Wednesday, September 28, 2005


So I learned that I know people running the chicago marathon next weekend! Who wants to come with me and cheer them on??


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

long (but fun) day!

It's been a crazy long day, but it's nice to finally be home! I had an early meeting up in Libertyville, and then meetings most of the day at work, and then Chinese class at EGHS, so I've been moving all day long! I think it's time to go catch up on Daily Shows :)

If anyone wants to come over for the last Cubs game of the year on Sunday, let me know!!


Sunday, September 25, 2005

home for a while! woo!

Hey everyone! I'm back in Chicago now...and for the forseeable future! It's been a fun few weeks of traveling, but man, I really do want to get back into the normal routine, get to the gym again, sleep some normal hours, etc! :)

I had a wonderful time this weekend in "The Unconventional City" which apparently is now cambridge's motto :) Of course little time was actually spent in cambridge after the career fair was over. I finished writing the CHI paper Friday afternoon and then had a wonderful dinner with Robyn over at Brown Sugar and fun drinks with Susan and Hayden over at Roads. For all wondering, Roads is exactly the same. There were rumors of closings and remodelings, but all appears as it always was, which was a welcomed relief.

Saturday in Maine was fun too! It's fun to go to a place where you know the trails and how to get around and the fun lakes you can hike to. It was my third time up at john's cabin and was just the wonderful relaxing break that I needed after a crazy crazy busy few weeks!

Oh and a good side note, The Other Side doesn't open until noon on Sundays! So sad! But I ended up at the Wrap and was quite satisfied with my choice :) Yeah for Thai Tofu burritos!!! :)

So yes, I'm home now, so for all you in Chicago that I haven't seen in the last month that I've been gone, let's go do something fun this weekend!!!


Friday, September 23, 2005


So lots to talk about...I once again proved that I can't go out to dinner in the greater Boston area without running into someone I know! We went out to CBC yesterday with a guy from the media lab and we're sitting there eating, and all of a sudden I hear "Frank!!" and someone comes up behind me. Turns out it was Lauren, someone I haven't seen since at least 2001! Craziness.

The career fair was good and we met some interesting people. We'll see how it turns out. Of course it was fun to see all my friends who walked by during the fair as well. Who knew I still knew so many people @ MIT. :) Of course there is one person at MIT that I had hoped not to see, and of course she shows up. Possibly the most awkward two seconds of my life as I looked up to say hi to someone asking at Motorola and right behind him she's looking up and sees me, squints, shakes her head, and walks away. Yeah. Awkward does not describe it.

So far I've had great food this week, Grasshopper, CBC, JP Licks, and the fun continues tonight with Brown Sugar with Robyn!!! Should be a great time! Then I'm off to Maine tomorrow with PSC people! Yay!


Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Things I will post on when I have time...

1) Ubicomp review...
2) The insanity that has been my last three days...
3) The fun of packing for the next trip before you've really unpacked from the last one...
4) Boston!!!

OK...I need to go pack for Boston! To all of you in Boston, call me! I want to see you all!! :)


Saturday, September 17, 2005

wonderful day!!!

So today was one of the most awesome days ever!! (and of course, it's lasted 36 hours!) So I started the day with breakfast at the hotel in Tokyo, followed by a trip back up to Shibuya. After wandering around aimlessly for about an hour, I happened into an HMV. Listened to some Japanese pop music and some other new releases and then found two interesting things. As I turned the corner I saw a poster with a bunch of people in blue and orange wearing Illinois shirts, and a CD called Illinoise. So random to see that in Tokyo! And then I turned around again and saw the new Son Kite CD by the wall!!!! So awesome! :) So I ended up with the Son Kite CD, and laughed at the Illinois one. After that, it was lunch time, so I found this awesome vegan cafe buried deep in one of the neighborhoods near Shibuya. So so so so good! They even had some very excellent Vegan cake...dare I say better than the stuff at Blind Faith??

After lunch it was off to the airport and a great flight home. And of course what did I do when I got home? Go to Thai Garden of course!! :) Mmmm. And then at Target, I picked up Phantom on DVD for $10! It was certainly a good day!! For some reason I'm not tired though, maybe I'll work on the CHI paper some more...


Friday, September 16, 2005

the happiest place on earth!

Yesterday I went over to Tokyo Disney which was *so* much fun!!! It's quite surreal to be riding it's a small world or pirates and have the characters talk in Japanese :) Except for the random english that they didn't feel like translating like "dead men tell no tales" or the crystal ball lady in the haunted mansion. It's actually a very cool park. A total replica of disneyland in CA, except for the roof over Main St and some of the lines for the rides (it rains a lot here). But it was a beautiful sunny day yesterday!

Odd things...
1) The haunted mansion was haunted by "The Nightmare Before Christmas" characters for a special Halloween/Christmas thing they are doing.
2) The whole park is decked out for Halloween and people came to the park all dressed up as various things
3) Japanese don't seem to like riding Pirates (walked right on 3 times) :)
4) Curried Popcorn smells nasty :)
5) In it's a small world they switch languages for every room, Japanese, English, and Chinese
6) All the instructions before the ride are read in all three languages as well
7) They don't sell t-shirts! (except a few women's t-shirt like things)
8) You don't get wet on splash mountain...they lift you up over the water at the botton of each drop! :(
9) Did I mention that there's a big glass roof over Main St?????

OK...I need to go pack and get ready to head home!! See you all soon!!!


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Let's go (Tokyo) Giants!

Let's go (Tokyo) Giants!
Originally uploaded by bentley79.
I had a fun day today around tokyo. Saw lots of very cool and interesting things including Electric Town (where you can buy any electronic item you could ever think of). It's like 3 square blocks of 5 story tall electronics stores. And lots of anime stuff too...I was actually able to find something a friend wanted, so that was cool :)

Then it was off to the game (after some good Sri Lankan food for lunch!). Baseball may still be the same sport here (and they play by NL rules, aww yeah) but the fans are quite different. The whole stadium basically cheers in's pretty freaky. For the entire time the home team is up to bat, the home team fans sing and cheer a special chant in unison. Then the same goes for the visiting team. No one cheers while the other team is up. Very odd. And yes, they did have sushi at the game, along with beer ladies who walked through the stands with kegs on their backs, ready to give you the beer of your choice. Very very bizarre! But a very good time!


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

LaTeX or Word?

So I'm writing a paper for CHI (that's due next Friday) and I'm having a bit of a dilemma. Should I write it in LaTeX making bib's super easy and formatting pretty, or should I write it in Word to make collaboration easy with things like Track Changes, etc. Or should I write it in Word with LaTeX style citations and references and worry about formatting later in LaTeX. Have any of you faced similar issues? I think the Word track changes would be a great tool to be able to use to get and incorporate feedback quickly from others, but is that worth using word? Does anyone know of an easy way to do this sort of collaborative editing with plain text files (other than a graphical diff or having everyone use CVS)?


Sunday, September 11, 2005


Today was a great day at Ubicomp, and an even more fun night out in Tokyo! I went with some of the Intel guys down to Shibuya crossing, saw the crazy intersection with hundreds of people crossing at every change of the light. We also saw this super crazy technology store selling cell phones that totally blow my mind, 3.2MP cameras, super super thinner than SLVR thin phones, all sorts of crazy shapes and amazing! We are just so far behind in America with cell phone technology. I learned about this other cool cell phone thing that's taking off like crazy here's QR codes, basically 2D bar codes used to encode URLs, contact info, etc. So you see a movie poster or a short article on the subway, you take a picture of it with your camera phone, and your phone's browser automatically goes to the corresponding web page. So very cool!

I'm also drooling over the Game Boy Micro which is now out here. For the 20th aniversary of the original Nintendo system it's a super thin device that plays all your old favorites. So cool! And I can't believe it's been 20 years since the original Nintendo came out! I remember Ann Finstad getting her Nintendo and going over there like every day to play. It seemed like ages ago, but man, 20 years ago! So crazy!!

OK...I should really get some sleep now...a big day of Ubicomp lies ahead tomorrow...


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Wangfujing Daije and Tokyo!

Hi from Tokyo! We just got in a few hours ago and all is going well so far. Last night we had a fun trip down to Wangfujing Daije in Beijing. It's a big shopping street with a night market with tons of food sold at little kiosks...sort of Taste of Chicago Style, but permanent :) The picture is me eating some grapes that have been boiled in a pan full of sugar. They were very good :)

It's sad to be out of Beijing, but Tokyo should be a lot of fun. Ubicomp starts tomorrow and we're in a workshop session about the pros and cons of being "seamless." It should be a great time!! And someone in the workshop cited one of my old papers from Ubicomp in their position paper!!! Yay!!! :)


Thursday, September 08, 2005

MIT happy hour!

I just got back from a fun MIT happy hour here in Beijing! It was at this awesome new bar down near WangFuJing Daije. So much fun and so fun to hang out with Diana again and meet a ton of MIT people...even if some of them work for Nokia :) All in all, a very fun night. Although I think I've been in beijing too long when I think that 50 quai for a beer is highway robbery :) Tokyo next week will be a shock! I also had my first sub-20-quai cab ride tonight...yay for no traffic! I still can't believe it's only about $1.75US to take a cab for like 4km. It's sad that the beijing trip is almost done, but hopefully tomorrow night will be fun! Some coworkers want to take us out to WangFuJing and then I think I'm going to meet up with Diana again for more late night fun in the city! Yay!


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

lesson of the day....

So the lesson of the day yesterday was, if someone says to you, if you like spicy food, you'll love x restaurant, and then you go to x restaurant, you should not say yes when the waitress asks if you like spicy food. Or you'll get a big plate of peppers and you won't be able to feel your lips, tounge, or roof of our mouth for a little bit. Now that's "la" (spicy). Pictures coming soon...


Monday, September 05, 2005

another day in beijing!

Hi everyone! Another good day here in Beijing. The weather continues to be perfect outside and although I was at work most of the day, I still had a bunch of time to go out! So the Motorola building is just a short 10 minute walk from the hotel. Across two totally insane streets. If you thought Chicago or Boston or NYC drivers were bad, you need to come out here. Traffic lights? What are those? They have them up, and they change colors, but no one really pays attention. And cabs actually speed up into a group of pedestrians crossing the street to get them to scatter. yes, it's fun :) It's always an adventure!

And we went out at lunch to this great very traditional chinese restaurant which is always fun! And after work, we braved the taxi system again to go to this Thai Place in ChowYang. It was awesome, we got to sit outside and drink our Tsing Dao's and eat some good (and very spicy) thai food :) The place was called "serve the people" - and was very, um, red themed! And I'm totally getting comfortable with the taxi system here. You just need to get someone to tell the cabbie where you want to go :)

Not much else new. I'm excited for the MIT event this Thursday night...should be awesome! :) Hope everyone had a happy labor day while I was laboring :)


Sunday, September 04, 2005

beijing photos!

Check out photos from Beijing on my photostream. Today was an awesone day! Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Great Wall of China at Badaling, and dinner in a hutong district with my friend diana from MIT! So much fun!!!!

Work starts tomorrow though. So possibly less-than-daily updates to come. But stay tuned for more pictures!!


Saturday, September 03, 2005

ni hao!

ni hao from beijing!! :) I had a good flight over here and it even passed by pretty quickly. A few fun things...

Japanese sports follows the Japanese players in MLB like crazy! For example, "Iichiro's Mariners" and every single at bat he had (he didn't even get a hit!) made the sports highlights. The Japanese sure do like their baseball though...I appreciate a culture that appreciates their baseball! ;)

Bringing Down The House is a good book! Even though they call Roads a "dive bar" :) And it's a fun quick read. I read it before I went to bed last night on the plane. It's been a really long time since I've read a book straight through in one sitting. Probably since the good old "new book thursdays" I used to have at MIT where I'd just do nothing all Thursday for an entire semester except read a new book each week. It was fun. I should do that more often...but I guess they'd have to be "new book sundays" or something. Darn work getting in the way ;)

Oh!! And I sent a random email to my friend Diana from student house thinking she might be out in Beijing. And she is!! We're meeting up tomorrow for dinner and I think I'm going to an MIT Club of Beijing event on Thursday night! How fun is that!?!? :) It's going to be a great week!!

Look for pictures to be posteed starting tomorrow. We're going to hit the great wall at Badaling for sure, and no idea what else. It'll be a good day and the pollution here is no where near as bad as it was last time, so it should be a nice week!

If anyone wants anything from China, let me know. Or for all you anime people, if you want anything from Tokyo, tell me by next weekend!


Thursday, September 01, 2005

off to asia!

In twelve short hours I'll begin my journey 1/2 way around the world once more! And in two days I'll be climbing up the mountain on top of the great wall again and eating wonderful chinese food in Beijing. I'm looking forward to the trip, but not to everything I have to do before 8am tomorrow :) It'll be a crazy night of packing and working to get stuff done before I go. If you need to reach me while I'm gone, I should be on AIM a lot, and gmail is the best way to be sure I get a message. I'll also have a china mobile SIM and I'll post the number in my AIM profile, same when I'm in Japan.

Also, the Boston trip is on for sure! So I'll be in town from the 21st-25th! I've got a hotel for the 21st and 22nd. It'll be so weird to stay in a hotel in Boston/Cambridge. Besides staying way out in the suburbs in the spring, I haven't stayed in a hotel in the boston area since I visited MIT back in 1997! So, I'm looking for fun things to do the weekend of the 23rd-25th. I'm thinking of heading down to NYC to go to MoMA and just hang out in Manhattan on Saturday. And maybe to go see the New York Neofuturists! Anyone up for a road/bus/train trip? Any New Yorkers want to do anything Friday or Saturday night if I end up staying down there? Any Bostonians have a place for me to crash Friday or Saturday night? So many plans to figure out :) But totally fun to be heading back East again so soon!!! :)