Saturday, December 29, 2007

Friday Catbloging

Because it's still Friday where I am:

We spotted this delightful pair of yellow tabbies, a tom (the larger one) and a female, in the parking lot of the Russian Fort in Waimea. Somebody please adopt them. They need a home.

Spouting Horn

Apologies for the light posting lately. We're in Kauai, as you may have read earlier, with the posters known as Schmutz, Oldest Kid, and Middle Kid, and their respective families. We have lots of photos and experiences to recount, but since I have but a few minutes right now, I'll do an easy one of Spouting Horn, a site just up the coast from our condo in Poipu where the waves shoot up through lava tunnels to neat effect:







Yes, Kauai's famous feral chickens. Our guidebook notes that these chickens are odd because they don't know they're only supposed to crow at sunrise, a comment that only demonstrates that the authors are city people because anybody who grew up around farm animals knows that roosters crow whenever they feel like it. This was one of a flock that tends to gather around the vendors at Spouting Horn. Somebody told us the chickens are feral because once the top of a coop flew off in a storm, the chickens flew off and it was too much of a bother to round them back up.

And if you prefer a chicken-free video version of Spouting Horn, click below.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Hawaiian Sunriseblogging, or Jetlagblogging

My paper route has been moved to Kauai.


Longish Diary Of The Year's Shortest Day

We saw this twice yesterday, have yet to see it for the first time today

To celebrate the 2007 winter solstice, Mrs. Werbenmanjensen and I rose at roughly the same time to make ready to fly nearly halfway around the world: Ten time zones behind, so to speak, landing us in Hawaii sometime late last night local time. Our polar route took us through our first sunset around 1:30 or 2 p.m., only to greet us with a second sunrise a few hours later, somewhere over Canada. Even though we were in the dark, over the North Pole, with an outside air temperature of around -70 something Farhenheit, our British Airways 747 managed to keep the cabin at sweat-wearing-cotton-T-shirt temperatures. Then the hell of LAX, waiting forever for our bags, getting searched by Customs because we wandered the wrong direction, going out of the secure airport environment only to have to re-enter it (really, does that make any sense?) in another terminal, watching the Keystone Kops of the TSA handle luggage in a single X-ray machine, and finally being unable to sit together for our leg to Hawaii because BA and American Airlines can't manage to communicate. We watched our flight chase the second sunset across the Pacific. Warm breezes on Kauai blow the palm fronds into a single green arrowhead atop all the trees, calming my travel-addled and fatigued nerves. We called the taxi dispatcher, who wondered why we didn't want to wait for the shuttle to our hotel. It was an easy $15 for him, a mere seven-fifty in the Queen's sweet sweet sterling, which can't even get you from one side of the Square Mile to the other in a Black Cab.

As I type these words, my computer's clock tells me it's 4:30 p.m. in London, where the sun set 40 minutes ago. Outside our balcony, I can hear the white noise of the Pacific's surf, cheering for a Hawaiian sunrise. It's going to be a good week.

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Holidays!

2007 has been great for us. Our second year in London saw us spending some quality time in the English countryside:

Camping in Somerset (in the rain)

On holiday in Devon (in the rain)

Introducing ourselves to new parts of London (along with visiting family):

Day trip to Bath (no rain!)

We also got to visit family at opposite ends of America in March and October. That included a trip to New Jersey:

And we also got to visit old Jersey:

They liked us so much in Jersey they whipped up a storm to strand us. But we made it back on the Vomit Comet and via train.

And let's not forget our front row seats at the prologue of the Tour de France (which started in London, oddly enough):

Mrs. W got to see some neat places while traveling for her old job, including Amsterdam:


And Smitty was able to join her in Barcelona to have some sun and fun in September:

This month she went to Indonesia for a big meeting as part of her new job:

(Despite the cool photos, she really didn't get any quality beach time in. Really.)

Now we are off to spend Christmas in Hawaii with some pretty cool people we are related to. Not everyone will get warm weather this holiday season, but we can send you warm feelings and wish you a very Happy New Year! Hoping to live up to the Amuck in our name in 2008!

Friday Catblogging

Americans Amuck goes all lolcat:

Thanks to the funny folks at i can has cheezburger for the photo captioning and hosting service. This is my warning to you: By mere virtue of the fact that this blog has done an lolcat, it means the whole trend has jumped the shark.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Uh, Hi!

Apologies for not posting this week. We're getting ready for a kind of big event around here, and besides, not much is happening. How many similar pictures of the same sunrise do you really need?

But while we're at it, let us give a big American whoop-de-do cheer for Kikkan Randall, the first American to win a top-level nordic skiing event since, well, the article doesn't say, but probably since Bill Koch invented the skate stride. And thanks to Eurosport, I got to watch it live.

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday Catblogging

For Friday catblogging this week, we're going back in the archives, back when AA didn't exist and the people of AA lived west of the Atlantic.

Ethel, with her natural camouflage, attempts to hide on the duvet.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Postcard From Bali

Mrs. Werbenmanjensen sends greetings from Bali, where she is traveling for work. Here is a slightly edited version of a note she sent:

This morning I ate breakfast beside a man-made waterfall and pond filled with water lilies. Then I had a 20-minute walk or so along the beach. That was about as tranquil as my day will get!

I am sweating like a pig. My hair hasn't been this fluffy since the 1980s. It's summer here, just below the equator (my first time in the Southern Hemisphere). The air is either scented with flowers or, um, other scents, depending on where you are. People are friendly and many speak English. A lot of prices are in U.S. dollars, but those that aren't are a little scary -- 50,000 rupiah for a sandwich! (That's about $5.) I took 500,000 rupiah out at the ATM at the airport, halfway to being a millionaire!

I think I'm finally over the jet lag. Hope to send pictures when I return to London (I did take a few).


At Least One Thing A Pigeon Won't Eat


And they'll leave you alone too.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tuesday Sunriseblogging

In a mere seven hours, 57 minutes, the sun will be setting again.

The paper route's doing well. Delivering pays better than writing.

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A Note About English Customer Service

Customer at electrical shop: Hi, I'd like to buy some shrink tubing to fit this connection.

Electrical shop clerk: Oh, we don't have anything like that. You should go to an electrical shop.

(True story, edited for clarity.)

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Latitudinal Blues

Tomorrow through Saturday are the earliest sunsets I can expect for another year. The latest sunrise doesn't come until Boxing Day.

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Random Monday Thoughts

I drank a Budweiser over the weekend. I'm not proud of this. But the pub where I was chatting with friends had lost most of its power (but not all, oddly), so they couldn't serve food and the taps weren't working. Maybe they were just trying to get rid of us. If so, it worked: We decamped shortly thereafter to another pub that had working taps and stoves.

The Metcheck weather web site refers to our weekend storm as "Storm Isaac." Did we start naming extratropical storms? Or is this an English usage with which I am unfamiliar?

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Stonehenge Tunnel Scrapped

The transportation department has decided that noise pollution at the site is less of a priority than wildlife habitats:
Fears for the future of rare wildlife surrounding Stonehenge were eased yesterday after the Government ruled out a £540m tunnel under the ancient monument as well as alternative plans to build a new road on the site.

There were fears that abandoning the 2.1km tunnel on grounds of cost would lead to a bypass being built across the Wiltshire plains to ease congestion. Among the birds said to have been at risk from such a move was the rare stone curlew.

Announcing it was dropping the Stonehenge project, the Department for Transport said yesterday that "significant environmental constraints" meant there were no acceptable alternatives to the tunnel, which was recommended by public inquiry in 2004.

My 2p: It's really a bit noisy at the site, and with lots of pedestrians in the area who want to gawk through the fence rather than pay the admission fee, there is a significant public safety concern. I hope they come up with some solution.

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Friday Catblogging

Because Friday is Caturday at Americans Amuck.

I call this "Still Life Greg With Hat, Coat, Scarf and Gift." Long time readers will recognize the coat. Others may recognize the scarf or the hat, but I'm not saying why.

And now, a bonus "larger than life" catblogging:

I'm not sure why I did that.

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wednesday Sunriseblogging

Soon, the days will lengthen, the sun will rise before I do, and I won't get photos of the rising sun. Until that day, I'm going to take pictures of the sunrise, if it looks cool.

This is from Tuesday, so the time is, well, about the same time as Monday's.

On a side note, over the weekend I watched a lot of nordic skiing and biathlon from Finland. It looked like the sun was setting around 2 p.m. there.

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Happy Wednesday!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Monday Sunriseblogging

I don't want to belabor this, but London's winter skies keep delivering:

I didn't record the time, so let's say it was about 8 a.m.

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Public Service Announcement: The Final Word

BBC Radio 6 Music awarded Emma the Don of the Week award, whatever that means.

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Saturday Sunriseblogging

6:38 a.m.

6:58 a.m.

7:20 a.m.

What was I doing up before sunrise on a Saturday? Feel free to make your guesses in comments.

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