On The Psychology of Disease:
I got back from Boston, New York, Dubai, and Karachi about two weeks ago. I did in fact contract ghiardia and campylobacter when I was in Karachi.
Before I left, my cousin in New York tried to tell me that because I was expecting to get sick before I even departed, I would probably get sick. I'm never one to downplay the importance of psychology and how a positive attitude can affect one's health -- but tell that to the doucebag cook who leaves food out for two days and then washes it with parasite-filled water. I doubt the cook really cared about the state of my psychology before I ate the chicken kabob.
Anyway, it took about two weeks for me to get better. The antibiotic metronidazole (Flagyl) is about as dreadful as my stomach virus. I think this is what they give horses if they're misbehaving.
On Cupertino, CA:
I've moved to Cupertino, CA. I lived in the area for two summers now while I worked and now I've moved here to be close to work. I'm only about three or four minutes away from work, so that should ease my mind in terms of worrying about traffic or going home.
Cupertino reminds me a lot of Long Island, both good and bad. It's a nice, calm place to live and somewhere you could raise a family, but it seems so affluent that I worry I (or, later on, my kids) might take this lifestyle for granted. I guess all I really can do is stay vigilant and make sure I stay grounded.
On the US Postal Service:
When I was in New York, I packed 11 boxes full of books from college. Each box was approximately 55lbs and I had it shipped through the US Postal Service. I used their "Media Mail" service, which is about half as expensive as regular shipping.
The US Postal Service really decided to beat the hell out of these boxes. I couldn't do this much damage unless I hit each box with an aluminum bat Casino-style for five to ten minutes.
On Hiring Movers:
When I got back from Pakistan, I had about four days to pack up my entire apartment in the Berkeley HillsI called about fifteen different moving services and virtually all of them sounded shady.
So I hired a company called "Happy Moving" for my move from Berkeley to Cupertino (in part because this was one of a dozen companies that spoke intelligible English). I negotiated a $65.00/hr rate with no fees for travelling except the hourly rate.
Two things happened. First, I kept getting calls from people who claimed to be "Happy Moving" and have a job with me, and they kept trying to increase the hourly rate. It turns out that this other company lies to people and tricks them into using their services. Needless to say they were fired.
The second thing that happened is that I realized I should have fired the real "Happy Moving" company too. Without even notifying me, they showed up almost two hours late. The truck was covered in graffiti and two guys jumped out, neither of which spoke very much English.
I asked to see licenses and insurance and they said they didn't have any. I called their "boss" and he assured me they did. Then he had the nerve to INCREASE the hourly rate AND add a $40 "gasoline fee." Needless to say I gave these guys a piece of my mind. I escorted both of them off my property and had to hire a new company for the next morning.
Even the replacement movers showed up and hour late. But once they got there, they did a decent job. So that was one huge headache solved.
I'm really going to miss my place up in the Berkeley Hills. Hell, even the movers asked me why I was leaving such a nice place. It's too bad that the commute would kill me.
Unpacking just about killed me. It took forever, but as you can see with the video I posted above, I decided to pass the time by setting up a time-lapse photo project.
I am all moved in now, though, and it feels nice to have some time to settle in and make this place feel like home.