Tag Archives: travel

The 11th item on my (fictional) bucket list


The Bucket

This is another post suggested by WordPress’ 365 Days of Writing Prompts .

A Bucket List. I suppose I have one, but I have no idea what’s on it.

In fact, the more I think about it, the worse it gets. What are the types of things people put on their bucket lists?

Are they noble deeds? … Invite a homeless family over from a shelter and into our house for a Sunday meal?

Should they sounds more like a mid life crisis notebook? … Buy a Porsche 944 as a daily driver?

Should they be like New Years’ Resolutions?… Places I would like to go? Get in shape? Run an Ironman?

What I don’t want is to hear that all these questions are things I need to work out for myself.  I’ve seen the movie. I don’t think I’m going to reform my life by learning that the coffee I like is recycled monkey dung and that I need a best friend or assistant to carry my ashes to the top of K2.

If I have to invest a little grey matter into the question, I would realize that the idea of this question is two-fold: 1 – to generate a bucket list of life’s goals. 2 – to take an easy one and tick it off. Or, at least make a plan to.

Of course, there is a website for creating a bucketlist, but it’s a lot of things that I’m not really that excited about. Mostly bungee jumping, meet Mike Tyson and other greasy kids’ stuff.

The things I would like to do some day are like:

I.              Masochistic notions

  1. Spend a season in Antarctica near Mt. Terror and Mt. Erebus.
  2. Drive across Siberia
  3. Hike across Antarctica
  4. Hike to the North Pole or perhaps sail the NorthWest Passage (sadly, there is one now)
  5. Spend a season in Antarctica near Mt. Terror and Mt. Erebus.

II.            Self Improvement

  1. Learn to code (and prove it by building an app, multifunctional website, etc)
  2. Learn a language well enough to not have someone insist that we just speak English
  3. Publish a book (vanity press / self publishing does not count)
  4. Buy and work on a project car (learn to do what it takes to get this done without outsourcing everything)
  5. Make a noticeable difference in someone’s life (a la It’s a Wonderful Life – in a manner of speaking)

III.          Get a real job where I can feel like I am challenging myself, doing something creative that I can do better than just any teenager off the street and earn enough so I don’t feel like a waste of potential.

  1. (I guess that about covers it … and this one’s #11)

And yet, through all of it, remember the worlds of Albert Camus, “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”

So, don’t actually think about the bucket.

Just do it?


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Posted by on January 3, 2014 in Uncategorized


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My knee-jerk reaction is to keep this a secret

But who am I fooling? 

I can’t keep a secret … and this isn’t one that should be kept anyway.

The secret is Iceland. A place I have always wanted to go, but never made a destination. But, recently, on the return from celebrating my tenth anniversary with my wife in Paris, we stopped for a long layover in Iceland and took the opportunity to spend the day at a hot-spring spa.

ImageThe one we chose was a tourist trap positioned perfectly for people with lay-overs just like ours, but we didn’t mind that. Instead, we embraced it and had a wonderful time discovering the rejuvenating, geothermally heated waters of ‘The Blue Lagoon‘.

Basically, Icelandair is a low-cast carrier for transatlantic flights. But consider: The worst part of transatlantic travel is the jetlag that makes you want to spend your vacation catching up on sleep and the makes the return home a nightmare of trying to get back on schedule just as you are supposed to be getting back to work. 

The solution is an 8 hr – 36 hr layover in iceland with a day at the spa. I know there are lots of other attractions in iceland, but this is the one I know, and it is the one that makes travel so much better. The rest are actual extensions of a vacation.

How to get there? The Flybus has regular trips between the Blue Lagoon and the airport throughout the day.

What about my luggage?No problem. The bus has space and so does the resort.

What about a bathing suit? Also no problem, you can rent one there. And if you get a premium package, you also get a robe, towel and flip-flops.

What about food? There is a restaurant (buffet included in the premium package) with excellent food, including a great sushi spread  – no changing required, just throw on a robe and flips and you’re set to go.

You can also enjoy a drink at the bar located in the bath and get a good shower before heading back to the airport refreshed.


