Pandas

2017 January 23
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The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca, literally "black and white cat-foot"; Chinese: 大熊猫; pinyin: dà xióng māo, literally "big bear cat"), also known as panda bear or simply panda, is a bear native to south central China. It is easily recognized by the large, distinctive black patches around its eyes, over the ears, and across its round body. The name "giant panda" is sometimes used to distinguish it from the unrelated red panda. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the giant panda's diet is over 99% bamboo. Giant pandas in the wild will occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, rodents or carrion. In captivity, they may receive honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, or bananas along with specially prepared food.

The main reason as I said for me wanting to go to the San Diego Zoo was for the Pandas. These majestic creatures are not many places in the United States so I had to take the opportunity to see them when I had the chance.

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San Diego Zoo

2017 January 21
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The San Diego Zoo is a zoo in Balboa Park, San Diego, California, housing over 3,700 animals of more than 650 species and subspecies. Its parent organization, San Diego Zoo Global, is one of the largest zoological membership associations in the world, with more than 250,000 member households and 130,000 child memberships, representing more than a half million people. The San Diego Zoo was a pioneer in the concept of open-air, cageless exhibits that re-create natural animal habitats. It is one of the few zoos in the world that houses and successfully breeds the giant panda. In 2013, the zoo added a new Koalafornia Adventure exhibit, providing an updated Australian animal experience.

I was privileged to spend 3 weeks in California for work, in my free time though I of course got out to see as much as I could. One of the places that had been on the list for quite a long time, has been the San Diego Zoo and with this trip I was able to make that happen.

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San Diego Safari Park

2017 January 19
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The San Diego Zoo Safari Park, known as the San Diego Wild Animal Park until 2010, is an 1,800 acre (730 ha) zoo in the San Pasqual Valley area of San Diego, California, near Escondido. It is one of the largest tourist attractions in San Diego County. The park houses a large array of wild and endangered animals including species from the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, and Australia. The park is in a semi-arid environment, and one of its most notable features is the Africa Tram which explores the expansive African exhibits. These free-range enclosures house such animals as antelopes, giraffes, buffalo, cranes, and rhinoceros. The park is also noted for its California condor breeding program, the most successful such program in the United States.

On my trip to California, I also had the chance to visit the San Diego Safari Park. I actually like this place more than the Zoo it was so much more spread out. While there did seem to be less animals to see, there was so much more beautiful space.

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Renaissance Festival Set 4

2017 January 17
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Here is the final set of pictures from the renaissance festival.

Hope everyone likes the pictures.

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Renaissance Festival Set 3

2017 January 15
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Here is the second set of pictures from the renaissance festival.

Click below to see all the pictures.

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Renaissance Festival Set 2

2017 January 13
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Here is the second set of pictures from the renaissance festival.

Click below to see the rest of the pictures.

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Renaissance Festival

2017 January 11
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The Ohio Renaissance Festival is an annual event that takes place on weekends from late August through October. This Renaissance festival is held at a permanent site located near Harveysburg in Warren County, Ohio. It was voted Best Festival in Warren County in 2011.

The Ohio Renaissance Festival first opened its gates in 1990 in between Harveysburg, Ohio and I-71. Over the 25 years the site has been opened, it has grown into a 30 acres (120,000 m2) permanent village with over 100 shops and 12 outdoor stages. The festival is set in the fictional 16th-century English village of "Willy Nilly-on-the-Wash," during the reign of Elizabeth I. Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir Francis Drake, Sir John Hawkins and John Dee are a few historical figures that reside in Willy Nilly, along with some not so historical but very much entertaining residents. The festival features costumed performers on stages and in the streets, craft shops selling and demonstrating period themed handcrafted goods and artwork, renaissance themed food, and regularly scheduled comedy, music, and acrobatic shows. Featured shows include Theatre in the Ground, jousting with the Knights of Valour and Shane Adams (the host of Full Metal Jousting -an American reality television jousting themed show.) DaVinci Bros. Comedy Opera, Dirk and Guido: The Swordsmen! and the Kamikaze Fireflies (the duo that were featured on America's Got Talent).

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Loveland Castle Set 2

2017 January 09
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Here is the second set of pictures from my visit to Loveland Castle.

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Click below for the entire set.

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Loveland Castle

2017 January 07
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Château Laroche, also known as the Loveland Castle, is a museum on the banks of the Little Miami River north of Loveland, Ohio, United States. A folly of a historical European castle, construction began in 1929 by Boy Scout troop leader, World War I veteran, and medievalist Harry D. Andrews. He built the castle on two free plots of land that his scouts obtained by paying for one-year subscriptions to The Cincinnati Enquirer. Andrews named his castle after a military hospital in the Chateau La Roche in southwest France where he was stationed during the First World War. Its name means "Rock Castle" in French.

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So this represents so many things for me to talk about. You can talk about the oddities in the United States, you can talk about perseverance, you can talk about history, you can talk about friendship. All of these apply to the creation and building of the Loveland Castle.

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Oktoberfest

2017 January 05
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Cincinnati has a huge German community, so there are many aspects about the city's culture that reflects it. From the cuisine to the beer heritage.

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One of those great traditions is Oktoberfest, one of the best traditions of Germany. Germany has a great tradition of Beer fests. Oh how I enjoyed those when I lived in Germany for 2 year. Seemed like if a town had more than 50 people in it, it had a brewery and a beerfest in the summer.

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Salem Set 2

2017 January 03
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Here is the second set of pictures from Salem.

Click below to see them all.

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2016 in review

2017 January 01
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What can I say about 2016. This year was crazy, filled with amazing highs and supreme lows. Toss in the election and you make for one of the oddest years in my known life.

The lows, it seems like 2016 wanted to take out everyone, Prince, Bowie, Castro, Leia, etc, and even Booker's poor brother Whitey did not make it through the year. Many of these unexpected and seemingly coming out of nowhere. Has me thinking that I needed to ride out the end of the year in a bunker.

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Salem

2016 December 30
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The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. The trials resulted in the executions of twenty people, fourteen of them women, and all but one by hanging. Five others (including two infant children) died in prison.

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This was simply put stupidity at its finest. We can say now, this could not happen today, but it still does. We hate on each other in almost any way possible, via religion, ethnicity, sexual preference. Just look around and you will see a intolerance. You might say this is totally different these people were blinded by a superstition that no one would fall for.

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Old North Church

2016 December 28
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Old North Church (officially, Christ Church in the City of Boston), at 193 Salem Street, in the North End of Boston, is the location from which the famous "One if by land, and two if by sea" signal is said to have been sent. This phrase is related to Paul Revere's midnight ride, of April 18, 1775, which preceded the Battles of Lexington and Concord during the American Revolution.

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Like everything I have spoken of in Boston, the history in this place is amazing. This is where the revolution took a step, not completely by the fact that we as a people were able to forewarn of the upcoming battle. But the propaganda that it then was able to produce. Almost everyone knows of this ride. It was not the only warning we had before a battle, and was not even the biggest battle. But our forefathers used this event to help rally the people of a future nation.

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Copps Hill

2016 December 26
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Copp's Hill is an elevation in the historic North End of Boston, Massachusetts. It is bordered by Hull Street, Charter Street and Snow Hill Street. The hill takes its name from William Copp, a shoemaker who once owned the land. Copp's Hill Burying Ground is a stop on the Freedom Trail.

Founded by the town of Boston in 1659, Copp's Hill Burying Ground is the second oldest burying ground in the city. The cerement's boundaries were extended several times, and the grounds contain the remains of many notable Bostonians in the thousands of graves and 272 tombs.

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