Photos 2

Recently, I went to Japan.  Then, I went to Korea, and then I went to Japan.  Finally, I went to Japan.

Here are some photos: [link to Flickr]

After my first dinner, I wrote down a list.  In retrospect, I think we were being impressed with Kaiseki-style meals.

Things I (think I) just ate

  • Unidentified tentacle
  • Unidentified tentacle, cooked
  • Sauteed squid
  • Grilled squid
  • Whelk
  • Liver of anglerfish
  • Uni
  • More Uni (I think I’m being offered more, because everyone’s enjoying my facial expressions)
  • Fin of pufferfish
  • Fin of pufferfish in sake
  • Sake



Camera-phone photos in the dark at concerts?  I know, even before camera phones, pics at concerts never turned out well.  (Can you spot me in this photo?  No?  That’s okay.)  Nonetheless, I had a friend give it a shot, so to speak.

There was no color information there anyway, so I let Picasa pretend I was speaking in the 1880s.  Note the audience’s transfixion, courtesy my stunning Powerpoint skillset.  The fifteen-minute talk felt very similar to eighth-grade band solo contest: hours of nervous energy beforehand, then autopilot home.  I was apparently more relaxed during the Q&A.

Though I’m pretty sure I received the best press reviews from Knoxville’s independent press last weekend, this guy played a nice banjo ditty too.

Then, in the pickup bar to the chorus, the curtain launches open, spots turn on, and it’s shout harmony, dueling drum kits and hipster tromboning, oh my!

I know, concert camera phone, yada.  But, some of the best indie baroque space dance pop I’ve heard in years.

Kyoto, September 2010

I attended WMIC 2010, and found time to tour a few temples in-between lectures. We’ll let the photos tell that part of the story; here’s a link to a Picasa album.

2010-09-06 – Kyoto trip

Some assorted thoughts during my trip are presented here without any particular fluidity.

  • I traveled to my hotel via a car, 3 planes, two airport trams, high-speed rail, subway and a 1-km walk turned 3-km walk (foiled by the street-map sign violating my north = up assumption).
  • Banners advertise pro baseball teams.  Get your season tickets now.
  • Walking through this alley, in the rain, with blinking lights and automated announcements from the shops, feels more than a bit Blade Runner
  • My normal head-nod modest acknowledgement of anonymous passers-by does not fly here, and often results in an unanticipated bow
  • Refuge in an underground mall for breakfast; this cafe is one of very few storefronts open at 7:30.  All of the fare is delivered with a soy-dressed cabbage slaw, the coffee is brewed honestly (non-Americano), and my bread and fruit is served with a side of secondhand Salaryman smoke.  I have not noticed any female smokers.
  • Young kids are taking the subway solo, in uniform.  Younger kids ride in slings or front-mounted seats on adults’ bicycles.
  • Bicycles are steel-frames, generally internally-geared hubs, fenders and baskets; and all. over. the. place.  Auto-locking racks are available on the street in shopping districts (no need to carry a lock).  A few hipsters with folding bikes or flashy singlespeeds.
  • Bikes share the sidewalk on busier streets.  Scooters lane-split and hop curbs to park without hesitation.
  • I didn’t feel the jet lag until the afternoon… about 2 a.m. “home time”, go figure.  I was able to get to sleep by about 1:30 or 2 local time, and wide awake at 5.  This lasted all week.
  • Most entertaining conference gala dinner ever, fueled by large casks of sake
  • Well-attended rugby in a stadium en route to Osaka
  • I’m a spectacle to the toddlers at a restaurant lunch.  Their parents wouldn’t be much of a sight in my city, but their view of what people look like must be very limited.  The populace here is homogeneous.
  • The Heian Jingu is bright orange.  It’s a recent reconstruction.  It’s loaded with Japanese tourists pouring out of buses.  It’s the least impressive traditional site I’ve seen all trip.
  • I will never again chuckle at a Japanese tourist in the US taking pictures of everything.  I have 500 photos from 5 days, and most of those days were spent in non-touristy activities.
  • The men, young and old, are wearing dark suits and white shirts to work.  There is very little variance or expression.
  • Outside the Buddhist sermon at Chion-in, a youngster is running between ponds yelling “Konnichiwa!” at the fish.
  • Kimonos appear to be the realm of the aristocracy.
  • On the train to KIX, I note that I had a great Sunday morning wandering around the city, my family was enjoying their Sunday morning presently, and I’d have another Sunday morning in about eight hours.
  • On the various flights, I watched Karate Kid, The Jonses, Date Night, Ninja Assassin, Robin Hood and bits and pieces of some others.  I don’t recommend any of them.

Is Chicago

Described here, this week’s three-day vacation trip to the windy city. Both it was, although temps were only cold (not bitterly cold) and only cursory snow was seen. The impetus for the trip was Beautiful Wife’s attendance at the Midwest Clinic; since airline travel and status in a family way have poor compatibility, we opted for a family road trip. Weather and traffic cooperated on Tuesday, and we made it door-to-door in about six hours, the latter door being that of the lovely Palmer House. Junior traveled quite nicely: minimal fussiness in the car (we don’t do in-car TV or any of that mess; staring out the window builds character) and at restaurant meals. Then again, you’d travel nicely too, if you had a sharp new Land’s End coat to show off.

Tuesday p.m. we hit one of those make-your-own-stirfry places and crashed. Wednesday morning we had breakfast at a Corner Bakery (that’s a brand name, alas); here we are awaiting food.
J and I split off for a two-year-old’s #1 big city attraction: the train! After the 6-minute red line ride (and 12 minutes of watching trains come and go), we hiked to the Hancock Center for an elevator ride up. (J’s first suggestion: “no elevator, walk stairs.”)
No line there at 9:00; we checked out the city views and sat coloring on the (ninety-fourth) floor for a bit, then back down and on to some evaluation of Michigan Ave. decorations and a trip to the Lego store. Yup, Lego store. Awesome. Then, snack time (for some, coffee time) in the lobby of the Intercontinental (it was toasty; we discussed the bulb ornaments on their tree). Then, back to hotel for naptime, followed by a trip by the bean and supper at The Berghoff. After bedtime, I wandered a bit, happened across Orchestra Hall, chatted up the loitering ushers and tiptoed in the back for a few final Nutcracker movements.

Thursday morning, continued public transit adventures as we tracked down the 146 for a bus ride to the museum campus. Note: Shedd is great at opening on a weekday. We chatted with some fish trainers on the bus, then I mostly pivoted whilst J scurried from species to species, identifying subtle differences among features. Below, sitting on a bench at the Caribbean tank; watching performing dolphins at one of those run-of-the-mill aquarium shows.

Then we bussed back to the hotel for lunch and naptime, during which I caught the el back uptown for a trot through the Museum of Contemporary Art. I particularly enjoyed a collection of Calder mobiles, some bizarre Carrie Schneider with a lot of extra arms, and a brilliant exhibit entitled “Hide and Seek”, in which unlabeled art is installed incognito around the museum spaces. Either this is one of my favorites from that collection, or I’ve been fooled by a disgruntled signmaker.
After nap, a stop at the Architecture Foundation store, then on to the Art Institute for a quick tour (mostly admiring the space, with a quick focus on The Supper at Emmaus and, being John Hughes fans enough, Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon, then on to large bowls of pasta. Friday morning, chow at the Artist’s Cafe, an hour or two at the Museum of Science and Industry (note: mid morning on the last day of public school classes before break; zoo) and six hours return flight on the interstate.

Pfthanksgiving weekend: the report

Thanksgiving week was a rough one. Monday was off work, one of many such days, thanks to a change in vacation policy that requires us to burn more banked days before year’s end. Tuesday and Wed were slow, thanks to everyone else doing the same to comply with said policy. And Thursday, turkey.

