Archive for October, 2010


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I wish there was a way for our televisions to know that we’ve already voted. That way we would be spared the incisive rhetoric that continues to plague the airwaves and watch more commercials with relevancy… like the E-Trade baby or Jack… CEO of Jack In the Box!

I completely get it! You believe your opponent is an unethical idiot with no redeeming qualities what so ever… but couldn’t you have just a few TV spots that highlight what you believe is necessary to solve today’s problems? Do you really believe we’re too stupid to understand your point of view? Don’t just say “Had I been in office last year, I would have voted differently”… that’s too easy. Maybe unemployment didn’t go down in the last two years, but let’s face it… if nothing had been done, who’s to say it wouldn’t have gone to 20%? Certainly not you.

Well my votes have been cast… so leave me alone. I’m tired of hearing about your opponent and their ineptness. I can’t wait for the day someone gets elected because they are more concerned about us, rather than just trying to get elected or stay elected.

This was written a few days ago and I’ve continued to suffer through the rhetoric… at least it’s over!

Well I finally decided to do it. I’m going from XP to Win 7. I figure when my IT group decides to start coordinating a launch, it’s time to give this some serious consideration. I actually started planning for the process a few months ago when I asked for (and received) a network back up drive for Father’s Day. Yep,  back in June. There are some things you just can’t rush and a Windows 7 Upgrade seemed like one of those things that was better off in the planning stages.

But with the latest Windows Live Essentials upgrades and the Explorer 9 upgrade all being written only for Win 7, I figured now was the time to make the move. I bet that’s what MSFT was thinking too when they re-designed the Live packages! “Damn them!” 

Step 1 – Purchase the Windows 7 Upgrade. Found it online at Amazon and Costco. The Costco price was $119, but there was a 7-10 day delivery time frame. Too long… once you decide to pull the trigger you need to get moving. Went to the Costco Warehouse and found it for $109! SCORE!!! Also purchased $200 of steaks and wine and a new Sonic Care toothbrush. Don’t judge me, I needed that wine.

Step 2 – Back up your data. Since I’m upgrading from XP it is necessary to transfer all of my files to an external hard drive. (See… I told you I had planned this out) File to transfer, 160GB… time to transfer… 11 hours! There isn’t much wine left…

Step 3 – Add wine to Costco shopping list

Step 4 – Run install disk

Step 5 – Research error message – fix registry setting – restart computer

Step 6 – Run install disk

Step 7 – More research on error message – update drivers for the array drives – restart computer

Step 8 Run install disk (it was at this point when I seriously thought I’d just offer to take IT to lunch and drive by my house for some free tech support. After all, IT does report to me)

Success… at least I’ve gotten past the error message and the computer has successfully rebooted several times now. Completing Installation is still unchecked, but I can see it is still working and not in some frozen state.

Next up… the transfer of files back to the “New” computer and re-installing all of my programs. I wonder if I still have that Leisure Suit Larry disk.

Final Scotland Competition Results

A lot of people have been asking about how the final competition in Scotland turned out. As you’ll recall, we had a match play game against each person on the trip each day… well most of the days. It got a little confusing on the days when some of the group got to play the Old Course so we didn’t keep track on those 3 days.

By the end, we had competed on 8 courses with 7 matches each day, except for me; I did the sightseeing thing and missed Turnberry Kintyre. So most of the group had 55 total matches. We played each match with full handicaps and each match was for 18 holes… none of this front/back/total stuff… just total.

Courses included in the competition were:

  1. Royal Lytham and St. Annes
  2. Royal Liverpool
  3. Royal Birkdale
  4. Royal Troon
  5. Prestwick
  6. Turnberry Kintyre
  7. Turnberry Ailsa
  8. Carnoustie

Click on any of the names above and it will take you to the course web site.

A total of 217 matches were played during these days. One of the amazing statistics is that 41 of those matches were either a tie or decided by one hole. That’s nearly 20%.

Rick was hands down the overall victor, with 43 wins and just 8 losses. Pretty amazing when you consider the courses and the rest of the field! He played really well as evidenced by his 24 gross skins (and I think all of them were birdies!)

Terry and I had great expectations after having battled to a first place tie during the Ireland trip. I wonder if we can use those winnings to offset our losses this time.

