Back!

Jul. 17th, 2011 05:36 pm
athenaltena: (genki)
Back from our week at the cape, and with only a minimal sunburn this time. Last year I had it on most of my upper body, but this time I was smart enough to wear longer sleeves. Still got the ends of my arms and my neck, though, and a little bit on my face. But it was nowhere near as painful as last year, when I learned that tank tops, while comfortable, are not a good idea when kayaking if you have my skintone and vulnerability to sunburn.

It was a nice vacation, more low key than when I was younger, but I'm not six years old anymore. I got through the better part of three books (at the tail end of the third) and continued my tradition of bringing back weird stuff.

In this case, Buddha.

And my friend Buddha, from Bali. on Twitpic

There was a flea market in Dennis, and this lady was selling stuff from Bali. I was drawn to this guy, and actually got a discount since there's a crack near the base. I actually kind of like the crack, something about it appeals to me.

Mom also got a photo of me while we were preparing to set off in the kayaks, when she went to park the car and came back and I was indulging in some immaturity.



I also made that my Facebook profile picture.

So a good vacation, but now I need to switch my brain off of vacation mode and back to business.
athenaltena: (Roy)
100_0867

Spotted this in the Birdwatcher's General Store in Orleans, and it was such a terrible pun that I just had to get it. I'm trying to decide whether to bring this to work to get the maximum number of groans.

*flop*

Aug. 1st, 2010 10:27 pm
athenaltena: (sleep)
There's lots of stuff slipping my mind at the moment, but here's the abridged version of the last week.

Back from vacation and in one piece, though unfortunately I seem to be unable to go down there and not get burned. Case in point: both shoulders, the back of my neck and my left thigh are the shade of a cooked lobster. And for those of you not familiar with lobster, that means RED. I basically seem to be unable to tan to any real extent except get burned and get more freckles. And I was thorough with the sunscreen this time but it still happened! Such it is to be a white person.

Mom and I stayed an extra day down there because we got to go to GLAD's annual party! The short version of why is that Mom did some work for them a while back, and then when the DOMA case that they won was in the news a few weeks back she sent an email to her contact there, and it turns out that they were having their annual party up in P-Town when we'd be there, so we were invited as guests! My jaw was basically on the ground when I found that out. We also know one of the plaintiffs in that case from a few years ago before said case was even filed, since he owns a shop in the town we vacation in and we got to talking, and in fact while we were down there this time we checked in on him again and he's doing much better. It's a long story, but basically we wound up connected to these folks through serendipity. The party itself was very fun and I met some interesting people, and I shamelessly admit that I was trying to do some networking there.

We stayed at a motel up in Orleans for one night, and then when I got dropped back in Boston today also we managed to get the futon in Mom's car since I won't be needing it in the North End and I'm probably going to need it again someday, plus it's a nice piece of furniture and it was given to us by some dear friends who don't want it back. I'm very glad that my admittedly hair-brained idea worked since I knew it would be a little tight any way we did it, but everything fit and got back in one piece (well, pieces) and it's one less thing to worry about with the move. Me and Mom high fived after we finally got it all put in.

Oh, and I have a new sword. This is another long story, but on the way to the GLAD party I spotted a shop out of the corner of my eye and wondered about it, so today after we checked out of the hotel we went up there before we headed to Boston. I'll get some pictures of it later once I dig my camera out of my bag, but it's a (blunt) katana that I am itching to learn the history of, since after I inspected it I could tell that it is not a cheap knock off and it may even be pre WWII. The guy selling it initially said $65, but then said $55 and I could not pass it up. I think this also counts as the craziest thing I've ever bought to date, previously it was the giant horse painting now hanging over where the futon used to be.

Also, Tuesday is shaping up to be Queer Women DnD due to something that happened at the MSPCA last Saturday that I alluded to on Twitter. I'll have more on that later too since I think my brain is about to give out.
athenaltena: (relaxed)
Guess who filled the house up with smoke?

Yup, me. It was half stupidity (not enough small kindling) half the cold conditions outside and in the chimney that prevented the smoke from going up. I was smart enough to close the fireplace to cut off the oxygen and put it out, but I filled the house with smoke and set off all the smoke detectors, but at least we know they work.

Earlier today we were doing some work on the barn, and I think I got really chilled and maybe a tad hypothermic. After I took a break and went back out I felt a lot colder than I had before, and though I'm now sitting in front of a correctly repaired fire I'm still cold and shivering a bit. Just made myself some tea so I can warm back up.

New York was good and I really liked Mom's friend (who we met at the train station and stayed in a hotel with), and the samurai exhibit at the Met was amazing. Lots of swords, and they had both one made by Muramasa and a wooden tsuba attributed to Miyamoto Freaking Musashi. I pretty much had to peel my face off of the glass when I saw that one, cause if he did make it, wow.

They were also selling jewelry that was made to look like tsuba, and I just could not wrap my head around that. I mean, they do have pretty designs, but to wear it as a necklace? It was a bit brain-breaking, though I did buy a bookmark with a crane on it that I'm going to cannibalize to make a necklace out of. Also bought two prints from the museum shop, which have an interesting story around them that I'll tell later. Also, food in New York is extremely expensive, and those Asian fusion places need to start dying out. The place we ate wasn't bad, but they do the thing were they have a decent enough looking thing but throw in one ingredient that makes you go "WTF?" More about New York later when I'm not as frozen.

Still trying to warm up, and probably won't stay up to watch the ball drop. I was just outside Time Square the other day, and I stay up past midnight enough anyway.
athenaltena: (androgyny)
Writing this from New York where we're staying until later today at a hotel with an old friend of my mom's, and out my window we can almost see Times Square. Have a slightly crooked picture out the window:



We are not staying for the ball drop tomorrow (I would prefer to watch that on TV rather than freeze my ass off in person) and getting out back to Penn Station may be a bit interesting since all the New Year's people are here, but we should be back in Western Mass later tonight.

I've also decided that Boston is officially as big as I want to get in terms of cities. It's just too claustrophobic in this city, not enough open space. Boston only has a few really tall buildings (one of which I work in) but it's like a canyon in here. Too big, and way too many people!

Today we're hitting up the Met and the Natural History Museum, which I hope will be okay since I managed to hurt myself (again!) stepping out of the cab the other day and hurt my other ankle. I can walk on it, but it's a bit sore and I limp a little. Now if I'd just twisted the one I twist all the time it wouldn't be much of a problem, but I hurt the other one this time. Ah well, I've done it so many times that I'm used to it.

Now, off to museums!
athenaltena: (Embarrassed)
So yeah. I forgot to mention I was going to the Cape for a week. My bad, I meant to but it slipped by the wayside.

Here's a photo I took to make up for it:



Details later, right now too tired and busy checking on everyone else to do that much.

If people feel like telling me what's been going on in their lives feel free to comment, comments are screened.

0_0

Jul. 14th, 2008 12:46 pm
athenaltena: (D:)
One rather WTF-ic moment we had on the Cape occurred on our last day there when Mom and I decided to go into a consignment shop to see what they had there. We happen to like consignment shops (as I can always appreciate a bargain) and I did manage to find something in there. There were also several elderly ladies in their gossiping, and at one point one of them turns to me to ask about something and, with a totally serious face, asks me (who's still age 18, btw):

"Do you have kids?"

Excuse me, WHAT?! It's actually a miracle that my jaw didn't hit the floor and I just managed a neutral "No". I mean, I'm used to being mistaken for being quite a bit older, to the point that in restaurants people usually ask me if I want to see the wine menu (default answer is "No thanks" or "I'm driving" just to keep people from feeling awkward about asking an 18 year old if they want alcohol) but that was another barrel of fish entirely! That suggests that she mistook me for being in my mid-to-late 20s to early 30s at least! Now granted, I look like this (person on far left) but come on!

I'm still reeling slightly from that, and it makes me wonder if other people have reached the same odd conclusion and what they think about me as a result. Granted, there was that one time that Amarkis pretended I was his Mom (and it apparently worked) but this is just getting weird. It seems that the age I'm mistaken for keeps increasing from my actual age, as it used to be only 2 or 3 years but now it's apparently increased to at least 10.

So I repeat: What the fuck?!
athenaltena: (androgyny)
Still in the process of recovering from the trip[s], but getting there. I ended up calling Adam on the way back from the Cape and arranging to work today so I could get back on my feet, so now I've got just over a month left with these guys.

I admit to being relieved to see that they hadn't managed to burn the place down while I was gone, though I unfortunately confirmed my suspicion that I'm the only one who regularly cleans the bathroom. Yeah. We also have a new kid named Nevin working for us, and he seems nice enough.

I did managed a major faux pas when I saw Freeman, a friend of Chief Breaks Everything (aka Cody) getting out of his car, and so I assumed he was there to see Cody as he'd done before a few times so I called over to him that Cody had the day off (as I'd taken his shift). Turns out that Freeman now works at the gas station. Ah, whoops~! But then again, how was I supposed to know that, having been gone for almost 3 weeks?

In random news, this spot from the Discovery Channel is probably ancient in web time by now, but it still made me go "Aww" at the end. So yeah, not much happening, but that's okay. :)

Agh!

Jul. 9th, 2008 07:23 pm
athenaltena: (*twitch*)
I once again appear to be upholding the rule that I can't go on a trip anywhere with something going spectacularly wrong at some point. Case in point: I'm still at the public library, waiting for AAA to show up and jumpstart my car, since I accidentally ran down the battery and can't start it!

I'm still trying to figure out how I did that, but I think I might have done something like left the lights on but not noticed, since I didn't move outside of my car and just worked in the front seat on my laptop, so I couldn't have heard the "lights on" indicator. D'oh! At this point I think I've done just about every blockhead automotive move in the book except for popping a tire.

And *late breaking update* it turns out that they sent a truck to Hardwick (which is more like our house!) and not Harwich on the Cape, so I have to wait even longer. The guy on the phone said the "do this crap" all the time, but it makes me want to bang my head into something. And before this I had been having a very fun day. *headwall*
athenaltena: (Hakkai)
Not much going on down here, though I'm currently typing from my car at the public library down here in Harwich where they have free WiFi. Mom and I went over the Nantucket the other day and today I went around on my own for a bit, ending up at Nauset Beach and then going over to walk around Orleans for a bit. Stan's supposed to come up here late Thursday, so hopefully I'll be able to ask him Boston related stuff and maybe find out a bit more about internship opportunities.

I also managed to finish the book The Dante Club in two days and have been working on some wrting stuff while I've been here. Mom and I might take the kayaks out to Little Pleasant Bay tomorrow. Other than that, not much up. But hey, it's a vacation, isn't it?
athenaltena: (Japan)
I'll start with something scenic, mainly the view from the top of Mt. Hiei:

Read more... )

Next up, Takayama!
athenaltena: (happy)
Here are the first couple, grouped into about 6 or 7 a post so as not to totally kill the servers.

Read more... )
athenaltena: (lethargic)
(I'm back at this point, but hadn't gotten to posting this as of the 29th when I wrote it)

As I’ve mentioned before, I think I’m very much a Kansai person at heart. Yesterday and the first part of today in Yokohama very much reinforced that for me.

There’s a bit of a stereotype that Kansai people are much friendlier and more laid back than their Kanto counterparts, and all the evidence (with a few exceptions – see below) seems to reinforce that. The general atmosphere in Yokohama is a lot less friendly towards foreigners, and I just picked up a lot more suspicion and even dislike towards us that I did not feel in Kyoto. This is a bit ironic given that Yokohama was founded as a port for foreigners to enter (as one guide in a museum compared it to a newer, larger version of Dejima, the island where foreigners were kept during the Edo Period) but it may in fact be because of that history that the attitude exists.

I think the low point of this trip (as of our last night here) is going to be last night when we were looking for something to eat. The night before we’d gone to a Chinese place right down the street, and we’d spotted a noodle restaurant on our way back from visiting the cemetery. We figured we’d just go in, order, and all would be dandy like it had been back in another noodle restaurant in Kyoto were we’d gone our first night there.

Read more... )

Back home!

Jul. 1st, 2008 10:40 pm
athenaltena: (cat)
We're now back in Mass, and I'm very much exhausted. More of an update later when I'm not in such danger of falling asleep on the couch (I already did once, with Jesse-cat on my lap).

That was also officially the Longest Monday Ever, by virtue of the International Date Line and a gigantic SNAFU situation. I'm not even trying to think about how much my internal clock is probably off, since I think it's gone from "trying to keep up" to "getting confused" to now "oh what the hell I just know I'm tired."
athenaltena: (Balalaika)
We're now at the Kansai Airport at the gate getting ready to depart, and now we have a long 19 hour flight ahead of us. Gah! I think I'll sleep for most of it, so it shouldn't be so bad, but this is the downside of international travel. :P

Next stop, San Francisco!
athenaltena: (Japan)
We’re now in Yokohama in the Kanto region, and I can officially say that I’m much more of a Kansai person at heart. I won’t go into too much of a rant, but let’s just say that Kyoto is generally much friendlier, cleaner, prettier and in general more pleasant. It helps that Kyoto is 1000+ years old and Yokohama as we know it is only about 150 years old, but there’s a big difference that I can definitely feel, and once we get back to Nara and Kansai I think I’ll be much happier.

So as not to leave some threads dangling in terms of our narrative, we spent our last full day in Takayama by going to a nearby town called Furokawa and then walking around the city for a bit. I guess Thursday nights tend to be the nights people stay at home for dinner, since hardly anything was open, so we ended up going back to the place we’d been the nice before! Not that it was a bad thing, since it was a very nice place called the Kyoya, but I think we felt a little silly about it and the staff seemed surprised to see us again.

The next morning we walked around the markets one last time before catching our train to Yokohama. I finally managed to find a wooden Kannon statue to take back with me along with a business card holder (a necessity for Japan) and a pretty painting that I can hang on my wall at Suffolk. There was also a rather funny scene where I bought some food for the carp in the river and was tossing it in, and before I knew it I was surrounded by pigeons all wanting some of it! That was pretty strange.

