Out of Context

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Before I left for Dublin, I got the chance to see an art show by my wonderful stepmother, Jill, at the College of Dupage. She took a welding class at the college and let’s just say she got pretty into it. After watching her lug giant hunks of metal around for the better part of a year, I was really excited to see her work.

I love the way it uses industrial elements in ways that aren’t mechanical. The pipes aren’t perfectly parallel, the chains are movable, the chrome isn’t spotlessly shined. It makes the material seem almost organic. Plus, she’s got some pretty clean welds, as one COD student admired.

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But what I loved most about the exhibit was how much joy and fun Jill has with her work. Even when things are hard and it feels impossible to lighten up, she always tells me “It’s just life, enjoy it.” and I watch her do that everyday. Sometimes I think the only thing she takes seriously is having a good time…

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Beautiful show, Jill! Excited to see what you do next.

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Home Sweet Dub

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As many of may know, I have recently moved across the pond to Dublin. Living in another country has always been something I’ve wanted to do and, while it can be exhausting at times, it’s certainly been worth it.

After staying in cheap hotels and with friends for a bit, we got pretty lucky and are living in an apartment close to campus. It’s small (note the alcove/closet/kitchen below), but gets a lot of light and we like each other well enough… Since then we’ve been settling in (which unfortunately involved a trip to IKEA aka the home of screaming children on leashes), running errands, and crashing pub crawls. Ya know, the standard.

I love our area- it’s close to a bunch of great pubs, small parks, and we can walk to basically everything. Here are a few snaps of our new place and spots around our neighborhood.

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Goon Squad Goes West: Part IV

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During the final leg of the trip, the Goon Squad became quite small with only Ian and I trekking on to Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and Bryce Canyon…

Sad to see our friends part ways, we consoled ourselves with slot machines, craps tables, and ridiculously expensive G&Ts at the MGM Grand in Vegas. In fact, we essentially didn’t leave the MGM the entire time we were there. Casino? Check. Nightclub featuring Tiesto? Check. Lazy river that had to evacuated because an adult pooped in it? Definitely check.

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After the constant chaos that was Vegas (I don’t think I could have told you whether it was day or night the entire time we were there), the North Rim of the Grand Canyon was music to our ears. Relaxed, uncrowded, and insanely beautiful, it was the perfect Vegas hangover cure. We sipped coffee on our porch rocking chairs, ate bison in the lodge restaurant, and hiked around the rim during our much too short visit. But hey, I saw the thing – life goal accomplished! And also took a thousand pictures, not that any of them did it justice…

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The Grand Canyon marked our last official stop on the GSGW trip, but that didn’t stop us from making a quick detour to Bryce Canyon, which my father had recommended. It was freaking amazing. Bright red rocks, charred trees, not a single person who actually spoke English – the place was a straight up Salvador Dali painting. The canyon is incredibly easy to hike into and you feel like you’ve entered some unwritten land from Lord of the Rings. We even got to see a rainbow over the canyon at sunset. Good call, Dad.

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The rest of the drive home was a blur of gas stations, sleeping in the car, and taking bird baths in Target restrooms. We had an especially memorable lunch at Runza, Nebraska’s exclusive fast food chain for farmers over 80, and listened to basically every This American Life and Radio Lab podcast produced in the last two years. A huge thanks to my great friend Kelly for letting us crash at her place in Rock Island on our last night! I can’t even imagine what we smelled like, but we couldn’t have asked for a better bookend to the trip.

That’s it for Goon Squad Goes West! More adventures coming soon. Like really soon.

Goon Squad Goes West: Part III

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After leaving the Oregon coast, we drove south from Coos Bay to San Francisco stopping at the Avenue of the Giants and (more importantly) In-N-Out Burger along the way. I knew we had reached California when I started seeing signs for “pet acupuncture” and we could pump our own gas again. And yes, Phantom Planet was blasted while cruising down the 101. 8th grade O.C. fantasy achieved.

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It was the gang’s last night all together so we made the best of it by cramming 5 people into a tiny hotel room above a dirty liquor store and brunching on huevos rancheros made by a dude with a coke nail the next morning. After dropping Oliver and Mario off at the airport, we made our way to our new pad in Haight-Ashbury.

A huge thank you to Padraig and Adrienne for hosting us at their beautiful home and shout out to Petit Man (our new cat friend) for taking care of Ian when he got sick…

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Ian fell in love with San Francisco immediately and will soon be publishing a book called “Lyft Drivers of the Bay Area”, which he researched thoroughly while we were in town. We did a tour of the local bars hitting the Tonga Room, The Latin American Club, and Magnolia, which were all equally awesome for completely different reasons.

And, of course, our drinking would not be complete without a day trip to Sonoma, where we sipped champagne masquerading as my parents and ate pizza in our hotel room between loads at the laundromat. Swanky.

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It was so lovely to see my good friends Sofia, Margot, Heather, and Meg and a big thanks to them for showing us around the city! I have a feeling this won’t be the last time we see you, San Francisco… Stay tuned!