ru: (book and flower)
Oooooof, well, we've returned from the magical land of Ikea, with lighter wallets and aching feet. We did, however, get a lot of happy fun organizational things, from shelves to spice racks to baskets (and I finally got ahold of a mortar and pestle, which I've been wanting for a while). Some of it we took home, although a lot of it is going to be delivered on Saturday, so that'll be even more fun!

Some of my thoughts/impressions on the whole experience:

--The place is frickin' HUGE. I mean, AIRPLANE HANGAR huge. I think Eien-chan said it best: "Welcome to Ikea! American Airlines departs from Terminal C." I mean, really. Frickin'. Huge. I knew it was gonna be big, but HOLY COW.
--And it smells SO FRICKIN' GOOD. I know that's a weird thing to note, but as we were going up to the front door, we were hit with this downright heavenly scent, something like apple pie, and man it smelled lovely. We smelled it in the Marketplace area too. I swear they were pumping the scent in from somewhere. This led to jokes about this really and truly being a Pikea (Parts 2 and 3 if anyone's interested)
--There is something very Disney-esque about the place. I'm not entirely sure I can put my finger on it. Maybe it's the friendly named furniture, or the happy kiddy place, or the fact that there are helpful (although sometimes admonishing) signs to tell you How Things Work, and oh yeah, don't break open the boxes in the warehouse, it's not nice!
--The food wasn't too bad, all things considered. I appreciated the fact that they had some Swedish-themed foods, although we both agreed that the gravlax could have been more dill-y and less salt-y. The chocolate cake and the apple cake, however, were delish (the latter possibly because of the aforementioned heavenly smell).

All in all, it was a fun adventure. The only real disappointments were 1.) I found the princess cakes I was interested in, but apparently the only way you could get them was frozen in the deli section, not as single-serve in the restaurant. Although now that we know what we're doing, we could probably make the trip in a day, in which case I could bring a cooler, or something. 2.) We were able to find everything on our list, except three corner shelves (there was only one present). This really bugged us. If anyone is going to Ikea soon, and doesn't mind doing me a favor and getting us those shelves, lemme know and we can work something out. <3
ru: (Default)
So tomorrow, Eien-chan and I are going to pile into the car and make the journey to Charlotte to stay overnight. Our mission? To visit Ikea. We have some things in mind we plan to get, but this is also to find out more about this magical land we've been told of, a land of flat-packed furniture, tiny tiny rooms, and princess cakes (I am going to hunt down these princess cakes I keep hearing about). This should prove interesting. If nothing else, it's going to be an adventure!
ru: (Anika)
So, for what I reeeally hope is the last time, I'm going to be heading back to DC to do a bit more work at the Smithsonian. In theory, the hotel I'm staying at has interwebs, although rumors on it have been a bit sketchy. So if I suddenly disappear until Thursday, that would be why! I do hope it works, though. Beyond that it'll help me stay in contact for school things, I'll miss you peoples otherwise!

In addition to doing my Smithsonian work, I'm also hoping that I'll be able to make it to a yarn shop I discovered to be in DC. It's only a few Metro stops away from where I'm going to be staying, too, which is convenient. Whether or not I can make it mostly depends on the train, if I'm going to go tomorrow, or whether or not I can finish work in a decent amount of time on Wednesday. Besides the fact that it's a yarn shop, and that in and of itself is something to look forward to, they apparently have kiviut yarn, which I would love the opportunity to fondle. <3

Overall, I hope this goes well. The next time I go to DC, I want to go as a frickin' tourist. XD
ru: (out for trouble)
Indeed I am!

We have safely arrived, and are holed up in the hotel after a delicious dinner and gelato. The trip down was mostly uneventful, although we went through some pretty nasty fog for a while. I started worrying that we might end up in Silent Hill, or maybe the Evil Dead house, instead of Charleston.

Another item of note is that you can get some veeeeery interesting things in vending machines down here. For example, you can get bags of fried fat back, and also tins of herring in mustard sauce. I'm not kidding. Eien-chan got a tin. We have PROOF.

Tomorrow, I spend my day in the storage room of the Charleston museum, looking at very old specimens. I really hope it will go well, but we shall see. I'm hoping I can finish in a decent amount of time, such that I might have a chance to wander around a bit. Curses that the main yarn shop here isn't open on Sundays and Mondays! Ah well, at least there's a used bookstore right around the corner from the hotel. <3

OUTTA HERE

Dec. 13th, 2009 12:40 am
ru: (science geek)
Again, I take another trip for SCIENCE.

Eien-chan and I are taking the faithful car and heading back to Charleston, so I can visit the Charleston Museum's herbarium again. It's gonna be a short jaunt, only until Tuesday afternoon, but nevertheless, if I seem scarce, that's why. XD I'm off communing with dead plants!
ru: (Default)
I am BACK. YAY. I have taken pictures, but I'll post those later, as right now I am BEAT, and need to pass out for several hours before I do anything substantial. So tired. Or maybe that's just the Skullsplitter I had with dinner affecting me. XD
ru: (Anika)
If you find me strangely absent over the next few days, it's because I've run off to DC again! And this time, it's for an honest-to-goodness vacation! Gonna visit my cousin and his fiancee, go see some national landmarks, and actually be a tourist for once. Since I probably won't have much time to do computer stuff, I'm gonna be leaving kenaz at home. When I get back, I'll hopefully have more pictures to show! Don't break the interwebs while I'm gone! <3
ru: (Anika)
Okay! I think it's time to do some trip discussion! And show PICTURES! They're pretty much all from Saturday, as that was my free day, but still. Pictures! And other stuff!

I'm quickly becoming train-savvy, with all this train riding I've been doing. One thing I can recommend for anyone considering taking the train after this last trip--if it's practical, book a ride on a train that has an overnight route. We took the Silver Star route (overnight) on the way up, and the Carolinian route (not overnight) on the way back, and I gotta tell you, the Silver Star route was MUCH nicer, for several reasons. They ran on time (apparently the Carolinian is chronically late--we got home an hour later than we should have this time around), you get more space in your seat (and the seats can lay back like a lounge chair, if that's how you like to ride. The space you getb on the Carolinian is comparable to an airplane), and they were MUCH more organized. On the Carolinian they basically said, "Yeah, find a seat wherever," the result being that I had to sit in the seat in front of Eien-chan, making for a rather lonesome trip. On the Silver Star they arranged people by the number of folks traveling together and where they were going, and assigned seats, so there wasn't a fight to try and get two seats next to each other. As I said, it's not always practical (the reason why we didn't take the Silver Star back was because we wouldn't get home until 9PM and would have to bum around the station for 3 hours waiting for it to pick us up), but when it is, overnight routes are the way to go, I think. And since the price seems to be dictated by how far you travel (at least when comparing overnight to day-routes, as I imagine taking one of the trains that allows you to take your car with you would be more expensive), the price for one over the other is about the same. This has been your train information tip of the day. <3

Getting about in DC was a neat trick, weather-wise. I had kenaz with me when I was at the herbarium, and of course it decided to rain just about all week while we were there, so getting him safely there and back again was a neat trick. As much as I hate wearing ponchos, I found the ones the Smithsonian sold were pretty adequate at keeping the backpack I was carting kenaz in dry, although I looked absolutely ridiculous with it on. I was dubbed the Fearsome Turtle Warrior.

There really isn't much to tell for the majority of the trip, at least on my end. I spent most of my time in the herbarium at the Museum of Natural History, in my own little corner of the grass herbarium, measuring my heart out. As AWESOME as it is to say that I worked at the Smithsonian, and that I went into the BACK ROOMS, it's pretty monotonous work most of the time. I did have more fun than I really should going to the cafeteria to get lunch, though (they had JELLY BELLIES. I love Jelly Bellies). And in the evening, when I finished at about, oh, 7:30 or so, Eien-chan would pick me up and we'd go find dinner at someplace awesome.

