Wednesday/Thursday – Day 118/119

November 26, 2012

I wish today could’ve been a little slower, but with the final submission of operating systems due to rear its ugly head, today was not quiet.  Due to the start of thanksgiving break tomorrow, algorithms was almost desert, with a mere fourteen out of one hundred and five people bothering to show up. After that it was straight to work on PennOS for a solid eight hours with Charu Jangid, one of my team members, in tow. We managed to eke out a little progress however the other two group members were still conspicuously missing.

At around 5PM Charu left and I packed my bags and headed off to the Philly Greyhound terminal with my backpack to catch the 6PM bus to Pittsburgh, another city in Pennsylvania. The greyhound terminal was ridiculously packed with folks trying to get home for thanksgiving. No real lines were forming and people were mobbing the doors to try and get seats on the earlier busses out. I myself managed to sneak on relatively early and moved all the way to the back seat that was notable for its extra legroom. I hauled out my laptop and began to work on project for the next six hours.

At around one AM I arrived in Pittsburgh and transferred to a bus going to Cleveland OH. The bus ride was again spent on my laptop trying to get a little internet signal and debugging my code. Finally I made my last transfer at four and slept for a couple of hours before reaching Detroit, MI (Michigan) at ten to eight. After a short wait during which I shaved quickly (so as to make a fine impression on her parents) Tammy Hsia, my host for the next half week, arrived with in her car. I jumped in and we drove around for a while taking stock of what was open on this national holiday, before heading to the suburb of Troy where she lived, for a quick shower and change.

After that it was off to see the natural beauty in the region and, despite the chilly weather and the gloomy skies I had a wonderful time exploring one of the nearby trails.

Our walked finished relatively quickly due to the conditions outside and so, with everything else closed, Tammy and I decided to go to the movie theatre to see “Wreck it Ralph” in 3D.

After waiting around for forty-five minutes for the feature to start, we settled in for what was a fantastic movie. With a great score, clever plotline (with a twist), and both adorable and strong characters I highly recommend seeing it. So much so that it was almost worth seeing it a second time. We both smiling, even after my shock earlier in the day of having received two sets of very bad marks from Algorithms, what I had considered to be one of my stronger courses.

We returned to Tammy’s place where after attempting to work for about five minutes, I fell fast asleep on my bed. Waking up, it was dark outside and I took a bit of a better look at the room I was in. Beautifully furnished with fresh toiletries bought for me, the Hsia’s were amazing hosts. They took such good care of me and I was quite grateful to feel so at home. I then went downstairs to help prepare for our vegetarian thanksgiving dinner, a little different from tradition. This was due to both Mike (Tammy’s sister Grace’s boyfriend) and I both having dietary restrictions.

Grace and Mike arrived rather late from Ann Arbor, where they lived, however, as soon as we sat down to the meal things were wonderful. I became instantly friends with Grace and Mike and I shared much in common too. I was a little disappointed that they would be going away the next day and so I would have little more time to spend with them. Thus, after they told us that they were going to see Wreck it ralph that evening, Tammy and I decided that though we’d seen it earlier in the day we could go see it again, just to spend time with the two. It was pretty much as good the second time as the first, though this time I paid even closer attention to the great score. Hopefully I’ll be able to find the soundtrack somewhere in the near future.

Getting home at one AM, I remained up for a little while talking to Tammy and her parents, before collapsing from a non-stop 48hrs into the beautiful bed.

Friday/Shabbat/Sunday – Day 54/55/56

September 19, 2012

After arriving in on Friday I was forced to begin a mad rush to complete all of my work that was due before my arrival back at Penn. So out of my bag I grabbed my notes, grabbed my laptop and… rifling through my bag I couldn’t find my charger! This was particularly worrisome as my laptop contained all the most recent source code from my programming assignments (they were yet to be uploaded to the cloud).

This necessitated a trip to Best Buy to purchase a charger so that I could complete my urgent work. This turned out not to be a huge issue a Robin, Sarah’s mother, was going to Costco, opposite the tech store, to shop for Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year). I purchased the cheapest universal laptop charger in the store, checking for plug and power compatibility beforehand and returned with Robin back home to Sarah’s. Unfortunately when I plugged in the charger, my laptop still refused to boot! Oy Gevalt!

By this time it was well past midday and thus there was a mandatory stop for lunch before trying to figure out my next move. Luckily, Robin had forgotten to buy meat, so on our way back to Costco I took the non-functional charger with me and went to return it and buy a new HP branded one. However, despite my best efforts, I had left a piece of the packaging back home and thus was required to work out yet another seventy dollars in order to get myself back up and running. A return visit to Best Buy with the extra piece was then put on my ‘to-do’ list.

At that point, Sarah and her brother Zack, returned home from college and after a brief spell chatting, Sarah and I headed to the living room to put in some hours working before Shabbat.

Shabbat dinner was a peaceful family affair and soon after I was fast asleep. The sleep in fact continued till around midday the next, and meant that I woke up just in time for lunch. After that, it was time for a good hour and half walk around the area to get myself acquainted and to enjoy the pleasant weather. A shluf (sleep) in the afternoon rounded off the day. When Shabbat came out Sarah and I drove to see ‘Premium Rush’, a decent film with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, about bicycle messengers in NYC and we both enjoyed it, though it was nothing to rave about. Though I did think Joseph looked an awful lot like the properties manager from the PGC (Penn Glee Club) a lovely well dressed guy by the name of Devin. Returning home, Sarah and I talked till the early hours of the morning, while busily trying to get a little work done. Finally at about 2AM we called it in and headed to sleep.

Sunday was another trip to Best Buy to return the charge. After that, a good hour on the piano to relax a little and then again, a mad rush to try and complete all my work. Unfortunately I didn’t manage it all on time and now needed to talk to professors to try and obtain limited extensions to hand in my work Wednesday on my return to the states.

Rosh Hashana first night dinner was with Sarah’s Mother’s family. I was slightly overwhelming being introduced to so many new people at once, however, the food was delicious and, I had a great time entertaining and being entertained by her younger cousins. To them I exposed the fact that Sarah has an encyclopaedic geographic knowledge that includes every country in the world and their capitals. I also introduced to them a scoring system by which you could earn a point for finding a capital Sarah didn’t know. The sum of all our points by the end of the evening was a measly one. Trinidad and Tobago she had forgotten.

After a delicious dessert, it was time to go, however Sarah’s little cousin wasn’t too happy over the fact and made me promise to come back for Shabbat dinner another time. An evening well spent.



Break in proceedings

August 10, 2012

EDIT: After multiple tries I was able to repair my laptop by removing the screen assembly and replacing the cable connecting the screen to the laptop! YAY!

Much to my dismay, the screen in my laptop has shuffled off its mortal coil! Unfortunately for me and my readership this means posts may be fewer and farther between with less media content, till I get it repaired in New York. However, the last few days have been excellent as always with a few more adventures to appear soon.

© 2012-2024 Shaanan Cohney