Somehow Mothers Always Know...

I spent some significant time at the library Wednesday to get work done on my final paper. Before even looking at any of the books I needed, I decided to organize my papers and look through readings the professor gave us throughout the semester. I was on the verge of a panic attack like no other because what I was expecting this to be a simple and quick 3 essays began looking like an impossible task. Then I get a text. Mum: love u.

Just enough to kick my butt in gear and get those books and say to myself, "Oh, ok this really is as easy as it looked before..."

Thanks momma. <3



It appears that I have equal levels of productivity in paper writing when I am in a library and when I am in my room listening to music and distracted by the internet. This is good to know, for when I am sick of being in one place, I now know I can be at the other location and still manage to be productive! However, I cannot get work done when I am in the living room...


Procastination Post!

I cannot believe I am in my last week of my first semester of grad school. This is ridiculous. And not nearly as stressful as it should be. And by that I mean, I am not stressing out over this paper and take-home final like I should be. GET IT DONE, ALLI!

I have a 10 page outline for my paper that still doesn't include archaeological evidence from Mt. Gerizim, and my paper only needs to be 10-15 pages long. ...I think I've succeeded. Now it's just putting all that into sentences and then making them make sense. If I can finish writing it TODAY then I can have it all ready for the editing process...WHO WANTS TO EDIT MY PAPER! And by edit, I don't mean, "Oh that sounds so nice, good job!", I mean, "Paragraph 5 makes absolutely no sense, fix it; I went through and made all your long-ass sentences into multiple sentences; you don't make enough support for your thesis through your approach in historical critical analysis; etc." Or even really just someone to tell me my paper makes sense and points out all my run-on sentences, because I apparently really like to make run-ons.

If I can finish this paper today, then I have 5 days for my take-home final and I'll feel comfortable taking the bus home on Saturday without worrying about having a crappy take-home final that is evidently my only grade in this class.

Today is my first final: Hebrew grammar! A couple of people from my class joined me yesterday morning for a 2 hour power study session, and we felt really good afterwards! Yay! I can properly conjugate infinitives in all the binyanim and gizrah! That means 7 x 8 = 56 difference ways to conjugate all the verbs in Hebrew. WOW, I never realized that before...AND I CAN DO ALL OF THEM! woot! Hey, I'm feeling pretty accomplished! Now I just need to learn the vocabulary and I'll be a Hebrew MASTA!

Alright, I woke up early specifically so I could work more on my paper. I should stop procrastinating and do that now. Aww... :(


Whoa..too long...

Holy crap, two weeks left of the semester! Really, there's only 6 days left of classes! This is going the fastest school's ever gone for me! This is ridiculous. I'm not ready! I only have one paper and then a take-home final, so there's nothing for me to complain about, but I'm not ready!!

I had a very accomplished weekend: I read through 3 books for my paper and had all my homework for this week completed by Friday at noon. As a treat, Katy said we should see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Plaza! Rachel had a dance competition (which she did VERY well in!) and her mom came out for it. So last night we all had dinner at our favorite Asian restaurant (which doesn't serve Japanese anymore! so sad...) and hopped the subway down to 50th! UNFORTUNATELY my camera has decided to crap out. I think maybe I just need a new memory card but it's just not working. I couldn't get any pictures of the tree or all the lights and decorations about. We also ended up going to Junior's Most Fabulous Cheesecake and Desserts for dessert and hot chocolate! Super tasty!

All in all it was super productive weekend and I hope the rest of my week goes as well! I'm getting some ideas on how to map out my paper and I'm even getting things together for writing my take-home final. It's silly, the paper is due on the 16th but my take-home is due the 24th. haha. I'm aiming to have my paper done on the 15th so I have the 16th and 17th to do my take-home before going home on the 18th. If not...I'll be shut up in my room desperately trying to finish, but I think I need the library to do it. We'll see. Maybe I can have my paper done by Monday...


