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24 March 2007

Catching Up

I looked at the calendar recently and exclaimed, "Egads! has it really been that long?" And in fact, it has.

For one thing, when I last posted, it was winter, and we were on Standard Time. Both of these things have since advanced one step in their respective annual cycles. Grandpa and Grandma were also in the middle of their trip to Tanzania at that time.

Speaking of which, Grandpa kept a journal and took many pictures, and he's been turning it into a blog with a tiny bit of help from me, so that people don't have to sit through two-hour slideshows at family gatherings. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about... the ones where he talks excitedly about each of 400 pictures and you're half-asleep, hoping each time he gets to the end of a memory card that it was the last one. Yeah... I've watched you guys... ;)

Anyway, since my blog has some regular readership within our family, here's the link. It's not quite finished yet, but the point is that you can go crazy with it at your own pace, because it's online. It's better for everyone this way. And yes, he enabled comments, to encourage feedback from people who aren't going to be half-asleep when they're viewing the pictures. Like I said, go crazy.

That aside, the primary purpose of this post is to tell you that the TravelLog I intended to keep over my trips never happened, because I was too busy taking in places I'd never been before (in most cases). Which I guess is why I'm linking to Grandpa's blog, other than the fact that I promised him I'd link to it. So instead of one TravelLog, you get another.

Nevertheless, I shall attempt to summarize what has happened the last two weeks here, but with caution: The last time I tried summarizing more than one week at a time, I had to declare a holiday. Which by the way, is less than two months away. But we've got to get through Andrea Day first. Gosh, we're so lame...

So let me try to catch you all up. And no complaints about the length, because you haven't had anything for weeks.

I posted my last post at 03:32 on Saturday 03 March. We were on the road to Hartford, CT by 04:10. And for a 10-hour bus ride, the trip was actually quite pleasant. Now, it's easy to see that downtown Hartford is practically a banking and business Mecca. But the downtown area seemed to be unbelievably boring on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, which is when we had our free time. I'm sure it's booming from nine to five on the weekdays, though.

Even though this was ages ago, I'll mention that the women won their game against Cincinnati on Saturday 03 March, but unfortunately, since they lost to Marquette on Sunday 04 March, we left Connecticut almost immediately and were back in Pittsburgh by 10:15 on Monday 05 March, the first weekday of Spring Break. So we really didn't get to enjoy the town, and since I'm not yet 21, I had one less option then nearly everyone else. It's okay, though.

But there were some problems along the Hartford trip. On the way there, I was able to catch a few "Z"s from about 05:00 to about 06:30. By the time I woke up, we were in the 717 area code, and a quick glance at my cell phone showed that I had no service, despite having a nationwide plan. Great. So once I got to Hartford, I called my father and he did some research for me on things that would likely fix my phone.

So, yeah, I said I was back in Pittsburgh by 10:15 Monday 05 March. The plan was that I would spend most of the day on Monday in Pittsburgh, enjoying some probably much-needed alone time, before my father would pick me up in the early evening after finishing work so that I could enjoy a few days at home. So I got a phone call around 16:45 from Dad, saying that he was leaving, but not 45 minutes later, I got another phone call.

His van had died. Just suddenly, with very little warning, it quit working. So there were delays as he called AAA to get the van towed and called my mother to bring the other car down so that the journey could be continued. Ultimately, I got home at around 00:00 Tuesday 06 March.

My short time at home was rather uneventful. I got a haircut while I was there, and while going around town doing errands with my mother, I ended up seeing a few minutes of my high school's play practice for Beauty and the Beast. Other than that, like I said, it was quite uneventful. Although I do know that at some point, there was seemingly random discussion about the Discover Card commercials with the scissors in them. Some find them creepy. Others don't. My mother is definitely in the first category. I have mixed feelings.

Then the night of Wednesday 07 March, it was back to Pittsburgh so that I could leave once again at 04:00 for New York City and the Big East Men's Basketball Tournament. And unless you were living under a rock, or (gasp!) don't care about Pitt basketball, then you should know that Pitt made it to the final round before losing pitifully to the Georgetown Hoyas on Saturday 10 March... a G-Town I don't like, due in part to the fact that it really isn't a "G" town.

Over the course of the trip, I went to Brooklyn late one night with a group of friends in search of yummy deserts, only to become disoriented and finally arrive at our destination after they had closed. So I'm out the cost of two subway fares. Big whoop. It was an experience, and that's all that matters.

Also, since that week both our women's and men's teams played Marquette University, we heard their fight song a lot. And we couldn't help but think that the song sounded familiar. And then, someone realized that its tune was ridiculously similar to the "song that gets on everybody's nerves," you know:

I know a song that gets on everybody's nerves,
Everybody's nerves, everybody's nerves.
I know a song that gets on everybody's nerves,
And this is how it goes: (repeat entire song ad infinitum)
So yeah. It gets pretty annoying. We ended up singing along, replacing the last line of this song with "And it's Marquette's fight song," poking fun at the song itself. It was quite amusing.

However, some quick Internet research resulted in another startling development. The song is called "Ring Out Ahoya," and it has fairly lame and repetitive words, in my humble opinion. But wait a minute... what is that? The word "hoya" hidden in there? Well, Wikipedia cites a theory that "the call of 'Ahoya' was often made by sailors on the Potomac river while passing Georgetown University in Washington, DC," and that the cheer "made its way to Marquette through faculty moving between the two Jesuit schools." Great. That explains us not really being fond of either team.

Meanwhile, my phone still wasn't working when we arrived in NYC the morning of Thursday 08 March. But since our rooms weren't ready when we got to the hotel, we had some downtime hanging out in one of the many ballroom-type areas. So I borrowed another friend's phone, and made several phone calls. I called my father, then I dialed some stuff on my phone (which didn't work), then I called customer service on my friend's phone, and after about 20 minutes with them, my phone was finally fixed. Turns out it had been a combination of an incorrect setting on the network end and an incorrect default setting on my phone (which they had never said to change).

But the point is, it's fixed now. Which turned out to be useful, since I'd often have to leave one group of friends to meet up with another a few blocks away... such as when my lunchmates decided to go to a brewery in Brooklyn after lunch. Yes, these are the same people who went to Brooklyn for desserts. Yes, they got lost again. But this time, they ended up going to the dessert place instead of the brewery. Because it was mid-afternoon, and they knew where it was this time.

After the time change (which I will rant about in a later post), we left New York at 09:00 on Sunday 11 March, arriving in Pittsburgh before 17:00. Then it was a busy, busy week, with the service learning project picking up speed, but more importantly, jumping straight into one of my killer Mondays with a lab report due just like any other week. Except I couldn't concentrate very well on it. So that's not been fun.

The busy, busy week culminated with a PHYS exam on Thursday 15 March. But since the class is two hours long, our professor proceeded to lecture after we had all finished the exam. And she got to a good stopping point at about 12:43. So rather than let us out two minutes early, she moved on. And at 12:45 she wasn't done. By 12:46 she was practically pleading with the students to stay and listen to her finish, which she finally did at about 12:47.

Ordinarily, this would not be a blogworthy occurrence. However, it is in this case, because the pep band was scheduled to leave for Buffalo, NY at 13:00. I had told the director ahead of time that I had an exam/lecture until 12:45, and he basically said that we weren't obligated to leave at exactly 13:00, so it would be fine so long as I didn't dilly-dally. And I didn't. That didn't stop some people from poking fun at me when I finally got to the bus at 13:05.

Buffalo was fun. About as fun as staying in a hotel on a snowy day playing cards and watching basketball can be. Because that's about all we did on Friday, although we might have actually gone out had our hotel actually been in the city. After Thursday's win against Wright State, people celebrated at the hotel, and then we went to bed. We woke up around 12:15, which conveniently was when basketball started. I watched people play rummy, and so learned how to do so myself, which was useful when the person in last place decided to quit because it was too painful to keep playing hands to 500. So someone not much better at rummy (i.e., me) took over for the rest of the game, so that the other three could play. And it was sort of fun. I won a hand or two, but got negative points on a few others. Whatever.

When the evening news came on, we all took naps, and woke up in time for more basketball. Meanwhile, it had started snowing fairly hard outside. Around 20:00 we decided that we had better eat something, at which point we realized that there was a Houlihan's restaurant in our hotel. I had never heard of Houlihan's before, even though apparently there are three in Pittsburgh. I didn't even know how to spell it before this point. But the point is that now I am aware of its existence, and have eaten there. The food is great, but a tad pricey, although since I'm under 21, I could afford it, as I wasn't spending my daily stipends on varied beverages.

After dinner, we finished watching basketball, and at around 00:00 (the beginning of St. Patrick's Day), there was a sudden influx of students into our room. Soon, there were 15 students of varying drunkenness there. Fortunately, I'd brought my computer and there was free wireless Internet in the lobby. So I hung out there for a few hours. Not that I have anything against drunk kids. It's just that 15 or so was too many for one hotel room. When I came back, there were only 6, each of which had calmed down considerably. Three of them were my roommates, so they belonged there, while the other three were getting ready to leave anyway. I timed that well.

Saturday 17 March was the day of the second game, against Virginia Commonwealth, the end of whose upset over Duke we had seen live on Thursday. We had to check out of the hotel at 12:00, but our game wasn't until 17:50. So what to do in the meantime? As we had done on Thursday, we made our way into town to a little bar/grill, which had been designated the proper pregame party place for Pitt people (I love alliteration!). And we took out our horns and played some school songs for them in exchange for a free buffet. I'd say it was a fair trade, considering the place was super-crowded and we still had to do horn swings.

