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  1. Skybus Grounded

    jake on 2008.04.09 at 03:46 pm

    A couple months ago I took a trip to Ohio and used Skybus. Sure the farther away airport only provided poorly stocked vending machines and single user bathrooms, one for each gender. But the plane was nice and roomy. Much more appealing than the tiny planes that don’t allow for standing up straight. And who can complain when it cost $86 round trip?

    Now they’ve gone under. Whoops, guess I should have said something earlier.

    Skybus struggled to overcome the combination of rising jet fuel costs and a slowing economic environment. These two issues proved to be insurmountable for a new carrier.

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  2. Cashel (Caiseal Mumhan): A Holiday in Ireland

    jake on 2007.12.03 at 12:57 pm

    A slightly interesting occurrence on our trip to Cashel was picking up food at ALDI’s. I never realized they are an international store.

    The Rock of Cashel

    Alternate Text We had evening plans so our visit to The Rock of Cashel was fairly short. Parking in the handicap space for my grandmother took almost as long as our visit. The parking spaces are part way up the hill to the front entrance and right along the path everyone walks to get in. We were lucky someone was paying attention to the car sitting there while people walked right through the parking spaces. He waved people around as we pulled in.

    Family Dinner

    We visited the Laffey’s for the second time on this trip. We weren’t the only guests but there was a miscommunication so we ate before arriving. We simply exchanged stories around the dinner table.

    Sign outside the Ashmore House Once it was only the Laffeys and us I was singled out to “play” by three of the four children. This consisted of turning me into a human jungle gym. Initially it was simply Heather getting a piggy-back ride. Then her brothers decided to come after me.

    This consists of; kicking, punches at my groin, throwing objects, tackle attempts, and hitting my legs with a hurley. As I, the giant, finally succumbed Heather hurt her nose on the way down. She started tunning to tell her mother but doubled back instead to get revenge. Her brothers obviously taught her well, she poked me in the eyes like a cartoon character and hit my nose.

    They continued to jump on my back and wrestle me on the ground. I finally had to stop them when Keane grabbed my necklace. I heal, my necklace does not.

    Heading to Killarney (Cill Áirne).

    Cahir As we head to the final destination of our trip we make a couple stops. Before squeezing in Cahir Castle (Caisleán na Cathrach) we pause to meet another distant relative. Ursula is a horse breeder and lives in a house that’s five-hundred years old. She is quite the character and very spry for seventy.

    Posted in: Holiday · Travel

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  3. Galway (Gaillimh): A Holiday in Ireland

    jake on 2007.10.07 at 04:06 pm

    A scene in Cong, Co Mayo Getting across Ireland wasn’t as simple as we had hoped. The traffic getting out of Dublin and then also into Galway was pretty brutal. Normally this would simply be a little frustrating. But we actually had a show booked for the evening and didn’t have a clear direction of where we were going. Luckily they allowed us to reschedule for the following night so we just had to deal with the little issue of our bed and breakfast not actually booking us.

    Our evening meal in Spiddal (An Spidéal) was highlighted by the abundance of patrons speaking the native language.

    Cong (Conga)

    The following morning we headed west along R336. Straight through Maam Cross (An Teach Dóite) until we found R345 heading toward Cong. This trip was highlighted by signage entirely in Irish.

    Part of Cong Abbey Cong and the surrounding area was primarily where they filmed the movie The Quiet Man, starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. We took a tour which brought us to a handful of these locations.

    Language Barriers

    Continuing in the same direction we looped around and headed back into Galway for the evening. After a bit we located a parking garage very close to Shop Street, the main thoroughfare. This is where I went on a quest to locate some books in Irish.

    I decided before embarking to Ireland that I might find some great supplemental material to all the CD’s and general language books you find on the Internet. Works printed in the language and general schoolbooks that the local children would learn from.

    The first stop was Eason’s. After being directed to and selecting a few items in the novels section I tried upstairs where the school books were located. Here I met my first obstacle, teenage girls. They belittled my need for low level school books and with a sly smile made comments such as, “Yeah I’d try there, we’re way too advanced for you.” Eason’s only had higher level books.

