Posts Categorized: Travel

The Not So Mysterious Rock

So I spent a good two hours surfing the internet for the usual garbage, since I’m stuck at the company apartment in Guam without a couch and working TV.

I chance upon this website: http://planetoddity.com/the-mysterious-sailing-stones-of-death-valley/ – because I was curious how other people’s photos of the Racetrack came out. I let out a chuckle at the first few photos because objectively, they’re pretty crappy. But the pictures kept going, and then one picture looked really familiar.

Mystery Rocks at the Racetrack

Also posted here: http://izismile.com/2009/10/23/the_mysterious_sailing_stones_of_death_valley_46_pics.html

I know its harmless image farming at the end of the day, but if you’re not going to give credit where it’s due, I wish you all the karma that you deserve, jerks.

PS – The first time I passed Death Valley, was on a 150cc Vespa scooter en-route to Las Vegas in 2007. We’ve been back every year since.

West Entrance to Death Valley

Life is too short to act like you can put it off till tomorrow.

Yay, Pig Blood

Just got home after a 15 hour leg from SFO to Manila. One of the things I noticed compared to the normal LAX route is the cleanliness of SFO, and general lack crazy bus drivers plying the roundabout and chaos inside the terminals. My only complaint, though not warranted, was the lack of arroz caldo in the Mabuhay lounge.

Just finished a plate of Dinuguan from Pampanga. Nothing to start the day off right, than filling up on coagulated pig blood. Nom nom.

Packing

Preparing for a week in Vegas for the SEMA show, and then our annual Death Valley excursion with a handful of friends in tow.

I need to create a more efficient packing system, in terms of getting what I need quickly, and figuring out the absolute minimum I need to bring. Although I have become adept to last minute crash course packing, the multiplying white hairs on the side of my head indicate that I cannot afford to leave the house without the damn SD card again. I usually start with a handwritten packing list, but it seems like it gets longer each trip I take…

Peek-a-boo

I’d rather just hop on, and go. Far. Away.

Oh, Friday

Rawr.

I’m not complaining that my week went by quickly – Fridays are always the start of something fun. :)

Off to San Francisco to see the Flaming Lips!!

Sunset on Prewitt

A little time-lapse video I took this weekend while camping at Big Sur. First things first, I need to get a timer-remote. I sat on my ass for an hour, taking pictures every ten seconds to come up with a spotty rendering. I can’t say it does any justice to the real thing, not that having equipment to automate pressing a button would make any difference – I just like complaining a lot. And I just slapped on a similarly shoddy track I made a few years ago, since the piracy police at YouTube flagged the original Led Zep song I wanted on it. :P

Now I’m also in the process of trying to determine if I should revive my internal photo gallery or re-new my Flickr subscription. I can’t wait to upload the photos from this trip, but it’s a well known fact that there’s an very good chance they’ll never make it online if I don’t get my act together. Soon. Ah, life.

Kindle

Just about to finish packing a bag for an Alaskan cruise with the family for the week. I’ll be a zombie later since we need to leave the house in 2 hours. Hurrah!

Hello, Kindle

My new toy will keep me company through lonely times. This thing is great!

Woke up at 3:30am this morning, to the headache inducing chatter of the phone alarm to catch my flight out of Guam. Didn’t help that I was up till 1am watching crap on the telly, although I must say the Celebrity Roasts on Comedy Central is quite a riot. I stay in an apartment unit on top of our store, two others which are occupied by a manager and another employee. I spoke with the manager yesterday and told him to take me to the airport at around 4:30, since my flight was at 6. Looking back on it, I don’t remember if I had told him whether it was AM or PM…. so there I was, pacing outside his door, trying to bang on it, but he was probably passed out. With a flight leaving in an hour, I had no choice but to leave and figure out how to deal with the car, since getting a cab was impossible in the rain at such an ungodly hour.

Left the car at the short term parking lot in the rain, and trusted that they would be able to figure something out. Caught the flight out to Manila, and to my surprise, I knew one of the attendants – who I haven’t seen in probably 8 years. I must admit it’s very weird having someone you know give you your breakfast on the plane :P

So I get in Manila for a few hours, and head out again to the airport to get to Cebu, where I’m writing this down in my room at a wonderful bed and breakfast. Getting out of the airport was a string of random things that I just need to write down. First was Vince’s huge backlit ad space on top of the baggage carousel as municipal mayor and poster boy for Titay’s. Second was the family on the motorcycle that zipped by when I crossed the street. It was a young couple with not one, not two, but three kids sitting in the middle of them on a standard issue motorcycle. Very cool. Then as soon as I cross the street, I catch a glimpse of this lady’s right nipple as she was openly breastfeeding a baby boy on her lap.

I’ve come a long way today, and it doesn’t seem like it’ll slow down anytime soon – need to rush out to have my Barong Tagalog fitted, and go to this barbecue heaven place that Jorel keeps on bugging me about. I need a damn nap.

