Monday, January 26, 2009

Meme: America's Top 25 Most Visited Places

Note - This was originally published on my other site "The Geology P.A.G.E." but due to the content I have moved it here and backdated the post.

I have never done a "meme" before so bear with me. But I found a list of America's 25 Most Visited Tourist Sites and thought it would be interesting to start one based on it. So bold the places you have been to. I believe the numbers are the average amount of people per year.

1. Times Square, New York City, NY - 35 million
Been to NY countless times growing up and been through here a bunch to hit up the Broadway shows, although never really stopped there

2. The Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas, NV - 31 million
Plans are in the works to go soon

3. National Mall and Memorial Parks, Washington DC - 24 million
Been here quite a few times, love the monuments and the history

4. Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, MA - 20 million
Geo trip to GSA, wandered around the city and ended up here.

5. Disney World's Magic Kingdom, Lake Buena Vista, FL - 17.1 million
Love it

6. Disneyland Park, Anaheim, CA - 14.9 million

7. Fisherman's Warf/ Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco, CA - 14 million

8. Niagara Falls, NY - 12 million
I used to live 20 minutes away

9. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN/NC - 9.4 million
Beautiful scenery, loved camping here

10. Navy Pier, Chicago, IL - 8.6 million

11. Lake Mead National Recreation Area, AR/NV - 7.6 million

12. Universal Studios/ Islands of Adventure, Orlando, FL - 6.2 million

13. SeaWorld Florida, Orlando, FL - 6 million

14. San Antonio River Walk, TX - 5.1 million
In the top 5 places I would recommend anyone to go.

15. Temple Square, Salt Lake City, UT - 5 million
Ok, I drive by this at least once a week and have yet to stop.

16. Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, PA/NJ - 4.8 million

17. Universal Studios Hollywood, CA - 4.7 million

18. Metropolitan Museum, New York City, NY - 4.5 million
My sister was an art buff growing up and I have been here prolly 20+ times

18. Waikiki Beach, Oahu, HI - 4.5 million

20. Grand Canyon, AZ - 4.41 million

21. Busch Gardens Africa, Tampa Bay, FL - 4.4 million
Been to Busch Gardens VA, does that count?

22. Cape Cod National Seashore, MA - 4.35 million

23. SeaWorld San Diego, CA - 4.26 million

24. American Museum of Natural History, New York City, NY - 4 million
Best museum ever

24. Atlantic City Boardwalk, NJ - 4 million

So 12/25 is not bad, not great but there are many plans in the works to increase this.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The 306 Greatest Books #80 - Anna Karenina

Note - This review was originally published on my other site "The Geology P.A.G.E." but due to the content I have moved it here and backdated the post.

The next up on my reading of the 306 greatest books is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. This book is the only book that is on all 4 of my Top 100 book lists and in my Top 10 book list (Sybervision, Norwegian, Observer, BBC, and Zane's).

Being the only book on all 5 of my Greatest Books lists, I had high hopes for it. And to start off, I thought this was one of the most well written stories I have ever read. Tolstoy just flows with descriptions that make you feel you understand everything that is going on. The characters are extremely well developed and even though they are Russian (which has a tendency to jump around with names a bit) it is still easy to follow who is who. I enjoyed several of the references to early communist culture (the book takes place about 30 years before the communist revolution) and several of the characters' personality polarities and themes that are emphasized in the book (religious vs non-religious, upper vs lower class, etc.). However, I did have some problems with the book. The story felt like two separate stories going on at the same time. The "main" one should be the one with Anna but I got the feeling that for the most part the main story was the one that centered around Levin, who supposedly represented Tolstoy himself. The Anna story itself felt enjoyable and well written, focusing around her leaving her husband for another man, of which that relationship slowly dissolves over the length of the book as well. While the story with Levin, although in parts were very good, I felt was very political and sometimes unimportant to anything. The whole last section (after the Anna story line was wrapped up) felt forced and out of place, leaving me wishing that the book would just end. All in all, I very much enjoyed the first half of the novel but the second half seemed to drag on a bit. I am not going to recommend this on my list and personally would not consider this the greatest book ever. But being that it is on so many book lists it probably should be one that you read.