Apr 28, 2011

Spring weather sprung itself finally

     I had a wonderful weekend without work.  I visited the family and got to see Anna's campus up in Vermont.  Train rides are so much less hassle than airplanes.  Just get there on time and have a ticket.  We had plenty of space to store our luggage (the infamous Mickey Mouse bag), time for me to read and take a nap on Tad and no security to go through.  Security is so stupid at airports anyways, since if they are determined enough I'm sure they will get through.  We drove through the mountains to get up to Bennington and it increased my desire to go hiking this summer.  I've actually started to dig up information now so I know what I'm looking into.

     I picked up a book that I recognized from when I was looking up information about through-hiking the Appalachian Trail (no I don't think Tad or I will ever do this) called A Walk in the Woods.  While it had some interesting stuff it wasn't that great and I finished up in about three hours.  Very quick. 

     Spring has finally hit us.  I can wear a short sleeved shirt without shivering and the trees have burst delightfully into bloom!  Tad and I are planning to go to a hanami festival this weekend and I want to take pictures there.  I'll take some, I swear.  Really.

     Humm, what else has happened?  OH!  I did in fact finish Walden but I didn't bring it on the train up to Albany.  While that was probably a better environment for the novel I only had twenty-something pages left to read.  I have less that 200 pages remaining between two other books.  I will have gotten through my longest book (597 pages) to date by tomorrow I believe.  What should I say about Walden?  I can see many of Thoreau's points and agree sometimes with his disgust with society.  The many problems he saw then have only gotten worse and more convoluted since.  I also find a resounding appeal to his absolute love of nature.  He really comes through as very superior and arrogant though especially when touting his peculiarities.  Ever listen to some artist or musician who is 'avant garde'?  They become so into their own ways since they can't reconcile themselves with society at large that they actually begin to demean the very audience they are trying to garner.  I'm sure everyone had that friend who was so sure of themselves that, well, everyone is obviously wrong.  Such a childish viewpoint.  The love for his land was admirable if not a bit silly.  It was moving and I think a base to encourage outdoor exploring that should be nature to everyone in this country.

     Supposedly we are getting the internet in the apartment tomorrow.  Good, I don't mind having all this time to read and relax but there are times when I want to listen to something or check a fact or just check my emails.  Annoying. 

     Ah, one last thing.  A new vocab word: tocsin- a warning bell or alarm.

Apr 20, 2011

Happy Spring Religious Week Everyone

     This weekend Tad and I head to Albany to visit extended in-laws.  I'm impatient for the break because I will be working eight-hour days all week before this.  I get off next Monday though and I believe I close Tuesday.  I've been reading more and more this past week finishing another two books (ok just children books but still) and have made significant progress through one of the densest books I've started so far.  A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century is just under 600 pages long and filled with tiny print and details galore.  I have finally, after about a month and a half of on-and-off reading have reached the halfway point.  Usually a thicker book like this makes me give up but I am bearing through it gamely.  I've gotten through the three hundred pages of background story to the actual main area, the life of Enguerrard IV de Coucy.  I can't guarantee I spelled his name correctly since I don't have the book in front of me.  It's a good read filled with lots of significant details of the life and events of the 1300s.  It has been fun to read even if at times, to double check what I'm reading I only get through fifteen pages in an hour.

     I am sad that all my books end.  As silly as it sounds I really enjoy being led through the author's eyes and following their stories.  I also get distracted by a new story far, far too easily.  I'm mostly through Thoreau's Walden but it has a time and a place to be read.  How incongruous to read about forsaking culture and embracing nature on a bus in NYC! 

     This post is really very helter-skelter.  I miss studying mathematics.  I want a book on group theory (sorry Britt, I do want to learn it) and a text on either partial-differentials past what I learned in class or a good book on vector groups and tensors.  I feel limited by my surroundings and my lack of academic connections.  When Tad graduates this semester I will look into going back even just for night courses to finish up and all.  I miss stretching my mind.  I want to join in on volunteering activities and work with people on new and more expanding ground than I have now.  I feel my lack of movement forward.  I am under a blanket and cannot get out quite yet.  I also want a pet, a little kitty meowing and needing my attention.  Ahh, to know my limits and break them, that is what I want to start looking into now.  It may be the wrong holiday to start focusing on resolutions but I am anyways. 

     My next post will be a bit more organized and hopefully full of fun photos of the family together and hanging out.  Maybe I'll have finished Walden by then as well.  We'll see.

Apr 12, 2011


     As I was saying, this is not what Brooklyn looks like.  The trees have yet to blossom.  Tad took this on his trip to Washington DC two weeks ago.  I have been driving myself crazy without much respite recently.  Work work work, read read read.  Not that I don't enjoy it but it is doubtless an insular activity!  I need more social life than what Thoreau and my coworkers give me.  Next week Tad and I will journey up to Albany and spend a few days with his family for Easter on the train.  I want to make us food since I remember my hell of a train trip from Rochester to Penn Station.  I refuse to think about how pent up and hungry I was.  No, not thinking about it. 

     I have finished off another two books since updating.  I devoured Rudyard Kipling's Just-So Stories with annotations and everything.  It seems he was an aficionado for all types of mythos and his traveling led him to flavor them all together into a new and more amazing stories.  The neolithic stories about the alphabet and everything weren't very good and were a chore to slog through.  I had read 'How the Elephant Got His Trunk' before in sixth grade I think but many were new and rather adorable.  I could see the repetitious phrases mimicking Homer and the sing-song that children learn to repeat back.  I ordered from the library his masterpiece Kim so I will compare his children book with this.  I remember when I was maybe in middle school reading The Jungle Book and I think some of the grandeur of these stories were lost on myself.  I remember I read it after watching some movie that Tad assures me was the live-action version of the Jungle Book.  Let me check if my timing is right then.  Nope, that movie was released Christmas 1994 making it probably the summer of either 1995 or 1996 that I read it.  Geez, didn't feel that long ago.

     The other book I finished was On The Narrow Road which is a travelogue set in 1989 about following the road Basho took in his famous book The Narrow Road to the Deep North.  Fun bit of trivia: the title of Basho's book has the more accurate title of The Narrow Road to the Boonies.  Hah, poetry makes it sound much better.  I kept remembering the vivid and expansive landscapes of Princess Mononoke and the evocative music.  Lesley Downer wanders fruitlessly it seems over much of the more modernized Japan in search of the idealistic simple life Basho wrote about and the beautiful moments that are more cliche in Japanese poetry than the use of the work anon instead of soon in English.  She does find the poor rice villages deep in the mountains and even her yamabushi, mountain hermit priests.  Turns out that now for some money you can get a week of training on the Holy Mountains and become a yamabushi yourself.  I think Tad and I found Tim's wedding present.

     Today is Free Cone Day at Ben adn Jerry's and since I have work late tonight I am headed straight there after this.  I am currently reading Walden by Thoreau (yea, why else would I throw that reference in?) and A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century which I am still not quite half-way through.  It's a good read but very dense, like the best brownie ever that they forgot to put leavening into.  Oh, and I'm hungry and it's wet out so I might argue Tad into grabbing a milk tea at my bakery.  Maybe...

     I'm only looking forward right now a few days and keeping my head down until my vacation.  I'm hoping up there it doesn't look half-bad so we might explore Albany as well, or just rest and spend a few days around family.  I will take either one at this point.  Also, I saw this car for sale the other day:

     Sweet ride.

501 books count: 65 (I worked it out, I think I had too many highlighting systems, so I condensed them down.  Now I have read the yellow, started but had to stop due to library returns or lost books in green and blue numbers for books I have setting up in queue)

     Goal is now to read 100 by the end of summer.  BAM, no problem I have tons of time now that I don't do anything interesting :p

Apr 8, 2011

     To show you what I've been doing recently all I have to say is that I finished another book.  ::sigh:: I am currently working through three books? ::thinking:: yea, three, that I am rotating between.  I devoured Poul Anderson's Brainwave from 1954.  Ohh, it was so good.  The book was about the theory that there has been an inhibitor wave that has slowed down electromagnetic impulses around the earth for the past few million years.  We have finally come out of the pulse and our brains speed up.  Everyone becomes more intelligent, both man and the animals.  Normally intelligent humans become superhuman and adapt the best they can by searching for new goals and end up building a spaceship capable of faster-than-light travel.  Many people can't take the change and either suicide or go insane.  Cults rise and fall quickly and the best is how animals gain near-human intelligence.  They can fear death, they can understand what is happening around them but are still sheep or dogs or monkeys.  It's a short read of about 150ish pages but definitely worth the effort of trying to find it.  I checked six library systems and ten used book shops before hoarding all my effort on the Brooklyn library system.

     Tad and I are going to stay in our apartment for probably six months.  We're gonna try and live here in NYC but it can be hard.  I really love the tiny Chinese bakery on the corner since I get, for 80 cents, a cup of sweet milk tea for work or just to wake you up.  I need to start looking into volunteering opportunities.  I've been thinking of needing to do something constructive with my time here.  I'm looking into foodbanks and I guess the girl scouts as always.  I do love them.

501 books count: 63 hm... I seem to be miscounting somewhere, I'll check it out for next time...

Apr 4, 2011


     Well, we did get a place and at that exact moment it was a freaking Rube Goldberg project getting everything together.  We had to run all over town after getting money orders since we couldn't cash them.  It has been hassle after hassle.  Tad had to head into DC last weekend for class again and I had to move.  But, I had work in the evening so I was moving and cleaning up at 3AM.  I got to the new place with the final load of stuff and into bed at 4:28AM.  Waah, made me want to cry.  I was completely sleep deprived for the last two days.  I've had more caffeine than I usually do in a week I think.

     We're right on the beginning of the Chinese area here in Dyker Heights (I don't know if that's where we are but sure, it's pretty close).  Across the street is a Great Wall supermarket that has a hundred and ten different types of veggies and even a traditional Chinese medicine counter.  Down at the corner is a tiny Chinese bakery where tea with milk is 80 cents and so are most of the sweet buns.  I cannot resist.  So sweet and fluffy!

     I'll take some pics of the new place but right now I'm running around getting the extra things we need for this place.  A trashcan for sure.  Definitely need that.  Biggest problem is that we don't have internet access.  I'm across the street at the library (really, one of the things I do is look at my proximity to the local libraries) using the free wifi available.  I need to update my podcasts so badly.  What am I listening to?

     Well, I always get Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me the NPR news quiz.  I also get BBC 4's In Our Time which is an hour about a specific topic (last week was The Bhagavad Gita) with experts from Britain.  I stated recently listening to The Naked Scientist which talks about the latest journal articles and then random science topics from the ocean, to earthquakes to why teeth wiggle and don't fall out immediately.  I also listen to free buddhist audio which is lectures from retreats of some Buddhist center in England I think.  I also have the San Francisco Buddhist center podcast but I haven't yet listened to one.  I know there are more I should be hearing but I don't know what it would be.  If you have any suggestions of awesome podcasts (audio, no video ones) please leave a comment and I'll try them out.  Oh! I also listen to Warwick University has short lectures on different subjects, such as symmetry in modern science or medieval Islamic medicine.  Just fun little things.

     I will try and update with everything that's happened last week, and man has it been fun! But I have to go get my laundry and then off to work again.  I hope everyone is having a good day and I'm thinking constantly about everyone I left behind in Orlando.  Don't forget me!!!