Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Afternoon walk

So on my first day of work this semester, I decided to take a long walk through the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. I went with "S", and it was really nice. I can't believe I have never done this before. It is a really nice place. On Tuesdays it is free, but it was pretty empty. There were mostly people from the neighborhood - Crown Heights, and a few others.

There were lots of interesting plants. There was a whole section with medicinal plants, and a whole garden dedicated to the plants mentioned in Shakespeare's plays. There was an exhibit of fragrant plants there too.

It is a fun place. You should go.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Yesterday "L" and I spent the day trying to make a battery out of lemons and limes. We failed. We were able to get enough voltage out the fruits, but apparently not enough current. Any thoughts on what went wrong?

We wired them in series and managed at one point to get the voltmeter to read over 3. At that point we tried to hook it up to an LED which worked with 3 volts worth of Duracell, and got nothing.

We tried wiring them in parallel too but that got us nowhere either.

I know, it sounds like a seventh-grade science experiment, but we plan on working our way up to bigger and better things. We were hoping that starting with the basics - power sources - we would gain insight in to the higher up things.

This is very frustrating when this doesn't work.

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Al Franken Show

This morning I woke up with the Sundance Channel on, and today's Al Franken Show was just starting. (Yeah, pretty sure it's the same one that that "borrowed" $875,000 from some charities) I have never seen this show, so I thought I should watch it all the way through, and so I did. It is one of those radio shows that they put on TV for some reason. So the show is just watching Al and his co-host and their guest talk with headphones on.

(By the way, the show's site for today has people who wern't there and doesn't have people who are. They need to get their act together.)

The first thing that one notices about the show is that it is not funny. One would think that Al Franken fancies himself a comedian and that his job is to keep coming up with clever witty and funny retorts and jokes. But no, there was nothing at all funny about the show. It was all done in the serious tone reserved for most of the NPR programming.

Franken's co-host was also pretty much superfluous. Like Robin, on the Howard Stern Show, her function is to interject a stupid sounding laugh every now and then when Al Franken says something.

Turns out too that Al Franken is a real prick. I'll explain in a moment. I wouldn't ever want to work with him.

He had a few guests on the show. Now, honestly, the guests carried the show. I was very-very-impressed with the quality of the guests. It is not that the Al Franken show can't attract good guests, but these people were all judiciously chosen, and they are probably the only people in the world that give left-wingers whatever good name they still have amongst the same people in the country.

Perhaps I caught an anomalous episode, because it was so strange, but here is what happened.

First there was Al Franken blabbing uselessly about Pat Robertson on Hugo Chavez. It was Rush Limbaugh quality blathering. It was worthless.

Then he had the mayor of Salt Lake City, Rocky Anderson. He is a liberal mayor of a pretty strongly Republican state. It is obvious why when he speaks. He was an extremely reasonable man, it seems. He is probably what I like to think I would sound like if I was anti-war. Frankly, I think he an I would actually agree about most things about the war except the fact that I think it should have happened and he doesn't. He wanted support for troops and veterans, and more honesty and forthrightness from the White House. All very reasonable stuff. He wanted to reconcile with the White House, but only after receiving a bit more candor. Who can blame him?

Then this dude Michael O'Hanlon from the Brookings Institution, who spoke nicely about what he sees as some of the problems with the new Iraqi constitution. Again, quite a reasonable guy. He spoke about the problem with the possibility of the Sunni becomiming more and more dissatisfies as they will eventually become de facto disenfranchised because of the inpending division of the future oil revenue.

Malcom Gladwell, author of Blink and The Tipping Point spoke about a piece he wrote for the New Yorker on health care. He was OK. I think he missed a bit in his analysis, but it was a fine enough discussion anyway.

Finally, and this is what screwed up the whole episode, they booked this political psychic, Accuro: The Radio Psychic. First of all this guy was so psychic he came two hours late to the studio because he couldn't find it. The entire show, by the way was full of Al Franken getting annoyed that the guy wasn't there. He also got really snappish at his staff and repeatedly blamed Gabby. I think she is the producer. It was awful. Turns out he just was on the wrong side of Manhattan, and couldn't read the address he scribbled down on his paper, and turned his cell phone off.

