So, I headed up to Atlanta on Thursday, after doing scads and scads of final exams (well, three, but it felt like scads), overnighted with the fabulous Jeff, and then headed up to Boston on Friday to meet up with the fabulous sstrickl. Later we met the fabulous digitalemur, we went out for burritos and then headed for Davis Square (it was Davis Square?) to hang out with the fabulous ladybird97 and many other fabulous folks. I'm talking, people I have not gotten to see (or hug) in years and years. And that's just way too long.
Highlights: there was sweet cream ice cream, which I tasted a tiny bit of, and which is of the good. There was a dog there with a stick as big as himself. There was a woman who had lost a dog (digitalemur, I'm sure you picked up on the fact that I completely forgot to post about that during the Blogathon, for which I feel kind of cruddy, especially after I took that poster). And there were many conversations about interesting... experiments. Um.
And naturally I can't remember anybody's lj name. :) But maybe some mysterious folks will friend me and I shall friend them back.
Basically, the entire trip was worth it just for Friday night. digitalemur looked gorgeous. ladybird97 looked gorgeous and PINK. And sstrickl has a really nice, comfy place with very interesting squeaky floors. I had entire discussions with his floor.
I didn't get enough sleep Friday night, really. But Saturday morning, fortified with a cup of tea and some sardines, I headed to Blogathon at shadesong's anyway. Crazy but fabulous folks included: hypnagogie, rafaela, slipjig, wired_lizard, eustaciavye, mllelaurel, nevacaruso, jennifer, and of course shadesong. We laughed, we cried, we became a part of each other, we withdrew from being parts of each other and said, "ew," and then we all crashed.
Post-thon and post-apocalyptic-slumber-of-doom on an air mattress at chez shadesong, I got to hang out with shadesong, yendi, and Elayna. Yes of COURSE they are all of them quite fabulous. We watched some of The Middle Man, which was cooky and fun.
I can't say this enough: my fellow bloggers were the craziest, most creative, funniest, supportive people I have ever had the pleasure of enduring incapacitating pain with. The pit crew? OMG. I fall to my knees before the pit crew, who gave us wonderful food and refilled our coffee mugs. You just have no idea, until you have tried to do this... how people do Blogathon all alone.
But most of all, shadesong made Blogathon happen, at great personal cost, and she's been doing it for years now. shadesong, you then proceeded, the next morning and day, to do nothing but apologize for being irritable (which you weren't) and brainfogged (which I think everybody was)... when you had given over your house to us, bought food for us, roped everybody together and organized it all, and all while keeping the half a million plates spinning that were required for your own personal Blogathon project, which was... to understate... substantial. Hon, you worked miracles last weekend. I'm sure we all think so. *WILD APPLAUSE* None of it would have even happened without you. Thank you! This weekend meant a lot to us, and to me personally. I hate it that it was all so hard on you, and that it was such a thankless task altogether. I don't think anybody wants it to be that hard next year.
After the 'thon, I went back to sstrickl's (have I thanked yendi and wired_lizard for toting me around this weekend? Thank yoooo!) and, well, slept some more, and then Monday, during the day, I proceed to say something hilarious: "Now I'm going to read everybody else's Blogathon!"
Stop laughing. I really did think I could do it. (I managed ONE person's Blogathon on Monday. Now, nearly a week later, I have managed... three of you.) That evening, sstrickl and I had a really cool conversation about school and research. I'm impressed. After several years of my CS stuff, I actually understood about half of what you were talking about, sstrickl! I hope to get that percentage up even more. sstrickl also had some extremely valuable advice on graduate school and other things, which I have filed away, and which I shall definitely consult at need...
Then I headed over to go see irene_adler, who I also haven't seen in a truly obscene number of years. And she -- you guessed it -- looked fabulous. (I'm telling you, everybody was fabulous. I'm sunburnt from fabulousness.) irene_adler also happens to have a little dog named Addie, who is The World's Cutest Dog, and who adopted me as her personal toy the moment I walked in the door. *blink* I'm actually not sure I was allowed to go home without Addie's permission, but here I am.
Monday night, irene_adler and I walked over to a nifty Asian grocery store, where I got some highly suspicious tea and we loaded up on all kinds of creatively labelled candy (including some mochi-choco-coffee-jam balls which were quite tasty). Then, the two of us -- get this -- got pizza, drank wine, and watched Ghostbusters on DVD, thus confirming that I, indeed, have the best friends evar. (The next night, we watched Britcoms. irene_adler is officially my happy place.)
Tuesday, I was alone. And in Boston. Bwah ha ha.
Across the street there was a little restaurant with a bright neon sign saying, "PHO". So I went there and ordered me some pho! This would be my very first pho. It was... interesting. I liked the steaky bits. I would eat it again. I didn't much care for the tripe, but otherwise it was good. However, the homemade lemonade with soda was fantastic, and I would like about seventeen more of them.
Post-pho, I hopped on the T and looked at the stops (me, do actual research?), and one of them was labelled AQUARIUM. And lo, I had never been. And lo, I went. And it was good. I saw penguins (three kinds!), including little blue penguins, which... all I can say is, I want one. They had a huge series of jellyfish displays, most of which were in darkened rooms, backlit for optimum jellyfish crystalline awesomeness. They had seahorses. Better yet, they had mood necklaces (yes, like mood rings, but pendants) in the gift shop in cute shapes, so I picked up some gifties. :)
Then I went to the IMAX theater and watched a thing on dolphins and whales. Synopsis: Dolphins and whales are cool, and they are all going to DIE DIE DIE AND IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT BLAAAAAURGH FALL UPON YOUR KNEES SPAWN OF THE EVIL ONE and killer whales are the only kind of whale that kills other whales, did you know? Narrated by Daryl Hannah, who has achieved moderate usefulness within this lifetime.
Then I ate some chowdah while looking out at the hahbah and also had a blue raspberry icee, and hopped back on the T. I was on the blue line, and do you know what stop is at the very outside end of the blue line? It is called WONDERLAND.
Well. I mean. You know I had to go to Wonderland, right?
I didn't learn until later that I was supposed to have had a dreadful experience, so as a result, it was really pretty cool. You ride the blue line all the way to the end. Then, you get off with your few remaining passengers, and in the bright sunlight, you walk up a hill toward a one-way road... on the other side, all you can see is a decorative concrete wall, obviously an overlook of some sort. You cross at the crosswalk, walk over to the wall, and look over...
And there's a pretty little white-sanded beach. Not crowded at all (it was Tuesday, after all), and beyond that, the water opening up a panorama to beachfront property on either side. I only had a few minutes, but I sat there, and basked in the sunshine, and listened to the waves.
Then I hopped back on the T and rode down to meet maverick_weirdo. We went and had Legal Seafood (well, I had Legal Seafood, he had Legal Beef), and noshed most convincingly. And yes, he was fabulous too. I got back in time to hang out for a bit with irene_adler some more, thus making my life complete.
The trip back: well, first of all, I got a bit of a late start, so thank the lord above that the shuttle back to the airport is easier than the Silver Line away from the airport, because I was terrified I might miss my flight. I didn't.
But when I got back to Atlanta, getting back to my car felt like I was on a death march with all my belongings on my back. It was hot, I was exhausted, and my car... was out in the middle of nowhere, and I swear I can NEVER find econo-parking from the airport entrance, I ALWAYS get turned around and end up wandering for half an hour before I figure it out. It was fortunate that I had taken a few minutes in the airport to nerve myself up by having lunch with geogre and stealing his sandwich, because it took all my strength to get to my car with my bags.
Once I was a row away from my car, one of the trolley guys pulled up alongside me and piped up, "Hey, you need a ride?"
"No thanks, I'm nearly there." Muttered some creative invective as I continued to trudge along.
I then met Jeff, had a refreshing dinner, took a short rest, and headed home. I made it back Wednesday night, not too much the worse for wear... to discover that at least two things had exploded in my luggage, which means... I really do need a new duffle bag.
Not only that, but the necklace I got for elvinborn is broken and will not un-clasp. So that kind of stinks. Moral: I obviously should never have left Boston, for Boston will exact its retribution upon all who leave. Or maybe I just got all of my trip snafus over with on the trip home.
And that's what I did on my summer vacation, by Ewin B.