FutureSarah

Sewing, knitting, whatever….

Archive for March 2007

Fotos!

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Last night I finished editing my Flickr photoset from our vacation.  Enjoy!

http://flickr.com/photos/saralah/sets/72157600005674531/

(More journal entries are on the way; I've got too much to do right now to sit down and focus on them for any length of time.)

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Written by Sarah Levantine

March 27, 2007 at 9:38 am

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This…is…Cake Town!!

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I have watched this video at least five times since last night. It makes me giggle. A lot.

Written by Sarah Levantine

March 22, 2007 at 10:16 am

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Travelog – Friday, 2 March

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Today started with me having a small meltdown at breakfast (poor waiter didn't know what to think) from all the stress of the travel day and the less-than-ideal evening plans the night before.  Once I recovered from that, we had some pastries and tea, and headed to Oxford for the day to spend time with Jon's friend Jennifer from Rochester.  We caught the Oxford Tube, which is a 24-hour charter bus service that runs between London and Oxford.  The ride ended up beign about two hours, as our bus broke down halfway there and we had to wait for the next one to come along.  I spent some time working through my French language CDs.

Once we arrived, we met up with Jennifer and she walked us through town.  We had lunch at an Irish pub called O'Neill's, I shit you not, which looked exactly like the O'Neill's we frequent in San Mateo and San Francisco, except blue on the outside and without all the football shirts on the ceiling.  Even the sign out front looked the same (generic Gaelic font).  There we discovered the treasure that is Guinness Red, which is exactly what it sounds like – delicious Guinness, except now it is a delicious red beer.  On research I have discovered that it is a brand new variety of Guinness, that just began test marketing in Great Britain this year.  Anyway – we drank some pints, ate Irish pub food, Jon and Jen caught up on gossip, and then we got on our way.

We went on a nice tour of the Bodleian Library* at the university, which has all kinds of cool history and lots of crazy-old books that we weren't allowed to touch.

After the library tour, it had gotten very overcast and was starting to drizzle a bit, and we started an impromptu pub crawl.  We started at the Turf Tavern, which is a pretty well-known (however well-hidden) pub, that sports ceilings that run about 5'7″.  We moved on to a pub called the King's Arms, but didn't drink anything there, then travelled to Jen's regular Friday night haunt, Three Goat's Heads.  The beer there was pretty good, and spectacularly cheap (3.70 GBP for two pints).  Yummy food, as well.  Jen's boyfriend and roomate joined us, and we stayed there until it was time to head back to London, then said our goodbyes and got back on the bus.


Scene of the day: Outside the Turf Tavern

Not to be outdone by our original bus driver, this new one decided to change routes to get around a traffic jam and ended up getting a bit lost.  We lost about fifteen minutes, but I must say, I was very impressed by the driver's skills at driving in reverse on a narrow, car-lined road.

We arrived back in the hotel, inexplicably hungry for some reason, and also tired.  We went straight to bed, in hopes of getting more sleep and avoiding future meltdowns on the trip.

*One of the Harry Potter movies did some filming at the library; I want to say it was for the library scenes in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  Makes sense, eh?

Written by Sarah Levantine

March 21, 2007 at 10:22 am

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Travelog – Thursday, 1 March

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The flight was pretty uneventful, but far from pleasant. The food was, well, airplane food. The personal TVs with looping movies, as much as I was looking forward to them, had reception problems. The only trans-continental airline I'd been on in the past was British Airways, which has these cool pull-down side headrests and a little gift bag with a toothbrush, eye mask, etc. No such amenities on United. The only saving grace was Jon's free frequent flyer upgrade to Economy Plus (legroom, wooo!)

For some reason, we didn't take sleeping pills as we had planned. I don't think we were tired until four or five hours in, so there wasn't a full night for us to sleep anyway. For the remainder of the journey, we tried constantly to find somplace to rest our heads. I probably got an hour's worth of sleep over the entire journey.

Once we arrived at Heathrow, there were lots of people, but things kept moving at a steady pace. One quick Underground ride later, and we arrived in Kensington (western London). We walked up to the Holiday Inn on Cromwell Road, as directed, only to have the receptionist there tell us, “Oh – you're at the OTHER Holiday Inn on Cromwell Road.” This second hotel was literally just across the street and two buildings down. Don't ask me why.

Our room itself was small, and that's fine. I'm used to the size of European hotel rooms. We had to call maintenance to help get the lights to come on – they use this key-card enabled system, but our card reader was loose. The bedspread was too small for the bed; it just barely covered the top of the mattress.

As soon as we got to the hotel, we just crashed. I made sure to set an alarm to make sure we didn't sleep through the evening's plans. One and a half hours later, get up, get showered, and go have some fun – right?

I started having second thoughts about making plans on the arrival day while we were on the plane. Unfortunately, I had already paid £90 ($177) for the evening's entertainment at the jazz club, Ronnie Scott's. Reservations were for 6:00, according to the website, so we arrived at 5:45. The doorman informed us that the club wasn’t open yet, and wouldn’t be until 6:15. Furthermore, the shows don’t typically start until half past seven.

We sat down at our table at 6:15 (for lack of anything better to do), and ordered some drinks and food. Silly Sarah didn’t pay close attention to the prices on the menu, assuming that the more expensive items would be near the end of the menu, as is customary. Anyway, my wine came out quickly, but Jon’s beer hadn’t shown up by the time we started eating. They had run out of the kind he ordered, without bothering to inform us. Food presentation was nice, but the food itself left much to be desired. I had filet of beef (steak, overcooked, with no steak-knife) with chips (fries) and a sauce that was like tarragon-tinted mayonnaise. The house band came on about the time we were finishing the main course. They were good, but considering our energy levels, pretty boring. The second set introduced a singer (Ella Fitzgerald covers), which helped, but not enough to keep me from nodding off once or twice. The main act was this incredible guitarist (from Philadelphia or somewhere like that). No vocals, though, so again boring for our weary travelers.

We left after just three or four songs; by then, we had been at the club for over four hours. The bill came to another £50 over what I had already paid, bringing the grand total to close to $300. *Soooo* not worth it. It seems like the best plan for this club is to show up around eight, after the house band has started, and have some bottle service and dessert during the show. The club can expect a note from me telling them how much the website fails to inform on how things work.  I have also since decided that I needn't waste my time in the future travelling all the way to a foreign country to listen to American (jazz) music.

Finally, we reached the hotel at 11:30. Sweet bedtime….

Written by Sarah Levantine

March 21, 2007 at 9:50 am

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London pictures!

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So, when I said I might have some free time at work, what I *meant* to say was that I would have NO free time at work.  Busy, busy, busy.  Anyway – I just finished the photos from England, and here they are:

Guinness Red

http://flickr.com/photos/saralah/sets/72157600005674531/

I think I'll start journalling the England portion of the trip next, while it's still fresh(ish) in my mind.  Stay tuned!

Written by Sarah Levantine

March 21, 2007 at 9:42 am

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Back at work, sigh…

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Today is my first day back at work after returning from Europe.  I got a nice early start and hit the ground running, so hopefully I'll get something done today besides reading email and getting my new devkits up and running with the latest build.

When I went to the pet hotel to pick up the kitties, I found out that Dom had gotten very ill about a week in, and had to be taken to the vet.  He had lost a bunch of weight, wasn't breathing well, and his eyes were all red and leaky.  I called the vet to find out what had happened, and she said that if she hadn't been told who he was, she wouldn't have recognized him.  His face was all swollen and stuff – yecch!  Anyway, I am continuing with the medications that the pet hotel was giving him.  I have to medicate the poor guy for the next two weeks, which means leaving work at a reasonable hour every day (woo!).  He is looking a lot better, though still gets wheezy and sneezy at night.

I spent most of the weekend editing photos and uploading them, and catching up on all the goodness that Tivo left over the break.  Additional activities include hitting O'Neill's for a pint on St. Patrick's Day, grilling steaks, and seeing the movie 300.  Aside from all the worrying about Dom, I'd have to say it was a pretty good weekend.

I am *so* happy to be eating vegetables again, after the vacation.  With the possible exception of Venice, “light and healthy” are not words you would use to describe the local food where we were staying.  I went to the grocery store yesterday and completely binged on buying fresh produce for snack food.  We'll see how long it lasts before I revert to Snickers bars again 🙂

As Jon mentioned, I do indeed have a handful of detailed notes about the trip.  I want to get my Flickr set all organized and made public first, though.  Stay tuned, I may have a bunch of idle time today, what with all the compiling and such.

Written by Sarah Levantine

March 19, 2007 at 10:57 am

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Cheese and bread and wine, yum!

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We are having a great time in Montpellier so far – we've really lucked out on the weather so far (uh oh, did I just jinx it?).  We just wrapped up a nice brunch of wine, bread and all kinds of crazy cheeses at my sister's flat.  We're going to try the museum again today, since half of the city is closed on Mondays (the other half being closed on Sundays).  Yesterday we had a fantastic French dinner, then headed to Neal's pub until closing time.  I'm happy to say, we finally adjusted to the time difference, and are even managing to sleep in in the mornings.

A quick recap of the trip so far:

London –
Ronnie Scott's jazz club – not as good as I remember from last time, and WAY too expensive.  Add to that the fact that we had just gotten off the redeye from SFO, and it wasn't very fun.  The singer kept making funny faces every time she really got into what she was singing.
Day trip to Oxford – toured the Bodleian Library, and then toured the pubs of the city.  One of Jon's friends from undergrad lives there, so she showed us around and we had a great time (transportation mishaps aside; more on that later).
The British Museum – FREE!!  Hallelujah!!  Awesome artifacts; for time constraints, we only explored the Egyptian and Greek/Roman exhibits.  Believe me, that was plenty.  You wouldn't believe the amount treasures British explorers stole from these ancient civilizations.

Montpellier –
Kebabs and beer
Crepes and tea
French food (confit de canard) and wine
More beer
Cheese and more wine
Is there a theme developing here?

We are generally eating, drinking, sleeping, and walking around here.  I have no complaints 🙂

Tomorrow we'll find something else fun and relaxing to do, then Thursday we head to Venice for a couple of days.  Talk to you then!

Cheers,

Sarah

Written by Sarah Levantine

March 6, 2007 at 3:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized