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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kennywood

America celebrated Memorial Day last Monday and I got to enjoy a nice day out :). The weather was nice and warm, perfect to visit Kennywood, Pittsburgh's own amusement park.

What makes Kennywood special are not spectacular and thrilling roller coasters, even though The Phantom Menace, is quite cool and thrilling, but it's well preserved and still functioning rides from the 1930's and 1940's. Some of which are the last of their kind still in operation anywhere in the world!
The Kangaroo from 1927:
From Pittsburgh, May


Another thing that made my trip to Kennywood memorable were the short lines, there were a fair amount of people in the park, but there was hardly a line longer than 10 minutes, and the water on the water rides. First I went on the Log Jam, which is a traditional log ride where I stayed quite dry, then I tried the Pittsburgh Plunge, a short ride in a bigger boat seating 20 people, that boat displaced so much water that the wave partially collapsed over us and we got quite wet. Finally I visited The Raging Rapids, a wild river ride, there we passed right under a waterfall and I was wet to my undergarments... Fortunately it was sunny and warm and after a couple of hours my trousers were dry again :).

All in all an enjoyable day out!

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

777 books

Since November 15th, 2006 I have cataloged 777 books on Librarything. 288 of which I have read since that day, that's 2.2 books per week. The rest are books that are stored on my bookshelves which I had read previously.

The 777th book cataloged is Fables Vol. 10: The Good Prince by Bill Willingham.

The Good Prince is the tenth installment of Fables, a graphic novel series about characters from various fables which had been exiled from their Homelands by an evil emperor and have found a refuge in modern day New York. Unfortunately, they cannot spend their days in peace as the enemy threatens a total war to annihilate the colony. The stories are full of adventure, humor and strangely believable story lines. In this issue the tale of Prince Ambrose, or as all Fables know him Flycatcher the Janitor, is recounted and how he has to face many perils to finally avenge his family. This book is one of the best so far and an absolute joy to read with an epic story, romance and many surprises. I can highly recommend Fables and The Good Prince to anyone interested in graphic novels and modern fairy tales.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Geeky Graduation

Last Sunday was THE big and long-awaited day for many students: Commencement! All graduating students who completed their studies last December or now in May and some of the students who will graduate in August were invited to participate. (Even though I also graduate in August, our program will have its own Commencement ceremony at the end of August). The main ceremony was interesting mainly because of keynote speaker Eric Schmidt's amusing anecdotes and the attendance of a celebrity. Phylicia Rashad, who I remember very well for her role as Claire Huxtable in The Cosby Show, received an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree.

The handing over of the diploma was done in separate ceremonies by the different schools. I joined the School of Computer Science ceremony, which turned out very geeky with a robotic bag pipes player and professors with light swords.
From Pittsburgh, May

The ceremony itself dragged on a bit as there were more than 300 diplomas to hand over. And we were all glad when it was over and we could enjoy the free snacks ;)

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Sunday, May 03, 2009

I've always won Time Agent

I got the chance to play an old but very cool game yesterday at the CMU Game Club.
Time Agent: A game where players try to change the past to become rulers of the universe and then uninvent time travel to have always been the rulers of the universe. It was an epic battle and for a long time it looked like I've always been the looser, but on the last two turns I caught up and profited from a fortunate uninvention of Rejuvenation Technology ("Rejuvenation Technology? What Rejuvenation Technology?") and so it turned out that I had always been the winner :). A small side note, the game lasted for almost six hours!
From Pittsburgh March

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