    The “there” they were referring to was ABC Books. Within walking distance this bookstore specializes in school material for all ages. The young lady here was much more helpful and not only crisscrossed the store with me but explained her reasoning for every book she suggested. She actually targeted books involving grammar and the building blocks as opposed to the little kids books filled with games (though I’d probably have fun with the games).

    Finally she also pointed me to a third store named Dubray Books where a nice older woman found me some actual children’s stories. Nice and simple, like Dr Seuss or Richard Scarry. Who knows, maybe someday I can read them to my kids.

    Dinner And A Show

    Music At The Crossroads While looking for a place to buy dinner we entered a bar with a live band playing. This was where my grandmother had her first Guinness. And while I was in the restroom my mother was hit on. That was about all that happened there since the kitchen wasn’t open. After locating dinner and being waited on by a random, female Texan we made our way to Music At The Crossroads.

    The show consists of seven musicians and two dancers. Between the seven musicians they play twenty-plus instruments and occasionally trade with each other. Plus the majority of the performers are all, roughly university age. The exception being Michael the fiddle (among other instruments) player who seems to be the ring leader and is closer to my age.

    The whole Galway region was exciting and I would definitely visit the city, and surrounding countryside, again. Maybe next time I’ll even be able to converse in another language with the locals.

    Posted in: Holiday · Travel

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  4. Dublin (Baile Átha Cliath): A Holiday in Ireland

    jake on 2007.09.26 at 12:04 am

    I’ve been to Dublin before. It mostly involved a hop-on/hop-off tour. My brothers and I got soaked on the open, upper level section of the bus. This time it was nothing but sun.

    Meandering Arrival

    The journey into Dublin was my first experience driving. Sadly our directions were a bit oversimplified and I missed the exit and ended up going through the Dublin Port Tunnel. €12 in tolls later we made it to our hotel.

    Dublin Spire The majority of the afternoon was spent having lunch and tea with our distant relative Betty. She told us stories and kept referencing how my grandmother reminded her of one of her sisters.

    After locating a detailed map of the country we moved on to locating a local SIM card for my mobile. Initially I tried the O2 store right off of O’Connell Street but they didn’t have any SIM cards. Before running down the street by myself I inquired with a young lady working at Meteor across the way. She gave me some information and mentioned that Meteor) is Ireland based and owned by eircom, the original state based phone company (sadly I discovered later that eircom is now part of a holdings company based in Australia). I grabbed my SIM and we jumped on a bus back to the hotel.

    St Patrick’s Cathedral and Christchurch Cathedral

    Inside St Patrick's Cathedral St Patrick’s Cathedral was the first historic stop before we departed the city. Surprisingly there are many monuments to influential people throughout the ages. Most notable was Jonathan Swift and Turlough Carolan. Carolan was noted as the last, influential, wandering bard in Ireland.

    Jake in a helmet Based on a tip from our cab driver we headed up the street to Dublinia, an exhibit adjacent and connected to Christ Church Cathedral. There are many exhibits telling of life in medieval Dublin. The arrival of the Vikings. The terrible plagues (including a death cart, ‘Bring out yer dead!’). General snapshots of the past. Definitely a recommended stop for any traveler.

    With a quick trip to pick up the car and we were off, a little later than planned, to Galway.

    Posted in: Holiday · Travel

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  5. A Holiday in Ireland: Summary.

    jake on 2007.09.20 at 02:15 am

    I recently returned from a quick and action packed holiday in Ireland. There was actually a fairly quick gestation period between agreeing to partake and boarding the plane. After my mom exhausted all other options she came to me (a second time) and I figured I’d better go. I was now signed up as chauffeur and general practitioner of “guy things,” like moving heavy luggage.

    Driving was not much of an issue. Shifting with my left hand was a little uneasy but I got the hang of it. Though there was a bit of an issue in using turn signals. The lever is on the same side of the steering wheel (the left) so I had to get used to doing one thing and then the other. In The States I usually just reach out a couple fingers to flick the turn signal whether shifting or not.

    The majority of destinations were new to me. And at repeated locations we did new activities. So all around it was fresh and exciting.

    Dublin (Baile Átha Cliath)

    St Patrick\'s Cathedral With our plane landing here early in the morning it logically was the initial destination. The first day was very slow paced. We met our distant relative Betty at The Gresham Hotel and had a long lunch. And after locating some maps and a SIM card for my phone we pretty much called it a night.

    Before heading to Galway we made a stop at St Patrick’s Cathedral. Then based on a tip from our cabbie we also visited Dublinia up the street.

    Galway (Gaillimh)

    After a long drive across the country we hit Galway. Well technically our bed and breakfast was in Spiddal (An Spidéal), a little further west. The first night was largely a bust after the long drive. Plus our B&B fell through but the owner kindly found us an alternate.

    Music at the Crossroads The following day we did manage to get up to Cong in Co Mayo, the region The Quiet Man was filmed. After meeting a nice German couple we got back into Galway for our show, Music at the Crossroads. Also I acquired a large portion of Irish language books.

    Cashel (Caiseal Mumhan)

    Cashel was all about family. Well mostly all about family. Again we visited the Laffey’s for an evening of laughter and abuse (for me), from the kids, all in good fun. And they pointed us to an Aunt who lived nearby and raises horses.

    Killarney (Cill Airne)

    Muckross House Killarney, the final destination, was as touristy as I had imagined. But with visiting the Muckross House and getting Mom and Grandma to have their first and second pints of Guinness, respectively, it was worth it.

    The second day in Killarney was entirely eaten up by a trip around the Ring of Kerry. Very picturesque countryside… and loads of buses.

    Shortly there will be more expansive descriptions of each major destination. There are many stories to tell of the trip. Hopefully I can convey their emotions.

    Posted in: Holiday · Travel

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  6. I can see my house from heeeere... Trip to AU/NZ Part 4

    jake on 2007.02.24 at 03:06 pm

    One of the many activities I participated in while in New Zealand was bungy jumping. I’ve never been averse to intentionally leaving the safety of a bridge but my companion didn’t think I would do it. So like Marty McFly I let that dictate my actions. My mind was set and I walked to the edge and leaped.

    I purchase a DVD of the event and a quick email gave me the permission required to share it. Below is a quick clip I made including some extra, descriptive text. The location is Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown, NZ. It is where A J Hackett created commercial bungy jumping with Henry van Asch.

    A larger version is housed at the site I set up to share some videos that never materialized from the trip. What do you expect? We were too busy having fun. ;)

    They’re coming slow but maybe I can get the rest of my trip up here before 2008.

    Posted in: Holiday · Sports · Travel

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  7. There's Only One.

    brian on 2007.02.03 at 09:00 pm

    There’s Only One. Jake.

    There's Only One Jake.

    Posted in: Photography · Travel

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  8. The journey home: Trip to AU/NZ Part 3

    jake on 2007.02.03 at 01:20 am

    Now that I’m home it’s not so easy to find time and motivation to write thoughts down. Probably because the stories are orally regurgitated many times. There are still plans to record chunks of activities in future posts.

    Click

    Jake posing on Fox GlacierIt also doesn’t help that I took 500+ photos. I sifted down to 260 and just today completed tagging and organizing all of them on flickr. One thing that’s always forgotten is that while the scenery and locations are exciting and new the people are also a large influence. I never take enough photos of the people surrounding me. I had a phenomenal traveling companion and the group we went through New Zealand with was great. There’s no issue with the pictures I returned with. I only would love even more shots of the people involved with the trip.

    Maybe someone else who took some more people pictures will upload theirs.

    Another 48 Hours: The return home.

    Leaving the lovely company and the lovely weather was very difficult. Even more so than the extra traveling. In the past I’ve always had issues with planes. Now a little anti motion sickness medicine and my hang ups have disappeared.

    A short hop to Sydney and I was off for the states. A couple hours after take off, and shortly after I became accustomed to the little boy flailing his elbows around, the captain comes over the intercom. The sensors indicate a fire in one of the cargo holds. Stand by for more information.

    Within five minutes he has returned with a new message. There did not seem to be an actual fire. Safety required him however to fire the extinguishers. And that required an emergency landing. Passengers in American Samoa TerminalHello American Samoa…

    Our luggage will be left behind. We sit and wait for eight hours. I read a bit. I try not to sleep since I’m going to be dealing with jetlag when I do finally get home. This is made more difficult by the hot, humid weather and lack of air conditioning.

