Another new year, another list of places to go that I’ll look at and see if I’ve already checked them off. This year is neat though because before promoting their list they sent out a request looking to hire someone to spend next year visiting these places and documenting them. Dream retirement job right there!
Anyway, here are my run downs from 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012. I went so far back that they were only doing 45 places then!
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Route of Parks, Chile
Gangwon Province, South Korea
Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
East Cape and Corridor, Los Cabos, Mexico
Top End, Australia
Liuwa Plain National Park, Zambia
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica
Branson, Missouri, USA
São Tomé and Príncipe
Germany’s Western States
Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
Honshu’s West Coast, Japan
Denver, Colorado, USA
Rogue River, Oregon, USA
Buffalo, New York, USA
La Paz, Bolivia
Prague, Czech Republic
Disney Springs, Florida, USA
Seattle, Washington, USA
Rotorua, New Zealand
Ribera del Duero, Spain
Montgomery, Alabama, USA
Luang Prabang, Laos
The places in bold I have been to. Which means that yet again I have been to about 15% of the suggested destinations.
Amazing. I read an article that the NY Attorney General is filing suit against the FCC because millions of comments in favor of the FCC discontinuation of Net Neutrality are fake. The article pointed to a link where you can search the comments to see if your name was used falsely. I searched mine, my wife’s, my brothers… Here is a comment I found by someone named Kevin McFarland — though not my brother because the address is in Missouri.
A Google search for the text showed that it was one of the strings of text reused by many of the proponents and suspected bots. Copy and paste is used by both sides of these types of public comment periods. Nothing wrong with it.
Except then I found out that this Kevin McFarland died in 2014. First I did a search for Kevin McFarland in O’Fallon, Missouri. I found that, per the comment in favor of ending Net Neutrality, he and Susan own a home at 32 Hollywood Drive. Then a search for Kevin and Susan McFarland led me to this obituary. His obituary ends with…
Mr. McFarland was a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War.
Despicable. Someone has programmed a bot to scrape death records and then upload them as comments in favor of deregulation. This is just one that I happened to find. Search for your name and then contact the Attorney General in your state to file a complaint.
We may not go to the mall very often, but this is our fifth year of doing some loyal customering of the LEGO store. Today they gave us two cool posters which immediately were put up in the game room. Jacob is standing on the future lego table.
Around a month later we all had our results and there were some surprises.
First, mine showed an even more European heritage than I was expecting. I knew that as far back as I could go that everyone seemed to be from England, Germany, the Netherlands… but here are my results.
94% of my heritage is from NW Europe — currently Britain, Ireland, Germany and Scandinavia and 61% is from Britain and Ireland. I’m about as white as you get. This may account for some of my genetic superpowers contributing to my hangover resistance, but counter to my ability to tan easily.
We had Jacob’s test done because it seems like whenever we travel he ends up looking like a local. In Nepal last week and older woman kept telling me he was Nepali. In Thailand we had a driver swear that Jacob had Thai ancestry. We suspected he could have Mongolian or another Chinese ethnic minority like Tibetan ancestry. But his results just give us more uncertainty.
His DNA is 85% Chinese …and 8% Korean. The results also show that he has 2% southern European DNA. I think that is probably a Silk Road influence. His results are shared via the DNA relatives tool through 23andme and there are already 18 people connected that are 3rd or 4th cousins. It is just a matter of time before some closer relatives take a test and we can find out more about where he is from originally.
Today was the culmination of Ganesh Chaturthi (I believe yesterday was the end of the Muslim celebration of Bakra Eid and tomorrow is the height of Kerala’s Thiru Onam — India has no shortage of festivals) and that meant immersion of the Ganesh figures in the ocean. Jacob and I didn’t spend much time there but I captured this…
We moved. Not far, just a few blocks away from the home we had for our first four years in India. Things have been a little disruptive as a result.
Before departing for the summer we packed most of our things. We knew we would return and need to move immediately. When we landed in Chennai we went straight to our new home. Not everything had been moved many things had. We just had to find our bed sheets and get some rest. The next couple of days we spent unpacking, moving furniture, and getting settled.
This place has a big lawn so we now own a lawn mower and string trimmer which we didn’t plan on buying. I would like to limit the number of continents that I own a lawnmower on to two.
Our boys had to get physicals done for school so we went to a nearby clinic. We didn’t have their blood type information so that test became part of our scavenger-hunt-like wander through the hospital. Jordan, who has a fear of needles, decided he wanted to go first and get it over with. Pepper rubbed his back and shoulders as he had his head down and didn’t watch. An older man in the wakting area (seated just two feet behind Jordan) noted Jordan’s fear and told him “boys don’t cry” and to “be a man” because he was a man and never cried.
It took me no time at all to be shouting at him that men and boys do cry. That I cry. He flexed his bicep and held it up pointing to it saying he was a man. Pepper was telling me to stop. I visualized making the man cry which in my mind was quickly followed by my arrest. I backed down. I know I can not change him. But I do not need either of my boys believing that they should not cry or that such gender stereotypes should be tolerated.
For the second December in a row, Chennai had disaster strike in the form of a natural calamity.
For a week I watched this low pressure system build up over the Bay of Bengal using this wind visualization tool (use your mouse to move around and scroll in and out) and this cyclone and hurricane mapping site. It ended up ramming right into Chennai. Our home was just south of the center so the winds were actually coming from inland and heading to the sea, which I had never considered a possibility.
The cyclone rolled into Chennai on Monday the 12th. School was closed by mid-day, but we were not able to leave until the Head of School because our car was being repaired and we were getting a ride with them. Fortunately a neighbor took Jordan and Jacob home before we were able to leave. We were without power before we arrived home and water on the roof had pooled and was coming in under the door. I’ll let my video tell the story…