Mediterranean Excursion

10 September 2003 » In Travel » Comments Off on Mediterranean Excursion

I had always wanted to see the Mediterranean, and I finally got my wish. Earlier this year, while still at FAST, I booked a 14 day Mediterranean Highlights tour with Contiki, a company that organizes and conducts tours all over the world for 18-35 year olds. The time I picked was the middle of July, and actually it worked out quite nicely with my relocation and change of jobs since I started at Yahoo! right after the vacation.

The tour started in Madrid, progressed through Barcelona, Avignon, Aix-en-Provence, Cannes, Nice, Monte Carlo, Florence, and ended in Rome. We traveled by bus and spent 1-2 days in each city with shorter stops along the way. We had about 50 people altogether, including the tour manager and the driver. I must say that our group was simply great – very friendly, funny, and affable people from many different countries: Australia, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, USA, and so on. We had a lot of fun on this trip and saw most of the famous sights, all of which is detailed in the pictures I took with my new Canon S45 camera. I would do it again in a second and recommend you try out one of these tours yourself.

MS Car 2003

07 September 2003 » In Funny » Comments Off on MS Car 2003

Full Disclosure mailing list had a posting by Bill Borton who made the best “What If Microsoft Made Cars” analogy that I have seen on the Net.

Nothing but books

02 September 2003 » In Books » 4 Comments

Jeremy is a fellow book nut. I love the smell of books, that distinct combination of wood pulp and ink that assaults you when you walk into a bookstore. Almost every weekend I head out to one and browse through the shelves, picking up books, thumbing through them, reading the first paragraph and a few in the middle, in hopes of finding a true gem. I also have a long reading list that I accumulated from various sources, but it should probably be revised. Sometimes I struggle with what book I should read next – there are so many and so little time. How do you figure out which one is worth spending your time on? Recommendations only go so far. I have literally thrown away some highly recommended books because I could not stand them, and at other times I could literally pick a random one up and go through it in one sitting. I would be interested to hear what approaches people have to organizing their reading list and how they discover new books.

Sweet and Lowdown / Y Tu Mamá También

25 August 2003 » In Movies, Reviews » 1 Comment

I found my unwatched Netflix movies while cleaning up after the move and watched them over the weekend. The first one is Sweet and Lowdown by Woody Allen, a fictionary biopic about the world’s “second-best guitar player”. Sean Penn, very good as usual, portrays Emmet Ray, a conflicted, arrogant, self-possessed, alcoholic man who nevertheless has an incredible talent. His strange hobbies of watching trains and shooting rats at the dump resonate throughout the film, as well as his obsession with Django Reinhardt, “that gypsy in France”, the only man he considers above himself in the art of guitar. The film has a sense of humor – it’s Allen, after all – and is punctuated by vignettes of present day jazz pundits delivering some “facts” on Emmet Ray. The film does not have much of a story arc, but the combination of Penn’s performance and the beautiful music heard throughout the film makes it memorable.

The second movie was Y Tu Mamá También, directed by Alfonso Cuarón. It is a tale of two teenagers who go on a road trip to an imaginary, non-existent beach they cooked up in order to lure their object of desire, Luisa – an older, married woman – along with them. The film shows incredible scenes of rural Mexico, contrasted against the opulence of the house where Tenoch, one of the teenagers, lives. One of the underlying themes, it seemed to me, was that of freedom: of actions, of openness, of living your life the way you want. Granted, there are a lot of sexual scenes in this movie, but they serve to enhance the interaction between Luisa, Tenoch, and Julio and bring out each one’s character into focus. The short, voiceover commentaries are perhaps my favorite feature of the film. Similar technique was used in Amelie to a good result.

Perfectionism?

21 August 2003 » In Photography, Travel » Comments Off on Perfectionism?

While on my trip to Europe this summer, I took something like 450 pictures with my digital camera. Not content to put them up as they are and loathe to use one of those one-button-does-it-all photo processing tools, I have been going through them one by one and cleaning them up: adjusting contrast, removing red-eye, doing a bit of touch-up work, etc. It is quite a slow process! I still have 50 or so to go before I can even begin to upload them. And then there is the matter of writing the travel journal from my notes and linking to the pictures…

First post!

20 August 2003 » In Tech, Work » 3 Comments

Apparently Google has recently added a couple of features to its search box. Namely, calculator and units conversion. When I noticed that I thought, “Damn, where did I see that before? That’s right, on AlltheWeb.com.” As far as I know, back in April or May, when I added these features to AlltheWeb, it was the first search engine to have those. Of course Google picked up the idea and made some things better, but for what it’s worth, we were first. 🙂

Back on track

10 August 2003 » In Bay Area, Travel, Work » 3 Comments

Only a short 6 weeks later.. Time flew by. I ended my relationship with Overture Services on July 3, saw fabulous Boston fireworks on July 4, and went to Bay Area with firm intentions of finding an apartment in the city. I must have walked a dozen miles around there, and I did find a couple of places in Marina and Telegraph Hill that matched my requiremenst and price range, but.. After thinking about how far I’d have to commute and discussing it with friends, I realized that I’d rather not spend 2-3 hours of my life each day on the train or in the car. Hence, I changed the search area to Mountain View and Palo Alto. There were lots of suitable apartments, they were cheaper, had better amenities, so the selection was a bit more than I could handle in my one remaining day. I had to fly back and depart on my vacation trip to Europe.

The trip lasted from 11th to 27th, and I had an unbelievably great time. Much more info and many pictures will be coming up shortly. One thing though.. Whilst on the trip, I went to check my email for the first time in a week or so. My inbox had a few messages with subject lines such as “Sweet irony” and “You could have just waited”, and I gathered without even reading them that Yahoo! bought Overture. So funny.

I have started in my position as a Technical Yahoo at Yahoo! on August 4 and spent a productive week setting up my machine and being introduced to the development practices. I did find an apartment in Mountain View that should be good for the next year or so. Mountain View is definitely not San Francisco, but it does have a livelish downtown, is close to work and other areas, such as Palo Alto downtown. If you are in the area, drop me an email and tell me about good places to visit for food and drink around here.

Common Man’s Gold

30 June 2003 » In Funny » 3 Comments

Coffee is the common man’s gold, and like gold, it brings to every person the feeling of luxury and nobility. — Sheik Abd-al-Kadir, In Praise of Coffee, 1587

I think this Dilbert cartoon paints a good picture of what would happen if coffee was removed from our lives.

Brrr. Yay!

26 June 2003 » In Other » 5 Comments

I just scanned in some older photos that I had lying around. One of them was of my car buried in the snow after a huge storm passed through. Just looking at it makes me happy that I’ll be moving to California soon and starting a new job at this place.

Burrrr. Eat. Oh!

25 June 2003 » In Food » 2 Comments

A friend of mine told me about Chipotle. They have great ads in the “Play” section of their website – highly entertaining. I wonder if their burritos are as good as the ones at Anna’s Taqueria here in Brookline. I guess I’ll have to try them when I’m out in San Francisco. Yum.

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