Apparently I use this solely as a procrastination technique, so that when I have a lot to do but am not completely crushed, I write something; and when I am either crushed or bored, I don't.

Okay. So. Many. Things. Have. Happened.

1. I finished my thesis, which involved a poster (which was surprisingly difficult), a presentation (which was petrifying, but ultimately went all right), and a long, drawn-out process of editing. But I survived, barely, and the Roommate and I watched Korra in celebration. Yay!

2. I finished all of my classes ... barely. I had two final papers (for biogeography and intonational phonology), both of which I finished late. But I passed both classes, so apparently the professors didn't mind too much. (And in all fairness, they weren't that late, only half an hour for the one and 10 minutes for the other.)

3. My brother got stomach flu; I didn't realize it was contagious, so I promptly got stomach flu. It was actually kind of amazing how much it flattened me. Also, I lost ten pounds of water; and I only regained about half of that back, which is probably the result of basically not eating for five days. Oh well.

4. Senior week! It was surprisingly fun: we didn't do hardly any of the normal activities. The Magician and Fortitude and I went to laser tag, where we happened to run into Other Me; then, on Monday and Tuesday (May 20 and 21) we all (me, the Roommate, the Magician, Fortitude, and the Tower) went to Block Island. It was AMAZING. My pictures are crappy because my camera didn't handle the mist well, so 1) I am going to get a new camera, and 2) I will have to steal pictures from everyone else. But! We walked around a lot and saw a giant cemetery, and then biked to the south lighthouse (where I almost passed out for some reason that I'm not sure about). Then we biked to the north lighthouse, which was great fun. There was a 9/11 memorial there, too, which seemed a bit out of place. Also, the sea gulls were nesting, and became very angry if we got within a few feet, but they still refused to move off their nests. It was really cool, over all.

5. Graduation! I did it. It is over. It was kind of fun, considering all the tromping around we did in cap-and-gown. I got sunburned on half of my face, which was fun. Also, because we have departmental ceremonies instead of the president reading off everyone's name (thank God!), they had one person from each degree category go up to accept their degree symbolically for the whole of the class. I didn't realize how it worked, however, so I stood up when they called bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, and dual degree folks. It was exciting, especially since they didn't really tell us dual-degreers to stand up or sit down ... we kind of just did whatever ...

6. North Carolina! I went home, and I cleaned my WHOLE ROOM. Actually, not quite, but almost. You can actually see the floor! I also met with a lawyer, who spent about ten minutes talking about clothes and clearly wanted to eke as much money out of us as possible. Oh well. I am going to have a living will, yay?

7. I returned to Providence! My room is kind of strange, it is basically a second common room that is convertible to a bedroom if needed. That means it has many windows and is very light in the morning, has no closet, and is huge. In some ways it's great: the Hermit came and visited this week, and there is a couch-like object in my room that can serve as a guest bed; and Fortitude is going to stay here on Sunday night, so it has already gotten a fair amount of use. Unfortunately, the doors have very little noise control, but so far this hasn't been much of a problem.

8. I ... finally decided to apply for a Fulbright to Ecuador! I found something to get excited about: volunteering at biological stations across the whole country! I started writing a letter to this guy there whose research looks interesting, but I haven't finished yet. I will finish by Monday, though ... I have to if I actually want someone's sponsorship. :( But I also found some programs for teaching English in various countries across the world, so I am starting to feel like I will actually manage to make this thing work—next year at the Smithsonian, the following year abroad, then graduate school. Yay!

8.b. On the topic of grad school, I went to visit my cousin at Harvard on Wednesday, and saw the Harvard OEB building. It is BEAUTIFUL, at least on the outside and in the corridors. I wish they had research there that is closer to what I want to do; I will probably end up applying, but it really isn't the best school for my area. Oh well ...

9. Newport! I am about to go to Newport with Fortitude and the Tower to visit the Roommate and do Cliffwalk and visit the mansions and things. Yay! I want to buy a new camera, so I wish I had gotten around to this before leaving for Newport, but oh well. Hopefully the Roommate will take lots of pictures.

That's about it. I should go get ready.
So, on Wednesday we went to the Nagoya port area. We didn't see much of the port, but we did stop at two museum-like places: a spinning top museum and the aquarium.

