31 January 2009

we're waiting for you

Peters Island / Caribbean Ocean
By the time this post hits my blog today, we will be on our way to a week in the Dutch Antilles - my first big cruise ship adventure - woo hooo. Itinerary is: Panama - Colombia - Aruba - Curaçao - Bonaire - Panama. Fortunately, these two little fellas are holding the boat for us. If all goes well, new postings should appear every day automatically - if not, I will be back.

30 January 2009

decaying beauty

San Telmo / Buenos Aires, Argentina
As one of the city's oldest neighborhoods, San Telmo was inhabited by the wealthiest families of Buenos Aires until the early 1870's Yellow Fever epidemic forced those who could afford to move North. With the passing of time, San Telmo's appearance has changed and it has now become one of the trendier neighborhoods for the arts. It is a great neighborhood of colonial buildings and narrow, stone paved streets; perfect for walking with lots of coffee shops, tango and jazz clubs - and antiques. Every Sunday there is an open air antiques market where, as we did, you can spend endless amounts of time wandering through the vendors capturing glimpses of a Buenos Aires past.

29 January 2009

truth in labeling

Puke Pub / Pukekura, New Zealand
Pukekura is a small place: it has a population of two. Peter and Justine Salter claim to be mayor and mayoress, law enforcement officers, cook and cleaner, gardener and rubbish man of their tiny township in the middle of the bush on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. The Salters are also owners of the Puke Pub (Puke rhymes with cookie) which specializes in local wild food. It would appear that the Salters also like their guests to know exactly what they’re eating and are true to the core in labeling ingredients. I'll take that with a glass of opaque white liquid produced by the mammary glands of your cow out back, thanks.

28 January 2009

evening reflection

Gapstow Bridge in Central Park / New York, New York
The Gapstow Bridge, located in the center of the Park opposite 62nd Street, is a Central Park icon. It spans the northeast end of the Pond and provides an excellent viewing point looking back at the mid-town and east-side skyline. The original bridge was built of wood in 1874 but barely lasted 20 years. It was then replaced by a stone bridge which continues to serve Park visitors today.

27 January 2009

why go bald

South Great Georges Street / Dublin, Ireland
A landmark well-known to Dubliners since the 1960's, this city centre neon sign, which had been destined for demolition was restored in 1999 to its former glory. It was about to be removed and dumped when a group of preservationists pushed for its restoration instead. The classic retro sign has since appeared in the films "A Man of No Importance" and "Educating Rita". It is apparently Bono's (U2) favorite Dublin landmark - but based on the many photos of Bono, it wouldn't appear he's a client - or at least not for hair loss.

26 January 2009

monday is market day

El Mercado / Quito, Ecuador
We spent a morning wandering around the enormous outdoor markets just outside of Quito. There was an abundance of woolen and other fabric goods, as well as fresh produce and meats - lots of raw meats just hanging in the open air. It was a warm day - I can only imagine what bonus bacteria came along with it. I suppose if you've been eating it all your life, no worries - but not for this gringo. We went for the panama hats instead.

25 January 2009

czech your roof

Petřín Hill / Prague, Czech Republic
Petřín is a hill in the center of Prague that rises some 130 m above the left bank of the Vltava River. The hill, almost entirely covered with parks, is a favorite recreational area for the inhabitants of Prague. If you go up the hard way (like we did), the hill is roughly a half-hour walk up a zig zag of stone steps that get quite slippery when wet. But it was worth it as the views looking out over Prague were phenomenal.

24 January 2009

winter pastel

Birmingham Canal Main Line / Birmingham, England
As I've blogged before, the canal lines in Birmingham are delightful to walk on those rare winter days of clear skies. The miles of remaining towpaths make for scenic walking paths through both city and country. The Birmingham Main Line, designed by Thomas Telford and built in the 1770's, runs through the heart of the Black Country including city centre Birmingham. The Main Line runs straight as an arrow to Tipton before heading off to Wolverhampton, shortening the previous route to Birmingham - Wolverhampton route by over seven miles. And does Birmingham really have more miles of canal than Venice? The exact numbers depend on where you draw the city boundaries, but the whole Birmingham Canal system extends for over 100 miles in total. It is indeed one of the most intricate canal networks in the world.

23 January 2009

park this way

Lafayette Street / New York, New York
Just arrived home from 3-plus weeks in Birmingham, England - working late nights and every weekend. So this weekend I'm parking - with no plans other than dinner tonight at one of my favorite restaurants in Hells Kitchen, Chelsea Grill - and sleeping in! My new 24" iMac arrived while I was gone so I've just set it up (gotta love a mac - plug it in and go). Having all of this screen real estate will be awesome for my photography work - looking forward to it.

22 January 2009

audible cubism

The House on the Rock / Spring Green, Wisconsin
Last Fall we visited the House on the Rock, an amazing combobulation that has less to do with a house or a rock, but a lot to do with what's inside the house on the rock such as music machines, sea monsters, carousels and excess amounts of schlock. This music machine reminded me of Picasso in his cubist period (1909-1912) - think Violin and Grapes.

21 January 2009

a vampire weekend

Bran Castle / Bran (Brasov), Romania
Based on a online travel article I read yesterday, Bran Castle which is located outside of Brasov, is one of the ten most beautiful castles in the world. Both the keepers of Bran Castle and the Romanian Tourist Board are keen to emphasize links between Bran Castle and Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Count Dracula. While the connections are tenuous (Vlad may have spent a night or two there at best), there's no denying the spooky charm of this massive structure's many turrets and towers. After several days of dreary November greyness, it turned into a brilliant day for vampire overload in the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania. And four of the other top-rated castles are here in the UK; which I hope to visit if I ever get a work-free weekend!

20 January 2009

on this day

Giants Causeway / County Antrim, Northern Ireland
I just finished watching the inauguration of our 44th President, Barak Hussein Obama, on BBC here in England. Once again, I feel the rock strength of being an American.

"On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics."

The inspired word of President Obama is only the first of many steps towards healing the scars inflicted over the past eight years, both domestically and around the world. And Aretha, loved the hat. (update: best line I've read regarding such.. "I'm proud that Aretha is supporting renewable energy by wearing a wind turbine on her head")

19 January 2009

harmonic convergence

Dame Street / Dublin, Ireland
This is the "Crann an Óir", otherwise known as the Tree of Gold, a well known sculpture by Eamonn O'Doherty located on the plaza in front of the Central Bank of Ireland. I was not attracted to it so much for its own appearance (the globe form actually sits of top of a rather narrow greenish pole and looks like an over sized lollipop) but more for how the geometric form, color, and texture of the sculpture converged with the clean angular lines of the Central Bank in the background.

18 January 2009

worker bee

Morningside Park / New York, New York
My life of late - the role of a good little worker bee. Going on the 3rd weekend is a row that I've been in the office working away. After spending all day yesterday in Dublin at a public meeting, I arrived back into Birmingham late last night. To bed and up and at 'em early this morning for another day in the office. Fortunately for me it's winter - as the life span of a worker bee in the winter months is 4-6 months as opposed to the warmer months where it is 28-35 days.

17 January 2009


St. Stephens Green / Dublin, Ireland
Man's best friend - the dog - serves many purposes. In this case (no pun intended), it is keeping the cash warm, secure and from being blown away by the occasional gust of wind. The (I'm sure intentional) cuteness factor of the entire scene also was helping earnings. It was working - hey, I threw in 2 euros and gave the pup a scratch. The extra euro was because the guy actually had a good voice - and was singing Hallelujah - a song which has special meaning to me and made me miss someone special.

16 January 2009

barra an teampaill

Temple Bar / Dublin, Ireland
From a tourist perspective (and I'm sure my Irish friends will cringe), what could possibly be more Irish than The Temple Bar in Temple Bar. Temple Bar is an area on the south bank of the River Liffey in Dublin city centre. Unlike many of the areas surrounding it, Temple Bar has preserved its medieval street pattern, with many narrow cobbled streets. It is promoted as "Dublin's cultural quarter" and is filled with boutiques, restaurants and a lively pub nightlife that is particularly popular with tourists. In 2005, visiting American rocker Aimee Mann when visiting Temple Bar described her shock at encountering "overflowing pubs, drunks, urine stains and pools of vomit". Enough said.. cheers!

15 January 2009

smooth landing

Sonora Desert / Tucson, Arizona
Heading back to Dublin this afternoon for a couple days of work. Hoping for an equally smooth landing into Dublin City airport.

14 January 2009

no cheeseburger in paradise

Outside the New York Bar / Bequia, The Grenadines
Not sure what prompted the altercation but we were sitting on the patio of the New York Bar drinking far too much Sunset VSR when suddenly this woman (who obviously carries the clout - and the shout) took a swing at her man.. in the middle of the road. Traffic came to a halt; both motorized and man-powered, to witness the bout. The VSR won as I don't recall how it ended.

13 January 2009


Somewhere in the Lesser Antilles / Caribbean Sea
After a very long and at times frantic weekend of work, yesterday I slept til noon, did some shopping and generally just relaxed. It was nice. Today it's back to the grind.

12 January 2009

back.. and bigger than ever

Broadway / New York, New York
Pink plastic flamingos, one of the most famous of lawn ornaments, have apparently reached the heights of New York fashion with a prominent position in this Forever 21 window front. Because you want to know - the pink flamingo was designed in 1957 by Don Featherstone while working for Union Products in Leominster, MA and won him the Ig Nobel Prize for Art in 1996. Sadly, Union Products stopped production of pink flamingos in November 2006. However, a company in upstate NY purchased the copyright and plastic molds of Featherstone's original plastic flamingos in 2007, and has begun production of them - apparently larger than life.

11 January 2009

sunday finery

Old Town / Bucharest, Romania
Who says Romania is not a happening place? This colorful couple were out early in their Sunday best bringing a unique vibrancy to Old Town Bucharest. Either that or they were walking home after a very late Saturday night spent in the edgy clubs which populate the Old Town area - a more likely scenario. Either way, I like it.

10 January 2009

fast forward

Tobago Cays / Southern Grenadines
This is about as far from my reality this weekend as I can get. Working long hours and looking out the windows at a typical grey, rainy and cold English winter day. However.. three weeks from today we will depart for a week in the Netherlands Antilles. Fast forward, please.

09 January 2009

perforated sunshine

Wharf Street Docks / Port Douglas (Queensland), Australia
Used to help protect from the intense sun, these perforated metal awning covers were much appreciated as we waited on the docks to depart for a day of diving at the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world. It is composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for 1,600 miles over an area of 133,000 square miles and can be seen from outer space. Port Douglas, located on the coast of tropical Queensland, is one of the most popular departure points for exploring the reefs.

08 January 2009

fairieland fantasy

Pollywogg Hollër / Belmont, New York
I've posted about Pollywogg Hollër in southwestern New York State several times; a tye-dyed throwback to the 60's with music, art, home-made berry wine and good times scattered through the woods of this privately-owned hang out venue. This fairie, one of many small bisque statuettes that have taken up residence in the surrounding forest, appears to have had a particularly rough night - as if she'd just woken up after one too many drinks and and a good roll in the sack. A good fairie fantasy.

07 January 2009

on the move

On The B Line / New York, New York
On the move today. I'm headed to Dublin, Ireland for a meeting this afternoon and then back to Brum later this evening. It's a two minute walk from my apartment to New St Station where I'll jump on the train for a quick 10 minute ride right into Birmingham airport. Like going to JFK only six times faster!

06 January 2009

city centroid

Council House on Victoria Square / Birmingham, England
The gilded dome of the Birmingham City Council House sits on Victoria Square and is often referred to as the centroid of Birmingham City Centre. It serves as the point from which local road sign distances are measured. The classical style building was completed in 1879 and has since been expanded several times with the first expansion (1883) designed to include the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery which has the largest collection of works by Edward Jones-Burne in the world. Jones-Burne, a Brum native, was a close associate of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood movement; a group of artists whose intention was to reform art away from the more classical poses and compositions of Raphael and others of his time. And for a bit of personal trivia - according to the small plaque outside my front door, my current apartment here is within the structure designated as the birthplace and childhood home of Edward Jones-Burne.

05 January 2009

rainy day blues

British Telecom Tower / Birmingham, England
Just before the holidays, BT announced that it was cutting over 10,000 jobs from its workforce showering rainy day blues onto a number of employees . British telecom is the the privatised UK state telecommunications company and is the dominant provider of landline and broadband services in the UK. BT also operates in over 170 other countries around the globe. The tower was built in 1965 and houses 26 stories of offices and 5 levels of circular galleries at the top. Being among one of the tallest structures in Birmingham, it serves as a local landmark of the skyline.

04 January 2009

black hackneys and double deckers

Temple Row / Birmingham, England
I've a feeling I'm not in Kansas anymore. I found myself surrounded by black hackney cabs and red double decker buses - both symbolic to London and other large English cities including Birmingham - when I stepped out to take a brief walk to the grocery store. Oh, and it was snowing.. brrr.

03 January 2009

double dose of sunshine

Biosphere 2 / Oracle, Arizona
Today's brilliant weather in Manhattan is similar in sunshine quotient to the day when I took this shot while walking around Biosphere 2, a 3 acre structure originally built as the largest artificial closed ecological system and now operated by the University of Arizona. Though the temperature at Biosphere was about 60 degrees warmer - oh well. Off to Birmingham, UK this afternoon for the month - I'd like to bottle up some of this sunshine to take with me.

02 January 2009

expanding waistlines

Kenmare Street (Nolita) / New York, New York
New Years resolution #1 - no more eating. With a houseful for the past week-plus, it has been non-stop eating testing out lots of new recipes. Everyone is happier for it - though several pounds heavier. Speaking of which, this photo was shot during a late night run to Little Italy to satisfy one of the kid's cannoli craving. And of course we had to determine which was better - "the best cannoli on planet earth" vs. "#1 cannoli king" - the cannoli king was a clear winner. Whew - it will be awhile before I hit the Corner Deli which I hear has awesome chicken tacos and hibiscus lemonade on the fly. Mmmmmm.

01 January 2009

my morning jacket

From the Skybox @ Madison Square Garden / New York, New York
Midnight mayhem at Madison Square Garden where My Morning Jacket put on an amazing 4 hour show - southern rock is alive and well - an excellent evening of music and fun with family and friends. Happy New Year!!