Monday, December 31, 2007

the confetti from lifshitz's hair after new year's

hello from santiago!

Yo. This is the first of an unknown number of updates from the trip. I finally got around to finding out the Wi-Fi password at our hotel, so I'm rocking the phone.

Anyway, it's New Year's Eve. Tonight we'll be heading downtown for the countdown and fireworks. Earlier today we went to a winery (Concha y Toro) for a tour. It was quite the adventure. We got to take the metro to the outskirts of the city, where we were supposed to catch a bus. However, it wasn't as straightforward as that - it wasn't clear where the bus stop was or exactly which one to take. After using my Spanish skills and talking to a few people, we found the right bus to take.

It was an interesting ride. We actually took a minibus, not a big bus. When we were boarding some guy came on board with us to sell ice cream. Later, someone came on and played guitar for the rest of the trip. He was actually pretty good!

The wine tour was also great. Great tour (delivered in Spanish, which I understood 80% of) and also partially in English because the guide knew we didn't really know Spanish. And great wine too!

So we've been here about two days and I feel like I'm settling in - getting bus tickets in Spanish and everything. Tomorrow we'll go on a hike to get a look of the city. We already did this day one, but we didn't have our cameras (because it was really supposed to be a run, that ended up being a three hour walk). We'll take photos. After that, we take a bus and head over to Mendoza, Argentina!

riding the subway in Santiago

Saturday, December 29, 2007

hello from hotlanta!

Friday, December 28, 2007

and i'm off

Heading to bed. With any luck, you'll be getting the occasional post and photo from while I'm away in South America. If no updates here, check here.

Quick Itinerary:
Santiago, Chile - for the New Year!
Mendoza, Argentina - any Malbec fans out there?
San Rafael, Argentina - chill at a friend's mom's B&B
Buenos Aires, Argentina - perhaps hop across to Uraguay for S&G's?
El Calafate, Argentina - My second Glacier National Park. Still haven't made it to the one in the US.
Parque Torres del Paine, Chile - badass hikes
Puerto Natales, Chile - because we couldn't find lodging in the park all nights
Punta Arenas, Chile - Penguins?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

three weeks of clothes

Looks like I have room for boots!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

thanks, jerks

My hard drive on my desktop is running out of space, so I'm cleaning house. I'm a bit surprised at some of the culprits:

  • Google Talk
    Apparently the archive of auto updates isn't cleared out. Saved a good 20MB or so.

  • Apple iPod, iTunes
    I saw over 100MB of updaters laying dormant in my Program Files folder. Uninstalled. Result? 1.1GB released. I have no idea where the hell that came from, but that ain't right! UPDATE: Just found another half gig of old iTunes and iPod updaters in Windows\Downloaded Installations. Thanks again, jerks.

  • Java Updates
    About half a gig of old versions chillin' in Program Files. Unfortunately I need to restart for changes to take effect. Saved about a quarter gig. I'll take it.

stupid photo of the day


I continue to bore with talk about my phone... but then again, it is novel to have my iPod crash, right? I've had Safari bail on me a few times so far, but this is the first time the music player threw up chunks. That said, I still haven't had to reboot this thing yet, which is quite an accomplishment considering I would have to reboot my Blackjack every few days.

Last weird use was listen to music while using the timer (I was making dinner) while using the calculator... Then my mom called. Handled gracefully. I still like to think about how my Blackjack was stuck in an endless loop of ringing one time when I got a call while doing e-mail. I had to take the battery out. T'was amusing though.

So I'm back in New Haven. I should be packing... or planning. I'll get to that after food.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

merry christmas, from a chinese restaurant

more about my phone usage

So over the past week I've gotten incredibly adept at killing my phone's battery almost at will over the course of a few hours. And no, it hasn't been from me calling tons of people to keep in touch - it's been through liberal web browsing and music listening.

Yep, it's a new phone. Allegedly it has much better battery life than the Samsung Blackjack that I was hang before, but I guess I'm using it a lot more. For example, I'm using it right now to write this blog entry while sitting in bed listening to it play music. So although I guess it has terrible battery life as a phone, I could look at it as a laptop that's incredibly portable that also has decent battery life. After all, that's how I am using it, right?

And yes, there are definitely some quirks. Like how I can check e-mail in landscape mode, how it doesn't know how to automatically insert the apostrophe in "it's" when appropriate, etc. But then again, I'm using it for obscene things like this (which I never would have done with my Blackjack) so I suppose it's definitely good enough. But then again, I did find a few easily correctable usability flaws regarding consistency... Yeah, I'd rather it be perfect. (-:

And Merry Christmas! Let's go eat some Chinese food!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

more good times in cleveland

Heading over to Tommy's for dinner tonight. I'll be having the kick-ass banana milkshake with real banana and either a spinach pie or a meat pie. No, not as tasty as the meat pies down in New Zealand, but good in its own way.

Bonus activity was helping my dad fix the toilet... just like old times. We don't need no stinkin' plumber! Just like we don't need no stinkin' mechanic! Plan for tomorrow morning: change the oxygen sensor and check the rear brakes... and probably rotate some tires. I'll save the oil change for when the engine is a little warmer - so the oil will actually flow out.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Just testing photo-blogging from the phone.

update from cleveland

Back in Cleveland:
Cleveland as I remember it in the winter. A few inches of snow, salt everywhere. Yup. So far this break has been a bit different, but it's also been a good break so far. I've been able to meet up with a bunch of people at work, have found excuses to drive around all my old 'hoods, met up with the Wongs, and even had breakfast at the Inn on Coventry for the first time (and now I feel like I missed out by not going there during the 2+ years I lived a 10 minute walk away).

I'm actually pretty happy to see that I still know my way around all sorts of weird side streets in Cleveland Hts and East Cleveland. Yes, I know my way around East Cleveland - the trick is to avoid Euclid Ave because the lights on that road are totally screwed up. I just hate being in the middle of one of the worst neighborhoods in the U.S. sitting at an intersection for several minutes while the lights are red for both streets. Yes, it's that amazing. I was surprised to find that they barricaded Coit. I used to cut through there to get to E 152nd. No, not smart. It's dark, goes under a bridge, and literally every house on it is boarded up. I suppose that's their way of dealing with crime - putting in a few dead potted plants in the middle of the road.

I also got to drive around my old haunts in Willoughby. Yeah, I've lived there too. Went to my trusty Murray's on Vine and also did the regular weekend drive from place to my parents' place.

In case you didn't notice, I like to reminisce and have attachment to some pretty weird things - like roads... and inanimate objects... like my car or my eraser. Anyway... that's another deeper more boring discussion, perhaps never to be had. OK... I will talk about the roads. I drive a lot. I've driven on a lot of roads. There are also certain roads that are really familar (the road to DC, the road to Pittsburgh, the road to Toronto, the road to New Haven) that I've drove a lot on and I realize that I'll probably never drive on those roads again (unless I move back to the east coast - hah!). For example, my drive back to New Haven in a few days will probably be the last time I'll ever drive that insanely boring stretch of I-80 in Pennsylvania (featuring the spot near the highest point on I-80 east of the Mississippi where I had a bathroom emergency on the side of the road in the snow (-; ). In June I'll probably do the drive from DC to Cleveland for the final time, and perhaps also the final drive from Pittsburgh to Cleveland and Toronto to Cleveland.

That said, I'm got plenty of new roads to explore out in the Northwest - ones with much more rewarding scenery. It's also a great excuse to drive across the country for a third time in my trust 1993 Honda Accord. It's at a youthful 177k miles. I'm changing the oil, checking the left-rear brake clip, and probably changing the oxygen sensor (no more cheap-ass Bosch crap!) on Sunday. Good times. I was going to write about something else...

Site of the Day:
Let's face it. I can be anal. What's better than a site that makes it easier to be both anal and a cheap bastard? Before Yale SOM, I used to keep detailed track of my expenses - not that I really spent money on anything. Since then, I've found I haven't found the effort to do this. This site makes it a bit easier - mostly through good placement. I can enter stuff from my iPhone (yes... I've got one... just like everyone else and their mom) as well as from my iGoogle page. Yes, I continue to do competitive intelligence for Microsoft!

Challenge of the day:
Can someone figure out the lyrics to Conner's song Window Shopping? You can listen to it here: Great album, btw.

And one final question: What kind of break is this? I have lunch appointments every day, I'm still doing Student Government stuff, I'm knee deep in trip planning, and also doing Technology Club stuff... oh... and a Winter Break Social tonight. I suppose I am getting sleep though - and I am enjoying. A week or two of doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING would be nice though. Maybe later... for now if I get two weeks I'm still traveling. What's for Spring Break?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

you know who you are

Who I message, and who messages me back. Data from the billing period covering November, 2007.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

turn off the lights

Just swapped in a CFL bulb. 12W instead of 60W. At $1, it will pay for itself in about 4 weeks (3 hours use daily, 25 cents per kWh... electricity is expensive here).

It wouldn't matter so much if people just turned off the lights like they are supposed to.

Monday, December 10, 2007


I've been thinking about whether or not I should go ahead and buy an iPod Touch or an iPhone. iPhone because I think it has an awesome browser, but at the same time it's heavier than my current phone (Samsung Blackjack) and probably won't be as good for texting since it doesn't have a full QWERTY keypad (complete with tactile feedback). So what about an iPod Touch? Well, it still has the great browser, which would be fantastic for travel, but I also realize that it would be nonsensical to carry that and my phone with me whenever I'm not traveling. No, I don't use my iPod much.

Speaking of, my iPod mini, purchased over 3 years ago in 2004 is still running like a champ. Haven't recharged this thing in over a week. Plus it's been running on empty for the last hour. Yes, I did change the battery, but still great for a technology perspective.

Some other perspectives:
1) My iPod mini is over three years old
2) My iPod mini has come with me to Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Morocco, Costa Rica, and Canada. We have driven across the country three times (four if you count Cleveland to New Orleans).
3) I have owned this iPod for over 1/8th of my life.
4) I have known this iPod twice as long as I have known anyone here at Yale SOM! (ouch!)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

spam continues to impress me

After reading Scott's hilarious blog entry about funny spam subject lines, I decided to check my spam folder to see what wonders lay within. After finding some amusing subject lines of my own (such as "Make your dik the envy of all your dudes in year 2008!"), I came across an interesting piece of spam that I suspect makes use of facebook or some other social networking site.

Why do I say this? The spam included the names of two people that I knew. The spam was sent from an account with the name Hande, which isn't really a common name. The subject line also had the name Manisha, also not the most common name (though admittedly more common than Hande).

So what were they trying to sell me? I have no idea. YOU tell ME.

Try no sometimes both form enough sea ways. Name to far or too good never white of do. Three go again very his as times only.

Few few why came hear way what hard because set. Him most sentence water last then. Thought now so need of because below.

Three and began of sometimes enough why some. Means animals together called off often with animals near told. Do look land father. Them of life them land many himself come.

Try no sometimes both form enough sea ways.
Name to far or too good never white of do.
Three go again very his as times only.

Few few why came hear way what hard because set.
Him most sentence water last then.
Thought now so need of because below.

Three and began of sometimes enough why some.
Means animals together called off often with animals near told.
Do look land father.
Them of life them land many himself come.