Travel

Cherry Blossoms

More Cherry Blossoms

I was in DC last week for the Cable Show (I had no idea there was a trade conference just for the cable industry. Shocking, but true!) and since I am a good son I spent the weekend visiting with my mom.

It just so happened that this weekend was also the high of Cherry Blossom season, and so we decided to motor on down to downtown DC and check out the blossoms for ourselves.

Saturday was a beautiful day, and so about 14 million other people had the same idea as us. Despite the crowds (which were fairly well behaved) my mom and I had a good time walking around, snapping pictures, and chatting.

Sadly, I forgot to charge the battery on my camera before we left, so I wasn't able to take many pictures. You can check out the few that I did snap over at this Flickr set.


On the train to Washington, DC

My Christmas tradition of dallying forth to Waahington to see my mom is once being observed. This time around my brother Sean is joining us.

In fact I am sitting next to him on the train right now. We haven't seen each other in over a year and yet we decided to sit in the quiet car. Such is the McNulty family way. ;)

Oh, and I included the picture in this post to see if the TypePad app still crops pics for some odd reason. On the train to Washington, DC


Zumanity

zumanity.jpgTwitter is a wonderful thing (though some people ascribe to it a little more importance than it warrants). I often think of it as a magical device into which I put my desires and after a certain period of time they materialize.

When I found out that I would be going to Las Vegas for a conference I wanted to figure out what I should do with my non-conference time. I don't drink, smoke, or gamble much... and those are the headline attractions in Vegas (I saw many people doing all three at the same time... at 8am). I turned to Twitter and asked my followers what I should do in Vegas. Someone suggested that I check out a Cirque du Soleil show. I checked out their offerings and figured I would, in fact, see one of their shows.

Shortly after that suggestion the Cirque du Soleil twitter account started following me, and echoed the sentiment that I should check out one of their shows (shocking, I know). In a desperate, and transparent, attempt to cash in on my very minor web celebrity I suggested to the Cirque du Soleil twitterer that they give me two free tickets to a show. Imagine my surprise when they offered to give me media tickets to any show in Vegas (other than Love, which was kind of a bummer because that is the one Marisa really wanted to see). I took them up on the offer, and let Marisa pick the one that we should see. Marisa, being Marisa, decided we should see Zumanity, which is their 'adult show.'

Fast forward a few weeks and I find myself sitting in the audience, next to Marisa, waiting for Zumanity to begin. Marisa turns to me and says, 'Is this going to make you uncomfortable? Hmm, I suppose that is something I should have asked you a couple months ago.' She had a point, but I am a grown man and I can handle a little nudity so I assured Marisa that I would be fine (and I was).

The ushers all wear dresses and T-shirts that make them appear to be naked (you know the ones) and they are pretty darn convincing in a dark theater from far away. The theater itself looks as you would expect from a theater hosting an adult cabaret (it was kind of dark, lots of red velvety fabric).

Before the show starts some of the cast mingles with the crowd, and lets you in on the vibe of the show: audience participation plays a big part. I, personally, hoped that I wouldn't have to be involved with the show and I wasn't (though one of the cast members did rub my belly and say, 'So soft!' I would have been insulted if it weren't true, especially when compared to the fellows in the show. I think they might workout a little bit).

As with all Cirque shows (I assume) there was a healthy mixture of dance, music, and acrobatics. I was particularly impressed by the two women (topless, of course) who did a number of tricks in a small water filled bowl (it was big enough to hold them both, but I wouldn't have believed it was large enough for anyone to dive into, until I saw them both dive into it. It was very cool). The most 'shocking' part of the show is the 'Fighters.' Two guys are on the stage, and they have a fight/dance that makes it clear they aren't each other's fans. It all ends with them kissing, which drew some surprised gasps from the audience (though more applause than gasps).

Would I recommend that you spend at least $69 on a ticket (see what they did there?)? If you aren't offended by topless ladies and men in g-strings dancing about, and the possibility that you might be called onto stage doesn't make you sick then by all means. Marisa and I both had fun, and the show itself is visually stunning (the cast members are talented and good looking, which helps their cause).


