License Plates

A few weeks ago for spring break we drove up to Germany and visited relatives. It was a lot of fun. While we drove, I kept track of the different license plates we saw. I enjoy doing that with states when we do long drives in the U.S. So – I thought it might be fun for my non-Europe living friends to go over the list and see how many they know. To make it a little easier for my U.S. friends (we are geography challenged) I put an asterisk by the ones where the name used is different than the English name for the country. Here they are in no particular order:
If you want to check how many you got right, wikipedia has a nice list.

My TIE collection

I was at the store, picking up some groceries and I had my son with me. That meant we needed to swing by the toy section on our way out to see what Lego kits they had on the shelves. This visit we got our first look at the new Buildable Galaxy sets and it was the TIE Interceptor & Death Star that caught my eye. A while back I’d acquired a few of the Titanium series ships. (I say acquired because my friend Terry gave me the Darth Vader ship.) I have always kept them at work – they are nice to look at when I need to let my mind wander a little. (good for problem solving) As soon as I saw the little lego TIE Interceptor I knew it would go nice with the others, and there it is. (The trouble now is it makes me really want to try and get the other Titanium TIE models.) Obi Wan’s Jedi Starfighter is not technically a TIE but the look is an intentional design that shows the Jedi Starfighter becoming the TIE fighter.

My TIE fighter collection.
(As always click on it for full size)


I’ve never cared for moving. I like going new places, it’s the process of getting there that isn’t a lot of fun. We are getting to the point where we have to deal with a lot of the less fun parts of moving to Hungary. I found this video of Budapest to be motivating, as it reminds me of how cool it will be to live there. Technically we wont reside in Budapest. We will be living in Diósd, a small town between Budapest and Erd. But it’s close enough that I’m sure we’ll get to enjoy the beauty of the city regularly.

Here’s a map that shows Diósd in relation to the cities around it.

View Larger Map

Lake Toho Sunset

Last Saturday all 3 kids had sleepovers with friends. That meant Ingrid and I had a night to ourselves. I don’t even remember the last time that happened, probably March I guess. We went out to dinner at Crabby Bills and took a nice walk in the park along the southern shore of East Lake Tohopekaliga. We had a beautiful view, and I snapped a few shots with my phone. A better camera would have done it justice but one of them came out O.K. enough to give a bit of an idea of what it was like. It was pretty impressive. Clicking on it will get you the full size photo.


Well – here we are. A new year. It’s rather arbitrary, the calendar and all that. But I’ve always done pretty well using arbitrarily chosen points to set goals. So here we go, a new year and an opportunity to improve and do better than the last.

Running Memories

I watched the finish of the New York marathon today. Even though I can barely put together a couple miles right now, I still love running. In highschool I ran cross country and track. My dad had been an avid runner for years and his stack of Runners World magazines fell to pieces as they became source material for collages of great runners that went up on my bedroom wall. There were two runners I idolized (as a teen I wasn’t smart enough not to do that yet) above the others. Bill Rodgers, because he was so good and I thought the gloves were cool. Even more than him though, Albero Salazar was at the top of his game and a Christian. That made him someone to emulate on multiple levels. His meltdown in LA was a bummer, but I was still crazy about him as a runner.

A humorous Alberto Salazar story revolves around the Continental Homes 10k. It was a great race that I ran multiple times. It grew to be pretty large and was even televised on national t.v. I enjoyed getting to see stars like Zola Budd and Mary Decker-Slaney in person. The last year I ran it (I think) CBS televised it and Alberto Salazar was a commentator. I didn’t get to see him though. I was busy running.

My mom had driven me to the race and had taken a bunch of pictures. We took the film in (weird to think about now) and got it developed. There was a close-up shot of Alberto Salazar sitting at the back of a truck. My mom says, “I don’t know who that is but a lot of people were paying attention to him so he seemed important.” I couldn’t believe it. She did so well without even knowing it.

So what brings all this up? I was watching the marathon and as Meb Keflezighi won it, the announcer mentioned that this was the first win for an American since Alberto Salazar’s last win in 1982. Immediately my mind flashed back to the posters on my wall and then I did the math. Twenty-Seven years ago. How can that be? It seems like it was just yesterday.

While I’m doing a brain dump on running, I’m going to throw a freebie out there. As I mentioned, I did a lot of reading and cutting from my dad’s magazines. Some were a bit older and this is how I had become a big Bill Rodgers fan. He was still running in the 80’s but his best days were really through the 70’s, so he wasn’t exactly a household name with my peers.

One day at track practice our coaches told us all to get on a bus we were going somewhere. This was odd, we’d never done that before, and we hadn’t been told we’d be doing anything different. They didn’t tell us where we were going or why. The bus took us to Horizon Highschool. (Same district as my school, not too far away.) As we were unloading I looked over towards the track and there was Bill Rodgers. I was pumped and exclaimed, “That’s Bill Rodgers!”, which got me a lot of blank looks. I started asking people if they had paper or a pen and pencil. I was completely unprepared. I ended up scrounging up a raffle ticket or something and Bill had a pen. I got his signature on this little scrap of paper. It was still awesome. He talked to us about running, answered questions and ran with us a bit around the track. A fabulous afternoon I intent to remember as long as I can.