Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Full trip report to be written… someday. Until then, Happy Thanksgiving / Kat’s Birthday Weekend!

Since it gets light unreasonably early, Dan and I woke around the same time and got coffee at the Rookery. The trendy coffee shop had some great snacks, and it becomes a restaurant at night.

Next on the agenda was trying to get my now-worthless $500 phone working on a different network at GCI. Soooo many settings altered, no smartness achieved. I settled for being able to text and make calls, so at least Dan and I could find each other.

We stopped by the office of our friend, Lance. Lance has a government job doing… something. So we waltzed into the state building with no one around to ask us who we are, what we’re doing there, etc. Different. (Good.)

Next, I had to drop Dan off at work by the docks because he drives bus tours full of people that waddle off of cruise ships. No really, almost all of them are fat. If they’re not fat, they’re loud and think that means they’re outgoing.

Dan instructed me to take his car, do whatever I wanted, and report back at 2. He had a comp for me to take the tour with his group. What I was going to do and see was vague to me, but that was probably just a trust issue on my part.

I drove nervously through downtown Juneau, praying I wouldn’t get lost. (Remember: No smart phone.) I ate some food at Dan’s house and rushed back to the dock… just in time to help Dan gas up and prep the bus because my phone didn’t automatically update to account for the 1-hour time difference. Gah!

Dan took us up to Glacier Gardens. There was a nice hiking trail with a slight incline. There were also nice golf carts to take our lazy asses up to the top of it and take in the views. The tour guides were Mormon missionaries. As I began tuning out a college student’s “blessed” elevator speech, a young girl turned around in her seat and asked me if I was a ghost.

Sure, kid. Boo.

I exchanged pleasantries with her family (her name was Alyssa), farted around in the tourist trap-I mean gift shop-at the trail head, and was then taken to a lookout point by Mendenhall Glacier. It looked dirty.

For dinner, we had spicy Indian food at Saffron, then went out for drinks at the Baranoff, the Triangle, and Rendezvous. The Baranoff reminds me a bit of Polar Bar in Seattle. It’s another nice bar under a nice hotel, but it has its own character and good bartenders to match.

The Triangle is like Quarter Lounge. ANYONE can run up in there and unleash the crazy. Not drunken-fratboy-crazy, but people-with-mental-problems-wanting-a-drink-crazy. It was going to be fun to see where I land on the spectrum.

Shit got real earlier this month, so I booked a trip to Alaska. I’d been saying I wanted to go to AK for the last 5 summers. My buddy Dan gave me an open invitation to come stay with him. It took a slap in the face both professionally and personally, but I decided whatever the TSA had in store for me would be worth getting the hell out of here. Sandwiched between the annual Pride Parade (FAB-u-loussss!) and a birthday, my 10-day trip begins here.

After watching one of my friends act like a jerk at the parade, I was really glad to be heading out. In an odd turn of events, another person responsible for my hasty departure drove me to the airport. (It was the least he could do.)

I checked my bag, got my freedom grope, and buckled into my first-class seat on Alaska Air. First-class tickets were about the same price as coach by the time I booked, so, you know…

I love first class. Everyone sits down and shuts the hell up. There are no children, no inconsiderate mouth-breathers who mistake this for a city bus, and no one touching me or anything around me.

I arrive at Juneau’s tiny airport and Dan is waiting for me next to his kayak-topped Scion. You never know when you may need a kayak, right?

Dan is a changed man. I met him in Sacramento 5 years ago when we were both doing shitty. Our jobs (or lack thereof) were insufferable as were the people in our lives. He was overweight, I was underweight. We’d both been betrayed. We were super-fun to drink with. While our story was sad, it would be much sadder if we both hadn’t left California shortly after our acquaintanceship.

So Dan is now a happy, energetic picture of health, which would become endearingly annoying during the trip. Despite his having some years on me, he darted all over the place with my haggard ass in tow. Of course, I’m thankful for every minute of it.

The first place he took me was a pub called the Hangar out by the waterfront. The building in which the Hangar resides is like a tiny Pike Place Market. There are a few little shops and eateries, but nothing fancy.

I had a few glasses of wine while I waited for twilight in my new home for 10 days.


create your own personalized map of the USA

It’s the TSA’s fault. I should have at least made it to the Dakotas by now.

Today I learned the AT&T datacenter was built on a dairy farm, and that’s where people used to let their bunnies go when they got them for Easter. (No, I’m not high.)

maggie and millie and molly and may
went down to the beach (to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and

millie befriended a stranded star
who’s rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.”

I decided to try my luck at traveling by commercial aircraft and spend a short weekend in San Francisco. Sea-Tac reorganized the security line for the N/S gates, so it’s no longer “choose your adventure”. This freaked me the fuck out, but I didn’t get selected for a scan. After the Great O’Hare Grope hot on the heels of Grandma’s funeral, I was ready to simply not fly at all. I’m still not too crazy about the idea.

My first stop in the Bay Area involved a Cal-Train ride to Palo Alto. The amount of transit happening that day was bizarre. I took a train to Sea-Tac, a plane to SF, the BART to the Cal-Train, and John’s car to Advantage Aviation where we flew over San Jose and Santa Cruz. That’s where Zoey and I would take weekend roadtrips and eat fried oreos on the boardwalk. Mega-nostalgia in effect.

Then John and I headed to the Fark party. It was yet another reminder than internet people in real life are still internet people. Although I’m no stranger to internet meetups, I like that Fark parties don’t happen as often and tend to be more special affairs. We always douse a lot of that “getting to know you” crap in alcohol so it’s not as painful.

I stayed at the weeeeird Hotel Vertigo and took a foggy walk to Zeitgeist to reunite with the group. After some kielbasa and a breakfast beer, we did a little tourin’. Most notably, we attended the Folsom Street Fair, which made Seattle’s Capitol Hill look conservative and uptight. Most of the pictures in that link are not safe for work, and some of the undocumented stuff I witnessed was not safe for just about anyone. But people were having fun, and that’s what matters.

Although I didn’t participate in ass-slapping, name-calling, mask-wearing hoopla, I let leave their (removable) mark on me. Since I haven’t messed with fake tattoos since I was a kid, I didn’t know I’d need to scrub it off my body to get rid of it, so I walked around like this for about about a week.

For awhile I forgot I was even wearing it, but for those who recognize the site, it probably looked more like an advertizement for the wearer rather than the company. I probably looked as obnoxious as those people who walk around with their underwear sticking out in attempt to look sexy. I was mostly in dark rooms covering Decibel Festival anyway, so I doubt people noticed.

View All the Pictures

Sunny and 68 degrees. See?

The weekend was pretty cool too. Although the weather wasn’t quite as nice as today’s, we still got a lot done.

I found a great shoe at NextFest:

I always wondered what happens when you shove a Gameboy into a pair of Candies. As soon as they make another one, I’ll be the first in line for my own pair progressive platforms. (It’s where the “plat” comes from, you know.)

We also went to Toys “R” Us. ARRRRRRRRRRRR! …Backwards! That’s actually an indoor ferris wheel behind us, but there were no pirates on it as far as I could tell.

And I got a good shot of the biggest booger in board games, Plumpy from Candyland:

Did I mention I’m a fucking tourist? I thought I’d stop all foot traffic on my block of Times Square to take this amateur, poorly lit photo. I’m awesome!

We joined some other tourists at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum (but not as many as we thought we would, which is a good thing). Gus liked this plane:

We went inside this plane:

We thought it would be cooler than it was.

And of course, no loosely thrown together photo blog post of mine would be complete without a dead bird.

We found this one in the train tracks as we departed Paoli, Pennsylvania a couple weeks ago. Besides the new BlackBerry Pearl (slick!), it was probably the most interesting thing we saw in Paoli. What the hell were we doing in Paoli? Meeting some interesting people at the annual Boathouse Bash. I drank my first shot of SoCo since high school and remembered all over again why I’ll go at least another 10 years without touching the stuff. Bleh!