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Created by saarhe on May 10, 2008
Last updated: 03/11/10 at 04:09 PM
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Date: Jan 16, 2010Number of Photos in Album: 72View Album
The blog is moving to: http://helensaar.com All the old posts from both Estonian and English blog have been moved there already, so need to come looking here if you want to find something I have written earlier. I will still continue writing in Estonian and hope that the electronic translators will help you understand my writings. Please, feel free to comment and ask me if something is unclear. So I do hope you will add the following address to your favorites or Readers: http://helensaar.com See you there! Aloha! and Mahalo!
Date: Aug 21, 2009Number of Photos in Album: 16View Album
Date: Aug 4, 2009Number of Photos in Album: 61View Album
Location: Maui, HawaiiDate: Jul 30, 2009Number of Photos in Album: 106View Album
Location: hong kongDate: Jul 17, 2009Number of Photos in Album: 13View Album
Location: Guangzhou, ChinaDate: Jul 15, 2009Number of Photos in Album: 17View Album
Date: Jun 27, 2009Number of Photos in Album: 72View Album
Laupäevane mäetipuskäik, ja lõuna paduvihmas. :)Location: Guangzhou, ChinaDate: Jun 19, 2009Number of Photos in Album: 29View Album
Location: Guangzhou, ChinaDate: Jun 19, 2009Number of Photos in Album: 125View Album
Location: Guangzhou, ChinaDate: Jun 10, 2009Number of Photos in Album: 39View Album
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii, USADate: May 25, 2009Number of Photos in Album: 22View Album
Close to this port is a famous Matsumoto Shaved Ice place. They sell shaved ice like saw in Taiwan. There are tens of different flavors that are added to the ice with colorful syrups. It is also possible to get the ice with sweet red beans and condensed milk. I picked the beans and milk :)
I have been busy with classes and TA work, so haven't got to post more pics from the drive around Oahu during the brake. When we were approaching the Northern part of the island, it was about lunch time. I had heard about the shrimp places by the road. So we decided to pickk on and have shrimp for lunch. Some of the shrimp places are by the shrimp farms. I have heard rumors that they are mostly owned by Taiwanese. There are different kinds of them by the road. Some are just small trucks selling shrimp in dishes. I had done some research online that a place called Romy's is the best. It was really good food. They had several different shrimp dishes from steamed to deep fried. Nice sign by the place. The seats are under the roof with the view to the shrimp farm and to the road. Some of the dishes. We shared some of the different dishes. I really liked my deep fried shrimp in the wrap. It didn't make my fingers dirty :) But the garlic fried shrimp was excellent also. You can also get a tour of the island in the limousine.
Date: Jan 31, 2009Number of Photos in Album: 4View Album
Date: Jan 31, 2009Number of Photos in Album: 19View Album
Pali lookout is one of the first places I visited when I arrived in Honolulu last August. Here are some of the fresher pics with magnificent views. The weather was this time a little sunnier and nicer. The famous TV series "Lost" is for the large part filmed on Oahu and in this area. So this ancient crater wall can be seen in parts of the series.
See larger map Map of the tours I drove around Oahu. The red lines the route taken on January 9th and green line marks the route for January 10th.. Last weekend was the last days of the school brake. I had been around a little, slept long in the mornings and enjoyed dinners with friends ... but the island was still mostly unmapped territory for me. So I rented a car with a friend for a weekend. On Friday we drove out to the East coast and then towards North Shore and back by highway in the middle of the island. Saturday was set for beaches. as weather got rainy in Saturday afternoon, our beach fun was short, but we did drive along the Southern part of the East coast.
Date: Jan 9, 2009Number of Photos in Album: 22View Album
Date: Jan 9, 2009Number of Photos in Album: 38View Album
Andrew Zuckerman has authored a film and book titled "Wisdom", in cooperation with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The central is that the "greatest gifts one generation can pass to another is the wisdom it has gained from experience." I have to look into it at the bookstore, but the trailer already had some good points.
HEAD UUT AASTAT! HAPPY NEW YEAR! HYVÄÄ UUTTA VUOTTA! С Новым Годoм! 新年快樂 Вітаю з Новим роком! Glad Nyåren! * On the pictures the fireworks in Honolulu. I was standing by Sheraton at Waikiki beach and enjoyed a great view of the fireworks show on the sea.
