Four-Pound Lobster

It’s important to note that I ate a four-pound lobster for dinner yesterday and it was tasty.

We went to this shack of a place Thurston’s in Bar Harbor. You walk up and order your lobster while he or she is still alive. The brave high school kid at the ordering window plucks a meaty red beast from the small tanks, weighs it, and then drops it in a sack with corn… to be boiled to death. The whole process made me think of David Foster Wallace’s essay, “Consider the Lobster,” which calls out to the reader to empathize with the lobster as he or she takes his or her bath of eternal rest.

But, really. It’s lobster and it’s good and there is butter right there to dip it in and that makes it even better. Maybe I’ll write, “Consider the Fact that I’m Craving Lobster,” and mail it to David.

Thanks for the Magazines, Ben

I’d like to thank my friends for signing me up for Opera News and Baby Talk. I am thoroughly enjoying both magazines, and am finding the multiple copies useful as it allows me to keep one in the bathroom and one in the living room making my reading experience nearly seamless. Coincidentally, I was planning on taking up Opera in my spare time and am sure I’ll have a baby some day.

Rest of the Summer

My 2L year is looming as the remainder of my summer plays out and without a class to study for I’m finding myself to be flat out bored. I can only read the same news stories so many times before I want to fore-go all information intake. My new apartment does not have TV or Internet yet, which basically leaves me with such old-school and repetitive activities as reading a book or sweeping the wood floor a third time.

Moving is always interesting. Different translates into good, even when it’s just different. My new apartment has wood floors, which I really like. But I know I’ve walked into an apartment before and thought that I would really like wall-to-wall carpet. I don’t have a dishwasher or a washer and dryer. Instead of interpreting these as downsides, I tell myself washing dishes will be a bonding experience and going to the laundromat will give me time to escape my studies for an hour or two (until winter of course when I’ll find myself preferring to wear my boxers inside-out for the third time to save myself a trip in the cold).

I truly like my new apartment and while the moving is nearly complete, we have no furniture. Top of the furniture-to-be-acquired list is a couch and a table of the dining room sorts. When these two items are installed the living room and dining room will be magically transformed from storage areas to distinct living spaces.

I’m looking forward to the school year. Having 1L over with is a tremendous relief. Moving into a more suitable living environment will greatly increase my day-to-day routine. And when I do have Cable and Internet and a couch to use them from I’ll be the happiest guy alive – at least until it’s time to move again and I decide that I need a dishwasher and carpet to be happy.

I Finished Harry Potter 7

By the encouragement of my girlfriend, which came in the form of, “if you’re not going to read them, I’ll read them to you,” I started listening to the first Harry Potter book. Soon, the listening-reading was consuming and conversation in the car took a backseat (pun intended) to what the next page held. Before long – only a few pages after Harry left the Dursley’s house for Hogwarts for the first time – I was thoroughly hooked. I was engrossed by a book series I had written off as childish and not worth my time.

I’ve always prided myself as being relatively open and creative, but the simple fact that I was able to overlook the magic that millions of others found in the Harry Potter series gives me reason to question both of those assumptions. In Potter-head terms, I’m more of a Hermine than a Luna, and while each has their strengths, I’d rather be considered the later – open and willing to imagine.

The Harry Potter books became exceptionally better around book four, at which point they went from being an amusing series of books targeted for children to something with a message that carried some weight. The seventh book, which I finished less than two hours ago, brought the series to a resolute finish. It played out without being too tedious or predictable. It made me tear up more than once, and maintained the message found throughout the books – that love is an unbelievable force.

I’d recommend the books to anyone willing to clean off the cobwebs (if necessary) and indulge their imagination in the world of magic.

Hello, Shanghai!

Shanghai, despite being hotter and more humid than Beijing, is far better. The air is relatively clean, I can see blue sky during the day, and the city is far more modern. During the day there is less congestion – both pedestrian and automobile. At night every street is like walking down the Strip in Vegas. Neon lights flicker on-and-off calling my attention in all directions.

It’s busy, yet I don’t feel rushed or scared the way I did in Beijing. It’s simply stimulating.

We made the mistake of starting our first day with a long walk to the metro, which left us momentarily cranky while we cursed the heat and wished to be back in the air conditioned hotel room watching HBO, CNN or ESPN. Yes, you heard me right. There are actual American TV stations here in Shanghai. A few of them at least, and we’ve been taking advantage of them.

We took the metro to the train station to buy our tickets back to Beijing. Flying to Shanghai wasn’t much less hassle than taking the train is. Our flight was delayed, the airport was busier than any I’ve ever traveled in, and the heat was unbearable when standing in line for the taxi in Shanghai. Thankfully, finding the hotel was easy. As was checking in and finding a good noodle place called “78 Noodles,” which we’ve eaten at twice now. (The BBQ pork noodle bowl is tasty.)

From the train station we headed over to Pudong, the modern part of Shanghai east of the Bund. We took a trip up the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, visited the Aquarium, and took a pointless trip up the Jin Bei Building. Both the Pearl Tower and the Jin Bei offer the same view from Pudong back over Shanghai. Beautiful in both instances, but too much overlap.

We saw Nanjing Lu, which was once the busiest street in Shanghai. They’ve since closed the street to cars and pedestrians are free to roam. We went down to the west side of the Bund, which is lined with buildings built in the 1930s and 40s. On top of the Peace Hotel South we had hugely overpriced drinks, but were able to take some nice pictures of Pudong at night.

The only downside to the day was that I lost about 1500 RMB. My backpack was open and someone either reached in and stole it or it fell out for the taking. I think I “Shanghai-ed” myself.