Atlanta and ASOR

Despite being a day early in Atlanta, ASOR was awesome, as should be expected. I met up with nearly everyone from Gezer and we all went out to dinner Friday night. I got shrimp and cheese grits. Oh yea. There was even some bacon in it, so I got my non-kosher fill. Our staff meeting got me REALLY excited to go back this summer! I can't wait! I got to see a lot of really interesting papers presented and some ideas of what to do with my focus in archaeology. It's a little difficult for me to try to do that while I'm at JTS, but I can at least clear out all my language requirements for PhD programs. :)

I saw Heidi, which was awesome, too. She's the one who recommended me to come to JTS! She gave me a bunch of professor's name to meet up with and try to get on good terms with. Sweet! She's such a sweet heart, I love her. Turns out she lived the exact same room I do now in her first year! Ha!

Marcella and I also groupied out when we saw a lot of famous archaeologists, like Israel Finkelstein, Dever, Amihai Mazar, Aren Maeir, Anson Rainey, and others. Oh yea, it was awesome. We would just stand in awe. haha.

It was really nice to get back into the archaeology sphere and hear what new things are going on and see who's moving up. I have a new list of places I want to dig at, ideas of neat things to study, and also some things to cross off my list. Like the Amarna letters! What the heck... I'm sad, I wanted to work with them. I guess there's probably still a lot more out there that I could study besides the 400+ ones that someone is working on compiling into a data base. We'll find out...


haha, I'm such a moron sometimes...

*sigh* This is why I don't like flying anymore. For some reason I thought ASOR started TODAY but it doesn't. Well...it does, but it's just an evening reception kind of thing. Anyway, I arrive in Atlanta, make my way through the airport, get to the train that will take me to my hotel, hop onto the train, take it to my destination, and start walking to find the hotel. I text Marcella to let her know I'll meet her in the lobby. Her reply: You mean tomorrow?

Crap. I get to the hotel, end up having to book a room for the night, but they only have a SMOKING room available. blech. Luckily it didn't smell. Check out is at noon, my friends aren't getting here until evening. The front desk said they'll hold my stuff until they get here. Looks like I'm exploring Atlanta with my bookbag! To top it all off, I forgot my phone charger and my phone is already losing battery life. Damnit.

Atlanta has a really nice feel. There's a lot of character that I felt even while I was waiting for the train at the airport. I can't really describe it, but I'll take pictures as I wonder today...



Cassie, Katy, Rachel, Simon, and I experienced the most epic of epic proportions at the Quidditch World Cup yesterday while watching University of Maryland "Terps" play the NYU...I don't even remember what they were BECAUSE MY STUPID CAMERA DECIDED AT THE END OF THE DAY TO TAKE A CRAP AND DELETE ALL MY PHOTOS OF THE DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*cries heavily* We had a picture with the best Snitch I've ever seen... and Heather's brother got red carded out of the game for throwing some dude on the ground... and the end of the game consisted of all the Snitches co-mingling on the playing field to keep away the team Seekers from our Snitch. It was so amazing. The game last for 45 minutes. 45 MINUTES, which is epically long for Muggle standards! And then there was a mass dodgeball game. It was all just pure awesomeness...and I've lost all of it. ALL OF IT!

:( Sadday...


Pickin' Up the Pace

Note to self for next semester: Don't do another no-homework weekend EVER.

That weekend from the march absolutely killed me! It's not that I'm behind on homework, I'm keeping up, but I didn't realize how much I utilize weekends to do ALL my homework for the week. THAT'S why grad school seemed so easy until this point...

I'm desperately trying to get a gain on homework today and maybe tomorrow. We'll see what time Cassie arrives! This weekend promises to be fun! We're going to the Quidditch World Cup, among other things! Like, for instance, some free whiskey tastings, free comedy show, and uh, yea, things that are free! Yay! And the library, of course.

