Thursday, October 22, 2009

New Year's Resolutions, 1.5 months in

Overall, I'm 2 for 3, I'd say. As always, the reading has been hard to keep up with. I read a couple-three books in September, but October pretty much got bogged down with work. Also, I haven't read as many (non course-related) journal articles as I'd have hoped... maybe 3 of the 6 that I'd ideally have gotten by this point.

The cooking resolution has been by far my favorite. I've made lots of tasty things in the last couple months. Pear galette! Sweet potato soup! Baked catfish! Other things that haven't been as exciting/successful.

Finally, dancing: I'm on track, so far. Did especially well in September, October I'm at my mandated 1 minimum (although I might go out on Haloween night for the EBW). I dunno if once a month will be enough to really learn lots of new stuff well, but it's at least good for maintenance of skills.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

For the last few years of college, I always made my New Year's Resolutions in September, right before the start of classes, rather than in January, which was kind of an arbitrary, meaningless border. The new school year, it seemed to me, was generally more of an opportunity for a fresh start, as compared to the calendar year. New living space, new classes, and by and large, a new set of year-by-year requirements. This year is no exception. I want to have them up and running by the first day of classes, so I have a little under a week to make changes.

  • Cooking: This will be a good year to expand my culinary skills. I'm going to try to make 1 new recipe each week. I shouldn't feel confined to things that are actually written down: if I can come up with something that I think will work, go for it. On the other hand, the biosciences library has a large "cookbook" section. Who knew?

  • Reading : Try to read 2 non-course-related books each month: 1 "fiction" (also includes things like poetry), and 1 non-fiction. No particular length or subject restrictions, but they should be reasonably substantial. Also: Read at least 1 current journal article per week.

  • Dancing : Go dancing at least once a month. With things like East Bay Waltz and the Gaskell Ball, it shouldn't be too hard to go out somewhere local, and then there's lots of other stuff on the other side of the bay too.

I've made up a handy little progress chart, and tacked it up right in front of my desk, so I'm going to have a hard time working in my room and not seeing it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Berzerkeley Housing Hunt: Day 1

Those of you who have followed this blog have noticed that my plans rarely last long into the first engagement. I had originally intended to stay at home for a few more days and rest up. SSP this year was tough, for a number of different reasons, so I figured I deserved a few days off before diving back into the work. However, one of the houses that I had contacted a couple weeks ago was potentially going quickly, so I wanted to strike while the iron was hot, since it sounded fairly close to ideal.

So last night, I sent an email to my contact (who was moving out), who then forwarded it on to the rest of the roommates. They, in turn, said that they could meet with me at 9PM tonight. So I slept in this morning, did a couple loads of laundry, then looked around on craigslist for a couple more houses to look at, since I didn't want to drive up for just the one. After arranging a couple more (one right before leaving), I jumped back into my car and drove up to Berkeley.

Ranking so far: 2, 3, 1.

The first place I looked at was a bedroom in a 2BR/1BA. It was being sublet for the summer, so I didn't get to meet my future roommates (potentially a minus). The room itself was fairly small, but had decent closet space and a nice living room. A smallish, but serviceable looking electric stove.

Next up was a house. The current occupants are just moving in, so it was a little bare, and the whole thing felt a little ramshackle. The room itself was somewhat oddly shaped, being right beneath the roof, so the ceiling sloped in. Still, plenty of common space, very nice appliances in the kitchen. What turned me off, though, is that the guy I met just seemed kindof... Ivy. I dunno. It could work out, though.

Finally, the place that brought me up here so soon to begin with. Thus far, it's the best place I've seen, given what I'm looking for. The room itself is pretty spacious, with a giant closet, and the possibility to buy furniture (a desk, full bed, etc). Beautiful, functional kitchen. Comfy living room, although the kitchen is apparently the hangout space. The other roommates seem like a great bunch. The only thing that worries me is that they seem somewhat older than I am. Or, at least, than I feel. However, given today's xkcd, I'm beginning to wonder whether I'm old enough at all. They said they wanted to meet some more prospective tenants, and they'd get back to me in a day or so.

Up for tomorrow:
Sam Leachman (another princeton kid, class of '09) contacted me, said that he accepted a counter offer for a place. I'll come by and look at it tomorrow, see if the proposed situation will work.

I have a set appointment at 8 to see another place, and contacts with two others to set up appointments.

I'm also gonna block off some time to make a set of Cards Against Humanity, sortof an Apples To Apples meets Cheapass Games meets The Axis of Horrible card game.

Hopefully at least one of these will work out.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Safely Home!

To everyone I met on my travels: Thanks so much for your kindness,
your sleeping surfaces, and most of all your company! These last 9
weeks of my life have been so much fun for me, as well as a great
lesson that you can meet wonderful people no matter where you go.
Sometimes, of a group of you that I've met, I only got one person's
contact information... please feel free to put me in contact with
others that we met, or at least forward this message of thanks along.
I haven't had a chance to friend all of you on facebook yet, but never
fear, I will (as soon as I've gotten a good night's sleep in my own,
comfy bed). If any of you ever come out to California, I'd be happy
to let you stay with me.

For those of you whom I haven't told, I kept up a blog of my trip at The European leg of my trip was
somewhat sparsely updated, but I intend to go back and write up as
detailed a story as I can remember, as well as post more pictures for
the whole trip.

Again, thanks so much!

Peter Combs

Monday, May 25, 2009

Last night in Europe

So I haven't been able to post much here... I'm spending my last night
in Europe with a couple friends from Princeton, living in London.
Tomorrow afternoon, I fly back to California, landing around 5 PM.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

So many places, so little time to write

Since the last post, I´ve seen the absolutely gorgeous Alhambra
(though Alex thought the Alcázar in Seville was more impressive...
we´ve agreed to disagree), wandered the old medina of Tangier,
Morocco, and been across the bridges in Ronda, Spain. And met more

Now we´re in Barcelona for a little bit, before heading off to Rome in
about 24 hours.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda!

Here I am at/
Old Granada