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01/19/10 08:18 - 30ºF - ID#50859

semi rant and winter activities

annoying little rant:

The tv was still on when I left at 4:30 pm, I come home to some inane "celebrity" show. I did not realize something like this was on right away, as I got immediately busy grabbing myself a drink, listening to phone messages, feeding my cats dinner, catching my breath after the kickass workout I had tonight, etc. But eventually I could hear it.
I don't watch much tv, but even if I did I would not be able to stomach a whole show like this (Access Hollywood, I think?--but there are others). I hate how the "information" seeps into my head and that I come out knowing much more than I ever will give a damn about any "celebrity" out there... especially "Heidi and Spencer" and her inability to move her face due to the "spiritual and physical transformation" from plastic surgery. ACK! Honestly, this is from me NOT paying attention and actively avoiding such sources of information. I can't imagine being a devote follower of all things.. "celebrity". Ugh.
Mindless entertainment for some, that's cool, I guess. But I truly feel my irritation rise, so that is why it is bad for me.

End Rant. Enough about that. Yeh, the tv was turned off and all is right with my world again.


Now onto the more positive "winter activities":

So back to my little workout. I'm taking a kickboxing class. The concentrated strength and cardio work is fun and kicks my ass. I needed more options in physical activity during the winter months. I cross country ski, but haven't done it regularly enough to feel like this has been an active winter. Either no snow or freeeeezing tamps creating bad snow quality. So when not at the gym, I hit up a local class. As for outdoor activities, I am going to switch to snowshoeing as my main outdoor winter activity as that is more versatile in many ways:
--Easy to store and transport "equipment"
--As long as there is a little snow, regardless of quality, snowshoeing is an option.
--easier to navigate through various terrain and traverse hills.
--more conducive to taking in ones surroundings, wander off to take pictures, etc.
--good for those that aren't keen on skiing but want to enjoy the outdoors during the winter months, "if you can walk, you can snowshoe"
--it is fun.
--it is a good workout especially if using poles, which I think everyone should anyways for stability and extra body movement.

So if anyone is interested in snowshoeing this winter, lets plan an excursion out. Some areas have snowshoe rentals. To buy new, the range is typically $80-$300 depending on what you plan to do with them (racers cost more than casual hikers, larger sizes cost more, variations among brands, etc).




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01/10/10 01:01 - 4ºF - ID#50787

hobby groups inquiry

It is three degrees out.

UGH!

I keep my heat down, as it is only me in a good sized apartment. However, I make use of a nice portable heater in whatever room I am primarily hanging out in that day.

But tonight I just feel so cold..

I'm wearing a hat and several layers without much help. *sigh*

I haven't wanted to leave the house this weekend. I did leave for a few super quick jaunts, but other than that, I've been home entertaining myself this weekend with a swirl of thoughts, writing, movies, music, cleaning, playing with the cats, backing up my picture and music files, and other non social activities. I'm itching to get out but not feeling like bundling up to do so. Tomorrow (Sunday) I have to get out and run some errands, maybe I can pair it with a social call or two.

Oh hey, I have a question...

I have a lot of interests and hobbies but I usually go at them alone or with friends when there is time; mostly on the whim. I think this year I would like to have more structure and socialization to my interests/hobbies. Which hobbies? I don't know yet. Actually, I'd like to know what all is available out there for me to choose from; maybe pick up a new interest or hobby. So given this, I'm curious as to what hobby groups/organizations there are in WNY and where do I find a list or source of information on this, or how to go about getting this information? If there is even such a thing.. but there has to be.
I've never been good at committing to an organized interest and I'm going to change that. I would like to build on an interest, a talent, meet others who share in that, and learn something new and/or add to what I already know.

But where to start?

Help!

Again, 3 degrees! Brrrrr.. time to find some warmth.
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01/07/10 07:32 - 26ºF - ID#50766

growing snow blob

It has grown since (e:theecarey,50736)


My "Stalactite" last night..

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Today:
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Not My Stalactite
(but a real one)
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AND..

What my imagination thinks is out there right outside my front door:
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01/06/10 07:19 - ID#50759

Quantum Physics Recommended Reading List

for (e:oda)


As with (e:tinypliny), my recommendation for entrance into reading about quantum physics is, "Alice in Quantumland". It reads as a story (as it is an allegory). I wrote a little bit about it here: (e:theecarey,46113).

All of my recommendations include a link to more information on the book. For continuity, I included links only to Amazon. On that note,


Amazon link to the book:


Furthermore, I recommend all books by Robert Gilmore.
A quick list of his books:
* Alice in Quantumland
* Scrooges Cryptic Carol
* Wizard of Quarks
* Once Upon A Universe

The stories makes exploring the material more colorful and less dry than some, stories such as, Edwin Abbott Abbott's, "Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions". (which addresses dimensions. Interesting book, I haven't read it in a long time and I vaguely remember it; so it is on my reread list.)


Also, the Gilmore books make a great primer for further reading exploration.

My recommended reading list continues with (all from my collection- I also recommend acquiring books so you have them to refer back to, or reread in my case):

--- "Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed" by Jim Al Khalili
This book reads like a text, but is really well done. The implication of the experiments within are amazing and will leave you with much to contemplate. Great color pictures to illustrate the material.


--- Quantum Physics: A Beginners Guide by Alastair I.M. Rae.
Well organized "overview"; includes black print diagrams and summaries.


The following two or more specific- contemplates String Theory, aka The Theory of Everything (TOE), aka The Quantum Theory.
--- "The Elegant Universe" by Brian Greene (string theorist- great stuff)http://www.amazon.com/Elegant-Universe-Superstrings-Dimensions-Ultimate/dp/0375708111

AND..

--- "The Fabric of the Cosmos" by Brian Greene (ok, so i have a little intellectual crush on this guy- seriously though, good stuff!)



Want more?

Oh yeh, go here:

--- "The Fabric of Reality" by David Deutsch
one word: "MULTIVERSES!!" sweet sweet stuff.



---"A Different Universe: Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Down" (I love some of these titles) by Robert Laughlin
Thought provoking, but not well written. Good information to extrapolate and apply to your knowledge base.



---A must read at some point- Stephen Hawkings, "A Brief History of Time". Black holes, the singularity, radiation.. So much of what we hear or read has a basis in the work of Mr. Hawking. Read the wiki article:


--- "The Quantum World"- by Kenneth Ford
Not a book to start with, but has enough strengths to make it onto my recommended reading list.


When enough time passes in between reading this material, I quickly lose what I had learned. All of the information learned becomes relegated to retrieving in the manner of, "oh, it is on the tip of my tongue!". Yet, when I have reengaged the learning process, all of the connections come flooding back. Not sure if that is a defect of my mind or a natural occurrence with "learning' this subject matter. I recall reading somewhere that "if you think you understand quantum physics, you don't understand it at all".

So expect a mental workout and enjoy the process.


Also,
--- Another recommendation is a, let me say, "curious read", is "What the Bleep Do We Know?!" (again, the book)
Read the information and reviews..


This book fell literally jumped out at me one afternoon in an old bookstore in old Kingston, NY. I bought it on a whim and enjoyed it on many levels.

and if you like that sort of thing, I have more books to recommend..

Alright. so.. whatcha gone read first?

anyone have any books, sources, etc to add?

and anyone else enjoy diving into this subject matter? I know I would retain more if I had more opportunities (any opportunity) to discuss it.






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01/06/10 12:08 - 21ºF - ID#50752

reading

I need a reading goal.

If I didn't miss any, which I may have, I believe my book total for 2009 was 54. I'm not sure if I am pleased with that number or not. It is higher than the "average" adult but probably nothing special for a self proclaimed "book eater".
More is not better as all of our reading speeds and comprehension varies, (especially based on type of book read) but I just wish I knew my average. I had only started to formally keep track as of last year, (e:theecarey,47667).

I read.. well, anything.

My book list from last year is the usual mix of good fiction, crappy fiction, memoirs, information books pertaining to health, business, sciences (especially quantum physics), politics and writing. Most fiction I "speed-read" through and most everything else I take more time to absorb.

I know last year there were stretches of time that I did not read from books but had focused working through a growing pile of magazine subscriptions (Scientific American, Scientific American Mind, Discover, Fast Company and Home Theater). Come to think of it, that will likely occur again as I have yet another pile of mags to catch up on.

I will have to use 2009 "data" as my "baseline", and see how 2010 will pan out against it.

In addition to book count, maybe I should keep track of pages read as well? Anyone else keep track of their reading habits or have a "goal"?

hmm, what can I say, I love to read.



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01/04/10 11:18 - 16ºF - ID#50740

Monday Tacos (and books and movies)

  • Woke way too damn early, after just sleeping for a few hours, and saw that the snow was still coming down. I got up and had the energy to go out and shovel. Thankfully my step dad comes over and used the snowblower on my driveway, and then proceeds to do the neighbors. Shoveling can be fun, but not the length of my driveway and not the very end where the heaviest, dirtiest and most annoying of the snow piles up, due to plow trucks coming through.

Big scary drift over my front door is still there, as seen in previous post, (e:theecarey,50736)

  • Busy morning, but felt myself crashing after lunch. My lunch was awesome. A couple of "tacos" made from ground turkey, black beans, chopped red pepper and finely chopped spinach (and store bought taco seasoning packet) smooshed into a yellow corn tortilla shell with sharp cheddar cheese. Yum. Shortly after I was feeling weird from lack of sleep so I laid down and instantly fell asleep (that rarely happens). Didn't sleep long but I did sleep deep and woke up feeling like another day had passed. I'm still feeling confused!

  • After that little nap, I headed out to go out for a walk, to shake the sleep dust of my brain, if only I could find a spot that wasn't too icy. The Fort totally sucked for this as the winds were terrible. My face froze instantly, and even though I was bundled up, the experience wasn't making me feel happy. So I left and tried to find another area that did not have whipping winds to deal with. Easily found another area but I didn't make it very far, but it was still good to get out. I made a quick trip to the grocery store (for the hell of it, really) for a bag of ground coffee and flavored coffee creamer (I usually go black, but am in the mood for something extra tasty this week). I parked far away just to get a little extra "leg stretch". Roads got progressively worse by the time I was done in that store. Glad it was a short trip home.

meh. It isn't great. Was hoping for chocolate-mint.
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  • Got home, went to go online and the web pages were "unavailable". I disabled my connection, re connected, which is usually enough, but my attempts were otiose. Checked router and found an issue there.

Without going into what all that entailed, I did have to go into my old Gateway computer to mess around with admin stuff. I pretty much never use this computer. Why would I? It is from 1998, Windows '98, 128 MB RAM, and a monitor that sits five feet deep and a tower case that resembles an alien monolith. Only old browsers versions are compatible (so think, early IE, Firefox and Netscape- no tabbed browsing either- how did we live?!), so naturally, pretty much all websites are a pain in the ass as there is excessive lag in the functions. FB about booted me right off of there. Jerks. A quick glance at the old school programs made me giggle (think, Encarta, Trip Planner, Bookshelf, etc). Anyway, got everything working again, and after a few more minutes browsing for the fun of it, I shut down the computer, which gets turned on maybe once a year. The old thing sputtered and moaned in pain during the whole start up and shut down process. Poor thing.

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  • Dinner time was the same as lunch with the addition of brown rice and "succotash" (corn and lima beans-- I didn't know this until sometime this year, er, last year). A little cayenne pepper sprinkled on top was the extent of flavoring. Already I thought I was going to die from all the salt in the store bought taco seasoning. Lots of water to follow! Took a few pics for fun. I should probably get those on here..


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  • Decided to pop in a movie with dinner. I had bought, Fanboys (2009) a few weeks back on DVD brand new for $6.00. I had wanted to see it last year, but it never came to the theaters around here and it took some time before it came out on video.


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something look familiar?
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Must not have done well anywhere.

I wasn't expecting much, had really low expectations, actually-- even though I didn't know much of what it was about. In short it about a group of guys, fans of Star Wars setting out to get the script of Episode 1 before the finished movie came to the theaters. This story was set to the year, 1998. The music was pretty true to the time (Chumbawamba, Presidents of the United States of America, for example). The dialogue was simple with some hilarious one liners. Most often this is really annoying to me, but it was all making me laugh, a lot. So I thought many of the lines were pretty great and there were so many little details to be appreciated. Some of the cast members were awesome to see (Carrie Fisher!). For sure, you have to be a bit of a Star Wars fan to even want to see the movie, so I was eager to watch it. The more tried and true fans likely have a lot of negativity about the flick, as this movie just didn't make it anywhere. To be fair, it isn't a well done movie. The characters lack depth as does any sort of interpersonal relations attempted to be depicted, but really, it is obvious that this movie is meant to be nerdy, silly, fluff. Get in touch with your inner 13 year old and laugh.
It is especially entertaining to me for its anti Star Trek sentiment (don't hate me). I was laughing so hard, it was great.

  • Speaking of Carrie Fisher, I am reading her memoir, "Wishful Drinking"
http://www.amazon.com/Wishful-Drinking-Carrie-Fisher/dp/1439102252

cover picture makes me laugh
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She has written a few novels, none of which I have read, so I don't know what her writing style is normally like. This memoir cracks me up for its honesty, simplicity and crazy stories. So far, a very quick and easy read. I will be certainly ready for something detailed, nerdy and engaging after this.

  • I've had Mark Danielewskis', "House of Leaves" in my reading queue (ok, big ass book pile) for several months.



image


Anyone read it?

