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Tayschrenn

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Blowing stuff up with Adam and John. [Mar. 9th, 2009|08:37 pm]
Tayschrenn
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So Adam, John and I worked at our physics project to no avail considering our own ineptitude with general circuitry and our lack of focus. And the fact that we had a crossbow (sick). Regardless, we caused minor shock explosions and dorked around, learning much in the process.

School and things have become a little bit hectic, what with the play, several governor's school projects, Choir, and Cara all combined into one. I dropped doing a Forensics tournament, costing us the regional title, but really I don't give a damn. Zack's and my parents have been in London for the past few days with Alex so we've been home alone and I consistently like it.

Cara is having her spring break right about now and she will be coming tomorrow back home... It has been a long time since we have touched each other. I miss it.

Otherwise I am quite well; the play is as stressful as can be what with my directing and starring in the lead role. I am very worried we won't be prepared. I gave Sydney her first kiss today on stage; I feel bad for her because a stage kiss ends up her first.

I am currently watching Monty Python's Flying Circus. Some of it is terrible. Otherwise it's brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
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Sol Invictus [Dec. 25th, 2008|10:20 pm]
Tayschrenn
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Well, Sol Invictus was nice this year, although I felt, as I have felt for the past few years, that something is progressively missing; the joy, the fun, is gone, replaced with a complacency and a bitterness. We, meaning the boys, refused to partake in any of the traditional activities; we have come to realize they are all sad and depressing, and do nothing but make us feel guilty for our non-belief. Cara is in town for Christmas break, which is nice, but I feel like haven't seen her very much, and like we don't talk as much as we used to, as much as I'd like to, but we talk almost every day for multiple hours. *shrug*

Also, now I'm eighteen, and have been since last Friday. I went out and bought myself some pipe tobacco (which smells fabulous), and the whole time I felt like I was doing something ugly and illegal. But it wasn't, and I smoked my pipe in peace.

Now, for the present list. I didn't get much this year; it's the sparsest yet, and the best are all from Cara. Sparsest in literal material goods, I suppose; I recieved over a thousand dollars from assorted relatives, so... As far as goods go, Alex got me my first (legal) porno as a joke, and all four of us males recieved Left 4 Dead, the (awesome) zombie team shooter based in the Havoc engine. Then, for Christmas, I got Dark Knight, and assorted other things. However, Cara's gifts are the best. For my birthday she got me the original 1986 Punisher miniseries, 1 through 5, and a lovely shirt. For Christmas she got me the models I've been wanting for a while, and Conan the Barbarian number 1... I can't wait to open it with her tomorrow :- )

Happy Sol Invictus, all.
Oh, and I got a post card from the assistant Dean of Admissions at W&M. So, hopefully, :- )
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Review for Fallout 3 [Nov. 16th, 2008|04:30 am]
Tayschrenn
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[Current Location |My house. My bed. Under my covas.]
[Current Music |The Ink Spots - Maybe]

