Beefeating in December / Transportation

Hot off the presses – we just bought tickets for a week in December in England (a day or two in Hamburg first) as part of a special running this weekend only at

It would be really nice to hook up with Ian & Michelle for a visit…I really hope that works out.

Note: we don’t plan specifically to eat any beef. We are specifically looking forward to Invicta Tandoori. As I recall, they don’t serve beef there, but lots of other good stuff.

I *really* wish we could take Transrapid train there instead of flying. My coworkers and I discuss this exciting piece of transportation technology every few months, and one of them recently got to ride in the only Transrapid train currently in use commercially (in Shanghai). I’m glad the management decided to make him go on that trip instead of me, but taking a 400 km/h (248.5 mph!) train ride would have offset that a little bit.

Now I see that the U.S. government is in the planning stages of introducing Transrapid systems there (according to this article). It’s a start, I guess, but the real power of the Transrapid system in the U.S. would be for travel between cities like Detroit and Chicago, or Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and maybe even Salt Lake City. Those are all destinations that take no more than a couple hours to fly to/from, but are a significant car trip.

L.A. to San Francisco requires 61/3 hours by car (thanks [Google Maps](, or about 11/4 hours in the air (thanks [Orbitz]( But figure in the 60 minutes you’re supposed to be at the airport prior to departure, and your air-route time cost balloons to 23/4 hours:

  • 1 hour sitting around waiting to board
  • 11/4 hours in the air
  • 30 minutes (on average?) to get off the plane and collect your stuff

At 450 km/h (290 mph), with 5 minute stops in Bakersfield, Fresno, and San Jose, the travel time (using the distance Google reported) is about 13/4. Figure on arriving at the trainstation 10 minutes prior to departure and you’re still talking about a trip less than 2 hours from Los Angeles to San Francisco. And it is supposed to be cheaper than a flight.

If the estimates for safety and efficiency and energy consumption are accurate, then in many cases, the Transrapid is clearly the way to go. There may be cases where the overall plane trip is still less time-consuming for the passenger than a Transrapid trip, but I know I would trade the extra time in transit for improved safety, comfort, cost and environmental impact in an instant.

We got new hair!

My new hair is actually old news. I got it cut while we were killing time on a rainy day in Bozen. Sarah’s new hair was a nice surprise for me when I got home from work today.

Bozen Pics up, wish we could call and tell you about it

I’ve posted our pictures from our trip to Bozen, Italy, along with a short description of the stuff we did there: link

In other news, we switched from Telekom to Arcor for more DSL bang for our €uro, but a side effect of that was that our phone service has gotten knocked out temporarily. The Arcor people said it’s Telekom’s fault. The Telekom dude came to check and said it’s the equipment that Arcor sent me which is causing the problem. If you have tried to reach us since Tuesday morning, your connection didn’t go through because of this outage. Sorry about that. I am hoping to get this resolved early next week.

Good to know that red tape is an international phenomenon.

Bozen (Bolzano) trip, September 2005

We spent a long weekend in Bozen, Italy (map). We had a nice time tromping around in Ritten, but I think you can see from the pictures how much nicer it would have been had the weather been cooperative. While it was raining, we went to a modern art museum (which was kind of weird, but it was nice to have the whole exhibition to ourselves) and stopped in to visit Ötzi. Still, we enjoyed ourselves and were glad to take advantage of the train specials — €39 per person each way.

Check out the “Erd-Pyramiden” in the pictures especially. We took those photos from Ritten after taking the train up there from Soprabolzano (Oberbozen), which we reached via cable car.

Next time, are thinking about driving it. The view of the mountain passes from inside the train were breath taking. As luck would have it, the weather on both of our travel days would have been great for tromping around up in the hills.

Click on any picture below to view the whole set.

BookCrossing Wish Lists back up, cautiously

OK, finally my hosting company for took some action, and wishes seem to be working more or less normally again.

To try and prevent future similar outages in the future, I have imposed a 200-wish limit on all wish lists. This means that if you have over 200 wishes, you won’t be able to make any new ones until you erase the old ones.

You can also help tidy up the database by erasing wishes you don’t need anymore or re-using existing wishes with new author/title info. On your wish list page, there is now a link to remove all crossed-off wishes for which you have entered no BCID. My hope this that this will help keep the site from running out of space so quickly, and thusly keep future outages to a minimum.

Thanks for your patience in the meantime.

BookCrossing Wish Lists down indefinitely

Hi all,
If you are a user of my other website,, then you might have noticed that it’s throwing error messages. Sorry about that.

I think the database of Wish Lists for BookCrossing users has just gotten too big. I’m in the process of limiting the number of wishes any user can have open at any given time. Maybe that will help keep more space available in the database.

In the meantime, I’ve got the hosting company trying figure out the problem. I am hopeful that it will get fixed this weekend. Thanks for your patience in the meantime.

Note: other functionality on the website might also be affected — not just the wishes.