Las Vegas and Hoover Dam

Up shot I went to Las Vegas for the week to attend VMworld 2008 (which was a waste of my time, sadly). Marisa flew out Wednesday night and met me in Sin City, and we hung out for awhile (we even relocated to the Ritz Carlton at Lake Las Vegas for the weekend, which was very nice indeed).

Friday we visited Hoover Dam and it was a very good time. Well worth the hour or so drive from Las Vegas. Check out my pictures from my Las Vegas trip to see more.


Visiting Mount Vernon with my mom

Washington StatueThis July I went to visit my mother for her brithday, like a good son. Since it was my mom's birthday I was just for doing anything that tickled her fancy. Turns out she wanted to go to Mount Vernon, George Washington's pad. I was delighted since I like going to crap like that (which, I am sure, means that my future children will hate going to things like that).

Off we went to Mount Vernon, and we found out a number of interesting things about Mr. Washington:


  1. He was shorter than me.

  2. He had lots of slaves.

  3. He wasn't all that interested in being president (he was much happier at Mount Vernon, though he got to spend little time there).

  4. When he died he freed his slaves, though many of them decided to stay at Mount Vernon and act as tour guides to the first wave of American tourists to visit the grounds.

I took lots of pictures, as is my way, and you can see them all here.


Wedding in a barn?

Becky on Brides MagazineMarisa and I headed to Lancaster County in the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside to celebrate the marriage of our two friends Becky and Eric (they met via a combination of a blog post and a Google search. Blogging makes things better!).

The wedding itself was lots of fun, as one might expect from a wedding in a barn. I was worried about what the appropriate attire is for a barn wedding, so I just wore my fancy dress shirt and some nice khakis. It seemed to work.

The highlight of the evening, since the happy couple had actually married themselves with a self uniting marriage license earlier in the day, was the pig race. Seeing 4 cute little pigs run around a track is lots of fun, and I recommend it to everyone.

Check out all my pictures from the happy event here. You might notice that Becky and Eric are in very few of the photos. My only explanation is that whenever I hang out with Becky she tells me not to take her picture, so she has conditioned me not to snap her pic (though this one of Marisa and Becky is very nice indeed. Becky looked great in her blue dress, and Marisa is always pretty).


I'll have the ostrich on wheat, please

My favorite pic of the bunchThis weekend I found myself in Connecticut visiting my dear old friend Glenn (it is hard to believe that we have been friends for over 16 years now... where does all the time go?) and a good time was had by all.

Glenn, as of late, has been getting into guns. You know, going to the firing range and squeezing off a few rounds. As such, he has a new rifle that he needed to get fixed which is how I found myself in a gun shop for the first time ever. The gun shop was kind of neat, since I do think guns are interesting as artifacts (I would never own one myself, but it was an antique or something) but it wasn't anything too exciting (though I did meet a nice doggie).

The real fun began after the gun shop, as it often does. We went on a little adventure to see the Cabela's that recently opened up shop in CT. If you don't know what Cabela's is, you are not alone. I wouldn't have known what it was either, but I had attended a talk by someone who helped with the website so I was hip to the Cabela's.

It is a sort of outdoorsy apparel/accessories super store... and when I say super store I mean super store. This place is HUGE. Take a look at the pictures I took (some people thought it was odd that I was snapping so many pictures, but who cares!).

One of the coolest things, though, was the restaurant which serves all kinds of exotic meats. I was in the sandwich line, looking at the line up of elk, bison, and ostrich trying to decide what to get (I went with the ostrich) but I was shocked when the 4 people ahead of me all ordered tuna salad! I mean, come on people, live a little.

Anyway, I have to grab my Jerky Blaster and some Buck Lickers and get out of here.


Some San Francisco pictures are up

Pier 33

As you may recall, I am in San Francisco at the moment (yes, I got here safe and sound so worry not!). I posted earlier about how I had visited San Francisco many times and yet never managed to get to Alcatraz. This trip I made sure I had time to visit The Rock, and here are the pictures to prove it.

This isn't the first old prison I have visited, I do live pretty close to Eastern State Penitentiary (if you live near Philly and you haven't been to Eastern State you really owe it to yourself to visit. Here are the pictures I took at ESP.). Both places seem to embrace the idea of stabilizing not restoring. Alcatraz seems to be doing alright for its age, but the weather and the birds have not been kind.

Overall, I had a good couple of hours over there and I would recommend it to anyone.

Oh, and I also snapped some pics of VMWorld (which is the reason why I am here in the first place).


Blankbaby is going to San Francisco

Cable Car StopVMWorld, which is VMware's gigantic conference (Joe tells me 10,000 nerds will be there). I'll be there for work, but I won't be overwhelmed with having to try and see everything, talk to everyone, and write about. That means I will:

  • Be able to learn stuff
  • Be able to actually see some of SF

I've been to San Francisco 5 or 6 times, and I have yet to set foot on Alcatraz, which is one of the things that I have always wanted to do (I would also like to meet the MythBusters, but something tells me that won't happen). I'm flying into SFO tomorrow at 10am (that's when my flight gets in) and I will be on a ferry making my way to Alcatraz at 3:20pm. Can you tell that I'm excited? I love doing crap like this, and I am going to have my super cool camera along with me (and my iPhone.. I'm sure I'll be posting some pictures to the blog from time to time).

So, Blankbaby readers, what else should I do while I am in SF? Oh, and if anyone will be out there let me know and we can meet up (though I doubt anyone in SF reads Blankbaby).

For those curious you can see some pics from my previous trips to the West Coast here, here, and here.


The Ferik wedding


Ain't they cute?
Originally uploaded by blankbaby.
This weekend was the wedding of my dear friend Owen to his lovely bride Jess. Check out all the pictures I took here.

I've known Owen for about 12 years now (has it really been that long?) and while I am pretty sucky about keeping in touch with people Owen has made the effort to say in touch with me (why, we might never know). Now that Thad is in Philly I make it out to Allentown more often for some quality Owen time, which is a good thing indeed.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed the wedding.

Jess and Owen, here's to many years of bliss.

My trip to the National Museum of the Marine Corps


What a handsome man!
Originally uploaded by blankbaby.

Since I am a good son, I went to visit my mother for Easter. Sure, I don't actually celebrate Easter myself but I love my mom and she wanted to see me... so VA bound I was.

I usually try to cajole my mother into doing something while I am there, which is met with varying degrees of success. She works hard, so when she has time off she would rather not go walking around Washington, DC (which is what I often suggest we do). This trip was no different, as I kept saying, 'Let's do something!'

Finally my mom said, 'Well, they did just open that new Marine museum that I wanted to visit.'

I'm a sucker for a museum (the topic really doesn't matter) so off we went to the Marine Museum. I took lots of pictures. As you might expect there was lots of Marine stuff in the museum (shocking, I know) and I do believe lots of the visitors were either currently enlisted Marines or retired Marines.

Now, I'm not the most manly of man at the best of times. Finding myself in a shrine to the kind of of macho man that John Wayne played (though these dudes were actually brave, they weren't play acting) made me feel a little insecure. I mean, I type behind a computer for most of my life, not that brave. However, to make matters worse my mother made me hold her purse in the lobby while she used the bathroom.

A computer geek holding his mommy's purse in the lobby of the Marine Museum... it really sums up my life, don't you think?


I love L.A.

This is the first time I have ever been in L.A., and I am just going to be in the airport for another 30 minutes or so. I can't say that LAX is impressing me.

Anyway, did you know that United Airlines charges $46 to sit in the emergency row? How do I know this? Because I just paid $46 to get my seat in the emergency row, though since that is all I paid for $46 ain't bad to get from L.A. to Philly.


