Local Boutique’s

The MSO invited me to shoot behind the scenes at the fashion show last Friday at the Milwaukee Art Museum. Photos are available in the gallery.

Add comment November 13th, 2006

Accidental Dumpster Diving

Last night my Dad asked me to break down some large boxes and put them in the recycling containers. These containers are located in the basement of the condo buildling he lives in. I wasn’t too excited about getting involved with some garbage considering my girlfriend was coming over for dinner in the next five minutes. I had to be quick.
I grabbed the boxes and tore them down to foldable, crunchable shapes that would cram into the recycling bins easily. Upon opening one of the recycling containers I saw a lonely, sad, box of “Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition”! I couldn’t believe it! I opened it up to find one VHS tape of “Star Wars” remaining so I took it. Star Wars is Star Wars, right? Too bad it’s VHS. I’m pretty sure I still have a VHS player somewhere though…
Underneath the box was another tape: “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusdade.” Yoink!

I kept going and found a CD case entitled “Final Fantasy VIII” complete with unblemished Playsation CD and manual. I figured I could sell this to some 2nd hand shop or on ebay for a few free bucks. Lifting the Final Fantasy CD case revealed about 12 more games complete with cases and manuals. I had to remove them to make room for the box parts I was about to cram in there and lo and behold…. right beneath all the games was the original box of the Playstation containing not only the Playstation itself, but three controllers!!

I’m guessing someone decided to throw out the 1/4″ of dust collector out of boredom. That or they upgraded to one of the new technological wonders that exist today. No matter.

I just received an email from my Dad saying his excitement and curiosity could be contained no longer. He hooked it up and it all works perfectly!

Add comment October 25th, 2006

Where In The World Is?

The last month and a half has been quite amazing for sure! I was in Scotland for a whole month and got to see so much it was incredible. Two trips to the Highlands. One with Heather and one with Andy & Katherine. Rental car, aimless driving, portable sleeping pod. 🙂 The scenery is to die for. I haven’t been to New Zealand yet, but this is the closest I’ve gotten to feeling like I was driving straight through the pages of Lord Of The Rings! The mountains, sheep, rivers, rocks, greenery, heather, lochs, sunsets, cows, and sounds were just epic. Sleeping in the car on the edge of a cliff overlooking a lock that’s dimly lit by a small fishing town in the distance has got to be one of the coolest feelings in the world. Watch out for the Midges though. They bite and bite and are so small they’re hard to get rid of. I dont’ know if I’d rather have Midges or Mosquitos… one doesn’t leave an annoying itchy bite afterwards. They have biting flies for that. Sheesh.

First Heather left Edinburgh, then Rachel & Nat. Not sure what to do next I checked my email and lo and behold Andy & Kat decided to come visit me! It was perfect timing. After our trip in the Highlands spanking sheep and seiging castles we decided to go check out Amsterdam for a few days. We saw the Rembrandt museum (which was about 80% closed because of construction), The Anne Frank House, The Red Light District, and tons of walking around. One of the highlights was our trip to the Heineken factory. It’s incredibly well done. I even got to try and pour beer from their tappers. I was completely horrible at it and poured a whole glass of head. I got about 30% better on my second chance and walked away with three glasses of beer. One full one from the bar tender, and two full of head that eventually settled into beer haha. Good times.

It was sad to see Andy & Kat leave, we were having so much fun together. We even got propositioned by the guy running the guesthouse to have an “open minded experience” with everyone “dancing naked and kissing and being happy” or something like that. Whoa. Time to checkout. hehe. So to properly mourn their departure I booked a flight to Venice! I absolutely love it here. It’s beautiful and laid back. The food is incredible, the wine cheap, and I met a really fun couple from Germany while crossing one of the canal bridges.

I’m currently sitting outside Si Venera Il Corpo Di S.Lucia church just outside my guesthouse thanking God for the free wireless streaming from somewhere in the vicinity. Internet is expensive here. In a few days I will be joining Nick & Jordan in Rome! So excited!

Add comment August 1st, 2006

Scotland!

First off I need to say Happy Birthday to Rachel! 🙂 Today is the her birthday and we’re about to throw her a surprise party. Hopefully she doesn’t check her email in the next twenty minutes haha.

Secondly I’ve been really enjoying Scotland. Edinburgh is a fantastic city with plenty to do and lots of fun people. We’re staying in a pretty dumpy hostel with a heck of a lot of character. All the travelers that stay here are really interesting and fun to hang out with. Plenty of Polish are moving to Scotland for work as well. That makes the majority of visitors Polish and Australian. Pretty snazzy.

Our friend Alan has been taking good care of us as well with pub quizzes, amazing food, and all around good company.

I’ve climbed Arthur’s Seat twice now since being here. It’s a great climb to the top of a huge hill (a mini mountain on Wisconsin’s standards) that looks out over the entire city and the sea. You can see for miles from up there! It’s also so windy that it pushes you around if you’re not ready for it.

Heather decided to come visit from Athens so we rented a car and took a drive through the Highlands! It was one of the most amazing parts of the trip as far as scenery goes. I felt like I was driving through endless sets for Lord of The Rings. We seiged Doune Castle (Monty Python) as well as a few other less known ones. I even twisted my ankle Aragorn style while we ran towards a crumbled castle as well. 🙂

If you want to see sheep, this is the place to do it! They are little white puffs of sheep all over the landscapes as well as in the middle of the road! Once you get out of the major cities, driving goes down to a SINGLE LANE. Not one in each way, but one. Period. There are small little bubbles at some points to quick pull over into while playing chicken with the oncoming traffic. I was a little nervous at first because we had a rental car, but I quickly got the hang of it and cruized through the countryside without any issues… As for the rental car… despite all the danger of hitting sheep and dodging oncoming traffic, a slow speed backing out of a driveway introduced a hard to see stone bridge wall to the back bumper. hehe. Ooops! The guy at Hertz said he’d just write it up as if it was there before. Awesome!

I also had a chance to go to “T In The Park” (www.tinthepark.com) on Saturday which let me see a ton of awesome bands! Thanks Nat for the wristband! I saw Duels, El Presidente, The Kooks, Seth Lakeman, Xavier Rudd, The Feeling, Kaiser Cheifs, Placebo, Franz Ferdinand, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and Sigur Ros all in one whopping 12 hour day. It’s hard to explain how amazing some of these acts were. My feet and back were killing me and I was soaked to the bone by the end as it was gently raining the whole time (perfect Scottish weather). It was so worth it though! Sigur Ros was absolutely stunning in concert!

Well I have to run, time to surprise Rachel. I hope you’re all doing well! Sorry it’s been so long since an update. 🙂

Add comment July 10th, 2006

Late Night, Fuzzy Glow

Jordan & I stayed up way too late playing music. Despite feeling pressure to go to bed so I could wake up properly, I was completely over taken with the music.

Waves of songs pulsed through the room vibrating our guitars, violins, vocal chords while we strummed along in sweet bliss. We learned some new tunes and even visited some of our own works. I had a chance to bounce one of my tunes from the distant past off Jordan and it completely came out with a fully realized direction and emotion. No words, just tonal sounds and character in the nonesense words that formed the melody.

Nights like these are too rare in my opinion. When the world is mostly asleep, the blanket of evening gives the air an energy that you can feel. Knowing that I “should be in bed” is all the more reason to let my brain wander into those corners that would normally be missed during slumber. It’s like that feeling you get as a teenager sneaking out of the house for the first time and seeing the world asleep at 1AM – how excited, nervous, and free you feel walking through the field dimly lit by the stars and the distant football field lights.

Add comment June 15th, 2006

Save The Internet!

