Wednesday, October 04, 2006


So far, the verdict on homelessness: not entirely terrible. On Saturday, my first full day of homelessness, I flew to LA to hang out with some college friends. It turned out to be a reunion of the last 4 participants in the class of 1998 CfA REU program to remain in the field. (Just in case, if you're number 5, email me!) We went ice-skating.

On Sunday, I went to see the Watts Towers. For 30 years, Simon Rodia built a series of concrete-clad steel towers decorated with found and salvaged objects like glass from bottles and cups and plate, using almost no tools and a hand-made window-washers belt. The tallest tower rises to 100 feet in the air. It's pretty amazing. Here's a picture I took with my cell phone.

As their name suggests, the Towers are in Watts. The best part is my overprotective mother calling me as we're leaving. Her question: Are you in San Marino? (Me: Uh, not exactly ...)

Some months ago, back in Chicago, a frequent topic of discussion was the need for a resource for great places to eat. So, Risa and Sarah, this is for you. I went to dim-sum at the Oceanstar Seafood Restaurant in Monterrey Park and it was fantastic. Significantly more options than any dim-sum in Chicago. Lots of great seafood. And -- I've never seen this before -- they serve Tong Fun (wide noodles usually with shrimp inside and a mild soy sauce on top) with Yu-Tao (fried dough) inside!

Just as an extra note, I know that the only American location of the famous Taipei dumpling restaurant, Din Tai Fung, is very near Pasadena (mmm, xiao lem bao). I hear it's not as good as the original, but I can't imagine you can find any better in the U.S.

I spent Monday at Caltech. As my goal is to have as many awesome animal pictures as possible, I'm sorry to say that my pictures of the turtles that live on the campus didn't turn out. You all will just have to go and see for yourself. I also gave a talk; it was essentially my thesis talk redux, except this time I wasn't as prepared and one of my contacts slipped out of place midway. It didn't stop the talk, but I spent the rest of it unable to see out of my left eye and feeling the contact poking me in the side of my eye.

What does the title of this post have to do with anything? Hmm, that's a good question. Well, I'm sure it's trivial. I leave it as an exercise for the reader.

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