Next week I am so afraid of what all I am missing for some classes. My grammar class is flying along and I'm worried what missing one day of class will do for me. I'm also worried that for my Jewish Liturgy class he's going to give us our take-home final next Thursday. I think I'll ask him about it in class today, and if it's true, get it from him before I leave. I am so excited about going to ASOR, though! I have a staff meeting for Gezer AND all the staff going on a little outing Friday night. ;) It'll be fun! Marcella's going to be my roommate for the week! I am so excited.

Tuesday I gave a little talk to my Bible class about archaeology, according to the professor, "what happens when you get dirty." haha. It was so all over the place because I wasn't sure what to say about it because I didn't know how much people knew about it. It ended up turning into a question/answer segment, so that was awesome. I thought it was a total flop, but everyone kept telling me what a good job I did. Katy pointed out that none of them really knew anything about archaeology, which is why they thought I was awesome. haha. Rachel, I believe, is the only other person who had been on a dig before.

I've been looking into classes for next semester, and JTS is offering ARAMAIC OF THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS!!!!!! &$)@T(*$()@@$&@!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am SO taking it!!!! My advisor happens to be the professor for the class, so I think I can get in. The class claims no prior knowledge of any language necessary, which means a lot of people I know are trying to get in on the class. I will beat them. I will get in before them. There is no way I am NOT taking this class.

Unfortunately, I cannot find much else that I'm really excited about taking. There is one class taught by the professor I have come to take as my favorite, though the topic isn't especially of interest to me: Moses Traditions. However, from what I gathered from the course description, his approach to teaching it will involve learning about other things that are interesting to me, so I may just take it. And there are no archaeology related classes at Columbia next semester that are related to the Ancient Near East or that I haven't already taken in my undergrad, so I have 4 classes that I am thinking of taking or have to take (Hebrew and Jewish Traditions) and I can take 5 to max myself out. I am going to take 5 because I'm taking the equivalent of 5 right now and I'm pretty sure I could handle more work.

Anyways, time for class. I love Thursdays!!


Library Woes!

I totally forgot about this happening to me this week until I went into the library again today to kneed out some homework.

Last Wednesday I went to the library to read some commentaries for class on Thursday. They were on reserve, so I handed over my JTS ID in exchange for the reserved books. I spent about 2.5 hours reading and translating and taking notes, and I became so incredibly hungry that I snapped into zombie mode and completely forgot that half the books in my arms were from the reserve desk. I never took them back to get my ID, instead dropping them off on the nearest book cart, and bee-lining it back to the apartment for grub. Heading back to the building later, I noticed that the alarm went off rather than scanning it and letting me pass unbothered. The guards recognize me by this point so they just let me through. Same thing happened Thursday morning and I went totally unphased. Friday I made sure I had all my stuff for the Rally in the morning and took out ONLY my driver's license and debit card to take with me. I also forgot my stupid metro card in the process. As I didn't need my JTS ID, I didn't realize it was still missing. All. Weekend.

Then on Sunday I realized finally that it wasn't there. I searched every pair of pants I had worn, every coat, every bag, every hoodie. Nothing. Finally, I decided to retrace my steps and remembered, LIBRARY. RESERVE BOOKS. ID. OH NO.

Monday after all my classes (and signing in the "visitor's log book") I head to the library to retrieve my ID. I am told that it is in fact NOT behind the reserve desk, as one would expect after the librarians reshelved the books and realized, hey, this is a reserve book. Nope. Not only that, I was informed that the book then was my responsibility and I couldn't have my ID back until I found the book.

1. It was put on the book cart a week ago and it hadn't made it back to the circulation desk????
2. JTS's library is so unorganized I hadn't the faintest idea of where to begin.

