the categorical days: Travel

August 05, 2005


Drowning out the noise

It feels like forever since I've up and gone on a plane, but that's the type of hyperbolizing perfect for blogging.

I started off yesterday getting to the airport in Columbus, because that's one of the places you go when you live in Cincinnati to save some money on airfare.

Blah Blah Blah. Fast forward through delays in Minneapolis and finally arriving at my destination: the Bears Gone Wild Fatty Farm and Day Spa—where I ended up languishing in a hot tub with a cold beer, looking up at the Milky Way with negligible light noise.

It's very zen.

Tomorrow, I hop in a raft and continue to celebrate the masculine lifestyle.

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July 25, 2005

Camp Detox

with S'mores

Even though it was super-dooper gross hot this weekend, I went camping.

A fairly level site under cover of trees afforded some break from the sun's rays, but the humidity was ever present.

Every drink just went right through the skin, soaking clothes. Hanging things up didn't even get them dry.

Heat bonus: I think I've lost weight along with many toxins and the s’mores were perfectly gooey.

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July 24, 2005


You can see my lens fogging up it was so hot

I won't say camping was all hotness, because there was a pool. However the water was warm and a thin layer of sunscreen created an oily skin. Cool showers were the best remedy.

Movie news tangent: A 3-D, CGI-animated Smurfs feature film will bow in theaters in 2008.

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June 26, 2005

I like my sugar with coffee and cream

Brunch at Cracker Barrel on the way home from Columbus reminded me of this story

Driving across the country a few years back, I pulled into a Cracker Barrel extremely exhausted. I got the Chicken Tenderloin Dinner like I always do (unless it's breakfast.) I'm simple that way.

By dinner's end I got the check and headed to the bathroom, taking my own sweet time in a stall there, reviewing my bill, the handwriting of the waitress and whatnot.

I stopped by the sink on the way out to wash my hands and noticed a thing of hand lotion on the counter.

"How sweet," I thought, "...What a great way to sucker folks to the crap in their country store." The scent was a bit curious though. Not very manly at all.

Then a lady walked out of the stall next to me and I turned a few shades of red and excused myself with a hat tip.

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June 20, 2005

Harvest Jubilee

tumble for ya

I drove up with a friend to Fort Recovery for their 100th annual Harvest Jubilee on Sunday. The highlight being the Fireman's parade.

Veterans, flags, firetrucks, shriners, clowns, classic cars, the high school band, lots of candy being thrown, tumblers, and tractors—LOTS of tractors, from the oldest to hulking 8 wheeled monsters. To see these shiny beasts go down the road was a testament not only to their engineering and beauty, but to the business of agriculture that grounds this community.

I will admit that 42" tilling deck I've recently used pales in comparison, and there was some envy. But I had a lawnchair with an excellent view and a cold beer, so it I was happy. Afterward, it was off to the Jubilee for a rock cover band and elephant ears.

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April 02, 2005

Photos from NYC

89 clicks

PhotosA (large) slice of my trip last weekend in New York...

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March 31, 2005

The Gaiety

Random scene from NYC

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March 28, 2005


Easter Sunday

Met with Thor yesterday for breakfast at Tiffany's — well, bagels outside Tiffany's.

Art arrived shortly thereafter and we walked through the dense crowd of the Easter promenade. Bonnets galore.

There were lots of people that liked getting dressed up and getting their picture taken, and about 300 times more people who liked to take pictures.

Slightly madhouse, but enjoyable.

Just killing time ‘til I get back on a plane and return home to my bed, a shower and (I'm having a hard time trying to find a third reason)

Photo The photo above un-cropped (253 KB)

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March 23, 2005

Looking ahead

To the weekend

I'm thinking the end of the week will end on a better note with a quick trip to New York City. I figure it will be cold, but I am trying to pack light. So I do believe I'm going to leave my laptop behind. Expect photos afterward.

In order to be analog, I've taken an egg from the fantastic basket of Mr. Pratt and actually carved out a plan of things I'd like to do.

My rough NYC itinerary

If you have suggestions or want to meet up, drop a line to my email address.

Comments open to notions.

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March 02, 2005


Squatting for photos in Palm Springs Beach, Florida

I almost got some sleep last night after Dinner Club, before too long though, it was time to wake up in a mad dash to get to the airport.

It's been a jam packed day and I'm much too tired to write anything of coherence, other than there are two design issues that came up today.

