I have completed my journey to Florida safe and sound. I arrived in West Palm Beach last night at 9PM, a lot later than I thought I would. The second half of my trip was supposed to be the part where I would lose the traffic of the Northeast and start making good time. Unfortunately I had to go through the mother of all rainstorms starting at South Carolina until around Daytona Beach. I have never had to drive through a storm that stayed so strong for so long. To make things more interesting, right near the end of SC, I started to hear tornado warnings for Eastern Georgia. Luckily I didn’t see any funnel clouds on the horizon.
Things are all better now though, as this morning I recovered by swimming and laying around on the beach. It was definitely a great, but different way to spend Christmas morning. When it is sunny and there is a warm breeze blowing on you it doesn’t seem like it can be Christmas. Around here signs of the holiday are Christmas lights swirled around palm trees.
For anyone who is wondering how my trip is going, I am in Washington, DC where I’ve spent the day. From here I’ll continue on my journey to Florida. I’ve been lucky to have an absolute perfect weather day for my one day roaming around the capitol. It is great to be back here in DC because I haven’t been here since a 5th grade school trip and the memories had pretty much faded.
As usual I have my digital camera with me and I am getting some great shots. One of best pictures I took was near the Washington Monument. Earlier in the day I heard a loud, rumbling and looked up to see Marine One ( Dubya’s helicopter) right above me. I wanted to take a pic but I couldn’t do it fast enough. Later in the day I heard the loud, rumbling again and this time I was ready. I got a sweet shot of the helicopter right as it flew by the Washington Monument. I’ll be posting it when I have a chance.
I left NYC very early this morning and things have gone smoothly so far. The only bad thing was I learned in Delaware they are a bit toll happy. At one point there were 3 tolls in what seemed like a 5 minute span! On the bright side, the Delaware Memorial Bridge was a pretty slick looking bridge.
I’ve put up the last of the pictures from my trip to England and Paris last month. From London we did some side trips to Dover and Liverpool. On the Dover day we stopped at Leeds Castle, Dover, Deal and went to the English Channel. The best part of the day was seeing the magnificent White Cliffs of Dover and running around the tops of them. Going into Leeds Castle was another highlight. The castle makes the claim of being “the loveliest castle in the world.”
Liverpool seemed pretty much good for great soccer and the Beatles and other than that it was a bit drab. Then again in all fairness I had been in London and Paris earlier in this trip and there aren’t too many cities in the world that can hold up to comparisons with them. We saw the Liverpool Football Club, one of the best teams in the English Premiership League play Sunderland. I’ve only seen Major League Soccer in the US, so it was impressive to see soccer skills at a much higher level. The train ride from London to Liverpool was fun because we were able to buy and drink beer on the train, something I’m not used too.
View England pictures
Last night I saw Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers and the verdict is…it’s definitely not as good as Fellowship of The Ring. There were some parts that dragged on a bit and at times there was just too much going on, although I’m sure repeat viewings will change what I think. It still was a very good movie, with humongous epic battle scenes and more journeys across Middle Earth with the amazing mountains of New Zealand as the backdrop. The special effects and cinematography were once again awesome, especially Gollum, the closeups on the possessed King of Rohan’s face, and when Pippin and Merry first encounter the living tree.
On a related note, someone has started a petition to have Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson replace George Lucas as writer and director of Star Wars Episode III. Sounds like a great idea to me because while LOTR kicks butt on many levels, it’s obvious George Lucas can’t write a good script anymore, even though he thinks he still can. The stories and characters in Episodes I and II are pretty weak compared to the originals and I question whether Episode I was even necessary. Maybe it’s not too late to save Episode III.
I have some more pictures up from my trip last month, these from my 3 days in Paris. From London I took the Eurostar train through the Channel Tunnel to Paris. The train does a 300 mile trip in 3 hours-not too shabby. Coming to Paris after staying in London was like an overdose of amazing things. Paris is easily one of the coolest cities I have ever been too and definitely the most photogenic. I was in a constant state of awe. It’s also a fairly compact city compared to London and I learned how to use the Metro quickly, so I was able to do a lot in a short period of time.
As soon as I arrived I began to see sidewalk cafes and scooters whizzing around everywhere which instantly told me I was in Paris. I grabbed a quick crepe from one of the street crepe makers. The crepes there were probably the best I ever had and were a big part of my nourishment for most of the stay. My first long walk was a straight line from the Louvre courtyard to the Arc de Triomphe, along the way passing through the Tuileries Gardens, place de la Concorde and Champs Elysees. Walking that stretch was an amazing way to start off a Paris trip. After that I took my first walk along the Seine River, got some dinner and found a cybercafe. The cybercafe that I went to only had French style keyboards which have quite a few keys in different spots. I apologize to anyone who may have got a jumbled email from there.
Some other highlights of the trip….going up in the Eiffel Tower, having great food and wine at the sidewalk cafes, going up to the Notre-Dame Bell Tower, going to the Louvre, viewing Paris from the top of the Sacre Couer and learning that Paris is a damn good place to take pictures. I squeezed a ton into 3 days. I was completely exhausted when I returned to London but it was worth it.
The weather changed fast during my stay, with dark clouds rolling in and out quickly, which actually made for some pretty good pictures.
View Paris Pictures
After a few days of trying Greymatter weblogging software, I’ve decided to switch to Movable Type. There isn’t anything wrong with Greymatter-as a matter of fact I couldn’t ask for it to be easier to set up and use. It did 98% of the things I wished it could do. The main reason for the switch is that Movable Type seems have more going on as far as innovation and development, and I just got excited reading the testimonials and features. I hit a few bumps in the road when installing the software, but for the most part I am pretty impressed with it so far.
There is a clever Star Wars themed parody of Apple’s “PC to Mac Switch” commercials on Newgrounds.com (just click on “watch this movie”). The switch commercials are the ones where people tell their story of why they switched from PC to Mac and how they tried to drag other people down into hell with them….just kidding Mac lovers!! I use a PC for practical reasons, but even though I do, I respect Apple’s innovations.
I finally put some more trip pictures up, this time from London. London was the base of operations on the trip. I spent about half of the trip’s 10 days there, which wasn’t really enough. London is a huge city with an awesome mix of things old and new. I did get to check out a lot of the must see things in London and also sampled popular English dishes. Since I’ve been back I’ve been craving that proper English breakfast I was having most mornings.
While I was there, I thought I would drive, but I quickly realized that was a pretty laughable idea. With all of the tiny cars zipping around roundabouts on the reverse side of the road and the steering wheels on the right, there was going to be no driving for me. As far as getting around London, the Tube gets you around pretty good. I noticed that the the Tube riders seemed very civilized compared to subways/metros I have rode in other cities.
I was also very impressed with the many great bridges that crossed the River Thames. They were all cool in their own distinct way. Ironically though, the one bridge that was pretty ugly and bland was the new version of London Bridge.
It rained a lot, as it typically does in London, but I managed to get a lot of good pictures by capitalizing on the few clear moments.
View London Pictures