:: Pedantic Platitudes ::

Greetings! My name is Sam J and I am a student at Harvard University. Perhaps this blog will present a little look into the mundane yet unique events that make up my life.
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:: Saturday, April 09, 2005 ::

My last days of spring break were spent in San Diego, and I had so much fun! It was the best time ever. I mean, just thinking back about the visit makes me smile.

After the overnight bus ride down to SoCal and a morning stopover in downtown Los Angeles (I was just there last weekend to see USC!), I arrived in San Diego on Friday morning. My friend from school Jen (who lives in San Diego) picked me up at the Greyhound station, and she drove me to UC San Diego, where I saw my friend Sharilyn! (Hi, Sharilyn! I know you read this... I'm being creepy, I know.)

I sat in on a couple of classes she's taking this quarter, and they were quite interesting. One was a Greek history class, and the professor/lecturer showed a lot of slides showing ancient temple sites and Greek art, one of which was a sculpture that very much resembled this illustration:

The professor/lecturer noted: "And here's a woman with two snakes… and a couple of other things." (Apparently, the figure is a Minoan goddess.)

Then there we went to Sharilyn's politics and war class, and the professor/lecturer was this old man who kept having to pull up his pants and sounded as if he was really angry when he got excited while speaking. Apparently, he wears the same jacket all the time, even in hot weather. Speaking of which, it was very warm in San Diego! I very much enjoyed the heat. Oh yeah, the professor/lecturer brought up a hypothetical that imagined what would happen if the Germans in WWI suddenly decided to "defy gravity"! I enjoyed the thought of flying Germans.

Jen came back from her meeting, and after class the three of us chatted and had lunch at the UCSD student center, which has Jamba Juice, Japanese food, and other cool brand-name counter service restaurants. It was a sunny day, and it got so hot that I had to change from a long-sleeved shirt into a t-shirt. We met some of Jen's UCSD friends, and then we all went on a driving excursion to see La Jolla. We stopped at a Mexican fast-food restaurant called Chipotle for some food, and there I received a call from my father letting me know my sister had been admitted to Yale. Good for her!

We drove down to the coastline, and the view was just incredible. The sun was still really bright, but it was such nice weather!

Jen, Sharilyn, and Me

The water was really blue and calm, and there was this point where we walked out and saw a cliff packed with pelicans and below on the rocks next to the water were baby sea lions! They were really cute, but one was kind of emaciated. Sad tear.

The baby sea lions really blend into the rocks... look closely!

We walked further down the coast and walked down to this little cove area where there were a lot of people enjoying the waves of the ocean. There was a tiny cave next to the water, which we explored. (I jokingly called it the "poor man's cave" because we could see it for free whereas another cave we passed by earlier charged "Disneyland prices" for admission.)

Inside the cave!

We then went to see the "Children's Cove," where children used to frolic in the sea until the sea lions staged a coup and took over the area as a resting ground (ooh, I'm anthropomorphizing animals! A mere foreshadowing of tales to come). Since sea lions can bite, the area is now reserved for them, but a lot of people still visit the cove to see all the sea lions. They're really cute, especially the baby sea lion that was swimming in the water. Oh, here we also encountered a horrendously mangy-looking squirrel, which was quite erratic in its mannerisms and stared angrily at Sharilyn.

We walked back to Jen's car and went back to UCSD, but we drove past a small downtown shopping area with nice cars and then were stuck at a traffic light for such a long time… we thought the light was broken!

I said goodbye to Jen and her friend, and then Sharilyn and I went to San Diego's Old Town, where we strolled and enjoyed the pretty shop fronts and pretty buildings. We wanted to visit the Whaley House, which is supposedly haunted, but it was closed at night. We also stopped by the Mormon Battalion Memorial! We were excited because it was Mormon-related. Inside the building was a huge statue, at which we marveled from outside through the glass doors, but then this creepy woman came to the door and tried to entice us in! She told us the building had a small museum and memorial and then we were invited to watch a "20-minute film," the content of which was not specified (I predicted it was a Mormon recruitment video). Sharilyn skillfully got us out of that slightly awkward situation. We walked a bit further past some stores and then marveled at the "voice of God," which surprised us when it came out of nowhere and told us we should take a trolley tour of the town.

There was a section of Old Town that was so pretty. It had a couple of Mexican restaurants and little craft stores, and the atmosphere was just so beautiful, with twinkly lights and lovely architecture and lots of plants. I wish I had taken some pictures. After touring that, Sharilyn and I got dinner at a bistro! I had some turkey lasagna. It was quite tasty. We then went back to Sharilyn's place, where we watched the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie! It was very funny and touching at moments, too. Some moments were surreal, though, such as when the lady selling ice cream is really a monster… with a kitty cat. Ahhh! I'm still having nightmares about that one. It had hilarious lines, too, like "Ahh! He's making a humorous diorama… of Alexander Clam Bell!?!" Oh, and the random cameo appearance by David Hasselhoff! After that, we watched a Margaret Cho DVD. "Hi, I'm Gwen, and I'm here to waaaash your vagina!!!"


Saturday morning, Sharilyn and I went to the "world famous" San Diego Zoo!

Apparently, there's a song about going to the zoo: "I'm going to the zoo, zoo, zoo. How about you, you, you?" I'm sad I never learned this song when I was in kindergarten!

We parked in Balboa Park, and I wish I had more time in San Diego so I can see the museums there. The Museum of Man (ha!) has an exhibit about mummies, and there seems to be a cool art museum, too. The buildings in the park are so beautiful! We walked by the Japanese Friendship Garden, and we wanted to board a trolley to get to the zoo so we could use 1920s slang and say, "Now we're on the trolley!" but that was not to be.

We got to the zoo and saw all sorts of marvelous things, from "wretched snakes!" to camels! Sharilyn and I were our humorously cynical selves, and we had a great time remarking on the animals and anthropomorphizing them, giving them names and voices and personalities.

We started at the area for children, where there was a river otter exhibit! There was also the following photo opportunity, which I could not pass up:

Don't ask why the figure is wearing a dress and why those hands are where they are...

There was a cool sea lion show (complete with cheesy 80s music!), and polar bears (which were asleep the whole time, even though we bided our time at the exhibit and hoped for them to awaken).

We also saw the famous pandas. There was a female panda and a male panda, and apparently the female panda was about to go into heat, so the zoo keepers were getting very dramatic about it. Pandas don't produce many little pandas, so it's always a big deal for the threatened species.

Aww, so cute! I had another picture of the panda standing in its own excrement, but that wouldn't have been too pleasant (ooh, foreshadowing!).

Oh, what fun we had at the zoo.

One of the most memorable moments came at the hippo enclosure, which has a lot of glass panels so you could see the hippo if it was underwater. Well, when we got to the hippo exhibit, the hippo was not underwater, but it was on land, which was cool to see, since you normally see hippos in the water to escape the damaging sun. This particular hippo (appropriately named was Jabba) had its back turned to us, and we were watching it amble about when the most horrific/amazing thing happened. The hippo began defecating, but while it was doing this, it spun its tail around in a circular motion at such a high speed that it flung its excrement around this huge, circular radius. It seriously went everywhere, in the air, into the water, on the hippo itself. The crowd at the exhibit gasped and murmured with such volume that it made the moment so much more hilarious.

Sharilyn remarked, "That must be what it looks like when the shit hits the fan."

We watched the hippo for a bit longer, and it reprised its waste evacuation routine for all to see once again, spraying more waste matter into the air and onto itself. Then it went back into the water, where its own fecal matter was washed off, making the water full of particles and straw. Ew. But I was totally astounded by the "exploding excrement of doom."

Apparently, all hippos do this. One of my friends told me, "That's how you can tell hippo poop from rhino poop. The hippo poop is everywhere, not in some nice pile." This same friend went to South Africa for spring break (on a paid-for field trip for a class, no less!), and when we got back from spring break, she said, "Guess what I saw over spring break? Wild giraffes, rhinos, and elephants!" I replied, "Oh, me too!!! I went to the San Diego Zoo!"

I'm so sad I didn't get a picture or video footage of the hippo. Instead, I shall provide this statue of a highly anthropomorphized hippo that is located outside of some restrooms inside the zoo.

We saw some more cool animals! The koalas were so cute!

We saw them during the daytime, and many of them were asleep; however, close to park closing when it was much darker outside and when koalas are more active, we passed by the exhibit again, and the koalas were awake and active! I can't get over how cute they were. One even crawled down its tree and started crawling around the ground! I'd never seen koalas out of trees before, so that was an interesting sight. It was slightly surreal, seeing this cute, furry animal crawling on the ground. It seemed so out of place outside of the tree. But then the koala went back to the tree and started crawling up it again! So amazing to see.

Sharilyn and I made fun of this sign at the zoo because the animal has such a large googly fish eye and looks like Pac-Man or something, the food being fed looks like a peanut, the feeding hand's fingers are posed in a dainty manner, and the person feeding the animal is wearing what looks like a friggin' tux at the zoo:

So many stories from the zoo! I'm sure more will be told as time progresses.

Ride 'em, cowboy!

Anyways, after the zoo, we went to get dinner. We had Japanese food, yay! I love Japanese food. I usually end up going to a Japanese restaurant every time I go home, but this time I hadn't, so having it in San Diego was really nice. We then got Coldstone Creamery ice cream and shopped around. We also played table hockey at the arcade! Yay.

At the end of the day, Sharilyn and I watched some episodes from the original Twilight Zone TV series. I love the series... they're so well-written and clever!

The next morning, Sharilyn was kind enough to drive me to meet up with Jen and her parents, who drove us up to LAX. Yay, I didn't have to fly overnight this time. I had a stopover in Dalls/Fort Worth, and got into Boston close to midnight. I caught the very last subway train back to school, and then unpacked and did some work for class the next day.

Ah, San Diego was so much fun! Special thanks to Jen and Sharilyn! Sharilyn is the best... I'll never forget the good times in San Diego and at the zoo. So much fun!!!

Memories I'll cherish forever from San Diego:

- Anthropomorphizing all the animals
- The hippo's explosive excrement of doom
- The Ball Beater 3000 / Ass Master 3000
- Trying to figure out what a Dik Dik is.
- Horny pandas.
- The "Truly Wild Ass"
- The drama of "lethal gastronomical whims" leading to a "succulent second course"
- The ongoing saga of the male gazelle trying to mount his blasé love interest who was more fixated on eating. "Daddy, what are they doing?" "Nuthin'!"
- "Esoterotica" – the album!
- The primate with the long white fuzzy appendage. "Ummmm…" "Oh, it's just the tail of the baby it's carrying."
- I'm a Goofy Goober, yeah! You're a Goofy Goober, yeah!
- Plankton's Chum Bucket
- The Naughty Origami Book
- The "tradesman's entrance."
- Hearing Sharilyn's house say goodbye to me.
And finally,
- Seeing great tits

I kid you not:

Sadly, we did not see any boobies... too bad; I think they're kind of cute:

OK, I spent a lot of time writing this update and posting pictures, so everyone leave me comments to make me feel like it was a worthwhile effort!!!

Quote(s) of the Day: "You should get a job naming sex toys."

"At least you're not an asshole."

:: SL 10:39 PM [+] ::

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