ljplicease: (slc cap #3)

We had a lovely Sunday with mum and Don. We had all agreed just to do small presents, so after brekky that is what we did. For lunch we roasted the leg o' lamb that I had gotten from Costco on Friday. Mum showed me how to prepare it nicely. Don carved. In the evening we played Trivial Pursuit. The copy we have dates back to the days of the Soviet Union, so you have to calibrate your answers appropriately. We played the usual teams, Mum and I vs. Don and Lena. Don and Lena were victorious.

Monday was Boxing Day, which isn't usually a holiday here, but since Chrissy was on Sunday, it was the day we got off. We were in negotiations to see a movie, but since we couldn't decide on one mum suggested going up to Harpers Ferry instead. I have been meaning to go to Harpers Ferry since 2010, when I did my road trip[1] from Salt Lake City to DC. We were hungry by the time we got there, so we went to Bistro 1840, which was delicious. A tad heavy on the cheese though. Then we climbed some rocks for a view and crossed the bridge to the Maryland side for fun and then came back to the West Virginia side to visit the John Brown museum. There was a poignant moment when we were watching national park videos talking about the disunity[2] that was brought about by John Brown and his followers when we looked at each other and considered the political climate and uncertainty on the horizon.

When we got home, we planned out our Tassie trip[3]. We are going to visit the island state for about a week as a subset of our Aussie trip in February.

  1. That trip was routed to add as many new states to my list of states visited as possible. I did one weird thing in each state by researching weird things on the internet. The John Brown Wax Museum in Harpers Ferry was supposed to be my West Virginia thing, but after Kentucky I was exhausted of driving and went as directly as possible to Springfield, Virginia where I stayed for about a month before moving into Maryland. I figured from the DC area it would be easy to visit Harpers Ferry at my leisure. Had no idea it would take six years. I still haven't been to the Wax Museum. Also, I still have eleven US states to visit.
  2. In fairness, John Brown was the spark that erupted into the Civil War, but but all the political munitions that had been stacked up for him to set alight have to take some responsibility too.
  3. Incidentally, once complete, this will leave just the big WA as the only Australian state I haven't been to. WA is the size of Texas, California and Alaska combined.
ljplicease: (reagan and cobra commander)

My friends Brad and Sherry got married in Georgia last weekend. We weren't able to make that celebration, but we did make the New York reception, which turned out to be a wonderful excuse to catch up with most of my friends from the six years that I lived in New York. Joanna and Padrock were there, which was nice because it allowed Lena to meet them for the first time. Now my only friend from my New York years she hasn't met is MegO. One day we will have to make a trip up to Boston so that I can catch up with her and so Lena can meet her and her family.


We headed right for the Hudson Valley this weekend and we had lunch at the German Deli. The German Deli is in fact not called the German Deli, and hasn't been since before I even moved to New York in 2000, but the name is always what people at The Company called it, and so the name has stuck. I had the beef brisket, which I always have, and I always sort of wish that I had ordered the bacon blue cheese burger. They also have Darrel Lea liquorice, all the way from Australia, so I had that for dessert.


I thought it was going to rain mercilessly (though in the end it didn't), so I suggested that we go up to Hyde Park to check out the Vanderbilt mansion and the FDR home and library. The Vanderbilt mansion is much as I remembered it. The tour was free apparently because it was National Public Land Day. The FDR home and museum has a brand new visitor centre, with a pretty tile floor that acts as a map of the region back when FDR was still alive. One of the guys there said that the Vanderbilts looked down on the Roosevelts, and I remember making the observation when I visited both sites with my family back in 2000 that it was better to be rich than to be President. The inside of the FDR house was covered with pictures of navy ships shooting at each other. FDR was clearly obsessed.

some more photos of the Vanderbilt grounds )
ljplicease: (my tree)

I lived in Santa Fe for about a year in the third grade. I don't have fond memories of going to school there, and I can't remember any of the kids or teachers at the school. I suspect that this is because I have managed to block them all out. Still, it was in art class there that I learned to appreciate my favourite painter, Georgia O'Keefe. The main thing that we have in common is that we both love northern New Mexico. In the Chicago Institute of Art this weekend I was listening to the recorded audio tour tell me about a painting she had done of New York City before, as the audio tour put it, she went to New Mexico and became the artist that we all think of as Georgia O'Keefe. The painting in question is less of New York itself, and more of the light behind a building obliterating a dark tall monolith. It is a painting of the city but like much of her work it is organic. I've seen paintings like this of hers before in books. I may have even seen this painting years before and forgotten the details. It's interesting and thrilling to experience an artist before she becomes that artist everyone “knows” she is, even in retrospect. I know her style and I seek comfort in it, even when she paints New York instead of New Mexico.


