Monday, February 27, 2006

Going to be a Bartender!


Well, I signed up for a bartending course off Exit 8a of the Northway for the next two weeks and tonight was my first night.  It was a lot of fun.  Our teacher Dan is great and Ryan Doyle from Lake George Highschool is in my class.  I can't wait to get behind the bar to start making some drinks.  This will be the perfect job for me throughout Graduate School to quickly earn some extra cash and to meet new people in the area.   The course has a job placement rate of 85% but I don't know if that means he also has connections in R.I. where it is starting to look like I'll defintiely be going. 


Sunday, February 26, 2006

Drinks with Sarah

Had a few drinks last night at Baileys with my friend Sarah Abbey.  She works for Peer Impact in Toga and even has a cartoon characature of her in the company for promotion.  It was a fun night hanging out with her and Mike.  We ended up going to Gaffneys and getting pretty drunk!  I woke up this morning and thought I was fine until we went for breakfast and I felt awful!  I've been feeling sooo hungover all day!  I'll really miss Sarah when I move for Graduate School wherever I end up going...


Friday, February 24, 2006

Out with Mike

Went out with Mike last night to Gaffneys and hung out with his friend Kate and her friends.  Kate is a beautiful blonde who is going to Medical School somewhere soon but doesn't know where yet. N35200755_30083450_5635

I heard that Kates friend Leah Serbalik asked about me so I decided to go out and get to know her a little.  Very much like Nicolette who I met the weekend before, she also volunteered to help children, but she went to Peru.  She was very nice, I'll have to get know her better...  She is the one on the middle in the picture and Liz Keane is on the right.   Kate Shea is on the left.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

What a wonderful weekend


At 9pm on Sat I got a call from Adrian and Kristen asking if I wanted to go out with them and Kristen's friends from Merrymount College.  I said sure and we all went down to Desperate Annies at about 10:30.  Kristen's friends Carolyn and Nicollete were both very energetic fun people.  Walking downtown was very eerie.... It was pitch black.  Apparently the only reason our apartment regained power was because we live on the same power grid as the Saratoga Hospital so we got priority.  Everything south of Church Street was a black hole, which meant 90% of Saratoga was still in a
Weekend_with_nicolette_21806_74 blackout.  Desperate Annies had a generator going and heat lamps inside but it was still frigid (coldest day of the year).  We had a couple rounds there and then went back to Adrian's which also had power (his apartment is also on Van Dam Street) and continued to drink there.   There was  a
lot of dancing that ensued at that point (see pic).  We started to watch Elf but it was 2am so we all were falling asleep.

    Nicolette was telling me about her experiences in Rawanda helping the children there through Weekend_with_nicolette_21806_82
World Vision which really impressed me.  This girl has beautiful green eyes and a perfect smile.  Truly beautiful.  Adrian passed out early drunk holding his cat so it ended up being me and 3 girls on a small little futon couch all spooning each other... haha... Nicolette is the most wonderful person I've met in a long long time.  Her energy, her laugh, her smile... in one word - Amazing. 
    Sunday we woke up and went to breakfast at Comptons, which had regained power overnight,Weekend_with_nicolette_21806_83Weekend_with_nicolette_21806_006
and then to Kristen's mom's and the mall for a bit just to kill some time.  Adrian felt awful so he
stayed at home while I went out with the lovely ladies (after stopping to take a shower at my place of course).   At the mall we found a jumbo
gumball machine and Nicolette got a giant grape gumball! Mmmm, my favorite!   It was a great day hanging out with Nicolette before she had to go back with Carolyn.  It was a totally unexpected but wonderful weekend and I hope to see Nicolette again soon!


Friday, February 17, 2006

Totto... I don't think we're in Toga anymore...

