eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (FF + Dinosaur comics = best icon ever)
2007-02-21 10:27 am

(no subject)

Okay. So. It's supposed to get up to 35+ today, and it hit 41 yesterday. But it was freezing last night.

What does that mean? Well, mostly it means that I wrenched my back and my ankle not-falling-down on my nextdoor neighbor's sidewalk. Which is covered in black ice. Apparently they don't sand or salt or anything. PAH.

Fortunately, it is a Wednesday, and I don't carry my laptop to campus on Wednesdays, so all I have to worry about is twisting an ankle or beating up my Turkish textbook. But it is supposed to be like this again tomorrow, pah.

On the other hand, high near thirty-six. I'm not wearing a sweater! Or long underwear! Or wool socks! Or a scarf and a hat and gloves! And it's only twenty-eight right now. Heaven knows what thirty-six will feel like. Heaven, I imagine. I'll get a smoothie because I'll be so overheated.


I hope to go the the Philadelphia Flower Show the weekend before spring break, btw, which should be the weekend of the ninth. Perhaps I will see some of y'all there? Student tickets at the door are a mere $15.
eruthros: llamas! (llamas)
2006-07-25 07:43 am

LJ Talk

Hmmmm. This lj-talk thing is pretty sweet -- it's your flist! as a contact list! in jabber! And it does, as many people pointed out, eliminate that "wait, who is xzyabc?" problem I have with some AIM and Y!M usernames. Also, posting via IM is neat, if not the most useful posting tool. (Then again, I still don't post by e-mail or anything. Call me a traditionalist.)

Just one problem: it would've helped if, presented with a login box that didn't look like lj's, I could've remembered my password. I stared at that box for ages, going "wait, wait, it's... no. wait, it's... no, that's gmail." I had to go to lj and log out and log back in without thinking before I could remember said password. Oy.

ETA: Philadelphia, please stop trying to be Ankh-Morpork. Ankh-Morpork will win.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (BtVS Tara avatar avatar)
2006-07-18 07:37 pm

Dear electricity, please come back

Woe. Power out. Need power! Need A/C! Instructions from Weather Gods (i.e. National Weather Service) are to remain inside with A/C or fan on. (Except also to avoid polluting.) It is 100 degrees outside. There is no breeze.

[ profile] m_shell: I feel like it's one of those cannibal movies, you know. First guy: it's really quiet. Second guy: too quiet.

Yes, the air conditioning units have been silenced for blocks. And it's so hot that no one is outside, so there's no street noise. Dead. Quiet.

Ooooh, there it is again. Beautiful electricity. *pets*
eruthros: Ivanova from B5 saying "boom boom boom boom" to Londo -- angry icon!! (B5 - Ivanova boom)
2006-07-14 11:57 am

Unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Something I will not miss about Philadelphia: being basically instructed to avoid moving around outdoors, as it is "unhealthy for sensitive groups." I mean, I would feel free to ignore the recommendation, if it weren't for the fact that walking three blocks at even a plodding pace makes me wheeze. The combination of the heat, the humidity, and the high particle pollution feels like physical pressure against my chest, like I'm weighted down. I enjoy walking. I like to meander along the Kelly Drive walking path, past all the ridiculous public art and the museum and the boathouses and the bridges, and then walk the couple extra miles to go grocery shopping downtown. It irritates me that this would be unpleasantly sticky (the heat) and unpleasantly asthma-attack-inducing (the pollution). I could deal with just unpleasantly sticky; Ithaca was unpleasantly sticky when I walked my eight miles to various apartments. But the inability to breathe slows me down rather a lot.

Philadelphia can't really decide how to deal with high-pollution days, though. In the Bay Area, they do Spare the Air and bribe everyone into taking public transit by making it all free. Here, they tell us that we should bike or take public transit to work, but also that we should avoid exercise or being outdoors too much because of the heat, and they don't seem to see the conflict there. (They also tell us to turn our a/c units down or off, to reduce the pollution. And then they say that we should spend time in a cool, well-ventilated, air-conditioned area, to reduce the risk of heat prostration. Um. Yes. I'll get on that, as soon as I can figure out how.)

I told [ profile] m_shell the other day that we'd hit the first of several days of "unhealthy for sensitive groups" warnings, and she said "Philadelphia is unhealthy for sensitive groups."
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (BtVS Tara avatar avatar)
2006-06-15 03:32 pm

(no subject)

So I was sitting on the sofa, post-brunch, pondering the state of the universe, when suddenly I heard fluttering and thumping. Rather like the sound of an injured bird, in fact, so I headed over to the window to see if a bird had thumped it and landed on the outside part of the air conditioner.

No. In fact, it was a just-out-of-babyhood sparrow between the two windows. Problem: this window is basically decorative; we've never opened the window because, well, huge air conditioning unit and landlord painted inside window shut to, one presumes, prevent us from accidentally dropping said AC on anyone. Problem two: even if we managed to open the inside window (no sure thing), the bird probably would not fly toward us. Problem three: if it did, then we would just have a freaked out bird in the apartment. But the bird was sitting on the AC between the windows, and trying to fly up to get out, when the only space to get outside was actually on either side of the AC below said bird. Recalling the experience of our summer apartment-sitter, I tried getting high up to scare the bird down rather than up. Eventually, this or something else worked (thank heavens, because I was just about to attempt to open the window) and the bird flew free. Free!