Before Turkey, though, a trot. This was the first time I’ve run the big Turkey Trot downtown. Let’s call it 2500 joggers, with street closings, chip timing and charity benefits: the whole works. Another benefit: a free low-res photo! (As I understand it, with some connection to the photographer wanting people to order the real print; I don’t know anyone who actually has.) As with all such photos, I look reasonably athletic, but the less-athletic folks in the background give a better perspective to my pace. According to Garmin, 5.00 miles at 8:30/mi. That being that, we did various family turkey-related things, driving from place to place. Friday was turkey day at 2211, complete with stuffing, potatoes mashed, roasted brussels, saucy cranberries and dinner guests. Our bird was brined [*] and roasted, bought fresh (that is, cleaned and refrigerated, just not frozen). Saturday involved some sort of walk to the library, and some sort of car trip to the Home Despot. Par for the course.

Sunday morning was our first running group run in some time. Starting at our place, we ran a lake loop (5.8 @ 9:25), then chowed some brunch. Good times. Then a little stretching, naptime routine and a hop in the VW for the 6-hr drive to Chicagoland. Busy highways on a holiday weekend aren’t a boatload of fun, but I’ll take them over airport delays. The tollbooths each required a ten-or-so-minute wait, but other than that, and a few interchange slowdowns, the only costs were 350 miles on the odometer, 11 gallons of premium, $20 in tolls and an incredibly dry reading of Heart of Darkness (audio books for road trips: highly recommended; check out twice as many as hours needed, since ~50% are intolerable).
View Larger Map

[*] Ohio was part of the ‘Brine Belt’, according to this nifty NYT map of recipe search popularity by geography.


In November, I was stuck in Philadelphia for a week on business. Fortunately, the weather was nice and occupational demands prompted driving, rather than flying, the 450 or so miles from Cleveland. Since I would rent anyway (assuming the company wouldn’t rather pay the 48c/mi current reimbursement), I found something big enough to fit my bicycle in the back, making for an easy commute from hotel to office and a splendid Sunday of touristing around the city.

I drove Wednesday night, arriving Thursday morning at the Hospital of the U of Pennsylvania, nearby which is a Philips office. Thursday, Friday and Saturday were filled with work, but Saturday afternoon I was able to cut out at around 4 and make it up to Valley Forge (National Historic Park) before sundown. The park was filled with touring roads and walking/biking trails, although it’s basically just a big field with good lookout ridges and some restored cabins and canons from the continental army’s winter encampment there in 1777 whilst the British occupied Philly. The park wasn’t too occupied by unneccessary touristy garb, but did have a few goliaths.

The highlight of my trip was Sunday; I drove to and parked at the boathouses along the Schuylkill river (yes, I spell-checked that). There was a (rowing) regatta on the river, so I unloaded and wandered down to watch the races. Mostly college teams, it looked like, although the riverbank is populated by headquarters of rowing clubs of all kinds. I almost filled up my memory card shooting the cool geometries formed by trailered boats in the parking lots.

From there, I rode to the nearby art museum (go ahead, hum “gotta fly now”) where I was suprised to find that photography is allowed. Colorful modern art makes for a great desktop backgrounds. I hit the Dutch and Flemish areas and the modern stuff, including Ross’ “Mountain IV”, the highest-resolution digital print (in 2004). It’s huge, and was done by scanning the negative from a photograph taken with a WWII-era arial surveillance camera. The museum’s great hall is impressive; I lost count of the number of right angles therein.

I exited the museum to the southeast, greeted by the view of the city down Franklin Parkway (80% of Philly is named Franklin, I think). From there, I rode through downtown, through city hall and various squares and past all sorts of nifty buildings that would have required a very wide angle to photograph. I hit the interesting section of South Street (I skipped the block-long line for the popular [cheese]steak joints in favor of a hole-in-the-wall burrito joint for lunch) and Penn’s landing, then wandered back through town to see various historic things like the unimpressive liberty bell, shown here with Independence Hall behind. I hit Love Plaza as it got dark, noting a family of ghosts taking a portrait.

I found my way back to the museum, where I shot a self-portrait before riding back to boathouses, now in their nighttime regalia.

UK in Summer 2005

As our modestly-numbered audience responded well to our spring break trip report, I’ll try a similar photo-narrative approach. A different sort of vacation this time; Stace and I joined eight other staff members of the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony on the group’s biennial overseas trip. On the agenda was a whirlwind visit to Scotland and England with 90-ish high-school-aged players, about 30 parents along for the ride, 12 days of touristing and 5 public concerts. Photos I link to here are from the the Canon A95; I took about 250, but will spare you from the bulk of them in this narrative. I’ll reduce the images to a few tens of kB apiece for this page, but email me if you’d like a 5Mpx “original”.

Onto the trip…

Wednesday, 15 June

Our flight out of CLE was scheduled for late afternoon (the ol’ hop to EWR then overnight over the pond); the airport was moderately busy, which we didn’t help by stuffing 90 people into Continental’s international checkin line. I discover why a travelling wind band needs so many staffers as we assign various fifes and drums to students to check and care for, repack percussion cases and discuss the finer points of tuba handling with the desk clerks. Everyone makes it to their appropriate flights (including a number of kids who’ve never flown before). The scene in Newark is reasonable, with a little herding through a tight connection and an unexpected detour by staffer Rachel #2 to replace a student’s lost passport. After attempting to sleep on the cramped 757 overseas, the sun rises somewhere over Iceland and we touch down in Glasgow. Somewhere in there, the day changed, so

Thursday, 16 June

Customs in Glasgow was cakelike; we loaded our luggage and equipment onto 3 50-passenger coaches (they didn’t seem that big – perhaps 50 includes the jump seats, roof rack and lav) and head down the road to the town of Stirling for some stay-awake sightseeing in the town (here’s a photo walking down the street in Stirling). Let’s be more specific: that was a photo taken while I was walking down the street in Stirling. We ate lunch on the Golden Lion, on the right, after taking a tour of Stirling Castle, which resides on a hill overlooking the town. The view to the north from the castle shows a hip graveyard and a recent (19th-century) monument to William Wallace, to whom our tour guides were more than happy to refer as Mel.

I don’t have any photos of Glasgow, where we stayed at a Holiday Inn, walked around town a bit and marveled at the old buildings and European-ness (in retrospect, the buildings were not that old, the city was pretty boring and industrial, and we hadn’t even laid eyes on the Ness yet), and the group walked through a bit of the city to dinner. Dinners were all with the entire 120-ish person group, which was occasionally frustrating but usually fun. Some restaurants know how to do this; some do not. Same goes for checking ten dozen people into a hotel, although we generally split the parents into a different hotel for ease and a little forced separation.

Friday, 17 June

Awoke, checked out and hopped on the omnibuses for our drive into the highlands. The drive was quite nifty; it was a bit cloudy but not raining (and the landscape wouldn’t have looked as cool without a little fog). We saw lots of a sheep, highland cows (no, dear, we’re not allowed to take one back through customs) and old stone farmhouses that have probably looked the same for N hundred years. Much of the highlands looked like this, with the occasional river or loch (we stopped at Lomond and Ness, of course). On the bank of Loch Ness sits Urquhart Castle, which has a bit of a Monty Python aura about it. The loch ness monster surfaced to graze on some low-hanging willows, but I’d left my camera on the bus. I’m sure someone got a photo, though.

From the loch Ness runs the river Ness, and where said river empties into the North Sea is the delta (or “inver”) and the town where we spent the third night, Inverness. Here’s a wide-angle shot of the river flowing through town. We played an outdoor concert in Inverness (next to the train station, but the trains were quiet, so it was OK) with a similar (to ours) honors-band type group containing students from across the highlands. It rained just enough to annoy the bassoonists but no one else. Inverness was worth a few more photos: here’s a street with some Victorian (?) houses. Our hotel is shown just right of center in this photo; our room was under the part with the conical rooftop. It is here that I note that we’re really far north and only a few days from the summer solstice.

Saturday, 18 June

Another driving day; we wander around Inverness a bit more in the morning, enjoying an open-air market with an incredible one-man-band street musician. I took another angle of the river: here’s another angle of the Ness showing a cool suspension foot bridge and a local parish church.

We hit the road toward Edinburgh, stopping along the way in Pitlochry, a nifty (if a bit tourist-infested) town on a river. The river was dammed, but they’d built a salmon ladder around the dam so the fish could effectively swim around the same and keep their spawning pattern. The ladder can be seen on the lower right of this photo, taken from atop the dam.

The bus dropped us at the University of Edinburgh, where the kids (and staff, of course) would stay in the dorms for the next three nights. After checking in and wondering when Case would build a little mountain behind their dorms, we jaunted into the Grassmarket (district? street?) in the city for dinner and short walk. Walks, even shortly so, through cities are a bad idea with that many people; I brough up the rear of the group as to suppress the desire to give parade signals. Then, back to the dorms for the night. Apparently Case does not have a hill because this one (called “Arthur’s Seat”) belongs to the Queen; I suppose Her Majesty is less likely to donate Ohio hills for public use. Anyway, Bill, Dave and I were overcome by the innate masculine need to climb things. I took this photo of the city from the top. The grass on the right is the lower peak of the Arthur’s Seat; the illuminated building in the center is Edinburgh Castle.

Sunday, 19 June

Still energised by last night’s hike, we decided to check out the view in daylight. We met before breakfast and wandered up the lower peak. Here’s what the castle looks like from the hill in the morning (well, several hours post-sunrise) light. The other views were better, too. Here’re the dorms in which we stayed, and here’s the view north over the hill, city and the Firth of Forth. Finally, I balanced the camera on a rock for a photo of Bill, Dave, Jeff and Edinburgh.

After stumbling back down to the dorms for breakfast, we bused down to the docks for a tour of the (former) royal yacht, the H.M.Y. Britannia. I thought she was very cool; lots of photos on display of various heads of state over the past 50 years on board, etc. One popular pose (I think I’d seen Prince Charles in this one) was to stand next to the big compass on deck; I’m not angry here, just trying to look like H.R.H.. Also of note were the various foreign warships docked in the harbor, providing security for the upcoming G8 summit.

After lunch, it was onto a nearby nondescript concert hall for a rehearsal and concert with the local band. The exchange piece they’d sent us beforehand seemed a little slow and boring, but the opposing director mentioned that it’s a band standard in Scotland, and then brought out his bagpipe soloist; the piece was now not slow and boring, it was elite wind-band art! (sarcasm not intended; I really dug the pipes)

Monday, 20 June

On the agenda for Monday was an organized tour of Edinburgh castle followed by a free afternoon of sightseeing; for me (and, by association, Stacey) this means covering as much ground by foot as possible while staring upwards at buildings and wondering about housing costs. Here’s the castle, as viewed from the new city below. We climbed up to and wandered about in the castle, enjoying the opposite view to yesterday morning (that is, Arthur’s Seat from Edinburgh Castle). I enjoyed hanging out in phone booths.

The old town of Edinburgh is very old (um, will have to look that up) and built vertically from a “ditch” that separates it from the new city. The ditch used to be a lake, but is now a super-nice and well-used city park. The new city of Edinburgh is Georgian; the part we wandered through has lots of historic brownstones with “so and so lived here” sorts of histories.

We walked up the old town side of the ditch, then across to the new side; at the end nearest the castle was an old parish church (the name escapes me already) with an excellent graveyard. Here we had a good view of the awesome monument to Sir Walter Scott before walking north for another examination of the grass market area, then down the “royal mile,” which terminates at Holyrood Palace. Princess Anne was in residence, so we weren’t allowed in for a tour.

Tuesday, 21 June

After yesterday’s lengthy walk, we’re ready for another bus day. We check out of the dorms, drag out the oversleepers, and drive south to England. Enroute to our destination, York, we stop at Hadrian’s wall, built at the edge of the Roman frontier against those uncultured peoples to the north. There’s not much to do there now except stand on the wall remains and say hello to the adjacent farmers’ horse and sheep.

