Saturday, March 22, 2008

Searching for Signs of Spring: A Peep Adventure

Like a Peep on a wire. The Peeps return to New England.

Mountains of dirty snow begin to melt. On nice days, the Peeps can motor with the top down as they look for signs of spring.

Enormous potholes open up in the roads. The Peeps nearly drove into this one. Thank goodness they always brake for dinos.

The fields flood, and mud is everywhere. That's why we call it Mud Season. The Peeps decided it's better to travel by boat than by car.

At last, the Peeps and their friend Mr. Fez find a cheery sign of spring. When the crocuses emerge, spring can't be far away!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I Heart the Internets

How did I ever manage before the internets, especially Web2.0? My social life -- minimal though it still is -- would have been nonexistent. I would have spent hours in the local libraries, or a fortune on books. Instead, all my needs are met while sitting in my study wearing my jammies or slacking off at work. I still think that LiveJournal and MySpace are useless wastes of bandwidth, but I've softened my tone on social networking considerably. Here's what I've been up to lately, particularly stuff related to planning the April trip to the UK:

  • Put info about my mini-meetup to volunteer at Southbank Mosaics (see previous post) on Upcoming. I've now got three other Flickr mates who will be joining me, and a couple of maybes.
  • While I was noodling around Upcoming, I learned about a Flickr meetup at Borough Market on the Saturday when I'm there. I'm watching that event.
  • On Ravelry, I read a while back about a yarn shop called I Knit -- it's the UK’s only yarn store with a licensed bar and late night knitting 5 nights a week. When I first read about the shop, it was located in the uncharted territory of South London somewhere. I just found out that they've recently moved to Lower Marsh Street, Waterloo, which I already have on my itinerary as there are several funky vintage stores there. I need to buy some metric size needles that aren't available in the US.
  • Used the 24 Hour Museum and London is Free sites to find out about exhibits and other things going on while I'm there.
  • Added Londonist and Diamond Geezer to my blogroll on Bloglines. I read them every day to find out about events, restaurants, politics, crime, etc.
  • Put a seed in the brains of other members of the Guess Where London group on Flickr to schedule an all-GWL pub meet while I'm in town. Someone else in the group has found a venue and the discussion thread is full of people's replies that they're coming (and, sadly, several who will be out of town).
  • Researched potential destinations for a daytrip with two of my Flickr mates who I met last fall. They're letting me choose where we'll go -- I'm thinking of Kent, to the seaside in Whitstable if it's nice weather or to Canterbury if it's not.
  • Listened to podcasts on London Walks and followed the routes on Google Earth or aboutmyplace. I've taken notes on a couple of walks that I might do (Wapping, Islington, Chelsea and Clerkenwell). It would be really dangerous for me to walk around London with my mp3 player plugged into my ears. I already have too much of a tendency to walk into traffic. I also joined the London Walks group on Facebook so I can keep up with new info.
  • Speaking of maps, I installed the Minimap Sidebar extension for Firefox. It's really useful because it lets you open a sidebar to find a location in Google Maps without leaving the webpage you're on.
  • Started a Flickr group for London Reflections. I'll try to concentrate on taking reflection shots for the pool, along with all the hundreds of other photo ops that are out there.
  • Used Google Documents for my spreadsheet of all the places I want to go, sorted by day to make an itinerary, with address, URL, nearest tube station or bus route, hours and other info.
  • Imported my events from Upcoming into my Google Calendar.
  • Used Google Notebook to clip things I found on the web for future reference.
  • Checked rail schedules and fares on the National Rail website.
One disappointment is that Transport for London won't let you top up your Oyster card from outside the UK. It would be so much easier if I could transfer money to my card before I leave home. I've used the Journey Planner a lot, however.

If any of my three or four faithful readers finds this stuff useful, please friend me on whatever social networking sites we both use. I need all the friends I can get.