Corin Anderson's Journal|
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Monday, August 24th, 2009
Friday afternoon my cell phone began claiming "no signal" just as I was arriving at Princeton, NJ and in the middle of a thunderstorm. Ever since the message has been the same: No signal. Today I rebooted the phone and now the message is "No SIM." I reseated the SIM and restarted, still no luck. The back of the SIM looks sort of burned, although that might be normal. In any event, the net result is that I don't have a working phone presently; I'll visit the T-Mobile store Tuesday to see what they can do.
Melinda and I began to pack up our things last night as we are heading home today. Most of our bags were packed and we were about to head to bed when I saw something crawl along the wall. "Probably a spider," I thought, as I turned to look. No such luck: it was a large cockroach, just ambling along the wall and then under the air conditioner. I ran for a glass to capture it but not quickly enough. We continued to pack and it reappeared a few minutes later. This time I did capture it while it ambled along the floor (and we had the lights on; so much for cockroaches avoiding light. Maybe it was going for my puzzle magazine and the Kakuro?). I put on my clothes, slid a card under the glass so I could pick it up (had to free its little antenna from the glass), and brought it down to visit the front desk. The desk attendant agreed that it should not have been in my room and moved us to a different room. I asked if they'd do anything about the bill, too (I mean, a suite upgrade is nice but I'd rather have had $10 off and stuck with an ordinary room); no such luck. So we moved rooms, resettled, and went to sleep. I don't know what the front desk attendant did with the cockroach after I handed it over although I heard him calling for facilities or something as I left.
In general the Nassau Inn was a pretty crazy and not great hotel. Internet access, advertised in the information folder, costs $11/day. The faucets in the room turned backwards (clockwise was on). The toilet needed two flushes to clear the bowl. And did I mention that we found a cockroach? The only redeeming quality is that it's across the street from Princeton, which was where Melinda and I were spending our time (friends' wedding and reception).
Saturday morning Melinda's mom wanted to extend the visit as long as she could so we changed our travel plans to Princeton: Melinda's parents would drive us rather than we take a series of trains. The drive was shorter than I thought -- two hours -- but we drove through some very thick rain and thunderstorms. We arrived at Princeton around 3:30 but the skies opened up around then, so Melinda and I still got soaked even though we were driven even to the edge of campus. The water was gone the next day but during the deluge the edges of the roads were about 4" deep in water.
The wedding ceremony was held in the Princeton University Chapel, a venue that could hold many hundred guests. The actual audience was more like 40 people and we all fit way up near the front of the church, so it didn't seem all too overly large. The ceremony was short, maybe 25 minutes, and Melinda's reading part went just fine. I didn't know until the rehearsal Saturday that she'd be reading the Mandarin version of the same scripture that another person would read in English (Corinthians I 13:4-7). The Dean of the chapel officiated and did a fine job, but her sermon was pretty strange: something about being peas in a pod, then being a beet and a potato, then blood, and something about glass and bricks. [In fact I understand the message she was conveying but it's only too easy to find the sermon rather funny.] The reception was elsewhere on campus and was way lower-key than I expected: milling around, eating, more milling, cake (from 8 different cakes, and the "wedding cake" was only a sheet cake with some simple decorations. No dancing, no DJ (although there was music by means of a Mac with iTunes). The core group of Caltech friends of the bride and groom stayed until around 10p playing Taboo and other party games, and that was pretty fun. And, despite the downpour from Saturday, Sunday saw no rain, which was a treat.
Melinda and I are home again in San Francisco. Our travel from Princeton to here involved seven modes of transportation on six transportation networks: NJ transit from Princeton to NY Penn Station ("Dinky" from Princeton to Princeton Junction, then NEC corridor to New York); LIRR to Jamaica station; AirTrain to JFK; Virgin America to SF; BART to Civic Center; MUNI to the Sunset. The transitions all went smoothly and the trips themselves were uneventful. The SF apartment is as we left it, which is good, and we're both happy to be home.