Thursday, October 27, 2011

Adventure 14 - Winter is Upon Us

Also, a post on how everyone is overreacting about the appearance of a few flakes this afternoon. I know that there are people here from across the country and world that may have not seen snow before, but the fact that there are snowflakes physically falling does not warrant a total conniption fit. Yes, it is technically snowing, but this is not snow, and it is certainly not typical upstate New York snow. Just wait until we have two feet and they don't cancel classes.

Anyway. I'm not thrilled about it being cold enough to snow in October, but I would much rather have snow than this barely above freezing sleety slushy crap. Rain and snow have this tranquility about them; the sound of falling rain (given that it's not a hurricane or other torrential downpour) is soothing, and snow (again, not talking Snowmageddon here) brings a calming stillness to the scenery. But when Mother Nature can't decide between the two, the slushy result is nothing short of dismal.

This "storm" won't bring much of substance, perhaps an inch or so, so instead of frolicking in the white stuff (get your heads out of the gutters, you perverts), I'm going to be spending the evening editing my essay on Herodotus' The Histories, reading up on prostitution in ancient Greece for my research paper and, if I'm lucky, watching the Rangers win the World Series.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Adventure 13.5 - Like a Movie

Life's a bitch. It really is. Because as much as chick flicks are sometimes entertaining to watch, they suck to have to live, and this trip has been proof of that.

Don't get me wrong, I loved every minute of my time in Boston. It's such a great city, and even though I definitely didn't get to see as much as I would've liked to, I got to walk around some, including the Harvard Bridge at 2am. Plus, hello, I got to see my boyfriend, who I hadn't seen in almost two months and was kinda the reason I went out in the first place.

But no, the movie-esque shenanigans started early, about a half hour after that last blog post to be exact. My flight to Philly got cancelled around 11 because of high winds down in PA, so I had to go back to the ticket counter to see how else I could get my ass to Boston. Fortunately, there was a flight from Syracuse to Boston that had one seat left, so I got to partake in an hour-long, 40-buck cab ride with 5 complete strangers who were also supposed to be flying into Philly. But hey, I got to Boston and only about 3 hours after I normally would've. The cab ride to Syracuse was actually longer than my flight to Boston; then again, the cabbie was also pushing 80 on the highway because one girl had a 1:30 flight to catch.

We finally meet up at the airport's T station, nice long hug, the usual rom-com deal. We walked around quite a bit, ate some sushi on campus and pasta at this little place in the North End, talked about the T because we're dorks like that, we had ...other miscellaneous shenanigans... and of course our late-night walk over the bridge, which I would highly recommend doing, especially when the moon's out. We even had deep, intellectual conversations about completely useless crap.

Of course, the conflict came in the form of references to his other girlfriend, but I was good and didn't say much. As such, that will be the extent of which I cover that because it makes me sad to think about.

The goodbye was more bittersweet than baking chocolate (which I've never actually eaten but I've had 70% and that's pretty close, plus it's just a lame simile for the sake of being silly). Last night and especially this morning were awful. We ate our breakfast in silence and neither of us wanted me to go. Of course, it didn't help that he started talking, both last night and this morning on the T to the airport, about how we've stayed so close even through all the crap we've been through and how we're not going to see each other again for another month. I tried to keep my composure, but it's really hard to do when everything being said is true and dammit he started sobbing first, I couldn't help it.
(Note: this "composure" of which I speak also does not include anything that happened in either Logan, LaGuardia or back here, though some of that was a bit of an act of masochism on my part because I wanted to listen to a song on my iPod that I like because it's kindof "our song," as stupid as that sounds, and I knew it was going to make me cry but I couldn't help it.)

It sounds pretty chick-flick-ish to me. The only part missing is that scene at the end, where the couple says their last goodbyes at the airport (or train station or whatever means of transportation is used), the girl leaves, the guy runs after her through some questionably legal maneuvers, professes his love for her and they live happily ever after, the end.

But that's not how life works. Happiness is not handed to you. It takes a lot of effort, a lot of know-how and the occasional 40-buck cab ride when things go wrong. Sometimes it feels like happiness isn't worth the inevitable shitty feeling that follows when it's gone. But when it's good, it's golden, and that's the one thing that rom-coms get right.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Adventure 13 - Leaving

Because our school doesn't give us all the fluffy federal holidays off, we get a four-day weekend in October, so I'm spending it in Boston, but I already used the obligatory Dropkick Murphys reference for my day trip to watch the Sox back in July so I won't subject you to that again.

Instead, I subjected my dorm-mates to it.

Today is mostly traveling; my flight to Philly leaves around noon, then I have an hour layover there and an 90-minute flight to Boston. I'll have a lot of time to kill in the city tomorrow, and I'm highly considering going to the Museum of Science because I haven't been there in at least six years and, hello, it's the Museum of Science.

