Sunday, November 20, 2005

and i'm off!

And at 3am in the morning, I start my journey. I'll be there in 36 hours! Yeah... it doesn't really take that long to fly to New Zealand, but I'm spending most of today in Los Angeles. Going to check out the Getty!

You'll probably hear from me again before I return. Check back?

Thursday, November 17, 2005


I just checked United's schedule for "entertainment." Allegedly I have to watch a movie about two 11-year-olds who fall in love. Please tell me this is some sort of joke...

Thankfully Qantas will bail me out with a slew of 6 movies on the trans-Pacific flight. I might even get 7 on the way back. That may be a new record for movies. Sure beats the super combo of Like Mike, Juwanna Man, The Tuxedo, Garfield, and (probably some movie with Jennifer Love Hewitt, basketball, kids, or all of the above) that I got to see on the flight from Chicago to Hong Kong.

2 more days


Apologies to everyone for being so busy. Grad school applications is incredibly time consuming. I need a vacation. :-)

Plans for when I come back? Aside from working my butt off, there's a NEOUPA/Web Association event the night that I get back. Heh heh... nothing like a night out to cure jet lag?

And I really need an MP3 player that has a 30 hour battery life or something. Not sure if I'll have any chance to charge up between my 7 hour transit to LA, the 3 hours on the bus in LA to the Getty Center, and the flight from LA to New Zealand. I'm really counting heavily on in-flight movies. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on the way to LA (oh wait... that's not the name of the movie... jerks...)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

i'm back!

I made it back! Nothing like driving 1400 miles in two days.

Yesterday I had the fun adventure of driving through Boston. Drove down stretches of the Jamaica Way and the VFW. Fun with rotarys. ;-)

So after about 22 hours on the road in the last two days (wow!), here are some of my observations:

From driving over the Appalachians:
Both types of drivers have a tendency to go slow up hills, and fast down hills. For trucks, I understand because the truck is heavy and full of stuff. Sure, it may be annoying, but they can't help it. Cars on the other hand, there is no excuse. There's nothing more annoying than some jackass who passes me down a hill going 90mph then crawls up the next one at 70mph. Pick a speed and stick with it. You'll get better gas mileage that way.

There is also the variant of people who slow down when passing people. Yes, you heard me right. No, it doesn't make a lot of sense. Usually what ends up happening is the cars just sit side by side for a few miles before some other event breaks up the stalemate (usually other traffic). Note this people, to pass, you must go faster than the other car. If you slow down, that defeats the purpose.

From driving at night:
High beams. Some people just don't understand how to use them. Specifically, some people leave them on ALL THE TIME! Thanks for trying to blind me.

From passing 99% of the cars on the road:
People respond differently to faster traffic. The ones who have good road awareness stick to the right when not passing and move over when they see someone coming up from behind them. I thank these people. They make my life a lot easier. On the other hand, there are those who hang out in the passing lane thinking that they are the speed king. Often, this isn't the case. If they move over, that's still cool. If they don't then I'll have to be a jerk and pass them on the right.

The nastier variant are those who get in a position to pass, but then sit there, leaving about 5 car lengths between them and the car they are in position to pass (note that they aren't passing). Here, I'd typically hold up and start the countdown, waiting for them to see me and move over like a gentleman. If they don't take the noble way out, I'll be forced to pass on the right and slip over in front of their slow self to get in front of their ill-conceived roadblock. Not the nicest thing to do, but I gave them a way out.

Once I did this, complete with a full suite of turn signals (as always... ;-). Apparently the guy had no idea what was going on (missed me sitting behind him, missed me passing him, missed my turn signal), honked at me, and tried chaging me down. Yeah. Thanks. You should have sped up before. Plus you wouldn't have thought I was cutting you off if you were actually paying attention to driving.

From being on a road full of trucks:
Trucks have a certain driving etiquette that makes them generally predictable and courteous. They generally stick to the right (90%+) and they often even wait for cars to pass first, knowing they accellerate slower. Another things that I've noticed is that when a truck has passed another truck, the slower truck signals with their high beams when it's clear to move back to the right lane. The passing truck often responds by flashing the hazard lights briefly or flashing the lights (low beams) to acknowledge. If only regular drivers had such training.

Connecticut - decent number of cops. Not sure what they were doing.
New York - One cop in the median with lights out. Not sure if it was really a cop.
Pennsylvania - No cops anywhere to be found.
Ohio - Typical cop hanging out near Lordstown. No cops at the highway patrol ramp or by SR44.
Massachusetts - As far as I could tell, people just went as fast as traffic permitted. No cops.

Random sight of note:
On I-84 in New York I had the pleasure of seeing a Target truck pass a Wal-Mart truck. Yeah. Take that, Wal-Mart!

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Quick post.

Good name: Bar Mitzvah
For a bar in a Jewish neighborhood (like Squirrel Hill, the Heights area in Cleveland). Or for a celebration for someone like Laz passing the Bar exam. Laz, I'm disappointed that we didn't take up this opportunity.

Bad name: Seaman brand Clam Chowder
Just say it a few times. It just sounds wrong.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

one more state down?

For those who don't know, I've been working towards the goal of hitting all 50 states. I've made good progress, thanks to a few road trips with my parents, but I'm still short a few.

I just realized that this weekend I'll be checking another state off the list: Rhode Island. No, I'm not stopping, but I'll be driving across the entire state Monday morning. Woo!

Maybe I'll visit Mark in the spring and cross off Delaware too. Those small states are tough to come by! Luckily, I have managed to get some difficult ones out of the way already, such as Alaska and Hawaii. ;-)

States left:
North Dakota
New Mexico*

The ones with asterisks I've come within 50 miles of, but still managed to miss.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

sprained ankle month

Yep. It happened again. I twisted my ankle. Unlike last November (or was it two years ago), I can still walk. We'll see if I can keep it up tomorrow. As long as it doesn't jeopardize my tramping abilities....

tramping - Kiwi term for hiking

Monday, November 07, 2005


It's been a while since my last update, but fear not. I'm not laying down the pen (er... keyboard) after doing this for a year. I'll keep it going... keep it fresh.

The short of it is that I've been busy. Went to DC last weekend to visit Darin. This weekend I'm heading over to Chicago and New England. No, not because they're not close to each other. More like that's my last weekend (eek!) here for a while, so I have to cram everything in. Yes, I need to be in these places. No joke.

After that, I'll be off on my merry ways exploring new continents. Literally. :-)

2005 Capsule:
2/21: Ellicotville, NY
3/18 - 3/21: Alexandria, VA
4/16 - 4/17: Pittsburgh, PA
6/26 - 7/1: Montreal, Quebec
7/1: Seattle, WA
7/2 - 7/3: Vancouver, BC
7/3: Victoria, BC
7/4 - 7/5: Olympic NP, WA
7/6: Mt. Rainier NP, WA
7/7 - 7/9: Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean
7/9 - 7/17: Japan (Hiroshima, Miyajima, Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, Kiso Valley, Kyoto, Nara, Himeji)
7/30: Niagara Falls, ON; Toronto, ON
9/24 - 9/26: Boston, MA
9/27: Hanover, NH
10/6: Durham, NC
11/4 - 11/6: Alexandria, VA
11/10 - 11/12: Chicago, IL
11/13 - 11/14: Somewhere in New England
11/20 - 11/22: Somewhere over the Pacific
11/22 - 12/2-ish: New Zealand ("ish" from the International Date-line... and my Alzheimer's)
12/2-ish - 12/12: Australia
12/13: Christchurch, NZ

The rest of the time I was in Northeast Ohio or en route to someplace.