East Coast Adventure, Part 1

My least on my apartment in Atlanta was up, and that was not somewhere I wanted to sign another one so I had to move out. Since I'm still figuring out what I'm going to do next, I'm not sure where I'm going to end up living. In the meantime, most of my stuff got put in storage and I'm heading home to Boston for a little while. Although the drive can be done in 2 days, I'm taking a week and making some stops.

Tuesday I packed up my car and left Atlanta. Well, first it didn't fit and I had to unpack the car, repack boxes, drive more stuff to storage, and then repack the car. But then, only 4 hours later than I wanted, I was on my way... until I ran out of gas. But then 1 hour later I was at it again. I spent the night with an Aunt and Uncle in Norfolk, VA.

Wednesday I drove to DC. There I saw Operation Spy at the Spy Museum. It's basically this interactive experience where you take on the role of a CIA agent in a foreign country trying to recover a stolen nuclear device. You control surveillance cameras, unscramble phone calls, sneak into a secure facility by disabling cameras and locks, search an office, crack a safe, and interrogate a suspect. It was awesome. I highly recommend it if you're in the area, but it is better if you go with a group of people you know (about 4). I saw my cousin Rachel and then had dinner with [info]queiss, [info]bluekirby, and [info]kizzatz.

Thursday I drove to Philly where I had an interview. Then I went to Atlantic City to see how the fountain was doing. Now I'm in New York for the weekend.
Keywords:Travel | Friends
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Single Serving Friend

Several times I have talked about how I enjoy meeting people in airports and on planes. I even talked my idea for a special airline class that would cater to people like me. I've been using a service that does this, but it doesn't work very well and so far has not found anyone else using the system on any of my flights. However, on my way back to Atlanta from Boston last thursday, I had the best "single serving friend" encounter to date.

I was flying from Boston to Atlanta via Philadelphia on USAir. I met Marie on the jetway waiting to get on the plane. I'd seen her sleeping under her hat in the gate area and decided to strike up a conversation by asking her where she was going. It turned out she was also going to Atlanta (where she was meeting up with a friend and driving to Savannah). When we found our rows, she was the window seat right behind mine, the two aisles already filled. I turned around and we discovered on the next flight we were in the same row, but opposite windows. Talk about coincidence. When the middle seat people arrived, they were together and since Marie and I were talking they asked if she could move up with me so they could be together. Fine with me. We talked most of that flight. We traversed the Philadelphia airport together, stopping to get "lunch", and taking the bus to the other terminal. The second plane was small, 2 and 2, and the guy on her side asked if she minded sitting on the aisle. I thought, "what the hell", and asked the guy on my side if he'd mind the window. Although traffic to the bathroom posed some interference, we completed two crosswords together across the aisle. In Atlanta we were together all the way to baggage and parted ways after our bags arrived. It was the most interesting air travel experience I think I've had, and perhaps someone I will stay in touch with.
Keywords:Travel | Friends
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Weddings and Stairwells

Yesterday was the Turner-Davies wedding. I really enjoyed it. Particularly because I was in the wedding party. A year ago when Mike first asked me to do it, I was surprised that he counted me so close a friend. Thinking about it, I did spend a lot of time in his room his last year and he, Weiss, and I were the core Denny's crew, going sometimes 2 or 3 times a week. That's a lot of quality time spent.

And it was those little thing, the rehersal, the limo rides, waiting to be introduced at the reception, sitting all at the head table, and wearing the tuxes, all the time that it wasn't the big crowd but just the bride and groom and a few of us friends, that made things extra special for me. I'm really happy for Mike and Michelle. I don't want to say anything too sappy, but it is obvious that they are good together and it is great to see friends fulfilled like that.

Seeing the rest of my friends who came was also fun. Some excitement was taken out of it by seeing many of them at carnival only a few weeks ago. It is always fun though. These are people I used to hang out with every day, so I'll take more than once a year now if I can get it. Weddings (or really any gathering I guess) bring out all the old stories. Talking to them also reminds me how alike we are. It's great when you can have conversations where you talk about something without ever saying what because you think so alike you both know what you're thinking.
Keywords:Friends | AEPi
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Things have been good for friendship lately. Yes, Team Illegal did win the scavenger hunt. It was really awesome. And speaking of driving around crazy style, tonight was interesting. A Denny's run. I haven't done that in a while and it was pretty good. On the way home the other car claimed they would beat us home. Racing is a little scary and stupid. The fun part was driving around an intersection that the other car was stopped, even though they eventually caught us.

Puzzle Royale, like the previous Puzzlestorm, only this one is between three schools, us, University of Toronto, and University of Michigan. Team Simon is reformed. This year it is Linda, Dave, and Dan replaces Joe. We came so close last year, this year we're going to kick ass.

There's already a pretty good puzzle story related to it. We were told by someone at MS (sponsoring it) that if you put a space before your team name you'd sort first on the team list page, even though spaces don't show up in HTML. So I did. There was still one above us who must have realized it too. I added a few more. They edited their name and moved up, I countered, and then they added a lot more. I didn't think this brute force deadlock was fun, so I decided to be puzzly and find a tricky way to beat the. By copy and paste I was able to insert a newline (enter/return) which is a lower ascii character than space. Best part is that even if they go to our edit page, that symbol won't even show up in an input field like a space will. They'd have to view source and notice that there's a line break in the code at the beginning of our name. Even if they do, I know about a few lower characters that can be inserted. ;-)

I feel I should mention the spontaneous lunch date I had last weekend. It was pretty cool. Glad to finally meet her. It won't work out, because of my curse of course, but anyway.
Keywords:Friends | Puzzles
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Rosh Hashanah

A new year. On Wednesday night I went to Phil's house, a fellow ETC first year. He made a very nice holiday dinner. Since I can't cook, that is a skill I really respect. It was a great social event. There were 5 of us there, not all Jewish though. The discussion was interesting. Stuff like that makes me think the ETC would be cooler without as much busy craziness.

Their house was really nice. It was big, clean, in a nice neighborhood, near stuff, closer to the ETC than where I live, and cheaper. I'm jealous. I like being near campus though. Oh well.

I went to services with some friends. Had lunch at AEPi. Went to tashlich in Schenley park. That's about it for jewish stuff. It went well.

The new year also makes me think about resolutions and what I want to do. A friend has inspired me to try to go running again. I also want to try to be more proactive about work so I can really enjoy my free time. I want to practice juggling and actually get good at it. I never practice anything and I want to do it this time. Excercising would be good. And then there's the perpetual resolution. If you don't know what I mean then you don't need to. If any good comes of any of those this next year I'll be impressed.
Keywords:Judaism | Friends
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A new beginning; same old place

Orientation is just around corner. That's pretty literal. It's 3:15am now and it begins at 9am, practically now, and the university is physically around the corner from where I live now. As of today the summer is really over. This whole past week has been the beginning of the end, though.

I've been setting up for orientation with ABTech. I've been excited for the usual traditions: Tech, move-in, BBQs on the porch, meeting freshmen, playfair, etc. I worry that the reason I'm still stuck here doing the same old thing is because I don't know how to let go. I've always hated change and loved doing the same things I've loved before. But things do change. As much as I enjoy every tradition, every traditional thing I do also hurts. I have to consider every time that it might be the last. Also, every time might not be just as good as before.

Even though I was gone, I've still spent all my contiguous summers in Pittsburgh, but maybe this really is the last. I'm too old to care about the freshmen even if I do still want to participate in orientation to help them out and give them a good start like I had. I was looking forward to the beginning of this year, but now I'm not so sure.

Some of my close friends returned to Pittsburgh today. I've learned to get along without them: the year in Boston and this summer. Seeing them now, though, makes me realize that doing it with them, my friends, my brothers, was one of the things I loved about move-in. This year they won't be there, most have left town and the ones that are here have moved on past doing it.

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Keywords:Orientation | Nostalgia | Friends | Depression
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July 4th

URL: http://sparkyb.net/pictures/gallery/2004 Summer/July 4/
This July 4th was excellent. This was my fourth year in a row barbequing at AEPi and then taking the bus downtown to the point to see the fireworks. It was the third year in a row that I hosted the BBQ. This year we went all out. We went shopping at Restaurant Depot and got a ton of food. A couple people even did some cooking. There were a lot of people there because a lot of people were in town for this summer.

When we went down to the point, there were 12 of us, which I think is a record. I had been more than anyone in the group so I led. I carried a small american flag that I'd wave above my head to keep the group together. I thought of everything including blankets and Set. The show was good. Better than last year when the smoke was blowing in the wrong direction. I got lots of pictures.

The sad part about having a tradition like this is that it can't last forever. But speaking of the past, a friend from middle school IMed me today. That was quite exciting. Ok, I better sleep now. More journal entries from now on, I think. I like writing lots of stuff, I just don't know if I'm comfortable with just simple day-to-day entries that aren't important. Maybe a special keyword for it will filter well enough.
Keywords:Summer | Friends
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A Beautiful Day

The date says Friday, being just after midnight the night following a wasted Thursday. The day I refer to was Wednesday. The weather outside was so nice. Warm and sunny. I went out to lunch with a friend from AEPi who works in Cambridge but I rarely see. Hirsch and I walked across the bridge into Boston to a sub shop on Charles Street. It was the perfect day for it. It was nice to walk around and get into the city instead of wasting away the whole day in the Media Lab, without even looking up until dark.

Hirsch wasn't the only friend I met on this find day. That evening I went to see Emily, who I hadn't seen since I visted the Media Lab last March. I scootered all the way over to her place on Beacon Hill. The other two people there were also from Sharon. Although one was Emily's roomate, Kermit, who I already knew, They were all the same 3 years younger than me. When we went out to eat we picked up one more person, Laurel, one of Emily's best friends from Elementary school. Such a chance occurance is exciting, particularly for Emily. However, the shock for me, several hours later, was that despite the age difference and her moving out of Sharon before we could have ever been in school together, I knew who she was. I realized that I had been friends with her older brother, long long ago. These are the types of things I usually forget about, but become nostalgic when I remember. In this case it was at least slightly amusing.

After a while hanging out, I headed home. Scootering down the hill, across the bridge, and all the way home was so relaxing.

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Keywords:Friends | Nostalgia | Sharon | Spring
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