Dallas Day 4 – Street photography, Robots, and more!

Hello and welcome to my last post about our Dallas trip. I’m warning you, this is going to be a long post (and very pic heavy) but hang in there! I think it’s a pretty awesome story! :)

All right so where to start. On Tuesday we left off at the aquarium. From there, we headed to this amazing deli called eatZi’s for lunch. It was amazing! It is like a bakery, deli, and wine market all in one place. It was pretty much the place to go for lunch – they had prewrapped foods like sushi, sandwiches, and salads; they had a sandwich and salad counter where you could request the ingredients and they’d make it in front of you; they had a bread counter and a deli counter; and on and on and on… I was so happy in there. I think I would probably go there every week if I lived in Dallas. We each got epic sandwiches (mmm prosciutto…) and other things to share before heading to Klyde Warren Park, which is a park over a freeway, to eat our lunch. It was a fantastic day outside and everyone was out enjoying the sun. After lunch, Jem and I took our cameras for a walk through the park to work on some street photography. Here’s a pic of us in action…

After Kylde Warren Park, Jem and I wandered around the nearby neighborhood and I decided to play with my zoom lens a little. That’s where that crazy picture of Cobalt comes from. How this works – I set the shutter speed to pretty slow (tenths of a second instead of hundredths of a second) and then as I was taking the picture, I would zoom the zoom lens out or back in, creating this awesome blur effect. I think it looked particularly cool with people and cars so that’s what I’m showing you today…

My first attempt at playing with the zoom lens:

Jem taking a picture of me.

I like this picture a lot.

They turned out pretty cool, don’t you think? I think my favorite is the one of Cobalt up there. He decided that it will be the album art for any music he ever puts out… Wahahaha…

After street photography, Jem and I dropped our cameras off at her house and then Cobalt, A, Jem, and I headed out of Dallas to see the town that Cobalt grew up in (before his family moved to New Mexico)! It was so cool seeing Cobalt’s old house in his old neighborhood. We also got to drive past his old elementary school and church. It was neat. After taking Cobalt down memory lane, we stopped at Krispy Kreme donuts before heading back to Dallas.

Jem, A, and Potassium being odd

Back in Dallas, Jem took us to see her work. It was exciting. I met Jem because we used to work in the same lab together back when she was a graduate student. But now she’s all fancy with her PhD and works in a new lab in Dallas. I always like seeing other people’s labs just because it’s so interesting to me how the same basic procedures get done in different labs (sometimes they are surprisingly different…).

We continued our tour of Dallas by heading to Deep Ellum to see The Traveling Man, a series of three robot sculptures that pop up kind of out of nowhere by this train track. They are super neat so here come a bunch of pictures… Ready?!

Each robot sculpture is surrounded by these little adorable bird sculptures…

Of course Cobalt wanted a picture of him riding one.

This one, called Waiting on a Train, was my favorite.

Jem and I were both sad that we’d left our big cameras at her house and had to resort to our iPhones for pictures. I immediately downloaded a fisheye app for mine because I thought the robots would look neat with a fisheye lens (don’t happen to own that for the DSLR anyway…).

Cobalt and I got photobombed by this Waiting on a Train guy… It was awkward… :-/

This is the second sculpture, called Walking Tall (We kind of saw these out of order, I think Walking Tall is technically the last sculpture in the series) through the fisheye iPhone lens… I love how it turned out. Also, notice that in addition to the bird sculpture the robot is holding, there’s a real bird perched on his shoulder…

Here’s me and the Walking Tall robot as viewed on this bird’s head. I tried to make it look like he was holding my hand. Weren’t the clouds amazing that afternoon?

Another angle of the Walking Tall robot… I like this pic a lot too.

Finally, the last sculpture (but I think technically the first sculpture) is called Awakening. Also, notice that cool art on the wall behind the robot.

The Traveling Man is a really cool and inspiring series of sculptures. They are really close to each other too so I highly recommend that you check them out if you live in the area or ever choose to visit. Next time we visit Jem, I am definitely going to go back to visit my robot friends.