WTF, sparrow.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (BtVS Tara avatar avatar)
2006-05-31 10:04 pm

(no subject)

The good:

1. My folks are in Philadelphia! They are visiting for a conference, but they've got some free time and will be touristing around a bit.

2. Bartram's Garden on the Schuylkill. Bartram's Garden is the oldest (extant) botanical garden in the U.S., and, although it is very small, rather a lot of fun. Plus it's right on the river; John Bartram traveled by boat, so the house and gardens face the dock. Bartram's Garden is also the location of the Franklin tree, which the Bartrams saved from extinction, and of the oldest known gingko tree in the country. And it is free. And you can sit by the water. Altogether yay.

3. [ profile] m_shell, who is the best girlfriend ever, brought me a chocolate cheesecake brownie from Metropolitan Bakery. Incredibly good stuff, that.

The bad:
1. Headache undefeated by painkillers.

2. Hot. World = too hot.

3. Problems with plumbing AGAIN. Toilet running AGAIN. Have to call landlord to call stupid handyman AGAIN. Maybe this time it will actually be fixed for good. (Ha.)

The ugly:

1. Very bad case of contact dermatitis on hands, and I don't know what new and different thing I've decided to be allergic to now. (Not that it would make a difference; I'm avoiding everything until it goes away, and it wouldn't go away any faster if I worked out that it was the hand soap in the bathroom versus the new sponges in the kitchen.) It's itchy and hot and makes my hands look alien and swollen and awful. As I told [ profile] m_shell, if my hands are going to look like somebody else's hands, they could at least make the somebody else itch instead of me.
eruthros: Yoda in Dagobah swamp, caption "slimy? mudhole? my fandom this is!" (SW - slimy mudhole fandom)
2006-05-27 08:14 pm

(no subject)

It's starting to be the kind of weather that makes me think longingly of air conditioning. And want to eat nothing but cold pasta salad and ice cream. (Not together.) We recently received a birthday package from [ profile] sineala and [ profile] lysimache, and in it we found Herrells chocolate-almond sauce. I could eat this stuff forever; we're going to have to get more vanilla ice cream.

Dear Philadelphia: upper seventies at the most, okay? or at least a strong breeze? no love, [ profile] eruthros


This morning, while the rice pudding was baking, we finally hauled all the bags of books up from the car and sorted them out. This is always the astonishing part of the BookExpo process, as you attempt to remember when (or why) you picked up some of the books you find in the bag. Or the tschotchkes - why do we have two t-shirts that say "in space, no one can hear you read?" and what are they advertising?

In any case, expect a post on the subject of "um, somehow we seem to have picked up three copies of the Dave Barry book" and "we got this signed to you but we don't remember your address" soon.

I have to highlight one particular inscribed book here, though, even though we don't have extra copies of it. It's Broken Trail, which I've been calling "the ni hao book." Yes, that's right: I smiled politely at Alan Geoffrion and asked him if he would sign a copy to my friend [ profile] joie_de_livre, a librarian in the Bay Area. I did not mention that I wanted a copy for her because she had come up with the best summary imaginable for his book. I thought it might be rude, given... well:

The publicist's summary: A hardened old rancher crosses paths with five Chinese women being forced into prostitution.
[ profile] joie_de_livre's take: "Ni hao, ni hao, ni hao, ni hao, ni hao, ni howdy!"

So, [ profile] joie_de_livre, expect the ni hao book any day now!
eruthros: Ivanova from B5 saying "boom boom boom boom" to Londo -- angry icon!! (B5 - Ivanova boom)
2006-05-22 07:43 pm


There's nothing like getting back from a long trip to discover that the toilet now runs constantly to the point of overflowing and the bathroom sink is stopped up. Whee, waiting for a plumber. Whee, letting in the plumber and being self-conscious about mess in hallway. Whee, plumber running in and out and me in pajamas. Whee, inability to take a shower because neither the plumber nor the landlord ever calls before coming over. Altogether whee. (Plumber has now been and gone and things appear to be fixed. Probably.)

However, the BEA was fun if exhausting, as per.
eruthros: Ivanova from B5 saying "boom boom boom boom" to Londo -- angry icon!! (B5 - Ivanova boom)
2006-04-21 09:26 am

(no subject)

I'm beginning to think these shoes are cursed.

See, I got them (in the right size, finally!) Wednesday night and wore them to work yesterday, a day which, as we all know, did not exactly go swimmingly.

And I put said shoes on again this morning and left the house right on time... only to discover that my train, which had been running ten minutes late all week, had picked today to be three minutes early and was pulling into the station as I rounded the corner nearly a quarter-mile and two staircases away. I did that split-second mental math to answer the question "should I run for the train?" (Mental math that public transit users are used to: How far away is it? Is there a chance at all that I can make it? When is the next train? How late will I be if I catch that one? Can I run in these shoes? One doesn't just run indiscriminately, because there's nothing more depressing than running for your train and missing it anyway, left to collapse on the platform. If you decide not to run for it, then at least you can pretend it was a choice.) Anyway, my mental math answer was "maybe," and thus I discovered that these shoes are great for sprinting, though Philadelphia's air remains crap for same.

