So what have I been up to lately?

Jun 19, 2006 • Karen

I repaired my first car. Last night we discovered that the tailpipe of Nelson's rusty old truck had come off its (hella flimsy!) bracket and partially cracked, and was coming close to dragging on the ground. So with a pliers, coat hanger, ball of string, and flashlight (the only materials we had on hand! no duct tape?!) I unwound the coat hanger, ran it through a hole in the chassis and wrapped it around the tail pipe to pull it back up. So far this mod seems to have survived two trips on the highway, so yay for car repair skillz! Short of keeping the pipe from dragging, I'm not sure if the truck needs any more attention. Does it matter if your tailpipe's kinda cracked?

I visited Longwood Gardens with Nelson. Lots of pretty flowers and fountains and trees. We rocked out with Nelson's backpacker guitar (which passerby kept mistaking for a lute or a ukelele or something) by the lake for a while, hiked in the grassland part, and were depressed by the things that had changed over the last few years. Well, Nelson was. He and his family used to visit Longwood all the time--his first steps were over by the Italian water garden, when he ran for the fountains shaped like frogs. You can't go down and play with the frog fountains and stuff anymore--it's all gated off. You can only look at the fountains, from a terrace.

And that's just one example. They no longer have machines selling fish food by the lake. You can't go up and see the bells in the chime tower unless you're part of a tour. You can't play in the canopies of these old, low-to-the-ground trees anymore. In the water lily garden, they no longer have Nelson's favorite plant, which reacts when you touch it. And so on. Longwood Gardens has turned into a look, but don't touch, kind of place. I still enjoyed the visit and I think Nelson did too. But he knew what it was like before they made it lame.

I've been busting clothing. In two days, my navy capris got two holes mysteriously torn into them and the drawstring on my peasant skirt broke. If the weather's going to continue to hover around 90 degrees, this is a problem. Guess I'll have to look for a Michael's or something in the area.

I (well, Nelson) Drano-ed the two showers in the house I'm staying in--as long as I've been here, they would both stop up really</i> badly, leaving a good four or five inches of icky water around your ankles that would take a good hour to drip away. This seems to have helped the second floor shower, but the third floor seems to be just hopeless--we've treated it twice with little effect. And now the kitchen sink seems to be stopping up. Argh.

Also, the family chihuahua pooped on the bathroom floor. Again. Sidney is such an idiot. He *really* makes me miss my poor old kitty--even old and dying of cancer, he's probably ten times as smart as this goddamn dog. At least there's Willets Cat to keep me company...

Which reminds me. I've been doing a bit of volunteering at War News Radio</a>. Mostly housekeeping stuff, so far--I cut the music clips for the last two WNR programs--but I hope to get into a bit of editing later in the summer. Even when I'm just drawing illustrations, I like hanging out in the War News Radio studio. The environment reminds me a lot of my Zephyrus days--they even have a old beige couch!

The main differences:

* WNR has an unofficial mascot in the form of Willets Cat</a>, who hangs around campus and likes to sleep on the couch.
* WNR gets more food than we ever got through bagel runs. Strawberries and pizza and Red Bull, oh my!
* WNR is, like, actual journalism. They interview actual important people. They call Baghdad daily. They have "contacts." They have a budget of over a hundred thousand tollars. Marty regularly makes the case that War News Radio covers Iraq better than anyone else out there, and he's got a point--they have more people assigned to just Iraq than any of the mainstream outlets do and the student journalists here are damn savvy.

You should subscribe</a> to the WNR podcast, if you haven't already.

And finally, I've been laughing myself silly at a certain Firefox ad contest winner. Yes, I know this is old. I don't care. Wheeeeee!</a> This Folger's ad</a> also gets an UnTiVoable Award from me. So trippy...and awesome...

Oh, and I got my first paycheck today for my internship. Yay for money!