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holidays + events

Relating to holidays, events, vacations, short trips or maybe just big get-togethers.

Written By: Gary on June 11, 2008 No Comment

So I got some more photos up. London Day one, not a lot, but I did do some okay descriptions :)

Written By: Gary on June 11, 2008 One Comment

Theatre-Drinks-Pict2475So at some of the theater’s in London (and I’m sure in other places in the world) you place your order and pay for interval drinks before the show starts. This way when it’s time for intermission, your drink is already ready for you and there is no line. Very civilized :)

It’s just coincidence that it’s in “position L”, that was already on the sheet when I scribbled my name on it. So when I went to get my drink there was my bottle of Schweppes, a glass with ice and my order sheet (see attached photo).

Written By: Gary on June 8, 2008 2 Comments

london04-707So for the Waffle Toffee Crunch score: We were there eight days (Saturday to Saturday) and I was able to have a Waffle Toffee Crunch dessert seven of the eight days! They only day I didn’t succeed was the day we left for Cardiff. In my defense we were on the way to the train station before Garfunkel’s opened and they didn’t appear to have any in Cardiff (they few people I asked didn’t even know what Garfunkel’s was).

So I consider the dessert portion of the vacation as much of a success as possible :)

Written By: Gary on June 7, 2008 2 Comments

Cardiff-Photos
So I’ve got a few photos that I put together from Cardiff City Center. I’m not sure if the castle is technically in the city center or not but I including those few anyways. There are captions on a few of the photos.

Written By: Gary on June 7, 2008 No Comment

It’s been a very long flight and we took off late so we’re going to get in late. They were having problems with one of the bathrooms and they tried fixing it, then they gave up and had to drain the tanks(?) and that took more time. The long bathroom lines are annoying slow but at least they’re moving. The flight home was already eight hours and fifty minutes; I’m glad it was a direct flight, I’m not sure how it’s affecting the the people with connecting flights.

Saw some cool ice “stuff” while flying, not sure if it was part of Greenland or something else, it was a huge massive land formation that was all while and looked like it was ice.

I’ve got a bunch of other entries and posts that I still have to put on-line (or finish and put on-line still) so they’ll be more to come on-line….

Written By: Gary on June 7, 2008 2 Comments

StreetcarSo at StreetCar you can rent a car by the hour. They’ve got 500 pickup locations (and I think this is just spots where parked on the side of the street). It’s about 5.95 pounds ($12 an hour) for a Golf (Polo for 3.95) an hour or 49.50 pounds a day (and you get 30 miles of fuel). You must be a member for 50 pounds a year (show your OysterCard and get two memberships for the price of one).

Assuming you don’t have a need for a car very often, this is economical and ecological: you don’t need to pay for a car or insurance or parking, except for the times you need it; it’s such a waste otherwise if you don’t use it often. You don’t need to maintain it or anything like that. If I lived somewhere like London I would only need it a time or two a week (at the most), maybe big shopping trips.

This is very cool IMHO, this is the idea of of Sci-Fi/Future Utopian stories. Every shares a car or bicycles and has great public transportation. This is very unlike Michigan with poor public transportation and everyone owns a car (or two).

Written By: Gary on June 6, 2008 No Comment

This was an off-“Broadway” show (called Haunted) we saw someone bring flyers into one of the restaurants we were eating at so we took one and it sounding interesting. Then shortly after we happened to walk by the Arts Theatre and Haunted stuck in our heads so we decided to go…
Haunted-Play

Nineteen empty flats and just one sold. Why? What’s wrong with the place? And why does it want Alex and her children?

Four friends for supper. No supper.

An extra guest. A kitchen full of implements.

The evening veers off its polite rails and ends up somewhere very dark.

(from the Haunted flyer)

Now finding the place again was tricky, they didn’t bother to print the address on the brochure; it’s at 6/7 (Great) Newport Street, London WC2 in case you’re looking for it. But it’s only there until June 14.

Great acting, it all took place in one room but it was done excellent! It was a little confusing at times, but it didn’t really affect the story: Were there spirits in the house? Were they a little cRaZy? Was it a bit in their heads? Was anyone actually possessed? I actually think you weren’t supposed to know…

I think the stories based on the property are actually true (at least I read it on-line somewhere, so it must be true).

My only ture complaint was that it ended abruptly, too abruptly for me, but Mom didn’t seem to mind…Rats, while putting this post together I just noticed I could have saved $13.00 by getting Mom the senior discount :(

Written By: Gary on June 6, 2008 No Comment

The Oyster Card is a debit-type card for using the Tube (subway) and bus systems. It’s very very convienent, why they don’t push the Oyster Card as an alternative for tourists I have no clue. There’s advertising everywhere but not pushing it for tourists (the airports and train stations would be a logical choice). It’s a “gift card” that you load up with any dollar pound amount and just tap it (like the new Visa cards with the tap or blink function) to get onto a tube train or bus. If you use it a lot, it can automatically top up from your credit card so you’ll always have enough (and I think you can get your photo put on a more permanent card).

“Our aim is to ensure that Oyster always charges the lowest fare.
Where it doesn’t, we will refund the difference.”

It’s much easier and faster plus you don’t have to decide if you need a all day tube ticket or bus option or anything. It calculates the best possible fare for you at the end of the day and they promise it’ll be cheaper than tickets. Plus you can use it on the cool red double-decker busses!

It’s a 3 pound deposit, but I’m under the impression that when we return our cards we get the 3 pounds plus any other cash we still have on it returned to us. Our only concern has been not having enough on it when we get on a bus (it’d be too late to put more ca$h on it then).

So my vote is get a Oyster Card as soon you get to the London area!Later: We did get the deposit (3 pounds) and all our money back with no problem.

Written By: Gary on June 5, 2008 No Comment

Marguerite MusicalSo the first show we saw in London was a musical called Marguerite, it took place in German occupied France. Marguerite was married to a German general for convenience and falls in love with a jazz piano player. It was a beautiful old theatre with at least two balconies (there might have been a higher one but I couldn’t see it from the main floor).

We had tenth row great seats (halfway between center and the edge); we picked them up from the TKTS booth at Leicester Square which has different discount (almost all are half-off) tickets every day (I usually look there first when looking for tickets). I think they just have tickets for “west end” theatre but I’m not sure where the “east end” is (or north or south for that matter).

The writer/producer of Marguerite also did

  • Les Miserables
  • Miss Saigon
  • Martin Guerre
    It was fun, a little bit slow at times so we’ll see if it goes global. But, I thought Les Miserables was very slow and that one became “kind of” popular.

    Amazing scene changes on the stage! The way they transform one setting to another was excellent. Although it’s so good it really doesn’t leave much to the imagination which I think used to be a big part of the “theatre experience”.

    I’d definitely recommend this if this sounds like your type of musical. Heres a video clip.

  • Written By: Gary on June 4, 2008 No Comment

    Cardiff Words
    I cannot even describe to you how awesome the Wales Millennium Centre looked at night. All the letters were illuminated from the inside and it was just incredible! I just stared at it for a while, I’m sure I looked like such the tourist.

    All the little towers around the plaza (Roald Dahl Plass) were lit from the inside and the outsides were lit with different colors (which slowly changed).

    I thought it might be kind of busy down there, but since it had cooled off so it was pretty quiet down there. Sadly, I didn’t have my camera. I didn’t know where I was heading after so I didn’t bring it.

    It almost made up for the tall fountain being broken…

    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 3, 2008 No Comment

    So we haven’t had a huge amount of sun this trip and that’s okay since that means it hasn’t been hot, but today has just been wet wet wet. I want a nice sunny day to take Mom on a boat tour on the Thames or up in the London Eye (huge ferris wheel). We’re off to Cardiff in Wales tomorrow so you know it’s going to be a sunny day in London!!

    Written By: Gary on June 3, 2008 No Comment

    london04-707At this point I managed to get my dessert four days in a row!

    Warm Belgian waffle topped with vanilla ice cream, maple syrup and laced with toffee crunch pieces.

    Garfunkel’s Menu

    I wonder if they have Garfunkel’s in Wales? I’d hate to blow my streak…

    Written By: Gary on June 3, 2008 No Comment

    photo_ukregentstreet.jpgMom is at Harrod’s.

    I’m in heaven! At the Flagship Apple Store on Regents street in London.

    It’s a huge store. A little bigger than in Chicago! Gotta go shop!

    Later – Turns out we have live music too! Jessica Hoop and Lissie, I’ll be checking them out on-line later…


     


     

    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 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 May 30, 2008 No Comment

    So we got to the Detroit Airport super early, but it really made it ultra-low stress since we weren’t in a hurry at all and the lines were all pretty short so it’s been pretty easy going so far.

    My cool PacSafe secuity backpack got put through the xray machine a few times. I’m not sure if that’s from the wire mesh that’s in it or all the electronics…

    Written By: Gary on May 30, 2008 No Comment

    It’s been a crazy week. But it’s all going to be worth it!

