GodTube on Mormonism

While this frankly doesn't strike me as any more implausible than most other major religions, seeing this, um, summary of Mormon doctrine (much of which is out-of-date, I'm sure) is rather hilarious, in a scary Christian propaganda sort of way. I found it via Wonkette, who has some good commentary of her own on the situation:

Perhaps the Mormons were onto something with the long-disavowed polygamy of the 19th Century. Having multiple wives turns out to be good for the environment.

Be my boss

My supervisor is moving away, so we're hiring his replacement. If you'd like to boss me around, and you meet these requirements, apply!

NECESSARY QUALIFICATIONS: Bachelor's degree plus at least five years of experience in network design and/or administration of large, complex switched wired/wireless network environment including VLANs required. Associate’s degree plus at least nine years of experience may be substituted. Working knowledge of Ethernet, TCP/IP, SNMP, 802.11a/b/g, and RADIUS also required. Experience with packet analysis, Windows 2003 System Administration, and policy development preferred.

Bula from Nadi, Fiji

We've made it as far as Nadi, Fiji, where I'm using the world's worst keyboard to type this out as I wait for our plane tto Kadavu. The plane only holds 8 people, and there were 9 in our party, so 3 of us are catching the second flight. We killed a few hours taking a taxi into a nearby city, but I don't know the name. Was a bit strange, we were the only white folks around, and it was an Indo-Fijean area, so it was sort of like suddenly finiding yourself in Bombay. We bought a few things, braved a sidewalk food stand, and then came back to the airport to catch our next fllightt. I wouldn't expect to hear from me for the next 8 days though, I doubt I'lll find a computer annd net connection there, though the keyboard has to work better t han this one.

Leaving Paris

I awoke around 7:00, showered, and began packing my things to leave Paris.  Holly got up and joined me, and we checked out of the hotel and entered the metro station right outside its doors.  One stop later, at the Gare du Nord, we redeemed our ticket vouchers for our actual Eurostar tickets, and then checked in for our 11:13 a.m. train.

We then went through French passport control, had to fill out immigration cards for the UK passport control (which is done in France, which is a bit odd).  The 10:00 train was boarding, and I was a bit confused as to where we boarded the 11:00, so I showed my ticket to a Eurostar agent who told me we would board in the same place in about 50 minutes.

Holly got herself a croissant and a coke for breakfast, and then sat with the bags while I bought a chocolat au pain and a grille aux pommes, plus an orange juice.  Both bread products were tasty, though the chocolat au pain was the better of the two.  I had a few Euros in coins in my pocket, and spent those on a hot chocolate and a croissant a bit later to eat as an early lunch, as we'd be on the train then.

Somewhere along here, I somehow stupidly managed to lose our tickets.  I don't know how, or where.  I don't know if I did it when paying for Holly's food, or if I threw them out along with the paper sacks that contained my food, or exactly what happened, but when we went to depart, they were gone, and no amount of stressful digging in my pockets or bags produced them.

At this point, my blood pressure skyrocketed, and I sought the help of the same woman who I'd shown the tickets to earlier.  I remembered our coach and seat numbers, but she couldn't let us board without the tickets, and said that they wouldn't have time to re-issue them to us, and for us to go back through passport control to make the 11:13 train.

I frantically searched some more, to no avail, and then she was nice enough to walk us all the way back out through the check-in gates, and take us to the first class ticket office, where they were able to issue us new tickets for a 23 euro charge.  At that point, i was glad to pay the 23 euros, as I was sick to my stomach at the thought of shelling out $200+ for two new tickets due to my carelessness.  The agent explained our situation to the counter agent, and shepherded us through the whole process, which was very kind of her.

We then went through passport control again for France and the UK, and they stamped our passports again, not even noticing that they'd just been stamped less than an hour before, and soon we were back waiting for the train again, this time the 12:19, and Holly kept track of her own ticket, as she (rightfully) wasn't going to trust me with hers again.

At noon we boarded the train, and found that we had seats in the center of the coach, and that the seats facing us had no occupants, so I hopped in one of those, so we can actually face each other for the trip.  A young british woman with her baby were sitting behind us, and she asked if they could join us, as the seats in the center of the car had a bid more room for her fidgity toddler to squirm around in.

The Eurostar train moves pretty fast, and as I was facing backwards to the motion of the train, I started to get a bit motion-sick, as did Holly, who was facing forwards.  She retrieved some motion-sickness pills from her luggage, and bought a bottle of water to wash them down with.

After an hour and a half of chugging along the French countryside, we entered the Chunnel, to spend half an hour in darkness before emerging in Britain.

The architecture change was apparent as soon as we exited the Chunnel, and I noticed the cars now driving on the left side.  After another 45 minutes or so, we reached Waterloo station, and disembarked in London.

Normandy: Day One

After a few hundred kilometers on the A13, where there isn't much to see, just like our Interstate Highway system, we arrived at Caen, navigated our way through several traffic circles, and continued west to Bayeaux. 

I wanted to locate our hotel first, before we started sightseeing.  Fortunately, there are signs in Bayeaux to help you find your hotel in the city, or you never would.  Bayeaux looks much as it probably has for the last two hundred years.  Narrow cobblestone streets and twisting old roads through the city center make navigating it a bit confusing for a newcomer.  With the aid of the street signs, we eventually found the Best Western Hotel Brunville, and I went inside to ask about check-in time.

There was no clerk in our hotel, but a sign that told me to go around the corner to the Hotel Luxembourg, which is another Best Western property, and that someone there would help me.  I found a clerk who told me that we couldn't check in until 2, and as it was now only 12:40, we decided to go get some lunch and start sightseeing first.

We found a patisserie for a quick bite to eat, then pointed our Clio west in search of Omaha beach.  I didn't have a firm grasp on the route to Omaha beach, but I assumed it would be marked, and with the ocean to guide me as a boundary, we soon found it a few miles west down a winding narrow road.

Omaha beach itself today looks much like any other beach, though it is massive in size.  The tide was out about 70 yards or so when we arrived, and the thought of crossing that much land in the open while under enemy fire terrfied me.  We gathered a few stones as souvenirs, then began climbing the hills toward what remains of the German fortifications.

We paused to examine the concrete bunkers, or what remains of them, and to read the memorial to the Big Red One.  Holly and I then continued farther up the hill to the American Cemetary.

They're in the midst of constructing a new interprative center at the Cemetary, which is on land that has been permanently given to the United States by the people of France.  I noted that this was the site of the only drinking fountain I had seen in France, and I wondered if it had beem imported from the US, as I have not seen another one anywhere.

We stopped briefly in the office to sign the guest register and then entered the cemetary with the rest of the visitors, who were mostly Americans.  There are over 9,000 US soldiers buried there, and it is a somber and beautiful place.  The grounds are immacuately maintained, and found myself wondering what equipment they used to trim the grass so evenly around the headstones.

We walked completely around the cemetary, which overlooks Omaha beach and the Atlantic Ocean beyond it, and contains a small chapel in its center.  At the west end, two statues stand, and at the east end, there is a pool and a large memorial.

Especially sad are the hundreds of graves that hold the remains of unknown soldiers, who were unable to be identified.  Given modern forensic science, I'd think that many of them could be identified now, though it would certainly be a massive job to do so, and after so long, I'm not sure whether it'd be "proper" to do so or not.

A few of the graves had fresh flowers on them, or small American flags.  There is a group of local French citizens who occasionally come to place flowers upon the graves, and there were small wooden crosses placed by someone at many of the markers for the unknown soldiers.

We eventually left the cemetary, found our way back to the Clio near the beach, and bought a coke from the vending machine there to quench our thirst.  We then set off for Pointe Du Hoc, which is about 10 miles further west along the coast.

Pointe Du Hoc has also been given to the United States to use as a memorial to the Rangers who fought and died to take it.  I'd explain more about that battle, but you can read about it at Wikipedia on your own, and I suggest you do so, then return here.

What was really interesting about Pointe Du Hoc is that the craters from the naval bombardment are all plainly visible today, though they are now covered by grass.  There are more German fortifications here, and they're preserved better than the ones by Omaha Beach.  It's easy to see why the German's felt this position was unassailable, as the sheer cliffs are pretty imposing.

After spending an hour or so at Pointe Du Hoc, we got back in the Renault and drove further west along Utah beach, then turned around and found our way back to Bayeaux, where we checked in to our hotel.

Our room in this hotel was very small, and the bed was pretty shoddy.  While we did at least have a double bed, it was so soft that both of us sort of rolled into the middle of the bed, because it sagged so much.

We walked around until we found a brasserie still open, where Holly got some croissants for herself, and I bought some type of baguette that was filled with some type of meat, I think it was ham or bacon, as well as some type of cheese.  It was sort of injected down the middle of the bread, and while I'm not sure what I ate, it was good.

There was a cinema directly across the one-lane street from our hotel room, and we saw that Spiderman 3 was playing at 9:00.  The poster listed the language as being English, and a theatre showing the movie in Paris also said it was English with French subtitles, so we figured we'd go see the movie.

It was 7 Euros each to get in, and then we bought some popcorn and a coke, only to discover that the poster was in error, and the movie had been dubbed into French!  We snuck out pretty quickly, and forfeited our 14 Euros in embarassment.  The french popcorn is rather different than ours.  It's not buttered or salted, but is glazed with sugar, sort of like kettle corn, but different.

Having given up on the movie, we returned to our hotel room to watch CNN International, the only English channel on our TV.

Paris: Day 4, Part Deux

We found a neighborhood restauraunt that served Italian food, and Holly had some lasagna that she said was excellent.  I ordered a ham and mozzarella pannini sandwich, which was pretty good, but the fries that came with it were much better.

We then walked over to the dock near the Eiffel Tower, and presented our 25% off coupons for a Seine river boat ride.  The boat holds hundreds of passengers, but we found seats on the starboard side and the boat got underway just after dark.

There are a lot of options for river boat cruises, and I think we chose the most crowded one, but we enjoyed it anyway.  Paris at night is gorgeous, and it was a calm clear night to see the city.  The tour took about an hour, and we both agreed it was one of the high points of our trip so far.

After we were dropped off back at the Eiffel Tower, Holly bought a crepe and I got an ice cream cone, and we strolled south as we ate them.  Holly had figured out that the Eiffel Tower sparkles at the top of every hour for 10 minutes, so we sat and waited for the 11:00 show, before turning in for the night.