Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday the 18th

The first order of business for me in the TAMU library, thanks to my good friend Stephen, was to find the Haruki Murakami section.  Answer:  4th floor, Row PL.  Sadly, it was a bit small.  But, I haven't read 5 of the titles they have, so that will keep me happy for a little while and there's always Interlibrary Loan, I suppose.  Note:  I didn't have time to get through A Wild Sheep Chase before leaving NC ( it was a bit tough to get into) and had to return it..and I all I can say is, We will meet again, Mr. Black-starred sheep.
The first thing I checked out from the TAMU library!

So I have been loving listening to Mr. Murakami's memoir, which focuses jointly on his running and his writing.  I love him more than ever before.  My fav things I have learned about him so far are that he loves Sam Adams seasonal beers in the summer when he's living in Boston and that when he writes, he writes just until the point after he gets tired where he feels like he can write some more..I love this concept.  I've been applying it lately to furniture constructing (which I continue to chip away at while I listening to What I Talk About When I Talk About Running).

Still unfinished dresser..its the most time consuming piece yet!
       Today I did some more electrical working for the big instrument, but we are now just waiting on an order from Swagelock so that we can do all the fittings with our steel tubing.  SOoooooo, my advisor sent me down to the basement!  Can you believe it?  He had hyped it up as a hazing event of sorts, but I wasn't intimidated when I walked in the little room..I said, Oh, but there aren't any lions in here!  What could be so bad?  And then, he proceeded to show me a big metal barrel, with lots of glass vials in it.  He said they had seawater in them.  It dawned on me that I was in a hazardous waste storage room.  But it didn't add up--seawater isn't hazmat, right??!  But then John told me that the SW had mercurial chloride injected in it (to preserve the chemistry and destroy any biological activity)...OHHHHhhhhhhh MERCURY!!! Ahhh, get me outta here!! 
          Nahh,, I didn't run away after all--but my skin did start to crawl and my stomach started getting all knotted up.  John didn't leave me down there alone though--he saw how slowly I was going and I guess realized it would take me hours by myself. So he stayed to help me uncap and dispose of almost all of the 5.5 gallons of the stuff that was sealed in about 150 little vials and we talked about how excited we are both getting for our Alaska trip.  We changed gloves (and we were double gloved) about every 20 bottles or anytime we got the liquid on us.  I was being extra careful because I had already had a slip up this morning when my breakfast (a lovely bowl of cereal, hemp milk, and yogurt) flew out of my hands on the way to the table and flakes, clusters, and raisins went flying!  Didn't want that to happen with glass and Hg.
Loads of vials that contained seawater & HgCl2 (!!) before I emptied them out!

The lovely view out of the window directly above the sink where I put all the mercurial chloride tainted vials.
   After all the toxicness of the afternoon, I took a little nap and had a nice session in the gym's sauna.  For dinner tonight, I steamed my first ever pair of tamales.  Tamales are so Tex-mex, right? 
Tamales filled w/ seasoned corn masa & wheat gluten, made in Austin, TX
        I totally love Brazos Natural Foods where I have found my haven for grocery shopping.  Despite their diminutive size (1.5 checkout counters!), teeny produce section (guess they figure we should frequent the Farmers Market?) and short hours (9-6pm is their longest window and they are closed entirely on Sundays) they rock!!  The products they stock rocked my socks off--both Saturdays mornings I've gone shopping and filled a basket til my arm ached after an hour of happy perusing. 
        I've never seen a lot of the brands, which was shocking, and have discovered by reading labels that that's because a lot of them are li'l productions from TX.  Yet all of my favs are there--Newman, Lundberg, Yogi tea, and the like.  I've been most stoked about seeing things like Bulgarian yogurt, 7 flavors of Coconut Bliss ice cream, about 8 brands of coconut oils/butters, the complete absence of Cascadian Farms, and above all, loads of genuinely marked down items and sales!  I was also shocked that they don't utilize bar codes in the store, but rather, the check-out girl manually enters in all the prices into the register based on the product's price sticker.  And after ringing me up, she gives me a nickel for each bag I feels quaint and I like it.  Did I mention they play NPR?  Or that they are located 1.1 miles from my apt. (which is seriously saying something in this sprawled-out town).
           Two places I just became aware of and can't wait to Become a Regular at :  Happy Yogurt and The Village.  Though I haven't been to either place yet, I think they look SO cool and hafta go!..I will give full reviews once I visit them, hopefully sometime this week or weekend.  My 1st order of business @ Happy Yogurt is to try the red bean/coconut boba tea and plan to sit and chat awhile--apparently its a really popular place with its fans b/c its owners/employees are totally personable and regular customers become part of their fam. The Village is in downtown Bryan which I haven't been to yet, and its all about LOCAL local LOcAL!  I want to go to the Saturday jazz and have their signature Dark chocolate-Adobo Mocha and also a Cold cuke sandwich...their ingredients are sourced from local farms and they incorporate artists and musicians into their business philosophy.

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