Friday, May 05, 2006

What a day...

It's not that today was a bad day, but what was it really? It was one of those mush days... where you know you must have gotten something done, but you're not really sure what it was.

Actually, I've been testing out a couple of different versions of my site. I've decided how I'd like to change the landing page - at least for now. I'm thinking I'm going to consider building it out into a complete site with articles, product reviews, etc. That will definitely have to wait until AFTER Italy though.

It's so soon!

I do hope to continue to post while I'm gone, so check back here for potential updates. Clearly, I'm not making promises since who knows if I'll have internet, but you know... I can hope. And also on the Italy / Spain front, my good friend Raul from college is originally from Spain and also lived in Italy He didn't arrive in the US until sometime in HS. I was so fortunate to bump into Raul online today and he's taking my itinerary back to look over-- and he's going to touch base with his family, to give me some suggestions - YAH!

You know, I should probably also check with my good friend Vinny. He might have some suggestions too...

On other news, I hope that my readers don't get the same sense of horror seeing my advertisements and shameless plugs as I felt today. My friend Andy has started including affiliate links on his homepage... I should have known that this would happen one day though-- Andy is a Director at LinkShare. They had to eventually suck him in. :-)

Since I'm mentioning both Andy and Raul in this post, maybe this would be a good time to share a little story about how I met them...

As you probably know, I went to undergraduate school in Upstate New York. RPI is a small engineering school (the oldest in the US actually) that at one time was all male. By the time I arrived, a few women were attending, but in my degree (Computer & Systems Engineering with a Manufacturing Emphasis) there weren't many. Not that this is particulariy pertanent information except that almost 100% of my RPI friends are guys. Even my college house mates were guys.

Okay, so back to the story... Raul and Andy entered RPI a year before me. I first met Andy through chatting on AOL in ~1996. He was a Freshman at RPI and I was looking for tips on which dorm I should pick. Somehow I had a lot of options picking dorms, although looking back I'm not sure why. Anyhow, I was always thankful that I had checked with Andy and another RPI friend I'd met named Anthony. Little did I know, but there a LOT of snow at RPI and some of the dorms require a much longer foot trek than others.

So after my inital meeting with Andy, we kept in touch online from time to time. I should mention that this is pretty typical at RPI. It's one of the most wired schools in the US and the students are also SLAMMED with work for the entire four years. So, many students sit in their dorm rooms and meet other students who are also sitting in their dorm rooms, doing homework. Very exciting.

Anyway, over the 4 years that I was at RPI (and the 3 years Andy was there - he's smart... got 2 full degrees - philosophy and comp sci - in just 3 years) and the 2 years that my time overlapped Andy's, we had a lot of the same friends. Andy is also the creative sort and he was the Editor for the schools creative journal while I was the President of the photography club. And, we both took quite a few computer programming courses.

Needless to say, we moved in the same circles.

In the meantime, I met Raul. Raul is also creative and he was in the Photography Club with me. He's very passionate about what he's working on, so it was always great to talk to Raul. Oh, and that's another thing-- many RPI folks are true introverts. Raul is friendly and he likes to talk. This is a hugely desirable trait in a friend while you're at RPI.

In addition to the Photography Club, Raul was also a member of the literary journal that Andy was. Somewhere along the way, they became good friends; best friends.

In around 2003, I decided to fly up to NYC to see them and to visit a modern art exhibit at MOMA.

When I started planning the trip, one of my other mutual friends asked me the 'stop you dead in your tracks' question - "Have you ever met Andy in PERSON before?"

Haha - it had been almost 7 years since I met Andy. We were good friends. We chatted often. We kept up with one another. We read updates on each other's web sites.

But I had never actually MET Andy! Anyhow, the vacation was great!

Since then, I have kept introducing Andy and Raul to other random friends of mine who they haven't met before. We even all went on vacation to Florida a few years ago.

They're working on a documentary of the trip actually. Watch for it to come out in 2006: Destination Destin.

Here's a photo from the trip. Raul is in stripes. Andy's in grey.

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