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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Dana's Point of View

I am pleased to present a link to the first set of digital photos taken by Dana Vetrecin and hosted here.

You may notice that a good bit of them focus on one small individual. This would be Miles, Dana's nephew. He's a good kid. Dana had not seen Miles for over a year, so she was a bit trigger happy in the best possible way.

Miles and I had a routine going by the time I left. Many of you may know it from the Muppets. Remember here.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Photos from New York

Time travel is making me weary... but here are some photos from La Cuidad de Nueva York:
Right here!

Back in the City

I wondered what it would be like to be back in the City, to be like another red blood cell in a runner's artery, after living so long like sun-tanning skin cell... and think I stepped right back into place. What a wonderful city New York is. After landing in JFK, my dad drove us up through the Bronx and down through Jersey to deliver Dana to her bed and me to their home. It wasn't until after Woodloch Pines that I was back on a subterranean railroad to New York.

NJ Transit is NY enough, but what was real NY was what I experienced as soon as I surfaced in Penn Station. There were three generations of women making a gripe with a Port Authority cop. The middle-aged one was screaming, the youngest was covering her face and the oldest was trying to talk reason with the cop. It sounded like they lost a bag with Amtrak or something, but soon I was overtaken by a new sound: a man playing an electric stand-up bass. Not long after I was back in the subway on my way to Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Emerging at the Bedford stop of the L I became reacquanted with an old, familiar smell: New York urine. Maybe it's the water, but NY urine has a very distinct aroma. And there I was thinking about it under Bedford Street in Billyburg. Dana and I stayed at our friend Jon's place for a few nights before heading back to Dirty Jersey. Pictures will come real soon, I swear.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Poke the Nose

I do love the Poconos. I went there with my family a few times a year from when I was an inkling until I went to college. We used to go to Pine Ridge which was near Bushkill Falls which was near Fernwood which was where this was taken:

While visiting North America, Dana and I went to the Poconos with the rest of my family - 17 people in total. We went to Woodloch Pines. This place is great. They have the classic Pocono lake with canoes, kayaks and paddleboats, along with go-karts, bumper boats and mini-golf. Sadly I didn't see any giant champagne glass hot tubs.

Witness the good times here, as captured by Janice:

and here, as captured by me:

Friday, July 21, 2006

First Impressions of Home

After being gone for over a year and a half I was looking forward to seeing New York through the eyes of a newborn. Well, by that I mean that my eyes would be like that of a newborn - new to my previous home that is. As I left the plane in LA, emerging into the light, I did feel like screaming like a newborn as every person at the airport either blew me off with indifference or shouted incoherent commands at me. Maybe this revolting experience was like being born.

After claiming my luggage and going through security again, I was wrapped in the warm blanket of a 747. This could be seen as the calming few hours after birth when the baby sleeps alongside a bunch of other babies and watches a few episodes of 24 on his laptop.

But then I land in New York and gasp for air upon leaving JFK. Holy Moses! Everything is so big! Look at those big cars! And those big people! It's all very confusing to me as I'm put in the back of my parents' car and driven home for my first night at home.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Longest Day

At midnight last night I got in the shower thinking, "I feel pretty gross but I just took a shower this morning at 7... oh wait, that was 31 hours ago... and I did watch the sun set twice today."

I also had the pleasant experience of sitting in front of one of those people who cannot control the volume of their voice. This woman said, "Very nice to meet you, sorry you had to travel so far because someone died," and "Excuse me, can I have a seat belt extension?" in the same tone of voice, and at an ear-piercing volume. She did sleep for about 4 hours, but after that she was getting up regularly, clawing at Dana's forehead each time and nearly snapping the seats headrest - and Dana's head - clean off.

All in all, the day was not so bad. True, my individual entertainment unit did not work, so I had nothing to watch or listen to during the 15 hour flight, but at least the Qantas staff pretended that they didn't already know it was broken and feigned attempts to fix it. And yes, we did have a bit of a drive home from the airport, but it was only 20 kilometers and took a mere 4 and a half hours.

I will end this with a sincere sentence: it was worth it to see the people I traveled to see. And to enjoy that really good beer I had at last.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Bumps

As mentioned, we had a nice gathering this past weekend - photos here - during which a good time was had by all and I lost my belt. I didn't lose it, actually, but it was torn off of me, and not by the usual crowd of crazed females, but by my friend Ben. I was told - by another Ben-friend - that Birthday Bumps are a tradition in his homeland. Having a weakness for tradition and melancholy friends, as well as being a ham, I let the revelers attempt to toss me in the air 29 times. There really was not much tossing to occur, however. I'm not a light fellow, and I think I was successfully raised to about waist level 9 times. And then my belt broke. When available acceptable appendages, such as arms and legs, were no longer available to hoist me by, my belt was grabbed. Thanks for not grabbing my ears, Ben. I'm thinking about writing a letter to the manufacturer, though. You'd think that $19.99 could get you a decent reversible belt able to support 185 pounds.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Done Aging

Yesterday Fred Savage, John Tesh and I celebrated our birthdays.
Not all together of course. And Fred and John probably got a later start since the sun rises significantly earlier where I live. I had a great weekend but I've come to realise something a bit unnerving. At some point in the past few years I've aged at something near triple speed. Five years ago people thought I was still in high school. Today someone who works with me guessed I just turned 39. At a party we had Saturday a friend of mine kept insisting I was at least 35! He thought I was using the 29 age like people do in bad sitcoms. But I guess this means I'm done aging. Maybe I will say I'm 29 forever. It might not be a bad idea... the last time I got a haircut the barber told me I was going bald.

I said, "Huh?"
"I noticed you were looking at your hairline," she responded.
"That's because you're cutting my hair!" I pointed out.

But I think she's crazy. Look at that head of hair:

It's not going anywhere, people!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

All Over The Place

Tonight New South Wales lost to Queensland in Victoria. Rugby Leagues is huge in the states of New South Wales and Queensland. Most people in Victoria prefer the aforementioned AFL, but they decided to have the tie-breaking Rugby League State of Origin match in Melbourne! Anyway, NSW lost but it was a good game.

On a similar note we had a 4th of July party Tuesday night. At the table were one other American, two Aussies and two Brits. Luckily, on the day of American Independence, we were able to prevent any outbursts towards the Brits on the part of the Australians, who may have felt jealous and frustrated for not having yet broken their own colonial shackles. So we all enjoyed Little Creatures Pale Ale, Kangaroo Kebabs (recipe pending) and good ole fashioned red coat humour.

On a completely different note Dana and I went diving this past Sunday. Our esteemed American guest, Andrew, joined us. This was the first time I had a good opportunity to test out the new camera case... and I'm quite happy with it. Even at 20 meters (60 feet), the case didn't leak! You lose a lot of colour when you dive, especially red, but here are some photos from the dive, and a couple of videos. The first video is a weedy sea dragon. These guys are amazing. They stay at the same depth and stay near weeds. I guess they trick some fish but I can tell the difference. The second video is of a numbray. It's a lot like a sting ray, but they don't sting. Instead they hit with you 200 volts of electricity.

Dive Photos
Dana Diving
Weedy Sea Dragon