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|Thursday, January 1st, 2037|
|Thursday, March 6th, 2014|
|Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
Text message I sent to Alice at 5:16pm on January 3rd:
"I'm in love with Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. What an amazing, serene, beautiful bird paradise."
I had a leisurely day leaving south Florida going to St. Augustine for the evening, so I decided to stop on the way at this place I knew almost nothing about except where it was and that it was probably a good place to see birds. Got there only an hour and a half before sunset, picked a path, and soon saw this:
In the foreground are glossy ibis, and behind them are mostly northern pintail ducks, with a few gadwalls and blue winged teals and maybe other species. Sorry about the wind noise - it was breezy but not enough that I thought of how much it would affect my camera's microphone; in real life I was hearing lots of bird calls, and in the video they're mostly drowned out :(
Everything I saw there was in just that one hour and a half, driving one loop road and hiking just the first 1/4 mile or so of two trails. Never more than a few minutes until the next exciting bird sighting. This was ( my favorite thing I sawCollapse )
And this video is a collage
of various other moments from my brief time there.
Next time I'll go for a whole day, or several. Hike all the trails, and just sit down some places for a long time watching. I could've spent the whole hour and a half just sitting by that lake of ibis and pintails if I'd had more time.
|Tuesday, February 18th, 2014|
|Visits to Colorado
... five years pass ...
... almost five years ...
Most of those visits were to the northern part of the front range cities. I did go to Colorado Springs once, Estes Park once, a few drives through Rocky Mountain National Park and I-70 and Grand Junction, but Denver/Boulder/Fort Collins were my most frequented places. In fact, I don't think I missed Boulder on any one of those trips.
Eight visits in five and a half years was enough to become familiar with the area and develop friendships and have favorite venues and restaurants and more. Then a five year gap. So much changed! Socially, and in the city, and people's lives.
|Thursday, February 13th, 2014|
|Monday, January 27th, 2014|
|More LiveJournals to read
My friend elfy
posted this international friending post
while I was at Arisia a week ago, Now that I've mostly caught up on LJ, I'll share this link a week late.
Are you looking for a few more journals to read?
Is your friendslist never active enough for you?
Would you enjoy reading the journal of some more nice people from all over the world?
Then this post is for you!
(elfy is in Germany, and it seems like people responding are about 50/50 Germans and Americans so far)
|Friday, January 10th, 2014|
|sleep meme variant
Catching up on (some of) the LiveJournal I missed during a 16 day trip over new years, I saw a bunch of people post the "where did I sleep" meme: a list of cities or towns where they spent one or more nights last year. I've never done this one before, so I'll do 3 years at once. Partly out of laziness, because each of the past three years I've gone on a trip over new years, so doing the last 3 years together means I don't have to try to figure out which part of each trip was before or after December 31st :)( The list, lj-cut for being 67 linesCollapse )
Roughly in order of when I thought of them as I mentally reviewed the past three years; not chronological, but obviously clustered by mental association. Also since this is from memory, maybe I accidentally forgot a couple of places, and maybe I accidentally put in a place that was actually from more than 3 years ago, but I don't think so.
A bit surprised that I haven't spent any nights in either New Hampshire or Maine for over three years! Less surprised that I haven't been to Southern California or Colorado in that long, though that's a big change too. But I'm about to remedy one of those with a trip to Colorado next month.
|Tuesday, December 24th, 2013|
|Stores and bushes
So far on this road trip, I've gone to some stores in Storrs (CT), and seen a row of flattened bushes on Flatbush Ave (NY). What's next?
And what've you encountered that's like that?
|Saturday, December 21st, 2013|
|NYC on Monday?
I have half a day to spare on Monday on the way from central Connecticut to Philadelphia, so I am probably going to stop in New York. If you're in NYC and have free time Monday morning/midday/early afternoon and want to get together, ping me.
|Monday, December 9th, 2013|
|Bathroom renovation ideas/warnings
I'm having the bathroom in my house redone soon.
