Keep checking back for posts on our trip to Brazil and Argentina, as sorting through photos and videos certainly takes some time...thanks!


Monday, October 01, 2007

Randy & Ellen's Wedding

Saturday, September 29th 2007:

It's been too long not seeing these fantastic Penn folk. Memories of King's Court, intramural soccer, the high rises, pre-med classes...Mardi Gras, New Year's eves in Philly...





























Sunday, September 30th 2007: Sunday brunch at Randy and Ellen's BEAUTIFUL home









Congratulations!! Looking forward to more fun times at the reunion...

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Back in Boston, er Cambridge!

Friday, September 14th 2007

Our first time back in our old neighborhood! Brian is literally smiling from ear to ear since arriving into town. "The destination of this train is Brrrrraaaaainnntrrrreeee." Actually it's not, but we were always amused by that.



Harvard Square, it's a strange but good feeling being back. Definitely surreal. We're waiting for Rafa, our weekend host, to give us a lift to his bed & breakfast.


It's been almost four years since we've been back to Rafa and Simone's place, not since December 2003 when they threw a partay. Their bedroom now used to be the dancing room.
Instead of learning more fab tango moves, Simone was home to greet us. We all sat down and caught up a bit over some wine and beer as well as some almonds, cheese and delicious tilapia.



We decided to just go see the rest of the gang at Kevin and Sarah's apartment warming partay instead of waiting to meet in Harvard Square,

but once we got to their place, we were ovewhelmed at the door by those heading out to Harvard Square. Those being Svacha, Bree, Diebold, Jess, Anya, Kevin, Sarah and a couple of their friends. What a lively bunch! with the usual suspects in prime form.

In an amazing coincidence, we run into Birge and Michelle in Harvard Square! Fun!! And at the same time, lose Svacha and Bree who both go on a quest to find Jason at Dudley House.

It's funny how this weekend becomes a first of several things for us, such as this being the first time we go to Redline, and when we walk in, I can see why: super-crowded meat market. In any case, we head to the back tables which weren't being used and was much quieter. Time to catch up, talk shop and do some scheming.





A few rounds later and having enough of Redline, we decide to go to Grafton Street, but once inside, with no room at the bar, and sitting at a lame table inside with no intention of ordering food, we leave to go next door to the never-dull, late-night staple Hong Kong.

The first and only time I've had food here was WAY back when, on the night of Thursday, July 31st 2003, hanging out with the Mazur group for the very first time, and involved me, Brian, Jim, Michael, and Luke...and some guy from Columbia, but in any case, we ended up having some crab rangoons that night, among other things.

Geez, that was SO long ago, but it was quite the memorable night and a rather representative sneak peek into the fun times ahead with the Mazur group.

Well, back to the present, the Kong has made quite the renovations since we were there last. The first floor was rather swanky-fied. We were reunited with Svacha and Bree, who were quite disappointed in spending the past hour or so looking for Jason with no success.



"Enjoying" a suffering bastard:


Awwww! The newly settled couple.




We ended up having a rather filling late night dinner which included such items as pu pu platter, lo mein and sesame chicken. Good thing we could walk it off returning to Rafa and Simone's place



Saturday, September 15th 2007: Matt & Tina's Wedding - Congratulations!

Before heading out to the festivities, Brian, Rafa and I take a journey back to the lab, where that pesky building next door that was always under construction is now finally finished, and had been since just after commencement.


























































This little video is for those late night folks:






Sunday, September 16th 2007:














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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Randy's Bachelor Weekend

A UPenn Reunion...wish I was there. Randy had so much fun on Friday, he had to recover all of Saturday.

Friday, August 24th 2007 in Baltimore, MD




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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Mark & Jess's Wedding

Friday, July 13th 2007:

Off we go to Mark & Jess's wedding weekend in St. Ignace, Michigan. A rather smooth, yet very expensive flight from Baltimore to Detroit to the Pellston Regional Airport, we arrive in the area on Friday around 1:30pm where we get picked up by the Top of the Hill taxi company to head to our hotel, the Kewadin Shores Casino & Hotel, as recommended by Bill, Mark's best man. The weather was beautiful, with blue, sunny skies, and the area was rather scenic.


We arrive at the casino and become members of their Northern Rewards Players Club to get a special discount on the room rate as well as get some tokens to play in their casino before actually checking in. The rooms were nice having a small balcony to walk out on. We were hoping to get a room with a view of Lake Huron, but we had a lovely view of the parking lot instead. We got there when housekeeping was cleaning up the rooms, and I snuck in one of the lake-view ones for a quick peek...definitely better than the parking lot.

We grab something to eat at the Horseshoe Bay Restaurant on the first floor, which was serving a buffet, before doing a bit more exploring around.

This is an unfinished walkway/backyard behind the hotel, with Lake Huron in view:


Lots of space for a casino:

but where are all the tables and slot machines?

With Diebold and the rest en route, driving from Detroit, we head off to the rehearsal picnic



where the gang comes together



After getting attacked by mosquitoes on our way to Geoff's car, we get back to the hotel to make some moolah off our free tokens. Brian, Geoff and Diebold "class it up" with suit coats even though the casino was in an oversized tent.




Some slots and shots, blackjack and quarters, belligerent behavior and free expression...



Saturday, July 14th 2007: Wedding Day

The sky was threatening showers, and it had already rained overnight/early morning, but the clouds occasionally parted and the sun shone through during key parts of the ceremony. It was amazing. Wish it could have been warmer though. Being by the lake almost guarantees a cool breeze.





So cute! The photo below was taken from their guest book which contained both old and recent photos of them with friends and family. We signed their book by a photo taken at Loren & Jason's wedding. There was also another photo from Halloween with Geoff and Brian dressed as Spiderman and Peter La Fleur (Dodgeball).


Each table had a cute cake that acted as the centerpiece.



The breeze did start kicking in, so we were rather grateful for the "walls with windows" that were placed during dinner.


We had a vanilla and strawberry cake, while the table next to us had a chocolate cake which we swapped. Brian was just dying to cut into it. The photo on the right shows both cakes. The icing was yummy and sweet, if not just a bit too much.

Mark and Jess's first dance:





Some dancing and handstands to warm up.



We watched the beautiful sunset over the horizon.





As we returned to the reception area, there were a bunch of other guests coming towards us, just missing the sun set. A lot of awww's were heard.

We shot some hoops - essentially horseshoe from whatever position we picked. Never thought I would play b-ball with heels on.


The band came up from Detroit and they played lots of Motown. We put in some requests for some Rick James - "Super Freak" (they did play "Give It to Me Baby"), "Twist and Shout", and "Shout" but unfortunately, none of them got played. Their encore was a song that nobody heard of. Oh well. But it was fun dancing nonetheless.








Brian gearing up for another night of slots back at the casino...

Diebold with a friend.

Just after this photo was taken, we literally had to run after the trolley which was leaving for the casino.

Back at the Northern Pines Lounge for more music and revelry



A defeated Diebold.

Sunday, July 15th 2007:

With Geoff and Brie doing a tour of Michigan, Geoff's home state, for the following week, they drove us across the bridge to Mackinaw City for some sights and treats as well as back to the tiny town of Pellston.



A Michigan staple, Superman flavor ice cream, although a bit wacky visually, was actually pretty tasty.



The Pellston Regional Airport, with the smallest conveyor belt I've ever seen, looks more like a lodge than and airport.


A little video on the Detroit-Wayne County International Airport (DTW) in Michigan:

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Harvard Commencement, among other things...

Wednesday, June 6th 2007:

Family comes up for the big day tomorrow.


Dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Zaftigs in Coolidge Corner. Such tasty food and healthy portions - and when I mean healthy, I mean large and yummy.


Not having enough tickets for the yard nor the actual diploma ceremony, we had to plan our attack for tomorrow.


Leaving a little goodbye present at the lab. We get back to our apartment around 11:30pm, and seriously need to get some rest, for the day ahead is going to be early and long.


Thursday, June 7th 2007:

With the gates opening at 6:45am, we roll out of bed at around 5:45am, picking up the Tulls at their hotel at 6:30am. Brian is quite awake and mobile, all ready to let the day begin.


Photos in Harvard Square before separating and finding seats, while Brian and my folks head to the GSAS breakfast. When entering the gates, the security checked our bags but didn't take nor do anything to our green Tercentenary Theatre tickets. Marge made this keen observation, and I borrowed two tickets and headed out to get my parents into the yard - getting some munchies in the process.




And the march begins - with just a toll of the Memorial Church bell, the graduates with the highest degree enter with not much pomp and circumstance. Quite the anti-climatic entrance. The entire procession takes over an hour to finish before the ceremony actually begins.
















View from Brian's seat and whereever Dad was positioned at this point.







I couldn't sit in one spot, so I made my way closer and closer to the stage and found where Brian sat.



Through my urging, Brian stood up during the undergraduates' conferring of degrees. Rishi, one of Brian's former labmates, is standing just behind and to the right of Brian.


Quite the large sea of graduates: 6,871 total


John Kerry and Larry Summers



Honorary Degree recipients: Bill Gates, Larry Summers, and William Felton ‘Bill’ Russell





GSAS Diploma Ceremony in Sanders Theatre
















If you listen very carefully to the first few seconds of this clip, you can hear me yell "Yeaah, Brian!"



















The next Harry Potters...handless Harry Potters




Going a little crazy with the tail?

One more goodbye before we go...



Brian's soon-to-be vacant desk




The obligatory John Harvard photo


5:00pm dinner at The Red House - we get first dibs on a table, which worked out quite nicely since the room eventually became packed with grads and families. Practically running on empty, I was definitely struggling to stay awake and ignore the aches my body was feeling. But it certainly was a delicious 3-hour dinner. Then we headed back to the COOP to return Brian's wizarding attire.




We stumble upon 3 wild and crazy guys as we head back to the parking garage. We ran into them just a couple weeks ago when Shiala and Joey visited.


What a LONG day, everyone was exhausted and easily fell asleep around 10pm - and I eventually went to sleep after organizing all my crap for the big move out the next day.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Empty Apartment Party

Tuesday, June 5th 2007:

We invite some folks over for food, drinks, music and the last screenings to be held at 101 Chester, starring...our guests.





Geoff sets up some funkadelic youtube videos for our entertainment before the screenings.







Everyone take your seats (or space on the floor), and please silence your cell phones. There will be a long feature as well as an 18 minute short.



"Thank you for coming to Tulls. Sit back and relax. Enjoy the show."









And now step into my office...or what used to be my office


Is it possible that we all planned our outfits that night? There is at least a pair for each color: red, white, blue - both light and dark, yellow and brown. We practically got the same shades of colors as well.


Interesting...most interesting.











Thanks for stopping by, and we hope to see you all again sometime soon!! Come visit us in MD!

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Operation: Dinner Out

Sunday, May 13th 2007: BBQ at Beth & Jim's with Chris, Therese & Graham



Tuesday, May 22nd 2007: Cafe Belo with Kim & Dan



Saturday, May 26th 2007: Sunset Grill with Mark & Jess, Bill & Kara, Geoff & Sabrina, Jacob, Hobie and Diebold - after our first yard sale day, drinking yards became the norm...



Sunday, May 27th 2007: Wu Chon House with Geoff & Sabrina



Thursday, May 31st 2007: Sunset Grill with Birge

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Shiala & Joey hit Boston

Weekend of May 18th 2007:

Squeezing in a visit before we depart from Boston, Shiala and Joey visit for the weekend, hitting some favorites, touristy and new spots along the way:

Sunset Grill
Faneuil Hall
Ned Devine's
Cheers
Newbury Street
Wonderbar
Coolidge Corner
Punjab Palace
Harvard Square


Can't believe I forgot my camera (!)




Drinks, rather shots, at Wonderbar - my second time there, Brian's first

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Fuzzy G Marks the Spot

Saturday, May 12th 2007



It's always a fun time at 29 Greene.


















Would be a lot more photos, but they are just a bit too...

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Apt Hunting in MD & the Mazur Group in Baltimore

Monday, May 7th 2007:

We took an early train from South Station to Washington, DC's Union Station on our quest to find a new apartment in our soon-to-be new metro area. Feeling pretty crappy, I try to work on some projects with no success as I slept most of the way down. Brian on the other hand rallies and works on making corrections on his thesis. The train ride was actually pretty nice, except for the overhead compartments that were always noisy upon closing, so my rest wasn't quite restful.

All of the apartments we made appointments for were taken off craigslist, so we avoided any kind of broker's fee. But little did we know, the whole apartment search is not like Boston, where you have to drop a ton of money to hold the apartment.

Our first appointment was at 4pm in Bethesda, the one area we decided to look at. From our previous trip, we really liked the neighborhood, so we focused our search here.

The super deep Bethesda metro stop:


We picked up our zipcar from the Bethesda Court Hotel and drove to our hotel, the Clarion, to unload and relax a bit before heading out.

We ended up looking at around 6-7 apartments, all not quite what we were looking for and some just down right ridiculous. The one apartment that had the most promise wasn't actually available (!) and although I fell in love with it right away, it was a bit far from the downtown area. The next closest contender was right in the downtown area, but super expensive having 2 bedrooms and a nook for dining. Also, they were enforcing a policy to cover most of the wooden floors with rugs due to the loud noise created from walking on them with shoes. Hmm...

On the flip side, the worst apartment we saw had wall-to-wall carpeting. Now this isn't so bad if you're into that kind of thing, but when we say wall-to-wall, we mean carpet that went into the bathroom and covered the entire floor - gross!!! I mean come on people, what if the toilet floods...

The next worst was one that didn't have any kitchen cabinets of any kind, a kitchen that felt like it could be in the basement, especially having the washer and dryer under the counter next to the fridge and no windows.

Our hunt was not going too well.

We ate dinner at the Cheesecake Factory in Friendship Heights before our second to last appointment, the only one outside of Bethesda but just in the next town over. It was a bit ironic since Bethesda is a mecca of restaurants, but this was most convenient.

Driving around we jotted some names of nice looking buildings that could have decent apartments, and before getting some shut eye, we looked them as well as some others online.

Tuesday, May 8th 2007:

So much for the alarm snoozing and getting a good breakfast before our second day of searching. I did hit the alarm, but not being 100%, I probably turned it off. Next thing we know our first appointment was in less than 20 minutes, so we didn't even get a chance to shower. Good start.

We spent our time in between appointments making new ones at the fancier places, which came with heftier rents. The problem with these places was that they all had wall-to-wall carpeting which we didn't want, so even though the location was great and the fixtures were modern, we couldn't see ourselves living there.

After seeing probably six to seven apartments, we finally struck gold on our eighth. It felt so refreshing seeing the place that it felt like there was a heavenly "aaaah" that occured when Marla (the building manager) opened the door. It had everything we wanted, plus a pool, fitness center and balcony: the wooden floors, a washer and dryer in the unit, an open floor plan with enough square footage for both an office area and living room area, a reasonably sized bedroom, and great location, not to mention all the new fixtures and appliances. Having seen all the crap apartments before it, we knew this was the one. BUT we did have two final appointments. We did leave the building with a newfound skip in our step, but we didn't want to lose the apartment in the interim, so we called back to make sure it would still be available before we even saw the next place.

Strangely enough, one of the last two apartments was eerily similar to the one we liked, and cheaper, but the natural light didn't pour into the apartment as well as the other one. The view wasn't that great either, but I did like the french doors and walk-in closet.

So after seeing a total of about 15-16 apartments, we could finally relax, knowing that we found a place we could be happy in. What totally sucked was that we both weren't feeling all that great, so we didn't really explore the area again all that much afterwards and just headed back to the hotel. We ate dinner at the Chatters Sports Bar & Grill which was attached to the hotel and watched some Everyone Loves Raymond on the big projection screen.

Wednesday, May 9th 2007

After buying a tape measure at a nearby hardware store, we gave our application fee ($70 - the total amount to hold the apartment! as opposed to Boston's first, last, security, broker's) and measured the rooms. It's going to be interesting combining 3 of our current rooms into one large common area (kitchen, living room, office), but that just means we need to get rid of a lot of our clutter which is a good thing.

Here are some photos of our apt, which was newly renovated:










click on map for a closer look

We're in walking distance to what they claim is about 140 restaurants, so we decided to have lunch at one of them - Austin Grill. Expecting American fare, I was a bit surprised to see that the menu consisted of Mexican fare, but it was delicious.




Heading back to DC to catch a train to Baltimore to meet up with the Mazur group attending the CLEO/QELS conference.

Baltimore:

We get to our luxurious hotel, The Inn at Hendersons Wharf, located right near the water, and I take this time to get some rest and hopefully feel better before meeting up with the group.

The Mazur group reunion took place at The Red Star Bar & Grill, where we met up with the extended clan:



For dinner, both Brian and Mazur chose the Southern Maryland Crab Cakes: twin 3.5 oz cakes broiled with a light corn and fennel salad and grilled summer vegetables, while Rafa and I chose the Tuna Nicoise: grilled tuna steak over mixed greens with roasted vegetables, potatoes, Kalamata olives and hard boiled eggs, drizzled with a red wine Dijon vinaigrette - my stomach's growling just writing about it...



yummy almond caramel ice cream dessert...





After dinner, we headed over to The Admiral's Cup which had a $1 Miller Lite can special. Our table was littered with cans, and as the number dwindled to just the four of us, we looked like a bunch of alcoholics with all those cans in front of us.



We decided to venture over to where music was playing just down the street, which was an open deck bar on the third floor of a building called Woody's Rum Bar and Island Grill. We made our way to some empty tables at the far side of the deck, when we were pleasantly surprised with two familiar faces: Jon Birge & Jason Sickler, both who were attending the conference as well, sitting with other lab folk from MIT. Hello, hello.


$2 Coronas...summer is near.

With everyone starving, we headed to the Brick Oven Pizza just down the block for some peetzah - tastes so good late at night...really hits the spot. The last ferry back to the inner harbor was long gone, so the boys cabbed it back, while Brian and I walked the short distance back to the hotel. Called the front desk for a late check-out for the next morning.

And that pretty much sums up the past couple days.

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Sam & Emy's Wedding

Saturday, April 28th 2007

Congratulations!!



Some photos from our little point & shoot:





































"Everybody Sam Chung tonight!"

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Happy 30th Rafa!

Saturday, April 21st, 2007: Ryles Jazz Club in Cambridge, MA

Fun times were had last night. Although I missed the free salsa class, I did manage to learn how to merengue, learn some new cha cha moves, and feel like a stumbling bumbling dancer while doing so...there were definitely some pro-ish dancers there last night, which made it entertaining to watch as well as somewhat intimidating to be on the dance floor, but we just kept to one corner and did our thing.

Birthday boy


Big Red always makes an entrance...


Debuting my long crazy unstraightened wavy hair in public...










TEQUILA!


times two...Maria where are you?!






oh there she is, sort of...Jon hold on to her


Rafa teaches me how to salsa...


Rafa doing...break dancing?






Love Simone's red dance shoes




...and then the battery died. oh the night was still young when I had to catch the last bus, or rather buses back home.

Happy Birthday Rafael!

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Kiran & Sanjay's Wedding

Sunday, April 1st 2007 - April Fool's Day!

With a relationship that started almost the same time as Brian and mine's, it's wonderful to see two fellow classmates find each other again and get married. Wish Sudha could have made it to the festivities as well...our own little High Rise North suitemate reunion.

Congrats!








taken almost 10 years ago!

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Happy Birthday, Maria!

Saturday, March 17th, 2007 : Jake Ivory's on Landsdowne Street

and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Green anyone?
























































and some opa!

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Weekend at Sugarbush

Friday, February 16th, 2007:

The original plan -
Shawn flies intoLogan around 9:00am. Jackie picks him up, then Brian and I, and head up to Warren/Sugarbush, VT. Because of the holiday weekend, leaving in the morning would be ideal and would almost guarantee that we get there around 1 or 2pm. With lots of time, we would visit Montpelier, which Jackie has highly recommended. Then later that night, we would go to the Burlington International Airport to pick up Andrew around 11pm. Saturday we hit the slopes.

What actually happened -
Go to bed late the night before due to my procrastination to pack earlier. Wake up around 7:45am to finish packing. It takes Brian 5 minutes to pack and 5 minutes to shower, so I let him sleep in. I get frustrated packing, thinking "why is this taking so long" and "should i bring this...no, yes, no, yes...yes." It's just after 9am when Brian finally emerges from the bedroom. Then I realized that I hadn't printed out anything (maps, confirmations, etc), so I get on that, and then check my email. One message in the inbox, sent at 6:24am. It was Shawn. His flight got cancelled due to the awful snow storm up here on Wednesday (DOH!), but he was booked to take the 1:20pm flight which would get him here at 2:50pm. Hmm...I guess I could take a nap now. But for the next five hours, I managed to prolong the packing. No nap was taken.

So just a few minutes after Jackie texts that Shawn's flight will arrive at 3:30pm (again, DOH!), I hear some dripping noise near the window. There's a leak from the melting ice outside. Wonderful. But it's definitely a good thing we heard it before we left.

Like my super packed backpack...and the blue container setup in the back to catch the dripping water?



So Brian and I wait on the stoop as Jackie pulls up on the ice-covered driveway, both of us almost wiping out as we load the car. Head to the airport, where we circle the arrivals terminal twice before parking at the gas station nearby.

Yay! Shawn has his bags and is ready to go. We haven't seen him since the wedding more than 2.5 years ago, so it was fantastic that we were able to meet up.

Time: rush hour

So, as you can imagine, we inched our way north on 93. It had already been dark for a while by the time we hit the New Hampshire border. Our first goal was to stop and pick up some drinks at the huge welcoming red liquor and lottery tickets stop just over the border. Unfortunately, we just wanted some beer, but they only sold liquor. So we continue on.

Our next goal was to get something to eat, pick up some groceries, and buy the Beerfest DVD. Brian suggested Hopkinton, which was just past Concord, NH, as a good place to stop by since it was a large dot on the map, but not large enough that it would be crowded with people.

Exiting to Hopkinton. We're all hungry at this point. Keep driving. Pretty quiet, not much around, when we stumble upon Blaser's (yes, Blaser) Fireside Tavern. Gosh darn it, tablecloths and candles on the tables - a bit too fancy for us. So we continue on hoping for an alternative, when we see a sign for Route 89. We decided to leave this town unsatisfied. Oh, but wait, maybe West Hopkinton will be better. There was definitely a clear sign for food at the exit. Driving driving driving...oh good, a gas station to re-fuel, but the town is dead, with what we thought was a Chinese food restaurant and turned out to be a closed cafe. Okaaaay.

Let's try this again.

In the meantime to carry us over, we munched on mini Hershey bars - Jackie preferred "Special Dark", Shawn "Mr. Goodbar", Brian "Special Dark" as well, and me "Krackel" - and a tub of pistachio nuts. These were quite the lifesavers. Lots of good tunes playing through Jackie's ipod and occasional radio station. Jackie's uncanny ability to guess Aerosmith's airplay...

Finally, at New London, we "stumble" upon Peter Christian's Tavern, which was thought to be a high-traffic jewelry store on first passing (Shawn). Perfect - no candles, no tablecloths, decent prices.



One mission accomplished. Three left: beer, groceries, DVD

It was maybe close to 9pm at this point.

Doot doo doo. Keeping our eyes open for grocery and DVD stores...oh, hey there's one whole shopping complex, as we fly by the exit, followed by getting lost, taking Nutt Lane into the unknown, all the while we can see the complex lights in the distance. We did manage to pick up some beer at a small gas station before heading back north on 89. Mission two accomplished.

Are we there yet???

We did manage to "watch" part of a Simpsons episode playing in a car in front of us before deciding to drive faster. Brian knew which episode it was with a quick scene change of Homer, Bart, and Lisa on the couch. Pretty crazy...

Okay, just a few miles from Sugarbush, we had to travel up and down a mountain on roads with a light coating of snow. That was slightly unnerving since we weren't in a 4wd. Plus with the dark abyss of the valleys on one side and railings/guards covered with snow, I had to request we drive in the middle of the road.

Yay! We finally arrive at the resort. (It's just after 11pm - poor Andrew, being at the airport since around 7pm, his flight was also cancelled, , and was waiting for news of rescheduled flights. Turns out flights to Burlington from JFK have been cancelled since Tuesday!)

Now, where to pick up the keys...Claybrook - "sorry the keys haven't been delivered yet"...more driving...Sugarbush Inn - thank goodness, the key to the condo was there. After some more wrong turns, we FINALLY make it to the condo, which was just perfect (except for the unsurprisingly uncomfortable sofa bed.



with a sa-weeeet fireplace (which Brian spent a lot of time in front of - building the fire, nurturing it...) and free firewood










So, it turns out that Andrew was the #4 standby on the 9am flight out of JFK the next day. It's after midnight, maybe close to 1am, and he was just leaving the airport, just to have to get up early to maybe get a flight out at 9am and if not then the 12pm flight...what a headache. So we would await his call in the morning. For some reason, I thought it would be good to set the alarm for 9:01am. Yeah, right. Turned off immediately. Next thing I know Jackie's knocking on the door at about 10:30am.

Saturday, February 17th, 2007

Watching skiers go by on the "Out to Lunch" trail just behind our condo.


Checked the phone - Drew had called with fantastic news. He was on the 9am flight that would get him here around 11:30am. Egg-cellent!! Off to Burlington we go!

Thinking he packed light, we saw him with just a regular backpack only to find out that the airline lost his bag! Can things get more chaotic?! But the good part was that he made it. We would just have to do some shopping...

Before that though, let's get some eats. Wow, with all the choices we have now, where to go...how about the Pour House? Umm, a chili contest? Scratch that. Next...

driving around...shopping complex...Asian Bistro anyone?

finally, a perfect choice - a sandwich shop that was pretty popular among certain people (inside joke).





My discarded olives...


Back to the shopping complex that had a Dick's Sporting Goods AND a Best Buy (Beerfest!). After overcoming a rotary, we go to Dick's where Andrew browses around for the perfect purchases (ski pants, socks, jacket, gloves, pj's, etc.). This may take a while as we notice that he hadn't picked anything up for a good several minutes, so we left him there and headed over to Shaw's which was just across the way, picking up some snacks, beer, food, water and what would be the best munchie that weekend - Tyson's chicken wings (yum!).

We did have a tentative plan for the day, which was to possibly get back to Sugarbush in time to rent skis and have them for tomorrow to save time, meaning that we get back before 4:30pm.

The way things were going...it was not surprising that that was not going to happen.

Starbucks had eluded us, and on the "critical" drive back to Sugarbush, Andrew gets the call saying his bag is at the Burlington airport, just minutes after leaving the area with the next exit actually being the exit we would take to get back to Sugarbush.

So...yet other u-turn (goodness gracious)

It's great that Drew has his bag, and we drive back to Dick's to return his new purchases.

A little gift for all of Jackie's hard work driving...






We did make it back to the condo BEFORE the sun set completely, which I had hoped so that we could actually see the area around the resort, instead of just darkness.



Shawn reviews the different trails...



photo frenzy among photographers...



beer and relaxation...



Brian at his favorite spot...





Can't eat some wings if we can't get the old school oven to work. Let's see, set temperature...oh, turn knob to BAKE...ohhh...



We literally just sit and watch the fire crackle and enjoy some tasty buffalo and tequila lime wings. We decided to go out for some dinner, and it took 30 questions for the hostess to answer before deciding on this one place.

Heading out for some good old fashion ski lodge food, just a short walk from the condo crossing the bottom of some of the trails.



The slopes were completely black except for the lights in the parking lots and the main lodge where we were heading. We did encounter a woman walking a dog who so happen to have walked down one of the dark trails saying that there was a man lying down on the slope, probably a hundred yards or so up from us. No way were we, or I, was going into the darkness to check up on him, but she eventually told a lodge worker about it.

Timbers Restaurant at Claybrook. We sat at the bar for cheaper but good eats - Drew's first burger in a long time - and watched some Cast Away on the big screen.



Mel, one of the bartenders, is a snowboard instructor there, and he suggested we all took a lesson in snowboarding since none of us actually had one, and it was Jackie and Shawn's first time. The other bartender, at the end of the dinner, after we had gotten the check, gave us all a free shot of Jagermeister - it wasn't a bad as I remember, but still...not a tasty shot. We did notice that a lot of workers were coming out of the kitchen, and Mel was beet red. Jackie said that it was their drink break. I guess we were just a part of that.

Some snowballs and wrestling, followed by Brian's snow angel.




Two prepared cowpokes...





We get comfortable for some beer and Beerfest! "It was ze greatest beer in all ze vorld! "


Love the look on Shawn's face

After the movie, it was a tad late, so I "rolled" out the air mattress while the rest of the gang were going through all the special features. hint, hint...need sleep, want an early start.

Sunday, February 18th, 2007

Yay! We're going snowboarding!

We didn't get up in time to be the first in the rental line, but we did get up rather early. Unfortunately, they ran out of a size 6 and 6.5 for both Jackie and I, respectively. So Jackie went with a 5.5, which was also offered to me as well but was WAY too small, and then I used a size 7. I put on an extra thick pair of socks I brought along, and this would prove to be a bad decision - so much so that after the first run, I had to take them off and sit a little bit for the blood to painfully rush back into my toes. My toes were super squooshed.

Getting on the "Village Double" lift for our first run on the "Easy Rider" trail.





We were quite happy with the "mild" temperature, so we didn't need to be fully bundled. It was snowing...






Shawn & Jackie...Drew

It's been more than five years since we've hit the slopes, so I clung onto Brian as we got off the lift, avoiding a spill. Jackie couldn't avoid hers as Shawn was not much help, trying to figure out his own descent.


Drew was the pro among us having 8 snowboarding days in his pocket, 10 years ago.


Our first run. Quite reminiscent of our last time. As the speed increased, down I went. How to turn, how to turn...need to work on that. Did make it down with tired calves and numb toes. Drew definitely picked it up again as he was the first one down, waiting for us slowpokes. Jackie was actually really good on her first run, being many times better than Brian and I on our first. Shawn hit the deck pretty hard just a few meters from the top of the slope, and it looked like he was just going to sit there. But he got much better, making his way down and after Brian helped him out of the deep area (near the ski lift) "how much do you weigh?!" Brian exclaimed, with Shawn pretty much stuck in the snow.





Poor kid. He got stuck too.


We made 4 runs (probably would have done more if I didn't have to recirculate my blood to my toes and a much needed bathroom run) before heading back to the condo for lunch.





But before that, we got some DELICIOUS chocolate-dribbled waffles and hot apple cider from the small Waffle House at the bottom of the "Gate House Express Quad" lift. Here we're waiting in line




We were all happy to be back at our condo, where we started another fire and relaxed eating our turkey sandwiches. It felt so good to have those pesky boots off. Shawn (on the couch) and Jackie (on the floor with blankets and a pillow) got a little too comfortable and decided to just stay and not go for an afternoon run. It was tempting to just stay in the warm cozy condo, but Drew, Brian and I continued on. We headed out around 2:15pm.

We were able to squeeze in 2 runs - one on the trail we've been on so far, and then we cut across on Sugarbear Road to get to the Gate House Express Quad lift to try our hand on another route called the "Pushover". It was then that I realized that these routes are green circles - but for skiers. When we reached the top, and I saw the trail, I was like, "this is NOT a green!" Because of all the snow, there were lots of thick bumps, almost like moguls, that made it pretty difficult to turn. Plus, it was a bit steeper than the other trail, but fortunately, this trail connected to "Easy Rider" so at least the run won't end so badly. I was doing pretty well back on familiar territory until crossing over to go back to the condo, where I fell pretty hard on my bum - ouch! - for the first time that day. So a sore bum wasn't the best way to end the day...

