Saturday, June 12, 2004

More Mexico Pictures

It was wonderful to meet Christina's family in Mexico. Everyone was very warm and welcoming, to the point of conducting large portions of the conversation in English, which was primarily for my benefit! My only regret is that we were so relaxed most of the time we didn't think to break out the camera, so we only got pictures of some of her relatives.

This is a picture of Christina's cousin Miguelangel, and his fiancee.

Here is Christina with her uncle Gus, who took us to Cholula on Sunday.

Here is Christina's Aunt Salme, a friend of her uncle's, and her Uncle Nacho (Ignacio). The dog is Giorgio, and belongs to her cousin Tita.

Here is, clockwise from top left, Christina, her cousin Tita (Salme), her cousin Eduardito (Eduardo), and Eduardito's fiancee.


Friday, June 11, 2004

Mexico Pictures

When we got to Mexico City, it was late, and we stayed at the airport Hilton before heading to Puebla the next day. The hotel room featured a view unlike any I had seen before.

The next day, we headed to Puebla, where we stayed at the Holiday Inn. It had a gorgeous lobby.

And a much nicer view than the Hilton. We could see the historic center of Puebla, including the cathedral where Christina was confirmed. Update: Christina tells me that's not the cathedral. We do have a picture of the cathedral from our window; I'll replace with that one later.

In fact, Puebla is a World Heritage site, the 23rd I've visited.

On Sunday, we visited the pyramid at Cholula.

We also visited the Church of Santa Maria de Tonantzintla.

Coming soon: pictures of the family!

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Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Do the Math

You know, it bugs me when newspaper articles make numerical claims without regard to the underlying math. Today's Washington Post contains an article, "High Gas Prices Send Drivers to Corporate Rental", which opens with this paragraph:
"In April, Silver Spring management consultant Yvonne Braxton stopped driving her 1989 Acura Legend on trips to Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. The standard 37.5 cents per mile government reimbursement -- a figure set for 2004 long before gas prices began soaring -- didn't come close to covering her costs anymore."

Yvonne, Yvonne, let's do the math. $.375/mile * 23 miles/gallon = $8.625/gallon you're getting reimbursed! That'll more than cover your gas costs.

Wait a minute, you might say...why is the government standard reimbursing at such a high rate? Well, the fact is that gas costs are not the major cost of owning a car. Every mile Yvonne drives her car is a mile closer to having to buy a new car, and also a mile closer to needing more maintenance. On the other hand, given that Yvonne is driving a 1989 Acura, she has chosen a very reliable and durable car and chosen to keep it a long time...minimizing her costs compared to someone who buys a new car every 3 or 5 years.

It's possible that her total cost for operating the car exceeds $0.375/mile...if the car is starting to break down a lot and require expensive repairs, for example. In that case, however, the change in fuel prices she says she needs -- to $1.50/gallon, or a drop of about $0.60 -- wouldn't significantly effect the total expenses, and wouldn't help if the current situation is that she isn't "close to covering her costs."

Having driven Hondas, I know that getting reimbursed at the government rate can be a pretty good deal. I still sometimes get work to rent a car for me...if I don't want to push my car past the next maintenance threshold, or if I want Christina to be able to take over the driving (since I still haven't gotten around to teaching her how to drive a stick shift). But I don't use bad math to blame it on gas costs.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

The Web, A to Z

For my 500th post, I thought I'd look at various web sites I've been visiting lately. Mozilla, my favorite web browser, "auto-completes" to suggest sites I've visited most recently and most frequenly.


A is for Amazon.


B is for Blogger.


C is for CNN.


D is for


E is for Expedia, the travel site


F is for Flyertalk, a frequent flyer discussion site.


G is for The Prince George's County Memorial Library System (Geoweb catalog).


H is for Holiday Inn. I stayed at 2 Holiday Inns in May, which is unusual for me.


I is for The Diamondback, the University of Maryland student newspaper, hosted at inform@Maryland.


J is for Jimmy Fallon. I can't remember why I was looking at his site.


K is for Kausfiles, Mickey Kaus's weblog on Slate.


L is for Linens N Things. I only visited that once, when Christina asked me to look up something, so I'm not sure about the algorithm used to pick these sites.


M is for My Yahoo!


N is for Number Theory.


O is for The Obscure Store, a collection of links to unusual news stories.


P is for Pseudoprime.


Q is for...hmm, nothing there.


R is for the Redskins!


S is for, Christina's site.


T is for Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall's political blog.


U is for United, on which I fly 50K+ miles/year.


V is for Vantage House, where I found a link for my previous post.


W is for Wonkette, a political gossip sheet.


X is for, host of the very useful Universal Currency Converter.


Y is for Yahoo! Yellow Pages.


Z is another link I was looking up for the previous post.