I just changed my wallpaper. During the early days of web 1.0 in 1996 when I started to dabble with websites, I began to obsess about creating my own content, and making do with what I had to have something that I could completely call my own. Which eventually led me to taking a lot of pictures, then scrambling to places where I could take more.

Highway 25

Each adventure that brews inside my heart is a cacophony of echoes from what I’ve seen in places and times when I chose to deviate from the safest routes. The trips that mean the most, are the ones with lots of gray that allow the trip to take on its own meaning, without having to struggle to color within the lines and boundaries that we are apt to give. The cliche is there for a reason, because it holds true when the destination stops to matter at the end of the day, and you find yourself lost in the moment.

In the middle of each journey, I always pray that my eyes are kept open, that my ears are kept awake, and that I am given the grace to realize that I am neither here nor there, that we will always be transient in the beauty being shown to us. We are numbed by what we already know, which dangerously dilutes our ability to view ourselves outside of the picture we’ve painted in and over our heads.

So fragile but weighs so heavy in my heart, the simple beauty of trying to make your life, your own.

Hafa Adai! Was leeching off free WiFi for almost 4 hours at a local coffee shop here in Guam. I must say that broadband internet is starting to rachet up the basic commodity ladder required for survival. Can you imagine life with no intarwebz?

It’s been a fairly productive Sunday afternoon though, as I draft emails and start picking up more ground on network diagrams and flow charts I’ve neglected over the year. While polishing off dinner I wondered if my productivity is a result of being in a different environment that lets me out of my comfort zone, and places me back to a more visible core path of meaning. But then I quickly realized that the increase in productivity is most probably attributed to having no internet access the rest of the day to distract me. They say that the simplest solution is the best answer. Unplug, simplify, get to the point. The world waits for no one – especially for the Jack of All Trades, Master of None.

Reporting from the international lounge at LAX. After a series of mini-adventures that unfolded throughout the week that threatened to derail the airtight schedule of the next few weeks, I’m just glad that my ass is in the sterile zone waiting for departure. The bags were slightly overweight with only a 3lb cushion for my personal stuff, and my glasses decided to ditch a screw so now they’re being held together by a paper clip.

Choose your Own Adventure

I'd rather be making rockets

I had to sort out a mess with the flagship carrier airline, who informed me less than a week of departure that my bookings could not be honored because of a US law that does not allow them to basically usurp similar routes that customers can get through domestic carriers (read: LAX-GUM costs almost 2x vs. LAX-MNL-GUM-MNL combined). Long story short, I had to throw a Saipan leg of my journey out the window to accommodate a 72 hour window wherein I’ll be lollygagging in Manila.

And to top it off, I found out during check-in that the GUM refuel ain’t happening, it’s a straight flight, and the ‘cabotage law’ monkey wrench that effed everything over disappeared in an instant. Thanks for all drama! It’s so great to finally be 28. :)

Was totally smitten by the Maker Faire festival, which Kat and I attended this afternoon in San Mateo. It’s literally a Disneyland for adults (AND for kids), without the sappy characters and blatant capitalism that makes you want to drop acid and/or kill yourself (with apologies to Disneyland season pass holders, just exercising my first amendment rights). Most of the day we were gawking at all the stuff people created – from kinetic doo-dads, giant metal crab robots, and other random crap like watching ourselves in 3D being broadcast on a projector. Kat is a very petite girl, and I had to catch myself from squeezing her arm and pulling it off in excitement.

Camera Obscura

By and far, my favorite parts were the Camera Obscura installation, and metal sculptures of polyhedra from Vladimir Bulatov. I’ve seen different iterations of a camera obscura before (of the pinhole variety), but this one totally blew my mind. I have never, in my life, seen an image reproduced in super high def, better than your dumb 1080p HD crap, and I will even say, better than what real life looks like. An image reproduced on a round piece of wood painted white, mind you. Very exciting. I’ve always had a fascination with polyhedra (hello dodecahedrons), and squealed loudly like a schoolgirl when I saw the Bulatov sculptures. I’ll try to post pictures tomorrow, along with overdue shenanigans from NY and DC.

Bulatov Sculptures

Also, congratulations to Dan Portman for finishing law school and for being one of my favorite public defenders. Had an awesome (albeit too short) time meeting the rest of his family, and had to jet to the other side of the city to catch the showing of Up with the Bassholes. That movie, was really good. Point!

I’m online from the Bolt Bus, en route from NY to DC. It’s 7:50am, and I’m running on a few hours of sleep with a barely manageable hangover. Yet, here I am, writing nonsense on this thing called the intarwebz while I remotely print payroll reports for the office. So, this must be the future. Pretty cool, but I must say, it’s weird being online on the road – the jitters make me dizzy, and I can hear my mom in the back of my head saying that it’s bad to read in a car, it’ll ruin my eyesight. Maybe if I had another beer, it could numb the pain a bit better.

New York is a blast. To be honest, Kat and I were barely in the city for 48 hours but I am pretty certain we’ve milked it for what it’s worth. A new quote came about this morning as we trudged our way out of Gus’s apartment: “Party like a rock star, wake up like.. shit.”