Friday, April 28, 2006

April's Random Thoughts

I don't really have anything of substance to write about, but I thought I'd write something since it's been a while. So here are some random thoughts for your enjoyment.

  • Tuesday was free icecream day at Ben & Jerry's. I caught it at just the right time and only had to wait about 5 minutes while everyone else I talked to had to wait around 30 minutes. Free icecream is quite nice.
  • I think the lacrosse guys at Duke are innocent. I think they behaved poorly and didn't exercise good judgment, but I don't think they are guilty of rape. I think it's a false accusation, which, if it is, is absolutely terrible because it only makes true rape cases all the more difficult to prosecute. There are too many loopholes in the case and too little evidence. I believe the prosecutor, who is in an upcoming election, is pursuing the case for political gain (getting tough on crime, etc.), which is wrong, especially considering he is putting other people's lives and reputations on the line. If he had a legitimate case, fine. But since there seems to be no evidence to indict, a decent amount of evidence to acquit, and only her word to substantiate the claims (and she has filed a rape accusation before that appears to have been dropped for whatever reason), I think he's really stretching to make a case. While we'll probably never exactly what happened, I'll say that if I were on the jury, knowing what is known now, I'd vote not guilty.
  • And on a travel note, Jeff and I have tentative plans to do an around-the-world trip when he gets out of school and before I start school. It would be ideal if he would finish in December 2007, because we'd then have until August 2008 when I'd like to start school to make our trip (But no holding our breaths here.) Anyhow, I'm so excited about the idea, that I've started thinking of all the places I want to go and flipping through guidebooks whenever I see one. Currently I'm focused on the South America portion of the trip. I'd never really been into South America before, but recently I've found it very exciting. Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Machu Picchu, the Amazon, Patagonia, Iguazu Falls, the Galapagos... Other than South America, I'd also definitely like to make it to Africa and parts of Asia. The rest can wait if time doesn't permit them from fitting into this trip. We're open to suggestions too, so if you know of somewhere cool, let me know.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

A Few Denver Photos

Skiing at Winter Park

A Slightly Fuzzy Picture of Us Before the Wedding

Me at Balancing Rock at Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods with Pike's Peak in the background

Us at Garden of the Gods

Jeff at the Siamese Twin Formation at Garden of the Gods

Triple Rock Formation at Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

Friday, April 14, 2006

A Long Accounting of our Weekend in Denver

There's something about airports that is disorienting. Inside, they're all the same. Long counters full of ticketing agents, security conveyor belts and TSA officers, monitors blinking with arrival and departure information, restaurants serving food that looks like it's been out all day, news stands, people talking loudly on cell phones, repetitive PA announcements... There's no real sense of place, especially after hanging around the airport for about 2 hours waiting to board and take off. While we were sitting on the jetway waiting to take off last Sunday, I actually had to think a minute to remember where I was. I'd become totally disoriented while sitting in the airport. I could have been anywhere.

But we were in Denver, which we were leaving after having spent 4 busy days there, getting up almost every day earlier than we do on work days.

Flew in Wednesday night and headed to Joyce and Jack's apartment, where we were staying. Great apartment Twice the size of ours with awesome mountain views.

Up bright and early and off to Winter Park for a day of skiing. Jeff was really anxious to go as he hadn't been skiing all winter. I was a little less anxious, as I've only been skiing once before on a trip 4 years ago to the German Alps in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. I'd spent most of those two days on my butt, but I was willing to give it another go. This time, I signed up for a lesson and spent the morning learning to stop, turn, and ski in general. Jeff took off to the top of the mountain (14,000 feet) and skied the more advanced trails. We met up at lunchtime and then skied together in the afternoon. I actually enjoyed myself and didn't even fall once!

In the evening, we went to a get together at Dave & Buster's so I could spend some time actually talking to Laura, my friend who I studied abroad with in Germany who was getting married on Saturday.

Woke up early again with plans to go to Rocky Mountain National Park, but when I stepped into the living room and looked out the window, I saw snow being blown every which way by crazy winds. The visibility was so poor we couldn't even see the mountains. Not wanting to test the oh so sweet Kia rental car we had and not wanting to drive two hours to maybe not be able to see anything, we scrapped those plans. So we spent the morning hanging out with Joyce and then in the afternoon, when bizarrely enough the temperature rose into the 60s, we went downtown and saw the capitol and walked along the 16th Street Mall.

That evening we went to Jeff's grandma's and then out for a Greek dinner with her and Jeff's aunt. Later on we went to a wine bar with Jeff's high school friend Ned and his fiance Kim, and Joyce and Jack met up with us there.

Jeff was really interested in seeing the Body Worlds exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Jack was just as eager, and Joyce and I, while hesitant, agreed to go. It was a popular exhibit, so we headed out early and got tickets for the 10:15 admission. At first, I have to admit that I was pretty turned off by the whole thing, but it became oddly fascinating. I was particularly interested in the comparison of the sections of the obese and non-obese person. The amount of fat and the way it clogged everything, along with the way the organs were all pushed together was really disturbing. Also disturbing was the comparison of the regular lung, smoker's lung, and coal miner's lung. Don't know how people could leave that exhibit and go smoke or eat fast food. The preservation of the entire system of blood vessels from the head and all of the nerves from the central nervous system was really amazing. But I did still find some of it disturbing, particularly the way he tried to make a lot of it artsy. I can go for the scientific perspective on all of this, but not the art. That's just kind of vulgar to me. And I'm interested in knowing whether all of the money earned from these exhibits is actually going to fund research as claimed or if some of it is lining some pockets. I'm a bit uneasy about that. Especially because the exhibit is extremely popular - by the time we left around noon, all the rest of the day's tickets were sold out.

That afternoon Jeff went and played golf with a college friend, while Joyce, Jack, and I hung out around Denver. We went to the park, had some ice cream, and explored some really wealthy neighborhoods with absurd houses. The wedding was that evening, so we headed out in plenty of time but got lost and ended up running in, although we did make it before it started. The ceremony was really interesting, as it was led primarily by a Jewish minister with a blessing by a Catholic deacon, and I'd never been to such a ceremony. I liked it and thought some of the prayers were really thoughtful and nice. Laura looked beautiful and you could tell they were a happy couple. The food at the reception was great and we had a good time dancing.

With temperatures in the 70s, we decided to get outdoors, so we headed down to Colorado Springs to the Garden of the Gods, which is a park full of really interesting red stone formations. (I'll post photos when I get home from work.) We did a few hikes and enjoyed the view and being outdoors before heading back to Denver. We then met up with Jeff's grandma and aunt to celebrate the day, which was Jeff's grandma's 88th birthday. After a birthday dessert, we headed to the airport and back to DC.

So it was an exhausting but great long weekend. It was crazy how many people we saw and how many events we hit in that one weekend. A wedding and an 88th birthday. A high school best friend, a study abroad friend, a high school friend, a college friend, a grandma, and an aunt all in one location on one weekend. What a happy coincidence!