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Hiking, walking in the woods or around the city…

Written By: Gary on September 5, 2008 2 Comments

So I left Tamarindo with more than enough time to spare to get to the airport. That’s it. The rest of the story pretty much writes itself doesn’t it? It’s clear I don’t make my plane but why? There’s the obvious like car problems and the not so obvious like I was abducted by aliens; I wasn’t abducted but it was certainly closer to that end of the continuum.

When I left Tamarindo it was raining but everything was fine. About ten minutes into the ride I get a few cars flashing their lights at me, usually a sign of a speed trap so I slowed down. A few turns later I see there was some kind of avalanche but I’m not sure if it’s from the rain or the earthquake from last night. There are some huge items about a meter in diameter but I’m not sure if it’s rock or mud either way I drove around it. I did pass a few more mini-avalances but some I probably could have just driven through and been okay.

But as I drive I notice the water is getting deeper on the sides of the road; I hadn’t noticed much at the start but I was much closer to the ocean so it has lots of options for drainage. Then I notice the fields are flooded on both sides of the road and while I’m not certain how tall the crops are I know the backs of those tires are under at least a dozen inches of water. Then it starts covering the road! What’s really nice is the few times that I can’t see what’s under the water (hopefully road) there are other cars so i just follow them along. The worst was probably about three-hundred feet(?) long. Many shorter ones but there were a few deep dips too; these weren’t wide but I didn’t know about flash flooding coming down these roads. The flooding is worse for the homes much of them are in water that is knee deep at parts but some are waist deep (some of these homes are on cement platforms but I don’t think many were more than 18 inches and most were less than a foot). No one seems panicky and some people were relaxing on a bench on a porch, it was really sad to see.

Then I see a quantity of people walking towards me on both sides of the road and now I’m in a traffic jam and I can’t see the other end of it. What’s going on? I’m still thinking I might catch this flight so I’m trying to get around everyone and this bus seems to know what he’s doing so I’m following him; we’re in the wrong lane at this point but there is no oncoming traffic. There’s a lot more people on the road, Should I be heading into the “fire”? The a traffic cop stops us, lets the bus through but tries to explain in Spanis to me and then leaves me for some other problem; when I see he’s busy I leave and then I see the problem so merge back into stopped traffic.

GuardiabridgeThe problem is there’s a bridge ahead so there has got of be some kind of a problem with it. But there are still refugees people coming off the bridge so it’s not collapsed. By very illegally parking and then walking to the bridge (it’s two bridges: an old one and a new one) and talking to a partially-English speaking officer and some others I determined I need to ditch my rental and cross the bridge. Oh, and at this point I’m pretty sure I’m not getting on that plane today.

Because the bridge will not be open until tomorrow and maybe not until the afternoon! But I guess even though they are concerned about the lower supports it’s okay for people and not cars. Did I mention it’s only 7 kilometers (4-5 miles) to the airport at this point?

Since then I’ve done some research, I believe this was the Guardia Bridge over the Tempisque River, ‘ve read on-line (nothing official or I’d quote that) that’s it’s 50 or 100 feet down. When I was on the bridge I’d say the water was 8-12 feet below but I’m not the best guesser at those kinds of guesstimates. Notice on the map (direct link) that this is the main road to get from the Nicoya Peninsula to the Liberia Airport. Zoom out and you’ll see it’s the only road to cross the river when it has any depth of water. That’s not really try if you zoom out farther you’ll see the huge Friendship Bridge (image) but since another trapped person told me she was going to San Jose (the long way) and she was avoiding that bridge for some reason that didn’t translate but I knew it was going to add hours (4-5?) to her trip it must be a good reason. And it turns out that this Tempisque River is the same river that forms the start of the Nicoya Bay (which, with the Pacific Ocean, makes the Nicoya peninsula).Back to getting off the peninsula: I think I can get a ride on the other side but I gotta get rid of the car. I can’t find a phone that takes change and I don’t know how to use these phones since I never make local calls and I normally use the computer. I try the hardware store but they’re closed, they have no power (I assume no power in this area). As I start to try to get a person to lend (or rent) me their cell phone an American woman (who just dropped her husband off at the bridge for the same flight) takes pity on me and lets me use her mobile to call the car rental place.

