January 23, 2009

It's Always Bunny in Philadelphia

Ok, I got a little distracted these past couple of days, which is why I haven't done anymore inauguration posts. But I'll get to them eventually. Right now, however, I'm in Philadelphia visiting some friends from a website I've been frequenting for almost ten years (it's not as weird as it sounds. Honest! I already met them once last year).

We spent the day seeing the sights in the City of Brotherly Love, but instead of posting a bunch of pictures of me standing next to the Liberty Bell or the Rocky statue I thought I'd share our adventure as experienced by Androgy-Bunny, our little mascot given to us by another friend from the aforementioned site.

The day started with a long drive into town. Rabbit was intially frustrated by the traffic we encountered, but he/she took it in stride.

Before long we were running up the Rocky steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

And, of course, we spent a few minutes hangin' with the champ himself. We had another "magical" moment at the top of the Rocky steps, but I'll save that part for later...

Needless to say, all that exercise made us hungry, so we all headed over to the world-famous "Geno's".

...and pigged out on some authentic Philly cheese steaks (prov, without).

Our next stop was to Independence National Historic Site. Rabbit wouldn't agree to this picture unless the ranger wore his flat hat.

The Liberty Bell was cool, as was Independence Hall. Too bad the ranger program we saw was decidedly not.

We also met some interesting people on the street.

And explored some of Philly's trendier streets.

After a while, we opted to take a little break...

...and enjoyed some suds in an Irish pub. But the highlight of the entire day occured at the top of the Rocky steps. No one could have imagined who would appear to share in our little Philly adventure...

And just for the record, this picture was Conan's idea. He took one look at Rabbit and immediately felt the sort of connection only another metrosexual with sad, yet slightly creepy eyes could appreciate.

January 20, 2009

Two Minutes that Changed the World

I am completely and utterly exhausted right now, but wanted to make this post to commemorate this amazing and awesome day. Standing in a crowd of somewhere between 1 and 2 million people, I was witness to one of the most inspiring events of my life. And there was one particular moment in today's celebration that was particularly moving. It was the moment that Barack Obama became our 44th President.

The reaction of the crowd surrounding me was at least as inspiring as the event itself and is something I'll never forget.

There's so much to talk about and share regarding this incredible experience I had that I want to dedicate several posts to it. But not tonight. Instead, I plan to shortly collapse into the bed in my friend's basement here in Silver Spring, MD, and not move again until sometime around dinner tomorrow night.

Before I end this post, however, I wanted to share an image my brother showed me and I improved upon. This is a satellite image of the area directly in front of the Capitol during President Obama's Inauguration. In case you find it difficult to recognize me, I added an arrow. You might need to click on the image to actually see the arrow (and me).

A cool click and zoom version of this that lets you explore the entire National Mall image can be found here.

January 03, 2009


There is a word in Japanese, 試し切り (tameshigiri), sometimes associated with the Samurai. Literally, it translates to trying (試し) cutting (切り), and according to myth it refers to the act of "trying out one's new sword", often on a random passerby. It's unsure how much truth there is to this, though. I would expect that anyone living in feudal Japan would soon learn to give swordsmith shops a wide berth on the off chance a Samurai was picking up a new order.

Regardless, it's a fascinating (albeit gruesome) story. Whether or not Samurai actually stepped outside and sliced some poor chap in half to make sure their sword "worked", I'm sure many of us can relate to the concept. Who doesn't want to run right out and start playing with a particularly coveted new toy the moment it is out of the box? I have been guilty of tameshigiri, more often than I could count. Although, to my knowledge no one's blood has ever been shed as a result (except, on occasion, for my own).

While I didn't get a new sword to try out I did get a package in the mail that I'd been waiting for, a new lens for my camera (Canon EF 50mm F1.8, my first prime (non telephoto/zoom) lens). As soon as I ripped open the box I wanted to try it out. When you get a new lens, the first few pictures are always special. Here are the first two images taken with this one:

This one isn't all that great a picture, and there's a bit of noise in it from me fiddling around too much in Photoshop, but it is the very first one taken with the new lens. So it's a keeper.

This one turned out way more better. The sharpness is pretty good, even with the low light. The contrast is good between each of the objects, too. All around not bad for just sitting on the couch taking a picture of the coffee table.

Well, this morning dawned bright and clear, so I thought I'd try it out in some light, too.

I took Luna along too, although it was a bit cold for her. I think the two years we spent in Arizona made her forget she was born and raised an Alaskan dog. This is her shivering on the shore of Lake McDonald.

I hope you all appreciate what I went through to get this picture. I was up by the park's entrance sign taking some photos of the Middle Fork of the Flathead River (I wasn't happy with any of those) when I saw the sun lighting up some spruce trees down by the river. So I hopped the huge snowbank along the road and post-holed my way down into the forest. I knew we had a lot of the white stuff, but it's been a while since I tried walking through snow that was deeper than my waist. Not an easy task.

And once I got down there I was so pooped I just flopped back into the snow to take a break. That's when I looked up at this tree that was blocking the sun and thought the snow looked cool all highlighted like that.

Then, this evening I drove into town to get some groceries and caught a glimpse of that amazing phenomenon you see in the mountains during winter sometimes. When the fresh snow on the mountains captures the last rays of the sun, contrasted by the dark clouds behind, it looks like the mountain is glowing from within.

I'm really quite happy with this lens. Definitely worth the price! I think this little beauty will be attached to my camera quite frequently in the months to come.

January 01, 2009

Mario Rescues the Princess

From the mind of Seth MacFarlane... what REALLY happened when Mario rescued the Princess.


We took the kids for a snowy New Years Day walk this afternoon.

Snowy Fur

Snowy Sonja

Snowy Car