BootsnAll Travel Network



An hour in utopia…

April 18th, 2007

I went to Utopia. Have a look.

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=1970&l=c1014&id=502681766

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My Ireland trip – photos

March 29th, 2007

I am only now getting around to posting up some photos of my trip to Ireland with Jane last summer.  Still…better than late than never methinks…

 

Mai, John, Jane & me (& Froggy the rubbish bin) 

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The “Titanic” was built here in the Belfast shipyard

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Unionist murals…

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And Nationalist ones…

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And some that just dont ike George Bush…

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My time at Soltane – a short photo retrospective…

March 29th, 2007

Bell Choir

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Singing  choir

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Up close & personal with Philomina…

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 Hanging out after the Christmas Concert

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A touch of tap 

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Frying “latkes” for Chanukah

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Soltane Sunset

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Sonia’s castle

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Courtney Coolio

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Fun in Astronomy class

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Farewell dinner – Bucky & Bruce

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A bag of air…

February 25th, 2007

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I got a box in the post yesterday that contained a replacement wireless card… and a bag of air.  (I had only asked for the card which, incidentally, is as useless as its predecessor), but I was delighted to receive the air.  It is the first time I’ve ever got any air in a bag, and it made me very happy.

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Kicking it with the Kixx

December 10th, 2006

When a ticket to a sports match includes a free hotdog, you know you’re gonna have a good time.  When it also includes a calendar featuring the home teams’ dancers in their lingerie, you know it will be an experience to remember…

The Camphill Soltane Soccer team were celebrating the end of our season with a Saturday night outing to see  Philadelphia’s indoor soccer team, the ”Kixx”, take on the mighty Chicago “Storm”

DSCN1044.jpg The aforementioned dancers got the proceedings off to a flying start with some smooth moves in the centre circle.

Then it was time for the match itself, and for a Brit like me who grew up on a steady diet of regular soccer, this was a whole other sport to get to grips with.  Two or three points for a goal, six players to a side with rolling subs (this means continually on and off during play, rather than doing backflips onto the pitch), Two referee’s on the field, and the game divided into four 15 minute “quarters” which were split yet more by teams taking “time-outs”.   

DSCN1072.jpgMy favourite player was the Kixx forward “Boney”, seen here at the bottom centre of the picture.  I couldn’t decide if he and “Fabinho”  were using pseudonyms or if their parents just had active imgainations, but they were entertaining to watch regradless.

The thing that got me about the whole event though, was the extent to which the football was almost subservient to the incessant marketing, advertising, and all-round corporate lovefest.  Before the game began, we were introduced over the loudspeaker to Mike, the “Man in the Stands”.  I guess I always assumed that watching live professional sports in America allowed you to be free of the commericial bullshit that interrupts every time someone drops a ball when you’re watching the T.V.  In fact, it’s actually worse - they dont even wait for the dude to drop the ball!  Mike was promoting spa’s, chicken fillets, and aquatic tours of the Kalahari Desert, over the loudspeaker, whilst the match was actually in progress!  And just in case you thought you could escape the irritating git’s voice by looking at the scoreboard, they scrolled the ads across there too simultaneously!

DSCN1070.jpgHere is our pal Mike, giving two lucky young boys the chance to sing a jingle for the local “friendly Nissan giant”. The crowd also got to partake in the “Kixx frisbee toss”, the “Wachovia t-shirt launch”, and hear soccer referred to as “The game, the lifestyle, the brand” repeatedly.  The t-shirt launch was the only time when the majority of the crowd actually got out of their seats and showed some excitement, apart from the rare times when the scoreboard encouraged them by flashing up messages of “Go Kixx” and “I can’t hear you!”  Us Soltaners managed to summon up a little more spirit though, as you can see below..

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To be fair to the crowd though, they weren’t even given the opportunity to make much noise:  Various songs were played on the loudspeaker for most of the match.  Except some pillock from some inane focus group had determined that people only want to listen to 45 seconds of any one song.  So just as you started singing along, they’d stick something else on, or good old Mike would chip in with an ad for that penguin collision insurance you never knew you needed.

