Mystery of the Photo-Cars Solved. It’s Google’s Street View

So a few times over the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen cars driving down the streets of San Francisco with 8 digital SLR cameras attached to the roofs, for the longest time I couldn’t figure out why they would be just taking photos of the street.

It reminded me of how they made the Matrix bullet time with multiple cameras facing in on the subject. You can find a very thorough explanation of the Bullet Time technique on YouTube

Well, I’m positing that with the cameras facing out, it’s the work of Google, digitizing the “Street Views” of The City for their Google Maps application.

It’s incredible, I just needed to look up my friend’s zip code and typed in his address, and then I was given the option to check out the street view. This is especially useful if you’re on foot and don’t have GPS, you can actually *visualize* the place you’re headed to.

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Greetings from Ithaca, New York

So I arrived at 6pm and promptly took a cab to Phi Delta Theta, dropped off my bags, and headed up to RPU for an all-you-can-eat extravaganza…

After the gigantic meal, I walked through campus and realized how much of a wimp I am in regards to cold temperatures now…and I did see a bit of flurrying snow.

Spyke and I got to share in some home-made cake from the girls at 101 Eddy, and we also stopped to see Marcel at the local candy shop…and capped the night with a few episodes of Family Guy…

Travel to Mexico City DF / Cervesaria

So The last few times that I’ve flown out of the city of Chicago I’ve left from Midway, it’s a bit more south and a heck of a lot easier to get there on time than driving through the traffic. Well, after the nights packing and priming, I was barely able to stay awake in the car, and luckily somehow mom was fine to drive after sleeping on the couch for 45 minutes. I was sweating it a bit as we were a few minutes behind our target departure time. Luckily we arrived to the passenger drop off and I was psyched that since I booked the entire trip through American Airlines, I was able to check-in pretty easily and quickly.

I remember getting on the plane, and then waking up for a drink of water and then the announcement that the pilot was going to be getting in a bit early. I breathed a sign of relief because I had a tight connection…Well, no sooner had I relaxed about the connection when he said he couldn’t land immediately so we had to get into a holding pattern for about 20 minutes…so that killed our getting in early. So after so many circles, we make our final descent and BUMP, we land…so again the pilot gets on the speaker phone and announces that we don’t have a gate yet, and need to just sit on the runway for a bit. Mind you my flight boards at 1:20, and it’s 1:17 when I get this announcement…so I’m already sweating it…

Finally we park at the gate, and I’m in the 4th to last row in a jumbo jet, so even though we’re at the gate there is absolutely no way that I can get off…so another 7 minutes pass, and so once I’m off the plane I convert my carry-on bag into a backpack and immediately full sprint through the airport, I was yelling for people to get out of my way and sprinted up the escalator and saw that the doors were just about to close on the terminal train…I ran and dove, and whew, made it through…of course the terminal that I need is the absolute last one on the train’s circuit, but at this point I can’t do anything about it, so I just rest and take a moment to catch my breath. Each stop seems to take a decade to open the doors, then to close them again. I get off at the very last stop, and sprint down the escalator and just as they were boarding the 4th section (I was section 2) and whew…made it with a few minutes to spare…

Once I was on the plane they made an offer for 800 dollars travel voucher and a flight into D.F at midnight, and boy did I ever want to take that offer, but not knowing how I was going to get to Veronica’s house I couldn’t take it…especially since she had arranged a taxi to pick me up. Again I fall asleep on the…zzzzz…yes I’d like some water….zzzzzz….

Getting through customs was a snap, and all I had to do was push a giant yellow button…seriously. I walked up to the officer, and she said to push the button, and I did. And it told me to move on.

Then getting my passport stamped was equally easy, I had written my Abuelita’s address as the main point of contact, and then poof, I was through.

Finding my taxi driver was not so easy, I had exited from salon 3 and he was at salon 2. Luckily my cell phone worked and I was able to call Verónica and she talked to him and we ended up crossing paths, but I was getting a bit worried, because I didn’t see my name on a sign…finally we finally met up and he showed me a 3×2 foot sign with my name on it I felt like a doof…but it all worked out…and I got to practice my Spanish at the cajero, where I exchanged money, and then paid for the parking ticket…sadly the cabbie couldn’t find the right door to get out of on the elevator, we must have gone up and down about 8 times before we finally got out on the right floor of the parking structure…I mean, there was an A and B side of the elevator and they were kind of half floors, I mean if a local cabbie couldn’t figure it out, imagine all to folks who actually want to rent cars etc.

I got a history lesson in Spanish on the way home to Vero’s house, and we passed the Centro National de Los Artes, and when I arrived in Tlalpan, Vero and I went to the section square and had a few beers in this small two story bar with music and a bunch of local kids (you only have to be 18) hanging out, smoking and having a good time…and the thing that I noticed, is that NO ONE has lime in their beer! And that Familial is not a relationship but a huge bottle of Corona beer (imagine a fourty oz of OE, with a beer that you enjoy drinking…Excellent.

I’ve been in San Francisco for 10 Days

…and it’s amazing how much has happened in that time. I’d first like to say that I’m pretty bummed that I’ve fallen off so much in the journal writing as the last two years have been SO exciting. Now I’ll try to recap my last few days time but I know I’ll be missing out details all over the place, but suffice it to say, I’ll be working on giving as many details as possible.

So after I was up for two days packing…I went to Katie’s house in Long Island. We spent the days chilling and enjoying each other’s company. One day we went to the beach, and I have to say it was Sooooooo much fun. I body surfed and got sun burned, the whole bit.

I also went out a few times to hang out with Tizz’s friends they are much cooler than her folks at CU or at least I felt that they were more sincere…imagine that, on Long Island too!

Our last day together we left plenty of time for dinner and the drive to the Kennedy airport, but after a lovely Italian meal, Katie was getting out of the parking lot and she crossed the stop line. She checked to see if there was anyone in the mirror, seeing no one, she pulled back and CRUNCH…We backed up into a Toyota Corolla.

The guy was from New Jersey and was a real pain because he wouldn’t let us leave without first filing a police report…Because of the 50 min delay or so we got caught in traffic, and then I got to the airport with 40 minutes to spare, however there were no redcaps on duty at 8:40 and my flight left at 9:30pm. So I tried electronic checkin, but for some reason it failed. I should have kept trying that, but I waited in line, and I missed my flight because the line was so slow!

The woman said the gates would open again around 4AM and I could fly the next flight out on standby. I called Katie back and she met me at the airport around 11 because she got stuck in traffic again. After a little while we decided to try and get a hotel room, my bags were REALLY heavy, but we got them back to the car with a cart and I unloaded and went to check into the hotel. There was no sign but when I asked the clerk, there was no vacancy…So I replaced the stuff, and went to the next hotel. It was a courtyard Marriott and the room was $200.00 a night and we were kinda desperate, I though about staying at the airport, but Katie was with me…

We got into the room at 12:30AM and the woman waived the parking fee. David called at 1am and woke us up…but that was fine he was going to pick me up at oakland airport. At 2:30AM the fire alarm went off, there was such a shrill piercing sound and two strobe lights. The fire alarmed raged and we left our room. It was a false alarm luckily, but our sleep was still disturbed. In order to keep the alarm from going off, a microphone button was depressed, the talking and flashing light didn’t stop till 3:22AM when they finally figured out how to fix the system. I woke up at 5AM for the flight at 8:30 and so it was $50.00 an hour to sleep. OUTRAGEOUS!

I forgot to mention that on the way out the airport, the gate didn’t open, so we had to back out into oncoming traffic which was very scary for both Katie and I because that was how we had gotten into the accident earlier in the day.

Upon arriving to the airport the first thing I was was an Asian girl puking near the entrance of the concourse…The service men for the airline put a cart over it so no one would step on the vomit.

I spent the morning in line, and then got told I couldn’t carry on the box but I asked security and they said it would be fine.

Tizz and I ate a nice breakfast and we said our goodbyes which went surprisingly well considering the last few tumultuous hours.

-Slept on the Plane-