Here we are on "Out Road" on the way to the condo








After showering and somewhat passing out whereever we sat, we headed over to the Phoenix Tavern which was just a short walk from the condo. Jackie and I played darts, and I was pretty much dominating up until the point I had to get the bullseye, the last one I had to close. Just couldn't do it, and Jackie came in for the kill. Food was decent, belly was full. Everyone's happy.



Back at the condo, we popped in Talladega Nights. This one wasn't as good as Beerfest, but it did have its moments - especially when Jackie shrieked and pretty much woke me up from my dozing when Elvis Costello briefly flashed on the screen. We had to rewind it for her.





Monday, February 19th, 2007

As the "parental" figures of the group, Brian and I wake up early, and he prepare breakfast as the other cowpokes continue to snooze.



We managed to get to the slopes when we wanted after packing up the car and cleaning up the condo.



Nice and sunny, and no lines - not many folks out yet.






At the top of the slope, before our first run:


Yowzah! Not quite the same conditions as yesterday, with the soft thick snow to carve and fall on. With the slope plowed, it was a whole new experience, painful at the least. We had to learn all over again, somewhat, and while Shawn was relaxing somewhere in the main lodge, Jackie would soon join him.



This is before she knew what she was going to face...



...and then back at the bottom...a happy camper deciding she's had enough







Drew, Brian and I continue to tough it out on the slopes as Jackie and Shawn go back to the Timbers Restaurant for some beer and eats. I felt pretty good on my last run, having somewhat gotten my bearing, and we headed to the waffle house again for one last chocolate-drizzled waffle and hot apple cider - yum! - before meeting up with Jacks and Shawn.







I'd say even with all the chaos we had that weekend, it was pretty successful, considering the first timer, Jackie, would like to go back again sometime in the future. Just say when, and I'll be there...

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Superbowl 2007

It was another fun and crazy Superbowl at the Tull's.

Thanks to everyone who came over and for bringing their money and treats. I was very disappointed that even though I unwrapped Jess's rice krispy treats for everyone to enjoy, I did not get a chance to have one myself. I recovered very quickly though upon discovering an unopened bag of dark chocolate covered pretzels...who brought them? Whoever it was, thank you for filling my chocolate void for the next couple days. Rafa's "homemade" pelotas del queso were tasty and enthusiastically distributed. (Thanks for the surprise in the freezer.) Diebold and Hobie's guacamole was mouth tingling and delicious. Didn't try it with the spicy nachos, courtesy of Sabrina. We served our "homemade" buffalo and tequila lime wings, which Hobie quite appreciated from last year, so we brought them back again, and the obligatory pizza. Frosted beer mugs and glasses were used by most (Geoff unwittingly went for the Harvard gold rim glass, left abandoned on the shelf by the ones sitting pretty in the freezer). The beer ball lasted the night, with just one serving remaining at the end.

With the pouring rain, the game definitely had some surprises, but not enough for those vying for the pool winnings, such as getting a touchdown but missing the point after touchdown - which was strongly pushed for in the 4th quarter by some [Rafa]. Brie would dominate the first half, winning both quarters, and became the focus of beer drinking peer pressure the rest of the night. She did doze off only to be later inadvertently woken up by a flying football, aimed for Geoff, who was dubbed the lucky charm. Hobie, who happens to have been the culprit, wins the 3rd quarter for the second year in a row. The Bears final possession of running the ball on 4th down instead of going for the field goal kept the score in the same corner it's been all night, with Jess clinching the final pot.

Commercials were not on my radar this year, catching just one early on that really stuck: careerbuilder.com with people running off a cliff, and the K-Fed one which I had read about. Prince's half time performance was not without comments: his Aunt Jemima hair accessory, the appearance that he and his dancers seemed impervious to the downpour, his random Foo Fighters cover, and his well- (or ill-) positioned symbol-shaped guitar for his shadow-cast silhouette.

Game Summary:
1st Quarter $20 - Sabrina
14:46 0-7 CHI TD IND kicked off, Devin Hester returned kickoff for 92 yards (Robbie Gould made PAT)
6:50 6-7 IND TD Peyton Manning passed to Reggie Wayne down the middle for 53 yard gain (2pt attempt failed, Player run up the middle)
4:34 6-14 CHI TD Rex Grossman passed to Muhsin Muhammad to the right for 4 yard gain (Robbie Gould made PAT)

2nd Quarter $20 - Sabrina
11:17 9-14 IND FG Adam Vinatieri kicked a 29-yard field goal
6:09 16 - 14 IND TD Dominic Rhodes rushed to the right for 1 yard gain (Adam Vinatieri made PAT)

3rd Quarter $20 - Hobie
7:26 19 - 14 IND FG Adam Vinatieri kicked a 24-yard field goal
3:16 22 - 14 IND FG Adam Vinatieri kicked a 20-yard field goal
1:14 22 - 17 CHI FG Robbie Gould kicked a 44-yard field goal

4th Quarter $40 - Jessica
11:44 29 - 17 IND TD Kelvin Hayden intercepted Rex Grossman for 56 yards (Adam Vinatieri made PAT)

After the game, we bade farewell to Birge, Jess, Rafa and Simone. Not wanting to watch the post-game show, I turned on some high-def Jarhead on HBO, during which we played a movie game, where one person names a movie, the next one names an actor in that movie, the next one a movie that actor has been in, and repeat until one is left standing. Elimination occurs if you can't think of one or when challenged, you can't provide an answer the challenger couldn't.

Final result: Two rounds, one winner for both. [Granted, I did have two small "typos" that no one challenged]:

The Departed - Leonardo DiCaprio - Titanic - Ioan GRuffudd (Pronounced YO-an GRIFF-ith)/Fantastic Four - Jessica Alba - Sin City - Enriquez/Benicio del Toro (oh Brian...)

Harry Potter 2 - Maggie Smith (not White) - Clash of the Titans

One of the winning threads, maybe?:
Gladiator - Joaquin Phoenix - Walk the Line - Reese Witherspoon/Election - Matthew Broderick - Ferris Bueller's Day Off - Jennifer Grey - Dirty Dancing - Patrick Swayze - Donnie Darko - Jake Gyllenhaal - October Sky/Laura Dern


Good times.

Guests: Diebold, Hobie, Rico, Geoff, Sabrina, Rafa, Simone, Birge, Jess, Jackie


















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Monday, December 18, 2006

A New Decade: Welcome to the Thirties

Saturday, December 16, 2006: Ruby (12/16) & Brian's (12/17) 30th Birthday

(click here to view the invitation)

Thanks so much to everyone who came out to celebrate, with a special thanks to those who traveled from Jersey and NY:
Mom & Dad, Elmer & Hoong-San, Eric De La Cruz, Jackie, Maria, Geoff & Sabrina, Kim & Dan, Mark & Jess, Rafa & Simone, Eric Diebold, Jon Birge, Andrew, Jess Watkins, Loren & Jason, Sam & Emy, Jim Carey, Prakriti & Dinesh, Cleber & Carla, Tobias & Katja, Amy & Ryan, Bola, Hobie & Jen

We had a blast, and hope you all did, too. Here are some photos. Click to enlarge.
Enjoy!

3:00pm: At Carlos Cucina Italiana


4:20pm: Walking to the MFA


7:23pm: Our evening venue: Felt







My favorite dish was the Lump Crab Cakes, and apparently having an "s" at the end does not mean more than one.























~9:30pm: With our usual lateness, we finally make it up to the 2nd floor billiards.




















The first shot of the night:




~11:45pm: Dance dance dance! At the Club on the 4th Floor.












The only ten polaroids that came out, quite literally...stupid polaroid camera

















Midnight - Happy Birthday, Brian!




























"How much more do I have to spend?!"














































Pricey champagne anyone? (Perrier Jouët, Rose, Fleur de Champagne)































"I'm bringing sexy back..." "Yep"







2:21am: Heading out to...




I - HOP! (2:52am)







That sure hit the spot...

Thanks again!

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mazur Group Trip - Martha's Vineyard 2006

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 - 6:00am meeting time

Another fun adventure with the Eric Mazur group. Our program this time included heading to Martha's Vineyard and biking about 25 miles, both on and off-road, with a beach break for lunch and sun, although we pretty much had lots of sun all day long. Later we heard it hit 100 degrees in Boston. It was rather hot at MV, but with the wind in our hair, er, helmets, and being on an island...it didn't feel quite as hot, thank goodness (but then again, I start sweating with minimal exertion).

We had an early call time since we needed to get to Woods Hole by 7:45am since the ferry leaves for MV at 8:00am. While driving, which was provided by Diebold, Mark, Sam & Jeff, the weather was not looking good (dark, grey and overcast), but by the time we boarded the ferry, the sun was shining. With the anticipation of having sun all day, most of us applied sunscreen while on the ferry, and we jumped at the opportunity to sit in a small area that was shaded.





We were a large group of 22 but paled in comparison to a group of 60 that would be renting bikes from the same store later that day.

Logical thought can be elusive, especially when strapping a bag to the back of a bike, as it happened with me, and essentially toppling over, almost taking out Jess in the process. The result: a bruised leg and ego. At least that would be the only error that day...or so I thought.



The biking part was actually fun - when the seat wouldn't slowly sink back down. Other folks didn't quite have the same experience since their seats were being uncooperative or just plain broken or uncomfortable. Nothing you could really do about it...other than calling the store and have someone come out and take a look at it and fix it, which we found out you could do as we returned the bikes later that day.



Brian, Mark, Jess & I completely lost the group on our way to the Victorian "gingerbread" cottages of the Town of Oak Bluffs since we got stuck behind some parking traffic. Good thing we turned around and saw some of the group pop their heads out of an alley as they were on their way to pick up some lunch and snacks. It was around 10am.



The area we were in was super-cute and quaint, and the gingerbread cottages were amazing. I felt like we were in Munchkinland, being surrounded with colorful, small houses. They were very cartoon-like with their out-of-the-ordinary colors and trimmings, something like out of a fairytale.







After synchronizing three cameras for a group photo, we headed off again, and it was during this stretch of the ride I decided to whip out my coordination skills and photograph while biking. This part of the trip was pretty cool, having bodies of water on both sides of this small strip of land.





another example of the refreshing summer treat being called "Italian Ice" as opposed to "Water Ice"




Being a large group, there was a tendency to fall behind especially if you weren't avid bikers. We came to an area where you HAD to walk your bike, and it was there where we decided to split into 3 groups. It seemed a bit chaotic as no one was sure of where to go without Mazur leading the charge, but we eventually re-grouped and off we headed to our destination: South Beach.







Okay, if you've ever participated in an event that involved your searching for photos of yourself, like a marathon, this kinda has the same feel...





Oh, I love the wide angle...except for the slight distortion with this photo - I certainly look weird (or at least I think so)











Aaaah. The beach.

Sofie fills the "being buried" requirement for this trip (see last year's August 2005 deep sea fishing trip)



Anyone up for a game of frisbee...



...anyone?



...anyone?



The beach was rather crowded to throw one around, but we managed for a short time, before basically hitting everyone around us - not really hitting per se, but definitely invading their space. It was a sorry sight to see.



This is the second attempt at frisbee, which this time, we really competed with the wind and while we didn't "hit" anyone, we did experience "the ball ending up in a mean neighbor's backyard" feeling. Meaning, the frisbee ended up going several times into roped-off areas, roped-off not only for preservation reasons, but for ticks.








aaaaaah...tick-infested zone!






there it goes...again









The last throw by Diebold ended up beyond our sight and over a small hill. There was some debate as to retrieve it since it had some sentimental value to Jeff. I left before it was resolved...but yes, Diebold did eventually get it back after much hesitation.

Okay, so here are the results of the waterproof camera. It's too bad that some of them did not come out as well as others. Maybe the pounding of the waves had something to do with it...



Well, here is my other error of the day: not wearing a sporty bikini top, but we won't go into it. Let's just say that I wish I could have done more body surfing...

It was the perfect weather to just run into the ocean and cool off, especially after biking for several miles. Well, while the water was refreshing, it turned out to be quite a workout.

Holy cow, were those waves vicious! I tumbled not once, but twice, backwards with my feet soaring above my head, like a ragged doll being tossed in a washing machine. The sand was so stirred up that my hair was full of it, even after trying to rinse it out. You couldn't escape it.








Even when you think you've escaped the wave by going under as it passes above you, you get sucked into the riptide, and next thing you know, your knees are scraping the sand, and you're left exposed and battered.










Sam was definitely a trooper who insisted on charging the waves, but we all knew who won that battle.

Run!


I preferred the "okay, come and get me" approach.



Yowsah!




Ming-Yen's quest to avoid the sun...








After about two and a half hours on the beach, we continue with our biking. But not before refueling and refilling with water from a random garden hose near a house being reconstructed. Hmm, a little suspect.

And we're back on the bikes...






















We stopped off at the Morning Glory Farm where inside, the produce was displayed quite beautifully.





This would be the last stop with civilization before we head off-roading, which although I would have loved to take photos of us biking, this time, two hands on the bike were quite necessary. The sand was the worst since you could barely move in it. But for some reason, I could not keep my wheel straight, so it was a little trying. It was rather refreshing to be back on a paved bike path.

We did discover that both bikers and drivers on MV are quite abrasive, yelling at us to move or to get on a bike path or to stay in a single line. "Hellooooo, can we get through??" in an obnoxious tone, and when the path clears, "Thank you" in a sweet voice.

Eh, que sera sera...


Our final destination was the Black Dog Tavern.





Sam and Diebold went for the cake and ordered the Clambake Bucket for 2, which starts with the Black Dog Quahog Chower (Shou-dah!)





Then a bucket of two whole lobsters, two large sausages, two corn on the cob and a bunch of mussels and steamers - yum yum!!! It was quite the production.




Sharing a bowl of the chowder and steamers, I went for the Codfish with tasty mashed potatoes and Brian went for the grilled 18 oz. Delmonico Steak.

<

Amidst enjoying our meal, we hadn't realized how late it was until Mark pointed out that the next ferry would be leaving at 7:15pm. The next one would be at 9:30pm. It was 6:50pm.

Huh.

We had gotten to the restaurant later than expected, so there was a bit of a scramble deciding what to do. The Mazur family decided to relax and catch the 9:30pm, while most of the group wanted to catch the 7:15pm. So after gobbling the last of the few bits of the food, we were in a mad dash after the ferry, which felt like we just caught in time. It was a shame that the day on the island couldn't end more calmly and that we left some of our own behind.



We did get a chance to watch the sun set in the sky.










It had been a LONG day, but some of us decided to head to one of our favorite ice cream spots in Falmouth: Ben & Bill's Chocolate Emporium, where they serve lobster ice cream and small cups that could pass for large. Luckily we found out that there is a kiddie size, which could pass for medium, although it was after-the-fact for some of us. We got there just in time, because minutes later, the line was out the door, stretching to the next store.

Triple Chocolate was a hit with Brian and Mark, while Elena and I went for Cookie Dough, though I also had Cookies 'n Cream mixed in. I can't remember the other choices made, but Diebold again, who admitted that he freaks out when put on the spot in making a decision, goes for one of the more bizarre combinations: Pralines & Pecans with Peppermint Stick. People's reactions were classic when he said what he chose.

And in serendipitous fashion, a Black Dog store was located directly across the ice cream store, where we decided to stand in front of while enjoying our ice cream. We learned about the history of "Black Dog" and found out that the Black Dog t-shirts were the second most sold shirt in the U.S. behind Hard Rock Cafe.

Good times...

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Red Sux game

just a quick post...

went to a red sux game last night courtesy of my care bear, along with her friends Allison and Chris. 3rd row behind third base. FANTASTIC seats!! thanks care bear!

it was against the phillies, and in my support against the red sux, i wore a philadelphia fire department shirt, given by my bro-in-law, cliff. i wasn't heckled at all, but then again, the phillies were down 0-6 when we finally made it to the game, and ended up losing 10-2.








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Monday, January 30, 2006

"California, California...here we come!"




Music from "California" by Phantom Planet

Fun times with great friends...more photos and details to follow (whenever that may be...)


Jia and Reuben...Ed and Sudha...


Michael and Alex...the Germans...


Masa...Peggy, Henry and Ashish...



Sheera (sorry about the spelling)...and Noah...

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Sunday, October 30, 2005

Our motto: "Aim Low"





Happy Halloween! click here for some pre-Halloween fun

More photos from Halloween Night coming soon...in the meantime, check out last year's photos

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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Graham's Baptism

Sunday, October 2nd, 2005

Therese and Chris baptized little Graham at St. Paul's Cathedral in Harvard Square.



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Monday, September 19, 2005

Philadelphia Distance Run

What an amazing experience! Never did I thought that I would ever run a long distance race, let alone a half marathon. Being more of a sprinter (my nickname with my high school softball team was "Speedy Gonzales"), I never ran cross-country nor more than a mile at any one time before the age of 21.

But as I've learned through Brian, and by being quite unaware of just how far I was running when I did, running is quite a mental thing. For simplicity sake, running = jogging.
So after starting a health kick this past June 1st, I started running almost every other day about two miles on a treadmill or two and a half outside, or so I thought. Turns out that I was running about 3.5 miles outside. I couldn't believe it when Brian told me after calculating the distance on Google. He was keen on finding out his running distance since he decided to run the Philly half marathon. Knowing this, I gave it some thought and looked at running some 5k's in the area. There was going to be one in Providence on September 11th that I was thinking about. This whole running-a-race bug kicked in around the third week in August.

I had been running consistently outside instead of in the gym since the weather was pleasant in the morning, and then September 1st rolls around and it being such a huge moving day, sidewalks were covered with garbage and abandoned furniture for a couple days, including during one of my usual running days. Therefore, I decided to try running along the Charles River for a change, thinking I would run about 4.5 or 5 miles, since actually getting to the river would add to the distance. Again, I underestimated the distance and ran 6.1 miles to my amazement. I did this another two times in the next 5 days even though I hated going up and down stairs at the BU Bridge.

Trying to get a good group together, Brian had sent several reminder emails about signing up for the Philly Half Marathon to our friends. It was his last one that made me seriously consider running it as well. Just one of those, "Hmm, I think I can do it." Good thing there was an deadline extension, so I could up my distance and see how I felt. So just one week after upping my distance to 6.1, I went to Marathon Sports to get "real" running shoes since my knees started to ache a little and one of my toe nails was getting squooshed.

I don't know what my deal is with calculating distances BEFORE running, but once again, I understimated my distance. Thinking I was running 11 or so miles, I ended up running 12.5 miles that same day. Knowing that, I would have run the extra .6 miles. And what a way to break in my new shoes! It was definitely a "fun" run since I hadn't been to certain parts of the river. It was a beautiful evening, and as I was running on the south side of the Charles River, the sun was setting behind me. I made it a goal to be running on the Harvard Bridge (more like the MIT Bridge) to cross the river in time to see the sun set behind Cambridge. Gorgeous. It made running that much more enjoyable with the beautiful landscape, much more so than running around the area where we live.

So there. I more than doubled my distance in a week, at a pace of 11 minutes a mile. It's definitely not a fast pace, but I didn't feel like keeling over afterwards which was good, since I hadn't done anything like that before (well...not counting the bike-a-thon in NYC that was 47 miles), and running under a certain time wasn't my goal. Just to see how I felt and whether I could handle the distance. I registered on Sunday, September 11th, a week before the run, coincidentally the day Providence had the 5K I was thinking about running.

<full weekend write-up to follow soon>

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Wake-up call: 6:00am
Run begins: 7:45am

Runners: Eric Hoke, Brian, Ruby
Non-Runners (who casually make their way back to the hotel after 5am): Eric Diebold and Rico







PDF of course map

race photos by Action Sports





The weather was just a tad chilly before the run started, but when the sun started getting higher in the sky, it warmed up steadily. Eric was in the 1st non-elite corral, Brian in the 6th, and I was in the 8th corral, up from the 11th. I could hear the cheers when the race began, but it was more than five minutes before I actually crossed the starting line. It was kinda funny how at one point as we were nearing the starting line, everyone started to run, but then quickly stopped due to "congestion" up ahead. The course passes our hotel twice, and each time, I looked to see if anyone sat in the chair we put out on the balcony, but no one did.

The course is really quite nice and easy, being flat most of the way. Each mile marker had a timer underneath it, and when it reached an hour into it, I tried looking across the Schuylkill River to see if I could spot any runners already heading towards the finish line.




With a goal of 1:30:00, Eric finishes in an astonishing 1:27:32 (net chip time), placing him at 294 out of 8,600 runners! That's running at a pace of 6:41 per mile!!




Brian CRUSHES his goal of 2 hours, finishing at 1:43:08 (net chip time), a pace of 7:59 per mile, placing him at 1,512 out of 8,600 runners


I, too, beat my goal of 2:30:00 (I signed up with a 2:45:00 finish), finishing at 2:11:31 (net chip time), a pace of 10:02 per mile, placing me at 5,987 out of 8,600 runners.

