East Coast Spring 2016

United States history was the theme this year on our spring vacation as we charted a course through Boston, New York City, and Williamsburg, Virginia. Taking the trip to the airport is normally a Bus->Link transfer, but with the new Linkstation completed, we got to ride the train directly from the new station directly to the airport!

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First trip to the airport from the new Capitol Hill Station!


One redeye flight later, we arrived in Boston early on Saturday March 26th, 2016. After dropping off our backpacks at the hotel, we went out and explored the Public Library, Back Bay, and other neighborhoods to get ourselves oriented. The best way to figure out a new city is using the soles of your shoes.

Easter Sunday brought with it the idea to explore the Freedom trail while the weather was cold but moisture-free. After the traditional Easter breakfast at a bookstore/cafe, we started the trail in earnest. Cemeteries featuring revolutionaries and just ordinary folk were seen and pondered.

Lots of important people were buried here long ago

Past government buildings were seen and photographed behind us.

“G Dubs” once stood on this balcony

And, of course, the current Massachachusetts state house was found and photographed.

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Required legislative photo

Faneuil Hall brought with it crowds (Easter Sunday was still busy! Who knew?!), food, and most importantly: sugar-filled snacky cakes.

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Pondering on Travel Photos

Note: Yes, it’s another post that was written ages ago and never published! Now revel in the glory of it and the questionable quality within!

We’ve all done it: gone on a trip somewhere and then spit out a few hundred snapshots to post online. Except you’ll never look at these again, and nobody else will either.

After years of experimenting and tweaking my editing of vacation photos, I’ve eventually settled on the idea that you should take around 100 photos a day, and aim to publish up to 10 of these. Of these 10/day, perhaps 3 or four should be “you” shots: pictures of yourself or other people you know. This keeps the photo album size manageable, the people shots add a much-needed personal touch, and forces you to only pick photos that add something unique to the album while helping document your trip for (let’s be real here) your own future use.

When I spent a month in Italy, the resulting Flickr album clocked in at a hefty 646 photos. That’s not too bad, as the average is only 20 pictures a day. But remember that most of this time was spent in Rome, so when you factor in these days had much less photos taken, every day spent travelling away from Rome was actually getting much higher shot rates.

The next two European trips saw published photo rates of around 40/day: atrocious! After those episodes I started realizing that you need to make a decision about what photos you take when travelling: are you going to document the entire experience, or instead try to pick the highlights that others may have missed? I realized I actually fell into the latter camp. If a photo wasn’t outstanding, it wasn’t published. After that, I saw my publish rates fall to 15 or 16 photos a day. It wasn’t perfect, but I was starting to like the results: the album was useful and enjoyable (I think) for anyone viewing it who may be interested.

The 10/day formula isn’t set in stone, and open to lots of interpretation. It’s an average overall, and includes travel days between locations. If you’re moving around every day or two, this average may go up a bit to 15/day, and that’s okay! If you’re settling in and relaxing, this number may dip into single digits. 10/day isn’t a hard and fast rule, and I use it as a general guideline when editing photos. If I can say “yes” when I ask myself that it’s one of the top 10% photos I took that day, and if I can say “yes” that I’d be okay with hanging this photo on my wall, then it’s probably worth publishing.



There’s something to be said for the naming scheme and ultimate retro-awesome of this traffic control box.


Sign found in a little park by 520 in Montlake.

Labor and Civil Rights History Archives in the Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest Labor and Civil Rights Projects has an amazing set of historical records, photographs, and newspapers tracing labor and civil rights movements along the West Coast, with focuses on Seattle and San Francisco.

Featuring multitude of resources including Labor History Encyclopedia, Communism in Washington State, and Civil Rights Movements in Seattle, there’s a ton of interesting material contained in these fascinating sites. Of particular interest is the photo archive.



Shooting with high-quality film on a mid-70s SLR truly is wonderful.


It only makes sense to take pictures of older relics as well.


And maybe some timeless subjects.


Such as a sentinel of light.


Amsterdam: It’s okay, we guess

After the 24 hour Iceland Blitz, we took a quick flight to Amsterdam to start the main point of our journey. None of us had been to Amsterdam before, and we figured that two nights and three full days would be plenty of time to explore the city.

Believe me, it was plenty of time. I put off this entry for a while because I didn’t really have too much to say about Amsterdam. It was exactly what we thought it was.

Amsterdam is essentially the Seattle of Europe. It’s a pretty progressive place with plenty of commercial activities going on, and has a couple big claims to fame. People know generally what they’re all about, and they’re both pretty swell places to live and work. They aren’t a super top tier city, but still fun to visit for a day or two.



Oh look canals. Continue reading

Iceland: 24 hours of Ice, Snow, and Awesome

Thursday, November 15th, 2012. 1530 PST

Time Awake: 6h30m

As we begin our journey to the mystical land of Iceland, we ponder the adventure ahead of us. And by “ponder” I really mean “wonder what we’ll do for 24 hours in Iceland with a rental car, no internet connection, and just a few offline maps downloaded to our Android devices.” Attempts to sleep on plane are met with resistance. Watch Independence Day with increasingly blurry eyes. Ponder the reasons why I hate flying.

Brian unsuccessfully attempting to sleep.


Friday, November 16th, 2012. 0730 UTC

Time Awake: 14h30m

We have landed into a very dark and cold environment. Noticing that the roads are icy and that the land is covered with snow, we briefly reconsider our plans. At car rental agency, eagerly pay an extra ten Euros in order to acquire a local GPS device with directions. Pile into our Mazda 6 and journey forth.

Friday, November 16th, 2012. 0830 UTC

Time Awake: 15h30m

After passing through approximately 20 roundabouts while journeying through the outskirts of Reykjavik, we begin heading towards Geysir and the hydrothermal fields deep inside a national park. Traffic is extremely light, but the roads are extremely icy and snowy. Brian admits that he isn’t sure he entered in the correct destination into the GPS, but we seem to be going to the correct general area.

Uhhh. Can you see?

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