Sunday, September 26, 2010

Foliage Update #2

It's amazing the disparity between different groves of trees, the majority of the trees on the hills surrounding the Ithaca valley are still very green, with a spattering of yellow. The trees pictured above were found nearby the farm where we pick-up our CSA box. I'm looking forward to the weeks to come.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Weird... weather?

While playing a round of disc golf up near Cornell, Sam and I stumbled across this field filled with this very low mist that flowed out of this meadow like a liquid nitrogen demo. It was really hard to photograph, so you may need to take my word for it. Never seen anything like that before.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Weekly Update #4

This week's highlights: Tomatoes [of doom], Woodard visit, and temp. job!

Over the weekend, Jenni and a few friends went to gather the fruits of their CSA membership, which this week included tomatoes straight off the plant. That is assuming that you are willing to go pick them yourselves, which we were. We ended up with a third of the pickings which combined totaled literally hundreds of tomatoes. What does one do with that many tomatoes? Make gallons of homemade tomato sauce!
We split it into smaller portions and threw it in the freezer. We thawed some for last night's dinner; it turned out great!

My friend Sam [pictured below] is in town for a week because we couldn't think of a reason for him not to be. We are both unemployed and there were super-cheap airline tickets for no apparent reason. Yay spontaneity! So we've been brainstorming topics ranging from fixing America's education system to how to beat that stupid Wii game. We are still only halfway through his visit so, if we get into any noteworthy trouble it'll be listed here next week.

Lastly, I signed up with a local temp agency that specializes in health care, to aid in my search for work. I have an interview on Monday for a medical secretary position at an old-folks home. We'll see how that goes.

In the interim a took a little answering-phones job for this morning. I was reticent to take it because it wasn't for much money and the work was of a well-trained-monkey difficulty. However, I think this was a wonderfully crazy random happenstance because the organization that I worked at for this morning is in charge of youth activities in the Ithaca area, and I'd love to get back involved with programs similar to those that put on the Jr. Wheelchair Sports Camp that I helped run this summer. The best case scenario would be to see if I could help start a similar camp for the upstate NY area. Who knows?

Opportunities abound!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Foliage Update #1

Seeing as the early bloomers, so to speak, are already starting to change colors, I thought I'd begin documenting the trees for my first fall foliage experience. As you can see below, a few trees are yellowing and a couple truly early birds are already red. Cool stuff.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Weekly Update #3

The trip to Niagara Falls was by far the most eventful happening this week. It was the first time I had every left the country, though I was within sight of the US throughout the whole trip.

I was rather impressed (and at the same time disappointed) by the fake Vegas-like commercialization that had sprung up, especially on the Canadian side. The entire neighborhood surrounding the Falls consists of hotels, casinos, and souvenir stands. Flashing lights and brunt signs pervade the street fronts.

It is only when you get near the Falls, onto Park Service land, that you forget the spectacle and can just be in awe of the Falls. It is truly an impressive site, similar to the Grand Canyon in my mind in that they are both places that seem kinda shrug-worthy from afar but their depth is only really grasped in person.

We hit all the stops via a hotel-sponsored tour including walking in tunnels behind the Falls and a trip on the Maid of the Mist. The tour also included some really random local gimmick stops such as one of the world's largest floral clocks, an 11,000 sq ft indoor butterfly conservatory, and more hydroelectric plants that I thought existed in the entire country, let alone in the 5 miles surrounding the Falls. We also amused ourselves with the differences visible even a mile from the border such as all products/signs being in both English and French, all retailers accept American currency but only return Canadain change, and of course French-Canadian game shows.

More pictures of this trip can be found here.

In other news, it got rather chilly in our absence (high of 60, instead of >90 from 2 weeks ago). We got some passing T-storms and showers the last couple days. It'll take a while for me to get sick of thunder.

Also, seeing as the job front is still bleak, I decided to make more of an effort to get out of the house and joined an ultimate frisbee league that will start at the end of the month.

That's about it! Next week looks like it will bring waffles and Woodard. Sounds good.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekly Update #2

Aurthur Ashe Stadium
A busy week! And very little of it spent in Ithaca.

The quick version:
Last Friday, Jenni and I drove down to long island to spend the long weekend with Jenni's family and attend some of the US Open. Jenni returned on Monday, but I stayed down due to my appointment on Wednesday to get my passport. Then I drove up with Jenni's grandmother, aunt, and cousins en route to Niagara Falls, where we will be staying (on the Canadian side) this weekend.

For more US Open pics click here
The less so version:
After dinner on Friday night, we were given the choice of going to the Open on Saturday or Sunday, and then watching Jenni's cousins for whichever day we didn't choose, so the other adults could all go together.
We chose Saturday and watched 4-5 matches mostly in Louis Armstrong Stadium. 

