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December 2005 Archives

December 1, 2005

Good Music For A Good Cause

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As today is World AIDS Day, it is fitting to note that Alicia Keys and Bono are releasing a song on iTunes next Tuesday that will raise money to fight children's poverty in Africa. The song is a cover of "Don't Give Up," a terrific Peter Gabriel composition (which he recorded with Kate Bush on his So album).

December 5, 2005

Nifty X3 Photos

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This morning's USA Today features the first glimpses of the new on-screen versions of the X-Men, to appear in next summer's third installment of the franchise. Above, of course, is Beast; below is Angel.

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December 6, 2005

24 Hours Until Vertigo

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This time tomorrow night. Hartford Civic Center. U2. Me.

December 7, 2005

Off To Hartford

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Less than three hours 'til showtime. Gettin' ready to leave the ground . . .

December 8, 2005

U2 #6

Still flying high from last night's show, the sixth time I have seen this particular Dublin band live. I sat in the best seats I've ever had for a U2 concert--two rows from the ellipse runway. Bono and the boys seemed especially energetic and made a lot of musical connections to The Beatles and John Lennon on the eve of the 25th anniversary of Lennon's death.

Here is the set list:

City Of Blinding Lights
Vertigo
Elevation
Gloria
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For
Beautiful Day / Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band / Happy Christmas (War Is Over)
Original Of The Species / Norwegian Wood
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
Love And Peace Or Else
Sunday Bloody Sunday / Rock The Casbah
Bullet The Blue Sky / The Hands That Built America / When Johnny Comes Marching Home
Miss Sarajevo
Pride (In The Name Of Love)
Where The Streets Have No Name
One
Help

Until The End Of The World
Mysterious Ways / We Wish You A Merry Christmas
With Or Without You

Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of
Instant Karma!
Yahweh
40

Christmas Comes Early 1

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My new camera arrived this morning. You may wonder why I picked up a new camera, having purchased a swell digital SLR at the beginning of the spring. Well, I decided that as good as my Canon 20D and the three excellent (and expensive) lenses are, they are a bit too bulky for serious travel and I really want to be able to take a small camera with me when spanning the globe. This Canon subcompact got excellent reviews, takes 7.1-megapixel shots as well as video, and easily can fit into my pocket. So this is my "point and shoot" model and the 20D will still be the rig of choice for "serious" photography, and particularly for action sports photography.

Christmas Comes Early 2

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Since I was in a "buying myself Christmas presents" mode, I ordered these Harman/Kardon Soundsticks from Amazon (which had a great price) for the iMac G5 I use as my main computer now. Most of my music listening at home is via iTunes on the computer rather than on my "fancy" audio components and large room speakers. I hooked up the Soundsticks after lunch, which was a pleasantly simple process. The sound is wonderfully crisp, and the subwoofer--like the iSub on my G4 iMac upstairs--really rounds out the low end of the sound spectrum. A good purchase!

December 27, 2005

In Which The Star Of This Blog Makes An Appearance

I am back. An unplanned hiatus of a couple of weeks behind me, I return to cyberspace. No apologies nor promises to do better; I just was busy with school stuff and then enjoying the holidays and traveling some.

If all goes as planned, this site will be receiving its long-awaited upgrade and visual overhaul within the next week.

Eighties Nostalgia

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On an impulse--perhaps sparked by spending a week in South Florida--I picked up the first two seasons of Miami Vice on DVD and have been gradually digesting episodes. The show is a guilty pleasure. I saw "Vice" only sporadically when it orginially aired--I just didn't watch much television at all while in college--so most of the episodes are new to me, even if it all feels somewhat familiar. The '80s soundtrack is certainly nostalgic. (There's a terrific web site guide to the music featured on the show: click here to access it.) And the show has an undeniable flair for fashion.

While at the movies the other day, I saw a trailer for a forthcoming Miami Vice film, starring Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx as Crockett and Tubbs. Michael Mann, who produced the television series before becoming a noted film director (Last of the Mohicans, Heat, Collateral) will direct.

December 28, 2005

Don't Cry For Me Argentina

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I am writing this entry from Buenos Aires.

I arrived yesterday morning after a nine-hour flight from Miami. (I spent the preceding week with my family in South Florida.) Upon arriving in the city, I promptly crashed before heading out to explore. The city is very European in feel. Things are relatively cheap here, the country having seen its economy tank about five years ago; the Argentinean peso used to be pegged 1:1 to the U.S. dollar, but now a buck gets you about three pesos.

One interesting thought: the southern reaches of South America represent the farthest places that human beings walked to from their prehistoric origins.

Five continents down, two (Africa and Antarctica) to go.

More later.

UN-lucky?

I am staying in room 1321 of my hotel in B.A. That's on the 13th floor. I thought most buildings didn't have a 13th floor, as it has traditionally been considered bad luck. I guess it's okay here because it's really the 14th floor, since the Argentines count the European way, with the first floor one story up from the ground.

December 29, 2005

¬°Ay, Caramba!

I am fumbling through my Spanish this week, despite six years of formal instruction in the language in junior high and high school. That was a while ago, I guess, and not counting a few days in Puerto Rico a year ago, this is really the first time I've been in an entirely Spanish-speaking environment. I find myself slipping into French (which is odd, as it's a language I did NOT study!) when attempting to communicate with shop clerks and waiters. Last night, I nearly paid a news vendor 29 pesos when he asked me for 19. I am a bit envious of the students at my school who receive really good foreign language instruction and then often are sent to countries where they have to use it.

Globalization, Travel, and The Tourist Bubble

As I've mentioned before in these cyber-pages, I'm generally a proponent of globalization. I teach a unit on the topic using Thomas Friedman's The Lexus and the Olive Tree in one of my courses. The rapid development of computer technology is a major piece of globalization. As one who travels a fair bit, I have benefited greatly in recent years from globalization. Not only has it become easier to get around the globe, I can stay in touch with home with an Internet connection in a cybercafé (or, even better, if I have high speed wireless in your hotel, as I do now!). I book my own flights and hotel reservations after shopping around online. It's easier to feel like a citizen of the world, at least in major cities.

There is a down side to all this, though.

On the day the Choate squash team arrived in England for its U.K. tour last March, I listened to the BBC while driving to our first stop in the country (everyone else was asleep due to jet lag, but of course I was behind the wheel and needed something to keep me from dozing off). There was an interesting report aired about how backpackers from Britain on their gap year--a year off between high school and university--could travel the world without ever really cutting their ties to home. Young Brits could easily stay in touch via e-mail and cell phones, watch Manchester United games virtually anywhere in the world, consume the food they were accustomed to in familiar eateries, and consequently rarely ever have the need to leave the "tourist bubble." That is, they infrequently had to interact with non-English speakers or immerse themselves into truly foreign situations.

Looking at my own travel habits, I can see the trap all too well. I rely on the International Herald Tribune to give me my fix of the New York Times each day, whether I am in London, Rome, Tokyo, or Buenos Aires. CNN is ubiquitous in hotels everywhere. I find myself surfing to familiar sites and even shopping on Amazon while half a world away. I cruise around world capitals with white earbuds playing me a comfortable soundtrack. In my hotel, I can fire up movies from home on my portable DVD player. I am routinely in touch with my work, communicating regularly with colleagues via e-mail even while "on vacation."

I wonder sometimes if it would be far better to cut myself off from the familiar and leave the laptop, the iPod, and the rest of the digital paraphernalia back home. But, then of course, how could I update this blog?

Madres de los Desaparecidos

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After a late lunch on the waterfront in the Puerto Madera section of town, I saw the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, a gathering of protestors who meet weekly on Thursday afternoons in the center of the capital. All of these women had children who disappeared--presumably at the hands of the military juntas--during the Dirty War period of Argentine history. It was pretty moving. The scene wqas evocative of the Sting song, "They Dance Alone (Gueca Solo)," though the lyrics of that piece focus on a similar group in neighboring Chile, rather than Argentina.

December 30, 2005

Blame It On Rio

Off to Brazil this morning . . .

Welcome to Brazil

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I checked into my hotel, the Orla, which is right on Copacabana Beach. (The picture above shows the rooftop pool overlooking the beach.)

Brazil has a more Latin feel than did Buenos Aires, which struck me as European in many ways. This city is clearly a beach town, too, or at least the Copacabana and Ipanema sections I explored upon arrival.

December 31, 2005

Life In The Southern Hemisphere

I activated the Weather widgets on Dashboard to check the temperatures here and at home. At just after 4 o'clock in the afternoon, it was 97 degrees Farenheit in Rio and 27 in Wallingford--a differential of 70 degrees! I'll confess there is a certain perverse pleasure one experiences in a warm place knowing how cold those he left behind must be!

Reveillon

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Apparently New Year's Eve is a BIG deal down here in Rio de Janiero. There will be about 2 million people gathered on the beach right in front of my hotel. There has been a heavy police presence in the area all day long and Avenida Atlantica--the main drag abutting the beach--has been closed to all traffic since late last night. A number of barges just off Copacabana Beach are poised to launch a humongous fireworks display. There are already four enormous cruise ships anchored not far offshore to watch the evening's festivities. There are bands playing music and groups of families and friends with their spots on the beach staked out all day. I am planning on taking a "Polar Bear" dip once midnight strikes, but with the evening air temperature over 80 degrees tonight, it shouldn't be a hardship!

About December 2005

This page contains all entries posted to As Far As You Know in December 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

November 2005 is the previous archive.

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