2008 Jun 30 | Charlotte, Durham

When I got Monica's mail one day, a little cards fell out. They must have set them in the boxes leaning up against the door specifically so they would do that. Obviously most people just left them on the floor. A neat idea, but annoying in practice.

We went to a few pot lucks that Monica's bosses were putting on. They lived in the same gated community, so we just walked from one to the other.

There's this red dirt everywhere. I'm always scared it's going to get on my shoes and turn everything I step on red.

On Sunday we went to a free concert they have outdoors every weekend.

It got extremely crowded. People bring blankets to sit on and some even brought little grills to cook food on. I overheard that some people come in the early morning, lay down their blankets to reserve their spots, leave, and then come back when the concert is about to start. Also, it started to rain, which made everyone run away.

I like how the entire front of this Chipotle is windows.

One evening we went out with some of Monica's friends. They were playing kickball in a league that was sponsored by a bar we all went to afterwards. It was an interesting contrast with people I play soccer with. We soccer players are always exhausted, drinking Gatorade, and rubbing wounds after a game. After the kickball games, they were doing shots and heading for the bars.

I generally get really bored at bars, so I ended up walking around downtown at night, which I absolutely love doing, while Monica hung out with her friends at the bar for a bit. The patio at the top of that building looks neat.

I happened to wander by Crush, which is a night club. 100% of the people waiting in line were black, which seemed pretty racist to me.

A close Wimbledon match with Roddick was on TV right before a Euro 2008 soccer semifinal game, and the tennis match wasn't going to be over in time. I wasn't sure what they were going to do; cut off the tennis match, not show the beginning of the soccer game, or something else? Well, they switched the tennis match ESPN Classic and ran the soccer game as scheduled, but ESPN Classic is a premium channel, so I didn't get to see the end of the tennis match anyway.

Monica and I went to Chris Rock one night, and he was really funny.

On the way to Durham we saw around 800 motorcycles (Monica counted). Apparently it was the state rally.

While in Durham we went to see the Duke gardens.

And the chapel.

We also went to a modern art museum. The gift shop had tons of neat things, and this exhibit was really fun. There were three pictures of owls. You'd move on, then look back at the pictures and think to yourself, "Wait, I thought it's eyes were open and it was looking the other way." It messed with your head until you figured out they were actually videos that just looked like pictures because the owls moved very little.

We also went to a winery and had a tour and tasting.

Rob knew someone who was putting on a fireworks show. It was nice because it way out of town, so it felt like home. Only it wasn't like our regular fireworks show. This guy had a bunch that seemed almost professional and set them off in a pattern from a board. It was funny because it started with normal consumer fireworks, and some kid said, "Where are the big ones?" I felt sorry for the guy setting them off until the big ones actually started going.

We had breakfast at Guglhupf, a really good bakery in Durham.

Then Monica took us to Dick's, where you walked across a pad on the floor and it told you what kind of feet you had. It's a good idea, but I'm not sure how accurate it is because it's almost impossible to walk naturally when you're trying to make sure you step on the pad.

We also went to the Museum of Life and Science. One of the exhibits was this room, where a different instrument or musical pattern would play when someone was in that sector.

There was also an exhibit with a tornado. Apparently people had heard that rubbing the poles around it would make the tornado go, even to the extent that there was a sign nearby that said rubbing the poles did nothing.

There were also some animals, although most were sleeping, like these turtles.

And this possum. Although he must have been dreaming because his feet would twitch every once in a while.

This was neat. They had bugs that walked on water, and you could look from underneath and see the indentions their feet made in the water.

There were some fluorescent minerals that were very pretty. However, they had the display set up poorly. The button labeled, "Push" turned off the black lights and turned on white lights. It lasted for maybe 30 seconds and then went back to black lights. However, it explained that in a separate sign, so people would walk up, press the "Push" button, it would go white so you couldn't see the glowing minerals, and then they would keep hitting the button to try to make it go back to the blacklight. Which made sense; who makes a button to turn a display off? But by repeatedly pressing the button, they kept extending the time the white light would be on. We wandered away and I kept coming back to see if it had turned on the black light again. When it did, I kept guard to make sure nobody pressed the button while Monica went and got Rob. Like Monica said, the button should turn it back and forth between black and white lights; the current set-up is horrible.

Some brightly-colored poison frogs.

There were lots of neat outdoor exhibits, too. On this one, you tap the back of the container and air shoots out to move some little metal tabs.

This pond had sailboats which you could control using the wheel for the rudder and a lever to move the sails. Most of the boats were stuck on the side, but once you pushed them out, it worked pretty well.

It was really hot outside because it was getting close to noon. However, Monica really wanted to see the lemurs, which were the entire way across the park. So we walked the all the way across, saw this thing, and then walked all the way back in the beating sun. I hope Monica liked it, because by the time I saw the lemurs, all I cared about was trying to find shade.

We watched the Euro 2008 soccer championship between Spain and Germany at Federal, a bar in Durham. It was especially fun because we had some people from Spain and some people from Germany at our table. One of the nice things about college towns is you tend to get more of a mix of cultures at places like this, especially during soccer games.