Sunday, June 08, 2008

Nerdy Tattoos & Starscape 2008

This weekend was one where I think we were invited to about 400 things. Cool things. Things we wanted to go to. Probably one of the things we most wanted to go to was a seriously cool cluster balloon launch that my crazy yet intriguing friend Jonathan orchestrated and totally pulled off! (YAY)!

However, we didn't think we'd be able to go to any of them. Tim was in Florida all week and was supposed to have a show on Sunday. This wasn't going to allow enough time to drive to NC in time or get back in time. Then, the Sunday show ended up being canceled, but of course not in enough time to hike down there for the balloon launch. So, with about 2 hours each of pre-planning, I decided to go check in on my sister and Tim decided to go to Starscape 2008 in Baltimore, proving yet again that Tim and I operate either via meticulous planning or fly by the seat of our pants improvisation. Nothing in between.

I'll back up though.

Morning: We wake up to a day imported straight from Manila. We decide to play frisbee. We lose our body weight in sweat. We drink it back in water. We look around all that we have to do at the house and, apparently, quickly decide to leave. If we can't see it, IT ISN'T THERE.

I got ready for dinner in Mount Joy with my sister where I'd meet some of her new friends. Dinner was very nice, even if it was short. I arrived there at around 6:15pm and was on the road again by about 9:00pm.

Tim got ready to spend the entire night dancing in a beautiful setting with hundreds and hundreds of strangers.

In hind sight, I wish I would have gone with him. However, he didn't ask me to go, and he prefers to do his own thing at parties. But I felt sad when he showed me all of his videos, I saw that there was a really cool lightening storm that came through, and Dieselboy was there. We used to go to the Planet of the Drums together every year. Tim is probably correct that I wouldn't have appreciated the close quarters in a humid tent when it started to rain, but how I would have reacted in real life can't really be predicted. Depends on how hot I was, how many people were trying to touch me (the chemically altered your so soft state is only entertaining sometimes), and how tired I was by then.

Tim did take some very awesome videos and edited them. They are great and definitely worth checking out. Anyway, I'll turn it over to Tim for more on his experiences.

2008 was quite an experience. The first being the very serious realization that walking almost a mile from my car to the gate in the severe heat and humidity may very well kill me, not to mention the thousands of other attendees overly dehydrated from the side effects of Methylenedioxymethamphetamine.

Not having to worry about that, I was more concerned with what the temperature would do to my body after only 5-10 minutes of dancing. As it turns out, I didn't have to worry about this for long. About 2 hours after I arrived. a nice refreshing breeze blew into the drum'n'bass tent which was down by the water's edge, effectively cooling us all off and reviving the crowd.

[Pretty good results with the Canon Powershot and no tripod]

Unfortunately, this cool breeze was brought to us via the darkest, most terrifying-looking mass of swirling black clouds I've ever seen.

As it slowly approached, the music played and people watched both the DJ (Cannon Boyz at the time) and the happenings overhead with great interest. Then, once thick bolts of lightning began slashing from the sky to the ground, all attention turned to the weather. A few minutes later, the torrential down-pour commenced, leaving the brave souls out on the pier to come scambling back for cover. The music and lights faded and left us to ooh and awe fireworks-style at the hundred or so streaks of lightning.

Eventually, the rain subsided, leaving a much cooler and less humid environment. Still waiting for the music to come back on, the glowstick crowd returned to the pier and allowed me to capture this video as the departing storm flashed it's last.

After a few more minutes, the lights resumed, the bass rumbled back on and the DJ's came back to the tables for the rest of the night, uninterupted. I stayed for the most part down by the water at the drum'n'bass tent, given the fantastic lineup of:

POLTERGIEST Feat Glue & Feight

Being there by myself, I didn't do much socializing, however I did have 2 interactions...both originating from my tattoos. The first was a group of people sitting by the rocks on the bay, who spotted my Cancer symbol and shouted out, "Hey! Are you a Cancer?! We're all Cancer's over here!". The second was a girl who wanted to know what the anandamide structure was, and who then shared her own "nerdy tattoo": a depiction of Darwin's first sketch of the Tree of Life.

I stayed till sunrise. If you leave Starscape before you watch the sun rise, you might as well not come.

It was a really fun time. I danced hard- I probably need to replace my sneakers (torn apart by the roughly paved surface) an am still feeling it. (I'm not in my twenties anymore and doing this every weekend). It was good to be back dancing.

It was good to see Dieselboy again.
Even with the ridiculous facial hair.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Fine Day for a Swing

Tim has always been good at planning little last minute surprises. When we first moved in together, the little surprises usually consisted of a snack or special drink he had waiting for me in the car when he picked me up from the airport. As we both started to travel, it would be little notes left for me when I got home. Now that we are both supposed to live in the same place, but still manage not to see much of each other, he has moved on to planning date nights.

We had both taken Friday off work, and so this time he planned an overnight trip. This was partially to celebrate the long Memorial Day weekend, partially to celebrate our happiness at selling the house, and partially just because we are both tired and could use a getaway.

He didn't tell me where we were going. My instructions were:
  • Wear an outfit and bring supplies to spend Friday hiking, and
  • Bring a "biker type" outfit for Friday night*.
So, Thursday night I arrived back to the apartment in a rush after staying too long with a friend from work celebrating, completed the paperwork for the condo sale, started packing, and tried to get some sleep.

We woke up on Friday, finished packing, made sure Elora would be OK while we were gone, and got on the road. Before the adventure could officially begin, though, Tim needed to drop somethings off at work, and we needed to get breakfast.

So, finally we were off!

Tim had printed out directions to take all beautiful, scenic back roads to our destination. It was really beautiful. Since all the states (PA, NJ, DE and MD) are pretty close to each other, I had no idea where we were going or what state we were in. We passed the next two hours looking at all the trees and listening to the radio.

[Gorgeous Blue Sky, Lush Green Grass, and the Open Road Ahead]

Ultimately, we ended up in Maryland at the Susquehanna State Park. The setting was not a surprise to me even if the location was. I knew we would end up in the woods and I knew we'd be near water. It is where we met, the essense of our life together, and a setting that always brings me some measure of both peace and sadness. Tim and I are essentially guarded and solitary creatures - even to each other - and this is only emphasized on such a trip. Let me try to explain...

"Come on, Bee-Bop." Tim said to me, and we walked towards the trail head. He invites me to walk with him as we head down the trail (or behind him when it gets too narrow), but he retreats into himself (like the squirrels disappear into the woods when we walk too close to them) and I only really know of his thoughts and feelings left on the trail (and those are not many). Take only pictures, leave only footprints.

We kept walking, and I knew that soon we'd be at the river. I could hear it and I'd already spotted about 5 blue herons through the gaps in the trees. I seemed to have a sixth sense for them on this trip. We crossed a little creek on our way there, which was fun. We had to balance on several logs and jump from rock to rock - some of them slippery.

I developed a love for rivers in college when I would take many walks to sit near the Mississippi River and think. It was my therapy. Rivers are on a journey to somewhere else. The are all at once turbulent, calm, rushing, taking, keeping, giving up, and crashing themselves against rocks that wear down over time. They are doing all of this at once, but you only really experience the one part of a river you can see in your location, and few people have the dedication or desire to follow the length of one.

Tim tried to take a picture of an elusive blue heron while I looked at the river.

Eventually, it was time to head back on the trail. We decided to follow the old rail lines back until it connected much farther up with the main road and a path to the picnic area where we were parked. This part of the walk had a much more open trail and it was a more relaxed walk and the air didn't feel as heavy as it did up on the ridge.

[A straight and level trail of old railway tracks through the forest....]

[...some parts of the supporting ground had been washed away, necessitating some good balancing skills.]

In all we spent about 4 hours hiking. We hadn't eaten lunch and it was close to 4:30pm by this point, so we decided to head into town for our Bed & Breakfast. We got there earlier than we were expected. Since no one was home, we left our car at the house and decided to go find some food and a drink. Port Deposit, Maryland was a small town with quite a lot of the variety even in the 3 blocks we walked. It had everything from the quaint B&B and dining establishments to the row homes full of people sitting on the porch (and sidewalk) talking.

[C.M. Tug's Grub & Pub..ordered a hamburger topped with a crabcake- delicious!!]

We stopped at a little pub that had a wide variety of food and each ordered a beer. We tried to catch each other up on what was going on in our jobs. We almost never talk to each other about work. Tim has apparently been doing some really cool things at his job and helped create and publish their first print ad and has his digital signage videos up all over their office. He has a little video editing room where he can do all of these. His boss showed me when we stopped by in the morning. Everyone there is very proud of him.

Before long it was time to head back and check into the B&B. There was a nice, chattly lady there to greet us and show us the place. It was beautiful and thankfully not too full of lace even though it was called Granite and Lace Bed and Breakfast. It was actually very tastefully decorated.

Our room had a jacuzzi tub, so I took a bath right away. I had gotten a pretty nasty bruise on our hike by falling on a rock, and needed to soak it. The bath was full of wonderful bubbles just as I like it!

Tim fell asleep. He has been very tired. I barely got him awake at 9:30pm to see if he still wanted to unveil his surprise that required the "biker outfit." He eventually woke up and we headed to the Union Hotel Tavern. This seemed to be essentially a bar for the Harley lovers in the area who work hard and just want a good place to unwind, bring their dogs, and listen to some music. (Probably without the likes of us, "blessed" though we apparently were... At least so said the bartender who asked for our IDs, looked at the DOB, looked at us, looked back at the DOB again, and just shook her head). It actually reminded me a lot of the Rusty Spur in Arizona, except minus the ladies' undergarments in abundance on the walls.

We had a couple of drinks and listened to the live music before heading out again to find something to eat, since the kitchen was closed. The only thing we could find open and serving food was a Denny's where we shared a massive breakfast plate.

We were pretty exhausted by the time we got back to our room even though it was only 11:30pm. We fell asleep immediately and woke up in the morning to the wonderful smells of breakfast coming from the kitchen.

The food was GREAT. Judy made a florentine omelette, organge pancakes, fruit, and great coffee. It was delicious!
[Fresh, Aromatic rosemary on the plates!]

After breakfast, we packed our things and headed east, through Maryland, into Delaware and around the outskirts of Wilmington before turning north into PA.

It was a very nice surprise planned by Tim and great start to the holiday weekend! I'm looking forward to the couple additional days that we have to relax and do fun things before returning to work.

[Oh, yeah, we saw a snake hanging out on a tree trunk!]

Have a great weekend everyone!

*For all of you expecting this, I assure you what I wore was exactly this.


These last few days have been very happy ones for Tim and I. On 5/22/2008 (exactly one month after we put it on the market) we finalized all paperwork/negotiations for the sale of the condo, and now all we have to do is attend the settlement (scheduled on our anniversary date, actually) and remove the last few things we still had at the house to help it show nicer.

We consider ourselves definitely fortunate considering the housing market and were very pleased with the outcome. It was like the stars aligned just right.

Thanks to everyone who wished us luck and kept your fingers crossed!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Barack's Big Day

Here's the rest of the pictures from Friday's big Obama rally in Philadelphia.
Here's the gallery

Old City Philadelphia Real Estate - Condo For Sale!

This one will go fast!
Great Location in Old City, Philadelphia!! Beautiful Space!

Bridgeview (315 New St.)

Unit Assets:
  • Efficient 2 bedroom, 2 bath floorplan on 6th floor of historically preserved building formerly home to Thomas Scientific.
  • High, angled ceilings
  • Sunny, southern-facing oversized warehouse windows in living room and both bedrooms
  • Floor-to-ceiling exposed brick in living room and both bedrooms
  • Living room has light-shaded wood Pergo flooring,
  • 2nd Bedroom has grey, slate-style laminate flooring. (Professionally installed 2 years ago)
  • The rest is brand-new carpet (Professionally installed mid-April, 2008)
  • Oversized mirrors in each bathroom with vanity lights
  • Quiet location on top floor at the end of the hall…only one neighbor to the side.
  • Electric GE oven/range.refrigerator/garbage disposal
  • Dual deadbolt locks on front door
  • Lots of kitchen cabinet space
  • Light Switches placed for handicap-access
  • 4 year-old Trane HVAC system w/digital thermostat

Recent Upgrades:

  • New Whirlpool Washer/Drier Combination (unused, professionally installed and connected March 2008)
  • New Whirlpool Stainless Steel over-the-range microwave (unused, professionally installed and connected March 2008)
  • All existing carpeting replaced (April 2008)
  • Custom-built easy-access hinged door to water heater/HVAC filter area in ceiling (built early 2007)
  • Oversized, “airplane propeller” ceiling fan with light (waiting for replacement part for remote)
  • Bedroom/Hallway/Living room walls painted.
  • Rainspout in bedroom sealed with black iron pipe sealer paint

Building Assets:

  • Quiet, half-block cobblestone street (Permit 10 parking) across from 2 historical churches, blocks from restaurants, art galleries, theaters, historical landmarks
  • 24-hour concierge/doorman
  • Video coverage of building access
  • Garbage/recycling rooms on each floor
  • Well-decorated and well-maintained common areas (including lobby, covered brick walkway and brick courtyard)
  • Common areas scheduled for a make-over in late ’08
  • Discounted HD cable TV service through buildings bulk-rate plan
  • Extra secured storage space on each floor
  • Dedicated areas for easy parking for unloading and guests
  • Dual elevators (recently redone)
  • Great location, 4 blocks from SEPTA/PATCO
  • Roof deck in future plans

Check out the Photos Below!
If interested, leave a comment with your contact information. Comments will not be made public.