December 2008 Archives


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I just finished my second day in Naples.  This town is quite the anti-Toronto.  There is trash everywhere, an active mob, rampant petty crime, and a city plan that apparently called for only dark cramped alley ways rather than any large, well-lit thoroughfares. 

The hostel is great, though - quite clean and trendy.  Plus they have movies.  Naturally, I'm watching Casino.  The only problem is the tubes speed is crap - so it might be a while before I can upload the rest of the Rome pictures.

I went on a day trip to Pompeii today and had a great time.  There were even a few bodies frozen in time in their homes.  Kind of creepy, but apparently most people left within 12 hours of the initial eruption of Vesuvius and only the dumbasses stayed behind.  Speaking of which, it is long overdue for another eruption.  Comforting.

Mass with the Pope

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I spent today (second day in Roma) trying to hit all of the historical sites that I could - these included the Vatican (as well as the Basilica of St. Peter), the Imperial Forum, the Pantheon, the coliseum, and a bunch of famous fountains. I just got back from midnight Christmas mass held by the pope at St. Peter's Basilica. It was amazingly beautiful and quite an experience.

I finished posting pics from the last two days on flickr - todays pics will have to wait until I have more time. Some choice ones from Malaga are below (as well as one from Roma).

Malaga then Rome

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I made it to Malaga, and now today arrived in Rome.  My trip included 7 extra hours of layovers, a broken plane (thankfully it broke on the ground), and a broken bus. 

Rome is awesome.  It's also very dirty.  You can openly drink a bottle of wine on the street, and, apparently, there are no laws against littering (or at least no enforced law).  Italians seem to really get off on cutting people in line; they are very sneaky.  It is on!  We'll see who can cut who in line.

The hostel I'm staying in provided a bottle of wine per person upon check-in.  So far, I love this country.

Nashville and Back in Two Days

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Just got back from a wedding in Nashville - basically drove there, went to the wedding, and drove back (roughly 16 hrs of driving within 40 hours and no sleep). I will be posting regularly (hopefully?) while I travel through Italy over the next two weeks, with highlight pics posted here.

Here's Chattanooga from Friday night:

Here's Nashville yesterday:

And this is a picture of precisely when Church becomes Gay:

Participatory Autoped

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Well, it's finally happened.  It was bound to, with all the walking I do downtown.  A College of Charleston girl on her cell phone ran me over in her car, right after hitting the gas and trying to make a left turn on green before the light changed.  I had the unfortunate pleasure of being in the crosswalk and in her path at that exact moment.

What an interesting experience.  I've seen "autopeds" (that is what we call them in the business, short for "auto vs pedestrian") before, but I never realized what a sensation it is to be lifted and thrown in the air like a rag doll.  My perception of time changed, and I watched my coffee fly into her windshield in virtual slow motion.  Amazingly, I landed back on my feet, which is certainly more an indication of the angle of impact than my own catlike reflexes.  She was clearly more shaken than I was, as were the instant crowd of bystanders; they seemed insistent that an ambulance be called and that I be transported post haste to the hospital.  I declined, sat down, and checked myself for any semblance of a tibia/fibia fracture.  I've performed the same check on countless others after some sort of trauma; this was the first time I've ever checked myself.

The girl, Lindsey, was quite shaken up and was begging for forgiveness and some way to help.  I told her she could replace my coffee and I'd consider us even.  On the way to get a replacement, my questions flushed out some elements that no doubt contributed to the situation.  She met a guy in a bar on Halloween, they apparently fell in love, and four days ago he asked her to marry him (all this over the course of two months).  Despite her admitted reservations concerning the short dating interlude, she said yes (incidentally, he's a "nuke" student at the local Navy school, and according to her they do not "glow green", destroying the only reason I could think of that so many girls seem to like them).  She also just graduated with a BA in theater and is planning on getting married and moving to Hawaii within the next two months.  At the time that she struck me she was on the phone with a good friend trying to explain all of this.  In the end, I was able to get a better quality coffee and a ride home, and she was able to step back, albeit only briefly, from a life that has become amazingly disorienting.

If anything, I consider the story to be a cautionary one; kids, be wary of quick love or you might end up almost killing someone.

Ultimately, the joke is on her.  The coffee she replaced had only initially been half full.


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This guy has them:

That's a picture from last Saturday's ice jump at Fuel on Cannon Street. All you had to do was sign your life away, and then you too could drop down to an icy demise. Here's a guy in the air:

followed by slide:

and eventual crash:

presentation of extra ordinary science

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I exist!

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Finally got published, albeit as a second author.

I leave you with this awesome graf from Columbia.

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