Category Archives: Adventures

Holly and Amy’s Big Adventure

I got to do one of my favorite things on Friday:  talk about the ADA to a bunch of disability rights advocates.  Even better:  the advocates were with the Southwest Center for Independence, and were in Durango, Colorado.  I had the choice of six* hours of driving (each way) through the amazing Colorado countryside, or an hour (each way) bouncing over the mountains in a regional jet.  I chose the drive without a second thought.

Denver to Durango

So Friday morning early, I lit out for Durango and because Holly still isn’t fully house-trained, and thus can’t stay alone with Tim, I brought her along for the ride.

 

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It’s almost as if I bought the CRV with the dogs in mind!  Oh, right.  Turns out it has an added feature I hadn’t even known about.  For those awkward moments when she poops in the middle of a scenic overlook that lacks a trashcan:

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Always pack out your trash!

Anyway, I chose the southeastern route in the map above — down I25 and across Route 160 — because I’m not a big fan of pass driving.  Google Maps helpfully sets out various routes, and then lets you choose your mode of transportation:  car; bus; on foot.  To accurately calculate our time, however, they need another option:  traveling with puppy.

 

Google maps composite

We stopped every hour and a half to two hours to find Holly a grassy spot.  Besides that slight inconvenience, though, she was the perfect traveling companion.

Driving in Colorado:  breathtakingly beautiful.

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Breathtakingly scary:

 

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Breathtakingly . . . obvious?

 

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Got to Durango without a minute to spare before the talk.  That is, though I didn’t have any minutes to spare, I spared a couple, and ended up about 5 minutes late.   It was my favorite kind of talk:  with interested advocates who had great ideas and great questions.

After the talk, Holly and I set out to explore Durango a bit, and found a path by the river that was perfect for a post-driving-trip stroll.

 

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Obligatory “Holly Posing Because She Knows Just How Cute She Is” photo:

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Dinner was yak stew — a first for me! — and lamb dumplings at The Himalayan Kitchen, then back to the hotel, where Holly checked out the accommodations.

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For the drive back to Denver, I chose the more direct route — in blue in the map above — that took me on Route 160 as far as Del Norte, and then Route 285 northeast through the mountains.  There were a couple more passes, but either they were relatively easy passes or I’m finally getting use to pass driving.  Or possibly exchanging the 1988 Accord for a 2013 CRV just makes the whole thing feel safer.  But I also took the time to stop for photos.  These first four were processed in HDR:

 

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Wildlife!

 

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Colorado life!

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Uh oh!   Better behave myself!***

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I arrived home, tired and happy, yesterday afternoon, very grateful to live in a state of overwhelming natural beauty and kick-ass disability advocates.

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* Actually, I have to confess, when I first learned I would be going to Durango, I thought, “it’s in the same state; how far can that be?”  Having grown up out east**, I assumed that anywhere you had to go within a single state couldn’t be more than a couple of hours’ drive.  Soooooo it turns out they make states bigger out here.  So the six-hour drive was a bit of a surprise, but ultimately a pleasant one.

** I’ve been overthinking the phrases “back east” and “out west” recently.  I use the phrases mostly because they reflect my path.  I started life on the east coast, and I’ve migrated out west.  But it occurs to me that these common phrases are not only sort of east-coast-centric, but also reflect a European-American-centric path (my peeps mostly entered the U.S. from the east coast and headed west) as opposed to an Asian-American path, as many Asians entered the U.S. from the west coast.  So I thought I’d try “out east” for a while and see how it sounded.

*** Tim’s uncle Pete Palmer is sheriff!

Art Appreciation: Dustin McNa

Tim and I and our friend Kevin Williams decided to get cultured and appreciated some art last night.  Tim’s assistant Dustin McNa is a talented artist whose work is on display for the month at the Europa Coffee House.

The artist in residence:

{Image:  photo of a white man with short brown hair and a beard sitting in an upholstered chair looking toward the camera.  Above and to his right is a painting perhaps 3 feet high by 2 feet wide of a person standing facing the viewer with his hands held out in front of him as if to show something.  In the background of this large painting are buildings.  In the background of the photo are additional, smaller paintings and other chairs and tables in a coffee shop.}

I wish I had the vocabulary to describe his work but sadly that part of my brain is completely overwhelmed by the parts that think in outline format, answer Jeopardy questions about word origins, and remember to feed the dog.  But I really enjoy Dustin’s work and have purchased one piece that — when the part of my brain that should be in charge of organization gets organized — I plan to hang on my wall.

