Anti-Jet Lag Calculator

On the day of your flight, you fast for 12-16 hours before breakfast time in your destination. […] Stick to the plan, avoid snacks (no more than a tiny handful of nuts, if you must), and you’ll be golden.

I found this while going through notes with the blog tag in Simplenote. Interesting concept. Maybe I’ll try it for my next team meetup.

Source: Take Control of Your Body’s Clock With the Anti-Jet Lag Calculator

TSA can force passengers thru a full-body scan

I always opt out of a full-body scan when traveling out of an airport (thanks to insight from Jason Harrington at Taking Sense Away). According to Fusion, that will no longer be a consistent option. I’m disappointed. It’ll be interesting to see if they deny my request on my next trip.

Update (2015-12-24): Corbett is suing TSA. Go get ’em!

Taxicab in Budapest

When we arrive in Budapest, Jeremy directed us to the small taxicab building HQ outside the airport doors. We wouldn’t need to get cash at the airport since most places around the city take credit card.

I showed them my destination address, and they printed out a slip for my driver.

Removing a credit card from my wallet, I asked, “Do you accept credit cards?”

“Yes. No problem.”

After a quiet thirty–minute drive, we arrived about fifty meters from my apartments. My driver pulled over onto the left side of the narrow street, right before it veered in another direction.

Budapest Taxicab 2014-03-30

I handed him my credit card, and he said he couldn’t take it. Only cash.

Rage and disbelief. Panic, really.

I would sprint into the apartments to get my friends. Reluctantly, he nodded, and off I went.

At the reception office, and asked if Jeremy checked in. I couldn’t use my cell phone (no SIM card yet). I ran around and failed to find the room, blaming the lack of signs. Then, Elizabeth and Karen magically appeared! After waiting a couple of minutes, Elizabeth found Jeremy, who paid the driver and saved my evening.

Thanks friends! Yay Automattic meetups!

P.S. The driver explained his credit card machine wouldn’t work because the batteries died. Ridiculous. 🙂

French couple versus English U.S. Customs declaration forms

On the second leg of my return flight from Munich (originating from Budapest) on Lufthansa, I sat next to a young woman in high school who was trying to help a married couple fill out a U.S. CBP Customs Declaration Form in English.

The attempt was in vain. They only spoke French, I couldn’t contact any Automattician polyglots (hehe), and the flight attendants didn’t have forms in French.

You can imagine the frustration.

They persisted for at least fifteen minutes with the nice young woman; her friend, who sat across the aisle from me, tried to share some key French words.

Unfortunately, her friend learned French two years ago, and was out of practice, so that didn’t go well.

I tried suggesting they wait until LAX to request a form in French since this is a legal document, but they kept trying.

I’m…not sure how everything played out at the end.

Sick during a work trip

This is my second work trip where I was put out of commission for at least one day. Jet lag, inadequate sleep, exhaustion, and pushing myself too hard are the likely culprits.

I’m really thankful for my coworkers — especially to my roommate, Paul Ciano, for the DayQuil and NyQuil
— for supporting me while I’m quarantined in my bedroom.

My first opt-out at Burbank Bob Hope Airport

After reading a bunch of posts from a former TSA agent (Taking Sense Away, hosted at, I’m finally convinced to opt–out every time I fly. Why? If he and other TSA agents call people who opt–out “smart passengers”, that’s good enough for me.

Bob Hope Airport in Burbank obviously isn’t as busy as LAX, so it was a good opportunity to see how this would go.

I spoke with nice TSA screeners. I voiced my anxiety about my stuff going through the x-ray machine, then the screener — let’s call him “John” — who was about to pat me down eased my fears and we walked over to it to gather my things.

John explained the process thoroughly, and asked me if I wanted a private screening before proceeding. I politely declined while gazing forward at other passengers, noticing that nobody else opted out. All while a stranger felt around me with latex-covered hands.

I’m relieved John didn’t linger on any areas. He also asked about my right foot since I was limping, and hoped that I felt better soon.

The only awkwardness I can remember is John exhaling/grunting every few seconds during the pat down. His breathing was somewhat labored. (He was a bit heavyset, so I hope it’s nothing serious.) The entire process seemed to take about five more minutes than if I went through the millimeter wave scanner.

I’d like to think he earned his paycheck, and I’m glad to stop putting my health into technology that hasn’t been thoroughly tested.

Stoked for Amsterdam

I’m still awake extremely late — to add and update some things in my sidebar and custom menu — so I should probably pass out any minute now. Oh, I forgot to check in for my flight. (Thirty minutes pass.) Okay, I’m done. By the way, eBags Packing Cubes are fantastic. Get the 3-piece set. Also, I’ve decided to just bring my DSLR camera and 30mm lens, since bringing my 85mm lens, 18-55mm kit lens, and Shootsac to Tybee Island last February was a hassle. (The weather forecast in Amsterdam is dreary and rainy.) Anyway,  I can’t wait to see the team again, along with several new faces. See you in Amsterdam!

My travels in Philadelphia and New York City

It’s been almost a month since I returned from my trip to Philadelphia and New York City. Over 1,900 unprocessed photos are on my hard drive, including a 36-exposure roll of Kodachrome 64 film[1. Thanks to Brian Auer for the roll of film and Hudson for lending me his Canon Elan 7e.], which I quickly mailed to Dwayne’s Photo in Kansas for processing. I also have daily GPS logs[2. Read my geotagging workflow and the GPS tracking device I’ve used since June 2008.].

Since I’m still processing photos from several paid events[3. I see the end of the tunnel. Mark my words. I’m outsourcing the processing of event photos beginning next year.], screenshots from Google Earth will have to do for images.

I wrote notes from meeting each person (strangers or friends) for extended periods of time[4. Specifically, if they talked with me between 15-90 minutes in one sitting.]. It wouldn’t do them justice if I lumped them all into this post.

In the next 3-4 weeks, I’ll only process the associated photos of the new friends I met and write a dedicated blog post for each. Lastly, I’ll update this post with a table of contents sort of thing, linking to each one as I go.

The rest of the photos will have to wait until my last paid event of the year (November 20th), plus a few weeks for processing those photos.

Yes, I took the time to import the GPS logs and highlighting the key places. You better like it!

I brought a composition book and index cards because I wanted to write in detail or summarize the events of each outing. Unfortunately, after the second day, I was too exhausted to write in detail. All I had were scribblings on index cards and the notepad “app” on my LG Dare cellphone.


October 5: Philadelphia

  • The older woman sitting next to me was annoying the entire flight. In a nutshell, she wanted to order something from her screen. Instead of swiping the card, she pushed it inside and it was stuck for what felt like two and a half hours into the flight before a flight attendant could finally unscrew the back and retrieve her card. I had aisle seat and she was in the middle, so I had to stand up for about five minutes.
  • Arrived in Philly around 10am, then the SpringHill Suites by Marriott in Ridley Park around 11am. It was raining for most of the day, so I didn’t go anywhere.
  • The hotel had recently opened on Labor Day (September 6, 2010), so everything was new. It was awesome.
  • Caught up on sleep in the afternoon.
  • Set a tentative time to meet Arnold’s friend, Anastasia, who’s an artist near downtown Philadelphia.

October 6

  • Transferred my cell phone notepad entries to index cards at a Dunkin Donuts before upgrading the firmware on my phone at the nearby Verizon Wireless retail store.[5. Why? When I powered on my phone after the flight, the time and date wouldn’t be displayed on the home screen anymore. Plus, it was running verson 3, when I knew the latest was version 6.]
  • The night before, Jason and Arnold informed me that my website layout looked broken. Didn’t know about a computer in the hotel, so I essentially wandered the streets around Philadelphia City Hall that morning until I found the Apple Store.
  • LOVE Park, Logan Circle, Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Dinner with Anastasia at Famous 4th St Delicatessen; she also helped me book a Megabus ticket from Philly to NYC for $12[6. Before that, I was just going to follow what Google Maps told me and it’d take four hours. I wouldn’t even know the cost. I’m an idiot, sometimes, I know.]

October 7

October 8: Philadelphia to New York City (Harlem)

  • Megabus from 30th Street Station to NYC
  • Late lunch (chicken fingers) at Pee Dee Steak House; after a two-hour wait, dinner at Dinosaur BBQ in Harlem. (Thanks Leslie!)
  • Sleep

October 9: Darien, CT / Times Square, NYC

  • Took a train to Noroton Heights Station to meet Andy, Cara and their 1-year-old son, Rigby
  • 11pm-3:15am — Long exposures with the help of Juan’s Gorillapod around Times Square.

October 10

October 11


  • Mom — for helping me with getting the flights
  • Ricarte (uncle) — for letting me share his large hotel room in Philadelphia, plus hooking me up with some spending money
  • Leslie (cousin), Juan, and Justin — for letting me crash their place, dinner, and buying me a drink
  • Andy and Cara — for taking me around town (Darien, CT) and dinner

Related upcoming posts and photos

Links are forthcoming.

Final thoughts

The takeaways?

If you value sleep, bring headphones and your portable music device (e.g. iPod). Additionally, bring earplugs if you’re going to sleep in the same room with someone else.

See if there’s a Not For Tourists guidebook for the city you’re visiting. Juan let me borrow his NFT New York 2009 guidebook and I immediately wish I had one for Philadelphia. I’ll probably buy one for Los Angeles.

Give yourself plenty of free time to wing it. I wouldn’t have met most of the people (listed above) without that buffer.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to talk to people. Practically everybody was nice.

I’d love to return to both cities next year.

Going to Philadelphia and New York in October

Bryan’s uncle, Ric (from Hawaii), is going to Philadelphia for an all-week conference[1. He’ll be in Philadelphia from Monday morning (October 4th) to Friday around 2pm (October 8th).], with hotel and rental car hooked up. He’s letting me crash at his hotel!

Continue reading Going to Philadelphia and New York in October