oceantheorem: (knit I heart)
 Yay, I'm writing something!

Is it too late to do a Rhinebeck wrap-up?  Maybe it is, because my memory is foggy. All I remember is alpaca, alpaca, alpaca. And some really amazing people.

Yeah, this entry got long. Really, really long. Click here. )
oceantheorem: (emperor's new groove turned into a cow)
I'm home.

The trip was great.

We did go through the Wind Cave in South Dakota, and then over to Mt. Rushmore, and then through the Badlands. We made it to the edge of South Dakota and camped there for the night, then drove through Minnesota and up to St. Paul the next morning. That afternoon we wandered around the Mall of America (civilization! at its... worst...), and saw Knocked Up in the mall theatre. Not as funny as I thought it was going to be... Actually, I think the movie sort of traumatized me. I was in a weird mood for several days afterward.

After Minnesota, we drove through Wisconsin and up through the little arm bit of Michigan and across the Mackinac Bridge into the top of the mitten part of Michigan. We hung out in Mackinaw City for two days, did a bit of shopping, and spent an entire afternoon laying in the grass in a park next to Lake Huron, reading in the sun. THAT was vacation. That was nice.

After Mackinaw City, we drove down through Michigan a bit and then over into Ontario. We didn't have too much trouble crossing the border, despite not having passports or birth certificates. They grilled us on how we knew each other and what we wanted into Canada for, then stamped our piece of paper and sent us on our way. We camped outside of Toronto that night, then got up the next morning and drove to Niagara Falls. We agreed that the Canadian side of Niagara is much, much better than the American side. Then we drove back into the States (more grilling), and thus ended our brief Canadian venture. Except for all the signs being in kilometers, it was pretty much exactly like the United States. (The last time I was in Canada was when I was 8, and I didn't remember much except the Edmonton Mall and the Peace Gardens.)

In Niagara, we realized we were only 8 or 9 hours from New Haven, so we went ahead and came all the way back. We got in Friday night instead of today. We had dinner with two of my friends, so Ann got to meet them, and then yesterday we had dinner with two more, and this morning we had brunch with another. Hopefully now she'll finally know who I'm talking about all the time...
We also wandered around downtown New Haven a bit yesterday, and we're pretty sure we saw two of Harrison Ford's stunt doubles. They're filming the fourth Indiana movie on the Yale Campus, so there are film crews and road blocks EVERYWHERE, but we walked down to the Green and watched them shoot a bit of a scene early yesterday afternoon. There were people dressed up in 1950s college-type clothes lounging on the Green or walking around. They were the background. The actual scene had someone driving a motorcycle by with Harrison Ford's stunt double on the back. They drove just a little past the Green and then through Phelps Gate into Old Campus, where we couldn't see them anymore. It was kinda cool, there were 50s cars EVERYWHERE in New Haven, and Chapel St had actually been completely transformed for about a block--all the storefronts had been made up to look like 1950s shops. The local Starbucks was posing as a bar, and had a Guinness poster in the window. It was pretty cool.

Anyway, it's good to be home. Hopefully more updates will come.

Oh yeah, and I also got my final secret pal package waaaaay back in Reno, and I need to post pictures of that... (Thank you Emily!! I'd read both books within a week of picking up the package, and I love them!) Official update to come.

Travel log

Jun. 23rd, 2007 08:30 pm
oceantheorem: (Default)
Sunday afternoon we drove from Santa Cruz to my parents' in Reno. Monday we drove from Reno to Hyram State Park in northern Utah, stopping briefly in Salt Lake City to have dinner with my cousin Dominic and his wife Holly and their family.