As for the hotel here, I’m glad I’m not claustrophobic. We also have a very nice view (of a brick wall outside) but I don’t care too much about that. At least it has a shower and bath that you aren’t competing with other people to use. I’ll write more about Yokohama later, but let me just say now that it’s the city I’ve enjoyed the least outside of a few places.
athenaltena: (Japan)
(Written as of two days ago, posted in Yokohama)

We’re now in Takayama and out of Kyoto, with one more night here before we go over to Yokohama where my great great great (I think that’s the right number of greats) grandfather worked for the British Consulate, and hopefully while we’re there we’ll clear up exactly what he did there, since we’ve heard he was the Consul General, but facts have a way of being distorted when passed down through families.

Since I last updated we went to two places: first to Nijo Castle, the seat of Tokugawa Ieyasu and the other Edo Shoguns in Kyoto, and then to Mt. Hiei the next day. Njio Castle was very impressive and rightly imposing, and one of its more interesting features is something called a Nightingale Floor in the living area that “sings” when people walk over it because of the way the nails on the underside of it are set up. Ieyasu put it in so no one could sneak up on him and try to assassinate him without being heard, as like most Shoguns he became very paranoid later in life, though I think his way was a particularly clever method of dealing with it.

The difference in weather is very noticeable up in the mountains here, since in Kyoto it was very humid (while not necessarily hot) but up here it’s very cool and pleasant. We also happen to be staying right on the river (as in I can look out my window and it’s right there, meaning I could throw something out the window and it would land in it) so that adds to the coolness and lets us have a nice white noise that has probably been helping me sleep.

This is a very interesting city so far, and as our guidebook said the food has been excellent. One of their specialties out here is Hida beef that’s raised in the hills around here, and they have their own style of soba. I happen to love soba, so I’m especially happy about this.

They also have quite a few interesting wood carvings around here, since wood was the primary export of this area and what put it on the map, since people in Kyoto wanted the wood for their houses and for other crafts. The connection to Kyoto also explains why I keep seeing the wheel that’s Kyoto’s symbol around here.

Today we’re going to go up to a place called Furokawa up the river that’s supposed to be full of old houses and temples, and then putter around here for a bit.

On a random note, I wish we had canned coffee in the States that wasn’t that watered down Starbucks crap. The stuff they have over here is really good, though I can’t figure out why one brand (“Boss” Coffee) has Tommy Lee Jones as its spokesperson. We actually took a picture of that one along with our “random weird things” that we’ve been photographing along the way.

Next one more day here, then off to Yokohama for two nights to find out about my great-great grandfather, then one night in Nara, and then home. *phew*
athenaltena: (Japan)
(Written as of last night)

We’re now in Kyoto staying at our Ryokan, and though I’m still exhausted I’m getting used to the time difference. The very good soba we had earlier certainly helped, and I felt my spirits pick up since we really hadn’t eaten anything else all day, with the exception of a ginger ale and an onigiri for me, and a blueberry smoothie for mom. Incidentally it will not surprise me at all if I lose weight while here.

We rented a pair of phones so we could contact each other if need be, and I was amused that they were black and white, so I’ve been referring to them as Black Mokona and White Mokona (if you read Tsubasa you’ll get the reference) because I’m a dork like that.

It’s not actually very hot here, but it’s very humid, so I’ve been sweating a lot. Mom got us some handkerchiefs in the States (which were apparently hard to find) and I’ve been using mine mainly to wipe my forehead.

We’re going to stay 3 nights here in Kyoto before heading off to Takayama. Tomorrow I think we’re going to go to the Nijo Castle area and check out some of the temples and stuff down there. We’re near the Imperial Palace grounds, and though I’m not too interested in those things themselves there is quite a bit near here. The day after that I think we’ll go to Mt. Kurama and/or Mt. Hiei if I can figure out how the heck to get to them. There is a phone line that has English speakers guide you through the train systems, and I may just resort to that.

We also have a shrine right down the road from us, and though there was no one there when we were we both liked the feel of it. I think it may be to Inari, since there were several Kitsune statues, and I’ve made a note to go back there.

Now to use the furo and soak for a bit, remembering that they want us to shower first before going in the tub. Otherwise they get very upset with you.
athenaltena: (Ashura)
Made it to Vancouver, getting ready to get on the next plane to Osaka. Haven't had much sleep, though I drifted off for a bit on the plane from DC. Like what I've seen Canada very much, and have made a note to come back properly some day. They certainly have a nice airport. Will try to get some sleep on the flight over to Japan itself.

On another note, the food in Canada is also very good. Must be because they don't load it up with all that artificial crap.
athenaltena: (Japan)
Made it to Bradley Airport last night, slept for about 5 hours, and am now in terminal. We'll go down to Washington DC, change plans to go to Vancouver BC, and then start leg #2 and fly to Osaka Japan itself.

Other random note: The Starbucks coffee that the Sheraton hotel leaves for you in the room really sucks. Weak!

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