Monday, June 27, 2005

Wow- too much to write up

I can't write it all yet as I don't ave a lot of time, but I have been keeping an extensive journal. When I get off the green Tortoise I will let you know all the details. But in the mean time I have had some time to type up everyone elses comments and most memorable moments from the trip so far, so check them out at this site.. it is fun! Hey there you 8 dayers!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

i am alive

ok just a quick post to say that i am alive and i am going to be treking down into the grand canyon today... (1 mile from top to bottom)internet access has been non existant so far... bu ti have been keeping a journal that i will update when i am able...

Friday, June 17, 2005

Great news

It is looking like I might have some work in Australia for at least a month!

I might be doing some Dana Centre/Cafe scietifique work out at Questacon.

More details when I have them but it is looking very positive.

Lots of things to say about not about any 1 thing

I am reaching the end of my time here in South Carolina, I have already said my goodbyes to Perry, Colleen, Andreka, Mark. I t has been an amazing time.. Despite the erratic and extreme weather here.. How English is that of me to be talking about the weather all the time. But it has been crazy. Considering the 'bland English weather i am used to. You should see the corn around here, when i got here 4 weeks ago nothing, now over 4 feet tall.

Anyway, we unpacked everything back at base from the school workshops we had done. I feel sorry for the team who have to sort through and re-pack it all. What has been particularly fun for me has been organizing the design challenge here with the kids and teachers on Thursday. It involved them getting into small groups and building something that could travel across terrains. I feel that in a previous life I was a wrestling commentator.

One of the activities we have been running is about measuring length of various parts of the body. Now imagine you are in a room with a load of female teachers, it doesn't take a genius to work out what sort of jokes followed. Apparently our in depth research has worked out that a hand's width is about the same size as er.. um.. well .. you know what i mean.

I have been eating out pretty much every night... it seems to be a national obsession. I was saying.. in fact over dinner tonight at Ruby Tuesday, that i have eaten out more times in the past month with Science Southern I have in the past year living in London. Scary. But with The green tortoise trip I will be taking I will be back to a really simple vegetarian meal every day. I have also probably eaten more seafood in the past month as the last year. Not quite true but it sounds good.

One of the best things to do though it has to be said is to be able to sit down after getting home at about 16.00 and sitting out on the patio ad just having a single solitary cold beer. And do absolutely Nothing... thoroughly deserved after having to wake up at at about 05.30am. A time which should never exist in my daily schedule..

Florence has left me with many good memories and some interesting times. And also a few scars... Namely the one on my elbow from the smoke stack on the truck.

I went to Books a million in town ( the only book shop in town! And the only place to buy a New York Times) and bought my self a new book. "stiff" not some porn related thing. More the history of scientific history of the use dead bodies and apparently necrophillia is only illegal in 13 states in the USA and only got banned in 1969 in one state. Just thought that that was a fact you all needed to know

I have some fantastic shots from the schools and workshops but I am waiting for them all to come in, I also need to get a few from Andrew.. Once i have them all I will post them to show you some of the stuff I have been up to in the week

So tomorrow at 5.00am I have to get up and head to Charlotte.

San Francisco here I come.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Image size

I know the images are a little big to see if you have dial up on this blog.. but it is just the camera take so many amazing pictures I can't help myself.

Nature trail - Late night

We managed to get special permission to check out te Lynches river state Park near Florence after dark... pretty cool, the best thing was the fireflies that were going crazy around dusk..

We wandered around for about 1-2 hrs on a variety of trails, and it got gradually darker and darker as you can see from some of my shots (long exposure night shots). We saw some baby snakes tadpoles, in the gentle river banks, frogs, lizards and more.

The trails we took are infested at times with Mozzies. People might have thought we were doing some contemporary interpretive dance from the way we were moving to get the things to go away.

Now as you may have guessed from some of my postings it has been HOT and STICKY here and not in a good way... Like um ... Bread dough?

100% humidity and temperatures ranging 90-100 F pretty much every day for the past 2 weeks.

We are talking hot.

It is hard not to berate the Americans for their huge use of AC until you have lived here... The only way to survive is to pretty much move from one AC area to another and don't spend too much time on the outside...

unbearably hot and apparently it is also going to be getting hotter tomorrow... The Scariest thing is I now have a distinct tan. I have tried to get the sun in the afternoon when it is less powerful and the humidity is a little less.

As you may know I will be flying out to San Fran this Friday, so this week is the last week with ScienceSouth. It has been a fantastic time down here but as with all things it is time to move on.

And i still need to write up the Ryan Adams gig (after shooting guns and playing golf) I went to at the weekend, I will do it I promise. I just did this first because it is foremost in my mind from tonight.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Guns & Golf - Gig Later

So Saturday was the Guns/Golf/Gig weekend
4 of us headed to Myrtle beach around lunchtime, after a a quick subway lunch we went looking for the Pistol Gun range. Now the directions we had for the first gun range. We took a turning off the main road to where it was meant to be and found our selves in just the wrong sort of district, a couple of trailers and a bad cars did not fill us with confidence.

we took one look down the the tiny off road and said to our selves... This has got to be the wrong area to go up to a house and say. Yeah me and these tourists want to shoot guns...

So we went to the second target range instead, quelle surprise. The next place had some great hand guns, i was firing off i believe a gloch 9mm. 60 round and a little more adrenalin later!!

debs had a amazing time, first shoot in the right eye.. second shot in the throat, and the forth hit the other eye!

We then hit the 3 par golf range, which is very surprising since it took me an average of 7 shots to get ball into each hole. so my career as a golfer is not going to take off soon.

Don't have a lot of time at the mo to write this so I will tell you abou the Ryan Adams gig I went to a little later.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Drag & Burning food

So Wednesday we went out to the drag strip to watch people race their cars.

It is just outside of Darlington, close to the original race track of the Nascar race.

If you follow these links I will upload a few mini videos of the racing cars going along the 1/4 mile track.

apparently it was a quiet night and but once it gets really going, 10-20K can be swapping hands over the outcome of a race...
Very scary
Motor bike
Power cars
BMW vs Infinity
These are 3-5 mb files so it will take some time to download if you want to see these mean machines power down that track.

You get a whole load of people who have spent $1000s on their cars with Nitrox input, light aluminum weight frames etc. But also just guys wanting to put there own normal cars as well down the track

you should see some of the face off between the bikers though scary especially the way they heat their tires up on the track and create huge plumes of smoke by speeding their back well on the road... The road is now pretty much made of burnt rubber because of all the deposits

Thursday we went out to Carolina wings, and being the foolish and impetuous thing that I am, I decided to go for some shrimp.

Not that scary you might be thinking, but, you get to choose the sauce and I went for the one for which you had to sign a waiver. Serious. It had things on there about the cause choking hazard and nausea hazards on there.

So i tried the food and it pretty much the hottest food I have ever tried... It hurt that night and the following day. If you know what I mean. A deep burning peppery pain.

Today I will also try to write up about the gig/golf/guns weekend I have just had.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

To add

As well as running the life science activities I have been leading on the design challenge here for the the last 2 weeks and next. That we run when we run with both teachers and children.

The fun part of the role that I have is the intro to the event and what they need to do to complete the challenge. Build a propeller powered car to go across a variety of surfaces... Etc...

but the really fun and very self indulgent bit is when we have to race the vehicles. Because then I become the ultimate in a wrestling/sports commentator. It is so much fun!!!!

I had the audience in the palm of my hand. All 150 of them. I even had them doing the clapping and slapping and sing from Queen's we will rock you.

craziness... heh heh

And because the rest of the team did such a good job on the teachers binders we now have a three day weekend ahead of us! This is going to include:

shooting guns
VIP lounge in the myrtle beach Super Club "Club Kryptonite"
GOING TO SHOOT GUNS. Did i mention that already?
and seeing Ryan (not Bryan before you ask) Adams live in a venue with 200-300 people.

One thing I haven't updated you on was the drag strip racing I saw last night... Absolutely amazing. But since I don't have a lot of time and the photos to hand I will give you and update on the drag strip racing later today or early tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Working here.

Latest update is that with only just over a week to go the theacher I have been working with have still been fantastic. I am going to be missing this all ias I start to bum around the West coast. They have been really friendly and responsive. I am so surpised that my appaling sese of humour works with them. Today I have been with teahcers (Key stage 1-2 kids in the UK) running with them DNA extractions from Kiwi Fruit, microscopes demos, gelatin model cells and Body ratio workshops.

ps this is another photo from Charleston at the weekend.

And apparently the person who caled me a 'child', Despite the fact she was only 4 years older, felt a little bad/lost memory after 4 tequilas... She had said that she could eassily outdo me at drinking. A foolish move. But a good night out none the less.

Update Monday

So let me give you the shivvy on the next few plans with me... I will be heading to San Francisco! Yeah baby.

I know I was planning to do the whole the going down Florida thing but I just wanted to get on with it and head out west. Especially since I got into the water on Sunday near Charleston and just felt a bizarre and desperate need to do some surfing. Sorry I meant paddling, jumping on the board and falling

And in a bid to get there at the right time I will be flying out from Charlotte, North Carolina at 11.00pm and arriving there after two stops at SFO.
then I will be taking the Green Tortoise around the national parks there. Which will include Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and the Valley of fire. 16 days on the road with some other people. I should be back in San Francisco by July 3/4. Tell me soon?

If anyone is interested in having some fun after this you should let me know and email at the usual address.

also I am trying a new service for holding some of my photo's images from my trip so far, let me know what you think...

Monday, June 06, 2005

Busy weekend

So I would like to update you on the past few days.. First of all on the work side everything is fine... Though that should be no surprise I hope. Come on... Although I may not 'actually' have run teacher workshops previously, presentation skills and charm can work a long way here in the USA. I would like to qualify that the content that we had presented has been top notched.

I would like to point out that this was initially written at about 03.30 am in the morning on, so the grammar and more likely the spelling is going to be completely rubbish.

But what about the rest of my time.

Well after spending about half a day preparing the next week's teacher workshops we had quite a lot time spare at the end of a Friday afternoon. So one of the rooms we had been using to prepare the teacher handbooks/binders was given to us by Judy, it had been her birthday so we headed to apple annies on Palmetto for her b'day bash.

Honestly I had a lot of fun in introducing drinking games to a population that have no concept of them. Heh heh and the consequence s and revelations that ensure them from them.

So for instance when a son find out about a parent's sex life and then proceed to say that 'you told me you that you spilled some milk.'

one thing that have been finding interesting is that people have been underestimating my age here in USA, not that is a bad thing mind you as vanity is a beast that must always be feed. Apparently with my devilish good looks, I come across as 26. When someone who is supposedly 3-4 years older than me calls me 'A child' it not only my raises blood pressure but my ire as well! So there was only one way to deal with such a challenge. Not pistols at dawn but tequila in the evening. 4 of them. By the end of the evening I think I had fared worse than I had...

After this intial drinking and festivites some of us headed to the 321 bar, where we bared witness to the scariest dancing to Hip Hop music I have seen in a while. I got Driven back at about 03:30 in the morning. After a having to get up about 5 hrs after I had gone to sleep. We headed to Charleston.

On the route we stopped to recover the a box turtle on the road as well as to get an egg mcmuffin. Word of warning don't get those two confused, damn I need some dentures.

I wandered around charleston a little aimlessly beofre hitting the mellow Mushroom Pizeria withthe rest of the gang.

In the afternoon Mark, Andrew and myself checked out eh aquarium and then we head back to the main street here Kings street and I did some end of day window shopping.

I was talking to the people who ran the shop, and I have to say out of the many places I have been in the states so far I have yet to feel as genuinely welcome (when going into a shop) as I had in this one and Tori is a bad person ( you know you are !!) as I had initially went in to have a quick look around and ended up buying a shorts and flip flops. I shouldn't be surprised by the fact that I buy and listen more to a girls who are cute/attractive. Curse this Y chromosome!