On Tuesday, Ann and I drove from the Hyram State Park campground to Jackson, Wyoming, through Idaho. It was a beautiful drive and only took a few hours. We spent most of the afternoon wandering around Jackson being touristy; visiting the little shops and whatnot. We got ourselves a campsite in the nearest KOA and signed up for a river rafting trip for Wednesday morning. Ann let me wander around in the local yarn store for a few minutes, and I bought a couple skeins of some Montana organic wool (it's heavenly…). One skein is for my secret pal and one is for me; remind me to make a scarf with it.
I saw an ad for the Seven Brides for Seven Brothers play being put on in the local theatre, and Ann actually seemed amenable to going, so I called and made a reservation for that as well.
The play turned out to be pretty good. It was in this teeny tiny little theatre that had been set up to look like it was built in the old west (hmm, maybe it actually WAS?). The actress who played Millie was really old, but she had a great voice. Adam wasn't as hunky as he is in the movie, nor were the other brothers, but hey, they were great actors (most of them). They left out the spring song, and the when you're in love song, but they sang all the others plus a few I didn't know. I really enjoyed myself. I don't know that Ann had quite as good a time as I did, but it was a lot of fun for me to see the play of a movie I know literally by heart.

Wednesday morning we got up and went river rafting with one of the local companies. I must say, while it was a lot of fun, I expected it to be a lot more fun. I expected it to be a lot more of a lot of things, actually. It was only about an hour long, and the rapids were only about class 2. But for my first whitewater rafting trip, it was pretty good. Ann and I sat at the front of the raft and paddled and got lots of water up our noses, and at one point I crawled up on the nose of the raft to "ride the bull," which involves hanging both feet off the front and hanging onto the raft by a small rope between your legs. It was awesome.
After that, we drove out of Jackson and into Teton National Park. We took some pictures of the Tetons and drove around a bit, then picked out a campground in the Lizard Creek campground, near the Jackson Lake. We spent the afternoon swimming and drinking Grand Teton Ale. It was the perfect ending to a fantastic day.

Thursday morning we got up (a bit later than intended) and drove from Teton Park into Yellowstone. We got a campsite in Bay Bridge around 11, set up the tent, and abandoned our luggage with it to set out and explore. We stopped first at a visitor's center and looked at some stuffed birds, then took about nine hours to drive 90 miles. We saw countless buffalo, a ton of pelicans, about 55 elk total (and one male with a pretty nice rack) which we initially thought were moose because we are dumb, one single female grizzly chillin on a hillside (got pictures of her), a momma grizzly and her two babies walking through some grass a bajillion miles away (sort of saw them with binoculars), a 12-year-old female black bear who was literally right next to the road (a ranger was standing in front of her yelling at the idiots to stay back and to For The Love of God Not Run Near The Bear), immediately after which we saw ANOTHER single black bear, but that one was much smaller (perhaps it was a juvenile?) and not surrounded by hordes of people . We also saw two coyotes, and a bunch of cranes, which we think were whooping cranes but hey, can you trust the girls who thought the elk were moose?, and total over the two days I think we saw nine bald eagles, all of them sitting.

Friday morning we got up early and had the entire day to spend exploring the park. We drove back up through the same area that the single female grizzly had been the day before, and wouldn't you know it, there were tons of people clogging the road again. So we jumped out and looked around with Ann's binoculars, and this time we could see, quite clearly, the same bear. We watched her for a while until she disappeared behind a ridge, and luckily instead of leaving immediately we decided to wait a few minutes to see if she came back. Much to our surprise, within three minutes a bear DID reappear, but it was a DIFFERENT female grizzly, and this one had a cub with her. We watched her for quite a while, and we could tell SHE was watching the single female (whom we could no longer see), but there were no conflicts. A ranger on the road told us they have the single female collared and know that she's two or three years old, and they suspect that she's the other bear's daughter, because mother bears don't normally allow other bears into their territories, and this one was quite obviously being tolerated, even if she wasn't being welcomed.
We got some good pictures of all three bears, though not at the same time. They were pretty close, and with the binoculars we were able to watch them in quite a bit of detail. They were all gorgeous creatures.
For the rest of Friday we drove around the main loop of Yellowstone, stopping to look for moose and to look at various geysers, mudpots, and fumaroles. We took many a picture of steaming ground. We stopped and saw Old Faithful, which was cool. It's pretty much exactly like what it looks like in videos.
We went back to the campsite early and took naps, then struck out again along the same grizzly road. The bears weren't in sight anymore, and no moose were forthcoming, so we turned around and headed back to camp just before dusk. Ann spotted something swimming in the river, so we pulled over really quickly and watched it swim toward us, going, "Is it a moose? Is it a bear? Is it an otter? What IS that??" It turned out to be an extremely fat male beaver, who pulled himself up onto the bank literally two feet in front of us, crawled into the underbrush directly next to us, and began to eat in an adorably gerbil-like fashion. We took about a hundred pictures of him.

While we were photographing the beaver, an elderly couple came over to tell us they'd been watching the beavers all day, and then filled us in on some park goings-on. There are no moose this year; I guess the food has run out in the visible areas or something, so they haven't seen a single moose. I don't know if that's official or if the moose population has declined, but at any rate it explained why we didn't see any. The couple also said they'd been watching a wolf pack all day, and let us look through their telescope thingy at the opposite river bank where the wolf pack is known to hang out, and where they had seen flashes of wolf twice earlier in the evening. We watched for about fifteen minutes, and I saw a flash of dark, but I think it was a buffalo and not a wolf. Still, it was kind of cool to know that, even if we couldn't see them, there were wolves right across the river from us.

We left Yellowstone around 8 this morning and drove across Wyoming. We're now in a KOA just over the border in South Dakota. Tomorrow we'll go see the wind caves and Mt. Rushmore, and then I suppose there will be more driving. I'm wiped; we drove nine hours today.

Time for swimming and then maybe a shower?

Also, it's the weirdest of things, but I really, really miss Connecticut. I miss lab, I miss my friends, I miss my apartment, I miss being close to New York, I miss the Green, I miss the shops on Broadway--OH MY GOD! I'm becoming an east coaster!
No, really though. I miss New Haven.
oceantheorem: (airplane)
It feels weird to pack for three or four weeks. I feel like anything I don't bring will be "left behind." I'm also suffering from impending internet withdrawal--how will I check lj from the road?? How will I keep up with my webcomics, especially Digger, whose archives are pay only and just the most recent comic is free?? Aaaaahhh I'm such a creature of habit.

Also, I'm now starting to worry that they won't let me take my metal circs on the plane. If I knit for them while I go through security, will they be more lenient? They're size 7s; I'm hoping they're big enough to not be sharp enough to be considered a threat.
I'm planning on taking my bamboo 6s as well, and if they make me check the Addis, I'll just knit the diamond pattern on the 6s, since that one knits up so tall. Maybe knitting it on 6s will keep it to within my desired dimensions. *sigh* Why do I have to take up the weird hobbies that require sharp pointy sticks?
And drat, I have to pack my climbing gear. I'm gonna need a second suitcase, between the climbing shoes and the extra balls of yarn.

I'm excited out of my mind to go "home," so why do I feel so reluctant to leave? Summer is just starting here, we've all settled into labs, everyone else is just getting BACK from vacation, and now the fun should begin! And I'm going to miss out on the first month of summer. I hope I don't miss out on too much bonding. :-(

On the other hand... Neal and Megan and Ann! San Francisco and Santa Cruz and skydiving! Road tripping!

*Goes off to...*
-Charge mp3 player
-collect best CDs and pack them for the road trip
-take an Airborne
-pack extra contacts
-pack chargers for cell phone and bluetooth
-finish packing clothing
-wash dishes
-take out trashes
-decide which size suitcase to cram things into
-pack some sort of coherent lunch that doesn't include liquids
-sleep for an hour?


Jun. 8th, 2007 07:32 am
oceantheorem: (yay omg yay kermit)

Okay, so I'm leaving early tomorrow morning. I fly from Hartford to Oakland, where my good friend Neal will pick me up (I hope). Then we'll spend two or three days hanging out (and climbing) in SF, one of which I will probably ditch him for and spend hanging out with [livejournal.com profile] bananasofdeath and [livejournal.com profile] owlishness, who are both in the area... Then it's down to Sunnyvale to see [livejournal.com profile] fieryminge (YAY!!) for a couple days right before her birthday. She'll give me a ride down to Santa Cruz, where I will pick up Ann's car and go pick up her at the SF airport. Then the real fun begins. The 14th to the 18th we'll be hanging out in Santa Cruz doing all the normal Santa Cruz-y things (and I might even have lunch or something with Jamie!). On the 17th we're going skydiving (I need to call and make the reservation...) in Hollister, and on the 18th we start our cross-country drive from Santa Cruz to Boston. And we can stop through Reno on the way and pick up my new laptop, which is already expensively awaiting me safely in my parents' garage.

After two weeks of cavorting across the country, we should arrive in New Haven and/or Boston. I'll help Ann move in a little, then come back to New Haven for a day or two, and then I fly from Hartford to Reno on July 4th. Then my parents and I will drive across the evil desert to Salt Lake City for my cousin's wedding (YAYAYAYA!!! And I found out yesterday that a couple of my far-away cousins will be there, so I get to see a few people I haven't seen since before THEY got married). Then I fly directly home from Salt Lake City to Hartford on the 9th, and collapse into a little ball and sleep for a good five or so hours before going back to lab.

It's gonna be an awesome summer.

Also, I will probably not update lj. At least, not regularly. But I will make a full and detailed report upon my return.
Have fun!


Mar. 22nd, 2007 01:26 pm
oceantheorem: (jack omg ocean)
Wow, Maine is awesome.

In fact, I've pretty much determined that I like EVERY state in New England except Connecticut. This is unfortunate. However, since you only have to drive 45 minutes in any direction to get out of Connecticut, I'm not going to worry about it too much.

Anyway, Maine. It was all snowy and fluffy and beautiful--you know, not the kind of snow you find in the middle of a city that's all churned and grey and evil-looking. It was the soft white untouched kind, piled up in mounds all over the state. It was gorgeous. The first day I stopped at a lighthouse near... York, I think. (I'll post disposable pictures and better descriptions later.) I think I pretty much fell in love with Maine the second I saw that lighthouse. I think I've developed a strange new love for lighthouses. I suddenly have the desire to collect lighthouse paraphernalia....

The beaches in Maine are really nice. They have the requisite amount of sand, so they're REAL beaches, but they also have neat scraggly cliffs and rocks. They reminded me of some of the beaches up Hwy 1 in California. In fact, almost everything in Maine reminded me of California. Maine is like a much smaller, snowier, lobsterier version of California. I wonder if it's cheaper to live there...
The biggest city in Maine (Portland) has 230,000 people, a quarter of the state's entire population. That blew me away. New England is just SO SMALL. I will never get over that. The whole region is just SO SMALL (it only takes four hours to drive from New Haven to Maine! Absurd!). Anyway, I stayed in a Motel 6 in Portland, and got dinner at an Applebee's (I know, the shame... but there HONESTLY wasn't anywhere else to get food, and I'd been looking for a restaurant for like three hours; NOTHING is open in Maine in winter), where the guy tending the bar noticed I was reading a guide book and came over to give me some tips and directions. He was chatty and helpful and gave me clear directions on driving in downtown Porland. This resulted in one of the nicest mornings I've had in a long time. I went to a bakery and bought a hot cross bun from a lady with an awesome accent, then, on the Applebee's guy's directions, drove to Cape Elizabeth (near Portland) to see the Portland Head Light, where I sat and ate my hot cross bun in the exact same place that Longfellow used to sit. THAT was awesome.

I drove up the coast a bit farther to Pemaquid Point, which in retrospect was sort of unnecessary. But on the way through Wiscasset I passed an alpaca farm, so I stopped and bought some yarn (OH MY GOD THE YARN) and got to meet the alpaca (alpacas?). I know this sounds dumb, but I was amazed to realize that the animals are just as soft as the yarn. Why had that never occurred to me before? Anyway, after that I became seized by the desire to move to Cape Elizabeth, buy an alpaca farm and a sailboat, and eat breakfast under the lighthouse every day for the rest of my life. Wouldn't that be awesome?

I'm gonna go try to scan my yarn, since I don't have a real camera. More later. :-D
oceantheorem: (cheat lightswitch rave)
So... I'm gonna go to Maine for a couple days. I think. I mean, I'm gonna get in my car and drive north and see what's up there. I need to get out of New Haven for a bit, and I want to see more of New England, and I could use some time to myself to think. If you get a strange phone call from me it'll probably be because I'm somewhere no one has ever been before and I just want to share the moment.

I'm so excited!

I'll be back in a day or two; I have no concrete plans and no set direction. If no one's heard from me in 48 hours, assume I was kidnapped by rabid lobsters.

EDIT: Hmm, upon reflection, if it's going to take me five hours to drive there, and I'm already feeling like I need a nap, what I might do instead is dedicate the rest of today to preparing, and then leave at first light tomorrow.
NEW PLAN! Go to bookstore, get maps. Go to craft store, get craft supplies so I can pull over and do something other than drive and sightsee. Go to drug store and pick up disposable camera. Take nap. Cook packable food. Buy ice. Load car. Go to bed early.

oceantheorem: (rain on flowers)
I went to the beach. Andrew came. Good thing, too, 'cause that kid is all logical and comforting and stuff, and I totally would have driven all the way to Rhode Island just to sit on the beach in the rain and sob. But Andrew printed out directions to a closer beach, and we got there before it started raining, and I didn't cry. I actually felt a lot better. Things seem better next to the ocean. It smelled like the ocean. It smelled... okay. In the sense that things are going to be okay.

I got mad about a lot of things tonight. I think I'm doing better now; I think I've recovered from my anger, and dealt with it a bit, and am once again able to handle life as it comes. I'm so glad I remembered beaches; so often I forget that they always help. Why does it always help to go to the beach? Unfailingly?

Anyway, I just drove for two hours, and it poured on the drive back, and I'm exhausted both emotionally and physically, so I'm going to bed.
Sweet dreams, kids.
oceantheorem: (emperor's new groove turned into a cow)
In a very unexpected turn of events, it appears that I will be going to Ohio for Thanksgiving, with a friend from my program. His family lives in Columbus, but apparently part of this trip will also be taking place in Cleveland. There will be football and a Turkey Trot and tons of family members and lots of food and apparently the more the merrier, so I'm accompanying him on his drive from Connecticut to Ohio. I'm really excited; I'll get to know him a lot better, and I won't be alone (with my memories) for Thanksgiving. And I still get my road trip (although sans Rodin)!

We're leaving Friday afternoon and will return next Friday. I have no idea if I'll have access to the internet in that time, but of course I'll have my cell phone with me (I really hope this phone likes me and doesn't decide to ditch me the way the last one did). I'll also take my paper journal and attempt to make entries in it, in the hopes of actually having memories from grad school instead of just random synopses posted occasionally on lj.

Anyway, what was I talking about? There are a few cons. I'm going to miss part, if not all, of the cell bio retreat on Friday, so I won't get to hear the talks there, which kinda sucks because I still don't know what I want to study, and I was kind of hoping to get more of an idea after listening to the cell bio people tell about their research.

The ironic part of going to Ohio for Thanksgiving is that my dad is from Ohio (though he doesn't live there now) yet I've never been in Ohio for Thanksgiving before. Except for driving (rapidly) through the state on my trip across the country, I haven't been to Ohio since I was seven. So there will be lots of new sights. Should prove to be a really interesting trip.

Also, apparently my mom has a "Thanksgiving box" that has to get to me before Thanksgiving. What goes into a "Thanksgiving box" that's getting mailed across the country?


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