Moses and My Mazda3

Like many great adventures, it happened at night. I went to pick up my friend Eric from the airport after his return flight from Colorado, where he had spent the week snowboarding. I was looking forward to picking him up, because we always have awesome conversations on the ride home.

I arrive at the airport a few minutes early, and start my holding pattern, circling the terminal slowly, enjoying the drive and The Civil Wars on my iPod. I’m always nervous driving to the airport, and driving around there was an excellent opportunity to learn which lane to get in to drop people off, park, or drive through with the least traffic. In the future, I’ll be much better at bringing people to the airport.
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Dvorak Progress

Today, I took the online speed test at http://www.typeonline.co.uk/typingspeed.php, with the following texts:

The city of Singapore was not built up gradually, the way most cities are, by a natural deposit of commerce on the banks of some river or at a traditional confluence of trade routes. It was simply invented one morning early in the nineteenth century by a man looking at a map. ‘Here,’ he said to himself, ‘is where we must have a city, half-way between India and China. This will be the great halting-place on the trade route to the Far East. Min you, the Dutch will dislike it and Penang won’t be pleased, not to mention Malacca.’ This man’s name was Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles.

Result: 67 WPM, One typo. (Typing comfortably, not for greatest speed.)
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1990 Honda CRX For Sale – SOLD

NOTE: The car is now sold. I’m leaving this article here for archival purposes.

The time has come to move on from my beloved friend, my 1990 Honda CRX with a certain terrific athlete airbrushed on the hood. It is a bittersweet goodbye. I’ve had many good times with the car, as it was mine in college, and has served me well over the few years I’ve had it.

The car has 220xxx miles on it; but the engine was replaced with an Auto Zone remanufactured engine at 175,000 miles. Shortly before that, the transmission was rebuilt (around 150,000 miles?) The radiator was replaced shortly before the engine was, and the car has been running well since.
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iTunes vs. Amazon, Take 2

In my previous post about online music stores, I mentioned that my current preference was to use Amazon.com mp3 store instead of iTunes to purchase music online. Since that post was written, iTunes has largely switched to selling non-drm 256 kbps AAC files. While the Amazon music store is still a favorite (especially since it works in Linux as well as in Windows,) I’ve started using iTunes again, especially when I get gift cards for the store ;-)

When browsing the iTunes Music Store, be sure to look for the little ‘+’ icon which denotes drm-free files.

In related news, a few of my newest albums/artists added to my Library are:

Coldplay – Viva La Vida
Death Cab for Cutie – Narrow Stairs
Gnarls Barkley – The Odd Couple
Lisa Lavie – Everything or Nothing

All of these artists are favorites for me, and some day I may getting around to actually reviewing these albums more in depth here on the blog. We’ll see!

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My Current Desktop

Recently the main hard drive of my desktop computer died. Luckily I keep regular backups of the really important stuff, and I didn’t lose anything too terribly important. In the period between now and when I get a replacement drive, I am using my laptop, which runs Slackware Linux 12.2.

Here is a screenshot of my current setup:
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Amazon Mp3 Download Store

Do you like buying music online? I know I do. I have hundreds of songs I’ve purchased over the years from the iTunes Music Store. There’s one problem, though. DRM.

What does DRM mean in practical terms for users of the iTunes Music Store? It means songs purchased in the store can only be played on up to 5 computers with iTunes installed (Windows and Mac OS only,) and only on the iPod, not on other brands of mp3 players. This is a problem for me, because I don’t have iTunes installed on every OS I use, so on my computers running Linux, I can’t play music I purchased from the iTMS, or even access the store! Solution? Switch stores.
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Aculpoco

I went to Aculpoco this weekend, which was…

Expensive
It seems that the entire purpose of this excursion was to bleed us students dry of all our money. Meals were not included, day trips always had some kind of hidden charge, and everything in Aculpoco is EXPENSIVE. In defense, I will say that my $22 hamburger and Coca-Cola®©™ were delicious.

Hot
We stayed at the Tortuga, a hotel which was designed by a small child who, coincidentally, really liked turtles. The hotel consists of a huge courtyard surrounded by 7 stories of rooms on each side. There is a plexiglass ceiling on top of the courtyard, which serves to transform the entire hotel into an incredibly efficient greenhouse. Our room was 80 degrees or more in the afternoon.
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Sobre eso….

With 9 more days to remain in the country, I am finding Mexico to be a really cool place.

Last week I changed families because my first family was never around to talk (which I now realize played a major role in my initial culture-shock woes.) You know how they say you don’t know a good thing until it’s gone? Well, you don’t know a good thing until you get it. My new family is awesome.
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Poco a poco

The days here have gotten a little easier. I talked with my professor and now I am down to 6 hours of class a day. It’s still a long day, but it’s much better than before. I now know to be more careful to get enough sleep.

My days are pretty busy. I get up at about 6:45 and eat a little breakfast at 7:00, then I take the taxi to school at about 7:30. Classes start at 8:00AM and run until 2:00PM Monday through Friday. After class, I eat a HUGE lunch which my family prepares (but which is sometimes prepared by a cook hired by the family.) After lunch, I usually get out of the house for a little bit. Today, for instance, I went to the Centro (the center of town) in Cuernavaca and walked around with my friend Emiliano (I’m not sure if I am spelling his name right.) After getting a little site-seeing in, I usually take a shower and work on my homework until dinner (which is at about 8:30 PM.) I’ve been trying to get to bed immediately after dinner to catch the most sleep.

So that is pretty much my day (so interesting, I know!) I haven’t been taking too many pictures, because I don’t have a way to get them onto a computer right now. I will probably take some in the next few weeks so I can post them when I get back.

Tomorrow, I am going on a class trip to Mexico City. I am pretty excited to spend more time with the group I came with, because so far, I’ve only gotten to know one person from my group (The house I am living in houses a lot of students, but most are independant students, and not part of my group.)

There are weekly tests in my classes, and Friday is the test day. I took my first test today, and I feel O.K. about it, but I definitely see where I could improve. The test was covering the differences of use between the preterite and imperfect tenses in Spanish. While I understand the material pretty well, I didn’t study enough this week to do as well as I could have. In the coming weeks, I hope to be a little more on the ball and get my homework done early so I have more time to study.

P.S. Happy 4th of July! Today at school we had a little party with hot dogs and soda and we sang the national anthem. Nothing beats being home, though ;-) Celebrate extra for me.

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Mexico…

I arrived safely in Mexico, and I am taking classes 8 hours a day. The classes are good, but I am very tired. I’m hoping I’ll have more energy and time to write next week or the week after.

This week I was placed into one more class than I was planning on taking, and so I have class from 8 in the morning to 4 in the afternoon. Luckily, I figured out that one of my classes is optional, and therefore had a few minutes to write here and hopefully eat. (Otherwise, there is no lunch break, just quick snack breaks throughout the day.)

I expected the first few days to be difficult, but they have been more difficult than I imagined due to not getting enough sleep and not eating enough. I am hoping I can get into a schedule soon. It’s possible that next week I’ll have only the 3 classes I was expecting, so I will have more time to take of myself.

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