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June 2006 Archives

June 1, 2006

A/C Time

The humidity of summer has arrived a bit early, so I was inspired to get out of bed at 1 a.m. last night and haul the air conditioner I bought last summer into my bedroom window. Big difference! I now have an oasis of cool for the months ahead.

June 2, 2006

Africa Is A Month Away


As the school year at Choate is now winding up, I am able to spend more time preparing for my trip to Africa this summer. I'll be spending the last three weeks of July teaching in Cape Town, and then a few days in the Johannesburg area, which will include some time in a game park. In putting together the readings and syllabus for my course--"Modern Africa and Global Relations"--I've been thinking about the continent more broadly, particularly how Africa figures in the globalization movement. I am looking forward to checking things out for myself.

June 3, 2006

Four-Set Scare For Nadal


Rafael Nadal survived a tough challenge from French player Paul-Henri Mathieu to win his 56th straight match on clay. Next up for the Spaniard is a showdown with Lleyton Hewitt, whom he's never defeated (thought the two have yet to meet on clay).

On The Reading Table


On the recommendation of a colleague, I started David Lodge's Nice Work today. Though I am not far into the book yet, it's already an engagingly funny satire of life in mid-1980s Britain, with a particularly acerbic take on the academic world.

June 4, 2006


Today was graduation day at Choate, an occasion which always brings mixed emotions. The ceremony itself was terrific: the rain (mostly) held off and the speeches were very good, especially the address by Senator Christopher Dodd. The weekend is a good chance to catch up with families and alums in town for the festivities. Moreover, this day more or less marks the start of my summer vacation (aside from the five days of report writing, wrap-up meetings, and departmental socializing that lie ahead!). But the down side is, of course, saying goodbye to kids I've gotten used to spending time with just about every day for the past few years. Most of them will keep in touch and come back and visit, but it never really will be the same. Teachers do get used to this rite of passage and September surely will bring new faces, but it's still sad to say goodbye.

June 5, 2006

Captains Courageous


This picture, which I took in May of 2005, has a generation of Choate Tennis captains from five different seasons: Mark Goldberg (2003 captain), Ben Gettinger (2007), Ming Ong (2005), Angelo Coclanis (2005), Eliot Jia (2006), and Karl Blunden (2004). Pretty cool.

Battle Royale

Lleyton Hewitt made Rafael Nadal work pretty hard in this Grand Slam showdown. Given Hewitt's recent history--he's lost to the eventual champion in seven of the past eight majors the past two years--this was a good omen for Nadal, who now extends his clay court streak to 57. But Federer is playing awfully well in the other half of the draw . . .

June 6, 2006

Happy 50th, Bjorn Borg


The great Swedish player--one of my childhood idols--turns 50 today. Tennis hasn't really ever been the same since Borg more or less walked away from the game after losing the 1981 U.S. Open final.

Updated U2 iPod


Today Apple released an "encore" version of its U2 Special Edition iPod, this time in a 30GB video-equipped version. Same black and red color scheme as before, but of course with a bigger screen. Pretty sweet.

June 7, 2006

Faster E-Commerce


Amazon.com offered me a three month free trial of its Amazon Prime membership. It's turned out to be pretty nifty. Basically, I get two-day shipping on most anything I order for free, with no minimum purchase and no need to group items together and wait for all of them to become available. I do find I am more likely to order from Amazon now, since my stuff arrives so quickly (I usually order at least $25 of merchandise at a time and select Super Saver free shipping, but this usually takes much longer to arrive.) The test of how much I like Amazon Prime will be how willing I am to spring for the $79 annual membership once my free trial expires at the end of the summer.

June 8, 2006

Roland Garros: The Home Stretch


The top four seeds face off in the French Open men's singles semifinals tomorrow, and of course everyone wants a Federer/Nadal final (which I'll probably miss due to travel, so I better fire up the DVR!). Justine Henin-Hardenne will be gunning for her third Roland Garros title against Svetlana Kuznetsova. And the Bryan twins reached their sixth straight major final and will take on Jonas Bjorkman and Max Mirnyi in a rematch of last's year's men's doubles championship; the Americans have won the last two Slam titles. A pretty intriguing final weekend!

