Saturday, January 16, 2010

Preparations for moving to London

In the hopes of getting some grant money I needed to write a research proposal. The problem that I had was that I was no longer in school. The research papers I needed were all online but I had no desire to pay $10 a pop for each one. There are plenty of University libraries that I could use but they only let students in. I found out my local library had an agreement for any book they didn’t have in stock so I found a book they had and got a big yellow card filled out to get past security. Once at the library I found the books I needed and used my camera to take pictures of the pages I needed. The article I requested was actually in their digital library so they gave me access to their computer so I was able to get all the digital articles I needed and email them to me. Now with all the research material I needed my next area to work on, my weak writing. I do to much of a stream of consciousness type of writing. So I did as good as I could then called in my favor of getting a co-worker professor on sabbatical to read the proposal. (I had given her rides to work while her car dead.) From there I posted my paper on Facebook for friends to proof-read. (I think I ended up scaring more people than explaining what I was going to research.)
As far as getting rid of stuff one of my first goals has been to scan in all our old pictures. I have finished copying all the movies over to the computer so they can go into storage. While doing our first round of house cleaning I found that I had some really strange attachments to things. For instance, there were some stereo cables that I remember getting with my friend when a Radio Shack went out of business when I was in the 6th grade. Weird, I know, but it brought back a lot of memories as I dug through stuff to donate to the thrift store.
In the “research” department I have found online discussions on which parts of London are considered the bad part of town. Trust me when a city gets old enough the good parts and bad parts look exactly the same during the day. As far as I can tell though there are not as defined areas as New York City has. Also as a joke (since both of us have been enjoying watching “The Office”) we watched the British version of the “The Office”. It is pretty much the same story-line with the script changed to fit the dialog and culture, very helpful in a weird sort of way.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

New Years Resolutions

It’s weird but for some reason 3 resolutions seem to be the right amount for me to actually follow through with them. So my resolutions for this year:
Lowering stress: I think part of this is will just take care of itself as L. starts to get better. But going back to school is not the way to lower stress so I think other things like meditation are going to be needed.
Staying caught up on the blog: Well I am failing at this miserably as I’m writing this about 5 months late. Here’s to doing better.
Writing a letter each month to my wife: Communication is supposed to be the corner stone of just about everything out there. I figure it is better to get in the habit now before going back to school than trying to start the habit once I’m so busy.

I think I did pretty well for my resolutions last year. Much better than I am doing this year (Maybe it has something to do with more vague resolutions this year, no accountability.)
Calling all my siblings on their birthday: I was only late for one bother by a day. Everyone got cards in the mail and/or a message on facebook too, so I kind of over achieved on this one.
Calling my friend every month: My friend G. doesn’t call unless I call him. He didn’t quite like the idea when I told him about this resolution but agreed it was probably the only way we would talk.
Exercising: I was trying for three times a week for 3 months. I made it six months. Pretty much the only time I didn’t make it to the gym was when we were on vacation or one of us was sick.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

New Years Day

We spent most of the night just talking about being happy the year is over. L. especially was just looking forward to new year with all the medical stuff she has had to deal with. I think this has been the hardest year of her life. After a long night of talking we just passed out. We didn’t even notice that midnight had come and gone until 15 minutes after.
My friend had won a free helicopter flight through his work. Apparently because it was a free ticket he had to make the reservation quite far in advance so he had put it off until it was about to expire. His wife was visiting family outside the country so he invited me to go along. I asked L. but she was scared of getting motion sick so decided not to go. You would think that a flight normally costing $150 would last longer than 12 minutes. (or at least I thought so.) The flight was short but covered all of manhattan and statue of liberty. Since special clearance is required to fly over Manhattan the flight starts at the south tip of Manhattan, flies up the Hudson river to George Washington Bridge, down to the Statue of Liberty for a circle then up the East River to the Brooklyn Bridge before returning to the heliport next to the ferry station.
I got stuck in the middle of the helicopter (I offered since I didn’t think it was polite to make my friend sit there since I was tagging along for free.) The funny thing was that I was still being able to see everything since I was tall enough. I just had to zoom my camera so that it wouldn’t get the helicopter in the picture but I had the benefit of seeing out both sides. Of course the best ride would have sitting up front but I wasn’t going to complain. Taking off was the weirdest sensation. I’m used to planes where speed pushes you back in the seat before taking off. For the helicopter one second you’re on the ground the next your up in the air with your butt pushed down in the seat. There was the definite feeling that the helicopter had a lot more horse-power than the pilot would ever use for this kind of flight but that was strangely reassuring.
So would I do it again? maybe for free. It was a cool one time thing. I think I enjoyed it more since I was very familiar with New York City. Also the pilot lessons made the radio chatter interesting too. For a one time thing I would pay $100 for the ride but as advice to any tourists doing it, I would wait and do it as the very last thing you do in New York City otherwise it will just seem like you are staring down at a bunch of apartment tenements.

Friday, January 01, 2010

New Years Eve

So one of the things I have been wondering over the last ten years is what is this decade called. The best I could come up with is the turn of the century. Well then what will the next ten years be called? the teens? Anyway if Y2K stood for the year 2000 then I guess Y2KX is 2010. There is also the debate on the pronunciation: “twenty ten” or “two thousand ten”. Personally the last ten years have been “two thousand and number” everything with this year forward will be “twenty number”.
On New Years Eve we wanted to see the ball in Time Square but had no desire to stick around so we headed down early. Time Square was already crowded when we got there at 3. They had already closed the roads but we were able to get our picture with the ball then we got out of there before it got more crowded. As we walked further L. heard someone call her name. Out of all the people just wandering around her friend that was visiting New York City just happened to be walking right by us. Since we really didn’t have anything else planned for the next few hours we ended up being their tour guide. We took them through Bryant Park over to the main public library. One of the guys in the group of friends we were showing around knew the library better than anyone but had never been there because of his favorite video game “Ghostbusters”. From there we showed them Grand Central Station then walked up 5th Ave. to Rockafeller center and showed them the big tree before saying goodbye.
We headed to my friend D.’s house in Brooklyn. The funny part is that he lives right next to the current cool part of town “Williamsburg” and the center of cool, the Kellogg’s Diner. We walked by it while looking for a place for dinner and he said that he wanted to eat there someday. It was just bizarre, we were right next to the diner, looking for a place to eat, he wanted to go there someday but it never occurred to go there now. (The food and prices were OK, I’m guessing it is so popular because it’s shiny.