Sorry I've been so long in writing a livejournal entry... Cara and I are back together, the Erkers came for a visit from Colorado, College is looming over my head, Governor's School is as amazing as usual, excluding my research project, my models are coming along as slow as ever, and yet, for the past week, I've done little but play Fallout 3. So I wrote a rather extensive review for the game, which I'm posting right now. Feel free not to read anymore.

~~~~~~~~~

I'll start off the review by saying I'm a Fallout 1 & 2 fanboy. I'll also say that, rare as they are, I'm a Fallout: Tactics fanboy, as well, something few people care to admit being. But this review isn't about Fallout 1, 2, or Tactics. It's about Fallout 3, and the other games are left out of it, except for a few plot confirmations which I was actually pleased with. This review is about Fallout 3 gameplay, not how brilliant I may or may not think Fallout 1, 2, and Tactics were. Also, I disliked Oblivion; I didn't hate the game, but it's broken combat system required extensive modding and broken item placement to be rendered enjoyable. That being said, I'll begin...

Fallout 3 is pretty, in a rugged way. I don't put much stock in flashy graphics, but I'm pleased with the game's. I play on the minimum requirements for the game, and the graphics look decent enough, but more importantly, they set the mood and atmosphere for the game fairly consistently. The grunge of the wasteland is certainly evident and enjoyable, although the dank, dark and item-strewn atmosphere of some of the urban dungeons becomes tiresome after a while. Character models are appropriate, if repetitious, but the variety is decent. Stylistically, the grievances I have concern the hats on the Super Mutants, and how destroyed the Vaults look; the paper on the ground makes the area look like a Hamster cage, and doesn't fit well with a realistic sense. Also, the game world seems remarkably well-maintained for being two hundred years post-apocalypse.

Now that graphics are out of the way, it's on to the meat of the game. Gameplay, and storyline. Comparisons to Oblivion are inevitable here, and the game has received much praise and ado from reviewers claiming that the character's actions have a real affect on the game world, and stealing gets you kicked out of town and you can actually roleplay and NPCs actually interact with each other and blah blah blah. That is a lie. The player has little to no affect on the areas around him, with the only exception being the potential annihilation of Megaton. Otherwise, the entire game stays static and unmoved; the radio replays the same messages with minor changes depending on the character's karma and actions, but the majority of the wasteland and its inhabitants have the same scripted responses no matter what happens. Character interaction is still fun, with the humor and style of the characters enjoyable even with their stasis. The mercenary who wants to “do the horizontal bop” or the semi-senile owner of a giant hotel are amusing enough, even while being totally flat. Dialogue is generally short and never goes too far in depth; there are three usually obvious choices for almost every action and quest in the game, a good, a neutral, and an evil response. This leaves very little room for fluid roleplay and true character development, but this part of the game isn't emphasized or even necessary; the brief interactions with NPCs are satisfactory, but not the best part of the game. It is my belief that the reviewers who labelled the game as such an immersive “RPG” game have really forgotten what real Role Playing Games are like, and should take the time to play Baldur's Gate again, because honey, modern games ain't it.

Stealing is as easy as ever in Fallout, where you can crouch and hide and take items from the store safe when the shopkeep is standing right behind you, much like in Morrowind, although you can actually sell things back to the people you've stolen them from in this case. The barter system is largely irrelevant; there is no use for bottle caps, really, besides purchasing ammo, but the amount of capital the player obtains with very little effort from the wasteland renders the barter skill useless and actually detrimental; I had trouble selling enough items at even 50% value to balance out my weight or receive anything useful in return. There are far too few stores in the game with far too little selection, and really far too few items in general; the workbench has a lot of potential to be an interesting and excellent part of the game, much like item creation and experimentation in Dark Cloud II, but the developers did so little with it that I am left disappointed. Items languish without a use in the wasteland, and I always wanted to combine weapons to make amalgam weapons, add a bayonet to an assault rifle, or put a laser sight on my sniper rifle. Paradoxically, sifting through the junk and beautiful environments of the game feels worthwhile, interesting, and enjoyable, when in reality most of the items that can be found are useless. There are far less weapons in Fallout 3 than there were in Fallout 2 and Tactics, and that leaves the accomplishment of conquering feel less satisfying. Fortunately the “Unique Item” system redeems this somewhat, as I can fill my house's desk drawers with all the unique weapon's I've collected over the course of the game. The Bobbleheads fill that 'collection and achievement' gap quite well, also.

The game feels both small and large at the same time. The largeness, being the wasteland and its exploration, is the best quality of the game. The smallness, being the (basically) single, flat town and sparse questline, is the worst quality.

The game is huge in potential scope. Every skeleton, every destroyed house, every ruin in the game tells a special, unique story that can be considered and pondered as the player traverses this vast area. The holodisks and computer terminals that are found all over the wasteland bring the world to life in the same vein and contrivance as the original Fallouts, with love, loss, passion and peril at every turn. Abandoned shacks, radio signals, a bus full of Chinese citizens, a family desperate to survive the holocaust, all of these little, unnecessary items are what redeem the game's storyline, replacing it with the atmosphere and sheer emotion and immersion into the world. Plot devices, like Ghouls originating from only radiation and not some FEV hybridization, are confirmed to my great enjoyment through these small sections. I am close to having scoured the game of all major locations but an unnumbered host of unmarked locations, a few of which I have already seen, will most likely remain undiscovered by me until a time when I play through the game once more. This is in complete opposition to the great emptiness of Oblivion, where any sort of plot was difficult to find outside the main towns.

The game is also terribly narrow. There are only five easily accessed 'towns' in the game, which I felt limited and weakened the overall atmosphere; the game sacrificed the richness of towns and characters and replaced it with an in-depth examination of the world, as opposed to the previous games, which implied an in-depth look at the world through the fabulous towns and NPCs. I also thought that the game could have used more player-owned houses, or at least a larger house with more customization beyond the few simple themes and accessories. Three of Fallout 3's towns, Underworld, Rivet City, and The Citadel, are accessible only after traversing the dangerous Downtown area of DC, or furthering the main questline. The other two, Tenpenny Tower and Megaton, can potentially be exclusive; the player can utterly destroy Megaton, or utterly destroy Tenpenny Tower, all within the major quests set forth in the game. Speaking of those quests, there are very few. For the size of the game, there are relatively few quest-giving NPCs, when there are quite a few personalities that seem to beg them. There is obvious potential for storylines with a number of NPCs that end up stale and largly unused. For example, the Outcasts, an entire group of Brotherhood of Steel fellows who you quite frequently see wandering the wastes, have no quests whatsoever dealing with them. Raiders have all been reduced to mindless cannibals, which is a mite disappointing as well. The quests themselves are short and easily completed; in one case I completed one of the maybe fifteen non-essential quests in the entire game in fifteen minutes. The main questline itself is the low point of the game, much like it was in Oblivion; it's rough and there is little suspension of disbelief; I doubted the convictions of every character even when the game attempted to assure me that they were genuine.

I've spent all this time on the setting, the story, the graphics, and the items, but what about the combat? What about the leveling system? The combat remains enjoyable throughout due to the diversity of the weapons, but just up to the breaking point; there is great potential for the game to become boring, but it manages to just stay out of that pit by a single handhold. The V.A.T.S. system is enjoyable in general, creating gory explosions. The Bloody Mess perk is as much a boon as it is a bane, just as in the original games, creating boring and messy organ splotches out of potentially enjoyable headshot sequences, but, hey, you get what you wish for, right? Aiming and shooting is fine FPS fare, although an annoying autoaim feature is defaulted on, and shooting around tight corners becomes a hassle when bullets are blocked by thin air. Creatures, thankfully, are capable of being killed in one shot with different weapons, and enemies are not leveled, curing the broken, boring, and frustrating combat system of Oblivion. The leveling system is true to the themes of the previous games, and the placement of perks every level was not so terrible, except that most perks had little to no affect on the game! The cannibal perk seems enjoyable but has application in only two areas; the equivalent of 'Sex Appeal' has a similarly small use, and most perks add to skills, most of which end up at maximums due to the copious amount of skill books that litter the gaming world. Different, more influential, more affecting and more usable perks would have been nice, as well as the ability to acquire reputations through actions, like in the previous games, but overall perks were not a detriment to the game as a whole.

To sum up the game, I give it a 7.5 out of 10, for how solidly enjoyable it makes wandering around aimlessly in the wasteland. While mechanics are not great, they are decent. While the NPC interactions are not great, they are decent. While the graphics are not great, they contribute to the atmosphere and feel of the game, which is great. I am satisfied with this game as a sequel to the Fallouts not because of its main story or some of its gameplay but because it is true to the spirit and basic story of the games and the world in which they are based, a world which I thoroughly enjoy. The original Fallout games aren't perfect either, but they are still my favorite games, and the games upon which my gaming elitism was weaned. While Fallout 3 falls short of the original games, it is still worthwhile and enjoyable in its own right.

