Halloween Treat

Have a happy Halloween!

Candy Corn Fly
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A CSA that is not about food

Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm is a unique Community Supported Agriculture project that sells shares in fiber. Not fiber from vegetables or grain but wool. The CSA angle brings share holders a share of the farms wool harvest. Members can follow the progress of the wool production by reading their blog. They also have other items for sale on their Etsy shop. Here is a video the Etsy Video Team did of the farm.


Striper Moon

I'm currently reading Striper Moon: Fly Fishing Techniques and Flies for Striped Bass in Estuary, River, Bay & Surf by J. Kenney Abrames. I'll let you know how I like it when I'm finished.


Just as I was about post this, I noticed this in my feed reader. Although his is much neater. What are the odds that we both thought of this today?

Connect the dots
You can download your own set of dots here. I first mentioned Jeff and Drawing Flies 365 in January. He is still going strong passing the three hundred mark today.

Yesterday I mentioned that I'd show you the print we purchased of the Copper Paint Factory. It is a montage by Judith Robinson-Cox entitled Copper Paint Montage #3. We were surprised to notice we have Copy 1 of 25. Then we found out she lives very close to us. We are really enjoying this print. It really cheers up our upstairs hallway. We hope you like it too.


Copper Paint
An iconic landmark was open this weekend here in Gloucester that we could not pass up. The Copper Paint Factory that guards Gloucester's inner harbor was open to the public for an art exhibition featuring local artists representations of this classic building. All this to raise money for the new owners the Ocean Alliance. Here is how they describe themselves:

Ocean Alliance, Inc., a 501(c)3 organization, was founded in 1971 by biologist Roger Payne. Led by Dr. Payne and Chief Executive Officer Iain Kerr, Ocean Alliance collects a broad spectrum of data on whales and ocean life relating particularly to toxicology, behavior, bioacoustics, and genetics. From that data we work with our scientific partners to advise educators and policy makers on wise stewardship of the oceans to: reduce pollution, prevent the collapse of marine mammal populations, maintain human access to fish and other sea life, and benefit ocean and human health.

They plan to rehabilitate the property and turn it into their new headquarters while maintaining the architectural integrity of the of the buildings. This will preserve one of the classic icons of the waterfront.

We ventured over to satisfy our long time curiosity and were struck by the beautiful weathered structures and abandoned inner workings of a factory more than one hundred years old. This was coupled with an exhibit of all the unique representations the artists have created of the factory. We met many old and new friends and learned more about the Ocean Alliance. The visit also resulted in the purchase of a photographic montage that I'll have to show you later along with an artifact from the building we had to have.

There is a new album page documenting some of the things we saw while there. I will also highlight a couple of the artists we met while there in future posts.

I'm your Muppet!

FAO Schwartz has gotten in the act of the create your own likeness trend, Muppet style. Now you can go make your self a Muppet Whatnot. Here is what I look like with hair. You can't order a bald Muppet. That must be reserved for Bert.

My What Not

Thanks LeeAnn and gothamist


The Pressure Is On

I corresponded with Eden earlier this month and offered to give a NaBloPoMo prize of a dozen fly fishing flies for a lucky blogger who completes their thirty days of posting. She asked me for some links and information about the flies. I sent the information to her and all was good. Today I went to the prize page because she had linked to it in her posting. HOLY CRAP BATMAN! I'm first on the list of prize donors. Who's not going to see that. Now If you're like me, you click on a few links, and check them out and after a while you think, yah yah yah I get it. . . No one gets bored and stops before the first one. I feel like I'm answering the door in my bathrobe at 2:00 in the afternoon. I'm a mess and there is no excuse why I shouldn't be all dressed up and put together. My site is looking a bit shabby. No posts for a while, the weather page is broadcasting weather from last year and I have no new pictures posted. (I went to London in April, do you see any pics of Big Ben in the album? Naaaah) I have work to do people. Readers are also going to wonder who is this nut giving away flies. Most folks give fun and creative Etsy shop type stuff like Sock Zombies or web design services. Fishing lures??? The prizes are all drawn randomly. With my luck the flies will go to a vegan blogger who belongs to PETA, or maybe, just maybe, some person who likes to fly fish.


I have a Twitter account as you can see over there on the right. Anyone else using Twitter?

I'm registered again for NaBloPoMo

I just can't help myself. I love to over commit! Another thirty daily posts coming your way in November. This year the NaBloPoMo prize list will be graced with a dozen flies I will tie for some lucky winner who successfully posts every day. I could even blog about the flies I make for the prize. I've got to keep the content fountain flowing. Already I'm armed with an ideas folder full of stuff to blog about and a huge backlog of things I should have told you about earlier, because I'VE BEEN SANDBAGGING ALL SUMMER. Additionally I have the remote blogging software Rapidblog set up. I did not have that wonderful tool last year. Rapidblog allowed me to blog from England earlier this year.

I encourage my blogging friends to try and participate in NaBloPoMo. It is really fun and quite rewarding. Find out more about NaBloPoMo 2008 and sign up.

Sorry About That

Sorry About That

Little Girl Giant Plays in the Park

Little Girl Giant Plays in the Park from XINERGY on Vimeo.

I need one of these

Good thing I have a titanium hip.
You can get your own here.

Peppers are ready

Lettuce and Peppers from the Garden
The peppers are going gangbusters. All the plants are bearing lots of peppers and there are more flowers. Looks like these plants will yield multiple times. We have also shifted into high lettuce consumption mode. It's been nice to bring in a fresh salad in to work everyday for lunch. We are harvesting several heads of lettuce at a time now. Additional seedlings from seeds we got from Florida are sprouting.

RapidWeaver 4.0.1 and Rapidblog 1.60

Finally got a chance to do some upgrades this week. I'm very happy to see a few things in Rapidblog have been updated. Permalinks are now a hotlink in title again. My blog post editor finally opens with the most recent entries showing immediately. It was annoying having to scroll up to find my last words of wisdom. There seems to be a change in comments expansion. What this means I don't know until after I post and try it for myself. I'll make an addendum when I figure that out.

RapidWeaver has had a UI facelift and is much more Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) like now. It is much easier to edit image attributes with the media inspector button at the top. I used to have to double click the image. If there was a link assigned to the image it was a clickfest to get it to correctly launch what i wanted. They also shipped some nifty web badges so I guess I'll attribute RapidWeaver in the sidebar now.

I have company in the driveway. More later. . .

7/14 Much later. Things look good. Comments still popping up in a separate Haloscan window. This is frustrating. I'd like to have all comments read and entered on the permalink page. I'll fuss with more later. Upload performance also seems optimized. Nice!

Maine Fishing Trip 2008

The Flying Moose
Last month I took a wonderful trip to the Moosehead Lake region of Maine. I went with five other anglers who were excellent company and lots of fun to be with. We stayed at Maynard's Camps in Rockwood Maine. We were well taken care of and enjoyed three wonderful meals a day. The fishing was fun and rewarding. We had to work hard, but we all caught fish. The area is beautiful and the weather cooperated. There were many different locations to fish and quite a variety of water.

During the week we also took a float trip one of the days. The guides were booked through the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville. It was a fun day as well as a challenge later in the afternoon with high winds and fussy fish. It was the first day of a true caddis hatch and we were able to fish dry flies during all parts of the day. Streamers and nymphs also produced fish. Our target species for the area were landlocked salmon and brooke trout. In addition to those species, we also caught lake trout, smallmouth bass, perch and chub.

I've added an entry in the photo album using my pictures as well as Rick's and Willis'' pictures that they sent me. There is also a movie of the same set of photos if you'd rather see all the pictures set to music and not have to click to see each picture. Rick also has documented this trip and previous trips on his website. Take a look over there too. Enjoy!

Garden 2008

2008 Garden
We rearranged the layout of the garden this year. No longer do we have one long raised bed, which was hard to get around unless you stepped in it. I opted instead for diamonds and triangles which is much easier to walk around but it's a bitch to maintain the grass surrounding it. Live and learn. One of the other benefits is isolating plant types to control and rotate the harvest. I no longer have to fear the squash taking over the entire garden. They can fight amoungst themselves in their own sixteen square feet of growing space. The plants also seem happier to be in roomier beds living with less competitive neighbors. The diamonds are 4' X 4' squares and the triangles are half of that dimension. I am loosely following the Square Foot Gardening techniques. I need to read the book. We also opened up the canopy so that more sun could get to the veggies. So far with pretty consistent rain and the new layout, the plants are doing very well. I'll list the varieties of plants we have below. We have over twenty five different types. I was surprised by that tally.

Peppers - Sweet Banana and Garden Salsa
Basil - Perfume and Lemon
Swiss Chard - Bright Lights
Chinese Cabbage
Braising Greens - several varieties
Arugula - Perennial and Mediterranean Rocket
Tomatoes - Brandywine, San Marzano, New Girl, Marglobe, and Sungold
Squash - Multipik and Sunburst Patty Pan
Lettuce - several varieties; Oak Leaf, Butter Crunch, Romaine, Trout Leaf, Red Oak and others
Cutting Celery
Flat Leaf Parsley
Fennel - Zefa Fino
Thyme - Silver Edge
Summer Savory

These vegetables, along with our weekly distribution from our CSA, eliminate our need to get any produce from the supermarket. We are truly becoming summer locavores.
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I've seen two posts from coworkers in so many days about a new web application written by Jonathan Feinberg called Wordle. It takes any text you give it and creates a word cloud based on frequency. You can then manipulate it for orientation, font and color palette. I thought I'd give it a try. What grand literary work do I have to my credit for uploading? Nuttin. . . But I took my NaBloPoMo 2007 postings and came up with a word cloud that I thought was pretty interesting.


Hair Poem by George Carlin

I'm aware some stare at my hair.
In fact, to be fair,
Some really despair of my hair.
But I don't care,
Cause they're not aware,
Nor are they debonair.
In fact, they're just square.

They see hair down to there,
Say, "Beware" and go off on a tear!
I say, "No fair!"
A head that's bare is really nowhere.
So be like a bear, be fair with your hair!
Show it you care.
Wear it to there.
Or to there.
Or to there, if you dare!

My wife bought some hair at a fair, to use as a spare.
Did I care?
Au contraire!
Spare hair is fair!
In fact, hair can be rare.
Fred Astaire got no hair,
Nor does a chair,
Nor nor a chocolate eclair,
And where is the hair on a pear?
Nowhere, mon frere!

So now that I've shared this affair of the hair,
I'm going to repair to my lair and use Nair, do you care?

As my friends and family know, George Carlin had a profound influence on me starting with my early teenage years on through college. I listened to his LP's so much I could recite entire bits verbatim. He brought to the American public a mirror with which we could examine ourselves with a more critical eye and made us laugh at the same time


'Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy

I'm sure we've all mistaken lyrics from one song or another. This video takes mistaken lyrics to a whole new level. Oh Fortuna converted into O Four Tuna. Just a subtile difference from the original lyrics.

Thanks Rock!

How Many Cannibals Can My Body Feed?


I Love Cats But. . . Oh My Gosh, Not This Much

Just click here.

Some Things Show Up In Places You Don't Expect

I follow the blog of Andy Ihnatko. He's an author and the technology columnist for the Chicago Sun Times. I like geeky stuff, what can I say. As I watched the news this morning in bewilderment, I could not figure out a reason for what was going on. Andy's post puts it into perspective. Please note, I do not publicly endorse or discuss political candidates on this blog. Andy's insight was so clear that I wanted to share it with you. Maybe because I'm a geek, his pen speaks more clearly to me.

Sad News of a Fire on Our Maine Vacation Island

From Maine Coast Now

I poke to Robert, the fire chief, earlier and he said this is a terrible loss for Matinicus Island. The islanders are already rallying to rectify the situation. A temporary trailer to house the Post Office is said to be on it's way and the owners of the new general store as well as Craig, the property owner, have insurance to cover the loss. I guess we'll have to wait a while for the long anticipated General Store. There hasn't been one on the island since we started vacationing there five years ago. Our most recent visit was in January for a taste of the Matinicus winter. Robert and Cynthia were our gracious hosts for the long weekend.

This brought to light the needs of their all volunteer fire department. They are collecting donations and receiving aid from several communities in Maine. Hopefully they will get some much needed equipment upgrades.

Additional coverage from WLBZ

I can't get this song out of my head. ~ Now it's in yours.

