Category Archives: travel

Home!

I’m home! I’m very very very happy to be back =D My mom and brother drove me back to my sf apartment from the airport. I’m super grateful, since I brought home a bunch of stuff (including a very Dutch bag for my bicycle from Hema!), and my bags were heavy. Stroopwafels have been a pretty much unilateral hit. Brought home a bunch of drop for Dominique. It doesn’t seem like food, but all Dutch people love it. Now I’ve got to unpack and sort through A BILLION pictures, including an impossibly large amount of photos I took of clouds on the flight from AMS to Houston.

I think most people don’t know how much I love clouds!

Life is fun.

I got some nice comments on my talk!!!!

The most enthusiastic speaker in DPC13 and DMC13, which made me more enthusiastic about the subject. Very fun and interesting talk, with very good examples to get started.

Definitely going to use Three.js to build red cubes now.

/beams

haha

crunch time

Ally and I ate a lot of falafel on Leidseplein last night at this awesome salad bar, then barhopped all night. I really love this area just south of Leidseplein. And it was an accident–we had found a cheap Best Western here. I’m pretty behind on blogging!

The livenation.nl website didn’t take american credit cards, so I wasn’t prepared for the Muse concert–I was sort of thinking I’d go down to the arena to buy a ticket. Then it was 45 minutes away by tram and I … had inertia. This is really weird–a few years ago, it would have been COMPLETELY UNTHINKABLE for me to miss Muse in my city for ANYTHING. But traveling alone can be hard, and so when Ally said “Bad Religion is playing tonight! I loved them!” I was like “hmm maybe that instead” once I found out that the venue they were playing at was like 3 minutes away and I guess I want to do things with people.

Laura is going to KILL me.

She will KILL me.

I guess this is me feeling some regret, but at least I’m writing it down here as an indication that I am okay living with my choice. haha. It was also like less than half the price. I suppose I could have tried using craigslist or finding stuff. Well…

I still had fun and the Melkweg was a really cool venue, so I’m glad I went to *something*! And I’m into BR more and more these days anyway. I could sing along during “sorrow” and such. Found an area upstairs pretty close the stage actually where there were a bunch of girls so I stood near them, because it was less scary than standing near a lot of large dudes. haha.

After the falafel, I saw some people on Liedes square and one was wearing a Muse tshirt so I was like OMG HOW WAS IT? and they were like IT WAS GREAT BUT THEY DIDN’T PLAY HYSTERIA???? and I was like I SAW BAD RELIGION INSTEAD BUT MUSE IS MY FAVORITE BAND IVE SEEN THEM EIGHT TIMES LIKE IN SF RECENTLY (even thought it was oakland) and he was like WOW I’VE ONLY SEEN MUSE FIVE TIMES AND I LOVED BAD RELIGION WHEN I WAS LIKE 12, DID THEY PLAY ‘SLUMBER’ I LOVED THAT SONG and I was like I DUNNO NOT WHEN I WAS THERE cuz i’d missed the first like half of the show and then I was like WHEN I SAW MUSE THEY DIDN’T PLAY STOCKHOLM! DID YOU GUYS GET STOCKHOLM? and they were like WELL THEY DID THE ROULETTE THING SO WE GOT NEW BORN AGAIN (and i didn’t figure out what they meant by again–did they play it twice lol? I’ll look on the message boards later) and then his companion was like “here, you can have this” and gave me a 20 euro bill but on further inspection it was a 20 euro bill on plastic-y paper that says “the 2nd law” and has a picture of the band on it HAHAHAHA and they were like YEAH SOME CEO OF A BANK THREW THESE DOWN LIKE CONFETTI FROM THE CATWALK, YOU CAN HAVE THIS AS A SOUVENIR CUZ WE CAN SEE HOW SAD YOU ARE THAT YO MISSED THE SHOW and i was like THANK YOU

