Saturday, September 30, 2006

Holiday: Scotland

Again, the weather was awesome, except for the last full day, when it was really rainy and windy. We stayed at the Cherry Tree Villa Bread and Breakfast, I highly recommend it. They cooked haggis for us for breakfast. I have to say it tasted like really salty fried liver pate. Haggis is normally boiled, and server with neeps and tatties (turnips and potatoes), so I have to try that the next time I go to Scotland. My sister also ventured to try black pudding. Urgh.

See Photos

Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
Day Five

Loch Ness and Highlands of Scotland bus tour

I have to say that this was the first bus tour that I didn't feel ripped off. Yes, it was 12 hours, and it was very tiring, and yes, I was on the bus most of the time. Plus, it started pouring rain, and I had to buy a baseball cap to keep some of the rain off.

We got to see Loch Ness, and tour the loch a bit. The captain of our boat was actually a marine biologist, and his research was on the Loch Ness monster. He even showed us some evidence as he had sonar and radar equipment on his boat. Pretty cool.

Other things of note on the tour: Urquhart Castle and lots of hairy coos and sheep. And we heard lots about William Wallace and Rob Roy and Mary, Queen of Scots (actually, we heard about them all over the place!) Our bus driver was very funny and told us lots of Scottish history and tidbits, which made things more meaningful.

All in all, it was a splendid trip. The next time, I would love to do a driving tour around Great Britian, and see some of Ireland.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Holiday: London

We had awesome weather in London, it was in the mid-20s the whole time was there, and didn't get a drop of rain! Here's the summary of our London leg:

See photos

Day One
Day Two
Day Three
Day Four
I love, love, LOVE! London, and would live there in a heartbeat. But cost of living's too high (it's not the 4th most expensive city to live in the world for nothing), and I don't think I would be able to earn enough to live comfortably. Le Sigh.

Next stop, Scotland!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Jet lag bites

The reason why I didn't put up a post yesterday was because my jet lag was really getting to me. I had finally succumb to sleep at 8.30 pm last night, and even then it was a struggle to stay awake. It's about 8.30 pm right now (AKA 4.30 am), but I'm adjusting a little better, thanks to my 10 hours of sleep last night.

Some British terms that I've learned while on holidays:

way out == exit
way in == entrance
take away == take out
hose pipe == water hose
jumper == sweater
999 == 911
"mind" your head == "watch" your head (substitute as required)
car park == parking lot
push chair == baby buggy
trainers == sneakers
lorry == truck
bin == garbage can
rubbish == trash
"bin your litter" or "bin it" == throw your trash in the garbage can
hen party == stagette

I'm certain there's more, this is what I heard/saw the time I was there. I will have pictures and a trip summary, I promise, I've just been very tired. However, tonight will be CSI and then sleep!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Scottish are smart.

I had two free drink coupons from Starbucks, and they both said that they were valid in the UK. Knowing that I was planning on a trip to the UK, I had purposely saved them for my trip.

My first attempt at using the coupons was in London. I was still trying to adjust to the time change when I decided to go into a Starbucks that I had spotted down the street to order my usual pick-me-up: Tall Hot Chocolate, No Whip. Don't ask me why a drink with warm milk wakes me up, it just does.

I asked the person behind the counter if I was able to use the coupon and I flashed it in front of her face. She barely glanced at it and said yes. I got my order and left.

(As an aside, I normally pay $2.92 CDN, this is after tax, for a Tall Hot Chocolate. In the UK, the same costs 1.99 Sterling, again after tax, and if you use the exchange rate of 2.1, that's about $4.18 CDN. You can see why I saved my coupons as I did. I blame the 17.5% VAT that is automatically included for the inflated price.)

My next attempt was in Edinburgh, on a day that was unusually warm, even for Scotland, so I decided to get a Strawberries and Creme. I walked into a Starbucks on the Royal Mile that I've passed by a few times.

Me: Can I get a Tall Strawberries and Creme, no whip?

Scottish Barista: You mean a Venti, right?

Me: No, just a Tall, thanks.

Scottish Barista: No, you really want a Venti.

Me: . Er, yes, I want a Venti.

See, smart, to make up for my brain fart, which I blame a combination of lack of sleep, the cold that I had since near the start of my trip, and weary feet from walking all over Edinburgh that day.

Monday, September 25, 2006

I saw a hairy coo!

So we're safely back in Seattle. The only major mishap was that Heathrow lost one of my mom's baggage, but it should show up eventually. We think it's still in London.
We had an awesome trip! One of the trip highlights was seeing many Highland hairy coos and sheep. I'll eventually post up my trip summary, it may not be tomorrow as I'm already feeling the jet-lag, and we still need to drive home to Lotusland and do loads of laundry, catch up with the work and school stuff that I've missed.
I'll leave you with a Scottish joke:
Q: There are 10 coos on the field. How can you tell which one is the oil tycoon?
A: coo-eight (Kuwait).
PS coo == cow

Friday, September 15, 2006

Tea with the Queen!

Yay! So we're finally going to go on our UK trip! I probably won't have much of a chance to go on the Internet the next 10 days.

Pray that my foot will hold up, that none of us will get sick and that there won't be any hassles with the airport.

Stay tuned for my UK update in a couple of weeks...!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Passing through Seattle...

So we're in Seattle right now. Tomorrow we'll be heading to the SeaTac Airport and on to London!

My sister spoke with BA, and they assured her that it would take max one hour to get from Terminal 1 to Terminal 4 at Heathrow. Plus, they will transfer our baggage to the connecting flight. So I feel a bit better.

Tonight we went to Jak's Grill for dinner. I highly recommend it, the steak was yummy. But anything cooked in butter will always taste good.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Getting Ready.

So tonight we've been frantically packing for our big trip. Tomorrow we'll be driving down to Seattle and staying at my sister's place overnight. Then Friday evening, we'll be on a plane headed to London!

We have possibly one minor snafu in the travel plans. We will be going to Edinburgh on the second half of our trip. From there, we will be flying directly from Edinburgh to Heathrow, and from Heathrow back to Seattle. We have a two hour window to switch planes.

Formally, we thought that we would have enough time to switch planes, but that was before the whole bombing scare. We have to sprint from Terminal 1 to Terminal 4. Anyone whose been to Heathrow knows how massive that airport is. Cross fingers that we will get there in time (or perhaps swing an earlier flight).

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Because I have nothing much to say...

I found the Netherfield Ball scene for both the 2005 and the 1995 versions of Pride and Prejudice. I love the music and the imagery of the 2005 version (conversation is a bit stilted, not sure if it's on purpose or they were concentrating hard on their steps), but the 1995 version's closer to the book.

2005 version:

1995 version (see Jane bob her head):

Monday, September 11, 2006

BMW Films

This is my favourite BMW Film - Star. And yes, that's really Madonna.

(Sorry, it's a big file, so you may want it to load fully first before watching)

Resize Images

This tool is awesome! Every time you want to resize an image, you normally need some tool like Photoshop to do the dirty deed. I found this great site that will resize images for you, including making avatars.

I love the Internet!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

This hot/cold thing BITES!!

Okay, I'm suppose to subject my foot to one minute of cold (0C) and one minute of hot (40C). I have had several people tell me that this is a good technique to help my foot heal faster, but I've never heard of this technique before. I'm not doubting the physio's and my friends word, I just don't understand how this is suppose to help my foot. Anyone care to enlighten me?

Oh, and pray hard that my foot will be well by Friday. Well, really Saturday morning, as by that time, we'll ben in London!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Heels: 1, Weed: 0

So last week I had managed to hurt my left foot wearing heels. I thought I'd dress up nicely for a change, seeing that it was my 4th wedding anniversary. It would have been okay, except I walked across campus in the heels. Not my brightest idea.

Before the end of the day, my left foot was in considerable pain, and not because of my foot rubbing against my shoe and causing blisters (I didn't get blisters). No, apparently, the cuboid bone (I think that's what it was, he was talking fast, despite my asking him to repeat it several times) in my foot was slightly out of alignment, according to my physiotherapist. What I could gather from him, because it was slightly out of alignment, it was interfering with some muscles and nerves, causing the pain.

Now my foot's all taped up, and I'm going to follow his instructions: alternate between hot and cold to help with the healing. I don't know how that will help, but I'm going to trust him. After all, I'll be going on vacation in a week, and doing lots of walking, so my foot better be better by then.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

I feel like someone's beaten me up...

Finally, after another harrowing 11.5 hour day, it's done. My main user group was pleased as punch that they weren't harassed as much this time around (and that's saying a lot). They saw it as a success (again, that's saying a lot).

I had a barely standing application which I pretty much baby-sat for a two days, ending with a server crash. Sweet.

The whole ordeal for me lasted about 36 hours, minus about 5 hours of sleep that I did get. All that to fight against human nature: procrastination and last-minute-itis. Bah.

So to entertain you readers, here's someone interpretation of Gwen Stefani's song Hollaback Girl. This is somewhat amusing, or my foggy, sleep-deprived brain seems to think so.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

T -20-ish hours...

And counting. It's 8.19PM, my day will end at 4.30pm, tomorrow. Yes, I'm counting down the hours now.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

KOOKY: First day of school...

I hate today. Today is the first day of school. That means that students whose parents have paid for the BMWs, Mercedes and Z350s have parked their cars in my parking space in the parkade! Actually traffic wasn't that bad this morning until I got onto campus. It was then a 10 min wait to get to the parkade. Stoopid students have ultimately added 10 minutes to my commute.

Further, I refuse to go into the main part of campus for the next two week. Err, make that until the end of September, as I'll be on holidays mid-September. Just waiting for things to settle down a bit. I'll be hiding in my soul-sucking, windowless office in the basement until then (actually, it's not too bad down there, but I wish we had a window. The guys do freak out when the Midwifery people next door start making weird noises, ha!)

This week is also the deadline to put in your medical school application. I was absolutely appalled at how many people put in their application at the very last minute! It's like they don't really care whether or not they want to get into medical school! The thing is that not only do they have to have their online application filled out and fee paid, but they also have to have all their transcripts and other supporting documentation in by the deadline as well. The courier companies will be making a killing come Thursday.

In any case, not only do I get to work overtime this week (and not get compensated), I have start arranging for things for when I go on holiday. I'm also feeling a big blob as I haven't had a chance to go to the gym in the last week or so. First it's work, then I hurt my foot on Friday (my fault), but darn it, it still hurts!

Yeah, I'm a big whiner!

Monday, September 04, 2006

How to find someone on the internet...

Dumb Little Man proves just how easy it is to find someone on the Internet...

Cirque Du Soleil

The first time I'd ever watched a Cirque Du Soleil show was actually on a 3D screen, Journey of Man. I personally didn't like the film as a whole, but the acrobatics really got me hooked.

My favourite part was the scene with the two statues. How anyone was able to hold those positions for any length of time astounds me to no end. Yes the picture on the left are two human beings, and not inanimate object, and yes, they are holding themselves up using strength alone.

Since then, I've seen four Cirque Du Soleil shows: "O", Mystere, Alegria and Saltimbanco. "O" is my favourite out of the four. This one's a little different from the rest of the Cirque shows as about 2/3 of the show is done in water. I would pay money to go see this show again, and this show is not cheap to watch! Alegria is the favourite out of the tent shows.

I was poking around YouTube and found a few clips that were interesting (clips may take a minute to load):

"O" trailer:

Clip from Alegria (this is long):

Cirque du Soleil at the 2002 Oscars:

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I'm in trouble now!

My Pride & Prejudice piano music finally landed on my doorstep yesterday. I was planning on spending pretty much the entire weekend doing homework, but temptation awaits!

As much as I was lukewarm about the movie, I loved the music. I'm afraid that my butt will be parked in front of my piano instead of my computer. Eep!

Okay Go

Many of you probably have seen this, but it's neat enough for me to share with those of you who haven't seen it...


So yesterday was my 4th wedding anniversary. Yay us! For those of you who weren't at our wedding, that's my cake topper on the left, which I made myself (ie bought the action figures, and glued them on a platform). I still love this thing, and it sits proudly on my desk for all to see.

We didn't do much, just went to Quattro on Fourth for dinner (it wasn't too bad, but I wasn't really all that hungry), then rented Inside Man. It was entertaining, and I give it two thumbs up. The story is laid out very neatly, and there is a twist at the end, of course. However, it's also a pretty forgettable film. Acting was good, but Clive Owen couldn't quite nail the American accent, so it irritated me a bit, and I really like Clive. I liked him much better in the BMW Films and in Gosford Park. Sin City, meh, I felt that he didn't fit the roll. Maybe he just shouldn't be doing films where he has to speak with an American accent. (I also saw him in King Arthur and Bourne Identity. King Arthur just wasn't a very good movie, and in the Bourne Identity, he was just boring.)