Saturday, May 13, 2006

Getting hooked on Orcas..

This weekend, I was up on Orcas with Lynn and our friends John and Cait (my two travel buddies - see my post on Work Travel). The weekend was great deal of fun - good hiking, lots of good times cooking and relaxing, etc.

Our place on Orcas is our home away from home - it's comfortable, has all the mod cons (including internet) and is great for getting away from it all. Lynn has been working on finishing off the place and usually has a project or two up her sleeve. The recent project was to complete a storage system for the spare bedroom - the missing piece were some nice handmade hooks for hanging stuff on the walls. We'd scoped out a supplier last summer but had problems tracking him down. Well, this was the weekend where we finally found Zak (the blacksmith) in his smithy and got the hooks we needed :-)

The visit to the smithey was very cool - not only did we accomplish the mission to get the hooks, Zak made them for us while we were there! How cool is that? Lynn even assisted in the final production so we can at least make claim that we made some of the hooks ourselves. Ok, perhaps stretching the truth somewhat :-)

What's even funnier is that the steel used to make the hooks comes from the bolts in an old cable spool (the 5' diameter wooden kind). We had such a spool by our camp fire pit at the house on Orcas. The spool doubled as a table and occasionally a dance platform for some of our wilder summer parties. It's great to see just how creative people are at re-using materials which we typically consider waste or junk. In this case, the wood was used as firewood and the bolts turned into beautiful hand made wall hooks.

Heating the hooks

Drawing out the eye

Shaping and bending

The nice part of the weekend is that Orcas continues to be a place of discovery for me. I've been going to the island for over 10 years. Each visit is always special and I always leave more relaxed than when I came.

Free wireless weekends from T-mobile...

Supposedly T-Mobile is offering free weekend wifi access on it's local hotspots. Offer is good through May 28th

Now, if only I'd discovered this deal before paying my $9.99 for access :-(

Step 1
Go to any of our 6,500 T-Mobile HotSpot locations on the weekend and launch your Web browser.

Step 2
Visit and enter your T-Mobile phone number.

Step 3
Within moments you'll receive a free text message on your T-Mobile Phone with a pass code. Enter the pass code and you'll be surfing for free!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Jamie Oliver watch out...

Ever seen the Naked Chef? It's a cooking show by a brit called Jamie Oliver. He's really taken the cooking world by storm with his practical recipes and cooking style. Yesterday I was over at my friend Eddie's house for a pseudo house warming/BBQ. CIMG0019.JPG The food was awesome with a tasting menu planned by my friend Ben.

As part of my gadget collection for the upcoming Africa trip, I'd purchased a Casio EX-Z850 - a super small and light pocket camera capable of recording 480p (640x480) quality video. We took a little movie of our cooking exploits - Ben making pan fried seared salmon with a garlic, herb, parsley cream sauce. Yum!

Go grab a bucket of popcorn, sit back and enjoy the show.

Monday, May 01, 2006

The next big thing...

Have you ever starting something small, only to find it takes a mind of it's own and grows in leaps and bounds? Perhaps it's been your last car purchase or a computer purchase or something like that. You go with a budget/limit in mind and then before you know it, you've left the store with the thing you "have to have" - money no object. That was my experience - well sort of when it came to planning my next big trip. Intrigued? Read on...

Every year Lynn and I go to something called the Tux 'n' Tails auction - it's an auction which raises money for our local pet shelter. Each year we've gone, there's always been a safari trip to South Africa which looks really cool. This time we went for it and found ourselves signed up (sight unseen) for a one week safari trip to South Africa (with our friends too!).

As part of planning the trip, we decided that we had to arrive on the safari all fresh and rested (it's a 17+ hr flight from Seattle). This involved various discussion on traveling "economy plus" with a stop over in London or France. world-map-with-our-stops.jpg BA really sticks it to you for airfare so it wasn't long before we were pricing out "around the world" biz class fares. For a little more (ok, in this price range, a little == $1500/ea), we were able to get tickets in business class from Seattle around the globe and back again. See how this started as a "budget 1 week trip" and bloomed into an RTW traveling adventure? Oh, and I didn't mention the camera gear and goodies to ensure the "perfect moment won't be forgotten" :-)

Anyway, we're getting pretty excited now.... we leave on May 11th and will be visiting France (Normandy for mountain biking), UAE (Dubai), South Africa (Safari), Malaysia (Tioman island), Singapore, and Japan (Tokyo) before hitting the home leg back to Seattle. Sweet!

Anyway, we're planning on "blogging our way" around the world so stay tuned... : , , , , ,