June 9, 2006

Dream Final


#1 vs. #2 on Sunday in Paris! Federer reached his first Roland Garros final and is in a position to hold singles titles at all four majors at once, should he win. Of course, he'd be halfway to a traditional (read: calendar year) Grand Slam, too, and the prohibitive favorite at Wimbledon next month. Nadal will have something to say about that, with an impressive streak of his own on the line and a pretty nice record against the Swiss star. Nadal's straight-set win in the semifinal and a day of rest should have him fresh for the final after a few grueling rounds earlier in the tournament. Federer has cruised through the draw and looks to be in top form and hungry! Ought to be a very intriguing championship match!

June 10, 2006

Off To Athens


I checked in online from home--which ideally will save me a wait at the terminal--and I am heading off to Newark Airport for twelve days in Europe.

June 12, 2006

The Project Of Pericles


The photo above is the Parthenon--one of the most famous bulldings (or what's left of it!) in the world. Of course, much of what one wants to see now resides in the British Museum, much to the chagrin of the Greek people! I visited the Acropolis this morning and then strolled through the Ancient Agora on my way to lunch. Pretty heady stuff: walking where Socrates walked!

By the way, my tip for a meal in Athens: O Thanasis near the Monastiraki metro stop: best souvlaki I have ever had!

June 13, 2006

Sailing The Wine-Dark Sea


While in Greece, I figured it would be good thing to get out on the water, taking a page from Odysseus. I don't think Homer's epic involved a high-speed catamaran painted to promote a European wireless company, though!

At any rate, I made it out to Santorini (a.k.a. Thira), one of the Cyclades in the middle of the Aegean Sea. Most of the island disappeared in a volcanic eruption and there is some evidence that Greeks of the classic era may have been referring to Santorini when they described lost Atlantis.

Santorini Sunset


Out here in the middle of the Aegean--or is it the Mediterranean?--I watched one of the most beautiful sunsets from the balcony outside my hotel room tonight. My room overlooks the caldera (a volcanic crater) toward the west of the island of Santorini, which gave me a terrific vantage point from which to see the sun melt into the horizon.

The picture above I snapped at dinner; you can see how the village of Thira is perched on cliffs over the water.

June 14, 2006

Feels Like Spring Break

The combination of the architecture at the hotel I am staying at on Santorini (the Majestic, if you make it here--I recommend it) and the cool weather at the end of a warm day gives me a strong sense of deja vu: particularly of spring break in the Califiornia desert or Florida. It dawned on me that I didn't get my annual fix of warm weather in March this year, as I was in China with the tennis team instead. Of course, I don't regret that trip at all, but I did miss the gentle climate I have gotten accustomed to at the end of the winter term. Even in the three years I have taken the Choate squash team on a U.K. tour, it was always followed by a trip south. So I guess I am getting my spring break in the Greek isles this year in June!

June 15, 2006

The Sacred Way


I arrived in Delphi tonight (pronounced "del-fee" if you want to sound authentic) after renting a car and driving for a few hours along what the ancient Greeks called "the sacred way." The path was revered because Delphi was considered the omphalos--the navel of the earth, literally, or what we might call the center of the world. Of course nowadays much of the "sacred path" is a motorway!

My first sight of the archaeological site at Delphi was reminiscent of driving to Stonehenge on the Salisbury plain: you know where you are heading, and you have a rough idea of what it will look like, but it's still rather breathtaking how it just appears on the side of the road unexpectedly all of a sudden.

June 16, 2006

Audio Lectures

During my stay in Greece, I've been listening to a series of lectures I got from The Teaching Company. This site offers lectures by well-know university professors in all sorts of different fields. I chose a set in Greek history and another in western political philosophy. I downloaded them from the company website and uploaded them in my iPod, where they show up in the Audiobooks format, which means I can resume a particular lecture where I left off, even if I play some music in the interim.

June 17, 2006

Ruminations On Landscape

Flying into Amsterdam this morning, it was amazing just how different this land is from Greece. The latter is characterized by a hard terrain: uniformly mountainous, with a dry, arid climate. Holland, on the other hand is wet and lush. And it's clear from the air that it is also as flat as a pancake.

European Sports


June is always a good time to be in Europe from a sporting perspective. While I'll miss Wimbledon this year--it starts a week later than usual, compared to the school calendar my life operates on--I've seen a lot of grass court action from the Queen's Club tournament this week on both Eurosport and BBC. And, of course, there seems to be some sort of soccer tournament getting people's attention here as well. I arrived in Holland early this afternoon and while the Greeks were clearly following the World Cup, the Dutch have a team in the competition and are doing well, so it's a BIG deal. (The photo above is of Holland team and fans decked out in their traditional orange garb.)

As I write these words, I am watching the U.S. side fight a must-win contest in its second game of the round robin against the Italian team. It's hard not to get caught up in the event while here in Europe. I'm sure England will be in the throes of soccer madness, too, when I arrive there on Monday. Anyway, I've been prepping a bit by reading an enjoyable book of essays: The Thinking Fan's Guide To The World Cup, with some excellent contributions by the likes of Nick Hornby, Dave Eggers, and Choatie (and The New Yorker writer) Jim Surowiecki. I recommend it, even for the casual soccer aficionados. (The pic below if the cover to the U.K. edition, which I picked up here in Amsterdam; there is a different cover in the U.S., but apparently the same content.)

June 18, 2006

Will You Still Need Me . . .


It's official . . . Sir Paul McCartney is 64!

June 19, 2006

Great Solution For Wireless Access


I brought my trusty iBook G4 to the Apple Store on Regent Street here in London so that--under the pretense of attending the user workshops in the small theater in the back of the store--I can access the store's free Airport network. A much better way to check email, post to the blog, etc. than paying £1 per hour on some crappy PC with limited access to my bookmarks and email accounts. Apple is great to offer folks the chance to get online at no cost while away from home.

Moreover, as my Choate email account was switched from FirstClass to Exchange yesterday, I am in the middle of trying to fine-tune Entourage and sync it with my Apple Address Book, iCal, Claris Organizer, my Palm, etc. Having Internet access makes this transition a lot easier!

June 20, 2006

Freaky Sight


I didn't notice this coming from Paris on the Eurostar two summers ago, but on my trip from Brussels yesterday, just before the train's arrival in London's Waterloo Station, there appeared this huge factory with four smokestacks in the corners--the exact building (and from the train, viewed from pretty much the same angle) pictured on the cover the Pink Floyd's Animals album from the 1970s.

Kaiten Supper


While most of England was watching the final first round World Cup game between the national squad and Sweden, I went our for a late bite to eat in the Picadilly Circus area, near my hotel. I ended up a Yo! Sushi, a chain based on the kaiten approach: each dish is placed on different color-coded plates, indicating different prices, and all the empties are counted up at the end of the meal for the bill. Customers choose their dishes as it passes by on a conveyer belt around the sushi bar. I've eaten at such places in Japan in the past. One has the advantage of selecting just what he wants as it chugs on by.

June 21, 2006

The Drawings Of Michelangelo


I went to the "Closer To The Master" exhibition at The British Museum last night, which was a display of drawings by Michelangelo over the course of his career. Many of the artist's greatest works in sculpture or paint were the products of studies in ink and paper first. The exhibit was a fascinating window into the career of one of art's all-time masters.

June 22, 2006

Goodbye To London


I'm about to head to Heathrow Airport for the flight back to the States after nearly two weeks in Europe. It's always nice to go home!

June 23, 2006

Back To The Island


After less then twelve hours back home, I left again for Martha's Vineyard, where I am spending the weekend attending the wedding of two Choaties from the Class of 1993: Sylvia Winter and Aaron Baggish--the latter a cross country runner and one-time coaching colleague. I am staying up-island--my favorite part of the Vineyard--at the Menemsha Inn, which has a great view of the harbor and the sunset.

June 24, 2006

Favorite Breakfast Spot


While on Martha's Vineyard, I make a habit of having breakfast each morning at The Black Dog--famous for those ubiquitous T-shirts with the mascot on the front. Hard to beat the Eggs Benedict/Rasputin's Revenge (pancakes with chocolate chips and fresh strawberries) combination!

June 25, 2006

Great Flick


Given the non-stop rain here on the Vineyard all of yesterday and today, I had hopes of getting on an earlier ferry--I booked the 7:15 p.m. trip from Vineyard Haven to Woods Hole months back, imagining then I could spend a leisurely day in good weather on the island--but of course lots of other folks had the same idea in light of the foul weather, so I couldn't get back to the Cape early and thus had time to kill. The documentary An Inconvenient Truth was playing in Edgartown at 2:15, so I got out of the downpour for a couple of hours in the cinema. While the movie is not perfect, it is a "must-see" film. Al Gore is far more engaging in this format than he was as a candidate. And the mountain of facts he and the filmmakers have marshalled to sound the alarm on climate change is pretty overwhelming (and convincing!). Gore makes great use of a Keynote (Apple's version of PowerPoint) presentation on the lecture circuit and this movie should get the message out to a lot more people. That's a good thing.

June 26, 2006

The Championships


Today is the first day of "the fortnight" at Wimbledon. Among the storylines that should unfold in the next two weeks:

• Can Andre Agassi contend in his final appearance at the All-England Club?

• Will Roger Federer win a fourth straight title, as expected, in light of a brutal draw starting from his first-round date with Richard Gasquet?

• Can Justine Henin-Hardenne capture the only major title that has eluded her to date?

• What are the odds Venus Williams will be able to defend her 2005 crown?

• Will Andy Roddick find his long-lost mojo?

• Which of the following will experience a surprise breakthrough in the 2006 tournament: Andy Murray, Amelie Mauresmo, Rafael Nadal, James Blake, or Martina Hingis?

June 27, 2006

10 Months Away

Another cool movie trailer is now online here.

June 28, 2006

Faster Than A Speeding Bullet . . .


Just got in from the first showing of Superman Returns. It measured up pretty well, though Kate Bosworth's Lois fell a little flat. The movie treats its source material--Richard Donner's 1978 Superman and the first of it sequels--with great reverence, even incorporating some of the best lines from those earlier films (and liberally mining John Williams' majestic scoring). Good flick overall, if perhaps a bit too long. Thumbs up.

June 29, 2006

Exchange Email

My email account at school was switched from FirstClass to an Exchange server just over a week ago, while I was in Europe. Since returning home, I've been getting to know the Microsoft programs designed to take advantage of Exchange--Entourage (on the Mac) and Outlook (on the PC)--a bit better. In particular, I've been able to load my contacts, my calendar, and my "to do" list, with mixed results. It's frustrating that the categories don't sync from machine to machine. Add to that the different feature sets in Entourage (with its attractive Project Center) and Exchange (which handles shared calendars, among other things, differently) and the yet-to-be-resolved syncing issues with my Palm PDA, .Mac, iCal, and Apple's Address Book and Mail, and and it looks as though I will be experimenting for a while until I have a PIM system that works well for me.

June 30, 2006

For The Tennis Fans Among You

This link will take you to a fascinating video clip (playback requires Windows Media Player) of former world #1 Mats Wilander offering some pretty frank commentary in the wake of the recent French Open final between Nadal and Federer. His observations on the nature of competition at this level are both provocative and astute. The clip is something any serious tennis fan will appreciate.

About June 2006

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

May 2006 is the previous archive.

July 2006 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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