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12 June 2008 23:59:59 UTC-0500

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Links to my published articles online
List of Publications with Full Citations

Language Networks on LiveJournal (pdf)

Adolescent Diary Weblogs and the Unseen Audience (pdf)

A Longitudinal Analysis of Weblogs: 2003-2004 (pdf)

Conversations in the Blogosphere: An Analysis "from the Bottom Up" (pdf). Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-38) Best Paper Nominee.

Weblogs as a bridging genre (pdf)

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Common Visual Design Elements of Weblogs

Women and Children Last: The Discursive Construction of Weblogs

Time until my next publication submission deadline
If everything goes well with qualifying I will again be submitting articles for publication. I hope to submit as follows:

1 July 2008 23:59:59 UTC-0500

Links to my conference papers online
The Performativity of Naming: Adolescent Weblog Names as Metaphor

Buxom Girls and Boys in Baseball Hats: Adolescent Avatars in Graphical Chat Spaces

Time until my next conference submission deadline
1 December 2008 23:59:59 UTC-0500

Adolescents and Teens Online Bibiliography
Last updated July 8, 2005.

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Last Updated November 22, 2005.

A weblog to gather quotations from my academic reading.

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New books are added but reading status is rarely accurate.

March 29, 2008

Thrifty shopping for your next travel excursion

While reading the May 2008 edition of ShopSmart, I found a list of travel sites that I thought I would share.  Now if you are like me, you want to travel like an international celebrity...not the paparazzi of a celeb, just the quality of service they get...but want to do it on a sub-coach budget.  If so then some of these sites might help.

Check out: Hope some of these sites help you get the best quality for the least price on your next major trip.  Now if I could just find a site to fix what's wrong with the U.S. dollar, so I could afford to travel.  *sigh*  A girl can dream can't she?

Posted by prolurkr at 10:44 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 09, 2006

Pagosa Springs to Lake City CO

I have about a 100 pictures from the drive back from Colorado to Indiana.  I'm going to break them up into each day's drive so I don't swamp slower connections. The first day I drove from Pagosa Springs CO to Lake City CO. Day two was from Lake City CO to Pueblo CO. On day three I left the mountains behind and spent the night in Wichita KS. Day four took me to Pinebluffs MO and the next day brought me home. I said it was a fairly circuitous route.
The route from South Fork to Lake City is listed as one of the prettiest scenic drives in Colorado, and I agree. I had wanted to do this drive because Lake County, of which Lake City is the only population center, is the least populated county in the United States...now that appeals to me. LOL I started taking pictures after I cleared South Folk and was heading north. This route had very little traffic...me a few motorcycles and an occasional passenger vehicle. Sweet...
I stopped to grab this pic on a causeway that lead between the highway and a camp ground. Great view.
I pulled into the campground to use the facilities and take a walk around to stretch my legs. I was a nice place but totally uninhabited at that time. After a nice walk I pulled back on the highway which wound down the mountains and around the campground, below the campground I came around the curve to find a large Black Bear lumbering across the road heading up to where I had just been. I saw it and it saw me...it did an evaluation and decide that my Blue Insight was a threat. Once that decision was made it hit high speed and ran up the mountain. Of course it flashed across my brain that I should turn around and go back to the camp ground for pictures...of course I realized that would be completely insane and kept going.
Further down the mountain I stopped at an overlook for more pictures.
This marker is located on Slumgullion Pass at 11,000. Two thousand feet below is Lake City...named for Lake San Cristobal.
I stopped at Windy Pass Overlook and took more pictures.
There is a trail that heads up into the mountains for a better "overlook" view. At this point I was getting very tired so I passed on even a short hick. As I headed down into town I started rethinking my plan to press on to Pueblo for the night.
Lake San Cristobal was created about 700 years ago when an earthflow blocked the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River. The earthflow is still moving but apparently no longer leads to the lake.
 Another scenic overlook at a lower elevation.
This historical marker is located where in February 1874, Alfred Packer killed five men as he lead them from Salt Lake City to Los Pinos Indiana Agency, South of Gunnison CO. Welcome to the WILD West.
This is the official marker with the names of the victims.
Lake City is a small town with fewer than 400 residents. I was told that the town mostly empties out in the winter since temps routinely hit -20.  Not surprising at this elevation, 8000+.
I stopped at the Tic Toc Diner for lunch. The food was very good and the decor was interesting.
I took this shot of the Tic Toc's menu with their story on the front.
My next leg of the drive was around Lake San Cristobal itself. This is a highly photogenic lake and estuary.
I loved the harmony of this shot...the curves of moss against the curves of the rock.
I was really tired by this point so I decided to stay over in Lake City. It took a couple of stops but I found a cabin at the Wagon Wheel Resort.
A shot from the front door of the cabin looking at the mountains.
The Cottonwood seeds were falling so thick they were like snow on the ground. I was really cool to watch.
A couple of shots inside the two bedroom cabin.  Now for a good nights sleep in a beautiful locale with cool nights.

Posted by prolurkr at 07:23 PM | TrackBack

July 06, 2006

Pictures around Pagosa Springs

During my stay I snapped a variety of pictu around Pagosa Springs. These are not necessarily sequential nor do they tell a coherent story...at least they don't tell me one at the moment.
Every other morning I started out my day with a nice soak at the hot springs. There were two routes between the house and The Springs, you could stay on the highways or go out Hotsprings Road. I usually choice the latter. This picture is going in from the house toward town. I actually snapped the picture to get a clear shot of the mountains, the layers of mountains actually. Sadly that part didn't come out very well.
On the same road this view looks up toward Reservoir Hill.
On the east side of town there are still some working ranches. This one had several old buildings. I'm not totally sure they were really old but they were pretty...I love the old abandoned building look.
Still on Hotsprings Road coming up on I-84, the ranch in the distance is known as The Blue Ranch. All of the buildings are painted the same shade of blue. I bet it gorgeous when there is snow.
The view outside the living room windows of the house were amazing at sunset. I have never seen colors like this outside an old master painting. I had thought Hawaii sunsets were the best but I think these beat them.
The Columbine's were beginning to bloom in the yard right as I left.
These shots are looking down at Pagosa Springs from Reservoir Hill.
When I first moved into the house I amuzed a friend of mine in PA. I kept saying that there were critters at my feeder that I couldn't identify. They had the body of a chipmunk and the head of a squirrel and were about half the size of our squirrels. Turns out they are Gold Mantled Squirrels. I snapped this picture from my workspace looking out the dining room doors. The frame you see around the squirrel is actual the back of a ladder-back dining chair.

Posted by prolurkr at 10:54 PM | TrackBack

Elwood Pass - Post 2

Ok as I said, I consider the trip to have been a success ane I can't wait to go back though next time I'm driving a different route.  There is a route that would le tme go from New Mexico to Summitville then down via Elwood Pass.  I almost took it this time but I was worried about total drive time as it covers over 100 miles and you don't drive these roads quickly.  Might have to be a two-day trip.

It got really interesting, intellectually, when I got back to town after the drive.  I was talking about my trip and several people were appalled that I would have gone up alone.  I was somewhat amazed given my earlier discussions, see Elwood Pass - Post 1.  I asked why but never got sound logic.

Let me say first that I totally understand why one should never go hiking alone.  Having a buddy makes perfect sense to me, you get injured and there will be someone there to hike out and get help...at least you hope that only one of you in incapacitated.  But on a driving tour, two people in one vehicle is equivalent to one hiker.  If something happens with the vehicle either both will be hiking or neither...there isn't a lot of gray area here. 

I admit I would do it again alone...though with some further preparedness.  Including making sure I can change a tire.  Though on these drives the roads are not so isolated that it would be days before someone came along...more like hours at the most.  In truth I saw far more traffic on the East Fork Road than I did on the Plumtaw Piedra Loop.  Kinda funny that.

Oh well, I have every intention of being back in the high mountains again on the next trip.

And on a note of nearly full disclosure, I have no doubt that had I searched on "Elwood Pass" rather then "scenic drives" "Pagosa Springs," I might have throught more before I started out on the drive.  Sites that discuss Elwood Pass make a point of talking about how difficult the road can be.  The Durango Herald did a story on an excursion to Elwood Pass, interestingly they turned around very close to the spot where I did the same.

Posted by prolurkr at 09:44 PM | TrackBack

Elwood Pass - Post 1

Ok before I went to Colorado I had said I wasn't going to head up into the high mountains by myself. Well once I was there I realized how comfortable I feel in the mountains so I decided I was going to do some research to see if it was do-able. In my research I read several sites that discussed scenic drives around Pagosa Springs and found that they recommended having a 4-wheel drive vehicle with high clearance (as though there are lots of low-clearance 4-wheel drives), no problem there they can easily be rented. I talked to some of the folks I met in town who said they didn't see why it you be a problem to drive to Summitville via Elwood Pass, just have a 4x4. I also spent some time talking to the folks at the Forest Service Office who agreed that it was a workable solo drive in a 4x4. Hubby said go for it so I did.
This first set of pictures were taken near the beginning of the route. The route basically parallels the East Fork of the San Juan River so there is almost always water on the right of the drive up the mountain. At this point the road is a nice 1.5 to 2 lane dirt road...like most non-highway roads in Colorado...this does change though as you go up the mountain. You will see as we ascend.
The weather had been damp but not stormy as I started out. It was cool driving up the canyon as I listened to KSUT's 30th Anniversary Celebration on the radio, until I lost the radio reception. The program opened with a Native American Drum group and I loved the combination of driving with the windows down listening to the sounds of the mountains while the drums played.
As you head further up the mountain you pass through a privately held ranch called Piano Creek. The pictures don't do this property justice it is devastatingly gorgeous. Recently the owners gave up their plan to make it a golf club...I'm really glad they did so. Though it looks like shares are available in the property. The Durango Herald did a story on the history of the Piano Creek Ranch's name which is well worth a read particularly in light of the rest of my story.  *w*
This shot looks back toward the western entrance to the property and the old homestead site.
Still on the ranch and gaining altitude.
This sign marks the history of Elwood Pass, this site gives you the same info with better detail. It also says that a trip from Summitville to Pagosa Springs over Elwood Pass once took 3 weeks to make the 30 mile trip...the road can be that difficult for a wagon.
I took a side trip up Quartz Meadow Road.
I came around a bend and there they were...peaks with snow. I love the Rockies, I think I might have said that once or twice. LOL
The Quartz Meadow Trailhead is located in a beautiful meadow...hence the name I'm sure.
I actually had to ford this stream to get to the meadow and to get out. Of course I only took a pic going out. It was a bit scary going through the first time...the water splashed on to the hood of the truck though it was splash not underwater. Much of this drive could be a metaphor for life - more on that one later - but in this case the chant...just "floor it and go," worked nicely.
Back on East Fork Road, heading to the Pass.
I took this pic so you could see the road...which was really more of a stream bed at this point than anything I would have called a road.
Gotta love Aspens.
Another ford, faster but much shallower than the Quartz Creek ford. After this the road started going up steeply. Ahead of me I saw a Bronco-like truck stopped in the road with people walking up the road ahead of the truck. I stopped and got out so we could confab. In the truck was a couple who were deciding if they could make it up the mountain with a front-wheel drive vehicle...the answer was no. As we were talking I realized they had kids in the car, it looked like three kids under seven as I saw their heads sticking out of the windows. Why you would decide this was a good outing for really young kids is totally beyond me. We decided I would backup to the ford and let them come back and turnaround. Then I could go on forward up the canyon.
I decided to grab a shot of the truck, while I was waiting for them to backup and turnaround. LOL
Looking up the "road" where the truck had been stopped. After this the road got much dicier. It was very narrow with sheer drops on the right as I headed up the mountain. At several points I was repeating to myself that there was no place to turnaround so the only alternative was to press-on...not a bad metaphor for much of life. Oh have I mentioned that I'm afraid of heights? LOL

Well I keep pressing on up the canyon and I hit a rock shelf that I could not get the truck to go over. I did a couple of unsuccessful runs when I got out to study the shelf and find the best way over it.

At that point a Bronco met me coming down from the pass. I walked up and met one of the gentlemen from the truck as he walked down to meet me. We discussed how to negotiate the road so that we could pass and each be on our way. He suggested that I pull way over on the right edge of the road so they could go by on the left. I explained to him that I couldn't do that...I would let them pull it up and one of them could pull it off on the edge of the canyon but I couldn't do it. Of course he was staring at me at that point asking what I was doing in the mountains if I was scared of height...like fear should stop me flat. I know my limits...on the road I can do it...on the grass next to the lip we have problems. So we settled that they would pull by me on the right so I didn't have to go off on that edge.

He was watching me as I made three runs on the shelf before I got over it and when I did his eyes got really big...you see I was driving on a blown tire. The road is so rough I had not noticed that the tire had blown probably 0.25 miles before we met. At that earlier point I had hit something in the road that had bounced the truck a bit to the right and then we had gone forward with no noticeable problems...that is probably when the tire blew.

Lucky for me the Bronco held four guys who were in the mountains camping with 40 of their friends...most were firefighters from Fort Worth TX. They volunteered to change the tire for me, which I accepted. I realized as I watched them that I haven't changed a tire on a car, never on a truck, in many years. I have no idea how to use a scissors jack, a point which I will be remedying shortly, nor do I think I have enough upper-body strength to loosen the lugs on a 4x4.

I grabbed this shot while they were working on the truck. As you can see there are pipeline warning signs along this part of the route. Not sure where the pipeline is exactly, or how one would dig a trench for the pipe, OR why would would take pipe along this route.
After the tire blew and was changed out, it seemed wise to turnaround and head back down the canyon and home to Pagosa Springs. I could call this trip a failure because I didn't achieve my goal of reaching Summitville but I consider it a huge win. I had a great time driving and I learned a few things about my self.
  1. I am not afraid of heights rather I am afraid of falling. I can stand on the edge of a sheer drop if I feel secure against falling.
  2. I have very limited vision in my right eye and that seems to play into my discomfort. I think my brain is in a constant state of "Oh shit" when the sheer drop is on my right.
  3. I am far more uncomfortable going up than I am coming down.
  4. All of these points proved true whether I on this road or on a four-lane highway going over a pass.

