Archive for the 'Nerdness!' Category

Can I jump it, nerdness returns and ‘hitting the pool’?

The Wandering Nerd April 19th, 2008

Angkor Miscellaneous - Day 3

There was a taming of the weasels - it’s like taming a shrew, only not quite so literary - Tim was ready, if not rearing to go and we set off once again to the Angkor complex of temples.

Cleverly, I sorted out my camera issues and now have much better photos of a number of the places I’ve been previously. As my excursions yesterday served as an advanced scouting for the days tour I was ready to hit the good stuff again.

First on the agenda, I had to go back to Ta Prohm. I’m really enamored with the place. It’s the kind of place I could spend days just climbing around exploring all of the nooks and crannies.

After that we moved on to Pre Rup, it’s the one with the Elephants guarding the corners. It’s also where I continued the pattern of seeing what I could jump, a lot of caffeine was involved, don’t ask.

We hit the following temples in this order East Mebon, Ta Som, Preah Khan, Baphuon, Bayon and finally, once again back to Angkor Wat for a few more - better - sunset photos. You really can’t go by the place without stopping in there. I certainly couldn’t without stopping in and saying to myself, “That’s definitely a wat.”

I really can’t add much verbally to what the images produce visually, so I’ll let them do their thing.

I’ve spent a bit of time nerding out here in Siam Reap, I’ve fixed the slideshow on the sidebar, it should be back up and working now and found some new photo display plugins. For the most part they are just eye candy, but there’s nothing wrong with that sometimes. Sadly they are pretty intensive and are going to require some changes. What this means is the number of posts on one page is going down to one. So you people that can’t keep up are going to get to learn all about how the archive function works. The page is taking way too long to load and I’m terribly impatient when it comes to technology. Also, if you’re on a slow connection or dial up, this should help. This may be tempered by the intensiveness of the plugin. We’ll see, or rather, you’ll see and then let me know yeah?

I’m not really sure which one I like overall so I’m going to let you guys be the judges.

So here are the three options:

Classic WN Stylin’ NextGEN Gallery -

You know it, you love it, it’s been with us since the beginning

The new SmoothGallery -

Just look how smooth that is…it’s like something really smooth…

The new TiltViewer -

It’s new! It’s Flash! It’s all tilty! (oh, and right click anywhere around those images and ‘Go to fullscreen…’)

So I lied a little bit, the TiltViewer kinda’ get’s me a little bit hot…a little veclempt over the elegance of it. I must give mad props to Boris Glumpler and Alex Rabe for coming up with the interface from NextGen Gallery to the TiltViewer. I’ve emailed back and fort a few times with Alex over some minor bugs in NGGallery and he’s always been spot on about getting them fixed. In trying to get TiltViewer working I found the documentation on Boris’ site and subsequently found out he’s a world traveler as well. Funny how that works, so check out Boris’ site: Travel Junkie

As to the different galleries, I am curious to what everyone thinks/how they performe so hit up the poll there on the right. I’ll leave it up for a bit and make a final decision in the next week or so. Enjoy the galleries, play with them, break them, break your computers, break dance, just go all nutty, paint up the town, paint each other up! …woah…so much…caffeine…

i like the way you, put your hands up in the air,
i like the way you, shake your hair,
i like the way you, like to touch

I was wrong once, guerilla sleeping and keep quiet fools!

The Wandering Nerd January 14th, 2008

What an event filled couple of days. I’m liking Sing, it’s got tons of stuff to do, and the people I’ve met have all been top shelf. I don’t think I could actually live here for a number of reasons though. Singapore is a fine city, ‘fine’ in the sense of “if you do X the fine is $Y.” There are fines for everything, check it. Also the vice tax here is nuts. You pay almost double the cost of the drink or cigarettes in taxes. So another good traveler’s tip, buy at the duty free in the Airport.

I’m gonna’ touch on the highlights of what I’ve been up to. There was the botanic gardens of singapore that we sort of had to cut short to get Dominika back to a MRT station to send her on her merry way. Hence fewer pictures of the gardens than I would have liked to take.