Then they told us about some interesting-sounding clubs (jazz // live music // different scenes // blues) and we went our separate ways. Ally and I danced a while. One fo the clubs played that song I used to play a lot in my dorm room in 2000 that goes “i just don’t care if it something soemthing, I’ll fly with youuuuuuuuuuuu! I’ll fly with yyoooooouuuuuu” and then immediately after that, played that song by macklemore, the one that I like that isn’t thrift shop–I like it because it’s obviously tongue-in-cheek with the most generic-sounding lyrics possible for the impossibly catchy chorus — tongiht is the night, this is the moment, we’ll fight til it’s over, so throw your hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us… I love this song and Leidesplein clubs do too. We went to another club and the song played there. Then we went to another bar and the song played there too. Hahaha.

Sarah and Estelle just got into town so I have to pack up here and go find them! So excited!

This library is beautiful

I had a totally uneventful flight (hooray!). I watched Life of Pi (Ang Lee! Also I loved the book when I devoured it, years ago, wrapped in bed and wracked with doubt, adrift in my own sea of turmoil) and then, immediately, Les Mis, which is such a stupid story I could barely stand it. Curiously, I’d never seen Les Mis in any form all the way through–I’d only caught glimpses of the version they used to play on kqed channel 9 all the time, where they didn’t have the full stage setting and the orchestra was on stage and the actors performed in front of skinny microphones, and even then I only ever paid attention to Lea Salonga, who is captivating and gorgeous and talented and expressive. I’d heard the names Gavroche, Fantine, Cosette, Marius, and Eponine, and now I know who they are, and bemoan their uselessness. ‘ponine, you could be so much more interesting, and there are other fish in the sea, and anyawy you need a sassy gay friend oh look someone made one and also how do you make double quotes on a European computer? I keep typing it and then mashing the keys and then deleting the äs that appear.

Anyway that’s not what I was trying to talk about. Here are my Amsterdam adventures so far:
– sat in airport lobby and read these travel books maiki gave me and finally decided to go to a library
– wandered around the airport trying to buy a power converter that would take my three-pronged plug for my laptop charger. Discovered, after choosing one, that I was still in the duty-free zone, and I wasn’t allowed to buy there after I deboarded. You’re only allowed to buy stuff there if you’re waiting to get on a flight, or something.
– Bought one elsewhere, along with a small backpack that I plan to use when I get home too. It’s green.
– Wandered around the giant section of the airport that says “train tickets here” (oh the way to make double quotes reliably is to press the key, then type a consonant!). Was stymied by the machines not taking my credit card or atm card (although both had just worked elsewhere). Finally discovered that only 1 in like 10 of the machines takes coins (and none of them appeared to take bills). Successfully bought a ticket to Amsterdam Centraal.
– Wandered around the station for a long time looking at maps trying to figure out how to figure out which train would take me to Amsterdam Centraal. Asked some people who were looking for a machine that took cash (and I helped them find one), who helped me.
– Got on the train as the doors were closing. The first car appeared to be a bike car. The train is beautiful, sort of like caltrain, but more well-used, and prettier, and smooth! Rode a few stops.
– Got out! Walked outside! Into the rain!
– Went back inside! Walked into some kind of drugstore-ish thing that sold everything from clothing to chocolates and bought the most offensive umbrella I could find (it’s orange with flowers! I had a hard time choosing between this orange one and the pink one with pinkish reddish carnations, but I’m glad I got the orange).
– Walked towards the library! Passed reams and reams of parked bicycles! Have never seen so many parked bikes in my life! Thought about renting a bike, but haven’t yet!
– Wandered around inside the library, which is white and huge (7 stories tall I think?) and covered in giant windows and recessed LED lighting on the shelves and so bright inside and full of interesting-looking students hard at work! Dismayed to find taht accessing their wifi is €1 per 30 minutes, and not free, like this tour book said (maybe things changed snice publication). Bought 30 minutes at a paystation.
– Their wifi login system isn’t working and an employee confirmed as much. Logged onto a public workstation instead (they are plentiful and line these balconies). Am sad about the continued inability to post pictures. I guess I could transfer them from my phone to my computer adn then from my computer to this public workstation via usb drive ….

