April 2008 Archives

Happy Blue Screen To Me

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bsod.jpg

This is what my PC looked like first thing this morning. Woo-Hoo! Fortunately, no long-term damage. Between this and the nasty head/sinus/throat misery I've been experiencing the past day or so, I'd say this is a banner way to start my 39th year on this planet.

Grillin'

It was snowing this weekend. In late April. After one month of travel to Mexico and India where it was typically 90-95 degrees. And so it is with great pleasure that today, on the second to last day of April, I'm able to break out the grill for dinner. Not even all that cold: somewhere around 60. Some new potatoes, some veggies, a little teriyaki pork. Fantastic. What a great way to finish up the day.

Awesome

Been "on the road" for better than 20 hours now, from Bangalore to Frankfurt to Chicago. The last leg of the journey, the quick hop from O'Hare to Minneapolis-St.Paul turns out to be delayed by about an hour. Hmm. I wonder why?

msp_weather.jpg

Excellent. Nothing like weaving around a few thunderstorms on the way home. Actually, on the way out to India, two weeks ago, our flight into Chicago was delayed for identical reasons.

Update: yawn. For all the talk, even from the flight crew, about keeping buckled "for safety reasons" and cutting short beverage service and all that, the flight was smooth as silk.

Obscene

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Wow. For the past five years, Exxon Mobil has been the most profitable company in America. For 2007, their $40 billion in profit was just about as much as the #2 (GE) and #3 (Chevron) companies combined. At least three years running they've also set a record for the highest-ever annual profit.

But, hey! Did you hear? We'll all be getting $600 in the mail soon!

Actually, given what I've been hearing about the prices at the pumps, I'd bet much of that will ultimately end up generating $50 billion in profits for 2008. The discrepancy between a disastrous housing market, near-record jobless rates, an economy in a tailspin and record profits from Exxon is mind-numbingly ridiculous.

The Dadiator

Don't know which is more impressive: the home-made workout, or the seven kids. Although writing numbers on the foreheads to keep track of weights is genius.

Iron Man News

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According to this trusted news source, Paramount will be adapting the much-loved "Iron Man" trailer into a full-length feature film later this summer. Sounds like they're keeping the original cast (thankfully), but I hope they won't screw it up.

Butterfly

Will try to carve out some time to write a bit more about the trip, but wanted to post this photo (and maybe a few others later) that I took today while visiting the Bangalore Bannerghatta Zoo. This was in an impressive butterfly park, adjacent to the main zoo.

butterfly.jpg

WSWAS

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An important, essential discussion.

Batman had a much more tragic childhood (watching your parents die is infinitely worse than hearing your biological parents died without ever having met them), his crimefighting style is based more on intelligence and planning that Superman's brute force, and he's actually kicked the living shit out of Superman at least twice. Batman exhibits more moral maturity than Superman: Superman always upholds the status quo, but in Year One Batman goes on a crusade against Gotham's corrupt elite. Batman is a detective, a scientist, a master of disguise, and a martial arts expert; Superman is a burly asshole in a red cape with big muscles.

Via Kottke.

Panoramic Experiments

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Speaking of views, here are a couple that I snapped on vacation, tripod-less, hoping to later stitch together (tried AutoStitch for these) the images to create a panoramic view. There are some shots that deserve to have a greater sense of scale than a single photo can provide.

The first -- stitched together from 3 photos -- is the view from the deck out across the resort we stayed at this year. Kiddie pool is just below us, followed by some nice landscaping, then the pool bar, and finally the beach and ocean.

deck_view.jpg

The second -- stitched together from seven photos -- is the view from the resort's only (current) restaurant. It's right on the beach, under an enormous palapa. There are no walls facing the ocean, just a series of tall windows that were usually left wide open. That way, even if you were sitting inside, you'd get the ocean breeze. And although the quality of the food left some room for improvement, it quickly became a favorite spot to eat, primarily because of this view.

restaurant_view.jpg

Day One

I've been in Bangalore just about 24 hours now. Slept for nearly half that time, after getting in from the airport at 2:15 AM (local time), finally getting to sleep around 4:00 AM. Don't want to think too hard about what time it is back home, so my body can better adjust to the change. Here's the view from the balcony of my hotel room.

bangalore_1.jpg

A few first impressions, in no particular order: traffic is unbelievably dense, especially compared to anywhere in the states, with lanes acting mostly as suggestions, and horns actively letting other vehicles know where you are. Food is excellent. Definitely has more kick than what I usually eat, but that's fine. I like spicy. There is a lot of unique, almost colonial architecture throughout the city (or at least in the parts that we drove through), along with newer, shinier office buildings. And even though we've had a couple of brushes with it, there is clearly a great deal of poverty here, too.

Travel Day

After 10 days in and around Playa del Carmen with the family, and a very brief return home, I'll be back on an airplane (several, actually) later this afternoon for some business travel.

bengalaru.jpg

More pictures (and prose) to follow over the next couple of weeks as I document this first-ever trip to India.

Pool Bar @ Night

Tried using a makeshift tripod to capture this one after sunset. Not nearly as crisp as I'd like, but I'm posting it anyway to remind myself of what's possible when you use settings other than the various "automatic" options on the camera.

pool_bar.jpg

La Playa

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The beach isn't always this empty, but it's not too far off, either. And the surf is much gentler than in Cancun.

la_playa.jpg

Meanwhile, Old Man Winter continues to dump snow across Minnesota.

The Orange Corner

Plenty of bright architecture in Playa del Carmen.

corner of orange and blue

Garbage Collector

J. and I were walking through Xcaret a few days ago when we were surprised by some loud noises coming from inside a garbage can. This guy poked his head out. Apparently, he knows where to go for good eats.

scavenger.jpg

My New Desktop Wallpaper

Driftwood. I expect this will stay up for quite awhile.

A Change of Scenery

flower

First Time For Everything

Final Four squares off tonight with all four number one seeds in contention for the title. In related news, I decided to take the relatively safe route with the office pool this year, flying in the face of conventional wisdom, correctly picking the final four teams in not one, but two brackets (helped the missus with hers). We'll see if the remaining selections pan out (UCLA/NC in the title game, with NC winning it all).

Update: same old, same old result for my hoops predictions. Four teams in the final four. No teams left in the championship game. Ah, well.

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