Life, Travel

Planning: Part II

triptik

If you’ve been reading my blog you’ll know that I’m embarking on a cross-country road trip in fourteen days! It’s hard to believe how fast time has flown by since the entry in which I initially mentioned going to Seattle. I’m excited about this, but I wish I had more time to get some extra cash, and had some time to rest before leaving as I’m leaving right after the semester is up.

I’ve been downloading all sorts of new music to have for the trip. I’ve been burned out on my current music selection for a while so the new music is welcomed. I got a few recommendations from friends for road trip music, and if you have some to add please do. Today I downloaded Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog OST (saw this recently and loved it), The Dandy Warhols (Odditorium Or Warlords Of Mars and Welcome To The Monkey House), and Tinted Windows – Taylor Hanson’s side project. I’m really interested to hear the Tinted Windows album, it’s Taylor Hanson (from my favorite band of all time Hanson, obviously), James Iha (Smashing Pumpkins), Bun E. Carlos (Cheap Trick), and Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne and Ivy). It’s got a lot of good reviews, but my opinion will be biased either way.

Trip Itinerary
Day 1 (Sunday, May 17th)
– Leaving early morning, stopping in St. Louis for lunch near the Gateway Arch.
– Drive through the night to South Dakota. We’re half way there!

Day 2
– Arrive at Mt. Rushmore in Keystone, SD to sightsee.
– Travel a couple more hours to Wyoming to Devil’s Tower. Should I see the Steven Spielberg film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” before going? Apparently it was filmed there many years ago.
– Drive a few more hours to Red Lodge, Montana and stay the night in a hotel. Are we going to wake up the next morning? Heh-heh.

Day 3
– That morning (late morning, I hope) begin the Beartooth Scenic Byway. I think this will be my favorite part, from the pictures I’ve seen the views are incredible. My friends will probably hate me by the end of the drive because I’ll be stopping too many times to take photos. ;-P
– Find a hotel and relax.
Those were the plans, but we found out on Friday that the Beartooth Scenic Bypass is only open seasonly – Memorial Day weekend to early September. I was a bit disappointed in that, but there are several bypasses in Seattle and Oregon that I can do on my own time. Plans for the extra day we’ll have are still up in the air.

Day 4
– Day at Yellowstone National Park.
– Get mauled by a bear. 🙁
– Recover and depending on how we feel we will either drive the 11 hours to Seattle, or we will stay at the hotel again and leave the following morning.

Day 5 (Friday, May 22nd)
– Arrive in Seattle after 2,600+ miles of driving (!!)

Life

Planning

yeehaw!

Today Lauren, Leigh Ann, and I went to the local AAA office to get them to map out our trip, aka TripTik. In hindsight we could have done this ourselves, because the lady who “helped” us just highlighted on maps what interstates we’d be taking. We thought she might give us hints of landmarks along the way that might be worth checking out. We ended up leaving with several AAA books of states we’ll be traveling through, along with a few maps and the TripTik. I took the Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming travel book to look over. So far we’ve decided to stop at Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park along the way. I doubt we’re going to have a great deal of time for anything else if we want to make it there within 5 days unless we make really good timing and drive through the night a couple of times.

While we were at lunch today we were thinking it would be fun to record the road trip but none of us have video cameras. I thought it would be nice to find someone who already has a video camera and knows how to use it to come with us, and of course pay their own way, too. I don’t guess anyone would be interested in that, would they? Ha-ha! Also at lunch Leigh Ann thought we should all buy cowboy hats for when we go through Iowa, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. I bought the one above, they had more feminine hats, but I knew this one I could pass on to my Dad after using.

I promise to update more often once school is over with . . . only about 5 weeks left and I’ll be done . . . well until August! 😉 Hope you’re doing well!

Life

Seattle

019 : 365

This photo pretty much sums it up… While my brother Roy was home at Christmas he proposed the idea of coming there (Seattle) for the summer. I told him I’d think about it even though I kind of knew what my answer would be. Earlier this week I finally made the decision to do it.

Now is a good of time as any to do something like this – I don’t have anyone or anything holding me back other than my fear of making changes in my life. I weighed the pros and cons, and the only cons I could come up with was missing out on a class this summer and finding a job. Finding a job was and still is the big issue I’m concerned about. My brother assures me that I shouldn’t have a problem, he’s probably right . . . at least I hope he’s right! heh. There are a lot of pros going to Seattle such as: meeting new people, escaping the summer humidity, sightseeing – I’ve already started a list ;-), and most importantly being away from rural Kentucky.