One thing I worry about is the possibility of failing to specify or ask for things I may have always taken for granted, so they don't occur to me. I know what I'd like to gain
, but I may not be aware of all the things I don't want to lose
Like ten years ago when I got a car that didn't have map pockets on the backs of the seats, which I'd always depended on - I liked being able to store a few large atlases and laminated maps behind the passenger seat, and be able to easily reach for them when stopped at a light. It simply hadn't occurred to me that some cars may not have those. Or when I got some house windows replaced, and ended up with windows that don't have metal bars or little tabs near the bottom such that you can push them up from below to open. I'd simply taken for granted the ability to open a window next to my bed a crack while lying down, and it had never occurred to me that anyone might make a window you have to be standing up to open, so it wasn't something I asked about or looked for. I saw the windows before I agreed to have them, and just didn't notice that critical detail.
So, what am I not noticing about bathrooms? Any ideas?
|Friday, December 6th, 2013|
|Nexus 5 or Moto X?
I'm going to replace my Galaxy Nexus, and keep the T-Mobile service I currently have. Given that, do you have an opinion on whether the Moto X or Nexus 5 is better, and why
Reviews mostly seem to have a hard time choosing one over the other. What I care about:
* Battery life. Reviews are also confused about that, some say the Moto X has longer battery life and some say the Nexus 5.
* Being able to use the unlocked phone internationally (I won't get a locked phone).
* Good, non-jittery GPS that's good enough for navigation/Waze (this is one place the Galaxy Nexus fails very badly)
* Non-laggy app performance
* Easy to read display mainly for maps - but as long as it's not worse than the Galaxy Nexus, I'll like the display.
What I don't care about:
* Rooting. I don't plan to do that.
* Streaming music. I mainly use my iPad to carry music & podcasts around, for the car or for flights. No phone battery is good enough for this use, IMO; iPads last forever.
Edit: Thanks ckd
, for bits of helpful info. I ended up choosing Moto X. My main reasons were longer battery life and a smaller more comfortable to hold phone, though I've heard that I'll also really like the "active notifications", and that the camera is much faster.
|Tuesday, November 19th, 2013|
|Serendipity in Seoul: Youth Orchestra of Caracas
My last two days in Korea, I spent on my own in Seoul. estheruth
left on Sunday afternoon to go home and start her workweek the next morning. She had taken me around one palace, and told me where to find another palace, near city hall, so I wandered over there later in the afternoon. $1 admission, and a free museum on the grounds.
No museum for me, though, because it was closed for renovations. The palace buildings were beautiful, and sunset was approaching, when I heard lots of musical instruments being warmed up or practiced, so I went over to see what was going on. People in suits, large numbers of children dressed formally and carrying violins and trombones and cellos and clarinets, rows of chairs being set up in a space between two palace buildings. I could see a stage being prepared but that area was cordoned off and I couldn't tell if this was a public event; the palace grounds were supposed to close at sunset, less than an hour away.
After going to see more of the palace grounds and buildings, I came back around to where the musicians were and noticed lots of people were sitting or standing on the stairs and raised floor behind the chairs, with nobody checking tickets or anything of the sort. I also noticed some people with shirts labeled "Youth Orchestra of Caracas".
Venezuela has a national government-sponsored system over over 100 youth orchestras, something they've been doing since the 1970s. These orchestras tour the world, with the large majority of their members kids from very poor backgrounds. The system pays for their musical education and their touring, and in many cases the government buys their instruments for them. When they play a show in a foreign country, they usually incorporate local musicians, and a local youth orchestra.
I'd never seen a Venezuelan youth orchestra. At first I just waited around out of curiosity to see what the show was going to be like, before I went to find dinner (I was hungry). Then they started, and I stayed for the two hour show, and wished it wasn't ending when it did.
P.S. I got one more video: Here's them covering a West Side Story tune
|Monday, November 11th, 2013|
|Fictional flora and fauna
Add something to this world?
- chardvark, a leafy-green insect eater
- crêprevine, grown for its edible thin pancakelike fruit
- great danish, a large canine often filled with cheese and topped with fruit
- plexigrass, a transparent, heat-resistant grass
* Chardvark contributed by Alice Zelman; great danish from April Wells
|Thursday, October 31st, 2013|
|Congrescritter Call: Abolish the NSA
Every couple of weeks, why not make a call to your US Senators and Representative and ask the to abolish the NSA?