I grabbed this shot because it was a nice picture leading into Piano Creek Ranch.

Posted by prolurkr at 09:05 PM | TrackBack

July 05, 2006

Blanco Basin Road

Later in the day after completing the Plumtaw Piedra Loop I took a spin up the Blanco Basin Road. I didn't take lots of pictures. What can I say I was tired and even though I love the mountains after awhile the views become pretty similar...when you do a picture marathon.
I had seen this freeloading plant in several spots throughout the day. However this was the first time I could get a good picture. Not sure what it is but it was growing in a Lodgepole Pine.
You can see that it was getting really hazy as the day wore on. This pic has been Photoshopped to clean it up, but only on run through the automatic cleaner...anything else would be too much processing for me.
This shot was snapped as I came back down the road and got below the haze.
Last shot of the day and then home to get some sleep before the big day, tomorrow.

Posted by prolurkr at 09:06 PM | TrackBack

July 01, 2006

Plumtaw-Piedra Loop

The Plumtaw Road is a Forest Service access road that begins in town as Four Mile Road at the corner of Lewis and Pagosa Street near Subway. It is substantially higher in elevation than most other back roads in the county and affords spectacular vistas and autumn colors; it is also the summer home for many deer and elk. Keep an eye peeled for grouse also. Where the Plumtaw Road descends to the Upper Piedra Road, turn right toward Williams Creek Lake, a scenic high mountain reservoir with a reputation for good fishing. Where Piedra Road crosses the Piedra River, take a hike (half-hour or longer) down the Piedra Gorge past caverns of maidenhair ferns and mini-waterfalls. Stay on Piedra Road when you return to Pagosa Springs, noting the “Big Pasture” and “Ant Hill” on your right. You will be following the route of an early narrow-gauge railway the last 10 miles. This route is suitable for all vehicles and is a great route for viewing fall foliage.

Taken from Scenic driving and 4x4 trails around Pagosa Springs Colorado
This ranch caught my eye.
There are no bad views on this drive. Though the "suitable for all vehicles" is probably an overstatement. I know my car's little tires wouldn't have liked it at all. Plus I had the truck in low on more than a few occasions.
Multiflora roses were just beginning to bloom. I love these natural single roses but back home they are considered a weed because the cattle won't eat them and they grow into huge brambles.
I love Aspen trees, their bark has an interesting texture and they wind makes the most amazing sound through the leaves.
The wild iris were in bloom in some of the more open meadows, often in singles or small groups. This large drift was just perfect for a picture.
or two....
Ahhh Aspens and iris together.
I took a side route into a forest test area.
The area had been logged before a test burn to work through fire protection planning. Then the area was replanted, the first time less then successfully when critters eat most everything. The second planting is growing nicely though it is entirely pines.
...and valleys.
I grabbed a couple of shots in the William's Creek Reservoir area.
On the way back to town on Piedra Road I found a great overlook down to the Piedra River.

Posted by prolurkr at 02:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Scenic driving in Colorado

I rented a 4-wheel drive truck and spent two days doing some serious scenic driving in the San Juan Mountains.  The truck I ended up with was a full size F150 extended cab, if I had it to do over again I would have held out for the smaller 4-wheel drive truck I had reserved.  You know how rental car reservations work, you reserve it and they give you whatever they want to give you for the rate of whatever you reserved.  In essence the smaller truck would have been better but more on that in a future post.

Here is a graphic taken from my GPS system that gives you a picture of the driving I did over the two days. Look for the dashed lines on the map. The longer dashed line is the Plumtaw-Piedra Loop and the shorter one is my route up to Elwood Pass.  Sadly the clip couldn't get my route up the Blanco Basin Road on the same screen. I have pictures and stories to come.

Related posts:

Plumtaw-Piedra Loop
Blanco Basin Road
Elwood Pass - Post 1
Elwood Pass - Post 2

Posted by prolurkr at 01:49 PM | TrackBack

June 28, 2006

Pictures from my drive to Santa Fe

I drove from Pagosa Springs to Santa Fe to spend the weekend with friends. The books say it is about a 2.5 hour drive but since many miles of the road was stripped down to hard pack AND since my car's very narrow tires don't like rough roads it took over an hour longer than listed.

The colors of these pictures seem unnaturally bright but they are accurate...the colors are very intense in the South West.
This is a natural ampatheatre. Isn't nature amazing.
When I was driving back I went via Taos yes I know it's not a straight line but it was a really nice drive. A rain storm was tracking my route so I got to see a desert storm...hehehe.
My friend told me that this bridge is fairly famous. I need to look up the name of the place. It is very high above the river...very high. I didn't walk out to the middle because it was raining...yeah that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Dust devils facinate me.
I forgot that the headquarters for Earthship Biotecture is outside Taos. I had to backup and grab some pictures of the site. Had it been before 5:00 p.m. I would have taken the tour, but I guess I can do that sometime in the future.
Just beyond the Earthship subdivision I started seeing lots of dust along a side road. Everywhere I had been to this point I had seen cattle trucks moving stock between pastures and from the farm to the auction. Not sure what these folks were doing beyond kicking up a dust storm.

Posted by prolurkr at 07:34 PM | TrackBack

June 27, 2006

Pictures from the drive to Colorado

Pictures are long overdue I know. Well here goes. I took a high mountain route from Colorado Springs to Pagosa Springs along Colorado Highway #. I snapped a few shots of these high valleys and platues. This is semi-arid country and global warming is taking it's toll on their fragile eco-systems.
It snowed as I was going up Wolf Creek Pass. The day before I had worn shorts as I was driving through Kansas, now it was cold in the mountains.
My only attempt, so far, to do movie capture on my digital camera is available in a Quicktime version. I included a still in case this doesn't work well.
And then I was in my kinda heaven, in the middle of the San Juan Mountains above 7000 feet.
A picture looking West off the front stoop of my rental house.

Posted by prolurkr at 07:04 PM | TrackBack

May 11, 2006

Day Two of the drive - St. Peter's MO to Salina KS

Sunday, May 7, I drove from St. Peter's MO to Salina KS, roughly 405 miles.  It was an easy drive with most of the routing on I-70.  Along the way I saw a herd of buffalo in a wallow, and lots of rail cars on sidings -both grain and coal haulers.

I stopped for lunch in Sweet Springs MO.  I had planned on grabbing a burger at Sonic when I saw the "Family Diner."  On this Sunday the diner was surrounded by families moving to and from cars and stopping to chat.  Looked like it had potential to be a good place for lunch.  I have to admit I was painfully under dressed to be hanging out with the post-church crowd though I didn't get to many sideways glances.  The food was good as was the country atmosphere.

I drove on from Sweets Springs to Salina, without much interruption.  Salina is a nice small town with a very nice Holiday Inn.  I spent a quiet night in a mostly empty hotel...not bad.

Posted by prolurkr at 03:43 PM | TrackBack

From Urbana/Champiagn IL to St. Peter's MO

After the International Association of Qualitative Inquiry (IAQI) meeting I headed out on the road.  The plan was to get as far as St. Louis and spend the night there.  I didn't make reservations for hotels along the route, rather I targeted cities that looked likely on my Garmin software and planned on finding hotels once I got to a stopping point.  That way I could stop earlier if I was really tired without missing the cutoff time for cancellation refunds.

So after the meeting I drove down and caught I-70 toward St. Louis.  I had roughly planned on spending the night at Pontoon Beach but didn't like the look of the area around the interstate when I got there.  I have no idea what the actual community is like just what the exchange looked like...so I kept moving.  I drove through the city at about 9pm.  It wasn't much fun as the road is in less the good condition and my little care - read four motorcycle tires - likes to dance on really rough pavement.  I kept driving until I was both tired enough to know that I had to stop soon and in sight of community where I felt safe enough.  That brought me to St. Peter's MO, and a night at a Ramada Limited.

Posted by prolurkr at 02:42 PM | TrackBack

April 14, 2006

Platial Map for Colorado Trip

Platial lets you create custom Google maps, so I set-up one for the Colorado trip. Check out Prolurkr's Colorado Trip. Sorry no RSS feed, which they should have to at least let you know that its been updated.

Posted by prolurkr at 12:57 PM | Comments (2)

March 24, 2006

The reality of a month in Colorado

Well the trip became much more real to me since this morning when I put down the deposit on a vacation rental house in the Four Corners area. The rental process has been interesting, always is. The house I very much wanted to rent is owned by people who don't respond to their email or their voice mail...clearly there is a problem here. It always amazes me how many people who rent vacation properties don't seem to respond to questions or reservation requests. Guess they aren't doing this seriously. Of course I had two owners who were abundantly helpful with lots of information about their properties and the local surroundings. Unfortunately there were huge drawbacks to both because neither was as secluded, or at least not immediately accessible, as I need this to be. I know myself, if I can find outside distractions I will take them. I want to close down as many possibilities as I can in making this rental decision.

Yesterday I was informed by the rental agent that one of the houses I had marked off my list, too big therefore had to be too expensive, was available at my price. Goes to show you should always ask. Today I put down the deposit, remainder do on arrival, and it is mine for a month plus a bit. It is a huge place - four bedrooms, three baths (one with a huge whirlpool tub), and two dining areas both seating up to eight (one of which will undoubtedly become my work area for the stay). The rental place is WAY nicer then my house.

Why so big? Well I didn't really want a place this big but believe it or not I'm paying less here then I would be at either of the smaller places mentioned above or on the Big Island of Hawaii, which was my first choice for a place to spend a month. This house sits on about ten acres and butts into the National Forest so there is lots of potential for nice afternoon walks. It also has great views of the mountains and the valleys below. Remember a quiet view is a working requirement. Oh and I can't wait to curl up in front of the fireplace with all my reading. Finally it has easy enough, though not to easy, access to both Pagosa Springs and Durango. While I am going primarily to work, one does not live by work alone. I plan on having one excursion, besides groceries and such, each week...with a great final reward when I finish the paper.

Yesterday I closed down Borders Bookstore in Bloomington, after a BROG meeting and dinner with Elijah, and bought a copy of the Colorado Atlas & Gazetteer, as well as, a Hidden Colorado guidebook. I learned several things I hadn't known previously just by looking through all the guidebooks before I settled on this one. With both of these in hand I can do some serious exploring...well not as serious as I would like since I don't plan on renting a four-wheel drive to go up into the backcountry by myself. Have to save the ghost towns and abandoned mines for a trip when hubby comes along. Though I will probably hit at least one of the lesser traveled Anasazi excavations. Can't think of a better place to sit and play native american flute.

Yes it's all become very real. As is all of the work that must be done before I leave. If you want to find where your roadblocks lay, just plan on being away for a over a month. The roadblocks make themselves very clear when you give them that kind of timeline. But more on to-do lists later.

Posted by prolurkr at 12:41 PM | TrackBack

February 13, 2006

Pictures of Bielefeld

I wasn't very good at taking pictures this trip I think I shot two, to be posted later. Eszter Hargittai, however, took a nice set of pictures you can check out on Flickr. You gotta love the yellow rubber ducks we each had in the bathroom at the Hotel Mövenpick in Bielefeld.

Posted by prolurkr at 04:07 PM | TrackBack

November 12, 2005

Universal Packing List

The Photoethnography blog has a link to the Universal Packing List which looks like a helpful little JavaScript to create a packing list. Elegant and simple. While it might not include everything you think you need it does look like it gets to the heart of what is required.

Posted by prolurkr at 07:38 AM | TrackBack

October 24, 2005

Walking from London to Cape Town

I have never been a huge fan of travel films, not sure why but they just don't do it for me. I think part of it is the perspective...the journey is done and the speaker knows the outcome. Or maybe it's the retrospective editing that takes place before and during the presentation. Oh well for whatever reason I don't love travel films, I do love travel blogs. The story is unfolding for me in installments and the writer doesn't know much more than I do about what tidbit will become significant over time...sorta like daily life. *w*

Well this afternoon The World Is Not Flat (TwinF), which will be a cool travel blog once the trip is underway, pointed me to constantly. Constanttrek is a blog by a couple who are waling from London to Cape Town South Africa, hence their subtitle "Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time." Think about that for a bit...walking from London to Cape Town. I may be a country girl but I sure don't have that kind of trip in me, never did.

So I have added the blog to my Bloglines list, as you can see in the sidebar. I shall be keeping up with their progress and may even go back and read some of the archive...in my copious free time. LOL

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August 03, 2005

An animated London Tube Map

Found via Going Underground this map is way fun. Little multi-colored chicklets speeding around the system, the still photo doesn't do it justice. Kinda freaky when they "pass" each other. Check it out at tubez + trainz from Quick Maps.

Quick Maps has some other great animated maps of London as well. I like the map for the Notting Hill Carnival to be held 27-29 August. But then I just like Notting Hill. Check out The Notting Hill Carnival - a gallery of photographs for some great pictures from past Carnival's.

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June 22, 2005

Podcast Camp

Elijah Wright and I spent Monday and Tuesday this week at Lake Forest College, Lake Forest IL working with David Park on our collaborative research agenda on podcasts and podcasting. We got a lot of work done in a very short time, including laying out an outline, and timeline for an article to have in review by the end of the year.

While on campus we stayed at a beautiful old mansion that had been left to the college, Glen Rowan House. My room was nicely done with an attached bathroom.
The part of the house we all loved was the sunroom. It is a beautiful space that looks out over the grounds. If I lived in a house like this I would definitely spend most of my time in a room like this. Picture books everywhere and a computer table with maximum window exposure. There is a nice sitting area off to the left of the picture, two couches and a coffee table surrounded by windows.
Next to the sunroom is a parlor, I can picture it full of men with cigars.
There is a large formal dinning room. The door you see in the picture leads to the back half of the house that is made up of a butlers pantry, a large one with lots of storage and the kitchen. Ahhh to have a staff, at least I think I would like that but in reality I probably would not.
The formal living room has a seating group in front of the fireplace and a conference table to the left of me as I took the picture. I'm sure when the house was a residence there were two seating areas in the room. Probably one highly formal and one sightly less so.
I snapped a couple of "lawn" shots from inside the house. Now this kind of "city" living I could do. The greenspace is behind the house while the water feature is in front.

