Kelley Smashes His Guitar

3 08 2007

It’s been a dream of his to smash a guitar. Ever since he bought the $30 guitar in London from a mattress store, he had the finale planned out.

Here’s to Kelley’s last night in London.





To Shave or Not to Shave?

25 07 2007

Help me out….

Take the poll

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7.22.2007 – Storming the Bastille, Parents in London and Keane

22 07 2007

Before I get going, I must say a quick thanks to everyone who has been reading this blog. I’ve just had a glance at the stats and have received just around 1,200 views since the blogs conception back in May. Incredible stuff. I’ve done some math….

1,200 views
– Estimated 10 views from other people
= 1,190 views remain

÷ 63 potential days my parents could look at my page
= ~ 19 times that my parents checked the page daily. Thanks mom and dad!

    7.13 – 7.15 – Paris

Quite possibly, no two people have seen more sights in the city of Paris in such a short time period. Somewhere around 6 PM on night one, Keri (who I managed to drag to France) and I determined that we were “culturally overloaded.” I suppose going to Musee d’Orsay and Musee du Louvre in one day will do that to you. Probably the most entertaining part of the trip was getting to spend the afternoon and evening of Bastille Day on the Champs du Mars in front of the Eiffel Tower. About the only thing I can equate it to would be watching television clips of the Mall in D.C. on the fourth. Around 10:15 when the concert ended, I turned around to fireworks exploding behind the Eiffel Tower. Incredibly impressive. Paris certainly made me appreciative of the London Underground’s cleanliness and efficiency. Also, if you go looking for the Bastille, it’s not there. Also, butterfly catchers are a socially acceptable dancing addition for Parisian adults in crowds of people. Queue Bob Sinclar.

Paris is one of those places where you go to see many of the sights just to say you’ve seen it. I’d love to take a trip back on a bigger budget, not worrying about seeing things like the Mona Lisa or the Arc du Triomphe, and just enjoy expensive dinners along the Seine and the overall grandeur that Paris presents its many visitors.

    7.15 – 7.21 – A Taste of Home

It was quite an interesting and great experience having my parents in London. Traveling with the Wisemans, who essentially are my second parental set, I was able to show them around the city for much of the week. It was a much different feeling than having them in Gainesville for a weekend, probably because they didn’t move me in over here. Mom and I had a chat Friday morning about how surreal it was to be coming out of the theatre the previous evening and walk them to the tube and make sure they were okay. It used to be the other way around somewhere along the way.

Dad was as quotable as usual…this was probably my favorite…

“I’m getting up extra early for breakfast and hiding from all of you guys.”

    7.21 – Keane at the O2

Last night Keri, Kelley and I went to see Keane at The O2. The venue reopened this summer and looks like a giant circus tent. Inside is a 20,000 seat arena, 20 bars and restaurants, a smaller nightclub/venue, and an 11-screen movie theatre. Massive. Keane certainly put on a grand show, which was filmed for a DVD coming out by Christmas. We had some great seats. The most impressive thing to me was the group played every track of their latest release, “Under the Iron Sea,” as well as probably 8 more from their first disc, “Hopes & Fears.” It was an impressive set.

Uploading pictures from everything takes way too long, so I’ll just do it when I get home in 2 weeks and give a solid recap of everything.





Saving the Environment One Google Search at a Time?

22 07 2007

Enter tangent…

Say hello to Blackle.

Now let me explain. Admittedly, I’ve never been one to be overly conscious of our environment, but this one seems like a no-brainer. In January, a report came out discussing energy savings comparing white and black page backgrounds. What was found that approximately 15 watts were saved from using a mostly black page. For someone like google, who receives nearly 200 million quieres a day, that could make a big difference.

“Let’s assume each query is displayed for about 10 seconds; that means Google is running for about 550,000 hours every day on some desktop. Assuming that users run Google in full screen mode, the shift to a black background will save a total of 15 (74-59) watts. That turns into a global savings of 8.3 Megawatt-hours per day, or about 3000 Megawatt-hours a year. Now take into account that about 25 percent of the monitors in the world are CRTs, and at 10 cents a kilowatt-hour, that’s $75,000, a goodly amount of energy and dollars for changing a few color codes.” -ecoIcon

So bookmark it. It’s the same ol’ google, just in black.

http://www.blackle.com

….

Enjoying London and had a great time with my parents over here. I’m in the home stretch, which is making it incredibly difficult for me to want to post, but I will do my best to keep you updated.

Oh yeah, I went to Paris a weekend ago. That was cool. Keane concert last night was pretty cool too.

Until then,

DTJ





7.10.2007 – Waffles, Bicycles, and Two Countries in 72 hours

10 07 2007

So…I finally have my urge to write back and flowing. What a set of days it has been since my last post, far too much to begin to tell the world about. I’ve also adopted a new philosophy that as much as I can take pictures and write about my travel, sometimes the experiences are better kept in my own mind, stored away for years later over coffee with close friends and family. I’ll give you just enough to whet your appetite.

6.28 – Avenue Q

Before heading out to Belgium/Amsterdam, Keri and I were able to catch Avenue Q in the West End. The production was well suited for the 18-26 category and those with a Mel Brooks-like humor. The show is essentially a knock off of Sesame Street. My favorite songs were “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist,” “What Do You Do With A B.A. in English?” and “I Wish I Could Go Back to College.” That should give you a pretty good idea….

