Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving & Family Time

Ahhh... Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday of the year. I put my DC adventuring on hold to return to Sunny California for the three Fs: Family, Friends and Food.

My first stop our of the San Diego Airport was JalapeƱo's, a late night taco shop where I got my first burrito in two months. I went home and sat around with my sisters over Mexican food and a couple of beers and caught up.

Thanksgiving was the same-old same-old. If you think that I mean to say that it was boring, you obviously don't know what I do for Thanksgiving. We went over to my dad's parents' house for a bunch of family time. Our Georgia cousins had flown out and we filled that house with conversation and laughter while emptying it of food. We did Thanksgiving dinner around 3:00pm. My family then headed over to my mom's parents' where we ate a second Thanksgiving dinner and doubled the good old family time. Amazing.

The day after Thanksgiving, I took my teen-aged cousins (I can't believe how old they've gotten!) to the La Jolla Tide Pools with my sisters. It was 75 degrees and beautiful. I worked really hard to remember then sun because I won't be getting anymore in DC.

Saturday I helped another cousin (on the other side of the family) move into a new house and then did a whirlwind friend visit. I had dinner with my buds Kevin and Jessie and got a chance to see two other high school friends at a local bar.

Pictures from my short Thanksgiving trip to come soon, a la Matt Spitz.

Big Game, Big Fun

Last week I discovered that there are Stanford people in Washington DC! Unfortunately, I also discovered that Cal fans also exist here.

Last Saturday was Big Game, which is such a sotried rivaly and tradition that it needs no introduction but does require capitalization. I went with Lindsay (who at this point has a pretty great track record of introducing me to awesome people) to a party in Capitol Hill. When I arrived, it was a like I had stepped through a geographical warp gate and had ended up on the upper row at Stanford. I didn't know most people at the Big Game pre-party/tailgate, but I "knew" almost all of them in that I had seen them around, etc. It felt really comfortable and after some good old Stanford-style celebration, we headed over to the main event.

The main event was a Stanford Alumni Association sponsored Big Game viewing party in Chinatown. They rented out a whole bar for Stanford and Cal alums to watch the game. It was crowded, but super fun. I was wedged in between a Cal girl from San Diego and the bar, where I managed to lead a few cheers in response to the Cal fans' incredibly organized cheering and singing. You have to give those guys credit, they can be a-holes sometimes, but they make great sports fans. Anyway, I saw a whole bunch of people, from a residential staffer from my sophomore year dorm to my old boss.

Things were going swimmingly, even when Stanford lost the advantage in the fourth quarter, we were on a game winning drive... 13 yards to go and it was only second down. Then...

"Hey Andrew Luck! Give it to nationally acclaimed Heisman candidate running back Toby Gerhart! What? You're gonna throw an interception instead? Oh. Poop."

The game ended on a sadder note, but I still really enjoyed myself and am glad to have found some Stanford brothers and sisters to party with when partying is needed.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Furniture Scramble Play-by-Play

On my way home, I walk by a giant pile of stuff (furniture, clothes, etc.) outside of an apartment building. I guess someone died or got evicted or won the lottery.
I spot a really sweet gigantic dresser and a very comfortable looking couch.
After briefly considering trying to carry 200 pounds of stuff on my back, I realize that I have some other scavenger competition. I hurry home.
I pull out my super nifty iPhone with its super nifty ZipCar iPhone app and reserve a car while walking the rest of the way home.
I get home and change into my power moving clothes.
I pick up a truck from a ZipCar location blocks from my house and drive back to the pile of stuff.
Other scavengers have made off with smaller pieces of furniture, but no one has been able to get a car to the pile yet. I show up and awkwardly lift a giant couch and a giant wooden dresser into the truck.
After dropping the furniture off in my front yard, I return the ZipCar. This whole adventure has cost me $7.
I return home to discover that my roommates are home and cool to help me carry this furniture up two flights of stairs.
After much grunting and a testosterone-induced plan that ended up with our front door being un-installed, my stuff is in my room!
I become very nervous that I may have inadvertently introduced bedbugs into our home.

Bedbugs or no, I now have a fully functional room. In two hours I have become the KING OF THE SCAVENGERS!

*12/2/2009 Update: We don't have bedbugs. False alarm!

New York, Part 2

This last weekend I went back to New York for the second weekend in a row. Two more friends, Liz and Eric were coming into town and considering that I won't be moving back to California any time soon, I decided it would be nice to see them.

The weekend was filled with NY style pizza and a plentiful helping of bagels. Saturday evening, we watched the Stanford - USC game at my friend Matt's house with a room full of rowdy, raucus Stanford fans. It was awesome. Matt had a housewarming party afterward, making for a great night.

On Sunday, we went to the natural history museum, where they had a whole display about what I've been trying to warn people for years: BIRDS ARE DINOSAURS!

We finished out the weekend at this awesome place called Shake Shack and I got some awesome burgers and shakes (well, actually, just one of each) for the road. Thanks New York, you've been great. I'll see you in December for Tuba Christmas!

Friday, November 13, 2009

I Am a Walking Machine

This morning I was sitting in class and I decided to google how far my daily walks are. This is what I found:

My morning walk to class at George Washington (MWF) is 2.0 miles.

My morning walk to work at UNHCR (MTTh) is 1.5 miles.

That's 18 miles of no-nonsense strutting every week. I am a walking machine.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Photo Series!

I've always wanted to do one of these, and I finally got the chance while visiting my friends Victor and Cady in Brooklyn. The random guy who we made take the last picture must have thought we were idiotic. We kind of are.

Yes. Definitely idiots.

Armistice Day

War sucked then and it still sucks now. In remembrance of those who fought in the War to End All Wars and a reminder to those who still have not learned its lessons:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

Monday, November 9, 2009

New York, Part 1

This last weekend, I took the Boltbus to New York. This is just the first of two New York trips in a row because I have friends flying out both weekends and I am motivated by guilt. My old roommate Mike would say that I should convert to Catholicism because apparently they're all about that guilt stuff.

I got into the city a bit before midnight - enough time to grab a beer with some friends at a bar in the East Side.


Mom & Matt at the Bar

Saturday morning, I had a great brunch with some more kids and a dad before we headed out for Gusto! in Central Park. It was a great game of Gusto! despite the fact that we had to tamper with the rules a bit to accommodate some dumb NY law about not hitting little soccer-playing kids with baseballs during certain seasons. It started out a little chilly (hence the coffee cups, obviously), but the day evolved into a rare warm November day with the sun smiling down on us all.

Brunch with the FroSoCos

This was a double!

The Gusto! Planners

Gusto! New York (Home) vs. Rural America (Away)

We called last inning at Gusto! just as the Stanford-Oregon football game was beginning. I'm not sure if you follow sports or miracles, but my alma mater just broke into a winning season for the first time since 2001. It was a big deal. We watched and cheered from a bar near Central Park called Mollie Pitcher's.

I ditched the Stanford kids for a bit to have dinner with my best friend, his fianceƩ and a friend of theirs. We had a blast, first with a delicious sushi dinner followed by drinks.

Sunday, I met up with yet another New York couple in Brooklyn (by the way, Brooklyn has this awesome family feel. I would live there.) and took an awesome photo series before sitting down for a hipster brunch.

I finished up the weekend chilling in the grass in Central Park with some awesome kids. Overall, a great success of a trip.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Seen in DC #5


It's beautiful. I should buy this season for California. This is a picture I took in Rock Creek Park, while I was taking a walk this weekend.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lasagna from Scratch

This is me bragging about my awesome cooking abilities.




Sunday, November 1, 2009

Go Caps!

Sunday, post-Moomin, I went to my first NHL game with Bonnie. I used to go to San Diego Gulls games all the time growing up, but that's not really hockey. It's fighting with hockey breaks.

The Capitals had an great game and I had a great time, but they gave up a goal in the last 30 seconds of the third period which led to an unfortunate overtime.

It says on the back of my ticket that I'm prohibited from taking pictures and distributing them, but I doubt I'll get sued considering how poorly taken this picture is.


Last week, my friend Katharine forwarded me a link. Apparently, the Kids Euro Festival is going on, and a part of that is a performance of the Moomins. Finnish cartoons from her childhood. Moomins? What are Moomins? I youtubed them and discovered this (watch it all):

After that terrifying experience, I was a bit apprehensive, but decided we should go see these Moomins alive in all their strange, Finnish glory. On Sunday, we headed over to the Finnish embassy, which looks like it was constructed out of chicken wire, but is actually very pleasant on the inside.

We found some pillows in the floor among a sea of five-year-olds and got weird looks from parents until a sudden haunting harmonica sound struck out. A middle-aged man in a funny green outfit (Snufkin) came out, playing the harmonica. He was soon joined by a giant costumed badger-like creature (Moomintroll) and they played the Moomin theme song.

It's really weird. They were joined by a fox character and a woman with ridiculous eyebrows and a ridiculous red wig. I couldn't stop laughing the whole time. Although I'm pretty sure that I'm glad I grew up on Sesame Street and Looney Toons, I have a lot of respect for what these people do. Weird, but wonderful.

Also, I got a European Union snap bracelet. Thanks, Europe!