Verona

Verona and Venice were both checked off on August 5th. I can’t believe how long it has taken me to get around to writing the rest of these posts. Anyhow…

We pulled into Verona pretty early in the morning and made it mostly a quick stop. We did see a lot in that short time though, including Juliet’s Balcony as well as some street performers.

Juliet's Balcony
Couple Under Juliet’s Balcony

I was pretty stoked for the above photo. There is a couple standing under Juliet’s Balcony with the wall of locks in the foreground.

Wall of Locks
Wall of Locks

Sooo many locks! Both of the above shots were on my Pentax K1000 film camera. I think the film loaded was Ektar 100. Obviously some processing on the top image.

Oh, on the way to Juliet’s Balcony there was a tunnel with names written down which was also neat. Everyone is welcome to write their names down as well.

Tunnel of Names
Tunnel of Names

There was definitely a lot of people who came before. I loved the giant heart in the bottom left, and absolutely had to take a photo.

While walking around more in the main square there were some street performers setting up. Only one was completely ready, we must have been before the rush.

Street Performer
Street Performer in Verona

The performer used dolls and some weird contraption to hold everything together. The final piece looked cool though.

I also saw a bike that looked fully loaded for touring.

Bicycle Touring in Verona
Bicycle Touring in Verona

Strange helmets in Europe, and look at all of those water bottles! I am a little surprised to see a saddle that isn’t a Brooks to be honest, never talked to the owner.

The open market had some delicious fresh cut fruits. I looked for the one that was mostly pineapple and scavenged some more from people who didn’t like all of the fruit they got in their cups. Exploring foreign lands with fresh fruit in hand was amazing.

Coffee For One - Verona #1
Coffee For One – Verona #1

There seemed to be quite a few people just doing their own thing in Verona when we were there, and I think that is in part because the time of day.

Coffee For One - Verona #2
Coffee For One – Verona #2

The other big tourist attraction in Verona is the shops. Soooo many shops, and that area was by far the busiest.

Verona Shops
Verona Shops

Crazy the difference in numbers a few shops makes, isn’t it? On the way out I stopped for a drink in a very fancy looking drinking fountain.

Drinking Fountain
Drinking Fountain in Verona

Yep, there is me! I swear I didn’t fail as bad as it looks while trying to get a drink. I might revisit to add a few more photos and better descriptions once I get more days typed out.

Everything Stolen

Welp, my Macbook Air, and a whole bunch of other stuff has been stolen. Doesn’t look like the cops or Apple is going to really do anything, so I thought I would post my serial number here in case someone stumbles across a possible stolen laptop and is inclined to google the serial… C2QH806PDTK0

Other than that, my trip to Chicago was awesome. I will post some photos later this week.

Out with the Netbook, In with the Macbook

As some of you know, I have been working from a $300 netbook for the past year whenever I travel. The netbook is fine for editing text and checking email, but falls short when trying to handle anything more. Luckily I can code most things without the help of an IDE, but coding an image pixel by pixel can be difficult to say the least. Well, I finally gave in a put a Macbook Air on my credit card. Having more pixels on the screen at once is also incredibly nice, and the full-screen function built into Lion comes in handy.

I can also finally have Spotify play in the background while I hop into an IDE or Photoshop for design. I will post an image of the new layout I am working on for a client once finished. What better way to commemorate getting a new laptop made by a company known for design, than to design a website? I think I should have some good rough drafts done tomorrow actually. Sunny really helped me out with the logo. Even her rough drafts are better than what I could have come up with, haha.

Once I get all of my FTP servers set up on here I will update my plugins to include some of my routes that I have been riding while back in Phoenix. I found an interesting route that goes by the “hip” parts of both Tempe and Phoenix, which means awesome hip food at both stops for fuel. Having a laptop that can actually handle a web-based editing interface also means I should be updating this more often, but only time will tell.

South Mountain Updates

This is a long overdue post. I am visiting Phoenix, and have been for a while now. I spent Christmas, New Years, and today down here. This was the first Christmas without Grandma, and it was the white elephant in the room for quite a while. Not going into sad things here, because why leave something sad to look back on later?

New Year’s Eve was fun. Ash invited me to something in Tempe at a place called The Compound. It felt like a more organized house show, without completely wasted people included. I saw one guy repeatedly falling over, but there was good music, including a band called North Dakota. Two people kissed me on the cheek, one person I knew and one stranger and then I went to sleep at Ash’s to avoid navigating the drunk drivers who would certainly be flooding the streets. I am glad I finished up the Battlestar Galactica finale before New Year’s Eve… I don’t think I would have wanted to stay inside.

The Trunkspace has had a couple fun shows since I have been down here, including a Kepi show that I brought my little brother to. Speaking of him, I picked up a new cartridge/holder for my old turntable I left down here and got that all fixed up for him. I also picked up a few records I will be leaving down here for him. One is the red Beatles compilation album which was a pretty good find, and one is Roar’s 7″. Once I leave I am sure he will enjoy them more, as the setup is in the room I am staying in at my mom’s.

There definitely has been a lot I should have been updating with, but I think having to update from my netbook makes me less inclined, as the screen is so small and the processor is pretty slow. I think I should be upgrading my laptop. I have some money saved up, but I don’t know if I want to spend the money on a laptop considering I wouldn’t be using it nearly as much once I get back to my desktop in Minneapolis, unless of course I start developing iPhone apps… which could be fun. Something I should think about.

I also rode up most of South Mountain yesterday. That was fun, but soooo many cars and so many bends around the mountain that could hide my position on the road. I was hoping today was Silent Sunday for South Mountain, where only non-motorists are allowed. Turns out that was last Sunday, and it won’t be again until February 26th, and I don’t know if I will even still be here, haha. I did grab some photos I am really happy with though. I will be posting them in my next entry.

On a Bike, Down by the River!

I took some photos for Sunny because she wanted to see what Minneapolis looked like this time of year. Looks like spring still has a ways to go to get Minneapolis ready for summer.

toy block graffiti
Toy Block Graffiti
The City
The City
Trite Log in the River Photo
Trite Log in the River Photo

I definitely had fun getting out of the apartment. Thank you Sunny for giving me a reason to go take some photos.

Warm Weather

The warm weather has returned to Minneapolis and brought with some definite smiles. The people I have seen while out biking seem happier, and I can see why. The snow has become just a memory and the skies have only allowed for rain to fall. I have still been a bit cooped up writing code and restructuring databases, but I try to find reasons to get out of my apartment at least once a day. Even today’s ride down to Chipotle was nicer than usual. Shorts and t-shirt weather for sure. Today was the first day I actually sat outside for lunch. I also had a chance to test out my new shorts I picked up from REI.

Norman will be visiting next month, so I will likely have some more updates then with life, the universe, and everything. For now I just thought I should document the momentous day. Oh yeah, I also reversed engineered bandcamp.com in a single night and am able to download any full length album properly tagged just by entering the bandcamp into my special url. The winter is wrapping up and so is this blog post.

Exhaustion

I thought I would be updating this more, but I have been incredibly busy with work, but I think most of the stress is finally tapering off. Today I deposited the first check of my new raise, and am typing this entry out while listening to The Sunset Tree by The Mountain Goats on my new headphones. I decided I should reward myself, and these listening to these headphones is a real treat. I still need to break them in a bit, but from the first song I knew I would have no buyer’s remorse.

I will start with this weekend, and the server switch over. There has been an issue with the server turning off sometimes randomly, but usually while under a heavy load. We finally decided to get a new server because the issues started showing themselves in higher frequencies. Not having the time find a server to be shipped I just had them pick up a desktop from Best Buy and started configuring the computer as a server.

The first major issue that wasn’t transfered over from the last server was McAfee blocking remote desktop connections from outside the network but not inside even when changing the firewall through the command prompt. Yeah, screw you McAfee for making me waste an hour by having me drive back to uninstall McAfee before I could do my work remotely. Second major problem was the hard drive with the database had bad sectors that Windows decided it should delete upon restart… thank you Windows… but I really needed those files. After finding a recovery tool I copied parts from the backup I made (on the same drive unfortunately) and the original and pieced them together making a complete database. After that, the rest was easy and just a few “duh” moments like the timezone set in the php.ini file and whatnot.

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I fixed it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So now all of the major issues are out of the way, and I am able to sit back, listen to music, and update my future self on what happened this weekend.

I should be heading back to Minneapolis the weekend after the next. I am staying a little longer so I can see a couple shows and spend some time with Fran and Ryan when they come down from California. It is nice being able to work from anywhere, and I think once I upgrade from this netbook I will appreciate not being tethered even more. I am wrapping this post up early so I can catch Castle tonight. The Mountain Goats have successfully guided me through this post, so thank you John Darnielle.

Here is a photo from my last California trip.

California Sunset
California Sunset

Music, Friends, and California

I took another trip to California, this time with Norman. It was a pretty crazy day hours. We left at midnight, got to Sunny’s around 6 hours later, left her place, and then ended up Morgan’s by the end of the day. I think exhaustion hit Norman and I pretty bad, because we ended up crashing pretty early that night.

When we woke up we got to take a look at Morgan’s new place in Oakland. He lives in a pretty neat area where everything is close. We all hopped on bikes and road around Oakland for a while as well as found some extremely delicious bread and sweets. Oakland definitely gets a bad reputation, but it also offers up a nice atmosphere. There was even a pizza place that had absolutely delicious vegan pizza, and didn’t seem to mind me getting my work done from my laptop.

I might have these days out of order, but New Year’s Eve Norman, Sunny, and I just stayed around Oakland because the Bart plus drunk people on New Year’s Eve seemed not nearly as fun as just hanging out around the city. Norman went to a bar and picked up an $8 drink, which I totally called the price on. Norman and I beg to differ who fell asleep earlier that night, but I think I did.

The following morning Morgan and Norman took off to Petaluma and left Sunny and I to sleep in. When we got up, Sunny and I ventured off to find some food. Most places were closed, but there is always a 24 hour donut shop around when you are in California. They had decent donuts, but terrible peanut butter cookies. We also eventually found a place that served real food, and even a variety of dishes. The morning walk through the hills and neighborhood was beautiful, and Sunny made it even better. I am really glad she could come with us.

That night Morgan, Norman, Sunny, and I all headed to a Kepi Ghoulie show. It was pretty far away, in Stockton at the Plea for Peace that Mike Park started up. We got there not too far into the show and immediately realized how we were quite a bit older. The venue felt like a dressed up version of Skateland as a venue, minus the rink. I liked it, and definitely wish there were more community music/art centers for kids that are a bit older. Oh man, and I literally pushed Norman into a girl and told the girl Norman would really like it if she danced with him. I was hoping it would lead to more than it did, but either way, I tried.

We left the morning after the show, but not before trying to stop for a milkshake. As it turns out, the internet lied to and the coffee shop didn’t actually serve milkshakes. Oh well. The drive back was absolutely beautiful; filled with misty, snowcapped mountains, the scenery was absolutely surreal at times. My camera died pretty early on, and it was too dark to get a good photo without stopping… so you will just have to use your imagination. The snow led to some issues though, and the I5 ended up being closed for a pretty large stretch. I think it took us around 11 hours to do a 6 hour drive back to Sunny’s, and then Norman had another 40 minute drive to his grandma’s from there. Soooooooo much driving. I really can’t wait for high speed trains from Phoenix to LA.

I stayed with Sunny about a week after Norman left and most of that time was spent working unfortunately. We did get to check out a pretty nifty Vegan place that felt like a fancier version of Green, but still with that comfortable, friendly, feeling. Fran actually brought us there on her Anniversary, but Ryan couldn’t make it because he was working late. Fran, Sunny, and I did end up meeting up with Ryan later at a really neat coffee shop that I didn’t even know was right next to a magazine/book store that I have been to before. Ryan was sweet and brought Fran flowers and a bottle of wine, which the barista followed him for to make sure he wasn’t going to drink it at the coffee shop. Shortly after we headed back to Fran and Ryan’s place and then off to the subway to get back to Sunny’s. Fran and Ryan ended up going to dinner around the same time, so they ended up walking us to the subway station where we found a GIANT poster along the way. I was hoping to snag it, but then I saw absolutely no way.

Also, I got Sunny to see Scott Pilgrim vs The World with me, which made me happy. Such a good movie that pokes fun at the audience in an awesome way. My favorite line of that movie has to be “…the comic is totally better than the movie”. There is a bunch of stuff I probably didn’t even get to, but it is late and I needed to write this before yet another day passes without an update.

Side Notes:

  • last.fm scripts for musicmakes.us are almost finished
  • I am grabbing new tubes for the bike tomorrow
  • I am likely playing too much xbox right now
  • I love Special K bars a lot!

Norman’s Visit

Norman arrived on the 3rd and I totally forgot to take photos when he came up to Minneapolis for a visit, but we did have a chance to look through some old photos of Phoenix from back in the day. He was able to take a look at the grad program offered by Minnesota State University as well as ride bikes around to get a better feel for the city. We ended up going through the sculpture garden, and then riding our bikes through a parking garage that has eight floors and a great view. Definitely a great spot to look out and watch time pass.

Living close to the lightrail which goes directly to the airport sure makes running and coming back pretty simple. I did however come back to a permanently closed Jamba Juice in downtown which is sad. That was part of the reason I loved this location. I found out it was closed when Norman and I tried to meet up there after he had breakfast with a professor. After grabbing some food at Caribou Coffee we headed off on our quest for post cards. The Walker was our next destination, and after asking for help and playing with a typeface game we found some for Norman to mail off. Next stop, the lakes.

Nothing was really going on at Lake of the Isles or Lake Calhoun, but there was some interesting playground equipment to climb and some windsurfers to watch. We rode around the greenway for a while as well and stopped off for some shopping at Lund’s. Basically we just went for the peanut brittle and chai, but I think puppy chow and chai would have been a better combination. Either way, everything was delicious though. Finally having some food in us we head to MORE FOOD! Chipotle was nearby so we stuffed ourselves until we couldn’t ride in a straight line and headed back to the apartment for the night.

Sunday he left, but not before we went to The Bad Waitress for an awesome breakfast. No photos this time… I think because I am still trying to get settled into this place again.