Saturday, December 27, 2008


I've finally had some down time. Yay!

After finals I visited Jim and Ami in their new house near San Diego. Visited an old friend Laura near Anaheim.

Work. Yes, I still work at a law firm that does not give winter breaks like school.

Besides watching Buffy and reading for fun, I've been in Riverside a lot.

I spent time with the family. I think my brothers got the best present this year. I got them the new Guitar Hero (now with drums and mic). So most of my quality Christmas family time was spent playing video game drums. So much fun! I was this close to stealing their present.

I also had a wonderful time with old friend from high school. Some of them I have not seen for years. Below is Erin, whom I had not seen in almost six years!


A stalker picture from the get-together last night, outside where it was cold.


As a side note, too many of old high school crushes (which basically included all pretty girls in my grade) are getting married. There is that feeling of feeling old again.

In the next few days I might drive back to Riverside and head out to Sacramento/San Francisco for New Year's. Fun.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dealing with babies ...

Today I learned how untangle my arm from a girl without waking her up. She refused to stop crying unless I held her. Eventually she fell asleep, but when I tried to put her down she started crying again. So my solution was to slowly untangle myself from her and transfer her to the couch, gently, without waking her up.


Picture of my sucess below


Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Seriously, what is up with the universe this week? Every single day since my birthday has been filled with drama of some sort. A blast from my past, unexpected romance, death, finals, work, confessions. My brain hurts, my nerves are shot ... ouch.

I am actually looking for a little downtime. Instead of going out and getting drunk to celebrate the end of finals Friday, I am going to be taking care of a one year old and a three year old. Of course it's silly to think that taking care of those two is going to be downtime. Still it's different, and I look forward to that.

I think I will pick up that book that I been saving for winter break: "Revolutionary Road" (Richard Yates).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Happy Birthday to me ...

I'm finally 24. Slowly, but surely I am starting to feel old. All my friends around me are getting married and having kids. Yet, somehow through all of that growing up, I find myself still in school. Still, I'm old. No longer will I be able to surprise people by telling them that I am a 3L and still 23. Oh well. At least I will be an attorney at the ripe age of 24.

The night before my birthday was my copyright final which was intense so say the least. I think I passed, there is not much more than that I can say.

I ended up going to my firm's Christmas party, very late. Had a beer, met Becky. Went back to my place for mojitos. The next day we eventually got to arboretum. This is a gorgeous place and I will certainly come back when I have more time to look around.

The rest of my birthday I spent in Santa Barbara without much incident, but certainly well enjoyed.

This has been one of the very few times where I actually end up having a lot of fun, but actually have no pictures to prove it. Andy time later today.

So in conclusion. Yeah, I'm old ...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Daily Show...

Sadly the Daily Show is the main source of news for many Americans. Wait ... sadly?

I take that back. I just heard one of the most constructive conversations about gay marriage. Former Governor Mike Huckabee and host John Stewart had a really great conversation about the role of marriage in society. This is the kind of discourse that I wish to see everywhere.

Watch the video below.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happy Birthday Blog!

It's been one year since I started this blog.

It started as a way for me to procrastinate during my first set of finals as a 2L.

Since then I have written 156 entries. That is only about 42% of the days in the year. I need to start writing some more! There are two post in progress that I will finish soon. Sometime after my Copyright final on Thursday and my birthday Friday.

Wish me luck!

Monday, December 8, 2008

FB Friend Suggestions ...

Every once in a while Facebook gives me a list of suggested friend based on the fact that the suggested person and I have a large number of mutual friends. For the most part, I recognize the suggested individual and remember that there was a reason why I did not befriend them in the first place.

However, every once in a while, the site suggest I friend whom I don't recall even seeing once in my life. Sure enough all of my friends know this person. Even worse, is when this person you are sure you never met is tagged in a picture with you.

This makes me feel guilty.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


So many things to write, so little time. Finals is sucking away all my time, but I wanted to write a quickie.

When writing an apology to a woman I suggest starting with this:

"California Civil Code section 1577 describes a mistake as "an unconscious ignorance or forgetfulness of a fact past or present, [that is] material..."

Allow me to illustrate it's use. Say for example you got caught cheating on your girlfriend. Then you could write her the following:

"My cheating was not a mistake, and this is supported by California law. The fact that you were my girlfriend at the time I was having sex with that other woman was not an 'unconscious ignorance or forgetfulness of a fact.' I remembered, fully conscious, but she was so much hotter than you. Because legally this was not a mistake I made , it really must your fault. However, because I love you so much I am willing to apologize although I don't need to. I'm sorry. Wanna do it?"

No woman can resist taking you back after reading such a note.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sonic Boom...

Space shuttle Endeavor landed this afternoon at the nearby Edwards AFB. At around 1:20pm. I heard a loud double bang which rattled my windows. I felt proud that I was able to recognize the fact it was sonic boom.

A perfect entry into my afternoon with some real rocket scientist (sorta). I spent my evening at a farewell party for an old Techer friend and her friends from her previous employment experiences which included developing things launched with rockets. Fun times.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Originally uploaded by jiron2000
Today I found out that the person in this picture, Jorge, has died. Not only that, but he was murdered.

I met him during my visit to Nicaragua this summer. At the time he was dating an old childhood friend of mine. She was the one who told me about this today.

While I did not really know him, it makes me sad when anyone that has come across my life dies. Sadly, again, this has not been my first experience with death.

My thoughts prayers are with his family.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Oh Crap ...

My hometown of Riverside, CA made the national news, for bad things. I found this on the front page of MSNBC.COM. Apparently unemployment rate in the city is significantly higher than the national average. Doh! Video below ....

Monday, November 24, 2008


I know this is old news, but I had to at least share my experience during the fire. Thankful neither me, my family or any of my close friends were severely affected by the fire. I know that for many, this is not "old news" as they recover from losing their homes.

As I was driving to my worker's right clinic in Pacoima Saturday 11/15 I saw huge columns of smoke. At first I though that it was the Encino fire (which was dumb since that was 100 miles away), but learned that it was the Sylmar fire.

Later that day I drove to Riverside and got a close look at the fire near Corona. I even saw large firefighter plane fly lowly across the freeway as it prepared to take up water in the nearby reserve. It was such a sight to see such a large plane cross the road in front me.

It's times like these when we should be thankful to those individuals who make fire fighting a career. You people are awesome.!


The articulate master of this locale

Taken down by a single gal ...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Prop. 8 Lawsuits ...

When the ACLU first filed a lawsuit in the wake of the Proposition 8 passage I felt their legal arguments were weak. As it turns out I was just ignorant, they have smart lawyers over there.

The main question in the ACLU lawsuits, and similar suits filed is: whether proposition 8 is an amendment or revision to the California Constitution?

If the proposition is a revision to the constitution, then it's illegal. Constitutional revisions can only be placed on the ballot only by a two-thirds vote of the Legislature.

A constitutional revision is any change which touches upon the core elements of the document, as opposed to an amendment which is only tangentially related. In this case, there is a strong argument for revision because Proposition 8 would change the fundamental principle of equal protection.

Equal protection is the fundamental right to have our laws apply equally to all.

Since the Court already held that denying same sex couple the right to "marry" is a violation of equal protection even when they have civil-unions available, the current ACLU lawsuit is very strong.

They are so going to win this. Unless the CA Supreme Court does something stupid.

It recently occurred to me that arguing that gays don't need marriage since they have strong civil-union rights sounded a lot like another argument I heard before... separate but equal. That didn't turn out so well.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Caltech Olive Harverst Festival 2008

I took a short break from MPRE studying to participate in the second annual Caltech Olive Harvest Festival, picking olives from trees. Becky wrote more about the weekend here so I won't bother retelling.

Local news crew took video and even used my voice (unaccredited) in part of the news story. Video below.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

CA People Are Retarded ...

Proposition 8 passed. People are retarded.

I just wrote this note on Facebook in response a friend's note suggesting that this maybe is the start of the new civil rights movement for our generation.

"I support gay rights just for opportunity to see Julia kiss other women. But seriously, well said. Because I am not gay and only have a couple of gay friends, I have not really cared about gender discrimination that much. I always thought it was wrong and if handed a ballot like the one from yesterday, I would vote against the discrimination. However, I have not felt an urge to go out and support the cause. I have volunteered my time to campaign elections, worker's rights, protest, and many other things because they were important to me. After yesterday, gay rights just made my list. I feel guilty that I did not volunteer for the No on 8 campaign, and that somehow its passing is my fault. I guarantee you next time I will do more. Maybe this is the beginning of a movement ..."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

President Obama ...

Obama won the election. I'm sure I'll write more about that later, but for now I wanted to show my respect for Senator McCain. He just delivered his his concession speech, one of the most classiest speeches I have ever heard. I felt like he meant everything he said, the need to work together tomorrow and the day after that.

God bless America, God bless Senator John McCain, and God bless President-Elect Barack Obama.

No on Prop. 8...

This entry has been gestating in my head for many days now, and I guess since election day is officially here I can't really keep putting this off.

Proposition 8 is a voter referendum to amend the California constitution to specifically define "marriage" as between a man and woman, thereby overturning the recent Supreme Court ruling which held otherwise.

I was touched by Robynjade13's reason why she opposed the proposition. I agree with her wholeheartedly. I believe that even if homosexuality is a sin, and all the gays are going to burn in hell (which I don't believe), this is none of my business. Personal choice over life partners should be left untouched and unrestrained when no harm comes from it. Redefinition of what basically is a contractual agreement does not violate the sanctity of marriage, because in the secular world it has none to begin. Marriage is a government sanctioned mutual agreement that does not offend any religious belief. Nobody is tying to force churches to recognize same sex marriage. I have no problem with discrimination in the church, they can exclude any protected class for all I care. However, I will not tolerate discrimination in the law.

The main thing that bothers me about this whole proposition 8 fiasco are the scare tactics employed by the proponents of the bill. I hate the fact that the Catholic Church donated to this cause, but it's their choice. The issues has moved away from individual rights to the protection of children. Ads supporting the proposition have a simple message: if this proposition fails, your child will be taught about homosexuality. Their website (which I refuse to link to) has an interview with parents from Massachusetts telling their tale of how the courts there allowed schools to teach about homosexuality. This is a brilliant marketing ploy, the couple comes off as genuine, and truly concerned about the education of their children. They frame this as an issue of allowing "kids to be kids longer" and not desire to discriminate against a sexual orientation. The ad ends with legal citations to the relevant case.

I took some time to read the case and while I wanted to write an in depth analysis of why the ad misuses this legal precedence (I just don't have time studying for the MPRE), I will just give the highlights. The profiled couple was one of two couples who filed suit, the husband of the other couple had to be arrested and forcibly removed from the school when he showed up to complaint. Not good for TV profiles. The Massachusetts law in question (similar to CA) does not require teaching of anything specific, but rather setups a committee to create a curriculum. Each district is then allowed to implement the curriculum as they see fit. The curriculum in question has general requirements dealing with the teaching of tolerance. The Massachusetts Supreme Court decision did not cause the schools to start teaching about homosexuality. While it might have influenced local administrators to implement references to homosexuality, this decision is independent of the court decision. I believe that parents do have limited rights in what their children are taught, but this is not the issue today. Failure to pass the proposition will not mean that children will be taught about gay marriage, there is no cause and effect relationship here. CA school administrators could independently, no matter the outcome Tuesday, decide to do this anyways. If you really want to stop the teaching of same-sex marriage in schools parents need to get involved in the development of the curriculum, denying rights to others and integration discrimination in our laws will not do it.

I was about to finish this entry, but I saw troubling scare tactics by the "No on 8" side. The Courage Campaign Issues Committee (not affiliated with the main No on 8 campaign) came out with an attack ad today that depicted mormon as home invaders (again I refuse to link to this). The ad argues that the Mormon church has donated millions to the Yes on 8 cause and therefore wishes to invade in the lives of others. Actors in the commercials dressed as stereotypical mormons invade a home where they proceed to take of the weddings bands of a same-sex couple, rummage through their house until they finally find their marriage license which they destroy. I find this ad offensive and bigoted. I have many mormons friends whom I love dearly, and while we may disagree on politics we respect each other's opinions. Mormons are not home invaders out to take away your rights, just like my Church they donated and supported a cause they believe in. The main campaigns needs to disown this group, just because the other side uses fear ads, there is no need to do the same.

Elections bring out the worse in people ...

Here is a hope for President Obama.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Obama's Grandmother Dies...

This election is so full drama.

Sadly today, it was sad drama. AP reports that Obama's grandmother Madelyn Payne Dunham died of cancer today.

His grandmother had been characterized as the woman who raised him, he just lost a mother. I also lost my mother to cancer and know how that feels. I wonder now if sympathy will play any role in the election booth tomorrow.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Costume ...

This is the first time in many years that I purchased a Halloween costume. I never really got into it, but peer pressure is a powerful force. Now, if only I could find a costume to disguise my short height.


Los Angeles ...

Recently I've found some new found love for Los Angeles.

Every time I land back is Los Angeles I can't help buy peer out the plane window and feel excited about returning home. I felt that New York would be the only city that would rival Los Angeles and I simply fell in love with NY when I visited this summer. Although I would like to live in New York, I want to retire in Los Angeles. This great city of angels will be forever home.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Opera Overload ...

Yesterday I got an invitation in the mail to purchase tickers to an opera performance in Summer of 2010. That was not a typo.

The LA Opera is producing Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, better know as the "The Ring." This cycle is a collection of four operas, done in four nights, with a total play time of 15 hours.

A couple of the operas in the cycle will be performed this season, but the entire cycle will not happen until two years from now. Tickers are very expensive, starting at $100 for obstructed seats to seats costing thousands of dollars. Clearly I cannot afford this now, but hopefully in two years I will be.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Hummm ...yeah

This is bad, it's so bad it's funny. I specially like the Tupac tribute at the end.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Circumventing the Constitution ...

The emergency bailout plan was passed by the Senate and then passed by the House, and almost immediately signed into law by the President.

Wait what? Isn't this out of order? Senate then House for an appropriations bill?

From the U.S. Constitution, Article I, section 7:

"All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills."

So much for power of the purse, the senate just stole money from the purse. When I first noticed, I wondered: how can a bailout plan be initiated by the Senate? After a bit of research, I figured out just how sneaky the Senator Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, was in passing this.

The Senate voted on H.R. 1424, a bill previously passed by congress back in March 2008, dealing with, among other things, social security, genetic discrimination, and changes to the tax code. The first part of the bailout bill is this: "Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the following: "

So in case you didn't figure out. The Senate took and old appropriations bill passed by the House, gutted the text and replaced with something completely unrelated (the bailout plan) and sent it back to the House for approval. While technically the bill originated in the House, this move violates the spirit of the Constitution. Go democracy ...

Note: I make no opinion about the bailout plan itself here, I am just upset that Congress broke the Constitution to make it pass.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Stocks ...

Bad financial planning, corporate greed, and lax market regulations did what even terrorist attacks could not do. The Dow lost almost 780 points today after a failed congressional bill, the drop passed by far the previous record for a one-day drop, 684.81, set in the first trading day after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Maybe I should buy cheap stock now, or run for the hills ....


I got more than my fair share of culture this weekend by seeing two operas back to back. Reviews of both below.

Il Trittico

Friday night, after a long day of work. This opera was written by Puccini as a series of three, one-act operas. The first one, Il Tabarro, is a story of a woman in having an affair and her husband eventually finding out and killing her lover. This was a beautiful opera, showing a forceful display of the anguish and hatred that comes with infidelity. Second was Sour Angelica, a story about a nun in a convent lamenting over the loss of her child (taken away at birth) to hide the illegitimacy and scandal. Her sister visits her to tell her that her child died and she commits suicide. This second act was boring, but the ending was amazing. The nun begs the Virgin Mary for forgiveness (mortal sin of suicide) and both the Virgin (who comes flying from above) and her son appear as she dies. The last act, was by far the most enjoyable. Gianni Schicchi is the story of rich uncle who leaves nothing to his family in his will, so the family decides to impersonate the dead man and dictate a new will to a notary. The man hired to impersonate the uncle ended up leaving a large bulk of the estate to himself, but the family can do nothing to stop for fear of being found out that they committed fraud. In the end he gets stabbed. Comedy, good stuff.

The last one was my favorite, but over all all three were great. The production was almost four hours and we did not get out until midnight. There is nothing more fun like riding the LA subway after midnight in a suit.

The Fly

Saturday afternoon, after volunteering in the worker's right clinic that morning. I mentioned the origins of this opera in a prior posting. This opera was OK. Not great, not bad, just OK. This was a modern english opera, and I was not impressed. First there was too much male frontal nudity, second too much vernacular inserted into the signing. At one point the female lead talked about a person throwing up in her car. There were very sexy parts, but even so, meh. I don't think that I will go to a modern opera any time soon.

After the Opera we ended up having dinner at Ciudad, they messed up our orders, but gave us free dessert. Not sure if I would go back, it was expensive and I did not leave satisfied. Mediocre opera and bad dinner, I think I disappointed my date.

Next up, I really want to see Carmen or Madame Butterfly again, they are playing soon.

Friday, September 26, 2008

After the Recovery ...

After the quick recovery I went to party the following day. Old friends from Caltech just got a new loft in Downtown LA and had a loft-warming party. The party was great, enjoyed by all and I did not get to bed until it was daylight.

The following day I went to the LLSA annual Dodger game. We won! There was a BBQ beforehand and a great game. Pictures HERE.

Andy birthday was last week, but I was not able to see him until Monday. We went out to dinner and visited his classroom. He is a long-term German substitute teacher. I took a picture of him in front of his classroom (below). He looks like such a grown up!


This week I am going to the Opera twice. First I am seeing Il Trittico, which is a series of three, one act Puccini operas. The following day I am going to the The Fly, an opera based on the movie (the 1950's version), not the Jeff Goldblum remake.

On a random note I saw this at school the other day:


This took me back to my Caltech days and ditch day. The seniors would use black plastic tarp to cover large parts of campus to hide components of their stacks. Good old days ...

Friday, September 19, 2008

I need this ...

From today.

Not sick ...

Suck it germs!

I am feeling much better today. I win.

On an unrelated note: why do so many law students not care about politics?

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I am officially sick.

This has been the first time in about two years that I have actually been sick. Last night I barely made it home and today (my busiest day) I did not go to any classes. It feels wrong missing classes for something lame as health recovery.

After taking massive amounts of pills (some which I am pretty sure are expired ), I feel better. Today I stayed in. I need to feel better for work tomorrow. I am starting a new project which is really exciting. I also have a house-warning party to go to.

Monday, September 15, 2008

West Beach Music Festival ...

This weekend I drove to Santa Barbara to see the West Beach Music and Art Festival with Becky.

Becky has recently moved-in to her new place to start grad school at UCSB. The plan was for to be there Sunday (9/14) at 10am, that meant that I needed to leave Pasadena around 8am. Unfortunately... actually no, I take that back... awesomely it was Ruben's birthday the night before and we all went out to celebrate. The night's festivities did not allow to return until 4am. This made me wake up late, but I was able to leave at 9am, and got there at 10:40, which is pretty good time.

After parking (and walking the wrong way), I finally was able to find Becky's place. She lives in a brand new graduate student housing. She shares a suite with 3 other grad student, but has her own room. The place was nice, but it had the annoying smell of new and construction.

We left for the concert and got there before noonish via bus so as to avoid the parking mess. It did not occur to me until this point that the "West Beach" music festival was actually on the beach and I was inappropriately dressed for the occasion. Still, I had a great time. We listened to a few band but the two that really caught my attention was Hoots and Hellmouth and Jim Bianco. Hoots caught my attention because they did not have a drummer but were still able to rock out. Jim caught my attention because he was just awesome. We also saw Braddigan and Pete Francis from Dispatch, but I have heard their stuff already. They were both good for relaxing and taking a nap. One of the best things that I like from this festival is that I was able to lie down in the sand and just take a nap while a only a few feet away from the stage (yes, I can sleep with loud music around me). This allowed me to recover from the previous night and just enjoy myself in general. I had such a good time! One of the coolest moments as seeing a sailboat moving behind the stage, that didn't seem right.

The main event for the night was George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic. The show was sweet. George is old, but he still got the funk (see video below). The smell of marijuana came and left throughout the night and gave me a headache. By the end of the night too many drunk people were bumping into me. Still, great ending to a music festival.

We caught 9:30pm bus back to UCSB and then drove around for food. We found this tasty mexican deli which had huge quesadillas (at over $8, they better be huge). They were so big that although we each got one, we were only able to each eat half. By the time we finished dinner it was late, too late for me to drive home so I just crashed at Becky's place. I missed my bed, her bed was too hard.

I woke up the next morning at 8am, ate breakfast, forgot my other half of the quesadilla (doh!), and left for school. I drove directly to school and then didn't get home until around 4pm.

This was so much fun. All my pictures are HERE, and some selected ones (and video) below. Enjoy.





As you can tell from the last post, I got a new toy. Thanks to a friend I got a really good price on my ipod Touch, and I just shipped my old iPod to a my eBay buyer, to that it an even better deal. I love this thing and I really don't have envy over the second generation that just came out. I am not too impressed with external volume buttons and slimmer form factor. Apple needs to do better to make me drool over this upgrade.

Anyways, it has been a while since I last wrote. I wonder if that means that I am finally getting a life. Since the last time I wrote I have been hanging out again with all my law school buddies. Going to the beach, going to random bars, showing new-to-LA people around (latest pictures are at the bottom of this set). In the next couple of weeks, my social calendar is packed with birthdays, party buses, and house-warming parties. It should prove to be fun. I also been getting back to my exercise routine, trying to get rid of my summer fat.

I also been getting back into my volunteer groove by spending my Saturday morning working with the NLS and it's worker's right clinic. I caught up with my Puente community college mentee.

Things that I need to start worrying about: Registering and studying for the MPRE, making sure that I read more of my assigned reading for class, and catch up on a couple of personal projects that I have recently neglected.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Ipod touch

This is a test. Posting from my ipod touch.

Posted by ShoZu

Friday, August 29, 2008

Smart ....

McCain just announced Gov. Palin as his running mate. Good move.

While there is no chance in hell that I would vote for McCain, I have been afraid of him because he doesn't piss me off. In the past he's had sensible policies dealing with immigration, and abortion. Because of this I was afraid that he might be able to earn a win by attracting the centrist voters. Now it gets worse.

I believe that had Hillary decided not to run for president this year, we would not be seeing a female VP candidate for a major party. This Republican VP choice seems to be an attempt to (1) gain Hillary voters focussed in women's issues and (2) gain support with the conservative base. Palin has a strong anti-abortion record and no woman would dare criticize her given that she has a child with downs syndrome but still chose against abortion.

The media frenzy from this announcement has all but erased the headline coverage of Obama's historic speech last night when he accepted the nomination.

Good move.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I have done this!



I am still having a hard time balancing between work and school. For one thing, I am wearing a tie to class way too often.

I really need to get into a routine. It won't be this week because of the holiday. The next few days also seem to be packed with many social activities. Fun.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Settling Down ...

Almost done with my first week of classes. I'm pretty sure that I will still be taking six classes, but only take five finals. There is a small chance that I might be able to get into another class that will decrease the number of finals once more, but unlikely. I am pretty sure that as my schedule stands I should be fine.

Now I need to focus on getting all my textbooks. Fun.

Tomorrow my dad is having minor surgery so I will be driving to Riverside at 4am. I will also be spending my weekend catching up.

Today I also found out that I left my pants in NYC, not good.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Back to School...

As of now I am taking six classes with six finals. I don't think that I am happy with that schedule, although it's only 14 units (one less than what I usually take). At this point I am not sure if I am going to keep that schedule. I have an appointment with the Dean tomorrow to help me figure it out.

Work is slow, trying to finish up a couple of things from last week.

I wish I was still in New York.

I am surprised how fast the stress level has risen during the first couple of days. I think most of it has to do with the stress caused by the uncertainty in my classes. Hopefully next week will be better and I will be able to get back into a routine.

Oh yeah ... watching Women's olympic gymnastics, hot.

Monday, August 18, 2008

All my NYC Pictures ....

can be found here.....

NYC Trip....

WARNING: This post is LONG, it includes my entire NYC trip.

Right now I am writing this in a plane flying somewhere over the the midwest, going back to Los Angeles. This makes me sad, but on the bright side I had an amazing trip.

--- Getting to New York ----
My flight was scheduled to leave at 7am Thursday morning. This would ensure that I would get to New York City mid-afternoon and able to do something on my first day. Because I am so brilliant, I decided to go out the night before to a concert to see Low vs Diamond. This proved to be a bad idea. I came home late, even though I needed to be out the door at 4am to catch my flight. I set my alarm clock, but neglected to actually turn on the alarm. I woke up at 5:30am, an hour and a half before I am supposed to be airborne. Needless to say, I would miss my flight. At that point I called Continental to see what my options were. They were able to book me on the next flight at noon for only a same-day flight fee of $50. This could have been worse, but the travel gods were with me. My new arrival time would be 9pm EST.

I took my time packing and even had time to go out for breakfast. I eventually took the Gold Line to Union Station where the LAX-Fly-Away left for the airport. Security was fast and only mildly annoying. While I was waiting for my flight to leave, a gentleman comes up behind me and asks how I am using my phone to access the internet on my computer. I explain to him which software and Sprint plan I am using. At this point he tells me that he is a member of the Continental President's Club, the VIP lounge for the airline, and would like to invite me. At this point part of me is thinking that he thinks I am pretty and wants to possibly rape me, but I still go.

The VIP lounge is sweet. It's behind this unimpressive door (looked like a janitor's closet) but it opens into a very fancy waiting room. There are sound proof family rooms (for the loud wieners) with kid's DVDs. Nice leather chairs, open bar, snacks, free wifi, and staff walking around making sure everything is fine. Did I mention open bar? Since I'm traveling I figured it was okay for me to start drinking before noon.

The gentleman who invited spent five minutes with me, at which time he informed that he had a flight to catch and left. I was left alone to enjoy the lounge. Sadly I only had about 20 minutes before my flight left. However, the travel gods again smiled on me and my flight was delayed an hour and I was able to further enjoy my temporary VIP status. Eventually I reluctantly I had to leave to go find my seat in the crappy coach section. This experience made me decide two things: (1) I am going to be rich and (2) I will return the favor and invite random people to VIP rooms.

The trip was uneventful and I eventually landed in Newark, New Jersey. From Jersey to New York there is a short train ride. On my way to boarding the train I saw this girl with 4 pieces of luggage (one of them was this elongated cardboard box) struggling to get everything into the train. Being a sucker for pretty girls, I offered to help. She was an senior at Harvard studying ecology, and was coming back from a three month field trip in Malaysia. She was trying get to Boston via bus. I offered to help her get to the bus station in New York. We arrived at Penn Station and from there we needed to get to the Port Authority Bus Station. Anyone who is familiar with NYC would realize that the bus terminal was a short subway ride from where we were. Of course, she had the back luck of getting somebody who did not know anything about NYC to help her. We went to surface and asked people for directions, the told us that we were 10 blocks from where we needed to be, and then we proceeded to walk five blocks in the wrong direction, so now we were 15 blocks away from where needed to go. At this point we gave up and started looking for a cab. This is easier said than done. I could not believe that it took us so long to hail a cab, this is supposed to be NYC, the taxi capital of the world. We eventually managed to get a cab.

Earlier in the evening she lost her wallet and I offered to pay for her ticket to boston. Becky suggested that this could have been a scam. Eventually she did find her waller, and paid for my first NYC cab ride, so no scam. We figured out where to buy tickets and the terminal where it was leaving. I left her waiting for her bus, although I would have liked to see her actually get on the bus is was almost 1am. Lisa was waiting for me at her apartment, I called her earlier in the night telling her that I was helping a random stranger and did not know when I was going to reach her apartment. It was time for me to head to her place.

I had printed directions that told me how to get the apartment from Penn Station, but now I was somewhere else entirely. Even so, I managed to follow the directions and get on the right train. I called Lisa when I reached the corner where her apartment was, or so I thought. It seems that I accidentally mistyped her address (missed one number) and I was a couple of miles away from her. At this point I gave up and took a taxi to her place. I finally got there past 1am, I was originally supposed to be there at 3pm. I was tired.

----- Exploring NYC -----

Lisa, Tony, and I went out the next morning (Friday) to have breakfast with her sister Laura. This was her last day in New York after doing an internship at a law firm. After breakfast Lisa and I went to Washington Square park to see the Washington Arch. We then went to Time Square, the UN , went to the top of Rockerfeller center, Radio City Music Hall, and St. Patrick's Cathedral. Later I went (alone) to the Museum of Modern Art (all the pictures of the art here). It was crowded because they were giving free admission this day. When it got too crowded I left and walked along 5th Avenue where the fancy stores (like Tiffany's . Near the museum there was a piece of the Berlin Wall which was really interesting. The thing that made my day was finding the famous 5th Ave Apple store, which is open 24hrs. See below along with some of my favorite pictures of the day [add pictures]. We ended the night with a Broadway musical (technically off-broadway), called Gipsy. This is the story of a performer turned stripper. The music was good, but the plot left much to be desired.





On Saturday I went on a solo trip of the money places. First I took the ferry to Stanton Island to get a good view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I then visited Wall St., the NY Stock Exchange, the U.S. District Courthouse, City Hall and the World Trade Center. I stood for a few moments at the WTC. If left me stunned, to think that the empty space I was looking at once held two massive towers. I eventually made my way to the Brooklyn Bridge and walked across it. At that point I was too tired to walk back so I decided to take the subway walk to Lisa's apartment. Because of construction, the trains were mislabeled and delayed, it took me a long time to get back. I barely had time to sit down and drink something before we had to head out again. We went to see a concert with Angie Aparo at the Living Room. Becky was taking a bus from Maine (coming back from camp) that afternoon but there were some delays so we met her on our way to the concert in one of the subway stations. She had to bring all her bags with her to the venue. Good show, picked up sushi on the way back and sleep. Here are some of my favorite pictures from that day.





---My Last Day and the Return ----

Sunday morning Becky and I spent walking around central park. The two main things that I wanted to see was the Bethesda Fountain [add link]since it's famous (it was even in the inflight movie on my way back to LAX) and the Obelisk (aka Cleopatra's Needle). We stopped there a long time, admiring something that was thousands of years old. See pictures below.


We took a cab back. I felt like a real New Yorker being able to spout-off directions of where I wanted to go. Got back to the apartment packed, said goodbye to everyone and left. By this point I was really comfortable taking the subway and finding the train back to Newark. The ride to airport, and the security check was uneventful. I had lunch a random mexican restaurant (not very good) and boarded my flight. Sadly my return trip was not as exciting as the one to get to NY.

-----Conclusion ----

I wish that I had gone to New York sooner as planned a long time ago (sniff). However, I got to visit great friends and a great city. I had an amazing time! I really like the city, at no point did I feel overwhelmed. In fact, I was a little disappointed with the size of the sky scrappers, for some reason I was imagining them bigger, but still pretty cool. I concluded that New York buildings are just like the ones on Los Angeles, but just more of them.

I could live here.

This is a great ending to my summer. Tomorrow I have to go back to school. At least its my last year of law school.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I'm back from my New York City trip. I have many pictures to upload, but I am too tired to do that now. I will post tomorrow (the entry is all written, but need links).

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Today's Word of the Day...

Awkward ...

A close second was : Busy

Less than 24hrs before I leave for New york and I have so many things to do, including a Low vs. Diamond concern which I am so excited about.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

This Week ...

This week I went to see the X-Files. I was not as excited as I thought I would be when I finally got the chance to go see it. The movie was basically like a stand-alone 2 hours episode. I wish that a little more of the backstory could have made into the movie. Still good, plus my friend Nate got his first film credit (for special effects work) in this movie. Exciting.

Girls are poopyheads.

This weekend was way too busy.

Friday night I spent with Andy. Pineapple Express. Go see it!

Saturday I spent hunting down this book and going to the law school latino club beginning of the year bonfire. Pictures here.

Sunday I spent with my dad since his birthday is this week and I won't be able to see him during the week. We also spent time trying to fix my car, and I surprised to report that we were probably successful.

My car issues seems to have been fixed by replacing the thermostat, no more overheating. I have the driven the car 350 miles this week and I have not been forced to pull over. I think I am in the clear. We also managed to fix my A/C by simply adding more of that magical R134a coolant liquid. The weird noises that I heard from the A/C before went away, without having to replace the compressor and told before. I don't trust mechanics anymore.

I have functioning car =) .

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Body Worlds ....

This past weekend I went to the Body Worlds exhibit.

This is an exhibition of real human bodies preserved using a plastination process. This is a preservation technique which allows real bodies to be put on display.

This is the closet thing you will get to seeing the inside of human body close to being in a cadaver lab or being a serial killer. The bodies are placed in various poses, with various cuts that allow you to see all the organs inside.

This exhibit was amazing, the human body is incredible! I strongly recommend everyone to go see this.


Today I was in a L.A. downtown Rite-Aid picking up some caffeine for co-workers.

The 30-year old guy behind me kept acting like a kid, touching every item a nearby display. The candy, the gum, the magazines, over and over again. I think he had excessive compulsive disorder.

In the line to my right there was a big (about 6'2") black guy... in drag, bright red lipstick and way too short skirt ...

Another day in L.A.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Car Issues ...

Recently I've been having car issues. The first place that I took my car to told me that I needed $750 in repairs. Because I thought that was too much, I took it to a second place for another estimate which told me that I just needed a new radiator cap and that he did that for free.

At this point I am not sure who to believe. There a coolant liquid leak coming from the bottom and my dad and I thought it might the plastic reserve container, so we went to the junk yard to pick up a replacement. Oh man, that was an adventure. There doesn't seem to be a leak anymore, but I am not going to drive the car anywhere until I am sure that I take it to another place and make sure that I know exactly everything that is wrong.

Most of my days are spent suit and tie and behind a desk. Today I was in a big dirt lot with thousands of junk cars, pulling parts that I needed. This was actually a lot of fun, but something that I would not want to do on a frequent basis.

Maybe as I should take up car mechanic as a hobby. Certainly a useful hobby.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008



No big deal. Seriously, why is the media making such a big deal out of it? There was no major damage and everyone is fine. I was on the 4th floor of a downtown L.A. building and I barely moved.

No doubt, it WAS scary, and I WAS scared, but it's over. Time to move on.

Need to deal now with the injunctive relief allowed by Washington state consumer protection laws that will provide for class certification under FRCP 23(b)(2).

Any ideas???

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog!!!

If was offline and now again available on Hulu. If you haven't seen this, watch it now. I don't care if you are at work. Watch it now!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Stolen Poem ...

Guess I am feeling artsy tonight. The following is a poem I stole from Randi's Facebook profile.

Por una mirada, un mundo,
por una sonrisa, un cielo,
por un beso..., yo no sé
que te diera por un beso.
-Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer


For a look, a world
for a smile, a sky
for a kiss, I don't know
what I would give you for a kiss

A Story (sorta) ...

I was bored and wrote a little short story. Not even a story since nothing happens, more like tib-bit of a stream of conscience plastered on a computer screen.

DISCLAIMER: The author hereby disclaims all implications that the following is autobiographical in any way. The characters and events depicted in this story are fictions. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

He sits there, quietly, pondering his life. “How did I reach this point in my life?” He wondered. While at the same time he knew the answer. Love is at fault, but he dare not even whisper this idea, for only a cynic blames love for the hardships in life.

Is he heartbroken?

How many things about her must he love before he can say, “I love you?” How many moments of bliss must he experience with her, before he can call it love? How many moments of anguish must he feel in her absence to label it love?

Yes, he’s heartbroken! She refuses his advances. He will never survive this.

Ring! Ring!

A call …

It’s an old friend; she wants to get together for lunch. Then he remembers, he loves this one too! She’s single now. All is well again ….

Sunday, July 27, 2008


I've been neglecting my blog. If my blog was a child, social services would be pounding on my door already.

For the most my life has evolved around work. I have been hanging out with Andy more, but every time we decide to do something fun, something happens that forces us to change plans. Last night it was car issues (as in overheating!), and were forced to cancel our original party plans.

Less than a month before school starts.

This week I also got my degree audit paperwork. I have 27 units left. I will be taking 14 units in the Fall, 2 units in the new intercession term, and 11 units in the Spring. It's looking like I will working at KBK two days a week, Wednesdays and Fridays.

One more year and I graduate.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Randomness ...

Can't wait to see the Dark Night which comes out today.

I love seeing the words I write in media outlets. Sadly my job forbids me from commenting further.

The Andy-man is coming for a visit.

Justin is also coming for a visit. The last time we were together we crashed a car (it's not as bad as it sounds).

School is back in a month. Where did my summer go!?

NYC trip upcoming.

I actually wrote a 3 page handwritten letter couple of day ago (first one in many years). My hand hurt. How did people back in the days do this?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Since I've Been Back ....

I was so tired from my trip that I was forced to take a day off last week. This allowed me to recover from small cold that I stopped on its track, but mainly allowed to repay some sleep debt.

Work was a nightmare last week with our main server going down, forcing me to spend most of my week doing tech support. I was finally able do some real law at the end of the week.

This week, I also had the chance to meet and old friend from high school. In the past, I had always seen her as a wild child. She was definitely cooler than me in high school, and my strongest memories of her involve things which I decline to discuss in a public forum. Having said that, I was truly shocked to see the change that she has made in her life.

She is now muslim and wears a headscarf. The idea that I will never be able to see her hair again for the rest of my life deeply saddens me. This is the most negative things that I can say about her metamorphosis, and truly a selfish thing to say. Overcoming my hair related sadness, is the fact that for the first time in my life I have seen truly happy. She seems to have her life together and loves her job. I predict nothing but good things for her. She made my day, if not my week.

This weekend I did nothing, a welcome change from days past. I went out briefly Saturday night with my mentee from the Puente project to check up on him. He seems to be doing well. I have been reading Trial and Error: The Education of a Courtroom Lawyer" (John C. Tucker), a book that was given to me as a gift the summer before my first year of law school, but did not have a chance to read until now. Right now I have to clean my apartment, since I managed to turn it back into a pigsty in a single week. Work again tomorrow.

Trip Reflections...

It's been over a week since I came back from Nicaragua and looking back, it was a great vacation.

I got to see family and friends who I don't see very often. At the same time, I got to see part of my native country which I had not seen before. I regret that it took me three years to come back and visit, but at the same time my limited budget forces me to pick and choose my travel destinations carefully.

Some of the things that I learned on this trip include: girls are poopy heads (don't ask), tourism is dramatically increasing in Nicaragua, the dollar is not weak everywhere in the world, Americans are more adventurous than I thought, volunteers have a very interesting and unique culture, and the internet can now be found almost anywhere in the world.

Less than a year from now, I will be a lawyer (ignoring the minor detail of bar results) and will probably have more money to travel, but even less time to do it. Nonetheless, I look forward to revisiting the country.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Final Post From Nicaragua

The good news, I've been having so much fun that haven't had time to write. The bad news, I'm sitting at the airport in Managua waiting to leave and end my vacation. Here are the last things that I did.

---Thursday 7/3/08---

I had lunch with my aunt. She was shopping at Pricemart, which is a complete rip-off of Costco back in the States. I got to say goodbye to her. It was great seeing her one more time.

I then went to see Hancock. I know, I know .... but tickets are so cheap and I enjoy a good movie.

After the movie I met up with my friend Rita again and had dinner at the Eskimo restaurant. Now this place was weird. "Eskimo" is a brand of ice cream in Nicaragua, so I thought she was inviting me to an ice cream parlor. When I pulled up, sure enough it looked like an ice cream parlor. I walked around looking for for her, and did not find her. I asked one of the employees if this was the "Eskimo" restaurant, she said yes and pointed me to a hallway in the back. Man, was I shocked. In the back of this ice cream parlor was a NICE expensive, fancy restaurant. I found Rita and her boyfriend.

We then decided to go to a club. She wanted to make up for taking me to such a crappy club the previous night. We went to "Moods", which was located in that Galleries of Santo Domingo, the place I raved about before. This place was so nice. I ordered a Redbull Vodka, but the waiter did not understand me. I had to say it without an english accent: "vODka", emphasis on the "O" sound. He finally understood me and brought the table a large bottle Grey Goose vodka, and no Redbull. So maybe he didn't understand me completely. I eventually got my Redbull.

The service was impeccable. Every few minutes guys would swoop in and change the little paper around the glass, refill my ice and my liquor.

We left the place around 2am. I took a Taxi since I refused to be driven by people I thought were drunk, I think I insulted them, but I am alive.

---Friday 7/4/08---

Another 4th of July spent out of the country. This year, I had a much better time then the last.

I woke up too late for breakfast at the hotel. When I eventually got up I went to get breakfast and headed for the old neighborhood where I used to live to see some old friends. It was the 15 yr birthday of one of the girls and they were planning a huge party. I spent a few hours talking to them, but they could not dedicate much time to me since they were busy cooking, cleaning, and setting up for the party.

I left to get ready for the wedding.

I was invited by Carmen, a law school classmate to her friend's wedding. The mass was beautiful, I actually forgot how much I like being in a church.

The reception was at the Intercontinental hotel, THE fanciest hotel in the country. Rooms are about $150-$180/night, which is a month's salary for many here. Classy place, open bar, being dressed up: what more could I ask for.

I had a blast. I wish to thank the bride and groom for allowing me crash the party. They were very nice to me when I met them.

Afterwards we went to a pub where they had Guinness. I had some, among other things.

All the wedding pictures are here.

---Saturday 7/5/08---

I woke up at 6:30am, after going to bed at 4am. I had to wake up to see a cousin before she got into work (on a Saturday!). I saw her, took some pictures.

This morning I also decided to head to the cathedral and take some pictures. This building is weird looking thing, with a egg shells shape domes things (see below).


I was a little disappointed with the inside, I guess I expected something more fancy. But I still love the building. I went back to hotel, had breakfast.

Rita was supposed to come by the hotel and send me off but she failed. I am starting to get really annoyed with the opposite sex.

I took a taxi to the airport and here I am.

End of vacation. I guess will end with a pictures I took from the Taxi on my way out of the country. I might write another entry with general reflexions from the trip. USA, here I come (please let me in).

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Lonesome Travels ...

---Monday 6/30/08---

Becky and I left in the morning for Granada and eventually made it to Laguna de Apoyo.

This place is just as beautiful as I remembered. When I get rich, the first piece of real state that I purchase is going to be there. We left for the laguna at 10am and came back at 5pm. I spent a few of hours swimming and on an inner tube, just relaxing. The weather was great. It was cloudy, not too hot with some patches of sunshine just to mix it up. It did not start to rain until we started to leave for Granada.

I love meeting the people from the Monkey Hut, they always have interesting stories. I wish I could have stayed the night there.

We went back to the volunteer house in the evening and waited for a potluck that was supposed to happen, but never did. The other volunteers were planning to order pizza, at which point we decided to go to a restaurant. We went to a place recommended by a friend in Granada. It was a spanish restaurant with a very romantic garden setting, candle light dinner and a man walking around with his guitar serenading the tables (great singer!).

After dinner we decided to go out for a drink and stopped by one of the other volunteer houses to recruit a drinking posse and say goodbye. We ended up going to a nearby bar and had some drinks. The other volunteers were really interesting people. I wish that I had more time to spend with them. We talked about politics, policy, and gender roles.

We left the bar pretty late, back to the volunteer house where I had a most uncomfortable sleep on a tiny couch.

---Tuesday 7/1/08---

After a great breakfast. Becky took some time to do some final shopping for music, crafts, and powdered fresco de Cacao.

We then took the bus back to Managua and the airport. I waited until she checked in and left for my hotel, Maracas Inn. I checked into my room and rested for a bit. I was planning to have dinner with some friends and then spend the night back in my room relaxing. That didn't happen.

Since I could not reach the friends whom I was having dinner with, I made alternate plans. I called an old dear friend from childhood, Rita, and invited her to dinner. She suggested that we go to Las Galerias de Santo Domingo, this is a recently opened mall, a real mall in the American sense. This place was huge! Teenagers sitting around with their laptops, a large arcade room, movie theaters, and fine restaurants. Now keep in mind that while this is common in the U.S., Nicaragua is the second poorest country in Latin America. I was impressed.

Rita and I had dinner at a spanish restaurant where I had some great paella and mediocre sangria. Afterwards she invited me to go out with friends to a club.

The club was packed with teenagers. Although you needed to be 18 yrs old to get in, most times bouncers did not bother to check IDs. I felt old. The place was packed! I mean 400 people in a tiny venue, and half of them smoking. It was horrible. Although we tried to dance, we ended up most of the night just being pressed up against each other because there was no room to dance. Us being the older, boring couple, we left her friends and exited the club.

I went back to my hotel, had a couple of beers and went to sleep.

---Wednesday 7/2/08---

This day was supposed to be much more exciting.

I had a cancellation for lunch with a friend. I spent the afternoon watching Shutter at the movie theater (tickets are $2.50, $1.50 for afternoon matinee!). Bad movie. I then went to the Cancilleria (ministry of foreign relations) to see old friends and had dinner with a friend from there. I was supposed to go see other people later at night, but they also cancelled. I was back in my hotel by 8pm, and asleep by 9. Weird how yesterday was supposed to be relaxing, but ended up being exciting and today which was supposed to be exciting was not.

Thursday should be prove to be fun. Wedding on Friday.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Managua Adventure ....

---Sunday ---

I finally managed to convince Becky to upgrade to a nicer hotel.

I think the fact that when we walked around we were warned three times about getting robbed in that neighborhood helped.

We checked into Hotel Sol y Luna. A MUCH nicer place, and to me worth the extra cash.

We ended up having lunch/breakfast at nearby giraffe themed placed. I kid you not.

We went back to the hotel to kill time. Watched the final minutes of the Euro Cup where Spain defeated Germany.

Afterwards we got dressed and headed for the restaurant.

I took Becky to the Intermezzo del Bosque, a restaurant on the outskirts of the city with breathtaking views of the city and surrounded by nature. The food was excellent, and the cheesecake was delicious.

We went back into the city to the National theater Ruben Dario and the Ballet folkclorico de Tepenáhuatl.

Overall it was a fun evening. Unlike my date, I like dressing up. She'll learn someday.

Tomorrow we head back to Granada, then one last time to Managua on Tuesday when Beck leaves the country. Then phase II of the trip begins: The lone traveller.

After Ometepe...

---Thursday ----
The second part of my trip involved visiting my family in Camopa. Getting from Ometepe to Camoapa turned out to a challenge. This is the trip we ended up taking starting with a 3:30am wake-up call for a 4am bus ride.

One side of the island to other side via bus(2.5 hrs)
Other side of island to San Jorge via boat(1 hr)
San Jorge to Rivas by Taxi (15 mins)
Rivas to Granada by bus (2hrs)
Granada to Managua by bus(1hrs)
Managua to Camoapa by bus (3 hrs)

Total: Over 9 hours

Yes indeed. That was not pleasant. We had to go through Granada to pick up some stuff that I left at the volunteer house. Becky and I also had breakfast in Granada and took some time to see a photo exhibit in the park. We arrived at my grandma's house (although my grandmother passed away it will always be my grandma's house) around 5pm.

We were tired. We had dinner chatted for a bit, walked around the park. We each had a beer and went to sleep around 10pm. We did not wake up the next day until 10am, a well needed night's sleep.

---Friday ----
It was raining for the entire day. This prevented us from going anywhere in the town (not that there was much to see anyways). Throughout the day relatives kept arriving to see me. At some point I think that the house had about 15-18 people who were somehow related to me or knew me from childhood.

Most of this day was spent talking to relatives and taking pictures. At some point I tried to connect to the internet to upload some pictures, but the connection was so slow that it was not really worth waiting.

This day I also decided not to go to the Patent Interview Program at Loyola. I had gotten only one interview which I left was not enough to warrant me spending money to fly to Chicago and stay at an expensive hotel.

At night I invited some family member to have dinner at a restaurant. The food was good but the service was horrendous. I don't think I would come back.

---Saturday ----
I visited my mother's and grandmother's grave early in the morning (during a small window of no rain). We then left for Managua in the 11:45am bus. Three hours we were back in Managua. We checked into a place which was listed in the budget section of a guide book. I did not like this place. The book was wrong: no internet, and not clean.

Nonetheless we made the most of the day. We actually had time to go dress and shoe shopping. Shopping with Becky is ummm.... an experience. We did manage to find a suitable dress and shoes. We also decided to watch a movie: Get Smart or "Super Agente 86." This was such a great movie! It made me laugh through the entire movie. We eventually went back to the hostel and slept.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ometepe Day 2

We began the day around 7am, had breakfast and left for a bike ride.

The main goal of the day was to see petroglyphs. We rode to the first location (I should really know the names of these places, but Becky takes care of the details) which was several kilometers away. It took us about an hour and a half to to get the place. I found out that I am out of shape. Sadly, in the last few months I had not been going to the gym every single day (or even once a week) and I suffering for it. I still managed to keep up, but more tired that my companion. I will certainly get back to the gym when back home.

At the place we only saw a handful of petroglyphs, and I was not impressed. It took about half to do the entire path.

Afterward, we decided to go to the Ojo de Agua. This is an artificial pool, made from a nearby natural stream. We spent a few hours there, including lunch. I enjoyed the swim and had a good relaxing time.

When we decided to head back to the hotel, our bodies were sore from biking so we were going to walk most of the way back (except for the downhills parts). Soon after we started, Becky's bike got a flat so we were forced to walk all the way back. Until we saw a bus! The bus was able to take us back all the way to our hotel.

I was asked again if I was her guide, gerrrr.

We finished the day uneventfully with dinner, a conversation about American politics with the new arrivals, then we settled out bill and packed. We have to be up for a bus ride at 4:00am.

Of course I decided to stay up a little later than Becky and get myself a beer, kick back on our private balcony hammock and write about the day.

Overall, I wish we could have done more. We did not clim either of the volcanos (to my relief after realizing how bad in shape I am) because we did not want to spend an entire day doing one thing. The waterfall we really wanted to see was closed because of a mudslide. We did some of the things we wanted to do, but like any trip: there is always more to do.

Still, although I tend to write about the negative. I am certainly happy with the trip, and gathered great pleasure from the island. I am glad that I had a chance to finally visit.

Tomorrow we leave for Camoapa and my relatives.

Pictures from today will be hopefully up tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ometepe Day 1

Today was the first full day that we spent in Ometepe.

Things have not gone exactly as I wanted. We landed by ferry in Moyogalpa last night. We woke up in the morning to catch a bus to the other side of the island and where there are more things to do. We did not realize that it would take us us 3.5 hours to get to the other side. The main road on the Island is bad condition and very narrow. The bus we were on never went faster than 30mph, and also made a one hour stop at an intermediate city. When asked the driver why he needed stop for an hour, he informed us that the government forces him to. This is to ensure spread out bus schedules.

We arrived at Hacienda Merida a little after noon. There was a problem with getting a room with a locking door. By the time we finished lunch, it was past 2pm. We managed to kayak for an hour. We could have been out on the lake for longer, but we were given heavy wooden paddles that quickly made us tired.

We rented bikes and rode for a couple of hours heading east. We took pictures of a bunch of butterflies and checked out some of the local scenery.
What happened to the waterfall? The petroglyphs? The path to the waterfall was closed because of a mud slide. Getting to petroglyphs was going to take too long since it unexpectedly took us too long to get to this side of the island.

After biking, we had dinner at local comedor, or dining place. Although Becky was tired and went to sleep, I went downstairs and hung out with some of the people. Including a couple of Dutchmen who we managed to coerce into signing Dutch songs for us.

Electricity was out for most of the day, before nightfall it came back, along with WiFi.

Overall, I am not too fond of this place. Room, food, and equipment fees are much too high (using Nicaraguan standards). There is a lack of a homey, welcoming feeling. I feel that this place is much too commercialized. We will be staying here because of convenience and availability of equipment.

One thing I will note. There are more and more tourist in Nicaragua than I saw three years ago. A lot more! Although annoying to see clueless white people everywhere, this is good for the country and I am happy.

I will leave my pictures uploading tonight, and update this post with some selected pictures tomorrow. If there is electricity.
UPDATE: All pictures here.
A couple of my favorites. IMG_0168IMG_0199

I made It ...

Currently, I am sitting in Ometepe the island in the middle of the big lake in Nicaragua.

I arrived in Managua only 20 minutes late. With somebody from Paxeos waiting for me with a sign with my name on it. They waited for me as I purchased a phone and used an ATM where I was able to withdraw cash in the local currency.

The driver took me to where Becky lives. When I got there, I was informed that Becky left a couple of days earlier and had not come back. This upset me, but the other volunteers in the house were very kind and allowed me to stay and wait for her. After about twenty minutes she showed up.

At this point I unloaded a laptop I my formal clothes that I did not want to carry around in Ometepe. We left for the dock where the ferry leaves, only to find out that we needed to buy tickets hours ago. Becky had failed me by not purchasing tickets earlier.

Luckily we were able to take a bus to a another city further south on the lake edge and take another ferry that took us down there. We finally made it to the island around 7pm. We found the first hotel, got a room. Had dinner, stayed up scheming out plans for the next few days.

Now, it's time to sleep.

I have been very bad about taking pictures, but I was too tired. I will be more detailed on my adventures and include more pictures starting tomorrow. We should be seeing a waterfall and some petroglyphs tomorrow.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Arriving in Nicaragua ...

The layover in Mexico City was sadly uneventful. I am still upset that I was not able to leave the airport because of time constrictions.

I boarded my second flight to Managua. Were are on a small jet, and I am no longer in first class. Sad.

Here is a list of things that I need to do when I land.

1. Find bags
2. Get through customs (hopefully without paying some stupid tax)
3. Get cash from ATM
4. Purchase cell phone
5. Find shuttle company that will take me to Granada
6. Call relatives and let them know that I made it alive

No Mexico City Adventure...

Sadly because my plane was delayed I only have about three hours between my flights. This is far too little time for me to leave the airport.

Even before leaving the airport became a logistical impossibility, I was hesitant to leave because I did not want to deal with customs and security. I now know this was moot. Although I have a connecting flight I still had to go through customs and redo airport security. This was extremely annoying.

I am now sitting on the floor of the Mexico City Airport, trying to recharge my battery as much as possible. There is no Wi-Fi, so I guess this will be posted when I get internet somewhere in Nicaragua.

The sun just came up. I can start to see light through some holes on the wall. See picture below.

Update .. a restaurant upstairs where I had breakfast had Wi-Fi. So this got posted.

Flying 1st Class....

After dinner and playing around the internet, I finally went to the boarding gate to wait for the flight to start boarding.

The bad news: The flight was delayed by more than an hour, meaning that my Mexico City adventure is probably not going to happen.

The good news: Because tickets were oversold, I was upgraded to first class!

This is the first time that I have flown first class. Only 15 minutes into the experience and I never wan to fly coach. I was allowed to board ahead of all everyone else. I got to see everyone board after me. People kept staring at me as they walked past me to find their seat in the back of the plane. I am not sure if they were jealous, thought that I was a rich prick, thought that I was too young to be flying first class, or knew that that I was upgraded for free and are upset that this not happen to them.

The main reason that I was upgraded is that I am flying with my frequent flyer number, and I am flying alone.

There are some really cute looking girls walking past me, almost makes me want to downgrade just to talk to them. The first class is almost empty and I don't have anyone to talk to. This makes me sad. I enjoy talking to people during long flights. I will write more as about my flight experience as the flight get on its way.

-----Two hours into the flight ------

I had a second dinner. I could not abstain, it looked good. I was impressed with the fact that they gave us real cloth napkins and and metal utensils. I even took a picture of my meal before I ate it (below). The fact that I am impressed with these things clearly shows just how accustomed I've become to the bare minimum in coach.
The free booze is also nice.

I also had a chance to meet an very interesting family. The father was born in Zimbabwe, and lived in Cuba for a few years where he met his wife (who is Cuban). They both now live in Australia. They are on their way Cuba to visit family. He is a civil engineer, and spend some time telling me about concrete. I would have actually been more interested in the topic if it weren't for the fact that it's 3am for me.

I should try to get some sleep before I land.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The LAX Waiting Game...

I left my apartment a little after 6pm. By 8pm, I was at LAX with my boarding pass, past security, and sitting at a restaurant having dinner.

My plane does not board until 11pm, so yeah ... I have three hours of waiting time.

As I am writing this, I am about half way into the waiting time. I sat next to this woman who happened to be a lawyer. She was really interesting and we had a great conversation about law, significant others, the military, career choices, and traveling. Sadly, she had a flight to catch and had to go. She was kinda of cute too.

One thing that I am glad about about myself is that I am able to strike a conversation with just about anyone. This is a good skill to have, and has proven to be useful.

Right now the biggest thing that is occupying my mind, is the question of whether or not to leave the airport in Mexico city with only a five hour layover. I have subway maps. Pages from a guide book, telling me how to get from the airport to Zocalo. It's cutting it really close. Half of the people that I talk to think it's a good idea and the other half think it'd bad. I am not sure at this point. I guess this is going to be moot if the plane comes in late. We'll see. Updates to come.

Unfinished Business Before I leave the Country ...

I wanted to complain about certain companies before I leave the country. This is a good way for me to leave all of the bad karma behind.


The messed up my reservations, TWICE. However, they did try to make up for it by offering me a $25 dollar voucher each time. I tried to use these vouchers for my NYC trip in August. The first one was applied without any problems. The second one ... oh man.

The main thing I hate about calling them is that their calling center is outsourced to India. I have no problems with this, except for the fact that their accents are so hard to understand over the phone. Six calls, and four emails later I got a supervisor who was willing to "make an exception" for me and manually apply the second voucher. Apparently, I cannot use two vouchers on the same reservations. This was something that nobody told me, and this term was not in the email with the voucher information. She made me feel like I did something wrong, and was helping me out of the kindness of her heart. One advice when dealing with them, there are better supervisors if you call during the day and not 2am.

I am NEVER using them again.

Second: Anthem/Blue Cross

My health insurance bill is due on the first of every month. They force me to pay a $4 bill printing fee, when I don't want a printed bill. No option to pay online. I can pay using their automated phone system. Except is doesn't work. I keep getting an infinite loop when the systems asks me for my ID#. Since I am leaving the country, it will be very hard for me to call back when they are open and I can speak to a human. I hope, I have time to call from Nicaragua. Otherwise, my insurance will lapse, and God forbid I need it when I am injured abroad. Bastards.

Third: Procter and Gamble, makers of Febrezee Noticables

This is an air freshener that you plug in. If you let the oil run out and leave it plugged in, it can damage your floors. Picture here.

Last: Nicaraguan business in general.

For some reason latin american countries do not believe that business should be open on Sunday. I've been trying to get reservations to a nice restaurant on a Sunday night, only to be told my many of them are closed that day. Gerrrr. I eventually managed to reserve an early dinner at one place for an EARLY 4:30pm dinner.

Ok ... all done. I feel better. Now I can enjoy my trip. Not a bad post in the time it took this bus to get to LAX.

On my Way to LAX....

Right now I am sitting on a bus, on my way to LAX.

One thing I am going to miss while I am in Nicaragua is having internet access for my laptop everywhere by using my phone as modem.

I will try write about my trip to Nicaragua everyday, and upload the entries whenever I get a chance to connect to the Internet.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


is unborn memories
Untreatable disease
a mortal enemy
It's got me on my knees
Bound and gagged and
begging for mercy

Sparta: Untreatable Disease
Update with correct band name.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Local Politics ...

On my way back home a couple of days ago I saw a rally sponsored by a local AM talk radio station, AM 640. The rally was a protest of California Senate Bill 1499, a ban of mylar balloons.

The language of the bill would actually ban any floating ballon made out of an electro-conductive material. Most of the balloons you see in grocery stores are made out mylar, which conducts electricity. The main reason for the bill is to prevent power outages caused by these reaching power lines and causing a short circuit.

The host of the show spent most of the time reading statistics showing how mylar balloons really don't cause power outages. The rally was also sponsored by local ballon manufacturers who were giving away balloons. Plenty of pictures of sad kids were shown at the rally (see below).

AM Rally 4

In the end, I thought that they were right (if the statistics are true). Since these balloons really don't cause that many power outages, there is no point in banning them. I love these balloons. But honestly, I was more interested in the van that they were using to broadcast the signal. Notice the shortwave antenna as opposed to the parabolic (satellite) antenna in news vans.

AM Rally 2

AM Rally 6

The rest of my pictures are at the end of this set.