At this point, everyone was getting a little grumpy because the donut high was wearing off and we all realized how hungry we were. So we headed to The Alligator Cafe for some cajun/creole food. Holy crap, this food was amazing. Everything that we got we loved. I had been craving fried catfish the whole time we were there so I got the Catfish Ponchartrain which was seriously soooo good that I am drooling right now just thinking about it. Yum. Highly recommend this place too!

AFTER DINNER (I know what you’re thinking… there’s more?! Seriously, I told you Day 4 was a long day… remember that on top of all this stuff we went to the aquarium too… don’t worry… we’re almost done.), we met up with some of Jem’s friends at a bar called The Ginger Man. It was nice to meet Jem’s friends and see a little bit of Dallas at night. Hurrah. Also, A and I decided to play around with the fisheye app on my phone and we got this gem of her…

In the morning we got up early and A, Cobalt, and I loaded up the car before driving allllllll the way back to CO. It was kind of a sad drive because we all really enjoyed our trip to Dallas and then we had to go home! Things got epically boring in Kansas and we brought out the license plate game to keep entertained. Turns out that a lot of people from all over the country drive through Kansas!

Okay folks, it’s time to end this epic post about our epic trip to Dallas. I hope you all enjoyed reading it. And now it’s your turn… What was your favorite part of our trip? Is there anything you wished you could have heard more about? What are you doing this weekend? Something fun I hope? Tell me! Jem is actually coming to Boulder this weekend to visit (yay!!!) and Cobalt, A, our friends J, K, another A, and I are all running in a 5K called the Rave Run. I am normally super grumpy about running (I just hate hearing my inability to breathe while running so I only like it when it is connected to soccer or some other sport…) but the Rave Run seems right up my alley. It’s at night so there are going to be flashing lights and colors and music and glowy things… I will probably just dance the whole way through… :)

Dallas Day 4 – Sharks need food too!

Helllloooooo and welcome to today’s post on the last day of our trip in Dallas. We’re going to wrap up this series this week I think because there is a lot of exciting stuff going on right now that I want to talk about! So today will be about the Dallas aquarium and then later this week (Thursday or Friday) we’ll wrap up Day 4. Be warned, the entries this week will be picture heavy…

So let’s start at the top of Day 4. Cobalt, Jem, A, and I got up early because there was so much stuff that we wanted to get done! To start the day off, we headed to the Dallas World Aquarium because they feed the sharks at 11:30 am! Jem and I brought our cameras along and we had fun photographing all the aquatic animals!

So let’s take a look, shall we?

We got to the aquarium right after it opened so we got to witness the sloth being brought out to its tree. It immediately started climbing to its favorite spot which made for a pretty cool picture… :) PS – When you see a sloth do you think about Kristen Bell freaking out or is that just something I do?

I don’t think we had any pictures of monkeys from the zoo so let’s remedy that right now! Aquarium monkeys!

I like this one – the manatee swimming out of the shadows and crazy catfish hovering.

My MIL loves frogs so I always try to get a picture when I see one…

or two… I think this one is my favorite.

My sis in law loves penguins so I tried to get a pic for her. :) This one looks like he just got done with a swim!

These guys were fun to photograph. I was playing with manual focus on my camera and I love how this guy is just popping out of the side of the picture.

This picture is just beautiful. I love this guy.

These fish were creepy. Their angry eye-like spots were all you could see… I liked them because they look mad and grumpy creatures make me happy. I am not sure why. I just know that the rule is: if it’s fat, furry, grumpy, has sharp teeth, or wings (or any combination of those things), I will generally like it.

I think we’re at the shark part of the post. The sharks were swimming in this big tank with a glass tunnel underneath. You could stand in the tunnel and look up at the sharks or walk to the end of the aquarium and look down into the open shark tank. I had a lot of fun standing in the tunnel trying to capture the sharks through the glass…

One of my favorite things about taking pictures in the tunnel was that I could capture sharks and passerbys so that it looked like there wasn’t glass between them. In this picture, I especially like that the shark looks annoyed at that guy. He’s like WHO SAID YOU COULD TALK IN MY TUNNEL?!

The rays were also in the shark tank and they looked really cool too. I like this picture because I like the kid watching the ray. I wish I had made the depth of field better so that the ray was more in focus… oh well.