The phone bounces between several people that that can’t help me and I hear them conversing between each other and I know they don’t fully understand the problem. Finally I stick to “This has had to have happened before. How can I leave this car here and have you retrieve it later?” and repeat that to someone else and I get an answer: “Leave it at the hardware store and give the keys to the shuttle driver at the airport” plus he tells me there is no charge for this retrieval! That was pretty simple! But since the hardware store is closed the gate is locked so we settle on the gas station two kilometers down the road.

So I park there and the guy at the station speaks no english but somehow I’m truly confident he understands what I’m doing. Now I need a ride to the bridge, I can’t get a taxi or a phone to call one (or a bus) so I end up taking an illegal (which was parked near the bus stop but I didn’t know that’s what it was). The taxi driver is reading and has no idea where I’ve come from (this is important later) and knows he can’t cross the bridge so he doesn’t understand but I get him to do it for $2. So as were get to the traffic I bully him to drive around it and the traffic cop (I make it clear that he’s just “an hombre” not “a taxi”). The cop really yells at us and I can’t figure out why, but then I get realize why! I guess it’s tomorrow already because the bridge is open!!! I wasn’t going to argue about it!

So here’s the new problem, the taxi driver wants to take me across the bridge, he has no idea I have a car back there. This did no communicate so well but I finally got him to make a u-turn and take me back, we almost made it to the bridge before I convinced him. I put my stuff in my 4×4 and got across the bridge ASAP!

I’ve got six bridge photos posted (not the best I’ve ever taken) and I realized as I did it that it certainly looks significantly lower than an hour before. Wow! I’m definitely lacking in the earth sciences area so maybe that’s normal…

Wrap up – Obviously it was too late for my flight. No other flights I could find until Saturday. Delta made me pay $150 to rebook. Why doesn’t act of God ever benefit me in these circumstances? It’s the only way there!!!

I’ll tell you about Liberia and my way cute hotel later…

Written By: Gary on August 26, 2008 No Comment

It was a much nicer day today! It was mostly sunny but drizzly on and off but looked stormy so I didn’t want to walk up the the waterfall (a real hike) and get caught in a storm; later I hear the water that you walk next to (through at some parts) were pretty wild so some people turned around and came back, which must have been all the rain from yesterday/last night.

I got to spend some time at walking the beach and relaxing. It was nice to not be running around too much. I just walked for a while and read and talked to some people that I’ve run into more than a few times this trip. I started to go farther up the beach but it started to rain again and since there was a (fancy) hotel on the beach so I popped in there for a deliciou$ lunch (and stayed out of the rain).

I did try to catch the sunset but it just got cloudier and cloudier as I got closer so that was a bust. But on the way I did pick up a couple of guys from Argentina on the road and gave them a lift for a few kilometers they were interesting and spoke great english. Just to be clear, they were from Argentina, not on the road from Argentina

It’s pouring out now but that’s okay since I’m inside and have nothing else to do but grab some dinner and sleep. If it’s nice I’d like to get up early so I can play in Montezuma more before I head to San Jose tomorrow.

Written By: Gary on August 23, 2008 2 Comments

So my Mom got me an early birthday present, it’s a portable Garmin eTrex Vista HCx GPS. This has been on my Costa Rica to do list so she asked me what I wanted at just the right time. Obviously, it’s a specific model I picked out for her and it’s been great the little bit of time I’ve played with it this past week. It’s got the color display, the compass (this is an extra) and the memory chip expansion. It’s a whole lot easier to us than I expected it was almost Apple-ish in it’s use, but there are too many buttons (it’d need a touch screen to make it a little more intuitive).

As of right now it’s telling me we’re at 7,284 feet and traveling at 527 miles per hour (we’re somewhere south of Cuba). That’s seems a little low to me (I thought they didn’t let us use electronics until 10,000 or 15,000 feet) but maybe it’s having a hard time tracking out the window of the plane (but that’s not really my area either). I’ll be sure to upload some of the tracking info later superimposed on a map. I’ve always been into maps so it’s a fun gadget for me.

I wanted it for Costa Rica for a few reasons:

  • the signage for the roads are awful and since some of the roads are so bad you don’t want to backtrack unless you have to.
  • When I’m hiking I’d really like to know how far I’ve wandered away from civilization and have a better idea if I’m walking in circles.
  • Maps here aren’t the greatest so maybe one of the Points Of Interest (POI) will help me find something I’ve been missing.This portable unit only has basic highways and major roads (roads like Telegraph and Michigan) for the US, it’s assumed you’re using this for specifics like hiking any you’re going to buy the topographical maps for it, but it does have exit numbers for the highways and food and gas info for those spots. I think you need to purchase the local maps for turn-by-turn directions but I never got a chance to play with that.

    In anticipation for this trip did purchase the detailed maps for Costa Rica. The unit had very limited details before that upgrade, although I think it still would have helped me orient myself quite a bit. I purchased them from www.NavSatCR.com who does about 3 updates a year and then I can purchase future years for a lot less. They actually sell cheaper 10 day and 30 day versions so if it’s just a one time trip you don’t have to invest as much, but those maps actually stop working after that time frame (I purchased the non-expiring ones). From reading around, the folks at NavSatCR seem to be the place for Costa Rican GPS maps.

    I also purchased a mount for handle bars so if I rent an ATV, scooter or bicycle it’ll help with getting around that way too.

    As I’m wrapping up writing this, we just left the air above the Atlantic Ocean and passed into El Salvador…

  • Written By: Gary on June 2, 2008 3 Comments

    The-Wolf-Man-Img 8520 2So while we were walking around there were a lot of film trucks and equipment, so I told Mom if she thought she saw anyone famous that it might be so snap a picture. The next corner we went around was all blocked off and looked like it was from the 1,800s.

    Turns out they were shooting The Wolf Man starring Anthony Hopkins and Benicio Del Toro; comes out April 2009. We never saw any of the big stars but it was all people in carriages and police carts all in old dress. It was very cool.

    If you look this photo you can see the rain machine up high on the crane. The worksers told us it was crazy when it was running and you don’t want to be anywhere near it.

    Written By: Gary on April 15, 2008 One Comment

    So the Automatic Teller Machines have been when I generally use for ca$h when I travel. Travelers Checks have always been a hassle. Charging always works well too, I never seem to get any related fees (or the little fees I get are pretty minimal). And the exchange rate is usually really good on the charge or ATM cards.

    But the only ATMs in the southern Nicoya Peninsula appear to Banco Nacional and they don’t like my card (but they list my network). But it might just be their machines, since those machines are pretty inconsistent: sometimes it asks me for the language, sometimes it still gives me Spanish, sometimes the network just times out and other times it gives me a useless message (like ‘you can only take out between $10 and $200 per day’, but that’s all I was trying to do).

    So going inside the banco is a trip, guards with shotguns and you walk into a decompression-type chamber (closed in while they x-ray you, and then they open the second door, imagine walking into an ultra-secure government facility). Then it’s kinda set up like the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) and you wait and try to communicate what you want. They have this neat system that you can phone in for live translation for English/Spanish, and when I say “neat” I mean if it worked. So after several tries, we determined that their ATM system was so crappy no one could say if it did / would / could work with the US.

    So we decided to do a cash advance instead, we didn’t know what the fees would be but we needed some more cash; not everyone takes charges and many charge premiums (and I think some discounts are because the money never gets reported somewhere down the line). This still took a while and they do everything in triplicate down there but I think it’d be hard for people to cheat the system since there are so many checks and balances.

    Once we got much more north the other ATMs took our cards just fine (I had a problem in Jaco once and I think it was the same bank but I just went to a different companies machine and it worked fine).

    Here’s the problem: Being curious of the fees of the Visa cash advance, we got on-line to check and discovered that the advance was done twice on the card, the fee was done twice and since it went over the card limit, tacked on another $39 fee. FYI, the cash advance fee was only $12.58 for $400 (and the back charged a dollar). The bank’s already been e-mailed and it’ll probably be fine from here.

    Written By: Gary on April 2, 2008 One Comment

    NicoyatipwhereSo far I’ve only explored the southmost point of the Nicoya Peninsula and stayed in Montezuma. I want to explore more of the Pacific coast next trip (later this month).

    I’m looking for tips on where to travel and places to stay. As requirements for places to stay go: walking to beach distance, hot showers and air conditioning (not fancy, cheap is better). There was a pullout section of the TicoTimes a few weeks ago but it only seemed like it covered the ultra fancy hotels and resorts.

    I just want to wander around the towns and the ocean and find some waterfalls and stuff like that.

    Nocoyapeninwhere

    Any thoughts or suggestions on what not to miss? restaurants to eat at? or hotels to stay at?

    Written By: Gary on December 2, 2007 No Comment

    Here was my mission: I was looking for something so I could go hiking or walking along the beach. But I want to have my camera with me, but when I go swimming (or something where I need to put my back down) I don’t want to leave my stuff unattended. So what I had in mind was a smaller version of an military duffle bag (that really think/tough material) that you could somehow clasp at the top and lock it to a tree. Yeah, someone could cut through it, but they couldn’t just grab it and run (and they’d have to work at it).

    What I found was the “PacSafe DaySafe 100 Security Backpack“, it’s two things in one. The first is a backpack made for security, the zippers can be latched so someone can’t easily open it while you’re just walking down the street (the latches are hidden and hard to get to) and like a lot of luggage and you can (optionally) lock the zippers. Part of the main bag is slash-proof, it’s got a metal screen in the material, so someone can’t cut it to get stuff out while you’re wearing it. Plus, one of the straps is detachable and latchable so while you’re sitting there someone can’t just grab your bag if you’ve attached it to the table you’re eating at (this doesn’t work if you leave it unattended). It’s also got a few other areas that they have to make it harder for someone to casually grab things from it. It pretty much looks like a regular backpack.

    ExomeshinsertThe second is a DaySafe (they sell this as a separate product) the DaySafe is pretty much a small tote bag (17 liters) made completely out of the material with the steel built into it (eXomesh®). The drawstring is a metal cable that latches and locks (included) and is pretty secure. If you take the cable and wrap it around a tree (or a stationary object in your hotel room or rental car) before you lock it, it becomes pretty hard for someone to just grab your stuff and run.

    The safe fits inside the backpack perfectly and there is a special spot (hole) for the cable to secure the backpack too (the stuff in outer pockets would be at risk). I do have a smaller backpack that this fits into that is perfect for just running around like that, the included backpack is pretty big for a casual hike/walk.

    I wouldn’t leave my stuff locked to a tree all day but for the bit that I want to go in the water and stay mostly in sight of it it’s perfect.. Or if I hike up into the hills to the waterfall, I can both take pictures and then go for a swim and not be too paranoid about my stuff. So I’m kind excited about this one, since I don’t have to limit what I take when I wander far…

    Written By: Gary on November 28, 2007 One Comment

    So I ran all over today. I went swimming in the pacific and then packed up my backpack and headed north (actually north west I think). Took all sorts of pictures and a little video.

    Map Of Costa Rica JacoAte lunch at a nice place on the beach, the name escapes me for now. Some people sat down at a table next to me and it turns out it was a guy from Traverse City, Michigan! What are the odds? He comes down a few times a year to vacation, seems to really like to eat and stay at that place (although they were booked up). I actually started talking to them because they liked the place they stayed at we chatted for a while.

    I swam some more and then rented a scooter (moped). It was a bargain at 6 hours for $25 but they closed in 4 hours and I didn’t want to be responsible for it overnight so I gave him $20 for 4 hours. It was a new scooter too, the temporary plates were just a few days old. I buzzed around all over the area, lots of development going on. Riding is nice and cool compared to walking around :)

    I’ve decided to stay another day in Jaco. I’ll leave on Friday for somewhere or another…

    I can see I got some sun today. Since I was wearing a backpack for a chunk of the day it looks like I was wearing a bikini top. Hopefully, that’ll even out in a few days!

    Weather report – It was cloudy on and off all day, but still very bright and very hot (maybe more humid than hot. That was okay except for when it came time for the sun to set, way too many clouds. RIght now as I’m writing this it’s almost cool, but still way humid. High of 82 for tomorrow!

    I’ve got some photos up on-line too.

    Image courtesy of the CIA World Fact Book.

    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 July 28, 2007 4 Comments

    So after my box of yummy Limited Edition Alpha-Bits (now with the sugar back where it belongs) I hadn’t seen it anywhere but Meijer’s so I started feeling anxious that they might stop making it again (it is “limited”). But then I was at Target the other day walking out with my arms were full (I had paid back in the electronics section) and they had just opened (I needed stuff for work) I passed all the employees standing in the aisle having their morning meeting I spied an end-cap with the Limited Edition Alpha-Bits 3 boxes for $7. So I checked the expiration date and managed to stack up 8 boxes in my arms (in addition to my bags and the water, this was all I could hold), this will give me about 1 box a month until expiration, but that’s probably not enough sugary letters for me, I should probably get another 8 or 10 boxes while they’re still on sale today.


    Long live Limited Edition Alpha-Bits!!!

    Written By: Gary on January 5, 2007 No Comment

    White Monkeywhite monkeySo the hotel we are at (The El Sano Banano in Montezuma, CR) has a sister hotel (Ylang Ylang) down the beach (which you can only get to by walking, but they will transport your luggage) and we’re allowed to use their pool and hammocks, etc. But the main reason we went down is we heard in the afternoon that the monkeys stop by. We got there just in time and I got a variety of photos (many blurry or obscured by trees) and some video.

    They would come down and take food from people, they were very cautious but many of them took some. It was funny since as they climbed closer the branches would bend and they’d panic and try to scramble back up. Be sure to notice in the one photo you can see the White Monkey with a baby on it’s back.I’m not really sure if they were called “White Monkeys” or “White-Faced Monkeys”.

    FYI – The Ylang Ylang is more resort-ish (pool, hammocks, lounge chairs, massage, yoga, etc.) but it has no Air conditioning…

    Written By: Gary on July 4, 2006 No Comment

    Bluetoothlogo2So I love my iPod but I hate the cords (the same goes for the cell phone). It needs bluetooth! It’s be better for the car (if the stereo from car had it) and it’d be better for walking, running, rollerblading, etc. I know people make some adaptors but Apple is such a BT supporter it really needs to be integrated (you could even sync via BT if you wanted).


    Now BlueTooth is not as universal as it really should be so they need a way for companies to add some firmware to make it more compatible (who isn’t going to add a drive for the best selling iPod?)

    And this is how I want it to work/look (be sure to roll your mouse over the image). And if we’re adding video, I want a 160 GB version!

    Written By: Gary on June 12, 2006 2 Comments

    I know I’ve been back for over a month but here’s another 80 photos from Egypt from day four, we’re still in Luxor: there’s a lot of local shots, some temple photos and a felucca sailboat ride..
    Egyptsales

  • Around town – Various shorts from around Luxor (Marilyn and I walked ALL over town). Photos of a place where I bought a scarf, a few odd internet places, some apartments and a few street scenes.
  • Temple of Luxor – Some more photos of the outside of Luxor Temple (as were were walking around town).
  • Faluga Ride – A sunset ride on a felucca sailboat ride which is named for it’s different shaped (but we had no wind).
  • Luxor at night – A carriage ride around Luxor at night, dinner and some photos from around town.

    I know I’m only on day 4 of the bulk photos, but it’s been busy. I’ll get some more out the next few weeks, it’s less cRaZy at work, plus I’ve got a few more days off.

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    Written By: Gary on May 29, 2006 One Comment

    Unimemorialday1754-1So it’s Memorial Day and Dearborn is having a parade today. Usually I don’t even notice until it’s over and their walking by my place (it ends at the end of my block). So I wandered on by late this morning.
    Unimemorialday1755-1
    One of the first things I saw was the Redford Township Unicycle club, they were pretty good, I wish I had gotten some better pictures. It was interesting, lots of people, in lots of heat, I wandered around and notice my around the corner bar was open, they’re never open on a holiday, it turns out they were just open for the parade so I got a Coca-Cola, said hello and wandered back outside. Another odd hit was the Downriver Remote Control club, they had cars and they towed a ramp and drove around and jumped the ramp. They seemed to get more daring as they neared the end so there were more jumps and crashes…


    I came late so I missed all the military and more memeroial related portions of the parade, it was just all the local groups, I’m not really sure what time it started. Now that’s I’m home I realize how hot it really was outside, 88 degrees with 51% humidity and it’s suppesed to hit 93! I really don’t want to go back out, but I’ve got some errands to run.

    Written By: Gary on April 27, 2006 No Comment

    So I haven’t had a chance to talk about security here, it’s been on my mind since day one. We’ve had an armed guard with us whenever we travel as a group. This didn’t surprise me, I actually expected a police escort so it was tamer than I thought.

    Plus every hotel or museum has one or metal detectors and may check bags (but not likely). I know it sounds crazy but you really get used to it.

