Safe at home

We returned home last night from our Christmas trip to Maryland. 

Our trip out was not delayed (as we expected it might be) but our luggage was.  We left Dublin with two bags and arrived in D.C. with one.  Damn Heathrow!  We went the whole week with the baggage system saying “we have no new information on your bag”.  By the end of the week I was sure the bag had been stolen and we’d never see the stuff again (which sucked, Paula had a coat in that bag she really likes). 

When we arrived in Dublin we decided to check with the counter there… lo and behold! Our bag would be arriving tomorrow.  Even better… it arrived tonight!  As a bonus, the cheese and salmon we had packed in the bag as Christmas gifts hadn’t leaked (which would have sucked big-time… Paula’s pillow was in the bag too).

Ahh… vacation is over, we can relax now. 😀


Five things people don’t… er… didn’t know about me…

So, having tired of chain e-mail, the net has now switched to chain blog posts.


So, the game is apparently quite simple, give 5 things that few people know about you, then tag 5 friends to have them follow suit.  Omar has dragged me into this… So here goes:

  1. I wanted to be an actor, a stuntman, a race driver and/or design cars… and no, that wasn’t when I was in 6th grade, it was when I was in college.  I chose UCSD because it was close to Hollywood (well, closer than Toledo, Ohio was) and had a good engineering program (which I thought would be good for designing race cars).  Partway through school I decided I didn’t want to be an engineer, I wanted to be a Psychologist.  Suffice it to say, I didn’t do any of those things.  I do, however, still want to be Paul Newman.
  2. I’m related to Orson Welles, distantly. We have the same great-great-great grandfather… I’m not sure what that makes us.  Family lore also has it that James Hadfield is a distant relative, but that’s unsubstantiated (and probably nothing to brag about).
  3. My feet are a wonder of nature.  I’m 5’9″ and my feet are size 13.  They are also on upside-down: the bottom of them are baby-soft and the tops of my toes have calluses.  Between the size and the extra hair you’d think I was an over-grown Hobbit.
  4. I’m obsessed with solitaire on my cell phone.  It’s how I relax (and give myself carpal tunnel in my thumb).  The result is I’ve learned interesting things like:

    1. If you hold the joystick up it will automatically put cards up into the Ace piles.
    2. If you win a game and watch the cards bounce around, you’ll see there’s a bug, the cards count down from King down to Ace… then the King shows up again.
    3. While the end of game cards are bouncing around pressing “draw” will start stacking them back into the pile.

  5. I hate dry wood in my mouth.  Chopsticks, popsicle sticks, anything.  Gives me the willies big time.  If you’re ever at a Chinese (Japanese, Thai, etc.) restaurant with me you’ll see the first thing I do is dump my chopsticks into my water glass and leave them there until I’m satisfied they’re good an soaked.

There you go, 5 things.  I figure that at some point down the road someone will have to start up a game of “Five more things people don’t know about me”… but until then I’ll have to pass the baton.  

  • I started at ResNova to replace Rob (can you believe it’s been 12 years?), I’m sure he has a tale to tell. 
  • Jason has taken on the awesome responsibility of caring for our good friend Leslie.  There was no application process so I’d like to learn more.
  • For a long time Tami has been my blog “pen pal”.  Let’s hear five things from her (or her cat).
  • Not everyone on the net lives in America… so let’s hear from Casper, a fellow Dublin resident.
  • An last, but not least, to Steve Davis, because I’m sure he has something funny to say (or at least, frightening).

Technorati tags: 5 Things, Five Things


Off into the wild gray yonder

We’re heading to visit my sister’s house for Christmas.  Since our flights are heading through Heathrow that means we’re either spending Christmas in Maryland, or London

Keep your fingers crossed for us. 🙂



Rude snowman?

I was going to the Developer One web site to download an update and I noticed this snowman on their page… is it flipping me off?

cheeky snowman


Smugmug tip: use keywords

When using photosharing sites on the web most people simply toss up their photos and leave them there.  If you do this (and I admit, I do it for the majority of my pictures) you’re missing out.

Adding keywords to your pictures gives you a whole new way to browse through your memories.  Everyone one is used to looking at a typical photo album… here are pictures of us at Mike’s birthday… here are pictures of us in Disneyland… etc.  Absolutely something people want to do… but also something people have been doing for centuries.

If you apply keywords to your pictures you can also look at a totally different set of pictures.  One thing I learned from my dad is this: if you see a dog you must pet it (I learned other stuff too, but bear with me).  As a result of learning this lesson well I’m starting to end up with a collection of pictures of me petting dogs.  Once you have some keywords you can then combine them with others… so I can see pictures of me petting dogs in South Korea.

Now, don’t feel like you need to go out and add keywords to 100% of your pictures in one go.  It will be overwhelming.  You should, however, start adding them slowly and, as you start to spot things you do frequently, go back and add special keywords like "pet the dog" or "self portrait" (tip: if you want a two (or more) word keyword in smugmug be sure to put quotes around it).


Lazy Sunday

Last night was the Microsoft Christmas Party (less concern of being PC in a Catholic country) which kept us up a little later than usual.  After sleeping in we started the day feeling productive, having a light breakfast and making a list of things to do. 

The problem of the day, however, ended up being physics.  The pure mass of our couch proved to have entirely too much gravitational pull and we succumbed to the inevitable, curling up for a little TV and a light nap.

Comfy couch
hard to resist

The day wasn’t, however, a complete waste.  We did something we’ve always wanted to do… figure out what the heck this “cricket” thing is all about… roughly.  I’ve studied the basic laws of cricket from the BBC web site and now think I could watch a little bit of the sport and kind of understand what’s happening.  I’m still not sure, however, if I could sit still for the full six hours of a professional test.


Why does this amuse me?

I received a misdirected piece of e-mail today which, for some unknown reason, I find tremendously funny.

From: xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: 13 December 2006 00:30
To: Reeves Little
Subject: Re: Alex Smith



> From: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Date: 2006/12/12 Tue AM 09:26:14 EST
> To: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> Subject: Alex xxxxx
> Mrs. xxxxxxxx,
> Alex’s behavior has improved. Just a reminder, MId-term exams are next week.
> xxxxxxxx
> Art teacher

I suppose part of it is I’m imagining little Alex at home studying hard for finger painting and smashing his mother’s jewelry.


Photo tip: get a good, compact flashlight

I’m betting that you, like me, have been to plenty of cool places where your eyes could adjust to a dark space but getting a picture in the poorly-lit space was nigh-on-impossible.  A flash in many cases will create a harsh effect and (if you shouldn’t be taking pictures) may draw unwanted attention (shhh!).  If, however, you carry one of the new, powerful flashlights you can get some great shots.

When Paula and I were in Salzburg we visited the catacombs at St. Peter’s and came across this wonderful altar in a cave that dates back to medieval times.  The room was quite dark with a bit of lighting behind the items of interest.  Fortunately we now carry a great flashlight given to us by Phillip, Paula was able to light the center of the altar while I snapped a couple pictures.


The flashlight was also helpful for examining the faded paintings on the walls (and before you get on us about deteriorating the paintings… Paula has a masters in archival studies, we were sure to not do any damage. :)).  While traveling we’ve used the handy light to look into shadowy nooks, light up hidden signs and generally find our way in the dark.  At first Paula made fun of me for my geeky obsession with carrying the new toy, but she soon came to appreciate the added light-on-demand.

There are a whole mess of HI (high intensity) flashlights out there, but I’m quite smitten with the unit Phillip gave us, the SureFire G2.  It’s carry-on friendly (no complaints from security yet) and despite being very small and light it packs quite a punch – the thing puts out so much power that you can burn yourself if you leave it on too long!


Rodrigo y Gabriela

I’m stuck listening to Metal all day today, and it’s the fault of a pair of Mexican guitarists.

Rodrigo y Gabriela

Tuesday night Paula and I went to see Rodrigo y Gabriela in downtown Dublin.  This couple got their “start” several years back here in Dublin are are currently in the middle of a world tour. 

I put “start” in quotes because this acoustic guitar playing duo were in a metal band before moving to Dublin and redefining themselves with an infectious mix of Spanish guitar, flamenco, jazz and heavy metal.  The duo’s show draws you in as they chat with the crowd, jam together and string together an almost random combination of original pieces and cover songs.  The best way to understand their music and personalities is to go see a show (and you really should). For folks state-side set your TiVos to record Letterman on the 18th, they’re definitely worth sitting through some stupid people tricks to see.  They’ll also be in Seattle on the 15th at Chop Suey.  Check out their site for Philadelphia, Denver and Chicago dates too.  As a poor substitute, here’s a melange of clips I recorded at their show.

A nice bonus was the opening act, Foy Vance.  Foy, with floppy hair, stellar guitar chops and wonderful voice, was a complete surprise.  Imagine if James Taylor and Mary Chapin Carpenter’s love child had been raised in Belfast by George Harrison.  Okay, perhaps that’s  a little hard to imagine, just go check out his music on his MySpace site, it’s worth the trip.


Economist: Ireland is the best place to live in the world

Lighthouse at Hoth

The Economist’s review of the world for 2005 has Ireland ranked as the best place to live in the world based on quality of life indicators.  The US failed to break the top ten but wasn’t far off at 13 in the survey of 111 countries.

You know the reason, right?

Guinness Brewery Entrance

Via BBC: (thanks for the pointer Laurence!)

Update: A link to the full report thanks to Casper: