Tree update

March 2nd, 2007, 10:55 am PST by Greg

I posted some more pictures of the tree that I took this morning.

I did a panorama from the upstairs balcony that gives a better idea of what happened. I had rolled my car a few feet forward before this picture (to leave room to get in and clear stuff out).

There’s a guy with a chainsaw clearing the last of the tree away right now. I’m hoping he’ll get the last chunks of log off the SUV so I can get some clear pictures of what’s left.

Just to add something else to this entry, I just got the strangest piece of spam:

Why? You stupid fat fuck. Have you looked at yourself in the
mirror lately? What a joke. Your lucky I am even writing this
because I can’t stand you most of the time. Why do you not get
serious about looking better? With all the bullshit out there
right now and dam results I’ve seen in the people I know, your
an idiot not trying something. My fuckin sister lost 52 lbs
not even exercising using this crap http://?????????.com

It’s about time you stopped being a lazy piece of shit and
do something about yourself.

-You know who I am probably

So, they’re trying the lesser-known sales technique “you get more flies with vinegar than honey and boiling vinegar is even better.” Clever.


March 1st, 2007, 9:46 pm PST by Greg

So, I was hanging around the house (Kat’s place in NC) this afternoon. Brushing my teeth, in fact.

I heard this loud smashing noise. I thought maybe the guy upstairs had part of his loft collapse with a bunch of furniture and maybe a toolbox on it. I wandered outside to see what was going on.

It took me a minute to process… a tree had fallen down. That’s bad.

A big tree. That’s worse. Onto the downstairs neighbour’s SUV. Really bad.

The way it fell was quite amazing. There are three cars parked there: upstairs, us, downstairs. The tree was closest to the upstairs car. The trunk fell maybe 8 inches behind his bumper, and our bumper.

Then there was a fork in the tree (so it was wider), and the downstairs SUV (which stuck out more). The SUV got, well, smooshed. I’m guessing that the salvageable parts are: two front tires, a few parts of the engine.

There was no damage to the other two cars. Our car is covered with chunks of window/skylight that kersploded off her car, but that’s it.

I phoned 911 because I wasn’t sure about the gas tank. They sent around a police patrol. He looked at it, wrote some notes for a report, and left a card for her. Then he walked back to his car, came back, and took some pictures with his cell phone.

My thought process: “A phone’s camera isn’t good enough for evidence. Why doesn’t he have a proper camera? Oh! He’s taking the pictures to show his buddies!”

I managed to get a few pictures in the dark with our camera. I’ll try to get some more in the morning.

The frightening thing is that it wasn’t windy or stormy. There was light drizzle, but that’s about it. Pretty much, her car got smote.

On the Road

February 22nd, 2007, 8:12 pm PST by Greg

I’m heading off to North Carolina momentarily. I’m just killing time until Oli and Tina (who graciously offered to give me a ride to the airport) get here. I’ll be down there until March 6: 12 days, including travel.

Sadly, I’m still going to be trying to work while I’m there. I’m hoping to actually do work on courses and pretend I’m not an administrator. I am committed to some work on a could of distance ed courses. I have been ignoring it because there’s always something else that’s more urgent. If I can get the CMPT 165 revisions done and a good chunk of the way on CMPT 120, I’ll be happy.

Other than that, I haven’t been blogging because there hasn’t been much interesting stuff to say.

It has been all admin all the time. The high school programming contest that I run is well underway. We hosted a pro-d day for some local IT teachers last Friday. All of the calendar changes for 2007/08 are off up the chain. The University has realized that departments other than computing and engineering will be needing students real soon, so all of a sudden “enrollment management” is a hot topic in the halls of power. The fallout from that last one promises to be a lot of fun for a long time.

I’m getting better at Grand Theft Auto, though.

My trip home and back

January 17th, 2007, 9:09 pm PST by Kat

I haven’t blogged in a LONG time. Looking back, I think my last blog entry was at Thanksgiving. Sorry. I guess I just felt like I wasn’t doing anything blog worthy before my trip home. My life was pretty much school, dinner, sleep, repeat. Then I went home for December and I was too busy to blog.

My trip home was great. I think Greg and I cooked once, or at most twice, the entire time I was home. I got to everything on my list except for Feenies. Maybe in the spring. A few highlights:

  • Spending time with Greg and my family.
  • Hot Pot Birthday dinner for my Ama.
  • Christmas Day at Kelly’s
  • Body Worlds 3 – You’d think that with 7 Biology degrees among Tina, Oli, and me that we would actually know something about organs and stuff. Not so much. Thank goodness Pam was there! It was pretty spectacular though.
  • Bubble tea!

Going back to Vancouver after getting used to being in North Carolina has made me realize how lucky I was to live in Vancouver. It’s a beautiful city with tons of stuff to do and extremely good food. The one thing that I did notice though was the dampness. It was freakin’ cold! Being back at SFU also made me realize what a great lab the Williams Lab is. I’m extremely happy to have been part of the lab. I’m also really thankful for all of my Vancouver friends. I miss you guys! Luckily Kelly and Suyoko are coming to visit me in Chapel Hill in about a month. Yippee!!

Following my month-long working vacation at home, I went to the annual meeting of the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology, which was held in Phoenix this year. Oh, and Francois flew out from Holland, so it was really good to be able to hang out with him. And, Dana drove out from Tuscon, which was also great. It was also fun introducing the Williams lab to the UNC group. It was like a huge Williams lab reunion! I think everyone got along really well. I stressed a lot about my talk and ended up giving only a mediocre talk. Oh well. I’ll do better next year.

Being back in NC has been okay. I’m in the middle of my main experiment, and all is going well.

My friend Lisa and I have resolved to go to the gym this semester. We’re starting slow with 2 trips per week: a yoga class on Mondays and a spinning class on Thursdays. Tomorrow is our first day. I bought new pants and shorts. I think I may get new shoes this weekend. Hopefully we’ll be able to motivate each other to keep going to the gym.

I’ve also been going over to my friends Matt and Kyla’s place on Wednesday nights with Lisa and Brian to watch Top Chef. It’s a great show – kind of a mix between America’s Next Top Model, Iron Chef, and the Real World. It’s nice to have something fun to do in the middle of the week. Plus, it means that I have friends in NC! Yay! 🙂

That’s about it. Now you can see why I haven’t blogged in a while. Nothing too exciting… but hey, I’m still alive!

My first bonfire party

September 29th, 2006, 2:49 pm PST by Kat

I’ve been invited to my first bonfire party. Now, I’ve been to parties where there’ve been small fires built in small fire pits, and I’ve been camping and have enjoyed a few campfires. However, I’ve never been to a party where the whole point of throwing the party is to have a LARGE bonfire. Bonfires seem to be a big thing here. They had bonfires on Franklin Street after the Tarheels won the national championship for basketball in 2005. So, I feel as though by going I will be submerging myself into the Chapel Hill lifestyle. I just hope I don’t fall in!

NC update

September 14th, 2006, 7:50 pm PST by Kat

Nothing much is happening, but I feel as though I should blog just so people know I’m alive.

All summer people kept telling me that the humidity is only really bad in July and August. Seems as though they actually knew what they were talking about. Since I’ve been back, it’s either been nice and sunny but dry, or cool and rainy. Not too bad. Thank goodness. Not sure I could stand any more humidity.

Other than working on grant applications to try to get $$ so that I can stay for a second year, I haven’t really been doing much. So, I don’t have much to blog about. I’ll try to do something blog-worthy this weekend. I think I’m going to the Farmers’ Market with Buddy (from the lab) and Mukta (from Sabrina’s lab) on Saturday – maybe something exciting will happen then. We’ll see.

On the road again

August 16th, 2006, 4:41 am PST by Greg

So ends my summer in North Carolina. The cab to take us to the airport is coming at 8:30—a quite leisurely time compared to the flights I’m used to taking.

So, this may be a travel blog for the next two weeks, or we may be incommunicado.

All I know is that I set a vacation message on my email for the first time in about three years.

Meatfest 2006

August 8th, 2006, 8:17 am PST by Kat

This past weekend Greg and I rented a car (as our POS can’t go on the highway for fear of losing it’s back axle and killing us spectacularly) and went on a BBQ mission: to attempt to compare the Eastern and Western styles of North Carolina BBQ. On Friday night we stayed local and had what Adam said was the best eastern style BBQ around – Bullock’s BBQ. We had tried to go to Bullock’s the week before, but were detered by the long line-up at 7 pm on a Friday night. So, this time we were prepared. We went at 5 pm and even beat most of the older people in the door. We had the family platter, which was BBQ (chopped pork), fried chicken, green beans, coleslaw, fries, hushpuppies and brunswick stew (shredded chicken and pork in a light tomato-basted stew). It came family-style. There was a ton of food. I must say though, I wasn’t totally impressed. The BBQ was okay, but not really all that tangy for Eastern style, the chicken was bland despite being deep fried (no 7 secret herbs and spices there) and the green beans were soft and mushy even though we think they weren’t canned. Now, to remind everyone, Adam is from Lexington, the capital of Western-style NC BBQ. So, maybe he doesn’t like the tanginess that’s supposed to accompany Eastern-style BBQ, and therefore this place is his favorite of Eastern-style places. It was okay, but not great.
On Saturday we headed to Lexington, which is about 2 hours west of Chapel Hill and hosts a yearly BBQ festival. After getting a little lost trying to find it, we started off with lunch at Lexington Barbecue, another recommendation by Adam. We each had the BBQ sandwich, and shared an order of hushpuppies. I got an order of skins to go. Oh, and I tried Cheerwine, a NC cherry-flavored soda, which is sweet and pretty good. We finished off lunch with a slice of lemon meringue pie and a slice of chocolate pie. Everything at Lexington BBQ was good. It was also the place I got my first BBQ souvenir shirt. I’ve decided to get shirts from some of the places I go in NC and then afterwards make them into a souvenir quilt. We’ll see if that actually happens!

We did a litte sightseeing in Lexington (drove down Main St.) where we took some pictures of the decorated pigs they have on the street (thing whales in Vancouver). Then it was off to Winston-Salem, the home of the first Krispy Kreme. We went to the only Krispy Kreme in town, and got 4 doughnuts. Upon looking around the store, we realized that they didn’t have any historic plaque or anything saying that this was the first store. Sadly, I don’t think it was. Oh well…

In attempting to do a little local sightseeing we found a part of town that is a preserved (read touristy) Moravian village, complete with people in period costume. The Moravians were apparently the local settlers from Czechoslovakia (I think) via Germany. We walked around the town (only a few buildings – most of which you have to pay to get into and see re-enacted displays) and went to the bakery where we bought crispy-thin Moravian cookies.

Then it was back to Chapel Hill via Greensboro, where we stopped to pick up dinner to go (more Western-style BBQ). This time is was back to Stamey’s BBQ, where we had already gone with Greg’s parents. We got a sliced BBQ plate with beans and hushpuppies and a chopped BBQ plate with fries and hushpuppies to go.

On our way home with stopped at JR ‘something’ (‘outlet’, ‘liquidators’, something like that). On our way to Lexington we kept seeing billboards for JR. Greg figured this place was probably crappy, but may be interesting. It was. This was the first place I’ve been where you could get miscellaneous crap (the liquidation part), cigarettes, discount books, collectible dolls (the whole back of the place was dolls), or cigars (a room-sized humidor) all under one roof! Needless to say, we didn’t buy anything, but it was worth the stop just to see it all.

Once we got home we had our BBQ plates, and then later that night Greg didn’t feel so good. I think having that much meat in 2 days didn’t really sit well with his stomach, and he thought he was going to throw up. But luckily, that didn’t happen. So, Meatfest 2006 was a success.

So far, Western-style NC BBQ seems to be our favorite, but we’re going to give Allen and Sons BBQ another shot. This time we’re going to order the BBQ sandwich to make it more comparable to what we had a Lexington BBQ and Stamey’s BBQ.

Near-death experience

August 3rd, 2006, 1:33 pm PST by Kat

Last night we were sleeping quite soundly and peacefully. Then all of a sudden I felt something on my arm. In my sleep I swatted at it. Then I felt it again on another part of my arm. Again, still mostly aspeel, I swatted at it. Then when I felt it the third time, realization hit and I bolted up, more awake than I’ve ever been, swinging my arms around like a madwoman. I think I even let out a little scream, which woke Greg up. He thought I was having a nightmare. “There’s a bug!” I yelled. I think it’s on the floor. Greg, who was now half-awake had the brilliant idea of turning on the lights. I did, and we didn’t see anything. Then, out of the corner of my eye I saw something dart under the covers. “It’s in the bed!” I yelled. We threw back the covers, and there it was. A 2″-long cockroach! That’s what was on me!!!!!! GROSS!!!! Greg ended up getting a plastic bag, catching it, and squashing it. I say it was a near death experience because I almost had a heart attack. At first all I could picture was a black widow spider. Only now do I realize that if it had been a spider, I probably wouldn’t have felt it. Anyways, once Greg’s in Vancouver I’m carrying a can of Raid around the house with me. GROSS!!!!

All of this happened after we had already had a bug incident the evening before. I saw a roach- or beetle-like thing crawl under the desk. We think it was a cicada, but now after looking at pictures on the web, I’m not so sure. Anyways, Greg vacuumed it up, and taped the hose end shut so it wouldn’t get out. I think maybe whatever was in the vacuum may have been the cockroach that attacked me. It was probably pissed that we had vacuumed it and somehow got out and attacked me.

Anyways, that was my near-death experience. I’m happy to be alive.

Move #3 Completed

July 24th, 2006, 9:59 am PST by Greg

We have now moved into our third new place this summer.

It’s a nice one-bedroom. Maybe a little tight with both Kat and I here, but it will be nice when Kat is here alone. We took some pics when viewing the place. We will take some more once we’re settled a little more.

As you can see, it’s kind of log-cabiney. I thought the all-wood interior would be a bit much, but it’s actually not bad with some furniture to break it up. It’s about 3 blocks from Kat’s office, which is also nice.

Thus ends the summer-of-many-moves.

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