Justin's Blog

Monday, May 26, 2008

A day on the town.

With a drumroll and round of applause, I am pleased to introduce your guides:

Your driver:

George "The Man" White

Your biologist and chemist:

James Franke

Your style and substance in all things nineties:

Trisha Locke

and last but not least,
Equipment extraordinaire and Navigator,


In the early sun of Saturday morning, this crack expedition team took 15 paces out of the front door of home base (not for long), Broadview Hall. With a borrowed tent and a Blackberry, they were prepared to set out and conquer the worst of the wilderness... The city of Milwaukee.

Step one: Billy dis-parallel parks. Perhaps better known as parallel disembarking.
Step two: George White steps in behind the wheel for a long (not really), harrowing (not really) journey, fully of auditory stimuli both good, bad, and ugly. Our presence soon graces Lake Shore Drive.
Step three: Traffic on the way out of Chicago is deemed by Billy as "No. We're taking a different route." And we quickly disembark from LSDrive, and take a different route to a place with more favorable currents: the I-94, which will take us all the way to our destination.

Note: Trisha has been asleep in the backseat since five steps ago.

Step four: Elapse musician Regina Spektor and countless others whose names are unknown currently to George White, and we arrive in Milwaukee at the Art Museum. Trisha is asleep.

(Omitted: Pit stop in Kenosha, Wisconsin to pick up sleeping bags for George and Trisha. George buys sweet mummy-style sleeping bag. Blaze orange with white chest stripe.)

We'd posted the art museum as a definite stop (and as the primary aim of the voyage) earlier in the year, when scoping out places to visit. The main draw of the place was its proximity to Chicago and its exterior architecture, which has been duly noted by George to be "Just plain sweet."


The interior architecture, rather austere, is most reminiscent of the ship and surroundings of one of our close friends, Princess Leia.... or perhaps closer to the interior of Lando's Cloud City:

The Museum:

The team:

Note James and the map... Later deemed by Billy as useless, due to the landmarks present in the museum (i.e. obelisks denoting "North Wing", etc. But not on the map.)

The museum was really rather cool--through my postwar art class, I've been exposed to an artist named Lucio Fontana... HIs work has really become interesting to me, and really visually cool. He basically paints a canvas a certain color and then slices it.... in Italian, Tagli. Then, he accentuates the slices by pulling apart the edges of the cut with his hands, and then put black fabric behind the opening. The end result is highly cool.


Step Five:
Billy contacts a Milwaukee comrade to inquire as to "good food". It is determined that we should head north and eat at a place called "Beans and Barley". Beans and Barley turns out to be a health food store whose cafe fare is a little less sustaining than we were hoping for... so we head to a Mexican restaurant around the corner. Result: Nearly the whole crew is sick.

Realization: Most campgrounds are full, due to Memorial Day weekend. We have anticipated this, but did not anticipate the scope to which the campgrounds would be full. Result... we bum off of the Milwaukee Public Library's wifi, and George whips out his handy MacBook Pro. We find a place with plenty of room about 30 miles west.

Journey, Leg Six:
Drive to the middle of nowhere.... where there happen to be many many many bugs. Which is totally fine. We end up camping at a place called Rome Riverside Campground... honestly, it's fairly decent in accommodations. We were actually looking for something a bit less accommodating, that was much closer to real nature, but all the state parks were full. So we had to settle for a drive-up, camp-out spot. Which turned out to be totally fine.

Abode and expedition team:

Note successful fire (first try success, mind you).


Probably contemplating the economics of fire.

After experimental s'mores (Lindt truffles actually work fairly well) and a healthy dose of talking about past, present and future, we turn in for the night. The tent really is pretty roomy.

Morning approaches us without a rain net... so the full glory of the sun wakes the team up. This is totally fine, and we venture back to Chicago, after being good campers, and cleaning up our mess.

The end of a tent:

Note red shirts.

The ride back to Chicago finds us at a Cracker Barrel. Huh. There weren't any Waffle Houses.
Trisha's chicken BLT is noted as "too cheesy".

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Slight Headache

At this point, it's been nearly three weeks since I updated.
Let's see... Location... Right now, I'm in a cafe in the basement of one of the buildings on the main quadrangle of campus... Cece and I have just come from lunch. Well... we came from lunch awhile ago... but we arrived and as I opened my laptop, I discovered that I had a minor headache and really didn't feel like doing much of anything.

You see... Physics problem sets are due on Wednesdays. While physics is really great this quarter and probably the most interesting yet, it takes a lot of time. And I'm simply not the greatest at giving it all the time it deserves... The onset of my problem sets usually comes a little bit too late... and a little bit too little.
Anyway--today is a Wednesday. So I spent much of yesterday reading the physics book and learning about Electromagnetic Waves. I also like to copy my notes from lecture, so that I understand all of what Woowon is trying to say. It's really paid off, so far... I did well above the average on the first midterm. The only problem with this situation is that I'll often dedicate too much time to reading the chapter and find myself shorthanded for finishing the problem sets.
This happened yesterday and last night. So while I was able to get to sleep at my usual Midnight, I wasn't able to sleep my full six hours... and woke up at 5am instead of six. And after I woke up, I pretty much worked all morning. Hence--I haven't even put in my contacts--I just brought them to campus in my pocket, and I'm going to put them in before I exercise (after this.)
But for right now, I'm cooped up with an overabundance of hipsters writing you all an entry.

What is a hipster?

More explanation:

Avoid at all costs.

So much has happened in the last three weeks... I'll do a top seven. Just because if I tried to do this chronologically and detail /everything/, I'd run out of time.

1-Jason arrives Friday night! This is the greatest part of this week. I've got some good stuff planned for this week... but it's already looking like a really crowded weekend. He'll arrive by megabus at 10.30pm Friday night... which means that he'll actually arrive by megabus at midnight on Friday night... Cece and I will cruise on up downtown to pick him up, and then we'll head down to Hyde Park. Probably just relax and have some dessert then. Saturday I might be able to get him a seat on the coach boat during sailing--which would be cool. Otherwise, I can skip sailing and we'll hang out at the school's carnival in Hyde Park. We're going to see Thrice (that band I always talk about) on Saturday night--which will be bomb diggity. He leaves already on Sunday morning at 8.30am.

2-I spent this past weekend sailing in Minnesota! This was really cool. Three guys and I drove up to one of their houses for a regatta at a lake near St. Paul/Minneapolis. Good times. We saw Iron Man, had pizza from Davanni's, and simply relaxed. Seven hours in a car with three other college dudes turns out to be a good time.

3-The apartment fell through. Angel (roommate number three.... I didn't choose her name, so don't make fun of me for it.) dropped out because her boyfriend proposed marriage, and our summer subletters dropped out. Long story short, I'll be living next year with two other guys I know from the dorm--Lu Wei and Last. The apartment is in Hyde Park.... I'll also be saving like, $1000 off living in South Loop (but it would've been worth it).

4-Memorial Day weekend... a little roadtrip of our own. Stay tuned. Kelsey, Cece, and two of our friends (Niamh and Connie, for readers in the know) are going to take Niamh's car up to Milwaukee. We'll hang out at random spots in the city, and we're planning on camping out in a state park on the way back. It should be seriously good.

5-Seattle is set, kids. I'm officially going to be working at the University of Washington this summer doing research on two-photon femtosecond laser nanofabrication. I.E. I'll be using lasers and polymer (plasticky stuff) to build really small stuff. It's going to be really cool. "HOW official is this?", you ask? "As official as your failed apartment plans?"
Hmm. Think "I've already got plane tickets and hotel plans purchased by the university."

That's official, son.

6-Last Thursday, Cece and I went (by invitation) to a birthday dinner for her cousin Nikki.... Her Aunt Becky and Uncle Paul basically held a celebration at the Grand Lux Cafe downtown. Honestly, this is a pretty good restaurant. We had to wait for like, an hour before eating, but it was worth it. and plenty within cost boundaries for Average Joe. So if you'd like to check it out when you visit.... just ask.

U. Paul and Aunt Becky are at the front on the left side of the table.

A prime example of poor posture from the same dinner.

7-This one... is to be announced.

Now please..... save me from the hipsters...