August 1 Awoke with the sinking feeling that I might be required to eat a hotel breakfast. Happily I'd overslept the 9AM continental serving, and so escaped. We gradually coalesced as a group, and around 11AM, off we drove to Balboa park. Rented a pedal boat, and discovered that yes, under highly specific circumstances, L.A. in August isn't really so bad. Even the New York relatives were forced to concede. The family experimentalist thought Salvadorean food would make for an interesting lunch, so we all wound up stuffed to the brim with various central American concoctions. Wasn't positive whether the bloated feeling I suffered from afterward wasn't simply a subtle form of revenge by El Salvador's expatriots on the gringos who helped that nation's military murder 40,000 of its citizens, or whether I'd simply lost count of tortillas. Went back to the hotel afterwards, from whence we left for the wedding precisely 30 minutes before it was due to start. Needless to say, while the bride and groom were making their impossibly romantic statements (or at least I assume they were), we were winding our way down 101 about 10 miles north of them. We did arrive, in time, in the sense that we got to watch a glass get broken, and the wedding recessional process off the lawn and around the pool to its rear. Ah well. One cannot do everything. Was used as emergency tech support on grandmother's camera which I more or less figured out how to operate by trying various permutations of buttons. No, I'm really not that technically gifted. I'm just really stubborn. Reading the manual never hurts either :-) Wedding celebration was held in a gigantic country club room, where we, the distant relatives and relations of the groom, sat surrounded by 250 revelers. It was a lively night, and everybody seemed to have a good time. Since I was not forced to do anything publicly embarassing (unlike numerous other folk), I shan't complain. Eventually, around 11:00PM, we left, exhausted, shortly before the cutting of the wedding cake was complete. I guess there are weddings, and then there are weddings. This one certainly had a capital W.

August 2 We did not make it down for the 8:30AM breakfast as planned. We did however get down in time to get food before the hotel closed breakfast. Many of the folks who'd been at the wedding the night before were there too, though a few were a bit the worse for having danced! Following breakfast, we went to my cousin's house to visit her and the family's second newest arrival (three new arrivals this year, come to think of it. Wow!). Found the new arrival to be a surprisingly peaceful little fellow. I'm sure I wasn't half so tranquil at his age. Had a very pleasant visit with the family. In the afternoon, we went down to Santa Monica beach for a walk. Ended up just walking along the bluffs above the much. Nothing significant happened, although my grandmother may have succeeded in establishing a cessation of hostilities between two very angry (and probably homeless) guys. Leastaways, the didn't start beating each other up until after we'd moved on. In the evening, returned to the hotel via a circuitous route which involved a tour of some of the nicer hills around L.A. Nice for the primary reason that they uninhabited. I've often thought that it is rare problem indeed, that having fewer people would not solve. We returned to an enormous post-wedding dinner at the hotel (enormous in terms of the number of family members). Topics discussed ranged from Mel Gibson's new movie on Jesus to the distinction between gay civil unions and marriage, to lightbulbs in the third world. Was surprised to discover some very liberal (very) religious folk and highly conservative nonreligious folk. Guess I must readjust my stereotypes of people. Again. Sigh.

August 3 Wow, time to go home again. Ate a quick breakfast at the hotel, where we met a good many of the people we'd said goodbye to the night before. I suppose two goodbyes are better than one. Thanks to a wrong turn, the drive to the airport became a lot more dramatic, though it ended successfully enough. Said goodbye to the grandparents. Must they live 3,000 miles away? Where's a wormhole when you need it? Made it through Burbank security and to the gate in less than 5 minutes. My little Swiss army knife did again too. Guess last Thursday wasn't a fluke. Flew back to San Jose, and drove up from there to Corte Madera. Made excellent time until we reached S.F. At that point traffic set in, and I realized I'd forgotten the music stand at home. Fortunately, turned out that someone in the flute choir had an extra one. Wish I didn't always have to forget important things. Flute choir played through the full music list at Corte Madera's Piccolo Pavillion (aptly named for once, I suppose). A lot of the good-byes afterward included, "see you in Vegas" since next Thursday, that's where we'll be, at the National Flute Association convention. Stopped at Marin Headlands for lunch on the way back. The bay was really nice looking, dotted with probably a hundred sailboats and fifty windsurfers. Drove back to Half Moon Bay where, after dinner, I promptly fell asleep. Wish that would happen more often. Not even any dreams...

August 4 Monday again. It would seem I've run through another weekend. Decidedly odd given how little I remember of it. Had a relaxed morning looking at Huffman, and daydreaming off about this and that. I guess I'd likely be a lot more productive if I prevented all manner of random thoughts from popping up. But then life would be less exciting too. For instance, is what industry and doing to America analogous in some sense to what America did to Vietnam? Might seem ludicrous.But consider that we dumped thousands of tons of toxic chemicals on Vietnam and ruined millions of acres of land there. Now examine what's happened to the American southwest since the 50s (and yes, this includes a good chunk of California). Food for thought. If I weren't an atheist I'd be tempted to think god has a sense of humor. Meanwhile, I plugged along at Huffman, and as of now, it successfully encodes and decodes 3meg textfiles. Crashes on graphics or binaries though. Or did, until I realized that 256 doesn't fit in a char. Damn Metrowerks debugger didn't help either, when it displayed all the correct values in the correct locations. Hrmm...

August 5 Tomorrow it'll be off to Las Vegas for the NFA (National Flute Association) convention. The flute choir I'm in was accepted to play, and there were no objections to going, so there we are. Today meanwhile began with the oh so pleasant task of getting teeth cleaned at the dentist. Not that it's particularly painful or anything. I just am not fully cognizant of the benefits it offers. Spent most of the day trying to finish off the Huffman compression program due tomorrow. The main issue was simply me trying to speed it up, particularly in decompression, since that's about 10X slower than compression. Got it down to 6X slower with careful tuning, a look at the profiler, and a hash table. Also got around to commenting my code (we're supposed to add comments for everything, a practice which I'm mildly opposed to, on the grounds that the grader should have the opportunity to discover most things for himself). Class was a continuation of yesterday's discussion on sets. My main complaint is I've not seen yet where they're useful, so explaining all their wonderful (or obvious) properties doesn't really excite me much. I'm sure we'll get to that eventually though. Stayed up quite late packing for Las Vegas.

August 6 First half of the day was devoted to various CS bits. First there was finishing up huffy. Of course I found a couple of bugs after I'd turned in the soft copy. Now I see why memory leaks are so common in real life. Made an attempt at understanding next week's assignment: PathFinder. What I don't understand is why anyone would want to know the shortest path from San Francisco to Denver or some such. Thanks to the glories of capitalism, shorter trips are usually more expensive (okay, so I guess you could drive). Class was an introduction to graphs, though sadly not the colorful kind that I was good at back in high school.

As usual, left for the airport a bit later than was wise. The shuttle from parking didn't help much either. Insisted on stopping at (empty) stops A-S. We were at E. Then when we made it to the airport, security decided to not allow me to take my music stand in my carry-on. Claimed it could used as a weapon. Refrained from asking whether my flute could also be used as a weapon, and whether he'd be so kind as to show me how. Instead asked if I could go to the gate, and get my ticket (leaving my stand there). TSA idiot (aka security) refused. Explained that I only had an E-ticket, and could not check in my bag 'til I obstained a real one. Asked how I was supposed to do so without going to said gate. TSA idiot offered to call the police and let me discuss it with them. Declined his generous offer. Note to self: don't try to reason with bureacrats. Somehow (miraculously) the people at the gate let my dad get my ticket (without me), and I dashed back to check in the bag. Made it to the plane about 5 minutes before scheduled departure time. Southwest not too on time for once. Whew.

Spent plain trip thinking of nice things to do to TSA employees. Realized you can't depend on Republicans to get anything right. First they promise a smaller federal government. Then they help create a whole new federal agency devoted to harassing travellers. Way to go. Arrived in Las Vegas at 10PM. Temperature: 85 degrees. Whew. Following hotel check-in, meandered down the strip to stretch legs. When an officious fellow told me I couldn't continue walking on that side of the street, because they were filming a movie, I ignored him. Noticed the many cameras and other accessories as I continued down the street. Forgot how strange Vegas can be. Oops. On the way back, witnessed a U-Haul trick run a red light, cross the concrete divider into incoming traffic, and run over a motorcycle. Just like that. Good heavens.

August 7 Had to wake up early enough to make it 10AM rehearsal. Miraculously, everybody in the flute choir has made it. Less miraculously, most of the folk I talked to had no problem taking their music stands on the plane. Guess I must fit the profile of a terrorist. Morning rehearsal over, went off for breakfast. Buffet, in this case. Just like the buffet I had in 11th grade when I was here :overpriced, limited selection, vaguely edible). Spent the afternoon listening to flute choirs from just about everywhere. All were good (with one exception) including the ones with only high schoolers. Got my first look at a Contrasbass flute as well. One word: big.

We actually were the last group to play (of the flute choirs), and so afterwards there was the usual proliferation of cameras. One of the folks who stayed around afterwards even turned out to be the arranger of the second piece we played! Claimed we'd done a good job with it (I'm not so sure myself, but why argue?). In the evening, received a foot tour of much of Vegas' finest (well, if you call the strip fine) courtesy of other folks in the flute choir. Wallowed in the surrealism of the Bellagio and Caesar's, until everybody's legs started giving out. Was so tired when we returned that it took three tries for me to find the right elevator back to the room.

August 8 Day two of Las Vegas. All the rambling around "the strip" last night meant an extra couple hours of sleep in the morning. Not that I mind. At breakfast, had the mistaken notion to try something less usual. The result was a very soggy waffle that was positively doused with whipped cream and blueberries. That'll teach me to try and be creative. The second bit of creativity of the day also didn't work so well. A walk down Las Vegas Blvd is all very well, but 100+ degree heat does leave a bit to be desired. Instead listened first to a series of newly composed pieces at the flute convention. One recent composition, intended to evoke the memory of three flooded Spanish villages, required the performer to play from 3 different stands at different locations. In the much later afternoon, wandered out down the strip again. With the temperature at a safe and sane 95, we made it quite a ways, in the process landing in a mall that made the local Hillsdale mall seem homy.

Later walked past Treasure Island (shades of junior year of high school). The pirates were taking a leave of absence though, and the ships were beached (or certainly not floating), so we moved on to the Venetian. There I was pleasantly surprised to discover real live musicians playing/singing music, although it turned out that all the gondolas were motorized. Then rushed back (more or less) to get to the airport on time. Overdid it, so had to wait in said aeroport for a while too. Was tired, so to avoid further controversy, checked in my bag (and music stand). Stupid TSA. Flight back was smooth, and I did a good bit of reading of Monkey Wrench Gang. Viva Hayduke (or some such). Landed in San Jose, retrieved car and drove home. No smoke. No slots. No place like home.

August 9 Nice to wake up in your own bed, and without an incredibly dry mouth. Sorry Vegas, you don't quite fit my bill for a dream location. The milk survived my absence, which meant breakfast beat those I had in Vegas too. Heigh-ho. A pretty nice day on the coastside here, complete with blue sky, warm, but not hot, temperatures, and a general lack of impurities in the air. Okay, it did get a bit hot, but that was after we headed up to Purrisima to do the Whittemore Gulch-Harkins Ridge loop. Lost a few pounds worth of sweat on the way up, which probably made the trip down cooler, or at least, lighter. Back home for lunch, after discovering a high school friend redistributing kittens in front of Safeway. Was tempted to offer to take one, but the last cat (kitten really) we had ended up as the dinner of some coyote. At least that's what we assume, since it disappeared and never reappeared. I suppose we were not "responsible" pet owners. Plus my mother's obsessive about fleas. Sigh. I like cats.

After lunch, set to work on the latest CS project: pathfinder. I keep making some of the dumbest coding mistakes. Still, templates are coming along, and hopefully I'll be ready for the final in a bit less than a week. Called up a friend to see if anything interesting was going on. Was up in Daly City to watch a movie, so I decided to join. Not certain of the wisdom of that choice. I got 15 minutes of decent conversation, and a lot of popcorn. I also got a 40 mile, aggravating drive and a headache. Oh yeah, and the movie. Don't bother going to see "Lara Croft and The Cradle of Life." Unless of course, you're really starved for things to do. In that case, at least make sure somebody pays you for your trouble.

August 10 Yawn... Woke up, and went back to work on pathfinder. My uncle in France called in the morning. Sounds like the weather there is none too pleasant, but I'll bet they're not too much worse off than Las Vegas. Ate breakfast over a discussion of set membership. Eventually managed to figure out how to properly compare sets of sets. From there things in pathfinder simplified considerably. In the space of about 3 hours, did pretty much all the implementation necessary (save the priority queue, that I did last Wednesday). On the slightly more interesting front, had my daily dose of the Guardian. Then set about updating this diary. Took quite a while. Not that I do that much. It's just concision is one of those skills I haven't quite mastered. The good news is that now that this thing is up to date, things should be a lot easier to maintain. I hope. Maybe? :-)

August 11 Monday and back to classes/work. Forget to e-mail myself pathfinder, so I wasn't able to work on it at school. Had some fun nonetheless. Class was a discussion of symbol tables (well, maybe a little to brief to be a discussion, but...). Would've been a lot more interesting if we'd gotten the reasoning for the math behind the positively atrocious little hash function we got, but can't have everything. Did some reading on Lempel-Ziv compression, but decided it looked too complicated (anybody with a good source on LZ77 or LZ8 compression feel free to e-mail me). Plus I don't want to give Unisys' lawyers any more business than they have (they own the patent to LZ78 at least). Patents are evil (though apparently under British law, you can't pattent mathematical algorithms thank good). In the slightly related department, Fox News announced it's suing comedian Al Franken for the title of his new book, Lies, and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. Since speech still is (was?) free, they can't sue Franken for libel (plus, can something true be called libel?). Nope, they're suing him for trademark infringement. Turns out Fox trademarked the words "fair and balanced!" Gotta love the American legal system. Franken however hasn't lost his sense of humor. He may countersue Fox. Turns out he trademarked the word "funny" and Fox's legal brief claims Franken is unfunny. Hmm....

August 12 I knew C++ had a reputation for inefficiency. Now I know why. Ripped out all uses of the string class from my huffman compression program, and discovered it ran 8X faster. Not that char *s are all that elegant. But for an 8X speed increase, I'll sacrifice a little elegance any day. Then turned on compiler optimization. I finally have it so decompression is faster than compression. Does a cool 1MB/sec compression on a P-III/700. Made War and Peace about 60% smaller too. Good times as the CS professor would say. Meanwhile, today was the final lecture of CS 106X. Was actually a bit more of a C bashing session. I guess I understand that C is easier to screw up. But it has so many cool little things too! Had a flute lesson in the afternoon, and after going home in the evening, visited a few friends for a game of Risk. Oh and some bizarre conversation. There are times when a tape recorder would be soooo handy (or incriminating, or both).

August 13 Reviewing for final. Judging from the review session, trees and recursion will be in abundant quantities. Nothing too exciting otherwise. Was greeted with the news that Libya is preparing to accept responsibility for the downing of Pan Am 103 (which blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland on December 3 1988, apparently the result of terrorist activities, though some have doubts). It will also be paying out $2.7 billion to families of those killed in the bombing (some 270 people). This brings up a curious contrast. On July 3, 1988, Iranair flight 655 was shot down over the Persian Gulf with a cruise missile fired from the USS Vincennes over the Persian Gulf. 290 people died. To this day there has not been a dime of compensation to the victims. There was no talk of condemning the United States as a terrorist nation after the incident. After the fact, the NY Times had the gall to claim in an editorial that the fault was that of the Iranian jet, for flying over a war zone. Curious, considering there were no wars going on over the Persian Gulf (and the plane was on a regularly traveled route, well over international waters). If anybody had claimed the Pan Am bombing the fault of the U.S., for provoking Libya by attempting to kill its leaders in 1986, they would almost certainly have lost their job. Nice comparative morality. Moral of the story: if you're caught downing a plane, and you're a small, weak (and possibly unsavory regime), it's a terrorist act, and the perpetrating nation must be punished with all possible severity (key word "nation," not "leader" since as was proven in Iraq, sanctions hurt nations, not leaders). But if you're a superpower, the whole thing is merely a tragic accident (though if it was an accident, why did the U.S. government never issue an apology?), and people should forget about it and move on. Charming. Oh, FWIW, the only paper with the guts to even mention this possible paradox is Britain's Guardian.

August 14 More final review today. As well as a little experiment with bit-twiddling for huffman encoding. Now I understand what a bitmask is. Yay! Otherwise a dullish sort of day in which I forgot to eat lunch. Funny how that works.

August 15 Summer quarter is over. As of 3:15PM (for me anyways). Spent the morning first studying, and then reorganizing my binders to avoid studying. Worked out I guess. My comprehension expanded at a rate of about 30% an hour on the final, which meant that happily, by the end, I at least understood 90% of the questions, even if I hadn't necessarily answered them. Would've been a lot easier with slightly clearer problem-statements, but I guess can't be too picky. Plus the professors brought back Jamba juice for everyone at the end. Can't argue with that! Heard horror stories of the "no-time limit" CS107 final which started at 7PM, and just kept going. Apparently people had as much time as they could ask for, they just couldn't leave the room. Students were evicted (still working on the test) from the building by janitors well-past midnight. Fun. Spent the afternoon dreaming about next-quarter plus an improbable camping trip. We'll see. In the evening went to two movies at the Stanford theater. First was a "Alexander's Ragtime Band," a rather silly musical. Then came "The Palm Beach Story," which was equally silly. Still, there is a place for old-fashioned "feel-good" movies, and those two certainly fit in that category. At least with them, you have the feeling that the publishers didn't take themselves too seriously either. Compare that to newer movies, which are just about as pompous and arrogant as can be. And they usually don't even have bad drama... Guess I'll stick with old stuff as well ("keep it like it was" - Hayduke).

August 16 Another nice Saturday morning. Off for a hike to Montara mountain. Kept things going at a nice pace all the way up. For once, almost no nice sea breeze, so things got a little warm going up. Result was we reached the main saddle after only about 50 minutes. Of course, I also lost a couple of pounds of water through perspiration, but exercise is good for you. Realized that a 16oz. Snapple didn't go as far as would've been nice. Took the trip down a lot more leisurely. Avoided the steep part to and instead took a miserable overgrown poison-oak ridden route. I'll be real glad if I'm not covered with itchy red spots by tomorrow.

Thanks to the nice weather, the tourists were out in force. In their nice SUVs. Wished I had a long pole. You know, most SUVs look like they could do some pretty amazing stuff with only a small extra push. It wouldn't have to be much. Just a nudge near the top, to help Mr. Newton along. In the evening, went off to visit friends. Thanks to its newest addition our group's become a lot less balanced. Or as somebody put it on the way back from the movie (SWAT - don't watch it unless you're obsessed with Colin Farrell, which, I'm sad to say, 3 of the 6 of us were), we've got an oversupply of psychopaths, megalomaniacs, and various other undesirables. Was mildly offended that I got classified as a megalomaniac. Thought I was merely a moody misanthrope with a side hobby of world domination. Nobody understands me. Sigh.

August 17

August 18 Began fiddling with cross-compilers today. Started with trying to isolate a bug with building cross compilers's to Solaris and just kept on going. Went to town to visit the bank and ran into another person from HMBHS class of '02 who I'd not seen since graduation. 5 down, 268 to go? In the afternoon, made a desultory attempt to clear off my desk. No can do. Leastaways not without serious help and incendiary devices. So I played T.E.G. instead. Yawn.

August 19 Feeling slightly sociable, so tried to locate friends. Succeeded. Sort of. Deduced none of them to be at home. Impressive. Built in the course of the day 12 cross compilers, including all FreeBSD architectures and most of the NetBSD ones. Not too bad. About half of them work out of the box. Was thoroughly defeated in my attempt to build glibc for Linux (cross). Why do we need glibc again? Seems to me the most convoluted, bloated and useful piece of crud this side of XFree86. Now I see why newlib's so nice. It Just Builds(tm). Had a flute lesson in the afternoon. Discovered that I can get to San Mateo (downtown) in 20 minutes if the traffic's halfway decent.

August 20 Completed my NetBSD cross compiles this morning. 7/12 architectures built. Not bad. Hopefully I'll have a gcc cross-compile mini-howto soon. Having a hobby is nice sometimes. Slashdot's interview with Georgy Russell was amusing. Discovered that as well as being the most progressive of California's hundred-and-some-odd gubernatorial candidates, she's also one of the better looking ones. But I'll vote for Bustamante. I'll vote for anyone with a chance to beat Arnold "let's terminate the deficit" Schwarzenegger. Anyone who's less issue-oriented than George Bush should not be allowed in politics. Period.

Had our Quiz Kid geekfest, err... get-together for pizza in the evening. As expected, somebody left a message on my cell-phone, which has been sitting in a friend's van since Saturday. "Call me back," he says, neglecting to give a number. Oh well, straightened that one out. Conversation seemed to revolve around any and everything. Which suited me just fine. After that, went off to a LAN party at a friend's. The fact that my dad's new laptop has a Radeon Mobility 9000 was not lost on me. Heehee. Turns out it didn't matter, since Rainbow Six 3 has some really annoying copy protection. So we took turns playing on the two machines that did have it. I think there should be an "Iraq" mode to that game, where you go around sniping U.S. soldiers in large cities. Too bad the gaming industry has no real sence of fun (except, maybe GTA3 Vice City).

August 21 Ended my cross-compiling spree. Spent entirely too much time reading bits and clips from foreign newspapers. CS grades were posted too. Looks like I did all right in the course one professor described as "insanely fast-paced." In the afternoon, started to go through gcc bugs again. Also read through various curious articles in foreign newspapers about the state of the world.

August 22 Friday. Went with my dad to work in the morning. Learned to reappreciate my Linux skills. HP-UX is a great system no doubt, but some things tend not to just work. Like building gcc. Spent a good chunk of the morning messing with different makefile/compiler options to get things to build. Once they finally did, discovered somebody'd just check in a whole load of HP-UX fixes to gcc cvs. Went out to lunch with some of my dad's friends from the dawn of the Silicon Valley age. They're not too optimistic about the future of CS. Future? What future? Oh, that future. Yeah, it moved to India. Just my luck. Film Studies suddenly looks a whole lot more attractive. Took the opportunity to get a little bit of my summer reading done. Unlike the high-school kind though, this was pretty depressing stuff. Like the murder of more than a quarter-million East Timorese, the half-million Vietnamese born with birth-defects due to Agent Orange and other chemicals, and so on.

August 23 If anyone has a good method for extending time, I sure wouldn't mind a few hints. Gathered up a goodly bit of laundry and rushed over the hill to do laundry (the home washing machine is of the nonfunctional variety for the time being). You really can't do a good full batch of laundry in only an hour. Leastaways I couldn't. Visited the bookstore where Al Franken's infamous new book was on display. Later regretted not buying the book: Lies and The Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. While generally I try to avoid being fair or balanced when it comes to America's neo-fascists, for Al Franken, I could have made an exception. So there was a lot of half-dried laundry in the car for a good bit of the afternoon. Went out for lunch with a friend from the "Canyon Road" days in Los Altos (those were the days before '89, when we lived in a rented place in the hills behind Los Altos. Discard any prior impressions of Los Altos though, this was a funky little house with a roof like a sieve on a road that became a river come December.). In the afternoon, went up to the city. Managed to screw up my BART stations and get off at the wrong station but it all worked out. Met friends and saw a bit of downtown San Francisco. Peculiar how infrequently I go up to the city. Could I be subconsciously allergic to the place?

August 24 Yawn. Didn't do a lot of stuff today. Or maybe that can be phrased as did a lot of not much? Hardly matters, I s'pose. I have the vaguest of suspicions that nature is conspiring against me. Mice in the ceiling (or some other 4-footed critter), gophers under the garden, and deer just about every whichway. The way the deer keep defoliating what's left of the garden sort of confirm that pacificism is a great principle and a terrible worldview. What's wrong with venison now and then, anyway?

Spent a good chunk of the afternoon sifting through gcc bug reports. I can fit most bugs in one of 3 categories: bugs I can test, bugs I can't test, and bugs that I don't understand enough to know whether I can or can't test them. Made the mistake of trying to work on one of the third type. All I have to show for 3 hours of prime afternoon is a 16,000 line file which is sufficiently garbled to crash the compiler real good. Not certain if all that effort was justified. Made some progress at clearing off my desk. Rediscovered my checkbook, which is, I suppose, all to the good. Unfortunately that means I must pay bills now too. Oh, and over dinner we had a good discussion of world's shortest books. I thought "Reagan's original ideas" was a pretty good one. We need one for Bush too though. Hmm...

August 25 I need to blacklist the New York Times. Their blatant pro-Israel stance is pretty ridiculous. I mean, I knew Tom Friedman is obsessed with saving Israel, but I figure the actually news stuff would be okay. Not so. "Israel has a right to defend itself," seems their catchphrase of the week. Odd, I never knew them to plagiarize from Ari Fleischer before.

In the afternoon, went to Stanford to turn in my week overdue phone bill. Oops. Went by the book store to discover that the history course I want to take next quarter is being taught by some new guy, and not the absentminded Pulitzer prize winner that I'd assumed was. Still no sign of the CS books in the bookstore though. Went to Palo Alto's Apple store too, just to check out the new G5s. Hard to do, since the store doesn't have any yet. Argh. Got together with friends from the dorms for dinner. Ended up at a Thai restaurant on Castro Street (bit farther than expected). Good food, and good talk. I have found at least 2 more people who agree that North Korea should have nukes. After dinner, rented the movie "Max" and commandeered one of the lecture halls in the CS building. They've got nice screens their. As a movie about the artist within Hitler, the plot was reasonably predictable, though interesting possibilities were presented. Hopefully most frustrated artists are not fascists at heart though?

August 26 I can't remember. Honest I can't...

August 27 My dad and I leave for Switzerland. Flight leaves SFO around 2PM. Arrive in Amsterdam early tomorrow morning. A more complete journal of the trip is available.

August 28 Connecting flight takes us to Zurich, where we rent a car, and visit my uncle near Zurich. I am jet lagged. It rains in the evening.

August 29 My dad and I visit Zurich and wander around in the old city. Then we go with my uncle to visit some friends. My lack of Farsi first becomes an impediment.

August 30 We leave Zurich early in the morning, do our shopping, and stop at Rapperswil on the lake. Have a nice walk, interrupted by a heavy rain storm at the end. Set off the alarm in the Migros sports store by accident. Drive, via secondary roads, from Rapperswil, to Chur (in Graubunden) and then to Lenzerheide, where we've rented a beautiful house. In the evening, walked around the Lenzerheide lake, and were soaked by the rain.

August 31 Spend the morning doing chores. In the afternoon, hiked to Crap la Pala, and later, to Piz Scalottas. Geez was that wind cold.

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