I'm even dressing somewhat respectably, i.e. not in the usual jeans-and-t-shirt that I usually wear.  I'm meeting up with some people so I kinda needed to dress a little nicer, with the exception of my shoes, I had to bring my all-black Converses because my Merrells look really stupid with skirts. In retrospect, wearing Converses to walk around the city all day probably wasn't the best idea, but I'm not exactly full of T money and I need the exercise anyway. Here's to hoping the forecast is correct in saying it won't rain all weekend.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Adventure 12 - The Hansel and Gretel Conspiracy

Just like that witch tried to fatten up the two kids so she could eat them, my school has been offering so many food events that I'm starting to wonder if their motives are the same.

Ok, obviously I'm joking about the cannibalism thing, but since I've been here, I've been a complete foodie and taken pictures of a lot of the special food things they've had both on- and off-campus.

For our school magazine, I had to do a review for a local Japanese restaurant that just opened.
This was the almond bubble tea, served in a beer stein, with bubbles that I accidentally inhaled and partially choked on...

...and this was the bento box that I ate the entirety of; it consisted of salad with ginger dressing, rice, two pieces of California roll, a dumpling, some seaweed salad and steak with teriyaki sauce. It was delicious.

My honors program "big" (all the freshmen have upperclassmen mentor people) took me to the waffle place downtown. This monstrosity was a single Almond Joy, which had almond butter, coconut and chocolate sauce, plus strawberries I added to give the illusion of being healthy.

This was a gyro I picked up at the mini farmers' market I pass on the way to work. The full farmers' market has an insane amount of food to choose from, but the little streetside one is really good too. I mean, by the time I walked from there to the bus station, which is only about two blocks or so, I had eaten almost all of the cucumbers in my gyro.

Because it's sacrilege to go to a food-based festival and not eat food, I caved in and had an apple fried dough at our city's apple festival. It was obviously good, it's fried dough, but I just now realized that the whipped cream and my fork make a smiley face.

After the chocolate tasting at our school no-showed (a friend of mine emailed the chocolate society to ask why, and apparently they couldn't get funding for it), we went to a chicken wing tasting sponsored by the marketing club. There were fifteen different wings from six different restaurants; my personal favorite in terms of flavor was the honey teriyaki one (the really dark one at the top), but the four on the bottom were incredibly meaty and juicy. I'm a bit spoiled with wings back home; we don't adulterate them with sauce, just throw them in the deep fryer and throw some salt on them. They're divine.

I can't really consider this to be the "gourmet fruits and cheeses" night that the dining halls advertised, but the spread was nice and I got to try carambola (it tastes sort of like a grape). Plus, hello, it's cheese and fruit and crackers.

And if that wasn't enough, the student activities organization thing (you know, the organization in charge of the other organizations) sponsored a "taste of the city"-type tasting. My friend and I had already eaten a little, so we pigged out on dessert instead. More cheese and crackers, a bagel and cream cheese, some killer baklava, a chocolate coconut cupcake, some local-made root beer and a white chocolate macadamia cookie (the cookie people are only open from 7pm to 2am and deliver right to you. I have not used this service yet but I imagine that, at some point in my four years here, I will).

A friend and I needed to go to the supermarket for groceries (and ended up spending way too much money on stupid things like ice cream and chocolate), but stopped at the city bakery on the way. She had a plain roast beef sandwich that I almost wanted to eat myself, and I had a chicken cutlet sandwich with provolone cheese and basil mayonnaise. So simple but so good. And the pickle was nice and crunchy, because floppy pickles suck.

During our grocery shopping adventures, I decided I needed ice cream, and even though I've tried Ben & Jerry's "Schweddy Balls" and liked it (it's Whoppers candy in ice cream, how can you not like it?), I decided to go with a new flavor, hence "Late Night Snack". In case the label is too small to read, it's vanilla bean ice cream with a caramel swirl and, no joke, chocolate-covered potato chip balls. It's a surprisingly good combination of sweet and salty, plus most of the potato chip balls are still crunchy and aren't as overpoweringly salty as you'd think. I'd definitely recommend it.

And for my final masterpiece, the honors program held their annual ice cream social tonight, and this lovely conglomerate of five scoops of ice cream and seven toppings was my dinner. And yes, I bothered to keep track. One scoop each of a chocolate mint Oreo, chocolate-covered strawberry, chocolate with brownie bits, chocolate chip cookie dough (noticing a pattern?) and that ubiquitous "insert-animal-here tracks," topped with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, Reese's pieces, M&Ms, mini chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and pretzels.

Before you ask, I am not planning on becoming a food critic. It would be really hard for me to tell someone that their food sucked, even if it did. I might be willing to do one of those shows where the host gets to travel all over the place and eat...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Adventure 11 - Simplicity

One thing I've learned in my time at college is that, among all the chaos of class and homework and clubs and whatnot, you develop an appreciation for the simple things in life, those hidden gems that are often overshadowed by the hustle and bustle of the university system.

Take my photography for example. It's not professional by any means, and I have a bad tendency to take pictures of the same things, but my decision to focus on nature isn't only because that's all we have up here (though it certainly doesn't help). Nature is just... there. It doesn't try to be anything, it doesn't require special circumstances, and it's a slow but certainly dynamic change throughout the year. Unfortunately, my foliage pictures that would prove that last point are of a corner of campus not documented earlier in the semester so I can't create a proper comparison, but my point still stands. Feel free to click on any for a larger pic.

These first four were taken on campus, and I picked the sunsets in three because of the colors they produce. The clouds one is one of many that I have; cirrus clouds always make for cool pictures, in my opinion.

The next three were taken at a local nature center that I went to through the school's honors program. We definitely have a lot of rocks back home, but there isn't much slate, and I find it fascinating the way it cuts itself almost perfectly. Also, waterfalls, enough said.

This is a picture of a waterfall just past the nature center, taken out of chronological order but I felt it fit with the nature theme. It might not seem like much, considering how far back I was, but keep in mind that this waterfall is 30 feet taller than Niagara Falls. I kid you not.

I chanced upon this tree on my way to class one morning. Note that I pass this tree every morning, yet I didn't bother to really notice it until I realized that it was this brilliant golden orange.

Another sunset, somewhat obstructed by the cloud cover, but I also like the lights.

Distance foliage, definitely more impressive in person but the picture gets some of it.

A random heron I passed on the way to work. It's been there the past few days.

I believe this is a drainage source, but again, the slate turns it into a nice, little waterfall.

And this one I save for last because it illustrates my hidden gem point. I took this on the way to work, and I have to walk through some... not necessarily sketchy but certainly run-down areas of town. This flower is proof that you can find beauty in unexpected places.

Next post: the foodie issue. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Adventure 10 - 171 Steps

171 steps to get to my hideout in the 5th floor of the library, though I'm sure that I've done far more than that going up and down the stairs trying to find the books I was looking for.

Aside from the flipping of pages, the clicking of keys and me just being naturally noisy, it's perfectly quiet, and so much more so than the other levels of the library. It's such a nice change from my dorm; it's the honors building, so it's not terribly noisy, but I like the ability to unadulteratedly listen to my own music, read my own books and do my own thing.

Libraries, and books for that matter, have been an escape of sorts for me for a significant portion of my life. Once softball ended last spring, I spent every afternoon in the town library. It wasn't like I had any homework (let's be real, I was a second semester senior, we did absolutely nothing). I just liked the solitude that, while no one was home when I would have gotten home at the normal time, I couldn't get at home. And even though my town library wasn't anything to write home about, I could go in there every day and still find something new to look at. So now that I'm at a library that has... well, a lot more books, I think I'm going to find quite the living here. (Not to mention that they use the Library of Congress-type organization which is confusing as hell for me, so I'll spend more time searching for my book and wind up finding other stuff along the way.)

Also, please tell me this isn't cool and terrifying at the same time.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Adventure 9 - The Joys of Happenstances

Because if happenstances didn't... well, happen... I wouldn't have had the opportunity to go pantyhose shopping with a complete stranger yesterday.

This weekend is a hee-uge apple festival in the city, which means that the public transportation system was one big CF. The fact that it's consistently late isn't a problem because I usually rely on it being late, but you would think that, if this festival has been going on for longer than I've been alive, they would put more buses in service this weekend. Opinions aside, by the time the bus got to the stop, it was not only 20 minutes late or so but also completely full so we couldn't get on anyway.

I mentioned as a bit of an external thought process that I wasn't even going to the festival and instead needed to go to Walmart/Lowe's, and the guy standing next to me said that he had to also. I suggested walking down to the transfer bus stop (it's not a direct route from the school), and lo-and-behold, my trip with a complete stranger begins. It turned into the best decision I made all day.

Ok, maybe stopping into Dunkin Donuts on the way back for some hot chocolate was the best decision, but this was a close second and my hot chocolate wouldn't have happened without it.

It turned out that my new complete stranger friend is also a journalism major, and that he needed to go to Walmart to pick up costume supplies for our school's annual production of Rocky Horror, hence why he was the one buying pantyhose and I was the one buying wooden dowels. He apologized that our meeting had to be over something weird on his part, but then again, I was the one making wooden spears for a class project, so it wasn't a big deal.

It was pretty dreary out; Mother Nature wasn't sure if she wanted it to rain or just be cloudy, so it was an on-again-off-again drizzle, but it wasn't bad to walk in. It's about a mile and a half down to where we would have had to catch the bus, but we decided to walk through the festival and just walk the additional mile and a half to Walmart instead of trying to work through the public transportation CF.

Dunkin Donuts was an impromptu decision on the way back because the traditional cold weather of upstate New York decided to kick in and I was starting to lose feeling in my fingertips. We eventually decided just to walk all the way back since the bus back to the school would only take 14 more people and we didn't have much to carry; good decision in terms of exercise, bad decision in terms of my exercise-induced asthma.

We ate dinner together, and it was a really nice course of events that wouldn't have happened had the bus been cooperative. It was really nice being able to talk to someone who, until a few hours before, I had never met.