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I’ve loved my few trips to England! Generally the London area, but I’ve ventured to a few other places.

Written By: Gary on November 28, 2008 2 Comments

So I think part of what makes Costa Rica (and other places I’ve traveled to in the world) so interesting to me is the learning that’s going on. Just going into a restaurant is a new experience, almost like when your parents let you order your own food for the first time. And many other basic things becomes a learning experience.

In Costa Rica if you don’t ask for the check (la quintaff cuenta) they’ll never bring it to your table. In England, in a pub, you have to go up to the bar in order to get drinks or food and many places will let you sit until you figure it out. It’s part of the fun at least to me it is.

When I travel, I don’t just want the sights, I want the learning that goes with it. I’ll hit the local places off the beaten path specifically to figure things like that out. In Costa Rica, taking the bus (the bus another post to come) or getting a driver’s license is an experience that lets you figure out how things work in that country. I find all those parts particularly interesting and enjoyable…

UPDATE: Usually, I don’t update a post as much as I’m about to…
But I’m reading a Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson, a humourous book about traveling in Europe. And he said.

Bill Bryson Quote

And I just thought that kind of exactly fit what I was saying a few days ago.

I’m going to change the date on this so it floats up to the top, so if you saw it already, you’ll see it again for the new content…

Written By: Gary on August 17, 2008 One Comment

I’m about 17 days from needing to complete my 101 in 1001 list, I haven’t been working on it much so it’s time to revisit and cross a few things off. I’ve only completed 52 of my items. Looks like I’ll complete about 6 more. As resolutions go I’m still above average as I’ll have done more than 18 items a year :)

So I love my 101 list but some things just didn’t get done. I thought I’d have done better. Things I could have done to ensure I accomplished more:

  • Don’t pick bands to make an effort to go see if they might not actually tour.
  • Don’t pick a location to travel to when your interests might change (instead say “visit a country overseas that you haven’t been to before”)
  • Don’t pick something to go to (like SXSW or Burning Man) that doesn’t ever fit the schedule of the job you have.
  • Some items should really be two or three items.
  • Don’t have too many items dependent on other items.
  • Don’t make them too much work and not fun (I think I created some to just fill the list)
  • Don’t pick so many vacation items, you might want to go somewhere else (especially when you consider I’ve gone to Costa Rica 4 times in the same period).
  • Don’t pick such complicated items (do ______ once a year) that should have been separate items

    If I would avoided the above I probably could have easily accomplished anther 20. Some were just are impossible to do based on the items I picked.

    A few items I’ve just recently finally crossed off (but I might have actually done them months ago)
    Take Mom to England
    Get something for my car to integrate my iPod better
    Move somewhere else local?
    Go one week without using any cash
    Change all exterior bulbs in my car

    I’ve got a few that I did make some progress in the right direction so I’ll credit myself a few points. But I’ve got a bunch that didn’t get touched.

  • Written By: Gary on June 29, 2008 One Comment

    Picture 3-1So my favorite place in London (England) for discount theatre tickets is TKTS half-price ticktes located in Leicester Square, it’s sort of in the park so you can’t miss it.

    I discovered they list the available tickets on-line so that’s a bonus for next trip, no reason to rush down for tickets if there isn’t anything you like!

    They are opening a second location in the Brent Cross Shopping Centre officially on June 29, 2008 but since I’m not there I can’t go check it out (that’s today!). I think they carry the same tickets at both locations.

    Written By: Gary on June 4, 2008 No Comment

    So we made it to Cardiff via Train from Paddington Station in London. Very easy trip, Cardiff is the end of the line so no chance of missing anything. Beautiful day here! And the view for the train ride was great too.

    800Px-Roald Dahl Plass - CardiffWhile I love Cardiff so far, I hate to say that it’s included the biggest disappointment of the trip. Why? Because the Roald Dahl Plass is under construction. I was very very disappointed that the very tall shiny waterfall and a bit of the Plaza (Plass) was closed (especially the waterfall).

    I haven’t seen any kind of internet cafe here, I’m at a pub using the ‘net. People seem like to party around here, lots of bars and discotechs. It’s a college town at one end, but I’ve not sure that’s who the party people are.

    I’ll check out the ones nearby after I go see what Cardiff Bay is like once it gets dark; especially how the Wales Millennium Centre looks.

    Just in the few minutes I’ve been here, it’s really started to fill up!

