Monday, March 29, 2010

Choo choo.

I may or may not have mentioned this before, but I have a closet love for various forms of transportation, particularly planes and trains. I often think I was born in the wrong time period for a number of reasons, one of them being the fact that trains were a complete novelty in the 1800s, making them the definition of adventure. I would have had a field day. Either way, I'm lucky enough to have an apartment situated directly next to the train tracks that run through the city of Charlottesville, which allows me full access to the comforting noise of the train rolling by every so often, as it is right now...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

An ode to never growing up.

"Its important to be a fairy scientist because you're learning something that no one even thinks they exist. Except for some people. And not that many people that are even grown ups. Well when they were little girls they might have believed in fairies; when they grow up not many of them believe in fairies any more."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A small diatribe...

Okay, so this might be the pot calling the kettle black seeing as I have a blog, Facebook, and am an active user/abuser of gchat. Not only that, but I do have a BlackBerry, which affords me constant connection to my email, text messages, and phone calls. In the recent flurry of job-related endeavors, school work, and fun spring events, I have become acutely aware of the number of available social networking devices and am frankly slightly overwhelmed. I recently re-watched "He's Just Not That Into You" for the first time since I saw it in theaters. I loved when Mary at one point laments, "I had this guy leave me a voicemail at work, so I called him at home, and then he emailed me to my BlackBerry, and so I texted to his cell, and now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies." Mary, I feel you - its too much. This realization came about this morning in my 9:30 class, which was a negotiations exercise on job-related maneuvers (read: teach engineers how to communicate effectively). Not everyone knows how to discuss things in a professional manner, which I realized when the boy next to me asked if children could be used as "leverage" in a business deal. Anyway, the root of the hypothetical negotiation was an employee whose boss wanted him to relocate to the San Diego office despite his desire to remain at the Richmond office with his family. After discussion, my professor wondered why more people didn't discuss "telecommuting" from the Richmond office, or a part time residence in San Diego with home base in Richmond. When she got 50 blank stares, her response was, "well, you ARE the Facebook generation." While her point is definitely valid, by no means do any of these internet/technologically-based networking devices substitute effectively for face to face communication. Its definitely nice to be able to keep in touch with friends and family so actively; I know my high school friends and I have remained close in part to our weekly email threads. Not only that, but the ability to communicate with people over the course of the day makes accomplishing pretty much everything easier. However, I think those of us labeled the "Facebook" generation need to be pretty careful to make sure we can separate ourselves from the technology. As someone who is making a conscious effort to remove the cell phone from its position as an extension of her right hand, I think taking a step back is just plain necessary sometimes.

Monday, March 15, 2010

"I told you so..."

As mentioned previously, my spring break was spent on a house boat (I prefer "ship") docked in Fort Myers' Snook Bight Marina. The weather was absolutely phenomenal (aside from one day of torrential rain and some solid flash flooding) and it was really very unfortunate to leave. A friend described me as a "child of the summer," which is frankly dead on. My biggest problem with Charlottesville is the fact that it is completely landlocked. Its pretty hard to grow up in Baltimore and not develop a love of sun, water, and great seafood. Unfortunately, the real world calls, and I arrived back in Charlottesville this morning after what was supposed to be a 2-day trip back took a little layover in Roanoke. Though I don't claim to be particularly poorly traveled, I will say that the south has (unfortunately) escaped my radar. Most of the architecture classes I've taken here have made me want to take a road trip down the coast to see historic towns like St. Augustine, Savannah, and of course, Charleston. So, when the opportunity arose to stop at the College of Charleston on our way back and spend the night, I can't say I was mad about it. My best friend Katie has been telling me how she can't see me living anywhere else but Charleston since she and her family visited last Easter. At the time I brushed it off, content with my mid-atlantic latitude; but now having visited (even for just over 24 hours), I had no idea what I was thinking. A slightly undercover architecture nerd, I was in absolute heaven. After dropping my friends off at C of C to get ready with our high school friend, I went over to the battery on an adventure to see as much as I could. The lights of Fort Sumter were just visible in the distance, and even in the darkness I was in complete awe. The houses are just absolutely unbelievable - authentic, early 19th century, uniquely southern homes lining an expansive harbor with so much character. Historically, most of the residences have remained in their original families, having been passed down over the years. The photo to the left is 21 East Battery, which is right behind the 1825 Edmondston-Alston House, one of the first homes constructed facing Charleston Harbor. In 1838, the second owner Charles Alston completely remodeled the house, adding Greek Revival details. This is just one example; East Battery street is lined with some of the most interesting, and historic homes I've ever seen. The fact that the majority of the residences are original (or as close as you can get) is what makes so much of a time capsule - and I love it. The architecture is really just the beginning - life moves slower in Charleston; the urgency that can sometimes overwhelm up north is nonexistent. Not only that, but Charleston is the mecca of fraternity fashion. There was no shortage of croakies, colorful khakis, and button downs. Truth be told, I have a soft spot for a good bow tie and blazer. Hopefully someday I'll have the opportunity to live there; I'd take even a cardboard shack on the Battery any day.

Monday, March 8, 2010

I'm on a boat...

Actually realistically I'll probably try and work that phrase into each day I'm here just because I can. I'm currently in Fort Myers, Florida, on a 14-person houseboat docked in Snook Bight Marina. Though I find it a little disturbing that one of the "most common fish" (as per the marina's brightly colored and annotated poster) is black fin shark, I am thoroughly happy to have successfully made the 15-hour trek from Charlottesville. Don't ask me how precisely this plan came to fruition, but I'm not mad about it, that's for sure. My skin is thanking me epically for this foray to the 75-degree sunny, water-logged coast. After my rapid fire trip to Atlanta on Tuesday and my 2-day drive here, I'm a little travel weary, and this is certainly the place to solve that issue. In light of this, a few observations:
1. Everyone in Florida drives trucks. The bigger, less fuel efficient, and more intense in appearance, the better. I can't imagine living here sans truck- I would be completely uncool.
2. Florida is a long state. Completely underestimated that one when I looked at the map.
3. One can drive 85-90 mph on the interstate and be fairly assured that no traffic violation will be incurred. The speed limit is usually 70, and I ventured a casual 80 to find myself being passed rapidly left and right.
4. It is completely okay here in Fort Myers to wear a neon bikini with a fur vest and hot pink platform flip flops.
5. There are lakes more or less everywhere. It is particularly awesome that houses are just interspersed around lakes with docks and boats and general fun. I am in full support.
6. Publix is the best grocery ever; they have the best selection of food and most delicious (recent discovery) sweet tea.
7. After entry into North Carolina, every single rest stop contains a Waffle House. How all of these Waffle Houses remain in business is a mystery, but having never eaten there, for all I know it could be awesome and worth placing at every exit of 95 south.

On that note, I cannot express how happy I am to be immersed in beaching and sunshine. The marina here is absolutely beautiful and has pretty much everything you'd need for a relaxing week (including coffee a mere 100 feet from our dock). Tomorrow night will be our first venture into the local Fort Myers bar scene and I, for one, cannot wait.