Monday, August 29, 2005

Julie is a big fat chicken

I just got back from our school stand-up comedy show. I thought about writing about this before-- when I got home two weeks ago and had the email (sent to my entire class, I was not singled out or anything) sitting in my inbox. "Are you funny? Submit your material and perform for your classmates!" And I probably opened and closed that email about fifty times.

The reality is, I'm not funny, or at least not stand up funny. I like to think I provoke more than the average amount of chuckles in everyday conversation. But it's not like I'm doing monologues or random observations about everyday things. I'm usually making fun of something stupid I've just finished doing, or in bad situations, of people I know. So unless I can pull people up out of the audience and riff on them directly, or I trip coming up onstage, I don't feel I have anything to say. The idea of having to write out material paralyzes me with fear.

Well now that I've seen the show, I can officially say I suck. These people were courageous to do it, and sitting there watching them I came up with at least two minutes of solid material I could do. So it's time to get over my insecurity and join the stand up comedy club. If I ever stop coughing, that is.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

I Left My Heart in New Jersey

I went to the Jersey shore for the first time ever. You know what? It's gorgeous. We were at Point Pleasant Beach, which is allegedly one of the nicest areas of the shore. I have to admit being disappointed at the relative lack of the Guido phenomenon. For those who have lived under a rock or don't like stereotyping people, the Jersey shore has a certain reputation. But with very few exceptions, most people had normal hair and normal swimsuits on. I saw no mullets, only two women with hair teased up to the sky, and only about two gold chains total. Wifebeater count-- zero. There was, however, a nun in her full habit, wimple blowing in the wind, sitting not ten yards from me the entire day.

What I found interesting about the shore is that you have to pay to get onto the beach. They sell little 'passes', which are little squares of fabric you pin to your swimsuit so you can walk on and off the beach. While I objected a bit to the price, I was delighted that the fabric of the day was a little square of light green gingham-- the perfect accessory to my swimsuit.

That's really the big weekend report-- I'm still coughing constantly so took last night off. Today I went to a BBQ and at least two people came up to me and said, "I heard you stayed in last night," which is a little bit weird. I guess I should be flattered that my absence is felt, though it was a bit strange. I also got my stereo working (in other words, I finally lured someone over here to hook it up for me). So off to listen to some tunes!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Juliedelphia Viewer Mail

I've been very touched by the number of you who have chosen to post comments to Juliedelphia. In honor of Family Guy's Viewer Mail episode, and so you feel rewarded for taking the time, I thought I'd take some time out from the exciting world of dishwasher repair to respond to some randomly selected postings.

glotz said...
I'd like to refer you to the schools policy on drugs and alcohol...I think you need some help. You know Julie, you don't have to drink to fit in. If your girlfriends only like you when you are drinking, then they aren't really your friends.

Dear Glotz,

Will you come to Philadelphia and set up my stereo? Every time I do it, I mess up. I can't even get the DVD player to make sound right now. You've done it for me twice and both times it was perfect. Please?

Regarding your letter, I'm afraid you're not clear on the purpose of an MBA program. And while I appreciate your concern, I haven't yet reached the level where my friends have named a 'night' after me.



Monica said...
Ohmygod... Julie doing karaoke? What has become of the world??Love the picture. My favorite karaoke moment was in an Atlanta suburb, where singer after singer walked up in C&W gear to sing some inane country ballad or another (don't ask what I was doing there). Finally, my bold friend Holly got up and did the Divinyls' "I Touch Myself" complete with gestures to match the lyrics. Every jaw in the room hit the floor. I bet the cowboys and gals of North Georgia are still talking about it today.Julie, we miss you!!

Dear Monica,

Actually, the Divinyls "I Touch Myself" is my favorite title to use in my faux karaoke prank. It's generally the perfect 'anti-perfect' song for any relatively normal guy, and especially funny for anyone on the shy side.

I also lump "I Touch Myself" into another category-- the perfect radio song. When I drive and listen to the radio, I'm constantly scanning stations for the perfect song. Sometimes you'll hit one you like, but you keep going in case there's something better and go back to the one you liked if nothing better is on. The one song that requires an immediate stop is "I Touch Myself." It's also featured prominently on Ruthie's Ultimate 90's mix CD.

Thanks for your kind words,


glotz said...
Your new husband excel? Wow, where should I send the wedding gift? Does he want some more memory, or maybe a new wireless mouse? Anyway, Krista, Alex and I are happy for you. May you have long calculations together, never experience any circular references, and remember to take some time out to play the hidden flight simulator together. Hugs and Kisses from SF.

Dear Glotz,

Don't you have a wife and newborn with whom you should be spending time? We do appreciate the frequency of your responses, and hope Juliedelphia will be a featured blogger site soon.

Thanks for having the geekiest response posted so far on Juliedelphia-- any excel Easter Egg reference gets a special shout out from me and the hubby.

Mr. and Mrs. Excel

Adam said...
For those of you who want the musical accompaniment to this post, and didn't have VIP tickets to Live 8 in London, you can see Sir Bob's reprise of the classic here.

Dear Adam,

Miss you, kiddo, and extra points for the song reference. You lose points for rubbing my nose in it AGAIN that you got to go to Live 8 in London.


ruthie said...
Joool - I didn't get ANY post-party phone calls from you last night. Did you hit the scene a la juliefrisco or what?

Dear Ruthie,

You raise an interesting point which is actually the main theme of today's post (yes, I have one). For those of you reading Juliedelphia thinking you're getting the full story-- well, no. I am being very selective about what I cover, under the assumption that my classmates/future employers could someday read this and don't want to hear all the brutal details. So I love my loyal fans, but for the real skinny, phone and email will still have to suffice. Since I'm crazy busy, sorry if I haven't been returning those but I do appreciate them. But believe me, 'the real Juliedelphia' would be about forty links deep already, and would contain very few stories I'd want my mother to read (hi, Mom! Kidding!).


Sasha said...
Enrique Iglesias-lip syncing Skeletor look-alikes? Are you sure you moved to the East Coast? Because I was led to believe that such things didn't happen there.In any case, I bet you didn't see Charo judging a drag queen Charo look-alike contest. If you did, then you're still in San Francisco, which would explain the whole Skeletor thing.

Dear Sasha,

I hope you don't mind me co-opting your letter, but everyone should see the Charo photos. I am truly in Philadelphia.



The Mystery of the Dishwasher

I am thrilled to be back in the world of people who have dishwashers. I am horrible at washing dishes, so the magic of a machine which does it for me was a huge selling point for this apartment. As soon as my stuff arrived, I began unloading plates directly into this wonderful contraption for their first good washing in over five years.

They came out warm. Smelling of dish soap. But oddly, the front few plates had white sludge caked on them, and there was white sludge caked in the dishwasher soap holder. Undeterred, I ran another load. And another. Sludge problem remained.

I started noticing that some of the dishes weren't looking quite so clean when they came out, and not just the front ones plagued with the white sludge phenomena. So after seven days of puzzling and meditation, I decided the best way to get to the bottom of this was to open the dishwasher mid-cycle and see what exactly was going on. Since the average Juliedelphia reader is much sharper than Julie, it should not surprise any of you that the issue is that NO WATER runs through my dishwasher. Basically, any semblance of cleanliness was due to the warm air coming in during the drying cycle steaming up (and drying out) the sludge (aka my dishwashing detergent) and lending a fresh scent to my dishes.

I am the smartest woman alive. Oh, and not to brag, but I'm battling my first illness of b-school. The past two days have been spent hacking up a lung during my classes. I do feel much better today, but probably not well enough for the four part itinerary to which my peers are expecting me to adhere tonight.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Simpsons Are Going to Delaware!

Weekend recap--
Friday night, I went to my first Philadelphia Phillies game, including a pre-game reception with free beer (music to our ears). The game itself was not so great, the Phillies fell behind early and it was never really close, and it was raining. The stadium is beautiful. But most exciting was our encounter with the Philadelphia Phanatic, the Phillies mascot. He came to our pre-game reception and mingled with the crowd a little bit.
For those who are not familiar with the Phanatic, please see the picture. What's not clear in the picture is that he(?) has a paper birthday blowout (like one of those things you blow at a birthday and it unfurls and makes a honking sound) which comes out of the 'snout' on his face. Now I'm not too clear on mascot anatomy, especially of the species 'phanatic', but I'm fairly sure that thing is where a tongue should be. So by that measure, I not only was hugged by the Philly Phanatic, but was licked by him as well.

My other big weekend event (no, not accounting, though that happened too) was my trip to Delaware. I and three of my girlfriends piled into a Philly car share Prius hatchback and did the 40 mile round-trip drive to Delaware to visit that grand traditional tourist destination, "Total Wine Superstore." For those of you unaware of Pennsylvania's draconian alcohol laws, basically you can't buy it many places, and the places where you can buy it it's exorbitantly expensive. Enter Delaware, state of lax corporate legal infrastructure (hence I've only ever worked at companies incorporated in Delaware), and no harsh liquor laws and no sales tax. We drove back with a packed trunk. Between four women, here's a rough inventory of the trunk of the car:

42 bottles of wine
1 case of beer
3 bottles of vodka
2 bottles of vermouth
2 bottles of gin
1 bottle of Jack Daniels
1 bottle tequila

The good news is, I think we're at least two weeks away from having to go on another liquor run to Delaware.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Frailty, Thy Name Is Karaoke

Thursday night, my 'cohort' did karaoke as its social activity of the week. People were actually lobbying for a karaoke night from day one (we did a plain old pub night last week), and have been talking about little else all week. I am not a karaoke fan (was not, anyhow). What I do enjoy though is the concept of people being forced to sing a song which would be the total opposite of what you'd expect. I believe everyone has a 'perfect' karaoke song, one that is perfectly suited to their personality. It may not be immediately obvious, but when the guy who never takes off his Red Sox hat gets up and belts out Sweet Caroline, there's a certain rightness with the universe. Well just as everyone has a 'perfect' karaoke song, everyone has an 'anti-perfect' karaoke song, its exact opposite.

I decided to amuse myself at karaoke night by messing with people. I kept telling people I had signed them up (without their knowledge) and would tell them the song I picked. I went for the 'anti-perfect' karaoke song for each one. Hard core rap fan? Why, I signed you up for the Backstreet Boy's "Quit Playing Games With My Heart". Born and raised in Philly guy? Can't wait for your rendition of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time"!

Of course I never actually did this to anyone, that's just cruel. So imagine my surprise when I heard my own first name being called as being up next. I looked around the crowded bar and just assumed there was another Julie present. Then I heard my last name-- unusual in the world of karaoke sign-up slips Then I heard the song announced-- Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy." Yes, dear readers, I got pranked by my own prank, which I didn't even pull the trigger on with anyone.

Truth is, once I did one number, it was difficult to get me off the stage again. I did duets, I worked the room, I told knock knock jokes during long instrumental breaks, etc. In fact, I was one of about eight cohort-mates who stuck around til the bitter end, made friends with the host, and committed to open next week's set with "Come On Eileen". And I've revised my opinion of karaoke. There was a level of bonding going on, especially amongst the guys, which was unprecedented. One guy never did a solo but literally backed up every single person who sang, including locals we'd never met before. A very shy girl did a version of "Respect" which pretty much knocked down the house. And the bar in question had $6 pitchers. Viva la karaoke.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Math test- a post-script

I realized after I posted that I didn't comment on one of my favorite parts of today. Today was part 1 of advanced Excel, aka Julie finally makes a lifelong commitment to Excel, her one true love. And true to what I've believed, every type of calculus function I had to learn in math camp to pass that silly test is one that my new husband Excel can do for me. So if I hadn't passed and they had heaped some consequences on me like taking a full semester of undergraduate calculus, I would've sent Excel to beat them up because he can do more math than anyone.

I heart Excel.

Settling In. Relatively Speaking.

Huge news on the Juliedelphia front.

1. I passed the dreaded math exam. My score was a 67, passing score was a 55. I owned that test. I am going to be tutoring other people through stats from now on. Granted, in the non-curved world I got a D+, but in the world of the math camp I am a good 20% above the level of failure. Thanks for all of your prayers, cards, and flowers.

2. My stuff arrived! Two very sweaty men began loading furniture into my apartment at 5pm yesterday, which means I had my first night's sleep on a real mattress (excepting that one night with that bartender)(kidding, mother)(JT, you can't call a girl?)(seriously, kidding, mother) in 19 days. I was shocked and amazed at how much stuff I own. I had to unpack like mad just so they'd have room to put down the furniture, and to be honest with you the place still looks like a disaster. But it's my disaster and the TiVo is up and running.

Here's a snapshot from last night to set the scene:

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Boomtown Rats Have it Right

I'm not having the best Monday. The math test had its little way with me, my only prayer of passing is major partial credit and a ridiculous curve. Pray for me. My movers also decided not to come today (somehow there's a delivery in Pittsburgh before me now, one I never heard about until today). For those not familiar with Pennsylvania geography, Pittsburgh is about six hours from here. The Pittsburgh Pirates are NL Central whereas the Phillies (I'm going on Friday!) are NL East, that's how wide this state is.

Last night we had the most ridiculous thunderstorm I've ever experienced. I remember when I first moved to Texas, I experienced thunderstorms which were unlike anything I had ever seen in California. "Biblical" was the word I used to describe them. I would pull over my car in fear as other cars raced by on MoPac. Well last night put it to shame. It was like trying to sleep in a dance club, with a strobe light going off (lightning every ten seconds) and a huge bass drum thumping continuously (thunder, for the less meterologically-inclined). Since we made the national news, I guess it was a big deal. The joy of sleeping on a rubber mattress is that you know you're safe in a thunderstorm since you're grounded.

Finally, for those of you wondering how I respond to the Terrell Owens controversy, I present this craigslist listing.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Accent on Calculus

Yesterday, I went to a three hour calc review session hosted by one of my cohort-mates, who happens to be a former math teacher from France. It was an incredible gesture of him to offer to do this for us, since he needs no preparation at all and this meant coming in to school on a Saturday and putting up with us. He also ran it like a real class-- he got us to decide up front what types of problems we wanted to work on, and then made each one of us go up to the board and do the problem (with him helping and stopping to break down shortcuts and tips). I found this much more helpful than the four three-hour lectures I had to sit through.

But of course for me, it was all about listening to his accent and imitating it in my head. I have found that it is a knee-jerk thing for me to start imitating people's accents in my head when I speak with them. He asks me a question about a problem, and in my head, my answer is, "Obveeouslee, dees eez a deeereevateev, becouse for usss, dees eez meaning raeete of change." This is fine when people have subtle accents (pin for pen, aboot for about), but would clearly make me the most obnoxious person on the planet if I didn't consciously de-accent before I spoke (sometimes, rarely, my brain refilters before I speak), "It's a rate of change problem, so we need to take the derivative."

But the French accent wasn't the best part about the group. We had a second accent, a fellow student and cohort-mate from Trinidad and Tobago. He has the loveliest accent you can imagine, very similar to a Jamaican accent, and a fantastic deep voice. And he seemed to understand the most out of the students, so a lot of the time he would jump up to the board and join in with our French teacher. I stopped hearing the important math lessons; it was like listening to a jazz duet.

Since my friend and I are obsessed with Trinidad's accent, every time he'd stop talking about math to start writing on the board, we'd whisper to each other, "Could he explain that again before writing it up on the board?" We though we were alone, until another girl dropped the pretense of the word, 'explain', and just said, "Could you say that one more time?" I appreciated her honesty.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Locked Out

Two rants, both locker related, for you Friday afternoon readers.

1. I got my locker today. The small locker is actually smaller than it appeared from the outside. I was hoping for some hidden depth, but no. I successfully put one notebook in it (standard size), but it is too tall to stand in there, and too long to lie flat on the bottom, so it's wedged in at an angle. I approximate that I could keep two notebooks in there OR a pair of shoes OR a pack of gum. That's about it.

2. I'm a little annoyed about the gym at school, for which we have to pay. For some reason the lockers in the locker room are GIANT, like seven feet tall. Are people keeping skis in these? As a result, there are very few available (hey, here's an idea, make them each 3 1/2 feet tall, and you'd have twice as many--I know this because I've been studying math for a week now), and apparently we've already missed the window where they become available again for the year. There are other lockers available, but they are much smaller and not in the locker room, and it's not guaranteed I'll get one.

I believe I'm going to learn how to balance large quantities of stuff on my head.

Two Word Problems

Business school classes are largely about learning models which will help you make decisions in the future. For instance, you can use price elasticity and changing parameters around your product to determine if you should change a price. I thought I would give you two word problems to kick your Fridays off right:

1. Julie meets a math and economics major in her cohort (meaning they will take most classes together this year). On day three, the econ/math major offers to do all of Julie's math homework if she will write all of his papers. Is this a good deal? Graph the demand curve that proves this.

2. (Yes or No question, did Julie go too far). Julie meets a guy in her cohort who is potentially even snarkier than she is. Within two days they have a bet over who can pull off the biggest 'lie' on their cohort. They are generally mean and sarcastic to each other every time they meet. Given the following exchange, did Julie go too far? To give the full picture, Snarky Guy is Indian (dot, not feather)(answer below).

J: Hey, what's up!
Snarky guy: Julie! Awesome, I wanted to introduce you to (name deleted)! Meet Julie, the funniest girl at (school name omitted to protect the weak).
J: Funniest GIRL? What does that mean?
SG: Please, you're not even as funny as the least funny guy at all of (school).
J: Wow, so I guess that makes you the funniest Indian at (school).
(Julie exits stage left after blowing a kiss to SG).

So the answer to 2. is that SG referred to me two days later as his "first friend in Philly." However, several eavesdroppers who maybe only heard the last line may think of me as the "first openly racist girl in Philly." So in his mind, I'm all good. In other people's mind, well let's just say I may need my friends Sudhir and Sameer to write me letters of apology.

By the way, "Did Julie Go Too Far" is a potential regular Juliedelphia column topic. I just have a feeling.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Already a loser....

I was just informed by the Wharton office that I did not win a lottery for a big locker, so will spend the next year stuffing 200 pounds of books and my requisite bag of snacks into a space the size of a shoebox. Please start the 'buy Julie back surgery' fund now, as everything I own will have to remain strapped to my back instead.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Stay Classy, San Diego

Today I completed my first official course, math for idiots (Econ is ongoing, I start accounting and math for not quite as dumb folks tomorrow). I thought that made this the perfect time to stop and reflect on the academic life of pre-term.

First off is the really shocking part-- I'm actually loving the classes. Your 'core' during pre-term is stats, accounting, and econ (plus math for dummies if you're me). Fair disclosure, accounting does not start until tomorrow and my goodwill toward it now is based 100% on my discovery that I could easily switch into the 10am (vs. 8am) section and thus sleep 'late' two weekdays. Math camp was definitely challenging, and I have a lot of work ahead of me to pass Monday's test. But I remembered for the first time in a long time what it was like to enjoy math, and I've been able to help my classmates a number of times. Granted, this is more a testament to their low ability level than any super-aptitude on my part. However, I know many of you will be as shocked as I am that so far, I am liking the academic part of business school.

One reason I may be liking things so far is they have stacked the classes with very charismatic professors. Our MGEC (managerial economics, we all call it "Magic" out here-- yes, I am going to b-school and attending magic class three times a week) professor did a complete reenactment of an old Prego spaghetti sauce commercial, complete with fake Jersey-Italian accent, to tell us how to address the issue of assuming constants were in a demand function. Our stat professor left the math field for a while to become an opera singer, and regularly tells us bizarre coming-of-age-stories about his pre-pubescent love of the magical number 'e'.

I do know that this is all going to kick me in the rear when I have a full load of classes plus extracurriculars plus a job hunt going on, not to mention that the classes I'm in now are meant to teach you what you already should know going in to business school. But I'm hoping my attitude remains the same throughout the rest of my time here.

The other classes I'm taking are all electives, for which you have to bid. Wharton puts all non-required classes up for auction, a process taking several rounds and involving the use of points. A high number of students speculate on the auction and boost their points by reselling popular classes, believe it or not. I just used it to get pre-term classes I thought would be helpful, since these points do not transfer over to the real terms. But come fall, I plan to be a ruthless trader in my pursuit of the super-expensive (points-wise) global immersion trip to China.

The classes I succesfully bid on were intermediate Excel, advanced Excel, Learning Examples of Marketing & Stats Through Fun Examples, The Entertainment Industry: Overview and Decision Models, and two pure recreational activities (the Phillies Pirates game and a night at the Philadelphia Art Museum). So far, I've just had intermediate excel which they could've renamed beginning excel. I learned some interesting shortcuts and some very cool functions I didn't know before. Maybe the class wasn't the issue, but the preparedness of some of my classmates left a little to be desired-- one person asked the instructor to stop and show exactly how he had 'cut' and 'paste' some data. Side note on excel-- I have always loved excel, but I feel like every time I learn something new in excel, I fall in love a little bit more. If excel were a guy, I would make out with him. The best present you could give me would be an 'excel tip of the day' calendar. I would run from my bed each morning eager to tear off the new day and learn something new. My favorite today was either the nested IF functions or control shift 4. I heart excel.

That's the news that's fit to print, except that I'm typing this from my new desk (thank you, Target, for the free and speedy shipping), which means you, dear reader, deserve a new furniture count. Well, that's pretty much the only addition. But word is my furniture is on a whirlwind tour of Missouri and could be here just in time to ruin my cram time for the math test.

And finally:
Philly Phashion
Spotted outside whole foods, a young man with a clean-shaven head except for a strip two inches wide by five inches long running up from just above his left ear about halfway up his head. Out of this strip (which was about 3/4 of an inch long, hairwise) came one tiny braid, about two inches long, sticking straight out.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

My life, so far

It's hard to recap all that's happened in the past few days. I go to class in the day, and shake hands with about ten new people in passing along the way. Then we go out every night and meet and re-meet even more people. I'm looking forward to staying in tonight. Here's a quick overview of some key moments:

The night I met Sir Charles, I also had the occasion to witness a guy in a full Skeletor costume, complete with cape and rubber mask, walk through the bar lip syncing to Enrique Inglesias's 'Hero'.

Friday night I took a trolley tour of Philly and then went to "First Friday". The first Friday of every month, the art galleries in Old Town do a big open house thing and lots of people go. It was a little less exciting than I had hoped, but I hung out with fun people so it was ok.

I tried sushi for the first time out here (not counting trips to Morimoto on prior visits). It was eh, but I also hit a mid-range place, so I guess you have to go expensive here to get good stuff. Sushi may have to be an infrequent luxury.

We hit the WaWa late night. I have a feeling that the WaWa may get its own dedicated post sometime soon. It's the Philly 7-11, and it does a huge post-last-call business making sandwiches for drunks. The whole thing is bizarre: you have to order your sandwich on a computer, and then you get it and you pay for it. Two weird observations about the WaWa computer ordering system:

  • There is a BLT on the menu board. We could not find it on the computer. On the first screen, you have to tap on your 'genre' of sandwich. We tried every single one (chicken, grilled, cheese, ham--which seemed the most likely, etc.), but the BLT seems to be genre-independent and therefore unavailable to order.
  • (I can't take credit for this one). One of my friends has become obsessed with the fact that on the condiments screen, you can click both "Extra Mayo" AND "Light on the Mayo". It would seem they should be mutually exclusive. We are planning on putting an order through this way next week, a project I'm referring to as "Hack the WaWa". If fifty drunk Philadelphians beat me up when I crash their sandwich ordering system, send money.

