Right now I’m procrastinating going to bed, which is somewhat of a bad idea, considering that I need to get up early to make it to the strangely prohibitive 8:30-11:30 am hours for the American Embassy tomorrow for their help planning my trip, but until I’m actually set to fall asleep, I figure now’s as good a time as any to update.
As the title implies, I’ve been spending a lot of time recently kicking around the streets of Santiago. School ended rather anticlimactically last week when I turned in my final paper, a 13-pager that I co-wrote with two other Americans in the same class. It wasn’t my finest work, nor was it my worst. Not bad considering it was all written in Spanish, but still not really the ending I had imagined. I finally actually quit my internship at the Santiago Times, and have had quite a good time recently meeting up with old coworkers and complaining about the dysfunctions therein. Good times.
Most of my friends are already gone from Santiago, racing around Latin America to get a few weeks of travel in before heading home for Christmas and the new UC term in early January, which leaves me to do things like plan my trip, go read in the park, wander the streets or, as I did today, take myself out to a movie. I’ve been listening to hours upon hours of a series of fantastic podcasts that I can’t seem to get enough of, only reinforcing my love for public radio and the desire to be one of these smooth-talkin’ hosts one day, doing interviews with interesting people and being listened to by some random gringo studying abroad in a foreign country. I’m considering starting a podcast to do on the road, talking to random people I meet in hostels about their lives and travel, and discussing… something.
My new favorite is Radiolab, a recommendation from a friend of mine, which I would easily recommend to everybody that I know, to make your commute/walks/life more interesting. The polar opposite to that would be the Poor Choices Show, a project put together by my friend’s brother and his friend. Both members of the Chicago comedy/improv community, they talk about their lives, their budding careers and, above all, the poor choices that they make when they’ve had a bit too much of the sauce. If you’ve got the stomach for an hour a week of drunken debauchery, it might be for you. I find it hilarious, but you’ve been warned.
I also just finished A is for Alibi, a mystery novel by Sue Grafton, the first installment in a series that my parents are huge fans of, and which I enjoyed quite a bit. Today I also finished Pride and Prejudice, which I’ve been working on for the better part of 7 or 8 months, but I liked it. I’d never read any Jane Austen before and decided to start with the most famous, though I admit that seeing random scenes from the movie and such made it fairly obvious from the beginning how it was going to end up, though I would imagine you could figure that out even without hints, considering the story. It did get a bit frustrating at times, the ever-building JUST SAY WHAT YOU REALLY THINK inner voice countering the excessive propriety of the characters, but it was good nonetheless.
Sorry if I already mentioned this, but I recently got through the audiobook of Paul Krugman’s The Conscience of a Liberal, which I found pretty interesting, but definitely not a quick read. It can be pretty dry and econ-y, though I like the guy and agree with his points, especially the “we need universal health care” final third of the book.
Right now I’m reading Predictably Irrational, by the behavioral economic Dan Ariely, which I’m enjoying. So far it’s a lot of the same research that I’ve heard in his lectures and articles, but it’s fascinating stuff and much more in line with what interests me about economics. I’ve talked about Ariely before, but I’ll be sure to give a mini review when I finish the book.
Inglourious Basterds, by the way, was awesome. And yes, misspellings were intentional.
I’m going south to ChiloÃ© for a couple of weeks with a friend starting on Sunday, and I’ll be getting back just before my parents fly in, so I’ve been accumulating a good list of things to do with them while they’re here. So far it’s mostly a list of the touristy things that I never got around to doing, despite my 5+ months here, but that’s another story. There are other items, but I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise…
I don’t think I’ll be bringing my computer south with me, but I’ll be going to internet cafÃ©s religiously, so if you need me please shoot me an email or a text to my Chilean cell. I’m going to be setting up a voicemail on my Skype account soon, which will allow people to leave messages, and I’ll let you know when that happens. I’ve written a couple postcards and will be sending them out soon, as well as writing more when the opportunity presents itself. Perhaps on the plane.
I’ll be rolling out XXVOB and ALEX, two new projects I’m working on, in the next few days, hopefully.
P.S. Check out this video from a recent TED conference. This technology is going to change the world very very quickly, and very soon, from what it sounds like.