Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mild Hiatus.

I'm going to be traveling a bit for fun and for work in the next week or two. I won't be posting during that time but will resume next month. In the meantime, here are a few pictures of things that caught my eye while in New York a few weeks ago.

I thought this was the funniest thing ever. My sister thought I was stupid.

Stencils are fun, even when people totally steal Banksy's aesthetic.

I think one of the heads is actually covered in uncooked beans.

They really do have excellent dumplings.

"You can just return your handgun when you're finished. Yeah, just slide it in through the slot and we'll check your name off the list."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Private Security.

Not everyone can afford Blackwater.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Out of Bounds.

We’re all wearing goggles, but the bright sun reflecting off the snow still makes me squint. And as soon as we step into the tunnel the contrast in the darkness engulfs us. Bryan and Val have been this way dozens of times before and proceed without stopping. They swiftly remove their goggles and head into the darkness.

It’s my first time taking this shortcut through the mountain and I insist that they pose for a quick picture before we lose all of the light. Actually, that’s not even accurate. The tunnel doesn’t go through the mountain and it’s not a tunnel at all. We’re about to walk into an unused train shed that was built to protect mountainous train routes from being covered by snow in the winter. The shed is at least 30 feet high and hugs the side of the mountain as it winds along the side. Bryan and Val and I are walking through it to traverse the side of the mountain without having to hike through hip deep snow.

I pack my camera back up and grab my gear. Bryan and Val have already started on ahead and I walk in quickly so I don’t lose them in the dark echoes of the tunnel. As the path winds around the side of the mountain we quickly lose the sunlight shinning in from the entrance. I’m pleased to realize that the wooden slats of the shed let in narrow shafts of light. They don’t fully illuminate the tunnel, but they enable me to keep up with Bryan and Val without slipping on ice patches on the ground.

And of course it cold inside the tunnel too. While the sun shines outside, I can see my breath in the slivers of sunlight that sneak through the spaces between the warped boards. I can hear Bryan and Val up ahead shuffling along the gravel and dirt, they’re talking to each other but I can’t make out the words.

But then Bryan shouts from up ahead and his voice echoes up and down the tunnel, “Make sure you follow along the wall for this next section, there are a bunch of rocks in the middle here.” And as I approach the approximate place that he called back from, I make my way to the left side of the tunnel and walk with my hand brushing along the coarse rock of the mountainside. I can barely see the dark outline of the rocks that Bryan warned me about.

After another dark section we come upon an opening in the wooden panels that is wide enough for us to crawl out. We all stop for a moment and peak out into the snow and the sunshine. Val kicks at the pile of snow spilling into the darkness and then heads further down the tunnel without a word.

We follow the gentle right hand turn of the tunnel a ways further until the darkness transitions to light. We’ve reached the other end and I make sure to put my goggles back on while we all squint in the sunlight.

We sit for a moment to warm up in the sun and eat a snack, and then we’re off; flying down to the bottom of the hill and the long trek back to the car.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

More Things We Saw.

The Blackbird underwent testing for two years before the US Government acknowledged that it existed. During that time period the few people who lived near Groom Lake and saw the plane in flight assumed it was a UFO due to its unconventional shape. The Government found it convenient to allow people to have these theories rather than know about classified aircraft development. Here the SR-71 looks especially alien.

Why don't they sell replicas of this in the gift shop? I want this as a mobile in my room.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Join 'em.

Last weekend there was neighborhood block party on my street. I was in my room trying to ignore humanity while reading my book about the fall of Berlin, but the band playing across the street was so loud that the windows in my house were rattling. I decided to employ the same tactic that I used during my freshmen year of college when my next door neighbor had a stripper over at 4am on a Tuesday; might as well see what all of the fuss is about.

And just like freshmen year in college, it was a good idea. Not only were there barbecues and a pretty good r&b band, but there was also a trampoline and clowns and lots of cute little kids.

Southeast continues to surpass all expectations.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Barbershop Wisdom.

While in the barbershop in the basement at work, coverage of the Republican National Convention played on CNN. Mr. B and Cornell had only a few thoughts about the whole thing:

"That guy is so old."

"Yeah, all them Republicans are old guys."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

You're Enola Gay.

The actual plane that actually dropped the bomb. I'm not 100% convinced that this is something we want to be showing off in the same museum that we brag about our innovations in flight.
I think it should be preserved and remembered, but it's disturbing how casually it is mixed in with the rest of the collection.
(Although much more disturbing were the B-52 themed ties in the gift shop. I didn't realize I was such a hippy about these things, but I don't see how someone would want to wear a tie with images of M16s or tanks on it. But I guess this is why I don't work for the Defense Department.)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Local History.

My landlord had a barbecue last night in her front yard. At one point in the evening she started reminiscing about how the neighborhood has changed over the years.

“Well, there was that man that lived in the house right behind ours here. He killed his mother. Yeah, he lost his legs in the Korean War and he lived at home with his mom. She kept him locked down in the basement. I guess he got out one day because the police found her splattered all over the walls. Anyway, who wants more hamburgers?”

Monday, September 1, 2008

Lucas is gonna be pissed when he finds out.

It's really sad when NASA is so short of funding that they have to sell C-3PO's skin.

Ugh, I hope there wasn't any learning involved.