Date: Jan 1, 2009Number of Photos in Album: 25View Album
Date: Dec 20, 2008Number of Photos in Album: 43View Album
Date: Dec 20, 2008Number of Photos in Album: 54View Album
Date: Dec 20, 2008Number of Photos in Album: 43View Album
Diamond Head is a nickname given to this symbol of Hawaii by the British sailors, as they thought that the calcite crystals they found there are diamonds. In Hawaiian the name of the crater is Lae'ahi (meaning brow of the yellow-fin tuna or ahi). According to the legend the name was given by the fire goddess Hi'iaka . Diamond Head is part of Ko'olau range, which is not really a regular mountain range but remnants of the old volcano (about 2.5 million years old). Diamond Head itself was formed about 200 thousand years ago. The probability that it will erupt again is very low. Between Diamond Head and Waikiki there is Kapiolani park. This large park was dedicated already in 1877. It is a favorite place for many people. You can just come and have a picnic there. But there are also sports grounds, open air theatre, aquarium and zoo there. Today there was for example a guy who had tied a rope between the palm trees and was practicing his rope walk :) The kids even forgot to play and watched. From my house this park is only about 15-20 minutes away by bus. It is sad I don't make it there more often. * Information is from Hawaii Insight Guide and Wikipedia.
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. It has been a long time since I last wrote here. I have been busy with studies and had bunch of computer problems. But here are some pictures from the Thanksgiving dinner I had yesterday at one of my professors home. Prof. Chang is from Taiwan, so it was not really American style Thanksgiving. But we had turkey and mashed potatoes and a lot of other tasty dishes. The company was wonderful. And the views were amazing. From the balcony I could see Maunalua Bay, Hawaii Kai and Ko'olau range. Enjoy!
Date: Nov 28, 2008Number of Photos in Album: 9View Album
Date: Oct 24, 2008Number of Photos in Album: 13View Album
Herring is mush better with the good rye bread. Today I did some food shopping after a long time as I have been busy with And from the bread section I found Finnish Rye Boule ... I guess Boule is a fancy name for bread :) Finnish bread in my opinion is not as good as Estonian (forgive me my Finnish friends :) ) ... but I can't be too picky :) In fact it was really good bread. Price is way too high (over 7 dollars for a bread) but like twice a month I can allow myself a luxury like this. Actually I find it pretty remarkable that this bread has been named Finnish. Usually if you can find rye bread it is labeled German. So soon Finland will be known globally in addition to Nokia, sisu, Nobel Peace Prize winner Martti Ahtisaari, formula 1 driver Kimi Räikkönen, Santa Claus, and other cool Finnish things, also for a good bread.
After two rather crazy days with very little sleep, I decided to take a short brake today and walk to a mall close to me. I almost made it there walking but then kinda got lost and decided to get on the bus. This is a small mall with some shops and restaurants. One main attraction there is a food store called Wholefoods - new on Hawaii and kinda new everywhere. Their focus organic foods. For an European they are cool, cause they also have a good choice of European foods (including gretchka (Russian for buckwheat)). But my biggest find today was marinated herring. I bought just a little, cause I suspected it would not be as good as at home. But it was! ... ok it was missing good black Estonian bread - this is how I would eat it at home, but piece of ciabatta was ok as well ...
I bought Chinese (that is American Chinese) for lunch yesterday and got a fortune cookie with it. It's been awhile since I had one of those. I think they are fun. So fortune in mine is pictured above. Good to know there is love and friendship around ... for me sometimes it just isn't enough if that friendship is silent ... I always love to hear from my friends :) Have a great week! I will put my nose back in economics books ...
A tiny gecko had got lost in my room. I haven't seen them as much here as I saw in Taiwan. They are so fast that it is hard to get a pic of them. My flash seemed to blind it a little, so I got couple of pics. After I helped it out of the window, I thought that I should have kept it. I haven't seen ants lately, so I suspect this little guy was taking care of our ant problem. Well, but he has more food outside. You can see how tiny he was. * The floor in my room seems quite clean with when looking just like that ... but through the macro lens it doesn't seem so clean at all ... i guess tomorrow is a good day for cleaning :)
One thing I really loved about Taiwan, was fruits. Each season had it's own "top" fruit. Pomelos and persimmons in fall, mangos in summer and so on. My favorites probably were persimmons, mangos and passion fruits. For a person from Northern Europe, all these fruits are exotic. Even if they are sold in stores - they are often tasteless (as they need to be picked when they are not ready in order to be transported) and expensive (again transportation and tariffs etc). Luckily Hawaii has lots of fruits also. Pineapples probably are the best representative fruit of Hawaii - grown here sine 1813 with the first Dole plantation opened in 1899. More on that though when I have a chance to visit the plantation. On Fridays there is a small farmers market on campus selling vegetables and fruits. Couple of times I have got something from there when I have walked home. Today I bought some apple-bananas, one papaya and a melon. The papaya was good. But I do miss the Taiwanese mangos and persimmons :)
I had a PhD association meeting today and as my bag wasn't heavy, I took my camera with me. I am trying to get into the habit of carrying it around and taking some pictures despite the busy schedule. Photographing helps me relax and relieves my stress - both when I take pictures and when I edit them on my laptop. The views from the 6th floor are very nice. The first pic towards the housing communities and second towards the mountains. It was raining though so the stunning mountains are in the mist of rain. On the association meeting. We have a so called brown-bag lunch meeting the first friday of every month. Brown-bag meaning that everyone brings their own lunch :) ... everyone brought some but mostly in white or transparent plastic boxes :) ... except for one guy who had a brown bag with animal-shaped crackers with him :) We talked some association business. One item was the association homepage. Having a presentable homepage is important. This way for example the conferences we apply to, can check our info and association with the university. The page is still under construction and we all have to come up with what we would like to have posted about us there. In the beginning we can just have the picture and short bio or CV up, but there was talk of everyone having a presentable academic homepage with working papers and research interests up. ... my minor problem - lack of working papers and research :) ... hopefully it will change. The rest of the meeting we exchanged information about available research resources and databases.
Photojournalist James Nachtwey is a TED prize winner and he presented today his story of a new-old disease that it is spreading - XDR-TB or extreme drug resistant tuberculosis. You can learn more about the project and XDR- TB on the project homepage: http://www.xdrtb.org/ I believe photography can change things, in this case by increasing awareness.
These round buildings in the back are UHM dormitories. This pic is taken by my home. In addition to cars people park their boats in front of the house :) On Thursdays I do not have lectures but often I have other errands to run at campus. Today I had the pile of things to study but I decided to take the bus to center, do some food shopping and enjoy a walk. I put a camera in my bag as well, so here are some impressions from my walk ... Neil S. Blaisdell'i Concert Hall. There is an arena by the concert hall and at the end of October there will be for example a Mary J. Blige'i Concert. Hawaii Ballet will present The Nutcracker in the end of the year at the concert hall. And Cirque de Soleil will also be in town. ... not that I will make it to any of those ... A sculpture by Tuck Langland titled Resting Dancer. There is a little bird hiding from sun and resting under the sculpture. Some Honolulu views - skyscrapers and palm trees ... I walked from the bus to this small port. One of my favorite pics of the day... This is probably my favorite pic of the day - I don't know why. This port had mostly boats that offer fishing trips. I walked by a couple as a sales man was promoting his trips by saying that their stomachs will be full and they will not experience a disappointment of not catching any fish ... at the end of the port a boat named Hawaiian Screamer had just come in with wet tourists - who probably had an exiting ride :) just took some pics of signs and boat names ... Catch your own sashimi ... Fili, this pic is for you :) The mountains can be seen from center. At the beach the sun is shining but rain clouds are gathering by the mountains. Few more pics of skyscrapers with million dollar views ... I suspect here they are still (couple of) million dollar views despite what is going on in the economy ....
Date: Oct 2, 2008Number of Photos in Album: 21View Album
Sorry for the silence on my part. I am busy with my and don't really have anything exiting to tell about and no pictures to show. Just trying to keep my head above the water. :) I keep my eye on the PhD comics and their latest strip is a confirmation to my own that in the turbulence what is going on in the world, this is a good time to study. According to this well thought flow chart, I should be safe ... let's hope so. School is going ok. Despite the fact that about half of the time (or even more) I don't understand the math or finance, I do enjoy my It is a little scary though to think that mid-terms are almost here. I can't believe I have been here almost two months. I must be at the age where the speed of time is accelerating :) ... In general I think I have settled in quite well.
My presentation went well. On my last slide I asked some questions from the prof. One of them was that, as the article is about 14 years old, how are things today? He gave an encouraging answer: "Much worse," and agreed with my suggestion to grow a thick skin.
Tomorrow is the big day :) - I am going to make my first presentation here. That is always kind of hard cause I am unsure what is expected of me and what is the I should be following. Anyway the article I am presenting turned out to be a fun reading. It is an article by Joshua S. Gans and George B. Shepherd titled "How are the mighty fallen: Rejected articles by leading economists." I liked it for two reasons. First, it gives me a nice list of major economic papers, though up to year 1994 when this paper was published. But it also showed me that the legendary mighty economists are also human beings and that they have had hard times publishing their papers, many of which have turned to be by today and have been cited thousands of times. I suggest my fellow PhD friends to read this piece - some interesting anecdotes in it. I will bring some samples: William Sharpe submitted his paper about Capital Asset Pricing Model to the Journal of Finance in 1962. The opinion of the referee lead to the rejection of the paper with the explanation that Sharpe's assumption that all investors made the same predictions was so "preposterous" that it made his conclusions "uninteresting". The paper was published after the editor of the journal changed in 1964. Another example is George Akerlof's paper titled "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality, Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism." It took him 4 years to get this paper published. Three journals called it a "lemon," some referred to it as "too general to be true" or told that they do not publish "such trivial stuff." In my opinion the most outrageous rejection quoted in this paper comes from the editor of a Chinese economics journal. I could not decide if this is written with sincere desire to send a nice rejection letter or is it plain out mockery. The quote from the rejection letter: “We have read your manuscript with boundless delight. If we were to publish your paper, it would be impossible for us to publish any work of lower standard. And as it is unthinkable that in the next thousand years we shall see its equal, we are, to our regret, compelled to return your divine composition, and to beg you a thousand times overlook our short sight and timidity” Another rejection example comes from the experiences of James March, who received a rejection response to the paper he co-authored. The referee commented with two paragraphs. In the first he stated that the "key theorem involved was trivially obvious" and in the second "that it was wrong." Prof. March states that he "thought that [the referee] ought to choose" one of the two. Overall the articles find that even though referee and editing process in journals has some good sides to it. It guides the best work to the best journals, matching unusual papers with appropriate publications, forcing authors to make improvements in the papers, and helping to preserve the reputation of the authors by keeping their bad work unpublished. The bad sides of the editing process are that the editors and referees are often careless and irresponsible. That the process makes it hard for innovative and unorthodox papers to get published. And even though the rejections may not kill the paper, they give the possibility to the competing papers to get published before and diminish the impact of the paper. About 14 years have passed since this paper was published. So may-be things have changed. I guess I will soon find out. But one is for sure, I learned I need to grow a thick skin. I usually take criticism quite ok and learn from it. But rejection is different ... it hurts. I liked though the attitude of one of the respondents, Dr. Krugman. He commented: "My stuff is so incredibly innovative that people don’t get the point.” PS. Don't worry, I will not give an overview of each of my presentations here :) ... most of them will be too boring. I still intend to keep this blog light reading about my experiences here.
I am becoming plain out reckless! I started today with snorkeling and not with reading! It must be the Hawaii air or something :) Well but I woke up early! way too early fro me - before 7 am. About 7 am Riina picked me up already and we headed to the North Shore to the beach. The Hawaiians like to wake up early. In the morning the sun is not so hot yet and the air is nice and fresh. And also the tourists are still sleeping off their last nights partying in the hotel. And as we are locals, so we woke up early to make it to the beach around 8 am. We went to this cool rocky beach which definitely is not for just enjoying the sun but for more action. There were some people there already snorkeling and later more and more came. Including some with scuba gear. This place is called Three Bowls and we went to discover the middle one. Riina shared her snorkeling equipment with me. I need to add these to my shopping list ... though in the library I wouldn't really need then ... well but this Hawaii air has an effect on me and I think I will go back to beach. In fact I really hope I get to use my PADI licence soon and really get under the water also. From the pics it seems that the water is calm - well it was. But between the rocks the waves are pushing and pulling. We did a round and swam to the tip of the peninsulas. The water under us seemed quite deep there already. But I am not good at estimating distance under water. I also have to add a underwater camera to my shopping list. It is just way too hard to describe all the colorful fish we saw.They were in different shapes and with many colors. I especially liked the "herring" crowd when we swam back to shore already - well I know they were probably not herrings, but they looked like it. They really sticked together and then by third of the crowd swam down to eat from rocks. After snorkeling we headed a little back to the beach where the turtles should come to enjoy the sun. But it was too early in the morning. But during the day they usually come to eat the green alga on the beach rocks (see pic above). I wasn't lucky to meet them yet. We tried to get to a sandy beach, but due to the Labor Day the beaches were full of people grilling and having a picnic. So we headed to Hale'iwa for some shaved ice. I have to say the taiwanese shaved ice is better - more choices of sides. The peanuts were totally missing. But I took one with some condensed milk and red beans. It was good. I am not gonna even compare the prices. While we were sitting by Matsumotos shop and enjoyed the sun, about 5-6 old cars drove by. My reaction was too slow and the above is the best pic I got. It was a great morning and I have to thank my friend for taking me around. Now the books are waiting for me ...
My friends and family back in Estonia will think I am mocking them with this title. Back at home it has been cold and rainy summer with very few sunny beach days. But really, where I live it is raining almost every day and at nights as well. The university is situated just by the mountains and the clouds gather here. So I have an umbrella in my bag. Most of the rain showers are short (few seconds even) and very light. The funny thing though is that the skies around Waikiki (which is like 20 min from here by car) are mostly sunny. I actually like rain. I loved it in Taiwan also even if it was really strong rain. Rain smells good ... at least here and back at home. And the rain here means that the hills are green and beautiful. And it also mean I get to see rainbows very often. I love rainbows. Looking today from Waikiki towards university. Double rainbow from my window few days back.
Location: Oahu, HIDate: Sep 1, 2008Number of Photos in Album: 9View Album
Most of yesterday and also this morning I have been "playing" with this web-based platform for learning for example economics. My Math for Econ uses it and every week we have to log in to www.aplia.com and solve a bunch of problems set for that deadline. It is a really cool platform and I am amazed how I can work and manipulate these graphs there. It gives practice questions first and lets you solve them and then tells you what you did wrong. Pretty fun and amazing ... only problem - I have discovered that I am pretty dumb ...way too much time has passed since I studied math and also actually economics. Anyway, yesterday I stumbled on this one fun problem (see pic above) talking about a small country by the Baltic sea, the citizens of which eat potatoes, meatballs and jam. The currency of the country is crown. I know three countries by Baltic sea using currency with the similar name (kroon, kronor etc) - Estonia, Sweden and Denmark (anyone smarter is welcome to fix me). "Small" would hint towards Estonia. But I think meatballs give it away - I'd say Sweden it is :) Below are the right answers as well ...if someone decided to test their econ knowledge :) By clicking on the blue "info" bullets I get a more detail explanation about the answer. A quite fun way of learning. But I am about 3 weeks behind the others still and have to turn in this weeks problems by this Friday.
Date: Aug 24, 2008Number of Photos in Album: 11View Album
This is from the series "world is not that big" or "Estonia is not that small". I needed to send some documents home. The guy at the counter I went, made amazed face and started counting something in his head. Then he said that he was in Tallinn just on July 14th. wow!!! He said that he enjoyed the tour of old town and tour on bicycles somewhere around the center. In general I have got here the treatment "ah, you are from Russia ..." ... unfortunately ... when I fix them, they apologize, as they know what mistake they have made. In Taiwan not many people knew either where Estonia is. And when I said the country name in Chinese - 愛沙尼亞 - then usually that only brought more confusion. Usually I am quite understanding, as I know my country is small. I am not so bright in geography myself. But this was still kinda weird experience ...
My opinion about my country may not be objective, especially as I am sooo far from home now. This morning I read Giustinos opinion of the Night Song Festival. So get another view of the event.