   Holy gale force winds batman!  I woke up friday morning to what sounded like hail hitting my window.  I threw on my glasses and looked out to see the tree in front of Kate's apartment bent over at a 90 degree angle and the roof panels of the house next door tearing off.  It sounded like a freight train was coming through.  Figuring it was just a quick front passing through I climbed back in bed but it wouldn't stop.  I tried working on my computer for 30 minutes before the power started to flicker killing my computer.  Everytime the power would go back on our electronic dartboard would go off blaring electronic trumpets!  While the dart board was going off I got a call from Professor Yang Shen at URI saying I had full funding for next fall.  Yeah! - although I could barely hear him over the damn dart board!
    I decided to drive to my parents and Glens Falls for a much needed haircut... bad idea.... the wind was so bad on the Northway trucks were pulling over, and I was almost getting blown off the road.  I counted about 40 trees down along the Northway on my way.  When I got to 19 there was a long line of traffic because the signal had gone out so I kept going to exit 20... where there was a huge pine tree down across all 3 lanes, so I had to wait there.  Glen Lake Road was closed off as well.  I barely made it down 149 and onto Bay road to go the long way around to Tee Hill.  When I got to my parents it looked like a hurricane had come through, branches everywhere and the pool fence destroyed.  I looked up the street and could see a tree had taken out the transformer by the Britton's.  Amazingly my parents still had power.  I walked around the back yard to take Lights_out_party_21706_16
pictures and as soon as I had come in half of our giant pine tree in the backyard broke off and crushed the bird feeder I had just walked under!
  I made the trip to A Cut Above to see if they had power but they didn't.  When I got home I walked out to pick up the pool fence panels by the road and saw a large pine tree snap at the base and fall over the south entrance of Sherwood Acres, slicing through the power lines.  Unfortunately for me those powerlines were also the ones directly above my head that started to fall on top of me so I quickly jumped out of the way. Lights_out_party_21706_14
Thankfully they only sagged a deal and actually didn't land on my head!  So now both the south and north directions out of Sherwood Acres were blocked off by downed trees and yet... my parents still had power for some reason.  Wierd...  While outside NIMO workers were asking me how the hell to get out of there and I heard that most of the major roads in the area were closed due to downed trees.   The wind just wouldn't stop!  I watched as a bearded man who looked like Santa Claus chainsawed the tree apart before a large front end loader pushed it out of the road.  It had crushed our neighbors garbage can but missed his mailbox by less than a foot.  When I walked back into the house the power was finally off and stayed off for the next 4 hours.  We ordered Chinese and I picked it up (waiting in a line of almost 20 people desperate for food as well).  As we ate it my parents power went back on and stayed on. 
    After dinner I drove back to Toga to find my apartment pitch black.  You'd think that living with Lights_out_party_21706_27
people that smoke I'd find a lighter... nope.  I had to dig around to find an old pack of Coach House matches I'd saved.  Then I used all of Josh & Jess's romantic V-Day candles to light the place.  Josh and Jess came home soon after and Mike stopped by. I called my mom to have her look up the news online and was shocked to hear the damage - tornadoes touching down, 100mph winds at theLights_out_party_21706_29
airport, most of warren and saratoga county without power and reports saying that power wouldn't be back to most until monday night!!!  What was Lights_out_party_21706_36
going on!!
  Rick showed up around 11 and Megan showed up shortly after.  Mike and I made a desperate trip for beer to the only place open - Price Chopper and picked up some delicious Newcastle.   We then had a little "lights out" party by candle light.  Mike had brought over his portable speaker so combined with my ipod we even had music to listen to.  We remembered Rick Lights_out_party_21706_46
had brought over his portable grill earlier in the summer so we set it up in the kitchen and I put on some delicious steaks.
  Although the kitchen and
Lights_out_party_21706_50 apartment smelled like meat - sorry Josh - the grill helped to keep the heat in (today was to be the coldest day in the winter).  We played cards for a bit and
drank ourselves silly in the darkness.  Check out the picture of Jessica - Dahli Lhama?  Rick crashed on
Lights_out_party_21706_52the couch with about 8
blankets and I pulled out my 20 degree bag for myself to keep warm.  The apartment held the heat well and only got to about 56 degrees before the power came at 11am this morning.  What a crazy 24 hours!  Hopefully the power will stay on.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Dollar Draft Night