I knew the guys and gals in the shop where my type of people, I hope! So I asked them for recommendations for what to do on a Saturday night. Tori for those of you who don't know me as well as you should is the name of what used to be one my favorite singers. Anyway Tori recommended that I head to one of two places, either the wild Wing just off king street her in Charleston, or 2 13 in the market district

Big shout out to Tori/Clifton and the other girl whose name I didn't get but who had studied at the Sourbon, Paris. Give me some contact details please, I would love to hook up with you guys in the future let me know.

Food that night was quite nice at the thai restaurant which had a blues/soul and playing.

Perry is a complete star, he had gone out to a shop in the area and got three hand rolled cigars, in a place where they roll the cigars in front of you. I will leave out a physical description of the woman, surfice to say that she won't be appearing in an issue of playboy soon.

Went separate ways I headed to the recommendation of Tori, 213, Cheesy eighties music, how could I resist such bad tunes. An ultimate incentive for me if ever I heard one.

So lots of music and dancing later...

It is crazy to think that I could bump into A another german girl here in charleston. Some girl who had been working as an au pair but was now going into hotel management. Just goes to prove a point that I have heard from many people.. that no mattter where you go in the world you will allways bump into a German/UK person... we sure get around! Comments please

On the way back form the club about 5 mins from the hotel I bump into Debs and Mark, who where also heading back. And although it is hard to tell, It was an absolute coincidence/chance that it happened. Bloody coincidence city!

oh and just to point out hat I think that I have made changes enough to my systemn that anybody can commenton my blog .. let me know what you think of this shit I am writting and what else you want to know?

I will write up Sunday and Monday tomorrow.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


So remember how I described the weather here, Hot and Sunny. Well it seems that As soon we started work here at the schools it turned it to hot and Rainy... Pretty much continually for 3 day straight it has rained.. And I am talking about a deluge... Today alone it rained about 2 1/4 inches apparently and this is a fairly flat and level state... And with no where for the water to go I am sure I am going to be hearing about places getting flooded.

and just look at the weather report for the next few days.

On another note, this week has gone really well, we finished off today with a big design challenge involving the teachers and the kids making a vehicle car to carry a payload back and forth across some terrain. Really great fun. I will try to get some pics up of the activity. I had to MC the activity which was fantastic fun.

I tell you now though, getting up at 05:30 in morning is not my idea of a good time! I have quickly come to the conclusion that if I am not conscious at that time of the day, the time does not exist...Hence there is no 05:30 for me. And consequently the whole universe is non existant, by the same token.

The early mornings and late nights have meant that when I went to see star wars with some of the gang here (first time for them...Virgins, second time for me) I fell asleep. I only woke up when Samuel L. Jackson got his Hand/ass kicked. How bad is that I asleep fall in star wars.

And even the second time round I still came even more to the conclusion the film sucked. And I figured out what it was that meant I disliked the film, No dialogue just lots, lots and lots and then even more digital montage. There is no real character development. We never bond with anyone. Attack of the clones is better.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Teacher training- 1st day over

The first day is done over here despite the odd bit of rain that hit and it went down a treat with the teachers, they are lovely teachers over here with a great sense of humor.

We ran through sessions with the grade 2-3 & 4-5 (where the age of the kids is 7-10 yrs old ) over in Darlington Tech college about 10-15 miles from where we have been based during the weeks leading up. Another day of training teacher tomorrow then helping them run through sessions on Thursday.

Yesterday (Monday) had been our setting up day and inevitably with all setup there was a few realizations with us... 'Shit we needed that as well'

It feels oh so familiar to some of the workshop's I have run in the museum and even some of the stuff I used to do solo, so many years ago ...

We had to get our own lunch on site today but the only vendor there is Chick-fil-a.
where have a guess what they sell... Chicken with everything. Much in the style of the classic Monty python spam comedy.

and even the side salad was not looking appetizing... Don't get me wrong I have nothing against broccoli as a type of vegetable but a pat of a cold salad inside my intestines... I think not.

As I said it went really well with teachers and in the evening we went to Perry's house for a quick BBQ cook out and the we dipped into some gorgeous Tequila avocado dip. Yeah, how much of a middle class person have I turned into, when I start using the words tequila and not include the words 'Blind Drunk' or 'Marguerita'.