And finally, a feature Juliedelphia readers can expect a lot more of in the future
This Week in Philly Phashion
There is a woman who seems to be around the Rittenhouse Square area a lot (cute little park/square a few blocks from my house, also how most people would name my neighborhood) who has long blonde hair with bright pink streaks in it. Perhaps to accentuate these streaks, she wears matching bright pink high top sneakers.

Goodnight, Seattle!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Sir Charles

Not to brag, but I just shook Charles Barkley's hand in a bar. And I was the first one to recognize him, make a beeline, and ask him to shake his hand. So not only am I this close to Sir Charles, I became the gateway to other classmates shaking his hand.

If this doesn't earn me SOME points, I don't know what will.

Six hours til my econ class!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

What is a logarithm?

Well, I've been an official student for two days. Here's what I've done:

  • Shaken hands with and had a near identical conversation (my half, anyhow) with no fewer than 45 people--where do you live, where are you from, what did you do, does my butt look big in this skirt, etc.
  • Competed in a scavenger hunt which involved finding things like 'the library' and 'the other library'.
  • Upon completing that scavenger hunt, joined my team for some mid-afternoon margaritas. This was perfect preparation for our BBQ later that evening, which ran out of beer early.
  • That said, I have learned I am not a fan of "Yuengling" beer. It's rampant around here and is not good. Also, it makes me think of the word 'youngling' used to such comic effect in Revenge of the Sith.
  • Found out that due to either some huge karmic wrong I've committed or fate's sense of humor, for pre-term Wharton has placed me in the earliest possible section of both of my morning classes and the latest possible section in my afternoon classes. This means being at school at 8am A LOT, and then having no classes between 10 and 2. I'm sure some of my working friends will envy the mid-day break, but keep in mind I'm a 25 minute bus ride/walk from home, and will probably stick around campus and nap, study, and go to the gym. But I'm a bit annoyed with the inconvenience of it.
  • Ate lunch from a truck. Lunch trucks are all over campus, and serve everything from sandwiches to Indian food to sushi (I might have to work up my nerve to try that). It's a big tradition to eat at the lunch trucks, and I cannot complain about my $2 turkey sandwich.
  • Found Diet Cherry Coke is in the vending machines in the building-- another food bonus for me!
  • Tried Au Bon Pain, our coffee/bakery shop in the building. This cancels out the DCC bonus, the staff appears to be both surly and incompetent, and the lattes taste like soap.
  • Worked out in the prettty nice gym right across the street from campus. But am annoyed that it's iffy if I'll get a locker and I have to pay extra to go to spin class.
  • Bought my first set of books-- $500 and those just get me through pre-term! Lugging the box home was SUPER fun. I took a cab, which is also how I got to school this morning. So far, SEPTA (the bus) has only shown me love once.
  • Met my first Peace Corp volunteer classmate today, so felt very very uninspiring.
  • Started the math camp class (the rest of them are classes which continue into fall, like economics and stats), and was delighted to find the professor is interesting and hilarious. However, three hours in the afternoon is less than delightful, and the class is held in the one room where we can't bring in drinks.
That's about all I have to report for now. It's so hot here I want to cry, and then it rained this afternoon for about a half hour which somehow made it hotter. Why? Why? And how come I appear to be the only one who sweats like a pig in this heat. I swear the other women in my class have some secret makeup and hair tricks I don't know about.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Pig's Feet and the Liberty Bell

Today was my first real day in Philadelphia, since yesterday was all about errands and a rental car. Here's what I did:

- Visited the Independence Hall visitors' center and was four people behind the very last person who got tickets for today's tour.
- Consoled myself with a Dunkin' Donuts 'coolada' Vanilla Bean. I was hoping this might relieve the sticky heat and be an east coast replacement for the Coffee Bean's vanilla Ice Blended. It is like someone put a gallon of artificial vanilla flavoring in a freezer, and then whipped up the frozen flavoring with a half cup of milk. Only that sounds good in comparison to what I sipped and discarded this afternoon.
- Saw the Liberty Bell. Dare I say it? I have to say it. It's not all it's cracked up to be (Hi, Roger, that was for you).
- Went to the Italian Market, an outdoor market lined with (shocker!) Italian specialty shops as well as some cheap seafood, meat, and produce stores. It's very cool, but I was so hot it was hard to really get into cheese sampling. I know that's a shock to those of you who know me well. But I barely bought anything and actually didn't taste every cheese in every shop I went into. There was a seafood vendor selling crabs sorted by size and then by sex, which, how do they know? They also had a lot of shops selling pigs feet, always advertising they were selling the 'front feet'. Is there something wrong with the back ones? Are pig feet eaters so particular?
- Met my friend out here for a drink and experienced the most awkward pickup of all time. The guy was out at a bar wearing athletic shorts, a Grateful Dead t-shirt, and a fanny pack. He overheard us mention LA and ran over and said, "I'm from San Francisco, I heard you say LA, if you're ever in SF you should call me I can show you a good time." He then wouldn't leave. So sorry, SF friends, I'll try to squeeze you in on my next visit but I'm a bit booked up.

I saw two funny signs at the Italian Market. Enjoy! School starts tomorrow, what should I wear?

Including bar mitzvahs.

I'm with cheese too.
Try to read the tiny ad for their website on the bottom of the sign

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Real Juliedelphia

Well, I actually live in Philadelphia now. This is no joke. Juliedelphia is in Juliedelphia.

I arrived at 8am, dealt with the rental car and was headed in to town by 9. I immediately noticed that the streets in Philadelphia are frighteningly narrow; often when it seemed as if there was only one lane, people drove as if there were two. I assume this is a characteristic of driving in an older city, but it was a fairly big shock to someone who learned to drive on the 405 freeway.

I arrived at my apartment and it looked like this. This does explain the seven frantic phone calls from my building manager suggesting I might want to delay my move in. But by 5 pm the place was painted, neat, and best of all, had a brand new washer and dryer in the kitchen! They even redid all the kitchen cabinets, and I believe my fridge might be brand new too. Ahhh, begging for a washer dryer-- the best tenant decision I've ever made.

It's also pretty cool that though it's impossible to park in my 'hood, there's a designated spot for loading (30 minute limit) on my block. Of course, I only got to use that once since the local construction crew took it over for the rest of the day (300 minute limit?), but it was a lifesaver when it came to getting my luggage in. The hauls from my three Target trips and Trader Joe's trip were accomplished first via a brutal walk from the pay lot, and then from an illegal parking job. It appears that pulling in front of your building and blocking a lane with your hazards on is standard practice in Philadelphia's Center City. I'm calling it "pulling a Philly".

OK, so here's the absolute coolest part of living here so far (not that I accidentally bought two boxes of plastic forks instead of one of spoons, which means I can't eat my Trader O's tomorrow morning)-- on my way to my local hardware store, I pass a violin repair workshop and the Underground Railroad Museum. Bring on the charming old East Coast!

Less cool part (worse than the dearth of spoons in my apartment) is that my super cheap movers are delivering the service one might expect and say they will be here towards the end of my 'delivery window', which means August 17th. Here's a catalog of the furniture in my apartment (not counting any duffel bags, boxes, counters, etc. I may be using in a furniture-type capacity out of desperation):

1. Inflatable mattress (twin) with sheets and pillow-- serves as sofa and bed.
2. Folding 'stool', appears to have been designed for Bilbo Baggins. But it was the cheapest option and it had a seat back which I really needed after today.
3. TV tray-- Thank you, Isaac Mizrahi, for turning at $20 standard item into a $40 white lacquered and pink fashion statement (with handle cutouts!). Whatever, it's a perfectly decent desk and kitchen table. I'm sitting on #2 (#2 is the stool) and using this 'desk' right now to post this!
4. Bookshelves-- massive, left by the last tenant at my request. It's nice to have another place to put things. I think I need to move it for how I want to set up the living room, which means I need help. Anyone coming to visit really really soon?