Risk it!

image

We made it. Wonder how much my “empty reserve” holds…


All twos!

image

Beast hit all twos! Crazy that I went from never driving to about 25,000 miles a year…


LA

A full 3 months after my arrival in LA, I’m actually getting around to posting this, and maybe finishing off the Dr. Will’s Transcontinental Victory Tour series.

LA was an excellent visit, which was made even more amazing by Andrew’s expert itinerary making skills. This was seriously ridiculously detailed. Amazing.

I started the day wandering around Chinatown, and then explored Exposition Park, including the Rose Garden. The only thing is the Rose Garden was apparently closed, and I only ended up wandering in there by first going through a film shoot, and had trouble escaping. Entertaining. This was mostly killing time until the California Science Center opened, which was filled with tons of cool stuff, most notably, the Endeavor:

IMG_6178

After wandering there for a few hours, headed to the Grove and had Umami Burger, mmm. Next up was LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; fun stuff.

IMG_6196

Went over to Beverly Hills and wandered around, and finally met up with Andrew for Korean BBQ, and crashed at his place. In the morning I rented a bike and biked around Venice Beach:

IMG_6207

After a few hours of biking around, went up to the Getty Center, which had some great art, but the center itself was amazing, in terms of architecture and the view of LA.

IMG_6214

Headed down toward Hollywood to wander around, and wow, that is not the glamorous, glitzy neighborhood I was imagining, rather think Times Square before it got cleaned up. Met up with Andrew and we went to Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles with Sangwoo. Finally went to the Griffith Observatory. They had a periodic table with samples of each element:

IMG_6222

Definitely a fun trip; I can’t see myself living in LA, but a fun city to visit. The tour is almost complete (well, the documentation), only Portland left to go.


Vacation Finally Ends

As of this morning, my 2.5 month vacation finally comes to an end. In about 90 minutes, I report for orientation; my first day of work is finally here.

After defending in November, working through most of December, I took a long needed break. Never took off any time after high school or undergrad, so I realized this is my last chance for a long time to have a real extended vacation like this. It required taking out a loan, but so worth it.

Started with a trip down to Florida, to see my Grandpa, who so kindly gave me his old car, which for the first time makes me a car-owner, about 9 years after most people. Took a short road trip back up to DC, crossing a few states off my list (Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina), a trend which continues throughout this vacation.

Went to the Philippines for Chelie’s wedding, had an amazing time being guided around by all the Filipinos in the chemistry program, and got engaged myself. Just taking this “becoming a real person” thing full force.

After my 24 hour flight, and being back in DC for about 3 days to adjust to the 13 hour time difference, I set out on Dr. Will’s Transcontinental Victory Tour (which I still haven’t finished writing about here), spending 99 hours on trains, and seeing tons of new places. (Again crossing more new states off my list: Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas.)

The final part of my vacation ended with a road trip down to New Mexico, taking two doped cats along with us. I’m still not a huge fan of being in the car for long periods, so I agreed to this as long as we could stop along the way, crossing more states off the list (Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma).

At some point I’ll put up a few more posts from vacation, but I’ll actually resume writing about science again (like we just cured HIV? holy shit), since I’ll be back in the lab, seeing how government compares to academia.


Doped Cats

Taking two cats on a 2k+ mile road trip doesn’t seem ideal. Yowling from a cat carrier in the back seat for that long would be murder inducing.

image

What solves that problem? Drugs! Feed the cats some tranqs, throw in some calming pheromones and it’s pretty tolerable; the meows are muted (but more pathetic sounding). As you can see, their eyes look creepy as hell.


Albuquerque

The main purpose of stopping in Albuquerque was to drive up to Santa Fe, to find a place to live. There was some time there before and after Santa Fe, so here it is.
image
The Albuquerque Museum was small but cheap, worth the visit. It’s also very close to the Rattlesnake Museum. Yes, the Rattlesnake Museum. The world’s largest collection of live rattlesnakes. They also have some scorpions and such, so I’m fairly convinced that New Mexico will kill me.
image
As a preview to starting at Los Alamos I took a trip to the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, fun stuff.
image
After Santa Fe, came back to Albuquerque for a day with Amy. Went to the zoo, which was a pretty decent size, nothing compared to DC, Bronx, or San Diego obviously, but still good. In terms of apes, they have gorillas, orangutans, and gibbons, but no chimpanzees. Then wrapped up the day and finally saw The Hobbit.
image
For my last day, went to the Petroglyph Monument and saw ancient rock etchings. Crazy how they have remained after all these years. Also, I don’t think that “Nick hearts Tina” is an original, so people are assholes. Ended the day at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. Learned a lot. There are 19 pueblos throughout New Mexico, would be awesome to visit some.
image
Albuquerque is definitely a small city, but fun. Only an hour from Santa Fe, so I imagine we will come down here somewhat regularly. In terms of the food: they put chiles on everything here. I will do okay here if for nothing else than the good alone.


Kansas City

image

Kansas City is like ‘The Tale of Two Cities’,* if instead of London and Chicago, it was about New York and an even sadder version of Detroit.

image

Kansas City, MO has good things, like happy people, good bbq, normal sized buildings. What does Kansas City, KS have? Sadness. That is their only industry.
When I was wandering KS for something to do, (for about 45 minutes, unsuccessfully**) I discovered on Wikipedia that KC, KS was a dry county until relatively recently. That’s the only connection I can make.

*I tried to read this, I really did. Not even just back in high school, when you are bitter about being forced to read books. It was recently, when I read them for fun. For fun! Apparently, Dickens was paid by the word to write. This is painfully obvious.

**In order for me to count that I have truly been in a state and cross it off my list, I have to have done something. Driving through, or airport layovers don’t count. For Kansas, I’m going to count wandering around, searching for something to do, because that sounds like the epitome of Kansas.


St. Louis

image
Did you know the St. Louis Arch is hollow, and you can go up it and look outside, just like the Washington Monument? Well I didn’t, but it was great.

image

Also great: BBQ. Specifically, Pappy’s Smokehouse.

image

Chuck E. Cheese for “grownups”. Sounds great, huh? Go to the City Museum. Go. Amazingly, my phone survived a sixty foot fall, because it luckily fell into a ball pit below. Yes, just go.

image

Anheuser-Busch puts on a pretty good tour, at least showing off the ridiculous scale at which they make beer, even if it’s shitty beer.
Thanks Anthony and Nina for playing tour guide/chauffer!