#1 I'd like to design a baggage claim area that does not allow passengers to crowd the belt, rather, it forces folks to stand back a few paces to observe, then step forward to retrieve their luggage.

This may make no sense, I might have to sketch it out.

#2 I'd like to talk to the folks behind my mobile phone that thought an audible beep was necessary to let you know you are entering silent mode.

Otherwise, the weather is dandy and I'm glad to see, and hear, the ocean.

It's mesmerizing.

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January 01, 2005

Barking Dogs

Please fill tub to line for whirlpool operation

Record stores, paper stores, Wishbone for lunch, that L'Occitane store I can't pronounce, a visit to the Apple store, and a few other places filled the second day of Chicago. So much city-hiking that my legs ached.

A slice of downtime at the hotel afforded the chance to check out the bathtub. After filling it up patiently, the whirlpool functions did not work. So I just sat there kind of bored, but happy.

A nap later and I went over to my friends house. Nice spread and jovial conversation.

It was at this point that I began to obliterate memory for the last day of 2004.

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December 30, 2004

Record Time

At the Jazz Record Mart

Getting into the windy city today and the traffic was almost tolerable.

A first.

A bit of time to kill before the hotel room was ready and we went to The World's Largets Jazz & Blues Shop and a used bookstore.

Now I'm all checked in...

...and the view is fantastic.

It's back to back shows* tonight and tomorrow, with little time to visit.

* not Wilco, but Guided by Voices

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October 18, 2004

Brown out

Flying into Minneapolis

Weekend getaways, especially last minute ones, are great. I'm still digesting the fried chicken from Omaha, en-route back home to Cincinnati.

This time my connecting flight puts me in Minneapolis—a city I've never visited proper, which I find a little odd, since I loved Prince so much growing up. How many times I wanted to visit Paisley Park or get my freak on at Glam Slam.

Those feelings have long since dissipated as the Purple One one seems more intent on delivering shallower hooks over lyrics that alienate anyone outside his sphere of weirdness. I knew there was a problem when I read Purple Axxe® in the linear notes of some post-Lovesexy cut-out bin filler.

So there's some bad weather in Cincinnati and no planes are allowed in. A brown out did the lady say? Behind the gate counter over the PA with horrible fidelity.

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October 18, 2004

The largest (insert thing)

At Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo

I find it slightly amusing that whenever some World Record title is bestowed upon an attraction, there's usually a modifier in there somewhere to make it true.

For instance, The Beast at Kings Island is the world's longest wooden coaster.

I say this because I went to the zoo in Omaha today and they had the world's largest glazed geodesic dome. I don't really know what that means, but I assume there's a bigger dome somewhere, just not glazed (with windows?)...

I hadn't been to a zoo since the 70’s. I was pleasantly surprised by how nice, especially the newer spaces/ containment areas were set up. My heart did leap out for a clouded leopard in cramped quarters in an otherwise very nice indoor rain forest. (I'm sure it's the world's largest). Otherwise, there seems to be great attention to creating larger and more interesting habitats to minimize the caged look.

The aforementioned dome was actually pretty stellar. Layers of underground caverns and swamps beneath a desert environment. I completely lost my already poor sense of direction by the time we made it to the caves with all the bats.

All these critters swirled in my head as we ate dinner at a place called the Alpine Inn south of the city. The menu was fried chicken, cheeseburgers or fried pork loin. All leftovers were thrown outside to a platform built right next to the windows so patrons could watch the alarming number of stray cats and occasional raccoon feast, tearing the greasy chicken from the bones. Man I wish'd I woulda had my camera handy for that.

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October 17, 2004

Last Minute

Detroit Metro Airport

It is still possible to find a ticket the day before travel.

And it's not pretty, but you can get up at 6:05am and make a 7:01am flight. Even if you didn't pack the night before.

What doesn't seem possible, is to make airplane seats comfortable in coach.

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September 15, 2004

Cross America

Tax free dollars at work

Every time I drive back from St. Louis, this cross startles me.

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July 14, 2004

Pizza in San José

((( Please, take our Leaders ))) The Dish at Stanford University

We left Grass Valley and headed to San José for a night before the weekend festivities. On our trip, we managed to get in and out of San Francisco in a dozen minutes to pick up Mardi Gras beads. Those would come into play later.

Then it was off to Berkeley to check out plants at the Berkeley Horticultural Nursery. I'd never been to Berkeley, and I was sorta amazed at how urban it seemed. Here I thought it'd be some lush campus-like place with lots of trees and wide sidewalks. Nope. Just kinda tight and congested from all I saw (which I admit wasn't much). But we had a schedule and wanted to press onward.

