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Category: whoopteedoo: trips

April 2, 2007

Swimming with the sea turtle (underwater camera 2)

Snorkelling with Sea Turtle

Swimming with a sea turtle ranks as my top moment from our Hawaii trip. There were many moments high on the list -- dolphins, humpback whales, pretty fish -- but its hard to beat having a sea turtle swim right past your face. We were already pretty happy after having seen a dozen or so sea turtles up on the North Shore, but the waters there were too choppy to get in. Having this little guy unexpectedly swim past us completed our sea turtle adventure.

Snorkelling with Sea Turtle Snorkelling with Sea Turtle

Underwater Camera 2 photos (more sea turtle plus unicorn fish and others)

April 1, 2007

Spinner Dolphins


IMG_3272 IMG_3375

IMG_3299 IMG_3350 IMG_3286

We took an fun (and complimentary) dolphin boat cruise off the coast of West Oahu. The dolphins came up right to the hulls of our catamaran and surfed the tiny wake before swimming off with a couple of spin-breach flourishes. Quite fun.

Spinner dolphins photos

Underwater photos 1

Humuhumunukunukuapua apua'a

above: Humuhumunukunukuapua apua'a

d and I picked up some cheap disposable underwater cameras at Costco to use at the lagoons around our hotel as well as up at the North Shore. The photo above may not be the best off the reel, but Humuhumunukunukuapua apua'a (aka reef triggerfish) is too cool of a name and too cool looking -- it's also the unofficial state fish -- to not give some love to. I also managed to get some underwater takes to go with my previously Turtle Beach sea turtle photos.

Underwater Camera 1 photos

Turtle Beach, North Shore Turtle Beach, North Shore Turtle Beach, North Shore

March 27, 2007

Quick post from Hawaii


IMG_3048Hawaii goes well -- our hotel room feels larger than our apartment and we're overlooking the beach. Today we went up to the North Shore and watched about ten different sea turtles feeding on seaweed. A very nice guy on the beach whose job it is to watch after the turtles told us a lot of interesting facts about them, from describing the satellite transponders on the backs of the turtles picked as most likely to visit the breeding grounds to anecdotes about having to free some of the smaller turtles that get wedged in the rocks. The turtles definitely need their hard shells to protect them against the crashing waves as we saw at least one turtle get flipped over. I'm posting photos of them from my digital camera but I'm hoping for even better from my disposable underwater camera.

On the way back we visited the set of Lost -- you walk down a public beach and there it is, a bunch of huts made out of airplane siding and bamboo. There was some Dharma Initiative food within grabbing distance, but I had no desire to outrun the security guard.

IMG_3103 IMG_3110

March 24, 2007

Off to Hawaii

I'm looking forward to finally learning how to surf.

November 17, 2006

Headin' to DC, West Virginia

I'm off to Virginia. On Sat/Sun I'll be in West Virginia. I'll be in NoVA/DC the rest of the week until Saturday.

August 25, 2006

City grids rock

The coolest fact I learned about Chicago during my first visit there last week is that it is on a grid system that would make a mathematician proud. The city is basically one giant cartesian coordinate system where the origin (0,0) is at the downtown intersection of State and Madison. From there everything is either addressed as being n units North/South, East/West, where every 800 units = 1 mile (8 blocks every mile, 1 block = 100 units). For example, I stayed near 1600N 1600W, which is about 4 miles from downtown origin (3 miles if you can find a diagonal street). 

This system works great for navigating. If I'm trying to get from 1600N 1600W to 2400N 800W, I know that it's about 2 miles away -- very useful if you're debating paying for a cab, walking, or taking the El. There's also very little problems with getting lost: you know exactly which direction you need to head and you know when you've gone too far.

