The first day

26 09 2007

I’m back at school again, and it’s starting out as the best year so far.  I’m in a campus apartment that’s closer to my classes than last year’s dorm.  I’m living with the same roommate as last year; we managed not to kill each other in such cramped spaces, so let’s give it another year.  This is going to be my busiest year too.  This quarter I have four classes: Thermodynamics, Electrodynamic Field Theory, Fluid Mechanics, and Material Science. I’m also heading up the ASME bike project, I’m our chapter’s voting delegate at this year’s Tau Beta Pi national convention, and I  have the Bannan Scholar’s retreat next weekend.

Today was only the first day of class, and we’ve already done so much.  It was great to sleep in for a couple days; we went to Archie Mcphee while Brian almost got blood drained from the scar in his butt; then to Brian’s house to raid the pantry and forget everything on our list; and jumped off a dock in our skivvies.  We finally got plates and bowls today, although we don’t have silverware yet past plastic forks and steak knives.  If only we could get to Ikea…

And the fun doesn’t stop there: we still have to have a bonfire at Golden Gardens, see the Beatles laser show, go to Ivar’s at the end of Madison, head up Broadway to St. Mark’s, head farther up Broadway to visit Selma, see some shows at UW, go to the symphony, get a double feature at the Pacific Place AMC, Blue C Sushi in Fremont, climb the giant Lenin in Fremont, climb the troll in Fremont, see the Red Bull Soapbox Derby in Fremont.  Then there’s the question of where to go on my 21st.  Decisions, decisions.


DC: Last sights

22 09 2007

In the last couple days, I had a couple more favorite sites to visit, but I also looked for new places to see. I started at the National Gallery of Art, East building, to see the exhibit I had waited for:

Edward Hopper poster

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DC: Skip the gluten

21 09 2007

On the way back from Hershey Park, we stopped in Baltimore for a celiac support group.  Rachel has celiac disease, which just means that when she eats gluten — a protein found in wheat, barley, oats, anything you would normally make bread and beer with — the villi in her intestines die and she can’t absorb nutrients.  So, you know, no big deal.  Technically, it’s an auto-immune disorder, so it’s not contagious.  To help spread the word, she got an internship at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, and she was just brought on as a full employee.  It’s tough to dine out without asking the waiters about every ingredient, which limits the menu almost entirely.  Some restaurants know what gluten is; some even have gluten-free menus; but most don’t have a clue.  At the support group, Rachel’s boss described her recipe book — all proceeds selflessly go to NFCA — and gave a viewing of the video podcast series that NFCA is making.

The following day, I was suckered into helping with the next podcast.  I mostly chopped onions and peppers and, due to being average height for a male but still taller than anyone there, I hung curtains to keep stray light out of the kitchen and out of the shot.  It was a lot of fun, and I got to meet all the people Rachel has talked about.  I also learned some secrets — is the oven really down there, or is it really ont he wall behind the camera? You never see it! — and more symptoms of celieac disease.  The founder of NFCA had several miscarriages  (because she couldn’t absorb nutrients, her baby didn’t get nutrients) and a veterinarian eventually diagnosed her before any people doctor did.  Rachel’s boss Vanessa, the one in the video, had persistent migraines than the most potent of medicines barely helped alleviate; early osteoporosis exacerbated mild carpal tunnel syndrome.  After a second blood test — the first was for diabetes, which the doctor had ordered by mistake, not being familiar with ‘celiac’ — she was diagnosed.  After getting off gluten, she hasn’t had a migraine since.  Some instances of ADD has been helped by staying away from gluten.  The symptoms are wide, so if you have any chronic pains or you get sick every time you eat, you might as well get checked.

DC: up to PA

21 09 2007

At the recommendation of her mom and sister, who had just visited before I did, Rachel and I went up to Hershey, PA to the chocolate factory. Yeah, they make chocolate in Hershey, PA. Who knew. The main building is a giant, fake factory.

Hershey coal stacks

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DC: You guessed it, more museums

17 09 2007

I also went to the Phillips Collection, a gallery off of Dupont Circle. Phillips was one of the first collectors and exhibitors of contemporary art back in the day, and part of the gallery is still in his original home. The rest was added one, and it was surely needed to fit the current collection inside. Besides the permanent collection downstairs, there was a special Impressionist exhibit upstairs. I found that I didn’t like bland pastels and went more for extremes of the bright colors of Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Edward Hopper, and Renoir; the dark and austere style of Winslow Homer and Charles Sheeler; or a mix, like Henri Rousseau. Read the rest of this entry »

DC: In the beginning

17 09 2007

Facade and dome


While Rachel’s been at work and at school during the day, I’ve been seeing the sights, and as this is Washington, DC, those sights are almost all the Smithsonians. Read the rest of this entry »

DC intro

13 09 2007

Plane wing

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