Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/package.php on line 71

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::package() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/startup/packages.php on line 8

Strict Standards: Non-static method Object::camelcase() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/loader.php on line 204

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::package() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/startup/packages.php on line 8

Strict Standards: Non-static method Object::camelcase() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/loader.php on line 204

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::package() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/startup/packages.php on line 8

Strict Standards: Non-static method Object::camelcase() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/loader.php on line 204

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::package() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/startup/packages.php on line 8

Strict Standards: Non-static method Object::camelcase() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/loader.php on line 204

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::package() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/startup/packages.php on line 8

Strict Standards: Non-static method Object::camelcase() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/loader.php on line 204

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::package() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/startup/packages.php on line 8

Strict Standards: Non-static method Object::camelcase() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/loader.php on line 204

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::package() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/startup/packages.php on line 8

Strict Standards: Non-static method Object::camelcase() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/loader.php on line 204

Strict Standards: Non-static method User::checkUserForeverCookie() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/startup/user.php on line 14

Strict Standards: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/startup/maintenance_mode_check.php on line 5

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 83

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 234

Deprecated: Non-static method PermissionsCache::exists() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 212

Deprecated: Non-static method PermissionsCache::getIdentifier() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 15

Deprecated: Non-static method PermissionsProxy::get() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 218

Strict Standards: Non-static method PermissionsCache::exists() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 69

Strict Standards: Non-static method PermissionsCache::getIdentifier() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 15

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 83

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 234

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 491

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::helper() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 516

Deprecated: Non-static method PermissionsCache::add() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 221

Deprecated: Non-static method PermissionsCache::getIdentifier() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 52

Deprecated: Non-static method CollectionVersion::get() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/collection.php on line 33

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 83

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 234

Deprecated: Non-static method PermissionsCache::exists() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 212

Deprecated: Non-static method PermissionsCache::getIdentifier() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 15

Deprecated: Non-static method PermissionsProxy::get() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 218

Deprecated: Non-static method PermissionsCache::add() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 221

Deprecated: Non-static method PermissionsCache::getIdentifier() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::helper() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/startup/process.php on line 62

Strict Standards: Non-static method Object::camelcase() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/loader.php on line 188

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 83

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 234

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 83

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 234

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 155

Strict Standards: Non-static method Events::getInstance() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/events.php on line 126

Strict Standards: Non-static method View::getInstance() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/dispatcher.php on line 200

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::controller() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/view.php on line 573

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::pageTypeControllerPath() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/loader.php on line 294

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::get() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/package.php on line 49

Strict Standards: Non-static method CacheTemplate::key() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 67

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::getFilePath() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 76

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/package.php on line 71

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::set() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/package.php on line 65

Strict Standards: Non-static method CacheTemplate::key() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 37

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::getFilePath() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 44

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/loader.php on line 268

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/collection_types.php on line 33

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::get() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/package.php on line 49

Strict Standards: Non-static method CacheTemplate::key() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 67

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::getFilePath() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 76

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/package.php on line 71

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::set() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/package.php on line 65

Strict Standards: Non-static method CacheTemplate::key() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 37

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::getFilePath() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 44

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::helper() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/controller.php on line 45

Deprecated: Non-static method Object::camelcase() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/loader.php on line 188

Strict Standards: Non-static method Events::getInstance() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/events.php on line 126

Warning: Cannot modify header information - headers already sent by (output started at /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/package.php:71) in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/view.php on line 725

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::element() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/themes/Banana-Republican/elements/header.php on line 12

Deprecated: Non-static method View::getInstance() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/page.php on line 118

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 83

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 234

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 83

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 234
Banana Republican :: Home
Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 83

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 234

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::helper() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/elements/header_required.php on line 66

Deprecated: Non-static method View::getInstance() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/helpers/html.php on line 40

Deprecated: Non-static method Config::get() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/elements/header_required.php on line 71

Deprecated: Non-static method File::getByID() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/elements/header_required.php on line 75

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::model() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/file.php on line 10

