Sunday, July 31, 2005

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Hm. We had a severe thunderstorm pass right over us, with a lightning bolt striking our house and/or the ground nearby. Talk about loud -- ouch! No damage to the house itself, but various electronics got fried. They were on surge protectors, but this was a fairly direct hit. Lost the server and TV, and had to reboot the stove (!) -- well, power cycle it, that is. (It has a microcontroller to control the oven, and time/temperature are set and displayed digitally.)

I'm sure there will be some others that I haven't discovered yet.

Up side: That much less junk to move to Seattle. :-)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Alabama invades Massachusetts. Hilarity ensues.

Edit: for those who are curious about how state route signs should appear.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

It's official. I'm Amazonified.

Looking forward to heading out to Seattle.

Friday, July 15, 2005

In Seattle now, visiting Amazon. They've put us up at the W, an ultramodern, ultratrendy place with origins in New York. I don't think I've felt as unhip in my life as I have staying at this place. (When I checked in, I asked the folks at the registration desk where the registration desk was -- I honestly thought it was a bar.) I think we both have been taken by Seattle, though, and I by Amazon. At this point, it's pretty much a sure thing.

I've put up a couple pics from Rome. First, see my brother, Myke, and his girlfriend, Lisa, in Orvieto:

Oh, and the Vatican's Swiss Guards don't like it when you stop to take their picture and don't want people posing with them, as this family found out:

Unless, of course, you're cute and female:

Sunday, July 10, 2005

And... Statesified

Back in the good ol' US of A.

Let's see... Thursday: Hung out with Maya in Rome. Visited Palatine Hill and the Colosseum, walked through Campidoglio, lunch in Piazza Competelli, saw Caravaccio paintings in the cathedral (name?) in Piazza del Popolo, had excellent gelati on via del Prefetci (check?), and located the guys who are displaying/selling her art at the festival on the banks of the Tevere. Dinner was at the academy that night.

Friday: Went to the Vatican Museums, met up with my brother, had lunch at a pizza-by-the-slice place near the S. Anna restricted entrance (he did some research at the Vatican while I was at the museums), then the Pantheon, and back to the academy for dinner.

Saturday: Slept in a bit (oof, was I tired). Then took a bus to the Vatican to mail a few things off, met up with my brother at the Spanish Steps, lunch nearby (ravioli with cheese and pine nuts... mmm...), Santa Maria degli Angeli just off Piazza della Republica, saw another protest, then gelati in Trastevere, and a farewell dinner again in Trastevere. Like most nights, I hung out at the terrace at the academy talking with friends and drinking excellent wines far later than I should have. Unlike most nights, I had to get up less than three hours later to...

Sunday: Woke up at 4:30 am to catch a 7 am flight from Fiumacini. Connected in Frankfurt and Toronto before heading back to Pittsburgh -- a total of 19 hours of travelling. As usual, immigrations and customs officers were polite and courteous with the notable exception of the U.S. officials.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

More from Italia

Wednesday: Ended up taking just a day trip up to Orvieto (in Umbria). Went through Etruscan caves, the cathedral there (which was fairly distinctive from Rome -- apparently, zebra stripes were the in thing back then in that region), and a couple art galleries. Had lunch at a fairly good place whose name escapes me, but the dishes I wanted were out and I accidentally ordered roughly the same thing I had last night for dinner (filet with peppercorns).

Had dinner back in Rome at an Ethiopian place. Still savoring it.

Three rolls of film left, three days left.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Quick update from Italia

Sorry, I only have a few minutes before bed. I want to jot this down mostly for my memory. No pics yet; I'm doing this trip entirely on 35 mm.

Sunday: Got here. Took train to Trastavere, seemed like SoCal at first from the vegetation and highways. Then I saw a few houses and cars and noticed that they were somewhat different. On the third stop, the accordians boarded.

Visited Santa Maria del Trastavere, San Clemente, San Giovanni del Laterno. Hung out at a barbeque at the American Academy (where I'm staying, and where my brother is a fellow).

Monday: Roman Day. Torre Argentina, Piazza Venetzia, ruins, Fora Romano, houses beneath Ss. Giovanni e Paolo. After dinner, hung out with Academy folks and drank more wine.

Tuesday: Vatican Day (on my own). Did the art tour of St. Peter's basilica, visited John Paul II's tomb, attended a mass in St. Peter's where the choir was a children's choir from San Diego. Had hoped it would be in Latin (which I can vaguely follow), but it was mostly in Italian.

Later today (Wednesday): Going up north toward Umbria/Tuscany. Probably will spend the night there.

Food: excellent. Wine: even better. Having access to crystal clean water from the various spigots installed all over Rome (thanks to the aqueducts) on my long foot treks: totally awesome.

Traffic: absolutely crazy. I'd definitely drive a motorini (scooter) if I lived here.

Could I live here? Probably, but the close quarters might get to me; I'd also have to get used to not having access to various shops on Sundays and between 3-6 pm. Those late, long, delicious dinners? Sure, sign me up.

More Thursday or Friday.

Friday, July 1, 2005

Random geekery for your amusement: U.S. map colored by ZIP code.


Hm. One curious property I've found in/near Seattle is this one on Bainbridge Island.

The house itself is tiny -- basically a one-room cabin -- but sits on 3.5 wooded acres. The price is affordable, though.

The commute to Amazon would be interesting -- it involves a ferry trip across Puget Sound. I could easily bike it (which reduces the cost significantly -- from $13.30 each way to $7.10 one-way).

The idea would be to build it up later on. We'd have to check if that's allowed, of course. But... hmm. Interesting.