Would you believe all of this was just $20 a night? Wow I have to be a visiting scholar more often. LOL

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January 25, 2005

Pictures from the trip to Hawai'i

I am posting my travel pictures from the trip to Hawai'i. I post them under the actual date the pictures were taken, so the first entry A trip to the top of Mauna Kae and is posted under January 7, 2005. You can get to the post by clicking the link above, or by going to either the archive for January 2005 or the category "Travel...on the road again".

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January 09, 2005

South Kohala and Hilo

We awoke this morning to the pounding of the surf against the retaining wall outside the condo. It was a fairly heavy rain with lots of wind.

I had decided to head for Hilo after taking Dan to the airport so he could pickup a rental car. He headed south to Volcanoes National Park. I had visited Hilo on my whirl-wind Big Island trip roughly 10 years ago. I liked the town then and wanted a chance to see it now. Another one day trip, I'll have to remedy that in the near future and stay for awhile in the Hilo area.
My first stop was to make the drive through Waimea to the Waipio Valley Lookout. Waipio is on the other side of the Pololu Valley, roughly six valleys away actually. There are no roads connecting the two.
I snapped this picture as I wound my way on highway 240 from the junction with highway 19, toward the lookout.
This picture was taken from the Lookout parking lot before I hiked down to the shelter house.
Waipio is a fairly inaccessible location. The valley is 900 ft below the lookout. There are signs everywhere advising against driving down into the valley unless you are in a 4x4. The state highway department has a website detailing why only a fool would drive this road in anything else, click here for the specifics. The road has a 25% grade over all that ranges up to 45% in spots...not something I am likely to drive myself down anytime soon.
It is a lovely setting though. I do want to get down to the valley floor sometime soon and to some walking around.
After visiting the Lookout I started back toward Hilo stopping to snap this picture just so you can see how rolling the landscape is from the highway down to the ocean.
As I drove first down to the Lookout and then toward Hilo, a trio of ships were often visible below me. I caught this picture the seventh or eighth time I saw them.
Looking down into Hilo.
I had a nice time walking in downtown Hilo. It was fairly wet so I didn't cover the ground I would have had the afternoon been brighter. Of course Hilo gets a significant rainfall so this is pretty much the usual weather, though I am told that it often rains the morning and it bright in the afternoon.

Many of the stores and buildings were closed as it was Sunday. I was able to grab an excellent lunch at Café Pesto very good food and great Sunday Jazz.

I then decided I would drive out the University of Hawaii at Hilo Campus. I had tried to find the campus when I was here 10 years ago but had not driven out far enough west when I went south of town. I didn't find it this time either, seems like a theme. I got caught up in the incredible amount of growth that has taken place. I remember the turn back to the airport quite vividly as happening in open grass lands edged with forest. Now it is all strip malls. Probably a good thing economically but sad for the beauty of the place. .

I remember the turn off so vividly because across from me at the turn was an elderly women in a bright medium blue early 1950's car, with white roof and trim. I really caught my eye. Then a couple of years later I was watching a documentary on the volcanoes and there she was again in the same car. Turns out she and her husband were important Hilo citizen. Wish I remembered their names but I don't. I will post more about my first trip to Hilo later, much of it is very funny or at least pretty ironic..
Well after tooling around Hilo for awhile I decided I would start back to Kona. Dan and I had left it that we might have dinner before my plane left the island and me being me I wanted to be in range should he call. On the way back I took the scenic drive along Onomea Bay. The drive goes past the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden sadly they were closing as I drove past so I will have to save a visit for a future trip. Reading the website I linked here makes me wish I had known to go there and possibly skipped Hilo, but hind-sight is always 20/20 isn't it.

I did get some great shots of the bay though, and the countryside around it. Here is an overview.
At the end of the drive is a community building or a church I'm not sure which.
Behind the buildings is a lawn and field that roll down to the bluff overlooking the bay.
On the road there is a nice section of retaining wall that was overgrown with moss. I have a thing for moss, the way it looks like velvet and often feels like thistle. *shrug* It's cool stuff.
There are lots of bridges over beautiful streams that roll down from the mountains to the bay. This is just one of them.
And then there is the bay itself. Check here for history of both the Botanical Garden and the Onomea Bay.
This mission building caught my eye because of the name "Hongwanji Mission" in the title. Which is the same as the cemetery I had photographed the day before on the other side of the island. Now that I can access the net and do some searching I find that Hongwanji are Buddhist missions to the islands, some of which operate schools.

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January 08, 2005

North Kohala and Waimea

Decided to take the day and head up the north up the coast. Dan Kutz joined me for my expedition. We made our first stop in Hawi (pronounced Havee). I had been in Hawi briefly in 2004, an liked the area I saw, our Flume the Ditch adventure departed from Hawi.
We stopped in Hawi to walk around a to begin our quest, a day long quest, to find Dan coffee.
Hawi is a little town with both a tropical and a mountain feel. In many ways I reminds me of the old towns I love in the Rockies. 
We next stopped in Kapaau. I had to grab a picture of the local library. Just my kind of place I'm sure. I love the bright red roof.
Across the street from the library is a statue of King Kamehameha. Here is a link to a much better picture then mine.  There is a great story behind this statue, I strongly suggest you take the time to read it.  Clink here to read. Sadly none of the versions I'm finding online are as well written, and as thorough as the one posted on the community building behind the statue.
This lovely park sits to the side of the community building, behind the Kamehameha statue. After seeing the statue and grounds we walked up the road and grabbed lunch at the Bamboo Restaurant before continuing our drive along the coast. I had an excellent kailua pig roast sandwich with waffle fries.
We also wondered through the Kohala Book Shop. I bought three books:

Cleeland, Hokulani (1994). OLELO 'OIWI KE KAHUA He Puke A'O Olelo Hawaii. Hilo HI: Aha Punana Leo, Inc. This book is a primer to learning to speak Hawaiian. Something I can play with between all of my academic pursuits...something fun.

Seabrook, Jane (2004). Furry Logic: A Guide to Life's Little Challenges. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press. it's a cute book of animal illustrations by the author with quotations. I love these little books of quotes for every occasion and state of mind.

Heiderstadt, Dorothy (1963). Lois Says Aloha. New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons. I simply could not pass up a book with both my name and a reference to Hawaii in the title, doing so would have been a crime. If you are interested this is also amusing because it's a young adult book.
We stopped just north of Pololu Valley Lookout where the road ends. Of course there were other visitors so we had to park up the road a bit and walk down to the actual end of the road lookout. I snapped picture of the view along the way.
There simply are no words of the beauty if this place. I sincerely wish that I could have done the 0.5 mile hike down to the black sand beach below. But if I had made it down it probably would have required a helicopter to get me out, my knees would never have survived the hike back up to the top. Swimming and snorkeling are NOT recommended in winter as strong surfs roll into this beach. The trails between Pololu and Waipio Valley Lookout are considered to be very beautiful and very treacherous. Look for my Waipio Valley Lookout pictures here.
After we checked out all the views of Pololu Valley we drove back toward Hawi stopping to take roadside sightseeing pictures along the way.
We decided to turn off the main road and check out Keokea Beach Park. There were several parties going on around the park so we tried to stay out of the folks way as much as we could.
A lone kayaker tried out the water.
The surf is pretty rough along the beach. Rough but lovely. The sound of waves crashing always tends to make me sleepy.
Dan contemplates the ocean.
The ocean contemplates Dan.
Along the road to the beach park is Kohala Hongwanji Mission Cemetery Halaula (North Kohala), a search on the name found recent obituaries but no history of the cemetery as I had hoped to find. I snapped pictures of several of the grave marker/headstones both old and new. The burial vaults remind me of those you see in New Orleans. Which makes sense given the volcanic soil here would not be easily dug for conventional western graves.
What a beautiful peaceful place to rest.
We then drove into Hawi and turned inland toward Waimea (South Kohala) and alternate road back to Kona. This is Parker Ranch country. Where cattle are grass feed from birth until they are old enough to ship off island to the mainland to be grain feed and fattened out.  I'm not sure that all of this land, in the pictures, is part of the Parker Ranch but the chances are good that the cattle are part of their herd.
Both Dan and I decided that we preferred the country up above 2000 feet. Much more my kinda place for sure, I'm such a country girl. Wish I could work this as my daily view.
Sadly it was dark by the time we headed down from Waimea so no pictures. At every stop during the day we had tried to find Dan a cup of coffee to no avail. By the time we stopped in Waimea it had become pretty funny that all the coffee shops were either closed or out of coffee when we were there.

We had dinner back in Kona with John and Marie before they flew back to the mainland. Finally Dan could get coffee. LOL

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January 07, 2005

A trip to the top of Mauna Kae

I got to met my primary goal on this trip to Hawaii. I signed up with Mauna Kea Summit Adventures for a trip up to the observatories near the peak of Mauna Kea. The van picked me up in Kona and headed north, with another stop near Waikoloa resorts, then we headed inland toward the Saddle Road.
I didn't take the picture at the top of this entry. I posted it because it gives a nice overview of the campus in the snow.
Saddle Road is one of those mythical places. Anyone who has been to the Big Island and rented a car has heard how travel upon it voids your agreement. Saddle Road runs east and west through the center of the island between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa and directly through a US Army Bombing Range. It is not the greatest road on which to be riding.
Once we reached the mountain our first stop was the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Visitor Information Station. I bought some souvenirs - patches for the kids, a pin for hubby, and a fleece jacket for myself. This picture looks south from the visitors center. You can see that we are above the treeline already. We spend 40 minutes or so at this level to allow our bodies to begin to acclimatize to the altitude.
After we acclimatized and had a warm dinner with soup, sandwiches, and drinks we headed up to the first level of observatories. The temperature at the top was 30 F with 35 mph winds...which mean that it was very very cold. The guides pointed out each of the telescopes to us, but sad to say I couldn't make notes and memory is not good at altitude. Lucky for me the University of Hawai'i has a site that allows me to identify which instruments I saw and photographed. This shot is of the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory
This shot looks up from the Caltech toward to upper level instruments. If you are also checking the University of Hawai'i site these buildings are pictured on the near left. That tiny telescope on the far right of my picture is the UH 0.6-m telescope, the first telescope built on the mountain. It is the only instrument with an actual eyepiece, all of the others are digital and allow remote viewing. We were told that the UH is also unheated so it's not the most popular of places to hang out if you are an astronomer.
This picture looks at the lower instruments and tries to catch the variety of structures present. The metallic tin can building is the Subaru Telescope. Next to the Subaru are the twin buildings of the W. M. Keck Observatory. The Keck has been in the astronomical news of late because of the amazing pictures they have been able to capture since modifying the twin instruments.
I snapped this pic to show you the ski and snowboard tracks that run down the snow slope. Sadly even with PhotoShopping, at my minimalist skill level, I can't get the tracks to show clearly. If you look closely along the lower third of the snow field you can see the edges of a few turns cut into the field.
This shot looks east out over Hilo. I am told that the shadow of the mountain stretches almost 200 miles, far out to sea.
This shot looks north and catches some lovely colors bouncing off the cloud cover below us.
This is my favorite picture. It looks up at the Gemini Telescope from our vantage point alongside the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope.
A sunset shot with United Kingdom Infrared Telescope.
Sunset colors reflected on the snow pack. The red and white banded stakes are used to gage snow removal and keep the plows on the road...cause it's a long way down.
Other cold people in our tour provided parka's. It was really cold up here. I had brought fleece cap and gloves with me from the mainland. I wore then under my issued parka and gloves. Thank goodness for them, since it meant when my hood blew off or I wanted to take pictures I was not exposing totally bare skin. Even with all of this warm covering I had windburned cheeks for a couple of days.
Sunset from the mountain. No green flash but a very beautiful end to the day.
You can't see the difference well but some of the telescopes are opening as the night sky begins to bloom after sunset.
After sunset we went back down the mountain, stopping first at the visitors center to allow access to restrooms. Then we went down Saddle Road to the entrance to the Girls Club Camp so we had a clear dark sky, and warmer temperatures, for stargazing. I tried to override my autoflash option and get a nice shot of the sky. I tried twice and couldn't make it happen...garnering a stern reprimand from our guide. When I got home I decided to PhotoShop one of the apparently black pictures just to see what might come forward. I was amazed when this beautiful star field popped out.
The star gazing part of the tour was worth the money in and of itself. We were viewing the night sky through Celestron Nexstar 8 GPS telescopes. I saw things in the sky that I have only seen in photographs. I got a great view of the Zodiacal Light with my bare eyes. I saw the rings of Saturn and it's moon Titan through the telescope.
I am not usually a "tour" kind of person. But the difficulties in gaining access to the Mauna Kea summit, the inhospitable conditions, and the fragility of the ecosystem; I think the only way tourists should try to access the mountain is with one of the several tour companies that run daily trips to the observatories. For more information on the problems with accessing the mountain yourself check here.  For pictures of the roads and what can happen on them check here.

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January 02, 2005

A quiet Sunday on the Big Island

We slept in on Sunday January 2 and enjoyed a quiet morning watching the ocean from the lanai. Our condo is waterfront and ground level, so we have great viewing. This morning we were greeted by whales spouting and breaching about 500 yards out from the beach. No pictures of them now...I was to busy watching to get the camera. In the afternoon we headed south to toward Captain Cook and the Place of Refuge.
Across the inlet is the Captain Cook Monument. Look for the white obelisk, the picture was taken with the cameras telephoto lens. Sorry this is the best I can do. The tip of land, in the picture, is the property of the United Kingdom to this day. It memorializes where Captain Cook was killed. The actual facts of his death are disputed, did he cause the actions that lead to his end or was he attacked unprovoked. For more information on Cook click here to see a links list.
Next to the landing across from the memorial is a Hawaiian Religious site. The entrance was blocked and visitors were asked to respect the place. On the wall is a plaque that says: In this Heiau January 28, 1779 Captain James Cook RN read the english burial service over WIlliam Whatman, Seaman. THe first recorded christian service in the Hawaiian Islands. Erected by the Kona Civic Club 1928
This shot shows the length of the walls that protect the shrine.
This shot looks along the length of the shrine and to the waterfront.
After the Captain Cook Monument we moved further south to visit The Place of Refuge. This shot shows the edge of the beach as you enter the park.
A shot of the ocean from the first beach we encountered.
A mockup of a temple.
Following are two shots from the demonstration area of the park. Where they are storing kayaks and creating statues for the park.
There were many green turtles swimming, eating, and sunbathing around the tidal pools. Following are several shots that let you get a good look at these beautiful creatures. Many of my pictures were taken with the telephoto lens, as one must stay at least 15 feet from the endangered turtles.
How many green turtles can you find in this picture (magnification may be required)? The easy answer is more than one.
After The Place of Refuge we stopped at a coffee roaster and bought ice cream...consider it a challenge to the organization of the place. *S* In their gardens we saw a variety of escargot on the hoof, as it were.

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January 01, 2005

A day in New Orleans

Hubby and I spent the day of December 31, 2004 wondering the French Quarter. I didn't snap a lot of pictures since I was here earlier this year, see June 8, 2004. We started the day with breakfast at Cafe' Pontalba, one of my favorite spots in the city. From the cafe' one can take in most of the sights and sounds that surround Jackson Square.
We spent lots of time sitting at the RiverWalk watching the people and the ships and talking.
This ocean going ship was heading down river from the port. We watched it work its way under the bridge then fight the currents to turn toward the sea.
For some reason I got confused and was thinking that my June 8, 2004 post included only balcony pictures and no galleries. *sigh* Sadly it was the reverse. SO here are more gallery pictures but still no balconies.

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The drive from Houston

Hubby and I drove from Houston to New Orleans, on December 30. We saw some interesting sights.

Posted by prolurkr at 02:44 PM | TrackBack

December 30, 2004

Time away

Last night hubby and I flew into Houston and picked up a new-to-him pickup truck he bought on eBay. After gathering the vehicle we drove through southeast Texas, for a couple of days in New Orleans.

Arriving after dark I snapped this picture out of our window at the Sheraton. Our window looks down on the waterfront and casino. Life is good. Tomorrow we wander The French Quarter, a very good thing.

Posted by prolurkr at 11:23 PM | TrackBack

November 29, 2004

Planning travel for HICCS 2005 - Mauna Kea and the Observatories

I've decided that the primary "recreational" activity I want to undertake while we are on the Big Island, is to tour Mauna Kea and get as close to the observatories as I can. Plus I want to say I actually saw snow in Hawaii.

Mauna Kea made an indelible mark in my mind upon my first trip to the Big Island. It was the last hop of my "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium" tour of the islands. I flew from Honolulu to Hilo and spent most of the inflight time watching the changing patterns of the waves below us. As we neared the Big Island something bright kept winking at me through the clouds ahead. It was bright and constant, even through the thick cloud cover on the mountain you could see the reflection. It took me a minute to remember that some of the biggest and best telescopes in the world are hidden up there on the volcano. Up above the snorkelers, and surfers, and sun worshipers. Up above it all, it is clear and cold and open to the night sky.

I had no idea that there were so many webcams atop Mauna Kea until I started searching for links for this post. Apparently it is all part of their work predicting weather.

Following is a list of the sites I could find online. Let me know if you find more.

Joint Astronomy Centre webcam
Mauna Loa Observatory webcam faces Mauna Kea
Mauna Loa Observatory webcam faces east from 11,000 feet
Mauna Loa Observatory webcam faces southwest view
Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Corporation webcam looks north toward Gemini dome
Gemini Dome webcam looks north-northeast toward Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Corporation
All Sky Camera webcam looks 360 degrees at the sky. This cam is offline until after local sunset. The page gives you a countdown timer so you can calibrate your viewing.
The Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) webcam looks south from 12,000 ft.
Mauna Kea Weather Center webcam page. Includes some of the other cams listed here and includes many more not listed separately.

The photo is of the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope and is drawn from the Joint Astronomy Centre site.

Posted by prolurkr at 11:24 PM | TrackBack

November 16, 2004

Posting of pictures from UK trip September 18-27, 2004

Well it has taken far longer then I had expected but I have finally posted the last of the pictures and posts from my September trip to the U.K. You can view them by hitting either "September 2004" or "Travel...on the road again" on the sidebar or you can click through either of the links in this post. Be forewarned that the Travel...on the road again category pulls up all of my travel posts and most have many pictures, this category has been known to swamp even those viewers with high-speed internet access.

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October 19, 2004

Grouping pictures by trip

I have heard from several people that pulling up the "Travel...on the road again" category maxes out their browsers because of all the picture files. I'm not sure there is a total solution to this beyond moving my pics to something like Flickr which I prefer not to do. So I will be working on a links list that gives all related entries for a single trip. That way the reader can decide what part they want to view without having all the pictures I have ever taken flood their systems. Keep checking the sidebar for a new entry under the Category header, Travel by Trip.

Posted by prolurkr at 10:11 AM | TrackBack

September 28, 2004

Back from the UK

I have returned to Indiana after 10 days in the UK. I took over 150 pictures, surely some of them are useable and interesting, and will be posting over the next few days as time permits. I am planning on back dating the entries to the date on which they happened, September 17 - 27, 2004 inclusive. So if you find this entry scroll backwards on the main page to find the entries that talk about the trip, or after September 30th check the entries out in the September 2004 archive or in the Travel...on the road again category.

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September 27, 2004

Return travel from the UK

Travel back from the U.K. this time was a very frustrating process. I feel sorry for hubby, when he met me at the airport I was angry enough to chew off my own limbs. Not angry at him of course and in those situations I work to keep as much of my frustration to myself but it seeps out none-the-less.

It started simply enough when Hotelink was late picking me up from the Comfort Inn Notting Hill. They called to let the staff at the hotel know so they could pass the information on to me, which they did. When they arrived, 15 minutes or so late, the driver explained that he had been caught in traffic congestion, not unusual in London, and had been delayed. Now on a normal trip this was a glitch, a pebble in the road, something you take note of but overcome quite quickly; on this trip it was a harbinger of what was to come.

The flight back was again full so no really resting, which I badly needed having slept very little the night before due to traffic noises from Notting Hill Gate and the subsequent ramblings of my own thoughts.

When we landed at O'Hare I was, as usual, one of the last people off the plane. Having ordered a wheelchair to take me through Customs it usually works best to wait till others have deplaned. (My moderate arthritis of the knees has a particular dislike for standing in long lines that move at a slow and random speed, and I like being able to walk without discomfort the 24-hours after I get off a long flight so I suck up my self-image and my mid-western "I can do anything" attitude and ride through Customs.) But this time there was no wheelchair waiting at the gate, and as I had only 1.5 hours between my flights I had no time to wait so I sat off on foot to Customs.

First stop is entry control and the gentleman there was thorough and polite. I even complemented him as the polite part is not often something I experience from US Customs officials.

Next stop baggage issues - I arrived and stood in a long and totally disorganized series of lines. There were more lines then stations to feed them, and the staff's practice of drawing seemingly randomly from the lines - even those across the terminal from them - made the whole operation seem fairly chaotic.

A young blond women called me forward with a brisk nod and a loud "Next." I handed her my papers, she looked at them and walked away to use the phone two stations down the line from where I stood. After her call she returned to where I was and continued to look at my paperwork but said nothing to me. Finally she looked up and said "Eight o'clock on United" nothing more. I stopped for a moment, total non sequiturs take a bit to process, and then relayed to her that I needed the information in full sentences. She replied briskly, "You are not going to make this flight it takes 45 minutes minimum for luggage." Interesting since the flights were scheduled with her airline directly one would think, especially if one works with computers and databases, that the system would be programmed to never allow scheduling that does not account for that time requirement. While I was thinking about database structures she stamped my tickets repeatedly and pointed me to the United Airlines desk all the way across the area from where I stood, I think it was an alphabetical thing.

I arrived at United tired and achy which along with the accumulating frustration leads me to be rather cranky. I explained to the staff member that I was being bounced to their airline. Then I made a wrong-headed comment in reply to something she said, that currently evades my memory; I said "I doubt it can get worse." *goes to the corner and pounds her head against the wall* What was I thinking.

Next it's a train to the proper terminal and then the whole security scanning mess again. But no not this time, this time I was informed by the highly common rude TSA official that I was "selected by the airlines for a Special Search." In this case the word "special" is not a good thing. Luckily the staff member who searched me was very nice and understood, that while I was becoming progressively more cranky, I was trying to be cooperative as I told her I would be. All-in-all, the process was more irritating the troublesome. I got to watch the staff disassemble my cane then hand the whole thing back to me unassembled as they could not figure out how to reassemble it. *sigh* Thankfully I remembered the clerk, from whom I bought it in New Orleans, giving me advise on reassembly and had the whole thing back together with a few quick turns of the shaft.

Then off to the waiting area and after alerting hubby to the time changes it was a matter of sitting and waiting to board. I can only assume the flight was a good one as I slept through most of it. And then we were quickly in Indianapolis.

Again I was the last one off the plane and by the time I arrived at the baggage retrieval area most of the other passengers had gathered their things and left the building. After surveying the area and seeing neither of my bags my somewhat lowered frustration-level began to again rise. The baggage manager looked at my stubs and said "Oh you have the bags they warned us about." Not a good sign. Seems my bags didn't make the flight, the flight I personally waited two hours to board. *sigh* Kindly the O'Hare folks had alerted the Indianapolis staff that my bags would be on the next flight, arriving at roughly 11pm. Of course at this point all I wanted was a bath and a warm bed, it's a theme what can I say. So we didn't wait for the luggage to arrive and asked for the company to have it delivered the next day. Funny when your bags get better treatment then you do.

The bags were delivered and placed as instructed. I pulled them inside after I got home from work. Now if only someone would do the laundry for me.

Oh and it's a good thing I had a chiropractor's appointment scheduled before I left. Hopefully he can work out the stress crink in my neck. LOL No more plane trips until January, well at least no long flights that is...YES.

Posted by prolurkr at 11:53 PM | TrackBack

September 26, 2004

Return trip to Brighton UK - Post 4

I caught a return train from Brighton into Victoria Station. On the trip I saw three scenes I wish I could have captured with a picture.

First, I saw a group of school boys playing cricket. Now this may not be an unusual sight in the UK, though it is the only such game I saw while I was there. For a Yank cricket is just one of those terribly English things that we can't quite wrap our brains around. I still don't understand the game but at least I can now say I have witnessed a game...well not an entire game but rather the flavor of a game.

Second, as we entered the outskirts of London we passed a storage area, one of those rental building compounds like we have in the States as well. Parked right next to the boats and recreational vehicles were two gypsy wagons. These looked like the ones I have seen in movies and certainly looked like the ones my grandmother told stories about from her youth. When my grandmother was a girl, 1910's U.S.A., a common parental threat was that a bad child would be stolen by the gypsies. She did say that on occasion gypsy wagons, probably tinkers, would pull into their farm. Though she herself had never actually seen a gypsy personally. It seems that every time the wagons appeared she ran and hide lest she be stolen away from her family. I have no doubt that these stories, urban legends that they were, can be traced to parental threats in the Black Forest regions of Germany from whence my family emigrated more then a century before my grandmother's birth.

Third, as we pulled into Victoria Station an engine pulling two or three refurbished Pullman cars passed along side of us on it's way south. These were beautifully redone cars with Tiffany lamps on each table and lines under the lamps. I shudder to think what it must cost to refurbish and operate these beauties. I do appreciate that someone has the time and money to preserve that little part of our train going past and someday I would love to catch a ride along on their travels.

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Return trip to Brighton UK - Post 3

Finally I wandered out to the Entertainment Pier. This structure is deceptively long, I tired out and didn't make it the full length. Had to leave something for another trip.
I bought myself some "Candy Floss" or as we call it Cotton Candy, and munched myself totally sticky on the stuff. As my fingers built up that characteristic sugar covering I decided to sit down and eat before wandering further. As I stepped over toward a bank of park benches the lady behind me was very surprised when I suddenly jumped backward. You see it was at that moment I had discovered that the pier is really a pier and is open to the water below between the slated flooring. The picture doesn't really give you the full effect though you can see slivers of blue water between some of the upper slats. Seems that prior to that moment I had been walking on plywood placed on top of the slating. You see I have a terrible fear of heights, or of falling, I've never sorted out which it was...just know that this finding was a very uncomfortable one. I finally did muster up my courage and walked gingerly over to the park benches where I finished my candy and tried to not look down.
As I walked back to shore I took this shot looking back at the coast, consider it the reverse of the shots of the pier in post 2.
Couples sat along the railing resting in their summer striped chairs.
Another nice shot of the railing, the water, and the dilapidated pier.
I had been trying all day to get an up close and personal shot of the seagulls. I still can't believe how big they are, roughly the size of mallard ducks. As I was walking back a large group of seagulls took flight and hovered as they will. The couple in front of me, apparently having more real world experience with seagulls then I do, quickly screamed and ran for cover. Just as they did the bombs started dropping...bird bombs that is. I was laughing pretty hard by the time I found shelter under a slight awning alongside one of the pavilions. Luckily I was unscathed. Especially lucky since I still had a train ride back into London.

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Return trip to Brighton UK - Post 2

While I was snapping pictures of the water front a march against the World Bank was taking place behind me. I grabbed a lot of pictures, far more then I can use here or would be of interest. So here is a general overview of the march. All toll it was at least 1.5 miles long.
I found these dancers particularly interesting as this was my second encounter with Native American culture in the UK. The co-opting of indigenous dress from one culture to protest third-party interaction in other indigenous cultures makes for many interesting thoughts on intertextuality and its many forms.
Likewise the use of a Chinese dragon morphed into a death mask was also an interesting use of cross cultural visual references.

