Thursday, August 31, 2006


So get this, I have some exciting news, and now because it is official I can finally say it. I'm doing the photos for an entire book. A whole science book. My adviser, who is probably ranked in the upper 5 brilliant minds in the field of drug delivery, is writing an introductory bioengineering book, and after going through some hoops with the publisher...all of the photos in the book will be mine, and I will get paid for it.

I am so so so excited.

The idea is that there's not good introductory bioE book - most of them are technical books and difficult to read. He wants something visually appealing for freshmen to read, so my task is to make boring photos of beakers look trendy and cool.


I think it might be time for me to buy a replacement battery charger for my camera (finally)...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Attempted to spend the weekend in Vermont at Greg's Uncle's uber-cool cabin but it was a bit of a bust. We both took Friday off, planned to leave after a meeting I had at 11am. Well the meeting got cancelled but it ended up not mattering because (a) it took us forever to pack and get out of the house anyway and (b) it poured.

Great. Hasn't rained in like a month and it pours on our weekend of outdoor bliss! Plus, it's a good 2.5hrs up there, so we thought we'd try and wait the rain out. No good. We waited, finally left at 3pm with the dogs in the back of the Volvo and way way way too much stuff, got there at 5pm. We didn't know whether the Uncle would be there or not, but he gave Greg instructions on how to find the spare key ("Under the eaves of the back door"). We spent 30 minutes searching for the key - no luck. No cell phone reception either. We drove 30 minutes back to reception and called the Uncle, who reiterated the instructoins with greater detail. 30 minutes back to the cabin. 30 minutes more searching. Nothing. 30 minutes back to cell phone reception. Uncle decided to skip plans to go to a music venue and drive up to the cabin to let us in - many thanks. In the meantime, we had mediocre Chinese food (Greg had a curry shrimp dish, what? Weird for Chinese food) and the dogs drooled in the back of the Volvo. Poor guys were couped up back there for like 7 hours. It turned out the key was perfectly jammed in a slot in the wood so that it was literally undetectable by touch. They had to use a flashlight and a footstool to locate it.

Spent Friday night drinking good wine and going to bed early. Woke up Saturday morning at 6am by Tori's furious scratching at the back door when she discovered that an entire flock of wild Turkeys were currently strutting through the backyard. Went for a mini hike but couldn't locate the trail, came back for lunch and crashed. It totally poured on Sunday and we didn't get to go hiking at all.

Oh well, fun weekend anyway. We went with our friends Kim and Ian, who are superb examples of San Jose Californian Minimalists. They moved cross country by getting rid of everything except what would fit in the lower half of a Toyota Tacoma truck bed (they slept in the upper half for three weeks until they got to New Haven). Anyway, they're always a good lesson: we have too much crap. I get random urges to throw out half of what I own, and I usually make a good hearted attempt but no overall luck so far. I'm reducing my total number of worldly objects to fewer and fewer, but not by enough yet, especially cause I continue buying them too. Compared to them, Greg and I with our dogs, yummy food, sleeping stuff, clothes, board games, cameras, and etc... were almost offensive to the philosophy!

No ring yet. We'll probably visit the jeweler guy on Thursday.

Villa might have been selected. No more details to be written here than that! Greg and I will decide within the next few days. Select family members received detailed instructions and RSVP requests (and also photos of everybody, since nobody has met). We've decided to keep the Italy part of this thing very small.

I'm putting together invitation wording and I think that's the one thing I'd just like to have done at a printer's. Not worth the 80 bucks I'd save by spending hours and hours doing them myself. I like having little things done like that. Wording the invitations is a very complicated thing, because we need to make clear that the Italy wedding part of it is really just a family thing and probably wouldn't even be very interesting for other people. We'd really like people to come to the reception in CT more than anything.

Have spent the entire week not cleaning and not cooking and not working and really just being an unproductive mess in front of the TV or computer. I swear I'll cook something tomorrow.

Monday, August 21, 2006

G'n'R plans

Hi Folks

Alright, so for those of you not involved in the semi-dramatic madness, some decisions have been made regarding the wedding. Big decisions! Let me explain the course of our reasoning.

(1) I don't want a traditional wedding. I never have.
(2) Greg doesn't want a traditional wedding either.
(3) What we do want is a signficant event to mark our commitment to each other that is personal, private, and involves our immediate family and the people we love.

And the big one...
(4) We don't want to plan anything. We hate planning. We want to show up and have it all be easy and done without any stress

And the bigger one...
(5) When we do see our families, immediate and extended, we want to have time to spend with them. We want quality wedding time.

The G'n'R Elopement/Destination Wedding Plan:

We rent a villa in Italy for a week. Our family members fly out. We spend quality time together. We get married there. We go on our honeymoon after family members leave. Reception in CT to be held several months later (so as not to overburden peoples travel considerations in case they'd like to go to both)

I am way, way excited. This is the kind of wedding I can picture. This is what I really want. Greg and I are so relieved and happy and not stressed anymore to see it this way. We think it will be a truly special memory to create as a family (or, as two families that now have something to do with each other). Since our families haven't even ever met before, we want to spend some quality time together.

An example of some villas we are looking at:

Anyway, a few ground rules.

We have decided the following:

- There is a budget. We will decide on that amount before deciding on a place. We will subsidize everybody's trip as much as possible. So whatever is not spent on the location will be spent on dinners out and etc. At a minimum, family members who choose to come will not be responsible for any lodging costs, and there will definitely be low cost food options available since the place we rent will have a great kitchen. I've priced it out and 7 days in Italy will not be significantly more expensive than 5 days in CT. By significantly, I mean the two costs will end up being within 2-300 dollars of each other at worst.

- We're deciding what villa we're booking. It's just that much less complicated. I invite suggestions of all sorts and appreciate input...but we will make decisions based on how we'd like the event to be ourselves.

- Every effort will be made to book something off season.

- Every effort will be made to accomodate those schedules of people who want to come. Don't let your schedule stop you from saying you want to come, because we'll work around it

- At some point soon a final count will be determined for the Family Villa. It's basically just Parents, Siblings, Grandparents + 1 friend apiece. But I do need you to think very seriously about whether you can come and on what days in spring and fall, because then I'll plan things around you.

- Other people not staying at the family villa are quite welcome to come to Italy to celebrate with us. I am happy to point people to lodging possibilities and help with travel arrangements. We'd love to have you there. We don't have any expectations that other people will come. We will have a reception in CT for those who'd prefer not to travel such a long distance.

Thanks for understanding guys. It means a lot to us.


P.S. Everybody's been asking what Greg looks like with short hair. I gave him another haircut:

His shirt says "A D G. Now start a band" :D The deer in the headlights look is due to my nagging "Don't make funny faces at the camera"...

Saturday, August 19, 2006


I am so excited!!!!

Derek Simpson (the New Haven jeweller) got back into town (he was on vacation) on Thursday. We stopped by Thursday night, then gave him another photo of the ring, and then he called Greg on Friday to say we should stop in and see it. He's got the mock-up done in silver in my size, and the diamond could be slipped in so I could put it on and see how it looks.

I was totally expecting to be "disappointed" in the first mock-up (kind of prepping myself so that I wouldn't be), but it was truly perfect. The ring is exactly what we were hoping that it would look like. It looks like the photo, except the bands are a little bit taller, and he put in a basket that will hold the diamond sturdy and mechanically stabilize the arms so that the diamond doesn't fall out 10 years from now. The only changes we made were to trim down the sides a little bit so that the ring won't twist when I close my fingers, to either shorten or make cutouts in basket so that more light can get through to the diamond, and to maybe increase the comfort fit edging a little bit so that it is more rounded.

Anyway, I am really excited. When I put it on my hand, I wanted to wear it immediately and also for years to come - not something I can say for many other pieces of jewelry I own. Most of the jewelery I do have (not that it's a lot) is something that goes in and out of my preference to wear. But this, I could tell, I would always want to wear.

The only other question is whether to do a wedding band. A woman in my lab has a solitaire setting in white gold with a band that is stripped on the outside with yellow gold and white gold in the center. I thought that was actually really cool. And I could imagine doing a yellow gold band that follows the contour of the ring. But Greg and the jeweler made fun of me, so that idea's out :D The obvious way to do it would just be a white gold band that follows the contour of the ring. Not sure whether I want a band or not.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Boris The Spider

So Sunday night. Greg, Travis and Kristen (the people that we rent the second floor to), Kim and Ian (a post doc in my lab + her boyfriend), and myself were all sitting around a fire in our backyard on Dwight Street. Suddenly, I notice a spider floating several feet above Greg's head.


Let me describe the setup. Garage to the right: 8 feet tall, 3 feet away. Tree to the left: 30-40 feet tall, 15 feet away. Chiminea in front: 4 feet tall, 2 feet away. Spider: floating above our heads (about 6 feet up), completely in the center of this. The spider had a pink body with yellow striped legs.

After much confusion, we finally figured the whole thing out. The spider is an orb weaver. They let a line of silk thread dangle from a high location (i.e., the tree on the left) until it sticks somewhere (i.e., the garage). Then they go the middle (i.e., above Greg's head), drop a line, and wait for it to hit something else (i.e., the smoking hot chiminea). The line stuck to the chiminea and the spider ran down to secure it, hit the hot metal and ran back up. Then it spun a web. A truly amazing web floating seemingly midair 7 feet off the ground. It was one of hte most spectacular things I've ever seen. The whole construction took place in less than 30 minutes. It was really amazing...the web was strong along two main support lines that were at least 15-20 feet long. Truly...just amazing.

It's killing me that I still don't have my camera battery charger (after the New Orleans habitat for humanity trip you'd think I'd learn hu?) so I couldn't get any good shots. I did use Greg's point and shoot to get a few, though they're pretty crappy cuz it was dark out and I couldn't control exposure or aperature. Here ya go:

After catching bugs all night, she was gone the next morning. Tonight, she's back. Humbling, to say the least.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Here is lighthouse point. This is the carousel building (set up for a wedding to be that afternoon):

Really nice, more formal. Directly outside the carousel building, here's what you see (note the actual lighthouse, and the new haven skyline):

The problem with lightouse pt. (a) if we want to rent the carousel, it's 3k. (b) if we don't rent the carousel, we'd essentially be crashing someone else's wedding by having our wedding right outside their location. (c) we can't set up decorations outside ahead of time (although we could set up inside the day of). (d) no cooking on the spot. (e) no fire. (f) I doubt that we could have live music outside the beach. (e) major health code requirements (i.e., must fully cater the event).

But it is beautiful.

But it is a hassle.

Erin's Beach Shack

This turned into a super busy weekend. I made an executive decision on Friday that there was to be no house repairs and no car repairs and no this-isn't-really-relaxing-but-it's-the-only-thing-I-know-what-to-do-with-free-time activities.

So, we've been up to a lot. Saturday morning, 2 mile walk to breakfast at favorite coffeeshop Fuel, walk home, over to Erin's to see potential wedding place, over to lighthouse point to see potential wedding place, walk all over, come home take a quick nap, out to the New Haven Green to see a live jazz musician (Tito Puente Jr), out all night, then to Rudy's, New Haven's best dive bar, till 12am. Today, cleaning all morning, off to our friends Alex and Joy to hang out at the beach for a bbq, then tonight we're making Pizza at home with Travis and Kristen. Phew. So, if I haven't called back family members - sorry. It turned into a busy weekend.

Erin's wedding spot is so beautiful. We really loved it. She has a cozy "beach shack" set into a lush green property. It has a large backyard (will fit 60-80 people) that goes up a small hill (10 feet high) with a rock ledge and overhung trees. We thought we could do the ceremony on the rock ledge. She's fine with alcohol and food cooked on the spot - great. 100 yards away is the private beach. It is a small spot with grass on the upper flat part, a stone wall, and then a curved section that goes down to a sandy beach with a dock cutting off one side. It's cute and homey. We would string lights along the grassy area to block everything off from the neighbors. Picnic tables and food on the far end of the grass. Hopefully Rohn Lawrence (the jazz musician we'd love to have play) on the grassy area near the beach. And chairs and a dance floor on the sand. There's be flowers all along the stone wall, white lights and candles everywhere. It'd be intimate and romantic. We could set up ahead of time, leave things out the night before, store food in her kitchen, and have nice bathrooms and a place to wash your hands. All little things that make the whole event much easier.

I know it's hard to tell from this photo, but here is the backyard. It looks overgrown right now because it is - but with the greenery trimmed back a bit, this would be beautiful. WHere you see the rock, it extends back about 15 more feet. When you're there in person, it's really quiet and settled feeling. There's something serene about the whole place

And here's the beach area. Imagine it at night with the dock, the boats, and the houses all lit up

I'm running out of time, but I'll post the pictures of lighthouse point tomorrow. Lighthouse is very very different. It is dramatic and open, beautiful and far less intimate feeling. It's really hard to decide. Plus, lighthouse has a ton of complications because it is a public space.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

And then there was some news

Continuing to not work today

Finally got in touch with the Lighthouse Point woman - thus followed an irritating conversation where she said she's called my cell phone and I don't have voicemail set up (uh, yes I do). She had the right number, so I dunno. Anyway, here's the deal with lighthouse:

-Likely no open fire allowed
-Likely no cooking on the spot allowed
-Renting the carousel room is kind of an all or nothing thing - you've got to rent the staff to supervise, security, and staff to run the carousel. It comes with tables and chairs, but there is no kitchen and only cold water.
-It's expensive. If we're going to spend that much, we could do it at a much nicer place and have the whole thing catered.
-There's a wedding there on Saturday and we are going to go check it out
-The place is booked solid through September '07. October 6th and 13th are available.

But she had some suggestions


This seems nice, but we really didn't want to have a "venue". Ugh, the idea of a dance floor...I dunno, I just wanted to have something out in the air. This venue feels stuffy.


Seems cool, but definitely too casual, and it's not on the beach. I don't think this will work.

We're going to see the professor Erin's house on Saturday morning, 11am. I am excited about this. It looks really nice from the pictures. She has a backyard with a view of the water (where we'd have the ceremony) and then there's a private beach 100 yards away. Double bonus: we could set up the night before. That would be amazing, and that is something we could definitely not do at a public beach

Light Up Dwight

what's new, I ought to be working and I'm not.

Nothing much to say about wedding stuff. A professor in my department actually offered up her beach house to have the wedding at. A really nice offer, but wraught with complication that I don't want to bother getting into here.

Maybe this will just turn into a regular ole' blog. New Haven is an interesting town. There's a lot of crime. A lot. And it's way better than in the past. The police just sent out a notice via email about a shooting on Mansfield St. Everyone in my lab freaked out a bit individually thinking it might be Steve - he works in the office to my right and lives on Mansfield - but no, it wasn't Steve. It was Jeremy. Who also lives on Mansfield (AKA Manslaughter) and works in the office to my left. He's one of the four post docs in my lab. Jeremy was out in his backyard having a bbq with his roommate and their respective girlfriends. A guy with a mask and a gun entered the yard. They jumped him, tackled him to the ground, he fired two shots into the ground and then fired into the roommate's stomach. They still managed to restrain him and throw away the gun. The police came. The roommate went into surgury. And everybody seems to be all right. The gunman is going to get 12 years in prison because of some sort of three strikes law.

Dwight Street, where I live, is right on the border of good and bad parts of town. Greg belongs to a blockwatch for our neighborhood whose sole purpose is "Light Up Dwight" - i.e., convince homeowners to put up brighter lights and relocate ones they currently have to reduce crime. Well New Haven or Yale or somebody apparently wasn't aware of Light Up Dwight. And they decided to light up dwight all on their own. With a football stadium light. Directly outside of our house. Pointed into our windows. Streaming light across the upstairs tennants pillow in their bedroom. You can make shadow puppets 15 feet away from the window and there's still a strong silhouette. I'm not kidding. It's like the Kenny Rogers light in that Seinfeld episode. You've never seen anything so bright. It is like friggin' daylight in our living room.

The light is conveniently pointed away from Rainbow Park - the small green space located across the house where the drunk woman goes to scream every night and pee in the corner - and the border of the light/dark zone just barely scrapes off the crack stoop - an abondoned building where bums sleep and greg found a crack pipe - so basically, the whole thing doesn't do a damn thing. Except light up our house.

Light up Dwight? more like light up 215 dwight.

Okay enough for now. Later.