Monday, August 27, 2012

DC: Tandem Biking the Monuments

The one thing Sak really wanted to do on our DC trip was a tandem bike ride.  Bike and Roll only had a few tandem bikes, so in order to secure one we headed to their downtown DC location bright and early.  The tandem bikes were also one size fits all.  So that meant I - who is 2 inches taller - had to sit in the front and steer.  And even then I could barely reach the pedals!
Sak's tandem bike.
It took a while to get the hang of it - both have to pedal at the same time - and I'm sure we looked like idiots most of the time.  But it was fun!

From downtown, we biked past the Washington Monument (pictures from when we walked there earlier).

Since everyone else was doing it...>.>"

The capitol in the distance!
You still can't go inside the monument though since the earthquake last year left a crack!

Next we biked past the (newish) WWII Memorial.

And then we rode around the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Monument!
Jefferson on the water

A look back at the Tidal Basin
After our loop, we continued on to the Lincoln Memorial, which was pretty packed!

Detail of the top of the monument!
Sweaty! Abe was a little smaller than I imagined him, but still pretty cool!
A look back. The reflection pool was drained for maintenance(?). Boo!
It was hot all day - but it was around Lincoln that we really started feeling it.  Ominous signs ahead.

We crossed the bridge into Viriginia and stopped at Arlington National Cemetery.  We debated paying for the tour ride but ultimately decided to hoof it.  However, we didn't get very far as there was an active funeral going on! I felt it was odd/disrespectful to clamber around during the service, so we stood back and watched a while before heading back.  They had the full white guard, gun salute, buglers and even a horse carriage!

From the cemetery we started on the bike path to Alexandria.

Though not far on the map, and not too hilly either, it was a very hot day and we are not conditioned bicyclists.  We also ran out of water. Around Reagan airport we were both dry heaving and taking breaks every few minutes.  We exclaimed that if we did not die - than surely this was a bad idea!
Watching planes land at the end of the runway.
Once we got to Alexandria, we were so spent that we were walking the big bike down the streets.  An angel - seriously - saw us from her window and offered us a water bottle and a kind-hearted scolding to not exercise on hot days.  I have never been more thankful, and if there had been any water left in me, I would have cried.  Nicest person ever!

With her water bottle to revive us, we finally got the bike back to the return location in Alexandria.  We paid for our four hours of rental, and caught the free shuttle back to the metro. In total, we rode about 10 miles.  I passed out during the shuttle ride, which Sak says was very nice as the PA talked about the historic downtown area.

After more water, a big smoothie and a very light lunch, we headed to a museum to cool off and relax! Though I don't think the bike ride was a bad idea (it was fun at first!), I would definitely be more prepared next time.  More water, good breakfast, and not in ridiculously hot weather!

But what DC monument/historic building post would complete without the White House? Here she is!
Back and front.
Really though, you have to stand very far back and behind big bars!

Really, I was totally reliving Eden of the East, waiting for my nakie Akira to show up :P
(Eden of the East)
But yeah - if you haven't already, try out a tandem bike! It's a lot of fun, and kinda romantic if you aren't dying in sweltering summer heat, haha!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Just Indulgence

Last weekend, instead of attending our small group summer BBQ and working on a new project I've been eyeing, Sak and I were in the kitchen. Feet wet with water and rust and scum.  Our sink disposal had rusted out the bottom, and anytime the water turned on the kitchen would start to flood. Over five hours and three trips to the hardware store and we finally replaced it, electrical connections and all. Sak did most the work, but I am a pretty good breaker flipper, I'll say.

To cheer us up from the wasted Saturday, I found these at the grocery store:
Holy moly, two things I love...combined?!! Confetti cake Pop-Tart, whee!

They are pretty tasty. Very sweet though, more dessert than breakfast. And they match my Pop-Tart case. Muahaha.

Apparently this "limited edition" tart has been out for a year already. Late it may be, but I had to share my little bit of sugary excitement for the week :P

What's your favorite flavor pop-tart? I think my heart still belongs to the classic frosted strawberry!

Monday, August 20, 2012

DC: National Aquarium & American History Museum

So since Otakon ended early afternoon on Sunday, Sak and I walked down to Baltimore's Inner Harbor in search of the National Aquarium.
There it is, past the realm of dragons!
I had high hopes for the national aquarium, but then again, Monterey Bay and Osaka are pretty top notch.  Though this aquarium wasn't the best I've ever seen, it wasn't bad at all - I liked the layout, especially the part that made you feel like you were on a boat!
An electric eel!
Saw shark!
They also had a dolphin show, which not a lot of aquariums can claim.
Loved this jellyfish art installation.
A look back at Inner Harbor.
I bought this shirt for Penga-Sis since she loves otters and I love Star Wars. LOL.

For lunch, we ate at this chain called Noodles & Company. Though kinda expensive for noodles, I really liked the concept of the eatery - they sold all types of noodles in different styles - from pad thai to mac cheese to pesto! Apparently there's a few locations here in CA, but none in the bay area.

The next day we took the train from Baltimore to DC.  After disembarking at union station, we got our first look at the capitol!
The architecture is amazing!
And....a duck boat. Haha!
After finding my cousins house and unloading our luggage, we took the metro to our first Smithsonian museum.  Since we were in the capitol, we thought it would be best to start at the American History Museum to brush up on our history.

