Friday, June 29, 2012

I biked to an island

Can you say the same? I bet not. I've been doing longer bike rides on Sundays and exploring my environs. I went unexpectedly far a few weeks ago and ended up at this island. I drove onto it a while back while exploring a la auto, and I thought it would be fun to just drive onto one on a bike.

(Check that off my bucket list. Woot woot.)

 I'll actually even explore it one day.

 Old stuff. Score!

 A lot of old cemeteries around here.

 Don't go near this one at night.

 The late afternoon lighting was great.

 Down near the town beach...I think these ladders were waiting for me.

 They're so cool, I almost drove to an Eddie Bauer and bought boat shoes.

They seem to have been really traumatized by Hurricane Irene...although not so good at spelling it...

Off for another bike ride...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Quick trip to Bean Town

I finally made it to Boston a few weeks ago when my good friend Tati as in town. A few out takes...
 Harvard is so beautiful...cutthroat but beautiful.

 Wish this was a little more in focus, but what do you think? Boy, I miss taking pictures in a city.

 What a perfect setup for a picture...old store front, bike, girl across the street with a camera...

 Well, hello friend and no she wasn't pointing at her watch for any particular reason...actually, she was saying, when are we going to the cemetery? (That's not true, but she has a particular affinity for old headstones.)

Well looky here...we found one, which was closed (darn) so we took pics from the fence. That's probably Abraham Lincoln's grave site.

Forget just missed the light taking this picture. Jaywalk!

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Great Boat Race

One of the towns I cover has a Memorial Day boat race every year wherein people make their own canoe-like boats and paddle down the river in a timed race (it's too narrow to go all at once). It's a cool, small town tradition that started in 1934.

They were definitely competitive about it and there were over 100 boats.

As one of the winners said, “It’s more of an extreme sport. If you want to just go down, you can have a fun enjoyable day, but you don’t get the bragging rights.”

But the best part was this pair...

Is he not the cutest little boater you ever saw? He was four and this was his second race. Apparently, last year he didn't row much but fell asleep with his head resting on the seat.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

They're not Chinese

A college friend invited me to the one, the only New England Taiwanese American Heritage Week. (Let me tell you, when people name things around here, they are not kidding.) I'm not gonna lie, I went for the food. And while it was a bit different from Shanghainese fair, it was delish (as almost all Taiwa-Chinese food is).

 The head dresses and clothes (back row) were strangely reminiscent of Native American cultures.

 I hope this guy is a professor.

 My friend and I had fun picking out the F.O.Bs

 This will serve me right. I took pictures first and then were sold out by the time I got back.

These were some intense teenage boys.

Mr. Too-Cool-for-School. This is an outfit only a Taiwa-Chinese person could pull off or should I say, a Chinese speaking person of Asian descent? (Don't send me ugly letters please. Power to Taiwan!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I'm tempted to not tell you the name of the town I live in because if I did, it wouldn't be hard to find me. For one, I'm in the news biz. For two, there are only three news biz-es around here, further narrowing it down. For three, the name of my town is one of a kind. Four four, there aren't that many street lights around here, so I do not want you jumping out of the shadows. That job is reserved for the significant bunny population.

I haven't properly canvased my town with the ole camera yet. But here are a few pictures I've taken so far.

 This could totally be Ireland. I know. I lived there.

 They don't seem to update the street signs to often around here. I'm pretty sure this one is circa 1950. See Jane run. See Jane catapult herself into oncoming traffic. (Wait, who am I kidding? There's no traffic around here.)

 I'm a 6 minute bike ride away from this lighthouse. Anne Shirley, eat your heart out.

 I am the only person in town without a boat. Can you tell these are boats? I love the different shades of grey here, but I freely admit this may not look like anything.

 See, they were boats.

 I may or may not live close to Cape Cod, but I definitely took a bike ride along the Cape Cod Canal bike trail. Seven miles one way and I was sailing along like I had wings. Turned out, there was a very stiff breeze at my back and when I turned around to come home, a very stiff breeze at my face. What is it Kelly Clarkson sings?

At the end of the canal...that's not a metaphor.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Blood, Honey and an Oven Mitt

I've got so much fabric. I've been trying to be creative, mix and match fabrics and do small projects like the oven mitt left, which I quite like though the thumb is a little pointy there.

I sewed it up while I watched In the Land of Blood and Honey.

Have you seen it? You need to. It's one of those films that is important, but hard to watch.

It starts in 1992 at the front end of the Bosnian War (which, after watching the movie I realizes I clearly don't know enough about). Ajla, a painter, is one of a group of Muslim women who gets rounded up by the Serbian police, who immediately begin assaulting the women. Just before she is raped, a soldier named Danjiel that she dated before the war rescues her.