I also discovered that this bra is not so great for sprinting, but perhaps that got me onto the train -- there was no-one left on the platform but a single conductor who was getting back on the train, and they were about to take off, when I rounded the top of the stairs shouting "please wait!" Wearing my low-cut not-entirely-opaque tailored white and purple striped shirt and a kind of fallen down bra. And they did wait.

And I am proud of myself, because not only did I make the train, I made the train in front of three women who were running (admittedly, in heels) from twenty feet and two staircases away. (Since I hit the platform just as they were about to take off, those women managed to get on to the train, too, because they got to the platform in the time it took me to get onto the train.)

Anyway! The train wasn't late, and didn't make any inexplicable stops, a great improvement over most of the week... until we get to suburban station, where we wait for twenty minutes. And then I head over to the trolley platform at 30th Street... only it's cordoned off. All five trolley routes were diverted to 40th Street Station. So it's onto the El (which is at that point underground) and to 40th Street and then, slowly, to work.

See, there are five trolley routes. They don't merge until they go underground, on a normal day. When they're all five diverted to the above-ground tracks, that means five trolley routes, each with a trolley running every four minutes during commute hours, sharing two-lane city streets with commute traffic. And that means huge, huge lines of trolleys backed up for blocks whenever they need to turn, because cars are blocking the intersection or running the red. And all five routes have to make an unprotected left turn in university city, home of lo these many pedestrians and drivers and nobody lets anyone in here, so. (This also means that there are huge, huge lines and crowds on the Lucy Loop shuttles around campus, and that it takes ten minutes to drive a single block down Spruce, and that Crazy Philadelphia Drivers are making illegal u-turns and driving the wrong way through alleys and driving whole streets in reverse to get out of the bad traffic. Whee.)

Oh, and the why and wherefore of all of this, which I didn't get from any of the Official SEPTA representatives in their shiny vests, but from the most useful tool in the SEPTA information network (i.e., stand by the doorway and gossip with the driver; making comments about something you just saw one of those aforementioned Crazy Philadelphia Drivers do is a good way to start this conversation). Once I had internet access, I confirmed it: there was a transformer fire downtown. At two am. And it's still not cleaned up. Of course.

Also, today we expect an estimate on the body+suspension damage of the car. Which, I may remind you, we have had for little more than six weeks. (Fortunately, the insurance folks are sending a guy to our mechanic in person today, to make arrangements for payment, and they are in fact waiving the deductible, so we don't have to deal with it at all. I point out that this news came after I took my shoes off yesterday.)

I dunno, though, somehow the whole thing was so ridiculous that I'm almost cheery about it. It's making me want an icon that says "no, Vir, the universe is an evil place, but it least it has a sense of humor about the whole thing."

[ profile] darthrami, on the other hand, is concerned:
[ profile] eruthros: [like I said last night] THESE SHOES ARE CURSED.
[ profile] darthrami: oh noes
[ profile] darthrami: what happened?
[ profile] eruthros: [provides link]
[ profile] darthrami: I TOLD you this would happen
[ profile] darthrami: for god's sake, don't do it!

I am currently accepting bids. Dear SEPTA: for a modest sum, I promise to never wear these shoes during commute hours again.
eruthros: Wizard of Oz: Dorothy in black and white, text "rainbow" in rainbow colors (Dorothy singing rainbow)
2006-04-18 07:49 pm


1. From this axcessnews article on gay parents and the Easter events at the White House:

Rueben Israel, 43, of Los Angeles, flew in for the protest, knowing the homosexual families would attend the event. He demonstrated with electric cables how he saw those relationships as not being right in God's eyes.

"This doesn't work," he said, holding two yellow cables by their plugs and pushing them together.

He then turned one plug around so it would fit into the socket: "This works."

*rolls eyes* Ah, the "God created extension cords as exemplars of the ideal human relationship" theory. In this theory, I suppose, God created humans in his image in 1904, when electrical plugs were patented. (Though that too proves problematic: who then patented the plug?) Either that or Harvey Hubbell is an unknown prophet. Or (my favorite) this man is NUTS. I mean, does he seriously believe that the gay people will go "shit! You're right, if we were extension cords, you couldn't plug us together! Clearly we are not natural!" without then thinking "wait, neither are extension cords..."?

2. Yesterday I accumulated much good karma. I got into the train station downtown early, so I stopped by Reading Terminal to buy something for lunch, and ran into a huge group of junior high and high school students who were in town for some debate thing and had been given ten minutes in groups of five or more to find and eat breakfast. Ten minutes! At Reading Terminal, which is largely closed at eight am! *thwaps adults involved* Anyway, I was at Met Bakery when one of the adults came by with a kid in a wheelchair, looking for coffee and pastries, and I let them in front of me in line for the pastries and pointed them toward Old City Coffee. And then I ran into a group of kids wandering the aisles and saying things like "well, if I wanted raw tuna for breakfast..." and "maybe I'll just get some juice..." and pointed them toward Le Bus Bakery, and then encountered a third set of kids, with one boy playing the John Sheppard countdown role ("we have five minutes! we have four minutes and fifty seconds!") in order to encourage the others, and pointed them to Met Bakery and a smoothie place. And then more students! All in all, I spent fifteen minutes at Reading Terminal, most of it saying "okay, head down this aisle to the end and then turn left, continue up five aisles and you'll be at a coffee place..." Poor kidlets.