From Wikipedia's entry on Chicago

The city’s urban context is organized within a grid pattern. The pattern is modified by the shoreline, the three branches of the Chicago River, the system of active/inactive rail lines, several diagonal streets (including Clybourn Street, Milwaukee, Lincoln, Elston, Archer, and Ogden Avenues), the expressways, and hundreds of bridges and viaducts. In addition, the baselines for numbering streets and buildings are State Street (for east-west numbering) and Madison (for north-south numbering). Street numbers begin at "1" at the baselines and run numerically in directions indicated to the city limits, with N, S, E, and W indicating directions. Chicago is divided into one-mile sections which ideally contain eight blocks to the mile, with each block's addresses ideally occupying a 100-number range. Even-numbered addresses are on the north and west sides of streets; odd-numbered address are on the south and east sides.

August 9, 2006

Off to Chicago

Going to another wedding, but I'm taking a couple extra days to try and make this one a vacation (unlike the 30 hours I spent in Iowa).

March 6, 2006

I'm going to Japan!

I've just sent in my registration for aamas-06: Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems as there is a paper that I wrote some paragraphs and did some UI designs for. The conference is in Hakodate, Japan, on the big island of Hokkaido. This will be my first trip to Hokkaido, so if you have any suggestions/recommendations, please send them along. We're currently figuring out how to make our way up to the Daisetsuzan national park.

I always comment on how I seem to visit the parts of Japan that no one else seems to visit (e.g. Sasebo, Okinawa, and now Hakodate), so I think I'm also going to take some time off and cruise down to Tokyo to experience the tourists' Japan. Suggestions for Tokyo are also welcome.

October 9, 2005

I'm back

I'm back from the East Coast, land of much rain but happy weddings. Also, land of slow dialup modem at parent's house, an experience that increases in pain as technology progresses. My time back in the West will be short -- I leave for the Far East this Friday, hopefully rid of this airplane-inflamed cold.

Trip Back-1-1 Trip back-2 Trip back-3 Trip back-4 Trip back-5 Trip back-6 Trip back-7 Trip back-8

October 3, 2005

October travels

I'm about to fall off the blogging radar. I leave for Wednesday for Kenji's wedding, get back Sunday, leave the following Friday for Japan and get back ten or so days after that. I'm pretty sure my 100-year-old grandma doesn't have Internet access, so expect little until I get back.

I'll be meeting a bunch of people at Kenji's wedding that I only know through their blogs and vice versa. I'm skimming through Flickr to see if I can better matchup handles, names and faces. If you really want to screw with me and have me go up to novak and say, "How's it going Anne?" feel free to mess around with your photo captions. It may be to your advantage -- the person who best impersonates novak gets a Penny Arcade t-shirt and sketch.

Here's a photo of me dressed up as an even-toed ungulate. I promise to show up dromedary and not bactrian.

July 18, 2005

I'm back

I'm back. It's 2am. I arrived home about 4 hours ago. Since then I've watched three of the four Tour de France stages I've missed. One more stage and I'll finally be able to take the media blinders down.

Our Internet connection in San Diego ran out Saturday evening soon after we got back to our hotel room. You may have to wait a day or two for the dramatic conclusion to Tour de Comic-Con.

June 13, 2005

Blue laws

I was in Bergen County, NJ, for a wedding and learned this fun fact:

On Sundays, you can buy alcohol, but you cannot buy books*

* To be fair, you cannot buy anything 'retail' (books, clothes, music), only 'essentials.'

April 17, 2005

Pinnacles and California Condors

California Condorota had the great idea of taking a trip down to Pinnacles National Monument (southeast of Monterey). Driving there is deceiving -- up until you reach the park you are in the typical Northern California rolling green hills, but once you reach the remains of the former volcano, you are suddenly surrounded by large rock towers jutting straight up out of the ground. The main high peak is a haven for large birds, which are constantly circling above and around.

If you enjoy hiking, birding (condors, vultures, sparrows, hummingbirds), chapparel flora, rock climbing, or small caves, there's plenty to do and be entertained by. We hiked up to the High Peak, where we spotted one of the few remaining California Condors -- it became an instant tourist attraction. At one point we saw what looked like a kid squirting the condor with a squirt gun and throwing small rocks -- we shouted for the kid to stop and leave it alone. Turns out it wasn't a kid; it was a park ranger trying to get the condor to leave the company of people.