I got the call number from the library and began the search. And search. And search. Oh, could I have possibly found the book? Lemme check. Librarian: No, this is definitely not the right book. But it's call number on the binder is actually incomplete, so thanks, I'll fix that. *grrrrr* I continued searching for about 45 minutes and was exuberant to finally find it in the reference section! Nope, just kidding! This is copy #1, you had copy #2. WTF!!!!!!!! Out of ideas searching through each circulating, oversized, and reference section, I desperately begin searching in the music library and other parts of the library that have nothing whatsoever to do with Biblical commentaries on the Hebrew of Isaiah Ch 6 and how it relates to the Jewish liturgy! Exacerbated and downtrodden, I return to the desk for one final plea to just have my ID back. The librarian looks at me and says, "Oho! Here's your ID! Someone else was looking at it and wanted to check it out! So I took it off your ID and gave it the book to them! Just so you know, don't do that again because we fine by the hour for books that are supposed to be on reserve."

=:O Why did I never receive an email saying, "Hey, you still have this book from on reserve and you're only allowed to have it checked out for one night!" Seriously? Well, good news being that I got my ID back! Yay! I didn't have to pay for a new one and get all the stickers put it on it all over again!

This weekend is Alli is Catching Up on Homework [and Hopefully Getting Ahead in Preparation for the Quidditch World Cup Next Weekend] Weekend!!! Yea, that's right, I said "Quidditch World Cup"! This year they'll be held in NYC in Dewitt-Clinton Park and a whole gang of us are planning on attending! So excited! So those are my plans for next weekend.

I'm also hoping to jump waaaaay ahead in class work because ASOR [American Schools of Oriental Research, i.e. the annual Near Eastern Archaeology meetings] is in two weeks. In Atlanta. Yes, I am going to Atlanta! I am finally going to see other parts of my own country! ha! Man, I have some serious work to do... I need to do some preliminary research for my final project in Bible... which I have decided to do something with the Samaritan texts. Yep, teaching myself another alphabet for an introductory level course!

Oh, and in other news, I'm pretty certain I annihilated my Hebrew Grammar Midterm yesterday! If I don't get at least an 85, I will be very disappointed. I know I have at least a 9/10 on my "essay" (WHICH, by the way, I managed to write mostly in Hebrew!), which I was super proud of. The teacher even complemented me when I showed it to her and asked her if the way I listed was an ok way to write it. ^_^

Alright, I'm starting to ramble, which means I need to go to bed! לילה טוב ("lilah tov" or good night, for those of you who cannot read or understand Hebrew...)


Thinking Ahead...

As a Master's degree should only take about 2 years, I have to start looking ahead already for what I want to do post-MA. Here's the question: will I know enough of what I want to do to get me into a PhD program, or do I need to consider a second MA before moving on to the PhD?

Financially, a second MA is a terrible decision. I need to plan out my next 3 semesters very carefully to get into a PhD program with enough under my belt. Therefore, I need to compile a check-list of things I need to look into before papers and projects start weighing me down:
  • Check out CUNY to beef up my German knowledge to "academic" level. If I can handle it, maybe also attack French. ;)
  • Look at next semester's courses for JTS, Columbia, and Union (maybe even NYU and petition to take some classes there?)
  • Buy those books on Ugaritic! Just waiting for the second half of my loans to be deposited...
Why is it especially loud this morning? Everything keeps echoing through my window!

Last night Katy and I went to a talk at a synagogue in the middle of Chinatown (ha), coincidentally on the topic of our group project for Bible class: Wisdom Books. The panel was more about his translation of the books of Job, Proverbs, and Qoheleth (Ecclesiastes for those who don't read the Bible in Hebrew). It was still fascinating and I still got a page worth of notes for our project. A little bit of elbow rubbing on my part got us his email address in case we have questions for him. *SCORE* Katy did some elbow rubbing herself and schmoozed with a Jewish artist who made a series based on this professor's translation of Genesis. Katy is now seriously considering using this woman as her subject for her final paper in Feminist Jewish Art! Go us! Which reminds me, I need to send him an email thanking him...

Today I'm going to lunch with my Hebrew class to one of our classmates' apartment! Apparently her upstairs neighbor is the new player for the Nix! haha. I have no idea who that is because I don't follow basketball at all. But I am really looking forward to it!

Tonight Simon has finally planned out the dinner he promised he would make for us! A tasty Indian dish, apparently! He even made cheese and yogurt yesterday for the dinner. Sounds promising!


Creatures in the Kitchen...

It's no unknown fact that living in a city as large and [dirty] as NYC brings with it a number of little critters. For instance, rats in the subways (accompanied by signs in the subways warning passengers of the rodents), cockroaches, and mice. We have now experienced all three.

Rat in the subway [check]
Cockroach in Danielle's room [double check] (saw it once, successfully killed it the second time with the help of a fellow neighbor - thank you, Andrew!)
Mouse in the kitchen [check]

This final experienced occurred last night. Right after hanging up the phone with my family, I walked past the kitchen towards the living room. Of course, I turn my head and glance in the kitchen - just in time to see a little furry vermin scurry across the counter top and over the stove. I emitted an audible shriek, jumped sideways away from our doorway, and glanced back in. No mouse. I requested a flashlight and began the search under the fridge, oven, and behind the oven. Ewwww...it was so gross behind that oven! No wonder the mouse was there!

I scrubbed the counter and stove top and began a furious search through all our drawers and cabinets to make sure no little mouse turds were in existence. For now we're safe. Katy was freaking out because she's never experienced a mouse in the house. I'm ready to take this cute little guy down. Even though our heat has been officially turned on and the little guy has the right to find a warm place to live, it will not be in OUR apartment! The hunt begins with the informing of our RA and the request for some [non-lethal] mouse traps!



Grad School Ponderings...

I made some chocolate chip whole wheat pancakes for my roommies + Simon after our group run this morning! They were super tasty! Danielle made some fruit topping for them, too! Be on the lookout on DARK Meals for that tasty morsel!

The cool air is really starting to get to me while running. It's only 50 and I think I need to get myself a face mask already! It felt like my nose was burning and was causing my windpipe and lungs to burn. Stupid cold. Though I got much further today than I have so far! :) So did Katy. She kicked our butts today!

Katy, Rachel, and I are working on a joint project together for one of our classes on Wisdom Literature in the Bible and its Near Eastern parallels. Pretty cool. It'll be a simple project mainly because we're supposed to just improve upon an already established Wikipedia entry. The page is horrible but we're going to make it awesome!

I need to start thinking about my final project for that class, too. It's either a final paper/project or an exam. Um, yea, I'll take the paper, thanks. I never understood why people preferred exams to papers. At least you know with a paper that you're 100% correct because you get to look it all up in books! I prefer writing papers to studying any day. I think I might try to do something with the Dead Sea Scrolls or other apocryphal manuscripts, just so I have an excuse to go into the rare book room and look at all the awesome books and manuscripts up there. *dreams*

I've registered myself for the ASOR conferences in Atlanta this year! $220???? I'm becoming a member after I get the rest of my loans deposited into my account and purchase my plane tickets. No more of this expensive registration! And then I can present papers at the conferences, too! *squeeeeeeee* Luckily, I don't have to get a hotel by myself. Marcella's going too! Yay! I'll have a buddy! We have a staff meeting for Gezer while we're there, too. One of our staff also sent out an invitation for us all to go out and party it up one night. whoop whoop! We all started teasing one of our staff that he was going to pick up the tab for us all. haha.

One of my fellow Zebrew students (oh, "zebrew" is the old name for the bottom level of Hebrew...Hebrew Z, or "Zebrew") invited us all to lunch at her apartment on Tuesday. Totally in on that. That was so sweet of her. We're all becoming good buddies in that class. Better be, we're spending 6+ hours together in class a week.

This weekend there's an Israeli Queer Cinema Festival and we're hoping to get enough work done to go check out some of the films! That'll be cool.

On another note, my iTunes shuffle playlist has been bringing up a lot of my German music. I wonder if it's telling me to work on my German some more. Hmm....


