Archive for the ‘bits & bytes’ Category

Today is the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

What are you doing to spread the word?


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The Story of Stuff

I just watched “The Story of Stuff” – if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend you spend the 20 minutes and watch:

It made me think about my own story of stuff:

Every time we move from one country to the next, we ship our belongings. This time around we had enough to fill an entire 20 foot container – about 3,500 pounds worth of stuff.

Sometimes, I have to admit, I feel a little embarrassed that I have so much stuff. But, deep down, I know that it’s all my stuff that makes me feel at home in a new country. Most of the stuff we have is from our first move to Munich, Germany, when I didn’t know “the ropes” of living abroad and we sold everything we had in the US and bought it all new again in Munich.

Thankfully, eight years later, I have learned a thing or two… Now, I use the school’s, often very generous, shipping allowances to send my stuff from country to country. I usually end up buying some things again and again, like cleaning supplies or small storage items. But one thing I don’t do is sell (or give away) my stuff when I leave. I’d rather invest in a good-quality item that I will have for many years, than continue to buy crap only to throw it away. 

Yes, my colleagues often look at me with amazement when I share that all of this stuff doesn’t really include furniture. We’ve lived in furnished apartments for so long that I usually don’t bring much of my own (well, except a bed – I don’t like the idea of sleeping in someone else’s bed). So this stuff really is just that, stuff. Books, DVDs, kitchen-ware, clothes, shoes, travel purchases, technological equipment, etc.  

However, despite my astonishing accumulation of stuff while moving internationally every few years, I am actually proud of the fact that I buy things and retain them for many years. I don’t waste money on frivolous junk just to have it. I usually buy things I know I will like for a long time so I won’t feel the urge to buy something “better” as soon as it comes along. To be honest, it’s not the best I can do, but it’s better than nothing…

What’s your story of stuff? 

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Ocean ViewI finally did it! I bought a digital SLR! I’ve been pining over the Nikon D40 since it came out in December, and this weekend, I finally bought one.

Thanks to the advice of the wonderful Sijbrich, along with some other friends, I had settled on the D40 quite a while ago (but I will admit I was briefly tempted by the D80 simply because it’s a higher-end model). However, I didn’t want to get ahead of myself, given that I’ve only had a point and shoot camera for my entire life. This will be my first foray into the world of manual focus, ISO, shutter speed, apature and a whole dictionary of strange vocabulary I’m going to need to learn.

At this point, I’m still suck on trying to convince myself that I got a good deal since I bought it in Oregon, which has no sales tax, (but I’m obviously still going to relentlessly seek out the cheapest price I can find everywhere else I go and then berate myself for buying it when andOcean View where I did). Ah, the joys of the internet…

Anyway, back to the camera: I love it! I’ve been madly photographing everything I see for the last few days. Unfortunately we’ve been on vacation with Alex’s parents since I bought the camera so they’ve been subjected to my incessant stopping, framing and snapping. They’re quite patient, but I’m sure they’ll be at least somewhat relieved to see me get on the plane on Saturday. It’s not so fun to take a walk when one person wants to stop pretty much every step to take a picture of something.

Feel free to take a look at my photos on my Flickr page (I think I’ve become too lazy to continue to update the old website – at least for the time-being). We just spent three days on the Oregon coast, which was quite inspiring…

Any and all photography advice is, of course, welcome!

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One Word

I was tagged again by George for this “one word” meme.

In all honesty, I’m not really a big fan of memes. I’m very flattered when people think of me when they are tagging, but it’s not really my favorite thing to do. They remind me of those dreaded chain letters from when I was in middle school, and e-mail forwards. They have that implied expectation that I have to do something. I think I’m just a little too lazy, for these kinds of expectations…

At least this one only requires a one word answer. That’ll do.

  • Where is your cell phone? mini-chair
  • Relationship? married
  • Your hair? wavy
  • Work? school?
  • Your sister? home
  • Your favorite thing? travel
  • Your dream last night? stressful
  • Your favorite drink? water
  • Your dream car? hybrid
  • The room you’re in? living
  • Your shoes? off
  • Your fears? spiders
  • What do you want to be in 10 years? vacationing
  • Who did you hang out with this weekend? husband
  • What you’re not good at? politeness (see above)
  • Muffin? top
  • One of your wish list items? iPhone
  • Where you grew up? Connecticut
  • The last thing you did? sleep
  • What are you wearing? PJs
  • What aren’t you wearing? shoes
  • Your pet? none
  • Your computer? Apple
  • Your life? happy
  • Your mood? sleepy
  • Missing? breakfast
  • What are you thinking about right now? mango
  • Your car? none
  • Your kitchen? messy
  • Your summer? soon
  • Your favorite color? pink
  • When is the last time you laughed? yesterday
  • Last time you cried? ages
  • School? work?
  • Love? Alex

Anyone who enjoys memes and would like to complete this one, please, by all means, go right ahead (you can say I sent you).

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The truth behind the title:

The “insider” is me. And the “guide” is my newest article on the Viator Travel Blog. Check it out! It’s even on the front page of the blog today (though I’m sure that won’t last long)!

You know you want to learn all about these Malaysian beauties (technically, both from the same beach: Redang, my personal favorite):

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Last week I wrote about my favorite songs from the year I turned 18, one of them was The Kingdom of Rain by The The. That particular one may be one of my favorites, but the whole album is fantastic – especially the lyrics.

This morning, a friend pointed me to this YouTube video mashup of another track from the same album, Armaggedon Days Are Here (Again), which combines the power of the lyrics with pictures from our current political situation:

This particular album is from 1989, but the lyrics are so appropriate for today, don’t you think?

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Hello TV!

As if I didn’t already watch too much TV….

Astro subscribers will have reason to rejoice when the company introduces nine new channels to its current service [May 1st].

The new channels come courtesy of the recently launched Measat-3 satellite, which effectively brings the total number of channels offered to 75.

My favorite of the nine are “the entertainment-themed Discovery Home and Health, E!, Discovery Real Time and Discovery Science.” Let me tell you, we’ve been hearing about this MEASAT-3 for months now. Never did I expect a channel I would like – let alone four! Bring it on MEASAT!

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