I’m sure you’ve all heard about the Network Neutrality issue being under heat in Congress lately. I do urge you all to participate and help keep your most versatile form of exercising your first amendment right to freedom of speech from being hindered by corporations. It’s one of the freest places you can find, exchange, and post information without hindrance! (Weird to be able to sum that up in one sentence.) If this passes, well, you can kiss that entire convenience goodbye as big corporations scramble to pay for their preferred spot on your internet connection. I’m not here to preach though – go to the website to find out more.

http://www.savetheinternet.com/

That being said, I watched the video by Moby and frankly, it sucks. I would have expected a high school student to make a better video than what he ‘created’. It almost seems he’s being sarcastic and un-interested in really making a point to get people involved in this issue. Having staged actors and immature skits completely turned me off to his delivery of the message. Feel free to watch and be let down by the poor quality of the vid.

So disregard some people’s delivery of the same message. Try and do something about the freedom of your internet. We can’t always count on Google to save the day. 😉

1 comment June 14th, 2006

Dr. Who?

Just saw the new version of BBC’s Dr. Who. It was pretty fun! It had some vitage space sound effects in it.

This week has been nutty. Lots of memories flooding back for some reason. Not to mention excitement for the future.

Add comment May 30th, 2006

Carry On

My trip running around the world is shortly coming to an end. I’m on my way back west in the plane heading towards London wondering what the next few months are going to have in store for me. Like Nat, I feel slightly nervous about leaving Asia for some reason. Maybe it’s an anticipation of the unknown. Not the unknown associated with taking a twelve hour bumpy bus ride from Bangkok, Thailand to Siem Reap, Cambodia, but an unknown of a different kind.

I’m going to miss the adventure and possibility of anything happening just a few steps ahead of me. I’ve found comfort in the dusty, less developed places of the world. There’s something about traveling through places far less convenient than home that makes you feel alive, healthy, and curious. You want to keep going, keep challenging yourself to find a more remote place, a place with less people, with less money, with less – just plain less. I wonder if the person that coined the phrase “less is more” went traveling and discovered this. It’s funny how the adventure and the desire to go deeper and deeper into remote areas takes you closer to a simple time – a time with lesstechnology – a time where people were more concerned with keeping family and community amongst simple things such as trees, temples, and villages.

After visiting these places and traveling for months, some things about yourself become more clear. You start to grasp a stronger sense of what drives you in life. Your passions, wants, needs become more apparent. Although seeking adventure in remote places takes you further away from developed and populated areas, you realize more strongly where home is. You realize what you miss, who you miss, and find that no matter where you go, where you stay, there’s a place you call home. That home for me is Wisconsin. My family, friends, the lakes, the atmosphere are those things that I associate with home and no matter how far I reach or travel, I know where that home is.

I’m not saying I’m done traveling, and I’m not saying I won’t ever live somewhere else – just the opposite in fact. I find myself drawn to live in a new place, and to travel to even further reaches of this planet knowing that it will continually revitalize that sense of where home is.

So dear family and friends, know that wherever I am I carry you with me and you carry me home.

Add comment May 26th, 2006

Back In London

It was hard to leave the warmth and familiarity of Thail.and Free (spotty) wi-fi from beach front, all that sun, fresh fruit, inexpensive pad thai, and not a single worry in the world (aside from our packs being rummaged through on an overnight bus ride).

Just prior to our departure of Thailand we took part in the Thai New year. It’s a huge water festival! Walking or driving into the hot spots will get you 100%, no 110% soaked from head to toe! Everyone throws buckets of water on you. We were riding around on motorobikes which made it even more interesting. If you were to cruize by the groups of people stationed on the road ready to soak anyone, they would chuck the water at you very forcefully. Ooof! Thank goodness for helmets and sunglasses. Keeps the impact low enough to keep driving. If you slow down, however, they will nicely come up to you and gently poor the water making sure not to miss a single spot. It’s even more exhilirating when they’re sneaky and use a bucket full of ICE COLD WATER! Gah! hehe

Leaving Thailand was no easy journey. We booked a bus from Bangkok, Thailand to Siem Reap, Cambodia for $6. That would be about .50 cents per hour of torture. As soon as you cross the border into Cambodia the roads turn to dirt obstacle courses. The bus we were in was questionable. The seats were battered and lacking any comfortable support from the thousands of journeys it has probably made over said roads. Top speed? 10Mph. We may have walked the journey in the time it took to painfully drive it.

Even being incredibly tired did not cut through the bumps and jives the bus had to make. Pot holes, sink holes, and the occasional breaking down of the bus. In fact, after a dinner pit stop during a rain storm, the bus refused to start back up. The bus driver asked for help push starting the BUS. I’ve done cars before, but a bus?! So in the rain, in my flip flops, I offered to help to no avail. The engine wouldn’t fire up. Someone got under the bus with what looked like a hammer, and ten minutes later we were jostling down the road again.

Cambodia is an interesting mix of poor, and rich. I hadn’t seen a Cadillac Escapade (or whatever it is) since I’ve left Germany, but there was one driving down the streets of Siem Reap going right past the homeless beggars. It’s such a weird contrast.

We spent three days exploring Angkor Wat (the temples that were featured in Tomb Raider). It’s amazing how much popularity the movie has brought to the area. Sunsets, elephant rides, monkeys, shops, and a googleplex of temples! Words can’t do it justice. Just go visit. Or wait for the pictures. 🙂

After Siem Reap was the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. It was here Rachel, Nat, and I sent off on seperate journeys. They went into Vietnam, I went down into Singapore and over to Australia.

Singapore. It’s a city. Just like any. More expensive, and well it can be conquered in two days. Not much to be said except that I met some really awesome people while I hung out there. Myra, from Canada, whom I’m hoping to meet up with again in London. Steve from Bristol who ended up in Sydney at the same time as me – we had some pints and a visit to the beach. And a couple, Shaun and Steph, from New York! It was fun to hear the NYC accents again. If there’s one thing you notice while traveling, it’s that you don’t meet many Americans at all. Come on now people, get those passports and come visit!

Upon arriving in Sydney, Gordon picked me up at the airport. It’s so great to see a familiar face after traveling for so long! I admit I didn’t recognize him immediately though. He was sporting a full on beard that was no where to be found when he was in the states! His family took great care of me, I’m indebted to them for hosting me so generously. Since Asia I’ve lost 13 pounds. I think I managed to put half that back on with the hearty food of Oz (and Gordon’s mom’s yummy cooking) and possibly the last half in London.

A small side trip from Sydney to Melbourne proved worth it after seeing a fun indie band called “The Lazy Sons” I was craving some live music for quite a while.

That brings me back up to London. I’m staying with life long friend Dan over looking the River Thames. I don’t think I could manage England as easily without Dan and Ellie’s generosity. We had some proper, full sized pints of cider (yes, that means there are more people than myself in this world that enjoy cider for those of you that made fun of me in.. ahem.. Sydney haha) We also took a trip up to Norwich to say hi to Dan’s wife Ellie and son Matthew. A gorgeous home from the 1800’s. I don’t know how else to explain it except that it looked like a classic picture book English home amongst the countryside. It smells so wonderful! Greenery, lush gardens, peace and quiet… and a huge dog named Digby. hehe. A very playful and large dog. I also played with Matthew and his brand new space ship, I met Ellie’s mum for the first time in my life and luckily got a haircut out of it :), and also left my wallet at the house much to our dismay and quick return to the house. One of the more entertaining events of the day found us at a local store attempting to assist Ellie in choosing a fancy – er excuse me – a civilized hat for the wedding Dan & Ellie were to attend. 🙂 I had a blast you guys, thanks for hosting me!

That about does it for now! I’m off to walk around the city while there’s sun! It’s bound to disappear in a couple of hours with all the clouds hanging about.

Add comment May 23rd, 2006

Leaving Koh Samui

A heating element. An enclosure with a door. An oven. The bungalow that we’re sleeping in does not have air conditioning. It’s not a problem except that if you want to sleep past 11AM (we’re on vacation, ok? movies play until 2 or 3 in the morning…) you’ll be baked like a fresh cake resembling a sweating pig. It might be a good thing that we have this hot alarm clock. I can see the advertisements. “Fresh morning bake included!” Free breakfast? Really? Not quite.

When we’re cooked out of our bungalow just before noon, we lazily walk to the restaurant overlooking the beach and ocean. A welcomed breeze gently blows away the effects of the alarm clock as we order our fresh fruit shakes. The award winning combination of the week is a pineapple, oranage, and carrot lassi.

Fresh fruit is in abundance in Thailand. Something I’m greatly going to miss when I return home. I’m not saying the U.S. doesn’t have fresh fruit, it’s the price and availability of it that’s attractive. You can walk down many streets and you’ll find a vendor selling generous amonts of mango, watermelon, pineapple, papaya, and other fruits I’m unfamiliar with. Usually withing sight you can also find a fruit shake vendor blending said fruits into perfect cold refreshments. Both of which will cost you around twenty baht – that’s fifty cents.

As we savor the morning lassi (ok, maybe it’s just past noon now), the onsite chef is preparing our favories. Nat’s hooked on the pad thai with chicken, Rachel the yellow curry with chicken and vegetables, and I the fried shrimp with vegetables. The amount of garlic the chef uses would kill most vampires, but to Rachel and I, it’s a dream come true. Side effects include a higher immune system, a mouth watering meal, not getting a date within a twenty foot radius, and keeping away the mosquitos. A meal with a fresh fruit shake runs just around 100 baht. That’s $2.50. No, the decimal is not in the wrong place. If you could meet our English friend Simon, you’d appreciate it when he says “That’s like one pound fifty!” A phrase we repeat to no end when content with the cheap prices we find. When it’s even cheaper the Simon coined phrase “That’s like fifty pee!” comes into play. “Pee” being the phoentically spelled verbal abbreviation of pence. (Browsing through the Beijing pictures, you can find Simon wearing a pleasant pink hat we insisted he wear at his birthday party)

Coconut trees at my back, sand between my toes, water lapping in front of me, sun shinning down on my face… I could get used to this.

Today, like yeserday and the day before, we have to figure out what to do. Go swimming? Go for a jog? Use the internet to see what gossip our email boxes hold? Maybe watch some more episodes of Battlestar Galactica? Yeah… on that Battlestar Galactica thing… You see, we ran out of Lost episodes and Chuck, being a fellow sci-fi enthusiast, thought he would include two seasons in our “keep Rachel, Jacob, and Nat entertained on the latest televison” package. Well, like Lost, we’re hooked. The effects and cinematography have caught our attention. I should also mention that our further addiction to Family Guy finds us empty in that folder too.

As I pay for my last meal on Koh Samui, he is sitting there. We’ve come to call him “Beetle Nut.” Not to his face, mind you, just to each other. We haven’t been able to quite figure him out. Every day you can find Bettle Nut sitting either at the bar or the clerk’s desk. On one random evening we walked past the bar to find him sitting completely nude at one of the tables, his belly the only article of clothing luckily covering things no one wanted to see. Usually he barely one ups the birthday suit with a ragged towel around the waist. “Where you go?” he asks as red beetle nut juice drips all over his lips. His breath stinks even from this distance and his teeth are rotting from chewing way too much of this nut. I tell him we’re leaving the island. “Come back soon” he says through a goofy grin.

Today we are leaving paradise behind. I’m currently sitting in a pickup truck turned into an open-air bus headed for the rainforests of Khao Sak. One paradise to be replaced by another. Our bags are roped to the top, there are two benches facing each other in the truck bed, and a small platform hanging off the end for overflow passengers. I was the overflow, but the driver was nice enough to let me sit in the front cab with him for the two hour ride.

See you again Koh Samui. Try not to change too much while I’m gone.

Add comment April 20th, 2006

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