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Archive for July, 2007

More waiting before getting a flat

July 31, 2007 Leave a comment

This afternoon Lorie and I signed a variety of paperwork before we can exchange, close, swap keys, and whatever else happens before we can move to a flat we are trying to purchase. It’s a very long and complex process compared to the US where most people go to a shopping mall and select a house from a variety of home stores – sometimes they are even shrink wrapped, which is always nice. OK, I’m just having fun with those of you reading this that have not purchased a house in the US, but I have to admit that the process here in the UK is a bit complex, but that’s probably because the laws, contracts, and split/shared dwellings have been evolving for a hundred years or more into the mess that they are today. Hopefully we will know more within a week though!

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Red Bull Air Race in London

July 29, 2007 Leave a comment

Flying out of the squareI had never even heard of the Red Bull Air Race before and since it doesn’t go to the same city each year, I figured I should check it out. For those that don’t know, it is an obstacle course for small planes to fly through and the pilot with the quickest time through the course wins. A few interesting stats:

1. The pilots can hit up to 10Gs on the corners at the ends of the course and can fly up to 400kph (almost 250mph)
2. The planes are built for racing and often have little modifications to make them quicker to turn and to go faster. Apparently this often makes them a bit unstable, but helps win the race if the pilot can handle the plane.
3. The planes have glass at the pilots feet, including the cockpit top, so the pilot can see in front, to the side, and below them. 
4. The pilot knows to hit the course when the announcer says "smoke on": the pilot then turns their smoke trail on so we can see their trail through the course.  
5. Red Bull invented the race and the "cones" for the planes to maneuver around. These things can get hit by a plane, tear apart, and the plane won’t crash. A pilot can hit one without receiving a penalty (I saw that happen), but if they pop the cone (or shred it), then they get time added to their overall time.  
6. You have to fly through some cones horizontal, others perpendicular (one wing towards the sky, one towards the river), and others you just have to fly around like when on a water ski course.
7. The youngest pilot is 39 years old…. so there is hope for me yet, if I ever get a pilot’s license. smile_regular 

Click on the photo to see more photos I took, in addition to the video below.

No Flooding in London (at least not in Fulham & Putney)

July 27, 2007 Leave a comment

A few people have asked if we are seeing flooding in London like other parts of England. Even though I haven’t seen anything at our house or on the way to Victoria, I wasn’t sure what the Thames was doing. So today I waited until it was at high tide at around 1pm and took Milo for a walk, but the river looked normal as you can see here, which is what it always looks like at high tide (that’s a view of the rowing clubs in Putney, taken from Bishops Park). Of course, last Friday I was in Florida so I missed the excitement in south London and because of it, our friend Megan missed seeing the Rolling Stones in Budapest since Heathrow was a mess. That’s the worst personal tragedy I’ve heard of regarding the flood!  

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Cheryl Crow in Concert

July 22, 2007 Leave a comment
I saw Cheryl Crow at Universal Studios tonjight and she was great, but our crowd of Microsoftees was dull. She is quite the cutie (sory Lorie) and she did put on a good show, but I’m not sure how many non-US people knew of her. After the show, I saw the Shreck 3D "show/ride" with the guys from Denmark after we unfortunatly lost track of the guys from Sweden.

Conductor of the Boston Philharmonic

July 21, 2007 Leave a comment
I just got out of a meeting for all the sales and marketing people in Western Europe where the only presenter was Benjamin Zander, who is the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic. He is an entertaining and inspiring guy, which is why I suppose he does motivational speaking in addition to being a conductor and music teacher. When he teaches a class, he starts out by giving everyone an A (the top grade for those who didn’t grow up with A,B,C,D and F) so they can focus on learning instead of trying to get the best score. He had all 1200 of us sing happy birthday to a woman who’s birthday is today…. I’m sure she won’t forget that. He also had us sing Beethoven’s 9th symphony, or at least a couple versus of it… in German. Everyone who attended got a copy of his book: The art of possibility, which looks like it has some good tips on leading an inspirational life.

Party at the House of Blues

July 21, 2007 Leave a comment
Last night I went to a Microsoft party in "Downtown Disney" in Disney World where we are staying. The party was at the House of Blues and was closed to the public, so it was all Microsoft people in the club. The warm-up band played songs by AC/DC, Ozzy, and Guns & Roses and did a good job with all of them. I ran into their lead singer later in the evening and he seemed very happy when I told him I thought they did a great job. It was funny to see this big rocker/tough guy smile and shake my hand and thank me for telling him that. Smile 
After a while, I ran into Shish who used to work with/for me a couple of years ago, so it was fun to catch up with him during the beak and as the main band played. It seems that not too many people outside of the US knows them, but the band is called LIVE and they put on a great show. Lorie is more of a fan than me, so I’m sure she will be jealous that I got to see them, and in a small club too.      

Dogs on the farm

July 15, 2007 1 comment

On Saturday, we went to a party at Alex’s farm in Chearsley. There was good wine, food, music, we met lots of new people, and it was the furthest West of London we’ve been yet. The dogs had a good time too, as you can tell by Milo’s smile.  

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