Monday, April 25, 2011

who's on...your mother?

hopefully someone got the homage/reference at work (play?) here.

 ...still don't get it? seriously? kids these days...

Monday, April 18, 2011

europa (macht arbeit...und spaß!)

i (now) work for a French company. so when it's time for corporate training, where else does one go but France? taking advantage of a work flight, i opted to spend the long weekends before and after traversing nearby parts of the continent i'd always wanted to visit - Belgium, Berlin, and Prague. and because i'm lazy, here's but a quick recap with the (embedded) photo albums below (or see them all here). enjoy.

Bruxelles, BE.
i had originally meant to visit years ago, when my former roommate was living there. Brussels was my direct flight in, and frankly, underwelmed me (does that mean something meeting expections is "welming"?). i got over my jetlag, saw the "Grand Place," the peeing baby statue, randomly ran into an old Swedish buddy, and caught the first train out.

Bruges, BE.
i left a little piece of my heart here. honestly, a charming town, especially on Sunday afternoon, as all the British tourists are vacating from their weekend holiday. cobbled, winding streets, canals, and church abbeys. but such romance is only made more lonely when travelling solo (fortunately i did not turn to despair in the clock tower like the town's infamous film). fortunately, in the closing hours of my final evening, some fellow travelers invited me to join them for post-dinner drinks. which turned into 2-3 too many. and it was there i developed an appreciation for the fine Belgian ale that is Kwak.

Antwerpen, BE.
what a fantastic town. and to think, i almost skipped it to instead pop into Luxembourg (and cross another country off my list). the train station puts Grand Central to shame, and the main cathedral acts as a beacon from all points of the city. tons of character, a great art scene, some oldschool UNESCO printmaking, and some great street food (Frittes!)

Evian, FR.
and then i had to goto work. but a beautiful lakefront resort with a ton of my interesting counterparts from around the world wasn't bad. then i had a nice meal on a French farm home with a former colleague from the soap company. LOTS of wine and cheese. stereotypical, i know, but i'm not complaining.

Berlin, DE.
just a weekend trip, but a great modern city to wander. and yea, there's that big wall thing (and Darth Vader at the Brandenburg Tor). so, as a bit of cold-war junkie (and a student of the German language), i had more to occupy me than just my photography. the Mauer Park flea market was pretty awesome, and i had my fill of Doner. but i did get a lot of strange looks from the locals when they saw i spoke the local language.

Praha, CZ.
last leg of the trip. per my usual pattern - knock the famed castle/old-town out in the first day, and spend the rest of the trip getting lost (and finding your way back out). creepy/sexy statues everywhere. gothic architecture everywhere (pictures don't do justice to the spooky illumination of the orange street lamps in the fog of night). oh yea, and a symphony in a museum. Lentilky anyone?

so das ist alles. very doubtful that i'll have as much free time the next time the company sends me back across the pond, but i'll give myself an "A" for effort.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

US roadtrip (Dec'10)

only 4+ months after the fact, but ALL the photos from my great-American-i-just-quit-my-job-and-need-to-go-somewhere roadtrip have been posted here

originally, i was going to travel to Russia, Estonia, Latvia, etc (what some cold-warriors and birthers would say the antithesis of America), but i then found out that was somewhere my fiance eventually wanted to go there (and could not yet get the weeks off). so, i simply made the most of my pre-existing holiday travel (thanksgiving in LA, christmas in Cincinnati), and decided to see as many of the great American states in-between that i had not yet visited - AZ, NM, CO, NE, IA (yes, NE + IA), MO, KS, OK, and AR.

for some of the journey i had some road-companions join (my fiance for a long weekend, my new brother-in-law for a week). i also had numerous recommendation and introductions - meeting friends and friends-of-friends along the way, all of whom were more than gracious to extend their hospitality, and show me their slice of the country. i got to jam out with an all (older) ladies bluegrass band in Albuquerque, NM, eating junk food with a small-town lawyer in Alamosa, CO (and her turtles), and was shown the Christmas lights (and finer sights) of Tulsa, OK. i shared Dr. Peppers + travel stories with a cute 100% Navajo girl, and broke bread (literally from the Zuni tribe). on a blizzard-y day, i stared across the malt-shop counter at a little kid in Hamburg, IA. i even went to TX, despite my animosity for that state, because my awesome friend Megan decided to move back there with her husband, and she's pretty kool.

there were 8 national parks (giant sand dunes!), 3 presidential libraries, numerous museums, 2 bass pro shops, a giant meteor crater, an underground salt mine, a blizzard, and breakfast tacos, ohhhh the breakfast tacos. sadly, the giant ball of yarn eluded me. i don't think i calculated the exact mileage, but there were 3 rental cars, 1 car accident (not my fault!), and a speeding ticket (totally my fault!). i'm pretty sure i never have to drive my brother-in-law anywhere ever again (more because he's afraid of my driving).

sorry, no photo highlights (or even embedded slideshows). for that you're going to have to go through the countless useless photos i took along the way to entertain myself. but i'll leave you with this gem:

final state count? 43, which means i've got 9 to 19 years to cover the remaining 7. but i know i'll be knocking at least one off the list this summer =)

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