Sunday, July 30, 2006

links for 2006-07-31

Friday, July 28, 2006

links for 2006-07-29

Thursday, July 27, 2006

links for 2006-07-28

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Learning Spanish

So what is the best way to learn Spanish? I searched around on the web and found this guy who learned French in 10 months. That's pretty good!

To summarize, these are the steps that he took:
  1. Pick up simple novel in Spanish and try to read
  2. Review grammar text - skim
  3. Study vocabulary with flash cards
  4. Start doing grammar exercises
  5. Listen to Spanish audio courses - repeatedly
  6. Obtain Spanish version of U.S. sitcoms (e.g. Friends, etc.)
  7. Watch in Spanish with English subtitles
  8. Watch without subtitles
  9. Find conversation partners

All the conveniences from the states that he utilized aren't here though. I can't order from Netflix to get films or use meetup to find other people learning. Although I guess I really don't need meetup, since everyone here speaks Spanish anyway!

So I guess I need to find a bookstore so I can find a Spanish edition of Harry Potter. I've always wanted to read the series anyway, maybe this will be a good way to read it and learn at the same time. I also found a children's book using flash in Spanish on the web, too. Aaah, pre-school, perfect for me!

Last night, a Spanish-dubbed version of the Titanic was playing on TV. I tried to watch it -- it was the part where the ship starts sinking, but unfortunately, I couldn't understand anything.

Sigh, learning a language is a slow, arduous process! I have to stay diligent! Basically, everything that I read says that it's better to spend 20 minutes a day every day versus 5 hours on a single day. It's too bad, since I get these bursts of energy and want to study and other times, I just don't feel like it.

Hmm, I also want to learn Chinese. How will I learn both Spanish and Chinese? Gosh, I really admire people who can speak multiple languages!!

Underwood Deviled Ham is Disgusting

Since I got food poisoning a couple days ago, I've been steadfastly avoiding ordering room service. I'm still not 100% sure what caused me to get sick. It could have been a number of things. I went on a trip to a nature preserve this weekend and also whitewater rafting in a river.. according to our guide the river could "cause meningitis" if the water was swallowed. Hmmmm.

So what could've caused me to get sick?:
  • Eating a garlic fish on Saturday night
  • Swallowing toxic river water on Sunday morning when I swam in the river -- however, I don't remember swallowing any water
  • Eating not completely safe homemade coffee ice cream after lunch at the lodge I was staying at
  • Using a possibly dirty straw to drink my apple juice box on Sunday night
  • Eating a rather gross barbeque chicken dish from room service on Sunday evening

I think it's the last -- the barbeque chicken dish -- so I've been trying to refrain from ordering room service. Unfortunately, I am entirely tired of processed, canned food, so now I just try to totally fill up at lunch time, eating every last plantain and bit of rice, so that I won't starve at night.

Last night, I ate a can of corn and a can of mandarin oranges for dinner.

Tonight, I was going to cook some spicy Nissin ramen noodles, but then I looked into the Rival Hot Pot Express I had purchased from an Ace store at the mall two weekends ago and I saw that it had rusted!! When I made ramen last Friday evening, I didn't dump out the water immediately like I should have. I just let it sit and now, 5 days later, there's orange rust on the bottom!! That's never happened to me before!

I have a Hot Pot water boiler thing in my apartment in NYC and we would leave water in it all the time. Never once did it rust! I am guessing the one I have here rusted because I scratched up the non-stick surface with my wool sponge the first time I cleaned it???


So, left without any alternatives, I turned to the can of Underwood Deviled Ham that I had purchased a couple of weeks ago. I even tried to search on the Internet for some reviews (no luck there and who are we kidding, who wants to review deviled ham??) Then, of course, my Internet died, so I had to give up on research and finally just opened up the can and spread it on my "Bimbo" white bread.

Blech! I forced myself to eat one slice with it, and then just shred half of the second slice and flushed it down the toilet. I felt like I was eating salty puke!!

Sigh, so now all I have left are my mini-cans of mandarin orange fruit, a couple slices of bread, a wonderful jar of nutella and several packages of uncookable ramen.

Maybe I should invest in a hot plate and some pots after all.. or should I try room service again??? The first couple times I ordered it - I was fine. I had some chicken tacos the first time and huevos rancheros the second time. No problem and pretty tasty, too! It's just that last time and one night of pure misery that makes me really hesitate.

Well, at least I guess I will be quite thin when I get back this summer... unless all the sodium I keep consuming puffs me up of course!

(As an aside, I wish I could find some chunky chicken spread. I used to love that stuff when I was a kid. I think I could eat those type of sandwiches for a while!)

links for 2006-07-27

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

links for 2006-07-26

Monday, July 24, 2006

links for 2006-07-25

Friday, July 21, 2006

links for 2006-07-22

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

links for 2006-07-19

What's most satisfying?

What's vacation to you?

To be most satisfying, Prof. Godbey explains, leisure should resemble the best aspects of work: challenges, skills and important relationships. Leisure has its hierarchy. At the lowest level, it's a search for diversion, higher up it's a search for pleasure and, at the top, it's a search for meaning. "It's not that diversion is bad," says the professor, "but in terms of human growth, it's inferior to activities that are more pleasurable -- and they're inferior to activities that are more meaningful."

Is this why I am in Latin America instead of touring around Europe or Asia?

Monday, July 17, 2006

links for 2006-07-18

Sunday, July 16, 2006

The Confessions of Max Tivoli

I just finished this book, The Confessions of Max Tivoli. The premise is that the main character, Max, was born looking like a 70-year old man, but in all other internal respects, he is actually a child. So as he ages, he looks younger and younger, but he is really growing older and older.

I was sort of disappointed in the book. Basically, the story is a love story -- Max falls in love with this person named Alice, and he kind of obssessively follows her throughout his life. It's annoying though, because, it's not clear why exactly he is so in love with her. What about her is so special? I guess since we never are really able to "get inside her head" unfortunately, her character stays sort of flat and non-developed.

Max also has a best friend named, Hughie, who is able to accept Max even with his age-problem. Hughie himself is also "different."

So the main them of the book is "We are each the love of someone's life." It's sort of sad, I think.. Max just seems like such a shallow and selfish character! Maybe it's important to like the characters in a story, so you can root for them and hope for their success?

Anyway, if you have other books to read, I would probably not recommend this one!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I'm online

Yes! I am finally online.

After arriving here in Latin America, I've spent the last 3 days without Internet access in my hotel room! It was horrible!

The first night it worked... then, I moved into a bigger and better hotel room with kitchen and king size beds. Which was lovely, but the routers on the second floor wouldn't connect to my computer! After trying three different wireless cards and considering that the issue might be MY lame Thinkpad, I experimented by going back to the third floor and YES! I could connect to the wireless access points up here.

So I requested yet another room change, back to a simple room with no kitchen, but I am finally connected to the world again! Sigh.

I guess between communication and food, I'd rather pick communication and information? What does this mean?

Saturday, July 1, 2006

For us to move forward

For us to really move forward we’ve gotta get outside the little boxes we all put ourselves in.
- Scobleizer

I agree!