Photo Dump: North Carolina

Time for some more photos from my trip. At this rate, I'll share them all in a months time. So you have that to look forward to.

These are all (except for the first one) from our time in North Carolina. I feel like I've pretty much seen all the big cities in NC now, at least from a car window. Things we learned in NC: the power converter for the car 12V input saves lives and makes computer functional a lot longer, wi-fi hotspots are key, we all like to drive fast, motels with walk up windows after hours are not places we are going to stay.

For everything else, check out my pictures.
We're high tech. That's why I took a picture of DD taking a picture with his iPad.
Frank Gehry inspired museum in Roanoke (a la the EMP in Seattle).
 The Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the most gorgeous roads to drive. No billboards, no power lines.
 This cemetery was along side the Blue Ridge Parkway. So cool
 View from the Blue Ridge Parkway. Truly gorgeous.
BBQ chicken dinner with sweet tea. Welcome to the south. Also, this place had a dessert list 20 items long. It's like we were meant to eat here, in Meadows of Dan (no seriously, that's what the town was called).
The sun setting in Asheville.
 Really cool old buildings in Asheville. Click on the photo to see the cool gargoyles on the tall one.
 Loved this fountain/monument (it's no longer functioning).
 News crews hanging out at the John Edwards jury selection.
Site of the lunchroom sit-ins, now the Civil Rights Museum.
 The nicest place we stayed complete with a living room. 
Security for Mitt Romney's speech. 
Mr. Romney himself, sporting a hard core spray tan.

Next up, Pittsburgh, Ohio, and more.


Awkward and Awesome: Rollercoaster

I choose that title, not because I've been to amusement park lately, but because life has been all over the place. You've heard about quite a bit of it here already.

I am looking forward to next week, hopefully, settling down a bit. I might actually get my life in order a little bit.

For now, I leave you with the awkward and awesome moments from the past week or so.

- Riding public transportation. For the most part it's awesome. I don't have to think. There's easy bus from my apartment downtown. It's already paid for. But there's plenty of awkwardness too. Trying not to bump into anyone. There's always a little bit of crazy going on. And the smell.
- Being in full interview mode and having someone ask me a question. No matter the subject, it always throws me off.
- Pretty sure I chased a couple followers away on Twitter with today's tweets about the story. I couldn't help myself.
- Realizing I haven't updated my professional portfolio website in months. That needs to change, stat. But only after I work and finish school work tomorrow.

- Walking up to the bus stop just as the bus pulled up. Pretty wonderful timing.
- Being home for the weekend, even if I'm missing our big dog like whoa.
- Last week's trip and the resulting awesomeness. I was actually printed in the local paper today about the use of social media around Amendment One in NC. You should really read my colleagues articles to have the whole picture. In fact, read theirs first: one and two. Who knew I'd walk away from my trip a published author.
- Recent food deals purchased through Living Social. Beef and veggies FTW.
- Having two parties Saturday afternoon starting at the same time, then finding out they are only a few blocks from each other.

What has been awkward or awesome (or both) about your week?


Photo Dump #1: Philly and Gettysburg

 Hitting the road.
 The inside of Mayfair Diner. Love those tiles!
 The awesome staff at Mayfair.
 The quintessential American diner.
 Cute side streets in Philly.
 Independence Hall!
 First bank in the U.S.
 Site of the 1st Continental Congress, Carpenter Hall.

 Sunset from the observation tower.

 More sunset.
 Listening to our audio tour.

 Imagine trying to scramble up this to meet your enemy, probably without shoes.

 A ghost!

I ran out of captioning steam so if you have questions, let me know! More to come. I have no shortage of pictures.


The not so short tale of my trip.

I'm still working on catching up a little. I finally was able to read some blog posts today (not that I'm even thinking about reading all of last week's), I worked, I had a meeting, I made dinner. It was all normal, real life stuff.

But before I get too far back into real life, I wanted to do a couple trip round up posts. Today's will be more of an overview. My goal is also to do a few picture round ups as well.  We'll see how it all goes though.

Feel free to ask any questions you have about what I saw or did. I'll also include links to stories I wrote so you can catch up some that way, if you want.

Saturday, April 14/Sunday April 15:
After spending the day up Bellingham, I met up with my fellow travelers to catch a red eye to Philly. We left Seattle at 10pm and landed in Philly at 6am. We left the plane and plotted our strategy (I kid you not, computers were out less than 50 feet from our gate). Then we dove in.

We had breakfast at Mayfair Diner, visited downtown Philly (Independence Hall included) and went to a Phillies game. Two members of our crew even talked their way into the press box. We then left the game to drive to Gettysburg. My professor's dad gave us a sunset audio tour over the phone. He's a historian and it was an amazing experience.

Monday, April 16:
After staying in Frederick, Maryland, we drove to Roanoke, Virginia where one member of our team split off to cover the 5-year anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting. After doing an interview in Roanoke, the other three of us drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway and eventually on to Asheville, North Carolina. After checking into our hotel, we headed into town, met people from a revival, and had an amazing dinner at Tipelo Honey. We even called in to join the rest of my class for a meeting.

Tuesday, April 17:
We spent the morning in Asheville following up on some story leads. Then we drove to Greensboro, North Carolina and met up with our missing team member. John Edwards trial selection was going on and the head of my department wanted to visit the Civil Rights Museum (where the lunchroom sit-ins started). I spent that time working on my story. Then we drove onto Raleigh.

Wednesday, April 18:
We had two interviews Wednesday morning, with an electronic polling company and a group organizing efforts to fight Amendment One in NC. After the interviews, we traveled on to Charlotte, NC to hear Mittens (a.k.a. Mitt Romney) at an impromptu event. My first real presidential event. Afterwards we drove all the way from Charlotte to Pittsburgh.

Thursday, April 19:
Thursday morning my professor and the head of the department flew back home and one of my classmates flew in. She had an awful three flight overnight trip, so after she got a nap in, the three team members there headed into Pittsburgh. We did a cool piece about Primanti Brothers, originators of the lunch in a sandwich. I'm still in recovery.

Friday, April 20:
After picking up the last team member to fly east and organizing ourselves, we headed towards Ohio. Along the way we stopped in Lisbon, a tiny town just over the border from Pennsylvania. We also made a pit stop in Canton (mostly for internet) before driving up to Cleveland to stay for the night.

Saturday, April 21:
We got up early and went to the West Side Market in Cleveland. I had a blast taking pictures and people watching, leaving the story chasing to the rest of the team, which would be around longer. We left Cleveland for Erie, where we had lunch and I caught my first flight. I made it Philly only to run through the airport and see my plane pulling away from the gate. It was like a scene from a bad movie. Luckily the airlines paid for my hotel.

Sunday, April 22:
I had to get up before 5am EST (a.k.a. 2am PST) to catch my flight. I had a layover in Phoenix and then flew home first class the second half of the trip. My roommate came to the airport with my car, I changed as she drove to meet her parents for lunch, at which point I drove safely as fast as I could to a wedding for one of my closest guy friends from college. I literally got there in time to give him a hug and snag a seat in the back. I stayed at the wedding for three hours after which I came home for a call with the department head on a story and collapsed into bed at 8:30pm. I was asleep before 9. And had been up 22 hours. Crazy.

I feel mostly recovered now and am finally starting to catch up, at least a little. But I imagine it will be a few days or the rest of the quarter before I feel recovered.

So, what exciting developments have I missed while I was gone? Catch me up!


Back and (not yet) Fully Functioning

Hey everyone! I'm alive! That's the good news. Also, my trip was amazing. I was in seven states in eight days and drove well over 3,000 miles total. The stories I have.

But it's been a hard day or two (with moments of awesomeness). I missed my connection in Philly on Saturday. I didn't get home until Sunday afternoon after only 4 hours of sleep (just in time for a good friend's wedding). And my parents had to put our big dog, Jackson, to sleep today. He had been slowing down and then had a stroke yesterday.

Plus I started a freelance job this morning and I have a ton of school stuff to catch up on. Needless to say, my mind is a little scattered.

I want to do a full round up on life, but it's not happening tonight. I opened Blogger for the first time in a week to write this and haven't read a single blog post since I left. I'm so sorry for ignoring you all, but I just didn't have time to spare. Maybe tomorrow I can get my thoughts in order and start sharing again.

