Justin's Blog

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


It's what's going on right now.
Jason and I are currently sitting in the Detroit airport (really sweet. highly recommend choosing this place for a layover over most places) at gate B3. It's raining, holding up our flight, delaying our return flight from a visit to the host of relatives in Houston...

The last time I updated was August 17th... right at the tail end of the internship, six days before my return to Cleveland. I returned about a week prior from a visit to Cece in Chicago, and I was looking at planning the end of the REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates).

August 20th.
Poster session wrapping up the summer of research at the University of Washington. Basically a big pow wow where all the students who conducted research at the University of Washington get together, put posters on easels, and alternate between walking around inquiring and explaining their research. Fairly successful... got to talk to some cool people and listen to some sweet ideas.

Strange man with my poster.

The sweetest one I heard was of a new concept for energy use. Research is being done on harvesting heat from relatively small systems, making energy usage more efficient. The details are really really cool, but the important part is that we can harvest energy from waste heat and feed it back into the device.

August 21st.
Sweet sort of wrap-up dinner with rest of interns.
Had my first Korean food.... which was interesting. Doused it in hot sauce.
And then went out for an unusually conversive bubble smoothie bit. I think that I mentioned bubble tea/smoothies back on in the entries.... but for those who don't know, bubble smoothies are basically smoothies with balls of tapioca called Boba. They've got a strange gel-ly consistency and are sort of chewy.... you've got to try it.
Unusually conversive because it was pretty much a "what do you think about me" session. Long story short, people generally like each other, and I am still strange. But not creepy.

August 22nd.
Last day.
Get bike packed by local bike shop. Regret that I can't buy them alcohol, after they squeezed me in last minute (ahead of a three week waiting list).

August 23rd.
Glory glory hallelujah.
Fly back home after pickup by rideshare van.
Be amazed by the landscape/waterscape at the new house.... totally spectacular. Especially because I enter at night. Looks like it's straight out of some book on home and landscape design. The planters guarding the front door totally make the front of the house.

There's a kitchen inside. We keep the cars in the garage.

August 24th.
Bill Goldstein shows that he knows how to have a good time, and we unite for the annual summer concert at Blossom Music Center. I realize that while I may not be a major fan of most of Bernstein's music, he wrote some beautiful ballet pieces, and West Side Story pretty sweet. "Somewhere" deserves all the praise it receives.

Chucks on the lawn. You can't see... but they're low-tops.

August 25th.
Birthday party for awesome dude David, hosted at Case in front of a dormitory by good friend Rochelle.
Ashwin shows up (totally premeditated) and we schmooze for awhile.
People at Case have totally crazy schedules full of ridiculous nine hour days and the like. Good luck to all you Case kids. Keep on trucking.

August 27th.
After having planned it for years (literally), Jason, Aunt Liz, and myself finally go out with the intention to have dinner and see a movie. I take them to Aladdin's... a Lebanese American place near the theatre. They totally reject it. I still like it.
Aaand instead of a movie, we end up returning to Aunt Liz's apartment and watching the Democratic National Convention. Which turns out to be really sweet, with some good speeches and surprises.
The "Night Out with Aunt Liz" was definitely worth the wait.

August 28th.
Finally, Padetha (former NASA mentor, current friend and guide), his son Lynn, and I have a coincidence of an open night, and are able to have dinner together. The meal is spectacular (as usual) and the usual five courses long... all cooked by Padetha. One of Lynn's friends from high school/Ohio State is able to come, and conversation is thereby enriched, Sweet stuff.

August 29th.
Return home from Padetha's at 2am, after having watched the Bourne Supremacy with Lynn and friend.
Leave for Texas at 1.25pm from Akron Canton Airport.