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/file.php on line 11

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::element() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/elements/header_required.php on line 84

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::helper() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/elements/page_controls_header.php on line 3

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 83

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 234

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::helper() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/elements/page_controls_header.php on line 5

Deprecated: Non-static method View::getInstance() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/controller.php on line 355

Deprecated: Non-static method View::getInstance() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 53

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 151

Deprecated: Non-static method Cache::get() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 120

Deprecated: Non-static method CacheTemplate::key() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 67

Deprecated: Non-static method Cache::getFilePath() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 76

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 83

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 234

Deprecated: Non-static method PermissionsCache::exists() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 212

Deprecated: Non-static method PermissionsCache::getIdentifier() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 15

Deprecated: Non-static method PermissionsProxy::get() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 218

Strict Standards: Non-static method PermissionsCache::exists() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 69

Strict Standards: Non-static method PermissionsCache::getIdentifier() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 15

Strict Standards: Non-static method PermissionsCache::getObject() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 70

Strict Standards: Non-static method PermissionsCache::getIdentifier() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 45

Deprecated: Non-static method PermissionsCache::add() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 221

Deprecated: Non-static method PermissionsCache::getIdentifier() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 52

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 83

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 234

Deprecated: Non-static method PermissionsCache::exists() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 212

Deprecated: Non-static method PermissionsCache::getIdentifier() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 15

Deprecated: Non-static method PermissionsCache::getObject() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 213

Deprecated: Non-static method PermissionsCache::getIdentifier() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/permissions.php on line 45

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/collection.php on line 389

Strict Standards: Non-static method Area::getOrCreate() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/block.php on line 62

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 151

Strict Standards: Non-static method Area::get() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 153

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::get() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 120

Strict Standards: Non-static method CacheTemplate::key() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 67

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::getFilePath() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 76

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::helper() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/controller.php on line 45

Deprecated: Non-static method Object::camelcase() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/loader.php on line 188

Strict Standards: Non-static method Area::getOrCreate() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/block.php on line 62

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 151

Strict Standards: Non-static method Area::get() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 153

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::get() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 120

Strict Standards: Non-static method CacheTemplate::key() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 67

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::getFilePath() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 76

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::helper() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/controller.php on line 45

Deprecated: Non-static method Object::camelcase() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/loader.php on line 188

Strict Standards: Non-static method Area::getOrCreate() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/block.php on line 62

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 151

Strict Standards: Non-static method Area::get() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 153

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::get() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 120

Strict Standards: Non-static method CacheTemplate::key() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 67

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::getFilePath() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 76

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::helper() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/controller.php on line 45

Deprecated: Non-static method Object::camelcase() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/loader.php on line 188

Strict Standards: Non-static method Area::getOrCreate() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/block.php on line 62

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 151

Strict Standards: Non-static method Area::get() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 153

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::get() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 120

Strict Standards: Non-static method CacheTemplate::key() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 67

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::getFilePath() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 76

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::helper() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/controller.php on line 45

Deprecated: Non-static method Object::camelcase() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/loader.php on line 188

Strict Standards: Non-static method Area::getOrCreate() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/block.php on line 62

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 151

Strict Standards: Non-static method Area::get() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 153

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::get() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 120

Strict Standards: Non-static method CacheTemplate::key() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 67

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::getFilePath() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 76

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::helper() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/controller.php on line 45

Deprecated: Non-static method Object::camelcase() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/loader.php on line 188

Strict Standards: Non-static method Area::getOrCreate() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/block.php on line 62

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 151

Strict Standards: Non-static method Area::get() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 153

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::get() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 120

Strict Standards: Non-static method CacheTemplate::key() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 67

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::getFilePath() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 76

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::helper() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/controller.php on line 45

Deprecated: Non-static method Object::camelcase() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/loader.php on line 188

Strict Standards: Non-static method Area::getOrCreate() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/block.php on line 62

Strict Standards: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 151

Strict Standards: Non-static method Area::get() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 153

Strict Standards: Non-static method Cache::get() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/area.php on line 120

Strict Standards: Non-static method CacheTemplate::key() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/cache/default.php on line 67

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Scottish Fling

April 24, 2012

This past week-end I traveled to "country" #51: England's northern neighbor, Scotland.  Though we only had two days to tour the Scottish Highlands and Islands, we crammed a lot into our short holiday.

bagpipes.jpg

Our journey began on Friday night aboard the Caledonian Sleeper train.  Having stocked up on wine and snacks, we settled into adjoining berths for an evening of pleasant conversation.  Once our rations were exhausted, we retired to the lounge car for a nightcap.  Nothing seemed more fitting than Scotch, so we ordered Glenfiddich and received a pronunciation lesson along with our whiskey.

The train arrived in Inverness around 8:30 the next morning and we picked up our rental car at the station.  We drove out of the city and followed Loch Ness to our lakefront hotel where we warmed up over coffee while waiting for a boat tour of the loch.  Our guide provided rich commentary on Scottish history, and we enjoyed views of Urquhart Castle while keeping our eyes peeled for Nessie, the Loch Ness monster.  Later that afternoon, we meandered toward Muir of Ord where we had a pub lunch and toured the Glen Ord distillery.  Our final stop of the day was the Culloden Battlefield where the Jacobites were defeated in a violent (if somewhat abbreviated) fight with the English.  We returned to the hotel for dinner and savored both the view and the Scottish delicacies.  I even tried haggis, which was much tastier than the sum of its parts...

On Sunday we had a hearty full Scottish breakfast before setting out for the Isle of Skye.  Along the way, we stopped off for a closer look at Urquhart and popped in for a quick tour of Eilean Donan Castle.  The two structures are quite different since one is in ruins and the other was restored, but both were magnificent.  Next we crossed the bridge to Skye and continued through the mountains toward the town of Portree.  We strolled around and enjoyed fresh fish and chips before commencing a driving tour of the Trotternish Peninsula.  The single-lane road was harrowing at times, but the views were spectacular.  After completing the circuit, we headed back toward Inverness and the promise of sweet dreams on the night train.


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Spring Awakening

March 20, 2012

After several stressful months of internship recruiting and a killer week-end of exams, it seems only fitting that my return to 'normalcy' coincides with the first day of spring.  I am thrilled to be back in our nation's capital where cherry blossoms are blooming, birds are singing, and temperatures are balmy.

Though I won't be posting any reflective writings from the past few months, I did add three new galleries to the Photos page to capture memories from recent trips to Ireland, Oxford, and Amsterdam.  And I hope to be better about blogging over the next few months!

In the meantime, I'm heading out to see old friends and enjoy this vernal equinox.


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A Reason to Smile

December 3, 2011

12-02-11-Aung-San-Suu-Kyi-and-Clinton_full_600.jpg 

Having canceled my plans to visit Burma earlier this year, I am very encouraged to see the first visit by a US Secretary of State in 50 years.  Secretary Clinton was candid in her assessment of the country's progress as well as the need for further reform.  For me, the highlight of her trip was the time she spent with Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel prize winner and the head of Burma's National League for Democracy.  The sheer joy of their meeting and an optimistic outlook for Burma's future bring a smile to my face.


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What's Thanksgiving without Turkey?

November 28, 2011

One of the drawbacks to living abroad is the sad fact that other countries don't celebrate my favorite American holiday, Thanksgiving.  Though I had a wonderful "Fakesgiving" in the US a few weeks ago, I decided a trip would be a great distraction and consolation for missing the abundance of food and family that converge on the fourth Thursday of November.  When a service workers' strike necessitated a last minute change in plans, my friends and I decided that visiting Turkey on Thanksgiving was all too perfect.

A 3.5 hour flight took us from Heathrow to Istanbul, the crossroads of Europe and Asia.  We arrived at our hotel around dusk then set out to explore the city.  We walked across the Galata Bridge and found a rooftop bar with a great view, a nice selection of mezze, and a lovely bottle of red wine.  From there we wandered the serpentine alleys of Beyoglu  before popping into a small restaurant for dinner.  To end the evening, we found a hookah bar and played several games of backgammon.

Friday was our day to see most of the city's major sights.  We started at the Topkapi Palace where we admired incredible mosaics and a stunning view of the Bosporus.  Our next stop was Hagia Sophia, an amazing 6th century structure that has served as a basilica, a cathedral, and a mosque.  We also explored the Basilica Cistern, an underground complex of ornate pillars and brick archways.  After lunch, we visited the Blue Mosque then headed to a traditional Turkish bath.  Though I likened the Hammam experience to waterboarding, the massage and vigorous scrub left us all feeling rejuvenated.

We began our exploration on Saturday at Kapali Carsi, the famed Grand Bazaar.  Sadly the place caters mostly to tourists these days, but we found some more authentic vendors in the streets nearby.  Our next destination was Sulemaniye, a mosque even more impressive than the one we visited the day before.  After a quick kebab lunch, we headed down to the river and took a two-hour cruise on the Bosporus.  We saw many of the city's waterside landmarks, and got a closer look at Asia.  For dinner, we took a taxi to Ortakoy for fresh seafood then played backgammon well into the night.

Having seen most of the things on our list, we made Sunday a bit more relaxing.  After breakfast, we took a casual stroll through Taksim Square, wandered back across the bridge, then set off for the airport.  While we never found cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie, this was certainly a Thanksgiving to remember.


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Think Different.

October 9, 2011

For anyone who has gone down the rabbit hole of engaging me in a conversation about technology, my disdain for Apple is crystal clear.  My positions have not wavered, but news of Steve Jobs' death last week prompted a bit of reflection on his accomplishments.  Putting aside all philosophical differences, it is undeniable that Jobs' passion and innovation have left an indelible mark on society.

Passion and innovation are two things I seem to be lacking these days.  I came to business school not just to learn, but also to think.  As classes ramped up, I found my time and energy disproportionately allocated to the former, getting lost in the minutiae of finance, accounting, and economics.  That's fine and dandy from an academic perspective, but I'm not investing my time and money just to become a financier, accountant, or economist.   I want to do something with my life.  Fortunately, Friday turned out to be a day of inspiration with two superlative speakers at LBS.

ferran.jpgThe first was Ferran Adria, a Spanish chef who is widely regarded as the inventor of "deconstructivist" cooking and molecular gastronomy.  From 1987 to 2011, Adria helmed El Bulli, which was voted the world's best restaurant 5 times during his tenure. El Bulli closed a few months ago and Adria aims to reopen in 2014 as a reconceptualized foundation rather than a restaurant.  I have to admit, I got lost in the man's abstract, stream of consciousness presentation, but I like the fact that he has big ideas and the convictions to turn them into reality.

hamel.jpgThe second speaker was Gary Hamel, who the Wall Street Journal calls "the world's most influential business thinker."  Hamel has been on the faculty at London Business School since the early 1980s, but I never really thought I would have the chance to see him in person.  For nearly an hour and a half, he spoke about his vision for the future of management, and encouraged us to challenge the status quo with some fascinating real-life examples.  More than anything, I walked away wanting to be a leader in change and not a follower.

While there's little in common between a great chef and a management guru, it was interesting to see that both speakers define success in terms of passion and innovation, much like Steve Jobs.  Apple may have lost me as a customer, but I think I will adopt their motto as my mandate and push myself to think different.


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Officially a Londoner!

August 28, 2011

union jack.jpgHaving been in the UK for more than 10 days, I figured it is high time for a blog update!  After a fantastic visit with family and friends (and some pretty frantic packing), I landed at Heathrow in a bit of a fog, literally and figuratively.  The gray skies weren't much of a surprise, but my own discombobulation caught me a bit off guard.  I figured a summer of globetrotting would prepare me for anything, but the reality of moving overseas proved to be more difficult than I imagined.  Fortunately I've had some time to get over the jetlag and start to make myself at home.

Since my flat was vacant for most of the summer, my landlady took the opportunity to make some improvements. I definitely appreciate the brand new bathroom, hardwood floors, and updated kitchen.  And rennovations notwithstanding, the apartment is fantastically located and much more spacious than I thought I could afford.  For those who want to see photos, I've posted a small gallery here.

Orientation at London Business School officially kicked off last Monday with a day of inspirational speakers. Tuesday was a bit more focused on practical information, but ended with a nice cocktail party and dinner to socialize with classmates.  Wednesday was my stream's 'away day,' and despite a moderate fear of heights, I took on all kinds of team-building challenges on the high ropes course.  Thursday brought my first homework assignment, and I had my first class on Friday.  I've enjoyed being busy, and I am very impressed by the quality of the LBS program and the calibre of my fellow students.  Exactly what I hoped for :)


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Sorry I'm Not Home Right Now...

June 3, 2011

globe.jpg

Though I'm doing something a whole lot more exciting than walking into spiderwebs! My round-the-world tour officially kicked off last Saturday, so I will not be posting 'normal' blog entries on this page for a while.  If you haven't seen it, I have a special 'RTW' section dedicated specifically to my trip, where I will post updates and photos as I journey around the globe.  (Provided I have internet access, I suppose!)

I've already posted some content from the past few days in London, and a daytrip we took earlier in the week.  Feel free to check it out now and as often as you'd like, I love knowing that I have followers :)


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Logistics, Logistics, Logistics...

May 10, 2011

calmposter.jpgWith two and a half weeks until I depart for my round-the-world adventure, the logistics of leaving DC, embarking on my trip, and moving overseas have started to overwhelm me.  I woke up in a quasi-panic last night, and my mental to-do list kept me up for several hours.  As I lay awake, I thought for some reason of the old World War II sign at right.  What sage advice from a time of turmoil far greater than anything I am experiencing.

Today ended up being fairly productive.  With 5 shots, 37 pills, and a $1000+ bill, I received all the necessary travel vaccines and prophylactics.  I also updated the RTW section of this site with a fun new template.  There's not much there now, but do check it out once my trip begins!


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Martini, Pink with a Twist

April 14, 2011

pinkmartini.jpgThanks to a last-minute deal from the Kennedy Center, a friend and I decided to be spontaneous yesterday and take in an evening performance by Pink Martini.  My first exposure to the band was their song Una Notte a Napoli which was included on an album at Banana Republic when I was in college.  Having grown up listening to big band standards, I totally fell in love with their modern, upbeat vibe and none-too-subtle homage to old school jazz and classical music.  I've struggeld to explain their style ever since, so I defer to frontman Thomas Lauderdale's description of the band as a "rollicking around-the-world musical adventure."

Last night's concert did not disappoint.  Of the 20-ish songs that were performed, I noted at least 5 different languages and quite a few musical styles.  One favorite was U Plavu Zoru (that's Croatian, in case you didn't recognize it) which featured the most amazing cello solo I've ever heard.  I also loved Je Ne Veux Pas Travailler, which was written to sound like something Edith Piaf would sing and intones the message, "I don't want to work, so I'll just smoke."  As something of a Francophile, I would hate to indict that entire culture, so I'll just say that some French people I know would gladly trade in the Marseillaise for this more, er, practicable mantra.

As the title of this posting implies, this wasn't just Pink Martini, it was Pink Martini with a couple of twists. Twist #1 was planned in advance: Ari Shapiro (of NPR fame) joined the band in singing 4 or 5 of their songs. It turns out he's a pretty good singer, and he definitely had good chemistry with the others on stage.  Twist #2 came about under more unfortunate circumstances - the band's lead female vocalist, China Forbes, strained her voice so another singer was asked to fill in.  Storm Large proved to be a worthy substitue with a deep sultry voice and a rather impressive figure.  Apparently she's a rock singer in her other life (do a Google image search if you're curious), but in a floor-length gown she fit in well with the KC crowd.

Pink Martini is performing the next three nights, and tickets are still available online.


