Nashville: The Attractions

Nashville, is a tourist city, a state capital, and a center for the music, car, and health industries. All these things lead to a great deal of fun things to do, see, and visit in the city.

Nashville has an almost exact replica of the Parthenon from Athens in the American city’s Centennial Park.

No joke here, the tour guides are awesome.
Beautiful AND COMPLETELY UNOBSTRUCTED VIEW of the Nashville Parthenon.

The Nashville Parthenon is complete, unlike the Athenian Parthenon which seems Continue reading

Nashville: The City

I hate saying anything negative about Nashville as I had a great time while there, but the city itself was not pleasant.

As typical of large cities, there are tons of one-way streets downtown that we weren’t familiar with AND that weren’t marked on maps.

Compounding that confusion, a number of streets were blocked off due to the July 4th event.

EVEN MORE! A lot of streets were blocked off by construction work and what one tour guide called, “Tennessee’s state bird, the crane!” (It’s actually the mockingbird if you were curious).

Crane's so tall I needed to do a collage!
Crane’s so tall I needed to do a collage!

Additionally, parking was… difficult, but at least we expected that. Parking in the Gulch neighborhood on the edge of downtown and walking in over the railroad was the way to go for us.

Second major problem with the city was the smell.

There was a faint garbage stench throughout downtown. Not exactly sure why.

Obviously it got stronger when we got close to dumpsters, but I’ve never experienced a problem like this in any major city. Seems like the dumpsters just don’t trap smells in Tennessee’s humidity.

Final issue with Nashville was the myth of Southern hospitality. I’ve heard of, experienced it, and expected it in Nashville, but it was not so!

Not that anybody was particularly rude, just people were notably less polite than what I’d experienced in Davis, CA.

Maybe it’s because Nashville is a tourist town and the locals hate tourists? Maybe it was due to the extra stress of the downtown construction and July 4th? Maybe something in the local news had everyone on edge?

Whatever it was, the people there just weren’t as nice as I expected them to be.

Like I said, all of these things by no means ruined the vacation. There were just… noticeable.

-GoCorral

Nashville: The Case of the Lost License

The title of this post kind of gives it away, but I lost my license while traveling to Nashville.

My dad woke up nice and early to give my wife and me a ride to the airport. He dropped us off and gave us hugs goodbye.

I had my license when going through security and put it back in my pocket after the body scanner.

We found our gate and my wife left to go to the bathroom while I got her a bagel to eat at an airport deli.

Soon enough our plane arrived. We boarded and watched some movies while flying out to Tennessee.

We got off the plane in Nashville, walked to the baggage claim, and waited for our bags. It took awhile so I went to the bathroom by the baggage claim.

After getting our luggage we went over to the rental car location and got in line for our car. Once we got to the front I dug around in my pockets and realized, “My license isn’t here!”

Thoroughly searching my pockets, wallet, backpack, and the folder I kept our travel reservations in revealed nothing. No license.

Going to the lost and found by the baggage claim, nothing.

Going back into the bathroom I’d used while waiting for our luggage, nothing.

Talking to the airline lost and found and getting them to search the plane we were on, nothing.

Out of options, my wife ended up being the driver for our trip.

We got to the hotel and I tried a few more things to at least locate my license and secure a replacement.

I called the San Francisco airport lost and found to see if my ID fell out by that bagel place and someone had turned it in, nothing.

I contacted the California DMV and after negotiating their phone tree for about an hour I got them to send me a temporary license by fax to our hotel.

The license did not arrive next morning as they promised, so I called again and they sent it within a few hours.

With the temporary license we returned to the car rental place to get me added as a driver.

You didn’t think I’d post my license information on the Internet, did you?

Unfortunately, a temporary California driver’s license does not come with a picture. Without a picture the rental car people were unable to “verify my identity” right as it says on that piece of paper there.

And of course my picture on my student IDs was no good. The dozen or so insurance, credit, and debit cards I have in my wallet wouldn’t do.  My wife vouching for me wouldnt cut it. A picture of an expired license on my phone wasn’t good enough either. Apparently the only thing that can verify my identity to the satisfaction of the rental car company is the one thing I lost.

Please note that not even TSA is this strict. I still plan on flying home and as their website states, security will ask me extra questions and it’ll take longer, but I should still get through.

In the meantime my wife has gotten to practice her driving skills (I’m usually the one that drives) and I’ve gotten to practice my navigating skills (she’s the one that usually navigates).

It’s worked out so far! The last hurdle to jump is getting through TSA, then we’ll be home free (quite literally).

-GoCorral

Programming + Absence

Well it’s Friday and I’ve about missed my chance of having a D&D post this week.

I started writing one and I just kept adding more to it. The consequence is no post about Cimmeria this week, but hopefully a giant sized one for next week!

If you’re still craving your weekly D&D post from the GoCorral blog then I still have something for you.

I completed that script I was working on for criticals in Hackmaster on Roll20. Not only that, I completed two more scripts for melee and ranged fumbles in Hackmaster!

They are available for download on GitHub at these locations:
Critical: https://gist.github.com/GoCorral/1297d794e80e78f6238e2bd6c7661e37
Melee Fumble: https://gist.github.com/GoCorral/9240004810d0667c5ac76a083d7a94d3
Ranged Fumble: https://gist.github.com/GoCorral/f0fd318795fdf76643cfd0b2e0908c5f

So if you play Hackmaster using Roll20 and have a Roll20 Pro subscription then these should be pretty valuable to you. If not… you might be able to modify it for use outside of Roll20’s API and still get some fun out of it.

The other announcement of the week is that I will be on vacation the next two weeks.

I’ll do my best to stay constant with updates over that time, but I believe it is inevitable that I’ll be distracted by something in the city in visiting, Nashville.

And when I get back I’ll have a lot to say about the capitol of country music!

Thanks for reading!
-GoCorral

Memorial Day Weekend 2015

My parents-in-law visited for Memorial Day weekend.

They’ve been coming up to Sacramento every Memorial Day weekend for ages because my father-in-law plays drums in the Sacramento Music Festival every year.

Look at those hands!
Look at those hands!
The difference for this visit was instead of all of us staying in a hotel in Sacramento, we had them stay over at our house in Davis.

They arrived on Friday night after we’d spent the day cleaning up the house (Things get really dirty when you’re still in the moving in process!).

My father-in-law wasn’t playing in the Sacramento Festival until Sunday, but he did have a gig in Oakland on Saturday night.

We spent Saturday hanging out and taking a tour of the activities in Davis.

Our new house is right by the Davis Greenbelt, a walking path that goes throughout the whole city and connects most of the city’s parks. We went walking on that and showed the in-laws the neighborhood that we live in now.

They got to visit with the cats and see Carma’s injury.

After my father-in-law left for his job in Oakland we went to our old apartment which we are still paying our lease on and swam in the pool there. I didn’t swim because I thought it was still too cold, but my wife and mother-in-law did.

Sunday morning I had an unfortunate surprise of having to do more schoolwork. I’d thought I was done, but it turned out that I needed to redo one of my lab reports. I spent the morning doing that and then we went to the Music Festival.

Usually we go out for ice cream after the festival, but this time we went to our favorite ice cream place, Leatherby’s, before. Ice cream for lunch is great!

The Festival was a lot of fun. The room my father-in-law’s band, The Royal Society Jazz Orchestra, played in was so full that even though we were related to one of the band members it was difficult to find a seat.

After dancing and listening to some 20s and 30s style jazz we came back home and I continued to work on my lab report late into the night.

The next morning I continued to work on my report with a break to chat and talk with the in-laws before they left.

A great little visit from family. Lots of fun!

We figured out we could probably use another little trashcan, a lamp, and some hangers for future guests.

That’s the story from Memorial Day Weekend!

-GoCorral

Christmas 2014 Events

I’ve been putting off my post about Christmas for awhile. I was busy spending time with my family during Christmas break and didn’t set aside time to write then, but I am now!

My wife and I went home to visit our families. Her parents and mine live in the same town, so its easy to see both families when we have a break. We stayed with my family this time and brought our cats, Lucky and Carmelita, along.

We got to spend some quality time with both families, chatting, going on walks, playing minigolf, and playing card games.

The big news of the break was that my wife’s uncle (my uncle-in-law? Is that a thing?) is moving to Taiwan. He’s a doctor right now. He’s in his late 50’s, but he doesn’t have any kids. It’s likely that he’s saved enough for retirement at this point, although he isn’t calling this retirement. He plans to work on something else in the future, but it isn’t clear what that is.

His wife is from Taiwan and they’ve gone there plenty of times to visit her family, so it makes sense for them to move there. She works over the internet which she can do just as easily in Taiwan as she can in the USA until she chooses to retire.

The crazy part of this whole plan was that they plan to keep some sort of residence in Nevada even though they currently live in California. It was a little confusing to us, but it seemed to be for tax reasons.

And of course the most important part of any Christmas break, WHAT PRESENTS DID I GET?!??

First, we got two huge bags to carry all the loot in, one for my wife’s stuff and one for my things. We got a decorative glass apple which we’d like to display once we move to a place with more room. Our space for decorative items is filled up in our current apartment.