NOTE: Akron Canton Airport is a funny place.... probably the most stand-out quality of the whole compound is how not outstanding it manages to be. In this outstanding mediocrity it makes its mark... no Max and Erma's or Friday's.... but an Arby's accompanied by a lone Great Lakes Brewing Company bar. The gates aren't the cool combination of alphanumerics, but simply numbered. Why? Well... there aren't enough gates to necessitate leaving one's own two hands in counting them. Jason and I left from Gate 7.... and quite literally walked onto the plane, using the steps instead of the usual jetway.

August 30th-September 3rd.
Houston, TX.
Houston proved once again to be a really really great place to visit. I hadn't been there in a little over a year, but it seemed like I'd left just yesterday... even with the changes that have taken place.

First off, Aunt Cathy is seven months with child.... and looks it. It's really pretty sweet. BUT. She isn't showing any of the normal "pregnant woman" symptoms that I often hear spoken with dread. I looked everywhere in their halfway-remodeled home (it looks crazy.... stuff is everywhere) but couldn't find any raging hormones, random food binges, or animosity towards anyone. I'm going to chalk this up to Michael, who is even more amazing than when I saw him in late May/early June. Cathy's always laughing and smiling... the new kid could not be arriving in a better home. Good luck on naming.

Michael, with bowl-ling. (Like duckling.... but not)

Second. The Vozars are largely the same. Which is a good thing. The only thing in that household that might have changed is Kim's William, who has gotten way more talkative over the past year.... which means that I really got to meet him for the first time this year. He's a great dude with musical taste, and definitely gets along well with the Vozars. A+.

Houston, in summary, was awesome. Jason and I had never spent as much time with the duo of Cathy and Michael as we did this past week... and I think that the comments two paragraphs ago explain my impressions fairly well. From the annual Grandma-provided Mexican meal to the newer concept of sushi (Jason actually tried some. Good job.) to the (horrendous) Reno 911: Miami to the movie tavern plus "Death Race" (it's a movie) experience, days were full.

(Extra note: WestFest. The largest gathering of white people south of the Mason Dixon line.... basically a Czech heritage festival. Totally crazy (read as: extra mellow) with lots of polka and tons of sauerkraut and sausage. I think that the only thing one needs to be Czech is a strange affinity for polka. And strangely enough, I think I have that affinity. For maybe 1/2 hour.)

Translation: "Enter at own risk: Extreme whiteness beyond this point"

Not pictured: Sign with message: "We warned you about the whiteness"


Thanks a lot, Houston. I walk away with extra belly fat, seven mosquito bites, and a new blog entry.

September 3rd (stage two... after the flights).
While Houston may have been great, the return home (escorted by Norman) was (understatement, here) welcome. You all know that I've spent all my time away from home these days... returning is always so great. I realized after walking in the door how much of an oasis this place is. The location is so good, the house is second to none... In every sense of the word, the house is an oasis.

Two pounds of fruit later, after some yogurt, granola, and figs, here I am.

This is not me. It's the local entertainment: Saydee.

Next week:
Savannah, GA.


  • 2 notes on your blog in general:

    1. It is interesting and well written; yay you!

    2. Are you British? You use a fair bit of British-sounding words; "mum", "bloody", etc.

    By Blogger CC, At September 6, 2008 6:35 PM  

  • Hey now - I think our house is more than halfway remodeled! Kidding, but we need to give Michael encouragement - if he thinks it's only halfway done he might die of exhaustion! But yes, my calmness is all due to Michael my wonderful husband, companion and provider extraordinaire. See he tells me to 'Remain Calm' every day (10 times a day) so little by little it has sunk in! I still think I need to let him see some 'raging hormones' at some point in time - I mean what pregnancy can be complete without them. And thanks Justin, for not 'fessing up to the one symptom of mine that I know you encountered! Anyway, we're glad you enjoyed being with us - I loved every minute of it. I just hope Theresa didn't feel cheated out of too much of your time in Texas, but I don't think so.

    By Blogger Cathy aka CS loves MS, At September 9, 2008 9:51 AM  

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