3. I have this Vorkosigan universe/Stargate Atlantis crossover in my head. No, I don't know either. See, it starts mid-sentence, with Miles and Gregor suddenly aware of where they are, and John's doing his "McKay, we'll be dead in thirty seconds!" thing over his shoulder, and Miles is trying to find out where they are and what's going on and who kidnapped them and shoving Gregor behind him and drawing his stunner, and Rodney's ignoring them except to say things like "yes, yes, you can thank me for saving your lives later" and "it was nothing, now shut up -- or, wait, better, go on, distract the man with the shield generator! that's a brilliant idea!" because he's not listening to a word Miles says, and John can't look at them because he's firing out the door but he's still all "argue later, McKay," and Gregor just looks bemused because it's the weirdest kidnap/assassination attempt ever, and then Rodney manages to rig the Random Ancient Equipment to protect them all just as the wraith dart self-destructs.

And then everyone yells for a while, and Rodney keeps trying to persuade them that he wasted valuable seconds beaming them out of the wraith dart so they wouldn't die, and John politely doesn't mention that it was sort of his idea, though he probably wouldn't have mentioned it if he'd known how tight the timing was going to be, and of course Miles is a paranoid bastard and doesn't believe a word of it because it can't be demonstrated, the wraith dart having kaboomed and buried them in the ruined ancient wossname until Teyla and Ronon can dig them out, and he introduces himself as Lord Miles Vorkosigan of Barrayar, and of course John and Rodney don't know where that is, which leads to another incredulous and loud-volumed digression before Miles finally says "... and this is my friend Greg" (because, while he thinks they kidnapped Gregor on purpose, he's not positive, and why risk it) and McKay says "and does he ever talk?" and Gregor has to stifle laughter and eventually they all agree to keep on with the paranoia but stop the yelling, especially because Miles can't see any way out of the ruins, but he and Gregor keep having strategy conversations in Barrayaran Greek and Rodney keeps making snide comments about how stupid they are that they can't even recognize rescue. And eventually they get to the stargate to go back to Atlantis, and Miles insists on going first and makes Gregor wait for his confirmation that it won't kill them, and oh my god you see what I mean?

I even know what kind of AR the Vorkosigan-verse is: it's one where the Ancients never made it to the Milky Way, so there are no stargates, just natural wormholes, and thus there are no Goa'uld manipulating Ancient technology. And then there are conversations about whether the mirror can take them back to a universe in which that same mirror doesn't exist, and Miles is still being a suspicious bastard, and so on.

Seriously. Where did this come from?

4. I saw a girl today wearing camouflage flip-flops. With heels. And a little camo-tassel. Very disconcerting.
eruthros: Drew Barrymore wearing just a tie and smiling at the camera (DB promo pic tie)
2006-04-03 10:17 pm

(no subject)

So this morning I got down to the train station fifteen minutes early, as it is not only a Monday (weekly pass buyers!) but the first workday of the month (monthly pass buyers!). I had not, however, reckoned on the new station agent, who is still new enough that every time I see her I think "... wait, what, where's Cranky Old Dude?" And so there was a line to the back of the station when I got there, and I cut it right close -- all the ten-minute-early folks arrived at once, and the line soon snaked around the tiny box of a station building and out the door. And I wasn't panicked; I carry spare tickets in my wallet in case of emergencies, so I could have made the train if I really wanted to, and I can catch the next train and be only five minutes late, so I remained blithely tra-la and not tense as those around me built up huge storms of stress. And then the train bell rang, and it started pulling into the station, and I was three people back from the counter, but everyone in front of me bolted because they were afraid of missing the train and were apparently all idiots. And I needed to pay with a credit card, but it takes people a long time to get up the train stairs, so I hastily purchased my weekly pass and ran out the door with my pass in my hand and my bag still open, and up the stairs and onto the train and I even got a seat. So that is my Public Transit Story for the day. Expect more on Wednesday night or Thursday, when I will return from Stony Brook having experienced, for the first time, the Long Island Rail Road.

Also, [ profile] friede needs to come back to Philadelphia stat. I mean, she's fun to talk to and all that, but also? She took our good weather with her! It is storming outside right now, and it might snow tomorrow night. SNOW. There is something wrong with the universe.
eruthros: llamas! (llamas)
2006-02-23 09:20 pm

(no subject)

Query: what happens when a babelfish eats an ear worm?

I had "Something's Coming" (from West Side Story, which I haven't seen since I was about twelve, so this is totally unfair) stuck in my head, and when [ profile] m_shell and I started joking about babelfish and ear worms, I promptly started attempting it in Spanish, though I can't really decide what to use for "cannonballing."


