Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Things That Are Better Back Home

Have I mentioned banks?

I have?

I had a stark reminder of this yesterday. For reasons I will go into at a later time, I had to call both our British bank (twice!) and our U.S. bank. The differences were stark. It was so nice to talk to somebody at a bank who didn't consider the help you needed a burden.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

English2American: The Dead Tree Version

The author of the English2American dictionary, blogrolled on the right, sends an email to the various beer-buyers on his list:
Some time in the last ten years you emailed me with suggestions about “The English-to-American Dictionary”, my dictionary of British slang. Perhaps we exchanged several emails. Perhaps you bought me a drink. In any event, at some point I sent you a mail saying that you were to appear in the honour roll on my contributors list, and there your name resides to this day.

For about half of these ten long years I've been dribbling on about how I'm going to turn the web site into a book, become wealthy and famous and leave this dirty town for good. That'll show them. Well, in the last year or so I've managed to get my act together somewhat on this, and within the next few months it should be available at - it's not a real publisher, it's one of those places that will just print a copy and send it if anyone orders one. I may be in this dirty town for the foreseeable future.

If you want to be notified when the real book comes out, go here.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday Sunsetblogging

To confuse our readers, I took a photo at the end of the day.

Sunset: Today, 4:40 p.m.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Where Have You Been? We've Been Worried Sick About You!

Uh, hi. Blogging has been light this month because of a number of factors, not the least of which has been squaring away my UK taxes for the 2006-2007 fiscal year. In addition, as you may have guessed from this post, we've been flat-hunting, an experience described to me by a wiser man as "a soul-destroying experience." The good news: We think we have a place, within walking distance of Mrs. Werbenmanjensen's work, but with room for visitors. I did a lot of work to line up some rather unproductive viewings of places in the last three weeks, but Mrs. W made one call and hit a home run with it. That's how things go. I'm going to have her pick some numbers to play in the lottery.

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Friday Catblogging

The female tabby at the Russian Fort in Waimea makes friends with Mrs. W.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

More Things That Are Better Back Home

Automobile licensing agencies:

Memo to the DVLA: If you impound the car and sell it at an auction rather than crushing it, you can defray some of the costs of enforcement. I know that's thinking outside of the, ahem, box ....

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Top 10 Estate Agent Lies

"Three-bedroom maisonette."

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Happy Anniversary To Me

It was two years ago today that I arrived here in London for semi-permanent residency.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday Catblogging

Don't call it a comeback:

Sleepy Greg wishes I'd keep it down.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Kauai Sunriseblogging

Reader Schmutz took this from our condo in Poipu. Or was it a sunset?

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Monday, January 07, 2008


Britons richer than Americans, (but then there's that matter of the cheap dollar).
The average UK person will this year have a greater income than their US counterpart for the first time since the 19th Century, figures suggest.
Analyst Oxford Economics said the UK's GDP per head of population will reach £23,500 - £250 higher than in the US.
However, because goods and services are cheaper in the US, Americans will have stronger purchasing power, it added.

Perhaps we'll stay?

Hat tip to Atta J. Turk, posting over at Eschaton.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Waimea Canyon

"At the birthplace of all waters, it rains and rains, and then it pours."

Kauai is home to the location that is, by reputation, the rainiest on Earth--or at least the rainiest that gets measured. It also is home to the only navigable fresh water in Hawaii. Dozens of large streams and rivers criss-cross the island, many of them originating in the ancient volcanic caldera that now is the Alakai Swamp.

Waimea Canyon was formed by one of these large streams, cutting down the western side of the island. The auto road that parallels it terminates at an overlook that drops down to the NaPali Coast.

With Middle Kid and MK's family, Mrs. Werbenmanjensen and I drove up the canyon and took a side hike to some waterfalls.

Beyond the falls, Mr. MK and I hiked to an overlook above twin falls cascading down the canyon wall.

As we drove back down, a cloud hung over the canyon, creating rainbows and even doubled rainbows floating below us in the canyon. I stopped at every opportunity to capture photos.

I now understand why the rainbow is the symbol of Hawaii.

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Friday Catblogging

In the Allerton Garden at the National Tropical Botanical Garden, this cat seemed to be part of the backdrop. I think its name was Sweetie.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Na Pali Coast

The Na Pali Coast is Kauai's northwest corner, a wild collision of waves and rock in the winter as the northern trade winds push the sea into cliff walls. Along with the family of Oldest Kid, Mrs. Werbenmanjensen and I took a boat tour along this raw coastline. (You can hike much of the coast, but from the water it looked like it might give even a Scotsman some pause.)

Our guide told us that when Captain Cook saw this coast, he couldn't believe people actually lived here. The Hawaiians did, however, sculpting the narrow valleys and rocky precipices into thriving agricultural communities. In some cases, he said, they used the gorges nearest the coast as their farm fields and hiked daily from their homes over the mountain using a system of ladders to work the fields.

Words can't do this place justice, so I won't waste too much time trying to do so.

In addition to the awe-inspiring terrain, we also saw a school of spinner dolphins and a pod of humpback whales. Both were too challenging for this photographer to capture.

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