Tag Archive: life


Engage!

Yeah, yeah, been awhile. Lots happened in the last few months, nothing I really feel like going into right now, but I’m busier, happier, and doing way more now than I was a year ago.

But no, I’m here to talk about some good nerdy things, namely Star Trek (and really, how fitting on Star Wars day :P)

Netflix has allowed all of Star Trek for streaming and in my spare time, I’ve been revisiting the show. When I was growing up, Voyager was the current show on and I loved it. My mom and dad both enjoyed The Next Generation when they were first married, and I remember them citing the episode when Picard was transformed into Locutus of Borg as a favorite of theirs. I don’t remember if it was them or me who wanted to watch Voyager, but it was a favorite pastime for seven years until it ended with quite a bang.

I remembered bits and pieces from the show, high noted mostly. Holodeck sequences, Borg attacks, random alien races, and while I never knew what they were specifically, I kept saying how much fun they were, how big a part of my childhood it was, and how nice it would be to watch them again. Until Netflix, DVDs were the only way to watch them legally and they were nearly $100 perseason, thou they have since gone down.

I decided it was time to make my way through Voyager again. I had a couple seasons, but now I could watch the entire series online and in the last three months, I made my way through all of Voyager. You know what I realized from it? Just how deep it is compared to some other sci-fi that I’ve watched. I mean yes, I always knew on some level how deep Star Trek went based on how fanatical people can get over it, but the richness of the entire universe just puts others to shame. The politics, the adventures, the huge cast of characters, Star Trek manages to include so much that breathes a lot of life into the universe. Star Wars has great movies, but most other fiction that helps flesh out that universe is ancillary to the six films. I have found Star Trek that much more engaging than most other fiction right now. With Memory Alpha close at hand, I can dive deeper into information that I may want to find out about an alien race or an event and get pulled in.

Voyager rekindled a passion for Star Trek I had long lost, and now, I’m making my way through the other series. Even as I type this, I’m watching Deep Space Nine and enjoying the character of Odo or O’Brien, or finding out what the hell a Trill is. I feel like I’ve missed a huge part of nerd culture than I’m somehow just catching up to. Rewatching this also makes me miss my dad, because in some ways, he had his nerdy quirks. Im sure both he and my mom helped get me to watch Star Trek, I returned the favor years later by showing him Firefly. I’ve found a touchstone to my childhood, as well as a potentially long term enjoyment down the road.

Now if you’ll excuse me, this Quark fellow is trying to get more gold-pressed latinum.

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Update

So…I’ve been working a lot lately. Decided to give up the pursuit of teaching and instead I’m pursuing IT work. So far, so good.

After my dad passed away in June, I’ve since moved back home, working off debts, and seeing more of the girlfriend. I have a job right now doing IT work here in the Chicago area, and I’m enjoying it a lot. I’ve always loved IT work in my personal life, and it was great doing it throughout college.

We’re getting along now, though a lot of legalities and services we took for granted are now gone and honestly, the system sucks ass in terms of trying to help my mom through this time.

So we keep on trucking as best we can I suppose.

Onward Ho!

Well, it’s been a crazy couple of weeks. We’re all still dealing with my dad’s death. I don’t know quite yet if I’m feeling “what I’m supposed to” with it, or trying to parse out whether or not I’ve accepted it and moved on or buried it and I’ll have some sort of snap later on down the road. Either way, I keep having moments where I realize he’s really gone and how much I will miss him for the rest of my life.

Part of why I can’t (not won’t) dwell on it is because I’m still sending out job applications. I can’t even process how many I’ve sent out to everyone, teaching and not, to try and find some full-time work. I am excited though, I am making progress, setting up interviews, and I feel a bit more validated in my search. Mostly, I like getting the confirmation that someone is actually on the other end of the internets, actually reading this stuff.

My roommate moved out yesterday, so now I’m in the middle of nowhere, living on my own. He’ll get married next Sunday, and for some reason, they won’t let me sleep in their attic :D! Maybe this crushing sense of loneliness will help push me even harder to find a job.

Anyway, I have an interview tomorrow that I’m really excited for, so here’s to hoping it works out.

For My Dad

Last Wednesday, at 7:00 AM, my dad passed away.  My mom had to watch it happen so suddenly, so rapidly, and it came completely out of nowhere.

About ten years ago, my dad had a heart attack at the age of 42.  It happened around the time of 9/11, and I remember him joking that he had his first week off from work in a long time, and there would only be one thing on TV.  Since then, he’s watched his weight, gave up smoking, and done what he can to lose weight.  My dad was never a large, lumbering blob of fat, so please don’t think that’s the case at all.  His half of the family has a big blood pressure problem, and I know I have it as well.

So last Wednesday, it was his heart that did him in.  I still can’t quite believe he’s gone.  I don’t think he’ll walk through the door and tell us he was playing a joke on everyone, but I keep having these moments where I realize that he’s gone, that he isn’t coming back, and this is what my life is going to be like from here on out.  He was 52 when he was taken from us.  In hindsight, I’m so glad we were all able to go to Europe over spring break.  It was one of our last family things we did together, and we have so many memories from that trip.  My mom, sister, and I should consider ourselves fortunate that we were able to spend that great week (for them, two weeks) with him.

 

Posted below is the eulogy I read at his service.  I wanted to post this for two reasons.  One, I want a record of it somewhere out there in the universe.  Two, we had family and friends asking for copies of this and this seemed an easy way to distribute the news and the eulogy.  When my aunt sends me her eulogy, I will include it in a new post as well.

 

Thanks.

 

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For My Dad

A few weeks ago, my dad came out to visit me out in Durant. I knew he wanted to talk about my job search, what my plans for the summer were, and about life in general. He told me about how he started out his job hunt, how difficult it was for him and his friends throughout his life to find or change careers, and he wanted me to find something I could do that would give me the freedoms he had. He told me he was fortunate to have a job he liked, but at the end of the day, it was a way for him to treat his loved ones and himself to the things we loved. I told Mom just the other day that we have never really wanted for anything, but Melanie and I both feel like we were never spoiled.

After our talk, we had lunch at a local diner and went to a nearby driving range. The rest of my time with Dad was relaxing. We hit maybe a hundred balls in the gorgeous, sunny weather.  Dad critiqued about 70% of my hits with tips on what I can do better. ‘Tighten your grip’ and ‘You’re chopping at the ball like a lumberjack’ were his two favorite criticisms that day. Every time though, he always reminded me that the first time on the course, after a long time of not playing, you’re going to be terrible. All I needed was to practice and I’d get better.

We found a single ball in the bag, one that had partially-broken open and you could touch the core inside. I said I wanted to hit it, but I knew I couldn’t hit it well enough to save my life. Dad took the ball and gave it a perfectly executed swing. It may have only gone 100 yards, but I remember the sound of the ball as it moved through the air, like a playing card in the spokes of a bike. Even on the silly things, Dad always did everything to his standard of perfection. He always put his whole effort into everything he did, because he knew that hitting that freak golf ball would make me smile and laugh.

I wanted to give just a short list of other memories that I thought of as I prepared these remarks:

-late nights in his workshop, making a Pinewood Derby car move a tenth of a second faster

-mispronouncing every French word in France and questioning Melanie on how to move through the Metro

-setting up a beach perimeter that kept every inconsiderate beach bum away from the pristine, tide-proof spot of sand

-getting me interested in video games with games like Rise of the Triad, a game that was far inappropriate for a nine year old to be playing

-both Melanie and I working alongside Dad at Gage, spending some quality time with him at work

-us three couples going out on triple dates where everyone wins because Mom and Dad paid

-making everyone car sick when driving on Galena’s hilly roads

-watching James Bond movies at full volume all day on Thanksgiving instead of playing dominoes

-6:33 and 1/2 AM cream fill runs

Dad was always there, from Boy and Girl Scouts, Indian Guides and Princesses, as our coach for baseball and basketball, our cheerleader when he couldn’t coach, our audience when we were on stage, our driver to Amana, Stone Harbor, Galena, and Destin.  Dad was our role model that Melanie and I both know we will strive to live up to.  He did so much for us, never asking for a thing in return, whether it was scraping snow off of the cars in the driveway, killing spiders, or cleaning the litter box when no one else could (or would).

