Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Mongol Rally

Ok, one thing they do in England is pick a completely random task and then do it for charity. The two things have no real relation except for saying that they do. For example, you try to get as far away from London as you can for free.... for charity. (You get people to pledge money to you because you're going to try to get as far away as you can, see?) People have actually gotten as far as Japan. Or, maybe you hitchhike to Morocco... for charity. Really, that's a yearly event. (You have to go around asking people "I'm going to hitchhike to Morocco... will you please give me money for charity?)

So, now I come to the point of the title. Driving a 1.0 liter car from London to Mongolia... for charity. They give you no route, practically ensure that you'll be asked for bribes, followed, lost, etc., and by making the 1.0 liter engine rule, basically to ensure that you're car will break down, probably more than once. It's 10,000 miles and takes about 3 weeks. You have to go through Russia or Afganistan or Turkmenistan or Iran, etc. So, some friends of mine have decided to enter and are looking for more teammates. Is it crazy that I would love to do this? Think of all the adventure they're going to have! Check out the website and let me know what you think:

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Das Auto ist Kaput and Yay, Sox!

Well, the road trip to New York went well, with one unfortunate hitch towards the end. When we were on our way back, the car started making a loud engine noise. According to my dad, that's bad news. Luckily, Jeff and I were only a couple miles from his house in Baltimore when it happened, so we were able to get it towed to a car shop nearby that he knows, and his mom picked us up. Since it's a 3 hour round-trip drive to bring us back to DC, we stayed the night at his parents house and his mom dropped us off at the train station in Baltimore the next day on her way to work.

So, during our New York trip, our sleeping hours were about 5/6am to noon. Then, on Sunday night, I felt that I needed to watch the Sox - it was game four and they were up three games!!! Of course, it was worth it - hence the "Yay, Sox" in the title. So I didn't get to bed til after midnight... which would have been ok if we were still on the 5am-noon schedule. Unfortunately, Jeff's mom doesn't leave for work at noon, she leaves at 6:30am. And Jeff, who thinks the Red Sox are becoming the Yankees and went to bed at 10pm, was up and atom at 5:30am. So we took the MARC train to DC, got in around 8am, and I took a cab home. So, all that combined with my head cold made Monday into a strictly TV-Watching day. After a full dose of Star Trek Voyager and Enterprise, I think I'm better and ready for my Working Tuesday.

As for the car, it's currently in the shop - lost a spark plug, which I guess is bad, but not enough to total the car. Hopefully we'll have it back soon. Especially since the plan is to leave for Boston on Thursday night!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Katie's Keyboard Is Missing a Letter...

I'm spending this weekend in New York to celebrate Katie's 21st Birthday. Jeff and I didn't act*ally get in *ntil abo*t 8pm. We stopped on the way to pick *p Katie's gift from my family, which was a new digital camera. We got her a red Nikon Coolpix S200, which seems really good. On Friday night the first thing we did after getting here was go shopping. (Imagine that...) Katie and I got dresses at Forever 21.

That night we went to a cl*b called "Pl*mm". It was a really nice place - even Jeff had really liked it!

Here's some pics:
Happy 21st Birthday, Katie!!!

We ended the night by staying with o*r friend, Ray in Hoboken, NJ. It's a short path train over, and since he doesn't seem to go to bed *ntil after 5am, it worked out will with lots of time to hang o*t. He's got his apartment set *p so that everything can be r*n from his computer, and has an 8 foot screen with a projector in his living room. We watched one of the episodes abo*t Earth from the discovery channel - I can't remember what's it's act*ally called now, but that on an 8 ft screen in HD was f*n. Nice way to end the night.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bits and Peices...

I don't have a substantial amount of news to go into this blog, but just an assorted group of items. Things are going well with work and school. I got back my first two papers - I got A's on both!

Wednesday was really fun - I stayed home and did work most of the day, and then Jeff and I went to Baltimore. We went to a cool tea shop called Teavolve, and then met up with his mom at a restaurant that happened to be across the street - La Cazuela. It's an Ecuadorian restaurant, and it was really good! (More about both those things available on my website -

Today, I found out that one of the professors I work for wrote an OpEd in the Wall Street Journal, and then was interviewed on the Wall Street Journal Law Blog. He teaches a class on Space Law that I'm going to be taking next year.

Tomorrow Jeff and I are off to New York to hang out with Katie and celebrate her 21st birthday!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Two states on Saturday!

The Katie and Carvey visit continued on Saturday. Jeff got up early and went to take a test (Test on a Saturday!), and Katie decided to stay in and study. Carvey and I went out to see DC...

...especially the Air and Space Museum.
Then we all got together and went to Baltimore.
We showed Katie and Carvey around the Inner Harbor, and then decided to see it from the water - via an awesome trip on a paddleboat.
Katie would have liked to ride the dragon boat, but they only hold 3 adults.

Then we went to Fells Point where we met up with Jeff's friends - it was Rachel's birthday!
And that was it for the weekend. Carvey headed out early the next morning, and Katie left Sunday evening (after a day of studying for a test).

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Friday Fun

We had a good Friday - Ethiopian for lunch...

then hanging out at our house so that Jeff could study and Carvey and I could watch Start Trek.

We went to Love Cafe for some yummy cake and coffee.

We watched a few episodes of Beauty and the Geek so Katie could see John's make-over. Then we got ready and headed out for the night.

We had dinner at a trendy Thai food place near my house, called Rice. Then we went to The Black Cat night club for 80's night.
Good times!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Katie and Carvey!

My sister and Matt Carvey are both in town for the weekend. I really love having visitors, and I'm excited to show them around the area. Last night Carvey got in around 6pm and he and Jeff came over to my school to compete in a trivia match at one of our "Thursday Night In" events. It was a lot of fun, and extra nice because they got to meet my friends from school. A few of us went out to "The Sign of the Whale" - a bar on M Street - and watched the Red Sox beat Cleveland. Katie got into Union Station at about 1:30am, and we drove over there and picked her up. We all slept in pretty late today, but pretty soon we're headed out to Ethiopian food for lunch. Time to get ready...

Small World

I had two small world experiences recently, so I think that warrants a blog entry.

First, I went out to dinner with my third cousin*. I had found out that she was in Washington, DC (through facebook), and she lives really close to where I go to school. So she and her boyfriend and Jeff and I went out for 10 cent wings. It was very cool to catch up - I don't know when I last saw her. Actually, a lot of the catching up was sort of reminding each other of who our siblings are and what they're up to. Her boyfriend is a substitute teacher (he actually has a degree in education and wants to be a social studies teacher, but they got to DC just after the school year started, so there aren't any openings). She is working at a interpreter office - she schedules free-lance interpreters to cover events. The sound like they're having a really good time. They haven't seen much of the east coast, so Jeff and I have invited them to come to New York or Boston with us. I think it'd be really fun to go on a mini-road trip with them. I really like the idea of knowing your extended family and staying in touch with people. I've been trying to collect information on my family tree, so we'll see where that goes.

The second small world experience is that two of the students from Vigyan Ashram** (a school in Pabal, India - a village where I stayed two years ago) got gmail addresses, and now they are on gmail chat a lot of the time. India is 9.5 hours different from D.C. - that works out almost perfectly so that when I'm up in the morning checking my email before class, they are online before going to bed. When I get home from classes and am online doing homework, they're just waking up, eating breakfast and chatting online. It's been really fun to be in touch with them. It reminds me of all the really interesting similarities and differences between here and there - and makes me miss India a lot. One day we were chatting about holidays, and they were asking if the Ganesh Festival and Diwali are celebrated here. I told them about Halloween and tried to explain what that holiday is about. Mahesh got in touch with my brother, who works at a computer company, because he's interested in Linux. It's really fun to be in touch with people on the other side of the world and keep up to date on what's going on.

*We have the same great-great grandparents, our great-grandmothers were sisters, our grandmothers were cousins, our mothers second cousins (I think that's what it's called), which makes us third cousins.)

**Vigyan Ashram Website:

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Housewarming Party!

Jeff and I had our housewarming party last night - it was really fun! Jeff and I hung out around the apartment during the day, kind of doing work, and then cleaning up and getting ready. People came around 9:30 - it was a good mix of friends for before we moved here and new people we've met in DC.

I was nervous that the studio apartment wouldn't work well for a party, but it turned out really well - there's lots of standing room (and a pretty good amount to couch space, too). Most people who see our apartment actually assume that there is a bedroom attached somewhere, but that they just didn't see it. Jeff and I decorated the studio to look as much like a normal living room as possible.

I took out my camera and took a few pictures before the party started - I meant to get some while people were here, but I completely forgot. Ah well, here's the couple I have:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Virginia Beach!

Some awesome cell phone photography - this is the view of the balcony in our room.

Tonight Jeff and I are in Virginia Beach. I had a work meeting here today, so we drove up late last night after the Annie Leibovitz event. Everything's really empty because it's the middle of the week and the Fall. Our hotel is right on the beach and has an ocean-view balcony. It's a great view.

Since we got in late last night and I was working all day, I was pretty sleepy when I got home. Jeff and I grabbed dinner outside near the beach, but now we're back in our hotel just watching 'The West Wing' and relaxing. We'll get some rest and drive back to D.C. in the morning - then right to class!

Also - Happy Birthday, Brian!

The Real Annie Leibovitz Party

Today Jeff and I went to the real Annie Leibovitz Party. It was this evening at the Corcoran Museum. It was really nice - we got there early, and were on the guest list, so we were told we could go upstairs to the exhibition.

After a few minutes of chatting and enjoying some white wine, they opened the exhibit. Annie Leibovitz led a tour through the exhibit and talked about a number of different photographs. She explained the chronological order that she had chosen to use, and the idea that some of the photos were added to provide punctuation - to be representative of the time. She told a story about the picture with Demi Moore - that everyone had been worried about how to take photos of her that wouldn't show that she was pregnant. Then afterwards, Annie Leibovitz offered to take some photos just for Demi to have, and that's how the famous nude pregnant photo was taken. She said she thinks her best portrait is the one she took of her mother where she is about 70 years old and isn't smiling. Her mother and father both didn't really like it at first, but she felt it was a very 'real' photo. Her mother later decided that she liked it.

There was a large group of people that were downstairs at the museum that hadn't been a part of the guided tour, but were let upstairs to the exhibit after the tour had ended. One of the people took a picture of Annie Leibovitz as she was walking by him. Then she took his digital camera and held it out and took a picture of herself and the guy together. I just saw it from the other side of the room, but thought it was pretty funny.

Overall, Jeff and I had a very nice time tonight. It was really interesting to hear Annie Leibovitz talk about her art, and the exhibit is really great. (Thanks, Ross, for getting us tickets!)

Here's a link to the exhibition


It occurs to me that I forgot to write about my trip to Boston! Last week I flew to Boston for a work meeting. I arrived at night and just driving through the city again was really fun - Boston is a really beautiful city. It's only been a few months since I was last there, but I definitely miss it.

I rented a car, but when I went to pick it up all they had left was mini-vans, so I got the closest to a purple mini-van that I could. That pretty much completed my feeling of being back to home. (All of last year I drove a purple mini-van around Boston.)

It was fun to be back at work at my old office - knowing where everything is, seeing people I used to work with. I went out for coffee with my friends Amanda and Kathleen during a break in the meeting.

After my meeting I was able to see some of my friends. I went to dinner with Janet and Jess - I haven't seen Janet in almost a year, so it was nice to catch up. Then I got together with other people from the area - Craig and Patrick showed up, as did Aaron Bell. It was really fun to see my friends in Boston again and to hear how things are going.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Accidental Adventure

Jeff and I had a pretty eventful evening last night... accidentally. Our friend got us tickets to the opening of Annie Leibovitz's exhibit at the Corcoran Museum in Washington, DC. Actually, the tickets themselves never came because they were sent out late, but our names would be 'on the list' so it would be ok.

So last night, Jeff and I got all dressed up and went over to the museum. We were there a little early and the people working asked if we were there for the party, and we said yes. They said they were still setting up, so Jeff and I wandered around and came back a little later. When we came back there were other people dressed in formal clothing like us, waiting to go in. We didn't know anybody, but that was to be expected.

When the doors open everybody went in, including Jeff and I. It turned out they never asked for our tickets and didn't check a list for our names. Jeff and I were joking that we could be anybody - just dress up nice and show up and you're in.

It was really nice inside - there was music and wine and hors d'oeuvres. Jeff and I snacked and talked to each other. We wandered around and went and saw the exhibits. The Annie Leibovitz exhibit was closed, but we figured they must be planning to open it after some speaking.

Some people had brought cards and there was a table with a gift on it, which Jeff and I figured could be friends who had brought her Birthday gifts (since it was just her birthday on Oct 2nd). So after wandering around we went back to the main room for more wine and mini crab cakes.

After about 2 hours at the party, someone went up to the podium to speak. Jeff and I went closer to be able to see and hear. Then the speaker mentioned something about congratulating Heather on her hard work. (Jeff and I were wondering if that was the person at the museum that helped set up the exhibit.) They mentioned 30 years of work. (Which makes sense, since the exhibit is Annie Leibovitz: A photographer's life.) Then they continued to talk about Heather. (At this point it was starting to seem odd that they hadn't mentioned Annie Leibovitz at all.) Then the speaker said that a series of people who have worked with Heather are going to tell stories about her. They mentioned her great contributions to the company.

It was around this point that Jeff and I started feeling a little uneasy. We were definitely at the wrong event. Not being experienced party crashers, Jeff and I started to get nervous. Jeff started sweating. I started glancing around the room to see if anyone was looking at us. (Mostly they were still looking at the speaker.) Jeff and I drifted towards the back of the room. We set down our wine and tried to decide what to do. We decided the best thing would be to go back and call our friend to find out what happened - we knew the event was supposed to be at this location, and we'd had it on the calendar for weeks.

Trying to be inconspicuous, I took out my cell phone and went out the door as if I had to make a call. Jeff, who was supposed to wait a little while and then leave, only waited about 30 seconds, so I'm pretty sure the person at the door knew we were leaving together...

It turns out that the event we're supposed to go to is on Tuesday, and there just happened to be an event on Saturday that was in no way related except that it was at the same museum, fancy, and filled with people Jeff and I didn't know.

So that was our adventurous Saturday night. On the bright side, it was a very nice party.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

50th Anniversary of Space!

Today is the 50th anniversary of space! The Russians launched Sputnik on October 4th, 1957 and started the Space Race. My first paper as an "International Science and Technology Policy" student was due today - for my Space Policy Class. We were asked to discuss the lessons learned from the history of the space program and use those to comment on how the new Vision for Space Exploration will do based on this information.

Here's the intro to my paper:

The Vision for Space Exploration announced in 2004 has the potential to re-focus NASA’s efforts and return its attention to exploration. However, almost 50 years of U.S. civilian space history have taught us that successful implementation of NASA public policy is not assured. Drawing on the lessons learned from this history, I intend to show that the Vision has a number of good elements, such as its concrete milestones and plan for sustainability. However, it is still in danger of failing due to a lack of well articulated and widely accepted rationale, which could lead to an overly complex and inefficient implementation of the policy.

In this paper, I will briefly discuss the lessons learned from each of the major steps in the space program – beginning with the developments in satellite, the creation of NASA, the Apollo Program, the decision to build the shuttle, the decision to build the station, and the comments of the current NASA administrator. I will then discuss how these are relevant to the Vision for Space Exploration presented in 2004.

If you're interested in reading the whole thing, I posted it on my website:

Let me know what you think! And enjoy the 50th anniversary of space!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


As a Radiohead fan, how can I not add to the multitude of blogs dealing with this topic. If you haven't already heard, Radiohead has anounced that their next album will be available for download only via their website (not through a record label), and that the cost will be... whatever you want to pay. That's right - you can choose to pay $0 or $100 (or anything else) and download all 15 songs on the new Album, "In Rainbows".

A lot is being written about whether or not this is a good business model - will they make money or will it turn out to be a big mistake? In my opinion, they probably don't care that much. Radiohead has a history of not focusing on the money-making, publicity getting stunts, and focusing more on making music that they want to, rather than music that will be popular.

I'm not sure how much I'll pay for the new album, and I'm not sure how the business model will work out for Radiohead. My guess is that they'll be happy with the results, and maybe it will help spur the music industry to try something different.

And some thoughts from people other than me:,8599,1666973,00.html

(and thanks to Scott and Chloe who both thought of me when they heard about this!)