Monday, March 31, 2008

Around Town

Lately the weather has been in the middle of that strange mix between winter and spring. Drizzly days of cold rain are interspersed with days of glorious sun and slushy snow.

I really can't wait till Summer.

But with the general improvement of the weather, I have been trying to get out and about more. Even if it's just a walk around Washington Park, getting my lazy arse out of my apartment is always for the better.

And of course, taking any opportunity to get an interesting photo, though I'll admit that of late I haven't been feeling terribly inspired, I'm hoping that as the days get longer I'll get some nice sunset shots as I get off of work, at 7:30. We shall see.

Speaking of inspired, Nikon has been refreshing their camera body lines lately, and I DID just receive a bonus...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Workin' hard or hardly workin?

Most days, I enjoy my job. Usually this is not something that can be said about manning a phone bank. However, I really enjoy talking about travel all day long. From sharing my own stories about places I've visited to answering more technical questions (just what is the weight limit on a Ryan-Air flight? How do you go about updating your passport when you get married?) to just listening to super excited 14 year olds, sometimes I'm surprised they pay me to do this!

Of course sometimes its not so rosy. I can handle angry people, that's no problem. I can explain policy, pick apart a bill, or calm a worried parent. The people I have trouble with are the ones who have no relation to reality. Take the last call I had tonight. We managed to get somebody a place on a tour that left for Europe in a little over 12 hours. Yeah, you read that right, a little over 12 hours. Considering most people who travel with my company plan over a year in advance, this sort of thing practically defines the term "bending the rules." So we made a huge exception, and what does this lady do? She uses a 2 year old price quote to haggle. She wanted it to be cheaper. As if! Has she seen what happened to the dollar vs the euro over the past two years?

Really the hardest part of this job is talking to all the people who are so excited to be traveling, while I sit here stuck in Denver! It doesn't help that I keep having Japan Flashbacks which just make me want to belly up to a yakitori joint and order a draft Asahi...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Rock Band Really Can Teach You Music

Follow this link for videos of a gentleman who is using the Rock Band video game to play the drums. And no, not the little plastic drums that come with the game but THE DRUMS. It really is pretty cool how close the games "Expert" drum tracks come to the real thing. Now if only I knew somebody with a drum kit..

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patricks Week

St. Patricks Day came early for me, as my second favorite Irish-Punk band, The Dropkick Murphy's, were in town a little while back. My friend Patrick and I went to the show and were blown away by the energy on stage. While I would still say that Flogging Molly put on a better show back in December, Dropkick was also amazing.

In other Irish related news, the Rev. Ian Paisley stepped down from his post as First Minister in Northern Ireland. For those who don't know, Paisley was, and still is, a rather reprehensible man. A champion of the Unionist cause, the venom he spewed about reunification, and Catholics in general is legendary. His trademark was saying "No!" No to compromise, no to civil rights for Catholics, and no to anything he didn't agree with. Few can be said to have been so hateful, and yet still manage a long and successful career in politics.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sun and Snow

Spring is certainly inching its way into Colorado, and a couple of weeks ago we had the first really warm day since last fall. Dad and I, and most of Denver, took that as an opportunity to spend some time outside. While a lot of places close to town were jammed with hikers, bikers, horse back riders, and fisherman, we found a nice open space park that was just a little further away.

There was still some old snow on the ground but the clear blue sky and toasty temperatures were enough of a motivation to hike up the side of the hills. Being that it was our first hike of the season, we didn't make it much more than a couple of miles, but that was enough for us. Longer hikes up taller mountains await in our future, but for now this was perfect!

I've also been spending some more time with Lightroom, and in this case I've been playing around with the grayscale manipulation. The amount of control you have over black and white photographs in Lightroom is truly amazing, I really am loving this program.

The next day was a complete reversal of our sunny Saturday. Sunday was cold, snowy, and rather miserable. So of course my dad invited me to go hiking again, and of course I said yes! While it was pretty chilly, and while hiking through a foot of fresh snow was difficult, we really did have a fantastic time. Part of the reason people go into the wilderness is to be alone, to be away from the city and all the people. Being the first people up a trail after a snow storm is the definition of alone. We broke the trail through the virgin snow. With the softly falling snow, it seemed as if we were utterly alone. In a good way. Though, once we got home it was nice to warm up!