And uh. One floor took us FOUR hours to go through. I like museums. I like to read signs and plaques at museums.  It was very clear that there was absolutely no way we'd be able to really see all the museums like I'd hoped we would. We had to pick and choose even the exihibits to see in each museum, and we had to stop reading each and every sign - which I'm still really bummed out about! But I think the only way you could see everything is to live in DC for like, a summer or something.

But in any case, it was a pretty cool museum.  The only thing I took issue with was the electric age exhibit - it could have featured more Tesla and less Edison if you ask me! Contrary to commonly held belief, Edison is not the only guy in the electric business. :P (I fully admit to being a Tesla fangirl. If such a thing exists @_@)
Old school toaster.  That' looking.
Washington..the roman god?
Awesome exhibit on First Ladies. They had all their dresses on display, so pretty!
Michelle Obama's famous dress, complete with Jimmy Choos!
I had no idea each White House family gets to pick their own china! From the red - Reagan, Clinton, Bush.
Stuffed Civil War horse. @_@
In the currency section, here's a Pismo clam dollar! Haha!
Leg makeup to look like stockings, which were war rationed!
WWII propaganda posters..doesn't the one on the right look like Vader?!
After just one day and one (air-conditioned) museum - I knew I would love DC. It was even better going back to my cousins house for a home cooked meal and some olympics. Most my family is in California, so it was kinda neat to go on vacation and still get to visit family members!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Guest Posting

Woo! Today I'm guest posting over at the lovely El Brooklyn Taco - an attempt at dim sum making! Check it out here.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Otakon 2012

Well, I started to write about our flight out from the west coast to the east coast, but then I got too mad and had to stop! Haha.  Let's just say there was a bunch of cancelled flights and airline jumbles along the way there, and in the end I was just glad we didn't miss the whole convention!

For our second anniversary, we went to Otakon, the second largest anime convention in the US! This was both our first time here, as well as our first time on the East Coast!
Friday morning, we stand in the pre-reg line.  It's super long - and outdoors in the hot hot summer sun, but it moved quick. (2 hours vs. the 6 hour Fanime line)
See the swarm of people..everywhere?!
Standin' in line, starting to miss that cold Bay Area weather!
While waiting in line, we also became familiar with the popular vocals of the ice cold water guy (heard here). His ice cold water, which is only one dollar, is guaranteed to get stuck in your head...forever!  People even remixed his song, and played it at masquerade!  This is why I'd love to continue visiting new conventions. It's not for the anime - you can see that at home.  It's for the experience!

Anyway, when we got to the front of the reg line, we got to pick our badge design. I picked the crab and Sak picked Eureka 7.  I liked that we got to pick, but for $70 a ticket, they could have at least printed our names on it. We had to write it with a sharpie! And it was just a paper ticket, bah.
Anyway, costumes, you want to see cosplay right?
Cutest Appa I've ever seen!

Bowser and Alphonse. Can you tell I have a thing for full body cosplay? The skill just astounds me!

Mech from Evangelion and FLCL

A mimic! So awesome!

Panty & Stocking. This was a popular cosplay choice at this con, and these two pulled it off well! Love Stocking's blue and pink hair.

Pony Pony Pony! Yes, creepy, I know. Go watch the Full Metal Panic Fumoffu episode on Netflix now. It's a classic.

This Portal cosplay took long fall boots quite seriously. The staff member is telling him he's too tall for standards I think? 
It was hard for me not to compare everything to Fanime - "People are more scantily clad here (it's hot, derr)!" "The San Jose Convention Center isn't as cool or big as Baltimore's!" "AMVs are better at Otakon! Masquerade is better at Fanime!" "People don't smell as much here! But it's not 24 hours like Fanime!" "Otakon needs more video rooms! But the people are nicer!" Etc. etc.

But eventually we learned to just accept each for what they are, and to just enjoy the similarities and differences! They are both super awesome conventions, no doubt about it.
Impromptu dance party!
The best part of Otakon (or any convention!) is friends! We met up with our friends J and M, and got to hang out with them mostly all day Saturday! The keron casual cosplay was a success, and a few people even asked for pictures! That's what I consider a success for casual cosplay anyway ;)
In the gaming room. I like how they put all the consoles in lock boxes! 
At masquerade! 
 massive scale of the gaming room! 
Trivia before the AMVs was a nice touch!
Masquerade was in a sporting arena.
And there was just so many great spaces for people to congregate!
Someone was selling latch hook rugs! AHHH I need to work on mine >.>"!
Giant pizza cutter?
Other highlights was watching Panda Go Panda in English, cheering along at the Aya Hirano concert (voice of Haruhi and Konata!), and getting to see at least part of the late night fan parodies. Those and AMVs are always my most favorite. I'm still bummed that we missed the Rocky Horror-esque singalong of Evangelion Re:death though. It's been a while since I've been to one!

Anyway, if I could afford the plane ticket, I'd come back every year. Though I'd get a hotel closer to the con so I could stay until the 2 am closing. And I'd find more places to eat! There were many, but it was so hot it was hard to go exploring without dying! I'm already excited about going to another big convention next you have one near you? I'll come visit!