Final Scotland Competition Results

But as we all know, at the end of the day, it wasn’t so much about the competition as it was the camaraderie of playing with some great friends on some World Class courses and hoisting a pint with our fellow competitors at the end of each round. Experiences that will last us for years to come. Of course that’s easy for me to say… I lost.

Not interested in the narratives of our trip? Looking for an easier way to watch our adventures? Here’s a list of quick links to just the videos.

Travel Day – Seattle to London to Manchester

Manchester Day 1

Bus Ride to Southport

Our UK Kickoff Dinner – We all got together for a big dinner at The Forge in Southport

Royal Lytham and St. Annes

Royal Liverpool

Royal Birkdale (my favorite course)

Birthday Air Show – Yes, the Southport locals threw an air show just for my birthday complete with the Red Arrows. I’m sure it was for me.

Travel Day to Turnberry

Royal Troon

Prestwick

The Turnberry Short Course – In front of the hotel is a 12 hole pitch and putt. Perfect for a bunch of friends from Fairwood.

Turnberry Ailsa

Travel to St. Andrews

St. Andrews Old Course 

Carnoustie Golf Links

Kingsbarns (my second favorite course)

St. Andrews – New Course

Wow! A total of 18 videos. Each video is only a couple of minutes in length. If you haven’t seen any of them, it’s not a huge time commitment. If you’ve seen a few, here’s your chance to catch the ones you’ve missed.

Cheers!

Prior to our trip to Scotland, Arne signed up for a Scotch Whiskey web site. Don’t ask me why, maybe he thought they would send him free samples for life. In any event, here is some information he received with regard to the Scottish toast… and it sounds as if this is a toast for whiskey, but I think we can use it for just about any drink.

Whisky Toasts

If we consider the traditional whisky toasts, these are based on the following Gaelic ;

“Slainte” meaning “Cheers!” and pronounced “slanjy”

“Slainte mhath meaning “Good health” and pronounced “slanjy var” to which the traditional response is:

“Slainte mhor” meaning “Good health” (as a reply) and pronounced “slanjy vor”

Now what is even more interesting:

In Gaelic word “slainte”, the “te” is pronounced “je”, the word “mhath” is pronounced “var” and the word “mhor” is pronounced “vor”. sheesh, and I thought English was tough.

I think for our purposes, we can just use the shortened version slanjy, which according to other sources is pronounced “Slan ge”

Cheers… errr… Slainte

Slange Var

Pronounced [Slan je varr]. This is the Scottish for cheers.

slange_var I found this online for those in our group who are having trouble remembering Walters toast. I know I did and always would look to Kristi for help! We were pretty close on how to say it… I sure don’t remember an “R” the way Walter would say it. We’re sure to hear this around the Club soon!

The Shanks?

If you’re a golfer, you’ve had this happen to you. The dreaded “S” word. The shanks! Tin Cup almost made it look humorous. But when it’s happening to you, there isn’t a more helpless feeling… well other than the yips but that’s another story.

So this isn’t about how you get them, how you cure them, or how you help someone that has them. (Geez, sounds more like a terrible disease) This is about where the name came from. Who was it that decided a miss-hit golf shot should be called a “shank”?

Now I don’t know who it was, but I have a theory. On our recent trip to Scotland I was standing in front of the urinal in the Men’s Locker Room at Royal Troon… and I noticed the manufacturer of the plumbing fixture was Armitage Shanks. And I got to thinking… is it possible the term Shank came from the very fixture I was… ummmm… watering. And it’s been bothering me ever since. Is it possible that at some point in the distant past, some guy was standing here… went out to the first tee… saw a guy hit a shot off the hozzle… and said this guys game was in the “Shanks”? Meaning of course his game was in the toilet. And from that point forward to the present day… an absolutely horrible golf shot off the hozzle became know as a Shank.

Of course, if anyone else has another idea, I’d love to hear it.

St. Andrews – New Course

Our last day of golf. It’s been quite an adventure. Starting in Southport 14 days ago, The New Course is the 12th day of golf for most of our group. (13 rounds for the guys including the getaway round at Royal Troon!)

As I said before, don’t let the name fool you. The New Course is not new. It opened in 1895! How’s that for new!

For our last round we were paired up with Mike and Rose, which worked out perfect. They were the last couple we hadn’t played with yet and this meant we got to play at least one round of golf with every couple in the group.

St. Andrews – The New Course Video

After golf, everyone pretty much went their separate way to explore St. Andrews (and it’s many golf stores) for one last time. But as usually happens on these trips, at the end of the day we all ended up in the same place; choosing The Sands dining room at the Old Course Hotel for a great last meal.

  • 18 people
  • 9 couples
  • 45 pieces of luggage
  • 20 days (for most of us)
  • 4 Cities
  • 11 golf courses (12 for some)
  • 11 lost golf balls (way fewer than anticipated!)
  • 10 trips to the ATM (aka, The hole in the wall)

Thanks to all of our friends at Fairwood Golf and Country Club who followed our travels via “the Blog” and Facebook. It was fun putting together the short videos to keep you up to date with our adventures. We tried to make sure everyone got some “face time” in the videos, made a little easier by playing with each couple… because at the end of the day – most of our time was spent on a golf course!

And a special thanks to all of our travel partners. It’s tough to keep a group of that size together, sharing the many experiences a trip like this offers. And because we’re all such good friends around the Club, it made it that much harder to stay together. (Imagine walking into a Pub and saying “Table for 18?) Mary did a great job of organizing some Group dinners in some great restaurants and Walter (our bus driver) supplemented her efforts by making arrangements for more dinners while we were out golfing. Arne and Kristi – you were a welcome addition to the “Ireland group”. Mike and Rose, we’re so glad you were ambushed by “The Dove Mountain Gang” and decided to get back “on the bus”. The trip just wouldn’t have been the same without you guys. Sooze our videographer was everywhere snapping pictures. Can’t wait to see your final project! And of course, Ron and Jane who took on the challenge of organization, communications, and coordination. Not an easy task with any group, let alone with 18 Type A personalities.

At the end of it all, it was another great trip!

Kingsbarns!

Kingsbarns is a new course by any standard. When you are talking about the St. Andrews New Course it’s still over 100 years old. Kingsbarns is only 10 years old! It was built on the site of a very old course (1844 or there abouts). The new owners moved millions of cubic yards of earth to create one of the most impressive courses I’ve ever played. Nearly every hole (if not all of them) are played with a view of the ocean.

Following golf, we all went to the World famous Dunvegan Hotel for dinner and Larry’s birthday celebration. The Dunvegan has been voted Best 19th Hole by Golf Channel and was recently featured on Golf in America where Sleepy Dye was given his final resting place… you’d have to have seen it to understand, but Rick and I did go into the bar and you can be assured, Sleepy is indeed resting on the top shelf.

Everyone sang Happy Birthday to Larry, including a group of golfers from Long Island. And rather than giving a speech, Larry opted for a joke. Which lead to another from the New Yorkers and before long we had a stand up comedy show in progress. Mike’s mind went blank and the boys from New York were the Last Comics Standing. (Although rumor has it Mike tracked them down the next day with unforgettable jokes)

Click here for the video: Kingsbarns

I think we were all a little apprehensive about playing Carnoustie. It has a reputation of having strong winds and rain. Last year during the Dunhill they suspended play as it lived up to its nickname Car”nastie”.

Our first stop of the day was for a private tour of the small boutique distillery, Tullibardine. It was Sunday so no one was working and we got to go through the entire facility, even peeking into the fermenting tanks. The tour ended with scotch… what else. I wish I could remember our guides name. He did a great job of explaining the various processes. It is amazing that all scotch has only three ingredients… barley, water and yeast. It is the malting process of the barley that makes them all so different.

Sandi, Liann and Mary decided to take the day off from golf (mostly due to the reputation of Carnoustie being the most difficult course in the UK!) which gave us a chance to put together another “guys” foursome. This time it was Rick and Larry taking on Arne and me… and at the end it was Arne and me paying out 13 pounds. Oh well, at least in Fairwood style, the winners bought our beer.

Even though you can see Carnoustie from St. Andrews, it is nearly an hour away by road. The bartender was kind enough to sell us 12 beers to hold us over until we got back to The Jigger Inn.

Here’s your video link: Carnoustie

Cheers

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