Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Costa Rica-worth the sunburns (for now)

For about 7+ years I have really wanted to go to Costa Rica, I don't even know completely why. Starting a couple of years ago I would take a picture of myself on my cellphone in the greenhouse and would tell people it was a picture from a recent trip to Costa Rica-hoping that the greenery with convince them for atleast a minute or two. It usually didn't work, but now I have pictures and multiple witnesses. Its quite a paradisically beautiful country with volcanos, rainforests, misty mountains and sunny beaches.

Here is photographic overview of my trip:

This is from the canopy tours, a few hundred feet in the air-- spectacular view of so many trees/plants.

Arenal Volcano- still an active Volcano with flowing lava and usually cloudy on top

I like this picture because it shows some of the natural beauty of Costa Rica. There were so many moments where we just sort of stood in awe at something like this.

The first beach at Manuel Antonio Park. We did some body surfing and built sand castles here. Mine was the strongest, if maybe not the best looking.

This is in some deep rainforest, I think we were going for the hanging from vines Tarzan look.

Below: We did a rather intense short hike to get to this beach, which we actually left right after this picture, because we wanted something with more sand. From left to right: Me, Fiorella, Maria, Laren.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

2008=Bad Election for Bigots

I am thinking one plausible reason that candidates this election season tried for a long time to play clean campaigns was to avoid as much as possible any criticism and bigotry associated with each candidates respective race, gender, religous or ethnic background.

On the Democratic side you have Hillary and Barack. A strongly racist or bigoted person would most likely have a difficulty voting for a woman or African American. John Edwards although probably not viable at this point for president (V.P perhaps?) made it clear on many occasions in 2007 that if a certain voter would vote for him based solely on the fact that they would not vote for a woman or an african american that he did not want their vote. And so amongst the top three democratic candidates, there is no clear candidate for people with strong bigoted or racist views.

The republican side have a bit more to offer towards people with bigoted or racist views but not much. It's interesting with Romney how on one side people may be prejudiced against his religion because they don't see it as Christian, while others have claimed the religion is racist based on their own interpretration of church policy prior to 1978. You also have Rudy Guiliani who was particularly welcoming of any person (legal or illegal) who would work in New York City, many people with bigoted view may take serious issue with this. McCain and Huckabee also rather soft on illegal immigration and support what many in the anti-illegal immigration movement see as a rather easy path to citizenship.

McCain and Huckabee have sharpened up there stances and given greater emphasize to ''securing the border'', from a certain angle this could be an indirect way to offer appease bigoted voters as illegal immigration has become an issue at the forefront in surprising places like New Hamphsire and South Carolina where immigrant populations from Mexico are small but growing rapidly.

Guiliani comes of from a Italian Roman Catholic and McCain from Scotch-Irish descent (according to his website). In many parts of the country it may surprise people the strong prejudices and animosities which existed in the past towards people of these respective groups. Things are different now than they were then, which may be a sort of omen for what the election could like in another 4,8,16 or 32 years?

Either way with peoples views as they are today there may be no real clear candidate for the bigoted vote to flock to.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Some books I read last year (featuring mini reviews!)

These are some of the best books I read last year. I didn't get to nearly all the books I wanted to. But I did get to read several especially good books. (note: I have blogged previously about some of these, so I keep it brief here).
Perhaps since we are still sort of in the season I could rate these books as library card or amazon card worthy?

Freakonomics- Read it mostly on the subway. Easy to grasp and a fast read. It includes quite a bit of economic and social commentary that is good fuel for thought and conversation. I conversed with I think 5+ people about what the books states about the relationship between Roe V. Wade and crime. The book seems to be part of modern econ-political mantra these days.

Rats- Like the first book its a freaky title, but if you've lived in New York (or many other cities) you have probably experienced what led this author to write this book, seeing rats in all over alleys and subways. In interesting fashion this book describes the history of the struggle and clash cities have fought with our crawling fury little foes. Its mostly interesting, occacionally gross and like good non-fiction good come away with some off the wall facts that come in handy when you are talking about, say poison gasses used in Korea in World War II, seriously it happened to me.
P.S--I lived in NY less than a short block from where the author observed rats for a year as part of his research, crazy huh.

The Brother Karamazov- This is 900 pages of some of the deepest stuff I have ever touched. First 100 pages were not too captivating but it really had me soon after. It follows a pattern of story-philosophy-story-more philosophy/social commentary-story. The author explores some of the deepest human struggles with questions about religion, government, law and social mores. Very deep, very fascinating and worth the unending paragraphs and words that fill up the entire page.

Icon- This books takes you through the ride that is the life of Steve Jobs. Intertwined heavily is his life with the respective lives of the companies he helped build (Apple, Next, Pixar) and later reinvent. Not too techie and written so anybody interested in Apple, Business, Entreprenuerism or even just entertainment would really enjoy it. Insightful and motivating

The Innovator's Dilemma- This book is just over 10 years old now, and is still higihly regarded as an authority on why most companies (not just tech companies) succeed for a time and then fail. Not all of the companies discussed (in Harvard Business School's very Case Study Method style of course!) are equally interesting, but the business insights reading this gave me were invaluable. It seems like my few years of business study and experience were sort of pieced together as I read this (Hooray now I can strategize with the corporate Big Whigs), and it just might for you too... Maybe thats a sappy endorsement.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


word to the wise-- Be cautious when playing scrabble with people who A) don't read much, or B) have weak vocabularies.
Most of this can be solved with a really good dictionary, or with dictionary.com -- Even so, the game can turn painful as some people realize there is more than about 500 words included in the English language.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


sometimes when an opportunity is over its like when a door is slammed shut, much to the shock to everyone present. There are other times when we see opportunity slowly fade away, like a gradual colored sunset.
Additionally its usually impossible to discover what additional opportunities were averted by not choosing the initial opportunity.