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This section would be about London, England.

Written By: Gary on November 14, 2004 One Comment

Good movie. Saw it at the second run theatre for a whole $1.50! Good print quality! A bit to similar to the first though. Too much chasing, not enough McGuyver-ing, some interesting plans/schemes by Bourne and not enough Julia Stiles (and I’m still traumatized sad that I didn’t get to see her in Oleana when I was in London)

What gets me about most of these movies is most them them could be cleared up (or at least explained) by a short phone call, a voicemail, an e-mail from any internet cafe or a fax from the local Kinkos.

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 October 11, 2004 No Comment
1. Who or what is on your computer’s wallpaper?
Nothing (boring). It’s usually just distracting for me. I’ll set it after/during a vacation. The last was London.
2. Go through your DVD/pre-bought video collection. Which three actors or actresses feature the most in them?
Without looking, I’d say Drew Barrymore (Boys on the Side/Ever After). Now that I look I’d have to add Keanu Reeves (3 Matrix) and Liv Tyler (Armageddon/Stealing Beauty). My collection is pretty diverse. Unless it’s music I usually don’t buy DVDs, unless it’s a really good deal.
3. Go through your book shelves. Which three authors have written the majority of the books?
Diane Duane and Neil Gaiman and Mauve Binchey
4. And what about CDs?
Tori, Indigo Girls and Sarah McLachlan (they probably are who I have the most DVDs of too).
5. Open up the picture folder(s) on your hard drive. Of which actor/actress/movie/tv series/musician do you have the most pictures?
Hmm… Don’t really have a “picture” folder like that. Got a lot of stuff on the desktop I was using for posts: Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell), David Pogue (geek), Joan of Arcadia, Wimbledon…

Found at The Daily Meme.

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 28, 2004 No Comment

tube_geo_smallSo I’ve always liked the London Tube and I like the maps of it. I mention it a few times on my last trip (see the entries under holidays). I particularly liked a diagram that showed how the lines were really shaped. Well someone took that diagram and superimposed it over a satellite photo and now it’s even more interesting

Written By: Gary on August 13, 2004 One Comment

I’ve been blogging for nine months. I’ve accomplished part of what I wanted. I’ve got random people reading and finding my ramblings (random wasn’t a big mission, but I need at least a few people to read it). I started the first part as being very nice and never complaining too much. I migrated that to a blog for talking (and occasionally whining) but wondering is anyone listening? and occasionally finding out that they are.

At the same time I needed a 12 step program due to too much meme-img. To feed this addiction I created two small meme-sites (http://thedailymeme.com/ (and a sub-site of lost memes ) that list daily, weekly, monthly and other memes to help people find more. Some of the odd one-short of propagating things and some of the odder memes arein the lost section of the same site. This was a accidental byproduct of memeing.

I have my gizmoboy site and that’s all but ready to go. But just haven’t found the time to finish it and get it on-line.

I did do a London Blog for my recent trip which generated a lot of friend/family interest in that it was just for them. I separated the London info from my regular blog to keep the non-regular-readers from finding it by accident. If they want to read it, go ahead, but I’m not going to accidentally show them my “inner stuff” if they can’t find it…. or at least ask for it.

I’ve had in my head another idea that’s going to need some dollars to make it work, I’ve had it in simple terms in my head at different times. But I’d like to implement it. A site to get people to smile more and wave more to little kids more and be NICE. You”ll see more on this as time goes on.

Need some site to share some advertising with too. Need to be part of some networks for information.


Written By: Gary on August 12, 2004 No Comment

So I know my new layout is kinda dull, but the colors from my London Blog (which is still on-line) never made me happy and since I closed it out yesterday I thought I’d change it and this was easy and I’ve been dying to use this psychedelic image. The scrolling text goes way too slow, at least it does in Safari. I’m sure I’ll change it soon, I just needed a not so colorful change.

Besides, this isn’t as dizzy as the rotating color backgrounds that I like… :)

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Written By: Gary on August 11, 2004 No Comment

So I haven’t really gotten to keep this (my London Blog) as up-to-date as I’d like. I guess I was having too much fun while I was there and trying to catch up with life now that I’m home. I haven’t filled in a lot of the blanks or explained a lot of things. But I think I have most of the photos I’d like to post up (not all of them, I just ran out of disk space on my server, had to delete the Boston photos to find room).

Other stuff:

  • The goofy room key in the slot on the wall is so you have power in the room
  • The bridge with the towers is the Tower Bridge, the flat one is the London bridge.
  • I never got to do the trampoline thing.
  • The weird building from BladeRunner was a Lloyds of London.
  • I only got to eat five Waffle Toffee Crunch Sundaes. I was trying for seven.

    Here’s the last set of photos. This makes four…

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    Written By: Gary on August 7, 2004 No Comment

    Today’s the first day I’ve felt way more than Half-Human since I’ve been back from vacation. Hopefully I can get a few things done this weekend: mail some CDs (sorry, BurnIt folks, they’re done I just need to print everything out), post my last few London photos, make my donation to to blog-a-thon, e-mail some people, play some BurnIt CDs (just got a bunch so at least I know everyone else was behind too), propane for the grill (I just threw out steaks that have been sitting in the fridge for the last week), go to the bank and I’m sure a few other things. As I’m writing this I can see I’m still a little fuzzy in the brain, I’ve just corrected a lot of synonyms (I do that when I’m not feeling well and/or on medications) in this post.

    TUESDAY UPDATE: So far, I’ve got the propane, made the donation, got a new printer, got the car washed, got to the bank, got the BurnIt CDs mailed and didn’t get much e-mail done due to the e-mail problems but it’s better now!

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    Written By: Gary on August 3, 2004 One Comment

    So while I was in London I had a chance to have lunch with Nick of ‘only so much writing in the air’. He had lots of insight on London/American differences which I always find interesting. It was great to chat with someone who worked in the area and in similar IT areas. He’s a very ‘open source’ person and we chatted about that that a bit and one thing that sticks (and while it may be more obvious there than here) is ‘it’s easy to use open-source software when the industry standard doesn’t support languages you need’ (such as Welsh). I suppose I wouldn’t have a hard time convincing my school district to switch to open source if MS didn’t let us type in the language we needed. It was a lot more interesting lunch than I make it out to be here but it’s not like I took notes or anything. :)

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    Written By: Gary on August 2, 2004 No Comment

    epsoncarThis is the cool Epson taxi.

    Written By: Gary on July 31, 2004 No Comment

    Here are some more PHOTOS, mostly of the major landmarks along the Thames. The tower bridge, the Eye of London (super slow ferris wheel), Big Ben/Westminster Abbey, me Blading. London Bridge (the flat one), bungee trampolining and a few other sites around town.

    If you can’t read these check out the boring version with a limited number of photos (if you have to go this route please let me know what the error message you get is).

    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 27, 2004 No Comment

    So everyone thinks they know what the tube layout looks like. london maplondonalt-mapEveryone has seen the map with all the colored lines to help them get around. Remember that’s just a representation to help you get around (did you ever see the West Wing episode with the ‘map makers for an equal society’), it’s all in how you represent it. I’ll attach a tube map and and more visual representation next to it. They are large maps but they are interesting to see the difference.

    Written By: Gary on July 26, 2004 No Comment

    Here’s some more PHOTOS (don’t forget I posted some last Friday too). The theater, the pub that has good fish & chips (the first time they had the best waitress and the second the worst), Picadilly Circus (a central area) and some odd subway “art”. I’m sure there’s some other stuff but I don’t recall it all this second…

    You can use the right and left arrows (on the keyboard?) or click on the thumbnails to navigate through the photos. I’m not sure how slow this will be over dial-up, I thinks it will cache the photos so if you let it sit for a few minutes it should pre-load the photos and make it run a lot faster.

    FYI – The Waffle Toffee Crunch Sundae count is four!

    Written By: Gary on July 25, 2004 No Comment

    Went back to Garfunkle’s for another Waffle Toffee Crunch Sundae — london04-707warm Belgian waffle topped with vanilla ice cream, maple syrup and laced with toffee crunch pieces. It was our third visit so far. They’re great!

    While we were at Garfunkle’s we met a group of Girl Scouts from all over the US, there were ten from as many different states, most hadn’t met before a few days ago. None from Michigan… (Update, a friend just told me he knew a Michigan girl scout heading over for the same thing, but not the group we say). They were heading up to some Jamboree in Scotland. They were pretty entertaining explaining the whole thing and telling us about their day and getting the deluxe visit they got at the at the changing of the guard.

    Written By: Gary on July 25, 2004 No Comment

    london04-723We went to the Marble Arch today (see photo). Found a whole new section of town to explore. Wandered around there for a while, turns out later it was the huge shopping district, found a few little things but nothing super.

    Found a pub for dinner, Lasagna doesn’t mean exactly the same thing just because it’s the same name… It was fine, just different.

    Written By: Gary on July 24, 2004 No Comment

    london04-692bDid you see the odd pictures from yesterday of people in the air? Well they were on bungee cords and jumping on a trampoline (on top of the aquarium). Here’s a movie of the action. It was pretty hysterical to watch, especially with the people screaming or the ambitious ones doing flips and such. I may have to try this before we leave…

    Written By: Gary on July 23, 2004 No Comment

    Okay so I’ve finally got some London PHOTOS up but I haven’t had the chance to label them (maybe later?). You can use the right and left arrows (on the keyboard?) or click on the thumbnails to navigate through the photos. I’m not sure how slow this will be over dial-up, I thinks it will cache the photos so if you let it sit for a few minutes it should pre-load the photos and make it run a lot faster.

    If you can’t read these check out the other version with a limited number of photos (if you have to go this route please let me know what the error message you get is).

    Written By: Gary on July 23, 2004 No Comment

    We walked so far!!! londonfriwalkWe started a little off the west of this map and off the right hand side. We saw the bridges and museums and people and it’s just been a good long day. We didn’t walk in straight lines so it’s a lot longer than you can see. My feet/legs are really going to ache starting tomorrow.

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    Written By: Gary on July 22, 2004 No Comment

    small-imagesSo the other week I got one of the London papers, wanted to see what was going on… Oleana (a David Mamet play) was playing and was one of the things I circled. Picked up a local theater magazine when I got here flipped it right open to the ad for Oleana and it turns out she’s played by Julia Stiles, I’m sold. At the same time I notice she’s on the cover of this week’s Time Out (the Metro Times). So I proceed to get more info to get tickets and it turns out it stopped playing last week! I’m sure I’ll find something else, I was just pretty excited for a bit…

    Written By: Gary on July 22, 2004 No Comment

    london04-642london04-643Hotel is nice, room is tiny. WiFi in lobby!!! Checked out out the neighborhood, got some food, got a waffle toffee crunch ice cream thing for dessert (much more on that later!). Here is a couple of photos from the hotel window (click to enlarge).

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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 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 May 30, 2004 One Comment
    1. What are you favorite things to do during the summer?
    Rollerblade, picnics, read and sometimes bicycle.
    2. Are you an outdoors person?
    Not so much.
    3. Beach, pool or lake?
    Ocean or river. I like the water noise…
    4. What are you favorite summertime memories?
    I loved being on campus at MSU in the summers. Very relaxed, quiet (and so were the classes). Summer plays outside. I liked being down by the river and it was fun when the baby animals came around, it was always a blast to see the baby ducks being trained how to navigate the rapids…
    5. Will you be going on vacation this summer?
    I hope so. I just mentioned London to my friend Mark, I know (for some unknown reason) he’s dying to go there. I’d love to be there when it’s nice, so….

    From The Weekly Bit

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    Written By: Gary on May 28, 2004 No Comment
    Where do you plan to go on vacation this year, or where would you want to go?
    I’ve still never been to Roswell. But I think I’d like to go to London while it’s nice this summer. Maybe back to Costa Rica when it’s cold up here…
    What color is your bedroom? If you could redecorate it, what would you change?
    Plain, flat off white. I’m pretty happy with it, maybe a new bigger bed. Oh, and I’d paint the Windows black!
    Do you have a bumper sticker on your vehicle? If not, make one up!
    Main Course
    What’s the worst pain you’ve ever been in?
    When I was fifteen I walked through a glass door at the mall, cut up both of my arms pretty bad, bad enough that my mom probably didn’t have any problem following the trail… Hours later the shot they gave me at the hospital for pain hurt much more than the actual accident (but I wasn’t in shock any more either.
    Who is your favorite celebrity? What do they do that inspires you?
    Gene Hackman. He always does great and he does different roles from being a spy to Lex Luthor to…

    From the new meme Friday Feast.

    Written By: Gary on May 15, 2004 No Comment

    These questions are from Laura at the saturday-8.

    1. today i am going to see the movie “troy,” as it stars my favourite actor of all time, the british sex god sean bean (says laura). are you planning on seeing it? why or why not?
    Not really. It looks really long. I’d like to see the Trojan Horse scene though (duh!).
    2. the other day i purchased gas for $2.07 per gallon. i about threw up. what is the current gas price in your area? (please specify grade)
    I put in 87 octane. It’s just gone over the $2.00 mark, which just kills me. I’m thinking I was seeing $2.03 and $2.07, this was the Deaborn (Detroit, MI) area.
    3. sean bean is my lust, and the german actor thomas kretschmann comes in at a close second. who are your first and second actor/actress “loves”?
    Liv Tyler: ever since Stealing Beauty and Mary Louise Parker: ever since Fried Green Tomatoes. I’ll add Julia Stiles (but I don’t know what I first saw her in) to that list too, since #5 just made me think of her too…
    4. i am going to canada via syracuse, ny in july, and had to purchase my tickets WAAAAAAY early because we’re afraid the ticket prices will go up dramatically due to the rising oil prices. are you travelling this summer on a vacation?
    I keep thinking I need to make some plans. Chicago? Toranto? London?
    5. is there any movie this summer that you’re looking to see this summer, or any books you want to read that are going to be printed & released this summer? tell us about them…
    I’m looking forward to Spiderman 2, which is funny since I wasn’t looking that forward to the first and it wasn’t that incredible. I’ve been liking Will Smith’s movies so maybe I, Robot will be good. I just saw a preview for The Borne Identity sequel (Borne Supremacy?) looks fun too.
    6. what is your favourite vacation destination, and why?
    Costa Rica! It’s warm, relaxed and it’s got two oceans! It’s really enjoyable, the not knowing Spanish is a little troublesome sometimes but dealable. The people are friendly and it’s warm.
    7. have you heard about netflix.com? if so, have you joined/are you planning to join, and why/why not?
    I’ve tried it a few times before. It’s excellent if you watch a lot of movies, I should give it a try again, it’s been a while. I liked it better when it was just individual rentals. (For those who don’t know what it is: $20 a month gets you three DVD rentals as soon as you return one, they send out the next on your list. Postage is included).
    8. are you a good flier? i have problems on takeoff, but landing and flying are no problem.
    Flying is generally no problem (a little air sick, but rarely). It’s dealing with the airports and security that makes me crazy, showing up two hours early for a ninety minute flight is counter-productive. I love the train, just show up a few minutes before, no parking problems, lots of room, very relaxinf.
    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 February 3, 2004 2 Comments

    Have you seen Keen Eddie? It’s about a cop from New York who screwed up a case and got sent to London to fix it. He liked London so he decided to stay for a while. He’s got this odd roommate (her mom sublet the apartment thinking she’s at college) that he lives with and adds to the storyline (sometimes). It’s a little bit about cultural differences and his issues with dealing with being there. I’m not saying the show has any big socially redeeming values but it’s fun. It’s on Bravo, which means it’s on about 72 times a week. It’s not really new, it was on one of the other networks and got canceled but it’s back with the old episodes and four new (or maybe just unaired) episodes.

    I don’t recommend many television shows so you should probably check it out!

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