Posted by prolurkr at 09:08 PM | TrackBack

Return trip to Brighton UK - Post 1

I caught the train out of Victoria Station and headed back to Brighton to gets some pictures. I had not been able to get good daylight pictures during the conference since I spent most of the days in panels.
I took this picture as soon as I headed out of the station in Brighton.
I wasn't exactly sure where I was in relationship to The Lanes but I knew the waterfront had to be downhill from where I was. So I started off walking, figuring as long as I was headed downhill I would eventually end up where I wanted to be.
I had seen on the morning news that the Labor Party Congress was meeting in Brighton. I guess I hadn't quite put together that would be equivalent to walking into the Democratic or Republican Convention state-side. I certainly figured it out quickly when I saw all the route markers and police officers in flack jackets. Sorry no pictures of any of that...I was afraid they would drag this foreign girl away for doing anything out of the ordinary. I did grab the picture on the right once I hit the beachfront. This is looking back toward where the meeting was taking place.
This picture is look back at the old pier that has fallen into disrepair and hence partially fallen into the water. I understand that fundraising is underway to refurbish it and reopen it to the public. I hope that happens, though as a connoisseur of dilapidated structures this one has a special beauty.
This shot, taken from the same point as the previous one, looks toward the current amusement pier.
This shot focuses along the same lines as the previous one but rather then out to sea it captures the waterfront including the shops and restaurants.
I grabbed this shot of the carousel with the pier in the background. I've seen some lovely shots of this same scene at night with all the lights on, very nice.
These pictures looks down the the deck at a sculpture of the earth, though you would know it was the earth if you weren't standing right next to it. There are small cut outs of the continents around the outside rim of the sculpture. Personally I'm glad the real planet doesn't have a donut hole in the middle. During the conference our little wandering band of academics dubbed this thing for a part of the human anatomy, I'll leave it to your evil minds to guess which one.

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September 25, 2004

Trip to Oxford UK - Post 5

I was more than surprised to see a company of Native American performers busking on the streets of Oxford. It seemed so...well so...out of place. A narrow viewpoint on my part to be sure. Sadly I didn't get to hear them play as they were between sets as I wondered up and I needed to find the bus since I was very tired at that point. I hope they do well busking in the U.K.


Posted by prolurkr at 11:50 PM | TrackBack

Trip to Oxford U.K. - Post 4

After my visit to the Saxon Tower at St. Michael's I walked down to the entrance to Christ Church. My main goal was to wonder the cathedral and take in as much of the beauty as I could. Sadly I was thwarted in that goal as the Cathedral was closed for an invitation only Ordination Service. In other words the Cathedral was performing it's intended purpose as a church rather then a tourist stop. You can view a tour of the cathedral here. So instead of spending time in the cathedral I wondered the grounds, taking pictures and in general enjoying the time alone in this space.
When you first enter the grounds through the "Visitors" entrance you encounter the War Memorial Garden. This is a lovely garden that brings you into the cathedral parking area. This shots are so cool I almost wish I used a personalized desktop on my computers.
This smaller garden is further down the walkway toward the cathedral.
In the very back left center of this shot is the only thatched roof building I saw on the trip.
Old mill stones...the stories they could tell.
The two pictures below are of the cathedral from the car park. This appears to be the main entrance as the guests for the ordination were entering from this side.
Across from the entrance is a cattle pasture. There are white faced angus in the background of the shot though they are hard to see since the picture was reduced. Either way a lovely pastoral shot of the English countryside.
Behind the cathedral is a large playing field that is ringed with buildings. The next two shots give you a view of that area.
Directly behind the cathedral is a walled garden. I snapped the picture of the wall itself and then took the next shot over the wall. The third picture is also of the garden, I was trying to catch a good shot of the magpie who was popping around on the ground near the tree.
My architectural interest shot. They even found a way to make downspouts attractive.
This shot is along the edge of the playing field next to the buildings. This area had a very nice feel to it.

Posted by prolurkr at 11:00 PM | TrackBack

Trip to Oxford UK - Post 3

The real beauty of the Saxon Tower is inside. This 11-th century building has been used and altered and lived in for roughly 1000 years. I like bells so there are many pictures of them to follow. Look at the stone work and windows that make up the original space, very very cool too see in person.
The St. Michael's church was added much later. The building I photographed apparently has components from as early as 13th century with newer sections dating to 1953. More information on the history of the church can be found here.

Posted by prolurkr at 10:46 PM | TrackBack

Trip to Oxford UK - Post 2

I took the tour bus into Central Oxford, listening to the taped guide as we traveled. I jumped off at stop 8 close to Christ Church and decided to find lunch before I wandered onto campus.

I found an Italian restaurant in or near the The Covered Market and sadly as I write this entry on October 14, 2004 I can neither remember nor find the name of the place. All I can say it the food was good, the ambience was alright, and the service was less than desirable - the waiter took my charge card and scanned it, then left it laying on a counter where all the staff and guests had to pass by while he went to wait on another table.

After food, and looking over the tour map I had been provided, I wondered down the to visit "The Saxon Tower of St. Michael" listed as the oldest structure in the city.

The Saxon Tower, constructed around 1040 AD, is Oxford's oldest standing building. The connecting St. Michael's Chapel dates from the 13th century and is now the city church of Oxford. The designer William Morris was married here and John Wesley preached here.

Because of the crowds I could not get a good exterior shot of the building so this one is shamelessly linked from another site. I assume the clock and guttering are not "original" to the building. For another nice shot of the exterior without the modern additions, well fewer of them to be sure, click here.

It was a rainy overcast day and that did not improve by climbing to the roof of the tower. I have lots of pictures but sadly they are very dark and the structures are difficult to identify. So here is a general selection of what I took from the top of the tower. If you decide to climb the tower at somepoint you will find there are really nice plexiglass markers to tell you which spires can be viewed from each side of the square tower, sadly they photograph very poorly in the rain.


Posted by prolurkr at 10:29 PM | TrackBack

Trip to Oxford UK - Post 1

Today I got fairly wild and crazy. After a full English breakfast, minus baked beans can't do baked beans for breakfast, I screwed up my courage and headed out for a trip to Oxford.

First I took the London Underground to Victoria Station. Now this is no small feat. You see I hate subways they are in equal parts to cramped, to busy, and to far underground - we won't even talk about the whole terrorist thing. So it was no small thing to suck it up and figure out how to get around via the Tube. If you are interested in the goings-ons of the London Tube system check out this group blog Going Underground's Blog. You can follow my underground travels by looking at this map of the Tube system (link opens a new window).

At Victoria I tried to find the Coach Station to get National Express to Oxford City, I had a student pass that would have made travel moderately less expensive. Having wandered all through Victoria and following the Coach Station signs outside and then circling the building without finding markings for the Coaches, I concluded that markings outside Victoria bore no comparison to either those found in the Tube or in Victoria Station itself which are excellent. So I changed plans and took a place in line for "Same Day Travel" on the rails.

After standing in line I was informed by the staff member behind the glass that trains to Oxford depart from Paddington NOT Victoria Station. I think I needed my "Be kind to the stupid American" t-shirt, but then again my experience is the UK has been that everyone is very helpful, UNLESS they are people you expect to be paid to be helpful. *shrug* Not that different from the states when you think about it. After a time of wandering in Victoria to just take it in and thinking about if I really wanted to go to Oxford, I donned my "What the Heck" cap and set off for Paddington Station via the Tube.

At Paddington I was informed, after again standing in the "Same Day Travel" line, that there was work being done on the lines so there would be a coach taking us for the final leg of the trip into Oxford. Kinda funny I ended up on a coach anyway and had to pay more for it.

Once in Oxford I grabbed the local open-top bus for a tour. I had not planned on staying in the city long and know fairly exactly what I wanted to see, though I was open to detours which is always advisable. I wanted to visit Christ Church and possibly Magdalen College if I had time. I made part of that goal and along the way found an interesting side path which made me leave Magdalen College for another visit.

I've divided my day in Oxford up into several posts since I have so many pictures.

Posted by prolurkr at 10:28 PM | TrackBack

September 24, 2004

Comfort Inn Notting Hill room

My hotel room in the Comfort Inn Notting Hill was very small, amazingly small actually. When I entered it the head of the bed was under the TV, so one would have had four choices - 1) stand in the hall and watch the tube, 2) pull the desk chair into the hall to sit and watch, 3) perch on the end of the bed with no back support and watch from there, or 4) lay on the bed and listen to the tube while watching the coffee maker that stood on the shelf opposite the TV. I made a fifth choice, always like me to buck the system, and moved the bed so the head was on the opposite wall. Probably freaked the maids out when they saw I rearranged a microscopic room.
I took this picture with my bottom pressed against the door to the hall so you could get as realistic a picture as possible of just how small this space was. As you can see I snapped the picture after I rearranged the bed moving it to the opposite wall, if you can even say this room had an opposite wall. LOL
This picture is pretty dark sorry. It does give you a view of the tube and the end of the bed - formerly the head of the bed - where I put the luggage.
This shows the fourth wall, and reflects the bed and window in the mirror.
The bathroom was equally small although the show was full phone booth size rather then the half size one we had in Brighton. The interesting part of the bathroom was the sink. It was very small with a glass shelf directly above. So as a tall person I had a 33.33% chance of hitting the sink, shelf or floor when I rinsed while brushing my teeth. Sadly I can truthfully say I did all three though I didn't keep probability counts. LOL

Posted by prolurkr at 09:30 PM | TrackBack

Day Two on Portobello Road

I slept in most of the morning. I think all the traveling and walking caught up with me. After watching the clouds outside my hotel room window (the picture is taken from the bed), it was time to arise and head for Portobello Road.
Yesterday I had looked through many of the shops and scoped out what I wanted to consider taking home with me. Today there were many more stalls setup all along they way. I saw some very cool clothing particularly around the Westway area, but most were just to expensive for me to take home for the kids or were to small for me, funky clothes rarely come in the "giant economy size" required for tall women. So I bought tee shirts for the kids and decided to hold off finding something for myself until later in the trip.
I lunched at First Floor on Portobello Road, very good Italian food. The view over the market was outstanding. As was the steel drum playing wafting up from the street below.
After all the walking I wandered back to the hotel to take a load off my feet and back. I napped a bit as well. Then after talking to hubby on the phone I set off down Notting Hill Gate to find some sit down dinning place I had yet to discover.

I found Mahal Indian Restaurant. Orders of salmon kheera, matar paneer, papadum, and a mango lassi hit the spots. After dinner it is back to the hotel to sleep, and rest for tomorrow.

Posted by prolurkr at 07:58 PM | TrackBack

September 23, 2004

Notting Hill Here I Come

I started out midmorning wandering along Notting Hill Gate getting my bearings. I picked up a Portobello Market map and with it in hand stopped at Notting Hill Café for lunch: Fish & Chips, and a delicious Fruit Beurll (I think that is how it is spelled though I can't find the term on the net with is not a good sign).
The walking tour starts at Westbourne Grove where the famous antiques market started in 1948. From there you wander along Westbourne Grove to Lansdowne Crescent where Jimi Hendrix died in 1970.
I didn't follow the map exclusively, which would be a bit more formulaic then I like to be. Rather I wandered where something caught my eye, like this gated garden.
Following are some nice architectural pictures that I have no idea where they are exactly, roughly somewhere along Kensington Park Road.
I crossed over from Kensington Park Road to Portobello Road on Blenheim Crescent. In so doing I passed The Travel Bookshop. Nice shop with lots of interesting title.

I wondered my way up Portobello Road and under the Westway stopping into shops that caught my eye. I bought very little, actually as memory serves I bought nothing at all just looked.

Then I crossed over to Travistock Green and took a break sitting on a bench outside this highrise. After snapping this picture I headed down Basing Street then cut back over to Portobello Road on Westbourne Park Road. I visited more shops along Portobello and followed it back to Pembridge Villas. Then made my way back to the hotel.
Along the way down Portobello Road I stopped for a fruit smoothy at a little café next to the internationalschool. As I sat in their garden and took a break I could hear the children next door singing in what sounded like French.

I decided that I was hungry for sushi again so I checked out Feng Sushi on Notting Hill Gate. Good food lovely presentation and great service. The restaurant is well above what we have to offer in Indiana but not nearly as good as Moshi Moshi.

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September 22, 2004

Travel to Notting Hill

Then it was packing up and getting into my hotel in London. I wish the trip into the city was a simple as that one sentence makes it sound, but it was not. The trip from Brighton to Notting Hill took almost six hours door-to-door. First I caught a taxi to the bus station, then a bus back to Heathrow, then I waited for the Hotelink bus to take me to the hotel which it did - after a time.

During my wait at Hearthrow I sat and admired the amazing confluence of people who pass through that gateway to the world. The colors and sounds simply swirl around you. I saw Indian women in brightly colored silk saris, Middle Eastern women in full cover, and African women in gold stripped head wraps. Throughout the throng there were men; men in Indian pajamas, tweed business suits, and hip Japanese bell bottoms. Overall the colorful and diverse picture there played a variegated loop of languages as people ran for gates, pushed luggage, played with children, and assisted their elderly family members. Sitting and watching, for 40 minutes or so, was a visual and auditory treat for the soul, so many different cultures in one place co-existing for a time - simply beautiful.

By the time I checked into the Comfort Inn Notting Hill I was tired and hungry. First I called hubby, who I had not spoken with since I left Indy on Friday due to some strange problem with my MCI prepaid phone card. On a side note in our 15 plus years together this was by far the longest we have gone without talking to each other. LOL On a daily basis we probably talk on the phone at least twice during the day, usually far more often. Then after we talked it was off to find dinner.

I am a lover of the night but not the city at night, not usually that is. I do, however love London at night there is vibrancy and rhythm that is different then any other city I have visited. I do not by nature feel safe in the city period, especially at night. But in London I do not feel deeply unsafe. Of course that feeling only came after getting lost at night on my last trip and making it back to my hotel alive. LOL So I went wandering down Notting Hill Gate, which - by the way - is a street not a 3-D object, looking for food.

I settled on Caffe' Uno an Italian restaurant and café. I found out in the establishment that they had won the Italian Restaurant of the Year 2003. Food was excellent, service likewise, and the ambiance was outstanding. After dinner I wondered back to the hotel to wait for hubby to call from home then off to sleep.

Posted by prolurkr at 11:26 PM | TrackBack

September 18, 2004

Arrival at University of Sussex at Brighton or "You want me to do what where?"

The flight landed at Heathrow at 6:00 am, having circled for 10 minutes because landing before 6:00 am is not allowed. The AoIR Conference was held at the University of Sussex at Brighton so landing simply got me in-country, significant travel was yet required. After gathering the baggage it was on to the Central Bus Station to catch the National Express to Brighton. In Brighton then I grabbed a cab to the Falmer House on campus. I did the cab rather than the train or the bus since I had enough luggage for a 6'1'' person to stay in the U.K. for 10 days. (If you are tall you will definitely know what that means.)

Logistics were interesting, after pulling my luggage up two flights of stairs to the check-in point I was told that my "packet" had instructed me to progress to York House for accommodations check-in. I replied that I had received no such packet and had been instructed, via to response to my personal email that specifically asked where to check-in, to come to Falmer House first. And so it began. The entire conference was like this - bad communication, worse planning, and lots of excuses.

By the time we got my luggage the five or so blocks back to the dorm I was very very tired. Local time was about 10 am. I decided that a shower and a short nap in my en-suit would help before my 2:00 pm pre-conference session. Would that it had been so.

The bathroom was a very frustrating process. First you had to turn on the water heater at a switch in the ceiling via a pull cord, see the picture at right.

The heater is a box within the microscopic shower. On the box are four buttons, a large series of lights, and a dial. The buttons are; start/stop, high, medium, and low. You start the water flowing then you select the temperature range and finally you adjust the exact temperature on the dial. Oh but wait, this is a "smart" box that has a series of lights to alert the user to the box's decision that the water temperature is too high and the user might injure themselves.

Like a good American I set the temp to High and get into the shower, no small fete that I will tell you more about in a bit. So the water starts flowing, freezing my tush, and begins to warm only to have all the warning lights light up and the heater shutoff, thereby shutting off the water. Of course I jumped out of the shower. *sigh* So there I stand on the paper bathmat, bearing the University of Sussex crest, pushing buttons in frustration trying to get a nice warm shower and being consistently told by a small box that I can't make appropriate decision to bath myself without causing bodily injury - the box knows best.

I finally figured out that the only way I could shower was to set the box on low, the dial to medium, and let the water run so that it was thoroughly heated. This, no doubt, saves electricity but certainly does not save water.

The shower stall itself was the smallest I have ever seen, a conference participant later referred to it as half-a-phone-booth. For me it was just a sub-size zero thing, not proportioned for an average human being over say 6 years of age. Showering in this stall was very much like being locked in a glass coffin. *shivers* After the conference banquet a lively conversation was held about the various ways people were pressing themselves against the wall so they could get the door closed. One day I dropped the soap and decided that there was absolutely no way to pick it up from INSIDE the shower. ***Please note that objects in the picture many appear larger then actual size.

After that deeply frustrating interlude of trying to take get hot water in the micro-shower stall I finally succeded in showering and curled up for a nap and then promptly slept through my scheduled pre-conference session, a very inauspicious beginning for the conference all-a-round.

I had been told on check-in that there were very few eating places open on campus on the weekend...translate very few to basically none. But upon awaking I stumbled out to find some dinner at about 5 pm having not eaten for 12 hours since the morning "snack" on the plane. I didn't find an open caf on campus and was trying to decide on an action plan when I ran into a scholar from Florida and we decided to take the bus into town for dinner. That meeting ended up saving the day. It was a lovely evening of dining and chatting.

Following are pictures, albeit a touch blurry in some cases, of my third floor en-suit accommodations at the University of Sussex. All and all the rooms were very nice.

Two of the nicest things about the room were that it faced a rolling pasture complete with calves and cows and had windows that opened. A country girl in another country listening to its night sounds. I got to explain about pasture rotation and calve weaning to several of the academics in attendance, for once being a farm girl came in handy at a conference. Here are a few pictures of the land behind the building. Sadly I didn't snap any pictures from the room and waited until I was on the ground to catch a few before I left campus for the last time, by then I was not interested climbing back up three flights to get better shots. Sorry folks.

Posted by prolurkr at 09:24 PM | TrackBack

September 17, 2004

The trip to the U.K. has begun

I caught an afternoon flight from Indanapolis to Chicago and then on to Heathrow. The flight from Chicago was full so there was no real resting. Usually when the flight is not full you can fold down the arms between a couple of seats and curl up and sleep somewhat more normally, but not on this flight. This was a sit up straight and sleep if you can kind of flight. Not good for a tall person who barely fits in coach-class seating.

Posted by prolurkr at 08:25 PM | TrackBack

September 14, 2004

Preparation for departure

I spent today beginning preparations for departure to the UK later this week. Between now and then I have a paper to finalize...will this one ever be finalized...hours to pull at work, and a monthly Human Subjects Committee meeting to prepare for and attend. Somehow far to many logistical items for this trip have gone unfinished up until the last minute, I think I was to deep in research to realize the conference was sneaking up on me. I don't like that...I like logistics to be in line and ready to roll. LOL It's my obsessive organization thing. (This is why I need to be rich, so I can have a personal assistant.) So I'm scrambling to get the last of the agenda and logistics together as well as doing those last minute things one likes to have done before one leaves hubby home alone for two weeks.

I do look forward to the Association of Internet Researchers Conference. It's a time to find out what other people are doing in their research and to catchup with people you don't get to see often enough. Hopefully there will be some nice quiet evenings as well, so I can finish the detail work on my submission for the Second Internet Research Annual, click here for the Amazon link to the first volume. Then when the conference is over I get some down time in the UK.

So in short there will probably be very little - if anything - posted here for the next couple of weeks, but expect lots of pictures and knowing me a few funny stories when I get back. To those of you who will be at AoIR 5.0, look me up and say hello.

Posted by prolurkr at 12:38 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 06, 2004

The Original Tour of London

On Thursday July 29, 2004 I skipped Education Day at the conference. I'm sure it was a great session but was not really focused on my type of research nor I on theirs. Instead I spent most of the day riding around on The Original London Signtseeing Tour. These are open top doubledecker busses with guides that narrate the route for you, you can get off and on at any stop along one of the several routes they ply. I learned a couple of things from the experience, 1) London is so old and so saturated with history and experience that almost every structure has a story behind it, and 2) information overload gives you a headache. So here are some of the pictures I took from the top of the bus, these are cropped where appropriate to focus in on the main element of the shot. Likewise these are in no particular order as the bus route doubles back on itself in several places the line of progression is lost.

This picture is interesting on a couple of levels. I snapped it first because I loved the idea that someone was finally admitting that Texas would want an embassy to the UK. In fact it is actually a tex/mex restaurant. Then the guide told us that this building was the headquarters for the former Whitestar Line. As a childhood Titanic buff that information hit home for me.
The mile square City of London is demarcated by statuses at each major gate. This griffin was part of a pair that guarded the entrance along the Thames. Now he is hiding in the trees but I bet at one point he stood in the open.
I snapped this picture of Tower Bridge from the roof of the bus as we passed over another of the bridges of London. The children, in the picture, seemed to be more interested in the ships and boats.
The remains of the Roman Temple of Mithras stands surrounded by highrise glass and steel structures. Actual artifacts from the structure are stored in a museum elsewhere. Oh gezzz and now I find that the remains were moved from their original site to this one, more tourists here I guess. A piece of information the guide did not share with us.
For a theatre lover The Savoy is a kind of mecca.
The Tower of London, which is more of a fortress then a modern day tower. Think I'll skip the walking tour to many bad vibs from this place.
During the final leg of my day on busses I grabbed the front seat on the upper level of the green line heading back to the British Museum, the local point of departure. I snapped this shot as we pulled into a stop light. Gives a nice elevated view of the street and the other vehicles.

Posted by prolurkr at 09:37 AM | TrackBack

August 05, 2004

A Second Dinner at Denise's

Amanda Lenhart and I broke out of the conference on Wednesday night and decided to have some dinner. I suggested we hit Denise's again, what can I say it was great food and close by. We had a lovely evening sitting and talking. As we were eating a group of roller blades sped by. I grabbed my camera, and snapped the first shot before I remembered to turn the flash off. The next two are much better and may be some of the best shots me and my Canon digital have captured so far.

Posted by prolurkr at 07:19 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Academics on Water - The Thames River Boat Cruise

One evening of the conference the Centre sponsored a Thames River Boat Cruise for £10 a very good price considering it also included dinner. So I think roughly 150 of us piled into busses to travel from the Centre to the river and then onto the boat for our 2+ hour cruise to Greenwich and back. Sunset on the river was beautiful. This tour was unnarrated so I often have no idea what I was looking at exactly. So I took pictures that caught my eye, form and figure and light. I make no apologizes for my taste or lack there of.

I should note that I have chosen to keep these in basically chronological order to keep with the sense of seeing the city unfold and how the eye is drawn to a variety of things via the water trip. In addition of this many pictures swamps your dial-up and the pics come through broken, remember that all are linked and you can still see them by clicking on the broken picture.

This picture was taken under Tower Bridge. I found the support work to be beautiful. Actually as I look at it now I'm not sure that is Tower Bridge, oh well I still like the picture. Plus it's a great shot of academics doing what they do best...talking. LOL
A distance shot of the London Eye.
A picture of the skyline opposite the London Eye.
Another skyline picture.
Big Ben and Parliament series, picture 1.
A closer picture of the London Eye and the buildings around it.
Big Ben and Parliament series, picture 2. It's a bit cock-eyed but hey I was on a boat at the time.
Another skyline picture.
I think this is my favorite of the waterborne pictures. I love the red piers, so suprising. Wouldn't they be even more cool with ferns growing out of the top and trailing down the sides?
The London Bridge Hospital, another of those wonderful locations that labels itself for first-time tourists like me.
There is a story behind this ship. I heard someone talking about it on the cruise, but at the moment I have no idea what the story is. *sigh* Sorry folks. But beyond the ship you can see Tower Bridge coming up.
Another skyline picture. That pointed building in the background is Lloyd's of London. I think it looks like a Faberge egg in greys and black. Very classy.
Two pictures of Tower Bridge from underneath. I really don't like the second one that much but it was the best I could get. Besides you have to have a shot of the "Tower" of Tower Bridge.
I did a double take when I saw a paddlewheeler names "Dixie Queen." Me thinks someone somewhere has a great sense of humor. A southern paddlewheeler on the Thames!
I was told that this structure was put up for the Millennium Celebration. Apparently it was not a popular choice of designs and now it sits empty awaiting a new buyer. Anyone interested in buying a terrestrial sea urchin that clearly would suck up utility moneys?
Evening begins to fall as we turn back into the city.
The dome is the Greenwish observatory. I missed taking this picture on the way out. Probably just as well since the lighted doom shows up so much better in twilight. I can now say I've floated through time zero. Only the International Dateline yet to do. *S*

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A Walking Tour of Bloomsbury, London, UK...Stop 7 FOOD!

Excerpted from my journal July 25, 2004:

I walked about half of the proscribed walk before the weather began to turn and my knees were giving out. I headed south on Southampton Row heading for Great Russell and the hotel. On the way I happened on to a cafe' called Denise's. I stopped to check out the menu and their Sea Bass called to me.

The food was excellent. Grilled whole Sea Bass, green salad, vegis, chocolate mousse for desert with a glass of Muscat. Great way to end a lovely afternoon.

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A Walking Tour of Bloomsbury, London, UK...Stop 6 Queens Square

Ok I have to admit that by the point I hit Queens Square I was tired and very hungry. So what was one more chunk of greensward? *sigh* In retrospect that was not the best evaluation. But I do have one picture of the area. This building stands on the opposite diagonal from the Church of St. George the Martyr. The guidebook says most of the buildings around the square are hospitals. It has that insitutional feel about it which may be why I took so few pictures.

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A Walking Tour of Bloomsbury, London, UK...Stop 5 Hotel Russell

Opposite the University buildings stands the Hotel Russell. This is a beautiful large building whose detail is breathtaking. Only took one picture since I was on the move. Wish I had more.

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A Walking Tour of Bloomsbury, London, UK...Stop 4 University of London

Next to Russell Square Garden stands the University of London. You walk through a large set of cast iron gates to enter the main campus from this side. Once inside it would be impossible to miss Senate House. Which to this Yankee looks a lot like the Empire State Building. The structure is to large to be framed into one shot. Check the text links for good aerial pictures that give you a flavor of how large this building is.
This door is right inside the gates to the University. I loved the detailed knocker.
This picture was snapped across the Square from the main University gates looking back at the University buildings that are outside the gates and along Montague Street.
This is a picture of 24 Russell Square. T. S. Elliot worked here as a book publisher for Faber and Faber. The building is now used by the university. I'm sure it was more attractive before all the windows were bricked in. As it stands it has an air of industrial dilapidation.

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A Walking Tour of Bloomsbury, London, UK...Stop 3 Russell Square Garden

Russell Square is a very large garden park. Assuming the walking tour map is roughly accurate, not necessarily a fact, then Russell Square is 2/3rds or so the size of the entire British Museum. Frommer's says the Square was built in the 1800's. It's name is derived from the Russell family whose head the Earl of Bedford is one of the largest landowners in London, there is a statue of the fifth Earl of Bedford placed in Russell Square Garden.
Clearly people enjoy Russell Square as there were adults on all of the benches, and laying in pairs and groups talking on the ground. Children were running playing with a ball in an improvised game that looked like both soccer and rugby. A group of middle eastern adolescents were practicing field hockey stick work.
Russell Square is the only "garden" I visited that actually had flowers. All of the others had planting of foliage plants but none were in bloom when I was there. It is a beautiful space, a quiet greensward in the hectic city.

Posted by prolurkr at 09:19 AM | TrackBack

A Walking Tour of Bloomsbury, London, UK...The Walk Between Bloomsbury and Russell Squares

These two pictures were taken as I wandered between Bloomsbury and Russell Squares. I believe they were taken on Bedford Place though it may well have been Southampton Row.
This picture is from Southampton Row. *w* It's great when the environment labels the pictures for you. There is a street sign on the building.
You know you are in the tourist section when they remind you to do something different by writing on the roads. I'm sure this saves lives but it certainly does point out the emotional distance between the local culture and the people around you as you walk.

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A Walking Tour of Bloomsbury, London, UK...Stop 2 Bloomsbury Square (with a walking history)

I sat in Bloomsbury Square Gardens for awhile and wrote. Here are some excerpts from my journal that day.

The man at the hotel desk pointed me to Tottenham Court Road for food. Apparently the section of Tottenham between Great Russell and New Oxford is one large electronic mart. I stopped in several stores and did get to see electronics items that I have never seen previously 3D, which is always fun for a techy. So I wondered around a bit and stumbled on to Bedford Square. (Pictures of Bedford Square are available in the previous post. Click here to go to the permalinked post.) Since I was still starving I decided to take Yungrae's advice and check out the cafe' at The British Museum, which she said was good inexpensive food.

The museum is a beautiful building blending architectural periods through its many additions and renovations. But dear lord what a crush of people. It's a good thing I am not really a museum person, something about lived objects in cases, the crowd alone would have driven me from the exhibits into the street. Instead I watched them from the safety of the great hall.

The gallery cafe' was about to close so I grabbed a bottle of still water and a bag of Salt & Pepper Potato Chips and had a seat to people watch while I munched. Both were very good and filled me enough to hold until Tea Time.

I write this page sitting on a park bench in Bloomsbury Square, Central London. The park is roughly a block square. My bench is on the northwest corner with my back to Bedford Place. Around me people are reading and relaxing sitting on benches and on the ground. It really is true these parks are a world apart. The city seems less noisy and crowded because of the plants and trees.

Many of the buildings around me bear plaques with the names of famous people and the years they resided within. Behind me is the former home of Benjamin Disraeli's father, Issac D'Israeli (1766-1848). Down the block is house that holds Gertrude Stein's former flat.

This picture was snapped between turns with the pen and captures the view to the right of the bench where I wrote the above words. Per chance it ended up being my first double-decker bus picture.
This picture captures the garden immediately to the left of previous picture.
And this shot, also to the left of the previous picture, overlooks most of the remainder of the garden.

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August 04, 2004

A Walking Tour of Bloomsbury, London, UK...Stop 1 Bedford Square

When I finally awoke on Sunday afternoon from a combination of jet lag and lack of CPAP (more on that later) I decided to follow the local walking tour outlined in Frommer's (2003). Memorable Walks in London. New York: Wiley.

First I just went wandering and ended up in Bedford Square, the end of the walking tour on the map, at right, not the beginning as one would assume, I've always been a swimming upstream kinda girl. The Bloomsbury walking tour technically starts and ends at Holborn Underground Station and lists 26 points of interest. I only made it through about half of the formal walk before I tired out and headed back to the hotel.

Note of warning on all the London pics...I took so many pictures that I have no doubt I have some of them mislabeled so enjoy them for their esthetic value and keep the history, etc. you read here separate.

I've always been fascinated by the concept of a fenced and locked garden. At least Bedford Square Garden is visible from the street since the fence is not too high. What are they doing protecting the plants from us or us from the plants? *looks over her shoulder suspiciously*
Following are pictures I took around the Bedford Square Garden. Frommer's says that Bedford Square is "Bloomsbury's last remaining wholly Georgian square." The square was laid out in 1775 and was then privately owned, closed off to all but the residents and those who had a "legitimate reason to be in the area." Not sure my visit counts as legitimate, I am after all a commoner and a rebellious Yankee at that.

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Arriving in London

I arrived at Heathrow late on Saturday July 24. It was a long and fairly uneventful crossing. Most interesting thing I can say about the trip was that I enjoyed the visualization map that American Airlines posts along with travel data (time at destination, time at departure point, time at current location, miles to destination, air speed, etc.). The visualization map had a silver plane that moved along a flight path and is constantly updated to show where we were verses where we had been and were you are going. I liked that. Now I know I actually have flown over Greenland rather then just thinking I had been in the local.

Upon arrival at Heathrow and passing through customs, a process that required a bit more standing then I needed, my luggage cart was grabbed by a Pakistani gentleman who wanted me to hire his minicab. Well I needed a cab so I said sure. Now before this story really begins let me say that nothing untoward happened.

The minicab was a kind of boxy minibus with two bucket seats in the front and a bench seat in the back. Luggage went into the boot; it was a five door car. Being a fairly tall person, just shy of 6'1'' actually, I filled up most of the available headspace when sitting on the bench seat. The driver resolved this problem by opening the sunroof so that part of the top of my head peeked through, allowing me more head space and imbibing me with the feeling that this was definitely going to be an interesting trip.

We pulled out of Heathrow and promptly got stuck in traffic. It was about that point that I realized my "cab" had no meter so my estimate of the cost of the trip increased as did my awareness of my own safety. It's times like this that it's good I travel with a walking cane, which I stood on end between my legs, hands grasping the cane shaft and rested my head on the pummel. I had my weapon and I knew how to use it.

My minicab driver clearly had no tolerance for traffic jams, an interesting state of being in London, because he fairly quickly found a microscopic hole in which to wedge the entire cab. From that point on it was easy for him to maneuver the minicab to the lane he wanted. So up and out of Heathrow we went traveling alone on our own personal route the bike lane. As we were headed up the bike ramp and onto a crossing bike lane I began to laugh, confusing my driver completely. What can I say I have a finely tuned sense of the absurd, and this was absurdity at it's best.

So from the point we bounced onto the crossing bike lane until we stopped at the Thistle Russell Square, I felt like I was in a chase scene from The Italian Job. We cut across multiple lanes of traffic, went up highway access ramps the wrong way, cut u-turns in front of traffic, and at one point cut across a grassy median. Somewhere in the middle of all of this I realized that the trip was worth whatever it cost for storytelling power and amusement. I laughed a lot.

At the Thistle I unloaded my luggage and carried them up the steps and into the hotel only to be told that they were putting me out. They said there was a computer glitch and that my reservation had not be received, interesting since they had my name and travel information in front of them when we started our conversation.

I was tired and though I felt like requesting my pound of flesh - would the exchange rate work on that pound as well? - I looked at the night clerk who probably had little to do with the situation, so I ask how they were resolving the issue. Luckily for me that had found me a room at the Jury's Doyle a block or so over, on Great Russell. So into another cab, this one a standard London black cab that the Thistle paid for, and I was off to the Jury's. Needless to say I slept well my first night in London.

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July 19, 2004

Pictures of Fourwinds Resort & Marina

There was very little time for picture taking during either of my most recent trips. Though I simply had to snap a few shots on Saturday July 18. It was such a beautiful day to be on the water front. Click on the image for a larger version. All of these shots were taken behind the resort facing north toward the lake.

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June 21, 2004

Last day in Boulder

I had some time Sunday June 21, 2004 before my shuttle left for Denver and my Frontier Airlines flight home There were many things I wanted to do but my time was to short for most of them so I returned to the Pearl Street Mall to pickup my final souvenirs. I had gone down to the Mall on Wednesday Jun 16, 2004 while I waited for my room to be ready at the millennium Harvest House. I'm not usually much of a mall shopper but this place is different. Many unique shops are peppered along this pedestrian mall, giving the space the feel of an outdoor market. On Wednesday I didn't take pictures since it was raining steadily the entire time I was there. Had enough to do to juggle my purse, shopping bag, and cane.

I started out my walk by having an excellent lunch at Hapa Sushi Grill & Sakie Bar, their menu is a fusion of asian and hawaiian cuisines and the sushi was excellent. I sat on the patio and enjoyed the view of the mall while I waited for my food. It was a beautiful sunny day just like the ones you expect in Colorado where the sun shines roughly 300 days out of the year.

I then walked down to a store where I had ordered a couple of t-shirts for me and hubby. Mine says "If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?" - Albert Einstein. I got a really large roomy version since I will probably start living in the t-shirt for the duration of quals and diss. I thought this was the perfect quote for those days in a long project where faith wavers. Hubby's says "Hell, there are no rules here-- we're trying to accomplish something." - Thomas A. Edison. Wish I could remember the name of the store - they don't currently have a web presence - Science something or Scientific something. *sigh* Cool store.

So I snapped various pictures as I walked, sorry these are in no specific order. Have to admit I was just soaking up the rays and snappin' pics.

I stopped to listen to some great music from the local buskers. In particular I was intrigued by the sound of this husband and wife duo. The drum on the left of the picture, it looks like a captive flying saucer, is called a "Hang" Steel Drum (pronounced Haaaang). The sound was heavenly and it looked so easy and restful to play, I think I want one of these to play myself.

The players were Eileen and Per Hunltquist both play the Hang and the didjeridu. You can see them playing didjeridus in the picture on the right. They are performing what they call "brain message". The idea is a volunteer puts on the headphones, seen in the picture on the left. The headphones are hooked up to funnels via flexible tubing. By playing the didjeridu's and moving them in figure 8's in front of the funnels a holographic sound is heard via the headphones. This is what the Hultquist's call a brain message. I liked the sounds I heard in the open air of Pearl Street so I bought their CD. I plan on MP3ing it for use on my iPod. I expect that the music might be nice for napping on planes. If you are interested in the Hultquist's and their musical work check out their homepage.

Posted by prolurkr at 11:40 PM | TrackBack

What is Colorado without pictures of a train?

Ok I admit it I love old trains. There is a feel about them. As though you can reach out and touch all the people who used them as conveyance. Well after the tea ceremony I wondered into the park, across the street from the Teahouse, and found this lovely protected behind a short fence.

After all this I joined several of the Workshop participants at Zolo Grill for dinner. I had a fantastic Grilled Ahi with a Tropical Margarita. Of course I didn't realize that the "Tropical" was a Margarita or I would have skipped it, never have truly developed a taste for margaritas no matter what other ingredients are added.

Posted by prolurkr at 11:30 PM | TrackBack

Japanese Tea Ceremony

While questing around on the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse site I found the following announcement for the preformance of a Japanese Tea Ceremony and was very pleased to see that it would take place while I was in Boulder. I immediately called and ordered a ticket.

Chado - The Japanese Tea Ceremony with The Kita Sokyu- Shacyu Tea Group Saturday June 19 - 6:00pm

This is a great opportunity to witness the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony, presented by the Kita Sokyo-Shacyu Tea Group. The demonstration will include explanation of the history of the tea ceremony and its cultural significance. Members of the audience will have the opportunity to taste the special whisked tea prepared in the ceremony.

Kita Shachu Tea Group has conducted performances at various locations and events, including: The Denver Art Museum, the Denver Botanical Gardens, and The Japan America Society.

I arrived at the Teahouse early, I hate being late, and was able to grab the best seat for me - one that is close to the front on the right. It turned out to be a lucky choice as I was selected by the performers to act as a guest at the ceremony. I was the second guest at the koicha (thick tea) ceremony and had to follow the actions of the first guest as closely as I could.

The Matcha green tea is wisked rather then steeped as in the familiar English Tea. The Matcha site has posted pictures that show how very bright green this tea is actually. Apparently Matcha is filled with caffeine and I had a total buzz when I left the ceremony. The pictures below show some of the utensils used during the ceremony. Check out the utensils link for drawings, names, and general information about each. Oh and I am the women in the bright pink jacket holding the delicate white bowl to her lips.

After the koicha ceremony a usucha (thin tea) ceremony was performed and tea was passed to all of the remaining viewers of the performance. This website gives step by step instructions for performing the usucha ceremony that appear to be consistent with what I saw at the Teahouse. The ceremony appeared to be much the same as what had been done when making koicha tea.

Oh and the fellow who keeps appearing behind the performers is the manager of the Teahouse. He was apparently oblivious to the fact that he was in ever frame, filmed or not.

This site offers far more information on the tea ceremony then I gleaned from watching alone.

Posted by prolurkr at 11:20 PM | TrackBack

The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

A week or so before I headed to Boulder I was exploring what the city had to offer online and I found the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse. I was fascinated with the lovely colors and began thinking about recreating some of the artwork in beads. The designs are very intricate and in the bright colors I love. I have to do more study on this style of painting when I have time, read post quals exam. Oh an I'm told the food is very good here as well.

Posted by prolurkr at 11:10 PM | TrackBack

My visit to Boulder

The Understanding Internet Research Ethics Workshop was held June 17-19, 2004, at the beautiful Millennium Harvest House Boulder. The hotel is part of Millennium Hotels and I was impressed with the nicely appointed rooms and the incredibly courteous and helpful staff. I will now be looking to stay in Millennium Hotels as I travel.
During my stay the The Denver Post Ride the Rockies riders spent the night in the hotel. Boulder was their starting point for the ride, take a look at the map. Apparently the riders were "stalled in Estes Park on Monday [June 21, 2004] by 40 to 50 mph winds, hail, black ice and a couple of inches of snow on Trail Ridge Road."
I arrived in Boulder during record setting cold and rain. My hotel balcony which was purported to give views of the mountains but actually gave me great views of clouds...thick grey rainy clouds. It was very odd that I could feel the mountains out there though they were not visible for several days.
I got tired of hiding from the rain on the afternoon of June 17 so I grabbed my rain jacket and umbrella and took a short walk down the Boulder Creek Path as it runs behind the hotel. The path is wide nicely paved and very busy with mountain biker carrying heavy looking panniers. I assume this is because the path travels near the University of Colorado at Boulder campus. I snapped this picture from the middle of the path so I waited until no riders were in ear shot...other then taking my life into my hands with the speed demons tearing around.
The creek was full and swift due to all the rain. Though is was a lovely tree covered walk with the wonderful sound of running water enveloping me.
There are several planting areas along the walk, with what appear to be native plants. The small shots of color really liven up the walk.
Behind the hotel and next to one of the bridges on the Path is a understream viewing area. The boulder at right marks the entrance to the stairs down to the Stream Viewing Area. There is something amusing about a self titled "Boulder."
The seating area was very wet but since I had no intention of sitting it was not a significant problem. Four viewing ports, at various heights, are available so that all can view the life of the creek.
The fast moving water made for churning and murky viewing. This photo is taken of the third portal from the right as seen in the previous picture.
By standing on my toes and pressing my camera up to the space you see at the top of the viewing port in the previous picture, I was able to get an interesting picture of the creek as it rushed across rocks and washed against the glass of the portal.
Had I been able to actually find something alive on the other side of the portal a nicely colored cheat-sheet is available to help the viewer identify the creatures they see.
The workshop took most of my time later in the day on June 17 and all day on June 18, and 19 (the links are to the appropriate permalinked posts in this blog). During our afternoon break on June 19 I went back up to my room to make a couple of calls including one to arrange my shuttle trip from Boulder to Denver International Airprot on Boulder Express. I looked up in the middle of the call and had to say "wow," the sun had come out and burned off the haze and clouds. There were mountains visible from my room. I grabbed my camera and snapped a couple of shots to somewhat mirror the first outdoor shot presented above.

After I snapped these pictures I went back down to the meeting room. Bruce Henderson was about to reconvene the session when I told him I had an emergency announcement. I then walked over and throw open the double doors that lead to the patio behind the hotel. Almost in unison the participants signed "sun" and we all streamed out into the light. Annette Markham commented that we all looked like escapees from the Star Trek: Voyager episode where the inhabitants have been living inside the Ocampa planet for generations and are liberated, returning them to the surface to see the sun for the first time.

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June 08, 2004

New Orleans Pictures and Commentary

Any trip to the French Quarter doesn't really begin until you visit Jackson Square. This picture is along the Decatur Street side where the buggy's park. When hubby and I were here in 2002 he took me on a buggy tour of the French Quarter and the Garden District. It was lovely.

Buskers are very common around Jackson Square. Although there has been some legal change that means there are fewer of them then there were in 2002. There were notices on some of the fences for meetings to organize folks to fight city hall. Good luck to them. This gentleman, on the right, is painted a nice silver and can be found around the square doing his imitation of a statue.

One of my first stops will always be any body of water in a city I am visiting. What can I say I'm a water girl. LOL Kinda funny for an Aries to say that. New Orleans has this great river walk area. First day I was there I went down and snapped this shot of the Port of New Orleans. Not sure you can see it but as I sat there two very large ocean going container ships docked beyond the bridge. I would love to go down closer to the port and watch all of it, think I'll save that for the next time hubby goes with me. Not something I should do alone I'm sure. It's easy to forget that New Orleans can be a very dangerous city if you get off the beaten track.

Compass points don't work well along the river because it winds so through the city. This shot is looking in the opposite direction from the previous picture. It's hard to capture it in a still shot but there is a swift current where the river bends, roughly where the ship is seen in this picture. When we were here in 2002 we watched barges fight the current and lose in places as they were carried toward the banks before the engines won out and they moved on down the river. The current was still swift this time but not quite as bad as before.

The French Quarter is the oldest section of the city. The Quarter is full of wonderful narrow streets with buildings that come right up to the sidewalk. Along the way one finds many cafés with huge French doors that open on to the street. I spent many an hour eating leisurely meals (I love anything crawfish), drinking café au lait, and eating beignets. I love the pace of the Quarter. I didn't spend much time on Bourbon or in the Quarter at night, not this trip. The Quarter really comes to life…a randy life at that…at night.

During the day much of the life of the Quarter takes place around the courtyards that are the center of the buildings. I have been in a couple of these spaces that are open to the public. I'm much more interested in the private spaces and snapped this picture, at the right, just to give you a partial view of what is inside the multiple story brick facades of these beautiful buildings.

There are two types of outdoor spaces on the street side of the buildings: balconies and galleries. Balconies are the unsupported (no poles) overhanging structures you see in many locations. Clearly my personal favorites are galleries; apparently I didn't take a picture of a single balcony to use at this point in my writing. LOL Both are often made with elaborate iron work as you can see in this picture. I like the shutters as well. This building had a great old world feel.

This particular gallery is a study of green or of ferns…maybe I should just say of green ferns. LOL The repetition of the plantings echo the order of the arches across the building. The picture only catches part of how vividly coloured this space really is the white and the green almost glowed in the late afternoon sun.

And of course what would a picture series be without a flower decked gallery. Of course I love the variety of colours. For me more colour will always be the best. LOL Well except for the basic black of course…but even then a hint of red is a wonderful addition.

Posted by prolurkr at 10:35 PM | TrackBack

April 09, 2004

Friday, April 9 in San Antonio

I spent a fair amount of time at the Alamo, just because it was interesting to watch others take in the way the history of the place was presented to them. I have this running dialogue about “truth” – what is the truth and what is the packaging (mediation) that someone wants me to buy as the truth. From what I’ve read the fight over the Alamo has way more to do with illegal squatters rebelling over the sovereign nations view of them as undesirables and the goal of removing them from their illegally occupied lands – in other words it was about money and fealty. Which has very little to do with the desire for “freedom and independence” that is usually presented as the reason the Texicans fought for the Alamo. LOL What can I say there are reasons I finally became an academic, one of which is that search for truth. LOL As though I will find it somewhere.

The Fountain in Front of the Alamo
(Houston Street)

The Alamo Research Library
The Alamo Buildings

Love the aluminum extension ladder
- very authentic I'm sure

The only cacti I saw on the trip
The Gardens at the Alamo

Original water well

View of the Courthouse with flag,
from the Alamo property
Southwest Arts and Crafts Center
Pictures from my River Walk that day

Immature crane in Live Oak tree

Cool space for sale

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April 06, 2004

First day in San Antonio

I write this from San Antonio TX at the SW/Texas Popular Culture and American Culture Associations Conference. After a fairly uneventful trip into San Antonio it was amusing to deplane and see how many Final Four attendees were still stuck at the airport. It's been years since I have seen so many people sitting on their luggage in the alleys of an airport. Reminded me of the old US Air terminal at National Airport (now Ronald Reagan National Airport), a place I lovingly referred to as the rat warren.

I settled into the room and took a short walk along the River Walk, grabbing dinner at an open-air Mexican Restaurant, Casa Rio. Links to pictures follow:

River Walk 1, River Walk 2, River Walk 3, and River Walk 4.

Posted by prolurkr at 10:42 PM | TrackBack

January 17, 2004

Last Day on the Big Island, part 2

Well needless to say it got interesting after I fell. I got an additional night in Hawaii?good but not for this reason. I enjoyed a nice Champagne Brunch on Sunday with friends, at the King Kamehameha.

My flights back to Indiana totaled only 13 hours which is a VERY good thing. So the remainder of the week has been tied up with doctors, workers compensation paperwork, and resting. Though today I am ready to tackle something academic, just not sure what to do first.

Posted by prolurkr at 03:45 PM | TrackBack

January 10, 2004

Last Day on the Big Island, part 1

Today was the last day on the island, or was to be the last day but more on that later. I spent part of the day driving south on HI-11 stopping to see what I could see. I got as far south as Ho'okena before turning around and coming back into Kailua-Kona,

Then I wandered around town. Best places I found were Mermaid's, Hang Loose Brudda, and a return visit to the Kona Farmers Market.

I sat on a retaining wall at the harbor and watched the sunset. For those attuned to the Hawaiian environment time stops for the 15 minutes around sunset.

Well I ran some errands then returned my rental car before I headed to the airport to catch a redeye flight back to the mainland. And from that point things went fairly radically off course.

After checking in I was instructed to take my carry-on luggage and walk close to a block on pavement to the open-air waiting area for this flight. I got maybe half way when I tripped, stumbled, and fell down landing on my face. The end result is two black eyes, bruises and contusions, broken glasses, and a fractured nose. (I'm saving you from pictures of this new look, or maybe I'm saving what's left of my tattered pride.)

I can tell you that the security, fire personnel, paramedics, and hospital staff were wonderful. They went out of their way to help a solo traveler feel less alone.

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January 09, 2004

Exploring the Big Island

St. Peter's Church next to Kahaluu Beach ParkToday was another wonderful day in paradise. First I went out alone to walk a few beaches at dawn. I picked up some very cool coral and shells to use in beadwork. I then drove down into Kahual-Kona stopping to talk pictures of interesting sites as I went. Then back to the condo.

We rolled out about 10:00 a.m. heading toward Kohala Mountain to Flume the Ditch. See pics below. Unfortunately we arrived early and were instructed to return in 45 minutes. So our intrepid crew pulled out a map and decided we could picnic at Mahukona Beach Park. According to the map we could reach a coast road by turning off the highway toward Upolu Airport. We passed a nice herd of Holstein cows before we found that the map road was a rutted one lane dirt road, not easily navigable in a Dodge Neon. So we picnicked in the parking lot next to the airport.

Fluming the Ditch was a great trip. The four of us were in one kayak with Adam our guide. He was great. He pointed out fresh water prawns, waterfalls, and Kona coffee plants. Then he sang songs from Israel Kamakawiwo'ole albums as we floated through the tunnel system. I had mentioned that I had bought one of his albums the previous day, at Hilo Hatties, called Facing Future. As I check links to add to this post I find that his version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," which is amazing, is the #1 download from iTunes World Music section and #4 over all for today's date (1/16/04).

After the ride we were ready for a swim. So we headed down the coast stopping at various beaches and bays until we arrived at Holoholokai Beach Park. There I swam at the boat ramp were the water was calm. A prediction of swells rising to 25 feet had made many of the sites to choppy for this midwesterner.

After swimming we drove into town for an excellent dinner at Wasabi Japanese Restaurant. The sushi was wonderful. I have never tasted fish so buttery smooth. Who knew I really would like Nigore style.

And so here I am again sitting on the lanai pecking out this entry on a Palm. It's my last night in Hawaii and I'm wondering if I should spend part of it sleeping on the lanai. It is 30 degrees with ice in Indiana, maybe I will stay here. Will be a long time before I wear shorts and sleeveless tops again otherwise.

Posted by prolurkr at 11:54 PM | TrackBack

January 08, 2004

Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort

After the minitrack we wondered around the grounds of the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort for some time. messages in coral on lava rock at the beachAs you drive up to the hotel you see many messages formed from the coral rocks that wash up on the shores of the leeward side of the Big Island. The white coral is in stark contrast to the black lava rock formed by the islands volcanic action. Several of us made our own messages along the hotel bay, the third message that to the untrained eye looks like random rocks, is a Braille message created by a member of our party.
casual picture of Lois Ann Scheidt

This evening there was a luau to close the conference. Got a good picture of me on my new digital camera. For those that haven't seen a picture in sometime, yes I did cut my hair. Three sections of hair, at 18 inches in length, were donated to the Locks of Love.

As has been true all week, the food at the luau was fantastic. I particularly enjoyed the Hawaiian sweet potato. The flesh is a very interesting shade of purple, my favorite color. The taste is similar to standard orange sweet potatoes but with a firmer tooth. Got my fix of southern pork bbq with the pulled pork that was served. I actually think I like it best with no sauce at all.

The desserts were amazing. The best was the visually plain coconut square. I have no idea how it's made, but it looks and tastes like jelled coconut milk. Totally fantastic.

After dinner a Polynesian dance show was presented. We were shown dancing from throughout the Polynesian triangle. It was clear that the dances (steps, costumes, music, etc.) have been significantly modernized, however this show is as close as I and many others are likely to get to any native dancing. I think some flavor may be better than none at all. Though I would love to someday be treated to a performance or to see a hula contest live, so I can see the 'original' dances.

I'm sitting in the dark on the lanai (it's 10:35 p.m. here or 3:35 a.m. in Indiana) tapping this post into my Palm Pilot and listening to the surf. The waves are rolling in from almost due west, at a fairly gentle rate. Unlike previous nights there is no hard pounding on the rocks below the condo. Everyone else here is abed and the house is still. I could sit here, in a comfortable chair that is ;) forever. But that is seriously impractical so I guess I will plan on flying home to cold, wet, frozen Indiana on Saturday.

Posted by prolurkr at 07:52 PM | TrackBack

January 07, 2004

Wednesday is a good day to be lazy

We took today off from the conference. Most of us were fairly slow getting started in the morning. One car went into town to the Kona Farmers Market.

Unlike the farmers markets at home, this one is fairly permanent and includes stalls for jewelry, clothing, and gifts. closeup of Lois' toe ring I bought a 14K toe ring and received the stall owners’ assurance that the solder is also gold and will not turn black as solder on my previous toe rings have done.

Yes I have two semi-webbed toes. It's a family trait coming down through the Blessing line.
green gecko with red markings on a fruit box at Kona Farmers Market

While at the farmers market we saw this little guy running along the fruit boxes. Beautiful colors and markings. Not sure what type he is...let me know if you know and I will add it to the entry.

The second car headed south along the coast, I was shanghaied into joining them. We drove south on HI-11 and made the slow decent to Keauhou Bay. My colleagues stopped at a coffee roaster and bought coffee beans to take home with them. I stayed in the car and watched the birds.

We then went to Hilo Hattie’s to find Hawaiian souvenirs. We got clothing, jewelry, and hanks of keychains. Keychains are great give a ways.

Finally an amazing meal was communally cooked. We eat our meal on the lanai. Later I spent part of the night sleeping on the lanai...a girl could get used to this.

Posted by prolurkr at 11:50 PM | TrackBack

January 06, 2004

Sunset at Kahaluu Beach Park

people enjoying the beach at Kahaluu Hawaii

After changing into more casual wear at the condo, the group drove up to Kahaluu Beach Park. There we walked along the beach, collected rocks & shells, and watched the sunset.

sunset at Kahaluu Beach Park, January 6, 2004

Part of the night was again spent sleeping on the Lanai. Very restful if less then infinitely comfortable sleeping on a lounge chair.

Posted by prolurkr at 10:34 PM | TrackBack

January 04, 2004

Hawaii in January

I flew to Kona HI today to attend and present at HICSS. The trip was maddeningly long. Since plane travel to HI is considered an 'international flight' I was to be at the airport two and a half hours early. Which, when your flight leaves at 7:30 a.m., is very early in the morning. picture of the rain taken from the window of the St. Louis Admirals Club

Then it was on to St. Louis for a three plus hour layover, with a plane change. The rain was blindingly heavy at the St. Louis Airport. Rain drops shown actual size.

Next came LAX with a four plus hour layover and a plane change. Finally we reached Hawaii at roughly 12:00 a.m. local time. All toll the trip took nearly 24 hours from the first to the last footstep in an airport. lanai at condo Kahaluu Hawaii

Sleep had been snatched as possible on the flights. So once we were settled into the condo I fell blissfully asleep on the lanai to the sounds of surf and crashing waves. It was heavenly.

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