Monday, July 27, 2009

I actually have nothing of great interest to say, just thought I'd make it known that I haven't disappeared completely.

I am visiting my family in Pennsylvania, have been here a little over a week now, and am ready to be back in Charleston.  I came home earlier than I had planned due to a death in the family and spent some extra time with my grandmother and other family members.  It has been good to have some time with them, but you know how it is returning home when you normally live on your own.  I go crazy with people checking up on me all the time.  :)

While here, I've also been taking some time to find a new car.  I'd like to have one in my possession by Wednesday evening, but...there are other factors that may prevent that.  Right now I am basically split between taking my dad's 2006 Honda Civic LX, which I really like, and a 2006 VW Jetta.  My dad's car was the clear winner until I drove the Jetta.  And I love it.  And it has a moon roof just like my Civic did.  My dad is still trying to win my favor by saying he will let me have a moon roof put into his Honda for Christmas.  Mileage is also a factor.  The Civic has 78,000 miles on it while the Jetta only has 27,000.  So we'll see what I choose.  I've really been putting a lot of thought into it.  It's not such a big deal, but I spend a lot of time in my car and would like to have something that I will be satisfied with for more than 5 years.

This Thursday, I'm off to Philadelphia to see Fleet Foxes.  I am SO excited.  I really have wanted to see them for awhile now and I'm sure I'll have lots of stuff to say about it when I get back.  However I won't say it until next week, as I'll be going to New York for the weekend.  Busy traveling week for me.

Next week I'm here for a few days and then it's back to Charleston and business as usual.  A mere four weeks until it's back to college.  I'll be happy to see everyone, but not happy to have Microeconomics.  But we must make the best of the situation I suppose.

That's all for now...more next week!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

R.I.P. Vero?

Last night I was on Ashley Phosphate in North Charleston - the road I feared driving on most when I first moved here because of the ridiculous traffic.  And I had my first major car accident.  Some guy in a Porsche (see: douchebag) wanted to turn across traffic.  He edged through two lanes that stopped and left space for him but didn't feel it was important to stop and have a look at the third lane before completing his turn.  Well, I was in that lane and happened to crash into his passenger side at approximately 35 mph.  His car sustained no damage that is beyond repair.  Also he was going to a second car, so I guess it's not really a problem for his rich dumb ass and that would explain why he was laughing and dancing around like a moron while I was standing there crying and trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do.  Luckily nobody was actually hurt in the accident and after much leaking of fluids, my car was towed away.

Anyway, his insurance company acknowledges that he is at fault, and will be taking care of the situation.  I have been given a rental car - a 2009 Chevy Cobalt - until further notice, at the expense of Geico.  The adjustor has not viewed my car yet - that will occur tomorrow after I get the rest of my belongings, which I forgot to pick up with the others today.  However, I'm hearing from all sides - cop who wrote report, towing company, insurance company - that my car is 95% certain to be totaled.  As much as she gave me trouble, I learned to love her.  My dearest Civvie will be missed if indeed she must be destroyed.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Bad Influences

Many people who know me also know the story of the young male in my apartment complex who would accost me in the hallway insisting that I should cheat on "my boyfriend" to be with him.  When that failed to work, he would come knocking at my door asking if he could hang out in my apartment.  When met by "no" every time, he insinuated that this meant that I hated black people.  Not just him.  But every single black person on the planet.

When I returned from Pennsylvania last time (at the end of May), he ceased to be present and so I assumed that he was gone for good.  He is not actually a tenant of these apartments, but rather the visiting cousin of a tenant who is actually not insane.  Needless to say I was rather annoyed when he returned about two weeks ago.  He left me alone for a few days, as he was enamored by an Eastern European woman who is here with him and with whom he was frequently seen making out with under the stairs.

However, in the past few days, whether she is there or not, he feels the need to say hello to me and call me out by name whenever he sees me, and actually stand in my path when I'm trying to go up the stairs to my apartment.  Childish and extremely unfunny.  Now for the point of my story...

There are children in the household in which he's staying.  And while it's really none of my business, he has obviously influenced these children with his lack of social skills.  There is a little girl, maybe 6 years old, who is mostly outside all day playing with the other kids in the building (who aren't nearly as annoying as she is).  She saw me a few times walking Chrissy, my puppy, outside and would ask to pet her.  Because this girl screams everything at the top of her lungs and in the whiniest tone possible, my dog was immediately terrified of her.  It got to a point where she would accost me in the hallway as well everytime I would go outside and ask to hold/pet Chrissy.  I would tell her, "Ok you can pet her, but I can't stay out here because I've got stuff to do."  Apparently "busy" is not a word in this child's vocabulary because she would still whine and insist I stay there for 25 or more minutes.  

Said child may or may not look like this.

Normally I'd have no problem telling a child to STFU and get out of the way.  Even though I love children, the kids these days (yeah I'm 90) are annoying and have no manners.  Their parents are mostly just as wretched as they are.  However, I know this child's mother.  And she's so so nice and really cool and everything.  So I can hardly be mean to her kid.

This child eventually got into a habit of waiting outside of my apartment at times she knew I'd be coming outside with Chrissy.  Fucking weird, ok.  So I told her mom that if she would be at home, I'd let them puppysit some day while I go do stuff but that she must supervise this child because she's heinous (or something less mean).  So they are puppysitting Thursday and now I can tell the child to wait three effing days and leave me alone.

Moral of the story: raising children in the environment of prowlers is raising prowlers.

In other news....Zappa Plays Zappa...North Charleston.  I'm not going but I am intrigued.  That is all.  Oh and if anybody can figure out who's opening for The Avett Brothers at the Performing Arts Center, feel free to let me know.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Weekend Things: Part Three

This is the last part, I swear.  And then I'll go back to not having a life.  :)

Right.  So after all the drama with Oliver on Sunday night, I thought I'd have a peaceful Monday morning.  But that didn't happen, because I had a morning precalculus test.  Hooray!  After all that was done, I met up with the family at my apartment and we planned out our day.  We started off having a walk around the Cistern and Physician's Promenade at my college, and then visited the gardens behind the student center.  The gardens were alive with much noise, which we later discovered was coming from lots and lots of froggies (or toads) sexing it up!  We also saw little itty bitty baby ones hopping around that were less than a centimeter long!

Froggy secks!

My father decided that he really wanted to go see the old Sheldon Church Ruins near Pocotaligo.  We'd both been before on the way back from Beaufort (lamest city ever), and I was actually planning on driving out again sometime, so why not now?  

Anyway, we set off on this drive that should've taken 45 minutes tops, but due to a ridiculous amount of construction (destruction) it took us double the time.  While inching along in traffic we noticed a sad and interesting thing - around the wetlands there were tons of baby alligators smooshed on the road.  *pout*  It's strange because I've driven this road several times to get to Savannah, and never noticed it before.  But they were popping up about once every half mile.  Poor little fellows.

When we arrived at the ruins, it was a little different than I remembered it.  The grass seemed to be shorter (I remembered it as being unmaintained) and there was a gate and historical marker that I just must not have paid attention to last time.  There were also two other families there checking it out.  One was a large family that was just sort of quietly poking around.  The other group was two women (maybe in their 20s) with 4 little kids.  On the ruins, there is actually a large sign that explains that this is a churchyard with gravestones and history that was tragically burnt and you should have a little respect and be reverent.  It doesn't say "no touchy" or anything like that...but basically just shut up and don't be rude.  That being said, these 4 little kids were running around sword fighting with sticks, parents being loud and rude as well.  And as I watched them climbing on the tombs, I noticed that the two women were carrying cameras, and not taking pictures of the ruins, but rather doing a photo shoot with the children.  I understand kind of almost(ish) posing your kids in front of the old church.  It's pretty.  But they were standing the little girl up against gravestones and sitting her on the tombs and taking photos of her.  First off, that's strange.  Second off, really kind of disrespectful I think.  Maybe that's just my feeling.

So anyway.  The ruins themselves obviously haven't changed a whole lot.  Little plants were growing out of the cracks in between the bricks.  The sun was shining and it was just serene (minus the yelling).  I hadn't really looked at the tombs the last time I was there.  Stephen Bull and his wife were buried there in the 1700s.  I think Stephen's said 1770 something.  They're very old.  Two of the tombs are cracked at the top, making little openings for the water and insects to run in.  Overall it was a trip worth making.  You can click here to read a little bit about the church's history.  And here are some photos:

The Ruins from the entrance gate.

Inside where the altar used to be.

The Bull family graves/tombs

From the front of the church

We left Sheldon Church hoping to make it back to Charleston in time to see the Parade of Sail and watch all of the tall ships leave the harbor.  However, the construction slowed us down and I had to stop to medicate Ollie, so we just missed it.  By the time we arrived on the Battery, we could just barely see the last of the ships on the horizon, and we could see the Spirit of South Carolina turning around and heading back to port.  They must have had a teaching session in progress, because they lingered in the harbor for a long time.  There were also a few barges coming and going.  While we were watching the Spirit sail around the harbor, we noticed a bunch of tiny little seagulls flying around.  Their mother was standing by and watching them, and we concluded that she was teaching them how to fish.  There must've been 50 or so little babies flying about and squeaking.  I managed to catch a little video - ignore my father and I chatting in the background.

The Spirit of South Carolina sailing around the harbor

After we finished all of our productive things we headed out for dinner.  My guests were interested in seafood, so we hit Hyman's on Meeting Street and sat at the table where Mikhail Baryshnikov and Anthony Hopkins dined (though most likely not at the same time :)).  And that was the end of our night, and sadly the end of my family's visit.  All in all, it was a very enjoyable weekend and I'll miss the busy schedule and the excitement.

Now I'm back to normal things.  Today was my final exam for my summer course and now I'm free to do whatever I wish again.  I'm not really sure what that is, but I'll find something and hopefully will have some interesting things to share in the upcoming weeks.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Weekend Things: Part Two

Sunday was the busiest day of the weekend for me.  The family and I headed out early in the morning to go check out the ships together.  I was very excited about this experience and may or may not have sung a little song and done a little dance in the car on the way there.  

Let me start by saying that by 9 a.m. in Charleston, the temperature has usually reached 90 degrees.  Sunday was no exception and I was gross and sweaty and apparently whichever volunteer was supposed to be putting out water for people to drink failed at life and allowed us all to become dried out husks of our former selves.  But!  On to the boats...

We started out at the dock at the Maritime Center, where the smaller of the ships were.  Some of these ships were not available for deck tours, but they were fun to look at.  The Etoile (French) was open for tours but had a really high bridge that took you to the upper level and I was wearing a dress.  So I sat out on that one.  Our first stop was the Spirit of Bermuda - a 112' three-masted schooner with a 10' draft and 23' beam.  The craftsmanship of this ship was immaculate.  The joints in the wood on the deck were very unique and just beautiful.  The crew were also very nice and entertained questions gladly.  It was an 8 day journey for them from Bermuda to Charleston and I think they were just enjoying the time off.

Spirit of Bermuda

Next, we boarded the Schooner Virginia.  She is a 126' two-masted schooner with a wooden hull, a 12' draft and a 24' beam.  Can't say I was too impressed.  It's not that the ship was hideous or anything like that.  I just think I wanted to see the bigger ships and this was the last stop before we headed over to the Union Pier Passenger Terminal.  While we were on board, the Spirit of South Carolina also sailed by.  The Spirit is a teaching vessel that sails from Charleston.

The Schooner Virginia

The Spirit of South Carolina

On the way to the Passenger Terminal we happened to catch some of the air show.  Was kind of really fun to watch.  The pilots were really daring, coming within very short distances of each other, and at times dipping down to no higher than 30' above the water.  There was also a parachute team that came in as we were leaving.

The first large ship we boarded was the Eagle.  She hails from New London, CT and is a United States Coast Guard ship.  The Eagle is 295' long, has a 39' beam, a 16' draft and a steel hull.  At the top of the bridge we were met by two women in uniform.  They didn't say anything to welcome people aboard and looked kind of irritated to be there, and actually I assumed they didn't speak English.  This was before I realized we were on an American ship and that they were just being rude.  I was happier anyway to be on a ship that didn't allow me to sense the bobbing around in the water.  Bleh.  Anyway...nice ship.  

The Eagle

The Uruguayan ship was next.  The crew members on the deck were scarce as most of them were probably still recovering from last night's festivities (and they did emerge at about 1:30 p.m. and start the drumming and dancing again).  Those that we did see were all on their laptops.  This ship was cool because we could go into the room with all the controls and navigational stuff in it (insert technical term here).  See pictures from yesterday.

The last ship we boarded was by far the most impressive.  The Kruzenshtern, hailing from Kalingrad, Russia, is a four-masted barque with a length of 376', draft of 16' and beam of 46'.  This is clearly a steel hulled ship.  Before we saw this ship, we knew it was large.  But..."large" is really a huge understatement.  She's an impressive vessel that has been through a lot, supposedly.  The poor fellows on board didn't really speak much English at all, and they were left to fend for themselves with the people asking questions.  But they did have lots of boards with photos and captions to help them out.  Throughout the day we were glancing at this ship, because they were doing a repair to the mast and there were men wayyy high up there just sitting like they were on a chair on the ground.  Crazy.

The Kruzenshtern

Ohai crazy people!

At the end of the dock, there was the Romanian Mircea.  Also a very large ship, but we did not board.  The sun was getting to us and there was a huge line to weight before boarding.  Beyond the Mircea was a freighter that was loading cars and RVs.  

The Mircea

After our long day on the docks, we grabbed some food downtown and then headed to Folly Beach to have a nice relaxing walk and to look at the lighthouse.  The tide was just going out when we got there and the breeze was blowing steadily.  It was a lovely outing.

Unfortunately, the rest of Sunday was not as nice.  Upon returning to my apartment, I fed the animals and we just relaxed for a bit.  Until we noticed that Oliver, the poor little fellow, was rubbing his eye and meowing a lot.  I looked at him and at first thought that he'd actually ripped part of his eye, as all I could see was white.  But it was really his third eyelid that was swollen.  We took him to the emergency veterinarian clinic, and after he assaulted most of the veterinarian staff for trying to touch him, they had to sedate him.  Turns out he somehow got some scratches on the cornea.  We're not sure how, but we do know it wasn't from the dog, as they were separated all day.  So anyway, we left with some antibiotics and a cone on his head.  After a follow-up appointment today, it seems he is doing well and will have a full recovery soon.  But he's not happy about the damn cone.

That's all I've got for today.  Monday's events come tomorrow!

Also, pardon the less-than-fantastic photos.  The only excuse I can make is that I wasn't wearing my glasses...but that's probably not it.