Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

weekend log

Saturday we went over to a colleague's house and watched the wedding videos of another colleague's brother. The interesting bit is that it was an all out Indian wedding of a well to-do family, so the multi-day party was quite impressive (by my standards). We also feasted on traditional northern vegetarian food, all very nice.

Sunday I took the girl for a little journey, just the two of us. We visited Rhos-on-Sea for the Harlequin Puppet Theatre's production of Alice in Wonderland. What a wonderful little show and venue, I recommend it to kids or adults.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dashehra Diwali Mela 2007

Today we took the kids to Manchester and met up with one of Megan's friends to see the Diwalli festival in Platts Fields Park. Diwali is the annual Hindu festival of lights. I've never been to one of these before and we were all pleasantly surprised. There was a lot of nice eastern dancing, food, music, etc. There were some crafts for the kids, and also an area to have henna decorations on the ladies hands. At the end of the evening there was a lantern procession near the lake lead by a brass band, culminating with a fire works display and the burning of a large statue of Ravan.

They also had a small fun fair for the kids. The boy was quite green when they slung him in the air for this one!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Buzz around Dorr Street Development?

I recieved a survey from the university today that made me perk up. They are seeking opinions for how Dorr Street should be redeveloped. This is especially interesting to me being an alum and also being a resident (well, not at the moment while traveling).

Here is a news article from the spring when President Jacobs met with Carty and discussed the topic.

My dream? A Barnes & Noble, 24 hour diner, a Trader Joes, and pretty much everything currently residing in Cricket West. Westgate is too far to walk for students...a pedestrian friendly development along Dorr Street would be a great feature for students and residents alike. My major dislikes would be: yet another laundry matt, video rental, or low end fast food joint.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Camping expedition - Rhosneigr

We drove back to the island of Anglesey on Saturday and pitched camp at Rhosneigr. A good friend and colleague of mine has a static caravan literally on the edge of an RAF base and a hop / step / jump to the beach. Their kids and ours are nearly the same ages and get on pretty well. Here they are making a mess in the back of the Jeep.

The weather was a bit soggy on Saturday but was perfect on Saturday. We went to the beach to let the kids splash around and dig in the sand. On the way home Sunday we stopped at the Pili Palas, an really nice indoor butterfly garden / aviary / reptile house / and more.

A big parakeet decided to befriend me by swooping past and around and eventually landing on my shoulder. It was very funny, Megan snapped a photo and then I leaned my shoulder next to a rail for it to walk out on, but instead it walked across my neck to my other shoulder. I tried this once or twice more before getting more blatant. I reached my hand near its feat and it started pecking at me...didn't hurt, just a warning I think. But my daughter was getting quite upset by this point. So I gave the shoulder a little shake and it finally flew off to find a better perch.

All in all a great weekend but everyone thouroughly knackered out.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Glasgow Photos

I haven't had a chance to blog about our trip to Glasgow last weekend. All I can say it is a great city, that I'd love to go back to someday. We had a lot of fun and saw some great things. My flickr account contains 22 new photos which will occasionally scroll the cool little flash app along with my navigation controls.

One aspect of the Buchanan Street shopping experience that the whole family loved is this Borders, that has to be in the most fantastic setting I've ever seen for a big box store! The inside of the place was equally impressive with about 4 levels of books and a big atrium at the middle where the cafe goers looked down through glass. The photo is of the back of the store, the front has lots of big windows and bigger doors. This side faces the Modern Art museum and is part of the old market exchange square.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

weekend log

Saturday we went to see The Reef (Shark Bait in US) at the St Helens cinema. Then we walked around town for a while, had lunch at Frank and Benny's, then headed home. We took a couple hours to pour through the huge box of travel momentos, brochures, and event ideas that has collected over the summer and fall.

Sunday we had our traditional breakfast of whole wheat pancakes with whip cream and maple syrup, bacon, eggs, and hot chocolate. We try to do that once per weekend depending on other plans. Later in the afternoon we took a drive out to the Cheshire Ice Cream farm. This is a dairy farm deep in the country side which has a farm market, tea room, indoor and outdoor playgrounds, area to view farm animals, area to view birds of prey, area to see the milking of the dair cows, and most importantly a wide selection of fresh ice cream.