On arrival in York, we dropped most people at the hotel to change for our immediate concert, and a few of us went ahead to the York Minster to unload the set up for the band, who would walk up from the hotel. The town of York is very neat, with a mostly pedestrian old city, remaining city walls and gates, and the minster itself, which in context is just enormous. After waiting for an unexpected funeral procession (someone important, since they were using the York minster and the archbishop was wandering around), we moved in and jammed. The acuostics were suprisingly manageable for a big stone building, and the sound was impressive enough to enjoy the concert despite a pricelessly missed timpani cue.

After the concert, we were back to the hotel to check in (swell: the hotel didn’t have enough rooms) and went for a dinner and a wander through the city. In the aforelinked photo, L-R, are Missey and Chris, Bill and Becky, Rachel #2 (in orange), Mrs. and Dr. Ciepluch, Rachel #1, and Dave. We found an excellent pub with tasty local ale, the relevant statutes posted about how much you’re legally allowed to bet on dominoes and cribbage, and a jam/imbibing session in the corner with fiddles, accordians, mandolin and various hand percussion. Here’s another group photo where we (except Becky, of course) enjoy a proper pint of bitter; L-R are Dave, Rachel, Stacey, Bill, Becky, Jeff and Dr. C.

Wednesday, 22 June

Today is open for sightseeing. We take a guided tour of the city and minster in the morning, then wander about on our own in the afternoon, before rejoining for a dinner and a ghost tour. Our gang covered some of the old city wall, providing neat views of many of the old (medieval, and even back to pre-Norman) and new (Victorian) buildings, and of course about 4000 photo ops of the minster, including this one, which illustrates its omnipresence. In this photo, I (on the lower left; Stace is on the right in her hip English hat) test how far I can run during the canon’s shutter timer. We toured a local brewery (very micro) and revisited parts of the city, including the shambles, the river Ouse, and old spooky churches. Some neat old buildings are turned into coffee houses, while others are apparently propped up to retain their medieval charm.

I can’t finish today’s section without more church photos. Here’s the view from low petersgate. We get a nice old vs new perspective with a shot of the church just to the right of the minster (M&S prepared foods are tip-top, btw). Finally, here’s one of the impressive Yorkminster organ.

We packed into the historic William Pub for dinner.

Thursday, 23 June

It’s on to London today, with a lunchtime stop in Cambridge for a souvenier sweatshirt (hah – it must have been in the 90s out) and derogatory comments about “the other place.” We went for a punt along the backs: that is, a liesurely trip down the river Cam in a flat-bottomed boat. Here I am, being liesurely. Everything important can be seen from the river: the original bridge over the Cam, the “building used in the first Harry Potter movie” college, and of course the King’s College chapel, home of the well-known choir.

Concluding our bus trip, we hopped off near big ben and walked across the bridge to the gargantuan ferris wheel known as the london eye. For size reference, 24 people stand in each one of those little pods. We took a trip around, which provided some nicely-orienting views of the city, then herded the whole gaggle of kids onto the underground and back to the hotel for dinner in a nearby pizza oven.

Friday, 24 June

Day two in London began with a trip to see the changing of the guard. We didn’t actually see the guard change (tourists, tourists everywhere!), but we did get to see the new regiment and old regiment arrive with superb style, grace and in-stepness; perhaps this is one of the great drum major gigs left in the world. The bands were followed by someone’s (Queen’s? Prince’s? Duke’s?) cavalry.

After lunch, it was time to head to Basingstoke, home of the Anvil concert hall, for today’s gig. Here’s a shot of the band during rehearsal. Even this little town had probably greater pedestrian area than all of northeast Ohio combined, although the poorly-organized dinner itself wasn’t worth the walk.

Saturday, 25 June

A tube-walk-photo day in the city. We started at the tower of London, where we saw the white tower, dating from Will the Norman, among other things. There’s a legend that England will fall if the ravens ever leave, so the clip their wings and keep these guys to watch over them (actually, that cat was guarding the governor’s house).

We also toured St. Paul’s cathedral. Enormous, yes, although because its sandwiched between downtown buildings it doesn’t appear as impressive as the York or West minsters in context. We did walk up to the top (through winding staircases within the dome walls!) for some nice views of the city. Here’s the roof of the front of st pauls, taken from the dome. No perspective, I know, but it’s way down there.

Next on our list was a walk through covent garden with lunch at a trendy little underground restaurant. Then, onto the British Museum for lots of stolen stuff from Egypt and elsewhere. Where else can you see a statue of a hippopotamus diety or the rosetta stone?

Later in the day, on the way to Trafalgar square to watch people watch Wimbledon on big projection screens, we stumbled across the Church of St. Martin-in-the-fields, which I didn’t even know was in London (the Academy was right next door, too). We listened to a rehearsal of Mozart’s c-minor mass for a bit, then took some more photos and headed back to hotel.

Sunday, 26 June

This morning we headed down to the Thames to see the globe and the Tate modern. I really enjoyed the Tate, lots of big hanging shards of things, good room devoted to short films, a sweetly serene Rothko room and a very cool interior setting. No photos allowed inside, of course, so I’ll instead post one of the cathedral, taken from near the Tate and another shooting upriver at the london bridge and tower bridge.

We played our final concert as part of the evensong service at St. Paul’s. We played for a half-hour or so following a half-hour of organ music. (although the organist concluded with Bach’s P&F#1, one of my favorites, I had trouble staying awake after a day of walking in the sun.) We played right under the dome, a complex acoutic place with a good 6 second (echo? reverb? extension?). Our final dinner together was at the Albert Pub, a favourite of parliament for their holiday gatherings and the only restaurant on the trip that served me a Yorkshire pudding.

Monday, 27 June

All of the kids (and most of their instruments) make it onto the buses to Gatwick, 777 to Jersey and a hop back to CLE. Lots of travel and layover hours, but traveling West makes it easy to fit in one day and get home in time to run the A/C for a while before bed.

BC in Spring 2005

Stace and I both had Good Friday off from work: good thing, since we hadn’t done a thing to prepare for our vacation. In a successful pre-trip spending spree, we picked up new skiing duds and a new digital camera; the photos I link to here are my first with the Canon A95, mostly in point & shoot mode. I’ll reduce the images to a few tens of kB apiece for this page, but email me if you’d like a 5Mpx “original”. Onto the trip…

Saturday, 26 March

Our flight out of CLE was scheduled for early morning; security lines were suprisingly long. Sleep for the hour to O’Hare, then hop on a medium-sized Airbus with angry flight attendants and even angrier breakfast sandwiches (hello, United, why do I avoid flying with you?) to Vancouver. After an hour + in the customs line with many other groups of skiers, we find the Hertz lot. I’m not sure that a Sunfire is really an upgrade from anything, but it (the upgrade, not the car) was free, so I took it. I note that this is also the first time I’ve rented without the under-25 surcharge.

Driving from YVR to Delta was easy, thanks to ms streets & trips. Actually, everywhere we went was closer than I’d remembered: I hadn’t been up there in a while, and never independently. We had a very nice ~2-hr visit with Gma Jean. Her place, as reported, is indeed very nice. I took a couple of photos: here’s Gma, Jeff and Stacey; here’s one of just Jeff and Gma.

Driving from Gma’s to the ferry was easy. Driving from the Duke Point terminal to Gpa’s wasn’t quite as easy, but we figured it out (and I certainly wasn’t going to look up directions beforehand). After some reheated (properly, on the stove, Gpa would like to point out) mac & cheese, we crashed. Flying West makes for long days.

Sunday, 27 March

Easter morning started with quite a bit of sitting, relaxing, peering through the fog at diver lake and chatting ( – and waffles). Actually, chatting ensued through the weekend between Stace, Gpa and I; lots of fun, and lots to talk about. We drank lots of costco special blend (although “lots” for us is probably 2 mugs, rather than the constant-coffee habit that Gpa points out certain other guests enjoy). Our original plan was to hang around Shenton Rd, then drive up to Comox for Sun night; however, Bosellos were in Comox already for the weekend, so everyone came down to Nanaimo for the afternoon and Easter dinner, saving us the 3-hr round trip of non-visiting time. Though a bit wet out for croquet, dinner was great fun; the cousins are all now disurbingly teenagerish. Some for-the-record photos:

Monday, 28 March

We loaded up on toast (I still can’t make bread this tasty…) and almost head for the noon ferry; cousins stop by through some elaborate cousin-trafficking-to-Victoria scheme, so we visit some more for a while and make it in time for the 1:15 boat.

We’re getting funny boats this trip. I think it was the esquimalt to the island, and one of the S’s on the the return. Disjointed upper decks, dead-end stairways, levitating nanaimo bars. Weird. Ferries are a good place to take photos, though. Waiting for the boat, we studied Newcastle and watched some nut sailing in the bay. Here’s the wake shot back toward departure bay, and the lighthouse at its exit. O, Canada. We had a foggy view of Vancouver toward the end of the sail.

From horseshoe bay, we made a brief stop in Granville Island to poke around art galleries (our new shopping pasttime), then on to Burnaby. We’re entertained with an excellent dinner a la Tony (he’s the one lighting things on fire, at least; it’s not clear who’s really running the show – my money’s on Nigel). Kelly and I scrabble while the others watch 24 (Stacey and Leah find a common addiction here).

Tuesday, 29 March

More visiting. Stacey and Tony run errands; I avenge yesterday’s scrabble loss (but we miss the 800 mark again). Leah appears, so I get a picture. We take a walk around the neighborhood, collect our laundry and find Hwy 99 again. Despite some construction, it takes well less than two hours to get to the condo. We stayed at a ski-in (not this season!) place described here. Jay and Rachel were already there; Garrett, Dan and Ellen show up later after driving up from Seattle. We load up on carbs and hot-tub bromine. Dan posed for a photo, and Garrett demonstrated how his arm disappears whilst talking to Ellen, Stacey and Rachel.

Wednesday, 30 March

It’s warm and sunny. We head to the gondola and lift up Whistler to find some easy starting trails to ski as a group. We mill in awe of the views as I take a few pics, then ski until 2:30 or so. Conditions are a little slushy toward the bottom of the mountain (there is no ski-down for those who value their skis), but acceptable above 1800 ft or so (Whistler has several hundred runs above 1800 ft, so this is not a problem).

Thursday, 31 March

My cold is turning into a bigger cold, so I stay in for the morning and take drugs. It’s raining, but I can’t take an entire day off. Stacey and I hit the slopes (Blackcomb side) for a couple of hours in the afternoon; given that the aforementioned rain has been snow up the mountain, the runs are very nice. There are few novice trails on Blackcomb, but lots of challenging blues. I plan to ski all day tomorrow regardless of my condition, so hopefully the snow remains.

Friday, 1 April

Rachel and Jay are leaving this morning, and insist on us posing for a final group photo. Bedheads!

It snowed. Lots. The gondola line up Blackcomb this morning is a bit long as everyone wants a taste of the fresh powder. I received several tastes of the fresh powder (and that was just on my first run!); after a couple of runs, we hunkered in a lodge mid-mountain for a break; it was still snowing pretty hard, and the lift rides were painful. Around noon, the snow let up and more lifts opened (redistributing the crowd). We did some more runs, then Dan and Stacey headed down the mountain as Garrett and I skied the left side of the mountain until close. I haven’t skiied much, but I’m not sure what would compare to steep, gladed black runs with big mounds of powder. Much ado. Glad I’m not carrying the camera today.

Saturday, 2 April

Stace and I pack up for another touristing day before our evening flight our of YVR. We hit Stanley Park for a walk. Cool and cloudy.

All this vacation, and no fish & chips yet? We drove to Steveston therefor. Remaining time to kill was spend driving around Vancouver West, doing a bit of poking around the neighborhoods and professing jealousy of people living in Kits. Then on to the airport, fly to Toronto, sit in Toronto, delay in Toronto, lightning in Toronto, and a bumpy propelled flight back to the land of Cleves.