This last weekend, I needed to go shopping, amongst other things, such as applying for a driving permit. So let me tell you about that.
On Saturday morning, our first stop was at the DOL – the department of licensing. I wanted to go grab a driving permit so that I could at least drive some. With Evan and Hang in the car, we went. The queue was pretty short – in fact, I didn’t even have time to sit down after taking a number. At the counter, I was asked for a slew of ID that I didn’t have. Of the ID that I did have, the man behind the counter wouldn’t accept my UK provisional license, as its only a partial license, and wouldn’t accept my visa form I-20, as it was for an exchange program with Caltech. I pulled out a letter from Caltech saying that I would be consulting in WA, at which point, they told me that I wasn’t eligible, as I wasn’t in the area for a year.
So I left the DOL unable to get a license, not surprised, but feeling frustrated. Evan, ever cheery, just helped me to blow over it and we went around the corner to an outdoor goods store – REI. Evan was after gloves. Then, we were off to look for shoes.
The only pair of casual everyday shoes I had brought with me were worn. The soles were flat, water and sand was getting in through the holes in the heel.
It was definitely time for a new pair. To that end, we went to the mall in Kennewick, the neighbouring city. I mean, we were already there for the DOL, so it was convenient. Hang didn’t need anything from the mall – he was just in for the round, but Evan was also hunting for shoes.
The mall was ok – kind of what you might expect from a mall in a small city. It looked like it was built in the 70s or 80s, full of clothes shops, not much in the way of electronics nick-nacks , kitchenware, – in short, not really a place I’d go unless I needed some new clothes. And need I did. We went into probably 5 or 6 different shops looking at shoes.
Let me say, I have some trouble finding shoes I like (within my price bracket, you know who you are Dr. Marten) in the UK, where the popular style is a little more geared towards me. In the US, had an even harder time.
We came across a shop called “The Walking Company” – just a small, nice looking, respectable shop. When we were looking around, the staff pointed out the discounted shelf. Something about out of season (bargain). BOth of our attention instantly went there. But before we could try them on, the assistant said “Let me measure your feet with this” and pulled a mat out of a cupboard. We were asked to walk across it, then stand on it. It gave us not only our shoe size (I am, apparently, a size bigger than I had thought), but where we put pressure when we stood and walked. It was neat, but ultimately, meaningless.
I found an acceptable pair of shoes, and tried them on (comfortable) “By the way, sir, those shoes are fully waterproof”. I thought that was great, but I said “Not that they need to be here!”. Evan also found a favourable pair of shoes from the same line. We both decided to leave our shoes behind the counter and go off in search of more options, and some food.
Ultimately, after lunch and 2 more shops (poor Hang would just wait outside whilst we looked and fitted and paced and declined), we returned to the walking company and made our purchases. With that, I was happy.
On the way home, we stopped to buy beer, and coffee. There’s an independent coffee house nearby which roasts and grinds their own beans. Hang bought an Aeropress – a newfangled way to make coffee which works like a reverse cafetière. And then, we came home.
That evening, Hang and I cooked together, and afterwards, we watch the Phantom of the Opera. He said it was a favourite film of his, and I hadn’t seen it. Five minutes in, Nutsinee and Darkhan came over too. Darkhan couldn’t stay, but Nutsinee did. We watched the film, followed by a few episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood on Netflix. The beer we had helped too! The film was, at best, ok. I didn’t dig the musical stylings. The best song was elevated relative to those around it, but it was at best mediocre. The plot, also was lacking, with our damsel-in-distress lead never having any agency of her own until the last scenes. I don’t think I’ll watch it again.
Sunday came, and with it, Hang, Evan and I went to Fred Meyers down the road. I bought loads, Hang bought loads, Evan bought less. But then we don’t have the freedom of travel that the others do. That evening, Evan and I were hoping to play board games, but Hang and Darkhan went to the site to work. With Vinny out of town too, there was no hope of playing board games that day. So instead, I went for a jog, wrote the last blog entry, and caught up with some Glasgow people.
I hope that this blog helps them know how I’m doing. I know some of them read it. I do like to know how they’re doing though. Sunday passed by without much excitement, and gave way to Monday, when I was excited to get back into work.
I had more magnetometer studies to do, but first, I decided to sit in on a telecon with Hang and Evan. Afterwards, I went back to my desk and, whiilst waiting for Vinny, struggled with plotting and python. I am not super familliar with python, but it is very well documented, and quite intuitive. Also, with some of the LSC’s tools that I’ve been introduced to here, it’s never been easier for me to do this kind of work.
Once Vinny was out and I had cracked the plotting tools, we retrieved what we needed from the corner station, and headed back to the Y arm. One thing that I noticed was this in my new shoes, putting on the shoe covers was a little awkward. Whilst taking the data we discussed our weekends, we had a big discussion about the games series The Elder Scrolls (I got lost in the lore one summer), talked about the movie The Room – it’s hilarious, you have to see it. But don’t mistake it for the 2015 Oscar nominee “Room”. That film had me in tears. In the end, we didn’t leave the Y arm until 6pm. It’s Vinny’s last day in town until Friday, so we left the magnetometer where it was to get some lock time.
I’m writing this Tuesday night. Tomorrow, Wednesday, I plan to go on a road trip to Seattle with Jenne, one of the postdocs here. She needs company for the car, and I have some quiet time whilst Vinny isn’t here. Stay tuned!