Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Something new...

Hmmmm, can't say what exactly I like about this driving photo, but I'm drawn into the abstract movement of this image. Perhaps something to explore a bit. Just thought I would share.


I love photographs of and strangers. This is an odd statement coming from a photographer that struggles with people pictures. I find it hard to connect with my subjects. But I am captivated by these photographs more than any other type, because they reveal so much.

Being at home this weekend and being surrounded by my father's photographs of my brother and me was an inspiration. This photograph of me is so simple, and yet so amazingly elegant (the photograph...not me). THIS is my goal as a photographer, and my dad set a high bar for me :)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Racing and bosoms...

I learned two totally unrelated (and useless) factoids this weekend.

First, I learned that there is in fact a Daytona 500 Fragrance for Men. Available today at your local CVS. Hints of musk and new car scent, I would suspect. For those special occasions when rubbing the tiny hanging pine tree all over your body just won't do!

And second, I read an odd story from Reuters of a 74 year old Finnish man who sued a couple for "extortionate overcharging". It seems the man paid the couple $32,000 over the course of 10 visits to fondle the wife's breasts. The judge ruled in favor of the elderly man, saying that "Based on general life experience alone, it is indisputably clear that a [$32,000] charge is disproportionate to the compensation in question." OUCH!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Random art...

As I was flipping through my recent shots, I ran across this one from SF. I really like the colors and shapes in this image.

Being Uncle John...

I haven't been motivated to update my blog this week...but not because it wasn't a really wonderful week.

On Monday, I had a late dinner with my buddy Ashish, who introduced me to Coastal Flats in Tysons Corner--I had some amazing bbq beef ribs. Wednesday night, I met up with Gretchen, Brian, and Allison at the Hard Times Cafe in Herndon for a hearty bowl of Texas chili. And on Thursday night, I visited Ginger and James at their house for a bit of homemade potroast and James' own yummy cheesecake.

Friday night, I made my way south to Richmond for a too-short visit with my family. My parents and I had some wine, discussed the price of gas, and listened to my dad's collection of folk albums.

But on Saturday...I got to experience a first. I got to visit with and hold and stare at and cooo over my nephew Benjamin. So Saturday night, my folks, Jodi and my brother Cliff, my aunt Teela and uncle Jim all got together for some food on the grill, old slides, and discussions of diaper changing. I can't tell you how amazing it was to see my brother as a papa. I was so proud.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Playing Koi...

In anticipation of my long trip to Virginia this week, Jeff and I decided to do a sunny road trip up to Napa this weekend. We found a few new wineries, and returned to one that we had been introduced to on a previous trip. (Thank you Brooks and Patricia!!) In addition to yummy wines, two additional things drew us back to Robert Sinskey: 1) the food samples that accompany the wine tastings, and 2) the chock-full Koi point in the front of the property. Sooooo, we joined the wine (and food) club, and Jeff had a fun time feeding the Koi. :)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Afternoon delight...

An enthusiastic cheer to D.J. who carried this yummy treat back from the Victoria Pastry Company in North Beach. This delightful Cream Puff carried me through an afternoon that dragged. THANK YOU D.J.

(Heh, the entry title also has me chuckling as I remember the silly scene in Anchorman with Will Ferrel and Co. singing a version of Afternoon Delight.)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

My version of the anxiety brick...

I discovered a new stress reliever today after an email sent me into a tizzy. I simply picked up a pack of Post-Its, peeled them off one-by-one, and threw them at my computer monitor until the screen (and the offending email) was hidden from view.

Very theraputic...I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What happened to Milan?...

It occurred to me that after all of my postings on London, Paris, the Loire Valley, and Venice, that I never did post any photos from our overnight stay in Milan. Well, this vomiting fountain from the front of the main train station (Milano Centrale) pretty much sums up my love of Milan :) [You have to remember that Milan has always been our stop before or after tiny, romantic unfair comparison.]

Now, I'm sure that Milan has many charming features, but on our third trip trough the city, the charm still escaped me. But Milan is a big city, brimming with life. We happened upon Milan right at the beginning of the World Cup, and got to witness the shared experience of watching soccer on the big screen with a thousand of your closest friends.

Still, at its heart, there is no doubt that Milan exudes style and design. The shopping is a laundry list of famous labels. Even the subway is decked out in Italian style.

And of course, you can't visit Milan without stopping to see its most famous structure: the gothic Duomo di Milano. On our last visit to Milan (with Curt and Cheryl), we toured the maze-like roof, where you can walk among the spires. On this visit, we ventured inside the Duomo. It is truly breathtaking.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A year and a blog...

Today is the 1st birthday for Travel and tribulations..., and I thought I might reflect back on what I've seen and done over the past 365 days in the World of Blogger. I began the year with this photo of Old Crooked Head and have posted 243 entries since!

Looking back, I fumbled around for a few weeks trying to figure out what would hold my interest. I quickly settled into a groove of posting photos from day trips, business trips, and holidays. If you read back, you'll see pictures from Venice, Paris, London, New York, LA, Las Vegas, San Diego, Seattle, DC, Richmond, San Antonio, Muskegon, St. Michaels, Colorado Springs, Anaheim, Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, San Simeon and the Loire Valley.

You've seen our garden--the product of Jeff and my sweat and passion. You've seen RAIN (lots of rain) and fog and sun and snow and hail. You saw Yoda.

I've shared tasty treats. Chili dogs and deep fried twinkies. Ricciarelli from Siena. Sweet potato biscuits. Hamburgers and mojitos. Clementines. BLTs. French crepes. Whippi Dip. Tiramisu. U.S. 31 BBQ. Fresh blue crabs. Homemade Christmas cookies. Smoked turkey, bacon, and monterey jack paninis. Huevos rancheros. And who can forget the Red Velvet Bingles!!

We said goodbye to dear friends and family. Revisiting the photos I posted for Louise, Sallie, and Nancy just remind me how much I still miss them.

Jeff and I welcomed visitors to our home--Matthew, Curt and Cheryl, Brian and Alison, Cheryl, Paolo. We shared visits with family.

You followed me through an exploration of graffiti and the industrial side of San Francisco.
I shared an odd string of unrelated poop stories.

But let's not forget the most popular storyline of the past year: Elena and the spam of the decade. In February, we all met my love-struck Russian pen-pal Elena, who took us all on a two month whirlwind ride of emotion and intrigue. By May, the "relationship" went south, since I wouldn't profess my love, purchase Elena a visa, and send her cash to meet me in the U.S.

What a blog year!

Vigilante blogging...

I'm a sensible man, otherwise I would NOT have blurred out this guy's license plate. This guy ticked me off when he raced by me this morning while his passenger tossed his paper coffee cup out of the window to the curb. What an ass. BUT, I can show restraint. Sometimes the best justice is just ranting to the world. (Of course, since I just helped to pick up trash on the beach yesterday, its more than a BIT infuriating to see someone perpetuating the cycle.)

But, so that James won't ask me when my blog turned sour, I'll close this rant with a happy photo of freaky sheep keychains. :)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

It feels like autumn...but not Christmas...

This morning, I led a hearty group from work to Muir Beach, a cozy cove that is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area just north of SF. Our cool coastal clouds have been hanging on much longer lately, so the morning was cool and misty...perfect weather to help the Park Service to clear the way for native vegetation. Digging, pulling, lifting, and hauling...with many laughs along the way. Jeff and Chris were the heroes of the day when they arrived with fresh sandwiches from Freddie's in North Beach.

But while it does feel like summer has packed up its bags, I surely know that we're not ready to leap to Christmas. So, it is with trepidation that I announce my first Christmas sighting of the year: Macy's in Union Square has their Christmas section of the store all assembled and twinkling. No fair skipping fall...MY favorite season of the year.

Anyhow, here are a couple of photos from my Bayview series. I liked the color and composition of these. And not a mistletoe to be seen (yet)...but some freaky angels, to be sure.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Daughter of Helen...

As you might recall from a few weeks ago, I met a new friend Helen when she merged her white Mustang into my car. Well, today, I met Helen's daughter, who TRIED to merge her white Scion in my car as she cut over abruptly to make a turn. There were TWO right turn lanes, but Helen Jr. decided that my lane was the shortest route. So I sounded my horn as I broke hurriedly. Helen Jr.'s response was to laugh uncontrollably with her passenger, who even threw her outstretched arms through the sunroof in victorious 'woo hoooo!!' fashion.

So, with drivers getting dumber each day as we lower the intellectual bar for operating a moving weapon, WHY is it that we allow our out-of-town tourists to rent THESE death mobiles?

Could we leave these folks more exposed to the impatient and clueless? Is this how we plan to thin the herd?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


LA is a town of excess. Endless freeways to whisk you away to your next indulgence. Eyecandy for every taste. Food for every palate. All delightfully packaged in artificiality.

Jeff and Chris and I traveled to LA this weekend to meet up with friends for the long weekend. We stayed in West Hollywood, and enjoyed decadent meals and amazing drinks.

We had gooey fried plantains at the Bossa Nova, fiery huevos rancheros from the Beverly Hilton, blackberry mojitos at the Voo Doo Room, 2-for-1 margaritas at the Fiesta Cantina, piled-high pastrami and crispy fried chicken at Jerry's Famous Deli, mozzarella-stuffed meatloaf from Cafe d' Etoile, and a silky chocolate cream pie at the House of Pies.

And I left the best for last: the undisputed BEST mojitos from the Abbey.

So yes, this week is about salads and water and rest :) Three days in LA is PLENTY...and I'm sure the whole gang will agree.

So, here are a few of the fun shots from this weekend. I'll start with my top-two billboards. First is for the local CBS weatherman...gotta love the name!! The next is an add for Joe's Jeans...uh huh...Joe seems to have misplaced his jeans.

Then its onto the Beverly Hilton, that classic hotel for the stars where they host the Golden Globes. We sat on their roof-top terrace and had a sunny Beverly Hills brunch.

Lastly...a fun photo from the Voo Doo Room. This is a restaurant and bar in the heart of West Hollywood. Very inventive dishes some VERY yummy drinks. Perhaps that's why this photo is so blurry :)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Star crossings and sunshine...

Yesterday MUST have been a special day, because we spotted not one but TWO celebrities in our rounds around LA. Not two A-listers by any stretch, but recognizable enough that we all pointed and wispered under our breath.

So, at the Grove--a trendy little shopping complex near Hollywood--we spotted Josh Cooke, who played the lead guy on the now-cancelled Four Kings sitcom on NBC. Josh was shopping at Banana Republic with us.

Later that evening, at a fun nightspot in West Hollywood, we had a table near Jai Rodriquez from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. I found it amusing that Jai had to wait for a table just like we did. (Side note: this restaurant made a killer blackberry mojito!!)

So anyhow...stop snickering...these are real stars!!

Friday, September 01, 2006

"A Bulked-Up John Heads Toward Baja"...

So read an LA Times headline today!

Thank goodness I'm eating a healthy salad for lunch today!! (And a VERY yummy one at that--a Niman Ranch Carne Asada salad with a fresh cilantro lime vinaigrette from Sellers Market in the Financial District--TRY IT.)

But yes, apparently Hurricane John is causing a ruckus in Mexico. Personally, I'm steering clear of Baja this weekend :)