I know this one will take me time as I want to follow it and experience it the best that I can muster. I'm looking forward to getting into it. I knew it would be best read in the winter on days that I have extra time to devote to reading which it will require. It is non traditional in appearance, as seen here:

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  • And on that note, time to wind down the night and finish up that memoir.

Good night, stay warm!




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01/03/10 08:08 - 14ºF - ID#50736

Restless Sunday

A recount of my big hour outside today, haha

Check this out.. Right outside my front door, oozing over the rooftop. Opening the front door to go out and do some shoveling, this was a crazy sight to see:

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From the other side:
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Let's play, 'spot the (e:strip) bumper sticker'!
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Quick snap of the backyard:
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After shoveling, I made a quick run to the store for some pop and a few other little things. In no particular hurry, I spent a little bit of time socializing with the other locals who ventured out in this weather. That little bit of conversation helped put me in an chipper mood (that and the fresh air and/or lightly freezing my brain had a positive effect).

Driving through the snow covered streets in the village was visually quaint and fun to drive through. As I still had my camera in my old hoody pocket, I attempted a few pics while driving. With dying batteries, I snapped a few en route. I liked this one taken at the corner of Main and Lockport Street. This is the Ontario House, aka, "The Stone Jug"- a historical (an historical?) drinking establishment in the village:
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I drove into the Fort, curious of how Lake Ontario looked in this blustery cold winter evening. Had it not been so windy, icy and almost pitch black, I would have wandered around on foot longer than I did.

Pulling up to the edge before the hill that goes down to the Lake:
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Stepping out, attempting to capture a picture in the darkness; the waves are big tonight.:
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Heading back to my car. the wind nearly pushing me over.
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F#$K it is COLD out there!
Back in the car.. wind whipped and a little frozen in the face.
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Although it is getting late, a walk through the snowy streets is very appealing to me right now. Depending on how windy it is, maybe that is a plan.

Otherwise, it is another evening of vegging out to a book or movie..

Stay warm, peeps!
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01/02/10 10:47 - 9ºF - ID#50728

glad to be home

Oh boy..

the weather really is frightful, tonight.

I headed into Buffalo to (e:pyrcedgrrls) place, where Dana, her daughter and myself planned to go to a movie together. We tried going to dinner at Red Pepper first (for some Pho, yo.) but it was crazy packed and we didn't have much time before needing to get out to the theater. So a quick stop at Moe's Southwest Grill fed us well. I had never been there.. I'd go again.

We caught, "Where the Wild Things Are" at the Movieland 8 cheap seats in Cheektowaga. It wasn't my choice for movie nor Danas, but that is what her daughter chose.

Gotta say... DID NOT LIKE.

I thought it was going to turn into a $3.50 nap.

But then Dana and I relied on our old "make this movie more entertaining" by providing new and improved commentary (in other words, make it a porno). yeh..

Then it turned into a very fun movie. $3.50 redeemed.

We didn't go anywhere else afterward as the weather was creating a mess of the streets more that what they were.

I picked up my car and headed home.

The long drive home..

the roads were so icky. They got worse the closer I got to home. I'm a confident driver, and I know when to take it extra careful. The last six miles were tricky. Working the car down a big old hill is NOT FUN when it is snowy and icy. Cars were crawling and there were some bumper car action going on. Then the snow just came down creating little visibility.

Alright.. so my point? It is SO good to be home.. warm and.. warm. I'll be hibernating, so call me in the spring, ok?

Seriously, stay inside tonight. Though, you were probably all smart enough to do that already, huh? haha
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01/01/10 04:22 - 26ºF - ID#50714

January 1, 2010

"two thousand ten"

"twenty ten"

I wonder which will stick.

It is January. wow.

A new year.*sigh*

I'm feeling the urge to re watch, "2010: The Year We Make Contact" (1984).


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Although no comparison to "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968) with the awesome Hal 9000.
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I love this movie. So well done, very creative and creepy. The music, the visuals; all part of a beautiful piece of work from 1968.

This scene gets to me.. Deconstructing Hal





I'm glad that I can generally amuse myself to no end, and that although I may get weary, I rarely get "bored". Philosophically, yes.Finding something to do, not often. There is always something to "do", so being "bored" will only happen if I let it.

That being said, I am at home, again, nowhere to go, really. Again, any free days due to the holiday last week and this week had to involve very little or no money. Really, too much $ went out this month. But there is always more to be made, so it is just a matter of time and being careful. It is the matter of "until then" that bites. Oh well, challenges happen and I can handle it.

Gotta say (again!) what a major bummer it was to turn around and come back home last night! I was looking forward to seeing all who was in attendance at the party. I'm confident that it was a really good time, and that someone will post pictures at some point, yes? Hope it was a safe and fun night for everyone. How is everyone doing/feeling today??

Anyway back to my little adventure. It rained all day and was still a little rainy when I left to head out last night. The temps had gone from 37 to 32, just enough of a drop to make everything slick. If it were snowy, no big deal. If it were a matter of visibly icy streets, not fun but not as big of deal as "black ice". Plus the earlier bad temperament of my car already left a strike against the evening. My car was just being pulled left and right while driving, then it fish tailed at even a little pressure on the brakes. Sort of fun, actually. Since there wasn't any traffic, I kept driving (and intentionally braking) just to see if I would drive out of it. I stopped at a busy convenience store where a cluster of youngish well dressed guys were chatting about the ice. I should have asked where they were headed or coming from.

Center street in Lewiston was all lit up and looked very festive and inviting.The street was replete with cars and all of the pubs lining the street were packed with well dressed people. I observed clusters of folks making their way into one establishment or another for an energetic night of conversation and debauchery. I had a momentary thought of stopping in myself for a few, check things out, see who's out, have a drink.. but I simply wasn't feeling it. Not all that surprising, there though.

Got home, let a few people in the area know about the craptastic road conditions and then proceeded to just chill out with the laptop. I didn't have any champagne, but I had an assortment of wine. So I poured myself a glass, then another, then another and then I tried to watch tv- I flipped through the various channels that had NYE programs, but I couldn't stomach it. I don't care (!!!!) that Eve/Eva Longoria (sp) has a restaurant now and was hosting NYE from it (or something) and was standing outside with a friend and their giant cocktail slurring while talking about... NOTHING. ie; " *giggle* I think I am drunk before the new year is even here!!! *giggle*".... and "omg! those nachos were soooo good. really. They are addicting. So many calories."

shut up.

UMMM..Thanks. I really wanted to end a decade and a bring in a new one with you.

seriously?

Further, I wasn't impressed with any of the other tv offerings, for much of the same reason, and it was bad enough that that little exchange burned into my memory braincells.

sorry for sharing. haha

(but when I look back on NYE, I will have it documented here. heh.)

Although I did catch a tail end glimpse of Dick Clark. What an icon. And a few moments with a local news channel just after the ball dropped downtown.

Various texts, IMs, & phone calls helped me feel a little connected to everyone. Thanks :)

and now today...

it is cold, snowing, streets are covered, and my broke ass is staying home unless some creative option comes up. I have good coffee, my heater cranked up, and I am settled in for an afternoon of writing. I have a job project to go out and do, but that will either be much later or tomorrow.

My door is always "open".

I'm the one holding a strong cup of coffee, wearing a Barbie hat and Happy Bunny sleep pants.

oh, and..

HAPPY NEW YEAR (and new decade!)

a good time to reflect on new beginnings..






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12/31/09 04:44 - 34ºF - ID#50706

(edit) New Years Egr & Eve & Black Ice

This year I resolve to purchase a vehicle that was made within this millennium.

Maybe.

The cars I drive tend to have a lot of character, much like their driver.

I have full intention of spending the New Year with (e:peeps) as long as my car will behave long enough to get me where I am going and home safe again.

The milder temps today aggravated the EGR valve

- --likely causing it to stick open. Full replacement is expensive so often mechanics clean the sucker out. It has been cleaned before, but I continue to have intermittent issues with it, primarily where there are fluctuations in the temperatures. Likely needs cleaning again. What happens is, rough idle, jerking at higher speeds and the propensity to stall, which is the worst to deal with. Some stink involved, too. A few errands (involving several short distance trips in between) this afternoon resulted in a challenging drive home.
By the time I will be ready to leave, the car should have fully cooled down as will/maybe the outside temperature.Now that I have been home for about a half an hour, I am off to check the car over, check fluids and so on before it gets totally dark out.

I aim to see ya'll later.

(if not.. a rousing evening of cleaning and cocktails for me)

Edit:
I left my house to find nothing but black ice. Miles and miles of it. Yeh.. I tried to drive out of it, but to no avail. It has been raining all day, and still is, but the temps are now at the freezing mark. Not a good combination. Intellect won out and after popping into a convenient store, I made my way back home. Lots of bars and what not I could have gone to, but that is so not my scene normally, and especially not on NYE.

Roads are baaaaaad. *sigh*

Wish I had some champagne!!!!
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