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Posted by on June 3, 2013 in Uncategorized


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A Victory Lap

My wife got home yesterday afternoon ending the competition.

The final score was:

                      Pee                   Poop                       Vomit                   Kill something / viciously attack me

William            4   1/2                0                                1                                          0

Penny              2   1/2                1                                0                                         NA

Oliver                0                      0                                0                                           2


There was one peeing incident which the judges could not positively attribute to Penny or William and therefore decided to award 1/2 pt to each contestant. William began with, and maintained, a strong lead eventually finishing with a total of 5 1/2 points for the win.

To celebrate he took a victory lap and peed on the dinning room floor this morning. 


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Posted by on September 23, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Wife is traveling – cat rebels


The best expresso I’ve ever had

My wife is off for a weeklong trip to Germany for work and she is sorely missed by our indoor cat, William. Since she’s left just 24 hours ago, he has already rebelled and has peed on the floor twice. I’m doing what I can to keep up with cleaning up after him and not holding it against him in a way that will just make him act out more.

As always, Harry and I come a bit closer together when we are alone in the house. We might have one or two breakdowns over the whole week, but overall we both try a lot harder to keep things moving in her absence.

Another thing that’s funny is that I always make such grand plans for spending my evenings working hard when I’m alone… and I do a decent job overall, but never quite reach the pinnacle of productivity that I aspire to. Last night I was able to complete the Assignment #2 for my ‘Gamification’ course I’m following through Coursera, but I found my attention wandering while trying to keep up with the video lectures.

OK, I wish I could take the time to write more and structure my post a bit better, but I’m sitting in ‘The Roasterie’ Cafe in Leawood, KS and just realized that I left my power cord at home.


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Posted by on September 17, 2012 in Uncategorized


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It’s so good to be home!

Even dry and desolate, it’s where my own bed is, with my own pillow and my own family.

I can do with not traveling for a while now.


ps –

1.I’ve added a companion blog (AppCampus) where I am writing some serious material about technology and education.

2. Tomorrow is day 1 of P90X



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Posted by on July 29, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Last Day

Today is the last day of my traveling. We head for home tomorrow morning and I am very eager to get there and fall back into a more predictable, more familiar routine. 

Perhaps it’s travel fatigue. Perhaps it’s just homesickness.


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Posted by on July 28, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Traveling again

Harry and I have set out traveling again.

This time we’re visiting family on the East coast. We flew out on Friday – after waiting more than five hours in the airport for a late arrival of the previous flight, then a maintenance problem, then a needed part and finally for an entirely new plane. 

Once that was through, we had not further problems and got to BWI quickly. I rented a car and took the little guy to visit his grandparents (my in-laws)  outside of Washington DC while I visited friends and family in the Philly area. I have to say, I miss him very much already. He’s become more than a very small child without opinions and observations of his own and I enjoy having conversation with him through the day.

That said, I will be going to fetch him and bring him up to see my family later in the week. I think he’ll especially enjoy seeing his newest cousin, Nora, whom I met for the first time just today. Like her older sister, she’s completely adorable.

Until I bring him up, I have nothing but time to work on programming, DownHouse or school prep. I’ll see if I can’t return to getting the Mastermind game moved onto the DHS website and maybe even make some progress in getting it re-worked for an app as well.Image

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Posted by on July 23, 2012 in Personal Life


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The Autobahn

Driving the autobahn is a terrific window into the German society.

The rules take some preparation if you’ve never driven in Germany before. The speed limit has a habit of changing rapidly and it’s easy to be taken off guard if you’re not paying attention. But that’s rule #1: German’s take driving seriously. I never once saw someone trying to buck the system and cause a problem. There’s plenty of road on the right for slower cars – a lot of the new, small, gas-friendly cars are permanently relegated there. The left lane is for one of two things: Passing or driving very, very fast. Most people are the former – even if they have nice cars that can get some speed. The latter is for the select few who have awesome machines and are regularly speeding along at 150 mph easy.

Despite the fact that people can – and do- drive so fast, rule #1 applies. Everyone takes driving seriously and is attentive. It would be a fool who wandered into the left lane without being completely sure that there are no automotive masterpieces rushing up from behind. Everyone signals turns (at least that’s what I found). This even goes for BMWs, which in the United States are apparently sold without them.

One last comment on rule #1: I did not observe a single person trying to handle a drink or phone while driving on the autobahn.

Rule #2: Driving is fun. Because everyone does a pretty good job with rule #1, driving is a pleasure. In the States, there is always a self-righteous old lady (sorry about the sexism) clogging traffic and setting people’s emotions to a boil. In Germany, there’s nothing to be self-righteous about. The law allows people to enjoy themselves.

Rule #2a: Don’t rent a crap car. I did. I had a woefully underpowered Nissan Quashicore (At least we dubbed it so, with the motto: “Starving for power!”) We’re both science geeks, so it was funny to us – well, at least to me. Laura got the joke, but only smirked. I laughed for both of us. If you follow rule #2a, then rule #2 will apply.

Rule #3: Don’t get the GPS: Sorry Garmin, your device sucks with respect to pronouncing German street names. We would have done much better with a good old fashioned map. OK, maybe the GPS did help some, but it’s just not smart enough to allow you to adjust directions according to roads you would like to take and listening to ‘The Woman In The Box’ gets just tiring in the city, where the long Germanic street names are compounded by very aggressive traffic, old roads that just might be alley ways too small to get through safely.


OK, sorry. Enough about driving. We’ll probably be taking the train on future travels unless we can afford to drop the extra $1000+ for a nice car to get us through.


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Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Personal Life


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Back Home

Not having internet access in Germany (at least on a regular basis – which means at night, after my wife falls asleep) has done some damage to my narrative of our trip. I had been writing some material into my journal using iBook Author, but the entries there are pretty jumpy as well.

So now the whole thing is out of joint. What to do?

I’m going to just post my last full day’s entry here and then another post with some comments on the trip and call it good. Then it’s back to DHS and codecademy and life here in the hot, desolate midwest.


Here’s what I have:

Second Day in Wuerzberg
We decided to take about half the day today walking around the city and the rest as a break from tourism for some quiet time in or near the hotel. We think that there is a park not too far from here and are wondering if we might find a playground where Harry can exhaust himself.
A note about the hotel: We’re staying at the Novatel hotel in the AltStadt. We are nearby a school, so there was some noise of children playing in the morning, but that’s not the bad sort of noise that disturbs sleep. We did not know what to expect with respect to our breakfast this morning because we couldn’t remember if this hotel included it or not. In fact it did and it was probably one of the best breakfasts we’ve had since arriving.
On our walk today we visited two churches, Stift Haug and the Church of St. Mary Although beautiful on the outside, neither was especially remarkable inside (perhaps due to reconstruction after the war). Stift Haug was very obsessed with the crucifixion, depicting it in many ways. As you come into the church, you are immediately met with a modern sculpture of it and all throughout the church were paintings following the stations of the cross. In addition to these paintings, others depicted the deaths of the saints. None of these was very sparing of the pain and suffering associated with these events and, more notably, there was little mention of anything else (such as any good deeds or rising after death). I wonder how being faced with these images affects the mind of the people growing up in these churches.
The second was a gothic church in the center of town that was largely an interesting red color on the outside, but much more classical on the inImageside. One thing to note though was that this church was apparently the resting place of many old Franconian knights.
We got as far as the bridge, but even after seeing the fort across the river, Harry was not interested in hiking up the hill to visit it. So, there we turned around and made back to the hotel. We only stopped briefly to pick up some food from a grocer, where I made a dismal impression as I got to the front of a long line only to find that they did not take Visa and could not figure out how to cancel the transaction without stopping all three lines and talking very loudly about the stupid American. Ugh. I didn’t enjoy that.

Here’s a photo of the fort from the bridge near the town square. (We had a great hike up and wander around this fort the next day.)

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Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Personal Life


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Perhaps it was the mushrooms…?

Something strange happened last night. I didn’t notice until the morning, but stepping out of the shower, I see that I have GROWN VERY LARGE! I’ll have to look into getting a helping from the other side today.Image

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Posted by on July 10, 2012 in Personal Life


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