The way the tickets work for the open are that if you buy reserved seats in a stadium you have guaranteed seats and can wander the premises and watch any matches on the other courts as well. This excludes Aurthur Ashe Stadium (by far the largest tennis arena in the world) which is reserved tickets only. Some of the players we saw include Caroline Wozniacki, the women's top-seed; American Mardy Fish, who we watched in a wonderful 5-setter; and Robin Soderling who went on to the quarterfinals. Jenni's cousin was a ball girl again this year and her ball person friends stole us some otherwise Disneyland priced drinks. Nice.

Water Heater Issues. Joy.
The next day we took the cousins to the yaught club but it was too breezy for the pool, so we then drove ~35 minutes to the only theatre showing Scott Pilgram vs the World. Jenni drove home the next day and I played tennis with two of her uncles. It was rather low-key and included a round-robin tournament using ping-pong rules. That night was made eventful by the bursting of the water-heater leading to about 6 inches of water in the basement.

For more USS Intrepid pics click here
On Tuesday I decided to go into the city cause... well, why not? I also wanted to scope out the regional passport office at which I had an appointment scheduled for the next day. I decided to bring all my documents just in case they could fit me in and, sure enough, I had my passport by the end of the day. In the intervening time I went to the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier/museum. Very cool. The ship is huge and worth it on its own, but the interiour has been extensively remodeled to be a first rate air/sea/space museum. On top are many antique planes and the pier has one of the retired Concord SSTs. I signed a petition they are sending to NASA to have one of the retired Space shuttles brought to the Intrepid. After retrieving my newly printed passport, I went near times square and read a book and people watched until I needed to leave to catch a train.  

My early passport getting resulted in another day at the Open, this time with tickets to Ashe. The highlight of which was the Monfils/Djokovic match.

And finally on Thursday we (Jenni's family and I) drove up to Ithaca en route to Niagara Falls this weekend. ...which we need to get going for right now so...


Friday, September 3, 2010

Weekly Update #1

View of Ithaca Falls from Lake Road
Hello everyone!

I'm going to start having a weekly post, hopefully every Friday, that will sum-up how life's going in my new environment. Expect other posts as well as things come up, but you can count on a summary at the onset of each weekend of how the week went.

This being week one, I spent the majority of it unpacking, putting up blinds, and setting up furniture. We have discovered that we have many books, many movies, and many clothes. And we now have furniture to hold the first two of the three. The extra bedroom has really come in handy as a storage closet for now.

On Tuesday, I returned "Intrepid" (our nickname for the Penske truck that Spencer and I drove to get here). I Brought my bike for the ride home and did a little exploring of the area. Ithaca is a nice mix of a small town (29,000 people compared to SB's ~90,000) but with the amenities of a much bigger area (big-box stores like Target, Walmart, and Lowes). I also stumbled across Ithaca Falls on my ride.
Ithaca Falls
I then decided to ride up to the street that is barely visible above and to the left of the falls. Wow ,what a vertical ride that was, but I've done worse. 

Ahead for the week is a trip to NYC this weekend with possible some time at the US Open, assuming Hurricane Earl blows through nice and fast (I wanted weather right?). And then there is a possible trip to Niagara Falls next weekend that I need a passport for and thus need to stay in the city so as to attend an appointment at the Regional Passport Agency in Manhattan.

That's all for now!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Adventures in Mexican Food

Leading up to my move to New York, I had been consistently told that there is no good Mexican food in Ithaca. I was deeply saddened by this, but sacrifices had to be made. One of the chief complaints, and I have experienced this one first hand, is that restaurants here use only black beans, never refried. Now, I don't mind having a choice, but real Mexican food is fried meat with refried beans, salsa, and maybe cheese, onion and cilantro. Not that hard.

I did however think that I would be able to cook myself some decent (though admittedly not authentic) pseudo-Mexican food. Well first off, Jenni already had some meat. I would normally just use ground beef, but Jenni had procured some buffalo meat. I don't know how... I'm sure she told me at some point... I just remember it being from a very nice and persuasive local guy, possibly at a farmers' market. I know, senile already... where was I?

Anyways, in preparation to making buffalo burritos, I wanted some refried beans. Now in SoCal, refried beans take up 30-40% of the beans section. Large cans, small cans, name brands, generic brands. Oodles. At the grocery store we use here - Wegman's, a rather large chain something like a mix between Whole Foods and Vons - there are, at first glance, none. There is every kind of bean imaginable prepared in countless ways, but not refried. Only after pacing up and down aisles and muttering in disbelief to myself for 10 minutes did I stumble upon the "Latin-America Food" section. And there they were. A paltry selection, but refried beans nonetheless.

I had never realized that I grew up in Latin-America, or at least a place that is so influenced by Latin-American cuisine that the ingredients therefor are mixed in with the rest of the less "ethnic" food selection. Odd.

Monologue During Trailer Fire Near Needles, CA