Mutter Museum (finally)

went into philly with the main goal of finally going to the Mutter Museum and i was successful. for those who don’t know, it’s the philadelphia college of physicians collection of medical abnormalities and models and skulls and stuff. digustingly fascinating. it’s not a big place but chock full of stuff to look at – body parts and other things in jars, skeletons, and the MEGA COLON. very cool place, some of the stuff was a bit nauseating, and i couldn’t look at the wall of eye diseases and injuries. so gross. ended up running into josh’s drum tech and another crew member at the museum haha. after i drove around to look for interesting stuff, but every time i saw someplace i wanted to stop i couldn’t find anywhere to park. stop and go traffic through whatever area of the city i was in, and the fact i was almost out of gas and there was no gas station to be found i took the highway out of downtown so i didn’t get stranded. gassed up near the sports complex, found a CVS, and resumed driving around. instead of being a tourist i found an ikea hahahah. i love ikea. they have so much stuff for what seems to be so cheap. i bought a huge towel for $14 when at linens and things they’re more like $30…3 set of small tupperwear containers for 99 cents, and a 2 pack of hand blown glass table lamps for $12. they have some lighting that might be useful in the house but i’ll need to go up to canada to look again and buy once i know what i need. drove around a bit more and back to the hotel. may go out driving again later. i thought about going out to atlantic city or asbury park but i probably won’t now.

glen called, going to try to get lunch on saturday in philly before heading home.

NIN road trip (again)

in philly. took me almost exactly 6 hours and not the close to 7 as predicted by the directions. the hotel is not as bad as reviews made it out to be. the tub could be cleaner, but otherwise it’s fine. it’s almost inside the airport lol. i was starving when i got here so i left right away to find food. accidentally found the venue, about 7 min away. but couldn’t find food. kept driving down broad st, people park cars in the middle of the road, still no food. finally saw a mcdonalds but no parking and all these sketchy people outside so i kept driving a bit but no more food. wtf. turned down a side street and into bizarro land of miniature streets that are all one way and look the same. all i wanted to do was turn around back to the hotel. the neighborhood reminded me of that marky mark football movie though haha. back toward the hotel, took another street, 84th or something that looked promising to have some food. nope. ok there were chinese restaurants about every 5 feet, but barf. wtf philly, don’t you have mcdonalds every 5 miles like the rest of the world? turned around again in a weird neighborhood, back toward the hotel. finally went to ruby tuesdays which was inside another hotel near mine, i hate eating at a real restaurant by myself though. the waiter gave me a free pomagranate lemonade to go with my change πŸ˜› lol. wish he had put some vodka in it.

watching the democratic convention. i hate politics. can’t wait for the election to be over for another 4 years. oo old school american gladiators hahah.

Vegas!

back from vegas.

headed out to visit adr in vegas on tuesday. arrived in the afternoon, and wow. hot. for those who don’t know, flying into vegas in the summer sucks. lots of turbulence from the desert heat, and i was in 2nd last row of the plane. not fun. good thing i hadn’t eaten since work the night before. and as you come into town and look below, it’s nothing…nothing…desert…more desert….nothing…desert…hoover dam…nothing…bam vegas. and looking at all that desert wasteland you have to think, who in their right mind ages ago was traveling the continent and thought, “hey this is a nice place, let’s settle here.” it’s almost uninhabitable hahah. i still think vegas is the most bizarre place on earth.

anyway. first stop, eating at a SONIC! omg! FINALLY. after being tortured with all those sonic commercials and the closest location being 3+ hours away, score! we NEED a sonic, it is SO good, i’d eat there all the time. just the best. tues night we went downtown and played pai gow at binions for 3 hours or so, only losing $50 haha. walked around and got some dinner at the golden gate diner.

wednesday we were supposed to take the nevada test site tour. as you may have read 2 months ago i joyously posted we were taking the tour…2 months ago i said that…got it? 2 months ago we were confirmed for the tour, but the paperwork we were supposed to get the week before never came. so we called on tuesday to find out, and low and behold we’re not on the attendance list for the tour. adr talked to the lady to try to find out what happened, the lady looked and oh yeah, she has my email with our information and confirmation but somehow we’re not on the list, and she just can’t go and bump someone else off the tour for us. she said we could go at departure time anyway, to see if people don’t show up, but 6 people would not have to show up to allow us to go. we had at first said yes, we’d go and see but later that day we decided not to even try. 6 ppl was alot to not show up, and it would suck to get up that early and not go. we decided to go to hoover dam on wednesday instead. checking my email at 9:30 wed morning, the lady emailed me saying we could go on the tour – and not even on standby. well gee thanks. she KNEW i was on vacation, why would she think i’d be checking my email in time. so we missed it. stupid government incompetency. how hard is it to prepare an accurate list of tour attendees…

