Sunday, November 25, 2012

Stuff about New Zealand 1 (podcasts, shoes, and real estate agents

About that Fulbright thing (here) - we head to New Zealand in four weeks.

-The iTunes Top 10 podcasts charts are fascinating.  How does dry-as-old-toast Economist "all audio" crack the top 10 in...Finland?  Apparently all the Dutch care about is vocal trance, with big-time dance DJ's locking down all ten spots.  In Italy they're trying to learn English (two out of the top ten).  Here in the U.S. we're under the siren, but sleepy, sway of NPR shows, and somehow the overwrought and overproduced (but still occasionally interesting) Radiolab all the way up at number three.  Is there Radiolab parody?  There is.

I wanted to listen to what New Zealand podcast listeners are listening to, and was surprised to see "This American Life" in the top 10.  It's gone now.  Hamish and Andy are still number one (but are actually Australian) - I listened in just in time for their caravan trip around New Zealand.  Funny stuff, and after a few hours of listening I've learned that I'm heading to a place with strangely-named stores and slow internet.  

What else?  Four BBC podcasts (the NPR of the Commonwealth), a rock station that runs strange contests, an epic dance podcast (drum and bass and dubstep!!!), and..., um, this guy.  I'll pass.

-One of Catherine's students told her that Kiwis make fun of people who wear running shoes with jeans - people like me - and that there's even a word for such people.  However, Catherine can't find evidence of this online, and thus I feel justified in going ahead and looking as unfashionable as possible.  Which reminds me of when I spent a semester in Nepal years ago.  They told us that is was verboten to wear shorts, and so we all bought these really thin slacks to wear in the heat.  Which in turn made us look like idiots, so not only did we still look out of place, but were also uncomfortable.  

-I contacted 20+ property managers and real estate agents in Dunedin for a place to rent.  Most of them didn't respond, and those who did felt comfortable lecturing me on not living within the "blast zone"/"riot zone" of the University.  However, none responded with what might be a "suitable family property."  I feel like this was my very first NZ cultural experience, but I don't know what it means.

Thanksgiving trip

A short trip to visit Catherine's family in California led to:


A few days in Joshua Tree.  The last time I was there was 1992 (with a bunch of other kids including a future famous climber).





And on the way back we stopped by Malpais National Monument:


(La Ventana Arch)


We were on the CDT:


And while we didn't see anyone hiking the trail, we did see these folks.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

iPhone photos (part 3)

Having recently learned that the iPhone can be temperamental/ephemeral, here are some photos I haven't put up before (as well as some stories from along the way):

(And here's part 1). (And here's part 2).

26.  Times are tough all over.  I saw this place on the way to work for years, and never saw a client go in.


27.  For me, this sums up the 2012 presidential election:


28.  For about a month and a half, I worked high up in Republic Plaza.  I never saw anyone on that track, or playing tennis:


29.  I made a sweet potato flatbread.  Catherine wanted me to make it.  I didn't think the sweet potatoes would cook through.  They did, and it was delicious.


30.  The Cash Register Building, aka Wells Fargo Center, really is strange.  When I was working at said job in the Republic Plaza, some guys would go out and mess around on the window washing crane every few days.  Look, the "cash register" or "mail box" part of the building doesn't actually fit the building - see the little indents on each side:


31.  Epic AND Core?  EPICOR!


32.  Will-J saw a Ferrari in Switzerland and fell in love.  It remains his favorite car, and the object of his desires.  All cars are measured up to the beautiful Ferrari as follows: "Dada, is that car as fast as a FERRARI?"  Here I am taking a photo of another Ferrari for Will-J on Highway 6:


33.  At Fluid Coffee Bar one morning:


34.  I've never been in a building under lockdown before, but the other day I was.  It wasn't very exciting - they never got to our floor to evacuate us, and in the end they got the wrong guy.  I took a bunch of photos of (closed) Broadway, all of which are unimpressive:


35.  Don't you just hate being the one awkwardly-inflexible guy in yoga?  How about being the awkwardly-inflexible yoga guy immortalized in a real estate billboard?


(more later)

iPhone photos (part 2)

Having recently learned that the iPhone can be temperamental/ephemeral, here are some photos I haven't put up before (as well as some stories from along the way):

(And here's part 1).

11.  Will-J at Aviano:


12.  Will-J at Sugar Bakeshop:


13.  Here at home, we enjoy our ramen with Soy Peptide:


14.  They finally finished rebuilding the bike path south of [insert name here] Bronco stadium.  It's impressively smooth:


15.  Not your ordinary blanket, indeed:


16.  I don't know how many times I tried to send this heart-shaped wood knot to Catherine.  I was out hiking the Arizona trail, and really not in a very good place.  I was short of water, and camped near an old cabin - the heart seemed so out of place:


17.  This was my first view of the Grand Canyon since I was Will-J's age, taken from the Grandview Lookout Tower:


I tried to send this one to Catherine too, but it never worked.

18.  Big Mama's Burritos!


As part of my endless search for the best Denver breakfast burrito.

19.  Robert Rich on the decks:


A friend and I have gone to see Mr. Rich twice now at genial house concerts in the 'burbs.  It's pretty amazing to pull up to a nondescript house off of C-470, walk in, have a glass of wine, and have a significant figure in modern music play you a set.

20.  The Cyclone!


Lakeside Amusement Park is a place lost in time, a treasure, and we're lucky it just keeps going.  On a hot summer day, Will-J and I walked up to The Cyclone - a big white wooden roller coaster from 1940, hand brakes, smelling of iron electricity - and got in line.  They sized Will-J up, thought it was okay, and we got in the first row.  He was amazed, and went again.  After four times, he was exhausted and asked to go home - within minutes he was asleep.  Since then, we've been back on The Cyclone many times.  

21.  Not a good way to lock up your bike:


22.  Will-J in his Mayan mask at the Denver Art Museum:


23.  Seiad Valley, Pacific Crest Trail:


It was dawn and I was waiting for the famous cafe to open.  Smoke from the nearby forest fire crept down into town, and mixed with the diesel fumes.  A Northern California landmark (that survived the fire).

24.  The "Cache-22" water cache "twigwam" near Old Station, Pacific Crest Trail:


It's a pretty welcome sight (even though they refill the old gallon jugs).

25.  I had a day layover in Reno after spending a month on the PCT - in the morning, there were hot air balloons everywhere:

iPhone photos (part 1)

Having recently learned that the iPhone can be temperamental/ephemeral, here are some photos I haven't put up before (as well as some stories from along the way):

1.  I took this during my BOULDER FOUR PACK hike back in fall 2010:


2.  I went for a road bike ride and thought it was funny that there's a subdivision named after a quickly-spreading invasive plant:


(although my finger got in the way)

And near Highway 6, I saw this on the same ride:


3.  Will-J and I went to Chicago for my mom's 70th, and the celebration included a ride on a small boat:


And a big one:


These may be some of Will-J's first lasting memories - he still tells me about going up on the deck of the BIG boat late at night and looking out into the surprisingly-serious Lake Michigan fog.  I told him that those distant lights were in Wisconsin, and he remembers that, too.

4.  Last December, my previous employer sent me to a trial training class in Atlanta, where I stayed at the surprisingly-seedy CNN center.  That's the Georgia Dome:


A view from the hotel when it wasn't raining:


The CNN center:


5.  It's good to see that they're keeping busy:


(Look, Wang Chung even has a blog).

6.  There was some good skiing last year.  One day in February I was at Copper and ended up in the right place at the right time - the patrol dropped the rope on Shaeffer's (or Iron Mask?) for the first time all season, and I was making tracks again and again in some very special conditions.  I also saw this edifying avalanche:


7.  From the Department of Redundancy Department:


8.  I bought a big box of udon noodle packets.  After about a year, I still have four or six left - it wasn't the best idea.


9.  Will-J got very into the Lizards and Snakes exhibit at the Museum of Nature and Science:


Here he is enjoying the "Snake Hunt" performance for maybe the tenth time.  He eventually learned it by heart, and would anticipate/act out each step of the show Rocky Horror Picture Show-style.

10.  And here are a few shots of the crowd at our Derby Day/Cinco de Mayo/Will-J's Fifth Birthday party, all enjoying the musicians singing to our son: