Monday, July 30, 2012

Cheap Bags Rejoice!

So I have long been fascinated by the cheap bag theory. I fail to understand why someone would spend thousands of dollars on clothes and accessories and put them in a cheap bag that falls apart? Drop the cash and buy a bag that will protect your stuff. Below is a picture from a trip to Vegas that sums up my point. My stuff arrived safe and sound, the owner of this bag, not so much.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The not so short road home.

Coming home after being gone for a couple weeks is a good feeling.  While I will miss my friends in Vegas and some of the people I have met over the last two weeks, being in my own place will be nice. 

I get to spend a couple of days with the boys on the rugby pitch as I start to prepare for my next journey.  In less than two weeks I will be getting on a plane to go to Africa via Canada and Switzerland.  I am going to spend two weeks working with children who have far less than I do and the mac I am writing this on costs more than the median annual income for most people living at my destination.  Maybe I should remember that next time I complain about a lack of overhead space, not having enough outlets to charge my iPhone or which car to drive to work.  While I think I will have a lot to offer them I feel like this journey will profoundly change my life.

Running of the bulls was monumental and taught me courage and perspective.  Snowboarding has taught me courage and believing in my decisions.  Rugby, tenacity and dedication come to mind as lessons learned.  What will this trip teach me? 

Maybe I am looking for a world that puts community and humanity before excess and commerce.  I have lived only a fraction of time, I have a lot to learn.  I hope to come away from Africa knowing more than I know today and being a better person because of it.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Let the commuting begin!

A couple of weeks ago my car was hit by a drunk driver. After about 9,000 dollars in damage and a couple of trips to the police station and countless calls to the insurance company it is done. While I will be getting back my car I am not sure it will ever be the same. So in the interim I will be riding and have been riding my bike to work. I have loved every minute of it!

My Specialized Langster Seattle edition has been tearing up the streets. It is a super easy ride into work, less than three miles. What has been challenging is doing things like going to the bank and heading to the store. All of which I am proud to say I have accomplished.

I am sure I will have more as I fall back in love with my bike. For now I am happy to say that I am one of the newest bike commuters in town. It’s kind of nice to show up to work in shorts and a t-shirt.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bring on the snow!

So this weekend I got together with some old friends and had the chance to meet some new ones as well. The reason was to celebrate the first snowboarding of the season. Granted the snow was really ice from a Zamboni and the mountain was a hill in a backyard, it didn’t manage to stop the unbridled enthusiasm.

For many of us we have found ways to pacify our needs of the winter, the ability to slide down snow. This is most commonly masked in surfing, but can also be seen in other sports such as skating and now SUMO, not the wrestling. But alas, winter has now arrived.

It appears that all of the hard work has paid off because in the last four days, we have seen snow twice. In addition it looks promising that our local hill will be open this weekend to ride. So for all of you there Friday night, thank you for a great time! For all of you who want to learn to ride this winter or get better, come on out! But most importantly, keep the snow coming or all of us that have learned why this sport is so great!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Our friends to the north...

Toronto you are a strange little town. Let me start by saying I love this city and I would rank it in the top 5 cities that I have ever been to in the world. It is just strange how it is only an hour away, yet the city itself feels like a total enigma to most Americans. What is it that makes us feel this way?

Let’s face it; Toronto is the Canadian version of Chicago with a couple of major changes. The corrupt politics, well those are in Ottawa. The over presence of union labor, first it would be spelled “labour” and frankly it isn’t as repressive. The shopping and dining are both amazing in each city, with a more cosmopolitan feel going to our neighbors to the north.

But maybe my last statement sums it up. Chicago is one of the most highly educated and diverse cities in our country, but to be honest, Toronto feels smarter, worldlier. Toronto is the melting pot that the United States was close to 100 years ago with all of the sophistication on a major city. Socialized medicine and a way for its entire society to earn a degree or a trade. With the dollar falling and the world becoming smaller, I think it is time for us to drop the us vs. them attitude. Granted Strange Brew was hilarious and they have given us a lot to laugh at over the years, maybe, just maybe it is time for us all to get on the same page and truly become North America. Really do you need to stamp my passport to go there?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I am in love with YELP!

So I had a great time relaxing and discovering Yelp! this weekend. Yelp is a great site that allows you to review local establishments. I had a good time making some new friends and reminiscing about places that I liked and didn’t like. The one downfall is the same issue I have with Twitter. I hate that you cannot import contacts from outlook. Not all of us who use these sites are in high school and keep all of our contacts in gmail. So all I can say is please interface with outlook! Otherwise, keep up the good work!

Friday, May 29, 2009

The last day in Prague

Our first stop was near Hradcany, which is close to the Royal castle complex. This place is simply stunning. I would say that this was more of a full blown city and not just a castle. Don’t get me wrong; I know most castles could survive for years if attacked just on what they had behind the walls. But this place is immense and we didn’t even have time to see all of it. Some of my favorite places were the conservatory, the cathedral and of course the amazing views off of the west side of the palace. Truly an amazing place, but I think the pictures can do it more justice than I can.
After about two hours up there we made our way down to the city to have a little lunch. We ate right at the entry way to the bridge and of course they had a place that had a mojito fro six people. I have just a couple of questions to ask about that, I mean logistically this is a nightmare. Because if it is six of my friends we are either going to be unhappy or that glass is going to be the size of a smart car. In either case we could have a problem. Additionally, are we not talking about a lot of backwash here? OK I have digressed long enough, back to actually talking about the city.
We headed over to a tram we saw the first day we were there. We were pretty sure this took us up to the monastery, but to be honest we were not sure. Come to find out it did take us there and we could use our multi day metro pass to get there as well. This was working out great!
I will have to say that this was the most mysterious place that we went. On top of the mountain was an observation deck that looked like a mini Eiffel tower, a monastery and an observatory. What made it odd was the entire place was surrounded by fortified walls with arrow slots. There we also several buildings that we could not see, but they looked shady in a secret kind of way. Outside of the walls was a series of monuments dedicated to a series of religious leaders. While on the train we heard that this was a place that was actually used to detain prisoners of war as late as the civil war which happened at the fall of the eastern bloc. All in all it was a very odd place.
On our way down we saw a dirt path with a sign for a monument. We followed it and I will have to say it was a bit remote. Once we got there the view was wonderful. We actually found ourselves above the castle and found a way in through a different entrance. After spending some time there we headed back down for the second time. Across the Charles bridge we made our way over to the marinate shop where Sandy picked up some gifts.
By now it was around 4:30pm, we spent the rest of the day drinking coffee, beer and just enjoying the sunny afternoon. We were in the old town portion of Prague. Originally this was settled by Jewish immigrants. It is an amazing plaza that is full of cafes and makes for great people watching. Well I think we are all caught up at this point. Hope everyone is enjoying the blog and I look forward to seeing all of you when I get home!