We did get to see the sharks get fed! The tunnel was packed with people but I managed to snap a few photos of this sawfish eating a squid. This little kid was pointing at the chomping the whole time so his hand is in all of my pictures… Oh well… at least you know what to look at!

The Dallas World Aquarium was really fun! They did a really good job making unique habitats for all the animals. It was like being whisked away into an exciting and magical world of all sorts of animals. Usually, I feel like it’s obvious that I am at an aquarium but for some reason this aquarium seemed more magical and exciting… I wished it could have been a bit bigger though… Though considering all the craziness planned in the rest of our day maybe it’s a good thing it wasn’t. Stay tuned!

In other news… wtf Boston?! I was horrified to hear the news yesterday (seriously… I was like a broken toy repeating “SO SCARY!” over and over again, ask my lab mates…). Plus I had friends running in the marathon. They’re okay but my heart goes out to everyone who was there/was affected by this tragedy. :(

Your turn – Do you have a favorite picture? Which pictures did you like better: zoo or aquarium? What is the best aquarium you have been to? I really like the Monterey Bay Aquarium but I have heard that the Shedd Aquarium is quite amazing. I am so excited to go one day. Also, what is the weather like there? I am so ready for spring. It has been snowing nonstop here. They even closed campus early yesterday (not like it matters for us grad students who practically live in the lab anyway though)!

Dallas Day 3 – Fort Worth and what followed

Hurrah! The rest of the zoo pictures are finally here! I hope you all enjoyed the rest of your week! I definitely did, though mine was crazy busy as usual… Probably my favorite part of this week was on Wednesday night a few people in my lab and I had a cookie party. Basically, every Thursday at 3, all the labs on our floor of our building have cookie hour. Each week, a different lab (or a professor) volunteers to bring cookies for everyone else. This week it was our turn so we ordered a few pizzas, opened a few bottles of wine, and set to work. We made: snickerdoodles, Mexican hot chocolate cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and these crazy brownie bites that I basically designed on the fly with chocolate chip cookies on the bottom, a Reeses peanut butter cup in the middle, and delicious brownie mix on top/to hold it all together. Everything turned out delicious and our cookie hour was definitely a success yesterday! Yay lab bonding!

Moving on… Back to Fort Worth for the conclusion of the zoo. I have some non bird animal pictures today (including that adorable elephant at the top) and then I’ll conclude with the rest of Day 3. Let’s go!

Animals at the Fort Worth Zoo

First another pic of that cute elephant up there. Dust bath continued…

Zebras! And a bird…

A giraffe happily sitting in the sun. I learned the other day that apparently the nerve that connects the giraffe’s voice box to its brain goes allllll the way down its neck, wraps around its heart, and then alllll the way back up its neck to its voice box. Craziness… what an odd creature!

So this was so cool… When we got to the lion’s cage, he started roaring! I’ve never seen a lion roar in real life before. It was kind of awesome… but also scary.

Another lion…

A shark at the zoo?! No way! Must be photographed…

I like this picture! I was taking pictures of this guy and then he started to turn and swim away from me so I got a picture of his snout under the water in focus and his head out of the water slightly out of focus. It makes for a bit of a creepy pic I think.

So this snake marks the point in the reptile/amphibian house where we got turned around because they were closing the zoo! Booo… but at least this picture turned out pretty neat!

That’s all folks. For more animals, you’ll just have to go visit the Fort Worth Zoo yourself! I highly recommend it if you’re going to be in the area.

So after the zoo closed on us, we made a trek to get some delicious Texan BBQ. C1 and C took A, Jem, Cobalt, and me to this smokehouse called The Woodshed Smokehouse. It was amazing. We got some delish Texan beer, wild boar sausages, and artichoke chips for starters. Then I got some goat tacos with some amazing tomatillo sauce and Mexican corn (yummmmmmm) and everyone else got such delicacies as ribs and wild game tamales. Mmmmm…. It was so happy. Plus the restaurant is right on the Trinity River so we sat outside on the patio and watched the river slowly go on by. Highly recommend this place if you like meat. After we finished our amazing dinner, we headed to this bar C1 and C had heard about and hung out there having desserts and (root) beer floats and chatting. It was a great end to a great day. Then we all had to say goodbye and Jem drove us back to Dallas… Once back at her place, we stayed up late planning our last epic day in Dallas. Watch out… it’s intense. We even got up early so that we could do even more stuff! I am not really sure how to break up this last day into blog posts so you’re going to have to wait until next week. One thing is for certain though – aquarium pictures. Tell me if you have a favorite fish!