Schedule Conflict

The other day we were emailed the final exam schedule. All I took note of was that the only two classes I have exams for were scheduled for the same day: the first day of the exam schedule. Hellz yea! Then yesterday I looked at it again. Yea, they're scheduled for the exact same time. Stupid.

So I went to the registrar's office to sign up to reschedule, and the only day available for make up exams is Dec 23rd! I went to talk to the lady in charge of the exam schedule to see if there were any other arrangements I could make. If I could talk one of my professors into letting me take the exam with another Hebrew class, then I could still come home way earlier! yay! Now to have a chat with Nadav....



I just bought my round trip tickets to go visit Stuart in Japan!!!!!!!!

I'll be in Tokyo January 6 - 15th!!!!!! OMG I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE MY STUART!!!!!



Studies Update!

It is so nice having Fridays off. It's even nicer when my last class on Thursdays ends before noon, and so my weekend begins at noon on Thursdays!

Last weekend was so nice; got to see a significant portion of the fam - though I missed my daddy. :( We lost some people on the subway but made it to Four & Twenty Blackbirds for some tasty fall pies! A long day of walking around, but all in all a very nice time - even if the teenage boys were acting like....teenage boys. haha. It was nice to see them, though. Made me laugh and miss them.

Working my butt off on homework Friday and Saturday really worked in my favor. Katy, Rachel, and I spent literally at least 7 hours on our Bible homework. Pulled off, though, because class topics have fallen a little behind and the only homework he assigned for next week is the optional homework we did last week! This means we have all weekend to work on our group project! haha. In fact, I have to go meet with that professor soon. He wants to get to know everyone in the class so he had us all set up meetings with him to discuss what we each want to get from the class - and so he could learn our names. haha.

My Texts in the Jewish Liturgy class is getting really fascinating. I may not know much about the liturgy but I am learning how various Bible passages made it into the liturgy - which a few times has come as a horrendous surprise to some students in my class. Almost appalling them. Just how, well, some things maybe were copies wrong and so changed the meaning, but the rabbis thought it was awesome and so included it. I don't know, I can't think of a specific example. But I also love it because the professor pulls in Near Eastern parallels to explain the possible origins of the texts! He even gave us a copy of a Dead Sea Scroll to compare how it was different to what is found in the modern Masoritic Text (the texts eventually accepted into the Hebrew canon). That is what I want! I want to study what is found outside and see how it compares to what we have. This also happens to be what I'm doing in my Bible class...

Grammar is getting pretty tough, but I'm learning more words and becoming quite proficient in writing in Hebrew script! Even when she explains everything in Hebrew, I'm still understanding it! yay! Baby Hebrew has reached a point where I'm falling behind in vocabulary, so I bought myself some index cards. Time to start studying some flash cards!

After going to a lunch last week for the Bible program, I have decided what I'm going to focus my studies on...for now. I didn't know where I was going to start, but now I do: UGARITIC! Oh yes, I am going to get myself some Ugaritic books, teach myself some Ugaritic, and start reading Ugaritic texts!!!! I don't know where I'll go from there, but I just know that I want to learn about as many ancient Near Eastern cultures as I possibly can - and I now have a starting point! I'm sure after I've done some sufficient study into Ugaritic, I'll find my next stepping stone. I'm going to check out classes at Union and Columbia for next semester and see what culture classes they offer. SO EXCITED!

Tonight the roommies and I are going downtown for an exhibition opening on "The Jews of Morocco"! I'm pretty stoked. However, my dear roommies don't get out of class until 5 and the exhibit starts at 6:30. Since I am finished with class, I'm going to be making dinner tonight! :) I'm such a good roommie.

Tomorrow night, we're still debating, we might go to a showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show!!! I've never been to one though I know a lot of what the audience is supposed to participate in, so I'm pretty excited. If we don't do it this weekend, we'll be going next weekend. We found out it happens every Friday and Saturday, so we have plenty of opportunities to go. It's more fun (or so I've heard) to go around Halloween.

And THEN a huge number of JTS students are going to the Rally to Restore Sanity in DC and taking the FREE Huffington Post bus!!! We have to be at the Mets Stadium at 5:30 in the morning. We're wondering if all of us packing into a taxi would be better than the hour plus subway+bus ride we'd have to take. hmm....

Whoops, the last of Trinity Weekend Pt. IV

Well, when one is as busy as this grad student, one may forget to add the last pictures to one's blog. So here it is: The San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy.

First we went to eat at Lombardi's, the first pizzeria in America! It has some super delicious pizza, too! mmm....crispy crust....

We took a picture with Mr. Lombardi.

The San Gennaro Festival was in full swing, too. And only a block from Lombardi's. They had deep fried oreos!!!!!!!! mmmmm..... There were also these strange corn patty fried mozarella sandwiches, too. oh man, that was delicious too. There were all kinds of super tasty Italian sausages, etc, but we had already had our fill of Lombardi's pizza.

Deep fried oreos... *drools*

There were also carnival rides, which we felt were severely dangerous to place on city streets. LOOK HOW CLOSE THAT FERRIS WHEEL IS TO THE BUILDING! LOOK AT IT!

Oh and this one was even better. Yea, only a couple feet from that ELECTRIC WIRE! Holy crap.

This one's even better. You can really see that wire...

haha, now it looks like it's walking upside down.

It was still pretty cool, though.

Apparently my mom makes cheesecake now! "Special" cheesecake!

Ok, I want to take a poll: Are these singers men or women? They appear to be dressed as women (Melissa swore up and down they were women), but they look rather mannish to me. Denise agreed with me. Your opinions?

FINALLY! I've finished putting up pictures from Trinity Weekend!


Trinity Weekend Pt...III?

Continuing to update about my Trinity Weekend with Denise and Melissa. Next up is the Sony Wonder Technology Lab! It was super awesome and located at 56th and Madison. Unfortunately, we were ill-informed to closing time. The website said normal closing time was 8pm, but for some reason this day it was 5pm; we had arrived at 4:15. We had to pretty much take it at a run. It was super fun, though!

This isn't it. This is Trump Tower. We thought that was awesome.

Ok, so once inside, you're handed a little card and have to take a picture of yourself. As you explore all the funs of virtual reality, your "identity" transforms and new avenues are opened for you!

There's Denise.

One of the fun games was to program and control your own robot! This one's Melissa!

Where's Allison?

There she is!

Then you chose an animated character and get to change their body position and facial expression to match some kind of event.

There were lights on the floor that followed your footsteps, and when you got close enough to someone else's light, they merged! But Denise used the flash, so the lights didn't show up.

For some reason that made me really mad. Melissa just wanted to pick her nose.

Melissa cheering me on as I race an animated car that I created!

This was the coolest part of the whole thing! There was a screen with the image of falling colored beans. But when you stood at a certain spot, you could interact with the falling beans! See how they fell around me as if they were really falling on my head?!

Melissa wanted to make it look like she was eating them. I helped by pushing the beans in her direction.


At the end we got to print out our own personalized certificates. :)

Then we had to map out our next route, which was downtown to Lombardi's original pizzaria and the San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy!

There was a Hello Kitty sculpture along the way. haha.

Well that's all for now. Next up, Lombardi's and the San Gennaro Festival which all it's amazing delicious goodness!!!!


Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

And now to update on our trip to Brooklyn and the Botanic Gardens! Denise, Melissa, and I went there on Saturday.

First stop: lily pads and lotus flowers!!! There were fish and turtles in the pond!


Denise is seriously pondering those lilies and lotuses...

These were the coolest lily pads I'd ever seen!

Denise and I found a little niche to take a pretty pictures in!

Silly face time...

haha, the plants spell out "BBG"

Then we saw something that excited me so much I ran off our planned course directly to it!


Notice my bee-line. They looked like the things in Where the Wild Things Are!!!!

These kids kept inviting Melissa and I to join in their game amongst the architecture. haha.

The roof isn't very efficient, but it makes for a pretty view!

Melissa was a little awkward, as usual.

I was taking it all in, of course.

Denise wanted her usual crazy pictures.

Melissa demanding her godly worship.

Where's Denise?


"haha, I scared you guys..."

"Pose, Allison!"


Melissa decided to be adventurous.

I wanted a photo shoot.

Work it...

...beautiful, dawling.

"Allison, stop hiding in the plants!"

"But I love hiding in the plants!"

Melissa does a jig.

"What the hell is that? Is that sap?!"

Awkward Melissa pose.

Denise's turn to pose.

Walking through the rock garden.

I loved these flowers but I couldn't find their name plate!

"Man I love cranberry juice..."


Denise wanted more pictures of herself.

"Wait...there's somebody behind me, isn't there?"

"Oh God, who's behind me???"

"Surprise!" "Oh, it's just Allison!"

"Haha, I scared you!"

"Ha, oh Allison..."

We likes the name of this plant....

Melissa attempting to enjoy nature.

This tree was so cool.


I fell in love with this tree...

Melissa: Man, these are some crazy plants.
Allison: ooooo, I like how these big leaves feel!

Denise: These are my faaaaavorite!!!!

"Allison! Stop running off the path! You're gonna get lost!"

"I'll save you, AL!"

"How the hell did you get there so fast???"

I found another hiding place with a brook and bamboo!

Of everything in the gardens, this was the one tree we wanted to see. Can you guess what it is???

It's big...

It's fuzzy....

IT'S THE...Giant Sequoia? Aren't they supposed to be bigger? Yes, yes they are. This is just a baby.

This tree was so weird...

...and had the coolest name, "Monkey Puzzle Tree".

And it was sharp...it pricked me...

"I just don't know what to say about this..."

Can you guess which one of these three shrub-like trees is the "real" one?

The large one claims to be a "Small False Hinoki Cypress".

The middle one a "Hinoki False Cypress".

But the smallest was the true "Hinoki Cypress"....

A "Men" tree????

We decided to enter..."The Fragrance Garden". It smelled nice. :)


Oooooh, a "Touch-me-Not"....

"...what happens it I touch it?"



These were interesting looking...

It had a funny name...

oooo, the Japanese Garden had enormous koi fish!

dun dun dun dun, can you see the one swimming with all its might right for us? AAAAH, RUN!!!

Look at that huge white one!

Oh no! Little turtle, watch out!!!! They're coming for you!!! SWIM! SWIM WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT!!!!

VROOOOM. They just swam around him. *Phew*

Trinity Shot!

Oh, we saw the Statue of Liberty, too. Apparently she was moved to a parking lot in Brooklyn....

The Brooklyn Public Library is the coolest looking library I have ever seen!

A crazy looking arch in Brooklyn...

Winged Victory???

Ha, we were at 3rd St and 3rd Ave! How cool!

Of course, I had to take them to the amazing pie place, Four & Twenty Blackbirds. Denise recited the whole poem:

Sing a song of sixpence a pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened the birds began to sing,
Oh wasn't that a dainty dish to set before the king?
The king was in his counting house counting out his money,
The queen was in the parlour eating bread and honey
The maid was in the garden hanging out the clothes,
When down came a blackbird and pecked off her nose!

We got Salted Carmel Apple, Plum and Gooseberry, a mint iced tea, a house soda, and a cider spritzer! It was perfect...yum.....

You heard the sign! It's delicious! Denise ate their last Salted Carmel Apple. We should have also tried the Lemon Verbena Nectarine. I don't know why I didn't get it!! I've never regretted something more in my whole life!!!!

So that's Brooklyn with Denise and Melissa! Next up: meanderings in Manhattan - the Sony Wonder Technology Lab, Lombardi's Pizza, and the San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy!