pause forever.

Photos are here: Flickr Set
amalthya: (euphoria)
Has it really been so many days/weeks since my last post? Is it the busyness of school or the lack of really anything to complain about?

There are things to complain about, especially with regard to not seeing people that I miss on a regular basis. I feel that I've gone to a very interactively social lifestyle to one of phonecalls, IMs and smoke signals from the roof of 151st and Broadway.

Really the bottom line has been that I've been really happy. Not always as productive as I'd like, but my schedule is pleasantly full.

This past weekend, Adam came up to New York and we flew down to Tampa, Florida to see Rachel and Evan and go to Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream. We'd gone to Halloween Horror at Universal Studios last year, and while the scare park itself was great, riding rides like "Twister" left something to be desired. I mean, no one rides "The Mummy" 3 times unless there's really nothing else to ride, right?

"Twister Reenactment"

I'm wet.
It's windy; now I'm wet and cold.
The animatronic tree split it two.
Now I'm wet and cold and deaf.
The End.



So, this year we opted for Busch Gardens. I will say, 100%, that the rides kicked ass. We even ventured on the SHIEKRA -- a ride that drops you 90º down 220 feet that was truly, utterly terrifying. To prove it, they take a photo of you at the bottom (which we'll upload soon). My mouth is open wider than my head, and Adam looks like he's passing a kidney stone.

We also rode Montu, and Shiekra again, and Adam and I rode the Log Flume. It was so much fun and so much riding that when it was time to go home to the hotel and recoup and head out to Howl-O-Scream, I was so pooped that I promptly fell asleep.

Either that or I was dead from the cheese fries I ate for lunch. Adam and I had also had sort of an adventure getting DOWN to Tampa -- our flight was about 5 hours delayed thanks to rain and fog. We amused ourselves by 1) reading Game Informer and 2) playing Fluxx on the floor.

By the time we finally got in the queue to take off, we were thankfully still in wonderful spirits, though our lunch from 1 pm was long since digested. We touched down in Tampa at around 11pm (our original estimation was 7pm) and discovered that the hotel room service was closed, despite it being a Friday, and that the only place open was... TACO BELL.

Transcript of our drive-thru-window conversation:

Me: Hi, can I get two Bean Burritos?
Taco Bell: I'm sorry, we're out of beans.
Me: You're out... of beans?
Taco Bell: Yes, and before you ask, we're also out of guacamole and tomatoes.
Me: Um, well, what is on your menu that's vegetarian?
Taco Bell: Umm, rice?
Adam: Do you have any chalupas?
Taco Bell: No, we're out.


I ended up eating potatoes with cheese, and nachos with cheese. Notice a pattern?

But the room was lovely! It was a great place to spend the weekend.

The actual Howl-O-Scream thankfully had shorter lines than it tends to at Universal Studios. Of course, one should know when there is NO line that the place is completely lame. We were given 3D glasses to go into a techno glow house, full of bartenders spitting water at us and making us wet, though not with fear.

My lack of depth perception tends to make me an easy mark in the scare-department, a fact that every single Scarer seemed to know too well that I'd give them a shriek. Adam tried his best to shield me -- at one point, I was just clutching him from behind while he warned me where the scarers were -- but it made no difference. They still got me!

And oh my it was fun. We did find it perplexing that apparently, ghoulish vampires who own clubs write in binary. Oooo! SPOOOKY! BINNNARY!

[livejournal.com profile] infd was convinced they'd spelled "Boo" or the like -- but alas, there were, suspiciously, too many zeroes.

We saw some funny signs, like KEEP HEAD ERECT and DON'T FORGET YOUR COWBOY HAT (in picture form). How about BearSS street! Not one bear! Or two! But multiple BearsS (with an extra S)! Or did you know that Oprah eats pizza?

...in Tampa? She does!