The tentative plan is to leave the second week of May and come back the first week of August – that’s if I want to come back! (heh!) My brother is probably moving to his friends place in the next two months. I’ve seen photos and it’s a really nice place, but the only downside is it’s in the ghetto. I asked if Seattle had a high crime rate, he said no, but the crime that does occur usually happens in that neighborhood. LoL. He says it’s odd because a block away is a nice Jewish neighborhood, and you’re only a few blocks away from parks and the Puget Sound(!)

I’m going to take my brother’s advice and drive there so I can get around on my own. I’ve always wanted to take a road trip across part of America anyway, not to mention documenting the entire way. It looks like I will be going through South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, so that should make for nice photos. I even have two girlfriends who said they’d be interested in joining me. I really hope gas isn’t back up to $4/gallon come May. I imagine it’s probably going to take about a week to get there from looking at the route Google Maps gave me. I suppose it would be smart to invest in a GPS. If you have a recommendation for an inexpensive TomTom or Garmin please pass it my way.

Internet, Life, Photography, Technology

The new year

001 : 365 I first began this post wanting to detail 2008 and the many things that happened, but I don’t want to bore you with what you’ve been able to read in the past, or that I’ve told you. Most of my readers are close friends who hear about what I’m up to on a regular basis, especially if you read my twitter updates. I probably update twitter more than I should at times, but I suppose there are far worse addictions. Overall, 2008 has been a wonderful year. I’ve met a lot of new friends, mostly through flickr, that I continue to see on a regular to somewhat regular basis. Most importantly, I traveled more than I’ve ever done before in a year span. I think that was my big “resolution” for 2008: to travel more. To view photos from 2008 click here.

As for 2009 I’m not making any “resolutions” per-say, maybe a few goals. The word “resolution” seems like a doomed word, who really keeps their resolutions? Well, I suppose there are people out there with willpower, but I’m not one of them. I guess my big goal for this 2009 is to complete Project 365.

I attempted Project 365 last year and it fizzled out shortly after day 100. I lasted longer than I originally thought I would . . . so that’s positive? If you’re unfamiliar with Project 365 it’s pretty simple: you take a photo each day. I recall learning quite a bit about my camera when I was participating, and it’s not a crazy goal to have to keep up with. It helps that some of my friends are participating this year too. I posted my first photo (left) yesterday of my niece. If you’d like to keep up with the my project without joining flickr, you can subscribe to the feed here or livejournal users can add tmg_flickr to their friends.

I’m also brainstorming design ideas for a personal photography website. My brother told me I should do it, and for some reason I’m listening to him. What’s the worst that could happen? Not getting any clients? I’m at least attempting a step forward.

I hope 2008 treated you well and 2009 continues to do so! Happy new year!

Photography

Poladroid

saint martin I recently found a very cool application that turns photos into polaroids called Poladroid. Having had a polaroid camera and buying film for said camera it’s nice to have a *free* way of having polaroids without spending a fortune on film. Not to mention that the film is being phased out, so once it is gone you’ll be spending a lot of money for it on eBay. The photos in this entry were either from my DSLR or Holga originally that were turned into polaroids, pretty cool huh?

My only complaint with the application is that it doesn’t seem to read .cr2 (RAW) photos, that or my computer has a heart attack when it tries to. It has to be the application, because my Powerbook hasn’t let me down yet. Sorry Windows users, but there’s not a version for you just yet. This should be even more reason for you to make the switch to a real computer. JUST KIDDING! ( Not really! 🙂 ) Here are some other photos that I’ve used with the Poladroid application:

boardwalk poladroid

I’ve already started thinking about possible traveling in 2009, yes, it’s a little early, but I always like to have things to look forward to. I’m pretty sure my Mom and I will be visiting my brother Roy in Seattle at some point. I really, really would love to take a cross-country road trip somewhere. Seattle would probably be the perfect trip, however, I don’t see myself enjoying that with my Mom. A road trip like that would be more enjoyable with someone around my age. I’m not really sure what brought this on, other than the fact it would be a great photo opportunity. I really hope this happens, but it’s going to be hard finding someone I could spend that much time with and the potential for high gas prices again. I’ve been enjoying the low gas prices in Kentucky, I think the cheapest I’ve seen has been $1.83. Unfortunately, gas will be back up to $4/gallon before we know it. What is the cheapest you’ve seen gas in your area?

Life, Photography, Travel

Lost in Translation

Blooms.

My trip to Japan lasted almost two weeks and went by in a bit of a blur. It’s hard to believe that I’m back home and life is back to normal, well somewhat normal. I’ve been home almost two days now and of course my sleep schedule is completely whacked. It’s 8AM, I have yet to fall asleep, and I go back to work on Saturday. I’m going to do my best and keep myself busy today and hope that I can get to sleep early tonight.

4:30AM

It was nice seeing my sister, niece, and brother-in-law, who I haven’t seen since they moved there two years ago. However, Japan is not someplace that I would ever want to live. If you’ve grown up with that culture or if you’re highly adaptable to your surroundings you could enjoy it there. It’s a hard place to live. Living in America my entire life has spoiled me on such luxuries as my personal space, portion sizes*, and most importantly diet pepsi. Two weeks without a decent soda is enough to drive someone mad. They have Coca-Cola there but it tastes like a flat version of America’s Coca-Cola. *Probably a bad thing.

Chuu

Honestly, if it wasn’t for having family over there I doubt I would have a desire to return. I think I’ve deluded myself into believing that I like Japanese culture more than I really do. It’s a very hard place to visit if you haven’t mastered the language. According to my sister even if you have mastered the language it’s still a hard place to live. This is her second time living in Japan and she’s still trying to get used to their customs.

subway

I felt helpless throughout most of the trip because I would need my sister or brother-in-law to translate or ask questions for me. I came unprepared and it was no ones fault but my own. I knew there wouldn’t be English translations everywhere but assumed there would be some translations. Not at all.

Interior

Despite saying all of these negative things I did enjoy the time I had with my family. The mountains in Kamikochi were my favorite, we went to Kamikochi for a weekend and spent our nights at the Pension TengallonHat which was surprisingly nice after all. My sister and I relaxed in an outdoor hot tub (not the correct term), which was right next to a loud stream coming from the mountains. When we visited the Japan Alps it was cool and rainy so it left a nice fog on the mountains. Sadly I haven’t mastered photography enough to capture it really well.

Krill

Other than that we did a lot of (window) shopping, went to the aquarium, Nagoya Castle, visited with my brother-in-law’s parents, and more shopping… Did I mention shopping? Yeah, we did that too! Oh and I watched about 12 Japanese people try to fit into a very small elevator. After pressing several buttons and the elevator door still wasn’t closing two of them ran off to the escalator to catch their train. That was pretty amusing.

Bicycle

I’m pretty happy with the way my photos turned out. I have about three rolls from my Holga that will be developed this weekend so you should see more photos soon. Unfortunately, my supersampler* broke near the end of the trip. ::tear:: However, I’m hoping lomography will replace it, as it’s not even been three months. Cross your fingers for me…

Click below to view a slideshow of photos from this trip!



Life, Travel

Sayonara

I’m leaving for the airport in about an hour and I’ve been doing a good job of not getting worked up about it. I’m not a nervous flier like some, but being in a confined space; in the air, for many hours may end up taking a toll on me. I’m bringing a journal with me and hopefully I’ll utilize it. Instead of blogging about the entire trip I thought I might just blog about really interesting parts of the trip in detail. We’ll see how that works out.

We’re flying out to Chicago tonight where we have an 11-hour layover, needless to say we’ve reserved a hotel room near O’Hare. (Thanks, Roy!) At 7:30 tomorrow morning we fly to San Francisco and reach our final destination (Nagoya) 17.5 hours later. I think we arrive in Japan at about 2:30pm their time; they’re 13 hours ahead which would make it 1:30AM on Wednesday EST. I’m sure I’ll be fine once we’re getting on the plane in San Francisco and en route to Japan. I’ll have books, an ipod, my laptop, and camera with me on board so I should be entertained for a while.

I suppose this will be the last you hear from me until I return on June 3rd. Most likely I’ll be updating my twitter account sporadically. Keep an eye out! 🙂

Life

New beginnings

I’m starting this blog with a fresh slate. Partly because the entries that were here were meaningless, but mostly because I’m too lazy to back things up correctly. I’m not sure what I plan to blog about here, I suppose it will be whatever pops into my head and seems worthwhile.

This time next week my Mom and I will be packing for our trip to Japan to visit my sister. I’ve been planning this for close to six months, if not longer, and it’s hard to believe it’s finally happening. I’m excited but equally nervous. I don’t have a fear of flying but being on a plane that long would be enough to mess with someones nerves. We’re leaving out Monday (19th), arriving in Nagoya on Wednesday (21st), and coming back June 3rd. We’ve planned a few things to do but I hope we’ll have some downtime to rest and relax. I’m actually going to be missing three weeks of work. I’d hate to feel like I need a vacation after my vacation. ha. 🙂

I suppose that is it for the time being…