I Went To Scotland and All I Got Was This Blog Post

In late November 2010 I went on my second trip to Scotland. The first one was both a successful business trip and a lot of fun. This second was all set to be a repeat success but Mother Nature and the US Immigration Policy Makers had other ideas. They went for screaming disaster.

Before I left I decided to use Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends since I was going to be +5 hours time shifted for a week.  Little did I know it would be such a source of comfort and a great way to retell the story of my worst business trip ever.

The following is a recount of that trip as told by screenshots of my Facebook status. In many cases my friends comments are funnier than my original post. You can click on each image to go to the full post and comments on Facebook.

And so without further gilding the lily and with no more ado, I give to you, my absurd business trip to the Lowlands of Scotland and back.

I took off November 28th with not a clue what lay in wait for me in the days ahead.

Fate lulled me into a false sense of security on the way to Newark.

Dinner in Newark was delicious and uneventful.

While I slept on the plane over the Atlantic. A Siberian storm front, the likes of which Scotland had not seen in 30 years, appeared out of nowhere.

I never made it past Glasgow. The weather there wasn't too bad, but 20 miles west was, by all accounts, apocalyptic.

The weathermen who completely failed to predict this natural disaster announced that it would last for at least 3 weeks so we booked our flights home for the next day. That night we went to an restaurant in an ally in Glasgow that a colleague explained was one of their best kept dining secrets.

I woke the next morning at 4am GMT and fired off a timer on my watch as I started the trip home. I was a little tired to say the least, but this was just the beginning.

This is where things get interesting. I've included the comments on this post because the conversation was in large part responsible for my retention of sanity throughout that day. I've blurred out names and faces of people who I don't explicitly know are ok with me posting this.

We eventually took off from my destination airport for Newark, NJ. A rain storm had delayed us in Boston for 90 minutes. Once it blew over Newark we took off and flew right through it; worst turbulence I ever felt. The woman behind me on the plane alternatively sobbed and screamed as if she was being stabbed throughout the entire flight. 

Incidentally, that message was posted to Twitter and Continental did not respond.

The next 3 pics are in reverse chronological order. The rightmost I took when I made it to my car. The middle one is of the completely stopped traffic I hit on route 90 on my way home.  (et tu Boston?)  And the last one is me finally returned home to my beautiful wife.

When I pulled into my driveway I looked at the timer I started earlier that day. 

I don't recall feeling this way at the time but looking back on it it's a pretty hilarious trip. I was surprised how many people followed my journey and even reached out to find out what was happening when I didn't update Facebook when they expected.  In these ridiculous circumstances it was nice to stay in touch with friends, even if it was at a distance. Somehow it made the trip more enjoyable. 

Museum of Science & Lazer Foosball

Alex and I made a trip to the Museum of Science last weekend. It's getting more and more fun to go places with him. We were all over the museum having fun but I managed to catch a few pictures.

Lazer Foozball!

We discovered Lazer Foosball in the new Lazer Lab. It's a lot harder than it looks. A few times I was moments away from scoring, a mirror would turn and then POINT ALEX!  Lazers move really fast!


Alex was fascinated by the big Rube Goldberg machine. I remember staring at that machine when I was a kid and it still makes me smile every time I see it.


Of course we stopped for our traditional Space Ice Cream treat.


After a few minutes we were able to snag some seats looking out over the Charles and talked about the ice and the snow and the amazing falling windows that were part of the original John Hancock building.

Panorama of the view while Alex ate his DOTs.

One of the coolest parts was when we stopped in to see the baby chicks hatching. We showed up just as one of them popped out of an egg. Our timing was perfect to catch the birth of a very tiny chick. Shortly after that we headed home. All in all another great day out with Alex. 

Snowpocalypse 2011 - February Update

I haven't seen this much snow since the Blizzard of '05 when Christine and I got stuck in Provincetown and I learned how to really shovel. It's only February 3rd and we've gotten so much snow that we're out of places too put it. Here are a few pictures.

Christine in the Snow
Christine has been shoveling like crazy, but the mailboxes are a lost cause. 

Our Street Panorama
Panorama of our street. Best if viewed full size.

Front window Snow View
The view out our front window. There are icicles everywhere.

They say we have 2 more storms coming this Saturday and next Tuesday.  If it snows much more the only way we'll make out our house is by the shape of the snow pile. 

Egyptians Arm in Arm at the Cairo Museum

The protests in Egypt over the past two weeks have been monumental and it seems the situation is going to escalate before it calms down. Amongst all the news is a story that demonstrated the courage and pride of the Egyptian people in a unique and powerful way.

On January 28th, as the police disappeared, looters attempted to take advantage of the situation and broke into Cairo's Antiquities Museum. The vandals damaged a number of artifacts and two mummies.

While every large crowd will have a few bad seeds it was the response of the other civilians that filled me with awe. Regular everyday Egyptian citizens jumped into action in and formed a protective human chain around the museum. Shortly thereafter the military showed up to take over security.

History books will remember vivid images of the conflict and devastation in Egypt over these weeks. The books will even recount the damage that was done in the museum before the citizens realized what was happening. But I hope this image of Egyptians arm in arm is a prominent one we show future generations.

At a time of upheaval, when it would have been easy to get caught up in excitement and a destructive mob mentality, these Egyptians did the opposite. They kept their heads. They stood arm in arm with brothers from all walks of life. And they protected the historical treasures of Egypt.

Whether you call it class, maturity, pride, good citizenry or something else, this is the example we should remember and teach our children.

On Al Jazeera

I've found Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) to be an exceptional news source throughout the protests in Egypt. I started following them because the quality and quantity of their reporting on Egypt was far superior to any western outlets (NPR, BBC, CNN, etc.) in the first few weeks. Now that I've had a chance to follow Al Jazeera it's become clear they are providing a unique and valuable perspective on world events. Their reporting is thoughtful, detailed and comes with context that western media does not seem capable of providing. I highly recommend looking to Al Jazeera English as one of your news sources especially when events have anything to do with the middle east.