~~~~~~~~~~`

Yeah. That's going to be a Tl;dr for most of us in the world.

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Toes [Aug. 26th, 2008|03:05 pm]
Tayschrenn
Well my toe is most probably broken. That's terribly disappointing, because now I can't conceivably run for a while, which means I can't get more sexy, which also means I won't continue to lose weight, and that means segueing into singleness will be more difficult. At least I could have been single and sexy...
Also, the blue couch that used to reside in the depths of the basement is no more; it was taken to the dump sometime in the last two days. After describing the particular attachment I have to the couch and what it means to me, my parents recoiled in horror, but really, that couch was dear...
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(no subject) [Aug. 18th, 2008|09:24 pm]
Tayschrenn
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So I just sit in my room listening to pathetic emotional music, feeling lame and depressed. I haven't written so much poetry in the past three years as I've written in the past three months. It's a shame that the best poetry and prose is written when the writer is terribly depressed. Not to glorify my written work but it's better than it is when I'm happy. It always is. I hate being so... needy. I've attempted to start conversations with at least three of my friends in just sadness and boredom. It sickens me. And yet I can't stop myself from being so bummed out. It's disgusting to me, revolting in every way for me to be this way; it grates against the independence and confidence that I so prize in a being, my being.
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Pen in my pocket [Aug. 8th, 2008|08:11 pm]
Tayschrenn

