Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy 2019!

Happy New Year guys!!!! 🎆

I hope you all had safe and fun festivities to participate in last night, whether you went out on the town or nestled in at home with a bottle of champagne, but no matter how you choose to ring in the new year, there's no denying that 2019 is officially upon us. I think it's fascinating how different cultures choose symbols to ring in the New Year in good fortune, whether it's long noodles for long life, carrots golden orange hue representing riches in the year to come, or shooting off countless explosives into the sky! 

Personally, I'm a complete and total homebody, happy to bury myself in a mound of blankets and celebrate the event with a homecooked meal, a snuggle buddy, and a drink. I've been fortunate enough to celebrate New Year's in my hometown of Vegas, abroad in Tokyo, and now in Seattle... while living in Tokyo (or, at least, in the next suburb over) I was able to watch the Tokyo Disney Sea fireworks display ringing in the New Year, so I'd stand on my little patio with a whiskey and coke in one hand and a smile on my face as the brilliant illuminations crackled across the sky. Vegas, as you might expect, goes absolutely bonkers- the Strip shuts down and becomes a pedestrian haven, where heavy drinking and outlandish behavior is the normative way to bring in the countdown. As much fun as I'm sure it is to get lost among the sweaty, drunken masses marauding through Las Vegas Boulevard's most populous corridors, that was never particularly appealing to me as a local... and, let's be real here, most jobs in Vegas are based around the tourist economy, so chances were I was stuck working well past midnight on one side of the Strip, and then faced with the conundrum of trying to navigate my route home around the road closures. All this given, perhaps it's no real surprise I'm happiest to sequester myself away at home and take in the annual tradition in a more low-key way, with only my most precious people around. To each their own, though! You do you, boo-boo. 

I've been gearing up for this change for weeks now, and am quite excited for all the things to come in the year ahead. I hope that you, too, are going forward into this new year with optimism, hope, and a heart full of love and joy. Thank you for joining me here, and I look forward to all the new content and adventures to be shared over the coming months! 💗

Monday, December 31, 2018

Washington: Icy Winter's Morn

Is it cold where you are or are you gliding into the dog days of summer? Here, now, it's pretty chilly, with winter's grasp holding firm over the Puget Sound and surrounding regions. Clouds in various shades of grey generally dominate the skyscape, though there are the occasional bursts of blue and hints of the sun's warmth breaking through to remind you it still dances out there, just beyond the blanket of moisture hovering above. While it's generally just shy of cold enough to snow, we still get ample rain that, in the coldest hours of the darkest portions of the evening, can freeze over to a delicate frost decorating the world when we wake. Depending on the morning after, the frost can last for a surprisingly variable window of time before dissolving into steam in the sun's rays. Like I said above, though- it's rarely cold enough to snow, with the chance of it snowing on Christmas day somewhere around 7% or lower. That's generally a good bit more likely than in Vegas, where they average only 2 inches of rain per year (whereas the Seattle area gets an average of about 37.5 inches of rain per year).  I'm no statistician, but even I can see the odds of a white Christmas in Vegas are exceedingly slim- though it has happened, once, in 2008, so it's not an utterly impossible thing, just exceptionally improbable. Not so improbable as to get your ship to the restaurant at the end of the universe, but certainly improbable enough to note. 

Antho and I, of course, have been luxuriating in the cold and ambient moisture in this variable and transforming an environment. Waking to a bright, cloudless morning with our world metamorphized by a glittering profusion of ice droplets is fascinating, and new.  While we slept, a giant came through and dropped fistfuls of glitter, or perhaps a fleet of faeries flew in with an army of bedazzlers and spackled everything they could in shimmer. But again, like most of the magical things in life, this beauty is fleeting and as the rays of sunlight dance across the droplets they begin to lose form and evaporate, disappearing into the ether.  All this hydration means that the plant life, at least that hardy enough to weather the declining temperatures, is still thriving. We were surprised to find these brilliant pink blossoms bursting into abundant bloom after the rains started sweeping the area with more vigorous regularity. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into the fleeting beauty of the beads of ice on this brisk winter's morning!

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Washington: Picnic Point Park Sunset and High tide

I've done a post showing off how gorgeous Picnic Point Park is before, but that was during low-tide, which is an entirely different sort of experience from the park during high-tide, which is when these photos were taken. If you're not really familiar with the significant difference the tide makes, I understand- coming from the desert, there was a long portion of my life where I really didn't comprehend or appreciate just how much the tide can change, and how heavily that impacts the landscape. The Pacific Northwest, and especially Seattle, is predominantly rocky cliffs and forested hills jutting out of the surf, in case names like Queen Anne Hill or Capitol Hill weren't suggestive enough. Some of these hills are artifical, like the majority of Occidental Park and the nearby sports stadiums that house Seattle's professional sports teams, but the natural ones are largely the result of volcanic and tectonic activity causing the plates to protrude and gain altitude. In a city with as much water as Seattle has, either surrounding or occupying space within it, being above sea-level is a wise thing to consider when looking at real-estate.  

Picnic Point Park is close to several different small cities north of Seattle, making it a popular destination for the locals of those various little municipalities. On this particular visit we found the beach somewhat less crowded than the last time, which was a nice surprise, but the high water levels combined with the bracing cold might serve as an explanation for the absence of other visitors. Sure, it was brisk, but we had an excellent time wandering the beach and watching the sunset. Our friend Christina went with us, taking photos of her own and providing commentary as she's much more knowledgeable about the area than we are. She's been living in Washington for years now and is an active outdoorswoman who gets out and takes photos whenever the opportunity presents itself. It was her idea to go to the beach, in fact, and who are we to argue?  

There are, of course, ample photos below!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Seattle: AJ's Day out around Capitol Hill

Capitol Hill is one of the trendier neighborhoods of Seattle, rife with hipsters, indie cafes, local coffee shops, tongue-in-cheek gay bars with outlandish names, a weekly farmer's market, and SO MUCH ART! There's a lot to do around the area, and parking isn't exactly the easiest thing to find, or cheapest if you end up having to opt for one of the long-term parking lots, but there is so much to see and do in the area that it ends up being almost kind of totally worth the exorbitant parking rates depending on what you do or the day you visit. I had a gig to attend to, so I was going to be busy for at least 3 hours, while Antho was free to roam around the area and partake of the local culture. He had a lot of fun and got a ton of awesome photos capturing the colorful vibe and ecclectic nature of the area. 

On our way to get there, we passed this friendly fellow who was happily feeding the gulls. He'd forged a sort of kinship with the birds, and was ensuring they got plenty of snacks on this awkward little bit of corner. We had a nice chat with him before we moved on with the flow of traffic, and I like to think he's carrying on a piece of Ivar's legacy, as the founder of Ivar's was a fan of seagulls, too. 

One of the first things to catch Antho's eye during his explorations were the streetlights and posts, which were predominantly wrapped up in deep layers of flyers. Each proceeding generation of flyer had seemingly just been stapled, spackled, or otherwise smashed on top of the previous generation, causing the heavily trafficked corners to have poles over-stuffed in decaying layers of flapping paper, advertising months, if not years, worth of local events and entertainment. There is no order to the chaos, other than the chronological necessity of the most recent things landing on top of the pile, only to be covered up by the next big thing. 

So it goes. 
Plenty of photos below!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Nevada: Moonrise, plus Sunrise at Lake Mead Marina

When I was a youngin growing up not terribly far from Lake Mead, you could camp out right at the water's edge overnight, but the water levels weren't so dangerously low and the city's lifeline so perilously threatened back then. These days, you can find camping near the water in one of the designating camping areas, or stay overnight nearby in the city of Boulder City, where there's several different hotels, motels, and inns to choose from. We found a spot to camp out not far at all from the lake and nestled into our van for the night. There's only so much you can see in the dark of night, anyhow, so we went to bed fairly early after having enjoyed the moonrise and set our sights on exploring the lake come the next day's light. I've already covered some of our later escapades on the road trip here, but for the evening and sunrise adventures, you're in the right place. It was a stunning full moon rise as we prepared for bed, and when the gentle rays of morning jostled us from slumber we made our way to the marina and watched the sun come up over the water. Not a bad way to start the day. 

There are, of course, plenty of options for entertainment if you're looking to spend more money and time out here than we were. You can rent a kayak, jet skis, or go out for a cruise on one of the local charters, depending on how much time and money you have to spend. There are even a restaurant and small convenience store right at the marina, so if you run out of ice, snacks, bait or booze you do have a lifeline within the Lake Mead recreational area, at least during their hours of operation. We'd come prepared and simply had to find a pleasant place to park the van before strolling out for our adventures. It was summertime when we visited, so the heat rapidly increased as the sun rose, which was a major factor in why I spent so much time splashing around in the lake later on. There's a lot of wildlife to be found out here by the water, surprisingly, from coyotes to rabbits, vultures to lizards, and so many different kinds of birds. It's always nice to get out of the city and experience some degree of nature, even at a man-made reservoir like Lake Mead!

Plenty of photos ahead!