After that Nicky, James and I hit up the Singapore Science Center, where they had an actual Theremin you could play with, and a large exhibit on “Infocomm!” - read: IT. I was expecting to laugh myself silly, but was pleasantly surprised to see that they’d actually really done their research. It was a bit simplified though surprisingly accurate. More fun, they had a pretty good sized Tesla Coil there as well:

…and pics:

After that we collected Jen again and headed out to the Singapore Night Safari. Setup up to mimic the animals natural environment and subtly lit, the safari offers a great way to see animals going about their nightly lives. It was a bit kitschy though, pretty much the Disneyland of nocturnal animals, the prices were over the top - much like Disneyland again, and they are a bit misleading in their admission charges. Despite it though when we were there, sitting in the dark,listening to the quiet symphony of the jungle around us, watching a giraffe go about his breakfast, it didn’t matter. When you stop valuing money and start valuing the things money can allow you to experience, it’s a good calm.

Speaking of a good calm. I’ve a medical question that I hope the good DocBroi can answer if he can spare a moment. *grin* First I need to point out that 7-11 is the largest chain in Southeast Asia. Now here’s my question, is it possible to actually do real damage to yourself by brain freeze? I.e. if someone were to say, power through a slushy, what’s the realistic outcome? I haven’t done it, nor do intend to. I hate brain freeze. I hate it so much that I’ve come up with a solution to brain freeze. I figure the freezing point of another substance just needs to be much lower than water so it can function as sort of an ‘anti-freezing agent.’ What substance do we all know and love that has a lower freezing point? That’s right! Vodka! So putting vodka in your slushy means no more brain freeze, quid est demonstratum!  I’m expecting a call from the Nobel committee for that one, I’m not sure if I can actually win both the Physics and Chemistry prize along with the Peace prize but I think that’s worthy.  Science!

What else, what else? Oh! Is it just me or do the rest of you think the Esplanade also looks like the hideout for the Legion of Doom? It’s been really bugging me.


After that brilliant segway, or should I say, “Meanwhile, back in the Mint Museum of Toys…” The museum houses thousands of toys from all around the world and back to the turn of the century. Including a big superhero set, POW, BANG, BIF!!! Strangely they have a case devoted to the Golliwogg, all I can say is…wow, just…wow…that’s some effed up ess. They also have a candy apple red Darth Vader figure. I take exception to that. Near blatant racism is one thing, but a red Vader? That’s sacrilege. In the fifties, they didn’t really know any better, but in 2005 Vader is still sacrosanct! Damn you Lucas. *huff* Anyway! toys:

Preparations are well underway for the Chinese New Year all around the city. I’m not going to be here to see them, but it’s cool to see the amount of effort that goes into the celebration here. Hell all we usually do is stock up on booze and silly hats…

Hokay, I’m exhausted kids, here’s the last of Singapore, dunno’ when you’ll see me again, but keep fighting The Man!

a thousand miles seems pretty far
but they’ve got planes and trains and cars
-plain white

Who is your daddy and what does he do? Lazy eyes and pricey beers. No, you were telling me about Nigeria.

The Wandering Nerd November 21st, 2007

People have been bagging on Athens since I’ve started traveling. Saying that I only need to spend 2 days there and I’d be over it. Complete bollocks! I love this place.

The trip in was kinda’ horrible, after the ‘cruise’ I got unceremoniously dumped off in a place called Patras. Basically a wharf town that everyone has to pass through. Hopped a bus to Athens from there. The bus passed a lot of the areas that were hit by the fires this summer. That was truly barren rock and emptiness, but the coastline is fantastic. The bus station in Athens was very disheartening - while we were there the whole place lost power…completely - and no one had a map to beg, borrow or steal. I hadn’t planned on where I was going to stay for the evening, so I hopped a bus to the main train station and after some searching found a hostel to crash. The bus to the station drove through standing water in the road so deep that water literally came up into the bus. Good times. The area I’m staying in is just north of the Acropolis in the Plaka region of Athens. It’s freakin’ sweet. Everything is marble, streets, buildings, signs, everything.

For the last six years I’d been living within spitting distance of the Nashville Parthenon. Seeing the real Parthenon was pretty trippy. Though to be fair it truly is a ruin and currently surrounded by scaffolding, much like everything else in Europe. Didn’t these punks know I was coming? Couldn’t they have made some sort of effort? Bastards.

Speaking of bastards. Let’s talk about Ouzo. It is a licorice liquor, much like the dreaded Jagermeister. Generally it’s not bad, but it becomes deadly due to the fact it mainly hunts in packs. One shot of ouzo seems to serve as some sort of twisted herding call, summoning numerous others in short order. More dangerous in the wilds of Greece is the infamous Ninja Ouzo, which is simply someone dumping a shot of ouzo in your beer when you aren’t looking - or when you are looking.

I’ve also discovered the secret to getting free drinks. Just tell everyone around you that you’re having a light night and not drinking. The dirty philistines seem to line up to hand you drinks. Especially the Germans. They have some pent up hatred for Americans - or perhaps just me. For the sake of international relations - completely selflessly - I’ve been graciously accepting. No need to start some sort of incident until I’m in Turkey.

Crazy nightlife aside, Athens is inspiring. Talk about the history, this place has some truly old school ruins. Not like those johnny-come-lately Romans, with their 200 AD crap. I’m talking 4th Millennium BC stuff here! I really wish the photos could do justice to the panoramas you can see here just by walking up to the hill of the Acropolis. The city stretches on as far as the eye can see, and you can clearly see the sunlight glinting off of the Mediterranean in the other direction. Truly captivating. I snagged some video from the Ancient Agora which gives you an idea of the dichotomy of the city.

The National Archaeological Museum of Athens is swank. Supposedly one of the best museums in the world. While I’m not sure about that, they certainly have a lot of pots…lots and lots of pots. Here comes some really old school nerdness. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. The museum has the Antikythera mechanism. The first mechanical computer! Forget Eniac, this thing was dated somewhere between 150 and 100 BC! To put that in perspective, it was a contemporary of the early Abacus - earliest abacus is about 300 BC! How freakin’ cool is that? The Greeks were using mechanisms to calculate the positions of the stars over 2 thousand years ago, and the British still can’t seem to get more than two pieces of ice in a mixed drink! Where’s the progress?

The also had arrowheads scavaged from the field of the Battle of Thermopylae. Think 300. I was going to go to Sparta, get off the bus scream, “THIS IS SPARTA!” and randomly kick some passerby in the chest. Then hop back on and come back to Athens. As it’s a 4 hour bus ride, and there really isn’t anything else there now than the glory of a teep on some unsuspecting citizen.

Last night turned out delightfully random. I’d met a few cool geologists - they rock - from Michigan State, and they were going to a reception put on by a megaconglomerate oil company who I am not allowed to name. They invited me along to crash it if I wanted to. All I had to do was vaguely pretend to be a student and talk a little bit about dirt. How could I turn that down? Free booze, and food on the top floor of the fancy schmancy hotel in Athens under false pretense, having to make up reasonable sounding scientific discussions regarding a field of study I haven’t looked at since seventh grade?!? I’m there. I ended up talking to the CEO of the unsaid company for a while, making him tell me about the places he’d been. Hehe, Hail Eris!


I would like to tell you the night ended quietly with a warm cup of cocoa and a nice sleep. As that would be a belligerent lie however, I am unable to. We headed back to one of the hostel bars where my geology friends (Eric, John, and Julie) sacked out and the damnable Germans got a hold of me again and forced, forced me mind you to drink more Jagermeister. To the point I am now refered to as, “Mr. Jagermeister” to a small portion of the German population. Hey, it’s better than ‘Moldy’, which was the nickname of one of the German guys. Good folks though, even ‘Machine’ which was the largest German I have ever seen, and very Bavarian. We would give him Arnie lines to say back to us and he was a great sport about it all. By the 3 or 4 in the morning a big group of people were sitting on the marble outcropping just north of the Acropolis rolling laughing to bellowed echoes of “IT’S NOT A TUMOR!” and “COME WITH ME IF YOU WANT TO LIVE!” Priceless.

Today was quiet, wandered around a bit more, but generally just took it easy. Tonight I’m going to see if I can find someplace showing the England vs. Croatia footy and sack out early. The ferry I have to catch tomorrow requires me to be there by 7 a.m. So thank you Athens! Good Night!

this is a type of kinda like a formal dedication
giving out a shout for much inspiration
all i ever really want to do is get nice
get loose and goof my little slice of life
-beastie boys

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