I feel a pang in my chest, like that pang you feel when you have a pen in your pocket and you sit funny, only this one doesn’t go away. It lingers, digging into my ribs, pushing against my skin, that dull pressure just sharp enough you think it might be drawing blood. I move my body all around, trying to stretch, trying to shake it out of me, but it grabs on and stays. You knead your skin all around it, trying to get it out, smooth it out, make it better, but when you take your hands away and breathe in it still hurts just as much, like it’s never going to stop. Is this really it? All this time? Is this what it comes down to, teary eyes and a finger pressed against my heart? I couldn’t function today. I moved and ran and sang and danced but I didn’t, not really. Not on the inside. I walked the walk and talked the talk, I played the game with my friends but they could see it on my face. It burns there, right behind my eyes, burns like I’m sitting too close to a fire and I can’t take it anymore. I kept running through it over and over again in my head, pointless, dumb, silly. But that damn stitch didn’t go away. I took two showers, ran six miles. Jab in my chest, jab in my brain. The funny thing is it makes time go slower. I don’t mean really slower but it drags things out, making the pain the worst kind, the kind you can’t get rid of and can’t sit through properly by any means of will. But you sit through it anyway. You get a hug here and there, your friends just narrowing their eyebrows in concern, but you don’t talk about it, not to anybody. You just let it sit there searing a hole in your ribcage. I just want to rip myself open and tear it out, grab at it and scream at it, but that doesn’t do any good to think about. Screaming at something never fixes it, just drains you, hurts you even more. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do.


 
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I know, I know... [Jul. 25th, 2008|12:59 am]
Tayschrenn
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[Current Music |I Hate Everything About You - Three Days Grace (I like terrible songs sometimes)]

I know I'm being lazy with the trip journals, and for that I apologize profusely.  It's just a big pain to type them up, considering my abysmal scrawl and the concentration required. However, I assure everyone who was desperately hanging on to find out exactly what I did on my trip that the journal WILL be typed up. Eventually...
Fun Expedition has been jolly; not difficult, most of the people are very easy to get along with (that is, excluding the over-preachy ones). Someone writes whole pages of religious quotes on paper and leaves them around, so the other day I decided to write some Nietzsche and Thomas Jefferson quotes as counterpoint. I'm getting another paycheck tomorrow, which will be split, and then the checking half I think I'll be getting as cash and use it on some miniatures at Mind Games, get me a Vampire Counts Battalion. I needs me some Corpse Cart... That model is incredibly badass.
I've been running at the conditioning meetings here and there, trying to get into some semblance of shape before practice starts. I'll be needing to get my schedules in advance so I can work things out with coach as far as attending practice goes; I have no illusions about how well I'll be performing in Cross Country, but I'm not quitting mid-season this time, so I might get as good as I can with the opportunity I have; who knows, I might end up with a smoking body by the time October rolls around... I say October because old family friends from Colorado are visiting for the first time (the last time we saw them was when I was in fourth grade, on our trip to Mexico for the first time) so I want to impress the ladies with my physique. Hehe. While attracting the ladies with my body would certainly be appetizing, I want a nicer form for my own personal satisfaction, not the ladies. I like it when I can flex my arms or legs and feel the muscles there instead of having my fingertips sink an inch into my flesh.
I feel like I've lost some people from Sherando, friends I used to talk to more often or just be congenial with. I have the urge to get back in touch with them to some extent, but I also want to keep the status quo concerning my involvement with Governor's School and my other activities. I know my mother keeps saying it but it's starting to look like I'll have a busy year; I've got a job, Academic Team, Math Team (which I ended up not even going to at the end of the year last year, so I was graciously dropped as President... hehe) the play (whenever, whatever we do), Cross Country, Governor's School and all the work associated with it, applying to colleges, and my social life, which will most likely wither and collapse under the strain :-) Ahh, at least I have The Onion news to keep me amused and give me some hope in the future of humanity.
Cara and I will be breaking up when she goes to Tech, which is in 23 or so days. Today is our fifteen month anniversary. It's me that wants to break up; she doesn't want to. It's not that I don't love Cara. I do. It's not that I wouldn't like to date Cara. I do. But I don't want to date Cara for another entire year, of school, of life. I don't want to waste her time, tying her down to someone at home. It's more of a life-direction decision for me; I can see myself dating Cara all through next year, much like Alex did with Robin. I don't want to do that, to either of us. A clean slate for her, in a new place. She'll have her sister, her 'soul mate', as she often says, for support. She can have social interaction with people without worrying about where it might go. I can have social interaction with people without worrying where it might go. I don't see myself dating again for a while, but friendships are always welcome things.
I started doing some of my summer work this week. I read Man's Search for Meaning, and Pygmalion, both of which I really enjoyed, and I did some of the Physics work we're supposed to be doing. I can't wait to see everyone from Governor's School again; I love everyone from there, I really do. Sherando pales in comparison to the joy I feel at Governor's School. Not that there certainly aren't worthy people at Sherando, it's just... it feels like a big family at Governor's School, like we don't judge each other, for the most part, and we all just get along, like at the cookout at Mitchell's we had a few weeks ago. I just couldn't stop smiling, it made me so happy to be around everyone.
Alrighty, it's time for me to depart to the wild, wonderful world of sleep. Quite an irregular post; normally I don't feel like I have so much to say, but tonight I feel it.
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June 19, 2008 [Jul. 4th, 2008|03:49 pm]
Tayschrenn
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June 19, 2008