After putting the kids to bed I watched "28 Days Later" and "28 Weeks Later" back to back. A friend had recommended (not in one setting) but I found them pretty cool for zombie movies. The first was a quite a bit better than the second. It was so incredible how the made London look deserted, and I had to laugh now that I recognize some of those places like Trafalgar square and the CBI Business centre. I've started an account at IMDB to start tracking my movie recommendations in one place, but not sure if I'll stick to it. I really like how I can scroll through my latest Amazon reviews right here on my blog (top right). But Amazon annoys me slightly that you must choose 1 edition of a movie to review, and also there are no "top 250 movies" type lists (that I know of).

What has been on Aaron's mind?

I've been concious of the fact that my blog has sort of turned in to a travel journal over the past year. It doesn't really bother me because the goal is to keep track of both what I'm doing and what I'm thinking. I need to post a bit more on the thinking.

Some friends of mine in Atlanta recently had a new baby girl who had some spinal trouble. She has just come home with them after a couple weeks in the hospital. That really makes me feel good, and stirs memories of my little sister's experience. She spent the first several months at MCO in Toledo including spinal and heart surgeries. I was about 10 at the time and a lot of that has become a blur, but she was a miracle baby and a testament to the field of medical science.

In other news, a good friend and colleague of mine here in the UK has quit his job (for the second time) and plans a solitary bike trip from the south of Argentina up through Chili and Peru. This, while not exactly tempting for me, does make me think. You see these extreme examples of super human people who go on incredble trips, run ultra marathons, overcome great adversity (mental and physical I always think of Lance Armstrong). Jason Lewis just came back to UK from a 13 year person powered trip around the which he was run over by a car in Colorado, arrested as a spy in Egypt, and attacked by a croc down under. What motivates people? Probably millions of things, combinations of those things, and they can change over a life span. Philosophers categorize, pontificate, and generalize the reasons. They dream up fiction or capture biographies or poeticize about it. One of my favorite thought experiments in this area is objectivism.

I think much of motivation is due to world view or spiritual views. I think for many people religion is a moral rudder but not a true motivation in and of itself. In the staggering numbers of people in poverty, survival is key motivation. But what about well-to-do productive people who veer off course and do something dangerous/exhilerating? These extreme challenges I think are persons pushing themselves to the boundaries of human social and physical limits, for their own sake. They believe their one physical life is sacred and should be explored as completely as possible. They would rather take an interesting avenue of life, thereby choosing quality over the possiblity quantity, since even the quantity of longevity is never garaunteed.

My suggestion to anyone reading this, is think about your life. Pretend you have 10 minutes to live, and you really aren't certain what the afterlife will hold (even if you are certain). What scenes of quality living flash through your mind? When are your happiest moments? When were your most harrowing? What achievements are you proud of? Any regrets? When you've done this, do you feel content having what you have experienced? If not, get out there and LIVE people! And if you want any further advice, do it in a compassionate, respectful way towards your worldwide brothers and sisters, both future and past. Oversimplified? Maybe...especially for those struggling for survival. But not due to financial means or being tied to a region. Living intentionally and experiencing more doesn't require a bycicle trip across a foriegn contentent. The goals are up to you.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A night at the Liverpool Empire Theatre

We took the train into Liverpool tonight to see the Disney theater production of Beauty and the Beast. The girl claims this was one of her favorite things EVER. I have to admit it was nice with some songs you don't hear in the movie. However, I'd say the acoustics aren't terrific at this theatre even though the old restored decor is very ornate.

That is so cool...

Those who know me can get weary of me espousing the virtues of my pda/gps/mobile phone. I have had an HTC P3300 for about 6-8 months and it is such a joy.

Today it got even better, as I noticed JD Wetherspoons released their pub finder in Tom Tom POI form... for the less tech oriented, that means wherever I'm at in UK I my phone gives me step by step walking or driving instructions to the nearest Wetherspoons pub.

For those who aren't from UK, this chain always have a reasonably high standard of food at decent prices, but best of all they have an excellent selection of cask ales. We will miss this one when we go back to the states.

a Day in London...

Today I caught an early train to London for a web content management seminar being hosted by the Butler Group research company. The train takes about 2 hours from Runcorn right to Euston Station, although a plane can do it in about 40 minutes, that only gets you from airport to airport, and just think of the possibilities for delays and hastles.

The seminar had some good examples of what different large businesses are doing for 2nd and 3rd generation WCM strategies. I still get the feeling SharePoint is too immature to be a good WCM, and that these long time players (and even some short term ones) do a better job.

After the seminar I walked down to the National Gallery for a couple hours before catching the train back home. What a beautiful place!