Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Eventful days

It's been an eventful couple of days- by summertime Austin standards, at least!

Yesterday, Russell and I got our first serious packing work done: we went through each of our closets together, paring things down substantially. We came up with several big bags to donate and a few more to throw out entirely- it was great knowing we wouldn't have to find room for all those clothes in the closets of our tiny Boston apartment! We even sold a few things at Buffalo Exchange and earned about $18 between us- pretty cool considering they're choosy and only pay 35% of what they'll charge for an item.

Next, we checked off one of our big must-do's: Barton Springs, Austin's own natural spring-fed pool. The water is just as cold as everyone tells you, but you do get used to it. Also, because it was near the end of the day, I think it had been warming up in the sun all afternoon for us. Besides swimming and (Russell) doing some impressive jumps off the diving board, we also just sat around soaking up the Texas sun- we don't have many days of it left!

Today has been pretty productive, too; Russell went in to work for a while (deciding we could use the money even though he was supposed to be done last Friday), I wrapped up some doctors' appointments and other errands I needed to run before the move, and we're both getting back to our packing any moment now. (I also got a flat tire today, but Russell's rescue was so speedy and effective that it barely factors in. My hero!) Then later tonight, my mom is taking us to Chuy's for some last-chance Tex-Mex!

So like I said, it's been an eventful (if maybe not that interesting or exciting) few days, so I thought I'd give you all an update. Love to everyone- especially my dad, aunt Kathy, and uncle Vern whom I'll be seeing in less than a week! Aaah!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I ought to know better

I need to learn not to delve into the comments people leave at the end of New York Times editorials; it only makes me mad. I was just reading a piece my friend recommended, comparing Sen. John McCain's public stance with his voting record on women's rights. It was really interesting, but I just ended up angry after reading WAY TOO MANY comments that amounted to:

I'm really selfish, and I hate helping other people. Don't you dare make me help other people! I get so angry at the prospect of being forced to help other people that I go crazy and entrust my precious liberties to the party of warrantless wiretaps, school prayer, and laws against certain kinds of sex.

Seriously. This, on an article about gender issues. People so selfish that they feel the need to post about it on completely unrelated New York Times editorials should be denied any service funded by other taxpayers for a couple of weeks and see how they like it.

Sorry. Political rant over.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I should probably add- for those who saw it in earlier, uglier incarnations- that my learning experiences with formatting this blog are also at an end. I think this is the appearance I'm finally satisfied with! Maybe now it can look the same for a few days! (:

Learning experience

So last night some of my visitors let me know they'd been asked to create an account and log in before commenting on this blog. I didn't like the added hassle that created for you folks, so I did my homework, found a setting where commenting is available to anybody, and chose it.

Hopefully, this won't mean that lots of strangers start commenting on my blog (I've seen it happen to others.) If so, we might need to go back to the old way. But hopefully now you can all comment to your hearts' desire. As Wall-E would put it: Ta-Daa!

Sorry to those who created accounts unnecessarily, and to others my blog inexperience might similarly inconvenience in the future.

Your still-learning friend,

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Silly visitors

If you're reading this, leave a comment so I know you were here!
It helps me feel popular.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

No news is good news

Still in Austin, taking some time to enjoy this city before heading off to the new one! My roommate Bella has her whole family in town helping prepare for her move (an even bigger one than ours: she's off to London!) and with about six people to one ethernet cable, this is the first time I've had some quiet time at the computer in a while. They're perfectly welcome to stay, though- their packing is a great excuse to put off doing any of my own. (;

In the meantime, Russell and I have made a list of "Must-Do's" and "Maybe-Do's" to see one more time before we leave.

Must Do:
More Alamo Drafthouse ("w/Belor!" adds Bella*)
Barton/Barking Springs
Amy's Ice Cream (check)
Hyde Park Bar & Grill
Toy Joy
Chuy's tex-mex
Hillbert's milkshakes
Ginger Man pub
Vulcan Video (double check!)
Kerbey Lane Cafe

Maybe Do:
Live music
Fino restaurant
Mt. Bonnell
Dobie Mall & Theater
Harry Ransom Center / Blanton Museum
Buffalo Exchange
Texas Expresso
Fiesta Texas

I had a few of my own, like the Arboretum (check) and Austin Java (check, thanks to Bella yesterday!) but this is the basic list.