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    Written By: Gary on May 11, 2008 One Comment

    This is my Mother and I, it’s not the best picture but it is the most recent one, just a few months old (I was showing her my QuikPod more than we were posing); you can tell we were just goofing around since she didn’t make me fix my hair. Maybe we’ll take a better one later today.

    Momandmepict2349She’s a been a great Mom and she had to work hard at it, she had to drop out of High School to have me and that can’t have been easy in her very Catholic family. I do remember her going back to High School when I was in the first grade; she actually went back to school during the day, she didn’t just get her GED she completed the Diploma. I don’t really remember a commencement ceremony or anything like that (although I’ll ask today if I can get it to come up) she must have just gotten the paper.

    I’m sure having me changed her plans for life in many many ways. I don’t know if she ever even got a chance to think about life after high school or if al of a sudden it was all over…

    Thanks Mom! You brought me up pretty good and I came out mostly okay. Statistically, I’m doing pretty great – I’m gainfully employed, educated, not in debt (other than my home) and my only complaint is that I’m single with no kids (but I’ve still got some time for that). Thank you again and I Love You!!

    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 January 2, 2008 No Comment

    Hippo4Chrsitmas“I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” is one of my favorite songs. And that’s what I got! As I present I got a certificate that I’ve adopted a Hippo at the Detroit Zoo. I’ve got a Hippo, a certificate and background (see the photo).

    I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas is a Christmas novelty song written by John Coctoasten and performed by Gayla Peevey (10 or 11 years old at the time) in 1953. Hippo1953You can listen here or at the iTunes music store.

    This is a favorite Christmas song of mine and I remember it being on a holiday Mix tape that Jim (a co-worker) made one year. It was a few years before it got re-popularized about 10 years ago (maybe from an Ally McBeal episode).

    Plus, it includes a trip to the zoo, which (once I go) crosses another item off my 101 in 1001 list

    Written By: Gary on January 1, 2008 One Comment

    So it’s the new year. And it’s gotta be better than the last one, or at least better than the last 1/3 of last year. That was just too stressful…

    I don’t do regular resolutions. They never take. I think the same goes for most people and their resolutions.

    I started doing 101 things in 1001 days, which means you make a 101 tasks/resolutions (manageable ones) and you have 1001 days to do it (about 2.75 years). I originally found this at Day Zero. This have worked for me, I’ve got about 9 months left and I’ve completed about 41 of them (by tonight I’ll have done one more). I’m guessing I’ll have about 60 of them done by the time list runs out, 70 if I’m really motivated. Not perfect but for everyone you know, how many complete 6 out of 10 of their resolutions?

    Written By: Gary on December 25, 2007 One Comment

    I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday today! I’d like a little more snow outside but other than that, it’s perfect. Lots of fun gifts and I think Mom liked everything I got her. More on some of the gifts later…

    On a side note: One of my favorite things about Christmas (the last few years) is the Doctor Who Christmas Special! This year’s episode it titled “Voyage Of The Damned” (Starring Kylie Minogue) and takes place on the Titanic. So I’m hoping I can “tune in” to that tonight!

    If you’re a Dr. Who fan you might be interested in this odd little Dr. Who 7 minute special, it takes place in the middle of the last 30 seconds of the season finale. Right after Martha walks out the door of the Tardis and right before the Titanic crashes in through the Tardis. A little mishap lets the Doctor meet one of his former selves (the 5th Doctor played by Peter Davison). It was part of a BBC “Children in Need” Special. If you don’t watch Dr. Who this clip will not be entertaining at all.

    Written By: Gary on December 20, 2007 2 Comments

    Have a great a happy holiday and / or vacation!

    Be nice to everyone!
    It’s easier to smile than to frown (it’s a scientific fact) and the results are always better (another fact).
    Drive safe!
    If you’re a few minutes late everyone will still be there. (I promise).
    Don’t fight with your parents! Or your kids!
    It really doesn’t matter who’s right. (Although, I sure like to be right).
    It’s not the dollar$ $pent, it’s really the thought.
    It really is, think about the times you’re gotten a useless gift, or thought they spent too much. (Yes, I know it’s nice to get expensive gifts).
    Be thankful for everything and everyone you have!
    It’s all you have so take care of all of it and them.

    Just smile and be nice to everyone as much as you can for the next few weeks…

    Written By: Gary on December 18, 2007 No Comment

    I’m SO far behind for the holidays. All my family get togethers start this Friday and I’m just not ready. I guess I’ll have to worry about it for another few days and I’ll either be caught up or I won’t!

    I think a vacation day on Thursday will help me get the job done…

    Written By: Gary on December 16, 2007 No Comment

    GvholidaynightsSo I did get to go to the Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village. It was all snowy so I went this weekend! I don’t like to do these Christmassy, wintery things when there isn’t snow out.

    It was cold but it was fun. I was hoping for more lights decorating things but since it was old fashioned and such a thing didn’t exist in those times I was disappointed on that part. But the “Sleigh Ride” (it actually had wheels) and al the kerosene lanterns and all the little fires and carolers and everyone dressed up old fashioned was fun! And the fireworks at the end made it all worth it! (It was really cold)

    Written By: Gary on December 16, 2007 No Comment

    It’s beautiful and it gets sure me in the holiday spirit! And I live on the third floor so it gives me a nice view! But, I’m going to hate it when I have to go out in it. ..

    Lots of people parked in the street last night (the Snow Emergency alarms went off so they shouldn’t have; it’s an expensive ticket $50+, I think), and while I’d like to mock them (but they probably got tickets), it’s now screwed (as parking goes) since the trucks didn’t get to plow in there. And even when the cars get out it won’t be plowed properly for a while since they’ll be some new cars in there.

    Hopefully they’ll plow my lot soon, I’m not sure if I can get out. But it’s still coming down, so I don’t think they’ll be back for a while.

    I’m definitely going to do something Christmassy tonight. Like look at the lights or something (unfortunately, I think that Greenfield VIllage Holiday Nights are sold out)…

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    Written By: Gary on November 27, 2007 3 Comments

    JacoarrivalI made it!!! It was a bit of a trip, and a ride through the mountains but I made it! I got some ca$h from the ATM and some dinner and some stuff for the fridge (coke, gaterade, water and OJ) and I think I might be hitting the sack soon….

    Here’s the view if you walk outside (about 50 meters) the hotel, I took it right after I checked in. I’ll try to take more pictures and post more tomorrow…

    Written By: Gary on November 27, 2007 No Comment

    So for the second leg I didn’t get an aisle seat, but no one sat in the middle seat so I had lots of room. I got to watch the clouds for a while, but they weren’t as smooth and flat where they look solid, just lots of lumpy fluffy ones.

    I think airline food has gotten better the last few years, my chicken and rice was delicious and even the carrots were good. I got to read a little bit, a sci-fi paperback called Manifold Time by Stephen Baxter, I’m liking it so far but I’m not very far into it. I plan to leave it behind and I forgot my BookCrossing labels.

    The Atlanta airport was nice, I don’t think I’ve ever been there when I wasn’t running for a connecting flight. We got in early so I had some time to look around (and get my last McDonald’s food for a while). I even had time to switch my seat (from a middle one) and to sign up for frequent flyer miles, I couldn’t find my Delta number anywhere, and they made it sound like I could claim old miles too and I know where my last ticket is (when I flew to NY via Atlanta).

    Also, last night was Monday, my big TV night, so I threw a few of those shows in my laptop and got to watch Chuck and Journeyman. That really makes the time go by…

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    Written By: Gary on November 25, 2007 One Comment

    I’ve got my Christmas tree up! It always makes me very happy to get it up, I was even happy when I got it up last night and didn’t even have ornaments on it, just the lit tree makes me happy. I always dread putting up of it and the decorating, this year I got Mom to come help with the decorating. We got it and the house done. We ate out at the Seahorse Grill (review later). We computed a little bit on her laptop. And we returned my copy of of Living Abroad in Costa Rica which it turns out I had a copy of already by a different publisher (same author) and I purchased a copy of Culture Smart!: a quick guide to customs and etiquette in Costa Rica. And of course, we listened to Christmas songs…

    Written By: Gary on November 22, 2007 2 Comments

    Drive Safe! Eat Lots! And don’t forget to Be Thankful!

    I know life can get crappy at times, but be thankful for the little things. I know if you’re reading this you’ve got access to a computer with Internet access, so that’s soemthing :)

    I know even when I get down about the things I don’t have (which are not material things), I know I have family, friends, a home, a car that runs and a job (even if it is making me insane right now). I do have a million other things (mostly things I probably don’t need), but those material things really aren’t what matters at the end of the day.

    Written By: Gary on October 29, 2007 One Comment

    spideronmycarSo I decorated for Halloween. I saw this huge spider at Target and I knew I had to put it on my car. I wanted it on the front hood, but I thought I might get a ticket for something like that. So I put Harry, (hairy, get it?!?) on the trunk and it’s worked pretty good so far. When I get moving fast, he gets all scrunched down; it looks like he’s doing it on purpose.

    I’m pretty happy that he hasn’t escaped yet (especially on the expressway). I haven’t noticed many people noticing, but since I’m busy driving..

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