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DAY FOUR: Edinburgh

Posted on March 24th, 2014

Dave!When I learned that there was a new Hard Rock in Glasgow, my idea was to fly into Edinburgh (my favorite city on earth) and hop over and back for a quick visit. But when it came time to book my tickets, I realized that this was a risky prospect. Odds are I'd arrive in Edinburgh and never leave. So I decided to fly into Glasgow after all.

But there was no way I was going to pass on the opportunity to spend my birthday in the one place I love more than any other. No way at all. And so I took a 50-minute train ride across Scotland just because I can. But, before I go... an egg and fire-roasted tomato sandwich from Pret-A-Manger (my favorite breakfast on earth)...

Breakfast at Pret

Because the weather was so amazing,* I decided to do something I've always wanted to do when visiting Edinburgh: climb the extinct volcano there (named "Arthur's Seat") so I could look out over the city...

The Climb Up Arthur's Seat

Edinburgh from Arthur's Seat

The panorama view is pretty incredible (click to embiggen)...

Edinburgh from Arthur's Seat

I had photographed the city to death on my last trip here back in 2009, but I just can't help myself when it comes to the majestic old buildings, so I ended up taking a boat-load of new photos...

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland

Since I've been to Edinburgh many times, I'm always looking for something new to see and do. This trip, that ended up being a visit to Camera Obscura. It's a kind of museum filled with optical oddities and illusions...

Camera Obscura in Edinburgh

Camera Obscura in Edinburgh

Camera Obscura in Edinburgh

Camera Obscura in Edinburgh

Which is all well and good, but the main attraction for me was the rooftop view...

Camera Obscura in Edinburgh

Camera Obscura in Edinburgh

And, yes, as the name implies, there is indeed a camera obscura at Camera Obscura. It's an old-school attraction that was probably a lot more impressive back in the day... but it was still interesting since I had never seen one before (you can read all about the device at Wikipedia). Basically, a lens on the roof of the building captures light and beams it down onto a big white table in a darkened room. Everybody stands around this circular "screen" as the operator pans around the city while pointing out things of interest.

Not wanting to ride the train back to Glasgow during rush hour, I said goodbye to my beloved Edinburgh after all too short a visit...

Edinburgh Castle from the Train

Once back in Glasgow, I rushed out to the famous Kelvingrove Museum so I could take a look before it closed. Part art gallery and part natural history exhibit, it was well worth the effort...

Kelvingrove Museum Glasgow, Scotland

Kelvingrove Museum Glasgow, Scotland

Kelvingrove Museum Glasgow, Scotland

Kelvingrove Museum Glasgow, Scotland

Across the parking lot (and a creek) is the University of Glasgow. I wandered up to take a look before heading back downtown for dinner...

University of Glasgow, Scotland

University of Glasgow, Scotland

After a quick dinner (and a nap) I headed to George Square to try and get some photos without tons of people around. The beautiful Apple Store was on the way...

George Square in Glasgow, Scotland

Apple Store in Glasgow, Scotland

And that was that for my short visit to Scotland. I leave tomorrow morning on a very early flight, so off to bed I go.

   

*Dear Apple... while I love Siri, and use this miraculous feature often on my iPhone, there are times I have to wonder just how idiotic technology can be. I am in SCOTLAND. My iPhone is LOCATION AWARE. I am asking what the weather is like IN EDINBURGH. But I am given locations in the USA? Oh well... I'll just clarify that I mean the Edinburgh IN SCOTLAND then...

Stupid Siri

Nope. No matter how I pronounce it, Edinburgh is not in Scotland. Holy crap does this make Siri look like a fucking moron.

   

Bullet Sunday 322

Posted on March 24th, 2013

Dave!It may be my birthday, but that's no excuse to skip blogging... because Bullet Sunday starts now...

   
• Thanks! To the many, many people who sent such kind birthday wishes via Facebook, Twitter, email, and blog comments... thank you from the bottom of my heart. It really does mean a lot to me that people take the time to say such nice things, and I was smiling all day long as I checked my iPhone for new messages. Here's to surviving another year.

   
• Winning! For anybody just dying to know how my gambling bout ended today, I came out $324.35 ahead. The $77 from yesterday (which I spent $60 winning) was gone within the first hour. I was going to stop, but then remembered that I got "Player Points" (or whatever) for my birthday which netted me $20. I rolled the $20 into penny slots for about an hour and built myself up to $105. From there I went to dollar slots and amassed $385.35 in winnings pretty quickly (20 minutes tops). I wasn't having much fun anymore, so I stopped. Subtract the $60 I spent gambling yesterday, and it's $324.35 of cream. Which paid for my very nice hotel room (on special) and most of my dining expenses. Which means I basically had a free weekend at the casino with friends for my birthday. Can't really complain about that.

   
• Cleansed! Well, okay, I can complain about one thing... the "Fiesta Breakfast Burrito" (hold the sausage) that I had this morning. Within a half-hour of eating it, my insides felt as though they had been run through a food processor, and it took a steady diet of Imodium all damn day to keep my ass from exploding. Not the best way to spend a birthday, to be sure... but it was awfully tasty going down, so there's that.

   
And in other news...

   
• Response! I remain completely dumbfounded that it took a 16-year-old girl being raped in Steubenville for some people to understand that having sex with a woman who is passed out is considered rape, and that rape is wrong. I am even more dumbfounded that a video like this is necessary to explain how guys should act when they come across the situation...

Yes... the answer is NOT TO RAPE THEM. Holy crap. THIS is the society we live in now?

   
Until next week...

   

Birthdays

Posted on July 6th, 2011

Dave!I've been mostly out of touch for the past several days, which is what happens when you spend every waking minute trying to get caught up with work before leaving for a week.

So I can then get behind all over again.

Two of my favorite lovely ladies in the blogosphere are celebrating milestone birthdays!

Lil' Dave and Bad Monkey with Happy Birthday Cakes!

Becky turned 40 yesterday! I first met Becky at TequilaCon 2008 in Philadelphia. Since then we've bumped into each other at blogging events such as Avitaween and ConFab (where I learned that Becky packs a knife, and will totally cut a bitch for reals). By the time we first met that fateful day in May, I had already known Becky for months (thanks to the power of the internet) and thought she was awesome. But her online awesomeness pales when compared to her in-person awesomeness. Meeting Becky is not just a happening, it's an event. An experience. You fall in love with her instantly and become insanely jealous when she's talking to somebody who's not you. Despite turning you into a psychotic stalker, I highly recommend The Becky Experience if you even have the opportunity.
CRAZY-ASS BECKY TRIVIA MOMENT! For years on the internet, Becky was known as "Hello Haha Narf." When she first started appearing, I remember people asking me what in the hell that meant. I told them I didn't know. But the truth is I really did. Pinky and the Brain is one of the greatest cartoons ever made, so of course I know that "Hello Haha Narf" was how Pinky started his letter to Santa in the Christmas episode. To this day I have no idea why I lied. Maybe because I thought it was Becky's story to tell. Maybe because I liked the idea that I knew something about Becky other people didn't. Maybe I thought it was funny. Or maybe in addition to turning you into a psychotic stalker, Becky also turns you into a lying liar who lies. The world may never know.

Suebob turns 50 today! Unfortunately, I haven't met Suebob in person yet. I came really close in 2007 when she was going to come to Dave L.A. but didn't for some reason. Probably because after she said she was planning on coming, she took a minute to actually read my blog and decided for her personal safety and sanity that she shouldn't. And that's okay. I totally understand. If I read the crazy crap I write on Blogography, I would be afraid to meet me too. So no hard feelings. You go ahead and have a happy birthday, Suebob, and try not to think of me sitting at Lucky Strike sobbing quietly while asking everyone that passes "Where is Suebob? Have you seen Suebob?" Because I will be okay. Eventually. =sniff!= For the past 50 days, Suebob has been featuring charities on her blog where people can make a donation in lieu of a present (including my favorite charity). They are worthy organizations all, so please drop by and donate to somebody on her list if you have a few bucks to spare.
CRAZY-ASS SUEBOB TRIVIA MOMENT! Suebob's blog is called The Red Stapler. I actually have a red stapler at work! It's a beautiful Swingline 747 stapler that I bought way back in 2002 and it still operates perfectly today. I think Swingline made red staplers specifically because Milton had one in Office Space, and it looked so cool that everybody wanted one. At least I know I did... but I had to wait three years before I could buy one.

Happiest of birthdays to you both!

   

Thanks!

Posted on March 25th, 2011

Dave!I don't celebrate my birthday, which is part of the reason I like leaving the country every year... it's a lot harder for your friends and family to throw a party or make a big deal over it when you're not around. That being said, the outpouring of birthday wishes from everybody is such a wonderful thing that I wish it could be my birthday every day! It's hard not to be happy when your email in-box, text messages, Facebook, and Twitter are jam-packed with well-wishers wanting to congratulate you on surviving another year. My hetero-life-partner even wrote a blog post for my birthday which, considering he almost never blogs anymore, was a really great end to an amazing day.

Which, oddly enough, was 31 hours long, since I started the 24th in London (7 hours ahead) and flew home to re-live a big chunk of my day all over again. I guess if it can't be your birthday every day, crossing time zones to make the one day you get last longer is the next best thing.

The flight home was somewhat torturous thanks to The Most Boring Man In The Universe sitting in the seat behind me. Seriously, this bastard rambled non-stop for nine-hours-and-twenty-minutes, loudly (LOUDLY) going on and on about mundane shit that even my iPod at full volume could not obliterate. Since he had an English accent, it was if I were trapped in the most horrifyingly boring documentary ever. I still have no idea how the poor person he was talking to the entire time kept from killing herself. I would have dashed my brains out on the seat-back tray after the first hour.

Coming back the USA was about as painless as it's ever been. I used to loathe going through border control and customs because the agents were always such assholes. But they truly have been improving over the past couple years, which makes foreign travel so much nicer. It's as if they knew people hated them and their hostile, shitty attitudes and decided to try being more pleasant. This time, I actually felt welcomed back to my own country, which would have been impossible for me to even dream of just five years ago. Having to wait less than ten minutes in line was also a nice bonus... especially after having suffered through Heathrow's 25-minute wait at border control twice. You'd think that one of the world's busiest airports could have more than two measly desks open for plane-loads of passengers, but apparently they just don't give a fuck. I kept looking for the sign saying VISIT THE UNITED KINGDOM AT YOUR PERIL, YOU FILTHY FOREIGN BASTARDS! But, being British, they're much more subtle about it. They just make you suffer a long wait in silence to show their disdain for your existence and their contempt at your desire to set foot on their soil.

But at least I didn't have to give my fingerprints, retina scan, and a stool sample like foreigners visiting these United States of America. I guess that's something.

My birthday also happens to be the birthday of Mac OS X, which turned ten years old yesterday! It's odd how Apple's OS is so young, but seems to have been around forever. I usually celebrate the occasion by booting up an antique Macintosh running an old, old, old version of Mac OS, just so I can appreciate how far we've come. The problem is that last year when I did this I actually came across some old features that I miss in the "modern" OS, so I'll probably skip this year. Nothing quite so sad as longing for technology advances from twenty years ago. What I wouldn't give to have each of my fucking folder windows remember their fucking Finder view selection and fucking sorting preference every fucking time I fucking open them... but, alas, that's only possible with technology from fucking 1990. Nothing like taking giant steps backwards as you head into the future, eh Apple?

And now I get ready to face my Friday, knowing full-well that there will be no Matt & Kim concert at the end of it. It's times like this I wonder how I manage to go on day after day, but I've got another birthday coming up next year where people will (hopefully) take the time to once again send happy thoughts my way... so I'll just hang on to that for the next 365 days* and see where that gets me.

Thanks everybody!

   
*Usually, I'd be waiting 364 days, but 2012 is a leap year, giving me a whole extra day before my next birthday. How much does that suck? Thanks a lot crappy flawed Julian calendar system!

   

Vacated

Posted on February 24th, 2010

Dave!Despite feeling pretty sick most of the day, I somehow managed to get a lot of work done. The problem is that the effort completely wiped me out, which is why I came home and slept from 5:00 to midnight. Now my sleep schedule is going to be screwed up, which is a difficult thing to do when you only sleep four-and-a-half hours each night. But no worries, I'm sure it will all get straightened out... just in time for my upcoming trip to Europe when it can get all messed up again.

Assuming I get my travel plans straightened out.

This will be my eleventh year of taking a "birthday vacation" to somewhere I've never been before...

  • 2000... Singapore - Kuala Lumpur - Bali
    On my birthday in 1999 I decided to treat myself to an annual vacation, and started saving my money. The Hard Rock Hotel had opened up in Bali, so I decided that would be the place to go in 2000. I added on the Hard Rock Cafes in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur for good measure.
  • 2001... Amsterdam - Berlin - Copenhagen
    When one of my best friends died the weekend of my birthday, the last thing I wanted to do was take a vacation. But the bad news just kept compounding in 2001 (September 11th was a particularly bad day) and eventually I had to get the heck out of the country or risk losing my sanity. I had already been to Amsterdam and Berlin, which is why I added Copenhagen so I'd have someplace new to explore.
  • 2002... Frank Lloyd Wright Tour (Wisconsin - Pennsylvania - Arizona)
    My previous year's vacation came so late in the year that I didn't have much money for a big vacation. Instead, I decided to celebrate my love of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and make pilgrimages to his most famous sites during the year.
  • 2003... Reykjavik - Stockholm
    I had made some friends in Stockholm the previous year and decided to visit them. Noting that there was a Hard Rock Cafe in Iceland that I hadn't been to, I arranged a layover in Reykjavik.
  • 2004... Hard Rock Run (Netherlands - Germany - UK)
    I met a fellow Hard Rock Cafe fan on the internet who suggested we make a huge run through all the UK cafes, and eventually it expanded to include the three German cafes plus Amsterdam as well.
  • 2005... Shanghai - Beijing
    Since I had been dreaming of visiting The Great Wall for most of my life, I decided this was the year.
  • 2006... Apple Store Tour (L.A. - Chicago - New York)
    My China vacation was hugely expensive, which is why I decided to play 2006 close to home. When the beautiful new Apple Store "cube" opened in New York City, I decided to visit all three Apple Store flagship properties for a kind of "not-really-a-vacation" vacation, and save up for next year.
  • 2007... Madrid - Lisbon
    Because Barcelona is one of my most favorite cities on earth, I had always wanted to go back to Spain. Eventually I decided to work Portugal into the trip as well.
  • 2008... Oslo - Götenborg
    In previous years, I would start saving for my trip on my birthday. This year I decided to actually go on my birthday, which is a lot more fun. Trips to the Hard Rock Cafes in Oslo and Götenborg were made even better by meeting with long-time blogging friends in Norway and Sweden.
  • 2009... London - Stonehenge - Bath - Edinburgh
    Having just been to Mallorca a month-and-a-half before my birthday, I was going to call that my vacation and be done with it, but eventually decided I'd like to leave the country on my birthday as I had the previous year. Setting up blogger meets in London and Edinburgh was a great idea... but I had already been to both places before. To give me someplace new to explore, I took a tour of Stonehenge and Bath.
  • 2010... ????

And here we are as I scramble to get something put together for this year's trip. Some of the details are in place (I know where I will be on my actual birthday, for example). But everything else... from transportation to hotels... is a big question mark at this point. Since I leave in three weeks, I suppose I'd better get it figured out.

Fortunately, I am now wide-awake at 2:30am, so I can get to work.

If only I could get motivated to actually do it.

   

PRB

Posted on November 4th, 2009

Dave!I'm working today and don't have much time to blog. Fortunately, mah BFF Hilly-Sue has rescued me for blogging material by being born on this date. All hail the Queen of the People's Republic of Blogistan on her birthday!

DAVETOON: King Dave and Queen Hilly!

   
I need a taco salad...

   

SuperGrow

Posted on September 1st, 2009

Dave!I'm not here today because I was at Cissa's blog yesterday.

Or something like that.

Bad Monkey's SuperGrow Potting Soil

   

This is one of those rare cases where I'm actually LOL-ing at my own cartoons, so it might be worth a look if you're into that kind of thing. You can also wish Cissa a belated "Happy Birthday" while you're at it.

UPDATE: I've put a copy in an extended entry in case they should ever go missing...

→ Click here to continue reading this entry...
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