When he finally got there Al Franken couldn't not stop drilling him about why he was late. He did not get to talk about anything else. At some point he predicted the 2036 election, as if anyone cares, and he was magnanimous enough to secretly write down the electoral college results of the upcoming election, which he didn't know the date for. It was the dumbest thing I ever saw. Why a show that purports to be s serious political show books a psychic, I don't know, and why Franken couldn't get past the fact that he got lost, I also don't know. Moreover, he actually didn't tell us anything. So I am not even sure what he was doing there in the first place. It was ridiculous.

That is my take on today's Al Franken show. I am not sure what more to say. They had some good guests, but I pretty sure I learned absolutely nothing new from it. I did not get to hear anything worth hearing, and it wasted my time. Perhaps O'Hanlon was informative. That's about it.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

It Figures

Just as Lance Armstrong, the darling of the trendy-lefty bright yellow bracelet thingies is seen hanging out with George Bush the Media resurfaces with allegations of drug abuse.

There is a lesson here folks. I am just not sure what it is.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Bret Easton Ellis

Bret Easton Ellis has been a favorite author of mine since I read his controversial American Psycho when it came out in 1991. I also really liked his Glamorama. He just came out with a new book, Lunar Park which looks pretty good.

Tonight, and also last Wednesday, I went to hear him. Tonight he spoke at Coliseum Books and on Wednesday at Barnes and Noble at Union Square. I actually missed his reading at Barnes and Noble.

Anyway between the two times I saw him I had him sign four of my books. One was signed to a person very dear to me, who unfortunately is fictional.

He is very interesting to hear. He is interesting in that he has so little to say. It is almost as if he is trying to say "just read the damned book and enjoy it". He claims to have no insight in to people, no idea how he gets these ideas, nothing deep in the narrative. . . One is inclined to want to side with him though since he does write some pretty good books.

(The pic is by Whistling in the Dark, is currently unavailable)

T-shirts in Union Square

Tonight I was passing through Union Square and there was this guy selling all sorts of T-shirts. One of them was a Hitler/Bush shirt with a caption that read Same Shit, Different Asshole. He also had a T-shirt that said "Capitalism breeds poverty". when I asked him how much it was he said it was seventeen dollars, so I called him a greedy capitalist bastard. Then he launches in to a tirade about how Diesel charges $50 and how hard it is to make a living doing this.

First, I think that he just misssed the irony.

Second, if he stopped selling T-shirts with pictures of Hitler, he might stand a chance of making a better living.

What a dumb bastard.

It's times like this that I second-guess my willingness to die defending this SOB's freedom of speeech.

(Oh, and speaking of sick T-shirts. . . )

Sunday, August 21, 2005

My new role model

Not only has she never read a book in her life, Posh Spice apparently has not yet read her own autobiography.

Of course, you've got to wonder what makes it an autobiography now.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

T"U B'Av

Today Jews celebrate the holiday of T"U B'Av. Well, that is not entirely true. Some Jews celebrate it. It is one of the more marginalized holidays.

T"U B'Av is a holiday that is mentioned in the Mishna (the early part of the Talmud) as one of the two most important days of the year, the other being Yom Kippur.

It is a holiday that commemorates a number of events, most notably it celebrates certain women's right to marry men outside their tribe. Jews were once made of 12 tribes, and there were some odd regulations about who can marry whom. There were some technical reasons in some cases, and the other was because of some nasty incident by some people of the Tribe of Benjamin, involving a concubine, a rape, a murder, dismemberment, violations of postal regulations, and gross inhospitality. After a while these events were forgotten about and the punishments were lifted, and everyone was able to marry anyone they wanted. Hence the celebration.

According to the Talmud, on this day, women would borrow clothing from other women who were in socioeconomic classes lower than them, unless they were on the bottom, then they would borrow up, and go out dancing with the express purpose of snagging a husband. They were supposed to be very tempting and seductive. Nowadays most Orthodox Jews do not consider the early Rabbis of the Talmud to have been sufficiently religious or pious, so they gasp in horror and embarrassment when confronted with such immodest practices.

Somehow we abandoned this practice.

Christians revived it for themselves and called it Valentine's Day and moved it to February 14. In Israel it is celebrated as "Yom Ahava" or "Chag Ahava". It is a secular Valentine's day. And, although it is not as popular as it is here, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Israel too.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Tonight at Housing Works

I went with nyreads to our third concert this summer at housing works. I was bored to tears this time. There were three acts: First was Sonya Kitchell. OK, she wasn't so bad. She has a lot of maturing to do, but I see some talent and potential. Then came Blondfire, who was pretty dull. She had a good vioce, but I was half asleep most of the time. The main act was Charlie Sexton who frankly sucked. Some of the songs sounded like he made them up that morning, and his playing was rather ordinary. I was very disapointed.

Brooklyn Cyclones

I just came back from the Brooklyn Cyclones game. They won in the 11th. 4-3! Go Brooklyn! I went with "L" and "S" and my nephew M.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Gaza Pullout

My mother's parents grew up in a small town in Czechoslovakia. She had been in the town under three or four governments. It was Czech, Hungarian, Romainan, now Ukranian, or whatever. It was like that for political reasons that my grandparents did not understand. Prior to World War II, they just lived under whichever government happened to control the region. It was fine with them.

Clearly that sort of thing would not work in Gaza. Why you ask? That is a good question.

The answer is obvious. Actually, it is obvious to me. I'll bet it is obvious to most people. It is just a matter of political correctness not to give the answer in public. So I won't. I'll let you figure it out.

But I want to know, amid all the punditry on TV, why have I not heard that question. Now when talking to Israelis, Palestinians, or Americans. No one wants to publically say the answer.

Just like no one wants to utter the words "ethnic cleansing" with reference to Gaza. That is what is going on, but no one wants to say it. Mind you, I have nothing against most cases of non-violent ethnic cleansing, and neither does most of the world, but it seems so impolitic to say it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Fringe Festival

Tonight I went with nyreads to see Elements of Style, part of The New York International Fringe Festival.

Oddly enough, I actually enjoyed it (more than nyreads, I think).

Basically it was a one-woman show about a copy editor for some of Conde Nast's magazines. The actress plays a number of roles where she is ostensibly trying to go through the interview process for a number of people for the job of copyeditor. She waxes poetic about the virtues of the emdash and the comma while giving us a good picture of what it is like to work for these publications.

The set was simple and there was even some audience participation, though I didn't get to participate. I think the acting needs some polish, but it was cute and there was enough humor to make it worth the trip.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Aristocrats

Douglas Hofstadter is like a god to many of us geeks. He inspired a generation of people to pursue such intellectual fields as artificial intelligence, computer science, cognitive science, logic, philsophy and much more. Mostly it was his Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid that made many of us devotees. But another one of his great books was Le Ton Beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language. The book essentially takes a short poem ("Ma Mignonne") of Clement Marot and gets dozens of differnt people (and machines) to tranlate it from French to English, and weaves it in to a very long (600 large pages!) discussion on the nature of language. This is of course simplifying the book, but you get the idea. It is a wonderful book.

Now imagine that instead of having an obscure poem and famous (and not so famous) literary snobs to the translating, you have an obscure joke - a filthy disgusting obscure joke. Then you have about 100 filthy and disgusting famous comedians retell the joke their own way, and then you put weave it all together in what resembles a documentary film about this joke. You get a really good film.

The Aristocrats is an "in" joke among comedians that has apparently been around since the days of vaudeville. There is no authorative version, and everyone tells it their own way. Like translations, the version you hear reflects the writer as much as anything else.

It is really a vile joke, and it is not funny. Those are the only two constants that all the versions have, but watching it get told over and over, interspersed between discussion of it becomes very funny. No two comedians have the same version. And it is something that they all know. If you do not mind hearing a very gross joke get told over and over and over, go see it.

Cindy Sheehan and the media spectacle

I was in my parents' home yesterday and the news was on and there was a story about Cindy Sheehan. Cindy Sheehan lost her son in Iraq and now wants to talk to President Bush.

The first thing that one has to realize is that you really can't be too angry at a woman who lost her son in war. She deserves our sympathy. Everyone knows this, but she and her new Michael Moore-like friends are exploiting this. They are exploiting her, and they are exploiting her dead son. I am sure her son, who signed up for the Army would be humiliated if he knew what his mother is doing.

I frankly find moveon.org, and the other organizations who are using this woman dispicable. Let her mourn in peace. It disgraces her son's death to have him used like this. Nothing good will come of it other than giving Bush-haters more of a platform.

While we were watching the news, I announced, in the presence of my parents and sister-in-law that should I die in Iraq, I would appreciate them not geting up on TV and becoming spectacles. I was met with a rather stony silence. I guess that was not such a good thing to say to my mother. (My chances of dying are generally pretty low in the event I do get sent to Iraq.)But seriously, If I die, just say on TV what a loss my death is to humanity and all that sort of good stuff. Don't make it a political thing.

Gaza pullout and Strategic protesting

I am very much in favor of the Gaza pullout, but on the other hand I am very much in favor of protesting it as well. Remember, in cases like this protesting can be (what we game theorists call) strategic.

Sharon's goal is not to pull out. It is to pull out as a concession to the other sides (whomever that may be) so that he gets something in return. The more difficult it appears that it is for Sharon to pull out - because of resistance from within his own camp - the more he looks like he is giving up for the sake of peace or whatever.

The best way to support Sharon, it would reson is to let Sharon do his job and protest it. As a politician it is clear that he couldn't care less about protests (which politician does?), but it appears as if he is taking these bold, politically dangerous, and very generous steps. Next time he is asked to make a concession, he can point to the last time and show how difficult it was for him as an Israeli and a politician to conceede anything, and try to get more out of the deal.

The Palestinians are doing the same thing, only they are playing with live ammo. By showing that accepting only Gaza they are barely satisfying anyone - to the point that they can barely control the terrorist groups, it shows the world how much of a mere drop in the bucket is compared to what they really want.

I guess that that moral of the story is that if you like Israel, wear orange. If people ask for your personal politics, tell them what you really think.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Ecology and the Military

Here is an interesting and important lesson for ecologists that I'll bet you won't hear Greenpeace talking about. (Or this.)

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Ameriquest sponsors Rolling Stones

So I really don't get this. First why would the Rolling Stones need sponsors? I can't imagine that selling sell-out performances for like $100 a ticket can't cover their expenses and net them a hefty profit? They need sponsors too? How greedy can these hippies be?

But I am OK with greed. It's the American way. Sell out, make money, and act self-righteous.

Apparently it is the British way too.

But this Amriquest, the famous mortgage company obviously tried to capitalize on this "America" theme with its name is now sponsoring the band who is lately famous for insulting the US government.

Again, I am OK with dissent, it is also part of the Amrican way. Come to the US (from England or wherever) make money, sell out, insult the country that let you make all this money, as well as the people who put the government in to place, and act self-righteous.

As little as I like all of this, it is the US and I'll deal. But I got to say, I am glad I had the freedom to choose where my mortgage came from. And I am glad it isn't Ameriquest. I hope they lower the interest rate, you loosers!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

My take on a lot of News this past week

Hassidic Jews apparently have nothing on Saudi Wahabists when it comes to segregating the sexes. Fortunately there are Saudis who are learning how to fight back. Perhaps Hassidic Jews can learn something from all this.

I am certain that I mentioned this to friends a while ago, but apparently two people have now done it. Two straight guys get married for tax benefits. Well straight men and women have been doing it forever. (If I had a nickel for everysoldier I know who got married the day before he entered the Army so he can collect "separation pay", or people who get married on Dec 31 to grab tax benefits for the year. . . ) The moral of the story: abolish tax benefits for married people. Then only people who really love each other will get married. Better yet, abolish civil marriage all together. Why is it the government's business who is shtuping whom? Isn't marraige really a religion's job? Where is the ACLU when you need them? I want my Church and State apart here!

Apparently the state of Oregon is prosecuting for such horrible crimes as wedgies. While I agree that this behavior ought to be criminalized, are we not overprotecting our children? What is this kid (the victim) going to do when he gets in to the real world and has to fend for himself and the law and his mommy are not there to help him. I would never let any kid of mine grow up in a way that shields them from everything he is going to experience as an adult.

Same goes for many cases of sexual harassment. While I applaud the nod toward equality, I can't believe that a man sued for sexual harassment because he felt bullied by some female nurses who said things like "boys are icky" or something like that.

I don't want to sound cruel, but people in Niger will continue to starve until they learn that they cannot have more children than they can feed. The reason why many countries are poor is because the West supports them to the point where everyone lives on just enough to have many more children and get supported by us. I realize that their current condition was caused by a natural disaster (mostly locusts), but it is massively compounded by the fact that they did not have anything to start with, and have more people then they normally know how to feed. Birth control is an integral part of poverty control.

Why are reporters allowed special privlidges with respect to anonymity of their sources. Perhaps we should allow everyone those same rights? Free press is simply the right to take any piece of information you legally acquired and put it in to print. It does not grant you some special immunity from testifying. Why would people think it does? Plenty of reporters managed to get their job done without shielding anonymous sources. And if they can't? So what. There is no constitutional protection making sure that you can do every aspect of your job properly all the time in all cases.

Now that there are products that essentially let you easily choose the sex of your child or at least let you know in time to abort what the sex is, we are going to be in trouble. While I have no real objection to this on moral grounds, it seems like it can be dangerous. Nature does a good job of keeping things random. In China when people did this, and aborted female babies, they are left with millions of males who will never have girlfriends, wives, or sex. This product should be legal, but used with extreme caution.

Apparently, the mainstream media's ignoring of this is a bigger story than the actual scandal, but apparently "Air America" "borrowed" $875,000 from real charities to pay rich people like Al Franken to stay on the air. Them liberals sure know how to stick together, no? Now there are boys and girls clubs who have to wait for their money, while bitching about rich republicans not giving them enough in the first place.

This fucking guy. Let's return his foreskin, kick him out, and call it a day.

Apparently Harry Potter is pretty popular with Gitmo prisoners. I hope we don't start mishandling those. If we flush a copy down the toilet or something God-knows who will start bitching. Also, it seems like these freakish religious loonies were not supposed to read stuff about religious magic and all that. Of course I think we ought to flood Iraq and the rest of the Arab world with copies in Arabic. It might make them chill out a bit more.

Why do we care if some athlete uses steroids? If it is bad for him then he'll suffer, not me. I'll enjoy watching a good game. Let them all use it. A better game for me to watch. Maybe they should have two leagues, like with the XFL and their more liberal rules, where they allow steroids in one and not the other.

Peter Jennings dies. I never really liked him much anyway. Mainstream media is the problem. His death ought to be a metaphor for the big media giants.

Kant and Armstrong

That is Immanuel Kant and Lance Armstrong. I think that Kant would not be pleased seeing all these people walking around with "Live Strong" bracelets. I assume Kant would say that all these people's charity would have no moral worth as it was given to get a bracelet, and not really for giving charity. After all, how many people would have given charity if it were not for getting the bracelet? For Kant, you see, your motive is very important.

And it should be obvious why motives are important. If you think you are giving money to the KKK, and by accident you addressed your check to the Starving Children in Nebraska Fund, you are still a prick, even though your money went for a good purpose. That is because you intended you money to go to a bad place. So what you intend really does matter.

Of course in our case the money still seems to go to charity, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to be trendy and wear a bright bracelet, but Kant would have a problem looking at it as a good moral act.

Of course, on a deeper level, one might want to say that the bracelets are not worn to be trendy, but rather as an attempt to psychologyically coerce others to give to charity. After all, everyone knows that people aren't very bright, and they tend to just want to do what other people do, so if everyone openly claims (by wearing the bracelet) that they gave money to a charitable organization, and thus gets others to do it, then perhaps some moral worth can be salvaged from this after all. But not for most people.

Mill, I assume, would ask if the money could have been spent elsewhere in a better way. He would also ask if the money going to the Chinese who make the bracelets is actually helping or hurting the people of China. He would ask if the bracelets are good or bad for the environment. He would want to know if the money is going to somehwere that has any hope of helping people who have cancer. He would ask what value we put on the coolness factor of having the bracelets. He would also ask how much better people feel when they make fun of people who wear the bracelet. He would ask how good it feels to condescend to people who don't. Then he would try to add up all of that in terms of how much it helps and hurts humanity. If it helps more than it hurts, then he would look at it as a good thing. If it is discovered that in the long run humanity is actually harmed by them, then he would find it bad.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


I spent the morning on the beach here in Miami beach. Lovely place, though pretty dull without the beach. I leave for the airport in about a half hour. Can't wait to be back in NY.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Rest of time in Venezuela

On Friday night "LT" and I went to a club where we had a real good time doing stuff that guys do at clubs. It was fun.

Saturday we went to go see some of the stuff in the main capital square in Caracas. It was a busy square like many others. There were lots of obnoxious vendors. We saw this museum of really kitschy South-American Jesus stuff. We saw what must have been the Abu-Ghraib of the Venezuelan Church of a few hundred years ago. (Some torture chamber in the main Chapel.)

There were lots of book vendors selling these cheesy books on alternative medicine, sandwiched between Spanish translations of Mein Kampf and Michael Moore's Estúpidos hombres blancos.

There was a big truck in the square that the police kept filling up over the course of the day with what must have been drunks and political dissidents.

At night we went to see the movie Kung-fu Hustle. It is in Chinese and it was subtitled in to Spanish. So I understood nothing. But it was still quite a bit of fun. It was actually an enjoyable movie.

Then, we went to the only open bar in Venezuela. Sunday was election day, and so by law the bars could not be open the night before. Apparently they wanted everyone not to be hung-over when they voted. As if that is what keeps people from voting. So we found an illegally open bar and went with 10 of our newest friends and drank a lot and danced till about 3 in the morning. Needless to say I was not awake enough the next day to go vote. I understand they might not have let me anyway. So I am glad I broke that law.

Sunday, after the locals voted, "LT" our Hostess, her daughter, and I drove about 2 hours to their beach-place. We went to the beach and spent Sunday night there and came back on Monday. On the beach we ate fish that must have been caught about an hour beforehand. It was pretty good.

Monday we got home and then "LT" and I went to buy gifts for our hostess and her family. This morning, we took a plane to Miami, where we are now. We should be flying back to NY tomorrow evening.

The Caracas airport is very third world. There are a bunch of taxes they spring on you at the airport, and like 12 lines you have to stand on, only about 3 of which are actually necessary. It was like the airport was designed by a pre-literate people. (Actually, it might have been.)

On the airplane "LT" and I managed to score bulkhead seats with lots of legroom. On the seats next to us was this guy who made sure he didn't go 10 minutes without offering me some of the Jack Daniels from the bottle in his knapsack. There was also an anesthesiologist from Ecuador. Neither spoke English very well, but we managed just fine.

A few observations about Venezuela.

The Venezuelans are very proud of their women. If you are having a conversation with any local and they know you are a visitor it is inevitably less than three minutes before they rhetorically ask you what you think of the women. You are supposed to make a very approving gesture. They will next point out that they have had five Miss Universe winners.

Venezuelan women try very hard to look good. Many even succeed. You can really tell that many try really hard.

A good chunk of the country blame everything on Chavez. He is the current president. Apparently he has been squandering the countries oil wealth on crap. He started by publicly killing some of the opposition, and releasing a good chunk of prisoners and using them as thugs for his party - MVR. If you are poor and a member of his party, you will somehow find a job. If you have ever voiced any opposition, by say, signing a petition or something like that, you get blacklisted from lots of jobs, especially in medicine, academia and government. Under Chavez, according to the people I have spoken to, crime rose, the economy went bad, and the country is getting run to the ground.

Apparently Hugo Chavez fancies himself the reincarnation of Simon Bolivar, the famed liberator of most of South American from colonialism. Chavez renamed everything in the country after Bolivar, including the currency, the airports, etc. ALL the coins have the exact same face of Bolivar on them. It's a bit dull.

The socialist worker's dream has not yet been realized.

There is a good chunk of anti-American sentiment around, but I was pretty shielded from it. It was on TV, radio and other public media.

The country would benefit greatly if we airlifted some common sense in to the place.

They have some pretty good food here. The satandard arrepas and other stuff is pretty good. Though, some of the restaraunts would never pass a health inspection in the US.

It is amazing how poorly the water facilities and the sewage in the country work. Most toilets are not very good. Toilet paper has a rough time time. Water pressure in showers is not up to what your average American is used to.

Finally, I am now pretty certain that Spanish is not a real language. I understood about 30% of what was going on around me. I had exactly zero minutes of Spanish lessons in my life. How did I manage to get things? It is weird.

Friday, August 05, 2005

In Caracas

Yesterday me, "LT" and our hostess (a friend of "LT") climbed a mountain, I think was called Altamera. It was a good climb. There were all sorts of locals there doing it too. Apparently it is an activity here, groups of friends, couples, old people, and kids.

At night first we wenty out for some Chinese food, then we went with a bunch of people out to Las Mercedes (the fancy neighborhood), and to some nice night spot and drank - alot. We then went out for arrepas and more local beer.

My Spanish is improving.

Today we went to the shopping center, and to the capitol, and some famous chapel. We ate in some Italian restaraunt for lunch, and are getting ready for dinner now.

Remind me to talk about the politics here later.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Arrived safely

I arrived here in Caracas safe and sound. I have yet to see much of the place, so I am withoolding judgement. There is a lot of stuff here. People say all sorts of funny things. I think I already saw the seedy district and a political demonstration.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Apparently in Miami there is

Apparently in Miami there is absolutely zero presumption that someone speaks English.

All is well here in

All is well here in Miami international airport. my flight to venezuela leaves in an hour.


I am taking my only real vacation of the summer tomorrow. I'm off to Venezuela for a week. Just to relax. Nothing else.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Google gematria

Did anyone ever notice that gematria for google is 42?