Meanwhile, I'm rediscovering Austin in another way by house hunting with my mom. So far, the candidates are two townhouse-type condos: one in Lakewood off Hwy 360, and one near Pond Springs, just off Hwy 183. I really hope to help her decide by the time I move, and that design advice (the Lakewood house would need some renovation) will work okay by e-mail and webcam!

Well, I think that's all for today. I'll try to write again soon- maybe once I've seen The Dark Knight, which I am SO excited about. (Also Wall-E, have you seen it yet? Do!) In the meantime, let's all wish a happy belated one-month birthday to my beautiful (and slightly rotund, I'm hearing) baby sister, Mirella!

See y'all around!

*Important note: Bella's monster name, Belor, is actually spelled with an Umlaut over the E. However we recently found out that this letter doesn't actually exist, so it cannot be typed.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

First post!

Well, if you came looking for big news, prepare to be disappointed:
I'm still in Austin.

I just knew that if I didn't get into this whole 'blog' habit early, it would probably fizzle and leave you all disappointed before long. So I thought I'd post, just for the sake of posting, just to get in the rhythm of writing when I can!

There are a few things I still haven't decided about this blog- like whether capital letters are worth the effort and how often to post. But I'm assuming these will work themselves out in time.

Meanwhile, I thought I'd post a few things I learned during my recent travels! I know they have little to do with Harvard, but since they've dominated my life for about three weeks now, just bear with me. For those of you who didn't know, my graduation gift from Mom was a two-week trip to the Mediterranean. Our itinerary was:

Florence, Italy (2 1/2 days)
Rome (1/2 day)
then a 7-night cruise aboard the Costa Concordia, with a day each in:
Genoa (via Savona), Italy
Barcelona, Spain
Palma de Mallorca
Carthage & Sidi Bou Said (via Tunis), Tunisia
Valletta, Malta
and Palermo, Sicily.
Then back to Rome (2 days.)

Here are the requisite pictures:

As you can probably see, the trip was beyond wonderful. We ate well, shopped well, saw all the most beautiful museums and architecture, got lovely tans, and set foot on a new (for me) continent, just to name a few things! But it was also a learning experience. For example:
  1. While Italy's museums run like clockwork, its airports are basically hell. Especially Rome, where it takes an hour to get from the International terminal to the poorly labeled, criminally understaffed Transfer Desk in the Domestic Terminal. Then it's another half hour just to get a boarding pass, which you aren't given before leaving the States. Disaster!
  2. The Musei Vaticani (where you go for the Sistene Chapel) is actually a two-and-a-half hour indoor hike.
  3. They aren't kidding about the turquoise waters in Sicily.
  4. The sun in the Mediterranean doesn't work like it does in the U.S. Ladies can't just move the ties on their bathing suits around every so often and expect to avoid a permanent white bow on their backs. It rapidly becomes obvious why the locals just untie theirs.
  5. In Barcelona's Catedral de Santa Eulalia is an elevator to the roof. It's easy to miss, but the view up there is probably the single best thing in walking distance of the port.
  6. The second best thing is a store called Happy Pills- neither a pharmacy nor anything illicit, as some of my cruise-mates suspected. Instead, it's the best candy store ever. Score!
  7. Palatine Hill in Rome is sprinkled with drinking fountains that produce miraculously, unbelievably ice cold water. The colosseum is amazing and everything, but this is where ancient Roman ingenuity truly blows the mind.
Okay, so for fear of boring you I'll stop- although I could probably go on forever. It's absurd how much happens to you when a ship is taking you to a different city every single day! Just don't expect my posts from Cambridge to be this long- it's been a ridiculously eventful two weeks, and I hope to be posting often enough that I've rarely got two weeks of new material anyway.

Well, Russell is calling- he's working Casino Knights tonight and the party (his second-to-last ever) is winding down. Time to go pick him up- hope you're well, friends and family. Count on hearing from me again soon.