Thanks to Jenn, Jenn, Jenn, Jenn, Jenn, Jenn, Jenn, Jenn, Jenn, Jenn, Jenn, Jenn, Jenn, Jenn, Jenn, Jenn - the one not on the bus, Jennie, Jennie, Jennie, Jennie, Jennie, Jennie, Jennie, Jennie, Jennie, Jennie, and Jennifer


England Days 9 & 10

We awoke to a beautiful morning and the faint sounds of sheep in the pasture.
Breakfast was made from the eggs from Christine's chickens and included all sorts of yummy goodies. We discovered we had landed quite close to a place called Bratton Water. A fly fishing only pond with trout that are raised on site. Steve made a quick call and I was all taken care of complete with gear. I had not intended to fish anywhere in England but if the opportunity presents itself. . .A few hours of wonderful fishing with two very well fed rainbow porkers in the 14 to 16 inch range and I was at my limit. All fish landed must be taken as this is a hatchery that supplies many local tables with their harvest. One fish was taken on an olive nymph and the other on a blood worm. The owners Mike and Jan were very helpful and accommodating to this traveling angler without a kit. The Fish were taken back to our hosts at Bracken House as a gift for their hospitality. We had already scheduled partridge breast for dinner and did not want to disrupt Christine's menu planning. There was also good odds of coming home with nothing. After depositing the fish we were off to Marwood Hill Gardens to see the amazing efforts of the late Dr. James Smart and what he has accomplished in just fifty years. The eighty acre property is comprised of a small valley that faces the house. Because of the different elevations he was able to collect and plant a wide variety of plants from upland alpine species to lowland boggs. There are many national specimen's on the property specifically grown to assure seed stocks in perpetuity. We started with a light lunch in the tearoom and while we were there we were able to listen in on a brief overview of the place by the head gardener, who was giving a tour to the rhododendron society on that day. After lunch we took a long walk around the property. Even though it was April many plants were already in bloom. England has a much longer growing season than us and their spring has a big jump on our New England growing season. They are so lucky to have such a wonderful climate for gardening. After our long walk we went back to Bracken House to see what the sheep were up to. As we arrived, so did the farmers that own the sheep. They fielded questions from two wacky American tourists incredibly curious about all these woolly critters. When they emerged from a back pasture they had #191 in tow. He had a bad leg and was in need of some medicine. It was back to the barn with it for some TLC.Back to the barn for us too and time for a little reading and blogging, accompanied by scotch and ale before dinner. This included nice conversation with our hosts until Christine rang the dinner bell. The partridge was wonderful and was served with mustard mashed potatoes, sauted leeks, roasted parsnips and broccoli. A nice private label Bracken House white wine brought the flavors out nicely. The finally was rhubarb cobbler with custard (for her) and vanilla ice cream.

Day Ten
Another hearty breakfast and then time to say goodbye. We had to make our way back toward London for departure the next morning. Our intention was a scenic drive through the northern coast area of Exmoor National Park in North Devon. This area is known as the soft hills of Devon and includes beautiful vistas of rolling hills and pastures. It also has that enchanted woods feel in sections as we waded our way through the twisting scenic toll road which included several switchbacks that traversed the many hills. The coast looked daunting and foreboding on this windswept and rainy day. The dramatic views really made an impact. A wonderful feast for the eyes as we made our way back to the big city for our departure the next day. We knew we had left Devon when we again started to see many fields of rapeseed flowers on the road back east.We had one more stop to make before we concluded our trip and we rushed towards Windsor to see if we could make it. After an anxious time in a traffic jam we were finally able to park the car and walk through the village and shops to the top of the hill. As we arrived we looked up to see what we were hoping for. The Royal Standard was flying and Elizabeth II was at home in her private apartments on the grounds.
The displays at the castle were magnificent and humbling showing the riches of a kingdom where the sun never sets. This last site infused our memories of England with royalty, castles and the beautiful landscapes we experienced on our visit. We had a most wonderful time. I want to thank my wonderful friend, partner and love for a unique and wonderful Birthday present. I also want to thank all of you who have read this narrative and for coming along. Hopefully in the weeks to come I'll post more bits and pieces from the trip as well as assemble a consumable set of pictures from the collection of over one thousand photographs we took. OK, now back to our regularly scheduled reality. Vacation's over , move along nothing more to see here.

England Days 7 & 8

Day Seven
We had a quick breakfast at the hotel to insure we'd be at the dockyard at opening time. We revalidated our tickets with till two, even though she works till four thirty. We ventured all through the HMS Victory from her quarterdeck right down to the lowest part of the ship, the hold.

The exhibits were extremely detailed and kept as accurate as possible. There is a plaque on the deck marking the spot where Nelson fell. The staff on board was very helpful in answering any questions we had. The dining cabin for the admiral was opulent and in sharp contrast to the gun deck mess where the common sailors dined on a table slung above a canon. After the victory we rushed on board a harbour tour boat boat for a cruise around the harbour while we ate a picnic lunch. We were able to see some of the might of the modern Royal Naval Fleet and the Portsmouth sights. We were also able to get a front view of the Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth's new signature landmark.
After lunch we concentrated on the Mary Rose exhibit. The Mary Rose is the oldest naval ship ever raised from the seabed. She sunk shortly after leaving the harbour, killing almost all on board. The reason why she sank is still a mystery. Many think it was a combination of factors. Thousands of items from the day of the sinking have been recovered and due to the exact dating of the sinking this has helped historians date other artifacts of the time period. Following this exhibit we attended the Trafalgar exhibit which connects Nelson and the Victory forever. This completed our visit to the dockyard and we checked off a must see item on our list for England. Back on the road again we pointed the GPS to Salisbury and landed there safely. After a bit of searching we found a nice little hotel in the town called The Clovellly. It was clean and quiet and across the street from two pubs. We stopped in for a pint of John Smiths Smooth. The pub was less cold feeling than most we had been in and we had good fun with the folks in the pub. After the tot it was time for a curry. We found a modern Indian restaurant that had very vibrant flavored foods and pleasing modern decor. A great end to a long day.

Day Eight
We had a proper English breakfast at the Clovelly and walked over to Salisbury Cathedral. This church has the highest steeple in the country. In the picture below, that little dot at the base of the point of the spire is not a spec of dirt but a steeplejack repairing the spire.They are currently celebrating the 750th anniversary with a steeple renovation. There were three steeple jacks hanging off bosun's chairs while we approached. They were so high up that they looked like part of the ornamentation of the steeple until they moved up or down the peak. The interior of the cathedral was amazing with ancient tombs throughout. It has had three times more years to collect history than our own country. The cathedral also has one of the four original copies of the Magna Carta and they boast they have the most legible copy of them all.
After a romp through the grounds we headed to Stonehenge. They have done a really a nice job of managing the site that is in the middle of sheep pasture at the crossroads of two highways. Via portable audio players, you are taken around the site to hear the historic and astrological significance of the area.After a lap around the bluestone he headed west towards North Devon and the Exmoor park. We quickly discovered the unique driving characteristics of the region, which basically is like driving in a one lane trough. There is no shoulder as the side of the road is a high hedge usually bordering a sheep pasture. If you encounter a car heading towards you, you may end up driving backwards for a half mile to let the other car pass. We found wonderful accommodations at Bracken House in Bratton Flemming, Christine and Stephen were our hosts and provided us with wonderful food and hospitality. The cottage overlooked beautiful sheep pasture and we were immediately greeted by several sheep and their lambs. Some babies were as young as a week old. They are a joy to watch as the jump and frolic in the hillside pasture. After we were settled in, we walked to the local pub, The White Hart, for some local fair. The place was well kept and the staff was very helpful. The local folks were nice to talk to and very friendly. We ventured back to Bracken House through the foot paths with torches in hand and turned in for the night.

England Days 5 & 6

Day Five
Time to say good bye to our hosts Caroline and Richard as well to London. They were marvelous hosts supplying us with comfort, information, good tips and delicious breakfasts.

Richard was gracious enough to bring us to the car rental for our next adventure, driving on the wrong side of the road. The car is a "full size" Mercedes that is very comfortable and easy to drive - relatively. Full size means that the trunk fits two suitcases max. We have a GPS, so that takes a bit of the confusion out of getting around. Driving on the left is a bit dicey since I've been driving on the right for thirty-three years. My MO is to drive slow. Lots of folks passing on the right but lots not. Big Brother has a firm hold on driving enforcement here as there are cameras that film and time you going through certain sections of the road. The other thing that takes a bit to get use to is the roundabouts or rotaries. We have lots of them in "New" England but not one every few miles. I guess it beats traffic lights and they are cheaper than overpasses to build and maintain. We followed our noses down Kings Road to the A3 stopped for a brief visit in Petworth and made our way to Climping, West Sussex, on the southern coast, to the beautiful Bailiffs Court Hotel and Spa. This stay and dinner was a birthday present from our wonderful friends Kim and Jim. We can't thank them enough. Kim was taken there on her twenty-first birthday and it is indelibly etched in her memory. We can see why. The rustic yet formally styled complex is comprised of many buildings all as unique components of a country home complete with peacocks and peahens roaming the property. Beautifully landscaped and maintained grounds complement the five star service. The room was fully appointed with canopy bed and spa style bath. After checking in we ventured to Arundel Castle for a tour. Arundel is the current home of the Duke of Norfolk. The duke and duchess still live at the castle in a private wing but still access the parts contained in the tour. I know it sounds odd, but they have made the castle seem lived in and homey with all the personal touches added throughout the tour. This was an interesting and fun place to visit. Back to our room to prepare for dinner where prescribed dress code is smart. I donned a jacket and tie. We dined on Chef Russell White's chefs menu. I'll cut to the chase - SUPERB - The banana mousse put this meal over the top. All I could think of when I had the roast pork was my mother in laws fresh ham. If I make reference to her cooking the chef must be working magic. With happy tummies we turned in for the night.

Day Six
The next morning started with a proper country stroll through the property and down to the beach. This was followed by a trip to the spa and preparations for departure. We made a quick stop in Littlehampton to secure a road atlas. Tip - we secured last years copy for two pounds $4. This years copy was 10 pounds @20. I know we have a GPS but an atlas helps with strategy and proximity. A quick walk through town, a peek at the mouth of the Arun river and we were off to Portsmouth. Driving was a little better this time but the senses are still on high alert. We arrived at the home of the historic naval dockyard, secured lodging, grabbed some lunch and ventured over to see some naval history. A tour through the Admiral Nelson exhibit was just enough to whet our appetite for a full day of exploration scheduled for the next day. We went for a much needed rest at our hotel, supped, did reading and writing, then crawled into our hammocks and slept until eight bells.

England Days 3 & 4

Hi everyone! Here are a couple more days of our travelog. I'll add more pictures at a later date.
4/16 - photo's added today.

Day Three.
Foiled by Starbucks. We wanted to check some information on the internet, check email and update the blog. The staff assured me that I would be able to connect but after a half hour of fiddling, it was no dice. One of the Barestas finally came over and said there was network trouble. Grrrrrr. Back to the B&B to ditch the computer and off to Trafalgar Square via the #11 bus for the National Gallery and St Martin's-in-the-Fields. as we left the bus, Mary immediately noticed an internet cafe. We popped in and quickly (relative term since the machines were running windows 98 and Internet Explorer 5, blah.) got on-line to read, write and post. Mail checked and apologetic post made and we rushed off for one of the free tours given by the Gallery. The docent was very knowledgeable and took us from fourteenth century up to the present with examples of European art through the centuries. We then went across the street for a lunchtime concert at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church. The featured group was Sahara, a wonderful quartet featuring violin, vIola, cello and soprano saxophone. The sound was unique yet familiar at the same time. I kept thinking of PBS shows with the same type music in the background. We purchased their CD and secured permission to post one of their songs on this blog. Doing this remotely is a bit of a challenge so I'll post a copy once I get stateside. After the concert we exited the church and discovered a rain shower. Can you believe it? Rain in London? Fortunately for us we had plans for lunch at the Cafe in the Crypt, St Martins own cafe in the basement. Yes lunch in a church basement. The food was yummy and is one of London's best meal values. With Lunch and the rain over we headed to our next destination the Victoria and Albert Museum. We were lucky to pick an elevator that landed exactly where we wanted to start the Morris Arts and Crafts exhibit. The roots of the the American arts and crafts movement that was in direct response to the Victorian era of decoration and design. We made our way through several exhibits and found the exit. A nice walk home through Chelsea and we pretty much crashed. Not however before Richard and Caroline suggested Tom's Kitchen for dinner. We made our arrangements and rested prior to our walk to dinner. Let me insert here that ALL the sights we went to today were absolutely FREE, the museums and the concert. Back to the important stuff - the food. Tom Aikens is a well known chef in London currently rivaling Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay. This is his mid-scale restaurant that features local foods prepared in a simple but delicious manner. We sat at a white marble kitchen bar watching the chefs work their magic with never a waisted motion, It was wonderful. The food was tasty and wonderfully prepared. During diner we met two local gentlemen who invited us to drinks after the meal. We met up in Sloan Square at Oriel and had a lively time complete with a birthday party pub crawl featuring Roman gladiators. An end to a full and fun day.

Day Four.
Off to Greenwich to see the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory. We decided to go to Greenwich via the Thames River Cruise and experience London by water. The tour was informative and gave us a new perspective on transportation and maritime life in an inland port. The museum is on the grounds of the original Royal Naval College. The quadrangle is beautiful and inviting.
We focused on exhibits around the time of Lord Nelson and the early eighteen hundreds. Seeing the absolute reverence the British have for this man and what he accomplished is humbling. We then proceeded to the observatory to see where longitude starts. This one point on the earth is extremely significant especially to sailors like us. The research in figuring out how one can position one's location on earth using precise timing at the height of the noon sun never ceases to fascinate me. Included is the story of the work Harrison did to achieve an accurate nautical timepiece over a lifetime. The grounds for the observatory were beautifully kept and reflect the respect England has for the magnitude of these achievements.

After the observatory we came back on the river boat and ventured to see Buckingham Palace. The Queen was not at home so we could not pop in to say hi. The guards had finished changing and went home for the day fully dressed. We then walked to Hyde Park, Kensington and Back to Chelsea. Needless to say we walked a lot at the end of the day. We went to a local pub called Album and had a quick nosh before calling it a night. We also celebrate the reason for coming to England the golden anniversary of my birth.

England Day 2

Day Two.
A lovely breakfast in the company of Caroline and Richard our hosts and then we were off. The day's plan included the Tower of London, The Design Museum and the Tate Modern Museum. First stop was Partridges market for lunch supplies. Partridges is on par with US shops like Dean and Deluca or any upscale gourmet shop. The difference is that Partridges is a market endorsed with the seal of her majesty Elizabeth Regina II. Everything was fresh, tasty and beautifully presented. The service was also excellent. We then discovered that Mary's daypack strap was broken. With a bit of string from Partridges we made a jury rig for the strap and we were off to Sloane Square Station to be taken via tube to the Tower of London.
Upon arrival we were greeted by the Yeoman Wardens, aka Beefeaters, and whisked off to an entertaining tour of the grounds. I was amazed to find out this was not just a tower but many towers and the castle of the British empire, complete with huge moat, drawbridges, prisons and royal residences. Indeed this ominous location was where the expansion of the empire was planned and orchestrated. We learned much about the history of the Tower and enjoyed the architecture and beauty of this unique place. The crown jewels are also housed here and they are nothing short of breathtaking, The punch bowl was over the top! We finished our visit, crossed the tower bridge and had our picnic lunch on the south bank of the river Thames.

The Design Museum was our next destination. We were exposed to displays of beautiful and thoughtful designs in architecture, consumer products, fashion and transportation. It was then off to the Tate Modern Museum to prove my complete misunderstanding of modern art. There were lots of squares, cubes, rectangles and splotches of paint. The Picassos and Dalis were cool to see though. We then ventured across the Thames via the Millennium footbridge to find dinner.

We walked all through the theater district for an hour before deciding on an nice Italian restaurant called Bertorelli. The meal was superb and we highly recommend you go there right now to have dinner. On the way home we were approached by five girls from Holland, asking if we had an umbrella which I did have. No they did not want it but they wanted a picture of me with it. They were on holiday with school and were having a photographic scavenger hunt. There were screams of joy when the bumbershoot was produced and a photo ensued. After that adventure it was down to the tube and we were B&B bound.

England Day 1

Day one.
Made it to London safe and sound if not a bit foggy. No not the weather being foggy just our bodies from the flight. We knew we would be living the upcoming day on four hours of sleep on the plane and the effects of being bloated like a pufferfish from the altitude. Our arrival into London was very easy and included a nice walk through Chelsea. We passes some of the posh shops in the district. Our B&B is cheery and cozy. We got settled, had tea with our host and ventured to the Trafalgar Square area and the Board of Tourism to pick up our London Passes and tickets to the London Eye. Then it was off off for Fish 'n Chips at the Captain's Cabin, a traditional London Pub. Once refreshed we headed to Farlows, a fancy British fly shoppe on Pall Mall. Not much there I haven't seen before in the states, albeit in a much more upscale location. From there we crossed the river Thames via the Golden Jubilee footbridge and took the an amazing ride on the London Eye. From our eyepod (couldn't resist) we had a wonderful overview of the city and got ourselves oriented.

A quick crossing back over the river, via the Westminster Bridge, to Parliament which included a long look at Big Ben and Victoria Tower Gardens. This was followed by a walk to the Hoarse Guards to witness the olfactory delights of equine husbandry. After much discussion we decided on noodles at Wagamama for dinner. A wonderful asian noodle dinner with coconut ice cream with tangy mango sauce and toasted coconut flake garnish for desert. YUM! A short tube ride back to our B&B and we collapsed for a nine hour slumber.

Hello From London

No WiFi access at the local Starbucks, their network is down - TWITS!
I can't upload anything as yet. Hopefully this will be corrected soon. This internet cafe is brutal. I'm on a Windows 98 machine and have already rebooted once. Java script errors!!!! The good thing is I'm posting from Trafalgar Square! Huzzah for Admiral Nelson

Canine Mind Control

She is using her mind control on me

This is my friend Ruby. Her eyes get like that when she takes control of my mind. She is making me stop drinking single malt scotch for the night. That is the reason my face is like that.

We'll be learning a new language this week.

You too can learn a language in just a day Rick Steves can help.

This, is the face of Autism.... our face....

This is the Face of Autism

From my niece, who can say it better than me, and so eloquently . Be Aware.

April is Autism Awareness Month

Fourty Years Ago A Man Was Shot. I Hope His Dreams Become Reality

A friend of mine said it best.
"We have come so far. We have so very far to go."

Thanks Eric

Re: Big News!

Many people are questioning wether my previous post is real. I ca understand this due to the timing of the announcement. Please go here to see the supporting documentation. This explains in more detail what is happening on our exciting project this week. It is also documented here.

Big News!

After months of deliberation and soul searching Mary and I have made a life changing decision. We're combining our love for cooking, the excitement of fly fishing and our love of nature and the outdoors. We finished negotiations today and have successfully signed paperwork to buy the Roscoe Diner in beautiful Roscoe, New York.

Sign of the times

We've decided to get away from the rat race and head to the country. Since we both love to cook we decided that a career change in the restaurant business could be done in almost any location. People have to eat so we knew a new career involving food could take us anywhere we wanted to go. Initially we will continue to do our day jobs by telecommuting. Thank goodness for the internet. As the business progresses and we get on our feet in Roscoe we will transition to the diner permanently. Fortunately both our companies have other offices close by.

Situated at the southwestern end of the Catskill Park, Roscoe is the epicenter of the famous and historic fly fishing mecca the Delaware River basin. The Fly Fishing does not get any better than this on the east coast. Also close to the home to the famous Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum and the Wulff School of Fly Fishing. I attended the school a couple of years ago and just fell in love with the area. Since that time I've made several secret trips to Roscoe and was in negotiations with the owners of the diner. Now that the plans have solidified I can also announce that we will be putting a second floor onto the diner where we will have a full sportsmans lodge and fly shop. Note how the design will lend itself readily to the second floor addition.

Things are going up!
This will truly be an exciting time for us. Stay tuned as more details unfold. Remember to save room for our famous Roscoe Cherry Pie!

What can you do for one hour in the dark?

This Saturday (tomorrow) from 8:00 PM to 9:00 PM, turn out the lights and see what happens.
You could help save your planet.

More information here and here.

Not Normal

I can't even get above 50% normal. No, I don't read my daily horoscope, nor do I prefer rats. I'm "a little weird."

You Are Fairly Normal

You scored 45% normal on this quiz.
Like most people you are normal in some ways.
But you aren't a completely normal person.
You're a little weird too!

What's Normal About You... And What's Not?

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