Went out for dollar draft night today to meet up with Adrian and Jen Harris again.  It was fun to see a bunch of FGM people again such as Sam Clune. Gluck gluck gluck.  Man, his laugh is hilarious.  Jen looked beautiful with her hair straightened but after sitting in her car with it's navigation system, pair of 12"s, and license plate that said "daddy's little princess" I don't think she really is my type.  But she is a really sweet girl.  Besides... I think she has a thing for Adrian anyway... haha.  Regardless it was a fun night and it was nice to see the FGM crew again and hear them bitch about how awful that place is.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentines Day

Tonight I had a couple drinks with the beautiful miss Jennifer Harris who was nice enough to give me some company on Valentines Day.  We went down to Baileys for a couple after she got out of work.  She's a nice girl... don't konw what she's doing back at FGM though! haha.


Monday, February 13, 2006

The start of the day...

I'd just like to take note of the first half an hour of the day....Flat_tire_21306_01

1.  Wake up and take an uneventful shower
2. Mistake #1 - Turn on front right burner which was last used for steaming clams and has dry clam juice all over it quickly resulting in a very potent stale burnt clam smell throughout the appartment.
3. Mistake #2 - Ok, I'll just run down to my truck and grab the febreeze air freshner... Oh, look.... my front right tire is completely flat to the ground... that's nice... oh well, atleast I'll get the febreeze....
4. Mistake #3 - Nope... the febreeze is frozen solid but I try the nozzle anyway where it procedes to get stuck open releasing all the pressurized air.  Undaunted I still try to run hot water over it and use it.... nope, nothing..  It is at this point that I start to get a little frustrated with things and start stabbing at the febreeze with a knife... bad I idea, and thankfully I wasn't able to pop it.
5. The last straw - I make myself my chai and chocolate mix but can't find the lid to my $25 starbooks travel mug.  Shit.... What a morning


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Final Destination 3... In Albany?

Last night I met up with Travis, Myla and Jessie again to go see Final Destination 3 but for some reason the girls thought it would be a great idea to see it in Albany.  I found this odd but didn't say anything.  Travis brought it up on the ride down there in my truck and we all laughed about it.  We ate some food and got some drinks at Hoolihans in front of the theatre before going in.  The movie was exactly like the first two but more gruesome and with more nudity... and not that good.Myla_jessie_at_travis_21206_04
        After the movie we went back to Travis' place in Wilton for drinks and foosball and to hang out
with his super cool dog Tyler (a husky and shepard mix- my favorite).  We broke out some beers and cinamon After Shock which left us all a little buzzing.  Travis and I are still a little overwhelmed I think after meeting these two girls.  He's a super cool guy and I'm glad he's around for support when we hang out with the very energetic girls.  Ha!


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Dinner at Stadium then Drinks...

Went out to dinner last night with Josh, Jess, Rick and Kate to the Stadium on Congress Street.      Watched the opening ceremonies there of the Olympics and I had a great turkey club while Rick ordered awesome calamari for the table.  We ordered several pitchers and were pretty buzzed by the time we left. 
    I ended up connecting with Mike and we dropped Kate off downtown before walking down ourselves from his apartment.  We connected with a bunch of girls he knows (he seems to know a lot of hot girls..).  The girl he is interested in, Kate, is a pre-med student in Albany and is absolutely drop dead gorgeous (obviously I'm jealous).  I was innocently flirting with her friends when Kate called me up and came over for a few drinks.  At this point I was pretty drunk and getting tired so after a few more quick drinks Kate and I ended up walking back to our apartments together.  It was a great night and it was good to see Kate and Mike again after my trip.


Thursday, February 9, 2006

Ski Trip

Went on the annual group ski trip to Killington, VT the past two days.  It was great to see everyone from my old job again.  This year we had a
great condo
Ensr_ski_trip_2906_13 that was 3 stories high. It
had two baths with walk in saunas, two hot tubs, two kitches, two tv's, a pool table
and a deck. Really sweet! 13 guys showed up this year and we had a blast. The chefs cooked up several turkeys and hams the night I was there. A real feast! I could only stay for one day but we had a
good time together. Even
though there
hasn't been much snow the skiing was great and the green trail down to the condo
was several miles long and provided great area to practice switch skiing - and
to race the Captain! Everyone seemedEnsr_ski_trip_2906_12
to have a
good time and it was great that we were all able to meet up the summit bar for a
few drinks together. Unfortunately I
won't be able to attend next years as I will be studying in graduate school but
I hope to keep in touch with all the guys as they have become good friends - and
I hope to see a couppe of them at Americade this June as
well! Miss ya

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Phone Conversation with Professor Yang Shen from URI


I just got off the phone with professor Yang Shen from The Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island and it sounds very promising for me.  I believe he recognizes my ambition and determination and he said he was going to start putting together a program for me.  I'm very excited about this because it is the first real big lead I have in my graduate school quest and GSO is like the Harvard of Oceanography schools so it would be great to graduate with a PhD from there.  I would be working on a tsunami monitoring experiment involving inverted echo-sounders mounted to the bottom of the ocean and connected via satellite or glider relay to information centers on land.  He also mentioned the possibility of me helping to install seismic monitors in Tibet this summer....Obviously I'm pretty excited!


Monday, February 6, 2006

Superbowl and sharing pics with the parents


Watched the superbowl last night.  At first I wanted the Seahawks to win but realized that the Steelers and their fans wanted it a lot more.  80% of the people at the game were actually Steeler fans so i'm glad they won in the end.  I was supposed to go down to visit Kenny Wilhelm at his new apartment in Albany but he never called.  Too bad because my mom had made a huge batch of lemon squares for me to bring down to him... Rick, Jess, Josh and I ended up eating them all anyway... haha. 

        Tonight I went over to my parents and brought my ipod with all the trip pictures on it to show them.  They enjoyed seeing my travels and hearing all the stories I had to tell them.  I came back to my place at around 7pm to catch up on last monday's "24" episode before tonights. 
        Since this season began Josh and I (two obsessed fans of the show) have hooked Jess, Rick, Kladis, and even my parents into the show.  When the first show starts off with three of the main characters getting assasinated and blown up you konw it's gotta be a good season!  For those of you who don't know the show it would be like turning on friends for a new season and seeing Ross, Joey, and Monica die in a car accident in the first 5 minutes.... yeah, pretty damn good show.


Sunday, February 5, 2006

Last night... wow...

        Back to life in Saratoga!  Last night I ended up going out with Kerri Shpunt and a bunch of her friends to Gaffneys for a few drinks with Jonny Hughes.  Ironically we ended up meeting up with two other Jon's... so there were 4 of us.  Everytime a girl said our names we would all turn around.  Kerri went off to flirt with some guy she thought was cute and we eventually followed them over to the 4th floor of the Tavern where the night for me abruptly changed.
        I had taken no more than 5 steps into the room when a cute brunette with a green shirt that had a lemon printed on it with the words "squeeze em" grabbed me and started to dance with me.  When I say dance, I really mean DANCE... I looked over to see her tall blonde friend "DANCING" with a tall guy who looked as perplexed as I was about the situation but we just nodded at each other kept dancing.  Later I found out his name is Travis and that he's a really cool guy.  After dancing for about another hour it seemed, having lost all of my friends in the process, travis and I decided to continue the party back at my place because we were all drunk none of them were fit to drive home.  So we ended up going back to my place where unfortunately I think we made so much noise it kept Josh and Jess up all night.... Both grls turned out to be super cool and Travis is a snowboarder so the two of us hit it off well too.  Jonny Hughes meanwhile had come home before us and passed out on the pull out couch so the four of us had to crash in my room which of course had plenty of room.  What a crazy first night back in the area!   


Saturday, February 4, 2006

Graduate School Tour Day 13 - Returning Home

    I easily made my flight this morning at 6am to Dulles airport in Washington.  When I got there I relaxed for a bit charging my ipod and napping in and out before my next flight.  My flight to Albany was delayed due to bad weather and other problems and we didn't board the plane until 45 minutes after the scheduled departure. 
        The flight from Dulles to Albany was a fun trip.  It was the most amount of turbulence I have ever felt in all my travels and the pilots kept apologizing.  Looking around the cabin I could see many scared faces.  It didn't help that the captain came over the intercom once everyone had boarded and announced to us all the long list of mechanical problems the plane had just gone through including a flat tire and almost running out of gas before landing. hahaha.  I loved it.  I love that feeling of fear/nervousness in my gut in situations like that.  It's probably why I love the sports I do.  When I got to Albany my mom was waiting there thankful to have me home again.   
        So in 12 days I had traveled to all 4 corners of the U.S.  I had flown from the Northeast to the Southwest, then drove to the Northwest and flew down to the Southeast only to return to the Northeast.  I had driven 2,684 miles between 2 cars, one that I wrecked.  I had flown on 6 different airplanes and had taken 3 ferries.  I had traveled to another country and even gotten trapped on an island in hurricane winds there.  I completed the whole trip eating fast food and only staying in a motel twice.  I had made no plans for accomodations before I left, leaving it all up to my resourcefulness.  I had been in many different climate zones and had seen a crazy array of animals - from being chased by an elephant seal to elk and then hoards of rabbits to end up driving past aligators in Florida.  I met a vast array of people with many different personalities along the way and was able to meet with most of the top faculty in the field of marine oceanography.  It was a terrific time and I got to see some of the most beautiful landscapes in America as well as visiting each of my top graduate school choices.  I returned home with 20 bucks in my pocket and only $3 left in my bank account having done the whole trip for under 900 bucks (including everything except the $500 deductible I now have for the accident).  It was a great time and a great adventure but it's also good to be home to rest up after it!


Friday, February 3, 2006

Graduate School Tour Day 12 - Key West

        I'm classifying this entry under travel instead of school because when I visited the Rosenstiel school in the morning I was dissapointed.  Hector had not waited to lead me to the school in the morning which meant I had to find it myself.  It appeared to me much more of a research center than a school with lots of students.  The Professor I had such high hopes for meeting with and who seemed to have a lot of interest in me had not even read my educational background and franklyDay_12_university_of_miami_23_01
was a bit odd.  I had sent him all my transcripts and had emailed him many times and my application had been complete for weeks.  He wrote me several emails saying that I would be a good candidate for some projects he had funding for such as studying deformation of volcanoes in Hawaii using satellite geodesy.  But, when I met with him I found out that he expected high levels of math and programming skills that I clearly did not have.  I wish he had taken a look at my file before urging me to come down to Miami like he did.  It was a very uncomfortable meeting with him as well as another professor that he introduced me to.  When I spoke to several graduate students they had gDay_12_university_of_miami_23_05
reat things to say about their advisor but one mentioned that her car had been broken into and that there wasn't much outdoorsy activities to partake in unless you drive far out of the city.  On my way to the school in the morning I couldn't even find a decent non-spanish speaking radio station and I couldn't understand any of the toll both agents.  The girls I met with told me that it is impossible to get along with the people that live in Miami - that they are very selfish people only caring about themselves and their needs.  None of this was very appealing to me. 
        I left the school telling the professor I would email him if I had any other questions knowing that I would actually not do so because I was no longer interested.  I was upset that I was going to be stuck in Miami for the next 3 days so decided to call up United and try to get an earlier flight home which I did for the next morning at 6am.  Yes!!!  I headed back to Hector's, packed up my stuff and left him 15 bucks on the dresser and a note thanking him.  I grabbed the map that Budget had given me and located Key West... it was 1:30pm.. could I make it by sunset... may as well try! 
        I headed off down the interstate and hooked up with route 1 (remember I said I thought I had seen the last of Route 1 in California... nope).  Driving out to the Keys was amazing.  It was about 170 miles from Miami but once you got onto the islands the speed limit dropped to 40mph and I hit traffic.   It was a beautiful day and the temperature was about 75 degrees.  I was hummin' along and then a draw bridge gate flew down in front of me with no warning lights or anything.  I slammed on my breaks and stopped with my hood just a few feet from it.  I got out along with Day_12_university_of_miami_23_26
several bikers behind me to watch as a huge sailboat passed through the open draw bridge with pelicans floating in the water.  When the gate closed after 10 minutes I was the first one heading south, too fast obviously because as I rounded a corner a local cop pulled me over saying I had flown through a school zone at 55mph per hour... Whoops... I didn't even see the sign or school I told him and he could clearly see I was a tourist and being honest so the old man kindly let me go with a smile.  As I was driving down the road I noticed hurricane damage to houses and billboards everywhere.  I also saw alligator crossing signs and tsunami hazard zone signs as well which I thought was odd because the likelihood of a tsunami hitting florida really isn't that Day_12_university_of_miami_23_29
great.  Route 1 was the only main road for over a hundred miles out to the fartherst key - Key West and there were tourist attractions every half mile along the way.  I saw atleast 3 acquarium and marine wildlife areas along with several "swim with the dolphins" places.  The road was purposefully built into the center of the islands with large bushes planted on the sides of it to keep tourists fromDay_12_university_of_miami_23_17 looking at the surroundings and slamming into oncoming traffic which apparently gets really bad
during tourist season there.  So, I think if I was to visit the Keys I would only do it by renting a boat for a week and navigating the islands by sea over the beautiful reefs surrounding them.  When I could see water from bridges it was a multitude of beautiful colors due to the underlying coral reefs.  Some of the bridges spanning the islands were miles and miles long.  On one of them I could not even see the end of it.  It just looked like it continued out to see forever. 
        I got to Key West at about 5:30 right when the sun was beggining to set and I started lookingDay_12_university_of_miami_23_36 for a nice waterfront place to eat dinner.  (I should note how odd it was for the sun to still be up at nearly 6pm because in Seattle at the high lattitude it was completely dark by 4:45pm).  I parked my car at a meter and put in a few quarters (which wasn't enough because I ended up with a ticket
anyway) and wandered
down the very busy street of the Old Waterfront of Key West until I came across the Sunset Pier Ocean Key Resort which had an outside bar, tables with umbrellas and a bandDay_12_university_of_miami_23_47
playing.  It seemed very lively so I grabbed a Corona from the bar and sat at a stool overlooking the Ocean and the setting sun.  A waitress came buy and I ignored any impulse to save money ordering fresh Mahi Mahi and aDay_12_university_of_miami_23_35 half dozen oysters on the halfshell.  The setting sun was beautiful and I wished that I had someone to share dinner with.  There were sunset party booze cruises sailing about and sailboats everwhere.  My dinner was fantastic.  Nothing beats fresh Mahi Mahi and pineapple in Key West on an empty stomach at sunset.  I could not have planned the night any better if I had tried.  It worked out perfectly. 
        I returned to my rental car (and $25 dollar ticket) and drove back towards Miami on route 1 which then changed to a 35mph speed limit after dark.  I hit the Interstate with plenty of money left over for the tolls and made it back to the airport by 10pm.  On the way back I could see lightning in the distance and I heard tornado warnings on the radio for the Miami area.   Great I've gone from hurrican winds on an Island in Canada to tornadoes touching down in Miami, Florida!  This of course worried me because I had a flight less than twelve hours away.  It took me a while to find the rental car return area because of construction and the horrible directions of getting there.  When I did I was told I was being charged 140 bucks... What??!!  My reservation was for 70 bucks for 3 days and I was returning it 3 days early!!! I blew up.  Apparently when I rented it and told the guy I didn't want the extra insurance he put it on anyway for me.  I could barely understand the guy as he quickly asked me to sign and I hadn't bothered to read the printout... damnit... Well, after a few more words with the guy and the manager they managed to knock it down to 80 for me which was fine because it would have cost me 30 bucks from the airport by cab to Hectors each way... So for an extra 20 bucks and a gas tank of gas I was able to see Key West for the afternoon... well worth it. 
        I hopped on a Budget bus to the airport and sat down in a seat to watch an ipod movie and relax for the night.   I decided to spend the night in the airport because my flight was at 6am anyway the next morning and I didn't want to spend money on a hotel room for just 5 hours.   As I was sitting there a kid sat down a few seats away with obviously the same intention on spending the night.  At this point I could hear the rain hitting the airport hard and when I looked out the sliding glass doors it looked like a fireworks display.  I noticed the airport roof starting to leak heavily and the kid and I moved trash cans underneath the leaks (hoping that the weather would pass before my flight the next morning).   We started talking and this kid was honestly the coolest, most interesting person i've ever met in my life.  He grew up in Alaska as a fisherman, currently fishes Alaskan King Crab (his best friend was actually on the Discovery Channel show "Deadliest Catch") and bounces between Hawaii where he owns property and Nicaragua where his mother lives.  He was just coming back from Nicaragua flying to Seattle (ironic right) to collect on some money he loaned his fishing buddies a while back.  He was in a cast which I learned was from him jumping onto a hotel balcony from above several years ago.  He had broken bones in his arm but continued to fish with one arm for over a year before he got surgery!  I sat and listened to his stories for well over 2 hours looking all the digital photos he had on his camera.  I had begun to tell him about my adventure but after he started talking I shut right up because his life made my life look like a boring waste of time.  I could write pages and pages about what he told me but I won't.  We ended up watching a dvd on his portable dvd player and then each of us passed out asleep on the floor but not before I got his email address.  The next morning the alarm on my phone went off at 5am and I headed towards my plane.


Thursday, February 2, 2006

Graduate School Tour Day 11 - Back to Palm Trees

        On Thursday I woke up early and met with Deborah Kelley and one of her graduate students only to find that she already has 3 students and can't take on anymore... oh well...   I ran back to my car and was able to make it to the Seattle/Tacoma International airport in about 40 minutes arriving at 10am with plenty of time before my 11:30am flight.  I easily found the rental car return area.... ready for this... 2382 miles total from San Diego to the return lot.  I put that Chevy Cobalt through hell and it held together like a champ.  While walking through the airport I noticed that the sky was clearing.  It really was amazing that out of the 5 days I was there in Seattle it only rained on Sunday and Tuesday.  I stopped at an asian fast food place in the airport for some lunch and had great views out the giant glass windows of the snow coverd peaks of Olympic National Park.  I never got to see the Cascades through the clouds or Mt. Ranier but it was wonderful seeing the Olympics right before I took off to Denver for my connecting flight.
       Here is where the day gets very interesting.  In Denver I passed by the cafeteria that Kenny and I 5-finger discounted on our trip back from Tahoe last winter and gave him a quick call to laugh about it.  I had a couple hours to kill at Denver so I walked around the airport and charged my ipod and phone for the trip so I could watch movies on the 3 hour flight to Miami.  That's when I noticed someone who looked very familiar.  Nearly a week ago and in Oregon, not Denver, I had seen G-Love front row and the upright acoustic string bass player Jimmy Prescott seemed to be on the same plane as me flying from Denver to Miami.  How could this be?... what are the chances.... If you have seen Jimmy Prescott he appears to be a man in his late thirtees to early 40s with scraggly long blonde hair.  He could be the nicest guy in the world, which I'm sure he is, but he doesn't look like the kind of guy you would want to approach and inquire about.  And come on... what are the chances...  When we landed at 10:30pm in Miami and were waiting for our bags a guy came in and said to him that the cars were ready for him... at that point I should have walked right over and just asked. 
        Well, I later found out in a google search that G-Love indeed was playing in Miami with Jack Johnson and Dave Matthews that weekend so it must have been him.  I later found out that he had met G-Love while playing at local jazz joints around Boston, MA.  I read about several places that I used to go to while living in Boston where he first played with Garrett Dutton (G-Love).  I also heard a rumor that he was born in upstate, NY (I still have to check on that one).  I really wish I had worked up the nerve to go say something to him because I'm sure we would have had a great conversation.   
        I found my way to the rental agency where I booked another Budget car and picked up another Chevy Cobalt, although this one had 4 doors.  I was running on 50 dollars left to my name - 45 of which I had to give to a guy named Hector who was providing a place for me to stay at his apartment close to the Miami Rosenstiel School.  That left me 5 dollars to my name to last 3 days in Miami and all the interstates had toll booths!!!  So I decided to take the back roads from the airport through the city to Hectors house stopping at a Burger King for a late night meal.  Thankfully I'm good with directions and arrived at his house at a little after midnight to find the front door locked.  I called him on his cell phone and he let me in.  I had gone from freezing Seattle to staying with a latino guy named Hector who was in his late 30's in a run down house on in the suburbs of Miami in 80 degree heat at night!  What a change!  I charged up my stuff, barely unpacked and climbed into bed for the night.  Hector had told me I could follow him to the school in the moring at about 8:45am which I was happy about because I wasn't really sure which way to go.  I walked outside briefly to grab some stuff from my car and noticed that there were bugs all over the seats of my car.  I don't know how the hell they got in but I spent about 5 minutes smashing them and hoping they would go away by the next morning.  So far Miami had not really given me a nice warm feeling...


Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Graduate School Tour Day 10 - Escape from Canada & Supersonics

        I was up at 4:30am on Wednesday driving back to the ferry terminal at Swartz bay in Victoria, B.C.  When I arrived there were already a long line of cars but I was confident I would be on the first ferry.  I pulled into line, reclined my seat and passed out again.  2 hours later I was woken by a ferry terminal worker pounding on my window telling me to move up in line and buy a ticket which I did, pulled into the final ferry lane and once again passed out in my car.  Thankfully both nights I had my sleeping bag with me and pillow as I had left them in my car instead of taking them into Erin's apartment.
        Thankfully I was able to make the 7am ferry and was back in Seattle by 11:30am.  On the drive back I got a few glimpses of Vancouver and the mountains beyond it.  I slept on the ferry ride again so overall I think I got something like 4 or 5 hours of decent sleep during the hurricane.  After relaxing for a couple hours Erin, Eric and I went out for lunch at a place called Zesto where I ordered one of their famous hawaiian burgers.  It was great and had pineapple on it which took the place of ketchup for a tasty change. 
        We then returned to Pikes Place Market and I had another chunk of smoked salmon. mmm Day_10_seattle_21_10mmm.  After walking around the city and the shopping district for a while we ended up going to the REI store.  It was freakin' enourmous and had a climbing wall that had to have been 50+ft tall.  I walked around for a bit and then went to the book and map section where I checked out all the mountaineering books for the Pacific Northwest.  The store even had it's own bike trail around it to test out bikes!  It made the L.L. Bean store in Freeport Maine look small in comparison.  After REI we decided to go to a Seattle Supersonic basketball game at Key Arena just below the Space Needle.  They were playing the Oakland Warriors.. both teams are pretty bad... It looked like Oakland was going to destroy the Sonic but they came back in the 2nd half and barely won by a few points.  During breaks between quarters an inflatable blimp would be flown around the stadium and drop gift certificates to people.  The thing would just rise out of nowhere in fronto of you and scare the crap out of you because it looked like it was going to crash into you.  We didn't sit in the seats that ourDay_10_seattle_21_24 tickets said and when we first sat down we were sitting in an older couples seats.. Go figure - they got picked to sit for the remainder of the game in a comfy couch right behind the net!  haha.  At half time a guy picked from the crowd even made a half court shot to win $500 bucks.  Pretty amazing!  As we left one of the ushers joked, "wow, we finally won one"..haha.  Seattle was buzzing about the Seahawks going to the Superbowl and were flying a giant #12 on the space needle to symbolize the city as their 12th man on the field. 
        We returned to the apartment and I packed up stuff for my flight the next day.  I also made plans to meet with Professor Deborah Kelley the next morning before heading to the airport as a final try to find someone at U. Dub that could take me on as their student.