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August 30, 2007

Trophy Mule Deer In My Back Yard

Trophy Mule Deer in my back yard

OK. I'm not sure how this would score on the Boone and Crockett scale or the Pope & Young scale, but this is a big mule deer. If I'm not mistaken, he has eight points on one side and six on the other. I'm not clear what the wides point would be between the antlers, but I would guess around three feet or so.

Trophy Mule Deer in my back yard

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 30, 2007 at 8:50 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Peter DeLeo's Autobiography - Survive!

Peter DeLeo crashed in the middle of the Sierra Nevadas in California on Nov 27th, 1994. The crash shattered his ankle and shoulder, broke several ribs, and caused him to lose sight in one eye for several days. He tore his eyelid open so he could see, and then started hiking out in the dead of winter, with nothing but the clothes on his back. No food. No compass. No shelter. No lighter or matches. 13 days later, after surviving a brutal two-day blizzard, he emerged from the frozen moutains alive. Peter DeLeo hiked 50 miles in 13 days with 16 broken bones and emerged not only alive, but without any serious frostbite.

I heard about the story because he's a friend of a friend. I'd heard the story over a campfire once before, but I didn't realize he'd published a book about his plight until recently. So, I ordered the book and I just finished reading it last night. I couldn't put it down. Read his book Survive!, if you get a chance. It's an incredible story.

Update: Here's the NTSB Probable Cause evaluation of the accident.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 30, 2007 at 8:18 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

August 29, 2007

Mount Evans - The Highest Paved Road in North America

You can view my path up Mount Evans as on Magnalox or with Google Earth. If you haven't installed Google Earth, you can install it here.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 29, 2007 at 9:38 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

More Honors - I'm Honored

The "Honors" just keep pouring in for the video of Lauren Caitlin Upton that I recently uploaded. A few people have asked me "are you the one that uploaded the Miss Teen South Carolina video to YouTube?" Well, I'm one of them. Several people uploaded the clip, however. I was not the only one. However, mine is one of the videos of her that has received the most hits, for whatever reason. Over a million views in three days. Crazy.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 29, 2007 at 8:28 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

August 28, 2007

The Hours At The End Of The Day

There’re a lot of hours at the end of the day.

I get off from work and have nothing to do so I’m racing up the mountain on my shiny new dirt bike. Front brakes. Back brakes.Lean. Downshift. Downshift. Downshift. Throttle up. Shift up. Throttle up. Shift up. The brain doesn’t notice all of this. It’s all automatic. I couldn’t tell you what hand is doing what. The brain doesn’t know but the hands know. The feet know.

And they’re taking us up the mountain. The hands and the feet are driving. The brain is just along for the ride. Listening to some stale songs on the iPod and sight-seeing. Sight-seeing mostly.

The motorcycle doesn’t have a lot of instruments. Only one, really. It has a trip meter that rolls over at 99.9 miles. No speedometer. No tach. No temperature gauge. No idiot lights.

I reach into my jacket pocket to pull out my new GPS receiver to check my speed, and I come out of the turn with my GPS in one hand and the other hand driving the motorcycle and there’s a herd of elk in the road.

Continue reading "The Hours At The End Of The Day"

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 28, 2007 at 10:34 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

August 27, 2007

Most Viewed YouTube Video - Aug 27, 2007

Well, today has been kind of an unusual day. I uploaded a video of Miss Teen South Carolina trying to answer a question on why one fifth of Americans can't find the United States on a map. Her answer was basically a rambling diatribe where she revealed that she hasn't got the sense the good lord gave a grasshopper, bless her heart. The video was so popular, that it was the most viewed video today on YouTube. It was viewed approximately 750,000 times today alone. At first, I tried to moderate the comments and delete the most outrageous ones, but after a while, I gave up. (2,171 comments have been posted on my video so far today.)

