Mij Hemnes

You’ve all heard that one about how you get your porno film name – name of your first pet and the street you lived in – but until the weekend when we made the trek out to Ikea I hadn’t heard the one about how you get your Lord of the Rings name. Caroline told me this one – your first name backwards and the last thing you bought from Ikea.

You gotta love Ikea – the parking, the people, the prams, the queues, the bargain corner, the having everything you need except one piece, the really wanting something only to find it won’t be in for a few months, the hot dogs, the heavy flat-packs that always just fit in the car, the small things that you always buy but never need but you get free parking, the bored kids, the bored other halves, the people who walk against the flow, the instructions, the cardboard, the allen keys, and the names.

We stocked up on some Hemnes on the weekend (and spent many hours putting it together – don’t you love it when you find some pieces leftover and have no idea where they are supposed to go or you have it half built only to find a piece is upside down) and Caroline told me about the Lord of the Rings name – hence the title of this post: Mij Hemnes.

I did a bit of google and found some really great stuff on Ikea and Lord of the Rings – I especially liked the quizzes where you had to guess whether the name was a character from Lord of the Rings or something from Ikea. For instance, which of these are Lord of the Rings and which are Ikea (taken from sporcle.com):

  • Faramir
  • Freden
  • Grundtal
  • Boromir
  • Molger
  • Galdor
  • Freda
  • Agerum   

No doubt many of you will know the answers – nerds!


Never been into the lick-sip-suck but I don’t mind a shot of tequila (and in a margarita) but it’s not something I would generally go for – although it is fun drowning a few shots while singing the song (originally recorded by The Champs – there are some interesting youtube clips but I kind of liked this sped-up version –

But in Dallas we went for our final USA dinner (the airport doesn’t count) at the Iron Cactus, which is a Mexican (small) chain. It was pouring with rain and to get there we walked out the hotel door and ran about thirty yards to the front door. We went to the Iron Cactus in Austin on our first visit many years back and I remember they had a flight of tequila – so, naturally the flight was on my taste buds this time too.

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The Ratings Continuing – Hot Springs

Driving along in the Ford Fusion getting used to sitting on the wrong side and driving on the right. Quite a nice car to drive and a radio that scans to every channel provided you like country and western. This counts as our first day of travel from Texas into Arkansas and on to Hot Springs – a stop to shorten the drive from Dallas to Memphis so another overnighter.

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The Ratings Continue – Dallas Part 1

We did two trips to Dallas – the first was after a flight from San Diego so we could pick up a rental and prepare ourselves for our road trip. It was an overnight stop only but it is still worthy of a rating. (Or if you like, a layover as they are known in the States.)

It was that quick a stopover that the only photo I have is of the half eaten Texas shaped waffle and some comments way back in earlier posts – And Now It Begins and Deep in the Heart of Texas.

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The Ratings Commence – San Diego

As promised, we need to decide what was the best place we visited and if any of you care, this might save you asking. We kind of already have our favourites but putting this to a ratings system complies with international standards of statistical analysis of who/what is the best.

Ratings are out of 5 for each of: Accommodation, Food, Activities and the X Factor (included so we can rig the ratings – not that anyone would ever do that of course).

First up is San Diego. We have been to San Diego before and liked it so we we were happy to revisit. However, because I was conferencing for most of the week, it has made the ratings a little difficult but when we looked at the whole picture they probably reflect our experiences.

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Code Nine Returns

Just because someone asked (at least I know someone read the start of my novel) here are a few more chapters of Code Nine my unpublished police procedural. Keep reading because things really start to turn to crap from here. To find the earlier chapters click on Stories in the categories list.



Just One More Tiny, Little, Thin Rib

Cousins BBQ


What do you do at Dallas International for a few hours before take-off – eat BBQ of course! Cousins BBQ (another tick from Texas Monthly) has an outlet at the airport so we thought we better get one last filling of ribs in before we get home and I find the energy (and the right rack of ribs) to fire up the Big Green Egg.

Cousins BBQ


I went the ribs and chicken and a very nice volcano of mash and gravy. The ribs were moist with a nice smoky flavour but they also tasted “old” – perhaps because they are kept warm in a large oven tray rather than coming straight from the smoker (but there probably is no smoker at the airport). I did enjoy the lightly toasted bread and the slaw was okay, and the chicken was tasty, moist and melt in your mouth. For a ribs rating – maybe a 3.5 out of 5.

There are several eating choices at the airport (which is quite nice, clean and modern) so if BBQ is not your choice then you can have something else. But BBQ is my choice (I now have to try the Australian BBQ joints I heard have started up).

Just a Walking the … Cheetah?

I had a great time at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (just not long enough) and this zoo is really worth taking the trip out to. There are some great exhibits but one of the highlights is the running of the Cheetah.

There is a small grassed track where again for some entertainment for the punters and enrichment for the cheetah the keepers set up a lure and allow one of the cheetahs to do a 100 yard dash (or 330 feet to be more exact) after the lure. Blink and you miss it – I didn’t get this on video as I was too busy watching and trying not to blink. They are fast (fastest land animal) and the run only takes a few seconds.

Jim’s learning for the day (you need to learn something every day) is that the cheetah expends so much energy that it can only do one run and has to have a large meal afterwards – and then off to bed with their keeper – and canine companion.

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Environmental Enrichment

Keep an animal out of the wild and make sure you do things to keep it entertained. On day 3 of the APDT conference I opted to go for a field trip to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

There were many highlights at this zoo, which was excellent and I have some more posts to come. But this short post is about the enrichment and fun they have with the caracul – an African member of the cat family that has very unusual ears and a huge leap that it uses to catch birds in flight.

The short clip is self-explanatory and no doubt very entertaining for the caracul as well as us. Can I recommend that this safari park and the San Diego Zoo are known as the world’s best and I wouldn’t have any reason to doubt that. More pictures to come.

Chicken Training

Seems like months ago – well, almost one month ago anyway I was at the APDT Conference in San Diego. On Day 5 of that conference I had the fun of doing some chicken training with Terry Ryan (see earlier post). Now that I’m home I’ve also managed to post a short video clip on youtube.

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