Vacation worth it?

Big problems in vacationtown. First, a little background…

Last year, I canceled a flight to Israel. I had assumed that I was given credit through British Airways to redirect the flight wherever I felt like within a year, but it turns out that there was a misunderstanding.

Today it was confirmed by both British Airways, and my booking agency Vayama, that the flight is only good for SFO to London to Tel Aviv. Oh goody.

I no longer have much to do in Israel. Visiting Shiranne would always be nice, but it’s not worth taking a week out of my work schedule to do. I had originally planned on using the credit to book a flight to Paris, where I’d hang out with Hannah for a week in February while she’s off from the Sorbonne.

But if I were to do that, turns out it would be an extra $500 plus another ten hours on a plane, as I would have to go from SFO to London to Tel Aviv to Paris (and back), at best. I’m not so sure this is worth doing anymore.

This is a week of unpaid vacation. By not working, I would have been losing less money than I had already spent on this ticket, but with this extra cost and burden of going through yet another airline and expecting flights to go as planned, I no longer think this is a good idea. But I feel pretty bad about already having spent over a thousand dollars on travel and having it go to waste.

And if I were to decide to go to Israel, it probably would be en route to somewhere else. So why not Paris now? And since I was thinking of spending extra time in Paris because Shiranne would possibly visit, why not spend that extra time visiting her in Israel instead, since I kind of have to go there?

So in summary:

If I go:
$1000+ credit used
$500 extra spent on ten extra hours (not counting airline transfer time) for a round trip flight from Tel Aviv to Paris
At least an unpaid week
Hundreds spent on hostels and other accomodations
Fun in Paris and perhaps elsewhere

If I don’t go:
$1000+ credit lost (or used some other time in the next half year to still go to Israel)
No work schedule interruption
No visiting Hannah, etc.

Hey LiveJournal! What do you think I should do!!!

Japan trip details

Shiranne and I will be going on a vacation to Japan from October 12 to November 3. During that time, we’ll be staying in the following areas. We’ve got a few schedule constraints because of Jewish holidays, but hey that’s cool:

October 12 – 14: Minato, Tokyo
We’ll be near Chabad Tokyo and celebrating Sukkot.

October 15 – 16: Takayama, Gifu
We’ll probably hike in both Kiso Valley and Shokawa Valley, and check out the Doburoku Festival.

October 17 – 19: Shinjuku, Tokyo
Chillin for Shabbat, seeing them crazy Harajuku folk, and perhaps seeing Shugo Tokumaru in concert.

October 20 – 21: Chuo, Kobe
Celebrating Simchat Torah, but probably also squeezing in a visit to Osaka Castle and Nara.

October 22 – 25: Shimogyo, Kyoto
Staying for a long time, but probably traveling to Iga-Ueno for a day to see the ninja museum. Checking out the A-Bar upon a friend’s suggestion. Also trying to catch the Jidai and Kurama matsuris.

October 26 – 27: Minami, Hiroshima
Stopping off at Kurashiki, and visiting Miyajima Island.

October 28 – Nov 3: Chiyoda, Tokyo
Our last stop; staying for a week. Probably doing a lot of traveling, a few destinations being Himeji, Hakone, Akiyoshidai, Hiraizumi, Mashiko. Also try to go to the Meiji Shrine fall festival. We’ll be staying really close to Akihabara, which should be some geeky fun.

So that’s the skeletal structure! How expensive!!! If anyone has any suggestions feel free to throw ’em out there.

Here’s our shit on a map!

Jeffrey come on!

What have you been doing besides posting dumb links to Internet things and looking at pictures of yourself!!!

Well as you can see from a few posts back, I now own a brand-new Toyota Prius. It just passed the 1k mile mark. I’m so proud. <:) I am totally tryin some of that hypermiling nonsense, but apparently failing, as my MPG is only 47, which is one MPH above EPA estimates.

I’m also hanging out with Margot from time to time, who lives in San Francisco and is totally an animator. Her cat Bucket is also cool because he’s a giant asshole. With their help I am actually starting to learn about the giant urban center that I grew up near my entire life but only entered a handful of times.

I’m laying the groundwork for a trip to Japan with Shiranne this October. We’ve bought plane tickets and have just started to make hotel reservations. (The credit from my cancelled Israel trip was not used because it would be ridiculous to fly to Japan through London, which is the downside of having British Airways credit.) Within the space of three weeks, we are planning to go to Tokyo, Takayama, Kawagoe, Kobe, Kyoto, Iga-Ueno, Hiroshima, and Tokyo, in that order. Suggestions on places or other things (like places to stay, specifically) are welcome.

Work is starting to slow down a bit, because all the stuff I’ve been developing is starting to go live! The biggest accomplishment is the release of Diabetes Health Forums, which runs on a forum backend I coded entirely by hand (minus the use of TinyMCE for rich text editing).

It’s got some cool features like being able to post one thread in multiple forums (with a cool JavaScript forum selector), but I think I might be rolling that back and just reducing the amount of forums we have. (We have over 100, it’s freaking crazy.) Only a few posts so far, but that will change once we announce it in the general email newsletter this week.

Also working on Diabetes Health Solutions, which isn’t live yet, but is basically a miniature wiki that I also programmed from scratch. It will only be available for healthcare professionals to edit, but that just makes my job easier because I don’t have to police it for especially dumb crap.

So that’s about it. Friends, vacations, work. Also sleep! Goodnight.

Gettin things done

I done canceled my ticket to Israel. Got a hefty fee but hey that’s international travel. Now it’s on to deciding where exactly I’m going within the next year. A few ideas on the table are:

  • Paris since I haven’t been there for almost a decade and to visit Hannah
  • Japan some time early next year because it is Japan but I would have to find certain people with whom to go
  • London because I kind of have to go through there anyway since I have credit with British Airways?

Despite having canceled my JFK-TLV ticket, there’s still the whole JFK thing. I COULD just not go to JFK because missing work for even a day is enough to make up for the amount that I won’t be getting back, or I could decide about when to book a returning flight and spend something like a week in New York with family and Hannah and other friends. I think I deserve a vacation, anyway. Anyone around the area want to hang out some time after July 6?

I am also getting big repairs done on the car I’m currently driving – my late stepmom’s Jaguar X-Type. Gosh I don’t like driving it because it’s big and gets 19MPG but I gotta spruce it up to sell it – because I’m going to buy a Prius!

Heck yes I have put down a deposit for a Prius which will be arriving within 3-6 weeks. Looking to get the #2 package (which has cute things like keyless entry and aux audio input and a reverse camera), and looking to get it in a bright color, preferably white (for safety reasons – most visible on the road). Now for a dude, a white Prius isn’t especially a fashion statement. But heck I don’t care, I’d really rather get 45MPG instead of 19MPG (with premium fuel). Sure, almost every other car you see in Marin is a Prius. That’s a good thing.

‘Sides that, I’m meeting cool new people and going cool new places. I’m probably sticking around in Marin for longer than I expected mostly because I like the job I’m at a whole lot. I’m making enough money that transportation shouldn’t be a barrier for me, in my mid-20’s, to be a social dude. And despite my plans to get a car, I’m looking to take the bus as much as possible as well. I took GG Transit into SF the other day and it worked like a charm. I also got to catch up on my video podcasts on the bus.

Back to work. Hooray!

Ticket cancel

Cancelling my ticket now. (Might be waiting on a hotline with Girl From Ipanema playing for a long time…)

Shiranne blogged real nice yesterday and it’s public so I might as well link it.

I think I need some time to recover… but man according to the lewd gestures and allusions to oysters and clams by my coworkers, I’m a single dude in the Bay Area now. (WHAT THE HELL DO I DO)

In other news, I’m not cancelling my flight to JFK (which would have acted as a transferring flight to London Heathrow then Tel Aviv). I’ll be in New York on July 6 and I might

Shit SHIT SHIT

SHIIIT

The flight is totally non-refundable and is only transferable under my name for a year. AAAAAAAA WHY :[

That means either I don’t cancel my flight and let the $1500 (less than $1300 now with booking fees) just walk on by or I go somewhere else within the next year for a while (through London Heathrow due to booking with British Airways) or I actually DO go to Israel for some reason. :[

Man this throws a fucking wrench into things.