Today I was nearly run over in a crosswalk by a left-turner in a 1970s black muscle car, who a) didn't have the right of way b) was making an illegal left turn anyway and c) speeded up instead of slowing down. In process of hustling out of his way to avoid getting hit by a fast-moving vehicle, I tripped on the curb and fell. At which point the left-turning bastard paused (then he paused) and started honking his horn, pointing, and laughing. As did his passengers. So. Bitter. Wah. Now my thumb and shoulder hurt from being jammed, and of course I thumped my knee but good.


Tomorrow I am making these cupcakes for a party. Except only the lemon curd -- much as I would love to do the lime and grapefruit, Whole Foods lacked organic lime and was charging a ridiculous $3 per grapefruit. Oy.
eruthros: Norrington and Governor Swann from PotC, captioned "courtly man-love" (PotC - Norrington Swann courtly man-love)
2006-01-09 08:41 pm

Apparently today I broke several rules of the universe.

These are the rules of the universe (supplemental; to be filed after "string theory" but before "United States Highway Code"):

1. Do not go to the post office the day after a postage price increase and except to leave quickly, for lo, the automatic stamp machines will sell only the old value of stamps, and be out of two cent increasers, and the line shall be out the door.

2. Do not, upon leaving the post office, go to Trader Joe's around the hour of five and expect to do a quick shopping trip, for the store shall be full of manic post-work shoppers, and the debit machines shall be broken, and the lines shall be twenty people long, and some individuals will make it to the front of the line without hearing the once-a-minute announcements, and throw tantrums about being unable to use their debit cards, and it shall be tedious.

2a. Do not go to Trader Joe's when you are hungry, even if you are only hungry because the hour-and-a-half-long post office wait mucked up your schedule, for you shall find yourself spending $118 on groceries and going "oooh! tangerine juice!" and being tempted by such foul things as frozen naan.

3. If you ever disobey rule 2a, do not then attempt to walk home with $118 worth of groceries, for they will be Heavy and Burdensome, and cause a three blocks' walk to be grueling like unto a hike in the Yosemite backcountry.

Yea, these are the rules of the universe.

And I broke each and every one of them today! Really, when I walked into the post office and discovered a line of forty cranky people, I should have immediately given up on Monday and gone home to bed. But no, I stuck it out, and I waited in the line, and I tried not to be irritated at the assholish post office guy (and if you know me, you know I don't describe just any old crap customer service experience that way) (actually, can I mention, btw, that said dude had no priority mail stamps at the new rate and got huffy at me for daring to request them? and tried to tell me that it was my problem and it couldn't be done?). And then I finally got my package off, and I was Cranky because I would have just purchased the damn stamps from the machine, had the machine been taking anything other than coins and providing anything more complicated than thirty-seven cent stamps. Blargh.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
2005-10-31 12:34 pm

(no subject)

I leapt out of bed this morning to check the news, and saw... yes, two of the most-feared words of the city dweller:

Transit. Strike.

Yep, that's right. Philadelphia, a city already hemorrhaging money, gets to have its second transit strike since 1998. And the last one lasted forty days, so we don't anticipate swift resolution. No buses, no subway, no trolleys. The train is still running (different union), but crowded and behind-schedule and it only serves a minuscule number of commuters.

And, of course, the talk about it is all a mess. There's a lot of union-bashing, a lot of derogatory personal comments, and a lot of accusations. Completely understandable, since 1/3 of Philadelphia households have no cars. But it's still worrying to hear people say "What're the SEPTA drivers complaining about? 5% of their health care? That's nothing! I pay for health care so they should have to, too! Welcome to the 21st century, punks!" I mean, should this really be a thing we accept? Should we hate people who don't pay into their own premiums?

And, of course, the management claims the workers are making ridiculous claims, and the workers claim the management is overpaid, and both of those things are probably technically true, given that SEPTA's been running a deficit for seven years. But it seems to me that there's a bigger problem -- SEPTA's a public service. Second most expensive public transit fares in the nation and still running a deficit and dirty stations and trains that run once an hour? There's a problem there above and beyond the union (which, fyi, is either 13th or the 17th in terms of pay, so again, second most expensive fares and where is that money going?). I mean. It's a mess in so many ways that blaming the union by itself hardly seems fair. Sure, they're picketing in part to protect people from being fired for talking on their cell phones while driving (arrrgh!), but let's blame the state legislature (no dedicated funding!) and the organizers (routes that make no sense!) and the city (where to start?) as well.

All this speculating is largely to distract me from the unlovely fact that I have no driver's license and suddenly can't get to my suburban classes and can't take the trolley back from Trader's Joes and get to walk an extra mile or so to shop at Whole Foods and can't get to the co-op at all. Whee?
eruthros: Li Ann from Once a Thief with two guns, text "Li Ann" (OaT - Li Ann  red)
2005-10-07 09:36 am

(no subject)

I decided to take the early train this morning. (The early train gives me time to buy juice or go to the post office or, in this case, go to the Fair Food farmstand; the late train gets me to work exactly on time.) I got on the train... and saw all these people on cellphones looking distressed. "Hmmm," I thought, as the out-of-the-ordinary on public transit is never good. And so I asked the woman next to me if there was something going on.

Turns out that there's some problem or delay, and I'm going "good thing I took the early train," and then the conductor comes through and tells us that it's not just a delay. No; there's "police activity" at Market East, no trains are entering center city, and if we want to get downtown we'd better get off at North Broad and find the Broad Street Subway. (Note for non-Philadelphians: North Broad is in North Philadelphia. The station's surrounded by burnt-out factories. It is not exactly a place you want to be.)