After lunch, we got to the HSBC Arena, where we watched the game before us (Butler v. Maryland) in its entirety. I bought a shirt at halftime of that game. And that's about it. Pitt took an early 13-point lead, which was completely thrown away shortly thereafter, after which we proceeded to go up by another 13 points by halftime, which was thrown away much more slowly over the course of the second half... but still enough that the game went into overtime. We eventually won.

Since we'd already checked out, the bus was already packed except for our instruments which took about five minutes, and we were on the road shortly after 21:00. Having had a late all-you-can-eat lunch, and having not had a chance to eat dinner, we stopped at the Burger King on Peach Street in Summit Township (Erie) around 22:30. People wanted to go across the street to get wings at Quaker Steak, but Jack advised against it since it was Saturday night and St. Patrick's Day.

We get back in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday 18 March. Which was followed by the main part of Sunday. Which meant Monday was coming. Again. And being fresh off another trip, I couldn't concentrate on my work. Again.

Those members of the band who were going to San Jose, CA for the Third Round game against UCLA had to leave at some point on Tuesday 20 March, but I was not among them, because all of my projects are coming together in the next couple weeks, and it just would've been bad. In case you didn't know, by the way, Pitt lost.

It was another busy, busy week for me, so I decided to "crash" on Thursday 22 March to watch the game with a friend. Afterwards we got to talking, and we decided that we wanted to try having a relationship with each other. Her name is Emily; I think you've heard of her. And just so people don't get worried, we have discussed some things, acknowledging that we are very different people, that we will have differences in opinion on matters, and that we are willing to do what we can to work them out. And yes, I'm a careful person. And no, I won't let anything influence me in a negative way.

Somewhere else during the course of this week I took a MATH exam, which I haven't gotten back yet. I also registered for my fall classes, so you'll see that schedule in August. And now it's time to work once again on my CHEM lab report for Monday... ugh! I also have a CHEM exam on Friday 30 March, right before I go home for the weekend to see David in Beauty and the Beast. I think I mentioned they were doing that...

Which reminds me that I am in fact going to Bethel Park to see their play on the evening of Thursday 29 March. And I don't know exactly what I'm doing for Easter. So this is a call to all cousins (and their respective parental entities) to post any relevant Easter travel plans on the Cousin Club blog, so that people know what's going on. And on the off-chance that you may be able to transport me to or from Girard or Grove City on a given day, please email me.

Oh, and there was an anti-war protest march here on campus today. It ended up disrupting Pitt's shuttle service for several hours in the middle of the day. Not exactly the best way to get the support of Pitt students, but hey, they got attention and raised awareness.

So I think that gets everybody caught up on just about everything that's going on down here. Except maybe that right before Spring Break my last pencil ran out of lead, forcing me to buy a five-pack at the Book Center for $3.19 when I'd been planning on buying pencils at home over break. Yeah, that made me not happy. Especially since I didn't have any cash on me and had to use my bank card to buy pencils. So lame.

And that is all.

Random tangent: Oh gosh. What to put? I picked a basketball bracket for the first time ever and got 23 of the 32 First Round games correct. Granted, it's gotten worse since then, but for my first bracket ever, I'm not complaining.


Tim Parenti said...

A more detailed story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about Saturday's peace rally.

Anonymous said...

It was good to catch up with the whirlwind that has been your March thus far, Tim. I haven't seen the scissors ads in person, but reading about them and seeing the picture at the top of the article, made me slightly uneasy. I wouldn't want to walk on a street in danger of stepping on scissors.

Tim Parenti said...

Really? You haven't seen the ads? They've been on practically all the time for the last four or five months. That article I linked to was dated back in November. Seeing that I almost never watch TV anymore, I find it hard to believe that I've seen them and you haven't. But oh, well.

Anonymous said...

I watch less TV than anyone I know. Maybe 2 or 3 hours a week, and one of those is usually Survivor.

Tim Parenti said...

Bev, I've still got you beat at about 45-75 minutes a week, usually split up over various dinners at the dining halls that have televisions. It's either ESPN or Fox News Channel. Occasionally CBS. But it's only ever 10-15 minutes at a time.

Anonymous said...

OK, now I'm number two on the list of people I know and their amount of TV consumption per week. Great.

Tim Parenti said...

You make it sound like such an honor, Bev. To be high up on the list of people with low television consumption.

Ah, sarcasm!

Lexi Elizabeth said...

okay wow. that took me for forever to read.

by the way i've updated my resume because my mom remembers a lot better than i do. haha.

Lexi Elizabeth said...

speaking of tv watching, i watch 0 hours of it a week.

i'm not a tv person.

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