The White Cliffs of Dover

Today, we went to see the famous White Cliffs of Dover.  Only all we saw was white.  It was foggy when we left here…as we got closer to the coast, the fog got thicker and thicker.  By the time we got there, it was so thick it was falling from the sky as a drizzle.  But, we got some pictures anyway.  Prijatno!

London Dec 2010

We went to London yesterday to see some sights.  Here are some pictures:


Lydia and her tata spitting off London Bridge. Oh yeah!


Lydia and I at Buckingham Palace. The queen was there but we didn’t see her. 🙁 Lydia with the Lions in Trafalgar Square



Me calling LMBO. He didn’t take my call though. Cyndi in a phone booth too.


The Maxson clan and the Houses of Parliament



Cyndi and I and the Big Ben tower Me and the Big Ben tower. Uploaded for my facebook profile

Headed to Bed


Not only have I been up since 3:30am today, but I’ve had 2 other early mornings this week and a few late nights.  I’m headed to bed when A Christmas Story is over for the first showing in about 15 min.  Merry Christmas everyone!

Image from sprocket003 via flickr 

Present Opening Strategy


So what is your strategy for opening presents?  Do you wake up early and do them all at once?  Do you dole them out through the day?

When I was a kid, we opened everything in the morning.  Cyndi’s aunt and uncle open presents throughout the day so there’s always something to play with and you don’t get overloaded. 

Image from phil_g via flickr 

Salt, Brine, Seawater

SDOT Snow Day Nov 23: A Loader Pours Salt into the Back of an SDOT Truck

Given the amount of snow that has happened (both here in the UK and in the US) I’ve been thinking….why not put sea water on the roads to deice them?  I mean, we put salt on the roads to melt snow/ice.  Some places also “pre wet” the salt and make a brine.  Isn’t that what seawater is?

Now, granted, this wouldn’t work if you had to truck it great distances…but for a city on the coast, I imagine it would cost virtually nothing to pump a tanker fill of seawater and spray it on the roads.

I don’t think anyone does it do there must be a reason…..

Image from SDOT Photos via flickr 



I’ve got tomorrow off work.  I need to wake up at 3:30 so I can get some people to the airport.  What should I do with the rest of my day?  What movie should we watch?

[Update 12-24-2010 16:38:43] Well, we walked to the center, had coffee at Costa Coffee, and Lydia and I got Cyndi some last minute Christmas gifts.  Tonight, we are going to watch A Christmas Story.  Oh, we also ate some chicken fingers, toad in a hole, and potato skins.

Image from Valerie Everett via flickr 

Familiar yet different

Afghan, British and American Flags

Having spent quite a bit of time traveling, living outside the US, and working with people from other countries, I found this article looking at America and Americans rather interesting. Here are some of my favorite quotes from the article:

The result of that early exposure to American culture, of course, is simple.

When you come to live in America you are shocked by the familiarity of the unfamiliar.You will know a pretzel from a bagel and a Dodger from a Met.

You know what the uniformed concierges at apartment buildings do, and you know what you must tip them at Christmas.

The answers respectively being not much, and too much.

And there is something beguiling in that easy familiarity, but something misleading about it, too. It tends to blind Europeans, and the British in particular, to any sense of just how foreign a place America can be.

This is, after all, a country born out of a tax-revolt during a rebellion against centralising authority, and then expanded by settlers who exchanged the comforts of the Eastern seaboard for the dangers and opportunities of the wild interior.

It is not surprising that a feisty scepticism towards government lingers in the politics here.

The Tea Party movement is successful because it taps into the deep American suspicion that all federal government apart from defence spending, is a kind of bureaucratic boondoggle, dreamed up by larcenous conspiracists in Washington to allow them to line their pockets by picking ours.

Well, It’s true isn’t it?

And our differences extend into this earthly realm too.

To Europeans, for example, a gun is a weapon, pure and simple.

To many, but not all Americans, it is a badge of independence, and self-reliance – the tool of the engaged citizen who does not think that either the criminal, or the forces of the state, should have a monopoly on deadly force.

Show us a gun, and we picture a muscular ne’er-do-well in a balaclava menacing an elderly sub-postmistress.

An American is more likely to visualise a plucky homesteader crouching between an overturned sofa in a burning ranch house, preparing to defend his family to the death.

Well…guns are like eggs, aren’t they? Everyone should own a dozen or three!

An aversion to paying taxes and an addiction to public and private debt do not add up, and American voters may well be left to conclude that they have awarded themselves a lifestyle that they can not really afford.

That is true. But, sending more money to Washington doesn’t help…those stinkin’ larcenists will just spend more!

America has enormous debts but it still spends as much money on defence as all the rest of the world put together.

And if that makes you uncomfortable, it is worth remembering that wherever you are, there is a good chance that if your country is ever invaded, your leader’s first phone call will be to the White House in Washington.

That’s enough said

Americans could make their public spaces a little quieter, for example, if they all took one step closer to the person they are talking to.

This was terribly difficult to get used to when I left the US.

And after three years of eating steaks the size of elephant’s ears off plates bigger than satellite dishes, all of our crockery back in Europe now looks like it was borrowed from a doll’s house. They may take some getting used to.

I had to get used to the reverse leaving the US. It has taken some getting used to. I’ll still patronize restaurants that offer free refills….it just seems cheap to not offer them. How much does it really cost? Not much!

[Update 2016-04-05 07:00:00] Added link to source article:

Image by Defense Images via flickr