Saturday, August 27, 2011


I'd never thought I'd ever spend this much time in a burger king.

Yesterday we went to the Arecibo Observatory. It's way in the middle of mountainous nowhere (which is typical for telescopes). The drive there made me a little nauseas; there roads just went up and down constantly with sharp turns. On the way back my dad actually took a video of the road. Anyway, it's the biggest single dish radio telescope in the world, or in Spanish (radiotelescopio).

The middle of nowhere (Arecibo)

It's quite large. twss.

I thought it was pretty cool, though there's not much to see there. They have an area with a bunch of science activity booths. Typical museumy stuff, most of which didn't work. Then there's this 20 minute video about a typical day for the observatory or something like that. The production value was pretty low. I appreciated it for the fact that the scientific things said in the video were real, because they were clearly not actors. I would've liked more explanation of how the thing worked. It did give a sense of scale though. They showed some engineers working on the thing and inside the secondary reflector, and you see how tiny they are. After the film everyone goes outside to the the observation deck and you look at it for a while.
Physics tea party.
They had a Nobel Prize
We got back to my grandpa's place just before it started raining. The church band was warming up. I guess the concert was last night. This time they had music followed by talking, repeat. Rather than trying to sleep I watched 20th Century Boys and several episodes of Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood. I still have no idea what happened in 20th Century Boys. I'm gonna need to watch the second one. Regarding FMA, is it just me or do things happen faster in Brotherhood? Everything is very familiar, so I'm not sure if the episodes weren't just reedited or if they're actually different episodes.

The support cables for the secondary reflector

Finally got both of them in a picture. They're quite skittish. 

Woah, Banana Flower.

One of those loud roosters, and my Grandpa's dog, Brownie

Animal Count: 15 lizards, 10 chickens, 5 dogs, 8 horses, 4 (fields of) cows
No new cats yesterday?

Friday, August 26, 2011

El Morro

Slept in today. Making up for yesterday. The church band was just finishing up by the time we got back yesterday. We went sight seeing with Nirav and his family. It was a lot of fun. Didn't have time to write a real post this morning, so here are some pictures:

Old Spanish Fort, El Morro

El Morro's light house from outside the walls.

Inside the fort
More from inside the fort
Birds outside the fort. Nirav called Merkrow's looking for their hats.

Cat on one of the walls

Cat at base of the fort.

I thought these were pretty

This iguana was sitting on the fort wall by the old latrines.

Triangular staircase. I thought it was cool.

Animal Count: 2 lizards, 3 cats, 9 dogs, 1 chicken, 10 cows (in a field), ~8 hatless merkrows.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What kind of Church is this?

Just one of the banana trees in
my grandpa's yard.
Instead of waking me up this morning the rooster decided it would rather keep me up last night. But I don't blame it. I blame the church next door for keeping me up. Why is a church having a concert until 11 o'clock on a Wednesday night? The coquí frogs didn't help either. The night before they were charming; Last night they were more annoying than crickets. I still blame it mostly on the concert. At one point it seemed like there was a strobe light pointed at my window. Anyway, today I woke up at eight and was incredibly groggy.

Yesterday was nice. We visited some of my dad's cousins, as well as his aunt. My great aunt was nice, though the need for everyone to feed me is kind of tiring.

"I don't eat meat"
"Oh my god!...Still fish though?"
"No fish"
"Oh my god!"
"I can't drink milk either. It's been upsetting my stomach lately"
"Oh my god! What do you eat!?"
"Vegetables, Fruits, grains"
"Oh. I guess that's good. Lots of vitamins...Um, have some mashed potatoes and gravy"
"I... don't eat mashed potatoes"
"Oh my god!"

I had fried plantains (mofongo) and rice. And after was given two bananas. Everyone has banana trees in their yard. My great aunt also had an incredibly friendly dog named Pipa. I made a sketch of her face and I promised I'd make a full body sketch my aunt could give to her daughter, but Pipa moved around quite a bit and I don't have much practice drawing dogs. So we ended up taking some pictures, and I'll do the sketch later.
The first sketch of Pipa
Oh! On the way to my aunt's place we actually ended up on some of the roads we were trying to take to my grandpa's. We were looking at the strange grass and then passed a familiar looking house with a ridiculously steep driveway, and then realized all the grass and trees off the side of the road had been under water yesterday (Where I failed to get a picture). It drained really quickly! We made it passed the point where the road was flooded and I got some pictures of the river. My grandpa said the other day, "We'll have water as long as it doesn't rain too much". It's because when the river overflows it brings silt into the reservoir and they shut off the water.
It's clearly taken some dirt off the mountain.

Today I see Nirav. He's got a 6 hour layover here on his way to Antigua.

Because the internet needs more cats (and dogs):
My Dad's Cousin's Pets
One of my Grandpa's cats hiding in the leaves. 
This is Pipa, the friendliest pit-bull in the world.
Animal Count: 9 lizards, 20+ chickens, 2 ducks, 4 cats, 16 dogs, 2 sheep, 7 horses, 8 (fields of) cows, 4 (individual) cows

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Come on Irene...

I was awoken this morning around 4:15 by a rooster. That's new. Fortunately I went to sleep at 8 last night and I was just about ready to get up anyway. I'm at my Grandpa's house in Puerto Rico. It's nice. It's not too big, but still pretty spacious; high ceilings; large second floor patio; banana, papaya, and mango trees in the backyard (though the mango tree lacks fruit); and the best thing about it: It's on a hill. This is very important, as the island was just hit by a hurricane and it's been raining for a week.
San Juan

The trip from the airport in San Juan to my Grandpa's place in Camuy normally takes about an hour and a half, I believe it took us four. Which I suppose isn't so bad considering the traffic we saw. The main route across the island was backed up for miles, so we followed smaller roads. Many of which were flooded, winding, or really, really narrow (and the people drive aggressively). After making it halfway there on the smaller roads we reached a river and had to return to the main road, which was clear that far down.

I didn't manage to get a picture of the river we drove next to for some time, but there was a forest growing in it. I did manage to get pictures of the island as we were landing. I also made some rapid sketches of it. I saw two flashes of lightning between the clouds as we were flying over the island. It made me a bit nervous but I figured it can't be helped and I don't get many chances to draw aerial views.

Also, there's no internet here. So I expect to be back in NJ before anyone reads this.

Animal count: 3 lizards, 2 cats, 5 dogs, 4 horses
(I'm not counting the cows 'cuz there were a lot of them and they were fenced in, unlike the 3 horses hitched to a house and the one horse grazing by the side of the road. Also I'm not counting the roosters until I see them)

Edit: BK has WiFi here! 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Guess Who Rode His Bike Today!

It feels good to be on my bike again. It's been tough finding time for it with school. I didn't even make an attempt last year to ride with the team. But I think I've figured it out. If I want to get things done, I need to wake up before any of my friends. I was out of the house around 7:15 this morning and rode for about an hour and a half.

I drew a mind map of my interests recently. It's more of a web though I typically see them as trees. It's part of a project I'm planning, but it also tells me how much I need to be organized if I'm going to pursue any of these interests.

And there're more details under each bubble I'm sure.

It's been a goal of mine for years to get organized, be on a good sleep schedule, and find time for all the things I want to do. I've had promising starts, but a wrench always gets thrown in the plans. Well here goes another try.  I'm in a much better place than I have been in the past. I have more experience, and more resources. I've got a whiteboard calender and I keep a to-do list up there along with daily tasks. I'm keeping a list of longer term goals, and keeping track of what I get done on a daily basis. My room is clean. I've been meditating daily. My bike and gear are easily accessible. And waking up early will be really useful once I start teaching. 

Hopefully this structure is flexible enough to stay intact regardless of wrenches.

Monday, August 1, 2011

How to Redirect Blogger to a Custom Domain Hosted by Fatcow

So there didn't seem to be any up to date instructions on how to do this, so it was a real pain to figure out. Anyway here's how:

1. Contact fatcow support and ask them to allow you to modify the 'CNAME Alias' or CNAME Record. This is most easily done through live chat (which can be found under the help option in the upper right of the control panel). The change may take a few minutes to take effect.

2. Go to 'Domain Central' under the 'Domain' tab.

3. Click on the domain you want to modify and click on the 'DNS' option.

4. Previously you would have only seen the 'Nameservers' option under this tab. The support team should have changed this so now you have a dropdown list. Go to 'CNAME Alias' in the drop down.

5. Add a new entry. If you would like to redirect to a top level domain type 'www' as the 'Host' and '' as the 'Points to'. If you would like it on a subdomain type in 'www.mysubdomain' (where mysubdomain is the subdomain you want)*.
Here's mine on the subdomain 'blog'
6. Once you've added this entry it should take about 12 hours to take effect. (I know it's annoying. Try troubleshooting this with that wait time)

7. Next go to you're blog's 'Settings' tab. Click publishing. Switch to Custom Domain. Type in your domain (with the www).

That should do it. I know for sure it works on a subdomain, but I haven't tried it on a top level one. Let me know how it works if you try it.

*If you would like to redirect to (as opposed to giving a 404 or redirecting to the main domain) you need to do 1 or 2 of 2 things. I'm not sure if both of these are critical, but I did both, and haven't had any problems. I think the more important one is to go to the '.htaccess Editor' under the 'Website' tab on the control panel. Go to 'URL Redirect' and type '' under 'Redirect this URL' and '' under 'To this URL'. The other thing I did was to repeat the CNAME step (5) except type 'subdomain' into 'host' and '' under 'Points to'.