Category: Life

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Thoughts on Overcoming the Fear of Flying

July 14, 2010 | 2 comments { Conquering Fear, Travel }

Editor’s note: This was originally intended as a response to a question on UK’s version of Yahoo! Answers. You can see the original post here. In it, a user asks about getting over a paralyzing fear of flying. I saw a mention of it on my aviation list on Twitter, though I cannot find the original Tweet now. I started answering, and, well, it got incredibly long. I’m posting it here, as poorly-written as it is, in case it can be of some use to someone, ever.

In this post I share some of the tools I used, the things I focused on and the plans I made to help me get through my fear of flying. The message? It’s not easy, there is no magic answer, but it can be done!

Day 2: Seattle and on toward Reykjavík

May 27, 2010 { Travel }

Union Station (Amtrak), Portland, Ore., May 26 Everything has started lopsided, with the little tragedies and surges that underly the best and the worst journeys we take. Is David’s lost wallet an Ill omen or a charm? David doesn’t lose wallets. But his is most certainly missing, and now he is missing; I am sitting [...]

Europe 2010, Or, How I packed everything for a monthlong international journey in a carry-on

May 26, 2010 | 8 comments { Travel }
This is everything I'm taking to Europe for a month.

Using tips from veteran flight attendant blogger Heather Poole (@heather_poole) as outlined in The New York Times, along with a few tricks I kind of made up as I went along, I pulled off what I think is a significant coup: I am going to travel around Europe, for nearly a month, through several countries, with nothing but a carry-on and a shoulder bag.

Reviewing the Europe Exodus, 2010

May 25, 2010 | 1 comment { Travel }

Emerging, slowly, from the kind of sensual shock a month in Europe can do to a visually- and culturally-obsessed human like myself. Iceland, Ireland, France, England.

Trying to capture what I can and show it to you. It might be dull, but I hope it will be occasionally pretty. Join me?

See all Europe 2010 items

Pencilhaven’s baby steps toward art

April 26, 2010 | 1 comment { Hobbies and Projects, Life }
Our print: Salvador Dali's "Path to Wisdom", signed at lower right

We are the meekest of dilettantes. But I think we harbor modest visions of the future, in which, while ruling our intergalactic empire, we might also have ten to twenty thousand important paintings, not to mention the collections of rare manuscripts, pillaged Bronze Age statuettes, ancient codices, amulets/crown jewels, signed first editions of Nabokov’s and Steinbecks great works and Shakespeare’s First Folio. Oh, and maps. O!, the maps. Halls and halls full of maps. Perhaps the maps could go in the wing with all of the Rothkos. Or near the Magrittes and Tanguys and Cornell boxes.

Over the past couple of years, we have made barely-lightly-informed, impulsive purchases by dint of haunting local auctions and art shows. Our acquisitions are a leap of faith: they’re mostly tragically-framed (it is ceaselessly amazing to see the dollar-store frames things end up in), possibly worthless, definitely displaying signs of age and fading. But they make us inspired, as art should, and they make me excited about the future.

Travel Wrap-up: The world hurts less

April 24, 2010 | 1 comment { Travel }
Aileen on the Cable Car

I owe an update. Boy howdy, I owe an update. Where did all of those days just go? Gone. This past week has been one of the more blistering ones of late. I spent five days in San Francisco attending DrupalCon and suffering from massive camera equipment misplacement (about which I have already lamented) and a visual migraine aura so long-lasting and freaky that I had to seek medical attention.

Travel: A World of Hurt

April 18, 2010 | 2 comments { Photography, Travel }

I’m going to skip to the chase: I left my camera, a Canon 5D Mark II, and a Canon USM 17-40mm lens under seat 1A of Horizon flight 2609 PDX -> OAK yesterday. I’m busily trying to expand my professional and technical horizons at DrupalCon San Francisco at the moment, but I’m dolorously heartsick.

I have all sorts of good excuses about how this happened: bulkhead seating, my camera getting separated from the rest of my carry-on items by a helpful flight attendant named Cliff, a good conversation partner/someone I know next to me in 1B. But still. I feel like a daft moron.

Photo of Canon EOS 5D by Thomas Hawk

Planets Everywhere: Building our model solar system

April 1, 2010 { Books & Learning, Geek, Life }
"Build a Model Solar System" -- Ours will look like this when we are through

Things rarely get me unreservedly excited in my ripe old age. I’m thinking excited in terms of the way I felt about birthday presents when about ten. When I could, I’d stack them in order and slowly open each one and try to stretch out the event as long as possible, coaxing open paper and laboriously untying ribbons. The kind of excitement that actually makes me slow down instead of speeding up, because it’s just that good that I don’t want it to end.

We are building an Orrery, a brass-and-gears wonder of a mechanical thing (and heavy!) that models the planets in the solar system. I can’t stand how much fun I’m having with this. Even cutting the pieces out of their wretched blister pack and setting them out on the table (set screws, gears, axles, planets) is bliss.

Travel: Almost Entirely Pleasant

March 30, 2010 | 1 comment { Life, Travel }
IMG_56745616 x 3744

I’m going to go ahead and say it. The Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport, Terminal C, architecture circa a long ass time ago when it was apparently in vogue to make things look and feel unpleasant (I think maybe of the Fluorescent Tube and Beige School, Low Ceiling/Concrete genre) is, for its size and class, the ugliest airport structure I have endured in recent memory. Of course, I’m not exactly an expert on the subject. But I know what I (don’t) like.

This past weekend has been almost unendurable in its pleasantness. Staying at my in-laws in Arroyo Grande, I woke each morning with a dumb grin on my face, bouncing against walls and windows like a terrier until I was allowed out to the beach or hillside. Two birds of paradise bloomed in the front yard. There were palm trees. Boing boing!

It’s quite funny: Old Rowan Atkinson Shakespeare sketch still makes me happy

March 24, 2010 { Internets, Life }

I first saw this over ten years ago, unexpectedly, on cable or something, under the eaves over the garage in the room I lived in in a house in southwest Portland with Mike and someone else who was possibly the Devil. Enjoy.

Photo of Rowan Atkinson by Gerhard Heeke

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From the Archive

From the archive, a few random posts that you might not have seen before.

Wonderful games with Caslon