Dustin explains his work to Kevin:

{Image:  Interior of a coffee shop with table and chairs (some wooden; some upholstered).  In the left side of the photograph, a man (same man as earlier photo - white man with short hair and beard) sits on the arm of a chair looking up toward a painting on the wall. One arm is extended toward the painting as he explains it.  To the left side of the photo is another white man, with a knit cap, glasses and a beard.  He also looks at the painting as he listens.}

More photos from Santa Fe

Taking photos in Santa Fe is like cheating.  You just point the camera out the back door and voila!

{Image: two bare trees, very slender with white bark against a very deep blue sky.}

Disc Golf Henge:

{Image:  snowy field with four small (approximately one-foot-tall) rock formations each in the shape of an inverted "U"}

Fence.

{Image:  fence made of vertical pieces of natural wood of varying heights.  In the bottom half of the photo, the wood slats are backed by a solid piece of wood.  In the top half of the photo, there is nothing behind the vertical slats, and the sun peeks through between two of the slats.}

Fence, HDR.

{Image: fence made of vertical pieces of natural wood of varying heights. In the bottom half of the photo, the wood slats are backed by a solid piece of wood. In the top half of the photo, there is nothing behind the vertical slats, and the sun peeks through between two of the slats.}

Barbed wire, HDR:

{Image:  close up of a photo of a single barb in a strand of barbed wire.  In the background, and out of focus, is the side of an adobe building.}

I couple of friends we met on our walk.

{Image:  A goat peers around the corner of a wood and wire fence.  To his left are three chickens, two black and one white.}

Window.  Almost anything looks good in adobe.  Ask Santa Fe!  I think it’s in the building code!

{Image:  a window in an adobe wall.  The window reflects a very blue sky.  Tree branches enter the photo from the right.}

Water spout:

{Image:  a flat water spout protrudes from an adobe wall with several feet of frozen water suspended off the end.}

The same water spout, an hour later:

{Image:  a flat water spout protrudes from an adobe wall with several feet of frozen water suspended off the end.  The adobe is much darker than the previous photo because of the setting sun.}}

Hubble the Golden Retriever discovers that Rodney has a snack.

{Image:  in the left side of the photo, a man sits at a table working at a laptop computer.   To his right, a golden retriever stares intently at him.  The corner of another laptop shows in the foreground; kitchen appliances are in the background.  The table  has a candle, a water bottle, a card and envelope, a french press with tea and a mug,}

And it wouldn’t be my blog unless I took the opportunity to go just a bit Andy Rooney on your ass.   My rental car was a Prius.  Even after I learned the sequence of button pushing and gear shifting that was necessary to make it go, and adjusted to the fact that it sounded, at every light, like the car had died and I’d need to call a tow truck, there were two more very disconcerting things.

(1)  You don’t need a key to drive the car but you do need a key to unlock it.  This means that when you get in the car, you have to figure out what to do with the key, since it’s not sitting in the ignition.  If I owned a Prius, I would lock the keys in the car at least once per week.

(2) You not only get the general warm, fuzzy, superior feeling of driving a really fuel-efficient car, you get a constant, real-time, animated demonstration of just HOW efficient you’re being:

{Image:  photo of a diagram of a car showing three unnamed parts with arrows going from one to another.  The diagram is labeled "Energy Monitor."  The display also contains the time (3:16 PM) and  the odometer (2837.4 MI).}

This little animated diagram changes as you drive, showing — near as I can tell — which direction the little energy hamsters that power the car are traveling.   The diagram is (a) designed for the driver to monitor the car’s energy situation in real time, and thus incredibly distracting and unsafe; (b) not designed to convey anything to the driver, and thus pretty pointless; or (c) designed solely to show the passenger what a cool, energy-efficient person the driver is.

More from the photo archive

This time, from my Dad’s experiences at the Sebago School and Camp Ironwood, run by Matt and Margaret Werner in St. Louis (school) and Harrison, ME (Ironwood).