    Onward to Hawaii we go. Our captain informs us that a drunken police officer whining about customs held us up a couple extra hours. Things are now becoming less eventful. After calling Kate to fill her in and my parents to let them know I won’t be in New York as scheduled I go information gathering. I also started making friends with my fellow refugees which relieved some stress.

    I find out that there will be no more flights that day once our new crew and new 747 arrive in San Francisco. Instead I will stay overnight and fly out at 6:10am first class. Now that doesn’t sound so bad.

    In San Francisco I finally get to shower and I hang up my clothes to air out. Three hours of sleep later I’m back on the shuttle and off to New York first class. First class was fairly disorienting. My day old clothes did not mesh with all the passengers who paid for their tickets. The thing appreciated the most was the personal DVD player that allowed me to pick a couple movies I actually wanted to see. Thank God I didn’t have to sit through The Guardian again.

    My dad picked me up at JFK, almost as planned originally. And based on the return time it was roughly 7am back in Hobart. Considering I was sent off on a shuttle at 8:25am. That meant just about two full days of travel.

    In the next installment I will be going back to the beginning and moving a few days at a time with each new post. At least theoretically anyway.

    Posted in: Holiday · Photography · Travel

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  9. Initial Summary: Trip to AU/NZ Part 2

    jake on 2007.01.11 at 11:04 pm

    There has been two primary reasons why I have not posted here while on my trip down under. The first is that I’ve only gotten short spurts of internet access at fairly high prices. The second is that these spurts have all involved poorly updated versions of IE6. No wonder there are so many zombies in the wild. No one updates anything except the software they install to restrict functions you’re allowed to do. A couple computers I tied to use wouldn’t even let me open multiple browser windows.

    Of course you don’t really want to hear me rant about how hard it is to post. But I will add that I’m currently using an old version of Netscape and IE6 to post this since they both have bugs that won’t allow me to do certain things.

    The trip started poorly with my cold fighting me for the whole 20+ hours of flying. Since I’m still alive, I must have kept enough whining to myself.

    The Sydney fireworks were pretty darn sweet. The drunken fights breaking out and people stumbling over us was not. Now that I’ve done it once, I’m not sure I have to do it again. Though sitting out on a boat would most likely be fun for the show.

    The next couple days were spent exploring and slowly getting more sick.

    Once we arrived in Christchurch, New Zealand I stopped fighting on my own. I let Kate go wander around and I sat in a 24-hour clinic waiting room for a few hours. The result, I had a sinus infection and a new prescription. So now I was also not allowed to consume alcohol for the next ten days. Things were looking up. ;)

    The Contiki tour started pretty well. And after a few days I started to feel better. Though it was very difficult to reject all the drinks offered to me.

    The many sites we visited included; Queenstown, where I bungy jumped, Fox Glacier, which I climbed, and Milford Sound, where I stood up on deck with the captain and saw many picturesque views. I will slowly post more intricate posts on the many things I/we did on this fun trip when I return and have better internet access.

    I’m currently in the last leg and pondering ways to not leave. But when I do return home I’ll have lots of pictures for flickr and hopefully a handful of posts detailing some of the more interesting events.

    Posted in: Travel

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  10. Upcoming trip to AU/NZ: Part 1

    jake on 2006.12.26 at 11:15 pm

    In just a few days I’ll finally be making my trip to Australia and New Zealand. I will try and keep updating here as things progress. Especially as things become more solid and organized. Most of today has been spent working out details on doing a video blog of the trip. Kate has done many small video projects in the past and we hope to combine my tech knowledge and her video knowledge into short clips to keep people back home updated.

    Naturally a lot of the tech side of things is simply posting the videos after we’ve edited them. So the first thing I’m trying to accomplish is generating a Quicktime video to post to blip.tv and cross-posting it here and on Kate’s site. Her site functions fine but since I created all the scripts here it’s not as simple as her Wordpress blog. We’ll see if I have enough time to figure it out while I’m packing and doing many other preparations…

    Update: After a bit of playing, and testing this post in ecto I successfully cross posted to Re¢ently with blip.tv. The code they insert is a little sloppy but I’m just happy that it’s functional. And now maybe Brian can use Marsedit without any issues. ;)

    Posted in: Travel

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  11. No fly lists still failing

    jake on 2006.10.21 at 03:35 pm

    Many intelligent people recognize the fact that the security measures put in place at airports are reactionary instead of preventative and lack strength. A recent report by CBS found that the no-fly lists are doing more harm than good. Instead of stopping terrorists, they have so many false positives that everyday citizens are harassed and humilitated every time they arrive at the airport.

    The report found that the list was outdated, incomplete and lacking logic.

    The part that increases my blood pressure the most is the blatent lack of pertinent information. The lists contain only a few pieces of information on each suspected terrorist. So when you see a seventy-eight year old man from Idaho who looks nothing like the thirty-two year old terrorist from a foreign country you’d imagine he wouldn’t be bothered. According to the report he will be singled out and detained for an undetermined amount of time.

    But Cathy Berrick says things are not going well. “So it’s three years later and the program still isn’t fielded,” she says.

    She says an estimated $144 million has been spent on Secure Flight. Asked what taxpayers got for their money, Berrick says “nothing tangible yet.”

    For that amount of time and money you would think they would have the ability to actually create a database of suspected terrorists and keep track of actual relevant data. Leaving the “Robert Johnsons” of the world to fly to Cleveland, on business, in peace.

    Unlikely Terrorists On No Fly List (from Boing Boing)

    Posted in: Politics · Travel

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  12. Steve Irwin Killed In Accident

    jake on 2006.09.04 at 07:24 pm

    It is difficult to imagine the shock of a beloved celebrity’s death. Even if that celebrity is Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter. Someone who works with dangerous animals and is harms way regularly. But that shock still hits you hard. And because of my forthcoming trip to Australia/(possibly)New Zealand this has hit me fairly hard. Now I could be paying my respects at his zoo instead of simply exploring and hoping to catch a glimpse of Steve or his family.

    Irwin was killed by a stingray while filming today. Compared to the beasts he usually completes with this could only be described as a freak accident.

    “Something happened with this animal that made it rear and he was at the wrong position at the wrong time and if it hit him anywhere else we would not be talking about a fatality.”
    Terri and kids rush home

    I wish his wife and two children all the best.

    Posted in: Television · Travel

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  13. Searching for low cost flights

    jake on 2006.06.23 at 01:51 pm

    One of my best friends just left for an excursion abroad. One where if I want to see her I’ll have to fly to the other side of the planet. I’m trying to look beyond the lost day from flying and imagine all the things I can see by visiting her.

    The worst part I’ve found so far is locating a plane ticket that doesn’t cost more than a trip to Walt Disney World would. First Orbitz failed me with a ticket over two-grand. Travelocity let me seach in huge blocks and I found a ticket to at least Sydney for 2/3 Orbitz’s price.

    I’m hoping that FlySpy or FareCast will possibly help with prices. But they’re not released to the pulic yet.

    Kottke had a look at FlySpy back in February. It seems to inform you when to book a flight based on a block of available departures. Similar to how I searched Travelocity by selecting an entire month I could hypothetically leave on some random Tuesday that is the cheapest price.

    FareCast beta LogoJason wanted a little more and discovered it in FareCast (Cory talked about it a week earlier). FareCast looks more at collected data and attempts to tell you when you should buy.

    It shows you the price history of a particular ticket and tells you what the price forecast is…if the price is trending up/down, how much confidence they have in that prediction, and whether you should buy your ticket now or not.

    Either way I hope that one of these two new sites will help me save some money to get to Australia. Anybody wanna pass me an invite to FareCast so I can check it out? Puhleeeeez…?

    I’m starting to read and sift through Jason and Cory’s sources.

    Update 1:

    Thanks Heather, FareChase is similar and another thing to check out. On the surface it’s still lacking the “time block” feature. With only a vague window of departure and open duration that will be the clincher for me.

    Also FareCast is out of closed beta. There are still only two airports for departure but at least everyone can check out the basic functionality. Currently FareCast is more of a novelty for me. I’m keeping my fingers crossed they’ll add some international destinations in the near future.

    Posted in: Travel · Web

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