Here are the "Honors" the video has received so far:

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 27, 2007 at 9:18 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Total Lunar Eclipse Tuesday Morning (Aug 28, 07)

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http://www.nightskyinfo.com/sky_highlights/


For North Americans, the farther west you go the better the view. Weather permitting, observers in the Pacific Time Zone will see all stages of the event unfold - the Moon's edge will begin to intrude into the dark part of Earth's shadow very early, at 1:51 A.M. PDT. The total eclipse, with the Moon completely swallowed by the shadow, will last from 2:52 to 4:22 A.M. PDT. By 5:24 A.M. PDT (just before dawn) the last partial stage of the eclipse will end, and the show will be pretty much over.

So, for Denver, it looks like we have the following timeline:
2:51 a.m. MDT Earth's shadow begins to creep across the moon.
3:52 a.m. MDT Start of total lunar eclipse.
5:22 a.m. MDT Start of total lunar eclipse.
6:24 a.m. MDT Earth's shadow no longer visible on the surface of the moon.

A total eclipse of the moon in the early hours of Tuesday will be visible from North and South America, Australia and western Asia.

During a total lunar eclipse, the moon crosses into the shadow of the earth, taking on a dramatically colorful appearance from bright orange to blood red to dark brown and very dark gray. The color depends on the amount of pollution in the air, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Goddard Space Center said in a release.

The moon will be completely in the Earth's shadow for 90 minutes, the deepest and longest in seven years, NASA said. The eclipse, which will begin after midnight Tuesday in the United States.

In the United States, only observers to the west of the Rockies will be treated to the entire event. The eclipse will be cut off early on the East Coast by sunrise. All phases will be visible from islands of the Pacific Ocean, New Zealand and eastern Australia.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/upi/index.php?feed=Science&article=UPI-1-20070827-10522300-bc-us-eclipse.xml

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 27, 2007 at 12:57 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

August 26, 2007

Jennifer's New CZ 452 Scout Rifle

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Here we're training Jennifer to become a serial killer in the back yard. Life is good.

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Jen showing off her bull's eye

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 26, 2007 at 1:47 PM : Comments (3) | Permalink

What brains tell the world about a woman's cleavage

"Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes to the bone." - Dorothy Parker

Some battered housewife out on the left coast has penned a scathing diatribe titled "What cleavage tells the world about a woman's brain". In it, she castigates a woman for exposing too much cleavage in the office. Her position is that, by presenting herself as a sex object, the woman in question must not be very intelligent.

This presumption is not without merit. However, what I pointed out to her in a short reply titled "What brains tell the world about a woman's cleavage", was that the converse is also true, Namely that, if she's smart enough to not have to show cleavage in the office, then the odds are, she's not physically attractive. Susan Hettinger didn't take kindly to this, and found time to send the following reply:

Thanks for taking time to write me this thoughtful response, Rob. You have obviously given this subject a lot of thought, and your opinion interests me. One of the best things about living in a small town and having the privilege of writing occasionally for the local newspaper is hearing from readers who disagree with me, especially those who have the courage and character to sign their names to their messages. I really appreciate that.

Beset wishes to you,
Susan

Like, somehow, she's surprised that I'm willing to sign my name to ideas that, although true, aren't politically correct, and are thereby seldom voiced on the Left Coast.

Continue reading "What brains tell the world about a woman's cleavage"

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 26, 2007 at 10:02 AM : Comments (3) | Permalink

August 25, 2007

I Can Has a Tiara?

Question: "Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can't locate the United States on a world map. Why do you think this is?"

Miss Teen South Carolina: "I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some, uh...people out there in our nation don't have maps, and, uh, I believe that our education like such as South Africa and, uh, the Iraq everywhere like, such as and...I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., err, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future for our..."

Oh my god. No one can be that dumb. I want those 30 seconds of my life back. I feel dumber for having watched that. Let's end the interview portion of this competition. It's obviously not her long suit.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 25, 2007 at 8:45 PM : Comments (3) | Permalink

Rocky Mountain Mule Deer in Velvet

I've been trying to get some shots of the mule deer here now that their racks have come in. They're still in velvet, but soon, they'll go into rut and rub the velvet off their antlers, and their coats will change from brown to grey. Right now, they're eating the choke cherries and grass shoots that popped up from the rain we got this week. I shot these two behind my house.

Had to really go a long way to find one this big.This one was two houses down from me.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 25, 2007 at 7:27 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Sunshine

This is the only photo I have of sunshine without a glass of wine in one hand and a cigarette in the other. I'm not sure what was in the cup, but she had her keys in her other hand.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 25, 2007 at 9:45 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

August 23, 2007

Photos of Sunshine

I've had a lot of requests for photos of Sunshine, so here's some photos of Sunshine, Carol, and Red playing in the snow earlier this year.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 23, 2007 at 10:44 PM : Comments (2) | Permalink

August 21, 2007

Global Warming HIts New York City

It's an Inconvenient Truth all right. Global warming is upon us. In the dog days of summer, the temperature in New York City today climbed to a staggering temperature. At the hottest point of the day, the temperature iin NYC hit a sweltering 59 degrees Fahrenheit. That's right. Today was tied for coldest August 21 st ever recorded in New York City. (The last time it was this cold on August 21st in NYC was in 1911.) Where's your global warming now, tree-huggers?

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 21, 2007 at 9:28 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Jennifer Gets A Rifle

I bought Jennifer a rifle recently and then surprised her with it today. It's a little .22 CZ 452 Scout rifle with open sights and the single-shot adapter. I showed her how to hold it, carry it, open and close the bolt, and how to make sure it's on "Safe". I sat down with her and gave her a good long talk about gun safety. Never point a gun at something you don't intend to kill. Treat every weapon as though it were loaded. Don't play with it. We talked about "muzzle discipline". Not waving it around. Don't hang around with other people that don't respect guns. Etc. We talked for a long time, but we never put a round of ammo into the gun. That comes later. On Sunday, we're going to learn how to shoot it. Today, we just learned how to handle it.

Initially, I'm going to teach her how to use it as a single shot with open sights. Then, when she gets comfortable with it, later on we can get her some magazines for it and maybe a scope as well.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 21, 2007 at 9:15 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Bats In The Belfry

OK. I have no idea what a belfry is, but the bat got out of his cage last night, so I had to go through the house looking for him with a flashlight. I'm thinking...I have no idea where he is. He could be in my shoe or outside. No clue. I found him hanging upside down in Jennifer's bedroom.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 21, 2007 at 10:44 AM : Comments (2) | Permalink

August 20, 2007

Artist Paul Gould

I ran into a guy named Paul Gould out in a field outside of Jackson, Wyoming, last September. He was painting the Tetons when I saw him. He's an art instructor from up in New York somewhere, apparently. He's a cool and interesting character. Gave me some very good tips on photography, as well.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 20, 2007 at 7:41 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

August 19, 2007

A Nighttime Guest In The Bedroom

Well, it's summer up here in the mountains, and I usually open up the upstairs bedroom windows when it gets this hot. (No one up here has air conditioning). Some of my windows have screens. Some don't.

So, I'm lying in my bed surfing the internet and watching TV when I notice something flying around the bedroom and I know what it is immediately, because this isn't the first time it's happened. There's a bat in my bedroom. Flying around in circles.

So, I rush downstairs and get dressed up like I'm going to be stringing barbed wire in the dark and I go into the bedroom with Jennifer's newest butterfly net. I managed to capture him on about the third try. Surprisingly, he doesn't really fly all that fast. More like a butterfly than a bird.