Passed by Alice's Restaurant on the way to The Yerba Buena Nursery out in the middle of nowhere it seemed, yet a hop skip and a jump from The City, or Frisco as I like to call it. Too bad I forced Dan to eat at Chipotle... (they totally over-salted the chips). It woulda been cool to eat there, even though it's a piece of musical history that isn't that worthy.

This nursery reminded me of my mom and the herb garden we had growing up. A kind lady welcomed us under the shade of the shack-like storefront, next to a tea room. They had a mixture of commercial areas with the usual pots and trays of plants, but gardens too. Nice wild gardens that meandered under trees. It was tranquil.

A highway sighting of a Schwans truck brought back more memories of youth. How excited we were whenever it came barreling up our remote driveway to deliver tasty frozen treats. Ice cream and meats I believe... It's kinda hazy.

Next stop would be Trader Joes– another place that was off from my expectation. I imagined a huge grocery store, but it was an inconspicuous strip mall place. I finally got some o that Brommers soap I've been pining for, along with snacks for the rest of our journey.

That night we kicked back nicely with delivery pizza and beer watching the Tour de France.

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July 13, 2004

The chef has left the building

Robbie and Brent

I somehow managed to sleep a little past sunrise on the deck, then the task began of cleaning up anything that was left aflutter from the meal that happened.

Once the truck was loaded up with dishes and pans and other implements of culinary magic, I caught the photo above and we sadly waved the lads onward to Napa.

We took our sweet time shaking the cobwebs before heading out for a day of thrift store shopping. On the agenda– buy trashy truck stop hooker clothing for the parade that would happen later in the week.

Damn Martijn and his frame for being able to fit in the most appealing of ensembles.

Dinner was leftovers, and it was just as good the second time around.

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July 11, 2004

Crater Lake

Wizard Island

The trip from Eugene Oregon had a tangent tourist loop around Crater Lake. A beautiful place with packed snow still lingering along the curvy road.

Billed as Oregon's only National Park, I became suspect. This state is one of the most diverse geographically, it couldn't be true. Some research revealed it's simply a matter of semantics, there are lots of other treasures here, but only one National Park.

That done, it was time to head down to Grass Valley for dinner. I can still look over the menu (posted previously) and recount every dish. I cannot tip my hat enough to the chef and his other half for making it happen. It was a ton of work just transporting the fixins, let alone preparing. I feel privy that luck would have me in town to enjoy it.

I slept well on a porch out in the California air that night.

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July 11, 2004

Mount St. Helens

There she blows

Today, for lunch, I had Jack in the Box. This is special for me, because we don't have them back in Ohio. They were playing up these long sandwiches with rolled up meat.

Pannidos, they were called. A sandwich revolution.

I went for the Bacon Cheeseburger, which turned out to be wafer thin, but acceptably caloric.

The only way I know of this chain is the bad meat scare back in the day. This was likely near the time that Mount St. Helens blew.

I was in gradeschool when this happened. I just remember the images on tv.

However, I did not make a science project volcano.

[ a few photos from the day ]

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July 10, 2004


Liquid fairy

I got up and had cereal that tasted like Super Sugar Smacks, but was of a healthy variety (or so the packaging would leave me to believe). Everyone was at work so I had to find ways to entertain myself, so I did some dishes. All the soaps in this place come from fantastic far-off lands like England or Germany.

Somehow, different just seems better.

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July 09, 2004


Dessert in Redmond

The flight was too early for my tastes. I slept perhaps two hours the night prior– which is normal for me since I started packing at 3am.

I arrived and was whisked to lunch on campus yesterday. The turkey reuben at the cafeteria begged for something tangy, but I was too happy relishing a free soda to care.

Fast forward to the evening, I'm picking raspberries in the backyard as a dinner comprised of local organic produce and Trader Joe's lamb is being prepared. The cellar is raided and my New Belgium beer suddenly doesn't seem as appetizing.

Dinner talk swirls around technology, career paths, what to pack for a "camping" trip and for that matter, what constitutes camping. Conversation turned to innovative ideas for the tobacco industry and state liquor laws. A modern vernacular for a new generations of wine connoisseurs also emerged.

For example: The shiraz has a fine booty.

As the evening went along, my chortles became snorts watching The Day Today. Comedy that holds up this well after 10 years means something.

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June 29, 2004


Jim is always that happy in front of his laptop, really.

I knew I'd have to head home at some point. Languishing in the company of friends is always nice, but I was starting to clean the kitchen and I knew where most of the pots and pans went. The home of the three bears is quite comfy. The space works.

With the two Macs on the kitchen table, one might imagine dueling laptops emitting banjo music. It's a recurring musical theme for me.

As Jim polished up a promo piece, I did my best not to be a Jonathan Livingston Seagull impersonator (a fly by shitting review). He's solid though, my two cents were unnecessary.

They pulled out some PixelBlocks. They are like clear little square legos that snap together in any direction. Hold them up to light (or a laptop screen) and you've got stuff that makes LightBrite look lame.

Before Ieaving, Kevin, Chad and I watched (most of) Sordid Lives (damn you Netflix and your scratched discs). We didn't get to see the last few scenes, but the movie was incredibly moving and hilarious nonetheless.

Dialogue swam through my head as I drove home in silence.

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June 28, 2004


Testing out the Oldham collection at Lazyboy

Mid-afternoon, the three bears and myself ventured over to the La-z-boy showroom to check out the Todd Oldham collection that Chad spotted in an ad.

The stuff looked great online, and with it being La-z-boy, there was hopes that the crisp lines would not suffer from what normally flaws designer furniture; pretty but uncomfortable.

Well, this stuff was super plush. Too plush perhaps? Would the foam and fabric hold up? Jim just plopped his bare feet up on the couch in front of the saleslady to test and make sure.

Afterward, we zipped over to Elise's house and got to meet her parents and hang with the husband and kid sushi (a moniker for his profound hankering for the raw fish).

The food was great.

The weather was awesome.

The conversation and games afterward were superfun.

St. Louis has even more cool reasons to return for visits.

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June 27, 2004

Chortles, sharts, chlorine and brisket

The monkey works the tiara

On Thursday, while playing videogames online, Mr. Corbett asked me if I was coming to the party on Friday. It's almost like talking on the phone, these new fangled videogames with headsets.

I didn't get the invite. They used snail service and over-designed it to resemble junk mail.

Anyways, I hit the road on Friday and made it in time for the VegasSissy party to hang out with their friends in from Las Vegas, the infamous faceless Elise, and a handful of local characters.

The party soiree was fun.

I learned new words like shart and a Russian trombone. These went well with my new favorite, a creamy pirate.

Saturday started with big breakfast and an afternoon at the community pool slash breeding ground for hepatitis. Videogames followed with an airport run to pick up Chad. We also got to reconnect briefly wif the Vegas-bound fellers whose flight back was super delayed.

Today, we attack the remaindering barbeque brisket in celebration of Pride, then it's off to terrorize Elise and her family unit.

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June 26, 2004

Ham salad sandwich sans Mapquest

I don't know the way to San Jose

But I do know how to get to the three bears house without a map or directions.

This is a big deal for me as I am directionally challenged without aide of compass.

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June 02, 2004

I'm glad I had that bagel

View from the window seat

[ Transcribed from a paper note pad ] — I'm sitting on a plane in Dallas, Texas. The one hour layover has turned into five, the last four on the tarmac. The body of the S80 shakes from the force of the thunderstorms, lightning in every direction.

I entertain myself reflecting on (almost) two weeks of glorious non-city California kickin back.

[ A cacophony of mobile phones are ringing on the plane, as loved ones call back to get more information about the delay and flight status... So many different rings ]

I examine some Tibetan prayer flags—a gift in parting. I wonder where I will hang them. Some place where wind can carry the good tidings across the countryside. I was getting used to the sound of the wind, birds and occasional motor followed by dogs barking. Reminded me of my home growing up.

More than a couple times I found child-like scale on this trip— looking down a (large) hillside or atop a rock with the rush of the river below. My cautious clamber, keeping a low center of gravity, reaching out to the next toehold or grip, finding purchase in the rocks. The challenge of wanting to get across, posing a degree of personal risk.

I note the scabs on my forearm and palm are almost healed. Bending my long left toe under the seat without complaint. I got pretty far, considering my rusty joints and laptop posture.

My stomach grumbles as the small bag of pretzels just doesn't cut it as a complete meal. Luckily I was encouraged to take a bagel for breakfast this morning. Seems so distant now as I twist my legs uncomfortably in the airplane seat, looking out the window at all the lightning.

Eventually I will sleep, head leaning to the window, drool collecting in my beard.

I didn't get to the big swimming hole, just over some menacing boulders. Practice, that's all. It'll just take practice and a reach of faith.

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June 01, 2004

Carpet cleaning

Looks almost like Lucille Ball at the vineyard

Lhamo decided, as everyone zonked out watching projected movies on the wall, that the cool new (but really really old) carpet from Tibet would be a good place to pee.

Brent remedied the situation after several washings as the dirt from hundreds of years filled the bathwater.

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May 31, 2004


Fish, Gustavo, Robbie and Trey looking off

The party was good, and most folks survived.

Then we got Iku good and drunk for making such a great meal, then threw her in the hot tub.

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May 30, 2004

Good food and extreme croquet

Iku prepares the salmon

I helped set up the extreme croquet field in front of the barn. The weather was a fine hot heat and the Budweisers went down well.

Neel came out the night before on his sojourn from St. Louis and more folks arrived throughout the day setting up tents and carving out spots to sleep. I must try and remember names... The other three bears, John and Joe, Fish and Robbie, Brian, Trey, Charlie, Kyle, the other Erik... dang, there were more... My memory slips. I also got to meet Phil and he got stuck sharing a tent. Hopefully I didn't snore.

Iku, a SUPER talented chick living in SF helped prepare dinner with Robbie. At one point we looked at her site and I was getting all misty eyed by a flash animation she made about friends.

Dinner was incredible.

Groups of folks littered around digesting the fine food afterward, until bottles were emptied and the sun was long since gone.

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May 28, 2004

Blurry Buddy and Brent

Must learn to focus

I'd be remiss if I didn't document Buddy the dog along with the other pups. Buddy's OLD. He seems smart and laid back. He's also sick, and that makes one want to lavish more love on the ol fella.

Buddy surprised us and headed up the hill with the whole crew. I think he was feeling all left out sitting around the barn.


I took some photos of the exterior of the place that afternoon and fiddled in photoshop at the garish color schemes that could be applied.

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May 27, 2004


More fur invades Grass Valley

Erik left to pick up Brent in 'Frisco this morning. This gave me the perfect day to pad around and get crafty, making a t-shirt with the mud flap bear icon on it. For a stencil, it turned out pretty nice.

Brent arrived with Lhamo, the new gal from Tibet, along with loads of textiles and stuff from his travels. Her introduction with Oogie went fairly well. Once the butt sniffing was complete, the dogs began to acquaint themselves with the thistle out in the fields.

Ticks removed, Lhamo plopped down for the sleep of sleeps. After a few beers and languishing on the back deck everyone else did the same.

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May 26, 2004


King of Grass Valley

It was time for a quiet day 'round the barn, tending to plants and animals.

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May 24, 2004

Sky Chair

Erik hanging out

Our last day up north and we spent time exploring the ponds, buildings, gardens and creeks of the area. This is where I sustained most of my damage, which is all healing up quite nicely.

Anytime a cut scabs over, or a bruise starts to fade, I remind myself how my body is doing a good job. It's those little inner positive dialogs that make me feel okay when I drink a Coke.

Tangent: I'm amazed at how a self-sustaining household can be a reality.

Recycling is nothing compared to what folks are doing outside of my worldview. Off the grid, water from wells, attention to waste and refuse. Just this efficiency that reminds me very much of Europe. It's beautiful.

Lots of activity was going on around the place as a new well was being set up and solar panels were going in. We spent some time in the sky chairs breathing in one last look, then headed home.

The five hours flew right by with a fully charged iPod packed with everything from Patty Griffin to Triumph.

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May 23, 2004


Overlooking the "backyard"
Photo by Erik

Headed up north 'bout 5 hours on Sunday to visit with a friend of Erik's and check out the scenery. The drive was nicely complimented by an iPod, the Butchies album we picked up and good conversation.

As the highway turned into backroads and the valley turned into mountainous hills, the notes of Dueling Banjos seeped into my mind perhaps.

Then we got to his friend's house, which has this cozy meandering arts and crafts quality. The attention to how the place integrates into the environment is phenomenal.

Dinner out on the back patio afforded a view fit for painting.

After a meal of grilled salmon and tasty vegetarian side dishes, bottles of wine and much belly laughter, I staggered up a few steps to an outdoor bed and wondered if I was dreaming awake. This was all too good.

The next morning, I peeked from under the covers to sunlight dripping through leaves and the sounds of birds chirping. My nose was cold like a dogs and I noted how I could breathe out both my nostrils.

*inhaling deeply*

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