Having said all that, the game itself was a lot of fun to watch, as you can see from the engrossed look on Jeffrey’s face. 

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It’s very fast paced, and there’s opportunity for some silky skills, including ones that involve bouncing the football against the wall.  I also managed to bring my total tally of hotdogs that day up to 4.  I contemplated a 5th, but decided that a slice of pizza would prevent them dogs in my stomach from feeling victimised.

So, all in all a really nice night out with the soccer crew. And i did get to meet Baba the (blurry) clown.

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But I can’t believe that American sports spectators put up with all the utter shite that seems to be part and parcel of the whole event.  In my opinion you should not have to have your ears (and those of your children) subjected to adverts when you’ve paid your had earned money to watch a sports match.  Perhaps that’s why the place was 3/4 empty…

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Chicago Storm 10 – Philadelphia Kixx 4.

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Pride

November 8th, 2006

Although this blog is not a place where I generally comment on politics or current affairs, I have decided to make an exception to discuss my thoughts about the Gay Pride march in Jerusalem, due to take place this Friday.

I recently returned from Jerusalem, where I had the pleasure of eating dinner with some old friends and having a passionate discussion on this very issue.  They all believed that the gay community should respect people’s religious sensibilities and hold the march in Tel Aviv instead.  This is a position with which I fundamentally disagree.  I do not accept that a proud, gay, Jerusalemite should have to go to another city in order to be able to publicly celebrate their identity. Israeli’s are fond of saying that they live in the “only democracy in the Middle East”.  This is a good opportunity to substantiate that assertion.  Jerusalem may be a holy city to 3 large religions, and billions of their followers around the world.  But it also happens to be the capital city of a pluralistic state, and home to a diverse range of people.  Ironically, some of these people who can’t or wont find common ground on practically any other issue, have come together to condemn what they term an “abomination”.   Almost every night for the last week, religious neighbourhoods have come to a standstill as young men burn tires and throw stones at the police.  Their grievance, as it happens, extends to men & women sitting together on buses, some of which have been stoned too.  Echoes of Alabama.  Now it appears that some of the more extreme elements of the Orthodox Hassidic Jews have decided to issue a “curse” on the marchers.  That homosexuals were persecuted by the Nazis and sent to the crematoria of Auschwitz alongside the Jews, seems to have been lost on these truly vile and reprehensible people.Many Orthodox Jews, Christians, & Muslims yearn for a day when (their respective version of) Biblical law is the law of the land in which they live.  They can continue to yearn for all I care.  Right now, Israel is a liberal democracy, and minority groups such as homosexuals should be protected and supported against the hate filled vitriol which is apparently inspired by a “loving” god.  One of the most insidious arguments against the gay pride march by the coalition of haters that has assembled, is that it will need a huge police presence to protect it, and that these police officers will be diverted from important duties.  It is their threatened violence that creates this need!  Indeed, at the last gay pride march, 3 marchers were stabbed.  The Rabbi’s and Imams should use their influence to stand their followers down.  And perhaps their unity on this issue could be put to better use dealing with some of the more pressing problems in the region.If I were in Jerusalem this Friday, I would be marching in solidarity.  Life is too short to let ones pride be dented by hate.

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The fog blog…

November 7th, 2006

There is a particular strain of panic that I get when I wake up in an airport and think I’ve missed my flight.  I might well have slept all morning if a “last call” announcement hadn’t jolted me from my snug position on the floor and sent me rushing over to the departure gate, my sleeping mask dangling precariously from my face.  Of course, the call was for some other person, some other place as my flight was, of course, late.  Walking back to my little patch of floor I noticed a woman smiling at my momentary fear.  I must have looked a right old state.  

