Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Difference between UK, Great Britain, and England

Okay, my friends, today we are going to take a close look at this area of the world. Recognize it? I would have, but the next few questions I would have answered fairly poorly. Before you look at the rest of the text in this post, take a stab at identifying the following on this first map:

  • England

  • Scotland

  • Wales

  • Ireland

  • Northern Ireland

  • Britain

  • Great Britain

  • United Kingdom

Taken a guess? Good. Now read the rest of this post for the answers.

The country of England is shown on the map to the right.

Scotland is shown in red on this map.

This is the country of Wales.

Let's go the other other island. This is Ireland.

Here is Northern Ireland.

Most of us could have used process elimination to get the above correct, I think. But now the going gets rough...

Britain is a term that can mean several things. It can be used to reference just England and Wales (as shown to the right), or all of Great Britain, or the UK.

England, Scotland, and Wales together can be referred to as Great Britain.

Add Northern Ireland to Great Britain and you get the United Kingdom.

And finally, everything on all the related islands (shown in green) is referred to as the British Isles.

Now for extra, extra credit, pat yourself on the back if you knew that this little island between the two big islands is called the Isle of Man. I had heard the term before, but had no idea where it was on the globe.

And finally, the little islands to the north of Scotland are the Shetland Islands. Class dismissed.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Carlsbad Flower Fields

 If you find yourself in Southern California in the spring, you should definitely take and hour or two and tour the Carlsbad Flower Fields. They are located on a hillside in Carlsbad that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. It is a gorgeous way to spend some time - and bring your camera!There used to be many flower fields in Carlsbad. Over time, the city has moved in and the flower fields have disappeared. But the city worked with one rancher and together they have preserved this area.

 Ten years or so ago when we first toured these fields, it was not well known in the San Diego area. Well from our tour this year, word has gotten out. There were many folks enjoying this beautiful display.
 The fields are easy access as right on the other side of the windmill is Interstate 5. If you're interested in touring, take the Palomar Airport Road exit and head one block east.

  Admission is $10 per person and includes free activities such as this tractor ride.

 Just over the hill to the left of this shot is Legoland.

 A shot that emphasizes just how close the fields are to the Pacific Ocean...probably 2 or so miles away. The cool ocean breeze was very much appreciated on that cloud free California day.
 The Ecke farm in this area was well known for growing Poinsettias, so there was a large display of these beautiful plants also.
 More Poinsettias in various colors...
...and one shot of my wife.

Carlsbad Flower Fields - The People

 The Flower Fields are becoming well known as a good spot for family photos. Here is a mother and her two daughters.

 Three kids on another approved pathway.
 A woman in a saree.

Her bf/hubby sat up an auto-snap camera and joined her.

 This group of women also came prepared for pics.
 A little later on, I caught them from a better perspective. They even thanked me for taking their photo!
 Another couple. Those are "service" dogs - the only dogs that are allowed in the Flower Fields
 We toured the fields with Neal and Debbie.
Here they are with my wife.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Music in North San Diego County

It used to be that we would go out for the nightlife only on Saturday nights. But starting about six months ago, we added Friday nights to the list. Typically, we go to a place like the Elephant Bar for dinner and drinks on Fridays. But we also like to go where there is live music if possible. We had thought that there were only three places with live music in North County (that is what San Diegans call the northern part of San Diego County): Coyote's, Jumping Turtle, and Carver's.

Coyote's is a very nice place, but the problem is getting a seat. Outdoors around the live band, seating is practically nonexistent. Indoors where there is a DJ, seating can be found around the great bar, but you had better not get up to dance or your seat is gone. Jumping Turtle catered toward heavy metal twenty-somethings, and it is VERY loud. We would sometimes go in there for a nightcap for about an hour before heading home. Yeah, we were the oldest people there, but no one seemed to mind and we enjoyed listening to the bands. This place got into a bit of legal trouble which they are still in the process of sorting out, we'll probably wait a few months before going back. Carver's has excellent live bands and a great cozy atmosphere. It is mainly a steakhouse but the bar area is great. So we typically rotate between those three places - down to 2 with Jumping Turtle in a state of flux.

I've tried searching for more places, but most websites are close to useless in searches for dancing and/or live music in North County. But yesterday, I tried the search in Yelp and was much more successful! I came up with about 15 places within 15 miles of our house! Some of them really aren't nightlife capable (like the center for the arts), a few are dive bars, and a few we already knew about but really aren't crazy about. But there are plenty we hadn't heard of that will be fun to slip into the mix now and then. And so I don't forget, I've added them to the right in the new "Music Venue" category. I'm betting we have a great time exploring these new places on weekends...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Poncho Sanchez

We went to see Poncho Sanchez with our friends Scott & Jenny a few Fridays ago - what a great night! We went to the late show, and had time for dinner in Little Italy beforehand. Poncho played at Anthology, which in my opinion is the best venue in San Diego. Big yet cozy, excellent seating choices, and a very modern ambiance. People were ready to dance, and for about half an hour the tiny dance floor was packed. Here's a snap of it with just a few couples out there. If you like Latin Jazz at all, you really should go see Poncho Sanchez. We've seen him twice now and have really loved each show. Sorry about the quality of the photos. That's apparently the best my new HTC Evo Shift can do in the low light of a nightclub.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Troy's Ready For Dinner

 We usually take David, Lucy and Troy out to eat once each weekend.
 Last weekend, we decided to go to the Old Spaghetti Factory - and Troy was excited!
 He ran to his Dad's car...."I'll drive, Dad." OK, Troy. As soon as you learn to open the door. Ha ha.
Racing back to me, the camera man, trying to build enthusiasm for making the trip RIGHT NOW!!