Danjiel begins calling her to his room as the two strike up a tenuous relationship, both torn between the loyalties of their families and and the ethnicities that separate them. Danjiel wars with himself over pleasing his father, a general in the army, and the fact that he is being forced to kill Muslims he has known his whole life.

As the war becomes more intense so does their relationship, and the closer they get the more they put their own lives in danger until ultimately, they have to decide whether they will choose each other or their respective sides of the war.

Angelina Jolie wrote, directed, and produced this movie and I have to say I'm extremely impressed. The story of the genocide in Bosnia needs to be understood, and this film tells one story of it with great humanity.

*Do be warned, there are several graphic scenes, some that were unnecessary. Turn your eyes to an oven mitt when those come on.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Just Finished: People Who Eat Darkness

I don't usually read much in the genre of mystery and crime; however, The People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Perry is my second in a row along with And Then There Were None.

I actually won a free proof copy from the publisher through twitter, so there is one good thing that has come from that website.

But I digress...The People Who Eat Darkness traces the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Lucie Blackman, a young British woman who vanished in Japan in the early 2000s.

Lucie, looking for a way out of debt and a little adventure, moved to Tokyo with her best friend Louise to work as a bar hostess where each night she and a host of other foreign girls would pour drinks and chat it up with Japanese men who paid to talk (not touch) them.

To earn money, hostesses were expected to go to dinner with their customers and bring them back to the bar. So it was not unusual when, about six weeks into her stay, Lucie went to meet a customer and go for a drive. She called Louise several times throughout the day to give updates and assure her friend that they were still on for their night of clubbing.

These phone calls were to be the last time anyone spoke to Lucie and were the beginning of a convoluted investigation that would costs millions of dollars and tear Lucie's family and friends apart while also exposing the faults in the Japanese legal system.

As a British journalist in Tokyo during Lucie's disappearance, Richard Lloyd Perry followed the case from the beginning and became increasingly preoccupied with the peculiar details surrounding it – mysterious typed letters with Lucie's forged signature, calls to Louise claiming Lucie had joined a cult, and and a friendless, wealthy Japanese-Korean man with possible ties to the mob. Perry unfolds the story expertly as he creates empathy for Lucie, a somewhat innocent, insecure young woman who is unwittingly consumed by the darkness of a serial rapist.

The book is clearly well-researched (Perry admits that his friends thought he was a little obsessed). Perry won the confidence of Lucie's divorced parents and sister as well as Louise while also drawing the ire of the powerful man accused of Lucie's murder. Perry doesn't dwell on the macabre aspects of the case more than necessary and through his research, he never turns the victim into a sideshow. The book was very readable and especially interesting as I didn't know anything about Tokyo or the Lucie Blackman case. So whether or not you're into true crime, this is a compelling and heartbreaking read that examines not only the crime but the complex effect on the survivors.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Brimfield — The mother of all flea markets

I've always wanted to go to a real flea market. (Blame Martha Stewart.) The ones I've been to in Mississippi always tended to be 70% useless craftsy dongxi (a Chines word that means stuff and so much more) and 20% junk and 10% actual antiques.

But the Brimfield Antique Market is like the Mall of America for flea markets. Vendors come from all over the country to sell everything you can think of: glass buttons, vintage clothes, tools, books, postcards, baseball bats... As the largest flea market in America, it also draws every kind of people. There were hipsters, people who carry teacup dogs in their purses, Europeans, Asians. I mean everybody.

The tiny two-lane town of Brimfield, Massachusetts is taken over by this market three times a year. The traffic was cra-cra, but there is enough parking to go around and very reasonably priced.

The main drag of Brimfield is divided into different fields which are open at various times throughout the 3 or 4 day fair. They switch up times so vendors can also shop. Apparently, something sold on day one for $100 could have been resold 3 times by the end of the weekend, doubling and tripling in price as it switches hands. It's all part of the fun.

I went with a limited amount of cash (tip #1: you can't spend more than you bring!) and really sore thighs (tip #2: don't do a ton of lunges and froggers before you plan to drive 4 hours and walk around a flea market all day. S-T-I-F-F.) I have to say, I was giddy. Hundreds of booths with everything possible! Infinite things to find and bargain on.

Some things seemed to be darlings of the fair. Such as metal milk crates (I bought one! Didn't even know I wanted one!). They're really cool. If I could have afforded it, I would have bought at least 4 and set my TV on them and filled them with books...ah next time.

Other purchases-- an old Kodak camera which I could have skipped, some delicate milk glass buttons and a printing block with neat old airplanes on the image.

 I was exhausted by the time I left around 4:00, but it was definitely a fun and overwhelming experience. Anybody want to go in July?