Thursday, December 30, 2010

Good Enough for Santa

The awesome wifey spoiled the shit out of me on Jeebus' birthday, with my favorite gift, the Sony NEX-5 that I've been lusting after for a few months now.

It's a totally dope camera so far. I love my Sony DSC-T200 point and shoot for it's absolutely small size and good performance. It's so easy to throw in a pocket and does a good job of taking pictures of all sorts. But I was really itching for a better processor, and a camera that could put a bit more control into. But I didn't want a big-ass DSLR that I wasn't going to take anywhere with me, because of it's big size. Enter the NEX-5. I love the tiny design, minimal buttons that you can even program, the tilty-screen and the ability to shoot HD video and 3D panaromas even. I've only played with it a bit, and mostly experimenting at that, but it's definitely fun. Quick picture of Tayler;

The dogs have been my test-subjects, doing portraits and action shots... though they aren't very predictable. We're dog-sitting my nephew Duncan for the holidays as well;

I took the camera outside to freeze my ass off the other night. The International Space Station was going to be visibly flying overhead, and I figured it was another fun test to try out the camera. This is the light it was able to pull, shooting from my hand, at 5:40pm, so it was nearly night-time out;

And it was even able to capture the space station! If you haven't seen it before, it typically just looks like a very fast, non-flashing airplane sort of light. I took this picture, tracking it by hand;

New Year's should provide some more testing subjects for the camera. And speaking of New Years, I'm finally better prepared this year! I really don't care for champagne, but this year managed to track down a bottle of Infinium to ring in 2011! For once, I'm definitely looking forward to the toast!

In the meantime I'll kill time waiting for the New Year by building my new Lego sets!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Blah, Blah, Winter, Blah

It's been winter... it's cold and stupid. And even worse, cold without even any useable, playable snow. It always seems to be an extreme. Well, maybe I can stay inside and have some hot chocolate made with hemp milk... gotta love Nederland.

I've been up to a whole lot... and at the same time, not a freakin' thing. So I started messing around and have a new project in the plans...

I love when Mrs. T comes over for dinner, like she did the other night;

But I was too drunk from finally cracking open my Odell's aged Woodcut ale... which was freakin' pretty damned tasty!

And of course the holiday season has kept everyone extremely busy. Especially Leigh who has volunteered to guard the baby Jeebus tree, day and night, in order to make sure no harm comes to her catnip filled gifts!

And of course last week... was it last week? Was the Winter Solstice. So at least that means the days are getting longer now... but I think we have a really really long time until it starts getting warmer. Especially since it hasn't even started snowing yet! But this year had a full-moon winter solstice WITH a full lunar eclipse! It was pretty sweet. The skies were overcast, but cleared up just enough, as the eclipse got rolling. I was fully armed with binoculars, camera and the telescope... freezing my ass off, in 16 degree temps at 2am. But that's okay, it's always worth it. Taken with the iPhone4 through my telescope eyepiece;

Yesterday I trotted over to a local retailer in order to pick up the newly released first season of Archer (From the makers of Frisky Dingo, and one of my favorite shows since Frisky Dingo!), when I came across this highly-modified transport machine. Mostly it's really fucking funny... but part of me really loves that the driver of this machine obviously had a look around his shed, and pieced this together from the bits that he had. And that is pretty freakin' cool. But still, it's goofy.

Until next time... enjoy my favorite video of last week - I'm sure this one will have people going nuts - the KillCam replays were cracking me up! Enjoy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ride Like Tommeke...

Ride like Tommeke...minus the coccaine!

I guess it's never too early to start prepping for "classics season". This was a pretty sweet pair of wheels that I built up for a friend of mine, using all the sweetest components that appear to be the choice of the real hard men of the sport.

Only proven stuff here, the Campagnolo Record hubs were zooted-out with the CULT ceramic bearing system.

Super strong, hard to find and very much sought after, Ambrosio Nemesis box section tubular rims.

And ultra-proven Sapim CX-ray spokes and nipples, laced 3-cross all -around of course.

The wheels built up quite well, with super even tension and with minimal hassle. The CULT bearings feel incredibly smooth, it will be interesting to hear how they hold up over time. Unfortunately my scale was screwed up, but it's not like you are overly concerned with weight on a set of wheels like this. They felt very reasonable though. All they need now is a proper gluing job, and I can only hope the owner does the right thing and insists on Vittoria Pave Evo CG rubber!

Friday, December 10, 2010

St. John, The Rest

Our next day in St. John was bound to be epic... The plan was to charter a boat for our little group, that was going to go over to the British Virgin Islands for the day! We met at the dock at 9am, and we were off with our captain, who just happened to bring along 4 cases of beer and two gallons of fresh made Painkillers. The first stop was Tortola to get our passports stamped and "enter" the country. Not a bad little bay to sit in, while our crew handled the paperwork.

Along the way to our first stop we passed Gilligan's Island... no, really. This might look familiar as it was the island filmed for the opening sequence.

We had time to kill before the bar opened, yes, really, so the captain took us to this absolutely amazing little cove, where we could do some snorkling. I am sure the fish were used to getting fed by the boaters that came here, but that just meant that there were that many more fish out! This was some of the clearest water we snorkled in, ranging from about 35 feet deep to very shallow on the steep rock walls. There were also three seperate caves for us to snorkel into, and massive reefs, teeming with life! After about 90 minutes of snorkling there, we were off to Willy Ts, a bar on a "pirate ship" anchored off shore, in another stunning cove.

Like I said, the cove was pretty stunning. Not a bad view while I munched my conch fritters... and the beginning of the alcoholic beverages for the day.

But our next stop, was the one that everyone was REALLY looking forward to... The Soggy Dollar Bar. The only word I could use to sum this place up, would be "Heaven".

The name of the bar comes from the fact that the only way to get to this bar is by boat, so that means you're swimming into shore to get your drinks. But that really, really wasn't a problem. The water here was no doubt, the most insanely perfect shade of blue I have ever seen.

Jesse, Jessica and I did some snorkeling for a bit, though the reef wasn't that interesting. But I wasn't going to miss doing some swimming in this water. Especially since the plan for the rest of the day consisted of sitting on the beach drinking. Jesse and I volunteered anytime people needed us to swim out to the boat to pick up a few more beers.

I only managed to sit on the beach for about half an hour, before deciding it sounded like a much better idea to stand neck-deep in the water while enjoying my drinks. I really really loved the fact that the water was so warm, that you had to keep your drink above the water, in order to prevent it from getting warm too quickly. Right here is the life... relaxing on your sick boat, as the sun starts to drop at Soggy Dollar;

An amazing day out! Though people were getting pretty tired after a full day of sun, swimming, boating...

...and drinking... as one of us were about to get especially "bitten" by the alcohol.

The next morning was another rough one, but I wasn't about to miss another chance to hit the beach. So we were back at Salt Pond Bay, for an epic day of snorkeling, and saw some great sea life as well! Including a solid 40" Mackeral who was not very amused by me swimming up next to him so Jesse could get a good idea of scale! I really have no idea why I came back out of the water this day...

Jeff made a mass of kabobs that night and we all worked hard to drink up the last of our alcohol, you know, to make sure we didn't waste anything. Except for Brittainy... I'm pretty sure she didn't have any drinks that night!

The next day we had one more view from our amazing patio, and then it was time to start the long trip back. I swear it was all I could do to keep from throwing myself over the rail of the ferry and swimming for "freedom".

So my advice? Absolutely, most definitely go. But make sure you only get a one way ticket and by no means plan on coming back. Even if you aren't sure now that you don't want to come back, you'll understand once you get there.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

St. John, part 1

Well... it's been a bit over two weeks now since we returned from St. John in the US Virgin Islands. I've been hoping to do a blog post for awhile now, but I've been having serious issues adjusting back to "real life" and the colder weather here in Colorado. Ugh... I'm still not over it... I'd trade to be at the beach without a thought. Like I said, about 24hrs after my last post, we were unloading on the dock at St. John, after a short ferry ride over from St. Thomas. Jesse and I arrived before the girls, and we were waiting on the beach, dipping feet in the sand and ocean, waiting so we could get a live webcam shot from the phones. Jesse and I are in the bottom left of the picture, and that's Jessica at the bottom right of the picture, hurrying down the dock to meet us.

It was pretty surreal to be in the warm, salty air, standing on the dock that I've been staring at on my computer screen for the last 10 months! Once we were all gathered up, we were off to our amazing house, perched on the hills above Cinnamon Bay! No, really, click that link to see some pics of our amazing house. It was dark by the time we made it to the house, but that's okay, we woke up to amazing views, and every single morning, this was pretty much my view as I had my morning coffee and slowly woke up in the warm air!.

As you'd expect, I was in a crazy rush to head off for our first real shot at the beach. Up first was going to be the amazing (and most popular) Trunk Bay.

Though some off-shore weather meant this open beach had some very rough surf, with a short, crushing break. I braved it for a bit, but after Jessica got tossed pretty well with some bad timing on coming out, we decided to head someplace a bit more calm, where we could do some "more productive" swimming.

We ended up at Hawk's Nest Bay, which was a little bit more calm, but also safer. I could do some snorkling, but not too into the reef, as the waves were trying their hardest to drop you down upon the coral. No worries, it was all a real blast to be out and the beaches and weather, and sights in general were just amazing. Plus we had to be home for dinner... and what was our usual nightly plan... drinking island rum, Pain Killers, and locally crafted beer!

The next day we were off early to the far end of the island, where we hoped to hit Brown Bay. This beach was accessible only by about a 2 kilometer hike over a saddle in the hills and down to the bay. This bay is usually not very crowded due to the necessary hike, but we were really psyched to see that we were literally THE ONLY group there for the entire day! Our own beach with a great reef and crystal clear, flat water!

The snorkeling was pretty great, with tons of conch, crab, countless types of fish, starfish and colorful coral. After a few hours of snorkeling, we went back past Coral Bay;

And to the bar Skinny Legs, where I had the best jerk seasoned cheeseburger with local mango chutney, and I sat outside in the scorching sun, while the television covered a huge pile-up in the snow along I-25 outside Denver... I wouldn't have even considered going home at that point... That evening we threw a party and BBQ at our house, with our fellow travelers coming over from their house to party at ours. Massive consumption of theraputic alcoholic beverages took place.

The next morning, everyone was a bit slower to get up. But you know where we were headed... off to the beach! Today's goal was Salt Pond. Another beach with a short hike to get to, and on the far end of the island, so it should be a bit quieter again. I wasn't prepared at all, even with our last few days, for the beauty of this beach. It was simply stunning.

No doubt it helped that the beach had a total of two other groups besides us on it! And even better, the water was simply amazing and the coral was the by far the best I've seen since the Great Barrier Reef! The reef was just teeming with a crazy variety of fish! I think the part I tend to forget about having a beach like this (nearly) to yourself is just how quiet and relaxing it is.

Jesse and I snorkeled for a solid 3 hours easy. And after that? You guessed it... back to the "busy" side of the island for rum drinks and a tasty dinner at the Beach Bar.

Did I mention that our house was amazing? Our bedroom was pretty secluded, accessible only by outdoor pathway and staircase around the side of the house.

We had our own outdoor shower next to the patio (which took a bit of getting used to!), a patio, and even another section of patio around the corner with chairs and table, which had you neatly tucked into the jungle vegetation all around the house. In the room itself, the massive bed completely dwarfed little Jessica!

Another day, another amazing drive on the ridiculous roads on the island!

This time we were off to another island with a shorter still, hike as the only access, Waterlemon Cay. This beach again, absolutely stunned with it's beauty!

Lots of starfish, turtles, flounders and countless other sea creatures were found here too. Jesse and I snorkled out around the cay which dropped off quite a bit and the sea life along that deeper reef was just crazy. We were endlessly distracted as we circled back around to head to the beach. Not the least of the distractions was a huge ray that was nearly 5 feet across.

By now, everyone was definitely settling into full-on-vacation-mode.

And we definitely wanted to rest up for what the following day had in store...