Then I Start To Move

Wow, this past week has been totally nuts. With the exception of one casualty (the details of which I will defer till the end of this post, to heighten the suspense), it was awesome too.

I promised pictures, so here they are.

So last Friday I submitted this paper that I’d been writing for a long time. It was an epic ordeal, and as recently as two nights ago I had a dream about it (which is especially notable, since I almost never remember my dreams). Anyway, that night I took the redeye to Boston and slept about 2.5 hours since I was so wired. I managed to grab some more sleep at William’s place, and then it was time to go to Jess and Cy’s wedding. The wedding was great, of course for the usual reasons of seeing tons of friends, and two in particular on the most important day of their lives, but also because it was unorthodox in several cool ways. For instance, the ceremony was short and very sweet — apparently in Massachusetts, each citizen can officiate one wedding a year (how cool!), and Jess and Cy had longtime friend snafuuu officiate, resulting in a really heartfelt ceremony.

This week happened to be spring break, so I extended my stay in Boston till Wednesday. I spent the next few days hanging out with various friends and just having a great time. Wing and Jen hosted a great brunch at their new place; it was probably the nicest place I could imagine having to watch UConn lose a horrible game and bow out of the tournament. Grant and Matt and his friend and I did a trivia challenge that night at the local bar and won, which was cool. The next day I made it over to work (IBM) to say hi to the guys and get some foosball games in before having dinner with Ben. I also had a couple of hours to myself in a mall, so I bought a pair of jeans. While trying various jeans on, I had the brilliant idea of taking a picture of myself in each pair so I could remember what they looked like. Of course, my lack of common sense became immediately apparent when I tried to decipher which jeans looked better in my camera’s tiny 1.5″ screen. Haha. Tuesday was especially fun, as I said a big “screw you” to my hip injury and played soccer and basketball and threw a football around with James and Grant. It also marked the first of two days (yes, two) this week in which I had pizza for both lunch and dinner. It sounds really gross now, but damn, it was good then. These kinds of awesome things happen when you hang out with just guys.

I flew back on Wednesday, and had about 24 hours to do my taxes (succeeded; I owe a buttload to California) and get the rest of my life in order (failed) before things picked up again. Then it was off to Jonathan’s birthday. We went out to dinner (where I got this great “deer-in-the-headlights” pic of Jonathan) and then went bowling. Yeah for small-town activities!

I got back at 1am… and woke up at 4:30am to head out to Tahoe with Matt, Joel, and Ray, who’s in town for the weekend from Chicago. I was pretty nervous since these guys are pretty skilled on the mountain (especially Joel, mountain climber extraordinare, and New Mexico state downhill biking U-18 champion, who casually mentioned how double black diamonds are “easy” when he’s on skis; he snowboarded that day), and this was my first time skiing in nearly 15 years (and even then that was on a tiny “mountain” in the town over from mine in flat Connecticut). I also had no gear, so Joel lent me the stuff he used to wear circa 1988. To some (read: me) it looked great; to others (read: everyone else) it was hideous. They were playing tons of 80s music on the mountain, so Joel had a good time ribbing me all day.

Anyway, my fear of destroying myself going down the mountain and ruining the day for everyone else was luckily misplaced. My innate sense of balance saved my ass once again, as it always seems to do in esoteric endeavors like climbing, biking, and, apparently, skiing, but never does in the sports I actually play regularly, like ultimate and soccer. I only spilled twice all day, and soon we were tearing down black diamonds (amusingly illustrated below by the guys). The vistas were gorgeous and the day was beautiful and I quickly bought into the thrill veering just in and out of control. The only thing I’ve done in this genre of excitement that’s more fun is downhill biking, which is about 10x more insane and correspondingly more dangerous. I’ll definitely be back on the slopes again. I may have to start selling crack to afford it, though.

After a full day’s skiing, we drove back home, stopping along the way for a gargantuan meal at In-n-Out.

We got back at around 9pm last night, split up to shower and de-grossify, and met again at 10:30 to head out to a party. Goodness. The party was automatically a success because at one point the DJ dude put on Freezepop’s “Science Genius Girl”. Money.

Today, after a dentist appointment at the unbelievably ghettified “Western Dental”, I went with Naveen to gather supplies for our camping trip to Death Valley next weekend. I fully anticipate it being a ridiculously awesome trip, but I’ll have more on that in another entry if all goes well. Anyway, despite the fact that I’ve convinced myself that I don’t really care about money and that I’d be perfectly happy giving much of it away, I seem to be an inveterate consumer. Check out this awesome sleeping bag I got (with my cell phone placed alongside for comparison):

It’s so tiny! And it weights 1lb12oz, less than a full Nalgene bottle. I was also going to say it only cost $129, but I think that’s a lot of money in a different context. It’s funny how camping — an activity in which you’re sleeping in a tent, walking around on foot, and eating granola bars — is ostensibly cheap but in reality ass-expensive.

After blowing money on outdoorsy stuff, I met up with a bunch of friends to play basketball. Ray represented for Chicago and basically cleaned up. Then we all retired to my place to watch the Illinois-Arizona game, which is probably one of the top 10 basketball games I’ve ever seen. I guess it helped that we all wanted Illinois to win. I also had pizza for lunch and dinner today. This was definitely unplanned (as was the first time, I swear!), but when you have ten guys at your place watching ball, there are few acceptable options.

So that’s my last week in pictures. I think I’m going to have to face the real world again tomorrow — my todo list is a mile long. There’s a lot to be done before I head out to Death Valley on Thursday ;).

(The casualty: my camera’s LCD screen, and by extension, much of my camera. I dropped it on the slope once when trying to take a picture. Doh! I can still take pictures and zoom but I can’t change any options or see any of the pics I’ve taken. Now I have to send it back and I’ve heard Minolta’s service is terrible.)

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5 Responses to Then I Start To Move

  1. snafuuu says:

    It’s funny how camping — an activity in which you’re sleeping in a tent, walking around on foot, and eating granola bars — is ostensibly cheap but in reality ass-expensive.

    That cracks me up, and it reminds me of Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, which I really think you should read. He and a friend hike all the way down the Appalachians, and there’s this hilarious section pre-hike where he realizes exactly how much he’s been spending on all this “necessary” equipment. (I love all of Bill Bryson’s works, no matter what they’re about. The guy is my nonfiction-writing hero.)

    As an aside, I’m listening to Franz Ferdinand now. That’s why we only work when we need the money.

    • aj says:

      I’ve actually read A Walk in the Woods already. I’m also an amateur Bill Bryson fan (favorite: Neither Here Nor There). He’s a pretty cool guy, agreed.

      It’s also funny how if you actually bring everything you’re supposed to when you go camping, you’re going to be lugging around a 70lb pack.

      I guess one reason why camping stuff is so expensive is that the people who want to “get away from it all” and who can actually spare the time to do so are probably pretty rich. When I’ve gone camping in the past, I’ve usually bummed stuff off of other people, or rented. I figured it’s finally time to bite the bullet.

      • i did four days at one point with a sheet of plastic, sleeping bag, fishing pole, and a knife (and clothes!). that was rough, but interesting. a nice exercise in seeing just how little you actually need. i got pretty tired of fish, though. if i ever do that again (unlikely), i’m bringing salt with me.

  2. Anonymous says:

    that picture of you in the jeans makes you look like you have stubble… nasty dude, nasty. -das.

  3. Anonymous says:

    skiing

    AJ,
    i’ve never seen you skiing before! that seems so exciting. i have to try it some day (when im not a cripple ;))

    maya