The spinning top museum was ... extremely weird. Basically, the person who ran it put her ENTIRE COLLECTION of spinning tops on the shelves of the building, and then labeled them by country of origin. That was it. Except that there were ungodly numbers of spinning tops. Yeah ... her curatorial skills were lacking, but it was still pretty cool—we saw more tops than I have ever seen before in my entire life. There were enormous ones and tiny ones, ones made from acorns and ones that were tops with other tops stuck in, and so on and so forth. Sadly, I don't have any pictures, because I felt really awkward taking pictures in the middle of this random museum/store place; but it was exciting, mostly because it was so odd. According to the Vampire, I pick the sketchiest places to go to, but I thought it was fun.

Then we went to the aquarium, where we totally did not have enough time. We spent a long time looking at whale skeletons, which were really cool, but we didn't look at many actual live cetaceans. I find it really depressing to put a dolphin into a tank, because perhaps even more than large terrestrial mammals, they need SPACE. Anyway, we got to see lots of fish, and turtles, and coral, and it was fun. I have many pictures, too.


Yesterday, Thursday, we went to Osu Kannon, where we saw a big temple, and walked around, and saw a small temple, and saw a kofun (burial mound, pre-AD), and tried to find another kofun only to discover that a shrine had been built on top of the kofun. We walked around some more, and got food. Lunch was ... very dispersed, since we basically ate like this:

11:30 — Amazing orange things from Valor that I will miss SO MUCH when I get back to the States.
12:35 — Delicious vegetable buns that were basically steamed bread around vegetables.
1:30ish — Parfait, with matcha ice cream, rice krispie-like things, dango. Good.
3:15ish — Another of the vegetable buns, because they were so good the first time.

I think I am missing something in there, but anyway.

Osu Kannon was basically a huge shopping district (a teramachi, it seemed) where there were lots of small shops all lining a large indoor building. It was huge, and we kind of got lost (in the sense of, where exactly are we in this ginormous structure?), but we saw a lot of interesting shops, including an Asian Style place (infused with ASIAN!), a bike shop that was advertised as a shooting range, and a zombie store.

After Osu Kannon, we walked around for a while before deciding to go to the Nagoya science museum. As students we got an amazing discount, but unfortunately we only had about an hour and a half there—and we hadn't even finished the first floor (out of five) within an hour. My brother and the Vampire are going back there today, while I am flying off to Helsinki ... Alas. It was pretty awesome; they had a sand table where they had sound vibrating the table, and depending on the resonant frequency the sand made variable patterns. They had a pendulum with a bucket on the bottom that sand could drain out of, so you filled up the bucket and then let it swing around the table and make patterns. They had a pin-based music turntable thing where you set the pins and then could compose a song (or have it make whatever tune you wanted). They had a water wheel that climbed a ramp as the water flowed down, and optical illusions. It was pretty awesome, and that was just the first floor. We went up to the fifth floor for the last half hour to look at elasticity and the weights of various types of substances, but unfortunately they kicked us out. :P

That's about it. I am now in the airport, having finished my frappuccino, and am enjoying the free wireless. I am getting obsessed with Akemi, and the world is looking good!
The Roommate and I taught at Splash yesterday that went pretty well. We obviously didn't get the 700 students that the sword-making class got, but we didn't want that, either. We had several students say that our class was their favorite, which was nice, even if it was probably because it wasn't all "class"—we drank a lot of tea, too. But it was still nice.

The first session went all right—I didn't talk very much, and the Roommate talked too much, and we had a few rowdy students who were annoying. The second session, I attempted to talk more but apparently failed and the Roommate succeeded at talking less, which meant we had a little too much time for tea-drinking. The second crowd was really quiet, too, and much younger than the first crowd. Our third session went the best, though I got a little technical when I added in a bit about the evolutionary history of the tea plant; but the kids were just the right age, around 9th grade, for what we had planned. So all in all, a success, and I definitely want to teach at Spark in the spring if I can.

After we got back to camus, we had a game night with the Juggler, Fortitude, and the Tower. It was really fun, and I hope we get to do it again some time.

I slept absurdly well last night, which was great, and I woke up shortly before 9. \o/ Yay for sleeping in!

On a slightly less happy note, I am now so far behind on my NaNo that I am actually a little worried I won't finish. I want to write 4,000 words a day until Thanksgiving, and then I will feel a little better. I confess it isn't nearly as much fun to write this story as I thought it was going to be, so I want to find a way to change it. Maybe I will just ditch the first 20,000 thousand words and start over with the story line.



July 2012

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