I've have been reading the condor field notes from Pinnacles, and the acclimation to people is a big problem the condor reintroduction program is frequently dealing with. Periodically they have to capture some of the more human-friendly condors and bring them in for "aversive conditioning."

As usual, there are hundreds of photos to process and rank, but in the meantime I've uploaded some of the condor photos. It appears to be a young one, as my reading tells me that adults have pink heads, but if it weren't for the tag on the shoulder I wouldn't have known it from the turkey vultures that were also circling above. I believe the condor is number 306, described in the field notes as a "young female" that was recently introduced to the park. She appears to have been one of the last of the recently introduced condors (November 2004) to venture from the flight pens and around the park, and my camera was lucky that she has become more adventurous.


Related entries

March 25, 2005

Off to SoCal

Hope you all have a great weekend

January 5, 2005

Going to...

wv... West Virginia! My Christmas was brief this year (I flew to my Aunt and Uncle's for X-mas day) as I have been saving up vacation to go back East to see my soon-to-be-born nephew. I'm flying out tomorrow night and will be back Monday with adorable photos. The West Virginia Internet is a lot slower and less widespread than our luscious Bay Area Internet, so I expect this blog to go blank in a few days (and I still haven't posted about how I spent the day after Christmas taking photos in a cemetary).

November 11, 2004

More on the visited counties map

Update: to all those who stumble across this entry and wish to undertake this giant task, ignore most of what's below (except to download the blank maps and whatnot) and instead download a free trial of Keyhole, which will allow you to pull up highway and county boundary data. I recommend this over the NACO maps and other sites suggested below.

I don't really recommend doing a visited counties map unless you're a map dork like me and have photoshop+a lot of time, but in case you do, here are the resources that helped me along.

Christopher Swindle deserves first billing for providing maps to color in and links to various resources. This should be your first stop.

World Atlas does a pretty good job of linking to various map resources on other sites, indexed by states. NACO has county maps for all fifty states and will also list the county seat (often the city that you are looking for). Virginia DOT and Texas DOT have good interactive tools, and North Carolina DOT, Connecticut DOT, and Arizona TPD provide descent maps.

If all else fails, you can enter in the driving route on Mapquest and slowly pan. At the correct zoom level it will show you county line markings and names.

Finally, you can checkout, which is a full list of the resources I used to compile my maps.

To demonstrate that I'm not the only map dork out there, I've included an IM conversation in the extended entry.

Continue reading "More on the visited counties map" »

November 10, 2004

Visited counties map

In an attempt to outdo my visited states and my visited countries map, I now present to you, my visited counties map:


I'll admit that I was inspired by ps's visited counties map, which is both cooler for the amount of coverage as well as the color-coding indicated the time period. I've elected to use a three-color scheme: yellow for drive-by visiting, orange to indicate that I actually did something there (other than pee at a McDonald's), and red to indicate a tie to that particular area (visited multiple times, family, live(d) there, etc...).

I'm still missing a line connecting San Antonio to Raleigh via Baton Rouge, and a line connecting Atlanta and Orlando. For both lines I can't recall which route was used. There are also some missing counties here and there that I'll get to when I have energy to spend on this again.

Update: with the help of my dad I was able to resolve some more routes. This is 99% complete now.

Update 2: to all those who stumble across this entry and wish to undertake this giant task, I highly recommend downloading a free trial of Keyhole, which will allow you to pull up highway and county boundary data -- it makes it a lot easier to figure out where you've been. You might also find NACO county maps useful for matching up the Keyhole data to an overall picture, and last but not least, you can get blank maps to fill in from Christopher Swindle.

July 27, 2004

Comic-Con '04 Backposting

In order to keep my panel notes in semi-chronological order, I'm backposting them. I will keep track of the new posts here, in case you are interested.



Slightly older:


The Quick Draw Panel page is likely to be updated when I exchange notes with honeyfields.

July 24, 2004

I'm back

Todo list:
- blog about Comic-Con (panels, schwag, sketches)
- process Comic-Con photos
- read Comic-Con comics
- watch three days of Tour de France stages (even though the outcome was inadvertently spoiled already).
- blog about said three stages
- build awesome tie fighter fleet of destruction

Tomorrow I head off to my first ever academic conference, AAAI, which is an AI conference in exciting San Jose. Other people get to go to boring places like Vienna for conferences, but really, the commute there is terrible.

July 20, 2004

To Comic-Con I will go

I'm heading off to Comic-Con tomorrow. Can't seem to find my registration confirmation, so I hope they let me pick up my badge without it :). If you have any special requests (sketches, stuff to try and find, etc...), please get them to me IMMEDIATELY as I will lose regular Internet access tomorrow.

June 16, 2004

Ireland Trip Log

I thought it would only take a week, but it's been ten days and I'm only halfway through. This entry sums up my progress: the entries that are unlinked are those which I still have to do, and some of those that are linked need a bit more revision, but if you've been dying to see my Ireland photos you can check them out.

I've mainly done the 'scenic' entries. Most of the Dublin/Galway nightlife stuff I still haven't got to yet, partly because I'm relying on ginfiend/wdj/psychoshepard to blog their recollections and save me the effort of recollecting.

May 29
Dublin I (St. Stephens Green, Trinity)

May 30
Dublin II (Chester Beatty, O'Donoghue's)

May 31
Dublin III (Jameson, Guinness, Temple Bar)

June 1
Dublin to Cork (Kilkenny, Cobh)

June 2
Cork to Kilkee (Ring of Kerry, Shannon Ferry, Kilkee)

June 3
Kilkee to Galway (Cliffs of Moher, The Burren, Doolin, Galway I)

June 4
Connemara (Connemara National Park, Kylemore Abbey, Galway II)

June 5
Galway to Dublin (IV)

June 6
Dublin V

June 14, 2004

Europe travels

I noticed (via ginfiend) that world66 has updated their map offerings. Given my recent travels, here is my updated Europe map:
visited europe map

create your personalized map of europe
or write about it on the open travel guide

they still don't have a visited Asia map...

May 27, 2004

Leavin' Here

05-27-04.shamrock.jpgI'm headed off to Ireland tomorrow morning. I'm not bringing my laptop, so my posting will be confined to what whims allow while in Internet cafes. I'll be back two Sundays from now, full of Guinness and Kilkenny.

If you have any suggestions for Ireland, please post quickly before I go, as we have no plan as of yet.

May 22, 2004


With all my posting of media related to my trip to Boston, I never took the opportunity to do a simple post on what I actually did, as opposed to what I saw.

The trip didn't start of auspiciously. United cancelled my flight and put me on one five hours later, and that flight was further delayed both on take off, landing, and during the taxi-ing to our gate, but my luck turned around as a nice person from Genentech gave me a ride from the airport to j and hogue's place. Among other things, we joked about the flight attendant who was more than a bit overzealous in her enforcement of emergency exit row qualifications and procedures.

The alumni party BBQ was fun; during the course of the weekend I found out about two babies on the way, caught up with a lot of friends, and saw the immense damage to one of the houses used to lived in. I also watched a lot of NBA playoff games, had some good serious discussions with friends, saw the tremendous changes to the MIT campus (Stata, Simmons, Z-Center, and toilet paper), and managed a couple of sinks during beer die (though I shamefully had to use proxies for defense).

My only disappointment was that this was one of the lesser turnouts for an alumni event that I had seen in the six-or-so events I had been to; most of my class was absent, pretty much no one from the previous three classes came from out-of-town. The low turnout was understandable: this year's event was much more low-key since our venus was destroyed, and next year's event will certainly offer much more interesting sights with a newly renovated house to gaze at. Also, I did manage to see a lot of this year's seniors (who were freshmen when I graduated) before they take off.

May 17, 2004

Fire ch-changes

Following up on the theme of change, another big change had less to do with MIT, and more to do with a fire that started during a cold snap, which was followed by thousands of gallons of water that was used to put out the fire, which was accompanied by the gutting of walls and ceilings to contain said fire, all of which resulted in crispy wood encased in sheets of ice. The event I'm describing occurred in one of the houses I lived in during college that I got to tour while I was in Boston.