Dad and I never really said we loved each other that often, that is more Melanie’s thing, but I don’t feel like I’ve lost out. I knew he loved me, and I’ve never doubted that. Dad has always had Mom’s, Melanie’s and my best interests in mind, because Dad was not the kind of guy who expressed his feelings in words.  He spoke to us through his actions and the care that he showed to everyone who came into his life. My dad will be missed by so many people for different reasons.  If love could have saved him, none of this would have happened, but I know in my heart that he will always be watching over us in the years to come.

Oy

End of the year, getting stuff graded. I literally have 2.5 days until I’m officially gone, and it can’t be here soon enough. I want to pick up my posting soon, so hopefully that’ll happen. I promise ^_^

Podcasts

Part time capsule, part recommendation.

Two Christmases ago, I received an iPod Touch (3rd Gen) from my girlfriend.  I needed a new mp3 player and, being the awesome woman she is, my girlfriend was able to grab one for me.  I stole my sister’s FM tuner the next time I was home and I began listening to the world of podcasts.  My hour commute to and from work (round trip) became a minor annoyance as I could lose myself in whatever new content was delivered to my device.  Even when I ended up with an iPhone, I kept up with my podcast listening and, in fact, expanded it even further.  I’m listening to a podcast in almost all of my free time, or whenever I need some kind of background noise to focus my mind.

Yesterday, I realized my disk space was getting rather low and to help clear up some space, one thing I took care of was the accumulated pile of podcasts in my hard drive.  I got rid of the entire playlist, but they were still in my iPhone.

“Of course.  If I just delete them from the computer, the episodes I have will sync right back into the computer.”

So, after seeing how wrong I was, I ended up eliminating my entire podcast list and I had to rebuild it from memory.   I don’t see this list changing too much, so I partly wanted to create it to serve as a “backup” in case something ever happened and I had to re-download all of these podcasts.

A side benefit is to promote some podcasts that I feel are worth listening to.  A few accept monetary donations, and if I had the money to, they’d all get some because they’re 100% worth it.  I’ve got to go with trying to promote though, until my lottery-playing career pays off.  I listen to at least 13 hours a week of podcasts to break up that drive, and as I said, I love the constant stream of new content.  These podcasts are some of my personal favorites, and I would highly suggest checking them all out.

BackStory

Subject Matter: History, and how it pertains to modern problems/events.

Frequency of Updates: Not sure yet.  Looking at past history, it seems rather infrequent.

Content: I’ve just started listening to this podcast yesterday (04/09) but I like what I hear so far.  Three professors SLASH history buffs debate different points in history and how they are still relevant to our world today.  This episode dealt with the Civil War, and it served as a call-in show for just about any question.  They had some interesting discussions about racism, causes for secession, religious ideals, etc…for the time period and they managed to find neat connections to modern times.  Even though it is one of my newest additions to my list, I like it a lot.

I’ve listened to it for: A day!

Website: http://backstoryradio.org/

 

Best of the Left

Subject Matter: Progressive subjects, liberal causes

Frequency of Updates: Roughly three times a week.

Content: A really interesting format for a political show.  Jay, the guy who runs the podcast, cuts up tons of different sources and puts the pieces together around a certain subject.  The war in Libya, Congress problems, climate change, gay rights, whatever the “hot button” issue is, Jay usually finds the clips and puts them out there for people to digest.  He adds in his commentary only towards the end, which I like a lot.  It helps keep the show from being bogged down with opinions, but rather it lets everything speak for itself and sit in your mind.  Obviously, it has a liberal/progressive slant, so I know it won’t fit everyone’s point of view.  Personally, I like it because I feel like I keep up on some of the big issues and I get to hear it from sources I usually don’t listen to.  Even though it doesn’t quite line up with my personal beliefs, I think it’s worth listening to.

I’ve listened to it for: Probably close to a year now?

Website: http://www.bestoftheleftpodcast.com/

 

CAGCast

Subject Matter: Video games and savings

Frequency of Updates: Once a week (Tuesdays-ish)

Content: A newcomer.  I used to listen to it, gave it up, and came back recently.  They cover new releases in video games, commentary on new releases, and they include really good deals that are available in stores/online.  The thing I like about it the most is it feels very low-key.  Just three guys chatting about video games and having fun.  It is very informal and it feels a bit closer to the “average user” videogamer perspective.

