Category Archives: Personal

Getting There

Two exams aced; two exams and one paper to go. I’m out of food; time to go grocery-shopping. I’m going to write my shopping list on an unlabeled diagram of the human heart, and consult each at the beginning of each aisle. That way, my time won’t be entirely wasted.

Crunch Time

It’s exam time, as of Wednesday night. E-mail, call me, bang on my door…I don’t care; I’m not coming out until May 5th. If you’re waiting on me for something, then you’ll have to keep right on waiting.

And remember, kids: the distal convoluted tubule comes after the proximal convoluted tubule, but before the collecting tubule.

Bus Boy

Last fall, I filmed a commercial for Charlottesville Transit Services for local TV, and I’m told that it started airing last week.

The filming was a laid-back affair; I was there for about an hour, sitting on an idling bus with some local notables playing the role of the bus passengers and a cool firefighter/part time CTS employee playing the role of cheerful bus driver. We took turns reciting our lines over and over while a 20-something guy wearing an “Evil Dead” t-shirt pointed a tiny video camera at us. A great deal more time was spent recording, apparently, but that was the extent of my involvement.

So, it’s airing now, but I haven’t seen it yet. I’ve had several people tell me — entirely correctly — that I’m rather out of place in the ad, given that it features some of Charlottesville’s world-famous notables, political leaders and…er…me. For what it’s worth, I’ll warrant that I’m the only person in the ad that actually rides the bus, but that’s purely speculation.

Rainy C&O Night

I had dinner with Max at C&O, and saw Manifest folks Tim and Amy there. Walking home, it was misting out. Just enough that I was aware of the thickness of the moisture in the air. Walking by trees, I could hear the tree raining, as water condensed on the leaves and rolled off in fat droplets. I’ve decided that’s my favorite sound. It sounds like the woods. Me in the woods in the rain.

Visiting Wirelessly

Max is in town. We went out to Miller’s with Gretchen and a droll friend of her’s that was nice. Gretchen told me that Paul Casey (MP3: ) will be in town in early May, which is really exciting. It’s too bad that’s exam week for me. I got an 802.11b card for my iBook today, and I tried to find decent connections from the mall. Hotmud, Omni, and GDA were all available, but none of them were open.

Instantly Worthless

Just about every time that I set iChat to “Available,” some fool sends me an instant message that reads, simply, “hi.” I’ve given my screen name to something like 12 people in the six months that I’ve been using instant messaging, so I don’t know how that people get it. I ignore them, and they follow it up with a couple more, such as “how r u??” or “whats up?!” 1 out of 10 times, I’ll respond with a curt “Can I help you?”, and it always turns out to be a DMB fan that thinks that I might be feeling conversational, and have an idle 10 minutes to learn about their class schedule or their cheating girlfriend.

Consequently, I just keep iChat set to “Offline.” This means that IM is useless to me. So here’s the solution. I’m going to set iChat to only accept messages from people that are on my Buddy List. (I’ve got all of this terminology down now: “buddy list,” “screen name,” etc. I’m so proud.) Everybody else gets ignored. So if you want me to be able to get messages from you, e-mail me your screen name. Hint: if I don’t know you, I do not want your screen name.

Maybe this will help.

College Alternative

On the chance that I don’t get into any of the colleges that I applied to, I figure that I still need to get educated. I get the feeling that just reading Stephen Wolfram‘s “A New Kind of Science” would suffice. This book rolls up evolutionary biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and a new way of thinking, all in a convenient half-million words. There’s no way that I could comprehend this book in less than a year’s study. So that’s sort of like college for the pathetic. I just need another book for the fourth year, and I’m all set.

The big city.

Max, Patrick and I went to New York City this week. We left on Monday afternoon, driving up to DC and taking the train to NYC. We stayed at Washington Square Hotel about a block from NYU, just north of Houston Street. On the first night, we met up with our friend Dario (an NYU film student) and went out drinking in SoHo. (Well, I had a beer. Everybody else drank considerably more.) At midnight, Max turned 21, and further celebrations commenced.

The next morning, we met our friend Stephanie (a graduate student at Columbia) at the Met to see the William Blake exhibit. There was also a fantastic Egyptian exhibit, which reminded me how out of practice that I am at reading Egyptian hieroglyphics. We walked a short distance to Max’s grandparents’ place, also on the Upper East Side. They took us out to lunch, where I had one of the better hot dogs that I’ve ever eaten.

Leaving Max’s grandparents, I convinced everybody that we should rent a row boat and tour one of the lakes in Central Park. (Patrick was especially reluctant to do this, for reasons that remain mysterious to me.) At Bethesda Foundation on the Lake, they were filming Stuart Little 2, which was kind of cool. We rowed around for a pleasant hour. We chased around some geese and lolled about in the ideal weather. I called Peter to point out that we were rowing in Central Park. He was suitably amused. We passed under Bow Bridge a couple of times, which is notably only because it appears in countless movies.

We left Stephanie to walk back to Washington Square Park. As we were on 81st Street, we figured that getting to 4th Street would take us at least an hour or so. But it would be a fine way to see the city, I thought. Our first planned stop along the way: the Empire State Building, on 34th Street. To get there, we passed through Times Square, which was rather ugly. MTV was filming Total Request Live, and the screams of fans could be heard from blocks around. There was a huge ad for Dave Matthews Band’s "Everyday." It was bizarre to see the guys 50′ tall in New York.

At the Empire State Building, Max and Patrick refused to go up. I assume that was because it would establish that they were tourists. They were, of course, tourists. But going up would confirm this, and they would feel less cool. So I paid my $9 and took the shockingly-fast elevator ride up top. The view was really quite incredible. It was nice to have a concept of the layout of Manhattan, which was something that I’d lacked previously. It looked much cleaner from 86 stories up. The Chrysler Building was very shiny. PCS service was quite poor.

We continued south, stopping at Zen Palate in Union Square for dinner. For meatless eating, it was really quite excellent. We continued south and eventually hit Other Music on 4th Street. Patrick and Max spent about an hour there, buying obscene amounts of music. Given that OM is across the street from Tower, they don’t bother with anything mainstream. As a result, they have some of the most esoteric, obscure music that you could ever hope for. Well, that one could ever hope for. I didn’t see a damned thing that I wanted.

Then we headed back north, to Irving Plaza. We met Stephanie Taylor there, and stood in line for a very long time. Doors were supposed to open at 7:30, but they didn’t until about an hour later. We were there to see Sigur Rós, an Icelandic band. When they did eventually start playing, they were quite good. There was singing into pickups and playing of guitar with a violin bow. Most unusual. The crowd was too much for me in the general-admission crush, so I mostly listened from just outside the doors. I’m a concert weenie like that.

The next morning we got bagels from some famous (and tasty) bagel place in the Village, and walked down to the edge of Chinatown so that Patrick could go to some store. We spent almost an hour at this place, which mostly sold knick-knacks that may or may not have been of Chinese origin. Everything from pornographic playing cards to Masterlocks, dried cuddlefish to chopsticks…it was all there. Max got bowls. Patrick got nothing.

From there it was a cab ride to the train station, a sleepy ride to DC, and a drive home. Not a bad way to spend a few days, and also not a bad way to see New York. I dislike it less than I used to, and I think I’d like to go back sometime soon.