Until then, I hope you have sun to enjoy like I do here!


The Genius Who Forgot

In my post this morning, I totally forgot to include links to all the places you can follow me while I'm on this epic trip.  Oops.  Here you go:

I think that's it. Just in case you wanted to tag along.

And in case I can't stop by later...have a great week!!

And Away I Go

Today I'm off on a day of in-state travel for class. I'll be up in my hometown talking to people about all sorts of issues with some of my classmates.

But tomorrow is really a teaser of what's to come, because I just get a few hours at home to pack and get organized before I'm off to the airport and flying east. A small group of the contributors for Election Eye are headed to sleuth out stories.

We don't have a set plan for our journey. Each of us knows when and where we fly in and out from, but otherwise our time is open. We might spend time in Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, and who knows where else.

The goal of our trip is to learn the stories of real people and find some connections to the same issues we face and care about here in Washington. It's exciting and a little daunting. There are no events to cover. No easy material.

But I think we're up for the challenge.

If you are interested in tagging along, make sure to check out the UW Election Blog or follow our Tumblr or Twitter account.

(If you aren't interested in following, my feelings are not hurt. But I promise our goal is to make it interesting to everyone, not just the political junkie.)

I have no idea how much I'll be able to blog or have time for reading your blogs, but at the very least I'll try to do a round-up post when I get back.

And if you have any questions, fire away.

P.S. Thanks to all my new and regular readers. I cherish each and every comment, even if I don't always necessarily respond.


Awkward and Awesome: Episode # Unknown

I really should be trying to get some work done for school. But I decided a blog post was more important. You are welcome.

I hope everyone is having a great week and a lovely Thursday. Here's what has been going on in my neck of the woods over the past few days.

- I'm somehow following my own blog. I don't remember doing it, but suddenly it's appearing in my feed and on my following list. Weird.
- The guy across the aisle from me on the bus rolling a joint. Then joking that I was the cops and asking what I was doing. And calling me gorgeous. It was a special five blocks we shared together. Yay, public transit.
- A few nights ago I slept on my neck wrong and it still doesn't feel great. I have to turn my body to check my blind spot. Is this what growing old is like?
- Four days in a row up on campus when I only have class two nights a week. I'm really good at committing to take more on. It's a gift.
- Having my roommate's mom bring me a few things from home and then finding out I'll be back up there briefly this weekend.

- Remembering my CC#, expiration date, and security code without having to look. Or wait, is that a bad thing?
- A fun new bag from Fossil that was on clearance. My dad actually spotted it for me (somehow when you're 6'7" it's easier to see the top shelf).
- Publishing my first post for UW Election Eye on the Seattle Times. I'm super excited about this class. It's the reason I'll be traversing around the East Coast next week (more to come).
- Having everything I need to pack so I'm ready to roll (literally with my suitcase) on Saturday.
- My sister and I haven't had time to grocery shop all week and still have found different things to eat.


Dessert Popcorn

My sister is currently sugar free (and I hope to be joining her as soon as all my crazy travel is over for the quarter--it was too hard to figure out during), but before she went off legal crack we had fun experimenting with dessert popcorn.

One of her thrifted Christmas gifts this year was an air popper. And it's been wonderful to have popcorn in the evenings while watching TV or a movie.

But there there is something that makes popcorn even better. Toppings! Here are two sweet versions we came up with.

Salted Caramel Popcorn

Drizzle popcorn with softened homemade caramel (ours was a gift from our mom, but I'll try to post a recipe soon), sprinkle with a little sea salt, mix lightly, and enjoy.  The key to this dish is to not overheat the caramel so it doesn't immediately harden. You want it to be soft and sticky, not a big block. Also, we found it easier to mix the ingredients by the bowl.

Muddy Buddy (or Puppy Chow) Popcorn

This was a play of the Chex cereal treat. I melted chocolate chips, peanut butter, and a little vanilla in the microwave, 1 minute at a time and stirring in between. Then I poured the mixture over the popcorn, mixed until evenly coated, and topped with powdered sugar. We did a big batch of this at once and took it with us to Hunger Games in the theater.

The caramel option is great for a quick fix. And who doesn't love chocolate and peanut butter. What other winning combinations can you think of?