Friday, May 28, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
- Friday night, we checked out the local Chinese place for some take out. As we're standing outside, waiting for our order, we hear what sounds like gunshots "pop,pop,pop,pop". I look at Alex and ask if he thinks those were shots? Mind you, this is, maybe 7pm on Friday night, it's still light out, there are tons of people milling about, hanging out everywhere. Everyone reacted, coming out of their houses, wondering what went on, etc. Pretty soon (as in, perhaps, 2 minutes) there were cops and fire trucks everywhere, heading toward the sounds of the shots. We got our food, and headed back home, only to find the shots were fired approximately a block from our house. We subsequently set the alarm and proceeded to rationalize our choice of neighborhood. Turns out, truck ran over a Philly bike cop and dragged him for a ways. In order to get the driver to stop, the cop shot at his vehicle (or maybe in the air? I'm not sure). They caught the driver (who was theoretically trying to hit & run) and the cop should be OK, with some leg injuries. I have to say that scenario seems better than the scenarios running through our heads at the time of the shooting....
- We headed to NJ for Alex's triathlon on Sat morning. We swung by the old place and picked up some things that were left there and dropped some stuff off at the Salvation Army. Then we headed to NJ, hitting up Walmart and our favorite chain restaurants. I can honestly say were were overwhelmed by the size of restaurants and stores in NJ. Walmart looked like an airplane hanger you could park a 747 in. We even hit the mall. Ohhh, we're such suburbanites!
- I think, to a certain extent, NJ deserves most of the stereotypes that are out there. NJ seems to take on the personality of the cities it's closest to. South Jersey tends to gravitate towards Philly, while North Jersey is basically a suburb of NYC. NJ is perhaps the worst driving I have ever seen (and I'm from CA, supposedly Californians are terrible drivers, according to everyone here!). They follow you so closely, no matter what speed you're going, they slam on the brakes a mere few feet from the stop light, and they peel out at nearly every light. Also, for some reason, they have traffic circles every few miles (ever seen one of those? Yeah, they suck and are super confusing and stupid and terrifying on MAJOR ROADS). And there are basically NO LEFT TURNS. I am not kidding. If you want to go left, you have to make a right, then make a left and then go straight. How this is better that having a left hand turn signal? I have no idea. So basically, it sucks to drive in Jersey. Avoid it at all costs.
- Triathlons are insane. Alex did really well and I am super proud of him, but these people are crazy. A 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike and a half marathon (13.1 miles) all in one day? Are you kidding me? I sat at the state park for over 8 hours, watching people compete. Let me tell you, the cheer-ers deserve a lot of credit for being out there all day long. I could literally nap all day today :)
- After the race, Alex and I were both starving, so we headed over the The Cracker Barrel at 5pm on a Sunday. Apparently we are 75 years old. We both ordered Chicken and Dumplings (their specialty). The food was OK, but reminded me a little too much of canned food that old folks might like. The entrance to the restaurant is a store, with odds and ends like old fashioned candy, garden accouterments, and lots of things about Jesus. It also had a dancing chicken dancing and singing to "Who let the hens out? cluck, cluck, cluck". It felt oddly like Disneyland, although the crowd was a little too old.
- We spent the majority of last evening in bed, watching cable TV (which we don't have at home). We watched "Mythbusters", which is always entertaining, and stumbled upon "Hoarders", which honestly confused me and stressed me out. A LOT. I just don't understand why people won't throw their shit away? So weird.
- Traffic in NJ/PA is not even close to how bad traffic is in LA. Driving back this AM was a PIECE of CAKE!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
- we moved this past weekend - it was kinda a mess. I didn't have enough boxes and was still packing as friends arrived to help. Both our old street and our new streets are very narrow. Alex scraped a car as he went by - causing more of a headache than we needed.
- our friends are lifesavers and troopers. They helped us load and unload two truckloads of our junk and stuck around for pizza afterwards. It was awesome. I felt very loved since this is literally the first time anyone but my parents have helped me move. And I've moved A LOT.
- the new place is super duper. It's so lovely, I am waiting for something to be wrong with it.
- that something that is wrong with it happened the night before last. The roof leaks - right over our bed. Oh yeah, I am super excited about this. But the landlord seems really responsive and the roofers are coming today, hopefully.
- bike commuting is not as easy as it seems. People who drive are kinda jerks. But it is really nice to go door to door in less than 30 minutes. Faster than walking for sure!
- Alex is doing a half iron man triathlon this weekend. For the uninitiated, that's a 1.2 mile swim in a reservoir, a 60 mile bike ride and a half marathon (13.1 mile run). In one day. Yeah. Should be fun!
- I'm not sure what's going on with this weather lately. It was really hot and humid a couple days ago, then it was pleasant (like, 70s), and then it went back into the 50s and it's been freezing, raining and chilly for days now. Summer anyone?
- Working in my lab has gotten pretty lonely. There's only 2 of us. We don't have a lot to talk about. I am so ready to be done it's not even funny.
- We finally got our engagement pics back. If you promise not to tell my mom, I might post some.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
I got this book for my mom for Christmas this past year. She is really into murder mysteries, and I had heard a review of this book / author on NPR several months earlier, so I decided to check it out. This is the first book in a series by Coleman, following ex-cop Moe Prager on some mysterious situations. This first book finds Prager, recently retired due to injury, looking for a missing college student, Patrick Maloney. The book is set in the late 70s Manhattan (and some surrounding areas) as well as modern day (well, at least 1998) and the chapters jump back and forth between the two times. Prager is a great character. The novel is written in first person, following Moe as he searches for the lost kid, getting involved in political corruption, solving unexplained situations, and making friends along the way. This was a great detective novel. It was well written, Prager is interesting and realistic, but he also has some faults. But he seems like a genuinely moral person, acting, a lot of the time, as the moral compass of the book. He's a hard drinker, but he's also a family man, keeping in touch with his brother and sister throughout the book, and making it a point to call his daughter on her birthday. He seems to genuinely like people, and "makes friends" with quite a few of the more bizarre characters. And he seems non-judgmental, which is hard to believe for an ex-NYPD! I thought this book was really excellent, for a number of reasons. The writing was believable and gritty, and almost written with a NY accent (can you do that?). The scenarios were not so out there that they were unbelievable: political corruption, friends selling you out, a lot of money changing hands, tragic consequences, etc. The majority of the story was wrapped up very nicely, and the narrator gives the reader a nice "what happened to whom" at the end of the book, making a tidy story. There were some aspects of the story that seemed a little bit more cheesy, or over-the-top, but that really didn't bother me. I couldn't put the book down and I was drawn into the novel almost as soon as I picked up the book. Plus, it's a book published by a small, independent press, which I love to support. If you're a fan of detective novels, give Coleman's work a try. I'm already into the second in this series and it looks just as good as the first!
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
- Both Alex and I ran the Broad St. run last Sunday. 10 miles from start to finish. The weather decided to change rapidly right before the race and it turned out to be 90 and humid (instead of the 60 and not humid it had been the week before). Nothing can really prepare you for that, let me tell you. I ended up walking a bit of the run, trying to take it easy on my body, and I did the whole run in about 2 hrs. Not record time at all, but something I am proud of. 10 miles seems far, even now!
- We are moving in less that two weeks to a house we finally got the keys for last night. People actually said "hi" to us as we walked down the block. Weird, but nice! And the house is totally new all over - stainless appliances, new paint, jacuzzi tub, new windows, heater, a/c. And a 75 gallon water heater. I am pretty sure we will NEVER run out of hot water!
- My computer broken. I mean, like, really broken. The screen went blank and apparently something in my motherboard died. So, it's been sent off to Apple land to be fixed. Hence, no pictures or anything interesting like that for at least two weeks. I am working off a computer in lab, which is kinda a pain.
- This weekend, we are having engagement pictures taken. Don't tell my mom. It's gonna be a surprise late Mother's Day gift sent to her.
- I am actually excited about going through my stuff and getting rid of a bunch of it. We are renting a gigantic Uhaul - and we are crossing our fingers it will fit down our street (it's a pretty narrow street)!
- It's pretty hard to go to work when it's 80 and gorgeous outside. I would be so content to sit outside and read. Man, it's been a loooooong time since I've been able to do that!