One night we went to a Scandanavian place called 'Domku', and that was quite a culinary adventure. I can now say that I've had pickled herring and gravlax, both of which I actually kinda liked. I totally want to incorporate them into the Eighth Kingdom, too. I can see Anika waxing poetic about how she misses buried raw fish. XD I also tried rose petal aquavit, which grew on me after a while. <3

Another night we went to a Malaysian place that was REALLY tasty. I had pearl noodles, which are kinda like thick noodles cut up really small. Difficult to eat with chopsticks, but oh so good. And the last night we were there we went to an AWESOME place in Chinatown that had the most delicious stir-fried seafood, served up in potatoes arranged to look like a bird's next. Totally delicious!

On the subject of the last day, that's when I was able to do some exploring of DC with Eien-chan. And that's where most of the pictures come in too! We ended up going to the National Aquarium, to the Botanic Garden near the Capitol, to Chinatown, and also to Union Station (which, apparently, has an Obama store, devoted entirely to all things presidential, including life-size cardboard cutouts). The National Aquarium was neat, if small compared to, say, the Baltimore Aquarium. Each of the exhibits had specimens from a different national preserve, which I think was a neat way to arrange things.

THEN, we went to the Botanic Garden. <3 <3 <3

And here come the pictures! )

I'm looking forward to going back in the fall, when I go to see my cousin get hitched. <3
ru: (Anika)
Aaaaand, I'm back from DC! I think I got a fair bit done, although I could've used an extra day at the Smithsonian, easily. I did, however, get to do a bit of playing on Saturday, though. We went to the National Aquarium, which is small, but neat in that each of the exhibits holds representatives from the various and sundry national parks around the country. The awesomest thing, though, is that we went to the botanical garden near the capitol. It's GORGEOUS. There's a huge conservatory there with a canopy walk that I had way too much fun on.

I could babble on more, but I'm beat. I did take some pictures though, so hopefully I'll shuffle through those soon and put those up for your viewing pleasure. <3

In the meantime, EGGS. :D

ru: (Anika)
Tomorrow, I take the train to DC! I'll have kenaz with me, so hopefully I'll be able to spend some time online, but we'll see. If not, see you on Sunday! :D
ru: (science geek)
Oh, I forgot to mention! Next week I'll be on what'll probably be my sole trip this summer. To make a long, jargon-filled story short, I need to go back to the Smithsonian to root around their herbarium collection and measure some of their types (for those of you who came in late, botanical types are kinda like the breed standard for a given taxon. It's the one specimen that the original describer says best emulates his/her concept, so if you want to go to the absolute source for a taxon, for example to figure out what the hell the describer meant when he said the leaves are spotted, you go to the type). That'll be interesting. <3 Kinda also makes me want to go see the new Night at the Museum movie to see how it compares to what I see. XD

And we'll be taking the train up! I love taking the train. Even better, I'll have a free day while I'm up there, so I can actually be TOURISTY. I can go SEE THINGS! I kinda want to go see Chinatown, and because I love them so, I'd like to see the botanical gardens. The aquarium would be fun to see too, if there's time. Both botanical gardens and aquariums have a tendency to send me into SQUEE mode, though. PLANTS! FLOWERS! TURTLES! JELLYFISH!

On a completely different note, I really really REALLY want to stop coughing. Seriously. I'm getting TIRED from it. My chest is sore and I'm pretty sure I'm gonna lose my voice if I don't cut it out. Body, really, it's a little late to be rejecting lungs. You should've registered your complaint 24 years ago.
ru: (science geek)
I am hoooooooooooooome! <3 <3 <3

I'm back in my proper time zone, in one piece, and with all my belongings mostly intact. I have given Mum the paper made from elephant poop I got her at a free trade store in Birmingham, and she has heartily approved. I am full up on thoughts and realizations that I now have a ton of work to do to catch up, but mostly a lot of thoughts.

In the end, I'm really glad my advisor convinced me to go. It got me the hell out of dodge for a while, and while I guiltily admit I didn't do as much work as I should have, at least to a certain extent, I got a BREAK, and I think that's helped me recharge. I think it's helped me get some enthusiasm back about what I'm doing. I've been despairing a lot over the lack of funding I've been able to secure, despite my multiple attempts, and have been becoming very convinced that nobody really cares about what I do. Going to this made me realize that at least SOME people do. I had a lot of people express appreciation that I'm working on my grass, because somebody really needs to.

While I was there, I went to the special symposium on Darwin, which featured some awesome speakers about Darwin, his work, and evolution. The last speaker was Ed Wilson, who seems to be comparable to Darwin, at least here in the southeast, to the degree by which he's revered. His speech was really comforting to me. One of his big statements was that, yes, everything is going molecular now. Everyone pours money into the molecular biologists who learn everything about Arabidopsis or some other model organism. But how will they apply to all other organisms? So we still need people that are enthusiastic and willing to learn all they can about a genus/species that they love, so that that leap can be made. That made me go YES. MY EXISTENCE HAS BEEN VALIDATED. <3 <3 <3

I networked a little too, which was good. I got to go about and see Birmingham, which is more urban than around here, so I got to see all sorts of old neat buildings. I saw the Birmingham Botanical Gardens, which were really gorgeous, but they would have been exponentially moreso if we had gone maybe a few weeks later, when everything would be in full bloom.

In any case, though, it was stimulating, gratifying, and comforting, and I've come back feeling better about things. Maybe, just maybe I can do this. <3
ru: (Anika)
I am officially in Birmingham, Alabama! We got here safely, thank goodness. I have decided that Southwest has an awesome airline. Not only did they prove themselves to have a brain in their head when the fuel issues were going on, but they just have AWESOME style. Their planes are indigo, red, and orange, which I think makes them the most adorably colorful planes ever, and their adorableness is amplified ten fold by the fact that their logo is a heart with wings. <3 <3 <3

The technology situation here at the hotel isn't great, though. Kenaz's battery seems to be dead, which caused me a near heart-attack when he was booting up and then suddenly died. I don't use the battery all that often, so if that's the only issue between getting here and back again, I can live with that, but still. Scary. I'm using Eien-chan's computer right now because the hotel is charging an insane daily fee per COMPUTER for interwebs. Not cool, hotel. Not cool.

I present Thursday. Good gods I'm not ready for this. I need to practice again before I go and do it.

I do think wearing my This Old Tardis shirt was highly appropriate for today, in any case, and not just because we were traveling. I was way too excited over the fact that we had moved into another time zone. We had moved AN HOUR BACK IN TIME. WE TIME TRAVELED.

Vworp vworp. <3
ru: (Anika)
I think ol' traveler Anika is a good fit for this topic. <3

OKAY, FRIENDS LIST, I am accessing your infinite wisdom! Have any of you ever been to Birmingham, AL? If so, what are some awesome things to see/do while there? Alternatively, if anyone knows of tasty places to eat there, that would also be welcome. As previously mentioned, I'll be going there at the beginning of next month, with Eien-chan coming along as a traveling companion, and since I'd rather not be sitting in on seminars ALL DAY EVERY DAY while there if I can avoid it, I'd love some recs for neat things to do. I already have the botanical gardens down as a possibility, as well as the McWane science center. Any other thoughts?
ru: (Default)
Well, I am BACK. I am beat, but nowhere near as beat as I was when I did the northern crawl. I can attribute that at least partially to getting decent sleep and partially to not having to drive.

Taking a train is interesting. On one hand, it's somewhat fretful, as if you miss the train you want, it's incredibly difficult to make an alternate route, as there's not exactly several trains going the same way at once. And because the freight trains have right of way on the tracks, it's more often that not that you'll end up late to where you're trying to get, because you have to stop and wait on the tracks. On the other, it's much more relaxing than trying to drive or take a plane--the train folks are much more relaxed, you don't have to go through twelve hours of security, and you can move about at will. And you can get somewhat decent food too. Not anything fancy, mind you, but hey, it's better than just getting peanuts. Erm. Pretzels. And you get to see things you normally don't see when you're driving. We went through tons of tiny towns (like Micro, NC) and saw all sorts of neat things. Like cotton fields! Cotton fields when they're ready to harvest are neat--they look like they have snow on them.

Oh, and some crazy signs. Like "Terminal Discount Drugs". And "Jimmy's Premades and Explosives".

Anyway, I have returned! I spent much of my time in the storage room of the Charleston Museum with circa 1820's, scientifically priceless specimens, trying to take measurements and pictures while simultaneously not touching them, because I was terrified I might break something. It was pretty awesome working where I was, though. I was working amongst whale fossils and old harps and museum displays.

And I did get a teeny bit of time to poke around Charleston, so Eien-chan and I went to the aquarium. I saw SEA TURTLES! And JELLYFISH! And OCTOPI! (I love the octopi. <3) I got a little too excited over seeing sea creatures, I think. On the other hand, I had been staring at grasses all day, so it was a nice change of pace. We also happened to go when the Charleston Library was having its annual book sale, so we made off with armfuls of books. Like we need more.

And I ate at a crab shack! It featured having what was a shrimp and crab bucket, which was shrimp and crab legs and corn and potatoes cooked altogether in a bucket and piled on a plate. It was like a variation on frogmore stew.

Overall, I think it went well. <3 I returned with books, 9 rolls of film, measurements, a book of Charleston restaurant recipes, and an octopus plushie which will grace my desk and scare undergrads. XD
ru: (strange)
Or just simply list time, as the case may be, because I don't feel like fussing with bullets right now. Either way. Last few days report!

Cut for length )

Tadaima.

Aug. 9th, 2007 01:02 am
ru: (Default)
I am home! I am BEAT. I'm also quite tired. And maybe a little bit fatigued too.

I've got several things to tell, but to be honest, I'm gonna wait until tomorrow for that. Right now, I want sleep. So I think I'll go do that.

'night. <3
ru: (Default)
I am in Orlando! I have gotten in my first day of Disney goodness! It was done at Epcot! I am tired, and suffering from sore feetses, but it was quite fun! I'm desperate to get some writing in, now that I know what I want to write, so I'll do a quick list of things seen and then get to it before I have to go to bed.

--Golf ball! <3 for giant golf ball. Apparently they're taking down the giant sorcerer Mickey hand that was waving a wand over the golf ball. To be honest, I'm glad to see it go. Call me a golf ball purist. ^_^;
--Soarin' is still awesome, but for some reason, the wind *really* bothered my eyes this time. But that's okay, because it still rocked. <3 for flying.
--This really weirded me out: the Battlestar Galactica theme played while we were waiting to get on Soarin'. Does Disney own Galactica's ass, and I don't know about it? Hm.
--MANATEE. MANATEE. MAN. UH. TEE. They have a manatee at the Living Seas. This was my first time seeing an honest to goodness manatee! Sadly, we only saw him briefly, because he was floating to where we couldn't see him anymore, but that's okay, because I SAW HIM. HE WAS EATING LETTUCES. WITH HIS FINS. I DIED OF CUTE. SQUEE.
--The only real disappointment of the day: There was no blue police box in the England pavilion. Sadness.
--Apparently, when I put my mind to it, I can buy a lot of crockery. Something I've done the past couple of times we went to Epcot is go to the Japan pavilion and get some little sauce bowls/dishes/etc. Since Dad no longer travels and we won't be able to stay at hotels on points anymore, it's gonna be a very long time before we can come back again. So, I decided to get my desire for cute bowls out of my system. It took...um...more than I expected to do that. *slight embarassment*

Tomorrow, Animal Kingdom! Excitement! Will we be able to brave the mass of tourists soas to brave the Yeti? We'll find out tomorrow, same bat time, same bat channel!
ru: (strange)
Holy crap a lot has been happening. I want to talk about it all, but it's starting to get late, and there's a ton ton *ton* to discuss. So I think I'll just do some bullets of the highlights thus far.

--I know we came during Florida's rainy season, but this is ridiculous. More than once I've had to consider the possibility of building an ark and gathering two of everything, because it's been MONSOONING. It normally isn't like this. Apparently the standard is for the heavens to open for about 20 minutes, then it stops. Oh no. Twice this week it has rained NONSTOP for most of the day. Kinda put a damper on things.
--Sandhill cranes! Tampa Bay! FRIGGIN' ORANGE GROVES OMG! You have no idea how tickled I was to see orange groves. I went and took a couple pictures of one (growing on the grounds of the college my grandmother went to, no doubt). They probably aren't that great, since they were taken on one of the rainy days, but hey. I saw real oranges actually being grown and everything!
--Oriental Market! We went to an Oriental market to get some things so my uncle can make tonkatsu tomorrow. It was huge and oh so very cool. I was having a blast running about and looking at everything and going WHOA. Apparently people eat jellyfish! I also got me a really nice all-in-one infuser/top/cup with a blue dragon on it. I think I shall call it my Seiryuu cup. <3 We'll be going back tomorrow to get some last minute things for tempura as well.
--International Plaza! LUSH STORE! <3 <3 <3 I went on a bit of a binge, smelling just about everything in the store and buying a fair chunk of bathy goodness. It was quite nice to actually go and smell things before buying them. There were things there that I thought sounded really neat, but went and smelled them and went, "Hm. Not for me.". But that's okay, because I got me some scented goodness. We also poked into a store that had, I kid you not, penis pasta. That kinda threw me for a loop. There was also the requisite accompanying breast pasta. Though I wonder, would it really be any good? It's probably more for the novelty than anything. Though it'd be nice if it tasted good.
--Dade City! Sadly, there was no fanfare from the Who as we drove into town. Bummer. Lots of antique stores, though.
--Knitting Store! My aunt took me to a knitting store, where, again, I binged. ^_^; I got some super cool yarns that I normally wouldn't buy, just to play with. I got some lovely jewel toned ribbon, and some silk yarn, and some spiffy cotton/spandex yarn I think I'm gonna use to try and make socks, and bamboo yarn! Yes, bamboo yarn! I was surprised too. And it's quite pretty, in all these water toney colors. Mmm.
--Dali Museum! This was actually today's activity. Some of it just weirded me out, but a lot of it was really, really cool. I like Dali's painting style. It's very crisp, despite being surreal. There were some paintings there that I really liked, like one that was a sort of chaos/order still life. And lots of DNA stuff. I got a kick out of that. ^_^ I got some postcards of some of the paintings I was more intrigued by. And a picture of the lobster telephone. Because everyone loves the lobster telephone.

And those are the big things I can think of at the moment. There are lots of little things, like making dinner for the family, and playing with everyone on the Wii, and, you know, doing family-type things.

Also. In case I don't get the chance to mention it later, we'll be heading off to Disney on Saturday, so my online-ness will probably be even more infrequent. If nothing else, I'll be seeing you all when I get back north! I'm really looking forward to this. Aside from the general "Whee! Disney!", it'll be interesting to be in Disney on my birthday. Somehow, stuff keeps getting inadvertently scheduled on my birthday. For instance, my cousin's wedding was the same day as my 21st birthday. That was interesting.

Anyway! Onward!

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