It's unlikely to happen, I know, though it would be a good thing to do. But if legislators took the idea of abolishing the NSA as under discussion - even if they don't expect it to happen - it would shift public perception to make other, less drastic but still reasonable changes more likely.
You can find your Senators' and Representative's phone numbers at whoismyrepresentative.com
, by putting in your ZIP code. Call their DC numbers, the ones with 202 area codes.
P.S. Why do I think asking to abolish it as not just a way to move the politics, but also a good idea? Having such a secretive organization that routinely disobeys laws and lies about it as long as they can get away with lying, because they expect not to get caught because of their secrecy, makes them nearly entirely outside of democratic government. As they grow bigger and more powerful, more and more our government is no longer under the authority of democracy. Other agencies, such as the FBI and CIA and military, show they're perfectly capable of investigating crimes, undercover work, collecting intelligence, and so on, while still working under democratic authority; something like the NSA is clearly not needed. While the NSA does some useful work, that work would be much more useful if moved to more appropriate agencies. For example, we'd get much greater public benefit from their cryptography work if it was moved to NIST and/or the NSF. Some of their functions - and people - could be moved into the CIA and FBI.
|Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013|
Today between 3pm and 5pm, I went through security and immigration/passport control and boraded flights at two different aiports.
Incheon Airport near Seoul is efficient and conveniently laid out. My train to the airport arrived at 3:45pm on Tuesday, October 22nd. 35 minutes later, at 4:20pm, I was seated on the plane. We took off at 5:15pm.
We landed at Dallas/Fort Worth and got off the plane at 3:20pm on Tuesday, October 22nd - 25 minutes earlier than I'd arrived at Incheon by train. It took me until 4:45pm to get to my gate for the connecting flight to Boston - 25 minutes later than the time I had actually been seated on the plane at Incheon.
Shortly after takeoff from Seoul, they served dinner, around 6pm. Or maybe it was late lunch? The sun set while I was eating it, but we got another, smaller meal around 11pm. I took a nap from ~11:30 - ~1:30am and the sun rose while I was sleeping. We got a third meal, "breakfast", at 4am... and then we landed an hour later at 5:15am. Except that it was 3:15pm all of a sudden.
|Monday, October 21st, 2013|
Hadas was less excited about the temples in Kyoto than I was. She liked them okay, but to her they were mainly pleasant ways to kill time while waiting to become less full, so we could have another meal :)
Wednesday night, after arrival: A Japanese restaurant recommended to us by Kahori, the woman who runs the place we were staying at. Unfortunately I don't know its name, though I could point to it on a map. I don't know if it had a name in English. It had a good variety of Japanese food types and everything was great! My favorite, and one of my favorite dishes from the whole visit, was a simple tomato salad - just tomato slices on greens with dressing and a couple of things on the side. But so good!
Thursday breakfast: We told Kahori we wanted Japanese style breakfast and she directed us to a local set-menu fast food ish breakfast place. Rice with egg, salad with dressing, tofu, tamago, things of that sort. Hadas got the breakfast with natto, but I already knew I didn't want natto so I got one without :)
Thursday lunch: We wanted to get ramen at the place dr_memory
and M had recommended, but Fushimi Inari-taisha took a long time and we got to the ramen place in the afternoon to find they take a 3 hour afternoon break. Nearby we found a little local hole in the wall katsu place that was quite excellent. We especially liked some of the appetizers you get for free before your order arrives, including an eggplant thing, and pickled rakkyo.
Thursday dinner: We walked up and down the street of restaurants in Gion near the river, looked at lots of them, and picked a place offering kushikatsu
, which turns out to be a Japanese parallel to tapas, with everything served on a stick. Quail eggs, fried chicken, green peppers stuffed with minced meat, salmon with cheese and truffle... amazing stuff.
Friday breakfast: We walked down the main road and picked a place similar to the breakfast places we'd eaten at the day before, but instead of ordering a set menu breakfast we got some of their lunch items. Noodles and katsu curry and side dishes.
Friday lunch: This time we planned appropriately and got to Karako ramen restaurant early enough to eat there. For the first time in my life I got ramen at a restaurant and thought it tasted exactly like what I imagined ramen would taste like. Now I know that feeling of "this is good but not quite what I think it ought to be" that I get at all the places I've tried in the US is not a delusion :)
Friday dinner: Kahori made a reservation for us at a reservation-required sushi place she really likes, Tomi Sushi, and gave us a map and coupon for it. We tried various kinds of fish I'd never seen before at a sushi restaurant. I like bonito, and I can't remember the name of the other one (a bit more unusual) that I really liked. Their toro sushi was amazing! Super soft!
Saturday morning: We had to leave early to get the train to the airport, so we had to eat airport food. Alas.
P.S. I highly recommend Guest Inn Chita
if you visit Kyoto. It's a hostel-style inn but you can get private rooms. It's really nice, has a big common room and stocked kitchen, very spacious couples' shower/bathroom, good location, but the best think is Kahori who runs the place. She speaks very good English, is friendly and enthusiastic, and so helpful it's like having a concierge service at a good hotel. When we arrived late the first night and asked for a food recommendation she called the place for us to see if it was still open, and until when. She gave us maps and circled spots on them. As noted above, she made a reservation for us for dinner one night. ... and it's quite cheap!
|Monday, October 14th, 2013|
Taking a taxi here is very cheap, so it's closer to being a form of public transit than I'm used to. Today a ~25min ride on mostly highways (fast road swith occasional traffic lights) cost the equivalent of about $15. However, they don't do street addresses - you have to tell them the name of a landmark or place they know, like a major intersection or well known store or church or station.
Today we went out to the main street near our hotel and caught a cab, and I told the driver the name of the place we wanted to go. He thought for a moment and then shook his hand no no no. I said the name again, and he refused again, so we gave up, puzzled. Immediately behind him a second taxi had stopped, so I walked over to that one and said the name of the same place to the driver. He thought for a moment, said yes, and we got in.
When we got to the place, just where it was on my map, I started to give him money but then he saw something at the entry booth that I didn't catch (probably a sign I couldn't understand?) and motioned us to wait a moment while he went up and talked to the person there. He determined the thing we wanted to see had been moved to a different location, so we got back in and he took us to the new location - which turned out to be much further way.
It was a good trip, to Jeju Stone Park as it turned out, but cabs are kinda different here.
Edit: ( We also had a weird experience with the bus...Collapse )
|Friday, October 4th, 2013|
|Korea and Kyoto
On Tuesday I'm going to Korea for two weeks, with a 2.5-day trip to Kyoto in there. Visiting estheruth
who lives in the far south of Korea, and my cousin Hadas is joining me from Israel for Kyoto and about half the Korea time. May get to see japlady
in Seoul as well. Korea will include Seoul, Mokpo, Jeju, and probably some other place (Gwangju maybe?). Got any tips about Kyoto or Korea, or favorite things in either place, or people you know who I might want to meet? Or people I know and don't realize are there?
|Monday, September 30th, 2013|
Today, I received in the mail from Apple: My AppleCare confirmation and booklet for the iPad I purchased two years ago. It says AppleCare begins on Oct 30, 2011, and coverage expires on Oct 27, 2013.
|Thursday, September 12th, 2013|
|Come to Fresh Grass, Sep 20-22
I'm going to the Fesh Grass
festival at MassMoCA
, my favorite art museum, the weekend after this one. Sep 20-22, North Adams MA, in the Berkshires.
- Alison Brown, multigenre amazing banjo player/tunewriter, one of my favorite musicians of all time
- Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, on their last tour before retirement for good
- Edgar Meyer, a god of the upright bass, playing with Mike Marshall
- Sarah Jarosz, a classmate of Valerie's from NEC
- Sam Bush, Darol Anger, the Gibson Brothers, Bill Evans, Del McCoury, the Deadly Gentlemen, ...
Anyone else wanna come out for the weekend or for a day?
|Thursday, September 5th, 2013|
I had two separate things break on two separate email servers of mine, which conspired together to cause any email sent to any of my personal addresses to be lost starting around 1am eastern time last night. I put a workaround in at about 11am this morning so I won't lost more emails until the main server is back up. But if you sent me anything between around 1am and 11am eastern time today, it's probably lost. If you still have a copy, please send it to me again.