Friday, June 29, 2012

Oh, Snap.

This is what happens when you screw up in Forensic Anthropology.  From Jantz (1995).

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Exhibit B

Further evidence that Hawaii is in fact, not actually part of America:

I'm a Citizens Bank customer, have been for the last three years.  I looked online to see if Citizens had a branch out here in Hawaii.  Nope.  No Citizens Bank here.  

I think that's fine, they didn't have a Citizens in Pennsylvania or in Utah when I lived in those places, so I figured I'd switch to Bank of America.  It is called Bank of America, so they should be anywhere in the U.S., right?

Wrong.  There is no Bank of America branch in Hawaii.  There is however, a Bank of Hawaii.  No First National Bank, but there is a First Hawaiian Bank.  

There you have it:  this "state" attempting to keep its residents (and their cash) as separate from the rest of the country as possible.  Thank goodness for direct deposit and cash back with my debit card.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Not Friends

That is my current relationship status with Hawaii:  not friends.  Maybe it's just that I'm having a bad week, but here is a list of my grievances:

  • The bus system here is awful.  Awful, awful, awful.  It costs $2.50 to ride a bus that only comes every 40 minutes(-ish).  I had to ride the bus to work for the first time yesterday, and the driver didn't even know the name of the stops I was looking for.  Are they on autopilot?  Awful, I say.  Maybe I'm just accustomed to a much higher standard of public transportation (three cheers for the MBTA), but I very much don't like it.
  • Hawaii is far too far away.  How is it even America?  Most places that ship things within the U.S. don't recognize Hawaii as "within the U.S."  I hate it.  
Hawaii is outside of three standard deviations of the rest of America.  
  • Speaking of Hawaii being really far away, a six hour time difference, really?  Basically everyone I like and want to talk to when I get home from work is already in bed* when I get there.  Also, I forgot my phone today, which is the worst thing that could happen, because I wasn't able to call my family on my lunch break and they stress out when I don't call every day.
  • Walking to the bus stop today was like walking through a minefield of giant slugs--like two inches long and a half inch thick giant.  I'm just glad I saw a bunch chilling out on the sidewalk before I could step on any, but gross.
  • It's been raining in the mornings lately.  It's not normal "America" rain, though, the kind that falls on you from above.  Hawaii rain is like being spritzed from multiple directions by crazy high winds rendering an umbrella useless.  
  • I went to Wendy's today, and a Frosty was $1.49.  Dear Hawaii, in America, we pay 99 cents for our Frostys.  Check yourselves before you wreck yourselves.  
Whenever I say a bunch of really crabby things, I have to say one good thing just to keep my karma in check.  So one good thing is that I still really like my job.  Being elbow-deep in bones and formaldehyde powder is a good way to forget one's troubles.  Also, the lab doesn't have any windows, so I don't really have to acknowledge the fact that I'm in Hawaii while I'm there.

*I guess an underlying cause of this is that I don't really have any friends here yet, but it took me over two years to assemble the dream team of friends I had in Boston, so it's a little much to ask for me to do the same in a year here.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

One Week!

It's been one week since I landed in Hawaii and I've just finished my first week of work!

As much as I was apprehensive about moving here (and by "was apprehensive" I mean "sobbed like an infant pretty regularly"), I have to say that I'm generally happy.  There are still things in my brain/heart that are still a little off/weird/sad, but I'm a lot more okay about this transition than I thought I would be.  I like Hawaii and I think that I'll only like it more as time goes on.

Enough about Hawaii though--I really, really, really love my new job.  Granted, I haven't started any projects yet, it's a lot of training and administrative stuff right now, but it's awesome.  At the CIL there's a library, and the first time I went through it was something akin to the scene in Beauty and the Beast where the Beast shows Belle the library and she's all like, "OMG...LOOK AT ALL THE BOOKS!!!!!"  Seriously, every book that a forensic anthropologist could ever wish for is in that room, and it's amazing.
I know this isn't the scene I'm talking about, but the size is more comparable to the CIL library.
Also, I love putting on my "CIL Scientific Staff" lab coat and going into the lab to study the specimens.  That's right, study.  Not only will I be doing casework for this fellowship, but I'll be studying and learning so much!  It's basically like I'm getting paid to become the best forensic anthropologist I can be.  I am so glad that I'm here.  I love that I get to be a forensic anthropologist, to be part of the (relatively) small group of people who can look at a skeleton and see more than just a pile of bones.  Who can reconstruct someone's life out of bits and pieces of minerals and proteins.  

It's really, really, really awesome.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Aloha! (For Reals This Time)

Guys, it's official (like Facebook official):  I live in Hawaii now!  Surprisingly, the six-hour time difference between Boston and Hawaii has not kicked my trash yet, but that could be because on travel day I was awake for 24 hours straight so I basically forced myself to adhere to a new system of time.

Observations thus far:

  • It's freaking hot.  Except when it's not.  It's basically mid-eighties and sunny every day, but yesterday we did get some rain while at an outdoor polo match.  I'm going to have to adjust my New England wardrobe a bit and be pretty proactive about the sunscreen, but generally, I'm sure I can handle it.  
  • It's freaking beautiful.  Before I got here I was skeptical that there would actually be palm trees, but there are.  It's amazing.  There are hibiscus flowers everywhere and really cool birds that I've never before seen.  Anyone who is Facebook friends with me will see lots of pictures.
  • Food is freaking expensive.  People have told me this, but again, I didn't quite believe it until I saw boxes of cereal for over $6.  Between the hot weather and my not wanting to spend a fortune on groceries, I think I can probably count on getting pretty skinny this year.  Unless I eat these; then I might die:  
Honolulu's answer to Cambridge's "Live Poultry, Fresh Killed," I guess.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Aloha! (Almost)

Chilling at the SeaTac Airport (note my haggard appearance--a mix of "I've been up since 5am and on a plane for the past several hours" and "I still haven't figured out how to take good webcam pictures").  Nine-ish hours and I'll be in Honolulu!

Also, this is the first time I've ever done the whole WiFi thing at an airport!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I'm Afraid I'm Going to Be Terribly Boring...

My blog posts these days have been either very short or very impersonal (e.g. restaurant reviews).  I'm trying out using paper and pen (a traditional journal--something I haven't done since college) as an outlet for my every thought and emotion, as tempting as it may be to release every wave, pang, and ache of feeling onto this blog at 75 wpm*, where I know it will be seen and by whom.  Until I can achieve some type of post-catharsis equilibrium, I'm afraid I'll be taking a break from blogging anything less than generic.

Hope to be back soon.

*Thank you, Mavis Beacon.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Confounding Variables

Something feels weird.  It's a melancholy feeling, but I don't feel that it's sadness*.  And I cannot empirically say why I feel like this.  There's too much going on.  If it were just the one thing, no matter which one thing, I could say, I feel sad(-ish) because of ______.  But there are at least three, probably four things, and I can't figure out which one is tugging at me the most.  It's weird.  I don't like feeling weird.

I wish I had another week, but at the same time, I wish that it was next week already.  Or two weeks from now.  Or July.  Yes, in fact, I wish it was July.

*Should it be?

Friday, June 8, 2012

In Lieu of Emo Song Lyric Facebook Statuses

I share with you the following two music videos:

"Goodbye to You" (Michelle Branch)

"Brave" (Idina Menzel)

I think that's the extent of what I'm going to force upon the internet.

Restaurant Review: The Gallows

I promise this blog has not turned into a restaurant review blog!  I will write other things shortly, as soon as I can figure out how.  After my previous post about a contender for the Worst Burger in Boston, I must review about one extremely good burger, eaten a day later.

Dave and I went to The Gallows, located at 1395 Washington Street in the South End, on Wednesday evening to try the Burger, which had been highly recommended by strangers on the internet.  The recommendations did not disappoint.  The decor of the place was quite charming, a mix of antiquity and DIY industrialism (in lieu of purchasing a $20K chandelier, the owners constructed light fixtures out of iron rebar and concrete reinforcement, with blossoming branches reaching out into the space*).  The crow/raven pictured on the sign above is a recurring theme in the restaurant--one is even perched in the ladies' restroom next to an antique lace wedding dress.

Our server was excellent--he took great care to explain to us the process by which their burgers were made and how "medium-well" is actually the best option given the natural inherent juiciness of the meat.  We ordered the burger "Our Way" with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and (actually) caramelized onions** ($10).  Our food was served to us extremely quickly, and by golly, was it delicious!  The burger was dripping with juice--not blood and grease (well, there was a little fat, but it wasn't overwhelming)--and tasted amazing.  It was served with fries which were a bit too salty, but crisp and tasty nonetheless, and homemade ketchup which was essentially tomato jam with hints of cloves, cinnamon, and allspice.  The homemade ketchup was interesting, but I prefer Heinz with my me a traditionalist.  Thankfully, it was present at the table as well.

We declined dessert, as the only option was some type of fancy Fluffernutter (peanut butter, bananas, marshmallow, and chocolate ganache), but as we paid our bill, our server presented us with tiny soft-serve ice cream cones!  I almost wanted to ask for six more, but it was the perfect little amount of sweetness to top off a great meal.

The most remarkable thing about The Gallows (aside from the delicious burger, of course) was the service.  Our server was extremely attentive and friendly and succeeded in creating two happy guests.  The manager conversed with us about the decor, and a server who wasn't even our server stopped to clear some glasses for us upon passing.  Five stars.  Everyone should go here.

*We knew this because the manager, upon noticing us noticing the light fixtures, came to our table and told us about the whole process.
**You all know what a big caramelized onion kick I'm on lately.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Updated Restaurant Review: The Grasshopper Cafe

I reviewed this place a while ago, however, as I dined here today, I must make an amendment.  The Grasshopper Cafe in Charlestown might be up for an award in my book:

"The Worst Burger in Boston"

Beau and I both got the Angus burger here on the waitress's recommendation:  "It's really good," she said.  "Okay," we said, and ordered them medium-well.

First of all, our "medium-well" burger patties came out looking like charred meatballs.  I know they're supposedly "hand crafted," but is it too much to ask that a burger be flat?  They were served on a toasted bun with two leaves of lettuce and one 1/2" thick slice of Roma* tomato, but not the pickles and onions promised on the menu, and no condiments!  It was very awkward to eat, as you had to get through a few bites of bun and lettuce before actually biting into the oddly-shaped patty.  This wouldn't have been a huge problem had the burger tasted great, however, it had an unidentifiable "additional" bad taste (i.e. it tasted like a not-great burger with a hint of something else unpleasant).  

The burger was served with a side dish.  Beau got fries which were fine, and I got "onion strings" which seemed to be nothing more than onion rings that fell apart when they were being overcooked in the deep-fryer along with something else similarly unpleasant tasting.  

For a place that had treated me well in the past, I felt a little betrayed.  Did the waitress lie when she said the burger was really good?  Or does she legitimately think that the burger actually is good?  In the latter case, that poor girl, and if I were going to be around Boston a little longer, I would take her out to a few other burger places in the area (Flat Patties, UBurger, Boston Burger Company...).

At any rate, if you decide to visit the Grasshopper Cafe, do it for Breakfast, and if you go for lunch, steer clear of the burger.  

*For those not well-versed in tomatoes, a Roma (or plum) tomato is less than 2" in diameter, in other words, not the right size for a hamburger, but then again, the hamburger was not the right size for a hamburger, so I guess it fit.  Or didn't. 
Roma tomatoes:  Good for salads, sauces, basically everything except being sliced on a sandwich.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Musings from the Office: The Final Chapter

My first attempt at the whole webcam picture thing.  Also, for you all to see how much effort I put into my appearance when I go to work (sarcastic face).
It's finally arrived:  my last day at the office!  I can only hope that I will never have to make other people's coffee or take other people's phone calls ever again.  Nor will I have to deal with the lady who's always asking me to fill up the paper trays (as if I'm some negligent oaf who never keeps track of them) or asked me, "you do know how to fill out a check, right?" (no...I've been paying my rent in gold doubloons for the past seven years) and assuming because I'm the receptionist that I have no other skills.  Well, guess what everyone, this grown-up with a Master's Degree in Forensic Anthropology is moving on to a well-paying job in her field in---wait for it---Hawaii!

People at work never believe me when I tell them I'm moving to Hawaii.  Does nobody actually live there?  Is it just a vacation land or a commonly-held fantasy of office drones ("one of these days, Sam, I tell you, I'm just gonna up and move to Honolulu")?  Is it so inconceivable that the barely-visible girl at the front desk who makes the coffee and transfers the calls could actually be getting paid to live there?

Per tradition, here are my final office musings:

  • I make it a point to learn something from every job I have, no matter how much the job sucks.  At this job I learned how to talk on the phone without mumbling, stammering, or wanting desperately to hang up and put myself out of the misery of talking to a piece of plastic in my hand.
  • Being the "barely visible" receptionist has its perks:  I can be privy to all of the gossip/office chatter that nobody assumes I can hear because it's not the sound of a ringing phone or a fax signal.
  • No other receptionist is ever going to be as awesome as I am, whether it be at fixing stuff, hunting down paper clips, or making sure all of the candy in the dish is neatly organized.  Sorry [name of company], I'm the best receptionist you'll never have again.  
I had a dream that they threw a going-away party for me with a cake filled with bacon and topped with sweet and sour sauce.  I'm glad that such a thing did not actually happen, though I did get a $50 Amazon gift card from the office manager, which I'm determined to spend 80% on something useful and probably 20% on music.