Sunday, June 29, 2008

My First 5K

As you may remember I signed up for a 5K to raise money for cancer research. I managed to finish without any problems today. At first it looked like it may rain but as the start time neared the clouds cleared and there were blue skies. I walked the race with 2 friends and we finished in 51 minutes. We didn't push ourselves too hard just gabbed and gossiped along the way. Afterwards was a nice lunch along the Thames.

It was very motivating to see 5,000 women all walking and running. Some people really get into it and wore tutus, grass skirts, cowboy hats, I even saw somebody in a cow suit! I did manage to fire off a couple of shots plus got 1 of me just to prove I actually did it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

American BBQ

Over the weekend I threw my first party with an American theme of course. A BBQ with macaroni and cheese, ribs, BBQ chicken, Boston baked beans, s'mores and beer. It was a challenge trying to find the beer. The stores only seem to carry Budweiser and I personally refuse to drink or buy that. I did manage to find an on-line site that imports beer from around the world I was very pleased to see they carried Sam Adams and Anchor Steam (unfortunately the Sierra Nevada was sold out). I was even lucky enough to find a party store that carried American flag plates, cups and flags to decorate with.

I've come to realize that you can make boatloads of money running an import business. The beer was sold by the bottle so 2.5 cases ran close to 100 quid including delivery charges. Other charges for some of the imported speciality products - double-stuff oreos almost 6 quid, graham crackers for the s'mores 4.50.

Speaking of the s'mores those were definitely a challenge to make. As I didn't quite have room in garden for a campfire I decided to attempt to roast the marshmallows over the grill. Surprisingly enough it worked rather well I only lost 1 into the grill which I should probably clean out before I use it again. All in all I think the party was a success

Monday, June 16, 2008

Just Plane Fun

For those of you that don't know George W. Bush is doing a farewell tour of Europe before leaving office. While taxing down the runway at Heathrow this morning the pilot pointed out Air Force One parked to the side. Unfortunately I wasn't in a window seat so I wasn't able to take a picture, it was cool to see it almost up close.

P.S. Note to self - remember when in a foreign country don't hit spell check as everything comes up incorrect.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


While I've attended political rallies in the past I've never attended a protest until yesterday, although I was attending as a participant but as a photographer. One of the people in my photography club was involved in organizing the London Naked Bike Ride to protest the use of gas & oil (yes you read that correctly naked bike ride). I volunteered to be an "official" photographer. The ride kicked off in Hyde Park and went for 6 KM throughout London passing various landmarks.
As an official photographer I got access to go up in a cherry picker to take aerial shots of Hyde Park before the race and go up Wellington Arch at the end of the day after it had been closed to the public and take shots of the finish. Some people had slogans painted on their backs others painted their entire bodies. Watching the faces and reactions of people on the streets was entertaining, most people seemed to find it entertaining waving, shouting words of encouragement and taking snapshots.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Wednesday evening in Munich I had to go to a biergarden even though the weather was a little chilly. I didn't bring a coat as the weather had been so warm lately, I should know better than to pack without checking the weather forecast. Anyways the rain had stopped so I decided I could brave the weather to check out the world famous biergartens (beer gardens). There was one a short walk from the hotel which was also showing the football game. For those of you that don't know we are currently in the middle of Euro 2008, Wednesday's game was Portugal over Czech Republic.
It was interesting to sit outside and watch TV. The waiters and waitresses at the biergarten carry 5-6 glasses in one hand at a time. I had trouble picking up 1 let alone 5. The picture on the left shows the size of the steins and also what I had for dinner. When in Munchen do as the Munchkins do (OK they're not called Munchkins).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Passport Control

I'm used to getting all sorts of questions going through passport control such as

  • Are you here for business or vacation?

  • How long have you been out of the country?

  • Where are you coming from?

  • How long will you be staying?

However the question I got today at Munich airport caught me by surprise. As the agent handed me my passport he pointed to the page and said "What is the name of this building, Independence Hall?"

I have to admit I was having a little trouble processing but managed to come up with something along the lines of "These pictures are all about Philadelphia, so yes that's Independence Hall." I got my passport back and walked on. Not sure if this is some new interrogation technique or if the agent had some other reason for asking. When I got in the taxi I looked through all the other pages to see if there are other buildings that I need to learn to identify. Luckily no, the other pages are just generic landscapes of various regions - with the exception of the Statue of Liberty but I have no problem identifying that.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Now That Sucks

Over the weekend I finally got fed up with my vacuum cleaner as it didn't have any suction and did a very poor job of cleaning. I did a bit of research and found a nice new hoover (that's the British word for vacuum cleaner in case you were wondering) at Amazon and luckily it was on sale. The delivery van arrived this morning, luckily I was able to work from home to accept delivery. Of course I had to take a few minutes out of the day to assemble it and clean the floors. It was amazing to see the amount of dirt that was picked up the first pass, it's so nice to have a vacuum cleaner that sucks.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Times They Are A Changin'

One of the first laws that Boris Johnson passed as the new mayor of London is as of June 1st you will no longer be able to drink alcoholic beverages on the tube or trains in London. Last year the UK banned smoking now drinking - what's next? I actually had always found it strange that drinking was allowed as open containers or drinking outside of a licensed establishment isn't accepted in many places.

Of course in typical British fashion some people decided to organize a party on May 31st on the circle line on the last night that drinking was allowed. This of course led to arrests, injuries and the closing of some stations due to unruly behavior. The news reporting of this of course blamed all of this on Boris Johnson, personally I think that the people attending the party and causing problems are to blame not the mayor for passing this new law.