Anyway, I’m figuring out stuff about the Wikipedia Engineering Meetup/Hackathon in Amsterdam now hooray! Also, trying to figure out my phone situation. Maybe I should go get the cheapest prepaid feature phone I can find so I can call/sms or something.

Enroute to Amsterdam!

Here I am, in Houston! One day I will sit down and figure out a process of getting pictures from my phone onto Something That Is Convenient For Display On Mah Blaugh and then I will be able to easily post this picture I just took of a bronze statue of George HW Bush in the Houston airport, but for now, words must suffice.

Why am I going to Amsterdam?
– I got a talk accepted to the Dutch Mobile Conference! I will be speaking about Three.js as a developing way to display 3d graphics on a phone.
– I arranged my travel such that I would be able to attend the Wikipedia Hackathon in Amsterdam!!!
– There happens to be a Muse concert while I’ll be there!
– Maybe I’ll take the train to Paris or something!

Yesterday morning, I made it onto my plane for my 8:50am flight out of SFO and to Houston, where I was supposed to make a connection to Amsterdam, but there was a mechanical failure, so we all had to deplane. We all got on another plane three hours later. United Airlines put me up in this Holiday Inn in Houston for a night. I’m bound for the Houston airport again now to get on a new flight to AMS!

Here I am in Seattle. I twisted my knee getting into my seat on the plane (ha ha) so I hobbled around yesterday in one of Jenny’s many flavors of knee brace. I followed her to school one day, school one day, school one day, baaa, I’m a little lamb. Uh. Ahem. She had class for 1.5 hours so I sat around and looked at the internets on her computer in a “breakout” on her floor. You know how in Soda there are some random “lobbies” with tables and chairs on each floor near the elevators? They call them “breakouts” in that building. Do they call them “breakouts” in Soda too? Anyway, her building is really nice. There’s a huge open space in the middle of the building illuminated by skylights so you never feel like you’re in a cave. Jenny has a view of a gorgeous lake and snowcapped mountains in the distance. We ate pizza at “the hub.” I sat around trying to complete a “put these 14 logs of different length back into the box” puzzle that Ratoul told me to do while Jenny had her office hour during which I was not disruptive. We played foosball. People who Jenny introduced me to said “what did you do to your knee? what is it with jenny and her friends being injured all the time???” We picked up Susumu and Yong-joon (spellings?) and went to the Triple Door to see Vienna Teng. At this time I think it is appropriate to create a paragraph break.

The Triple Door is an awesome venue. In fact, here is a link so you can all imagine its awesomeness: http://www.thetripledoor.net/ There is a lounge area/restaurant thing, and then downstairs there’s a concert area with a nice stage. The concert area was filled with tiered layers of tables and booths–you’re supposed to eat before/during the concert. It was really nice. I had mongolian pork chops and choked on szhechuan pepper (however you spell schezhaun). We had appetizers of yummy black pepper squid and some deepfried shrimp, and Jenny got “dragon and phoenix” (prawns and… scallops?), Susumu got pork, Yong-joon got pad thai. Jenny was fascinated by the bottles that the water came in–glass, with a metal-and-plastic apparatus-plug at the top. Paragraph break number 2 inserted.

I liked David Berkeley, the opening act, who sang and played guitar and had songs about New York and railroads and how we are worn like river stones. His voice is the trembly (not weak, I mean sort of vibrato-y swing-around-y) folkish sort of kind. Vienna Teng played with her cellist and a drummer and they were really good and of course Vienna Teng was wonderful. I’ve noticed that I like her live a lot more than her recordings–not to say that I don’t like her recordings, of course. I do. She is just awesome live. Last time I saw her, I liked “momentum” a lot more after hearing it live. This time it was “hope on fire,” which may have been partly becuase she had a drumkit on stage with her. “Blue blue caravan” is awesome, as were the other new songs she sang, and I can’t wait for her next CD to come out. Hey Jenny’s back from class. I haven’t played civ4… oh well