    I got so used to the guns that one night a few of us were walking in an area that got kind of dark and heard footsteps behind us when I looked and saw it was men with guns my thoughts of fear went out of my mind.

    Security seemed to pick up when we went south (especially in Aswan). In the south we did have an escort pickup with one to four security folks and the security guy on the bus.

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    Written By: Gary on April 27, 2006 No Comment

    So I’ve done really good in the haggling so far. Sometimes insulting the guys by offering too little, but then I factor that into my exchange with the next booth for a same or similar item. It’s amazing on how you’ll be walking away and they’ll keep offering lower offers. If they just had it priced in the first place I probably would have paid a higher price that it might have been marked.

    The best I did so far was some guy wanted 120 LE for an item and I got him down to 50 LE for that item plus a larger similar item. Who knows, maybe I could have actually done better.

    I’ve walked into a few shops and I can see them debate the price before they figure out what to charge me. Sometimes I just give them this look like “are you kidding?” and it seems like they don’t nail me too much. Most things as still less than you’d pay anywhere else. Even in a fancy resturant I don’t think I’ve every paid more than $2.50 for a Coca-Cola, most times it’s less that $1.

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    Written By: Gary on April 24, 2006 No Comment

    I am SO tired. I’m in bed right now. And I can’t wait to sleep in. The rest of the group is going to Abu Simbel (sp?) and I really want to see it but I knew I’d be ready to crash around this point of the trip and it’s another plan ride (yuk!), $200 more and have to leave the hotel at 5 am so it seemed like it’d make sense to skip it and save on so many levels.

    We saw temples, rode boats and ate lots (as usual) then went for a walk (had to be close to 3 hours) which included visiting a mosque shopping (haggling lots with very little success) and lots of walking.

    Tomorrow will be nice to sleep in, access the Internet at the hotel’s over priced rates (but at least I don’t need to carry the laptop anywhere) and eat more! (You won’t actually see this until I get on-line then…)

    Written By: Gary on October 11, 2005 One Comment

    I knew I had a really long day today: a 2-3 hour meeting, 7 short presentations with travel time in between most of them this was about 12 hours and then I’m on call for the shelter that I volunteer at for another 12 hours (until 8 am). I’ve been having problems sleeping lately, so I went to bed early and took a sleeping pill to ensure some sleep, Ambien is my preference (not much side effect). Now obviously a sleeping pill is going to make you out of it a little, but these don’t do that much or at least if they do, they make you forget. Yeah, that’s the side effect, very short term memory loss. I usually have to read the last few pages of the book I was reading again or something like that. It’s not totally gone, it’s kind of a deja vu when I reread the chapter or think really hard about the events. I’m generally in bed when I take something like this, it’s not like I do it before watching TV or taking a road trip (and I try not to blog or e-mail either). Not a crisis and sometimes interesting results. That was the into, here is the story…


    Today when I woke up I found an empty bowl of ice cream next to the bed; this is rare, I normally wouldn’t have it right before bed, let alone in bed. I really don’t remember getting it (I maybe kinda remember walking back into the room with it) but I guess I was pretty fuzzy when I got it because I put the rest of the back in the fridge and not the freezer. I was pretty sad when I went to go get a bowl of cookie dough ice cream this evening and it wasn’t in the freezer. It was an extra good 1/2 gallon too, lots of chunks of dough :(

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    Written By: Gary on July 12, 2005 No Comment

    rock friends timeAnother painted rock from my trip to Illinois (click picture to enlarge). If you haven’t seen them I’ve posted of few of these since the last weekend in June. It was really crazy how much I enjoyed walking along the shore reading these rocks. At least I’ve finally got that darn Avril song out of my head….

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    Written By: Gary on July 3, 2005 One Comment

    We sat side by side in the morning light and looked out at the future together.So here’s another painted rock with a quote on it (click image to enlarge) that I saw down by Lake Michigan. As I was walking along all these rocks (which really means jumping precariously from rock to rock) I had the darn Avril song running through my head. It was really kinda sad as I’m reading these rocks with different inspiring and sad messages running through my head. There were some really great ones but they were too faded or just too difficult (lighting/angle/shadows) to get a photograph of.


    It was an experience to see the beautiful peaceful water on one side and also be climbing all over the rocks and then pausing to read some of the writings or to see some of the pictures. And then that darn song which always makes me feel little was running through my head.

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    Written By: Gary on January 8, 2005 One Comment

    Lots of walking today at the CES. Saw lots of new electronic “stuff”. Here’s my complaint: I haven’t seen anything “new”. Of course how can that be true there were 500,000 “new” items. Everything was the next generation of things I’ve seen or had. I’m not saying I won’t buy any of the products, just nothing knocked my socks off. Everything was a little bit smaller, a bit brighter, a bit faster, a few more (mega)pixels, longer battery life and a few more devices integrated into one.

    Lots of iPod accessories. Lots of HD stuff. Blu-ray DVD (50 GB of storage). Rio Zen is really trying to take the MP3 market.

    Sony may have had the best setup. They made you sit through a short show before getting into their area, nice sound and nice images especially for and info-mercial. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that they probably had the best booth I saw today. A beautiful projector for $3,500. HD movies with Blu-ray. Some nice cellphones that play video and have digital cameras. Some beautiful computer displays.

    I’ll have to check out “the best of” area, I think I had to cut outside to do that and it was too rainy and too cold!

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    Written By: Gary on November 7, 2004 4 Comments

    It’s a little annoying that when comments get spammed because I have the plugin (scode captcha) that asks you the the little question before you post. I can’t imagine they just put in the code for the dozen spam messages, so maybe they got past it somewhow. I’ll take some tips on this if you have them (MT 2.661).captcha code

    The odd thing is that it’s just a message full of URLs and the word penis and viagra (etc.) all over it. I’d probably not notice it as quick if they only did one (instead of a dozen). But what I don’t get is why doesn’t the message say something more like, “It’s great the you got a new iPod Photo, but you should see what I bought and I’m sure it made my sex life better than your new iPod did.” I’m sure they’d get a few more takers to click on it…


    Sidebar: Now currently I don’t have much of a sex-life but and since there is not a significant other at this point that’s okay. So if that’s the case and I’m going to be walking around with something hard in my pocket all day it might as well be something I’m using (like an iPod).

    I am looking to change this part, the significant other part (the sex part comes much later). So if you think I’m a nice read or have a friend who would might think so… I can always be reached at the address on my About Me page.

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    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 June 3, 2004 2 Comments

    Today was graduation. I get to sit on the stage since I’m an administrator for the district. I was just going to comment on the class quote but now that I’m thinking about it I’ll tell you why this was extra emotional for graduation. I started this job three and a half years ago, just a few months before there was an accident in front of the school and one of the students died while crossing the street. That was shortly after they all just started a new high school. There were lots of speeches that mentioned her and a poem read by three of the women who then presented her father with a degree for her. Lots of tears and smeared mascara. I was very glad to be there tonight.

    But back to the class quote, it was something like:

    Your life isn’t measured by the number of breaths you take.
    It’s measured by the number of times your breath is taken away.

    I do wonder how my life will be measured by others in the future and I really liked how this made me think about how I measure my life.


    There was one graduate walking across the stage, she just had this earthy quality about her. And then I noticed her (lack of) shoes. She’ll be remembered for that and many other things I’m sure…

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    Written By: Gary on March 7, 2004 No Comment



    These surveys are always a little bizzaro but I saw this one on someone else’s blog and decided to take the test…
    This one is titled “Which Historical Lunatic Are You?” What I don’t like about these “tests” is that after you take it there is a long description (sometimes) but you don’t get that info unless you take the test again. Click the continue link to get the biographical information…


    You are Nicola Tesla, inventor of the Tesla Coil! (Survey results).

    A minister’s son from Simljan in Austria-Hungary, you were precocious from an early age. At three you could multiply three-digit numbers in your head and calculate how many seconds visitors to your home had lived. In awe of your older brother Dane, you shot a pea-shooter at his horse, causing it to throw him and inflict injuries from which he later died. This tragedy haunted you ever after. You frequently suffered bouts of illness with hallucinations throughout your life. During one affliction of cholera, you encountered the writing of Mark Twain, with whom you were later to be close friends. Later, another, this time mystery, illness inexplicably heightened your senses to a painful extent, only relenting when you hit upon the idea of the alternating current motor.

    You developed an aversion to human contact, particularly involving hair, and a fear of pearls; when one would-be lover kissed you, you ran away in agony. Later, you insisted that any repeated actions in your day-to-day life had to be divisible by three, or, better yet, twenty-seven. You would, for example, continue walking until you had executed the required number of footsteps. You refused to eat anything until you had calculated its exact volume. Saltine crackers were a favourite for their uniformity in this respect. In the midst of important work, you forgot trivial details such as eating, sleeping or, on one memorable occasion, who you were.

    Your inventions, always eccentric, began on a suitably bizarre note. The first was a frog-catching device that was so successful, and hence so emulated by your fellow children, that local frogs were almost eradicated. You also created a turbine powered by gluing sixteen May bugs to a tiny windmill. The insects panicked and flapped their wings furiously, powering the contraption for hours on end. This worked admirably until a small child came along and ate all the creatures alive, after which you never again touched another insect.

    Prompted by dreams of attaining the then-ridiculed goal of achieving an alternating-current motor, you went to America in the hope of teaming up with Thomas Edison. Edison snubbed you, but promised fifty thousand dollars if you could improve his own direct-current motor by 20% efficiency. You succeeded. Edison did not pay up. It was not long until you created an AC motor by yourself.

    Now successful, you set up a small laboratory, with a few assistants and almost no written records whatsoever. Despite it being destroyed by fire, you invented the Tesla Coil, impressing even the least astute observer with man-made lightning and lights lit seemingly by magic. Moving to Colorado Springs, you created a machine capable of sending ten million volts into the Earth’s surface, which even while being started up caused lightning to shoot from fire hydrants and sparks to singe feet through shoes all over the town. When calibrated to be in tune with the planet’s resonance, it created what is still the largest man-made electrical surge ever, an arc over 130 feet long. Unfortunately, it set the local power plant aflame.

    You returned to New York, incidentally toying with the nascent idea of something eerily like today’s internet. Although the wealthiest man in America withdrew funding for a larger, more powerful resonator in short order, it did not stop you announcing the ability to split the world in two. You grew ever more diverse in your inventions: remote-controlled boats and submarines, bladeless turbines, and, finally, a death ray.

    While whether the ray ever existed is still doubtful, it is said that you notified the Peary polar expedition to report anything strange in the tundra, and turned on the ray. First, nothing happened; then it disintegrated an owl; finally, reports reached you of the mysterious Tunguska explosion, upon which news you dismantled the apparatus immediately. An offer during WWII to recreate it was, thankfully, never acted upon by then-President Wilson. Turning to other matters, you investigated the forerunner of radar, to widespread derision.

    Your inventions grew stranger. One oscillator caused earthquakes in Manhattan. You adapted this for medical purposes, claiming various health benefits for your devices. You found they let you work for days without sleep; Mark Twain enjoyed the experience until the sudden onset of diarrhoea. You claimed to receive signals in quasi-Morse Code from Mars, explored the initial stages of quantum physics; proposed a “wall of light”, using carefully-calibrated electromagnetic radiation, that would allegedly enable teleportation, anti-gravity airships and time travel; and proposed a basic design for a machine for photographing thoughts. You died aged 87 in New York, sharing an apartment with the flock of pigeons who were by then your only friends.

    Ridiculed throughout your life (Superman fought the evil Dr. Tesla in 1940s comics), you were posthumously declared the father of the fluorescent bulb, the vacuum tube amplifier and the X-ray machine, and the Supreme Court named you as the legal inventor of the radio in place of Marconi. Wardenclyffe, the tower once housing your death ray, was dynamited several times to stop it falling into the hands of spies. It was strangely hard to topple, and even then could not be broken up.

    Written By: Gary on January 22, 2004 No Comment

    Little Kids are so funny. I’m not just talking about the normal little kid stuff. I’m talking about when you say “good-bye”.

    You can be walking away saying “good-bye” waving at little kids and and they’ll watch (generally very intently) and sometimes wave BUT it’s not until you disappear or close the door that they’ll start yelling “bye”. I saw some day care kids today and the twins* did this to me and it totally cracks me up. It’s even cracking me up as I write this. :)

    I can understand to them that saying “bye” after you disappear might make some sense. BUT if we always say “bye” when the can see us, why would they even understand the bye means “gone” and wait until we are gone?

    *The twins are not mine, nor are they twins, they are just two little girls that I think could be twins when I see them together.

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