I’ve listened to it for: A month

Website: http://www.cheapassgamer.com/

 

Common Sense

Subject Matter: Politics, independent

Frequency of Updates: Once every two weeks.

Content: To be honest (sorry Dan if you ever read this! :P) I thought this was like a conspiracy theory podcast at first.  A lot of the things Dan Carlin says in the course of an episode, especially in the first one I listened to, sounded somewhat paranoid.  The more I’ve listened though, I can see that isn’t the case.  Dan sees the problems in America and with the way we run our system, and usually he offers a pretty sensible explanation as to why we’re here and what we can do to fix it.  I love his off-beat message and ideas, which keep bringing me back to him.  He sounds VERY independent in his position, going both right and left on certain issues.  He might be closest to a libertarian, but I don’t think he’d ever admit it.

I’ve listened to it for: Eight months

Website: http://www.dancarlin.com/

 

Freakonomics

Subject Matter: General interest

Frequency of Updates: Once a week (Wednesdays)

Content: Hard to describe what this is about.  Every episode is about a half-hour around a topic that the producers thought was interesting.  Twitter, molecular gastronomy, the NFL strike, they’re all over the board.  They really do a great job of finding the issues people don’t really think about and bring them to light, or they take a common idea and twist it on its head.  Just an interesting show overall!

I’ve listened to it for: About seven months

Website: http://www.freakonomics.com/


Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy

Subject Matter: Nerd subjects, mostly through Sci-Fi authors

Frequency of Updates: New episodes every two weeks, old episodes uploaded on “off weeks”

Content: The hosts of the show both are editors for different Sci-Fi/Fantasy anthologies.  For the most part, they get an author on to talk about their latest book and structure the discussion around a theme (traditional fantasy, zombie, supernatural, etc…).  After the interview, they’ll discuss for the second half on their own feelings about the topic, and wrap it up.  I like this a lot because I’ve been exposed to authors I normally would have passed up in Borders.  My “Wish List” on Amazon has tripled because of the different book recommendations.  I’d suggest that if you’re a sci-fi reader, you need to add this to your listening list.

I’ve listened to it for: Seven months

Website: http://geeksguideshow.com/


Giant Bombcast

Subject Matter: Video games, professional

Frequency of Updates: Once a week (Tuesdays)

Content: These guys are hilarious!  They work for GiantBomb, a wiki/review site for video games.  They’re big enough to get plenty of attention from the game companies, but they’re not a huge operation when compared to, say, IGN, Gamespot, or even Kotaku.  They riff on video games every week, and you can always count on them to go on hilarious tangents.  If you have any interest in video games, check them out!

I’ve listened to it for: About 1 year

Website: http://www.giantbomb.com


I Should Be Writing

Subject Matter: Aspiring fiction writers, tips

Frequency of Updates: About two a week, one content, one feedback

Content: Mur Lafferty hosts a podcast all about inspiring wannabe writers and teaching them the pitfalls to avoid when it comes to writing.  Mostly, the focus is on motivation and concentration.  Because of her connections, she’s able to get interviews with authors, who then help give their own perspectives on writing.  I’ve always had a secret interest in writing, so I like listening to this in the hopes that one day, I might just end up actually writing a story!

I’ve listened to it for: Four months

Website: http://isbw.murlafferty.com/


Jordan, Jesse GO!

Subject Matter: Comedy

Frequency of Updates: Once a week (Varies)

Content: I would use this space to recommend the entire MaximumFun family.  I listen to three of the five or six podcasts they put out once a week.  JJGo changes from week to week, but Jordan and Jesse both invite a guest every week and hilarity ensues.  Crude, but hilarious, this podcast is just pure fun in audio form.

I’ve listened to it for: Eight months

Website: http://www.maximumfun.org


Judge John Hodgman

Subject Matter: Settling disputes

Frequency of Updates: Once a week (Wednesdays)

Content: One of the newer MaxFun podcasts.  John Hodgman serves as the Chief Justice in his own courtroom, settling disputes that people can’t solve on their own.  Whether chili is a soup or a stew, if a husband can run a marathon, who should own a stuffed animal, he hears a bunch of crazy cases and he treats it with his special brand of deadpan humor.  Nice little half-hour shows to enjoy.

I’ve listened to it for: Six months

Website: http://www.maximumfun.org


My Brother, My Brother, and Me

Subject Matter: Advice

Frequency of Updates: Once a week (Mondays)

Content: I haven’t fully made up my mind on this MaxFun podcast, but so far its been good.  Three brothers offer advice to people who e-mail their problems.  Think of them as three drunk Dear Abbies?  They usually offer a silly/ridiculous answer and then a more serious answer.  Some of the best comedy comes from mining the Yahoo! Answers and trying to answer THOSE questions.  They’re a bit more off and on with my tastes, but like all MaxFun podcasts, worth trying.

I’ve listened to it for: Two months

Website: http://www.maximumfun.org


This American Life

Subject Matter: General interest storytelling

Frequency of Updates: Once a week (Sundays)

Content: Ira Glass hosts a podcast dedicated to bringing a set of stories around a single theme.  Usually, the theme sounds pretty simple, but he manages to make different types of stories fit in ways you wouldn’t normally imagine.  Very story heavy, and they vary from serious to absurd.  Usually serious.  I like it for the interesting sets of stories he usually digs up though.

I’ve listened to it for: Eight months

Website: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/


We’re Alive: A Zombie Story of Survival

Subject Matter: Story telling, fiction

Frequency of Updates: Once a week during a chapter (three parts), one week break in-between chapters.

Content: I talked a lot about this last week, so I don’t have too much to add.  If you like zombies and, essentially, audiobooks, check this out.

I’ve listened to it for: Eight months

Website: http://www.zombiepodcast.com


We’re Not Dead

Subject Matter: We’re Alive discussion

Frequency of Updates: Once a week (Varies)

Content: WND serves as a nice breakdown of each We’re Alive episode.  It’s a community/fan podcast that the producers have somewhat absorbed into themselves as well.  The voice actors sometimes come on and discuss with the hosts too.  If you really get into We’re Alive, this podcast is a nice companion to help you catch the things you might have missed the first time through.

I’ve listened to it for: Three months

Website: http://www.zombiepodcast.com

Writing Excuses

Subject Matter: Writing tips for fiction writers

Frequency of Updates: Once a week (Sundays)

Content: Similar to ISBW, Writing Excuses is a round-table discussion about different issues facing writers.  How to include romance, creating believable characters, etc…ISBW is great for helping the author out with their issues and problems in the real world, whereas this, I think, helps writers with their stories a bit more directly.  Nice and short too (about 15-20 minutes) so you can really get a quick snippet of help.

I’ve listened to it for: Three months

Website: http://www.writingexcuses.com/


WTF @ TFW

Subject Matter: Transformers

Frequency of Updates: Once a week (Varies)

Content: In case it hasn’t come up yet, I’m a huge Transformers nerd.  Yes, I have a collection of toys and yes, I do buy from the toy aisles in stores :P.  This podcast is really top-notch with coverage, humor, and discussion.  TFW is definitely one of the best Transformers fan sites out there, and Vangelus and crew put on a stellar show every week.  Also, the rat bastards talk about some non-Transformers toys and you’ll end up wanting to research and/or buy those too!  Obviously not for everyone, but this was one of my first podcasts I ever listened to, so it holds a special place in my heart.

I’ve listened to it for: Almost two years, even before I had the iPod.

Website: http://www.tfw2005.com


You Look Nice Today

Subject Matter: None?

Frequency of Updates: Sporadic is a very generous term.

Content: Like JJGo, YLNT is mostly a comedy/stream of consciousness podcast.  They talk about whatever comes to mind, no real format or topic, but usually hilarious.  The biggest knock against them is they update…well…almost never.  I’ve subscribed since December of ’09, and in that time, they’ve released four episodes on iTunes.  The last one was in November.  When it updates, its a real treat but until then, its hard to recommend this for steady content.

I’ve listened to it for: Well, TECHNICALLY about a year and a half.

Website: http://youlooknicetoday.com/

 

I’m always on the lookout for new podcasts!  Feel free to share your suggestions in the comments.

 

Peace out.

Pokemans, Life, and Zombies!

Haven’t found a topic yet I want to explore, but I must stick to my two a week (didn’t really last week!)

Playing the HELL out of Pokemon…Pearl! After completing White, my mission is now to have a complete and credited Pokedex with everything I can muster, with the exception of Legendary Event-Only Pokemon (Mew, Celebi, etc…). I tend to break this rule only for the first three generations, as I have an old Action Replay card and I allow myself to hack in the Legendaries that would otherwise be unavailable to me. Deoxys isn’t worth standing around a crowd of children playing Pokemon and looking creepy.

My Pokemans, let me show them to you.

So, I plan on devoting a lot of time to Pokemon in the near future.  Pearl -> LeafGreen -> HeartGold -> White is my preferred order.  Hopefully, I’ll have a complete Pokedex…but I may get bored and give up.  I’ve never really tried to “catch them all” though, so this would be pretty cool if it could work, and since there doesn’t seem to be anything after the Elite Four really in White (caught all the Legendaries) I’m on my own for objectives.

Life…well…yeah.  Looking for work…again.  I’m stuck right now, trying to figure out if I still want to be a teacher or if now is the time to change and do something else.  This last year has shown me a lot about teaching and now I’m not so sure I want to keep it up.  I still need to do some soul searching, but I plan on sending out some resumes and applications this week (I have my goal and with any luck, I’ll hit it).

If anyone’s interested in suggesting a possible career that an English teacher might be able to switch over to, I’m all ears.  Post it up in the comments and I’ll add it to my current list of possibilities (some silly, some not) that I’m considering.

And zombies…more of a review.  Lately, I’ve fallen hard for podcasts.  With a half-hour commute to work every day, I have 18 podcasts I listen to in a given week.  Most update weekly, some update twice a month, some update whenever the hell they feel like it, but I’d like to talk about one of my personal favorites called “We’re Alive: A Zombie Story of Survival.”  Every week, they release a new part of a chapter (three parts to a chapter) about this fictional zombie outbreak and how a group of survivors manages to live in this world.  It plays like an old radio drama, with a lot of the characters explaining things out loud to the listener because everything is audio, and the quality is top notch.

They update every Monday, with a week break in between chapters, and I look forward to it every time I know a new episode is up.  And the zombies…hoo…they are creepy!  The best comparison with the We’re Alive zombies would be Left 4 Dead’s type.  They’re fast, they’re angry, they’re attracted by noise, and *minor spoiler* they are more than just regular zombies (tanks, hunters, etc…).  I love listening to this podcast every week, and I’d recommend looking them up in iTunes or at their website.  They run a tight ship, and I would recommend at least listening to the first chapter.

Thanks for reading all over the place with my brain.  Maybe I’ll have something more…substantial for you later this week!  I might do a series of reviews (more full-on, rather than a paragraph or two) over some of my favorite or currently interesting things.  Later!

WordPress Ate’d My Post

Hmm…could have sworn I posted a lookback on the trip, but I can’t find it here or on my iPhone. Oh well.

Really enjoyed the trip, but I’m sad I lost the jet lag. The 5-7 hour difference (depending on Daylight Savings Time) worked perfectly to get me up really early for work, then let me crash when I was finished for the day.

Sadly, I slept in until 9 on the weekend and have subsequently lost the ability to wake up at a decent hour to prepare for the day :).

I want to get the last of my pictures uploaded somewhere soon. If you’ve tracked me down on Facebook, or you’re reading this because I linked to the blog there, the pictures are up and able to be viewed.

Not sure where I want to go yet with the blog now that vacation is over, but I want to post a lot more than I have been. Trying to stick to at least two posts a week. We’ll see how it goes!

Tonight’s our last night in London. We’ll be climbing on board the wicked fast bullet train tomorrow morning after a day and a half in London. I didn’t really want to update yesterday because everything we saw wouldn’t let us take pictures and my iPhone was dead, so lockers were out of the question anyway.

We saw Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, the British Museum, and other things I’m sure I’m forgetting. A lot of the last 24 hours have blended together, and coupled with our tour bus ride around the entire city, I can’t remember what we saw and what we actually got out and explored. We did eat actual fish and chips in a real pub, which was an experience.

The pub setup was amazing. You sit where you can, and when you’re ready, go up to the bar with your table number and order. Maybe not every pub works like this, but the two we went to operated like this and I liked it a lot. No waiters trying to turn tables over, just sit and enjoy. I almost wonder if Americans could handle a setup like that.