    Travel tips: The train was about 50 pounds for the round trip via National Rail (certainly not the deal that someone mentioned to me on-line) I think pre-booking is cheaper (although I think we’d have paid eve more the day of instead of the day before), but if we had left London before 9:15 am it was way more (almost double I think) so check the times (return time did no matter). Many hotels offer late check-out and early check-in, they charge for it (about 10 pounds the few places I’ve noticed it), but it’s worth it for hotels that that don’t have a place to leave your luggage. We were going to stay until 4 or 5 tomorrow, but since late check-out is only until 2 pm, we’ll be leaving at 2.

    * Photo courtesy of Wikipedeia.

    Written By: Gary on June 2, 2008 One Comment

    Big-Ben-Img 8549Here’s a good shot of Big Ben! We’ve walked and been around all over today. I think we were on the Tube 5 or 6 times today.

    We’ve got photos, but it’s wet out right now, so I’m not going to sit on the corner outside for free networking; I’m going to pay the big bucks pounds and use it in my room for a few minutes to get these of posts up.

    Written By: Gary on June 1, 2008 2 Comments

    Gary-Mom-Hpim0131So we’re having a great time. This is a photo (click to enlarge), we took somewhere near our hotel in the Kensington area.

    We’ve been all over the pace! It’s almost 1 am here (5 hours later). It’s been a little cool (I had to put on long pants tonight) but it’s been great!

    We took this with my Quik Pod which lets you take pictures farther away than you arms can stretch.

    Written By: Gary on November 29, 2007 One Comment

    So a few weeks before I left I subscribed to the TicoTimes. It’s a weekly English nation-wide newspaper about the size of Metro Times or a magazine from the Sunday section of a newspaper that comes out on Fridays in Costa Rica. A month’s subscription included the ability to download the PDF file every week. It’s a little hard to read on the screen, I think I get one more electronic issue, but I’ll probably buy a copy tomorrow.

    ticotimesIt was nice to get a feel for what was going on in the country. From a to do list it wasn’t very helpful to me. It comes out on Friday and the calendar generally doesn’t stretch much past the weekend. So I might go somewhere else tomorrow and I should have stayed here for something, but I’ve already made my arrangements. I did find out about some kind of air festival in the northwest but I forgot all about it, I’ll have to check on that…

    From a news standpoint I did know the rainy season was dying down early, I know the colon was going to go up in value (their “Greenspan” changed something), that the phone company might go on strike (they didn’t) and a few other things. It’s definitely worth the $8 to get the four issues on-line if you’re considering traveling the country. I recommend this for anywhere, I’ve gone to the bookstore and picked up a newspaper for London, England to get an idea of what’s going on there too (you might have to reserve these in advance).

    Written By: Gary on October 25, 2007 No Comment

    I especially liked this week’s episode of Bionic Woman and I think it’s due to the fact that they totally ignored the “evil Bionic Woman” story-line.

    Although, like many of the guys on the show, I was enjoying the English accent too…

    Update: I think of the strangest things in the shower, (I need to keep a pad of paper in there because I’m sure a lot of good ideas go down the drain), but something about about Michelle Ryan’s English accent popped into my head: She’s from the BBC’s “Jekyll” (and Hyde), she played his/their assistant/handler, and it turns out that she’s from England. That certainly explains the great accent…

    Written By: Gary on October 6, 2007 3 Comments

    So I’m looking for a practical and cheap and semi-direct way to get from London, England to Cardiff, Wales. I figure my choices are train, bus or rent a car (I have no problem driving on the left). When I go to London in the spring I was thinking of spending a day or two over that way. Also, I’m looking for a place to stay in Cardiff near public transportation, decent but not too expensive (of course) a hotel or bed and breakfast would work. Of course I’ll want to visit this general area so I’ll need some walking tour information too (or book recommendation).

    Cardiff Words LightI keep seeing it on TV and movies and other places so I thought I’d check it out. I’ve never been in that direction, I think the farthest west I’ve been is Stonehenge/Sailisbury.

    Also, any bloggers who lurk around here and want to meet up drop me a note. I’m also looking for restaurant and other tourist recommendations. And if anyone knows about any Torchwood filming dates in the spring (I’m thinking they’re editing around now, so probably not) I’d be interested in that too, especially if you have any contacts related to seeing some of it.

    Written By: Gary on April 2, 2007 One Comment

    So I enjoyed The Holiday but some parts were really really slow. There were parts that really appealed to my sense of humor, but I’d have a hard time recommending it. It’s got Kate Winslet (and Cameron Diaz) and I’ve always had a thing for Kate…

    It’s the story of two women who need to get away due to recent men problems and end up doing a home swap. Cameron leaves her huge home in LA to stay in Kate’s tiny place in the little town in England (and vice-versa); Kate really made out on this deal. Of course they meet men and the story goes on from there. One of the parts I really really liked is when Kate was exhausted from the trip and the jet lag and wants to sleep but it’s bright since it’s the middle of the day. Then she find the magical switch that activates the room blinds which slide down and seal the room up likes it’s a bomb shelter it was awesome; that’s how I like to sleep, when it’s pitch black so I could really handle having something like that.

    What else? Cameron makes movie previews for a living and that was cool, especially her daydreams about her life as a movie preview. I liked Jack Black’s part, when he’s not too goofy I like him, and the he was pretty good (a little less goofy would have been better, IMHO). The little girls were hysterical(!) but I won’t say anything else about them. That’s it, I wish it had been more exciting but that’s all I got, like I said, I enjoyed it…FYI, I read in the IMDB that “This film was written specifically with actors Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, and Jack Black in mind”

    Written By: Gary on October 27, 2006 One Comment

    So I know I’ve mentioned Adam Curry a few times. I really enjoy his show The Daily Source Code. They’ve got a number where you can leave comments and I’ve put the phone number in my phone a while back. I don’t think I’ve ever left a comment until this week (and I think I’ve left three).

    Today I was listening and about 8 minutes in his was finishing this story about him flying a plane today (he flew solo from Belguim to England). At the end of the story I was wondering if everything in aviation was in feet (or maybe meters), his story used feet and he lives in England (although they use miles) but it seemed like there would be an international standard. So I called and left a voice mail as I hung up I thought, “Whenever I have something to say, I’m going to leave an message until he plays one of my comments”. So then I resumed playing the show and not 90 seconds later I hear my voice!!!! It was the comment I had left on Tuesday!!!

    It was a really long comment and I’m pretty sure he played the whole thing. Unfortunately, I forgot to mention my blog address in the message, that would have probably picked up some traffic here. But then that’s not why I left the comment but extra traffic is always nice. I’ve been pretty geeked about being on the show all evening…

    Here’s a link to the specific episode (and straight to the mp3), I’m about nine minutes in, shortly after the plane flying story at the beginning.

    FYI, I got my flu shot but forgot mention that also. Duh!

    I’ve been listening more often now that I’ve got my Treo. I’ve got a decent way to to get the podcasts on my Treo, and I can play those through the stereo on my car. It’s actually a notch harder than putting it on my iPod but my iPod doesn’t come into the house every night, the Treo does. Generally if I’ve got my PowerBook I’ve got the Treo with me, so I can do it easily at anytime.

    So here’s my question:
    Doesn’t the flu vaccine vary based on your location (they mix a different flu cocktail). I swear I’ve heard this before (and while it never made sense to me) I pretty sure it was more than once. I was certain of this when I left the comment but I can’t find anything to back it up. But searching for “flu vaccine” and “location” just tells me where I can get one…

    Written By: Gary on August 27, 2006 One Comment

    So as we all know, metric is going to take the word by storm one of these days). HA!

    The funny thing is I always thought of it as something that came over here from overseas, but the amount of signage in England that is in miles (and not kilometers) makes me laugh. I always chuckle when I see teachers teaching metric (I work for a school district) since it seems they are telling them the same thing they told me as a kid (and I’m still waiting).

    Actually it’s bottled water that’s the cause of this post. One of my 101 in 1001 things items is to drink a 1/2 gallon of water a day for three weeks and see if it makes me feel healthier. So I bought water today (it’s on sale at Target) and the bottles are a 1/2 liter so I needed to figure out how many I needed to drink. Here’s the thing they don’t list it in ounces, they listed it as “1 pint 0.9 ounces” so I had to think if a pint was 16 ounces or not. Why wouldn’t they just list it as 16.9 ounces?!?

    The real question is why are the bottling companies going along with this? Most people will pretty much pay the same for 16 ounces or 16.9 ounces, right? So it seems like they’re just giving away stuff (water, coke, whatever it might be).

    Although I just looked at the Mike’s Lemonade that I’m drinking and it’s 11.2 ounces. See and I thought I paid for 12 ounces :)

    Written By: Gary on May 16, 2006 2 Comments

    So it appears these days you can be sexual predator and no one cares. But if you use MySpace to do it you can make the 11 o’clock “news”.

    All this MySpace crap junk on TV makes it sound as if as long as you can keep your kids away from MySpace they’re a-okay. That’s like saying if you keep your kids away from the one hoodlum that you know about they won’t get into trouble (and you’re so busy watching for that you’re missing the rest). Teach them some common sense and keep an eye on them. I’m not saying it’ll fix everything, but it’s a lot more sense than this MySpace sewage that’s on the air all the time.

    Look at these pre-MySpace Rochester U and RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) Sexual Assault Statistics.

  • Every two and a half minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted.
  • One in six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape, and 10% of sexual assault victims are men.
  • About 44% of rape victims are under age 18, and 80% are under age 30.
  • And the really amazing part is that “Since 1993, rape/sexual assault has fallen by over 64%”, imagine how high the numbers were previously. (These stats are from the RAINN site)

    I’m sorry I’ve gone on a rant here. I just started with being annoyed at the news covering MySpace from a new angle every day. But once I started looking things up I got on a roll (or maybe it’s a soapbox).

    The problem is not the Internet. The problem is people. And according to the Rochester statistics rape appears to be more prevalent in the US, 13 time higher than England (4 times that in Germany and 20 times that of Japan). Of course people are using the Internet for this, they’re using it for everything (good and evil) these days.

    All these numbers vary slightly from report to report but even if you decreased the numbers by a factor of ten (or even 100) it’s still obscene what happens in the US or the world. And no matter what the news tells you it’s not the fault of the Internet or even MySpace.

    SexualassaultgraphContrary to the belief that rapists are hiding in the bushes or in the shadows of the parking garage, almost two-thirds of all rapes were committed by someone who is known to the victim. 67% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger – 47% of perpetrators were a friend or acquaintance of the victim, 17% were an intimate and 3% were another relative.
    National Crime Victimization Survey, 2004

    In the above mentioned 12 page “2004 National Crime Victimization Survey” from the Bureau of Justice Statistics I was curious to how much they attributed to the Internet. I was pretty surprised that they don’t mention the ‘net even once. Going to Bureau of Justice Statistics web site I was surprised how much they also didn’t mention the Internet.

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    Written By: Gary on June 11, 2005 2 Comments

    6. You are given the gift of an original oil painting by any famous artist.  What painting would you choose and why?
    Easy. The Kiss by Gustav Klimt
    5. Last week, the Reader’s Choice question asked you to identify your favorite movie line.  Later this month, the American Film Institute will list the 100 Greatest Movie Lines of all time.  Which one do you expect to win?
    “Frankly Scarlett, I don’t give a damn”
    4. You have the ability to snap your fingers and be instantly transported to one of three places whenever you wish to go there.  Which three places would you select as your destinations?
    Costa Rica (probably Jaco, since I like the ocean there), London, England (I always enjoy England) and Berkley, Michigan (most of my extended family lives there) and work (I hate wasting time driving to and from work). Yes I picked four. I’m assuming you can teleport back to your starting point which would be home. If I had this power I’d probably move to one of the locations (probably Costa Rica) and make that home so I’d only need the three other destinations.

    3. What is the most embarrassing question you’ve ever been asked?
    Hmmm… I don’t embarrass easily so nothing comes to mind. Probably when I was younger when someone would ask me if I liked (insert some girl’s name here) and I’d be embarrassed about it. The bonus about embarrassing questions is you have the bonus of asking the same thing back.
    2. Which business do you have the longest continuous relationship with:  your bank, your auto insurance provider, your home telephone provider, your cellular phone provider, or your cable company?  How long have you been with them?
    My bank (credit union), I’ve probably been with them since 1988(?) and I’ve never seen a back with anything even close to the same services to make me consider changing. They are 100 miles away and with the Internet and a toll free number it’s like there right here.
    1. When was the last time you looked your significant other in the eye and told him or her how much they mean to you?
    Not having one right now I can’t really answer this one.

    From Saturday Six.

    Written By: Gary on May 28, 2005 No Comment

    ViagrabottlesThe news reports there is a connection between loss of vision and the use of viagra. The FDA has received information and is looking into it.

    Sophocles, the Greek dramatist, in “Oedipus Rex,” originated the theory that if you don’t stop you’ll go blind, although mothers since have twisted the specific acts leading to blindness. This is according to this software review. Anyone know the original origins of the title phrase?!?

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    Written By: Gary on February 20, 2005 No Comment

    ConstantineSo I enjoyed Constantine . They did a pretty good job of moving the story-line from England to the United States. Great special effects. Keanu did a pretty good job with the character. It hard to put such a complex story and backgound into a movie and still explain it to the general public. I was never a huge Hellblazer fan (the John Constantine comic) but I read it on and off. I do recall reading the “Dangerous Habits” story that they stole a few parts from and recognized a few other characters (even with the changes) from other stories. It’s not a typical Keanu Reeves film and if this kind of movie doesn’t interest you then I’m not going to say go see it (because it’s bizarro) but if it does interest you then go see it.