Any fun plans for this weekend? I think I am going to get to go horseback riding on Sat and then I am going to a girls’ craft night on Sat night. Yay! I am super excited. Tell me what you are up to. How’s the weather there for you guys? Is it spring there yet? Boulder can’t decide… It snowed ALL day on Tuesday (like it was snowing when I went to sleep on Monday night and still snowing when I got up on Wednesday morning) and it was so ridiculously cold on Wednesday that my car windshield cracked :( but it’s supposed to be in the 60’s this weekend and then back to snowing next week… :-/

Okay, this post has gotten long. Bottom lines: tell me what fish (if any) you are excited about seeing next week, tell me what your plans are this weekend, tell me what the weather is like for you guys, AND a new question: tell me about the best restaurant you have ever been to while on vacation. What made it amazing? The food? the experience? the company? I want to know! :D

Dallas Day 3 – Fort Worth Zoo Birds

Hello and welcome to the first part of Dallas Day 3 – the day that was spent mostly in Fort Worth. I went through my zoo pictures and decided that there are a ridiculous amount of bird pictures so they get their own post…. Thursday (or Friday… life soooo busy…) will have the remainder of the animals/the rest of the Ft. Worth story. Yay!

First I want to draw your attention to that magnificent toucan on the top of my blog. I fell in love with him and we had a little photoshoot with him modeling and me clicking away. Seriously, Jem can probably tell you, I was saying “Yeah… yeah… now tilt your head a little to the left… aw yeah… perfect… work it!” :-/ Anyway, hurrah birds. I apologize in advance if you’re scared of birds but I hope that all the fun colors and poses of these birds will warm your heart anyway.

Let’s start at the top. We slept in again. Then A, Cobalt, Jem, and I all piled into Jem’s car to go to breakfast at this place called the Kozy Kitchen. For some reason, I can never remember the name – just that its name starts with a K…. Moving on. This restaurant had a lot of gluten free and organic organic options… but it also had a lot of tasty meat options as well. I got this epic omelet complete with venison sausage inside and Cobalt got buffalo tacos! Yum…

Once we enjoyed our amazing brunch, we headed to Fort Worth to go to the zoo with one of my best friends from high school C1 and her boyfriend C. C1 and I played trombone in band together throughout high school and she, the T (my maid of honor), and I were fairly inseparable during high school/band trips/etc. Much hilarity ensued…

Here’s C1 feeding a bird at the Forth Worth Zoo:

Anyway, so we went to the zoo! It was amazing! Definitely one of the best zoos I’ve been to in a long time. The animals had really neat habitats and the whole place was huge. We were there for three hours and we still didn’t get to see everything before the zoo closed (we got kicked out of the reptile house because they were trying to close it and we just wanted to see the lizards)! Epicness. It was also a perfectly warm day and we Coloradans were basking in our sandals and short sleeved shirts. Ahhhhhh…. so this is what spring feels like (for the record, we are supposed to get 6-10 inches of snow and “blizzard-like” conditions here today…). Anyway, enough babbling! Let’s see some birds!

The birds of the Forth Worth Zoo
We’ll start in the part where they let you go hang out with these little birds. We bought sticks with birdseed on them so we could feed the birds (like C1 is doing up there) but they seemed full – possibly because small children had been feeding them allllllll day… :-/ I was so excited about being so close to them that my birdseed stick went mostly uneaten as I ran around with my camera…

I like this guy because he’s looking at the camera… He looks a little wary of me. Not sure why seeing as I had a stick covered in birdseed in my hand…

This bird kept closing his eyes when I was trying to get his picture. :-/

I wish I had gotten these guys’ tails in the picture but I like that they are looking at the camera too.

After all the cute little birdseed stick fed birds, we moved on to the birds of prey which were scary/magnificent. Especially because many of them were being fed when we were there. :-/ This guy was kind enough to pose for a picture. I love how pointy his beak and claws are. Yikes!

