For those (all three of you) who have been breathlessly waiting for the photos from our recent vacation in Belgium and Ireland, they’re now online! And for those seeking extra punishment, also posted is a vacation video, broken into 5 parts because Smugmug limits videos to 10 minutes. It seems like a lot of video, but it condenses two weeks’ worth of sightseeing and other crap down into under an hour. Belgium was kinda “meh” but Ireland was fantastic! I typed out a lot of travel notes along the way, maybe I’ll post those later. They’re probably only interesting to Critter and I, but what the hell.
Enjoy if you dare!
Wow, what a packed couple of weeks. First we spent a weekend in Portland with a couple of friends, goofing off and seeing Robyn perform. We’ve been to Portland before, but this time we learned a few new things:
- Avoid the restaurant Afrique at all costs. The service sucks and the food is subpar. (The only thing worth ordering are the drinks. Try the Chai martini thing, it’s amazing. Then get the fuck outta there.)
- Do go to the BBQ joint down the street from Afrique. Excellent service, and food is actually served to you. Brilliant!
- People in Portland go absolutely apeshit for Voodoo Doughnut. We stood in line for over an hour in the freezing wind for some. They were pretty good as donuts go, not sure if the wait was worth it but you can be sure I scarfed them down after the Robyn show. Ya can’t beat flavors like Bacon Maple and Triple Chocolate Penetration.
- Portland has a really large, funky outdoor market on the weekends. It kinda puts Seattle’s Fremont market to shame.
- People there (at least the ones we ran into) are more friendly and chatty towards strangers than Seattle folks. But everyone knows that!
One other thing that happened: our train ride back to Seattle was stopped just south of Tukwila. Apparently someone was killed on the tracks by an outbound train from Seattle, so they had to stop ALL trains on all tracks while they investigated. So for THREE HOURS we sat on our asses, bored to death (though we made use of the iPad and other gadgets). Every once in a while some guy would get on the intercom and say in a thick Russian accent things like “There is nothing we can do. The person on the tracks is…beyond help. Thank you for your patience. This kind of thing happens a lot, it can happen anywhere, even in a car. The crew on the other train has been replaced and we will keep you updated.” Ohhhhhkayyyy….
The following week (and all weekend) was spent downtown in a hotel room during Critter’s family reunion/Thanksgiving gathering. Not much time for blogging, just eating and shmoozing. We had a great time, though. His family are a fun and interesting lot.
Anyway, I’ve uploaded a video montage from the Robyn show to YouTube. You can watch it in HD and full-screen by going to the video page and clicking the appropriate settings. I also took some photos if you wanna see more… It was a fantastic show — the crowd was really into it and she had great energy, so we had a blast.
Yesterday I found some photos from last year I had forgotten to put in my galleries. They’re from a walk we took around Green Lake on a chilly winter day. It was bitterly cold but the late afternoon light was lovely, and a bizarre wedge-shaped cloudbank eventually overtook the sky. They’re online now but here’s one of my favorites from the bunch.
Last weekend we spotted this guy at the Woodland Park Zoo, in the birds area. He had camera on a tripod set up with an ENORMOUS camera lens attached. He was making a huge show of squatting, squinting, adjusting settings, etc. for his bald eagle photo shoot. Meanwhile, his wife/girlfriend/whatever just stood there, looking bored out of her skull.
Now, far be it from me to belittle one’s passion for photography, but come on!
Our second Cyndi show was Thursday night at Woodland Park Zoo, they do this thing called Zootunes which is kind of a mixed bag — unless you get there super early to stake out a spot, you’re never sure where you might end up. The first time I went to one of those, it was to see They Might Be Giants and we were super far away. The sound was OK, but I could barely see them! This time, we got VIP tickets which means we were located right in the center, though not right up front. But we got our own parking lot, a meal, and nice chairs to sit in, so it was pretty nice. Plus, a great view! A bit further from the stage than I was hoping for, but nobody was blocking our view. So I just zoomed in as far as I could with my little camera to see what I could get. The pics turned out pretty good, considering the distance (thank you, 12x optical zoom!).
Check out her Sideshow Bob wig! Crazy… View the photo gallery for more!
Here are some photos from last weekend’s show in Reno. Because of our distance from the stage and the often subdued lighting, some of the photos were pretty noisy so I had to clean them up a little. That’s why some look a little “soft.” (I used my pocket camera with the 12x optical zoom, which lets me get in close but there’s still the JPG compression which can get ugly in bad lighting.) Several jerks in the front row were sticking their flashing cameras in her face, and she scolded them which put a stop to it. Why are people such inconsiderate twats like that? Do they think an artists wants a bunch of blinding flashes in their face all through a show?
I’m normally very skeptical of white people singing the blues… George Carlin put it best: “What the fuck do white people have to be blue about? …White people oughta understand that their job is to give people the blues, not to get them!” But Cyndi Lauper really gets it — she grew up listening to the blues, all her music has been influenced with the blues, she’s worked with many blues artists, she’s wanted to do a blues album for years and years but her labels wouldn’t let her…so now she’s doing it and touring and topping the blues charts (#1 for nine straight weeks so far). She’s even touring with some famous blues artists, though I couldn’t tell you their names ’cause I have no idea who they are, being a lily-white honky mofo myself. But they’re damn good and they made our trip to Reno worth it.
She’s also playing in Seattle tonight, so we’re going to that as well…I’ll try and get some photos there, too!
A while back this magazine arrived in the mail. I noticed that something seemed…odd. Then it hit me: the model’s head doesn’t look right! It’s too big, it’s positioned wrong, and the skin tone & lighting don’t match the rest of the photo at all.
Let’s have a closer look, shall we?
I immediately looked inside at the masthead to see if they had a blurb about the photo, and here’s what it had to say:
So this photographer apparently thought the body was great but the head was all wrong. “I didn’t really have to direct her; she had this great, easy energy.” Well who needs direction when you can just swap out the head later? At least, that’s the way it looks to me. And if this really is the same model’s head, why is it all messed-up like that? Was the body shot outdoors and the face shot in the studio? Why??
I know this happens all the time in fashion magazines, but come on — this is Budget Travel, not Vanity Fair. If you’re going to do this kind of thing, at least do it right.
While I’m at it, here’s my (almost) complete collection of concert videos going back to 2006. The most recent ones in HD look better (Kylie, David Byrne, Anjelique Kidjo, etc.) but I made the rest look the best they can, given the cameras I was using.
I just realized that I never posted a link to our Europe vacation photos from last year. So for anyone interested, here you go. There’s a gallery for each day, so be sure and check out each one…those of you who actually like other people’s vacation photos, that is. 🙂 If you just want the highlights, I’ve made a gallery for that as well.
And for the very adventurous (and who have an hour to kill) I’ve posted a vacation video as well. It’s broken into 7 parts because SmugMug only allows a maximum of 10 minutes of video at a time. These have been heavily edited and trimmed to keep them as interesting as possible, even if you don’t always know what you’re looking at. At least check out the Sedlec Bone Church in Part 5, it’s quite weird and interesting. (Note: the video is a little touchy…when you start playing the vid, just leave the mouse on or off the video itself, otherwise it might restart.)