London Desktop Backgrounds, Series 1

This is the first in a series of desktop backgrounds I'll post from our trip to London. I've sized them to 1920×1200, perfect for wide screen monitors. Hope you enjoy them!


This is from underneath the London Eye moments before we got on for our “flight.” It's such an elegant piece of machinery, effortlessly and silently turning all day.


We snapped this shot from the London Eye near the top. This shot looks east, Houses of Parlaiment and the clock tower (Big Ben) can be seen in the middle with the River Thames at the bottom. It's a bit foggy and gray, but I think that's part of the character of London.

The Plant Oxford Tour: Building the MINI Cooper

We planned ahead to make a day trip of traveling to Oxford and visiting BMW Group's Plant Oxford, home of the final assembly of the MINI Cooper and it's variations.


At the start of the tour, you're asked to put on a “lab coat” and safety glasses before you can go inside. We later found out that it was for real protection as we'd be a few feet away from the robots and machinery that moves and welds the body panels together for the car. Sparks did fly!


In the welcome area, there are a couple original Mini's. That's a picture of me next to them so you can get a sense of scale of the original one. (Curious to know how much bigger the new MINI is? See here.)


Also featured was one of the MINI's from The Italian Job. (See inside this car for something unusual, two steering wheels!)


Although we weren't allowed to take pictures during the tour, I've found a web site where someone was obviously allowed to do just that (ok, they're press shots). Take a look at what goes into making the MINI Cooper.

Link.

On the topic of unfriendly Londonesque WiFi


As you are aware, there were no updates on the site for the trip. D'oh. Things didn't go quite as planned on the WiFi side of things.

The hotel claimed to have WiFi enabled in all the rooms. What they forgot to mention was how much they charged for said WiFi. I was naive enough to believe it was free, gratis with the room. Bzzt. The scenario was they farmed the in room internet access out to a company called Swisscom who would gladly charge us

Today is the day!

Today is the first day of the start of our trip to London. Actually, we won't be there until tomorrow morning but we're still excited. Stay tunned, I hope to make an entry a day about the trip studded with a few pictures along the way.

Cheers!

The proof is in the pudding– MINI Cooper S MPG report

On a recent trip to the beach (May 2007) I tried my hand at some hypermiling on the way back. Below are the gauge readouts of the trip computer. I maintained an average speed of 55 mph on Rt 113/Rt 1 and then 65 mpg on Rt 1 on the toll sections. Although every single person passed me (whatever, what's the rush) I believe I pulled off some impressive numbers. Average speed was 53.8 (odd, but I guess it also factors in stop light time) and average consumption was 37.9 MPG. To the beach in just over 2.5 gallons. See images below.

Link to a site about hypermiling.

PhillyMINI Cabin Fever Rally III

I participated in the PhillyMINI Cabin Fever Rally this past Saturday, March 24, 2007. We started just North of Otto's and took a very nice scenic route through some wonderful back roads of PA and DE. Along the way, we stopped at QVC for a tour of their studios (thanks to Dana for the free tour passes!) and at the Brandywine Nature Center. The route also included crossing two covered bridges. We capped the trip off with a lunch at Bugaboo Creek Steak House.

Doug did a great job of navigating the route for us and planning the event. Wave hi to him in his British racing green Cooper with the DE state flag on the top.

Link to my Flickr set.
Link to Tom Ross' set and his movies.

More from the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Here are some more photos taken at the Monterey Bay Aquarium on our recent visit to California.

The lovable sea otters; playful like dogs and they eat on their backs.

The kelp forest tank, which gently sways back and forth to simulate the wave action.

The octopus; visitors are asked not to flash the octopus so this made for a tricky shot. I steadied the camera with my hands on the lens and the glass of the tank and took several shots.

Two sea annemones, spectacular coloring.


Perhaps the most dazzling exhibit in the whole aquarium, the jelly fish tanks. Although I'm not certain, I think they are illuminated with UV or black lights as there was a tank where you could press a button to see what they look like in their natural environment (i.e. turn off the light).

The sunfish. Located in the outer bay tank, the sunfish is very large, slow moving and totally cool. It was being fed while we were there.

Outside of the aquarium, “Cannery Row” in Monterey once famous for sardines.