The Airline staff reawakened me a while later. It was time to leave Israel…

My trip had been short, but packed full of interest:  My cousin Daniel reciting his Bar Mitzvah portion in the synagogue; Driving through the Judean hills with Daniel & his father Malcolm in what can only be described as a glorified golf cart.  Gazelle’s ran about as we followed a route that was apparently walked by Abraham; Malcolm decapitating a baby viper…

As the plane finally took off for London, from where I would connect to a New York – bound flight, I reflected on the reason for the delay:  Fog.  Now, fog is one of those weather conditions that doesn’t get a lot of attention.  Unlike it’s more frequent cousins, rain & sun, and the rarer but sensationally glamorous snow, it tends to get overlooked.  But it’s not as if it’s a new thing for the (Great) Briton’s to deal with.  Surely a touch of the cloudy stuff shouldn’t be able to bring the busiest international airport on the planet grinding to a shuddering halt.  Should it?

* * *

Another strange fog factoid is its odd abilities to permeate people’s brains.  Upon landing at Heathrow threw a suspiciously fog-less sky, I saw that I had just enough time to make my connecting flight if the plane went straight to it’s parking space.  But no.  The powers that be decided to make us sit on the tarmac for 45 minutes as plane after plane after plane took off in front of us, before giving the captain permission to spend about 4 seconds crossing another bloody runway!  Why delay an already late aeroplane by 45 minutes rather than a prompt one by 4 seconds? 

The connection’s area was full of people who having arrived in Britain, were anxiously trying to arrange passage out again as soon as possible.  However, even a brief time on that strange island can do funny things to people’s behaviour, as I observed from the way in which the gaggle of people tried to form a queue, a classic British pastime. The group behind me from Chicago were particularly eagle-eyed about locating those people who might be jumping the line.

“Hey you in the leather jacket, get to the back.  Hey!  That guy in the leather jacket has jumped the line!”

“Isn’t that his family there?”

“No.  He’s a queue jumper.  Oy! QUEUE JUMPER!!!”

Not that it mattered.  I’ve seen queue’s go faster in a snails dole office.  2 hours and 12 feet later, the airline staff gave everybody free water.  I guess they had to consider dehydration first, but I would have preferred a fillet steak and a pint of Grolsch.  Then, as if by a miracle, a group of us were pulled out of the line, sent through immigration, down to departures and Bob’s your uncle I was booked onto another flight, a mere 5 hours later than it should have been.  Some of the group even got the privilige of having UK stamps in their passports.  Life does have its little compensations…

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Halloween photo’s.

November 1st, 2006

Pictures from last night’s party… 

The Nantmel farm crew pre-party.

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Sean the baker man getting down..

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The Bearded Lady

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Bride & Groom

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SpiderMylan

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Who says long hair can’t be recycled in innovative ways?

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Love bug drinks Root beer

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Dorothy from Kansas

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He wanted to top his Jesus costume of last year…an unqualified success for Mr 1/2 & 1/2

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Meeeooooooooowww!!!

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You don’t wanna mess with Kristina

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Ted gets mummified

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Sonia the witch

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Annie the angel

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John the wench

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Kevin had some trouble slicing his pumpkin pie with those digits..

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Esteban Fecht

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Ho – Ho – Ho!

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Benedictine Bucky

October 30th, 2006

This was just too good to not post….

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“With an alcohol content of 15% per 750ml bottle, Mr Kerr said the drink – known as Buckie – was “seriously bad”.

“The prevalence of the drink in the so-called Buckfast Triangle….”

 

full story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/6095474.stm

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Soltane photos

October 17th, 2006

As usual, my camera has been sitting waiting for batteries like Monkeys wait for bananas for far too long.  My friend Tina has kindly lent me some of her photo’s of our household & community out here in Pennsylvania.

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This is my lego spaceship – the “Buck 2″. 

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Annie & Bruce in the car

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Rachel, Annie & Pam on a day out in Philadelphia

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Tina & Brian

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Celebrating my birthday with Benjamin & Sonia

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Down the pub with Joe, John & Mia

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Special Olympic Bowling is always a weekend highlight!

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Sabine & Bruce on a weekend trip to some local rocks.  The rocks rocked.

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