April 29, 2011

Escape From Japan

Click me!
After surviving my really long flight all the way to Japan, I still had to get back a week later. Since I had to work, I was coming back a week before my parents. This would be the first time I ever had to navigate my way through air ports in my life and I was already fairly nervous. To make it worse, there was something wrong with my plane and it was delayed till the next day. The new flight was slightly later than the original time of my flight, turning my three hour layover in San Francisco into one hour. Here's what happened.

 
VroomM!
I was all the way in the back of the plane which meant I was last to deplane. This also meant being last in line at customs.
He hates his job
I was in the international terminal and needed to get to the domestic terminal. I was smart enough to carry-on my suitcase so I didn't have to wait for the luggage get to the luggage carousel thingy and I just ran past it. 
I sucessfully navigated my way to the domestic terminal and had the extra fun task of figuring out which ticket counter to go to because they couldn't print the boarding pass for this part of the trip in Japan. I then had to figure out which security area I was allowed to go through. 

There's a first class one that's a shorter walk but I didn't see the signage and was super embarrassed when the turned me away and pointed me down the hallway about 100 yards away to the "economy" check point. I was thinking, "Come ON! I already had to run here, gimme a break since I'm so lost looking right now." Instead I said, "Oh" and ran to security. 
 I made it through security easily enough and proceeded to run to my gate.
Once I found the right one, I got on the super long line and had to determine if I could wait till I boarded to make some important calls to the east coast or if I would have to do it there.
Ho hum.
I determined that I would probably run out of time if I waited so I called my friend who was picking me up in Newark and my supervisor at work since I wouldn't be making it in that night. 
OMG I'm so inconvenienced!
I don't know why I didn't think to email him. Probably cause I'm dumb. But I couldn't call from Japan so I had to call between flights to work telling him I got stuck in Japan for an extra day.

Then I got to sit in the middle of two people after jamming my suitcase into the packed overhead and got to try not to sweat on them.

And He Shall Be My Squishy

You may have already guessed and yes these were taken at in Japan, in the Kyoto Aquarium I visited. I do have very similar photos from the Baltimore aquarium but why lie?   



I shall call him squishy.
And he shall be mine.






April 18, 2011

One Less Star Tonight

This little guy was hanging out in a tide pool I came across in *drumroll* yes, you guessed it, Japan. I never knew before that there are more than one kind of starfish. I guess I should have figured as much but I've a) never seen a live one before and 2) only ever seen the one dried up kind. Anyway, bonus this week because I also came across the bones(?) of one so we get to see what this guy looks like INSIDE!


One of my favorite animals and songs.

Starfish by Sister Hazel (Audio only)

April 17, 2011

A Lauren By Any Other Name

I don't really know why, but I've never really been fond of the name Lauren for myself. I like it better now that I'm obsessed with the Gilmore Girls, because of Lauren Graham but I didn't start watching that till 6ish years ago. Before that, one day, I decided that I just wanted to change my name. Not legally or anything, cause that's extreme. I just wanted to be called something else that was sort of related to Lauren (I think one of the things I don't like is that there's no nickname that is derived naturally from Lauren), but better. It was probably when I was watching Legally Blonde for the nth time that I had an epiphany and chose the name Elle. It was genius (I thought). So I announced this to all my friends and family that I now want to be called Elle.

Then I signed up for "Ballroom Dance," one of Penn State's "gym" classes. It was awesome but that's not the point. I determined that this would be a great class to announce that I use a name other than my given name because I wouldn't know anyone and wouldn't find myself in other classes with them since it wasn't one of my Major classes. 

On the first day, the teacher rounded us up and took attendance. As she went down the list, I found that there was two other Laurens. This convinced me that I should just suck it up and do it since I now had the excuse (more for me than anyone else) that it would be less confusing to have one less Lauren.
And the teacher just accepted it like it was normal, which for her, it was. I found it hilarious that now all these people would think that was my name. 
I filled out my name tag, which was to be worn every class, and felt terrbly silly. 

I put it on and felt terribly silly.
And as the weeks went by I got used to it and stopped feeling so weird about it. Or so I thought. I guess it just just because the teacher was the only one who ever addressed me by name so aside from putting on my name tag every day, there wasn't a lot drawing my attention to these people thinking that my name was Elle outside of this class too. 

Until I ran into one of them on campus. It was in one of the little "convenience stores" that was within one of the cafeteria buildings. And because he saw me before I saw him and he came up behind me and addressed me by name.
Somehow I recognized that I was the "Elle" he was talking to and turned around in a timely manner, but it was the weirdest thing ever and could barely contain myself. After this experiment I determined that I just couldn't handle the process of doing this in every class so I gave up and will forever be known as Lauren.

April 13, 2011

The Fabric of Our Lives

You all know how much I like commercials. Today I am bringing you another best/worst commercials: Celebrity Edition!




Best is the newest Cotton commercial featuring Zooey Deschanel. Is she not the cutest thing you've ever seen? And you can even download the song on Cotton's website.


But then there's this incredibly unfortunate Sim's commercial Donald Faison made. Oh how the mighty have fallen. I mean he goes from Clueless, to Scrubs to this poo-fest? Come on Turk, you're better than this. We haven't seen Zach Braff either for a while. How about a Scrubs Movie? I know it would be pretty crappy but I would see it. Over and over. And it would be better than this commercial.

April 11, 2011

Statuesque

I can't say a whole lot about this because I couldn't keep track of all the different stuff we were seeing on this trip. But this is a huge statue that you can walk up inside of like the Statue of Liberty. Except this one is cooler because instead of being hollow it has stuff inside. Again, I don't really remember. None of the writing anywhere was in English which made it harder. Oh and I don't know what part of Japan it was in either. I think it was somewhere in Tokushima. Unless it wasn't. It was still really cool and there's me standing next to the tree so you can tell how huge it is.


April 09, 2011

After Sundown This Thing's A Vampire Magnet

There are times in our lives when we would do pretty much anything for some cash flow. There are much worse things to do but one of the low ones I succumbed to was selling my plasma. Excuse me, donating my plasma. As a "thank you" for your "time" you get $20-$30 for each visit. So here's what happens.

You arrive at the facility and sign in. If you expect to be called by the time your appointment was for, you are wrong. 
Why?!?
Tens of minutes can go by before they finally call you. They take your pulse, weight, and maybe take your temperature? It's been a while.
Blah blah, I'm more important than you. Blah blah.
After some more procedural stuff and more waiting you're taken to a chair. For those of you who don't know, plasma is the liquid part of your blood that your blood cells float around in. When you donate plasma, they take your blood, put it through a centrifuge sending the plasma into the collection bag and your blood cells back into your body. Since you get all your blood back you can then donate twice a week instead of once every three months like with blood (I don't know the actual frequency for blood donation but I'm not looking it up either.)
Since they've just taken a bunch of liquid out of your body they replace some of it with saline, to rehydrate you. The only thing is, they give you less saline than you lost in plasma. AND the saline is "room temperature." The temperature of the room is somewhere between 60 and 70 degrees. So when 70 degree liquid is rushing into your 98 degree body, you feel a little like you're dying. Okay, a LOT like you're dying. 
Yeah, I'm probably dying.
But then you're done and you get to leave with a whopping 20 bucks! If you're smart you will go home, eat something and re-hydrate with some water or juice. If you're me, you like to multi-task. And you think it's a great idea to go tanning on your way home. I wish this story was going where you think it is and I just ended up with a mild burn. But no.
I go to the tanning place and agree to use one of the stand up booths. This means that I will be subjecting myself with harmful UV rays, and do it standing on my feet, for the next 12 minutes. Or so I thought. About halfway through, I start to feel light headed. I don't worry too much about it and try to shake it off. Then I start to see spots. That can't be good.
Uh oh...
I quickly realize that I am about to pass out. Which would be awesome. Passing out and having an EMS crew breaking down the door to the booth to find me passed out naked on the floor was exactly what I wanted to happen that day. So I hit the deck to and crawled out of the bulb area into the changing area. I struggle to pull my clothes on, trying not to panic and to stay conscious. I try sitting on the little stool with my head between my legs and hope that will make me better enough to go out and go home.
Must... get... WATER.
I decide that I'm better enough and I stumble out and go straight to the water cooler, knowing exactly what the problem was. The girl working there asked if I was okay and I was sad to learn that I was not as convincing as I thought I had been at pretending that everything was okay. "I donated plasma before I came here so I think I'm just dehydrated." "Oh..."

After several teeny cups of water I was no longer dying and made it back to my apartment in one piece. I was even able to live to tell this cautionary tale.



April 06, 2011

Miles From Where You Are

I don't have anything good for today so I'm taking the day off. Here's a song instead. It was playing on my way to work and now it's stuck in my head. If you don't like it, well there's pretty much nothing I can do about it. If you do like it, you should check out the rest of Snow Patrol's stuff cause they're awesome.