Do I sound like Madonna?

madonnaAt the moment I am still in San Francisco, sitting the hotel lobby using my computer thanks to the wonders of EVDO. I had lots of fun at Macworld this week, and did lots of work as well. One of our goals for this Macworld was to shoot lots of video, and I think we were partially successful. We shot lots of good stuff, but it is taking us a little longer than I would like to get it up on the site (though that is mostly due to a number of technical problems). Anyway, some video is up at TUAW, like this hands on with OWC's ModBook. I had fun doing this video, and I didn't think I was half bad interviewing folks. Leave it to TUAW commenters to crush my dreams:

scott, where are you from??? you've got that quasi british-madonna accent going on. passable job? stay away from cameras and stay in front of your computer. you just went down 10 steps in my book.

This marks the first time I have ever been compared to Madonna, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I don't think I have a 'quasi-british' accent at all, though I do enjoy speaking the Queen's English from time to time. At least I can console myself with the fact that this comment is from the small, but vocal, minority of people who read TUAW and think that everything we do sucks (though why they continue reading is anyone's guess).

Pip pip and all that.


Moleskine City Notebooks

MoleskinecitybookI'm a card carrying member of the cult of the Moleskine notebook. Sure, they are over priced and just a tad pretenious, but then again so am I. It is a match made in heaven.

Imagine my glee when I read about the Moleskine City Notebook. It is billed as 'the first guidebook you write yourself,' and has a number of clever features. They are each city specific and feature a map of the city, zone maps, a bunch of note taking space, tabbed pages, and removable sheets (for handing out your phone number, no doubt). At the moment they are available for a number of European cities including:

  • Amsterdam
  • Berlin
  • Dublin (I so want to go to Dublin)
  • Paris

You get the idea. However, starting in the Spring of 2007 US cities will get their very own Moleskine Citybooks. The US cities are:

  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • New York
  • San Francisco
  • Washington

I have been to each of those cities (expect LA) and they have their charms, but where the heck is Philly? Come on! We have the Liberty Bell, Blankbaby Manor, Independence Hall, and cheese steaks! Surely, the Nation's first Capitol deserves a frickin' City Notebook.


Go to space on the cheap

That's a buttload of Frequent-flyer miles:

Watts has racked up 2 million flyer miles and plans to travel on the world's first commercial tourism flights to space, Virgin Atlantic Airways spokeswoman Katie Francis said.

He will be among the first 1,000 people to travel on a space tourism program in 2009 with Virgin Galactic, an offshoot of British entrepreneur Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic. Flights cost $200,000 (about 100,000 pounds, euro155,000).


My first digital pictures


momponder
Originally uploaded by blankbaby.

The weekend of Sept. 21st, 2001 I had to go to a meeting in Washington, DC. This was when I was still living in NYC, though my Mom had moved to VA. So I thought I would visit my mom and then go to the meeting.

That's what I did, but being in Washington, DC so soon after September 11th was a very surreal experience.

Anyway, here are the pictures I took whilst there, and they are amongst the first digital pictures I have ever taken.


If only I had $8,448 to spare

PolarStarMainImage.jpg

I have found the perfect vacation, though like many things that I desire it probably won't be mine. The good people at International Expeditions have scheduled a British Isles trip which they describe thusly:

Our superb 96-guest expedition vessel, the M/V Polar Star, was designed to navigate remote regions, and provides remarkable luxury along the coastal waters of Britain and Ireland. She is large enough to travel to isolated islands and ports in comfort, yet small enough to enter otherwise inaccessible areas that larger cruise ships can only sail past. Aboard the M/V Polar Star, we’ll experience this region’s remarkable combination of natural and human history that reaches back 6,000 years, all in a casual and enriching environment. Our ship is equipped with a fleet of Zodiac landing craft, allowing you to venture close to nesting sites for gannets and other birds, cruise along the beaches of small islands, and land securely at remote sites so you can explore Neolithic villages and centuries-old monastaries.

Now, that sounds like a vacation that I would enjoy the heck out of. Sadly, it would cost me at least $8,448 if I went by myself, and at least $5,598 if I found someone who wanted to go with me (and at that price I doubt I would have any luck finding a partner, but it would be super cool).

Well, it doesn't depart until May 11th, 2007 so I still have time to not go.