The real kicker here is that I was running at a pace of 9:40/mile before succumbing to a most desperately needed bathroom break just after the 8.2 mile (marked by a water station), which added at least 2 minutes to my run. I had the urge to use the bathroom for several miles already before deciding that it'll only get worse if I hold it in any longer.

About two tenths of mile from the finish line, I saw Brian and Eric and ran towards them to say hello. I asked them how much further, and they said I was very close to the finish line, and so I, with a lack of better words, hauled ass. It was an amazing feeling to have the energy to pass a lot of runners on my way. The crowds were larger near the finish, and you could hear them screaming "You can do it!" and "Almost there!". They were a blur to me as I used everything I had left to push myself to the finish. If I saw a video of it, I probably looked ridiculously fast in comparison to the others, zigzagging between them. Probably made up some time from the bathroom break.


(that's me behind the woman in white)

I met up with Brian's mom, who amidst all the excitement, took that finish-line photo above of "partial" me. Thinking that Brian would finish around the 2-hour mark, she got there just a few minutes before the 2-hour mark, not knowing that Brian had finished almost 15 minutes earlier.



Having just a small sip of water at the 10.1 mile mark, I guzzled the one bottle of water we received at the finished line and was aching for more, quite literally. On top of the dehydration, my leg muscles screaming at me to do a proper after-run stretch, and I could barely stand still on the long line for food and snacks, which included orange slices, apples, bananas, peanuts, power bars and fig newtons. So luckily, there were tons of bottles back at the finish line I was able to grab for all of us.



Out of the 54 runners from Massachusetts, Eric was #5, Brian #7, and myself at #38





More than an hour after crossing the finish line (close to two for Eric and Brian), I decided to run the museum steps (a la Rocky style), and Eric joined me, or actually sprinted past me. We showed Eric Sly's footprints, a pair of All-Stars in size 9. The museum was free until noon, so Eric decided to go in while we headed back to the hotel, where our cohorts were still snoozing away.

Thanks, Mom for all the post-race photos!





After barely getting out of the hotel by the late check-out time of 1pm, we headed to Brian's parents' place for the Eagles-49er's game and for rest and relaxation before having the long drive up back to Boston. Philly cheesesteaks from Steve's Prince of Steaks hit the spot along with some M&M's and chocolate cake. Exhausted, I crashed on the couch during the 42-3 slaughter.

On our way back, we stopped off in Brian's old haunt of Hartford, CT, originally planning to have dinner at the John Harvard's there, but it being late, was probably just closing, so we went to the Hooter's nearby. Rico popped "The Dreamers" DVD in and Brian and I joined in the viewing, with the occassional peeks from Hoke, who sat in the front passenger seat.

It was around 12:30am when we finally relaxed in our comfy apartment.

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Friday, August 19, 2005

Deep Sea Fishing with the Mazur Group























































































































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Monday, August 01, 2005

"...that's Shakespeare in the Park..."

Thursday, July 28, 2005

What a fun performance! We've been to very few outdoor theatrical performances, although we did walk by last year's Much Ado About Nothing which I've seen the movie version numerous times and is one of my favorites, and I just couldn't sit and watch without directly comparing it to the movie and concluding that the movie was much better. This year though, Hamlet is the featured play, and we decided to make a picnic out of it. The weather was gorgeous, and Elmer, Hoong-San and I arrived at the Commons early to stake out a spot for about 9 of us. Good thing we brought large blankets, but with just the three of us there saving a large area, I was getting a bit antsy as more people surrounded us. Of course, the rest of the gang showed up, and with food, no less, from Felipe's - yum! The play was done well, and although it was long, the design and execution was rather unique and interesting to keep us awake through the whole thing. Look forward to next year's!













Where's Simone?

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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Hiking in Pawtuckaway with the Mazur group

Wednesday, June 29th, 2005

With wonderful planning done by Miss Jessica Watkins, the Mazur group had quite an adventurous trip to Pawtuckaway State Park. Based on everything that was planned, only the following actually stuck: having lunch on the mountain, the cost to get into the park, dinner at Pinkerton Tavern, and all the mosquitos and bugs you would love to hate.

Although we left the grounds of Harvard a tad bit later than expected due to a certain someone oversleeping (see first photo), we actually got to the park before it even opened. We all took this opportunity to poison our skin and stain our clothes with bug repellent. I guess I was the only one who truly poisoned my skin, spraying 100% deet on myself. We really had no idea what we were going to be in for. Geoff and his car mates got lost somewhere along the way, and we waited a few minutes for them to arrive before starting the hike.

Now, the plan was to hike to North Mountain, but that was quickly changed to a longer route to Devil's Den at the request of Eric Mazur. I've already forgotten to mention how absolutely gross and humid it was, so trekking along everyone worked up a good sweat. That is probably why the attack of the mosquitos was so apparent: the bug spray was rubbing off with our sweat. I was confident my poisonous spray would shield me, but it was very discouraging seeing swarms of them around. Everyone either held onto their spray or kept it very accessible. There was a constant smell of bug spray. Krystal actually bought one with a nice scent, so it wasn't so bad. Even Diebold at times seemed deranged, waving his very long arms like crazy to avoid getting bitten. We concluded that the bugs attack the tallest of us. Plus with the white shirt, he was quite the target.

I didn't have a watch on me, so I didn't know what time we made it to the top. Water was scarce and personally, it was hard for me to eat my turkey and roast beef sandwich since my mouth was so dry. I shouldn't complain though since poor Mark didn't have a chance to make a proper lunch.

The view would probably have been much nicer without all the haze, but up top, we actually caught a couple breezes here and there. However slight, it felt wonderful.

On our descent, we encountered a very large green metal and plastic structure (see video and photos) that pretty much boggled everyone's mind.

Going downhill turned out to be more of a challenge than uphill, especially with all the moisture in the air accumulating on the surfaces we walked on. I slipped, bracing my fall with my hands, Jessica almost sprained her ankle, and Tina unfortunately sprained hers with much pain and tears. But she was quite the trooper, overcoming sometimes pretty steep and rocky terrain with the help of a walking stick and supportive friends. Luckily Brian had packed an ice pack that stays cold for a long time, and it was placed on her ankle to reduce the swelling.

Because of the severity of the injury, Eric Mazur asked Geoff and Rishi to go ahead and drive back to a certain point where Tina would be waiting, which would be 3 miles away from where we parked. Brian luckily had reception on his phone, and when it seemed like Geoff and Rishi either got lost or still had a ways to go, Eric sent Diebold, Mark and Jim after them.

When we finally reached the road, Jessica kept Tina company as the rest of us made the 3-mile trek back. It was at this point when it started to rain. At least the trees were shading us from the drops...or so we thought.

First came the booming crackling sound of thunder and the flashes of lightning in the distance. Okay, a thunderstorm. No problem. Even Iva thought I was doing flash photography. But as we continued walking, there was a moment when the sky turned a bright white, as if with a burst of sunlight and then immediately, a resounding boom that scared the living daylights out of us. It happened a couple times, really freaking us out. Turns out the the boys ahead actually heard the crackling of the tree hit by lightning, and both Mark and Jim hit the ground. Crr-azy!

Then came the torrential downpour. Now, usually with a downpour, it lasts just a few minutes. This one lasted the entire walk back. It was amazing how consistently hard it rained down on us. Our trails literally became rivers. We could not get any wetter, and avoiding the deep puddles/rivers, if you could, was pointless. We started off walking rather briskly and continued to do so despite the rain, so we had to be extra careful of wet leaves and stones. Honestly, it was quite exhilarating in the beginning, but then it actually became too cold, and everyone was carrying a couple extra pounds of sopping wet clothes, shoes, backpacks, etc. Brutally hot and humid to cold. One extreme to another just like that.

What I would have done to have a waterproof camera on me...

The trail seemed endless, and we were joyous, as much as we could be in our state, when we finally reached our cars. It was a good sign that Geoff's car wasn't there, meaning he was on his way to Tina and Jessica. Diebold and Mark told us barely five minutes elapsed between their getting back and ours. They had already changed into a new set of clothes.

Oh and what a mess...Diebold's car was brand spanking new too, and we just wrecked havoc in the interior. Never thought we would ever have to completely strip off all our clothes in his car.

We all, with the exception of Jim and Bryan Menegoni, both of whom I'm sure was happy to get back home after this, drove to the store near the beach (we had planned to hang out there after our hike) where some of us bought dry t-shirts and cheap sandals before heading out to the restaurant. Diebold, for some reason, made it a point to turn the a/c on in the car. After several requests, Brian quite emphatically told him to turn it off. It was quite hilarious. But when the heat was turned on, it definitely made everyone very tired and sleepy.

We got to the Pinkerton Tavern much earlier than our 6pm reservation. Jessica was craving their gorgonzola garlic loaf the entire day and was anxious to have some. The host and waiters were very nice, providing food to snack on upon our arrival. Mark requested a bottle of red wine for the table, which turned out to be quite good and another bottle made its way around the table. The clam chowder was brought out in rather large bowls, even though we ordered the small size, and I had wished it had a little more umph in it.

The sun managed to peak out from behind the clouds while we were eating, but snuck back when we left the restaurant.

We got a sneak peak of Diebold's sweet new apartment on our way back home. Sick...really sick. Plus the previous tenants left a plethora of very interesting things behind.

Anywhoo...

definitely looking forward to the next group outing...

VISUALS

A video on bugs and microwaves...



Brian and Geoff serenade us...




Okay, here is a non-edit of our photos...well actually, I did take a few out. You can click on each photo to get an enlargement.





























Group photo via Eric Mazur



















Iva blinded me with flash...















Here's the link for Geoff's photos:
http://mazur-www.harvard.edu/trip_pics/



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Saturday, June 11, 2005

Tastings & Michael and Jim's Graduation

Thursday, June 9th

Thursday night out coincided with Harvard's commencement, having two Mazur group graduates participate in the very early morning excercise: Jim Carrey and Michael Sheehy, who had practically zero sleep since flying in on a red-eye just to make it in time to walk. The bunch gathered at the Cambridge Brewing Company for some good if not interesting beers. I was mesmerized by their offering of a "tower" of beer, but our table did not get one, at least not when I was there, leaving earlier than most.

Beforehand, Brian and I went to "A Toast and a Taste", an assignment I photographed, where Brian had a good helping of different wines and food tastings. I waited until I was finished working before I scarfed down some food and drank a glass of wine (a little too quickly, I think). Then Brian suggested we walk to the CBC, thinking it wasn't that far. Well, it turns out that it was VERY far considering that I was carrying my equipment. I asked the all-too-familiar question, "Are we there yet?" several times during the course of our 3-mile walk. It felt so good to finally sit down.


Geoff helping me select a beer. He wasn't too fond of the glass his beer came in.




Therese, looking wonderfully bulbous, is due in just a couple of weeks. They're still deciding on a middle name for Graham...




Michael and Steve in a staring contest.







Congratulations to you both!!

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Friday, May 20, 2005

The circle is now complete...

With the much-anticipated Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith coming out, we set up our own Tull Cinema in preparation and celebration. We even got our own custom made M&M's.



On Tuesday, May 17th, Sam and Emmy joined us for our 7pm showing of Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. The DVD is an extended version, so it was a little longer than we had expected. It had been a long time since I had seen the movie, and I was surprised at how sensitive I was with Jar Jar again, being that I had seen it several times before and that Jar Jar had, to a certain extent, become background noise. Ugh, he's just so utterly ridiculous. Being the absolutely best part of the movie, the Darth Maul duel was fantastic to see again. That night, we treated ourselves to the M&M's, chips, dips, and yummy honey mustard pretzels.

On Wednesday, May 18th, Geoff joined us for a double feature of Episode 2: Attack of the Clones and The Clone Wars, the animated series. We were going to show Episode 4: A New Hope, but it was just too late by the time we finished The Clone Wars. This time, aside from the M&M's, we treated ourselves to yummy Thai food. Geoff devoured his in no time, while I ate at a consistent pace for about twenty minutes. With both Episodes 1 and 2, we occasionally paused the movie to discuss and confirm plot lines. But for Episode 2, there was definitely more chatter during the movie, mostly about Padme's "Let's just be friends" clothing. Bringing some healthy treats, Sam joined us with about 15 minutes left in Episode 2, coming from a crepe-making dinner.

We weren't sure about seeing The Clone Wars beforehand, but for anyone who hasn't seen Episode 3 yet, we highly recommend renting/buying the DVD. Because only volume 1 is on DVD, you'll have to watch the last five chapters (volume 2) online at http://www.starwars.com/clonewars/. It takes about 2 hours to watch both volumes. Not only is the animation done very well, but the overall series complements the movies so perfectly, describing the events that happen between Episodes 2 and 3. LOTS of action. After watching volume 1, we hooked up Geoff's computer, on which he downloaded volume 2, to one of our monitors to watch the last 5 chapters in full screen.

It was around 12:30am when we finished, a half hour into Episode 3 for those who went to see the midnight showing. Brian said that ten theaters at the Loews Boston Common, where we watch most of our movies, were being used for the midnight showing. Crrrraaaazy.

The big day: Thursday, May 19th

We bought our tickets on May 7th for the 5:40pm DIGITAL (DLP) show. There were only a limited number of shows for the digital version, and the time we chose was at the matinee price, so it was a double bonus for us when we got them. I got to the theater at 3:45pm, expecting a line to be there already since the last digital show was at 2:20pm. A line had already formed, and I asked if it was for the 5:40pm show. People on line were like, "No, it's for the 4:20pm show..." Oookaaay. So much for that. After talking with Elmer for a little bit, I called Brian around 4:00pm who was half a block away from the theater with Geoff. We headed back to area where the line was, and the 4:20pm folks were already let in. There were about 12 people waiting on line for the 5:40pm show. Who knows, they could have been there the entire time...

Anyways, it was good we got there early, for the line grew steadily soon after. We were entertained with the variety of Star Wars music that was playing overhead. Brian said that in the men's bathroom, there was a commercial being played for a Star Wars Christmas CD with treats like Chewbacca's "Silent Night" and Yoda's "Twelve Days of Christmas."

Sam and Emmy later joined us in line, and we watched as the 2:20pm crowd walked by. For the most part, there were smiling, chatty faces. A good sign, perhaps. We tried to avoid hearing any chatter by talking amongst ourselves and by humming, at least I did (Brian and I both avoided reading anything or even watching the trailer after seeing it just one time way back when...and while we can mute our TV, it was played during the previews for several movies we had recently gone to, so even though we closed our eyes, we still heard the audio...yes, we're freaks).




Brian was really adamant about getting seats in the third or fourth row in the main section, and when we entered the theater, the people ahead of us had taken the fourth row center, so we took the third row. The theater was smaller than expected, but we had prime seating. Jonathan joined us a few minutes later, with the theater already pretty full, and our row completely filled, except for his seat in the center. We shared amongst ourselves Twizzlers, M&M's (both milk/Jedi and dark/Sith chocolate), and Reese's pieces, which I haven't had in ages and tasted really good..."Eeeeeteeee phhhooooone hoooome."

We waited three long years for this, and it seemed like we were going to wait just a wee bit longer. They never showed the "Thank you for coming to Loews, sit back and relax, enjoy the show" nor any commercials, but they did show LOTS previews, and a man in front of us was freaking out every time the green preview rating would pop up. It was hilarious. We saw previews for (in no particular order):

Serenity
Batman Returns
War of the Worlds
Fantastic Four
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Da Vinci Code
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Cinderella Man
Wedding Crashers
Stealth

The Pink Panther

...and finally, the familiar sound of 20th Century Fox drums and trumpets soon followed the last trailer as the audience burst into clapping and cheers...

I went in with giddiness and excitement, and as the opening scroll of words appeared, I felt like, "Wow, this is it."

All I have to say is that this movie is an emotional rollercoaster that doesn't disappoint, from a fantastic opening scene to a powerful, tear-jerking conclusion. Makes you question who you should be routing for. And basically knowing what's going to happen, the experience becomes so tragic. Watching as the credits roll at the end, I was left with a sense of sadness and finality, because even though the quality of the movie makes up for the last two and that it closes the gap in the storyline, the saga has finally ended. Geoff quite appropriately said that they should come out with an animated series for the time between Episode 3 and 4.

Afterwards, we all went to dinner at Bennigan's to contemplate and hopefully reverse the gross effects we were experiencing from all the candy we just ate.

Like the last two, Brian and I will be making our multiple theater visits in the upcoming weeks, as we complete our revolution and watch the last 3 episodes just to make our way back to Episode 1 and repeat the cycle.

A short random addition: No spoilers here, just some clapping from the end of the movie that I captured, combined with photos from Yahoo!








Like Jonathan said, "...this is the official end of my youth."


p.s. "Sith Destroys Single Day Record" with $50,013,859
http://boxofficemojo.com/news/?id=1824&p=.htm

"Impressive...most impressive"

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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Happy St. Patty's Day

While waiting for Brian to come home, I actually looked up the holiday, never quite knowing why it was so. Kelts, barbarians, going to battle nude, conversion, pilgrimage...definitely made for an interesting read.

Dressing in our "finest" green attire, we headed down to Clery's where we meet up with Jim, Beth and Eric. Originally, we were supposed to meet up at 5pm to beat standing in line, but leaving later than expected, we got there with a long line already formed. It wasn't too bad except for the fact that we all pretty much had something to drink already, making it difficult to fight any urge to hit the bathrooms, as Eric and Beth can testify.

Cover charges just plain suck, but the place was nice as it has two levels. We went downstairs to find it pretty much empty and with a section just waiting for us to take. Surprisingly, it stayed relatively spacious for a while, and we heard the fire marshall came by and almost shut the place down due to being over capacity. Huh. I think we figured it had to do with the sit-down dining area on the upper level influencing the capacity number. Anyways, Guy got stuck outside for a good hour or so because of it.

Minor hurdles aside, it was a good night.



the Fightin' Irish


gangsta' Irish




Mardi Gras beads DO come in handy after Mardi Gras...just to add that little somethin somethin



I look so weird in this photo...had to add it


What do you think...is Eric tall or what?


After a few hours, Brian and I had to get some sustenance, and the food there was de-licious, greasy, but yummy. The downstairs turned into a club, and we hit the dance floor...
"If I were a rich girl, nana nana nana nana nana nana nana nah..." "...Let's get [it started] in here..." Fu-un!

We all kind of separated at this point, with most of the gang still sticking around while Brian and I left sometime past midnight. The T was packed with green folks who were luckily not operating any machinery.

On that note, Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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Friday, March 11, 2005

Thursday night at Thirsty Scholar

It's been a long time since the Mazur group had a Thursday night outing...

After talking with Sandra about photographing her wedding, I went over to the Thirsty Scholar where Brian and the usual suspects were gathered. It was the first time we saw Therese in a while, and she was showing a good size bump. Most of the women had gone to a conference where Larry Summers gave a speech, this time not provoking any one group. Jessica and I had a funny conversation about movies, where she listed a lot of "new" movies she wanted to go see. I say "new" because, well, Brian and I had already seen most of them, probably the weekend they came out which spills over from last year, such as "Million Dollar Baby" and "Closer". Later on in the evening, there was an enlightening conversation about certain types of parties, but I won't get into it right now...

It was an unusually tame Thursday night outting, which was a good thing.





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Friday, February 18, 2005

Poker Night at Birge's

It's been a while since I've played poker with people in person, you know, as opposed to the online gigs. Last night, the players included: Birge, Eric, Hobe (sp?), Chris, hubby Brian, and myself. The buy-in is rather reasonable, so if you lose everything, coming back into the game isn't difficult, as long as you remember to save some money for the cab ride home.

Some of the plays were outrageous, and Brian was usually involved in them. For one of them, Brian had pocket 8's and had three of a kind on the flop. Eric had a straight on the flop and went all in. Brian called. Well, it didn't look too good for Brian, but whaddaya know, the 8 showed up on the turn. It was a riot. One of the luckiest draws ever and everyone was flipping out...especially Eric. He ended up buying in three times.

Usually everyone plays really tight, resulting in a level of tension in the air. Gosh, the first time I played, I was so nerve-racked, I could barely stop shaking whenever I moved my chips or dealt. But as according to Brian, we were playing Hobe's School of Poker, where Hobe consistently egged people to stay in, and Eric followed suit by consistently cracking jokes. I must say it was a rather fun night. It was hilarious watching the others try to have a poker face or lack of one, playing with chips like how you see on the WPT, and just trying to stare each other down.

I didn't have too many memorable moments since I was handed a string of really bad hands, like 8-4 unsuited, 2-7 unsuited or a jack with a really low kicker. But oh, when you're waiting for one of two cards on the river, and it turns up...such a good feeling. I was head to head with Brian with an outside straight on the flop, praying for a king or an eight to show on the turn or the river, and yes!, a king showed up on the river. Brian called each of my raises so that made it sweeter. He ended up having just a pair.

Brian wound up having the biggest chip count, almost accounting for two of Eric's buy-ins, and I did manage to finish with 20% more than I started, so it was cool in the gang.

Oh, and by the way, the buy-in was five dollars.

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Super Bowl in NOLA

What a fantastic idea Karl!

After dealing with lots of snow, we headed for sunnier and warmer days in NOLA to watch the Super Bowl with Karl and Tonya. Well, the weather wasn't that much warmer, but it was sunny for the days that mattered.

Our trip began on Wednesday, February 2nd and ended on Monday, February 7th. Wednesday ended up being a very long day, starting a half day of work early and then finishing up last minute packing before heading to the airport. Karl and Brian had an amusing conversation regarding hair dryers due to my need of bringing my own even though Tonya would most likely have one.

Anyway...

we got to their place Wed night (just missing the Krewe of Muses, a parade given by only women), greeted by their absolutely adorable "child" Barley and spent the night catching up and being amused with their DirectTV TiVo capabilities. But that wasn't enough for Brian, trying on several occasions throughout our stay to get Karl to purchase an HDTV before the SB ("where's the nearest Best Buy or Circuit City?"). Karl stood firmly with his decision to eventually buy one for next season.

Thursday's activities were filled with a tour of Karl & Tonya's neighborhood, stopping by some of Tonya's favorite shops, antique stores, and one of their local bars. We also visited a cemetary, and the weather added to the ambience by being overcast and cool. I'm glad to say that the Garden District is nothing like the French Quarter, which Brian and I have visited three times already without leaving the area...granted two of those time were during Mardi Gras...which of course was happening this same weekend and ending on the Tuesday after we depart.

For dinner, we got our hands dirty cleaning both lots of shrimp and crawfish with some spicy potatoes and corn added to the mix. Brian and I were also treated to our own crab, which I ended up taking forever to eat. Nothing like messy seafood and white wine to start the night off...actually some red as well.

Tonya had to work pretty early the next day, so she couldn't join us for the parade festivities that night. Karl packed a bunch of beers for us to enjoy while the parade passed by. Luckily he only lives a few blocks from St. Charles Street which is part of the parade route. More families out in the streets where we were as opposed to the crazy drunkeness of college students who most likely lined Canal Street near the French Quarter. Wearing Philadelphia Eagles beads and hats caught some attention, in a good way. No signs of Patriots fans around.

Since we just caught the end of the first parade and the second was surprisingly short, we headed to a couple bars: a small dive near their place watching some basketball and talking about none other than sports and the fate of the NHL, and the second one being where we ate some chicken fingers, drank beers and rum and coke and talked about some of our most embarrassing moments in a tiny corner on the upper floor. Hilariously good times.

So, okay. One full day outside the French Quarter.

Friday, we took a trolley to eat at one of K&T's recommended gumbo restaurants appropriately called the Gumbo Shop, located in none other than the FQ. Yes, we couldn't resist walking down Bourbon, passing one of our favorite old haunts - Krystal's, but eventually veering to off the beaten path. Crowded little place this restaurant was, but the food was scrumptous and the margaritas were smooth and perfect. We went to an outdoor market and strolled along near the waterfront before heading back to catch the parades that night. Of course, the city closed down certain streets ahead of time to clear the streets, and unfortunately we waited and waited before realizing the route we wanted had already been cut off. Luckily though, our escape route was just a couple blocks away as we waited with other locals, hoping the bus would come by soon.

I forgot to mention that the uptown parades are great since you get to go up real close to the floats and that in certain parts, there aren't many people. That night, we caught two parades, with the second being Le Krewe d'Etat, which had some of the best floats, of which we saw were mainly political figures and celebrities.



We didn't get to watch the end of that one since Tonya, Brian and I had to use a bathroom desperately. Lindsay, one of Tonya's bridesmaids lived near the route, and we ended up going to her place.



Saturday, February 5, 2005

We had such a great time the next day. After getting dressed in Eagles jerseys (#5 for Donovan McNabb and #81 for Terrell Owens) and a jump start with a tequila shot that I would later regret (K&T opted out), we took a bus down to the FQ for some bead-throwing action.

We had access to the Royal Sonesta Hotel balcony through K&T's company, and luckily the weather was beautiful and sunny. There was an open bar and some snacks to munch on, but we spent most of the time out on the balcony.



It's such a different dynamic being the ones throwing the beads. Everyone below is just begging for some, and you can choose to give them some or not. You can just pick people out of the crowd to throw to, even just to get people to stop flashing you, because believe you me, there are some people out there that should think twice about doing it. Actually, it's quite funny -people going crazy for some plastic beads. "Dance monkey dance!" kept going through my head, but having been in their place, I know what it's like. It's great to have both perspectives. If there was one thing for sure, any Eagles fan that passed by would get some beads, no doubt.


We brought a bag of beads we collected the nights before and some that K&T had leftover from previous years, but our supply quickly diminished. We were careful to keep the "money" beads for last, while giving away the "not-so money" beads. The "money" ones were more unique and usually had larger beads than the others. Once we were low on beads, one of the hosts gladly replenished our stash, almost as quickly as we refilled our cups.



But as much as we would have enjoyed staying there for a few more hours, we had to get ready to watch the big Krewe of Endymion parade that night, for which Karl's supervisor got bleacher tickets. We took the bus back to their place around 3:30pm to rest and have some snacks. I didn't feel so well, as the cups of beer flowed right through me, so I had to take a nap, among other things...

Not feeling a 100% yet, I joined the crew as a couple of K&T's friends showed up. (I'm so bad with names, I pretty much forgot everyone's that night.) We took a cooler filled with drinks and munchies and walked all the way to our bleacher seats located at Lee Circle. We didn't leave as early as we planned, so when we finally got there, it was pretty crowded. We ended up being on the top few rows. We nibbled on some yummy treats Tonya made as we waited for the parade to begin.

It wasn't the ideal place for catching beads, since most of the krewe members chose to not throw so hard to us (see the video). And since we were on bleachers, any extreme movement could mean our butts on the metal. So when there were the occasional fly-by's, everyone would try to grab for them, and my being rather enthusiastic, I lost my balance a couple times. Oops...
We also discovered that there were a couple of scavengers that picked up beads that fell through the cracks, kinda gross with all the garbage that falls and is thrown under the bleachers.





It ended up being a rather cold night, and unfortunately, on top of the normal wait time, the parade hit a little snag after just a few floats passed by. I wasn't drinking too much due to my "condition", but sipped on Coca-Cola during the duration, so bathroom breaks weren't in my near future. On the other hand, some of the guys had to use the porta potties conveniently located near and behind us. Oh the horror story of one of the potties...

let's just say that it was heaping.

I did manage to grab a couple beads as well as a whole bag that landed on the bleacher near me, but getting frustrated with my catches or lack thereof, I decided to make my way closer to the floats and luckily stood next to some rather expressive girls. I was satisfied with my loot soon after. We were planning to use our goodies for throwing off the balcony the next night.

It was a very long walk home for Brian and Karl who both had to relieve themselves. But unlike Karl, who found a solution on the way, Brian stuck it out all the way back. Too bad we walk much faster than those cowpokes and had to wait for them to open the door.



aaaah....

Sunday, February 6, 2005

We geared up for the big game, wearing pretty much what we wore the day before. Tonya made a delicious spread for us, including an on-the-fly version of a Philly cheesesteak and finger food to munch on as we watched. She also made a yummy cake which Brian decorated in pure Eagles-style. Tonya's quite the cook...



Oh, the details of the next couple hours don't need to be written...



but here's a 2-minute high to heartbreak video (with muted bleeps) of our emotional rollercoaster:

A cloud of frustration, anger and disbelief silently fell hard upon us. So in our state of sadness, we didn't make it out to Bourbon Street as planned, where Patriot fans would most likely have been out celebrating.

The following day, we all woke up late and K&T dropped us off at the airport for the journey back to Boston. On one of the legs, a woman wore an Eagles sweatshirt and was harassed by a Patriot fan, but she stood her ground and brushed him off. Good for her.

So the weekend ended on a sour note, but it was a great time nonetheless. At least it didn't begin the way it ended. We'll just have to look forward to next season...hopefully be then Karl, you'll be enjoying HDTV too.

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Saturday, December 18, 2004

Happy 28th Birthdays!

Thursday, December 16th, 2004

In the past, we would have a late dinner around 11pm and celebrate Brian's birthday at the turning of midnight. This year, to celebrate our birthdays, we had a VERY tasty dinner during a normal hour at a place called Daedelus located in Harvard Square, and we invited some friends to join us afterwards for drinks. So in keeping with tradition, we had to keep it going past midnight. Iva supplied several cans of Red Bull, which remained for the most part unopened due to Daedelus's drinking policy. But when, in Mazur-group style, we ended up at the Hong Kong, a couple cans were finally opened.

Thanks to all that came out to celebrate with us!


















Found in the middle of Hong Kong, a dollar just laid there waiting to be picked up...by Eric.

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Sunday, October 31, 2004

Halloween at Svacha's

Well, to continue our movie theme, this year we portrayed Resident Evil: Apocalypse, which like last year, not many folks had seen (Kill Bill Vol. 1 came out October 10th, 2003, just 3 weeks before Halloween).





Okay, so instead of dying my hair, I went for the less permanent, but more outrageous fluorescent orange spray-on, which looks quite unlike Alice, but coordinates quite nicely with the orange tips of my weapons as well as my tank top. Brian is a KFC employee who got infected with the T-virus, which apparently turned him not only into a flesh-eating zombie, but also into an interesting shade of magenta. Notice the KFC box dangling from his waist.




Other party guests included Nemo, a Middle Eastern/South Asian, a mind-reader...


...Tarzan, a kissing booth...


...a lifeguard, a cowboy...


...a grandfather clock...


...a kissing booth kisser, a Nemo understudy...


...a severed hand, rainbow toes(courtesy of Brian and Iva, respectively)...


...a Chinese man...


...a knight and his lady...


...an Egyptian...


...a jon ashcom...





(tastes like chicken!)

...a born-again Christian, and a housemate.




yeeeeooouuch!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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Thursday, September 23, 2004

A send off to Michael and Veronica

coming soon!

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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Karl & Tonya get married!

coming soon!

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Friday, September 03, 2004

That's Dr. Sheehy to you...

Just another Thursday night out with the Mazur group, except for the fact that Michael just passed his defense...woo hoo! Congratulations!!

Let's start off with some video, shall we...it's a bit dark, but I guess the audio is pretty good to hear. Begins at the Cambridge Common and appropriately ends at the Hong Kong.







More visuals of the evening...you can see bigger photos of these first two if you click on them.





Let the good times roll...






Irritable Bowel Syndrome anyone?



Nothing like ending up at the Hong Kong, with a couple of scorpion bowls...











Don't poke your eye out...




uh, who made this mess?



What's going on in this photo?




Congratulations Michael!! and best of luck in Cali!!

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Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Kayaking with the Mazur Applied Physics group - August 11, 2004

coming soon!

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