So basically everyone who wants to get to work on time gets off the train and heads off to walk the few blocks to Broad and Lehigh, where... the subway station is so crowded that people can't even get down the stairs. I was contemplating how long it would take to clear out that many people, when I saw a bus coming down Broad, and immediately thought "wait! the only bus that comes down Broad here is the C! and that goes to City Hall!" This meant attempting to struggle backward against the current of traffic (and even saying "excuse me" and getting pushy, people wouldn't step to the side, since they were so focused on getting on the subway). I got to the bus stop with about twenty other people who were not blindly following directions, and we piled onto the bus. I barely made it on, and ended up in front of the yellow line. The bus driver got into the left lane and shot down Broad; there was no way anyone else would fit, so why get their hopes up?

Aaaaand to City Hall, to Reading Terminal on my way to the trolley, past Market East (the whole building was closed off by police tape!), down to the trolley, off at 19th and Market, down to work, and me barely five minutes late.

Of course, I didn't get to go to the Fair Food farmstand, but what can you do?

ETA: Turns out that the police were panicked by the bomb threat to NYC, and a conductor saw someone "in military fatigues who had something bulky in his backpack." The police met the train at Market East, where the bomb dogs showed "special interest in the package." So they arrested him, evacuated the station and the 11th street Market-Frankford station, and waited... apparently two hours for the bomb squad. Who, after careful inspection, decided that the package was a propane tank. Le sigh.
eruthros: blurry lilac shot, text "how do they rise?" (TP lilacs 25 May)
2005-05-25 01:09 pm


Tonight we have to go pick up the CSA and see Girlyman at the World Cafe. In a perfect world, these two things would fit together perfectly; from where I'm sitting, though, it looks like they're going to be two separate trips.

On the other hand, the CSA will have rhubarb this week, and we have organic concentrated orange juice, which means I can make the rhubarb pie I love. Basically no added sugar, just the juice, and it comes out thick and pink and so tart you practically have to eat it with ice cream, unless you're having it for breakfast. Mmmmmm.

We still haven't eaten all the greens from last week, either. We have a whole bag of bitter greens left, despite best efforts AND the baking of a quiche. (As we get more interesting food, my lj gets foodier.)

Also, we have here my contribution to the Glorious 25th of May iconage. I can read the text on [ profile] m_shell's laptop, but it may not be as readable on macs -- let me know so I can fiddle. (If you want it, you can take it, but please credit.)

The icon is currently reminding me that by the first weekend of June I'll be reading Thud. Wheeeeee!
eruthros: llamas! (llamas)
2005-05-12 07:27 pm

Random! Traveling!

So [ profile] fiatlouis has been visiting. I obviously went "um, what do you take a hydrogeologist to see?" because we walked down Kelly past the rockcuts to the waterworks museum, and later went to the Delaware Water Gap so's he could walk part of the Appalachian trail. Which is not to say we didn't do the standard touristy things as well -- day trip to NYC! Old City! South Street! The usual.

We went to see the Liberty Bell, and it's really a poor presentation, because the thirty second snippet of MLK Jr's speech in the movie you see right before turning the corner to see the actual bell -- "When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every tenement and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual, 'Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.'" -- gave us both the shivers, after which said bell is a letdown. [ profile] m_shell suggests that this is intentional, and meant to make us feel that the bell is only a metyfor, and all that, but it's poor presentation either way. Put the bell post-most of the exhibit and pre-that movie, and we'll get the metyfor AND feel like seeing the bell is cool.

We also got to see the Before Victoria exhibit at the NY library, which was way fun. If I'd thought of it, I would have purchased the companion volume for [ profile] friede, because the exhibit kicked of the ass, and I'm sorry she can't see it. A drawing by Victoria as a child! Mrs Jordan as Hipolyta! Mary Wollstonecraft's letter to Catharine Macaulay Graham! Eeeee! *is big dork*

Also they had a copy of the book with my favorite title EVER: Poems on Conchology and Botany by Sarah Hoare. I've never seen a real copy! They didn't include any sample stanzas (a shame, and the only flaw in the exhibit, really), but I present two here:
Helix! may suit thy taste and form,
And I like thee would shun the storm
Of life, and live alone;
Like hermit in a safe retreat,
From scenes where false ones coldly greet,
And uncongenial tempers meet,
Unknowing and unknown.

Thou Strombus! hast no fine array,
No physiognomical display,
To seize upon the soul;
Sensations rise at sight of thee,
Far other than the ecstasy,
That beauty's winning sovereignty,
Inspires from pole to pole.
Don't those rock? Aren't they, like, fabulous as examples of scientific works of the early nineteenth century? Also they would be good mnemonics, if I could ever remember them. (Strombus tends to stick in my head due to the "physiognomical display," though.)

I obviously need a big dork icon, but I don't have one, so for now llamas will have to do.

ETA: lj spellcheck wants me to replace "conchology" with "gynecology," which somehow seems hilarious.
eruthros: Delenn building the crystal machine in season 1  of B5, captioned "foreshadowing" (B5 - Delenn incredible foreshadowing)
2005-02-01 07:18 pm
Entry tags:

The end of January

It is now February, thank heavens. In that spirit, I shall post something Fun and Upbeat and other Capital Letterified Things As Well.

So. In the spirit of February yet to come, which will hopefully be a much better month than January, I present Things I Like About Philadelphia.

Reading Terminal Market. So much hustle! So much bustle! So many fine prepared foodstuffs and custom ice-cream and unpasteurized root beer and ravioli with weird things in!
- Warm pretzels from Fisher's. Fisher's is the Amish pretzel stand, and they spin the pretzels right there with that special practiced flip, and you can sit on bar stools and eat your warm disgusting-in-concept-but-oh-so-nummy-in-practice salted pretzel painted with melted butter and watch the production.
- The Amish juice stand, home of many fine juices and also of half-gallon jugs of heavy cream. Half. Gallon. Word.

My complete and utter inability to get out of or into Suburban Station, which is frustrating if I'm in a hurry, but really hilarious on reflection. See, it's perpetually under construction, so you come up out of the train tunnels and (if there aren't any commuters to follow) look for a door. And you don't see one. And you think "well, I want to go north, but I don't see a door there -- hey, there's a sign for JFK and 16th! That's sort of the direction I want to go!" and you follow signage but it turns out the first set of stairs is in fact closed on alternate Tuesdays and also after the hour of 10 pm, and then you continue on through endless shops looking for another stairwell, but it's closed because of snow, and then you continue on and finally, finally find an open stairwell -- four blocks in the wrong direction. Getting in is, as you can imagine, quite interesting as well, and never works the same way twice. Fairly often I end up going in the front door of hotels and then ducking through what appear to be back stairwells for the laundry service and then around corners and then suddenly hey! there's a train!

Longwood Gardens. Oh, Italian Water Garden, how do I love thy frogish sculpture. Fountains! And hills! And a tower like Rapunzel's! And great stretches of crocuses! And a winter show with giant Christmas trees! So lovely.

The Kelly Drive multi-use path between here and downtown. It runs along the Schuylkill River, and is blessedly free of cross-traffic. And is really, really pretty, and a lovely five mile walk, all rambly and full of picnic benches and gazebos and random sculpture and boathouse row.
- The Philadelphia Museum of Art, which graces the end of the Kelly Drive path, and is one of very few museums left in the country to still do a pay-what-you-want day every week. Also, it is lovely and yellowish-gold and perches on top of a hill and dominates the landscape, as a good museum should. Also it, you know, has art. And a cloister. Whee! If I were in school right now, I'd be studying in that indoor cloister with fountain all the friggin' time, man.
- The Fairmount Water Works, at the foot of the Museum of Art. The museum's actually designed to match the water works, and they are tres gorgeous, and also with an artificial waterfall which was the largest of its kind at the time. Many pictures are taken by all.

Art. Really. Many Philadelphians don't seem to appreciate it, but I do -- there's public art all over the place here. Turn a corner, any corner, and discover random statuary! Or a mural!
- The Commie Propaganda-Style multi-plaza art along Kelly Drive. It has some technical name, but really mine's better. Because it's all "the farmer: they toiled for us." With big heads and big hands and sometimes sickles. Yes.
- The random house in the ghetto with a giant painting of Charlie Parker and the legend "Charlie Parker Appreciate Society."
- Fairies on sticks in the Kelly Drive area. The actual sculpture of the fairies is sixty feet in the air, supported by very tall columns.
- Goethe! Because apparently Goethe was very important to the city of Philadelphia. Yes. He's in the arboretum, posed with book in one of those positions you only get with sculpture (there's a handy tree stump to support his coat). Hee.
- Shiny murals. They do whole sides of houses as mosaics with mirrors as one of the components. Mmmm, sparkly.
- The buffalo in the fountain in the Eakins Oval.
- William Penn standing on top of City Hall, looking down on the incredibly bad traffic in the circle around City Hall. Especially because I just learned that the original architects wanted him on top of the dome, and everyone agreed, and they made the statue, and only later realized that they had no way to get it up there once the dome was built, so they put it in the basement until someone invented a large enough crane. Poor William Penn.

Commuter trains with actual conductors! They punch tickets and shout out stops and wear funny hats.

Turning a corner, any corner, and discovering a church with interesting architecture. (Notice I said interesting. Some of them are lovely, especially the gothic-style ones like Saint Bridgett's, but some of them are... whoa. Who knew you could fit so much gingerbread on the slate tiles on the roof?)

The Free Library of Philadelphia. Especially that it was so early on the free-library trend that it's in the name, so every understands it's not a Gentleman's Library. It have a lovely large building with much random carving and big front steps. And many books, which is the best part.
- The faded signs in the basement of the Free Library main building that have the radiation symbol on them and say "bomb shelter." Snerk.
- The Friends of the Free Library bookstore, Bookcorner, one of the most fabulous library bookstores I ever did see. Open daily. And big. And many, many books. And sales. And old, old books. That's where we got our fabulous psychological treatise on the mental illness "lesbianism," dated 1950.

The view when you turn the corner from Arch onto Benjamin Franklin Parkway -- all the way up the Parkway to the museum, over several fountains along the way.

And that's all I've got room for tonight, folks. So thanks, and I'll see you tomorrow! May your Februarys be infinitely better than your Januarys.
eruthros: X-Files: Mulder in glasses, text "sexier in glasses" (XF - Mulder sexier in glasses)
2004-10-21 08:02 pm

Today's tally

Geese that attacked me: one. Fortunately, he/she was distracted by a bicyclist a moment later and waddled off after him, all "how dare you enter my territory at speed!" Thank heavens for geese with the short-term memory of goldfish. (He/she did not quite bite the bicyclist's leg, but from his reaction you'd think he/she did.)

Creepy older men who hit on me: two. One of the "gee, you're sure pretty!" variety, which almost makes you want to say "aww shucks" in response. But instead you say kthxbye. And the other of the "heh, heh, want to go to a club with me? we could dance" variety, which makes you want to say "you're an asshole, aren't you?" But instead you say "no thanks bye."

Miles walked: about seven? Here to downtown, via many errandy places and also Kelly drive.

Miles walked with blisters: about four? Just reward, really. I was just thinking "hey, I've skipped the almost mandatory blisters you get with any new pair of tevas." Ha! I have blisters of doom. In weird places. Not the normal new-tevas blister places. *inspects feet warily*

Number of blisters: four. Two per foot. Ball of the foot and side of the pinky toe. Owwwwww. Blisters the size of the moon. Possibly larger than the moon. (Also, randomly: is pinky toe a regionalism? Or is it more common than I think?)

Errands completed: six. Bus tokens, cash, rolls of quarters, shopping for self at Trader Joe's, shopping for an event of [ profile] m_shell's tomorrow at Trader Joes (and I only went four dollars over the student government group's budget for the number of rsvps. Despite buying many moderately healthful snack things.), and a rushed trip to Whole Foods to pick up a gallon of cider, because, see, we bought a gallon this weekend that didn't get bagged for us.

Miles walked with a gallon of juice, two liters of fizzy water, a half gallon of milk, a half gallon of chicken broth, two pounds of hummus, two pounds of baby carrots, and many other heavy foods in my backpack: only one. But it felt like a lot.

Bags the checker filled with my stuff: four.

Bags I filled with my stuff: two, and one of them my backpack.

Buses taken: zero. I was going to walk downtown and bus back, but then [ profile] m_shell came to pick me up instead, yay! Because I was very very blistery by that point and really not looking forward to standing up on the bus.

Kinds of cheese eaten for dinner: only one. But it was a goat cheese on organic whole-wheat sourdough. With a nice organic Braeburn, very crisp. And cocoa almonds. Because I challenge anyone to make it through Trader Joe's without buying unnecessary snack foods. Mmmmm, cocoa almonds. Mmmm, chocolate covered espresso beans. Mmmmm.
eruthros: Delenn from Babylon 5 with a startled expression and the text "omg!" (Default)
2004-05-11 09:08 am

Ahhh, mornings

I had one of those mornings that makes you feel vaguely as though you should buy a lottery ticket on the way home.

I seem to have turned off the loud alarm in my sleep, see, and so I woke up thirty-five minutes late. (Admittedly, this probably only means I got up twenty-some minutes late, as I'm horrible at getting out of bed in the morning.) And I was panicked and worried I'd miss my bus and generally going "ahhh."

And yet somehow... it worked out. I got out of the house on time and even managed to have breakfast, shower, wash my hair, and find clothes that match (one of the above usually gets skipped if I'm running late). I even had time to check the weather online, skim my friends page, and read [ profile] copperbadge's new short. Score!

Then I got to the bus stop right on time, only to have the driver on a different bus route stick his head out the door and inform us that all the buses that came down the expressway were delayed 10-15 minutes. Score! See, I was half-asleep and only had two dollars, and that's enough for lunch, but Philadelphia is much less of a cashless economy than SC or the Bay Area, so I don't feel comfortable without at least a little cash. So I had time to dart to the ATM, get some cash, and stop at the cafe for a blended mocha to wake me up AND combat the heat. And also I sorta forgot to drink anything with breakfast. And I darted back to the bus stop ... and only had to wait a minute for my bus. Score!

The bus driver told me that that his was probably the last bus to come on the route for the next two hours -- a gauge broke in the Queen Lane Reservoir, and a tremendously wet mudslide was now blocking all but one lane of traffic on the Expressway. (They still haven't cleaned it up --it's so wet it's making life very hard for them.) He'd just barely made it out of the gridlock, so he was a mere 10 minutes late, and the buses behind him would probably be delayed an hour. So I was damn glad I made it onto that bus despite waking up so late. Score!

And then I got off the bus right next to a pair of really mellow bushbunnies chomping on the grass underneath a bush. Absolutely adorable, of course, since bushbunnies are barely a handspan across, with really active ears. Bushbunnies make any day better. *g*

And just as I got to the office, I remembered that my boss AND my boss's boss are in Europe for a conference ... for the rest of the week and next week. Score!

So all in all, I'm in remarkably good mood for a day that started with thirty seconds of total panic. Everything just seemed to work out. Aren't days like that wonderful?