Friday, March 23, 2007

Stranded in Chicago

O'Hare is the worst airport in the country for delays apparently. Our flight was supposed to leave hours ago. Now it looks like we may not get out of Chicago until morning. And that will beif we're lucky... They say their flights are all packed due to spring break and they can't bump other people for us. So no idea when we'll see Tulsa again. :(

At least we have this McDonald's directly across the hallway from our departure gate so we won't go hungry. Or get any sleep (the frier alarms will make sure of that).

Picasa Album Up

Since our flight from Chicago to Tulsa was delayed by a couple of hours, we went ahead and took the time to upload our best photos to Picasa. You can view them at I think the descriptions came through for most of the pictures.

Hold the Friggin Mayo

We're taking the coastal road back south to Belfast before heading inland to pick up one of the big motorways. Just stopped for lunch at - of all places - McDonald's. They have some kind of bacon quarter pounder thing here so you KNOW I have to try it. :) The place is packed with school kids in the middle of the day for some reason - do they take field trips to McDonald's here?

The burger wasn't anything special. They put a crapload of mayonaise on it and the bacon wasn't even irish cut like we've been getting everywhere else. Although this should be obvious, here's a hint for Americans travelling to Ireland - don't eat at McDonald's. :)

I took this picture from a small beach on Carnlough Bay as we were driving back to the south. Here is another picture of the village of Carnlough across the bay from the beach we were on. It started to rain just as we left the beach and as we drove through Carnlough a few moments later, there were tons of people running into the town church for cover. There were cars parked all along the road, blocking the entire right lane. Thankfully, nobody was going the opposite direction on the road while we were driving through!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Whiskey is Distilled Three Times

We decided to drive a bit futher north to Bushmills - home of the world's oldest legal whiskey distillery. Road conditions were bad - lots of wind and snow and sleet - but we made it here and now we're waiting to begin a guided tour of the distillery. I'll have to find out how to get a bottle shipped home.

I took a picture of their "Loo of the Year" award. I think it's serious too (not a joke). It's on my phone at the moment, so I'll post it when I get home.

Here is a picture of me standing next to a particularly large bottle of Bushmills in the bar at the distillery. We got to try a couple of their whiskeys and got a good description of the differences between American bourbon, scotch from Scottland, and Irish whiskey. Ask me sometime if you don't already know. :)
Woke up to more snow and rain. There is a bit of snow accumulating on the ground outside the B&B. Hopefully this will clear some as we head back south later today. I'm also hoping to find some Internet access today. Being completely disconnected from friends and family for this long has been difficult. We may still be unable to place a phone call, but at least I could send some e-mails.

Not sure what's in the plan for today. I'd like to see the north coast a bit more, but we have a long drive to Waterford ahead. Hopefully it won't take too many hours... All this driving is wearing on me.

Here is a picture we took along the road somewhere up north. That's the ocean in the foreground and some snowy mountaintop in the back.

The North Coast

What a beautiful drive. We followed the coast all the way north - through Belfast and up to Cushendall where tonight's bed and breakfast is located. We got snowed and sleeted on a few times, but the sun shone through some as well. We stopped and took some pictures of the snow on the hilltops and of the ocean rolling into the cliffs.

Rather than stop in Cushendall immediately, we continued up the coast to see the Giant's Causeway. The high winds and cold weather made it a chore to walk up the cliffs. Then, at the top there was a sign saying the path was closed due to a rockslide. We may go back in the morning and try to catch the bus back so we can see the stone formations. At least we got some more beautfiul pictures of the ocean...

This picture was taken from atop one of the cliffs near the Giant's Causeway. All of the views on the north shore are this beautiful - if you ever come to Ireland, it's worth the trip to come up north!

Rugby and Guiness

We made our way back to the bed and breakfast to drop off the junk we got at the gift shop then headed into the pub across the street. It was packed with gents watching the rugby 6-nations championship game - Ireland versus France. France won due to a controversial call by the referee in the final seconds. I agree with the irish fans - it was a bad call.

After downing some Guiness, we walked down the street to a restaurant in a hotel and ordered more Guiness. The Guiness is really good here, by the way. I can't figure out why all the pubs have Budweiser on tap, though...

This is a picture of the B&B we stayed in.

The Hill of Tara

We made it out of Dublin and to Kilmessan in County Meath where our bed and breakfast for tonight is located. There, we met Teresa who gave us directions to the Hill of Tara. If you don't know the history of it, it was a very important place for the druids - kings were crowned here, some were buried here, and lots of their ceremonies took place here. More recently, it's famous as the place St. Patrick confronted King Loegaire of the druids. There is a cute little church on the hill with a statue of St. Patrick outside. A fitting place to visit on St. Patrick's day, I think.

They say that from the top of the hill, you can see five Irish counties. It's very foggy and rainy today, but the view is still spectacular. And the sheep they let run free up here are cute. :)

The picture is me standing next to the Lia Fáil (Stone of Destiny). This is where the kings of the druids were crowned on the hill. Some say it's an ancient phallic symbol... I'd have to agree.

Dublin Part 2

After asking many people for directions (apparently it's not just clueless Americans that have trouble driving in Dublin's City Centre), we finally found our hotel. It's a nice place, but kind of pricey (works out to around $200 US per night). The restaurant downstairs was pretty good, but I've had better steak fillet for less in the states.

The picture here is from the streets of Dublin again. You can see Tower Records, McDonalds, and Foot Locker all three in this picture. I didn't expect to see that much American influence over here.

First Day Here

First day here... We're stuck on the taxiway at the airport for 45 minutes waiting for the gate to be freed up. When we go to pick up the rental car, the travel agent has it booked starting TOMORROW instead of today. I guess they expected us to spend the first night in the airport.

Once we got the car thing straightened out, I had to dive in and get the hang of driving on the left side of the road while sitting on the right side of the car, navigating roundabouts, and learning that drivers in Dublin are just as big of assholes as drivers in the states.

Streets are very poorly marked in Dublin. Lots of one way and no right turn, etc. Streets are extremely narrow. Traffic lights are sometimes red and green with an arrow at the same time. It's chaos. Throw in the jet lag and it's a miracle we've survived!

We're stopped at some random coffee shop on some random alley street in Dublin's City Centre and ordered a hot americano. Surprisingly, it tastes a lot like Starbuck's blend (over-roasting included). Good, though.

The picture is from just down the street. It's a real company - check out if you're curious. I think I've seen pictures of this before from someone else that travelled to Europe, so you may have seen it before. I thought it was worthy of a picture in any case.

Ireland Update

Alright, we never bothered to have Cingular set up our phones to work overseas, so we've been completely out of contact up until now - our last night in the country. We've arrived at Castle Dromoland and they have Internet access in the room!

Today and tonight I'll try to get all of the blog entries posted that I wrote over the last week. I'll even throw up some pictures as best I can. Reading back over this crap, I doubt anyone else will care to read it - but maybe the pictures at least will be entertaining...

Thursday, March 15, 2007


Puffy requested a blog from the airport so here I am. This is pretty cool when I think about it but it's also a little lame/geeky. Check In and Security was a breeze, but our departing flight is running late so we'll be here for a while...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ireland Here We Come

We're getting ready to leave for the Ireland trip. Before I leave, I wanted to try sending a blog post from my phone since I haven't done it once since I bought this phone. :) Anyhow, assuming this goes through ok and assuming my phone works in Ireland (or we can get Internet access over there), I will try to post pictures and stuff from the trip here. I'll also try to keep an eye on the comments if you have anything to say back to me. :)

St. Patty's Day in Dublin promises to be a very good time. Will try to keep you updated!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

This Blog Sucks

I think it's about time to rework this site. Any suggestions?

Sunday, September 04, 2005

libnjb.NET and Stuff

First off, I was recently successful in getting libnjb to compile in VC++ 8.0 (beta 2), got my code changes merged into their CVS, and got my name added to their AUTHORS file. Another open source project with my name on it - woo! Anyhow, the real reason this is exciting is that I can now continue with my .NET wrapper library and then, my cool iTunes playlist syncing app for the Nomad Zen Xtra I bought awhile back.

Here is containing my current work. The libnjb.dll requires MSVCR80.DLL and libnjb.NET.dll requires .NET Framework 2.0 beta 2. So, here is a link to dotnetfx.exe which should give you what you need.

Nowhere near everything is available in the .NET DLL yet, but you can do things like read/write the owner string, read the device's used and free space, read the current battery level, read if the battery is currently charging, etc. Documentation for libnjb.dll is available at their site. Here are pre-compiled binaries of their sample programs too. Sorry, no documentation for the .NET DLL yet and no example program (but post a comment here if you're really interested and I'll throw something together).

Oh, did I mention that the wrapper is written in C++/CLI ? Managed C++ sucked. C++/CLI sucks much, much less. I can actually see myself using it for more projects going forward...

And if you're completely uninterested in this, then sorry for wasting your time. But if you know anyone with a Creative Nomad or Dell DJ that also uses iTunes for Windows - let them know about this stuff because I hope to have my sync app completed in time for .NET 2.0's launch in November. :)

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Xbox #2 Networking Delima

So, I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to permanently network Xbox #2. The problem is, it is located in the corner of our living room - on two external walls. Also, the room has a vaulted ceiling, so I can't drop cable from the attic. I think my only two options are 1) Poking a cable in from the outside and 2) Wireless.

I've looked for outdoor-rated CAT-5e or CAT-6 cable and can't find less than a 1000' spool anywhere. That's way more than I need and is definitely cost-prohibitive. Also, I'd have to drill a hole through the brick on the outside of the house to get the cable inside. :(

I see the MN-740 (Microsoft's 802.11g adapter for the Xbox) on EBay for $54 buy-it-now price. I'm just a bit concerned about how well XBMC will stream XviD, MP3, etc over a wireless connection. Especially considering that the wireless router is in the exact opposite corner of the house from Xbox #2 - it's probably near the limit of the router's range.

So, there is my delima. Presently, I have a super long-ass network cable running from the switch in the den to the Xbox in the living room. This allows XBMC on Xbox #2 to access network shares and play system link games with Xbox #1, but it obviously needs to be a very temporary solution. :)

Please, if you have any suggestions for me... I'm listening!