Sunday, June 24, 2007

Concerts Don't End Just Cuz We Moved

Saturday, June 23rd 2007: Rooney at the 9:30 Club

How lucky was this? I had originally bought tickets to see these guys at the Paradise in Allston right around Halloween (this past year), but for some reason, we didn't make it out probably due to some Halloween-related event.

Fast forward to now, I noticed that they would be on Conan the night of Friday, June 22nd, so I DVR'ed their performance. I watched the show the next day, and Conan, while introducing them, announced that they would be performing at the 9:30 club tomorrow night...which was that day! I was stoked! I bought the tickets pretty soon thereafter, and after enjoying the bbq pool party at our building, off we were to our first concert experience in DC. The place was nice and small, though definitely not as small as Axis. We opted for the balcony, where we stood front and center. Seemed like Robert Schwartzman was singing right at us for most of their performance.

Opening bands: Lemonface (could easily be called Babyface due to how young they all looked and probably are - can't be older than 16. Just looked them up - they're all 17) and The Rewinds

Us in the balcony - Photo taken by christakos

What a coincidence that I wore my Albert Hammond, Jr. shirt and Rooney had at one point opened for the Strokes...

"When Did Your Heart Go Missing?" and "I'm Shakin'"

Friday, June 22, 2007

Our First Official Dinner Out in Bethesda

Saturday, June 16th 2007:

After several days of traveling, moving, unpacking and eating either Domino's or Cosi's at-first-yummy Tuscan Pesto Chicken (but turned tiresome after the third time), we treated ourselves to dinner at Raku down the street. Yes, it's a little sad that we could have just easily walked to any of the many restaurants in the area the past few days, but we were just too tired to leave the quasi comforts of our new place.

One thing we noticed was that this was a neighborhood where everyone loved to eat out, and eat outside, regardless of what day it was - even on a Tuesday night. Many of the restaurants on or near the main strip were constantly bustling with patrons with the outdoor seating almost always full. It's quite the lively area.

Raku is one of those restaurants - always packed.

We enjoyed sitting at the sushi bar, watching not sushi being made (that was on the other side), but soups and salads, with the sprinkling different herbs, spices, sauces, etc to make an interesting presentation and the all important final inspection before giving the dishes out to the diners. We feasted on fresh and tasty sushi, perfectly cooked and flavored duck, and a soft-shelled crab jambalaya, from their specials menu. I also had a sangria, that was a bit to strong for my taste, while Brian enjoyed some Yuengling - no longer an elusive beer for us.


Definitely leaps up from Domino's...

The Trials of Buying Our New Car

Okay,'s our "wonderful" car story

Wednesday, May 30th 2007:

After doing some research on buying a new car, we decide to visit the Toyota dealership that was less than a 3-minute walk from our apartment and take a look at a Prius. Being green-minded, we opted to go for a hybrid. We meet Nick, who shows us the different cars, colors and options. He also said that there was a waiting list for 9 months for these cars and because the car had gotten so popular, their supply has gone up, about 50 cars this month, but because of the demand, they only had about 6 left, but not in the color we wanted.

We were definitely interested in buying one, but we weren't ready to sign any papers just yet. During the course of our 2 hour visit (!), we ended up waiting around for a good amount of time, watching as the salesmen walk back and forth, trying to find out if the car is available in the color and package we wanted. While waiting, we make small talk with Nick who turns out to be from Kazakhstan. I couldn't look at Brian right away, thinking that something may be said in reference to Borat, but thankfully we held our composure.

Nick finally told us that there is a car located at another dealership that they can have brought here, but we decided to mull over it a bit and come back the next day. Nick looked rather disappointed as we told him that, thinking we would be signing papers that day.

Thursday, May 31th 2007:

We decide to buy the car and head back to the dealership. We take a test drive in one of them - very cool! It's practically a toy with the joystick and touchscreen and rearview camera.

As we would be leaving Boston for good the following Friday, we had to make sure that we would have the car in the next few days, so we didn't sign anything until they told us the car would be available within the necessary time frame. Again, after waiting a long time, lots of walking back and forth among salesmen, manager, etc., Nick said that the car should be at the dealership tomorrow or at the latest on Saturday. That's definitely doable. So we give our down payment and sign the plethora of papers with a sense of nervousness and excitement - my first car, and Brian's first new car.

Awesome! So we would have a car our last week in Boston to help with running errands and wrapping up loose ends.

Fast forward to...

Thursday, June 7th 2007:

still no car. With all the running around we had to do, thank goodness for zipcar that week.

So after talking or leaving a message with Nick practically every day since we signed the papers, he calls Brian in the afternoon, after commencement, that the car would not be here in time, as in not here the next day. That certainly put a damper on the festivities. Earlier in the week, Nick said that the car "hadn't docked yet" in New York?! What, it's on a boat? What the heck? Talk about giving us the runaround and a bunch of lies.

A new game plan had to be created since unfortunately, we still had a crap load of things that needed to be transported to either of our parents' places as well as some smaller items to our new apartment.

Friday, June 8th 2007: our last day in Boston

So as we gathered our last few things, packed the cars, cleaned the apartment, Brian and his dad went over to the dealership to void the sale and get our money back. Good thing that the manager did not give them a hard time and agreed to give back the money without hesitation. I was surprised to hear that, but that's how it went down. However, we were not going to leave until we get the check in our hands and deposit it into our account. That meant sticking around until 1pm, which was later than we had wanted to leave. Brian also went to pick up our rental car which cost a pretty penny for the length of time we needed it or at least planned on needed it. Some better foresight would have made the next few days easier on all of us.

We drive down to NJ and spend the night at my parents' place before heading down to Philly for Brian's grad party.

Saturday, June 9th 2007:

Noticing the large Toyota dealership just a few blocks from the house on our drive down the day before, Brian and my dad decide to give it a whirl and see if they had a grey magnetic prius with the package we want. I stayed at home organizing what was to stay and what was coming with us.

Looks like the visit to the dealership paid off as they were expecting to receive the model we wanted, at the latest on Wednesday.

Here we go again...will it be an empty promise just like Boston? but Brian was adamant in telling Bob, our new salesperson, our situation, so he better not screw up. We were actually going to get a nice discount at the Boston dealership due to the end-of-the-month quotas, but Bob pointed out that we didn't actually get a car out of it, so we didn't get a discount. Knowing that someone else will just buy it if we don't, we didn't get a discount with Bob either.

We drove ahead in the rental car to help get ready for the party, while the folks, Elmer & Hoong-San drove down a little later. They would drive back up the same night.

Sunday, June 10th 2007:

Not thinking ahead, as I mentioned earlier, Brian and I had access to a car that we could have used the next few days as we waited for our Prius to arrive: my parents' Pilot. Essentially, we have to go back to NJ to pickup the Prius. Having the Pilot would have made it easier since it would be a simple roundtrip. But instead we have to borrow one of Brian's parents' cars, a Buick, hold on to it until we actually get the Prius, and drive it back down to Philly - a multi-stop trip.

But that was the plan we had to make - return the Buick on Wednesday.

Monday, June 11th 2007:

We head to our new home: Bethesda, Maryland in the Buick.

Tuesday, June 12th 2007:

I use the Buick to drive into DC for a photography job.

Wednesday, June 13th 2007:

Trying to unpack as much as we can, we anxiously wait to hear from Bob as to the status of the car. We do not find out until around 6pm that the car is finally at the dealership. I even call my dad to make sure.

So we drive up in the Buick, holding on to it a day longer than expected.

Thursday, June 14th 2007:

Two weeks after signing the papers in Boston and after loads of time and energy wasted, we finally get a car!!! What an ordeal!

Brian drives the Prius as I drive the Buick to Philly before we head down to Bethesda to finally settle down in our new, yet disastrously box-filled apartment.

I wish Brian's week off before starting work wasn't so hectic driving around so much. With all the driving we did, we soon learned that the drive from Boston to the folks' was SO much easier, with less time and less money. Traffic on the infamous Beltway and I-95, and one-way tolls at around $16 have become our nemeses.

But we are closer to Brian's family which is good thing.

In hommage to the old days, we came up with this idea while we were signing the papers in Boston:

heh heh

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

First Days in Our New Neighborhood

Monday, June 11th 2007: Getting to Bethesda, our new neighborhood

What a crazy week it's been! Wish our last couple weeks in Boston would have gone much differently, less hectic and less running around. All of a sudden, we're driving down to Bethesda. May just went by too fast and the one week in June even faster. But here we are, driving Brian's parents' Buick, packed with random things that didn't go with the movers nor were left with my parents, down to Maryland. Nice, gorgeous day.

We were expecting the movers to arrive today, so we tried to leave early, but we got to our apartment around 11am, which I thought would be late since movers would probably arrive before 10am. Sharon, the building manager, goes over the lease and particulars. But before signing anything, we go back up to the apartment to make sure everything's in order since we got a huge rent deduction. I was quite surprised and opted to not say anything. Awesome - more money towards paying off loans and expenses.

Geez, after packing all our crap and knowing what we have (and had), the new apartment looked rather small. Moving from a 5-room apartment to a 3-room can do that I guess. But it was good to finally be at our new place.

After signing a bunch of papers, we head on up and bring what was in the car. Turns out that due to some mix-up, the movers would not be showing up until the following day. That was rather disheartening, because I had a job the next day. But it did give us a chance to relax as well as go and buy the components for my new workstation. The Buick did end up being pretty handy in this department, with all the components just barely fitting inside. Again, we miss out on eating at one of the 140 (?) restaurants in our area and instead eat at Bertucci's in the mall, waiting for the furniture to be picked up.

Good thing we brought our swimsuits with us...

Tuesday, June 12th 2007: We are reunited with our things

Again, like in Boston, there were 3 movers - one who was just slightly sketch. He had a very distinctive long pinky nail, not leaving the best of impressions with me, but oddly enough, he wasn't as sketchy as the one in Boston. There were a few casualties, mainly the glass in a few frames (one of which I think I heard them break when they were packing in Boston), but luckily nothing was missing except for our supply of folding umbrellas - maybe we somehow left them at one of our parents' places?

We ended up getting some Domino's pizza for lunch (we can't seem to eat well whenever moving's involved - at least it's not as fatty as KFC).

The boxes just kept on coming, and soon our living area was packed. I wanted them to be done already so that I could unpack a little, rest a little, and then head off to the assignment in downtown DC. It was pure luck that I could steal some wireless internet in the building, because it hadn't been working earlier, and I needed to get the directions to the assignment. Having no printer, I had to write everything by hand, both going to and coming from. I definitely did not get as much rest as I would have liked.

It was rather nice and sunny out earlier in the day, but when I had to drive downtown, the clouds rolled in, dark and gray, and next thing I knew it was downpouring. Luckily though, it had let up a little bit when I finally arrived at the venue. Talk about wrecked nerves - driving in a new city and getting lost/making the wrong turn a couple times. Thank goodness I had a street map of the DC area with me. Otherwise I would have gotten there very late, which would be pretty bad for making a first impression in a new city.

Needless to say, I was pretty exhausted at the end. I could not wait to get back home, home to Brian, a plethora of boxes, and some leftover Domino's.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Brian's Graduation Party

Saturday, June 9th 2007

the festivities continue...

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Last Day in Boston :o(

Friday, June 8th 2007

With the hubbub of commencement behind us, we are left with the task of leaving our apartment as clean as when we first moved well as resolving the pesky car situation which I'll post at a later date.

Thanks Patrick and Jean for being such great landlords and having a wonderful apartment for us to live in for the past 2 years and 7+ months.

It was such a comfy couch for the past 8 years. We'll miss you, and hope you find a good home.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Harvard Commencement, among other things...

Wednesday, June 6th 2007:

Family comes up for the big day tomorrow.

Dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Zaftigs in Coolidge Corner. Such tasty food and healthy portions - and when I mean healthy, I mean large and yummy.

Not having enough tickets for the yard nor the actual diploma ceremony, we had to plan our attack for tomorrow.

Leaving a little goodbye present at the lab. We get back to our apartment around 11:30pm, and seriously need to get some rest, for the day ahead is going to be early and long.

Thursday, June 7th 2007:

With the gates opening at 6:45am, we roll out of bed at around 5:45am, picking up the Tulls at their hotel at 6:30am. Brian is quite awake and mobile, all ready to let the day begin.

Photos in Harvard Square before separating and finding seats, while Brian and my folks head to the GSAS breakfast. When entering the gates, the security checked our bags but didn't take nor do anything to our green Tercentenary Theatre tickets. Marge made this keen observation, and I borrowed two tickets and headed out to get my parents into the yard - getting some munchies in the process.

And the march begins - with just a toll of the Memorial Church bell, the graduates with the highest degree enter with not much pomp and circumstance. Quite the anti-climatic entrance. The entire procession takes over an hour to finish before the ceremony actually begins.

View from Brian's seat and whereever Dad was positioned at this point.

I couldn't sit in one spot, so I made my way closer and closer to the stage and found where Brian sat.

Through my urging, Brian stood up during the undergraduates' conferring of degrees. Rishi, one of Brian's former labmates, is standing just behind and to the right of Brian.

Quite the large sea of graduates: 6,871 total

John Kerry and Larry Summers

Honorary Degree recipients: Bill Gates, Larry Summers, and William Felton ‘Bill’ Russell

GSAS Diploma Ceremony in Sanders Theatre

If you listen very carefully to the first few seconds of this clip, you can hear me yell "Yeaah, Brian!"

The next Harry Potters...handless Harry Potters

Going a little crazy with the tail?

One more goodbye before we go...

Brian's soon-to-be vacant desk

The obligatory John Harvard photo

5:00pm dinner at The Red House - we get first dibs on a table, which worked out quite nicely since the room eventually became packed with grads and families. Practically running on empty, I was definitely struggling to stay awake and ignore the aches my body was feeling. But it certainly was a delicious 3-hour dinner. Then we headed back to the COOP to return Brian's wizarding attire.

We stumble upon 3 wild and crazy guys as we head back to the parking garage. We ran into them just a couple weeks ago when Shiala and Joey visited.

What a LONG day, everyone was exhausted and easily fell asleep around 10pm - and I eventually went to sleep after organizing all my crap for the big move out the next day.