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Rhee-ding, Writing, and 'Rithmetic

March 31, 2011

Rhee.jpgAs an advocate for education, I count Michelle Rhee (former Chancellor of DC Public Schools) as one of my personal heroes.  I was surprised when news broke of testing irregularities in the District, but more than anything I am disappointed that the media has seized this opportunity to vilify Rhee and denounce the reform she brought to Washington.

An exposé in Monday’s edition of USA Today elucidates a potentially nefarious explanation for the rapid improvement in test scores in several DC schools: a rate of erasures that is statistically higher than normal.  According to the article, one classroom at Crosby S. Noyes Education Campus had an average of 12.7 wrong-to-right corrections per test, significantly above the District-average of 1 such correction per test.   In conjunction with similar statistics, this represents a likelihood that at least some teachers “helped” their students achieve higher scores.

Columnists and bloggers pounced quickly.  Education expert Diane Ravitch argues that Rhee’s “credibility has been directly challenged” and calls her celebrity status chimeric.  Washington Post columnist Valerie Strauss says we should “subpoena everybody in DC with potential involvement or knowledge and have them testify under oath.”  One of the more reasonable critiques invokes Campbell’s Law, which states that the stronger the tie between results and incentives, the greater the likelihood of cheating.

Frankly I find these responses a bit too much like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  At worst, these testing irregularities highlight two problems: (1) some teachers cheat to earn incentives and avoid punishment; and (2) standardized tests are not a surefire way of assessing learning.  Both issues can and should be addressed.  In fact, I think the latter merits reconsideration irregularities notwithstanding.  

Beyond these two problems, this new information does absolutely nothing to undermine Rhee’s core premise: good teachers should be rewarded and bad teachers should be let go.  This so called “corporatization” of education may not be popular with the teachers’ unions, but to me it is both common sense and in the best interest of our nation’s youth.


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A Tale of Two Operas

March 4, 2011

While I am certainly not an expert on the subject, I am definitely an opera aficionado.  I was introduced to the art while studying in France, and it was love at first sight.  The first performance I attended was Falstaff
which captivated me with its whimsical plot, upbeat music, and clever repartee.  I've since seen most of the classics and have come to appreciate the diversity in themes and genres.  I can think of no better illustration of this eclecticism than a case study of two performances happening tonight.  Aside from the fact that both leading ladies wear purple kimonos, these two operas have very little in common.

Butterfly.jpg

The first is Giacomo Puccini's revered tragedy Madama Butterfly, the most-performed opera in North America.  Butterfly  tells the story of Cio-Cio San, a young Japanese woman who falls madly in love with an American sailor whose affection does not run as deep. This orientalist opera was first performed at La Scala in Milan in 1904, and is considered something of a classic.  The Washington National Opera is in the midst of a 13-performance run which has garnered mixed reviews from critics.  It is said that struggling opera companies turn to this old favorite to boost ticket sales; that means staging and marketing tend toward the staid and traditional.  Indeed Anne Midgette, a reviewer at the Post, defined the performance as "thoroughly inoffensive" and "obediently good."  While I am excited to see Butterfly (again), it is fairly clear that no envelopes are being pushed here, and I find myself wishing that the WNO  would add some spice to their season.

AnnaNicole.jpgSpice is the key ingredient in opera #2.  Tonight is the final performance of a new show at London's stuffy-sounding Royal Opera House; a show whose main character is a 42DDiva.  That's right, the story of Anna Nicole-Smith has been brought to the stage.  In many ways, the true-life tale of this Playboy model who married an octogenarian billionaire before meeting her untimely demise is no less tragic than Butterfly.  In fact, the show opened last month to a
5-star review in the Telegraph, praising the "scorn for the forces that mould, and then destroy" the protagonist.  While a show described as "flamboyantly vulgar and fabulously entertaining" is clearly not to everyone's liking, I find myself intrigued and pleased to see new life breathed into the art form.  It looks like modern opera is still kicking with something to offer audiences of all stripes.  Here's hoping the Royal Opera keeps up the creativity and inspires some innovation on this side of the pond!


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J. Crew's Crafty Coxswain

March 2, 2011

mickey.jpgJ. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler is either brilliant or insane.  Having helmed the retailer since 2003, Drexler had a pretty good day yesterday with the company's shareholders approving a takeover by two private equity firms.  A tentative deal was announced last November, but a lawsuit extended the 'go shop' period through mid-February due to concerns over Drexler's behind-the-scenes orchestration of the sale.  With no other buyers emerging during this period, the terms of the original deal stand with TPG and Leonard Green & Partners making the acquisition at $43.50/share.

What I find fascinating is J. Crew's history of public/private flip-flopping.  The company was founded as a catalog business in 1983 and opened its first store in 1989.  In 1997, Texas Pacific Group (TPG, pre-acronymization) bought an 88% stake in the company which flourished during 10 years of private equity ownership and netted investors a tidy profit in a 2006 IPO and subsequent share selloffs.

In many ways the J. Crew/TPG relationship is a textbook example of private equity's ability to create value. TPG stirred up management by hiring Drexler, a Gap veteran heralded for that company's success in the 1990s.  Drexler and team took a long, entrepreurial vision of the company's future with major changes to the merchandise assortment and a slow-but-steady growth strategy.  Perhaps most importantly, private ownership also freed the company from the burden of reporting quarterly earnings, allowing for more deliberate and measured improvements.

The exact benefits of going private a second time remain to be seen.  Many thought the offer price was too low, particularly two hedge funds who lost their gamble that a higher bid would be submtited.  To be sure, J. Crew will once again benefit from looser reporting requirements and expectations.  The sale will also benefit Drexler and other key stakeholders by monetizing their ownership shares.  But Drexler isn't going anywhere, so a further management shakeup is unlikely and it is questionable whether the company can eek out additional efficiency gains.

Regardless, the transaction is seen as a positive thing for customers with the WSJ listing "lovers of cashmere, sweaters, and chinos" among the winners.


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Born This Way?

February 14, 2011

Say what you will about Gaga, the Lady sure knows how to make an entrance.  Ms. Germanotta has set a pretty high bar, what with the beekeeper suit at her sister's graduation and raw meat at the VMAs, but she always finds a way to outdo herself.  Last night, Gaga arrived at the Grammys in a large egg, carried sedan chair-style by a gaggle of gold-clad muscle men.  Her rep tweeted that she was "incubating."

arrival.jpg    hatching.jpg  

Later in the evening, she hatched from the egg to perform her new single Born This Way.  The song speaks to its message with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, but it does raise some interesting questions about the pop star herself.  How much of the zaniness is nature and how much is nurture?

There is much criticism online for Gaga's attention-seeking ways, but one thoughtful post reminds us that the singer actually rose to stardom on the virtue of her talent.  The publicity stunts and costumes came later - probably from some compulsion to fan the flames of her own fame monster.  Since Stefani and I share a birthday, I would understand if we also share an astrological predilection toward type-A perfectionism. We'll just say that hers is a bit more, um, creative?  But hey, that's entertainment!


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Super Bowl XLV

February 7, 2011

Having grown up in Western Pennsylvania, I have to say the outcome of yesterday's Super Bowl was disappointing.  In fact, pretty much everything about the event gets a thumbs down in my book.  Christina Aguilera flubbed the national anthem, Fergie's live vocals were atrocious, and the commercials really paled in comparison to last year.

Some ads were just plain bad - I found the Doritos spots to be the most offensive, though Time awarded that honor to Groupon.  All the usual suspects were there (cars, beer, and woodland creatures), but things seemed pretty stale.  I did get a kick out of Joan Rivers surprise guest appearance for GoDaddy, but only because I love her and know she'll do anything for a couple of bucks.  I guess I'd give top honors to the nostalgic montage of classic TV snippets in an ad for the NFL.  See both below:

NFL - "American Family"

GoDaddy - "New GoDaddy.Co Girl"


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From Aria to Duet

January 20, 2011

kencenter.jpgAfter months of deliberation, the Washington National Opera and the Kennedy Center announced a new "affiliation" effective July 1st.  Under this agreement, the WNO will continue to function somewhat independently with a separate board, but administrative functions and finances will be merged with the Kennedy Center. The Opera's press release assures that the remainder of the 2010-2011 season will go on as planned, and confirms that the 2011-2012 season will be announced next month.  

While the overall effects remain to be seen, Kennedy Center chairman David Rubenstein believes the affiliation will "ensure that the Washington area will forever have a strong, vibrant, and world-class opera."  The agreement will have Opera president Kenneth Feinberg working with Kennedy Center president Michael Kaiser on key strategic and artistic decisions.  Kaiser is a former Opera trustee who has ruffled some feathers in the arts community with an admonition not to cut programming, even in a recession.

It is no secret that the WNO has struggled financially, resulting in cuts to both performances and payroll. General Director Placido Domingo also announced last year his plan to vacate the role at the end of the season.  I sincerely hope that today's announcement will bring new financial and managerial strength to WNO for years to come. Regardless, three operas remain this season, and tickets are available online.  For those in the 18-35 demographic, I also encourage you to check out the Generation O young patron program for discounted tickets and special programming.


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Dulles to Heathrow (The Long Way)

January 6, 2011

vintagemap.jpgHot on the heels of my last announcement comes major update #2: before heading to London, I'm going to spend the summer (and my life savings) on a round-the-world trip. The itinerary has changed a good bit from my posting last year, but the objectives are still the same.  I want to see parts of the world I haven't yet explored, share pieces of the experience with loved ones, and actually circumnavigate the globe.

My preparation has evolved to a stage where I feel comfortable posting my tentative plans in a new RTW section of this site.  My goal was to make this as interactive as possible, and I'm seeking recommendations for each stop of my journey.  I also want to know if anyone is interested in joining me for a week or two in one of these far-flung locales.  Hopefully you can take some time to explore my itinerary, share your travel advice, and let me know which of the four continents strikes your fancy :)


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London Calling

January 4, 2011

london.jpgAs promised, 2011 is shaping up to be a year of dramatic changes.  On this fourth day of the new year, I am excited to announce my first major update: I am moving to London!

Two years ago, I decided to defer attending business school with the goal of reapplying to top tier programs in the future.  Over the past six months, I completed another tedious cycle of essays, interviews, and visits at four schools, each of which earned a #1 spot in one of the various rankings.  This time around, I am very pleased with the results: I will be joining the class of 2013 at London Business School.

I had the pleasure of visiting London in December, and was happy to see that the school was as great in real life as it seemed on paper.  The students I met were friendly and interesting, and the professors bright and engaging.  I felt very comfortable in the general atmosphere, and I love that the school has a special entrance to the neighborhood pub. Most importantly, the program is global at its very core and will provide me with the skills and experience needed for a successful career in international business.

I am proud of this accomplishment and look forward to joining 400 classmates from around the world when school starts in August.


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Back to Life, Back to Reality

January 3, 2011

For many, myself included, today is the first day back at work after a long holiday break.  I enjoyed a very restful 10 days in my Pennsylvania hometown and returned to Washington ready to take on the new year. As in the past, I spent the waning hours of 2010 reflecting on what I had and had not accomplished over the last 12 months.  Though there were certainly disappointments, it was a pretty good year and an opportunity to prepare myself for some big changes in 2011 and beyond.

I've taken advantage of a relatively slow day to set a new budget, prepare my calendar, and clean up this site.  I find that a little housekeeping goes a long way, and I am anxious to put plans into action over the next few months.  Do stay tuned for some exciting updates!

x Nic


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Deprecated: Non-static method Localization::isAvailable() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/localization.php on line 10

Deprecated: Non-static method View::getInstance() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/page.php on line 118

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 83

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/models/user.php on line 234

Strict Standards: Non-static method Events::getInstance() should not be called statically in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/libraries/events.php on line 126

Deprecated: Non-static method Loader::db() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home5/bananare/public_html/concrete/startup/shutdown.php on line 3