Category Archives: travel

New York, New York!

Okay. The New York thing is going to happen. Awesome!

Travel. I found bus tickets for $100.
Sure, I have to leave at 6:00 AM and arrive at 2:00 PM, but I can deal
with that. I’ll just have to take the night bus on Thursday, and…
errr… deal with New York at 5:00 on Monday. That’s okay. I can hack
that. Simon suggested just going ahead and booking a flight, but the
backpacker in me resists the idea of spending nearly five times more
money than I have to, even if IBM might end up paying for it. When I’m
a high-powered executive, sure, they can fly me in. But if I can nap
and write on the bus, I might as well take the bus.

Okay. Ticket booked. Next.

Accommodations. Chaya’s offered her couch. Yay! The party probably
won’t run too late – the Greater IBM thing ends at 8:30, and there
might be a later event that ends at 10:00 or something like that. I
should give myself margin on the first day to account for travel
fatigue, etc. Still, I don’t want to inconvenience Chaya, so I can
stay at a hostel (or with an IBMer?) for the first night and then stay
over for the weekend. *Somehow* or another, it’ll all get sorted out
and I’ll find myself back in NYC for the 6:00 AM bus trip back on


Goals. What do I want to do in NY? Whom do I want to meet?

Greater IBM Initiative: My primary goal is to link up with the
Greater IBM Initiative folks. There’s just something about meeting in
person. I’m so looking forward to swapping tips and ideas with them!
I’m going to do that entire dogear thingy there again. Oh, I
absolutely have to wear The Shirt.
Other IBMers: It would be totally awesome to have a blogger
meetup at IBM in New York. There is one, right?

Family friends: I wonder if Tita Inda would like to come over
and help us learn how to cook…

My friends: I’ve pinged Byron and Ernest. Who else might be in
the area?

Other people: Anyone here from New York, or know anyone I
should definitely meet while I’m there?

This probably won’t be my only trip to New York, so I’m not too panicky about organizing a geek dinner or cramming my sched full of interesting things. I’ll get around to watching a Broadway musical eventually, and someday I’ll focus on tapping the New York tech scene. =) But yeah, it’s all good.

Send me your number if you’ll be somewhere near NY this weekend, or if you know of something interesting I should do!

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I love how life works

I’ve forgotten my laptop power cord at IBM (meep!), so life will be
*very* interesting for the next few days. This just means that I’ll be
forced to keep a paper journal of my time then, which is not a bad

Fortunately I have four hours of battery life if I’m fairly
conservative about them, which should be enough time to grab all the
important information and even last me through mail-check on Monday
afternoon. I won’t take my laptop on the trip, though, so I just have
to plan everything carefully.

Here’s the plan:

Thu morning Ride bus to NY
Thu afternoon Settle in, prep for party
Thu evening Greater IBM Connection, NYC IBM happy hour (also, NYC IBM bloggers meetup?)
Fri morning IBM 39 Broadway
Fri afternoon IBM 11 Madison Ave
Fri evening Hang out with Ernest
Sat Hang out with host, friends and other people who pass by
Sun Hang out with host, friends and other people who pass by
Mon morning Ride bus to Toronto.
Mon afternoon Class
Mon evening REST!

You can reach me at +1 416 823 2669. Whee!

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Stories from New York: Making things happen

I was thrilled when the Greater IBM Initiative invited me to be one of
the Core Connectors. Thrilled, yes, and more than a little anxious. I
didn’t know what I could bring, being so new to IBM and knowing hardly
anyone, much less being able to convince them to register for a new
social networking site or get them excited about networking with IBM
alumni I didn’t even know. Still, I accepted the invitation with great
enthusiasm, and I signed up to help with the blog.

I still haven’t contributed anything to the blog despite all the stuff
I’ve been blogging here about networking. I think I should just work
up the nerve to get one of these potential articles out there in
public. =)

My insecurity about not feeling like a proper Core Connector didn’t
stop me from being excited about the events the Greater IBM Initiative
was organizing. They were kicking it off with parties in New York, San
Francisco, and other awesome places.

On 2006.09.16 (Saturday), I woke up and asked myself, “What if we could make this happen?” I knew I really wanted to meet these people in person. I wanted to meet other people serious about social networking and passionate about connecting people. So I said, okay, what can I do to get there?

I was thinking about it during the Queen West Art Crawl, and I just kept seeing encouraging signs wherever I went. Quinn, Ian, Simon and I were hanging out at the Melody Bar for karaoke (kudos to Simon for stepping out of his comfort zone, although we still haven’t gotten him to sing!). Someone sang “New York, New York” – imagine that! It made me smile, and for the rest of the evening I felt such an urge to break out into song.

Next thing I knew, a UK IBMer called me up to tell me to check my mail, because the Greater IBM Initiative had heard me muse about things on my blog and people were trying to figure out how to fit me into their budget. My mom hooked me up with a family friend who could lend me couchspace. Suddenly, everything was falling into place.

All I needed to do was find a cheap way to get to New York. I stumbled across Skybus, which offered a round trip for USD 100. What a deal! I signed up for that using my Canadian credit card, scrambled to pack my things and prepare for the networking event, and off I was!

And that’s how I found myself in New York last Thursday: a crazy idea that I wanted to make happen, and the generous, generous support of family and friends and everyone around me.


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Why you should do more research before reserving a spot in a hostel

In San Francisco, having narrowly escaped staying in a very very dodgy
hostel. (And believe me, I’ve stayed in pretty dodgy hostels, but this
one takes the cake!) I have no idea where I’m going to sleep, but I’m
definitely not going to sleep there. After much assertiveness, have
managed to get a refund.

Looking for a place I’d actually feel comfortable leaving my *clothes*

Random Emacs symbol: gnus-article-strip-all-blank-lines – Command: Strip all blank lines.

All my bags are packed

All my bags are packed and I must confess,
I’ve still got food and my room’s a mess,
I don’t know how I’ll sort it out in time…


And as warm as all the days have been,
The leaves have fallen, but no snow we’ve seen
I think I really need a change of clime…

Please forgive the pop-rhyme of been with seen. =) At least I’ve been
paying attention to meter…

Random Emacs symbol: w3m-cookie-reject-domains – Variable: A list of untrusted domain name string.

In transit

There’s a certain kind of sadness among standby passengers. I’ve
overheard stories of missed connections and early-morning vigils,
long-distance calls to tell family that they might be back early on a
standby flight but that the family shouldn’t go to the airport yet
because it was just a number on a piece of paper, not a boarding pass,
not a guarantee.

A woman’s flight reservations could not be found anywhere in the
system. The airline agent flipped through all the papers and receipts
the woman received from a travel agency in Iowa, but was firm: no
ticket, no flight. It wouldn’t be the first or last time a travel
agency’s missed something in the rush and stress of holidays. The
woman is advised to buy another ticket and ask the travel agency for a
refund. I don’t know if she’ll be able to afford to. I don’t know how
responsive the travel agency will be.

It’s always hard travelling, especially on flights going home. Looking
around at the airport lobby and guessing who’s scraped and saved to
earn enough for a ticket home, who hasn’t been home in a year or
two—or a decade or two. Hearing them speak, argue, plead. Watching
the airline agents, seeing exasperation flash across their faces until
they school their expressions into at least curtness.

I would’ve been on the next flight out of here, number 12 in what will
no doubt be a very long line by the day’s end. There’s plenty of time
for me to watch and learn, though. My luggage couldn’t be found in
time to get me onto the next flight. I’ve asked them to keep looking
for it; maybe I’ll make it to the next flight. Or the flight after
that. Two more flights before my confirmed trip home, two more chances
to share more time with family and friends than with all these
strangers in an airport.

I savor the chocolate truffles a friend gave to me, letting them melt.
I don’t know how long I’ll need to make the truffles last. It seems
almost cruel to use them to get me through the hours and the
sadness—these chocolates deserve more than that!—and incongruous to
lift them out of the gold foil box in the middle of all these little
tragedies and trials. There is nothing else I can do but wait.

The tinny jingles playing over the public announcement system
remind me that it is Christmas, and I will be home soon.