My Lunch

Yes, I just ate bread with cheese and salami on a Sicilian beach. Yes, I accompanied that with olives and a nectarine. Yes, I’m about to go swimming in crystal clear blue water and take a nap under an umbrella. Yes!


I’m in Paris now after a very productive week in Lyon. With my colleague, we learned a lot about Valles Marineris, Mars, and got together the material we need to write a NASA proposal to continue this work.

Paris is just like I remember it but with more tourists. I’ve never been here in July before. So far I’ve really enjoyed the cheese and revisiting some of my old haunts, like the Seine, Notre Dame, and Sacre Coeur. This afternoon I’m headed out to watch the final stage of the Tour de France. It’s raining, but that won’t stop an intrepid traveler like me 😛  I’ll try to get some good pictures to put up.

I just bought tickets to Israel!

I’ve got a lot of travel coming up. Most of it is for work, but I’m able to extend each trip with added vacation days. My next trip is to Baltimore for two meetings related to SHARAD and MRO.

The next trip is to Switzerland. I’ll be there to provide radar observations and interpretations over several regions of Mars. Having been to Switzerland several times, and wanting to branch out, I thought it would be nice to visit somewhere new, so I bought tickets to Israel. It’s going to be a short trip, just 3 days and 4 nights, but I get to see somewhere new and explore more of the world. This is going to be great.

If that weren’t enough, as soon as I get back I head off to Idaho for another meeting. Yep! Lots of meetings. I’ll be taking the motorcycle that time, so there will be an added road trip after the meeting. Looking forward to that too.

Athens Part 2

I took over 500 photos on my first day in Athens, so here is another set from the second half of that day. The evening pictures were spectacular, with a rainbow and sunset, then the Parthenon lit up.

Enjoy them all here.

[URL=]View of the Acropolis from Ancient Agora[/URL]

View of Acropolis from Temple of Zeus

[URL=]View of city from Mount Lybettus[/URL]

Rainbow looking east

At night

Again, enjoy them all here.

Lonely Blog

I don’t write much these days.  It’s not for lack of things happening, maybe the opposite.  So much is happening and so quickly, that I have a hard time keeping up with myself, much less a blog.

I’m in my last two weeks in Paris.  I won’t fly home until May 9th, but I have a conference in Vienna to go to and a couple of days of vacation afterward.  I have a lot of work to do between now and then, most of it writing.  My research has been great, and we’ve got two more papers to work on.  Somehow we’ll figure out when. I submitted one in December that I hope to hear back from any day. I’ve got an abstract due in two weeks, and another paper has been on the back burner until last week.  It’s approaching submittable.

In March I was all over the place.  Flew from Paris to Denver, was in Boulder for 6 days doing a job interview and looking for an apartment. Then flew to Austin for 2 days to pick up my motorcycle. Rode to Houston to see Forrest and attend a conference – with a lot of driving in between. Got back to Austin, the immediately drove to Dallas, just to turn around the next day.  I had almost a week in Austin before flying home to Paris.  Yep, I call Paris home now.  Isn’t home the place you go when you’re done traveling?  It is for me.

I’ve got a ton of photos to put up.  Wish me luck in that adventure!  I’ll get there one day.  Although it would be worth it to show some of Paris in spring.  It really is stunning here right now.  Of course I spent the entire day at home or at work, only to come home and work some more. Tomorrow will be different.  Akili and I are supposed to do something.


Signing off for now, but I’ll get some spring pictures up soon.

Countdown to Paris

I am moving to Paris in one week!  Everything is happening so soon.  Of course I’m anxious and excited.  Right now the biggest worry is finding a place to live until November.  Hopefully that will be taken care of soon.  After that, there are a few more things to take care of in Austin.

I’m going to miss a lot from Austin, of course: family, friends and enemies, my house and lifestyle, my motorcycle, …  It’s all moving so quickly.

Next week I can have this for dinner, and no one will give me grief!

Rome part 2.

It takes me too long to do this stuff!  I want to finish this up so I can post pictures from Pompeii and the Vatican.

After lunch I continued my walk around the city, and without a map I soon found myself away from the exciting stuff, but thankfully there is plenty to see there.  From the Colosseum I unknowingly headed toward the Roman Forum. On my way I passed some nice things.

The city was littered with these things, viaducts? aquaducts?

That last one has an arch structure coming out of a house!? And the pine trees you see there have somehow been cultivated to look like that. Think giant Bonsai.

My walk took me through a famous church, San Clemente. It was old and beautiful as you can imagine. I didn’t take any photos in there out of respect (well actually it was too dark :), normally I would). So here’s a google image search if you want to see what it looks like.

And since my hotel was so close I found myself back at the Colosseum.

Jack, my boss and advisor, and I met up with some colleagues at a restaurant below our hotel, did I mention there were 4 on that plaza? These guys are from Colorado, and one is the head of the project on the American side. I think this was the cheapest meal I ate there, probably $40 per person or so.

After dinner Jack and I walked in a direction I hadn’t yet gone. I especially liked the view of the Victor Emanuel Monument.

That first one is nice. We walked for a while and found ourselves back at the Colosseum (right by the hotel still). It made for some nice night shots.

Here’s one with the two of us although smeared because I forgot the flash

By then I my feet hurt, and I was tired from jetlag and the long day. The next day was neat, my lunch spot even older than today.

Ok, Rome pictures! and my lunch at the Colosseum

As always I’ll start with the trip there.  It began slow: we took off late due to congestion on the runway.  The skys were clear though, and we even flew over Nacogdoches. In the second image you may be able to understand why I’m not a big fan of chickens. These things were all over East Texas, and if the wind blew your way it might make you want to hold your breath. Thankfully I didn’t live near any (but my dad did), so I didn’t have to smell them very often. enough of that!

Dinner on the plane was great. It started off with my own bottle of wine and ended up with some fine French food. I had lamb, but they had other options. My dinner reading was a book about the 17th century artist Bernini who holds some sort of record for most sculptures in Rome or something like that. His work is amazing, and I made it a point to see some (you’ll get the pictures later)

Dinner was right before we flew over Manhattan. What a sight! The Dutch guy sitting beside me couldn’t get his camera out fast enough, so I shared the ok quality photos I took with him.

The rest of the flight wasn’t special except for breakfast. We landed in Paris with not enough time for me to catch my flight. I did catch it, but I had to find an alternate route through immigration. The one that led to my next terminal had >500 people, and I had 15 minutes. Such is the way in CDG, and on the return trip it was just as hairy.

Italy from the sky is beautiful. It was overcast, but I got photos upon descent that turned out pretty well.
The airport isn’t actually in Rome, so I have no photos of Rome from above.

After making my way to the hotel (I made it to the right street but the wrong hotel – that happened more than once) I stopped at a store across the way to get some cheese, bread, and olives to make lunch. 😀 But first I snapped a couple shots from the Hotel. It overlooked a small piazza with 5 restaurants and a couple of convenience stores selling cigarettes and soda. You can get cigarettes everywhere there, and even tough I was on the 3rd floor I could smell the smoke at night wafting up into my open window.

I took my bag of food for a walk. The sights in Rome are very easy to find. Down the street from my hotel was a view of the Roman Forum which I’ll show in another post. I walked along a wall showing the extent of the Roman Empire through time. That was cool.

And along the way I saw countless old buildings still with the architecture from centuries ago.

Then finally (after a <10 minute walk) I reached my destination! The Colosseum! Before walking up to it I stopped for lunch on a wall to admire the structure and watch people walk by. This was cool!

I enjoyed the food (olives were delicious) and made my way up to this historic building. It is really big. And you can see how much work was put into making it. Remember they didn’t have the same building materials or heavy equipment we do not. This was cut and moved by hand.

I took a lot of pictures there. Some of which turned out pretty well. I’ll show a few

And of course I had to take one of myself 😀 I carried a tripod with me for moments like this (and night pictures). The one I had then was brand new; this was my first time to use it. Well, the leg broke on that first try. Needless to say I returned it once I got home. 🙁

But the picture still turned out okay.

There are a few more pictures from that walk, and you are invited to see them all here. Also, pictures of the flight if you are interested.

Rome pictures

They are coming.  Actually I’ve got some uploaded already. The trick is finding time to sort them and delete the bad/redundant ones – which is going slowly.  I took a lot of pictures.

For now I’ll link to what is available, but an actual post with captions and stories is coming soon for each.

Here you should have access to 3 folders, one of the flight, one of having lunch under the colloseum and another of a walk I took the first night.