Right now, I've got him in some tupperwear. I'll post some photos when I figure out how to shoot him without getting bitten.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 19, 2007 at 9:43 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

License Plate Mount for XR400

I'm trying to figure out how to mount the license plate on my XR400. This looks like it might work OK.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 19, 2007 at 3:27 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

Closing Old MT Posts to Trackback Spam

I spent a while trying to get the MovableType plugin MT-Close2 to work. Unfortunately, it's obsolete and unsupported. If I try to use it with version 3.2 of MovableType, I get this error "There are no entries selected by this criteria!". But, my Perl skills are nothing to write home about. So, in the end, I just signed into my database and updated the table using SQL.

SQL commands to close Trackbacks in Extended Entry.

Continue reading "Closing Old MT Posts to Trackback Spam"

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 19, 2007 at 10:18 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

August 18, 2007

Eiffel Tower 'most disappointing' tourist spot

The Eiffel Tower, in and of itself, was not disappointing. It was interesting to see, up close and personal. What was disappointing was the lines of tourtists trying to get the to the top of it. Jennifer and I climbed something crazy like 712 steps to get to the second level. But, if you want to get on the elevator to the very top, you really would have to wait a very very long time. Plus, there are guards walking around under it with machine guns, so we did skip that part.

They also said the Mona Lisa was disappointing, and it was. It's a very small painting, and you can't get very close to it due to the crowds. Plus, there's always bomb scares from unattended backpacks. But, having said that, the Louvre is awesome, and the Eiffel Tower is neat to see in real life, just don't waste your time trying to get to the top of it. Life is too short for that.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 18, 2007 at 10:46 AM : Comments (2) | Permalink

Anarchy in August

Peter Leeson at the CATO Institute makes a compelling argument for anarchy. It's definitely worth reading, although, in many cases, he points to instances where invidiuals and/or small groups organized themselves, creating rules, laws, and systems of punishment. So, to me, many of these peculiar private institutions bear all the hallmarks of a government, albeit a possibly less rigorous and more efficient form of government.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 18, 2007 at 9:07 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

August 17, 2007

CAPTCHA for MovableType 3.2

The spam on my website is getting to be such a problem that I have to do something.

Six Apart has a guide to MovableType comment spam. Plus, this post talks about fighting blog spam in MovableType as well.

Now, Jay Allen apparently has a new plugin called Comment Challenge, and he wants me to get rid of the MT-Blacklist plugin.

So, OK. FIrst of all, I'll remove my MT-Blacklist plugin. Hmmm. After looking around a bit, I see that I'm not using that plugin any more anyway. Just some vestigial folders floating around out there in odd places. So, I just deleted the old MT-Blacklist folder(s). Done.

Now, the Comment Challenge Plugin requires the following:

Ok. Check. Check. Check. Check.

Continue reading "CAPTCHA for MovableType 3.2"

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 17, 2007 at 9:08 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

August 15, 2007

Candy Bars in Ireland

For some reason, Nestle makes all sorts of candy bars that we can't get here in the United States. Not sure what the deal is on that. For instance, Nestle makes the Yorkie(It's Not For Girls), Lion, Areo, and Drifter candy bars, which you can find at any Centra in Ireland, but don't look for them in the U.S.

OK. Granted, their television advertisements for Yorkie - "It's Not For Girls" probably wouldn't fly over here. But, other than that, seriously. We need to get these candy bars in the United States right away.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 15, 2007 at 3:20 PM : Comments (3) | Permalink

Hitler in Paris

One of the things that I learned it Paris was that Hitler gave orders to destroy the city. When it became clear to Hitler that Paris would fall, he gave direct orders to general Dietrich von Choltitz to completely destroy the city of Paris, leaving it as a smoking ruin. Fortunately for the world, general Choltitz disobeyed his orders.

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 15, 2007 at 10:49 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

August 14, 2007

Postcards From Nowhere: The Emerald Isle

This slideshow is composed of original images I shot in August of 2007 in Ireland. All photos were captured using a Canon EOS 20D and either a Canon EF 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens or a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens with a circular polarizing filter.

