It is not too late to recap 2005, is it? As Akshay reminded me, I have had a little more time in this year than most. Starting January 1st, 2005 in Pune, India and now ending December 31st in Atlanta, Georgia - I have had almost ten extra hours of 2005!
Here, then, are some of my favorite blog entries from 2005. I have added little ***'s next to my super favorite posts.
By the way, I got a total of 82 Wendy's cups! May you have a happy and productive 2006. ~Nick Gray
Greetings from a short holiday break in lovely Helen, Georgia. Thanks to my mother's keen travel research (and some lucky over-booking upgrades at the front desk), our small family of four is currently enjoying a HUGE log cabin lodge at Smithgall Woods in the Blueridge Mountains of North Georgia. This short retreat gives everybody ample time to enjoy our Christmas presents of books and DVDs. Our cabin is so rural that the computer has dial-up internet and Windows 95!
The cabin is entirely constructed of massive log pillars, with a grand room ceiling that peaks around twenty feet. Compare this to our usual holiday cabin fare of barren shelters that rarely have working electricity. A few of the notables:
More information about this Georgia State Park and Lodge at www.smithgallwoods.com The name of our particular cabin is Smithgall Lodge. Great for corporate retreats or multi-family getaways.
Attention North America residents!! Through 12/31/2005, you can get a free round-trip airplane ticket from AirTran Airways with 64 proofs of purchase from any medium- or large-sized Wendy's drink cup.
The arbitrage opportunity here is that one medium drink = $.99, so you can get a round-trip ticket airline ticket for only $64! AirTran flies to a lot of places (interactive route map); complete details of the Wendy's promotion can be found here. This deal works best for Atlanta residents, since their hub is here and we get direct flights.
If I were to tell you that someone I know *cough cough* dove through the local Wendy's dumpster and retrieved 25 shiny drink cupons in less than 10 minutes - well, you get the picture! 64 of these drink cupons recently sold on eBay for $52. I gave the cupons to a special someone as a Christmas stocking present, and she was absolutely thrilled. My hands didn't even get dirty, because Wendy's uses clear plastic trash bags.
But I digress - for less than $64, you can get a round-trip airline ticket from Atlanta to San Francisco, or wherever else AirTran flies. Act now!
Jess James is a new breed of internet reality super-star. Her developing Vimeo fan base watches every glad-wrapping and pool-jumping video clip with awe. Even monologues like Service Station and That Darn Pucca Alarm attract thousands of viewers. Who exactly is this cute Australian with the funky accent?
Nick Gray WFU: alright, I am going to ask you some questions, first question, do you live in Sydney?
Jess Jams 09: yes I do
Nick Gray WFU: how did you find out about Vimeo?
Jess Jams 09: weird story actually
Jess Jams 09: Becky, who also has a vimeo account, looked up 'moustache' on google images, and found a picture of Zach with a moustache drawn on his face, and it was linked to Vimeo.
Nick Gray WFU: get out, Zach will appreciate that
Nick Gray WFU: so, you girls have taken well to making video clips and uploading them on-line. why are you so good at computers?
Jess Jams 09: I'm probably the biggest computer nerd of the group
Jess Jams 09: I taught myself most of the stuff i know a while ago
Jess Jams 09: most of my friends get me to fix their computers when they stuff up, and i actually get paid to do it at home
Jess Jams 09: one reason i love vimeo is because i love doing media types of things on the computer, yet video editing doesn't require me to draw which is a good thing because im really bad at it
Nick Gray WFU: you mentioned that you are the biggest computer nerd of the group - who is "the group" ?
Jess Jams 09: haha me, becky george, aka becgeez, tina aka tinamosh
Jess Jams 09: phil or okamasa is in on it too, but not as much
Nick Gray WFU: I saw that Becky lamented the fact on her Flickr account that thousands of random people watched the clip of y'all jumping into the pool. How do you feel about that?
Nick Gray WFU: Is it creepy or cool?
Jess Jams 09: pretty proud in a way that people are actually taking an interest in our videos, but a bit creeped out thinking about how half those people are old men. if its hot guys watching then thats a good thing too!
Nick Gray WFU: very funny
Nick Gray WFU: aren't you too young to be drinking and dating?
Jess Jams 09: nope! i can drink legally in less than a year anyway
Nick Gray WFU: do your parents ever get on Vimeo?
Jess Jams 09: my parents watch all my videos and stuff, but dont actually have accounts themselves
Nick Gray WFU: I liked your Merry Christmas clip, great idea
Jess Jams 09: yeah becky just decided to walk around the shopping centre asking people to say merry christmas to the camera. we were surprised at how many people actually did it
Nick Gray WFU: besides doing internet stuff and homework, what do you girls do for fun?
Jess Jams 09: We're not like most of the girls in my year at school. As much as we like going to parties and drinking, we'd much rather go to each other's houses and muck around and make idiots of ourselves. Whenever we have parties and stuff, there is always a really embarrassing dress up theme
Nick Gray WFU: OK, last question because I have to go to breakfast now -- why do you think people like watching your video clips online?
Jess Jams 09: hmm....well i'm sure things like watching people in glad wrap is a pretty interesting thing to see
Jess Jams 09: i know some people watch them because i'm australian and they are fascinated by my accent
Jess Jams 09: but i mean, we are an interesting bunch of girls. After watching one video, people probably come back to see what we get up to in our more recent ones
Nick Gray WFU: I think you're right.
Jess Jams 09: are you in a rush to have breakfast? theres one more vimeo scandal that you probably dont know about
Nick Gray WFU: well, yes, I am in a rush
Jess Jams 09: i'll tell you next time i speak to you
Nick Gray WFU: ok, bye Jess James
Jess Jams 09: cya bye xx
Stay tuned for part two of this developing interview. Watch out, Avril!
I saw the movie "Munich" last night - it was very entertaining. I would definitely see it again. This morning my friend Greg and I had a big steak & eggs breakfast at IHOP, 8:00am. Then we juggled for literally an hour in the parking lot. I am getting better at juggling three clubs, but I can't keep them up consistently for more than a dozen throws. I tried juggling two clubs and one ball - it is actually easier than one might imagine. Now I am headed up to Sawnee Mountain for a quick jog, then it is present wrapping and house cleaning time! Merry Christmas.
How I Got Excused from Jury Duty (a DUI case)
The best advice I heard about avoiding jury duty was to give the answers that you know the prosecutor or defending attorney is looking for. Can you be impartial to this case? No, I made up my mind ten minutes ago.
In our case, which was an underage DUI, things were complicated for the defense. Four out of the fourteen prospective jurors had previous DUIs. Three potential jurors had close family members (a sister, a grandmother and a grandfather) killed by drunk drivers. And quite a few people morally objected to drinking. Nearly everybody KNEW someone who had gotten a DUI. I even went to high school with the deputy officer that arrested the accused drunk driver.
The defense has a disadvanage in all cases, and I think they always get to strike more potential jurors than the prosecutor. Since everybody seemed to have some sort of negative history with alcohol in our group of potential jurors, I decided to paint a picture of a carefree peer who could sympathize with the accused. Surely the prosecutor would add me to his strike list!
I was promptly excused. Still, the process of jury selection for a misdemeanor consumed almost seven full hours! Make sure that you bring a book.
Update 1 - I almost forgot. Before the selection process began, we had to watch a short video produced by the State of Georgia explaining the concepts and terms of jury duty. The video, the judge and even the bailiff went out of their way to apologize for the seeming inconvenience of jury duty to our budy American lives - but it has its important historical and social roots.
One funny segment of the video showed a few warnings... Do not talk to the press, Do not make phone calls from the jury room, and my favorite- Do not investigate on your own. This last scene showed an elderly woman approaching a door with big, yellow "Crime Scene" tape and trying to open the door. I couldn't stop laughing!
I got a Grip Master from our sales honcho Jay yesterday. It helps increase forearm strength, which is great if I ever decide to become a serious rock climber (!!).
Here are some words of wisdom on health from a 57 year-old who wakes up at 5:00am and runs 10 miles every morning. This is copied from an email to me; sorry for blogging you, Jay!
To often students stop exercising once they leave school and have the everyday stress of a full time job. The fact is that exercise is a great stress reliever, and helps to keep your mind active. I cannot speak about the personal trainer but I know that I come up with some of my best ideas while I am all alone running outside. It is my quiet time to think.
Salesmen who live on the road are almost always in good shape. In some ways we are like rock stars that are always thin. Believe it or not when you travel all the time you always eat good food, never fast food. You feel good and you exercise every night after work on the road to clear out your head for the day. If you make exercise a way of life now and a habit it will stay with you.
I knew this guy in college...
Zach Klein is just another goofy, 23-year-old, wavy-haired guy with a soft spot for his hometown. He likes a good Mad Anthony’s beer and misses his family. Fort Wayne, he says, is a comfortable size – with big-city attractions and a small-town feel.
And someday he may return.
For now, the dot-commer opens his eyes each morning inside his 5,000-square-foot posh New York City apartment on Broadway – yes, that Broadway. The 2000 Bishop Luers High School grad rents the $10,000-per-month space with his three business partners. Their morning commute is a three-floor elevator ride to an office the same size and price but occupied by computer desks, not beds.
The careful reader may know that Zach Klein has a long history of mentions on my blog.
Update 1 - By popular demand, here is that famous vidblog featuring Zach's tribute to NASA Engineer Wayne Lee
What is on my 2005 Christmas Wish List?
I am glad you asked!
But first, a side note. I read a lot of books, and a good non-fiction, non-history book is always a safe bet. I have tried to shy away from sexy/new/trendy items to focus on smart buys... but sometimes I give in to pure entertainment.
The Complete Original Sun Singles by Johnny Cash and The Tennessee Two. I really loved the movie Walk the Line, and I've almost wore out my CDR of random Johnny Cash singles that I burned back in September.
SR60 headphones from Grado
Firefly - The Complete Series DVD. This is the TV show that the movie Serenity was based on.
I would like to find the Icebreaker Pure Merino - Sport 320 Wing Zip in Charcoal/Black, but there is only one Atlanta store that carries Icebreaker products. Why is Merino wool the best wool that a hipster can wear? Because Merino wool is rare (only found in New Zealand, I think). It is as smooth as silk. Read about the neat, scientifically cool qualities of Merino wool.
I have been thinking about getting a high-performance kite ever since I went paragliding in India. But all that I can find are these WindDance 3's, which are too big for an introductory flyer. The one I flew near Pune, India was a relatively small air foil that looked like this picture, but with a total wingspan of about two feet. Any suggestions?
We just had a great brunch at Carrabba's. I had trout, my sister had stuffed chicken, my dad had lasagna and my mom ordered the salmon with lemon butter and caper sauce. My uncle Bill also had the trout. We had great service and highly recommend Carrabba's above any other Italian chain restaurant. I would go so far as to say that it was one of my best dining experiences of 2005 - nothing was terrible, and there were some subtle surprises. The beauty of a chain restaurant is that this experience should be available somewhere near you.