so hoover dam. it’s only like 30 miles away, and i didn’t realize it was that close. i don’t think i really knew where it was haha. drove over the dam and parked on the arizona side, so now i can say i’ve been in arizona (barely ha). walked across the dam back to the nevada side and the visitors center and tours. we took the “power plant tour” which takes you down into the dam/rock above one of the intake tunnels (i think that’s what it was), and then into the nevada generator room. it’s not a super detailed tour, as after 9-11 they’ve closed down most of the place to public tours. there was another more in depth tour that takes you to 2 other parts of the dam, required hard hats (which were the most flimsy plastic pieces of crap that would protect you from NOTHING), but we didn’t take that. there was a museum portion and over look to see the front of the dam (or is it the back…? haha). i didn’t realize how stylized and art deco the dam was. now a days you’d just get some cement, no decoration or anything. and building it was crazy. it was 110 out that day and the guide pointed out that the workers worked 24hr/day, 7days/week, in 3 shifts for $4 a day…2 days off a year…in that kind of heat. unions would never allow that now…maybe that’s why the dam was finished 2 years ahead of schedule, and everything the government does now is delayed for ages.

back into town that night…i think we just stayed in and watched harry potters. i’m not a big partier to begin with, but the heat just exhausted me so staying in was no problem.

thursday we went out to red rock canyon, outside of town. it has a 13 mile scenic drive with stopping points and trails (if you’re nuts enough to go hiking in 110 degrees ha). the scenery is just so foreign to me, being from the north east. the government totally could have faked a moon landing out there. it was very cool tho. we unfortunately did not see any burros though πŸ™

thurs night was Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian, 2nd row! awesome to be that close, and see the details in the set (especially during masquerade). the show was a bit different from the traditional broadway version…they cut some parts – 2 i can think of, the crew member scaring the ballet girls with stories of Phantom hanging people in the 1st act, and rehearsals of Don Juan Triumphant and more notes in the 2nd act. There was no intermission, so the chandelier did not fall midway, it fell after Point of No Return, and it fell straight down into the audience (and back up) and everyone started screaming hahahah. those were the only differences i noticed, but it was still really good. i don’t know how anyone can not like phantom haha. walked around a bit after then headed home. more harry potter i think lol.

friday we attempted to see the Bodies exhibit at Tropicana, only it had closed the weekend before and didn’t open at Luxor until next week. Ah well, so we walked over to Excalibur and had lunch at Dick’s Last Resort. Trammed it over to Mandalay Bay and through Luxor back, some guy was being put on a stretcher at Luxor. They had all the security and gaming officials standing around, so it looked suspicious haha. stopped at the world’s largest gift shop before going back to the apartment to cool down. more harry potter. hahah.

flight left vegas at 11, and oh…incase you’re looking for something in a vending machine, other than an ipod or psp, you can also buy pro-activ solution kits from a vending machine at the airport. because yes, when i’m walking through an airport i’m in desperate need for acne products. wth! got home at 11am, my phone battery died and my parents were waiting for a call in the cell phone lot…but i don’t know anyones phone numbers without the phone. oops. so called around to neighbors to call my parents for me, and eventually found them. got lunch and then home to sleep the rest of the day. called into work, apparently 1 of 14 hahah oops. starving now and i have no food, gotta go to the store.

Vegas Photos

Chautauqua

adr2 wants an update and i finally have some time.

went to chautauqua institute for wed/thurs to see uncle ed read his baseball haiku as part of their sport in america week. it was the first week of their season so the compound (for lack of a better word to call it) wasn’t too busy. my parents rented an “apartment” for the entire week. it was really 2 bedrooms and a kitchenette, interconnected with doors but by no means an apartment. for people who don’t know what the institute is it is very hard to explain. it is an old victorian town which was built around culture and music and i think religion, which is now gated and is like a summer retreat. there are lectures and concerts every day, there is a music school with little practice cottages where kids just go and play music all day alone. it’s on the lake so there is a beach and boats and stuff. there are no cars allowed except to drop off stuff. oh and you have to pay to get in. and pay alot. it pays for all the lectures and music etc. it’s not a swinging exciting place though, so people ask what we did, and i say nothing cuz you really just go and hang out. it used to be pretty famous for being overrun with bats, the sky would be full of them at dusk but i didn’t see a single one, which is sad.

so wed afternoon just walked around with the parents, got dinner, and met up with ed and laurice and a friend of theirs on the porch of our house. the concert that night was chamber orchestra, which cracked alot of jokes, and brought out a speed painter who did a portrait of beethoven in 5 minutes. they were amusing. thurs carol and eric arrived, and ed read his poetry with 2 other writers that afternoon. followed that with a book signing and a big dinner with the family and the few friends and writers at a place off the grounds. there was a ballet that night but we missed it at dinner. then more hanging on the porch, and celebrating birthdays (mine, mom’s and eric’s). left friday morning back home, and slept the rest of the day. sleeping there was not fun, too many noises to wake me up constantly.

saturday was the winefest at the terminal. it was already more successful than last year’s before it even started haha. there were lots of people when i got there, more than i expected and it seemed very well done.

oh and saturday was my birthday. i worked after winefest. exciting!

sunday brought looking at the house again, and putting in an offer. it was accepted 4 hours later, so…i guess i’m buying a house lol.

that’s all i have to say.

random list of europe trip observations
1. only 1 hotel had sheets on the bed. the others were just a fitted sheet with a comforter. why don’t europeans use top sheets?
2. with so many dogs they really need pooper scooper laws, dog crap all over is unattractive
3. berlin is amazing but they have a graffiti problem, and not in a good artistic way.
4. berlin was built on a swamp, and does still smell like swamp gas at times
5. james bond movies are pretty terrible. especially in german
6. suicidal squirrels! as seen on german mtv commercials
7. i probably wouldn’t return to london as a tourist any time soon. shows not included.
8. i think i’ve seen all i wanted to in cologne, and would not return soon, shows not included.
9. i would stop by gent if i was near by for a day to see the castle and things i missed
10. i’d stop by brussels for a day if near by, since i really didn’t see much of the place
11. i would not return to amsterdam, shows not included.
12. i’d absolutely return to berlin asap.
13. so far recordings of london 1,3,4 and amsterdam 2 which i’m getting cuz i missed “the fragile” grrr
14. the trains, trams and subways of belgium, amsterdam and berlin i suspect are losing alot of money. you don’t run your ticket through a scanner like in london, or toronto, or NY, you just are expected to buy a ticket and have it in your pocket i guess. and by the end of the trip my conscious didn’t bother me about it anymore and i stopped buying tickets to use the U and S Bahns in berlin. there was also no reason to have bought any train/tram tickets in gent or brussels either. even our side trip to lede on a Belgian train they never looked at our ticket. amazing really.
15. just because i’m skinny does not mean that A. i will move for you at the rail or B. you are allowed to spread out all over your airplane seat and into my personal space
16. belgian waffles are the best food ever. and stroopwafles (sp big time, gotta find out what they’re really called). and aside from that the only “ethnic” native food that i ate during the trip was italian haha
17…Trent’s Berlin2 Speech *couldlistentotrentallday*

18. bikes. bikes everywhere. more bikes than people. i almost got ran over by one that came out of no where in gent. and they’re all old bikes, like my mom rode in the 50s when she was a kid. didn’t see any nice new bikes at all. maybe they all get stolen…
19. the continent seems to not believe in take away beverages. it got tough to find a place with paper cups to take coffee and tea to the queues. especially brussels. or even bottles of water. at one point sue and i bought water from the bar next door in brussels…in glass bottles that the bar tender let us take outside as long as we brought them back…and unlike in the states where there is always a gas station or convenient store to buy bottles at, there were way fewer over there.
20. my uk cell phone bill is 163$ hahahahahahahahah
21. i am tired of airports and museums and looking at my pictures of the Dom
22. oh yeah, on the plane in gatwick, taxing to the runway we pass an airplane with the engine on fire. yeah they have a huge fake plane that randomly starts on fire so firemen can practice putting them out, like the fireman training facilities here. i thought it was pretty neat, but for anyone who didn’t realize it was a fake plane…scary.

things that happened while i was gone
1. voted to remain on the CTRC board and remain secretary
2. voted onto the toke committee at work, and today voted in to be…secretary. hahaha
3. i missed hockey
4. i missed kitty
5. bono has nice short hair now, very pop era. and apparently he was in berlin on sunday LOL and he looks really cute again.

I return, to the only place….

Home again. I must say that I’m really sick of airports at this point. Gatwick was annoying, as they wouldn’t let me take 2 bags through security checkpoint. It would have been nice to be told this fact before I checked my suitcase, as I would have put my laptop in it. But no, I had to go and check my bag with my camera in it. Fantastic. That created even more stress than normal when we landed in JFK and waited for baggage. It finally appeared much to my relief. I was already planning out my screaming match with Delta when my camera either didn’t appear, or appeared broken. Phew.

The flight was uneventful and they fed us the entire time. It was like as soon as they picked up the last food and drink they were bringing us more. Peanuts and a drink, then another drink, then dinner with a drink, and another drink, and then ice cream and a drink, then pizza and a drink right before landing. The flight back home was 7.5 hrs, I was glad to have bought a book at Gatwick, seeing as I didn’t sleep on the plane.

JFK was 1000 degrees inside, walking through to baggage pick up, through passport control and customs, then rechecking my suitcase and finding the gate, I was sweating more than at the shows. It was seriously ridiculous. When it’s warm out, turn off the heat. Delta tried to bump me off my flight to Buffalo for a later flight, but I was beyond done with flights and airports and Delta, so no way. I was getting home when I was supposed to.

Mom picked me up at the airport, and I got to see Kitty for a bit before going home. I’m pissed because I left my mom’s Atomium snow globe in a bag I thought only had garbage in it in the London hotel room. Grrrr. Also, the tulip bulbs I bought were not confiscated by the USDA, so at least I had that for her. Of course, I didn’t tell customs about the tulip bulbs hahaha.

Now I’m back to my old habits…wasting time on my computer, procrastinating what needs to be done, like unpacking and sleeping and transferring photos from the laptop to the desktop. Depressed and no motivation. Blah. Home.

The trip is over, and now what? I’ll check in here from time to time, and keep it for the next trip πŸ™‚

you kant…always get what you want – Berlin shows

Berlin shows 1&2

Getting to the venue the first day was ridiculous and I don’t even want to get into it. So frustrated and pissed and got there β€œlate” and just…terrible. The show was awesome. PoPo opened instead of Ladytron and they were…interesting. Far more entertaining to watch, but it all seemed somewhat chaotic and off to me. The 2nd show they seemed much more organized and smooth and I liked it better.

Pretty standard set for this leg, with Big Comedown, and the new songs. Was next to Vanessa at the rail in front of Aaron. Didn’t get messed with too much so that was good. Unfortunately during Burn we had a crowd of photographers in front of us. Great show though I can’t really say why and what made it stand out really. It made me really not want to go back home. Trent confirmed the 2nd new album and said they’d be back in Europe again soon, so… that’s nice. Hehe.

After the show a bunch of us went to Hard Rock to celebrate Mandy’s birthday. About 10 minutes after we get there β€œThe Hand That Feeds” video comes on. And we’re all totally retarded staring at it intently as if we’ve never seen it before, and rockin out, as if we hadn’t just heard he song in the show haha.

2nd show I scalped a ticket, and queued all day. It was…interesting. Sue and Kim and I got accosted by this guy on a bike. We were talking and he just appears and in German asks us what kind of music NIN was. So we talk about it, and then he starts speaking basically perfect english – about how we’re Americans without guns. Which led to β€œhey I didn’t vote for Bush.” And suddenly he’s off for about a half our about how Bush and his cronies planned and carried out 9-11 themselves, how he has all this proof that he collected on the internet and he starts pulling out cds and giving them to us, then asking for a few euro because he was trying to sell them. He just goes on and on about all this governmental conspiracy stuff. Now the strange(r) thing about it was that so much of what he was saying fit into the Year Zero concept. And once we finally got rid of him we started talking about how much of a coincidence it was, and that maybe that was planned to happen. Instead of USBs found in venue bathrooms this guy was part of the Year Zero ARG and maybe these cds he gave us – 3 different ones – are the next step in the game, leading to a new website or song. It just seemed too weird. So I took mine down to the internet cafe and took a look. No it was really just crazy conspiracy theory stuff. However one CD that Kim took was called β€œFinal Solution to A Hitler”…final solution being a song that NIN played sometimes in the summer…and then we’re at the rail before the show, and they play final solution over the speakers…Maybe it is something afterall. Probably not, but just too many coincidences. At least now I have a rather unique souvenir hahaha.

I made the decision to try to change my flight home and stay on the tour through Vienna. Didn’t seem like it was going to work out but I tried, and tried more after the show with no luck. And I didn’t get to hear The Fragile or We’re in This Together…you kant…always get want you want.

The show…was weird. I didn’t notice it being all that bad – the sound to me was fine and normal. However they were having technical difficulties with the lights. They wouldn’t come on at the right time, or not come on at all. The first verse of Something I Can Never Have was in darkness, with Trent eventually getting a flashlight and shining it on his face until the lights came on hahah. After Closer, which was oddly cut short – the end piano notes just stopped – Trent said he had spent the day driving around the city and that it was beautiful, and that he came to the show ready to kick ass and beat us all into submission. But that they were having technical difficulties and they were all pissed, and they were going to take a minute to regroup and then beat us all into submission. Well…it didn’t really happen. The lights continued to be sort of late in coming on, so they weren’t matching up to the music, etc. I know that it’s annoying, but things could have been worse hahah. Set was pretty standard, no Last, but got the frail/the wretched and la mer/into the void which I was glad to see again before I left.

The shows have been so much fun, queuing included, and I really don’t want it to end. The experience has been so less stressful and much more mellow than the experience in the US. I definitely will be back for more shows in Europe. I had much more fun and everyone was in a better mood than in the summer. I am very very glad that I came and not just for having met Trent. It’s for having met everyone else, and spending more time with S and V and just…being a part of something. It feels like it was all sort of special – for some reason. Which is awesome πŸ™‚