Monday, November 12, 2007

Weekend at Andrew's

It's back to it today. And you know you're back in college again when you look forward to holidays not because you get an extra day off of work, but rather an extra day to try and keep yourself afloat.

Megan is headed back to Philadelphia after a weekend of hanging out here with me. Good weekend. Walked a huge loop around the city yesterday, highlighted by finding little Middle Eastern place tucked away on Gloucester, where our sprite-like tiny waitress brought us Turkish coffee and baklava and some kind of incredible potatoes baked inside a pita. It was hot, that kind of hot where you can't close your mouth at first because the the heat will sear your gums if it can't escape.

Yesterday we hiked up to Harvard, where the very nice girl at the Natural History Museum front desk let us in for free, even though it was 12:20 and free entrance ended at noon and I'm only sort of a Massachusetts resident. "Come earlier next time," she said. OK. So we looked at minerals, fossils and taxidermy for a few hours. My new favorite animal is the eland, by the way. Then one Collin Sullivan came up to Harvard Square, where we ate great not-too-big burgers and pumpkin beer at a dive kitchen.

It was nice. Megan scrounged the ground for plenty of pennies, and I made a couple of girls in front of us laugh by calling her a panhandler. "I'm not a panhandler." "Oh, wait, I meant a prospector." And I got a couple of Spaulding Gray days of not thinking at all about story ideas. A hooray for self-initiated mental health weekends.

But it's back to work today. I had to revise a story about a couple of researchers who made a model that made good estimates of how much carbon dioxide comes from wildfires in different states. It's important, because some states have a lot and some not much, but you need to know in order to tell whether or not you include the biosphere in your greenhouse gas caps. We're doing newspaper-style stories in the class right now, and it's really hard to explain this in that format. It's sort of an idiot-proof formulaic style of writing that keeps you from writing over your audience's head, but it's damn frustrating because a lot of important stuff can't be adequately explained in one-sentence paragraphs, so matter how functionally terse you are.

Ah. It's almost Thanksgiving. And then it's almost long break for me. Ah.

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