I turned the corner and saw across the hallway two iconic paintings of hers from her New Mexico years and I gasp a little. Even after all these years I can see her work and feel everything that I feel about New Mexico in an instant. It is a complicated feeling, with many dimensions and thoughts attached, but I think the one with the largest magnitude is homesick. When I left New Mexico in 2000 to find my fortune, I could not get out of the state soon enough. I wanted to see the world (and I am not sorry that I did), but now I think if I could arrange it, the land of enchantment is amongst the few places in the world that I would hesitate to move back to permanently.

some of her paintings )
ljplicease: (Visit America)

Yesterday's post brought us back to the year 2005 via flashback. Today we go all the way back to 1862 and the Battle of Hampton Roads. It is an interesting event historically as it was the first conflict between two “ironclad” warships, the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (often referred to as the Merrimack in the North). Neither warship is intact anymore, the Virginia was scuttled by the Confederacy to keep it from falling into enemy hands and the Monitor was lost in a storm. However, bits and pieces of both vessels can be found in Richmond and Newport News, Virginia. I had been meaning to track them down for a while, and when I realized Jasper was going to be in Raleigh, it seemed like a good weekend to do both.

more )
ljplicease: (Vasquez Rocks)

I was listening to NPR one day in 2005, as I was oft to do in those days around about the time I decided move back to Australia, when they had an interview of Jasper Fforde, of whom I had never heard of before, in which he read the passage from his brand new Something Rotten in which Prince Hamlet found himself in a modern coffee shop with its bewildering array of choices, and he is required to do the one thing that he is totally ill-equipped to do: make a simple decision. Immediately following my run-on-sentence I decided that was among the most brilliant things I had ever heard and that I needed to read at least the first book in his Thursday Next series. I devoured the first four books in a few weeks and was left with an empty feeling when I realized I would have to wait at least another whole year to read Jasper's new book since he had inconsiderately not written it yet.

more )
ljplicease: (Exploding Brad Photograph)

Apparently at my new job there was a rumor going around that I was there for a wedding (although not for my wedding at least). Not so! I was just there to hang out with Lena, who was there for a conference. It was a nice break from the long days of driving!

more )

  1. who happens to transform into a Dinosaur
  2. e.g. “Me Grimlock know all about wipers! Want to hear good part of story!”
ljplicease: (Earth)

My second presidential stop on my road trip is The Hermitage, the home of President Andrew Jackson, or as his friends called him “The General”. That the tyrant had any friends at all is remarkable, and that a man who fought so hard to disregard the constitution it may seem surprising that he is celebrated prominently on the $20 bill. The man made his reputation in defeating the Brits at the Battle of New Orleans, in the War of 1812, a month after the war between Britain and the United States was officially over. The engagement was a tiny footnote compared to contemporary battles such as at Waterloo, and the whole North American campaign was for the Brits a peripheral and secondary dispute, while they were more worried about Napoleon.

more )
ljplicease: (Dragonfly)

My first stop in Arkansas is at a Wendy's for lunch. The establishment is filled with army guys in camouflage. I will find out when I am leaving that they drove here in their Humvees. I am startled that people are speaking with a more obviously southern accent, though I should not be. My first real stop is the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock.

more )
ljplicease: (Death & Life)