We got an ice tray specifically made to produce long and thin pieces of ice to put into travel bottles. A lot of candy, some candied popcorn, and my favorite, a chocolate orange.

I got two movies, one is a favorite of mine, Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The other is Pirate Radio, something my dad claims I said I wanted a while back, but I have no memory of. It has a lot of my favorite actors in it though so I will most likely enjoy watching it.

I got a new iPad keyboard which I am using to write this post. It’s amazing and I love it. I got the Villainy board game that I played at Fake Chinese New Year’s Eve. I got an Imagine Dragons CD. I got a cool book, On Killing, that was recommended in the Harcore History podcasts. It’s about the costs and methods of training people to kill in modern society (soldiers mostly, but it touches on the media influence of other forms of violence as well).

I got an electric razor to give myself the 5 o’clock shadow shave that I’ve been wanting. I got a pair of bacon and egg magnets for my fridge. I got a Snow Wars t-shirt. It shows Han Solo and Chewbacca having a snowball fight, only they are illustrated in Calvin and Hobbes art style as if Han Solo is Calvin and Chewie is Hobbes.

I got a puzzle and a new pair of scissors (I did want these things). I got a new lab coat to wear at work. I got a hand blender due to a mixup on my Amazon wish list (might still use it!). I got all of the Hardcore History podcasts that are no longer available for free on iTunes (Awesome!). I got a cookbook solely for making stuff in the microwave. I’ve looked up recipes like that in the past and I’m very happy that there is a whole cookbook devoted to microwave recipes.

My wife got us a pair of shirts to wear. She got me a bread knife. I also got her a bread knife. There was a miscommunication. She got me Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods which I’d been wanting for a long time. She got me a ton of funny hats as well. I now have a pizza hat, a viking helmet, and a Poro hat (Poros are cute and fuzzy League of Legends animals).

Soooo many presents. Fortunately, most of them are small and I was able to find places for all of them. Let me know what presents you got! Or just your favorite one!

-Mister Ed

Thanksgiving Traditions

For those of you who don’t know, today is Thanksgiving in the USA! Turkey time!

My family has a few Thanksgiving traditions.

First, we set up the table for everyone who is coming over. This involves adding extra leaves to make it bigger as well as covering the table in butcher paper.

The butcher paper is not for butchering, but for writing on. We write and draw things we’re thankful for, like each other, or well-made bread, or that more Star Wars movies are coming out.

Then we have the usual food traditions of turkey, potatoes, stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce.

Additional food is for my wife, who is a vegetarian. She likes making spanikopita instead of turkey. Spanikopita is a baked dish made with filo dough, butter, cheese, and spinach. Its really good!

We all eat the dinner and usually avoid the awful drama of arguments with your relatives.

After dinner is pie time.

My sister is the one who usually makes the pies. The typical number is eight, which ends up being about one per person at Thanksgiving dinner.

After eating everything we spend the rest of the night cleaning before falling asleep early.

But the fun isn’t over there! The next morning there is still plenty of pie left to eat! My sister invites all her friends over to eat the leftover pies. I know most of them, so its good to catch up with them and eat sugar for breakfast.

Most of those traditions are getting disrupted this year. My sister has moved to Ohio and is staying there this year. My dad and step-mom are going to my step-mom’s aunt’s house for the holiday, so they’re not in town either. I’m spending Thanksgiving with my lovely in-laws!

Most everyone in my wife’s family are vegetarians, so there will be no turkey this Thanksgiving. The spanikopita will be replacing it. Everything else is still going to be here though! Stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, pie, and people that I love.

There’s also talk of going on a hike before cooking begins.

I miss seeing my direct family, but I saw them last month and I’ll get to see them all again in December for Christmas. At least I get to see the family cat because I’m taking care of her while they’re away.

I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving wherever you are and however you celebrate it!

-Mister Ed

Sacramento Music Festival 2014

I went to the Sacramento Music Festival for a vacation this Memorial Day weekend with my wife and my parents-in-law. Here are some pictures of all the stuff that was going on there.

Here’s what our hotel was like.

The Governor's Inn where we stayed had birds named after the Reagans.
The Governor’s Inn where we stayed had birds named after the Reagans.
First time I got room service with my wife!
First time I got room service with my wife!

We went on a walk along the river by our hotel.

Here's a bridge in Sacramento by our hotel.
Here’s a bridge in Sacramento by our hotel.
There was this weird water thing in the river.
There was this weird water thing in the river.
An abandoned boat out in the river by our hotel.
An abandoned boat out in the river by our hotel.
The abandoned boat was an anomaly. Most of the boats were sailing around like this one.
The abandoned boat was an anomaly. Most of the boats were sailing around like this one.
The Rusty Duck Restaurant is quite rusty as it has been abandoned for awhile.
The Rusty Duck Restaurant is quite rusty as it has been abandoned for awhile.
An abandoned PG&E block building.
An abandoned PG&E block building.

And we went to the festival where my father-in-law was playing.

We were stuck in line for one of the music sets, but there was a polevaulting event outside to watch!
We were stuck in line for one of the music sets, but there was a polevaulting event outside to watch!
Here the girl is going over the bar.
Here the girl is going over the bar.
The girl did not make it over the bar.
The girl didn’t quite make it over the bar. She hit it on the way down.
A bunch of Hawaiian kids played some covers on the street to earn money for college.
A bunch of Hawaiian kids played some covers on the street to earn money for college.

The College Fund band that we saw on the street has a Facebook page. Here’s the link.

My father-in-law's band playing some 20's jazz.
My father-in-law’s band playing some 20’s jazz.

My father-in-law’s band is called the Royal Society Jazz Orchestra (RSJO). You can check out their website here.

And that was my weekend! Lots of music and lots of fun!

-Mister Ed

Mother’s Day

The cookies I made over Mother's Day weekend with my step-mom.
The cookies I made over Mother’s Day weekend with my step-mom.

 

I went home for Mother’s Day to spend it with my step-mom.

The plan was to bake snickerdoodles and watch a movie together.

My mother-in-law lives in the same town so my wife came along and spent the day with her.

We’d come in Saturday. We got up early on Sunday at my parents’ house to head over to my wife’s parents’ house.

We had to get there early as my mother-in-law wanted to go to church.

She used to go to church every week as the music director for her church, but that eventually was too much stress for her.

She stopped doing the music program and is now more of a “two day Christian” (Christmas and Easter), at least for going to church. She’s still very much a Christian at home.

I always like going to church with her, but I can’t bring myself to go every week in my hometown without knowing what the churches are actually like.

After church my wife went to spend the day with her mom while I went home to spend the day with mine.

My step-mom and I chatted a lot, played Quiddler (a card version of Scrabble if you’ve never played), made snickerdoodles, had pizza for dinner, and watched A Fish Called Wanda.

At the end of all that my wife still wasn’t finished with her activities of hiking, making Indian food, eating the Indian food, and chatting.

My parents recommended a movie for my wife and I to watch together called Notting Hill.

We decided to preview the first bit of the movie to make sure my wife would like it before I left to pick her up.

The first half hour was pretty good and I think my wife and I will like watching it together.

I went and got her from her parents’ house. Her mom always has to take a picture whenever we’re over, so we submitted ourselves to the camera’s gaze before leaving.

I drove the two hours back in the dark and we ended up in bed by 11.

And that was my Mother’s Day!

-Mister Ed

Coke Floats and a Full Day

Two Coke floats my wife and I made.
Two Coke floats my wife and I made.

I wanted two root beer floats tonight, but we didn’t have any root beer in the house.

I made Coke floats instead.

We only had enough vanilla ice cream for one float, so I used chocolate in the other one.

They were not really root beer floats, but they were really nice.

And apparently my wife never had a root beer float, so this was her first experience.

The floats were an end to a long day which involved: getting fewer privileges at work, trouble shooting a problem at work, talking about relationships, having a birthday lunch with a friend, organizing vacations, doing laundry, cleaning cat poo, and at the end I got floats!

Previously I had thought it was alright to watch Youtube videos at work while I sorted seeds. Boss said no today. I’m disappointed, but its not unreasonable of him to ask this.

Isolating DNA from rice leaves hasn’t been going well. We’ve been getting errors and we finally narrowed down the error to a salt we use.

The stock salt we use to make the salt solution looked dirty though. I cleaned it. We’ll see if it’s good next week.

I talked with my coworker while sorting seeds about his future plans with his girlfriend. He wants to move in with her, but she thinks marriage is the next step.

They’ll probably just live close to each other next year. Right now they live around an hour apart.

One of my old friends from my organic chemistry class sophomore year had a birthday today!

I took him out to lunch at Taco Bell (he chose it). We talked about life and stuff. It was a lot of fun!

When I got home I organized my Memorial Day vacation with my father-in-law.

Another old friend, from high school this time, wants to hang out on the actual Monday of Memorial Day weekend. Organized stuff to make it work.

Laundry and cleaning the litter box are pretty typical chore things.

And chocolate ice cream in vanilla Coke to end the day!

-Mister Ed