The actual fire damage was very little, but the water and the gutting ruined most of the walls, floors, and ceilings, from the fourth floor all the way down to the basement. The biggest loss is the Lounge, which had accrued much of our culture over the years. When people move through a place at the rate of four years per stay, much of the memory of the organization has to be carried in the place itself. So, as much as the fire will provide a phoenix-like opportunity for rebirth/remodelling, it also represents cultural amnesia that the current members of the house will have to work hard to repair.

You can view more of the current state in the extended entry.

Continue reading "Fire ch-changes" »

MIT ch-changes

In the three years since I've graduated, MIT campus has changed a lot, and my general impression is that it has become a much nicer place to go to school. The biggest factor in this is the new Z-Center, which replaces MIT's 50-year-old scummy pool and basement weight rooms with a modern, three-story complex with two pools, tons of workout machines, and lots of TVs. It also appears that there are more dining choices close to campus, and I also happen to like the addition of the Stata Center. The number of buildings that MIT has built or is building since I left is astonishing -- my current count notes that at least five large buildings have been completed, and there is also a gigantic building being constructed for the cogsci department. Of the buildings, the only one I wish MIT could take back is the Simmons dorm, which is ugly beyond description on the outside -- I hear that it's even worse on the inside.

I can't speak for changes in student life. It was hard to tell in the space of a weekend how the changes to the freshman programs, from changing the timing of rush, to requiring freshman to live on campus, to eliminating two-term pass/no record, have harmed or improved interactions on campus, but I will note that I even noticed that the toilet paper on campus has noticeably improved, and that certainly improves day-to-day life.

Back from Boston

More entries await after I get more sleep...


May 13, 2004

Off to Boston tomorrow

Hopefully will have plenty to post when I get back.

January 30, 2004

my us

This isn't as cool, detailed, or information-rich as ps's visited counties map, but I went ahead and generated a visited states map just to check up on my progress. The influence of a southerly cross-country trip is obvious, and will hopefully be fixed sometime in the future. My criteria for filling in a state was that I had to have at least driven in the state -- airport layovers don't count -- but even that is fairly loose criteria.

visited states
create your own visited states map

January 24, 2004

my world

visited countries map
create your own visited country map

November 27, 2003

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm off to SoCal...

October 2, 2003

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

LACMA has a permanent exhibit of Japanese art that is rather cool. They built a building specifically for it that uses fiberglass filters on the windows and running water to create the effect that you are in a Japanese country-side home surrounded by shoji screens. One thing that I thought was cool is they had a tiger/dragon scroll. You can click on the image to see a larger version that shows some of the brush detail - I think the dragon is particularly cool. In the extended entry I also posted some pictures of Bishamonten, the Guardian of the North, squashing a demon beneath his feet, and the Carefree Hotei, painted by Zen Monk Fugai Ekun.
this entry contains a photo, click to view

Continue reading "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" »

September 24, 2003

Guess this photo

While we were descending down Haleakala on bike I took photos of this massive smoke plume over the middle of the island. Ten points to whoever can guess what it is (anyone who's ever lived on a tropical island or has relatives on a tropical island is not allowed to guess).
this entry contains a photo, click to view

Continue reading "Guess this photo" »

Marathon photos version 0.9

Here's the first round of photos of metamanda's marathon. The only photo I have of Amanda crossing the finish line is on my 35mm roll, so I plan to repost once I have those. Joey also has a nice photo or two that I would like to add.

- Maui Marathon Photos

Teppanyaki photos

We went to a Kobe restaurant, which is a teppanyaki grill in Lahaina on Maui. The food was good, and the chef was nice, but there weren't as many "tricks" performed with the cultlery compared to other teppanyaki experiences I've had.

The chef made a cool onion volcano, which I managed to get a couple of shots of.
this entry contains a photo, click to view

Continue reading "Teppanyaki photos" »

September 18, 2003

Off to Maui I go

I'm leaving for Maui to go watch metamanda run her marathon. Wish her luck!

August 11, 2003

Comic-Con Backposting

I'll be backposting entries for the Comic-Con as I want to keep the chronology correct. I'm knocking off the easy ones first (i.e. the ones with the least amount of photoshop involved). I'll probably be using this entry as a tracking entry and advancing it forward in time.

Continue reading "Comic-Con Backposting" »

August 10, 2003

Photos: Gopher/Chipmunk Hunting

There happened to be a huge mound of gophers next to the hottub. The gophers were clearly attracted by the large amounts of food that people left behind. I also spotted a chipmunk amongst them.
this entry contains a photo, click to view this entry contains a photo, click to view

Continue reading "Photos: Gopher/Chipmunk Hunting" »

July 6, 2003

Smith Mountain Lake Photos

More photospam from my trip to Smith Mountain Lake, including a one-legged duck.
this entry contains a photo, click to view this entry contains a photo, click to view

Continue reading "Smith Mountain Lake Photos" »

Biggest Photo Stitch... Ever

I took a really huge panorama while I was away at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia for the 4th of July. I didn't think it would turn out because I started taking photos at one end of the cove, and by the time I had finished the boat I was on was already at the other end of the cove. Interestingly enough, it worked, but the number of images I took (nineteen) was so large that it exposed at least two bugs in Canon's PhotoStitch program. I managed to piece it back together, so if you're interested, venture forward.

Continue reading "Biggest Photo Stitch... Ever" »

May 12, 2003


Got a lot of culture over the weekend down in Los Angeles with my Aunt and Uncle. I went to the Getty, saw Gehry's new Disney Center, saw Esa-Peka Salonen conduct Mahler's 3rd, went to the Huntington Library/Gardens, and went to the Norton Simon. I took lots of pictures, but the early reports on my DSL are that it really won't work for photos. I'll have to find a better way of posting my photos, as the architecture was really cool (Getty and Gehry), and I got to see a lot of good paintings, including a lot of great Impressionist works.

February 23, 2003

Vegas Baby pt. 2

We walked up and down the Vegas strip today. My gambling was in the black today :
- Won $40 on craps at the Venetian
- Lost $20 on blackjack at the MGM Grand
- Won $34 on craps at the Monte Carlo

We saw the tiger at the Mirage and also went to the Guggenheim Hermitage exhibit at Venetian (Van Gogh, Mondrian, Kooning, Reubens). Unfortunately they had just closed the BMW motorcycle exhibit.

Dinner was at Delmonico (at the Venetian), which was an all-around excellent experience. I think that we were probably there for several hours, as it started off as just a couple of drinks at the bar, then latte, then Foie Gras with carmelized banana and smoked apple bacon, then amazing beef tournedos, and finishing up with a chocolate souffle and vintage port. Mmmmmm.... Gonna have to eat there again.

February 22, 2003

Vegas Baby

I finally went to Vegas for the first time in my life. I stayed at the Monte Carlo, where I managed to lose only $100 on craps. Today we met up with Vijay, Raj, etc... and had buffet at the Bellagio. They had some neat Chinese New Years decorations in the garden and some cool color glass flowers on the ceiling (altered photo of this is the background of this blog). We also rode the roller coaster at New York, New York (that place is designed to get you lost). We couldn't get any good show tickets, so next time that I want to see O/Mystere I'm going to have to remember to get tickets three whole months in advance.
Vegas baby. Instead we ended up walking around Caesar's Palace, seeing the Lassen gallery, watching the Atlantis water show, and eating dinner at a Chinese restaurant at the Bellagio that had a good view of the water jets.

December 30, 2002

Back in Cali

December 29, 2002

Back from Smith Mountain Lake

... in Northern VA now

December 28, 2002

Boat Captain

Got to drive a boat for the first time in my life. I piloted the neighbor's tritoon around Smith Mountain Lake. I was able to get it up to 30mph before my mom started screaming from the cold wind :). Not the fastest little boat, but not bad for a party boat.