My hotel room is on the 8th floor and the hotel is right in the middle of downtown Oklahoma City. I am a short walk from an entertainment district called Bricktown, which offers a canal and little bit of a nightlife. I try a Mexican restaurant. This is actually a minor victory for me. Social Phobia often prevents me from eating in sit down restaurants when I am by myself. The food is tasty but mild. The staff sing “Happy Birthday” mariachi style Four (4) times while I am there, apparently demonstrating the Birthday Paradox. I am half tempted to lie and tell them it is my birthday for some added excitement/adventure. Guacamole came as a “salad” and for dessert I declined a sopaipilla, which come with the meal in New Mexico. Bricktown and Oklahoma City in general are surprisingly awesome.

more )
ljplicease: (Dark Eye)

I drove through Kansas from north to south. In Phillipsburg I had to wait at the rail crossing as they connected several train cars to the end of a train. It moved left, connected, moved right, they switched the semaphore, it moved left again. I was worried I’d be there forever, but I wasn’t. I stayed the night in Russell, which is apparently the home town of both Senators Bob Dole and Arlen Specter. I wonder if the sign that boasts that proudly was erected before or after Specter turncoated to the Democrats. I have nothing against Russell, I had a pretty good Sonic burger and shake there, but doesn’t it tell you something that they wanted to go to Washington?

more )
ljplicease: (Cow Duck)

Western Nebraska, unsurprisingly, looks a lot like eastern Wyoming. The rolling yellow carpet continues well on into the state. There are lots of cows and horses and I even saw some sheep. Most of the cars on I-80 came from out of state. I have actually been here once before when I drove to Salt Lake from New York. Unfortunately I was in a rush so the only thing that I did was sleep in a hotel in Omaha. This time I decided to re-route my whole trip through Nebraska instead of Colorado (which I have already been too many times) in order to see something reasonably extreme.

more )
ljplicease: (City Fog)

When I first crossed the border into Wyoming it looked as though the rock had been chiseled by the rugged individuality that makes the cowboy state so famous, followed by a few gentle dabs of muted paint to give the desert a bit of color. Further into the state it turned into a flat yellow carpet or rolling hills. Although Wyoming is known as the cowboy state, with its high velocity winds and eco-friendly green energy wind farms it really ought to be called the windy state. On my journey east I noticed not only several wind farms, but the large bits and pieces needed to build more wind turbines on wide load trucks headed west. I vaguely remember reading something about the explosion of Wyoming wind farms in the Economist.

more )

Salt Lake

Feb. 6th, 2006 08:37 pm
ljplicease: (building reflect)

I made it to Salt Lake City! I'm tired.


Feb. 4th, 2006 07:01 am
ljplicease: (building beacon)

I'm now in Omaha, Nebraska. I read that this was the largest city in Nebraska, but from what Kathy had been telling me all these years, I half expected it to be a pub with three cows parked out in front. It is, however, a fairly large city. I drove through five states yesterday. Most of which I had never been to before.




Feb. 2nd, 2006 11:06 pm
ljplicease: (boat)
I am in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It is fun to talk to Dave about computer geek things.


Jan. 4th, 2005 10:02 pm
ljplicease: (Flag)
I'm planning some road trips this summer, so I decided to get a dedicated GPS for when I'm using my nav-computer Polaris in the DacMobile. The GPS arrived today and I was just out field testing it. I would say that it is much better suited for the task than the old one was. The old one will still be useful for hiking and all that, but this one will be much more reliable in the car. The neat thing about the software which came with this unit is that it talks to you. In this business feminine voice it's like "In Three Hundred Feet Turn Left." Usually my computers don't talk to me like that and it reminded me of Star Trek (which is about the only place that computers do talk, and have complex conversation skills). The program's voice reminded me in particular of an episode, I'm not for certain which one, where the computer is reprogrammed with this sensual voice which sounds like it is trying to seduce Captain Kirk every time he uses it (he pretends to be un-amused, but we all know better). This got me to thinking that there must be a huge underdeveloped market for computer audio themes. (I think the market for desktop themes must be pretty well sewn up by now). The cliché would be a phone-sex theme ("Oh baby... turn left baby"). The audio theme that I want to have in my navigational computer though, is the one which features Robert Stack saying "Blurr, you can help me turn left in three hundred feet."


ljplicease: (Default)

April 2017

23 45678


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 23rd, 2017 05:40 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios