Winter Solstice [not] in my Headlights

It only makes sense that my car’s headlights decide to completely die on the shortest day of the year, when I have the least amount of daylight to drive in and the most amount of driving to do. Merry Christmas.

Derek, at one point, had mentioned the Japanese concept of “The Sony Timer”, a magical device which causes all Sony products to self-destruct right after the warranty runs up. It appears that GM has an even more sadistic device installed in their cars. Then again, I do have 185,000 miles on it, 95,000 of which I put on myself. I guess I should be grateful that it even moves.

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Pittsburgh [again]

After waking up at 1:00pm in Columbus and having a wonderful breakfast (lunch), Matt, Katie, William and I spent some time just hanging out. We watched a movie, called Saved! which was pretty entertaining. It features some great one-liners like, “No, I’m not OK, I just ran my van into Jesus!”.

We also played Trivial Persuit. Matt and Katie beat William and I pretty well. It turns out that we’re all pretty good with the brown (science) questions. I think Matt’s largest advantage is that he is the only one of the three of us that knows anything about sports.

William and I headed back for Pittsburgh around 8pm, 2 hours behind planned departure. We consider this right on time.

I originally had planned on heading straight back home from here, but instead I’ll be spending the night (morning) at William’s yet again. While driving to Pittsburgh, I had the idea to contact Nate again to see if he wanted to hang out, since we weren’t able to before leaving for Columbus. We wanted to go to a coffee shop, but after William and I walked down to Walnut street, we found that it was closed earlier than we had anticipated. So, we ended up catching a ride from Nate and going down to Mad Mex in Oakland. That was good. We caught up a bit, told some stories of Senior Design to William, and headed back to William’s apartment around 2am. Nate ended up leaving William’s around 3am… 2 hours later than he wanted to be out. This, of course, is right on time.

Now, again, it is nearly 4am. Someday, maybe, I’ll go to sleep before the sun is about to rise. Tomorrow I go back home, and I don’t expect to have any other major traveling. That is, of course, until I fly across the Atlantic in a couple of weeks. I expect to wake up around noon. I figure an hour to get out of here, 2 hour drive. I’ll probably be back home around 5pm… right on time.

Columbus

William and I headed to Columbus on Sunday evening, late as usual. We were supposed to leave around 4pm, but of course ran late by an hour and a half. Naturally, Matt & Katie expected this to occur, so it was not a problem at all. When we arrived in Columbus, they had dinner all nice and ready for us. We had some delicious thin-crust pizza which Katie flash-cooks in a 500 degree oven. For wine, we had a bottle of St. Vincent from Michigan which William had bought when we went to visit Derek some time ago. I didn’t like it as much as I remember liking it for our tastings, perhaps caused by pre and post Wines of the World.

We ended up watching the movie Clash of the Titans, a rather terrible film which was aided by a bottle of Chardonnay, a gift from Matt & Kattie to myself. Normally, I don’t care too much for Chardonnay, but when watching such a terrible film, anything that numbed my senses helped. And, to be honest, it really wasn’t that bad of a wine.

Today, William and I woke up late, and Matt headed out to work. We ended up watching some Naked Science on the National Geographic channel, and determined that it is very formulaic and completely awful. William calls the show “Is it real? NO!” Honestly, they spread what could be told in about 5 minutes over a 30 minute show. Is La Chupacabra real? How about the Loch Ness Monster? Watch for 30 minutes as we recover things you have already heard and then tell you that a pile of bones found is not actually the Chupacabra, but those of a dog. Oh, and the Loch Ness Monster was actually a boat, which nobody realized until we did this show! Please, what a waste of time.

After getting fed up with TV, we went to this bookstore called The Book Loft. If you visit the website, let me assure you that the interior is just as chaotic as their page design. This place was an absolute labyrinth. I was looking at Europe/Spain/Barcelona travel guides, which happened to be at this juncture of 4 different rooms/halls/cubby holes. As I was trying to compare guides, I would have to move out of the way ever 30 seconds for somebody to get through. Eventually, I moved in to one of the cubby holes to hide. I think I’ve decided to get the Lonely Planet guide to Spain, and the Rough Guide to Barcelona. I may have also decided not to travel to Slovenia this trip, as it will be simply too much to try to do in 15 days along with France & Italy. Poor Slovenia, this is the second time I may abandon it. I’m sure it will do just fine.

After getting lost in the bookstore, we decided to find a place to kill some time before Matt would be coming home. We wanted to go to a coffee shop, and there was a Starbucks across the street from the bookstore, but we really didn’t want to go to a Starbucks. William jested at going inside Starbucks and asking “Hey, are there any coffee shops around here?”, to the Starbucks employees. I told him that if he did, I would buy him a free drink, under the condition that we go to the other coffee shop, should they recommend one. William is a daring man, and he’ll do anything for free coffee, so sure enough he asked the Starbucks employee “Excuse me, we were wondering if there were any other coffee places around here”, and the guy said “yes, right across the street is Cup O Joe’s”, which happened to be right next to the bookstore, but we somehow missed it. I think I’ll consider Starbucks as a good information center for better places to get drinks from now on, rather than a place which serves drinks.

We then watched Harry Potter. It was good, but there were some scenes which left me confused and needed to be explained by those who’ve read the books.

Tomorrow, William and I will be leaving Columbus in the evening back to Pittsburgh. We will probably have dinner here, first (excellent!). I expect to be back home either late tomorrow night, or Wednesday morning.

Pat wanted me to wait until around 4:15 to post this message so that its timestamp would be consistent with my other posts. At first, I thought it was silly, but then I was trying to get spellchecking working, and it turns out that I will be posting this around the same time again anyways. Funny, isn’t it?

Pittsburgh

I am in Pittsburgh… again. William calls this city the nexus of the universe. To some extent, I have to agree. I’ve come to realize that I know an extraordinary amount of people here, considering that I am not from the area nor did I go to college here. The fact remains that William is here at CMU, Emily and Abby are both studying neuroscience at Pitt, Nate is from Pittsburgh and is now on co-op here, and this guy I met at the Spanish Consulate in NYC, Ethan, also goes to CMU. By knowing these people, I vicariously know their friends, and my network here seems to be almost too large. I think I know Pittsburgh better than Cleveland, which is kind of sad, but not too much, since I really like it here.

Yesterday, I went to a party at Emily’s house for her roommate’s going-away to Costa Rica, and their friend’s graduation. Naturally, it was a good time, but due to a lack of sleep I was rather tired and fell asleep a bit on the futon. Luckily, I heard some guys scheming things to do to me while I was asleep and decided that I should get up before anything bad happened. Instead, they took out their agression on some other kid who passed out. Lucky me. I spent the night there and slept on the floor in the living room. We were supposed to go see the movie Brokeback Mountain in the morning. We were surprised to find that a movie which was heavily advertised was not showing in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, or Rochester. Perhaps they will show it in some local theater before I leave for Spain.

Emily and I were both rather tired from not having slept much. She had a graduation to attend at 6pm, and I had nothing to do, so I left her be after we had lunch at a Crepe restaurant in Shady Side and came back to William’s to take a nap while he graded homework. Three hours later, he woke me up and we went to Thai Place, which has by far the best Thai Tea that I’ve ever had, and very good food to match. I would certainly go back.

It really amazes me how little people who live in this city appreciate what it has to offer. There are some really cool districts here, not very far apart from one another. Each offers its own style of restaurants, bars, stores, etc. I love the architecture in the houses and how unique the whole city is. It is dense like NYC, but not unmanagably large and the people seem a bit friendlier. In recent news, Google has decided to build a research facility here, which is good news for the city. I imagine that will attract some other tech companies. If only Cleveland could follow a similiar trend…

Tomorrow, William and I are heading to visit Matt in Columbus, as he won’t be coming up to Burton for the holidays. It should be good. Until then…

La Primavera

Today is the budding of something new. My blog. Yes, that is correct, I finally folded and created a blog. Thanks to the help of my good friend, Pat, I decided to use WordPress. So far, things look pretty nice and easy, and I think this should work out pretty well.

My primary reason for creating this is to keep everybody updated on happenings while in Spain. If you ever wonder how I am doing, and what I am doing while abroad, you can hopefully check to this page and get a full update. Check back. Check often. Check my photo gallery, too.