Reviews

Christoph Rehage's China hike

Christoph Rehage walked through China for a year, on foot, while letting his hair and beard grow. The total distance walked was 4,646 km. He took photos of himself along the way, then put them together in a wonderful time lapse video which you can see below. He also kept a travel log, which he’s been posting to his website.

I bookmarked his video a few weeks back and meant to blog it. Now it’s already making the rounds. If I hadn’t procrastinated, I wouldn’t be in the me-too group…

It’s a great video, and a great achievement. It’s amazing to see Christoph’s face change through his trip. He emerges a changed man at the end, and exclaims as he puts up a photo of himself at the start of the trip, “Who was this man? Was it really me?” Good question.

The Longest Way 1.0 – one year walk/beard grow time lapse from Christoph Rehage on Vimeo.

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Thoughts

Tightrope walker ad for The Economist

Brilliant ad for The Economist magazine, featuring a tightrope walker that begins his ascent from the sidewalk, and, by walking across interconnecting red ropes, reaches a place high above the city. The tagline is “Let your mind wander.” All I can say is it’s wonderfully done. Does anyone know who the rope walker is?


The Economist Red Wires ad

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Places

Photos from Beach Drive

Beach Drive is a picturesque road that winds its way through Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC and the surrounding suburbs. Although called by different names along its various portions, it starts at the base of the Lincoln Monument as Rock Creek Parkway, NW, and ends somewhere in Rockville, MD, possibly at the end of Dewey Rd. I’ll let you trace it from end to end — it’s fun to follow it on Google Maps — just remember, the road should be inside the wooded areas at all times, and houses shouldn’t line it on both sides.

Certain portions of it are closed during weekends so that cyclists and pedestrians can take walks alongside it without the danger of cars. Road closure details are listed on the NPS – Rock Creek Park website.

Rock Creek Park and Beach Drive are truly one of the places to see in DC. The regular roads can get so clogged at times, and it can become so inhuman to sit in traffic and stare at buildings and cars on either side, that Beach Drive provides a welcome respite from the city.

Literally surrounded on each side by tall trees and bushy vegetation, it’s easy to forget one is in the middle of DC. It’s just beautiful. The only time the road’s proximity to nearby development is seen is during winter, when the houses and the roads are revealed to be only a few hundred feet away or less on certain portions of the road.

Understandably so, my wife and I go there often, and we also take photos. Here are a few taken on a recent trip. Click on each to enlarge it, then click again to view at full size (currently 720 pixels wide).

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Places

A weekend down in Florida

Ligia and I took a mini-vacation this past weekend and flew down to Florida to see my parents. You might remember it as the place where I feel most at home here in the States.

We left our cozy little apartment last Friday morning, and in a couple of hours, thanks to the amazing convenience of modern travel, I found myself wielding a weed whacker in my parents’ yard. After other assorted yard work, a little dazed by the torrid sun, I took refuge under the auspices of a cold shower, where I cleaned bits of grass and plants… from places I didn’t even know I had. There’s something funny about switching computer work for yard work. I just know there is.

So what else did I do? The usual geeky son stuff. I assembled a home theater furniture piece and rewired the various components that made it up, such as the two satellite dish receivers, VCR, DVD player and Apple TV. Now it looks really nice, if I might say so myself.

I installed the latest updates from Apple on their two Macs. Installed SP3 on their XP virtual machine running on Parallels. (Which reminds me, I need to check with my mom soon and see if Parallels will continue to give her grief now that I reinstalled it.)

Also updated their Drobo with the latest version of the Dashboard. By the way, their Drobo is still loud because the fan cranks into high gear prematurely and stays there inordinate amounts of time. I talked about this in my Drobo review, and I’d like to see Data Robotics come out with a firmware update for this problem in the near future.

We also found time to go to the beach, twice. I got to blind everyone there with my amazingly white complexion. It felt good — after all, I worked hard to get it. It took months and months in front of the computer to achieve that perfect pasty pallor.

One of our walks on the beach was at dusk.

As night fell and the sky darkened, city lights became more apparent in the distance.

We attended a friends’ wedding as well. I’d post their photo, but I’m not sure how comfortable they’d be with that, so I’ll stick to a photo of Ligia and I, taken by my mom.

I asked my parents if I could post a couple of photos I took of them, and they agreed. Here’s my dad.

And here’s my mom.

I’m happiest about convincing my mom to sit down with us on the last evening to watch The Awful Truth (1937), one of our most favorite movies. Yes, she enjoyed it.

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A Guide To A Good Life

My favorite pair of casual shoes

I’ve been wearing a new pair of Keen shoes for the past few weeks, and I love them. If they haven’t got the showroom look in my photos, it’s because they haven’t been sitting in the closet.

I spotted them at L.L.Bean and couldn’t resist the design. They looked so comfortable and cool, up there on the shelf, that I had to try them on and get them. Indeed they are comfortable, even for extended walks, and they’re a lot of fun to wear.

One thing I should mention, if you care about that sort of thing: this particular design will make your feet seem smaller. I took a photo of one of my formal shoes next to one of my Keen shoes, just to show you the difference. Believe it or not, the formal shoes are slightly tight on my toes (length-wise, not width-wise). The Keen shoe looks smaller, yet my feet have no problems fitting in there.

While women may love having their feet look smaller, I understand that some men may not go for that sort of thing… Apparently foot size is associated with a certain other size in our vernacular. Personally, I’ve gotten over that, because I like these shoes a lot. Just thought I’d put that out there in case any of the women reading this are thinking about getting them for their significant others.

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Thoughts

The shit days of spring

I am pleased to announce that the shit days of spring are approaching their malodorous end. If you happen to live in non-temperate climates, you may not be accustomed with this rite-of-passage period that takes place every year where I live.

The shit days of spring are that time of the year when pig farmers get to spread the joy of their filthy farm by-products throughout the land, at insanely high prices, under the pretense of fertilizing our grounds. It must put a smile on their faces to know that they’re putting the city slickers through the same shitty time they have year-round, even if it is only for a couple of weeks every year. The regret of not being able to make us smell the offal of their filthy beasts all day, every day, is tempered somewhat by the knowledge that their bank accounts are getting fatter, just like their pigs, with every shovel-full of the nasty stuff they throw our way.

Others are in on the fun as well. Landscaping companies throughout the land rejoice every March. This is their own Christmas time, when they get to sell us pig shit at crazy prices. Just how crazy? Friends of ours who own a house told us they were charged $200 per tree for the privilege of having pig shit dumped around the trunk a couple of springs ago. I can only assume the price has gone up since. That’s right, ladies and gents… The going rate is about $200 for two bags of pig shit mixed with wood chips in the DC area. Ain’t that grand?

So it is with a doubly-chagrined expression that I take walks through our community each spring. For one thing, it smells like shit, and not just like cow shit or horse shit, which would at least smell somewhat decent, but like pig shit, arguably the filthiest, smelliest shit on earth. And for another thing, I can’t believe how much us suckers are paying for the damned pig shit. For shit’s sake, shouldn’t it cost less?

At least the shit days of spring are drawing to a close. Trees and flowers are beginning to blossom, and recent rains have flushed away the nasty stuff. I welcome sweet April, and think of Chaucer as I open my windows and can still get a whiff of March’s filthy stank:

“Whan that April with his showres soote
The droughte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veine in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flowr;”

Indeed. Although Chaucer must not have realized that “swich licour” is really just rain water and pig shit. Who knows, perhaps during his time they used cow dung, which would be the civilized thing to do. At any rate, Republican politicians must get a chuckle out of the whole thing too. Who knew that entire armies of Karl Roves blossom out of the turds every spring?

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Places

Document your community through photos

Trevor Carpenter is running the “2008 Challenge“, a project which is meant to encourage people to document their community through photos and to share them online. All it takes is to publish one photo per week (52 in total) to your site or to a photo sharing site. Check out Trevor’s post for the details.

I thought I’d share a few photos from my community a little ahead of the deadline. After all, I’ve been doing it all along, but you may not have known about it since I didn’t call attention to it.

This is a typical morning view from our terrace.

Reflected sunrise

We took a walk during a warm fall afternoon. This is one of the photos taken on that walk. A “Now Leasing” blimp floated in the sky above a neighboring building. The beautiful trees in the forefront obscured that photo, so it looks as if the blimp is advertising them instead.

Now leasing - trees

These next few photos were taken during various afternoon walks.

Red and redder

Bloomathingamajig

A brook dressed for fall

Twigalicious

I am literally in love with the color of these tree branches. It’s not personal bias because I took the photo, but that shade of brown coupled with the fresh green just floors me.

Stretching toward the sky

This is another view from our terrace. It’s a night scene, taken during a dark and stormy night.

Night rain

You might think there’s something wrong with the next photo. It seems a bit off, and there’s that strange thing jutting out in the bottom left corner. Look carefully. That’s a reflection you see in the water of a lake from our community. The odd piece in the corner is the shore I stood on when I took the photo. If you examine the bottom of the photo, you’ll see tiny ripples.

Looking glass

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Places

Bethesda Flea Market

Friends of ours and we visited the Bethesda Flea Market recently. I forgot to take my 5D along, and used our little Kodak v610 compact. Still, I got some nice photos, and wanted to share them with you.

I’d passed by the market many times, but never bothered to stop before. I’m glad our friends convinced us to finally have a look, because it was a lot of fun to stroll around and look at the items put up for sale. We walked away with two nutcracker sets, and a few old song scores, and we found them at bargain prices.

A lot of oriental rugs were up for sale.

Ali’s flying carpets

Some mannequin was laughing her head off while hanging around…

Laugh your head off

There were many colorful beads and stones for sale. Being obsessed with color, I was sorely tempted to buy a few.

I was told she likes these

Vanity, thou art a beady-eyed vamp

I liked the way sunlight lit up this green embroidery.

Sunlit embroidery

I’m not sure these “nature flavored” prunes would be very tasty. They sure are an odd looking bunch, aren’t they?

The “Nature Flavored” prunes

Found an old Royal typewriter. It must have been nice when only those things were around. One had time to think about what they were writing, about every word, as they put it on the page. It’s much too easy to dash something off nowadays…

It spells QWERTY

Hershey’s still has a kiss for you.

A kiss for you

Nothing but Standard Seeds for her.

Standard Seeds for her

These doors are showing their age, but then that’s the fun of antique furniture, isn’t it?

Doors

Here are some African doors for good measure. These were about 5 feet tall.

Doorway

It’s hip to be square.

Squares

Don’t bowl me over.

Multi-colored bowls

Some fashionable item of sorts… Still can’t figure out if that’s a snake or baby aligator. If it’s a snake, why are there little feet dangling off from the neck? Strange to say the least…

A fashionable item

There’s a shadow over the Capitol… We’d be fortunate indeed if that were the only shadow over our Capitol. Between the lobbyists and the politicians, this country is just about suffocated by all that “patriotic” love… Quick, someone pull out a flag and wave it! It’ll make everything better…

Shadow over the Capitol

The Bethesda Flea Market even has a website. Who knew! 🙂 All in all, it was a pretty fun trip!

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