If I Go to Israel

If I go to Israel, I’m quitting the best job I’ve ever had.
If I go to Israel, I’m putting friendships on hold.
If I go to Israel, I’m leaving my Mom and Dad alone.
If I go to Israel, I’m putting my plans for future apartments, cars, and other possessions on hold.

If I go to Israel, I’m spending $1500 on a plane ticket.
If I go to Israel, I’m working for months with no pay.
If I go to Israel, I’m working at a job that would not benefit me in the long run.
If I go to Israel, I risk paying extravagant amounts for rent, or living in a shithole of a dorm.
If I go to Israel, I don’t know how I’ll get around if public transit fails me.

If I go to Israel, I will need to find things to do.
If I go to Israel, I need to make new friends.
If I go to Israel, I will need to overcome a language barrier.
If I go to Israel, I will be seen as an outsider.
If I go to Israel, everything I work toward will be temporary.

If I go to Israel, I’m seeing a girl who I know I will have to leave within a few months.
If I go to Israel, I’m seeing a girl who I’ve only seen for a few months within the past two years.
If I go to Israel, I’m seeing a girl whose family, work, and social problems have tended to bring me down.
If I go to Israel, I’m seeing a girl who I’ve learned I cannot trust.
If I go to Israel, I’m seeing a girl who breaks promises.
If I go to Israel, I’m seeing a girl with the knowledge that she has cheated on me.
If I go to Israel, I’m seeing a girl who I once loved but can no longer say I do.

Why would I go to Israel?

Bears in the Area

Hello again from me; I am back in America after my two school quarters in Seattle.

The road trip ended pleasantly with a viewing of Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. Ashland is a wonderful town and I totally want to return to it some time. It’s certainly got that indie vibe. Anyone under 20 in Ashland is a high school student visiting from another state along with the rest of their Drama class. It’s cute!

Today I dressed up all fancy and ferried into San Francisco for an interview at Aquent and then another one at the Jewish Community Federation (an organization that shares my initials). Both are for just month-long jobs – one in California starting ASAP, and one in Israel starting in a few months. Later, I went home and cooked a chicken dish consisting of forty garlic cloves and a half-cup of olive oil. My dad told me that I should try to start focusing on cooking things that won’t instantly give you a heart attack. Although my dish turned out splendidly, I think he is right!

Tomorrow, I file my taxes, unpack the rest of the boxes we drove down with, and pack back up for a few-days-long vacation down to a resort in San Diego with my dad and sister, where much beach-going and city-exploring will be had. A good Spring Break escape from the quite empty house that Betty once kept up.

After I return, I look forward to getting into the swing of the Bay Area again. I want to spend less time at home and more in a social environment. I want to casually swing by a friend’s place and spend the afternoon, just like Skeeter always did at Doug’s place, Sam at Clarissa’s, or Gerald at Arnold’s. I’m sure it happens in real life too, but I always found myself envying Nickelodeon characters.

I miss Shiranne and I wish summer could come sooner! She is going through turbulent work times and I wish I could have been more available in the past few days. Eventually I will be able to relax, and even after that I will be able to relax with Shiranne in the same country as me.

Shiranne Gone

End of Spring Break, kind of! I dropped Shiranne off at SFO early this morning, and her plane in JFK just took off for Tel Aviv. Goodbyes were less tearful than usual, probably because I’m so dead set on Israel at this point that it’s just like we’re taking time off from being together, which is already in progress. A few months of break. Then we continue a few months of where we left off. Sounds kind of crazy, but I think the both of us can put up with it, given what we’ve gone through.

Oh and Shiranne and Eric and I are fucking sunburned to the max. My face is red and it’s finally starting to peel. There’s also an epic hat mark where the normal skin color abruptly stops across my forehead. Remember, kids, just because it’s below freezing doesn’t mean the sun isn’t reflecting off that snow.

In other news, I got my grades back from this quarter. Even though I failed my CS midterm (55/100), I ended up getting a 3.3 in that class, which is like the best thing possible. 3.6 and 3.9 in my other two classes. That gives me a cumulative 3.71 which means that as a grad student I am kicking the ass of my previous undergrad GPA. But more importantly, it means that there’s a greater chance of me returning to UW to complete my degree. I guess I really am kind of up for it.

But before that I really have to see what’s up with employment and lodging in terms of spring and summer. We’ll see.