Breaking news: Carrie likes whitewater rafting

So Eileen, Mads, Jeff and I (there they are, minus me, above) met up in West Virginia to go whitewater rafting on the New River this weekend. I was fairly freaked out before going, as I thought it was going to be like riding a bucking bronco for five straight hours, and I was going to keep getting thrown from the raft and at some point I would hit my head on rocks and probably lose some teeth.

None of that happened. We did some pretty substantial rapids (some of them were rated class five, although the river was low so it was not as bad it as it could have been) but nobody, including me, fell out. At one point in one of the bigger rapids it was like, "whoa, why is the other side of the raft suddenly on this side?" The other side including our guide, who nearly knocked Mads out. Hee. But somehow they all stayed in.

And once I got the hang of it I had a ton of fun. Riding the rapids was fun, but so was the calm parts, where we could get out of the raft and float along.

Also fun, drinking Natural Light on the bus ride to the lodge and finally changing into dry clothes afterwards. Heh.

After we left the lodge we went to the overlook over the New River Gorge, where I took the picture below:

Sadly, none of us brought one of those water cameras (I considered it but figured I'd lose it in the river in one of the 16 times I got thrown off the raft...lesson learned), so that's the closest photo to the action I've got. But you can kinda sorta see the rapids there in the back. Also, my arms. There was a window there...


Smithsonian and memorial pictures

The Route 66 portion of the transportation exhibit.

Big shiny train.

Model of an ocean liner.

Piece of the Berlin Wall.

And a bunch from the World War II and Lincoln Memorials:

The national mall

So it had occurred to me that now that I live here, I could just randomly pop off to go to things like the Smithsonian (which is free, who knew?).

And it also occurred to me, after I learned that the Smithsonian is in fact open on Sundays, that today would be a good day to do so. The Museum of American History is closing after Labor Day for a long time for renovations, so I was running out of time to go see that one.

So I did. I took the metro in, which pops you right out in the midst of all the Smithsonian buildings (why do they call it the Smithsonian when there are many different buildings?), and took the short walk over to the museum. I stopped for a pretzel before I went in and was bugged by the World's Bravest Squirrel for a bite. I totally caved...I'm used to the skittish black squirrels at Kent State and this guy was all ready to eat out of my hand.

So, anyway, back to the actual museum. You just walk in and go through security bag check and then you're there. Awesome.

Many of the exhibits were closed in preparation for the renovation but there was still plenty to keep me occupied for an afternoon. I particularly liked the transportation exhibit — everything from ocean liners to Route 66 to the L in Chicago. The conservation of the star-spangled banner was interesting, too, as was what happened to polio. I found parts of the America at war exhibit really moving, like things that had been left at the Vietnam memorial, and wasn't really prepared for that. Shortly after that was 9/11, and a piece of steel from the World Trade Center. Really wasn't prepared for that one.

I wasn't planning to make this entry a downer, really...

After the Smithsonian, I went to the World War II memorial to take some pictures to show my grandfather, and then, because I am an idiot, kept walking to the Lincoln Memorial. Which probably put my walking total on the day at at least three miles, since my apartment's half a mile from the metro to begin with.

So I am very tired. But....pictures in the next post!


You gotta fight for your right to.....Interweb?

Well, I had mentioned to Eileen that I was going to post updates in my blog about my move to D.C.

But, see, the problem with that is that I really needed home Internet access to do so properly. Which I have not had. Until today. Yes, I was experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms. Yes, I probably could have blogged from Panera or whatever, but I like blogging from home. Yes, I know I'm a freak.

So I suppose I should actually note for the record that I have in fact moved to D.C. to take a job out here as an information architect. I believe my last post was about my car being a lemon and my new rocking Mazda 3 (as a side note, you don't realize how much you love a Mazda 3 hatchback until you cram as many of your possessions as you can in it and live off of them for three weeks).

So, the Internet situation. Which stems from the apartment situation. Which is this:

My apartment wasn't ready when they originally said it was going to be. Long story short, the people who were in there before me trashed it and it needed to be renovated. The good news is that the apartment does look great, including a brand-new kitchen. Bad news is that I had to have the movers hold my stuff in storage for awhile and stay with a friend.

So that delayed me moving in, and when I finally moved in I had already been working for awhile and could only get cable installed on a Saturday. Guess which Saturday that was? Heh.

So the cable guy comes today and starts doing the installation thing, and the TV signal is really fuzzy, and when he plugs in the modem, he says it isn't going to work. The line coming in is losing signal like crazy and they'll need to send somebody out to replace the line. So that means NEXT Saturday morning, before I head off white-water rafting.

The cable guy leaves, and I was about to make a depressing trip to Panera for the wifi, when I decided I had GONE LONG ENOUGH WITHOUT INTERNET AND WAS NOT GIVING UP WITHOUT A FIGHT IEEEEEEE. Ahem.

After much jiggling and twisting of the connection to the wire coming in, suddenly the BBC was looking a LOT clearer. So I went for it, and plugged the modem back in, and the Internet light lit up. There was much InCompetentCastic software and crap left to go through, but yes, I hacked my way onto the Internet. Hahahahahaha.

So that is update number one. I'm sure there will be more later. Now that I can update easily. Yay!