Another picture of the toucan, just in case you didn’t believe that he is real (he looks fairly plastic in the first picture, I’ll give you that…). It was grooming time after he posed for that first picture.

This bird looked so shy with its beak hidden in its wing…

Yay penguins! These little guys looked so silly with their little ear tufts. I like them.

I love this picture because the tufty penguin looks like it is freaking out and the other two penguins are like “… awkward! We don’t know that guy…” Cracks me up! Look forward to more penguins next week from the Dallas World Aquarium!

Flamingos! These flamingos were not very pink but they did appear very fuzzy. I especially like the one scritching its back – its neck is so fluff…

This concludes your tour of the birds in the Fort Worth Zoo. There were of course many more so really you should just go visit and see them for yourself! Later this week – more animals and the rest of our day in Forth Worth. You still have time to tell me your favorite zoo animal and I’ll see if I have a good picture of it for you! :) In other news, tell me what you think about these birds? Any favorites? Anyone want to write some captions for the birds?

pH and Dallas Day 2

Some Dallas “wildlife”

I totally meant to write my second Dallas post for you guys this week but life went crazy in grad school. One of my labmates defended his thesis yesterday. This means he has his PhD now! And that I am now the senior grad student (not counting our MD/PhD student) in the lab… craziness… Because the defense is probably the most important part of actually getting a PhD (even more so than walking at graduation), my boss came all the way back from her sabbatical in France for his defense. This whole week reminded me of the two skills I think are the most important to learn in grad school: 1) that it is good to learn how to be independent, in control of your project, and manage your time well because after all, the whole point of getting your PhD is to learn how to answer a complex question that no one has ever asked before and 2) while skill 1) is important, it is also necessary to learn how to be flexible with your time because sometimes your cells don’t want to grow, the microscope is on the fritz, or your boss shows up from France after not seeing you for 3 months and wants to meet with you… at some point…

I had all these experiments or ideas of experiments planned this week and they mostly still happened except not exactly in the planned order. In addition, this was an epic week for defenses (my lab mate and one of my other friends here are now PhDs!) so after crazy days of trying to fit everything experimenty in and having exciting conversations with my boss, there was a lot of celebrating going on… I also had a random soccer game on Wednesday (they are usually on Sundays)… Whew… I am so excited for the weekend…

Anyway, as promised:

Dallas Day 2

After all the epic driving going on on Day 1, there was much sleeping in the morning of Day 2. Poor Jem still had to go to work so A, Cobalt, and I slept in and then got up to explore our surroundings a little. We took a leisurely stroll to this restaurant called the Dream Café and had amazing breakfast (it was lunch time though). I got these super fluffy amazing ricotta pancakes. I am not normally a huge pancake fan but I was really craving them and these hit the spot perfectly. Mmmmm… I want more! After our tasty breakfast, we wandered around downtown Dallas taking in the sights. It was pleasantly warm and there was so much neat stuff to see! I longed for my fatty DSLR camera instead of my little iPhone camera… Regardless, here are some pictures of our outing…

A and a dog she found…
A bird pretending not to watch us eat our delicious breakfast
Cobalt “walking on water”
Potassium and A being normal (that means weird)

 

In the evening, Cobalt and I drove to see some of his family members that live nearby. I pretty much instantly bonded with all of them and it turned out to be a really nice evening. We celebrated their youngest daughter’s birthday with pizza, wings, and deliciousssssss homemade cupcakes and I felt so special to be included. :)

Next week – Fun times at the Fort Worth Zoo and Fort Worth in general. For now it’s your turn. Tell me about your work – are there skills that you have had to develop to do your job better? Tell me about food – do you enjoy eating breakfast? What is your absolute favorite breakfast food (I love eggs, hash browns and some variety of meat but I don’t often order it because I eat it too fast to enjoy it… :p)? Any fun plans for the weekend? Any requests for animals next week?

In other news, I saw something cute yesterday: pH (which is a measure of how many hydrogen ions are in something)=2/3 PhD… so I guess I’m pH right now…

Dallas Day 1 – ROAD TRIP!