We also tried to ride Montu again, only to be stymied by a line that didn't move once we got to the almost-front. We saw them hold people up, and keep some people on the ride instead of letting them off. After we gave up, we discovered that people had gotten stuck, DANGLING, in the middle of the ride. I cannot imagine anything worse. By the time we left, they were only just being let down after having hung up there for 20 minutes. Eee!!

The whole photo album is here
I've got some exciting things coming up -- party on the 3rd, concert in Carnegie Hall on the 9th. Good parties coming up this weekend, along with Adam, which is always a Yay.

And with that, I've got room-cleaning to do and what-not. But I figured that really, these are the memories I'll want to have kept when I'm old and gray.
amalthya: (Default)
I actually came out of my chemistry exam this morning happy.  Not just because it was over, but because I felt like I actually had a good grasp on the material.  There were maybe only 2 questions out of 25 that I wasn't quite sure how to do.  And the math that I did tended to yield an answer that was part of the multiple choice options.

I take these as characteristics of success.

Which makes me feel celebratory.  I ALMOST decided to go out tonight! First, there was theorized jazz with [personal profile] rosefox.  Then potentially drinks/concert-ing with [profile] infd and/or Micah.  But honestly, the thought of going all the way downtown when I knew, in my heart, that there was still more work to be done....  inappropriate.

(though in retrospect, DAMN do I wish that I could go and see JV again!  I just can't justify the time/expense. Plus, Tom didn't want to go, and Micah only told me he was going last minute)

There was also a belly-dancing session I really wanted to attend with Sara, but bah, I should really go home.

Especially considering the work I need to get done in the next two days!  I'm heading back to Maryland this Friday to see Adam and attend [profile] pattiejoe's birthday party.  I think a maize-maze is in order too [MD people are of course welcome to join in].

There might also be bridge with [profile] bkleber!  Who knows!  But the main take-home point here is that there will NOT be much time to do things like Swahili exercises, Chemistry Labs, and Disease Ecology reading.

I am VERY excited however about a paper/presentation I'm writing for Disease Ecology -- I spent most of the afternoon today in the computer lab accruing and reviewing articles for it.  Wow, I have a LOT.  But the basic premise is Cleve's field site in Bili, DRCongo, home to some very naïve chimpanzees, is being invaded by a gold-mining outfit.  I want to explore what the possible ecological and epidemiological impacts will be to that population of chimps.  And, if all goes as I'm hoping, Cleve and I will be able to use the paper and presentation to try and sway the proper authorities into shutting down the gold mining camp.  *crossing fingers*  I can only hope that it'll make a difference.

I do happen to try to self-medicate  balance things by having happy things in addition to my big stressbomb semester.  So, in super-exciting-news, my trip to Tampa is all planned.  I'll be seeing Rachel, Evan, Adam is flying down with me and we're ALL going to Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scare.    I'm SO jazzed. 

I've also realized that I have no patience and sympathy for a variety of conditions.  Whether they be pushover-itis, whippedus maximus, chronic lack of personal-responsibility or constant irrational worrying.

It doesn't wane my affection for the people in question at all, but I should realize that sometimes my "tough love" is a little too mean.

And with that, I run. Why am I always running?

For my amusement (Facebook Graffiti I made):

amalthya: (death star)
I'm in Norana's living room, lying on the futon, waiting for sleep. Waiting for a lot of things, really. Her roommates are all awake and talking (mostly to themselves) and since I'm sleeping in the living room, I'm here continually awake. Bah.

I had such a fun time gaming over the weekend. Today, before we headed back to NY, we played more Take 6 and Fear of Dracula. But it's been decided too that it's definitely necessary to start a D&D campaign in the city.

I know that [livejournal.com profile] rosefox and [livejournal.com profile] sinboy had mentioned interest in being in a regular local game. Anyone else?

I really do need to "get back in the game" though. And get back home.

You know it's been a long time when me, of all people, misses her own bed.
amalthya: (Gamer Girl)
There's something almost tantalizing about sitting in the basement of a library when no one else is around. It's illicit -- quiet, cold, and it has that dank book-y smell to it that's just incontrovertibly sexy.

I find it amazing that I'm not tired. But gaming late into the night has become far more regular than it once was, and it almost feels strange if I'm sleeping early on a Friday. Last night was wickedly fun, though, and I got to play an NPC in Rob's D&D campaign. The collection of people at the game store wasn't quite what I expected, but the feelings of family were not diminished at all.

In fact, Bob, the owner of the store, told me excitedly how he followed my travels in Africa while I was there, making sure that I was okay and keeping tabs on me while he waited for me to come back to the store.

It is things like that that make a gaming store feeling warm and fuzzy, really.

Plus, the late-night, too-much-caffeine quotations:

Only 5 HP damage? Couldn't you have vomited on him again?"

"I can only vomit twice in an hour, and considering I've existed for 12 seconds, I pretty much shot my load already."
amalthya: (one dirty sock)
It's hard to imagine as you wipe the sleep out of your eyes that you've already been on the road for 2 hours. It's 7 am, and the sun is just coming over the horizon to your left.

Driving through Ohio and Pennsylvania gives one a real sense of what America used to be like. As I passed through the thick morning fog of the Alleghenies, I had to remind myself that I was, still, in America. I wonder what it must have been like before the trickle of roads made their way across the landscape, to wander through such scary dark terrain.

I've never seen so many classic cars, though. Or motorcycle hordes. But I was reminded how huge and beautiful the country is.

Little farmhouses and farms at the side of road, and the serenity of life away from the big city. Perhaps it was the relief/release of finally being done. I mean seriously, full van goes to empty van! Returning the van!

Bah )
amalthya: (love happy calvin)




I wanted to mention, before the craziness of the next few days, how happy I've been on the whole. I had a lovely dinner tonight with [livejournal.com profile] insheepsclothng and [livejournal.com profile] bannoubunkacoby, but even more than that, I just have this cheerful undercurrent coursing through my day-to-day activities, grueling though some of them may have been.

Also, this is Praxilla, the ring-tailed lemur who's been keeping me company in the van. She will hopefully share very meaningful conversations with me as I drive that van seven zillion miles over the next week. Having her there on the dashboard means more to me than you know.
amalthya: (Gamer Girl)
Countless times this week I've thought that it might be nicer to be a guy in this scenario. I got thwarted in my timeline countless occasions by my inability to lift things by myself.

There were so many things to lift! And they were all so heavy! I consumed most of my non-lifting time with Nostalgic Triaging. I basically went through things I'd saved for a million years and decided whether they really needed to be saved anymore.

This of course included just about every letter I've ever received, or card, and even some notes I'd written in classes, or letters I'd written and never sent. Seriously, one day, I will have the best collection of memories ever. Not like I don't already.

Among the highlights was some stuff from 1986 (6 years old) -- a hand-written journal for school. In pencil and crayon.

"When a friend is angry at me, I spit at her." which was then erased (poorly) and replaced with "Say let's be friends again"


It also had an extensive section on the naughtiness of smuggling animals. I was six. Seriously, did someone think my line of work came out of left field? I was very amused in re-reading it all. Unsurprisingly, I kept most of that stuff.

Anyway, there came a point where I had no more things to triage. And I needed man-lifting. But those rascal men, they were (noticeably) missing! It was sad, and I was delayed. Poor [livejournal.com profile] noranac has been waiting for her new bed for DAYS now!

Today, however, Jim came over and was an absolute muscle-man champ, lifting and sweating and carrying things without my even asking. The TV, as many of you remember (or at the very least, your backs remember,) is FUCKING HEAVY. It's a 36" CRT Sony WEGA, and it weighs about 250 lbs with most of the weight in the front. Additionally, the hand holds are like daggers. Whoever designed the TV just forgot to attach the Wartenberg wheel.

There was no way even with Jim that the TV was getting into the van. But there were these two guys sitting out on a stoop across the street. So I hitched up the boobs, walked over, and in my best Girl Voice, asked them if they'd help.

...And they did. Behold, the power of cheeseBoobs.

I only hope that I can finagle a similar miracle when I get back to New York. Right now, there's me and James the Roomie. There's a possible [livejournal.com profile] alexsirkman squared. But that'd be later in the day. *jiggles boobies*

Help!

It feels nice to finally have everything loaded into the van. My next couple days will be lonely and exhausting.

And hopefully, of course, I will not end up, with my van, living down by the river. Or at the side of the road, dead from too much driving. It's likely (ideally just the latter) since my schedule looks like this:

Tuesday: Arrive in New York around 12 or 1, depending on how masochistic I am in the morning
Unload Van. Attempt not to die. Sleep somewhere. Clean room to make space for more junk.
Wednesday: Drive down to Maryland again to retrieve painting, dresser that mother desires in her Ohio abode.
Load Van with said items.
Start driving to Ohio. Will have already driven 4 hours that day. Attempt not to die while driving 6-7 more. Possibly will end up spending the night in Pennsyltucky.

Wednesday/Thursday: Will end up in Ohio. Would love to see [livejournal.com profile] lauren_lief on the way, and [livejournal.com profile] yuki_onna, [livejournal.com profile] grailquestion and [livejournal.com profile] justbeast while there.

Unload items. Attempt not to die.

Friday afternoon/Saturday morning: Start driving back to Baltimore with van. Return van to Enterprise. Take bus of Some Variety back to New York and hopefully have dinner with [livejournal.com profile] woofa before she returns to the UK.

Yes, I'm insane. I'm telling [livejournal.com profile] rosefox on AIM that I'm dying to lie in my bed and read all these wonderful books that I bought and that were bought for me over the last two weeks.

I promise myself, and all of you that this will be over soon. Within a week. Because any more, and I might die!

Die from missing all of you. And with that, I return to being that face you saw last night on the milk carton*



* this is a joke I blatantly stole from [livejournal.com profile] mgrasso, but I know he'll understand.

Today

Jul. 3rd, 2007 09:59 pm
amalthya: (Default)
Well, I got a lot of van-packing done today. My stuff in the basement is not actually as overwhelming as I feared, mostly because I'd packed things somewhat-coherently when I left for Uganda. I had a couple tubs of clothes, a couple boxes of books -- there are not nearly as many boxes of "MISC." as I thought there would be.

And thankfully, I can give away most of the shoes and clothes. Hell, if I haven't missed them these three years, I'm not going to start now...

Finding paperwork for whatever my relevant Responsible Person Official Duties is more cumbersome. And, of course, carrying Large Heavy Things. I feel sort of lucky that 4 burly men are going to be at the Shack playing D&D tomorrow. I will enlist them *rattles dice in anticipation*

[livejournal.com profile] noranac: will you be home tomorrow so I can drop off the bed, or are you driving to NH for [livejournal.com profile] failedoptimist's party? I need to coordinate.

But I am pleased that I got more done today. It feels more achievable, getting to New York and having my wits about me.
amalthya: (asleep)
Oh, and yea, for the people I've yet to contact:

I'm in Maryland. If you'd like to see me, then perhaps we can hang out.

What's going on for the Fourth of July? I have no idea. My patriotism is weak. I am teh terror1st.

I will also be in Ohio next week. Ya? *nods to appropriate folk*

And of course, back and forth to New York. I need help carrying a big TV. And other things.

I wish I could throw everything away. Also, I'm so scattered! It's bedtime.
amalthya: (private)
I feel completely out of place, and in a weird halfway state of mind.
What definition would you give a glass of water where the separate molecules are all just intermingled throughout the glass? Half-full? Half-empty? I'm feeling giddy, and happy, and lucky, but at the same time, twinged with a bit of sadness. I'm still reeling in the events of the past week.

Highlights:



  • Visiting the Duke Lemur Center. Have I ever mentioned that I'd love to visit Madagascar? I also now have my very own little (stuffed) lemur to remember the trip by.

  • Jordan Lake Beach Trip. Cleve and I took Rusty to Jordan Lake, about 20 minutes away from Chapel Hill. Beachness was had, and it was the most perfect, sunny day. Rusty loved swimming; though he was a bit anxious once he realized that the water only got deeper. One of the (more humorous) side results was Rusty, pulling me into the shoreline while I was helpless to resist. I ended up laughing, scraping along the beach on my tummy. And yes, Cleve took pictures. Feel free to laugh at me here.

    We wandered along the shoreline, exploring the clams (and the litter), but everything was beautiful. And of course, we took a lot of photos.

  • Kirk Cameron is a Growing Pain In My Ass: He rented an orang utan and took it out to dinner. It didn't use its Emily Post manners, so we are therefore not descended from an ape. *nodding* Yes, Kirk. Logical. Honestly, if I didn't know how annoying you were at your day job... Here's the Link

    Thank God (Ha!) for Richard Dawkins.

  • Foosball at Linda's I got to chill on Franklin Street, home of not only UNC students but real people, giving it a real sense of, hmm, humility? It was nice, and I only wish I'd seen more of the local eateries/bars. Other than the Pita Pit. Hehe. But yea, did you know that I was good at foosball? You'd never know from the one time I played. But I was a formidable, winning opponent! Maybe it was the Zeppelin on the jukebox. Linda's is a cool place.

  • Like Children in a Candy Store Cleve and I explored the UNC: Chapel Hill Campus and raided their bookstore for gypsy treasures. It was a bit expensive dangerous! But we managed to use our masterful control of the Dewey Decimal System, and the Copy Machine, to find papers for Cleve's PhD. I felt very scholastic. I should spend more time in Butler Library!

  • I finally saw Borat. Twice. I do believe that I'm still laughing. I also saw Michael Moore's Sicko. People can attest to my general hatred of Michael Moore, but I actually found this movie appealing. Maybe because he was barely in it. Or I'm tickled by the thought of someone from the government coming to do my laundry.

  • Sneaky Rusty I think this might have to be called The Summer of Gazpacho. I made two different batches while in North Carolina (yum) but perhaps the funniest eating involved leaving the house for only 10 minutes to pick up more cucumbers and tomatoes and having Rusty eat ALL of our Pita Pit and leaving lettuce all over the floor. Maybe it was needing to clear up the lettuce while ALSO not getting to eat our yummy falafels was the best part ;)



I didn't get as much done today as I'd hoped. I'm feeling stalled and unmotivated. And a bit isolationist. Tomorrow is a big day.

I don't know how to elaborate what I'm feeling. And I think maybe that's best. For now.

Reverie

Jun. 28th, 2007 02:31 pm
amalthya: (top of the world)
North Carolina reminds me in many ways of my grandparents' cottage in Ludington, Michigan. There's a quiet stillness in the trees here (monkey-free) and everything is serene.

Even the birds seem sedate now, chirping through the rumbling rainstorm. I feel like I'm in another country, but I think that's more due to the company than the locale. One of the things I just adore about spending time with my loved ones "from Africa" is the sense of timelessness in our adventures.

Recounting the experiences, even multiple times, gives a bond, a kinship that's inexplicably unexplainable to people who haven't been through it. No journal or photo montage will ever really capture it for strangers.

I am, however, blogging and uploading some photos from our exciting three days in Chapel Hill.

We spent yesterday as responsible primatologists, visiting the Duke Lemur Center and paying attention to their prosimians and their gift shop. We each laughed during the introductory film, recognizing faces, both of the human-primate variety and the non.

