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January 2006 Archives

January 1, 2006

Happy New Year!


The beach was packed for the countdown and the fireworks display (supposedly 24 tons worth) over the water was spectacular. It is traditional to wear entirely white on New Year's Eve here in Rio. At midnight, the locals throw flowers into the Atlantic as offerings to Yemanja, the Afro-Brazilian goddess of the sea and fertility.

Walking Man

I find that when I spend time in cities, I do a LOT of walking. I have blisters on my feet to prove it this week. And I nearly turned my ankle twice two days ago. I remember thinking I had broken a bone in my foot after one long trek in Rome last June. And in Melbourne in 1998, I really did my ankle in after a misstep getting off a tram. But I guess it's a healthier way to get around.

Cables, Wires, and Plugs

I finally have figured out how to deal with differences in voltage, electrical plugs, and the like when traveling internationally. That said, I tend to carry far too many redundant cables and rechargers with me. I need to look into finding one solution that takes care of my Palm, my portable speakers, my cell phone, etc.

January 2, 2006

On The Comeback Trail


Former world #1 Martina Hingis won her first match back on tour after three years of retirement. I watched her practice quite a bit at Saddlebrook in Florida last March and she looked pretty good then.

Recent Reads

I polished off two books while in South America:


My sister gave me a copy of Bruce Chatwin's In Patagonia, a 1977 travel book--though the author apparently disputed that categorization--about the barren but beautiful area in southern Argentina and Chile and the people who lived (and still live) there. Interestingly, Chatwin is the most famous proponent of the Moleskin notebooks I like to use.


In Brazil the past few days, I tackled a book my mom picked out for me for Christmas: The River of Doubt, an account of Teddy Roosevelt's perilous exploration of the upper reaches of the Amazon basin after he lost his 1912 comeback bid for the White House. Candice Miller wrote a gripping treatment of this journey, grounding it in such diverse disciplines as history, politics, geology, and biology, without ever losing the human dimension of this fascinating story.

An Entertaining Diversion


The funniest podcast I listen to comes from Ricky Gervais--he of The Office and Extras fame--and friends. Gervais and producing partner Steve Merchant host, along with the (I think) unintentionally hilarious Karl Pilkington. What makes the weekly podcast so enjoyable is the interplay, especially between the often off-the-wall Pilkington and the often incredulous Gervais. You can access the podcast here.

January 3, 2006

In Transit

Arrived in Miami from South America at dawn's light this morning. Got to spend some time in Florida today: visiting my folks, soaking up the sun in the 80+ degrees weather, napping, and generally recharging the batteries. I am now marooned in West Palm Beach Airport--thankfully hooked up with free Wi-Fi!--waiting for a 10:00 (!) flight to Kennedy Airport . . . which should get me home somewhere around 3:00 a.m., if I am lucky! And the weather in the Northeast is supposed to be cold, snowy, and miserable, so it won't be a fun drive home.

January 4, 2006

Zombie Time

Left the Long Term Parking lot at Kennedy Airport at 3:20 this morning and arrived back in Wallingford a little after 5:00. I crashed until about 9:30, when I had to get up and get some work done. Fortunately, I didn't have to teach today. Even without jet lag, it will probably take me a couple more days to get back to normal.

January 5, 2006

Back To Work

Even thought it's a bit of a shock to the system, it really feels great to get back to the routine: to sleep in my own bed, teach my classes, coach my team, and see the familiar Choate faces. I am unusually aware of how all the little details of my life are extremely satisfying. Days like today remind me how much I love what I do.

January 6, 2006

Tom Friedman On Energy

In today's New York Times, Tom Friedman's column is right on the money in identifying the shortcomings of our current national energy policies. Some choice excerpts:

What's so disturbing about President Bush and Dick Cheney is that they talk tough about the necessity of invading Iraq, torturing terror suspects and engaging in domestic spying--all to defend our way of life and promote democracy around the globe.

But when it comes to what is actually the most important issue in U.S. foreign and domestic policy today--making ourselves energy efficient and independent, and environmentally green--they ridicule it as something only liberals, tree-huggers and sissies believe is possible or necessary.

Sorry, but being green, focusing the nation on greater energy efficiency and conservation, is not some girlie-man issue. It is actually the most tough-minded, geostrategic, pro-growth and patriotic thing we can do. Living green is not for sissies. Sticking with oil, and basically saying that a country that can double the speed of microchips every 18 months is somehow incapable of innovating its way to energy independence--that is for sissies, defeatists and people who are ready to see American values eroded at home and abroad.

Living green is not just a "personal virtue," as Mr. Cheney says. It's a national security imperative.


We need a president and a Congress with the guts not just to invade Iraq, but to also impose a gasoline tax and inspire conservation at home. That takes a real energy policy with long-term incentives for renewable energy--wind, solar, biofuels--rather than the welfare-for-oil-companies-and-special-interests that masqueraded last year as an energy bill.

Enough of this Bush-Cheney nonsense that conservation, energy efficiency and environmentalism are some hobby we can't afford. I can't think of anything more cowardly or un-American. Real patriots, real advocates of spreading democracy around the world, live green.

Well said.

January 14, 2006

New Playthings From Apple


I finished watching the webcast of Steve Jobs' keynote address at this past week's MacWorld Expo. The Apple CEO introduced the new Intel-powered machines as well as upgrades to iLife and iWork. The iLife upgrade is of particular interest to me, as the new iWeb application looks like an easy way to create and maintain blogs, podcasts, and the like. I may even contemplate moving this blog onto my .Mac site--or at least incorporate elements of iWeb posting into this site. I'll know more once I get the software.

January 15, 2006

Tennis Season Is Underway


The 2006 tennis season kicks into high gear with the start of the Australian Open. Though it's Sunday night here, the time difference means I am watching Monday afternoon's matches live on ESPN2.

January 16, 2006

Season 5: Another Bad Day


Last night's 2-hour season premiere of "24" was kick-ass! Two more hours tonight.

January 17, 2006

Apple's New Software


The iLife '06 and iWork '06 software suites that I ordered just Sunday afternoon--from the Apple Store in Farmington, after learning the retail store offers educator's discounts on hardware, but not software--arrived today. I saved $50 by going through the online Apple Store. Lots of cool program upgrades to play with now.

January 18, 2006

Consistently Excellent Television


Tonight's episode of Lost was another strong installment. The creators of this show don't seem to be capable of being thrown off their game. Week to week, this drama is first-rate--the Golden Globe it won the other night was well-deserved.

January 19, 2006

Waking Up To Tennis


Kudos to ESPN2 for airing an incredible amount of live coverage of the Australian Open. When I awoke at 6:30 this morning, I turned on the TV--on a whim, really, as I usually would never think to do so at that hour--and watched the closing games of Juan Ignacio Chela's upset of #3 seed Lleyton Hewitt.

January 22, 2006

Bye Bye To The West Wing


NBC announced that this, the seventh season of The West Wing will be the show's last. Too bad, as it was enjoying a creative renaissance the past year, with the Vinick/Santos campaign to take over at the end of the Bartlet presidency. Tonight's episode was a good one, as the White House and the two campaigns had to respond to a nuclear power station crisis.

January 23, 2006

A World of Slush

Scientists say that today is the statistically the most depressing day of the year. I'm not quite sure how they arrived at that conclusion, but when I left home this morning and stepped into a gray, slushy world, I could kinda see where they are coming from.

January 29, 2006

Hours Of Fun

Now that it's available in a Mac OS X version, Google Earth has been an entertaining distraction for me the past few days. Check it out here.

January 31, 2006

In Honor Of Today's Oscar Nominations . . .

. . . here is a pretty funny video spoof that popped up on the 'Net.

About January 2006

This page contains all entries posted to As Far As You Know in January 2006. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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