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Right now I’m really digging a hip-hop group from New Zealand, called Smashproof, whose songs seem to not have made it here to the US yet, but I think they would do quite well if they do show up here. They have a few hits in New Zealand, including Brother, and Weekend, but my favorite song is Ordinary Life, which you can find on Songza (and precious few other places). Particular poignant to me is how the extended version of that song ends, partially transcribed here:

You don’t get nothing from nothing, meaning you have to put something into it to get something out and even though it may seem hard and you’re unsure what you need, you gotta look to your past. Look to your past, and if you don’t want your future to become a shadow of your past then you’ve got to do something at this present moment in time to change that…

Our ancestors weren’t followers. They weren’t followers. Mom and dad, our grandfathers, they weren’t followers. You think about it. They came here for a better future for you. A better future for you. They left their homeland.  They left their parents, their family to come here for a better life for you. Its your turn. It’s your turn to man up. Break the cycle…

You can make this work… Take a good look at yourself and ask the hard question: am I really willing to change?

Back in Town

Since returning from my trip to Australia and New Zealand, I have been pretty busy seeing as many people as I can before I leave town for good.

On the evening of Monday, the day I got back, I went running around Greenlake with Theo. I went around twice, for about six miles. I’m not fast at all, but I did the whole distance running, I survived, and now I’m sore… but for my first run since the Seafair triathlon I consider it a success.

Tuesday, I slept in, worked on getting pictures off of my cameras and starting to organize them, and then ate dinner with Hoyin and Alice at Pearl at Lincoln Square. I stayed up way too late working on pictures afterward, but I have a few awesome stitched panoramic photos for the effort.

Wednesday, I woke up in time to go to Cedars in the U-District for lunch with Dennis. Next, I arranged Thursday dinner with Maria via phone and then I then swung by the CSE building at the UW to arrange lunch tomorrow with Ciara.

So today is pretty booked for food, but I certainly have time between meals to see others… so if you are a Checksum Arcanius reader that I haven’t seen yet, let me know if you want to meet up before I bounce out of town. Alternatively, you can visit me down in Palo Alto whenever you wish!


Well, I am back from my trip to Australia and New Zealand. First, I need to thank my parents, who made this trip possible for me. For many years, I have wanted to visit Australia, and as that dream moves towards reality this year, I realized that New Zealand is also a very worthwhile destination. Based on the writings of others, I decided that two weeks in Australia and three weeks in New Zealand would be the right mixture of time for this trip. The only part where I was wrong is that both countries could really use a lot more time.

Australia is an enormous country. It is the modern version of the US West during settlement times — everything is so spread out, and there is plenty of space to spread out in. We spent our two weeks (actually 11 days due to the flight time and the international date line) in three areas: Canberra, the Australian federal capital city, Sydney, the largest and best-known city in Australia, and Port Douglas, the town closest to the Great Barrier Reef, just north of Cairns (pronounced “Canes” or “Cans”). The sporadic twitter messages I was able to send throughout the trip are a pretty good timeline of the trip, but I will probably post a more detailed itinerary in the next few days.

Also forthcoming will be a selection of the best pictures from the trip. Preparing these will be quite the task, as I have over 30 GB of pictures from my two camera from my summer travels (both Peru and Australia/New Zealand). I’m not sure if I’ll finish this before I leave for California, but I should certainly be able to finish before I start at Facebook on the 14th.

Regardless of the details, this summer was the best vacation I have ever had, and this trip was the crown jewel of the summer. Both Australia and New Zealand are countries that I want to visit again. Among many other things, New Zealand looks to offer excellent summer skiing (from our northern perspective) and a large variety of high adrenalin activities, while Australia is a country still full of places and mysteries that I would like to discover.

Fabulous Bay of Islands

Can anything really be this awesome?

Orca #1

Orca #2

Orca #3

Sunset #1

Sunset #2