Last thing, which I geeked out on, was the Doctor Who experience at the Olympia center in Kensington. Really cool, and I took a lot of pictures. It’s late though, and I know we aren’t doing much when we get back to Belgium except for a quick sightseeing spot and a visit to Delirium, one of Belgium’s main beer makers with over 2000 types.

It’s late. Bed time. G’night London!

Day Four – The Second Is Better

Day four in Paris and I’m pooped. I haven’t slept well since we got here. Some might be jet lag still, but I just haven’t been comfortable on this pullout in the apartment. I woke up around 5am today, after going to bed at 11 or 12. I just can’t sleep.

Well, that and a bad zombie dream 🙂

Day four was pretty good. Just Versailles and The Musee D’Orsay, but we saw a lot and really took in a lot of the culture.

After getting off the RER, we tried looking for the palace. We rounded a corner and the first sarcastic words (as I took this picture) were, “Think this is it?”

Statue of Louis the Somenumber I believe. Right outside the palace. My sister posed in front of it for her boyfriend to take a picture of her, and she’s immortalized in about sixty other photos from random tourists.

The walk to the Palace. It is just mind-blowing to see the size and decoration on this building.

A close up of the exterior.

I didn’t take a ton of pictures inside, namely because I was juggling my iPhone, the audio tour device, and not getting pickpocketed. There were a ton of people crammed into these hallways, but we saw a lot of the palace. The big thing that amazed me was the opulence of the whole place. I couldn’t wrap my head around what these people, what this palace, looked like 300+ years ago when it was a functioning palace. It just amazes me to see that kind of wealth and beauty displayed, and to imagine what it must have been like to live surrounded by it 24/7. They had rooms dedicated to individual Greek and Roman gods that doubled in function, a hall of mirrors that was covered in shiny, and a breathtaking view out of every window. Some stuff seemed a little odd though, like discovering that the Dauphine gave birth three times with her bedchambers open for all to view, and the same went for the King’s dinner with his family, but overall I loved it.

The gardens behind the palace. This is the view you usually see when looking out at Versailles in pictures.

The back of the palace. Even the ass-end looks gorgeous!

A closer view of the ponds in the middle of the gardens. They are gigantic! Had to have been at least three football fields long.

After Versailles, we made our way back to the RER train to head to the Musee D’Orsay, but we did stop in a popular American food joint to see how the French do it. Can you guess where we went?

If you guessed McDonalds, you’d be right. It looked more like a trendy restaurant than the range from crypt to chateaux that you see in America. And all of them are that nice AND they serve the glorious, real sugar Coca-Cola in the fountain. I might try going off high fructose corn syrup when I get back, because food just rocks without it.

We had lunch not at McD’s, but at the restaurant up top at Musee D’Orsay. Like 99.9% of the food I’ve had here, it was delicious even if it seemed a bit questionable or different.

Now you may notice I have no pictures of the museum. Well, Orsay has a strict no-pictures policy and even though every museum, landmark, or church had a no photo sign, not one tourist followed that rule and no one enforced it. Well, Orsay was different. No one was taking pictures and I wasn’t about to be the first. There were a bunch of beautiful pictures, sculptures, and pieces of furniture masquerading as art, but the biggest takeaway from the museum was the design and soul of the building. Orsay was converted to an art museum out of an old train station, so the walls are decorated like a fancy, artsy station might be decorated. They’re patterned with intricate designs, the layout of the museum is unique because of the different routes to and from the trains…it just looked so much nicer than the Louvre.

That’s when I realized that yeah, the Louvre was nice. Notre Dame was beautiful, Versailles was wealthy, but everyone was there. So many people crammed into a small space because you HAVE to see these sights. My favorite places so far have been Sacre Coeur and Orsay, where there is a crowd, but not compared to these other places. They take a bit to get to, they have interesting and important reasons for why they’re famous, but they don’t have a Mona Lisa drawing the crowds. These places are worth 100% of their value, but they don’t feel as frequented as some of the other, bigger names in museums and churches. Hell, that little restaurant we went to yesterday, Le Chinon, you had to walk to find it and I still feel they had the best food I’ve eaten since we got here.

Go see the Mona Lisa, climb Notre Dame, wish you were a Dauphin 300 years ago, but don’t do those things at the expense of the smaller venues. You’ll be glad you went.

Off to London tomorrow!