Updates for the new semester

February 6, 2008 at 1:34 am | Posted in flickr, geeky, life, travel | Leave a comment
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The “I’ll blog this” moment has been coming up quite a bit lately; if only it were remotely matched in frequency by the “I’ll sit down and write” moments. Too bad those are usually displaced by “I’ll sleep and do my homework in the morning” moments, followed by “shit I woke up later than I expected, and the sun is setting” moments.

Enough of that. The latest news, at least for the moment:

Finals ended. Backcountry skiing/winter hiking in White Mountains for a week. Outdoors, no computers, cold, fresh, sublime. Many blog-worthy thoughts. No amount of actual writing accomplished. Which leads me to…

Flickr photos have been updated, for the first time in years. Mostly mountains, a lot of rocks and snow, and a few fleeting glimpses of a beautiful European summer.

Obsession with webcomics continues. Besides my daily dose of computer-science-in-joke-riddled sentimentality (xkcd), I’ve been reading a new favorite (Questionable Content). Fewer stick figures, less philosophising. More jokes about sex.

Roommate blog back up, now under a new name. Mostly obscure in-jokes, with a smattering of strange insights and some ridiculous poetry. Most of it written by our freshman selves.

That’s it for the moment. Check out my del.icio.us links on the sidebar for more distractions.

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Day 52. A little overdue

August 9, 2007 at 2:50 pm | Posted in life, switzerland, travel | Leave a comment

Updating this thing has proven a little harder than I thought. A good old list, because wit and embellishment takes time, money, and patience, none of which I currently possess. Or wit, for that matter.

  1. Wine tasting in Lavaux.
  2. Swimming in Lake Como. Going to where Anakin and Padmé got married. There was so much magic in the air you could cut it with the blunt part of a Swiss Army knife.
  3. Bond. James Bond.
  4. Seeing Arcade Fire. In rural French Switzerland, of all places. Like Bonaroo or something, not that I know what that’s like.
  5. Climbing this attached to this with my back to this.
  6. Visiting Bern, where Einstein published Special Relativity and where the Swiss artist Paul Klee originated. Saw a street accordionist playing the fast movement from Summer, of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Compare to man playing 4 chords repeatedly at the Harvard Square T stop.
  7. Seeing (and felt) fireworks on Swiss National day, August 1. Apparently they celebrate like Texans on the Fourth. Except they’ve been doing it since 1291.
  8. Learning French from Spanish people, and how to roll a German cigarette, while squinting to see Evian, France across Lake Geneva under a full moon.
  9. Eating a kilogram of pig knuckle and washing it down with beer that tastes like milkshake, in the seat of the Holy Roman Empire.
  10. Doing lots and lots of experiments, and making very very very little progress.

Day 21. Lucerne

July 8, 2007 at 8:16 am | Posted in switzerland, travel | 1 Comment

The only thing more boring than writing a blow-by-blow account of a weekend trip is reading one, so for everyone’s sake, I think it suffices to simply state that I went to Lucerne on Saturday. For the curious, highlights of my stay include: hiking (i.e. strolling) at the top of an Alpine peak on a paved path; sharing that paved path with some sort of horned mountain goat animal (see below); and gleefully patronizing such tourist gimmicks as the world’s steepest cogwheel railway, as well as Switzerland’s longest summer toboggan run. (On an unrelated note, I hold the record for being the world’s wittiest Chinese-Canadian-American under 25 and older than 18 who has been on the world’s steepest cogwheel railway exactly once, and who can move his left ear but not the right.) Unfortunate oversights from this weekend include: not actually spending any time in the town of Lucerne itself.

I had intended to make this a world-record filled weekend by hiking Mont Blanc on Sunday, but that trip was cancelled due to inclement weather and unforseen circumstances on Saturday night involving another member of our expedition and a bottle of port. Without any tales of mountaineering and bravery to bring back to my coworkers at the LMNN (my lab), today at lunch I instead extolled the efficiency of my Swiss-German waitress at the Lucerne train station buffet. My story was received with semi-impressed nods all around, which I take to be a success rivalling my critically-acclaimed “rant about the rain” last Thursday during coffee break.

Luckily for all the Swiss people I have yet to meet, my capacity for making conversation about weather is severely limited by my vocabulary. In particular, I do not know how to say “Torrential shitshow,” “Overcast hellhole,” or “It’s raining cats and dogs with stomach flu” in French. This has been pivotal in preserving my friendly acquaintance with the one native Swiss person I know. For those who think that one is a pathetically small number, I’m just going to point out that it is also the first number in the Fibonacci sequence. And what other numbers are in the Fibonacci sequence? Really big ones. Coincidence? I think not.

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