July 2, 2012

Where to Begin?

It's been so long since I posted last, I'm not sure where to begin.

I'll write here about what's been going on, then catch up with my reading in later posts.

First of all, I've been really enjoying my summer and it's hard to sit and write when there's a bunch of stuff going on.  And when there is not a bunch of stuff going on?  It's hard to write because I'd rather sit and read, read, read.

I've discovered a new corner of nerdvana, namely, Sword & Laser.  Apparently it's been a podcast for a few years, but I didn't discover it until I started my recent Geek&Sundry addiction where they have their own new video show.  The discussion for the show(s) happens over at their Goodreads group.

So I've been reading some more science fiction and fantasy lately.  Well, one huge fantasy novel and a few other short things I'll get to in upcoming posts.  Along with my other regular book club and reading with the daughter child, I'm definitely doing a lot of reading.

We also just took a whirlwind tour of the east coast. We went to visit friends near Philly, took a side trip to NY and came home.  It was a great mix of catching up with old friends, seeing new places and doing fun touristy stuff with the daughter.

I'd never driven up through Virginia way before and we chose Roanoke as our halfway, spend-a-night in-a-hotel, spot.  On the way back it was weird because we hadn't been keeping track of the weather and had no idea there was a massive heat wave and a terrible storm had come through the previous night.  The day before when I was booking the room the place we chose had plenty of rooms available.  Then when I went to check in there were many people just walking up and asking for a room with no luck.  Hadn't they thought to make a reservation, I wondered?  Turned out that most of the people in the hotel were from Roanoke itself and that we were in one of the few places left with electricity.  They were all frantically trying to find a hotel room with air conditioning.  In my own state of Georgia they have apparently opened up all the public pools free of charge until things cool down.

So anyway, the trip:

We stopped in Roanoke on the way up.  Beautiful drive, then CRAZY HEAVY RAINSTORM the last hour.  Since we couldn't swim in the hotel pool as promised, we took the daughter to see Brave on opening night, which we all agreed could have been longer but definitely enjoyed.  It really does seem like a fairy tale you just somehow missed out on for some reason and are now finally getting to know about.

We stayed with friends just outside of Philly in Swarthmore.  On campus, for some unknown reason, they have a very big chair:

That's my daughter and our friend's son enjoying the absurdly wonderful chair.  The next day we did touristy Philly stuff.  It was especially fun because we were listening to the first book of the 39 Clues on the way so, Harper was excited to see some of the stuff we'd read about.  We went to the Franklin Institute, which is a big science museum, had lunch at a cool outdoor cafe called The Key & Kite, and spent just as much time in the cool gift shop as in the museum itself.

The next day we did the obligatory Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, etc.  The weird thing was, we were getting paranoid a fire alarm bandit was following us.  We took the train into Philly and stopped at a Dunkin Donuts in the station, but had to leave because a fire alarm went off.  Then when we were in Independence Hall, same thing.  Oh, and did you already know that it's the National Park Rangers that run the historical sites in Philly?  Well, I didn't. We also got to hang out in the Reading Terminal Market which is just an amazingly fun place I didn't know about.

And trains?  Trains are awesome!  We took the Amtrak to New York and it's better than flying!  There were outlets next to my seat and I was never asked to turn off any electronic devices!  My squirrel of a daughter and I got to walk all around and visit the food car.  Why aren't trains more popular?  We want to do more trips that involve trains!

We only had a few days in NY and we packed it in.  My wife and I had been before, but we wanted to take the little one.  First off, we took her on a boat tour around the island and she was of course delighted to get right up next to Lady Liberty.  That night we took her to see a show (Stomp, if you care) and the next day was 30 Rock (including going to the top to view the city), the park (she had to see the Alice in Wonderland statue because of The Sisters Grimm and also Gregor from the Overlander series does stuff in the park.  We went through some of the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) and ended the day at Times Square (not my favorite place, but) she loved the ferris wheel and all the other craziness at the Toys 'R' Us and the singing at Ellen's Starlight Diner.

We took it down a notch the next day and did the AMNH a bit slower and saw much more.  Then we wandered through the park.  I knew about The Ramble but didn't know that when you get deep in the middle of it that you can neither see nor hear any evidence that you are in a major city.  That was pretty crazy!

Then wee took the train back, drove back to Roanoke.  Swam this time and then sat and watched TV (which we hadn't done in forever) and caught up with the news, the weird weather and the Olympic trials.

Then we cam home and we are loving our air conditioning (why don't they have that in Pennsylvania?) our wifi, and the quieter pace.  Whew.

Now to go read some more and start drafting posts for all the books I've missed writing about...