6.29 – 6.30 – “Belgium – Smaller Things for Smaller Countries”

Ah…Brussels. This is real Europe…let me explain….cities like London, Amsterdam, Edinburgh and I assume Paris have minds of their own. Miniature countries standing on their own feet. Brussels was a nothing-extraordinary, crash-course to what the rest of Europe must feel like. It had its history, its culture, its churches and its statues, but the permeating force was very “European”. This is no attempt to put down Brussels in any way. Open-air restaurants sprawled over winding alleys surrounding the Grand Place and delicately positioned chocolates in the windows of stores were unforgettable sights to take in. Eating a Belgian waffle in Belgium was certainly a highlight, as was venturing to the headquarters of the European Union. Definitely worth the quick stop on the way to Amsterdam, along getting an opportunity to ride the Eurostar through the Channel Tunnel.

6.30 – 7.2 – “Amsterdam: All Bikes Go To Heaven”

If Walt Disney had dedicated his life’s work to building a “Heaven and Hell” theme park, he’d have been better off purchasing Amsterdam and charging admission. Stone-layed streets and brick-arched bridges mark paths across canals give evidence to why many call the city the “Venice of the North.” The surroundings are almost enough to hide the dark culture of the city. Certainly I need to go into no further depth about Amsterdam’s culture, as I am sure you have heard. No worries ma, I steered clear of trouble.

Every bicycle must dream of being shipped to Amsterdam. As the primary form of transport, it’s the holy land of bikes with consistent bike lanes throughout the city and more bike racks than you can even imagine. There must have been 25,000 bikes locked outside of the central train station. Somehow I was able to accomplish everything I wanted to do in Amsterdam over my one full day in the city. A canal tour aboard a boat, the Van Gogh Museum, a tour of the Heineken Brewery, Anne Frank House and a trip to Hard Rock Cafe. Sounds like a busy day, eh?

I enjoyed Amsterdam far more than Brussels. The scenery was incredible by day and night. Much more culture. Better people watching.

7.10 – Upcoming

Keri and I are off to Paris for the weekend. I enlisted her for her fluency in French. Should be a grand time. My parents are here next week for an additional grand time.

Cheers,

DJ





I’m Alive

9 07 2007

There is much to write about and little time to actually do it. Expect more from me very soon, but for now just know that I am alive and well.

-DJ





6.26.2007 – T-Rex, doughnuts, and a welcomed change of pace

26 06 2007

It’s been quite an eventful set of days, which explains both the reason for my absence and for this post. I’m several days into my seventh week abroad, and I can hardly believe how fast the time has flown. Watching students enrolled in six-week programs depart last week made me appreciative of the time I have remaining in London.

So…to where I left last… (I’ll upload pictures when internet connection is better)

Thursday, Keri and I took the afternoon to visit the Natural History Museum and Harrods in the Borough of Knightsbridge. It’s quite the swanky part of town, and we kept our eyes peeled for shopping celebrities. The most exciting parts of the museum were an enormous exhibit on dinosaurs, an earthquake simulator and the building itself. Keri was startled by an animatronic T. Rex. The earthquake simulator was pretty standard to most I’ve been on, except it included footage shot from a grocery store during a Chinese earthquake back in 1995. It certainly added a new dimension and made me realize how fatal earthquakes can be.

Harrods was impressive and grandiose. Its food halls put a new meaning to a mall food court, and had more delicacies than imaginable. I’ll be sure to take Dr. Wiseman and my father to the Krispy Kreme here, where the hot light doesn’t turn off. Besides this, Keri and I played the rich card pretending to actually shop at the De Beers, Tiffany’s, Gucci, and D&G inside Harrods. As you can imagine, photography is not allowed in the building, but a room the size of my Gainesville apartment was dedicated to ties. Incredible.

After a workday on Friday, we went to the world famous Portobello Road Market on Saturday morning. Stalls had anything from antiques to cheesy London gifts, en vogue clothes to fresh produce and meat. Mom and Mrs. Wiseman will have a ball here and the guys will resort to the guy selling hot dogs. There was also a bunch of vinyl here, so I’m sure I’ll have to return to look for hidden gems.

Returning home, Saturday received even higher marks when our prayers to switch rooms were finally answered. Kelley and I both feel that we may have moved from the worst room in the building to the best. Take a look for yourself:

Old Room (Jail Cell)
– 4th floor – 7 flights of steps countless times a day
– Communal bathroom with sporadic hot water, sporadic water itself
– Red carpet
– Kitchen in basement, Common room on Ground level, Computer room on first floor
– Small, un-openable windows

New Room (Heaven)
– Private, excluded flat with own steps to 1st floor.
– Private in-flat kitchen (the only one in the building)
– 3 large openable windows with view of main street
– Private bathroom (running, hot water)
– White carpet
– Stones throw from computer and common rooms

So, we moved our things at an incredibly rapid pace. I’m still excited about it. This place is extremely more comfortable. Keri cooking a fantastic dinner for the three of us capped the night. (Don’t worry TJ, I’m cooking soon)

Sunday the UF guys received strange looks from Londoners when we started running around in Regent’s Park throwing a foreign pigskin object with laces.

I’ve had an incredibly productive set of workdays yesterday and today and leave Friday for Brussels and Amsterdam. Two new countries in four days — Sounds great. Kylie visits July 7-9. Celebrating French independence in Paris from July 13-15. Parents here 15-21st. It’s going to be an eventful month.

July is next week? Where did June go?

Useless information (mostly food related)
1) Did you know that Doritos makes plain corn chips? Where are the Tostitos?
2) Mars Bars are MilkyWays and vise versa.
3) McDonalds has Cadbury McFlurries.
4) Gordon Brown takes over for Tony Blair tomorrow. Could be entertaining.

Tentatively headed to Wimbledon on Thursday, and again next week.

Probably an update then, but regardless I hope this finds you well.

-dj