I'm in a haze. A completely happy haze. So apologies for not answering emails, phonecalls, comments, etc, but Cleve leaves for Congo again in September, and I'm taking this time before he needs to finish his PhD in an every-second-counts mentality.

Tomorrow, we go to the beach, and then Saturday, Raleigh to see a movie and have dinner with his mom and Dad. Then it's up to MD. I regret that I probably will not make it to [livejournal.com profile] bkleber's bridgefest (only just barely) or [livejournal.com profile] meli123's bridal shower, but I am sincerely running out of time.

More later.
amalthya: (Default)
Well, I made it to North Carolina in one piece. I spent all today out in the woods with Cleve and Rusty, the Wonderdog.

I will say that it was one of the longest, most grueling drives I've ever done. Especially after the fiasco with my rent-a-car.

But, I'm here, and sort of a little too tired to do a real post. I just wanted to let people know I hadn't died in some freak roadside accident.
amalthya: (moving right along)
Many Years of Therapy: ✔
Severe Wanderlust, left Unchecked: ✔
Wacky, Crazy Adventures Considered Otherwise Stupid: ✔
Happy Birthdays for [livejournal.com profile] shaysdays: ✔


When I planned for my Pink Martini concert weekend several months ago, it didn't seem that stupid. In retrospect, it just might have been.

I spent Saturday re-aquainting myself with my apartment. This involved throwing a lot of things away and buying some sheets and a duvet completely different from my previous items, and spending a lot of time sleeping on said sheet/duvet.

[livejournal.com profile] astralina and I rented a little mini-cooper from the Ghetto ([livejournal.com profile] xoder and [livejournal.com profile] faboo ensured that we weren't harmed) to drive to Pink Martini's New Paltz show at McKenna theatre. I think I've become completely spoiled by my road trips with [livejournal.com profile] rosefox and [livejournal.com profile] sinboy. Not only having my trusty navigatrix, but an understanding that driving, while enjoyable, is still taxing and tiring. That having the temperature at my liking, and an ease of navigation/sign reading helps a lot, especially on long trips.

We managed to get to New Paltz regardless. Not before we ended up in the middle of the woods, and I wondered whether there might be a hillbilly in the bushes with a banjo, waiting for us.

We were still late, and some old people were in our seats.

But wow, was the concert wonderful. This perfect sense of intimacy, in such a close setting, and really, people who appreciate Pink Martini love seeing them playing their instruments, since their virtuosity is exceptional in and of itself.

And I cried during Aspettami. Because it was beautiful.

Afterwards, we struggled to find a place in New Paltz to eat that was open past 10 and wasn't a pub. We settled on a pizza place, and ate and then it was Late.

And then I had to drive home. I was so jetlagged and exhausted at that point that really, I felt as though my eyeballs were going to fall out of my head.

But I made it home. And then Sunday, I decided to do it all again!

Except this time, we took the Fung Wah bus to Boston at 2 pm for the 7:30pm show at Symphony Hall. Of course, I realized upon getting on the bus that I'd forgotten the tickets.

So with some excellent fineagling by [livejournal.com profile] mgrasso, we got in touch with the box office and managed to arrange passes. The bus ride was long, but not particularly loathsome.

But we got into Boston late, and [livejournal.com profile] mgrasso and [livejournal.com profile] ultra_lilac came to pick us up. Rachel was worried about being late, but I didn't want to come all that way and not have dinner, so I gave Rachel her ticket and headed off for dinner.

Which was lovely! Hotel bars are the shiznit.

Ran back to the concert, which was Huge. Way in the back, and admit I preferred the smaller venue and the set list from New Paltz.

Of course, after the concert, it rained and we caught the Fung-Wah bus back. I think... in the future... I might not sit in the front again, if only for my own self-preservation. Because looking out the front window of the bus shouldn't be that terrifying.

It should be indicative that it only took Fung Wah 3 hours to get back to New York. Downtown New York. From Boston.

Okay, off to work I go now.

Home

Jun. 16th, 2007 08:32 am
amalthya: (isolation)
Snore. Woke up so early. Must re-connect with world.

Also must drive to New Paltz with [livejournal.com profile] astralina to see Pink Martini tonight. Own room feels stange and foreign.

Have constructed this:



Click it! Is very exciting. Sleep more now.

...Snore...
amalthya: (bad day)
Friday, 4:32 pm, Berlin Time
Dublin Time ??
June 15th, 2007


Dear Aer Lingus,

Maybe you're relying on the Luck of the Irish. Whatever it is, I thought I'd perhaps give you some helpful hints so that your next passenger doesn't feel like stabbing you in the eye with a shamrock.

Send Ireland a message that it is, in fact, Summer. Summer usually entails weather that is warm and inviting.

If Ireland is not, however, accepting messages at this time, please reconsider your open-tarmac-to-the-plane policy. Nothing says "Welcome to Ireland" like cold, freezing rain in your face, really, I swear. Though I can see why you all started drinking, brr.

Secondly, if someone is flying with your airline ALL the way through their travels -- even if you have a stopover, don't make them check in again. Don't make them pick up their baggage, don't make them get another boarding pass in the stopover city. Really, just don't.

If you do, why not take some of the money you saved in not getting proper gate-to-plane enclosed ramps and buy some signs? Here's a hint: "Departures/Arrivals" is not a helpful sign. How about "GO HERE TO TRANSFER PLANES." Isn't it bad enough that you made us go through security again? And unload all of our liquids again? And start up our computers again?

I can forgive many of your faults, Aer Lingus. Sure, for an international carrier, you're cheap in every way. No free booze, crappy food. Blinding green colors everywhere you look.

But the hallmark of a good airline could certainly be giving your passenger the ability to actually GET ON his or her flight. Don't change gates on me while I'm sitting, half-sleeping, playing my DS. I look up, and suddenly, I'm waiting for a flight to Madrid? Bwa? I've already been there!

I wonder if I can justify buying a blanket here in the airport, to go along with the dress I bought for [livejournal.com profile] pattiejoe and [livejournal.com profile] meli123's wedding next month.


EDIT: 4:55 pm

Dammit, Aer Lingus! That's it! Having server errors when I'm trying to buy INTERNET time is unacceptable. Offering me a help page that I can't access without internet is completely useless.

OMG

Jun. 15th, 2007 09:27 am
amalthya: (international incognito)
Friday, 9:28 am
June 15th, 2007



I'm surrounded by zombies. They sit listlessly, eyes glazed over, ripping pieces off of their sandwiches filled with stale, old meat.

No, I am not Blogging Like It's The End of the World. I'm in the Berlin Schönefeld airport, eating a disgusting vegetable sandwich that I had to queue for 20 minutes for.

But at this point, I'm so tired that I don't even care. I'm so tired that even though my well-travelled iPod headphones sound like a rice krispie treat in my left ear, I don't really pay it much mind. Especially during The Roots or Run-DMC. My *snap* Adidas *crackle*!

I ended up not sleeping at all last night, paranoid that I'd be unable to wake up on time. As it was, the taxi man was in the lobby waiting for me when I came downstairs at 7:55.

He was also awake enough to be a smartass.

Me:Are you the taxi?
Him: I'm the driver of the taxi.


Dude, it's before 8 am. Don't make me turn you into schnitzel.

The internet is pay-internet here, and seeing as I only have 40 minutes until boarding, I'm skeptical as to whether it's worth it. At this point, I could very easily sleep while sitting up. With my face in a pile of internet.

And if I weren't sleeping, I'd take a picture of that so you could all laugh at me.

Now, off to find a dark comfortable corner so I can play Mario vs. Donkey Kong. If I don't distract myself, I will go and buy that $40 Steif Eisbär plushie.

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amalthya

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