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London and Scotland 2012 [Apr. 29th, 2012|04:22 pm]

Here's a rollup of all the updates Bonnie wrote during our two-week trip to London and Scotland, plus some extras. You can find all of the photos we took at our Flickr collection.

April 11, 2012:

Departed from Seattle around 7:30pm. Arrived at Heathrow just past noon the next day.

April 12, 2012:

Shared a sampler of 5 pies (each about size of a fist - flaky crust stuffed w/ meat, veggies) at The Jugged Hare then took the tube to Westminster bridge: Big Ben/Parliament, eye of London, Westminster Abbey, #10 Downey and St James Park. Found Trafalgar Square but it was too dark for pictures by then so tubed 'home'.

April 13, 2012:

ate a fried egg and rashers - scooted the baked beans outta the way :p plus earned our free t-shirts at the London Fat Tire bike tour (which also added Buckingham Palace & Hyde Park to our seen-it list) then Sweeney Todd at Adelphi Theatre - it was a bloody good show ;)

April 14, 2012:

Slept in, ate lunch at a French fusion place (cozy, not fancy), taught ourselves to play Chinese Ten at St. George's Tavern, visited Churchill's War Room, went back to George's and had pub grub, packed. Edinburgh tomorrow.

April 15, 2012:

Arrived in Edinburgh, our apartment is awesome/gorgeous, visited Cafe Royal (a pubby-looking pub that was in Chariots of Fire) and had oysters, mussels and asparagus risotto, saw some New Town sites, pub crawl down Rose Street - it's actually hard to get drunk here bc the beer is low octane. One of the waiters was telling his co-worker about a bachelor party's scavenger list - he was sup...posed to obtain a pair of female underwear. I joked to Ship that I'd do it for money but i'd be sure to bacon strip them up first. I think the bartender overheard me because we looked a little shocked and started giggling. We got distracted by awesome Indian food (waiter kept asking Ship if he knew that the Vindaloo is spicy (guess they don't do stars here) Ship's smiling answer every time: "yep!" He loved it - tho he said it was prolly a 5 star when he normally gets 4), there were a couple of French gentleman doing the same pub crawl. They passed us but we found them at the last pub we went to. They drunkenly said 'Eating is cheating!' I said, 'Manger est bon.' People were nice in England but it seemed a little more out of politeness. So far, people in Scotland are warmer :)

April 16, 2012:

slept in and made Tribute Via, eggs & toast at the completely awesome apartment, walked to Waverley Station to sort out our train to Pitlochry tomorrow, checked out a sister pub of London's St. George's on our way to the National Museum of Scotland, checked out a couple more pubs ending in a couple of whiskey tastings, then had a couple of fancy bites at Wedgewood Restaurant followed by more whiskey at The (gorgeous) Dome Restaurant. Actually *I* wanted coffee and dessert but they stopped serving so settled for a Coke. Great day though! :)

April 17, 2012:

Took a train to Pitlochry and visited Blair Atholl Distillery. We had the tour to ourselves and our (very Scottish) guide had a low gravelly voice and was very silly and cheery. Afterward, we trekked uphill past a waterfall, pastures complete w/ sheep, low craggy walls green with moss and forest floors spotted in daffodils to Edradour Distillery where a spunky old woman (also very Scottish) explai...ned that she uses whisky to wash down her pills. We celebrated our 7 year anniversary at Karen's Unicorn - best Chinese food in Edinburgh. We had Veuve Clicquot, duck w/ paper-thin potato pancakes, spicy Kung Pao shrimp, sweet and sour chicken and orange sorbet that was presented inside a hollowed orange upon a plate decorated w/ chocolate drizzle, whipped cream and berries. fancy! ;)

April 18, 2012:

bought supplies to try to get Ship's growing whisky collection home, had a wonderful lunch at an awesome coffee shop (summery beach themed inside and best cappuccino of my life), Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile, oysters and steak & ale pie at Cafe Royal (liked it so much we went back) - today we're picking up a car and driving on the wrong side of the road to Oban

April 19, 2012:

We made it to Oban - 'twas quite the adventure. Shippy drove 60 mph on the left-hand side of super skinny roads while I snapped blurry pictures of sheep. He's a fast learner - only ran over a curb and tried to climb in the passenger side one time.

April 20, 2012:

Drove north to Ft William - kind of an adventure finding the Ben Nevis Distillery (mainly bc there was construction and we needed to turn right but hesitated and passed it bc of the whole driving on the left side of the road discombobulation). Arrived at 4pm but last tour was at 3pm - probably doing a repeat with an earlier start today. We also stopped to scare some sheep (not on purpose... - we really wanted to gawk, bleat at them and take some pictures but it turns out that sheep have a fairly keen survival instinct). Then we tried a Glenlivet 18 and I detected caramel which Ship modified to caramel-covered green apple and it was so spot-on that we couldn't shut up about it. We also tried a Badahaddich (something like that) 12 but I don't remember much about it (including how to spell it) other than it seemed smokey even though it wasn't supposed to be. (It was Bunnahabhain 12, Ed.)

April 21, 2012:

Made it on the Ben Nevis Distillery tour - it was kind of hokey but we had a good time. Then we drove a scenic loop from Glencoe to Dalmally and back to Oban. Ship made a funny joke: What do you call a hairy coo dressed up as Harry Potter? Found a rowdy bar w/ a ridiculous scotch collection - not sure how many Ship ended up trying in the end. I settled on a Jameson & Ginger. I guess it was the second to last ginger ale and the guy that ordered one after me split it into two drinks and gave me one. He tried to explain and then the bartender tried to explain. Ship and I were still a little wary so I lifted the glass to inspect it clos...ely. The guy saw me do it and said "no, honest to God, there's no ruffies in it or anything! I just appreciate that you like the same drink but it's better with lime, isn' t'it?" I relaxed and he was right about the lime. Then we decided to return the favor and settled on buying 3 lemon drop shots. The bartender had no idea what I was doing but we eventually managed to get 3 shots of Smirnoff, 3 lemon slices, 3 packets of sugar and a plate. I thought my shot was delicious but Ian, the Scottish Jameson & Ginger fan, made lots of faces and said "it was like drinking a sticky beer".

Side note: weird foods Ship has eaten on this trip: pigeon, haggis, wild boar. I must admit that I tried the pigeon after heavy coaxing. all I remember is that the texture was kind of mushy with a touch of remorse.

April 22, 2012:

we're driving to Glasgow today (really just the airport). we have a packed box of whisky marked Fragile - sure hope the airport peeps are kind to it! Flying to London today - 2 more full days in London and then we are homeward bound. I had tried a Fyne Ales Earra in Oban and it tasted like home (PacNW IPA). British beers are rarely hoppy. So we visited the Fyne Ales Brewery on the way to Glasgow and met their shopkeeper/brewery underling whom I'm going to call Fred. We did a tasting in their chilly barn shop and talked beer until Fred showed us their operation. Then we had lunch at a place nearby that Fred suggested so that we could also try their black IPA (black as the boot he's wearing but tastes just like a regular IPA). After flying from Glasgow, now at our last home away from home.

April 23, 2012:

Visited the Crown Jewels, Tower of London and the British Museum. Also stopped for a pint and meat pie. We were told by our Lemon Drop victim from Oban to visit Ye Olde Cock on Fleet Street.

April 24, 2012:

Spent hours yesterday at the Natural History Museum and did a whirlwind historical pubs tour: The Old Bank of England, Ye Olde Cock Tavern, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese and The Black Friar. Mainly half pints - we were just there to gawk

April 25, 2012:

Had a simple breakfast at a cafe, did a quick hop over to The Black Friar for a half pint since we had just closed when we popped inside. Headed to the airport and flew back home!

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System of a Down @ Key Arena - Setlist [May. 14th, 2011|11:43 am]
System of a Down was at Key Arena last night and played a whole slew of songs. What a huge setlist! Here's what they played:

Prison Song
Deer Dance
Chop Suey!
Lonely Day
Solder Side
Kill Rock 'N Roll
Lost In Hollywood
Holy Mountains

For Soldier Side, they played both parts (Intro from Mezmerize, the rest from Hypnotize). I'd never actually heard it played as one song before and it's really cool.

28 songs and 90 minutes of playing. Great concert!
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Pictures from our trip to Hawaii [May. 2nd, 2010|11:14 am]
I went to Hawaii with aquafemme recently and we took tons of great pictures. We've uploaded them to our Flickr page.

We stayed at a place on Waikiki beach and had an awesome time. We went snorkeling, rode in a helicopter around Oahu, had an amazing dinner at Chef Mavro, did karaoke with a bunch of Asian people, saw Naveen Andrews (Sayid on Lost), was able to hang out with our good friend Landon and his family, and more!
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Muse in seattle 4/2 setlist [Apr. 3rd, 2010|11:52 am]
[Current Music |Nine Inch Nails - Sin]

Muse and Silversun Pickups were in town last night and put on a great show. I didn't get the Silversun Pickups' setlist because I don't know all their songs and was a bit late, but they played well and I enjoyed it.

I took note of all the songs Muse played last night and here they are:

New Born
Supermassive Black Hole
Guiding Light
United States of Eurasia (w/o Collateral Damage)
Ruled By Secrecy
Feeling Good
Cool Instrumental thing with Bassist and Drummer (just jammin' out, but it sounded awesome)
Undisclosed Desires
Unnatural Selection
Time Is Running Out
Plug In Baby

Exogenesis: Symphony Part 1 [Overture]
Stockholm Syndrome

Encore 2
Knights of Cydonia

I'm realizing that the last time I posted was from the last Muse concert. I guess I'm a bit behind on my blogging. :P
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Deck the Hall Ball 2009 and Muse Setlist! [Dec. 16th, 2009|10:35 am]
Bonnie, Heather and I all headed to WaMu Theater last night for Deck the Hall Ball this year. It was my first time going (the previous lineups never really got me excited) and it didn't disappoint. After we parked, we had some dinner at Elysian Fields and headed in. We timed it perfectly to watch Metric. There were a couple bands on before them, but I wasn't really there to see them. I thought Metric put on a great show and her voice sounded nice. I wish I could have heard the words a little better, but I chalk that up to WaMu's inferior sound setup.

After that, the ladies discovered that actually standing further back in the room instead of trying to press closer to the stage offered a better view. So, we went into the beer garden near the back. It wasn't insanely crowded and I got to enjoy a drink at the same time.

30 Seconds To Mars then came out and sang songs. That's about all I remember. They're just not really my thing.

Then we get to Muse. Their set was only an hour long, but the entire setlist kicked ass. Not a bad song in the entire bunch. I would have loved to hear the latter half of United States of Eurasia and Exogenesis, but they're coming back on 4/2 and am hoping they'll play it then.

Without further ado, here's the awesome setlist:

MK Ultra
Supermassive Black Hole
Unnatural Selection
United States of Eurasia (w/o Collateral Damage)
Time Is Running Out
Plug In Baby
Knights of Cydonia
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Bonnie and I went to Victoria! [Aug. 26th, 2009|01:47 pm]
This last weekend Bonnie and I headed up to Victoria, British Columbia for a mini-vacation. We had a great time! We got up Saturday morning and took the 2.5 hour boat ride on the Victoria Clipper. Once we arrived, we walked over and checked into our room at The Fairmont Empress. I was happy that even though we were pretty early (it was only around 11:30am), they were still able to put us into a room. We dropped off our stuff and started walking down the main street (Government Street) to find some lunch and get an idea of what the town has to offer, how it's laid out, etc.

We stopped into the Irish Times Pub and found a comfy spot. I got a local beer (it started with an S, but can't remember the name) and Bonnie, of course, got a sampler. Bonnie had a crab salad and I had the Irish stew since it was recommended by our friend Heather. The stew was tasty and overall we enjoyed the lunch. Once we left the pub, we walked through Bastion Square and stopped into a couple shops. I did find a Threadless t-shirt that I like, but didn't pick it up. I may end up ordering it, though.

After that we headed back to the room to figure out what we wanted to do that afternoon. We decided that we wanted to go and see the Bug Zoo. We saw several types of insects, scorpions, spiders, ants, etc. and had a good time. In the gift shop afterward, I was excited to see that they had some chocolate-covered insects. For some reason, I've always wanted to try both chocolate-covered and straight-up seasoned and sauteed insects. Bonnie questioned my sanity as I picked up a small pack of bugs. We started getting a hankering for ice cream so we went to a shop that had some open tables and shared a banana split. It was super delicious. It's hard to remember the last time I even had a banana split. I also ate the chocolate-covered insects (I'm sure pictures will pop up on Facebook soon). The worms were actually pretty tasty since they were wafery in texture. The full-grown crickets weren't quite as tasty because the wings were kinda tough to chew through. Getting Bonnie to kiss me at all for the rest of the day was a challenge since she kept imagining bug guts between my teeth. :)

After that we pretty much just wandered around the town and checked out some more stores. We stopped at the Central Bar & Grill to enjoy a couple of cocktails. We noticed that a friend had made a recommendation on a place to eat in Victoria so we called and made reservations. After leaving the bar, we went to a bookstore so we could pick up some magazines for the boat ride back to Seattle. At this point, we figured it would be a good idea to head back to the hotel and get ready for dinner so that's what we did. We were still a bit ahead of schedule so we popped into a Blenz and had a quick cup of coffee.

When we showed up to the restuarant, Il Terrazzo Ristorante, we realized quickly that getting reservations was a super smart idea. The place was totally packed! Fortunately, we only waited a few minutes for our table to be ready. I ordered off the fixed menu whereas Bonnie picked out something from the main menu and we picked the bottle of wine that was recommended for her meal. This wine was really tasty! Fortunately we got a picture of it so we can try to find it again. The appetizer that was supposed to come with my meal had run out while my order was being run so they let me pick out a different appetizer. I picked out a salad that had bacon, capers, spinch, portobello mushroom and some other stuff. Holy moly, it was one of the best salads I've ever had. It all tasted super fresh, the mushroom had an amazing texture that wasn't mushy or too tough, and bacon is always a bonus. Our entrees were also very good and we traded at one point so we could try each other's meals. I was still supposed to be receiving a cheese plate so we didn't completely stuff ourselves with the main course. We managed to pack away the cheese, though! Cheese and wine is always a great combination. We walked out of there feeling very satisfied with our dinner choices. Thanks to Keith Logan for the recommendation!

We headed back to the hotel and decided to take advantage of the pool and hot tub. Not much to say about that. Pretty much we swam around a bit in the pool until the hot tub was free and then enjoyed that until we felt we were going to melt. That's it for the first day!

We took full advantage of the 11am check-out time and slept in as long as possible. We handed over our bags since we didn't have to be at the clipper until 4:30pm and hit the streets. The first thing we wanted was a breakfast so we started hunting around for that. We were having a bit of trouble finding somewhere that served breakfast that looked appetizing, but then Bonnie remembered seeing a bunch of restaurants in Bastion Square. We headed through there and found The Local Kitchen. We sat in a nice shady spot outside and enjoyed omelettes and mimosas.

We then wandered into Baggins Shoes which has tons of Converse and Vans shoes. We weren't necessarily looking to buy anything, but I did find some of the patterns on the shoes interesting. We were in the mood for some coffee so we walked down the main street and into Caffè Artigiano. I was really pleased to see that they had traditional macchiatos so I had to have that. We wandered around aimlessly for a bit before deciding we should go check out Miniature World. I scoffed at the price and we got outta there. It was $13.05/person and I didn't have enough cash or my AAA card on me that would've gotten a discount. Maybe next time.

Instead, we went through the gardens at The Fairmont and through the few shops they had inside. Bonnie found a really beautiful pink sapphire and diamond ring that fit perfectly, looked great, etc. etc. you know the drill. :) Unfortunately it was $2,500. A little bit out of our budget right now. *grin* We then headed over to the Royal BC Museum. We decided not to go in because we just didn't feel we'd have enough time to really see what all we wanted to see. That's another thing for the next time we're in Victoria. Instead, we wandered through the gift shop and the gardens outside. While walking along, Bonnie noticed a sign that indicated a children's zoo was nearby. She had read somewhere about a petting zoo in Beacon Hill Park so we headed that direction. Once we found the park, we had to ask a couple people to point us in the direction of the petting zoo, but we eventually found it. We spent a good amount of time in there and the baby goats were pretty darn cute I have to admit.

We headed back to the main part of town and ended up back at Central Bar & Grill to enjoy a couple Bellinis since we had seen them being served as we were leaving the day before and they looked tasty. Once we had those, we decided to finish off with a chocolate cake shot (Frangelico and Vodka with a lemon slice). Bonnie was fantasizing about getting a caramel apple at this point so we found the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Company and picked one up. It was not only caramel-covered, but chocolate-covered also and had nuts and mini-marshmallows on it. It tasted really good. I was afraid it would have too much going on, but all the flavors went really well together. How do you go wrong with apple, caramel, chocolate, marshmallow and nuts, right?

We headed down to the clipper dock while she enjoyed her apple, got on the boat, and rode back to Seattle. We got in around 8:30pm and were home by 9pm. Overall, the trip was very reasonably priced and we had a great time just wandering around and seeing a new place. We look forward to going back again and doing some of the activities we missed the first time around or didn't know that were being offered. Being only a couple hour boat ride away, it's a great weekend getaway.
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Paris, Bruges and Amsterdam 2009 - Part I: Paris [Aug. 13th, 2009|07:11 pm]
Here begins the summary of the trip aquafemme and I took to Paris, Bruges and Amsterdam in April of this year. I'll talk about the things we saw and did and include some nice pictures as well. I'll always put these behind a cut because there are lots of pics. I'm not putting all of them here, though. At Flickr I have a set for Paris and a collection for the entire trip.

For this trip, we did it a bit differently. For the part where we toured Paris, we joined up with a group. This had its upsides and downsides, but was somewhat of a relief since we had just purchased a home and were super busy doing all that stuff rather than planning everything we were going to do while in Paris. We got to do things that I think we may have not had a chance to do if we planned everything on our own. It was a marathon at times, but we kept busy and got to see a lot. We were still pretty independent throughout the trip. At the beginning of the day we found out where we needed to be and when, got our Metro tickets from the tour coordinator and headed off on our own. We branched off from the group to see Bruges, Belgium and Amsterdam, Netherlands when the Paris tour was over.

Day One: 04-Apr-2009Collapse )
Day Two: 05-Apr-2009Collapse )
Day Three: 06-Apr-2009Collapse )
Day Four: 07-Apr-2009Collapse )
Day Five: 08-Apr-2009Collapse )
Day Six: 09-Apr-2009Collapse )
Day Seven: 10-Apr-2009Collapse )
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Depeche Mode @ Key Arena Setlist [Aug. 11th, 2009|12:11 am]
Saw another kickass Depeche Mode concert tonight. Here's the setlist:

In Chains
Hole To Feed
Walking In My Shoes
It's No Good
A Question of Time
Fly on the Windscreen
Come Back
Policy of Truth
In Your Room
I Feel You
Enjoy the Silence
Never Let Me Down Again

1st Encore:
Master And Servant

2nd Encore:
Personal Jesus
Waiting for the Night
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Spain and Italy 2008 - Part VI: Rome and Travel Home [Apr. 27th, 2009|09:01 pm]
Here is the sixth and final part of the summary of our trip to Spain and Italy. aquafemme also has a separate log of our events and mine will probably plagiarize greatly from her summary, but add pretty pictures.

I'll always put these behind a cut because there are lots of pics. I'm not putting all of them here, though. At Flickr I have a set for Rome and a collection for the entire trip.

Day Nineteen: 21-May-2008Collapse )
Day Twenty: 22-May-2008Collapse )
Day Twenty-One: 23-May-2008Collapse )
Day Twenty-Two: 24-May-2008Collapse )
Day Twenty-Three: 25-May-2008Collapse )
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Spain and Italy 2008 - Part V: Florence, Pisa and Lucca. [Mar. 29th, 2009|07:10 pm]
Here is the fifth part of the summary of our trip to Spain and Italy. aquafemme also has a separate log of our events and mine will probably plagiarize greatly from her summary, but add pretty pictures.

I'll always put these behind a cut because there are lots of pics. I'm not putting all of them here, though. At Flickr I have a set for Florence, Pisa and Lucca and a collection for the entire trip.

Day Fifteen: 17-May-2008Collapse )
Day Sixteen: 18-May-2008Collapse )
Day Seventeen: 19-May-2008Collapse )
Day Eighteen: 20-May-2008Collapse )
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