From the camp — I just loved these first two:

{Image: black and white photo of a person diving off of a dock into a lake.  The diver's image is reflected in the lake.}

{Image: black and white photo of a person diving into the water, but all we see is the person's legs, perfectly straight, angled from their toes at the center of the photo to the bottom right where their torso disappears off the edge of the photo. To the left are several canoes, and in the background, a boat.}

{Image:  black and white photo, taken from above looking straight down on two people sitting by the side of a stone building.  The person on the right is wearing saddle shoes and has their feet extended in front of them, with a plate of food on their lap.  The person on the left is wearing a sleeveless undershirt and holding a drink  (coffee?) in his left hand.  The photographer's feet on the edge of the building above are visible in the foreground.}

The next few are from a driving trip the school/camp took through the western United States:

{Image:  1940s wood-paneled station wagon parked at the side of the road.  Five teen agers lean against it, one of whom is looking through a lens of some sort; the others facing the camera.}

{Image:  black & white photo of Garden of the Gods, which is a series of rock formations in a high-desert landscape.  A man is in the foreground looking at the scenery.}

{Image: black & white photo of a narrow alley with brick buildings on either side and passageways overhead.}

{Image:  Black & white photo of a small log church with a cross on top.}

{Image:  black and white photo of a rectangular window with a cross silhouetted against the middle.}

{Image: black & white photo of a large bear crossing a road.}

{Image: black & white photo of a large bear resting by the side of a wooded road.}

Photos from LA

I’m in LA for the Disability Rights Legal Center’s Disability Rights Summit.  Great event. Saw lots of old friends and put lots of faces to internet names.  Presented on fair housing with Fernando Gaytan, a wonderful attorney from the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles.

Couple of photos:

Photo of buildings. Most are beige. One low building in the center is bright red and yellow.

 

Photo of the side of a building with brick shaped windows, some of which are open and jutting out.

 

Photo of construction crane and building framework at dusk.

 

Had dinner at Hama Sushi, where they really really really only serve sushi.

Photo of hand-lettered sign that reads "please read. only sushi, sashimi. no tempura. no teriyaki. no noodles. no rice alone. minimum charge $12 per sperson without beverage."

And it was magnificent!!!

Because the biggest f*****g problem with the ADA is too many f*****g drive-by plaintiffs

This evening we went back to the completely gutted and remodeled Izakaya Den restaurant and found that they installed a raised sushi bar with no ramp.  Here’s a photo from Westword with my added mark-up.

Photo of the inside of a restauarant.  To the lower left of the photo, a raised area is visible with seats at a lowered sushi bar.  The raised area is circled in red, with an arrow pointing to it from text that reads "Step up to sushi bar."

Sigh.

Just that, by itself, is deeply frustrating.  As we’ve discussed in connection with our lawsuit against the El Diablo restaurant, you can’t take an empty space and make part of it inaccessible.  While this should be obvious, it’s also illegal.

But what made this depressing, frustrating, infuriating and really sad was that we have been patronizing Izakaya Den and its sister restaurant, Sushi Den, for years.  They know us in both restaurants, well enough at Sushi Den that we had a table where we always sat, and most of the waitstaff had served us so often they automatically brought me a phone book to sit on.*  We had participated in a private sushi tasting with a chef visiting from Japan, and at that point (and others) met the owners.

It’s bad enough that Izakaya Den got seriously bad architectural advice.  It’s really depressing that no one ever stopped to think, this isn’t just a theoretical legal question; we have a regular customer who will want access to the sushi bar.   And what’s funny:  they have an elevator.  They added a second floor and an elevator.  Very fucking cool.  But damn!  Why on earth add an unnecessary, new, inaccessible raised area?

We proceeded from Izakaya Den to Kaos** pizza, which was also inaccessible,  then*** on to the Black Pearl which had this gorgeous ramp

Photo showing front of restaurant with a ramp to the front entrance adjacent to a patio area with tables and seats.

as well as truffle fries, an excellent cheese plate, and a nice refreshing bottle of 90 Shilling.

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*  Yes, I’m that short and have that little pride.  But it’s nice to be able to look my fellow diners in the eye.

** Sounds like Maxwell Smart should be nearby, talking on his shoe phone.

*** I’m leaving out the part where I crossed the street from Kaos to where Tim was waiting, swearing my ass off, while he made “maybe you don’t want to use those words just now” eyebrow motions.  Turns out he was chatting with a nice woman — hidden to me by a parked car — and her cute Lab puppy.   I was embarrassed, she was understanding (“that’s OK; let it all hang out!”), and the puppy was really really cute.

A Heartwarming Moment at DCA

I was at the end of more than a week of travel — two separate trips, one frantic day of laundry and work in between, flying, driving, more driving, new people, familiar people, introvert-stressing PEOPLE all over the damn place.  Finally back at DCA ready to fly home, tired, grungy, grumpy … when I started hearing applause across the terminal.  Sustained, widespread applause.  Turns out a planeload of World War II veterans were flying in for some sort of ceremony.  The airline had announced this, and all of my fellow frazzled Friday-afternoon flyers had lined up on each side of the path the vets traveled from the gate all the way to security and were enthusiastically applauding.

 In the center of the photo is an older man with a ball cap showing he is a WWII vet. He is walking through an airport terminal surrounded on both sides by lines of people clapping for him. In the right foreground is a woman's hands, clapping. To the left are more people --- a man in a red shirt a woman in a green flowered shirt , a man in a suit -- all clapping.

Some of the wildest applause came for the handful of female veterans.

An older woman in a wheelchair in an airport terminal.  She wears a ballcap that says World War II veteran.  She is beautiful and is wearing elegant make up, nail polish and jewelry, as well as a blue polo shirt and white sweater.  To the left of the photo, a younger woman leans in, smiling, to speak to the woman in the wheelchair, while a man in a bright yellow shirt and hat stands behind the wheelchair.  In the back ground, a crowd of people look toward an airport gate, clapping.

And they had a lone musician — a French horn player — playing in each group of vets with a patriotic — or at least jaunty — tune.

To the right of the photo, an older man in a straw hat with a red and blue hat band sits holding a French horn, looking toward a music stand with sheet music.  In the background, an airline terminal with passengers standing facing the same direction as the musician, some clapping.

After he had exhausted military and patriotic classics like High Flying Flag, that Marine tune that always comes through in my head as “Be Kind To Your Web-Footed Friends,” Battle Hymn of the Republic and — to my extreme joy — This Land is Your Land, he turned to random jauntiness:  She’ll be Comin’ Round the Mountain; I’m a Little Teapot; Oh Susanna!

It was a truly wonderful thing.  The vets were beaming, the crowd was smiling and — here and there — tearing up.  It took all of us out of our various travel modes (grumpy; hostile; exhausted) and brought us together for a few minutes, appreciating the hard work and real sacrifice of these amazing people.

Like renting a Ferrari to a teenager.

We’re headed to Vegas on vacation for the next few days.  While Tim is funding our next project at the poker tables, I’m going to take off for Red Rock Canyon with a camera.  Just for the heck of it, I rented a lens:

Lens

This is waaaaayyyyy too powerful a lens for my photographic abilities, not to mention that

  • It weighs one (1) ton;*
  • It costs $2,500.**

The autofocus makes a sound not unlike a concrete mixer and it arrived at our office in this:

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which has had me humming the Get Smart*** theme song ever since.  Given the weight and the price, it’s pretty unlikely I’ll ever buy it, but it cost about $150 to rent for the weekend, and I’m hoping will generate some awesome photos.  At the very least, I’ll look like a badass photographer — or a seriously overcompensating dude.

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* Approximate weight.

** OK, OK, $2,499.

*** If you’re over 45, you did not need to click the link to know what I’m talking about, and you may not be able to get the tune out of your head for the next few days.  You’re welcome.

Santa Fe photos, part tres (with cat photos!)

Now for the highlight of my Santa Fe trip: visiting with my step-brother, Jeff.  The writer at work:

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The cat:

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The cat after he realized he was being photographed by a dog person:

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The cat being emotionally needy:

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The cat’s emotional needs being met:

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Santa Fe photos, part deux

Happy New Year!

As promised, the photos from the Santa Fe part of the road trip.  Got up early Friday to try to catch good light in downtown Santa Fe . . . starting with the store next to my hotel:

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Next to the gun shop and the hotel was a sculpture gallery.  (Welcome to Santa Fe!)  I liked this piece against the excruciatingly blue Santa Fe sky:

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Then had some fun with it in Lightroom:

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Then spent two hours walking around downtown Santa Fe, first with the 14-42mm:

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Photoshopped an electrical wire out of this one!  Progress!

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I just loved this statue of St. Francis of Assisi dancing on water.  He’s dancing so joyously his toes are curled!

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Getting set up to sell jewelry to tourists:

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Pause for hot coffee and cheese danish and a switch to the Nifty Fifty — at the Burro Alley Café.

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The eye of the aforesaid burro:

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The rare white buffalo:

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Fun with HDR and Photomatix.

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Loved these ladies – in a store window (also HDR):

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More adobe and blue sky:

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And my favorite, though I’m not even Christian:

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To be continued… with photos of my step-brother, his gorgeous office, and his cat.  Yes, this very very dog-oriented blog is about to host its first cat photo.  Be sure to tune in!