Before I get back to finishing my travel story and then trying to get around to some science posts, there were some maintenance issues I wanted to cover.
First, I've expanded the "Areas of Interest" to include some new features. Descriptions are at the end of the post. Also, I added a GoogleAds icon to my blog. If you see something interesting, feel free to click! While I certainly did not start this blog to make money, it would still be gratifying to see someone click... Of course, I recognize that there is an unfortunate predominance of dubious online degree programs advertised (and, more recently, trips to Peru), but occasionally there might be something interesting that pops up.
Oh, and one more thing before I get to descriptions of the new sidebar links - so far only the Jolly Bloger has attempted to solve one of my title references. He correctly identified "Gonna live it up down old South America way" as being said by Gob in Arrested Development after finding tickets to Portugal on the kitchen counter. Hurray for Jolly Bloger! That leaves the following two titles unsolved:
"That's why I never kiss 'em on the mouth"
"All non-believers stand aside in fear"
Anyway, now to site descriptions:
Cornucrapia: With a triumphant return to blogging, Cornucrapia is once again active. The author is a childhood friend of mine and his blog (and our email correspondence) is the reason I started blogging. A clever and erudite fellow, I recommend checking out his musings.
Deus Ex Malcontent: This is a somewhat odd blog to add to my list, as I neither know the author nor does he primarily write about any of my purported interests. Most of the content of DXM is cynical and derisive of popular culture, and with a posting frequency that rivals PZ Myers over at Pharyngula, it is a nice blog to look over when one is looking for idle amusement of the sardonic sort.
Halfway There: I am not quite sure how I found this blog (followed a link from somewhere), but I quite enjoy it. The author is a math teacher at a college in California and writes primarily about politics and math teaching. I find his political outlook particularly fascinating, as he tends to be quite liberally aligned but comes from a primarily conservative family.
In No Particular Order: This blog is by a friend of mine who graduated from the same engineering program I started in at U of T (though he didn't end up going into the aerospace option). He is now travelling the world as an engineer for hire, first working in Sweden and now in Taiwan. A fantastically talented photographer (both in taking pictures and digitally manipulating them), most of his posts are collections of pictures related to a recent adventure or trip of his. If you are interested in travel, I recommend giving his blog a perusal.
Paul's Blog: Another friend of mine from engineering, he went into the aerospace option and is now doing graduate work at UTIAS. Well spoken and careful with words, I quite enjoy reading Paul's posts (when he does them... he hasn't been posting a lot lately). I think it was my girlfriend who, when reading something he wrote, made the off-hand remark "You would never know he is an engineer". It is hard to imagine higher literary praise... (of course, I jest about the engineers, but not about the praise).
TBA: Another of my aerospace engineering friends, the author (Kari) is also overseas, in her case working at an engineering firm in Austria. She also is not a very frequent poster, but I greatly enjoy her verbal wit and copious use of allusions (hence, in my opinion, she should post more often). As some may recall, I have linked to her blog before.
The Barefoot Bum: Quite an interesting blog, this one is highly political and, recently, exceedingly bitter towards the American government. I find it quite interesting to read as, though I am rather liberal and rather a fan of many socialized economic policies, I still maintain a great deal of reservations about communism (I would like to believe most of those reservations are carry-overs from my experiences living in Moscow and speaking to some of the people who lived through the transition from communism back to capitalism and not based on unfounded acceptance of the anticommunist propaganda of the Western world, but it is hard to say). Much of the recent output of this blog has become devoted to favourable explanations of communism. Though I do not always agree, they are well written and thought-provoking, and I would therefore suggest they are well worth a perusal.