Fernando in the car. If you look closely at the steering wheel, you should be able to see Gustav…

We’re back from Dallas! It was an awesome trip full of good friends, tasty food, LOTS of photographs (I just uploaded 1.6 GB of photos from my DSLR and I have more on my iPhone…..), warmth, flip flop wearing, and a lot of driving. Yay. We did so much exploring my legs are sore from walking. Seriously, even when we drove somewhere, it was usually just to walk around more. Awesome. Anyway, it was apparently warm in Colorado the whole time we were in Dallas but now that we’re back, it’s decided to start snowing again… Thanks Colorado… :p

I am kind of in a picture coma right now because I get really overwhelmed with anything over 100 photos and I have ~700 from the DSLR alone so I have been doing a lot of sorting and trying to figure out how I want to present everything on here. Regardless of what I decide, the Dallas trip has earned its right to have multiple posts. We’ll start with a day to day summary (complete with pictures) and then maybe certain days will get extra posts because of the LARGE amount of photographs that accompany them. Are you excited? I am… I’ve already narrowed my ~700 pictures down to a “mere” 80…

Today’s post is primarily going to be about the first day of our trip but before we get there, I want to tell you my dear readers that you have a say in how the next few posts will go. We went to the Ft. Worth Zoo and the Dallas World Aquarium so if you have a favorite animal you’d like to see, leave me a comment and I’ll see if I have any pictures of it for you. :) In related news, I kind of had a camera love affair with a toucan at the zoo and the shark tank at the aquarium (who’s surprised about that one?) so they might be getting their own posts or at least large chunks of the zoo/aquarium posts. Yay!

Okay… let’s start at the top.

DAY 1

was mostly spent driving. I also spent a good chunk of it sneezing (thanks Colorado for another cold…). Cobalt and I picked up our friend A at 6:00 am and we rolled out of town around 6:15 am after a brief stop at Einstein’s Bagels for some tasty breakfast. Mmm…

We stopped in Burlington, Colorado for our first coffee/bathroom break. I used my fancy phone to tell us where a coffee shop was and it picked out this amazing local coffee shop. We ended up chatting with the barista for a while about farming and GMOs, etc and then she gave us a few sheets of monster and owl stickers that she uses to put over the lid of her coffee cups (the adhesive is non toxic!). She said they are very popular in town but that she wasn’t going to use those colors. Cobalt’s car is decorated with stickers now….

Then we entered Kansas and it took forever…….. Btw, shout out to my friend E if you’re reading this. We wanted to go see you but I think you live too far away from where we were… :( I made Cobalt look it up though just to make sure…

Potassium and A and their respective sharks (Gustav, Scrarmpl, and Fernando) at a rest stop in Kansas

Once we got to Oklahoma, we headed to OKC for dinner with our friend/Cobalt’s best man T. We ate at this restaurant called Nhinja which you should totally check out if you live in the OKC area and like sushi. It was tasty and kind of a neat little restaurant. Plus it was good to see T. Then we were back on the road for the last ~4 hours to Dallas….

Here’s where we started to go a little car crazy after spending so much time in the car… When we stopped next for gas, it was at this station that was across from a huge casino with all these bright lights and colors. A and I were mesmerized by the colors and lights and we dragged Cobalt across the street to the casino for our bathroom break. We thought it’d be funny to take a picture of us in the casino as if we actually went there to gamble (which we didn’t… we like our money thank you very much!). See below…

Warning: these people are CRAZY

After another hour or so of A and I giggling every 5 minutes and Cobalt trying to ignore us, we settled down into impatient waiting… Luckily it wasn’t too long until we reached Dallas and got to Jem’s house (around 11 pm)! We unpacked the car and then proceded to stay up until almost 1 am catching up with Jem before crashing into well earned sleep.

One other thing: my favorite conversation with a random lady in Oklahoma. We were washing our hands in a gas station bathroom and she turned to me and asked “What is it about driving that makes us look so tired and ragged?! We’re just sitting there…” Yes… it’s so true.

Now it’s your turn. When was the last crazy road trip you went on? Where did you go? How long were you in the car? Did you feel like you were going to go insane by the end?! Don’t forget to tell me what animals I should be posting in the coming posts (most likely next week)…