    Written By: Gary on December 22, 2004 One Comment

    AdamcurryMany of you know Adam Curry from Mtv, but these days he’s known as “the prince of pod” or “the podfather” or a few other (complimentary) things. He did a lot of pushing in a lot of ways to make podcasting what it is today. His almost daily show is The Daily Source Code, to appreciate it you really need to listen (at last count I think he said he’s got 50,000 listeners). He does it like a live show, if he screws up it’s there, it’s about 40 minutes an episode so put it on your mp3 player or burn a few episodes to CD and listen to it at your convenience. He’s hysterical. His show is about tech, podcasts, music and his life, check it out.

    His show consists promos for other shows, music for (mostly small) bands he likes, adjusting to life in England, reverb, drumlines, cowbell and the (neverending) saga for high speed internet in his new home. He’s been trying to get high speed access for a month now and it’s a quest, it’s actually made several papers that the ‘Gilford exchange is out of ports and how this has been brought to light by the Daily Source Code’.

    He really seems like a genuinely nice guy who’d be fun to hang out with. He’s like the guy you know who has all the tech toys and seems to have time to work with them all and has the ability (and time) to have fun doing it!

    For more podcasting artcles and info: CNN, Wired or Dave Pogue.

    Written By: Gary on October 14, 2004 One Comment
    1. When’s the last time you went on vacation? Where’d you go?
    London, England. Short vacation – Chicago/Evanston, IL (which I’m currently en route to).
    2. What’s your favorite mode of transportation to get to/from/go on vacation? Plane? Train? Boat?
    I love the train! It’s a mile from my house. Today I left my house at 5:25 for the 5:34 train. Parked 100 yards from the train. And guess what? We left at 5:34!!!
    3. How important are vacations for the human spirit? Do you think it’s healthy for someone to go 20 years without a vacation? Why/why not?
    I need them. I think that some people don’t, it just depends.
    Bonus Question for Comments: What’s your ideal vacation/time off from real life?
    I really liked my last trip to Costa Rica. Mostly staying in one place not running around crazy from place to place. It might have to happen again this winter.

    From 3x Thursday

    Written By: Gary on September 11, 2004 No Comment

    So I know you’ve all heard me mention my Waffle Toffee Crunch Ice Cream Sundae from the last few times I was in England. So at work yesterday (for my birthday, which is actually today/Saturday) we always have cake for the birthday-boys (and girls) and Kim had made me a Waffle Toffee Crunch Cake with Whipped Creme on top. I thought it was kinda silly at first but it was delicious!!!

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    Written By: Gary on August 11, 2004 No Comment

    england04-24_09-08-52So while I was in England I got to hang out with Monika, Danielle and Alysha. They were a blast and the kids had these accents that were so cute it actually sounded like that they were pretending to have accents. I should have recorded them so I could add an audio clip here.

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    Written By: Gary on July 30, 2004 No Comment

    A lot of people asked me about ATM fees when I used my money card in London. The only fee I had for using the card was $-1.00. My bank doesn’t charge me any fees (I think) so it it was just the fee from the other end (although if that’s true I don’t know why only a dollar and not a pound). My experience with ATMs anywhere world wide (England, Costa Rica and Prague) has always been that the ATM has been perfect for a good exchange rate.

    Charge cards are good everywhere and as far as I can tell have no extra fees and the banks calculate the exchange rate. Be sure to use one at Garfunkel’s because they use a cool remote gizmo to scan it at your table and print your receipt right there.

    Be sure to get a good phone card (AT&T) from Sam’s club or somewhere so you can save $$$ on your calls back home. Be sure to look up on-line what the International numbers are to dial first to call back home. Read the instructions on the card, you can generally hit *** after making one call so you don’t need to dial all the digits again. If you have a 200 minute card you get about 30-60 minutes when calling back to the US (they calculate and tell you how much you have left at the start of each call) and you can add minutes with your charge card at the same really good rate (which is generally > 4 cents at home and 25-35 cents to call home). Use it from a pay phone NOT your room, they’ll really nail you from the hotels overseas. (Use change to call locally when you are overseas, otherwise it seems like you’re actually calling from the US to overseas when you use the card.)

    Written By: Gary on July 28, 2004 No Comment

    The hired help here is pretty useless many times. The biggest problem is they don’t know how to say "I don’t know" and just make up an answer so if it’s an important question be sure to get (at least) two confirming answers. For example:

    1) When you see a train arriving (on the wrong track) and you ask the guy at the ticket counter where it’s going and he tells you there is no train. Don’t argue with him for more than 88 seconds that there really is a train, just go down and check for yourself. That 2 seconds might be what you need so you don’t have to wait another 30 minutes for the next train (trust me).

    2) When you ask the waitress what the "Scampi and Chips" is and she says it’s chips with scampi don’t bother asking any more. But if you feel the need and all she clarifies with is that chips are (french) fries (which anyone who’s been in London more than 15 minutes knows, i.e. fish and chips) with scampi. So you feel the need to clarify more and she tells you scampi is beef don’t think it’s a chips=fries thing, think it’s a she’s clueless thing. (I saw this one happen)

    FYI – prawns=shrimp and tiger prawns=jumbo shrimp. When you order water (unless you want bottled) order tap water, it’s yummy and free. They don’t keep anything cold so be sure to get ice.

    Also the less busy a store/restaurant is and the more staff they have, the lower the quality of service. :)

    I’m not saying we didn’t have fun, I’m just saying it wasn’t had to find bad service.

    Raya was awsome! (Pronounced Ria) She worked at the same place as #2. She answered all of our questions we asked about food, the restaurant, the register surveillance system (which she never noticed before), acting school and told us that M is for music.

    Written By: Gary on July 22, 2004 No Comment

    england04-21_22-59-59Four seats in a row, a lone ranger type mask to block out the light and an Ambien (thanks to my sleeping problems) made this seven hour flight feel more like just a few hours. If it hadn’t been for breakfast I might still be sleeping.

    Less than an hour to land!! Plus we just reset the clocks so it magically just became five hours later. Customs will take a little while, but it’s always easier going in than it is coming out. It’s looking nice and sunny out, I’m guessing it’s going to be a nice day!

    Written By: Gary on July 21, 2004 No Comment

    We’re in the air! There is a lot of room on the plane so that’s really nice. Huge plane but needs updating: TV projector is old (3 tube RGB) and it appears to be the only way to watch the movie. No phones, no little indents in the trays to hold my drink steady, plus they don’t have those little air vents above the seats, I don’t think I’ve ever not seen those on a flight…

    It’s a direct flight so that’s really nice. I think this row of four seats I’ve acquired is going to be great for a snappy nappy later on. We get there at 10 am England (5 am our time). The new terminal is really nice although you shouldn’t get tricked by the “food court” on the map it’s far away but you can ride the cool monorail to get from one end of the terminal to the other.

    I already know I forgot a few items, I think it was the first few I set to the side, nothing crucial (I’ve got all my gizmos and allergy medicine). I’ve got books for bookcrossing.com (after we read them) and Charms Blow Pops!

    It’s kinda like day care here. You come in by rows, they wait ’til you’re all relaxed and then give you instructions, after a little while they bring you a snack and then it’ll be nap time.

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    Written By: Gary on July 21, 2004 One Comment

    Anyone from London (England) read this blog? I’m in town for the next week, I’ve got my rollerblades so I’m all over and I’d love to say hi if you get this! Leave a note or leave a comment if you do…

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    Written By: Gary on July 7, 2004 One Comment

    1. ways you cool off from the summer heat: Air Conditioning and Ice Cream.
    2. summer activities: Rollerblading and Bicycling.
    3. cold beverages: Coca-Cola and A & W Root Beer.
    4. summer memories: Hanging out at the beach and hanging out with the guys (building floats keeps popping into my mind but that’s more of a fall thing.).
    5. vacation spots: Costa Rica and England (and Miami Beach)

    From Tuesday Twosome

    Written By: Gary on June 18, 2004 No Comment
    1) Are you taking a summer vacation this year? If so, where are you heading? If you already went on vacation, where did you go?
    London, England!!!!
    2) Planes, trains, or automobiles…what is your preferred mode of transportation to get to your vacation get-away?
    I absolutely love the train. Lots of room, no waiting, no running around (the airport) lots of time to relax and get stuff done.
    3) Any vacation locales you would recommend for those looking for ideas?
    Costa Rica! I like the Jaco area on the Pacific side of the country.
    4) What US city/state have you never been to but would love to visit?
    Hawaii would be a nice trip.
    5) What international city/country have you never been to but would love to visit?
    Paris, France. I’ve always wanted to go.

    From Friday Forum

    Written By: Gary on June 18, 2004 No Comment
    What kind of car do you drive? If you could make an even trade for any other car, what would you want to drive?
    Sebring convertible. I love it. I don’t have anything I’d really rather have that’s practical at all. Maybe one of those cars you can drive into the water and it’s a boat too? Those are convertibles too, right?
    Take your phone number and add each number together separately (example: 8+6+7+5+3+0+9=38) – what’s the total?
    When were you last outside, and what were you doing?
    An hour ago and I was bike riding.
    Main Course
    What is your favorite restaurant, and what do you usually order there?
    No real favorite but I usually have a favorite thing or two from each resturant. I have two Chinese restaurants I eat at every-time I’m in the Lansing Area (Beef with Broccoli and Pineapple Chicken).
    Name 3 things in which you occasionally indulge.
    Cookie Dough ice cream. Cookie sandwiches from Melting Moments in Mid-Michigan. Waffle Toffee Crunch Sundae ( warm Belgian waffle topped with vanilla ice cream, maple syrup and laced with toffee crunch pieces) from Garfunkle’s in England.

    From Friday’s Feast.

    Written By: Gary on June 11, 2004 No Comment

    I’ve talked about this before (but it was BB*). Last fall I was in England and no one cares about how many minutes they get, just how many text messages they get. It completely blew my mind. Now it was nice, it was quieter on the trains, busses and restaurants. But for not much more they could have actually talked and interacted a little more. It was kind of odd.

    If you assume you can count smilies ” :) ” and abbreviations “IMHO” as symbols we’re at stage 8. Maybe symbols should be earlier since they’ve been around a while with e-mail, but it still puts us at 8. While we might have 9 as an option it isn’t completely common yet (if we’ve talking phone photos). I don’t agree with stage 10 but I thought it was very interesting.

    So here’s the list (pretty much lifted this from A Blog’s Life.)

    Stage 1 The birth of language
    Stage 2 Communicating with smoke signals
    Stage 3 Communicating with symbols
    Stage 4 The written word
    Stage 5 Telecommunications
    Stage 6 Mobile telecommunications
    Stage 7 The texted word
    Stage 8 Communicating with symbols
    Stage 9 Photo smoke signals
    Stage 10 The death of language!

    * BB=Before Blogging.

    Written By: Gary on June 10, 2004 No Comment

    Schools Out. My babies are gone. I’ve got tomorrow off. I’m just about to get into bed. Okay, (since you asked) I’ll elaborate.

    The last day of school for the teachers was today! My phone should ring a lot less with all the things that they’ve thought of the last 9 months that they want to remind me of as they run out the door. It’s still busy, our fiscal year ends in 3 weeks so lots of wrap up and then the new one starts and that takes time and then it’s mid-july and everyone is back in a month…

    I want to go to England for a week in July, anyone have suggestions on where to get the best price from Detroit?

    Okay, so they aren’t my babies. Day care for the district is in my building so I get to see all the little kids when they go for walks or play outside etc. But they are all wonderful and I already miss them. Whatever it is in the drinking fountains at school that causes the staff to get so pregnant so often also causes the children to be beautiful and smart and to generally like me. They are great kids and the department that takes care of them does an excellent job. It’s great to see them and they all know who Mr. Gary is. Speaking of the water in the district, one of my favorites’ became a big sister today as her mom had twins!

    I’m all tuckered out from the last few weeks, so I took a vacation day tomorrow, made a list that maybe I’ll cross a few things off of. I’ve got the new Lee Child and Dean Koontz books from the library. The forecast isn’t great, maybe I can cross a few items off. And play outside on Saturday. Maybe I’ll rollerblade, I got my bike out the other day and it was great to ride around.

    Bonuses today: Lots of end of the year/retirement food. Very few voice mails. Visiting teachers on maternity leave, which really means I got to see/hold/play with a few babies. Lots of hugs and handshakes from people leaving for the summer or forever.

    Written By: Gary on June 9, 2004 One Comment
    1. What is the coolest movie gadget / prop you’d like to have in real life?
    The prop works!?! Just like in the movie?!? All sorts of sci-fi gizmos, gadgetry and starships flash before my eyes. Let’s be more practical… Maybe a Stepford Wife? The DeLorean from Back to the Future? A magic lamp with three wishes? Oh! I know! The gizmo Arnold and Danny used to make Arnold have a baby in Junior. Or I guess I could just use the lamp…
    2. What movie has your favorite / most passionate kiss scene?
    All I can keep thinking of is the scene from that thing you do When Faye (Liv Tyler) says, somekind

    I have wasted thousands and thousands of kisses on you–kisses that I thought were special because of your lips and your smile and all your color and life. I used to think that was the real you, when you smiled. But now I know you don’t mean any of it. You just save it for all your songs. Shame on me for kissing you with my eyes closed so tight.

    But that’s really kind of a non-kissing scene. Maybe when Craig Stoltz finally kisses the Mary Stuart Masterson character (Watts) in Some Kind of Wonderful. (I need to think a little more on this one.) The first time Max kisses Liz on Roswell (but that’s not a movie…)

    3. What movie had the most impact on how you view life and why?
    flightnavI’ll give two answers.

    1. Flight of the Navigator (the best Disney movie ever, which finally just came out on DVD last week): Because it always makes me feel like a little kid. Every time I’ve seen it. and that’s worth something.
    2. Sabrina (the remake): I’ve always wanted to go to Paris after I saw that movie I kept thinking about it and a day (or two) later I realized “hey! I can go to Paris”, so I signed up for a French class and realized if I really wanted to do it I could, it really changed my perspective on things.

    From Wednesday Matinee.

    FYI, I never made it to Paris, got fed up learning the language, went to Prague instead. I’ve been to Costa Rica twice and England since, but still no Paris…

    Written By: Gary on May 1, 2004 One Comment

    You’ve been offered a full college/university grant, all expenses paid, for the school and study program of your choice. You can go to any school, anywhere, and study anything you want, without a single cent out of pocket for education, materials, or cost of living. Get your pencils and notebooks, let’s go back to school.

  • Would you take the offer? In a heartbeat.
  • Where would you go? I’d like to go somewhere different but I only speak english so my choices would be limited, probably England or Australia, downtown London possibly.
  • What would you learn? Would you pursue a course of study related to your current occupation, or would you explore something all together new? I’d probably pursue something semi-related to my current occupation (technology director for a school district). My first choice would be to get my teaching certificate but an out of the country certification probably wouldn’t do me any unless I stayed there (which wouldn’t be out of the question). My other choice would be to get back into computer programming, which is where I started and I miss that sometimes. If I had to pick something completly new I’d lean towards a science like astronomy.

    From Saturday Slant.

  • Written By: Gary on April 18, 2004 7 Comments

    Here’s my 100 things about me page. (If you’re looking for my 101 in 1001 days list go here.) To follow the theme that I’ve found on many other sites, partially to see what I come up with and to let others see what I come up with. I’ve broken this down a bit: I like, I dislike, I am, I’ve live in, I wish I understood more about, places I’ve been and before I die…

    It’s interesting how many of these things I’ve blogged about so far…

    UPDATE: December 2004/June 2005. I just came here to update this. I can’t believe how much it has not changed. The only other things are I’ve been liking my iPod (and listening to podcasting), the Scene It? DVD games and maybe some additional music groups (Katy Rose and maybe a few others) and I won’t add them until they’ve been around a bit longer. Probably “Two and a Half Men” (I laugh SO hard) and Liz Phair (added).

      I like:

    1. Riding on the train
    2. Driving with the top down
    3. The Internet
    4. MSU
    5. Ice cream (Cookie Dough from QD)
    6. Rollerblading
    7. Sunshine
    8. My family
    9. Kids
    10. Babies
    11. Picnics
    12. Coca-Cola
    13. Gadgets and gizmos
    14. Taking pictures
    15. Tori
    16. Sarah
    17. Indigo Girls
    18. Liz Phair
    19. Jewel
    20. 80’s music
    21. _Joan of Arcadia
    22. Sports Night
    23. Roswell
    24. The American President
    25. The Cutting Edge
    26. A Christmas Story
    27. Flight of the Navigator
    28. Narnia
    29. Time Travel
    30. Reading
    31. Movies
    32. Dominoes
    33. Scrabble
    34. Euchre
    35. Sitting by the river
    36. Learning
    37. Volunteering
    38. M & M’s
    39. Smarties (the chocolate kind)
    40. Prizes in Cereal
    41. Soda Pop in a bottle
    42. Fun Size Candy
    43. Macintosh
    44. My i500 Palm Phone
    45. Tivo
    46. WiFi
    47. The Ocean
    48. Maps
    49. Luggage
    50. Books
    51. Ice Skating
    52. Sleeping
    53. Building a fire
    54. The Moon
    55. Stars
    56. Laughing
    57. Holding hands
    58. Crushes
    59. Traveling
    60. Smiles
    61. Showers
    62. Clean sheets
    63. Surprises

      I dislike:

    64. Pickles
    65. Mayo
    66. Mean people
    67. Sauces on my sandwiches
    68. Country
    69. Being stuck at airports
    70. Traffic

      I am:

    71. An only child
    72. Smart
    73. Tall
    74. Curly
    75. Goofy
    76. A night owl
    77. Was born on September 11th

      I’ve lived in:

    78. Royal Oak
    79. Berkley (21 years)
    80. Southfield (a 1/2 year)
    81. East Lansing (7 years)
    82. Haslett (4 years)
    83. Southgate (1 year)
    84. Dearborn (4 years)

      I wish I understood more about:

    85. Astronomy
    86. Women
    87. Art

      Places I’ve been:

    88. United States (all over)
    89. Canada (Toronto 5 times; all over several)
    90. England (3 times)
    91. Prague
    92. Costa Rica (2 times)

      Before I die I want to:

    93. Have kids
    94. See Paris
    95. Take a cruise across the ocean
    96. Find out what is out there
    97. See the pyramids
    98. Write a computer book
    99. Live happily ever after
    100. Find out “Why?”
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