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Around The Globe

Old LA Zoo – Griffith Park

This past weekend, Constantine and I set out to go exploring a few different abandoned areas of Los Angeles, we started out with the one we thought would be the easiest to find and sure enough it was.

The Old LA Zoo first opened in Griffith Park in 1913, the zoo didn’t do very good and had many animal escapes and was poorly funded, during world war I many of the animals died due to food rationing. In 1965, the zoo was moved to it’s present location just south of where this one is located. This past year during the Griffith park fires, the old zoo was nearly destroyed, thankfully it survived the fires and is still amazingly well kept.

We headed up the I-5 early Saturday morning and got off at the first Griffith park exit and parked in the Merry-Go-Round parking lot. Head back across the street and up the road (away from the merry-go-round). Here you will find a trail that heads to the right along the ridge and through some trees. Go up the trail just a little ways and you will find the first group of buildings. It’s really very easy to get too. This is the back side of what appeared to be the Lion cages. There were plenty of holes in the fence that you can get through to climb around. In fact the day we were there there was some group filming a movie, which included a large fake tiger!

We continued to hike around for a while and found a few different ways to get there. In fact if you don’t want to go through the hiking part, you can actually get to the front of the zoo by going around the Merry-Go-Round to the right of the parking lot and then just follow the larger parking lot to the left.

You can download or tracks for Google Earth here, and see just how easy it is to see. You could easily spend 30 minutes or a few hours exploring this old compound and the areas around it.

Our pictures of the Old LA Zoo are here. Or you can view the GoogleEarth GeoTagged photos here. Lastly you can view the other hard data from the weekend here.

Here’s some more references:
Marilyn Carolyn
Boing Boing
Zoo Zoo Zoo

On the way home we saw this cute little PokeMan bug… Crazy LA people:

(Notice the mini one on the dashboard!)

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Around The Globe My Life

Vienna Wrap Up

So Vienna…

Vienna, was not my favorite city. We got lost, constantly!

So we got there at the Southern Station and then had to go to the Western Station where our hostel was. We got on the tram and there was no where to put luggage, thankfully this really nice older guy gave up his seat so that we could get our luggage out of the isle. He also told us how many stops we had to go. Really friendly guy.

Got to our hostel and they told us we’d have to wait 3 hours before our room was ready! This was at 15:00!! So we put our luggage in storage and explored the area around our hostel some, found a grocery store to buy food in. I was carrying around a bunch of things of yogurt. Well, I dropped one and right next to where someone else had JUST broken a whole bottle of wine. Well the lady who was cleaning up the wine started yelling at me in German and I didn’t understand! :'(

Anyways, the first full day there we headed over to the Hofburg Complex. We wondered around that for a while and then went and saw the royal Imperial Apartments and Silver Collection. Both were very cool. After that we wondered around some more and they were setting up for some crazy Luxury living event thing. After that we tried finding our next activity, but we got lost and ended up next to the Rathaus City hall building where they were having a Christmas Market. Which is honestly one of my FAVORITE things about traveling in Europe at this time of year. They are absolutely wonderful! We shopped around there for a little bit and got lunch there. From there we headed over to the Sigmund Freud Museum which was very cool to see where he actually worked and lived. I wished they had more of his original stuff there, but they did have the waiting room setup the way he had it. We ended the day going to a Imperial Crypt in a church which wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, but still kinda cool.

The second day we walked around a lot, saw the Stephansdom which was neat. Around the corner from it was a place called Haas & Haas, we went back a few days later for some AMAZING dessert and tea! , found a cool Memorial which was all in Russian, so Constantine could read it. lol. I can’t remeber the exact name of it though and I don’t have the book with me to look it up. I was honestly surprised it was still standing. After that we headed over to the Belvedere and saw all the art there which was nice. That evening we went out and found the State Opera house which was really pretty all lit up at night and we saw a concert at the smaller Music theater next door. There were three encores! It was really good and I’m glad we went to it. After that we headed over to the famous Sacher for a slice of Sachertorte. Amazing! 🙂

The third day we headed to the nation museums which were cool in the MuseumsQuartier. We saw Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien and the Kunsthistorisches Museum. Both of them were really cool. It was also sunny that day so we took advantage of that and walked back over to the Stephansdom to take more pics of that. That night we headed out to Mango Bar which was lots of fun.

The last day in Vienna we went out to the Schloss Schonbrunn Palace. This place was amazing, and I highly suggest the longer tour as they save the best rooms for that tour! I was sad that it was so cloudy that day! That evening we headed back over to the Rathaus to take night time shots. Did some last minute shopping and then ate dinner at Cafe Resturant Landtmann which was just delicious! We then headed out to another gay bar called Heaven. The place was a dud. 🙁

The next day we took the train back to Prague and spent the night at the hotel by the airport. We totally wanted to go try and find some hot Czech boy porn, but the only place that looked any good was closed that night! 🙁

The flights back to LA were hellish. I got yelled at by the Air France people because the place was “Ready to leave”. I got stopped TWICE at different security points. The second one was AT the door to get on the plane and the woman was a total bitch. Made me take EVERYTHING out of my backpack. My wallet set off the metal detector because I have an extra key in there, so she made me empty that entire thing. All while the Air France lady is yelling at ME to hurry up because the plane is ready to go. Then we get on the plane and there is no where for me to put my baggage in the overhead thing and they are yelling at me to take my seat. They run out of Chicken dinners by the time they get back to me and only have Salmon, and I don’t eat that shit. Just an absolute nightmare! UGH!

Thank god the rest of the trip was excellent.

If you want to see our tracks that we did here’s a few different ways:

1) Download the GPX file and load it into your favorite program.
2) Download a Google Maps static image.
3) Download the Google Earth KMZ file. Download Google Earth here.
4) Or view it directly in your browser on Google Maps.

You can see all 531 photos from our trip to Vienna on the photodump.

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Around The Globe My Life

Prague Wrap Up

Ok, So where to start with this trip! This is going to be one long as entry probably. Unless I get lazy!

Wed Nov 14th we packed up and headed to the airport. Got there and got through security with no problems. We were extra early because of the shuttle bus thing, but it really wasn’t much of a problem. We got the inner row (no windows) of the plane, but one of us had the isle, so that was good. I was sitting next to this older lady who was pretty funny. The flight was 10 hours from LAX to Paris. The TV screens on our seats didn’t work and about half way through the flight my glasses broke. Thankfully the old woman next to us had a nail file, so Constantine was able to screw them back together. At one point the turbulence was soooo bad that the old woman was praying! So Cute! Landing was HORRIBLE! We bounced and on the second time hitting it felt like the plane was going to tip over! Like EVERYONE was suddenly jolted hard to the left!

Got to Paris and had to take a bus to our next plane. Got on that and that flight was pretty good. Got into Prague and our luggage was no where to be found! We filed a report and headed to the hostile. Since our luggage was missing, that basically killed our plans for going out. Thankfully our host at Shelter Pension was very nice and stayed around so that we could go out for a little bit. I didn’t have my jacket on me (it was in my luggage) so I borrowed Constantine’s light jacket and we explored a little. We were very close to everything so that was great. We could easily walk to Wenceslas Square which was just perfect!! Spent most of the night in our hostel room though.

The second day we got up and our luggage still wasn’t there. They said it might be delivered at night, so I hardly slept at all because every sound I heard I woke up thinking it was them. The hostle guy came again at 9:30 and said they called him last night saying they would deliver at 2am, I guess he told them not too and what not. He again agreeded to stay for a while and Constantine and I headed out in the opposite direction from our hostle. We found a neat park and some other cool stuff in our area. Came back to the hostel because the guy had to leave and we waited an hour or so for our luggage. I finilly just decided to go to one of the THREE H&M stores within walking distance of our Hostel and bought some warmed clothes. Of course, once I got back our luggage was there! That afternoon we headed out to the Dvorak Museum. We also got very lost, saw lots of interesting squares and other stuff in the city. Saw a wonderful sunset from the banks of the river.

The third day we headed out to Prague Castle, which was just amazing! We saw St. Vitus Cathedral, Dailbor Tower, Powder Tower, Golden Lane, the Old Royal Palace, and lots of other stuff in the area! The whole thing was just overwhelming! From there we headed over to the Loretto and some other churches in the area.

Day four was a good day, but a little light on things. We basically went to Little Quarter and saw some churches, Charles Bridge, the Kampa Museum of Modern Art, the Hunger Wall and the Memorial to the victims of Communism.

The last day we had to fit in both the Old town and the Jewish Quarter because of the luggage mishap. We started off with the Old town and the Powder Gate and then wondered around the old town square area while waiting for the Astronomical Clock to go. That was totally a waste of time, but I guess it was probably reall cool when it was built 1410! We also saw the Church of the Holy Ghost. The day was very clear, so we climbed the tower at Charles Bridge, headed over to the Jewish quarter and saw a few synagoges and the jewish cemetery. We walked from there over to Prague Castle again and this time walked up the steps from the Little Quarter and saw the Cathedral again. The inside was just AMAZING this time! We also climbed the tower and it was a wonderful view of the city. That was our last night out so we went to this really nice place to eat which was in a basement but it was done up really cool! I can’t remmeber the name of it right now, I have the card or something at home. On our way back to the hostel we stopped at this cute little street vendor who was selling Staroceske trdlo

I was a little sad that we didn’t get the 6 inches of snow they had forcasted, but on the third day it snowed a little bit in the morning. On the flight in and the trainride out, there was SNOW everywhere! Idon’t know why it wasn’t in Prague! :'(

If you want to see our tracks that we did here’s a few different ways:

1) Download the GPX file and load it into your favorite program.
2) Download a Google Maps static image.
3) Download the Google Earth KMZ file. Download Google Earth here.
4) Or view it directly in your browser on Google Maps.

You can see all 959 photos from our trip to Prague on the photodump.

Apartments in Prague
Provides a variety of cheap and luxury serviced apartments for short term rental in Prague.

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My Life

GeoTagging Photos on a Mac

UPDATED: 2008-01-22 (GPSPhotoLinker)
UPDATED: 2008-03-26 (iPhotoToGoogleEarth)

In short:

The Long Story

I’ve recently got very excited about Geotagging photos. I’m getting ready to head off to Europe for a couple weeks, visiting both Prague and Vienna. I wanted to be able to track where we go in the cities. My past couple trips, including Berlin and Paris, I always get back and start trying to comment on my photos and I no doubt have trouble remember where in the city they were taken!

So this time, I want to be able to geotag them all. Needless to say, I don’t have the money to spend on a DSLR with built in GPS support, or even a DSLR that can support an external GPS unit. So I have to find a way to tag my photos from my trusty Canon Powershot SD630.

I started off with a Garmin Forerunner 201, which I borrowed from a guy here at the office. I used it for a few days of tracking my driving, it seemed to work pretty well, but it had trouble acquiring the satellites fast enough. It would take anywhere from 5-15 minutes, which just isn’t fast enough for me. Also, I was afraid that when in Europe it wouldn’t be able to hold a whole days worth of tracks.

There were a few other issues with the device as well. First, I could not find ANY software to work with it on my Mac. Even GPSBabel couldn’t seem to find it. Second was that the windows software only exported in Garmin Training Center (.TCX) file format. After some searching I was able to find a website that could convert the files to the correct GPX file format, but this would require that I have internet connection while in Europe. Which is not a guarantee.

So, this weekend I went out and bought a fairly cheap used Garmin eTrex Vista. I didn’t need or want anything too fancy. The maps, etc are unneeded. Plus I’m going to be attaching it to my backpack, so I don’t want anything expensive in case it gets stolen while in Europe.

The device so far seems to be working pretty well. It acquires signals in just a few minutes, and can hold 10,000 track points.

As for the Mac Software, I’ve found tons of software out there, however none of it seems to actually work!

For transferring the data points from the Garmin device to my Macbook Pro, I have found the best solution to be GPS Babel. It was able to easily and quickly find my GPS unit and then transfer the trackpoints off into the correct GPX file type data.

From there, I then was able to find Photo GPS Editor. It’s a pretty straight forward interface with a really nice wizard. It even gives you the ability to select a location on the map and set that as the starting point. It will then try and find the correct information for the pictures.

My major complain with this software is the “Offset”. Probably because I don’t understand what I’m supposed to be setting here. It seems that no matter what I put there, things are “close” to where they should be, but not quite correct. I know I’ll probably never get it EXACTLY on where the pic was taken. But still, I think they should be closer then where it’s being shown. IE. I have a picture of the “Fairfax Exit” on the I-10 freeway here in LA. The Photo GPS Editor is putting that picture as being taken about 2 miles past where it was actually taken at (2 miles north on Fairfax from the I-10).

I’m also very confused by the listing of the GPS unit’s data. It shows that there are 8 different track logs with many different points each. So I don’t quite understand what those all mean.

I’d been playing around with GPS PhotoLinker before I moved over to Leopard. However now it doesn’t seem to start (Something about a missing perl module). I have emailed the developer and he says it’s a known issue and should be fixed shortly. (UPDATE: The developer has been actively releasing beta versions that work on Leopard. Check out the site here.) UPDATE:// I have been using this software for a while now that it’s working on leopard and it works great! This is by far the best software to use!!!

Lastly, I tried out ImageIngester. At first the interface is very confusing and has way too much going on. It’s in some serious need of a redesign. However! I found at this software actually worked the best out of all of them!

Even though this software is very cumbersome in the design and not very intuitive (I’m not really going to go into what should be changed here), it was relatively easy to actually get the photos tagged with GPS data. The first thing I did was go to “ImageIngesterPro” and click “Switch Mode”. This disabled a lot of the advanced features which are useless for this experiment. Second, was to click the “Tools” option and select “GPS Input” to enable the use of GPS data.

Here the Offset stuff is much easier to change. I knew that my GPS and my camera were both set to Pacific time and I knew that my camera was an hour faster then my GPS. Under the option for “Camera Time Adjustment” I changed it to remove an Hour.

Next, click the “Choose” button to select your photos, then click “Start”. It was that easy! ImageIngester did all the rest.

Some of the other software I’ve tried has been:

  • GeoTag – This was a really nice software, however it only works on Windows because there is no Java 6 build for the Mac yet.
  • GeoTagger – This software wouldn’t even start on Leopard
  • HoudahGeo – This software seems nice, but it crashed my Mac every time I tried to export to Google Earth (which is something I really want to be able to do!). I’ve emailed the developer, but he’s been unable to resolve the issue at this point. (UPDATE: The developer has emailed me saying this will be fixed in 1.3, I have yet to try it out, but I am looking forward to giving it a shot tonight)

Now, as for getting things onto Google Earth. I was hoping for a quick and easy solution here. And Sure enough, there’s one available… That is, if you still have iPhoto 6. It’s called iPhotoToGoogleEarth. It’s supposed to export directly from iPhoto to a Google Earth KML file format. Of course, I no longer have iPhoto 6. Again, I emailed the developer and he is unsure when a new version will be available. So off I go to find a new solution.

UPDATE://iPhotoToGoogleEarth now works with iPhoto ’08! Great news and it appears to work great!!

The guy who wrote ImageIngester also wrote a nice blog entry about how to do this with some simple PHP. However, this is not exactly what I was hoping for. It’s a great way to do it, but I want people to download a KMZ format file and open it in Google Earth Locally. (And hopefully have a link back to the full size image online).

It seems that Picasa is the best solution, but last I checked it’s still only for Windows?

So far it looks as though I am out of luck on this issue. I’ve spent countless hours searching the web, perhaps I’m googling the wrong things, but I just have not been able to find anything! If you have any suggestions, let me know!

There’s a great article on GeoTagging on Wikipedia.

geotag kml mac
geotag kml
google earth kml
photo kmz export
google earth iphoto
export photos to google earth
create photo kmz on mac

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My Life

Rachael Raye failed me!

Anyone who knows me should know that I _love_ Rachael Raye. I have her books. I cook her recipes, I watch her TV shows, I think she’s adorable. Well last night, she failed me…

I saw a recent episode of her show where she made “Everything” Chicken Tenders. I said to myself. “Hey those look pretty good”. So I decided to make some last night. I went out and bought chicken and all the other ingredients. About $25 total (mostly because I don’t have any of the needed spices, but that’s another thing!). Anyways. I get home and I start mixing things up.

It says to put in 2 TABLESPOONS of salt! That seems like a HELL of a lot of salt to put in. So I cut it in half! 1 tablespoon, I roll all the chicken in the mix and put it into the oven. It’s cooking and smells soooo good, I can’t wait for it to get done.

It gets done and I take it out, looks good, smells good. I take a bite…

And have to spit it out! It’s GROSS! Rachael has failed me! I try putting some sour cream with it, still gross. I try smothering it in Guacamole. No dice, I try scraping off the spices and covering it in ranch dressing. Still no dice!

I throw it in a pan and sautéed it with a potato (the potato will absorb the salt taste). Well that didn’t help either.

I had to throw it all away. $10 worth of chicken! I was sooo sad. And Rachael has failed me! Hopefully she can redeem herself on the next recipe I have from her. But that will have to wait till Thursday, which is the next day I can afford to go grocery shopping.

In other news… The next 4′ tall Asian bitch in her giant Range Rover SUV that merges into my lane without looking… I’m just going to let her hit me, and then sue the shit out of her. LOOK BEFORE YOU MERGE BITCH!

OG suggested I try Stumbleupon. And I have to say that I am now HOOKED! Love it. I have found so many new interesting things already! And I just can’t stop!

Here’s some examples:

Ok, are you bored yet? LOL.

Who wants to donate and help me buy the Garmin Edge 305! That thing is amazing!

Later!