Swimming in the Pacific

I just had to go for a swim. The conference ended at 5:30 today, so I had some time to go down to the beach (10 mins walking). It was really nice, and I was nearly alone. I did even manage to swim in the Pacific (the water was *freaking* cold) – for 2 minutes :). I guess it was less than 10 degrees Celsius.

Running at the long beach :)

Yeah, after eating all the fat-cakes and muffins and bagels and more unhealthy stuff, I had to go for a run. I used the break between the sessions and the banquet to go for a beach run. It was great! I beat the beach *yeah*. I ran from the beginning (3rd street) all the way down to the end of the beach (okok, let’s say the end of this segment) at 54th street. It’s about 8km (5 miles) one way on google maps. It was really cool – 1hr running at a paradise-like beach with perfect temperature (chilly wind). And I was even the fastest runner out there (I passed everybody and nobody passed me). It was getting very very hard at the end though. Anyway, I can barely walk now but it was totally worth it!

Long Beach, CA

Some first impressions from my trip to the west coast.
My ride to the airport (yeah, the driver carries my bag – he literally pulled it out of my hand *g*).

the inside (huh):

The weather in Long Beach was pretty cold (about 16 Celsius, Bloomington was about 27 Celsius *argh*). Anyway, it was a sunny and nice day, and my rental car (Pontiac) is neat (I’m now proud member of the Emerald club – thanks to IU):

Ok, I should have printed a map :-(. They did *not* have a map of Long Beach at the Los Angeles Airport :-(. So I tried to find the hotel on my own. That was a clear desaster, but I think I found the place where several scenes for Terminator I were shot:

It looks extremely similar, I nearly went down to test the race track :).

Anyway, I found the hotel finally. It’s pretty far away from the conference, but it’s really nice (incl. free wireless) and the hotel + rental car is *much* cheaper than the conference hotel!

My first talk on Monday went *really* nice and the room was completely packed and we had interesting questions/discussions :). I’m looking forward to my second talk on Friday!

Summer start!

Yeah, I love Bloomington. The weather is amazing, and I appreciate the A/C in my car :). It’s 27 Celsius and the sun is shining and everybody parties (I’ve seen 4 beer-pongs going on on my way through the city). Nice! And I just refueled my car for $26 – $2,56 per gallon, that’s about 0.509 EUR/liter) :). And that even seems expensive (I’ve seen $2,35/gallon around).

And I made an incredible deal on rice today! 20 pounds for $9! And it’s Thai rice, not gene-manipuated US rice :).

Yeah, I’m heading out with my macbook to work on the porch!

Update: wahhh, my macbook just died :-(. It switched off in the middle of typing and switches off after some seconds every time I try to switch it on again :-(. Exactly the right time to die … on a Sat evening when I head out for a conference on Sun morning *argh*

The stairmaster

Anju convinced me today not to run outside but to use the “stairmaster” in the SRSC (Studen Recreational Sports Center, the gigantic gym at IUB). This is a hilarious device. It simulated stairs (seriously, look here). We did the Aerobic mode with intensity 15 (of 20) for 30 minutes. This thing killed me!!! It was so good, I thought I would die. I did not know how hard it can be to climb stairs :). It burns more than 1000 calories per hour and I did about 150 storys (World Trade Center?). It was just great, but I doubt that I can do it tomorrow *g*.

And I learned today that you can buy “Nutella” here. Seems to be a good fit for the American wonderbread ;).

My first american car ;-)

Yes, I finally bought a new (used) car. It is a 1999 Saturn SL. It’s not particularly fancy (looks like an Open Astra) but the 1.9l engine with 124 horsepower and its incredible torque turn it into a little beast. I think I made good deal (it was about the same price as the MacBook ;-)).

Some random facts:

  • it’s a second generation SL
  • Saturn is actually a brand of General Motors (a truly american car :))
  • oringinal list price: $11.995 in 1999
  • mileage: 116360
  • engine: 1.9l, 4 cyclinder L4
  • KBB private party value today: $2400 (I don’t tell you how much I paid)
  • 5 speed manual transmission (yeah, I love the stick shift)
  • very spartanic (no power steering, no cruise control, no automatic locks, no nothing :))
  • at least dual airbag, A/C, heater
  • 6 month insurance is about $200 (and covers nearly *nothing*)
  • title + tax + license plate at the BMV in Bton are about $100 (valid for 1 year)
  • one is allowed to drive a car for two working days after purchase without a valid license/insurance in Indiana (weird!)
  • I’ve got two license plates in the car currently *g* – the old one is hard to remove
  • reviews are pretty twofold, but most seem to be satisfied
  • it’s weird, there is nothing like the German AU or HU aka TUEV *hmm*
  • I don’t even have a document that compares to a “Fahrzeugbrief” or “Fahrzeugschein” with the technical specification (i.e., I can modify the car as I wish and no policemen can ever say something???)
  • it is also weird that the BMV is going to (hopefully) mail me the title later. I.e., I do currently not have *any* proof that I own this car (weird). And a friend of mine told me that she is still waiting for her title (since August last year!!!!). Hmm.

Anyway, here are some pictures. I still have to figure out how to mount the German license plate at the front without destroying too much. But I think it’ll be an electric drill and pure brutality :).

Some links

The old greek saying with the healthy mind and the healthy body seems to be proven another time.

The 30 strangest deaths in history, German Nazi tank manuals – hilarious, and some reasons to not to eat out in America :). And last but not least some funny pissoirs.

Other updates are that I’m in the process of purchasing a car right now. Not a particularly cool one but a good choice for a limited budged and my reliability constraints (potential road-trips).

My new MacBook

Yes, I am a Mac User now! I received my new MacBook from the lab last week. It’s a really really nice small thing and extremely useful. The design is fancy (ok, I have strong problems with the *one* mouse button), and I *love* the magnetic lid and power plug. The only thing that bothers me is that Apple claims a battery life of 6 hours and I can barely reach three (with a normal load). It’s a Intel Core 2 Duo (huh, two cores to play with :)). Here some pictures:

Cute little toy 🙂

look at the nice illuminated Apple *hmmm*

Slim as I like them to be 😉 …

And of course – running Linux!