These images were shot in and around Dublin, Cork, Owenahincha Beach, Kenmare, the Ring of Kerry and the Iveragh Peninsula, White Strand, Caherdaniel, Valentia Island, Cahirciveen, Killarney, the Dingle Peninsula, Inch Beach, Murreagh Beach, and Limerick.

This slideshow (4:21) is a 20 Meg self-playing executable named Ireland.exe created using Imagematics StillMotion PE+. The soundtrack is Stars And Boulevards by Augustana, off of the Shrek The Third soundtrack.

Click here to download the presentation. If you have an Apple, or you're running Unix, or if you're nervous about running a .exe file from my site, then click here to download the Macromedia Flash version. The resolution is not quite as good on the Macromedia Flash version, and you can't pause and go backward and forward, but it loads faster, and it's a fairly decent presention. Click here if you need help.

To see all of the slideshows, click here.

Lyrics in the exended entry.

Continue reading "Postcards From Nowhere: The Emerald Isle"

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 14, 2007 at 4:46 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

Postcards From Nowhere: The City of Lights

This slideshow is composed of original images I shot in August of 2007 in Paris, France. All photos were captured using a Canon EOS 20D and either a Canon EF 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens or a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens with a circular polarizing filter.

This slideshow (4:58) is a 20 Meg self-playing executable named France.exe created using Imagematics StillMotion PE+. The soundtrack is She Has No Time by Keane, off of the Hopes and Fears album.

Click here to download the presentation. If you have an Apple, or you're running Unix, or if you're nervous about running a .exe file from my site, then click here to download the Macromedia Flash version. The resolution is not quite as good on the Macromedia Flash version, and you can't pause and go backward and forward, but it loads faster, and it's a fairly decent presention. Click here if you need help.

To see all of the slideshows, click here.

Lyrics in the exended entry.

Continue reading "Postcards From Nowhere: The City of Lights"

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 14, 2007 at 4:45 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

European Camp Daddy - Day 16: On The Wings Of An Albatross

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We catch the 5:00 a.m. shuttle from our hotel in New Jersey to the Philadelphia airport for our 7:55 a.m. flight. We get to the airport with plenty of time and United funnels us into their self check-in line but the kiosk deflects our attempts to check in so we turn to the “Rudest Agent of the Week? for assistance. She has a plaque hanging on steel chain around her neck proudly proclaiming her status and she wears a leather muzzle like an Army dog in training.

She will not help us, of course, but points us to another queue, and then reprimands us for standing in line the wrong way. Probably the last little henpeck was just to maintain her status in the gate agent pecking order.

When it was finally our time to meet the lone gate agent face to face, I knew in an instance we were in trouble. She had no clue how to issue our boarding tickets. This, in spite of the fact that we both had itineraries, with reservation numbers, ticket numbets, names, passports, you name it. Everything was in the system. All she had to do was punch out some boarding passes, but it was not to be.

Continue reading "European Camp Daddy - Day 16: On The Wings Of An Albatross"

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 14, 2007 at 8:41 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

August 13, 2007

European Camp Daddy - Day 15: Grounded in Philly

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We were so close. We caught our flight from Dublin to Philly. Somehow, we survived a seven hour flight across the Atlantic and landed safely in Philly. We cleared Immigration and Customs and got a pass that would get us through security and down to Terminal D, Gate D13. We even stopped in an my old stomping grounds out on Terminal C across from Gate C24 to get Philly Cheesesteaks and Cheese Fries.

We got down to Gate D13 an hour and a half before the plane was scheduled to depart, fully prepared to land in Denver at 6:58 p.m. And then the wheels came off. Then things fell apart. The gate said our flight was “CANCELED?.

I begged a ride on one of those little golf carts from a man idleing in one nearby.

“We just flew in from Europe. They’ve canceled our flight and she’s exhausted. Can you give us a ride??

“Sure. Hop on.?

Continue reading "European Camp Daddy - Day 15: Grounded in Philly"

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 13, 2007 at 4:43 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

August 12, 2007

European Camp Daddy - Day 14: Back to Dublin

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Yesterday, in the Louvre, they cleared out a few rooms of the museum because a suspicious package was found in the room with the Mona Lisa, and they’re telling me to turn back and I’m thinking….?Christ…Maybe this is it.? How odd to be collateral damage in the destruction of the world’s most famous painting. What an odd fate that would be.

Instead, I hurried Jennifer to another wing of the museum and told her everything was fine we just needed to go look elsewhere, like in the Mesopotamia section. I had a hunch there’d be no bombs planted there.

There are no stars in Paris. At night, I can’t surf the internet from my hotel. At home, I can lie in bed and surf the internet and send emails at all hours of the night. But here, in Paris, I am somewhat in exile, like Napoleon, living out his days in exile with his dog.

Continue reading "European Camp Daddy - Day 14: Back to Dublin"

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 12, 2007 at 2:34 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

European Camp Daddy - Day 13: Fifth Day in Paris

Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa

Today, we got up at the crack of noon. I’m inclined to let Jennifer sleep as long as she wants. My thought being that, if she’s game to be drug all over the planet, perpetually chasing a man that’s 6’2? tall, then she probably needs what sleep she gets. Alarm clocks are for the birds. I don’t use them in the states, and I see no need to start now that we’re on vacation.

The only time that I set one on this vacation that I can recall, was when we had to get up at 6:00 in Dublin to catch our 9:00 flight to Paris. And, in retrospect, that was a bad call, as Jennifer nearly melted on that Death March to Paris.

So, today, we slept in, but in the afternoon, we went to the Louvre. We entered via the secret Metro entrance described in Rick Steve’s Paris 2007 book. It is there, you just have to look for it.

The museum is, of course, without equal. It’s the largest museum in the world. Formerly the King’s home, the museum covers several city blocks. Much of the top floor has glass ceilings, to allow natural light on the paintings.

I was surprised that they allowed us to take in cameras, and take flash photographs of all the paintings. The museum is full of restaurants. You can walk around eating inside the museum, taking photos. Whatever you want really. I was amazed.

Continue reading "European Camp Daddy - Day 13: Fifth Day in Paris"

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 12, 2007 at 2:08 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

August 11, 2007

European Camp Daddy - Day 12: Flugtag in Paris

Jennifer on the Champs de Mars

Today, we tried unsuccessfylly to rent bicycles from a kiosk. Apparently, my American credit cards don’t have a chip in them, so we couldn’t release the bikes from the automated rental kiosk.

We surrendered our bicycle renting campaign, and headed for the Louvre. That is to say that, to the Louvre grounds, where we discovered a band of wandering gypsies had temporarily erected one of those notorious little itinerant carnivals. Basically a rolling OSHA nightmare.

And, since it’s owned and operated by gypsies, I’ve got my wallet in my front pocket and my camera bag under my jacket.

Beggars are coming up to us every 50 meters and begging for change. But I told Jennifer not to feed them. It’s like feeding pigeons. The idea of helping someone out is noble enough, in theory, but soon you’re overwhelmed by your supposed benefactors and then it turns ugly.

Continue reading "European Camp Daddy - Day 12: Flugtag in Paris"

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 11, 2007 at 3:28 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

August 10, 2007

European Camp Daddy - Day 11: Third Day in Paris

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Today, Jennifer and I wore out Paris. We got a ticket on one of those double-decker bus tours and road around the city twice. We also rode the Metro and the city buses all over Paris. I think Jennifer could go through the Metro with her eyes closed.

I tried to use a computer at the hotel to access the internet, but the computer keyboards are different in Paris, for some reason. I was trying to type something on a computer at the hotel and they words wouldn’t come out right and I couldn’t figure out why. Then, I looked at the keyboard and saw the letters were all rearranged. I was like “Oh my God. What’s the deal??

And the guy was like “Our keyboards are different. You use QWERTY keyboards. We use AZERTY keyboards.?

And I was like….?Oh My God. Are you kidding me? You mean someone didn’t rearrange these keys as a joke?? I mean, I can forgive the French for speaking a different language. I can forgive the Irish for driving on the wrong side of the road. But rearranging the keys on the keyboard? Is nothing sacred?

Continue reading "European Camp Daddy - Day 11: Third Day in Paris"

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 10, 2007 at 5:30 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

August 8, 2007

European Camp Daddy - Day 10: Second Day in Paris

Arc de Triomphe

It’s nice not to be moving around so much as we were in Ireland. We don’t have a car in Paris. Instead, we rely on the Metro, the buses, and the RER train to get around the city.

We’re camped in a tiny, claustrophobic hotel room in the Rue Cler district, but it has a refrigerator, and since we’re not moving around any more, we can buy food for the fridge, and wine for the room. I’ve been working my way slowly through a cheap bottle of remarkably bad Cabernet.

Continue reading "European Camp Daddy - Day 10: Second Day in Paris"

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 8, 2007 at 4:53 PM : Comments (1) | Permalink

European Camp Daddy - Day 9: Dublin to Paris

Jennifer on Rue Cler in Paris

On Tuesday, we got up at 6:00 to return the rental car to the Dublin Airport. We took the N2 north out of the city to the M50 ring and then the M1 exit to the airport. I was deathly afraid we’d get lost but we didn’t.

We returned the rented Ford Focus to Avis with two bright red L’s on the windscreens but not a scratch on it.

Continue reading "European Camp Daddy - Day 9: Dublin to Paris"

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 8, 2007 at 4:54 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

European Camp Daddy - Day 8: Dingle to Dublin

The Dingle Peninsula

Living in Ireland is like living in a dollhouse. Everything’s perfectly immaculate, but mind-numbingly small. Every room is too small to serve the role it’s serving. The rooms are too small and the tables too small and the plates and silverware and all. Too small.

Like Alice in Wonderland in a bad dream. I want to go back to my 4,000 square foot house in Colorado and lie down in the middle of the floor and throw grenades out into the forrest. But not yet. Not yet. For now, we’re still in Ireland.

Continue reading "European Camp Daddy - Day 8: Dingle to Dublin"

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 8, 2007 at 4:45 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

August 6, 2007

European Camp Daddy - Day 7: Kenmare to Dingle

Murreagh on the Dingle Peninsula

Today, we got up and drove from Kenmare to Dingle. On the way, we toured the Muckross house just south of Killarney. The house was built back in 1834 I think. It’s really spectacular. They said it had something crazy like 95 rooms in it and 16 foot ceilings. Some guy came over from California in 1910 and he liked it so much he bought it the next year. Eventually, his family donated it and about a thousand acres of land surrounding it to the country of Ireland. It became Ireland’s first national forest, the Killarney National Forest.

Continue reading "European Camp Daddy - Day 7: Kenmare to Dingle"

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 6, 2007 at 2:29 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

European Camp Daddy - Day 6: The Ring of Kerry 2

Celtic Festival at Cahersiveen

Today, we drove all the way around the Ring of Kerry.

We’d stop every so often and snap a few pictures. Sometimes, you’d see the same people taking pictures along the way. One of the things you realize though is that, if you want to talk to someone else, the first thing you have to ask them is “do you speak english?? Because, in Europe, there’s a lot of languages, and English is just one of many. I can do OK with Spanish, but anything else, and I just wave them off.

We took a little detour and went on Valentia Island. At the east end of the island is a small ferry which was pretty fun. It’s the fist time I’ve ever driven a car onto a ferry. Jennifer and I drove on and then it started moving and it was the weirdest feeling to see land moving while we were sitting in the car. I kept pushing on the brakes harder and harder, just by instinct. Really a very strange sensation.

Continue reading "European Camp Daddy - Day 6: The Ring of Kerry 2"

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 6, 2007 at 2:26 AM : Comments (0) | Permalink

August 4, 2007

European Camp Daddy - Day 5: The Ring of Kerry

Jennifer tosses her shoes on White Strand beach at Castle Cove on the Iveragh Peninsula

We drove half way around the Ring of Kerry today. The climate here is a lot like the Pacific Northwest. Very green with spectacular flowers, most of which I’ve never seen before. Some I recognize, like the Hydragengas, Roses, Russian Thistle, and Queen Anne’s Lace. But may of them I’ve never seen before.

Along the way, we had a Chicken and Mushroom Pie, a Jambon, and a piece of quiche. Jennifer loved the Jambon and the Chicken and Mushroom Pie. She made me eat the quiche.

Half of the trick to making it around Ireland is to rent the smallest car you can find. The other half is to find out where the side of your car are. The best way to do this is to keep getting closer and closer to the shoulder until the hedges are cleaning the windows on the passenger side.

Continue reading "European Camp Daddy - Day 5: The Ring of Kerry"

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 4, 2007 at 12:17 PM : Comments (0) | Permalink

August 3, 2007

European Camp Daddy - Day 4: Cork to Kenmare

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“There’s no place on earth
I’d rather be
Than eating scones
On the Irish Sea.? – Unknown

When you’re driving in Ireland, every day of your life that you have spent behind the wheel of an automobile is a handicap. Your driving experience counts against you. Every turn you’ve ever made has worn grooves into your brain that will lead to a sure and swift death on the streets of Ireland.

You have to learn to drive on the other side of the road. To circle the roundabouts clockwise instead of counter clockwise. To judge the distance to the shoulder on the other side of the car. To parallel park all over again. Speed and distance are measured in kilometers.

In short, when you get behind the wheel of an automobile in Ireland, everything you know about driving is wrong. I think that, in retrospect, I would have been better off handing Jennifer the keys.

Continue reading "European Camp Daddy - Day 4: Cork to Kenmare"

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 3, 2007 at 5:29 AM : Comments (2) | Permalink

August 2, 2007

European Camp Daddy - Day 3

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"How Life Comes Through"

In Dublin, Jennifer strong arms me into taking her to a toy store over near Grafton Street. So we catch a cab there and walk inside but the prices are unbelievable.

“Guess how much this dog costs?? I ask her, holding up a stuffed puppy.

“Five dollars??

“Eighteen Euros.?

And we leave to catch a train from Heuston Station. I want to shoot from the train, but the windows are filthy, so I’m cleaning the windows on the outside of the train and they’re warning us that the train will be departing imminently.

Jennifer is on the inside of the train, waving frantically, and I’m outside trying to clear the grease off the windows because all the windows are absolutely filthy.

Continue reading "European Camp Daddy - Day 3"

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 2, 2007 at 2:55 AM : Comments (1) | Permalink

August 1, 2007

European Camp Daddy - Day 2

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Wednesday August 1st

At 2:30 a.m., I’m wide awake. Ciccadian Rhythms wildly out of sync.

Jennifer is fast asleep in the bed beside me, eternally clutching her penguin Mumbles. I think about how odd, but how common, it is that she’s compelled to pass through this life perpetually clinging to that infernal talisman. The two are, for good or ill, inseparable.

Dublin leads the continent of Europe in traffic collisions. Outside the window, the traffic courses through the city’s streets.

The problem with the streets in Dublin, and many roads in Europe, is that they were designed a millennia before the automobile, and the buildings grew too close together. Inevitably, the cars are funneled through insufferably narrow roads

Continue reading "European Camp Daddy - Day 2"

Posted by Rob Kiser on August 1, 2007 at 6:34 AM : Comments (2) | Permalink