Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Odds and Ends

(I'm odd, and this post will never end. Read at your own risk.)

I'm still learning my way around Oak Ridge. I have a city map which I study in an attempt to find new, more efficient routes. Unfortunately, due to topographical constraints, Oak Ridge does not have the simple, grid structure of say, Urbana. This can be a nightmare to the directionally challenged such as myself. So I have my map which I use to plan my routes.

On Sunday, I observed on the map what appeared to be a shortcut from the Kroger shopping center to the West side of town. It was a street that went West and then veered to the North, intersecting with the Oak Ridge Turnpike just a few blocks East of where I am staying. To make matters really simple, there were very few roads intersecting with this road, and none that looked like I could accidentally branch onto and inadvertently make a wrong turn. So I decided to be adventurous and try this new shortcut. It seemed foolproof!

My new shortcut looked great -- until I got to the place where the pavement ended and the gravel road began! I passed some people riding their horses. I tried to look confident, like I knew what I was doing. Once I got out of their sight, I started laughing really hard. What a great shortcut!

Eventually, I got back onto pavement, and the road came out just exactly where I thought it would. So if it weren't for the gravel part where you can only travel at 10 mph, that would have made a great shortcut. Ah well, you live and learn!

My car was covered in dust from the off-road excursion, but it rained all day the next day and all the dirt washed off. On Monday after work I went to get my prescription filled. I tried one pharmacy but they didn't have it in stock. So I went to another pharmacy which had it in stock, but because I haven't worked for very long yet, I am not in the health insurance company's database yet so they made me pay the whole price for the prescription. It was only about $8 more than the co-pay, so really I haven't come out too far behind. There are plenty of medications (as we in our family know up close and personally) that cost a lot more than that!

Today was the International Festival I talked about in the previous entry. It was loads of fun. I went with my Canadian friend Rick. Actually, we went separately but we met up there and hung out together. We sampled food from many different cultures: Swiss, Indian, Appalachian/Southern, Hispanic, Eastern European, Asian, British, and African/African-American. At the Asian booth, they had a woman writing Chinese calligraphy for you. When Rick asked her to write an "I love you" message for his wife, I said that I knew how to say that and said "Wo ai ni." And the calligrapher was really excited that I knew so much Chinese (I took one semester of Chinese, Fall 2001, so I don't really know much) that she wrote two things for me: on one piece of paper she wrote the four seasons (spring, summer, fall, winter) and on another she wrote "Oak Ridge National Laboratory." I took the papers back to my office and showed my mentor, George, who is of Chinese ancestry and knew exactly what they said without me telling him.

In the afternoon Robert, the chemist we're working with, stopped by and showed me the software I'm supposed to be working on. He spent several hours helping install it. While we were sitting there waiting for the code to compile, he noticed a paper on my desk and thought it looked interesting. It was actually one I'd downloaded and printed out but had yet to read. Then later in the afternoon George came in, saw the same paper, and also thought it looked interesting. He asked me if he could make some copies of it and I said sure. So I found an interesting paper! Go me! Now I'd better actually read it!

1 comment:

Laura said...

"I'm odd and this post will never end"

Ha ha ha !! very funny.

(so there was no Canadian booth at the international fair?)