Hotel

 

We are departing

~

I was interrupted midmessage. What I was going to say is we are departing on our three hour drive to Alexandria. Now that we are out of Cairo the roads suck pretty hard. There are speed bumps that the cars don’t even slow down for, just speeding along.

Egypt has a compulsory military where they’ll teach them to read and write and things.

Cairo really is a megalopolis. There are apparently ten industrial cities built up around it, connected by these crappy roads. Through all my travels, the only place with better roads *(than America)* was Germany and Switzerland, but their traffic was less orderly.

Saw our McDonalds. Good Stuff. Also, hardcore levels of Pepsi advertising.

A(c)hmed is on ‘holiday’ today, so we have a different guard who isn’t as cool.

The main food of Egypt is rice, and Egyptian cotton is pretty famous. Lol they export onions, potatoes. They’re a little weak on industry, though. Mostly they’ve got natural resources and agriculture, but not much like manufactured goods. Did I mention that gas is $1 a gallon?

Apparently women, under the secular government’s eyes, are equal to men, pretty much. Same salaries, voting, everything. Custom also is that when women marry they have to have everything in the house be new. They still have traditional dowries and female paying and such. Women are expected to be chaste, though. Weddings happen in hotels, apparently, too, which is different from America. Usually travelers from Egypt go to Europe, but it’s fashionable for very rich people to honeymoon in America.

Birth control is free in Egypt. Weird.

Not many marriages are arranged, apparently.

It takes like three hours for a man to get a divorce, and like three months for women. If you’re Christian you can’t get a divorce, but Jews and Muslims can get divorces easily. Women keep the house, the kids, the furniture, and the man pays her 20% of his income, for two years. Money isn’t split, either.

Education is compulsory to start but after the first few years if the kids stop it’s no big deal. English is mandatory from the third grade up, and then another language in 9th grade.

Sorry for the helter-skelter, I’m pretty much writing down what the guide says verbatim.

The private schools usually teach in a different language, with 2nd language in third grade, and it’s pretty tough as far as competition and difficulty. The schools go by grades only, not like SAT’s. Public universities are opposite of private universities as compared to gradeschool. Public are better. Murder gets the death penalty, but murder isn’t very common in Egypt. The three biggest *(worst)* crimes are murder, rape, and gross drug trafficking. Students study abroad a lot. The law code is Napoleonic, not Islamic, which is great. America should focus more on maintaining relations with the pro-west, secular arab countries like Egypt. Hospitals are free in Egypt, but traditional health-care is nonexistent. Family is very strong in Egypt, so handicapped people usually stay at home with the family. Egypt is more Mediterranean than other Arab countries. Most people have live-in maids to take care of them. There are hardly any by-hour jobs, it’s more like by day or week or month. Death penalty is by hanging and is immediate after like final sentencing. Hair covering is common, but not really required and not a big deal. Didn’t use to be popular, buy people went to work in more Muslim countries and so women were more covered. But people wear the headscarves any color, not really a big deal but it’s religious and also fashionable. Prostitutes wear them if it’s customary, so it’s not really necessarily (all) religious. The tradition of women in the countryside is that women wear a black dress over a colorful dress after marriage. The burkas are usually not people from Egypt, but are visiting, and people don’t wear the scarves at home, just when they go out.

Salaries are monthly, and some are low but people get different benefits and do private lessons and things like that. People usually work for like six hours in the government and then own a private business in the afternoon. If you are working in the government it’s pretty guaranteed. Tipping is very big in Egypt, with people in restrooms helping you and expecting a tip (they really like watch the door and stuff even). Food is more expensive in Egypt, but rent is cheaper overall. Water is pretty cheap, but electricity with AC and all can be a lot. No heaters in the Winter, though. Not much renting around because the prices are fixed after Nasser came into power so people sell their apartments instead. Cairo is really expensive as far as Egypt goes. They’ve changed some laws recently where new houses can have more reasonable (higher) rents; old ones are still like $20 a month. We’re stopping at a pharmacy that sells music… win. Religion is taught in schools, apparently. Also, lots of nunnery schools, multireligious nunneries. People stay out late, and leave after sunset, taking a nap in the afternoon like a Spanish/Mexican siesta.

There are green crops and things to the right and left. The irrigation must be pretty fabulous.

Most people don’t drunk because of Islam, but there is a 100% tax on alcohol also, but there are many Egyptian alcohols and things. The drinking age is 18, and so is driving, but apparently it’s not a huge deal if you’re 17 to drink, although I have no desire to drunk in an arab country… hehe.

Speed limits do exists, like 60 mph, and speeding is a $100 dollar fine, then add a hundred for each offense. There aren’t that many accidents, and there are not insurances usually because fixing the car is cheaper than paying for the insurance. The accidents are rare because everything is so insane, so everyone ends up a pretty good driver. Stop, so brb.

~

Well the stop was decent; there were a few junk shops but some legit ones as well… I saw Arabic Risk, which was pretty badass. They also had a crapload of airsoft guns. Heh.

~

Alexander the Great died at the same age as Jesus, and was born of a god… lolz.

~

It’s incredible that Egypt has such an extensive history… from the beginning with Narmur in 3100 BCE to Alexandria in the 300’s BCE more time passed than since. That’s how fricking old Egypt is… We’re almost to the catacombs now. Alexandria is really tight and close together like Rome or Italian cities.

~

The catacombs were decent, there were some cool frescoes and things. I’d really like to visit the Parisian catacombs though with the skull walls. We’re going to “Pompey’s” column at the ruins of the Serapium. It’s really a pillar built in dedication to Diocletian who forgave Egypt for not paying taxes. The Alexandrians also apparently used older statues to decorate the new cities… hehe.

~

So that was the Serapium. We’re not quite sure if that was the place where the buried the bulls and all, but it was cool to see this big hefty ruin, with the lone 1500 year old pillar standing against the test of time. I think we’re going to the museum now, but it may be lunch. It’s the National Museum of Alexandria.

We just passed a chop shop with like, bumpers and stuff.

Everyone smokes… blech.

~

The museum was better than the Cairo museum, in my opinion, because there was more to read. Reading and walking always make a museum much better. There weren’t any spectacular things, but still really cool. Like, Narmur’s plate was cool to see in Cairo but nothing I recognized was here. Now we’re going to lunch… I realize I’m writing like everything I’d done today and at any point but I feel like I need to to remember it al. Did I mention before that there are ladies with toilet paper waiting for you to pay them to give it to you? Yeah.

Schools sounds a lot like American schools… Summer vacation, high school, 12 grades…

Lunch is at a hotel that used to be a resort for the Kings of Egypt. Heh.

There are a lot more women out and about in Alexandria.

McDonalds, KFC, and Pizza Hut and everybody delivers. Grocery store, pharmacies, they all deliver. Crazy. All restaurants. That’s remarkable.

Arabic Starbucks… I love capitalism so hard right now…

Men dress exactly like they do in America. It’s just the women that are different. Not all women, but most. Also, almost every woman I’ve seen in the big black burkas has been wearing glasses… I’m not sure why.

Waterpipes are here and there in the café’s and such.

There are more fat people in Alexandria than I saw in Cairo, I think. It’s mainly women, too, which is odd. The long dresses act like Muumuu’s though.

Money is like five to one, here; 5 Egyptian pounds for 1 dollar, roughly. It’s more like 5.6 pounds, but they all round down to get more money from you.

Eat time.

~

I’m writing down info for the next two days. I’ve just got back on the bus after lunch, right outside the palace of someone or another.

~(Information)

So the next few days will be pretty badass… King Tut’s tomb, Valley of the Kings… everything awesome I’ve ever heard about is on the agenda. This trip has been wonderful. I’ll probably sleep until we get back to the hotel. I might write and tidbits our guide tells us, though. I hope what I’ve written so far, though possible voluminous and a little hectic, is interesting to anyone reading.

~

We just made out stop. The bus’s AC broke for a while there so it got ridiculously hot, but after the stop it’s not so bad. At the stop there were some guys just sitting with a baby lion… It was kinda ridiculous. Baby lions are really cute, though… hehe… hee. We got pictures so I’ll put them up on Facebook. The lion made this werid angry gurgling/growling noise, though. He wasn’t happy… but still really cute… But wow I’ve ridden a camel and held a lion. What next? Now the rest of the journey…

~

Hotel

 

So we switches buses and then continued on back to the hotel. We’re probably going to eat soon or not at all. Then extra sleep time… I’ll write a postcard tomorrow, I think. Night for thirty minutes *(I have absolutely no clue what I meant by that. I wrote “Night for thirty seconds” originally, then crossed out the “seconds” and wrote “minutes”. I really don’t know why.)*

~

So we finished dinner and are now watching the Discovery Channel. It’s epic lulz about how ghosts don’t exist… because they don’t. Fools. Anyway, night.

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June 18, 2008 [Jun. 30th, 2008|12:19 am]
Tayschrenn
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June 18, 2008

Hotel

            We just met out tour guide; a woman, no headscarf, which is kinda relieving.

 

            Catacombs, Pompey’s Pillar, Memphis. Sakkhara are on the agenda for Alexandria tomorrow and the other cities on Friday.

 

            We can apparently get statues, Cartouche jewelry and bracelets, so that sounds good gift-wise. Postcards from the pyramids, too.

 

            Abu Simbel! Rocking. This is going to rock so hard…

            We get to go inside the pyramids, too…

 

            It sounds like there are so pretty good gifts for people, tourist-ey wise.

            Dude. I’m in Egypt.

 

Bus

 

We are seriously right under the pyramid. Cheops. Heck yes.

~

I just touched one of the Great Pyramids of Giza. 5,000 years old. And I touched it!!!

            There’s also this tomb just sitting next to it, and it’s like 4,000 years old, and you can still see the carvings.

            “It’s a pretty cool pile of rocks,” to quote one of the guys from Oklahoma. Hopefully I can go for a camel ride and also get some postcards.

~

2 mil, 300,000 stones and 30 years to build Keops.

~

I just rode a fucking camel. How awesome is that? They’re all ugly and everything, but they’re so cute. Some great pictures I’ll put up on facebook.

 

            There are three smaller pyramids here for the three wives of the last guy that I didn’t know about for. ‘Mikerenas’?

            Pyramids are only for one person… Ultimate tribute…

 

            They have a boat, the “Solar Boat”, where they are so old… *(I have no clue what I meant here)*

~

I’ve just been inside Keffran. INSIDE. This trip is awesome. I’ve also gotten some sand at the base of the pyramid for Jim Evans, he said, very nicely actually, that he would like some. So I got some heh. Now we’re off to the Sphinx… It’s apparently part of the ground, carved up from leftover stone.

            There is a KFC across the street from the Sphinx.

~

            So the Sphinx is nothing like how it’s depicted in media. First off it’s not alone at all, there is a temple right next to and around it, and it’s also set into the rock like in a hole. We got to talk a little to Ahmed, our security guard (basically for us, there wasn’t anyone else around but for us so he’s hanging around) and we asked him what kind of gun he had (you could see the clip sticking out of the back of his jacket, I’ll put a picture of him up on Facebook) and he’s got an MP5. He said that Egypt was pretty safe as far as security concerns go. Also he taught us ‘no’ in Arabic, which is Le(a?) real quick like.

            Hard rock café. Lol.

            Now we’re going to a papyrus museum and then to lunch, then to the Cairo Museum (omg).

 

            Seeing all the KFC’s and such is actually relieving and comforting. However, there are also a lot of armed guards with AK’s and stuff, too, so that’s nice.

~

            We just went to the papyrus museum, but it wasn’t really a museum, more like a tourist trap. We did buy two papyri, one with Tutankhamen and Nefertiri(?), and another with Rameses messin about on his chariot. They are pretty nifty looking. Now we’re backing up for some reason to our restaurant.

~

            Lunch was decent. All the chicken I’ve had here was been very succulent; I think the Indians and Egyptians collaborate to make good chicken dishes. Collaborate and listen… Now we’re going to the highly anticipated Cairo Museum… great Egyptian stuff shall abound, hopefully.

            No more crocodiles or hippos in the Nile… :-(

            Cairo really is modern in its downtown like any European country/city. The only real difference is all the police, fewer visible women, and the headscarves… I haven’t seen any McDonalds yet, but I’m sure they’re around.

            The Nile is apparently super shallow in Cairo now because of the Aswan dam. It’s kinda sad, actually, that the traditional Egyptian floods and all no longer happen because of the dam…

            Museum Time!

~

            So the museum was pretty tiring. Really awesome old stuff, but long and tiring, just like any museum. We saw Tutankhamen’s sarcophagi and mask and things, so that’s braggable. We also saw a few nifty mummified animals, like a dog that was practically fresh (still furry) and a few monkeys. I also got some stamps; hopefully they are international like the guy said. Light show at 8 tonight for the Pyramids, and tomorrow, Alexandria, wakeup at 5. Ugh.

~

 

<-- I fell asleep on the bus and sweat on my journal. Oh well. We have dinner then a lightshow.

I might write one of my postcards soon. Hehe I’m still unsure as to what I’m getting as gifts, but I think it’ll present itself. For now I’m incredibly tired, so I’ll read about the Soviet Union or just sleep…

~

            Just came back from dinner and the lightshow at the pyramids. I slept for a few hours before the show, but I did write a postcard and put it in the mail. The light show was admittedly pretty lame. It was all retro, with cheesy music and everything, lauding Egypt. It was pretty much like Egypt was saying, “Fuck yeah, we’ve got the Pyramids!”

            One thing I haven’t mentioned is that traffic is absolutely ferocious. There seem to be no rules or lanes or laws besides ‘drive’. There are also tons of police everywhere.

            The TV is pretty weird here, too. Anyway, hopefully I have pleasant, familiar dreams. Alexandria tomorrow.

 
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June 17, 2008 [Jun. 27th, 2008|07:00 pm]
Tayschrenn
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June 17, 2008

Charles Du Galle

 

I feel like I’m being split apart. I don’t know what to think, to feel.

 

Also, smelly. Also, four hours late. Also, one hour to make our connection.

 

Plane

 

Well, we made it to the plane with plenty of time to spare; all that hubbub for nothing. However, counting airports, I’m up to 20 countries! Yay! Sans airports I’m at 17 still. I think?

 

Apparently my breath is pretty bad. Or so attests my brother. However, I believe it will improve, and through belief we find Truth and Salvation, right?

 

Hah.

 

I’ll write when we actually make it to Cairo.

 

Oh, I had some gross ravioli and some less gross tapioca (on the plane). Good tapioca? What’s the world coming to…

 

Cairo, Egypt

 

            Pretty awesome. The flights weren’t that thrilling, but coming in over Cairo and seeing the Pyramids is pretty awesome. The architecture is wonderful. The whole place is just like it is in Tiberian Sun (lolz), but it’s really cool. We thought our luggage might not make it, as it was taking a while, but things turned out well. One thing I love about being on a tour is that people really take care of you; you feel safe inside the shell of the American dollar.

            Seeing the Arabic letters every where is interesting as well; in France everything was just in French, not English too, but in Egypt it’s Arabic and English everywhere.

            Apparently bottled water in the hotel costs $6 a bottle, so we’re buying some from the supermarket for $1 a bottle. Deal? Kinda.

 

            We’re getting into parts of town that aren’t as ‘developed’. *(Ironically I said this as Heba (our guide) told us that we were entering the nice part of town. Lolz…)*

            Also, just saw a statue of Ramses with graffiti on it. Lolz, but sad.

 

Traffic is as crazy as in any city.

Apparently there are 20 million people in Cairo, and only 80 million people in all of Egypt. That’s ¼ of the whole population!

 

            I haven’t seen very many women just walking around, they are always in cars or things like that. I’ve seen my first real-life burka’d women and mosque, too.

            There is a necropolis 25 kilometers *(actually 4)* big that people apparently live in that we just passed.

 

            OMG. I just saw a citadel of Saladin. The necropolis stretches on beneath the castle. The crazy thing to think about is that Egypt has been this way for thousands of years, bustling, human lives dwarfed by the massive edifices of their past.

 

            Still the necropolis stretches on.

 

            Cairo Land the chintzy amusement park lies behind us. Hehe. I’ll write more when we get to the hotel.

            I need to give all my female friends big hugs; I can’t imagine what my life would be like without your personalities. The idea that women and men are so separate… sigh.

We just bought a lot of water. Just saw a camel. Awesome.

---

Hotel


 

The hotel is pretty first-rate. Rosewater, slippers, the works. I still have to find somewhere where I can get some postcards and stamps to I can mail things to Cara and Lauren.

---

We just came back from dinner. I showered beforehand and my hair is nice and soft... The food was fabulous, but we have to wake up in six and a half hours to eat breakfast and prepare for tomorrow's tour. Cairo museum and the Giza pyramids! I'm stoked, but a little leery on the camel ride part. It's time for bed. I'll write tomorrow.


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