Thursday, April 26, 2007

Joost Invites

I've got three Joost invites. Joost only works on Windows and Macs, and then only on Intel/AMD systems with enough resources. I'll give preference to folks I know, or that I know that have already commented on my blog. Then it'll pretty much be first come, first served.

Update: Since I've now got unlimited Joost invites, I'll give them out to anyone now.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Muttenzer Fasnacht

From Muttenzer Fas...

Our own little village of Muttenz has its own Fasnacht festival that bookends the much larger Basler Fasnacht. It isn't a very big celebration, but it is still fun. Last year, when my parents visited, we got a huge snowstorm, so we went and enjoyed the local celebrations instead of those in Basel.

This year, it was sunny and warm. The Saturday after the Basel celebrations, the had the final parade through the village, and right past the front of our place. One marching band came from town, the rest from a number of other places, including at least one from the Black Forest.

I set out to take a couple of pictures and do a bit of video. By the end of the parade I was covered in Confetti, and Alice had enough oranges for a couple weeks worth of fresh-squeezed orange juice.

From Muttenzer Fas...

From Muttenzer Fas...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Basler Fasnacht pictures

NSFW WARNING: Depending on where you work, a few of the lanterns in the Picasa album may not be suitable for work at the larger resolutions. The thumbnails should be fine.

I'm finally getting around to organizing some pictures I've made. I've uploaded them to my picasa web gallery.

The Basler Fasnacht is probably the most well-known of the various carnival celebrations that go on in Switzerland around the beginning of Lent. Nothing quite matches the impressive Morgenstreich parade at 4 in the morning on the first Monday of Fasnacht.

Most of my pictures were taken during the day this year. Taking pictures with a flash is frowned upon, as it blinds the people wearing the Fasnacht masks. Besides, the photos don't turn out with a flash anyways. I ended up shooting a bit of video at night instead. I have to put that up on a server somewhere as well.

From Basler Fasnac...

From Basler Fasnac...

From Basler Fasnac...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Other Alps....

From New Zealand 1993

The Alps in Switzerland weren't the first Alps I've been to. Not even the Alps in Europe. The first time I visited mountains with 'Alps' in the name it was the Southern Alps (which I suppose is what you can also call the mountains in Ticino) in New Zealand.

I first started thinking about a trip to NZ when I was an undergrad at Washington. I remember chatting with another student about his trip to NZ. I also remember talking to my cartography professor, the venerable John Sherman about NZ. I don't remember why John talked to me about NZ, but his descriptions of the West Coast intrigued me. Descriptions of 'Metal Roads', the mountains that came straight down to the sea. While in grad school I remember a few other people talking about NZ, but at that point very few people actually went there...

It was in 1993. I'd been working at Boeing for awhile, and needed some serious time off. I originally tried to talk my boss into letting me disappear for a couple months, but I ended up just going for a bit over three weeks.

At that point you ran into two types of traveler in NZ. Those with a lot of time and not so much money, or those with little time to travel, but money to spend. I was more the latter than the former, so I ended up doing the guided version of the Milford Track. I didn't feel too guilty about it, as I had already met one of the Track guides, Murray, who had guided a co-worker when she did the trip. I decided I could do the big splurge for the Milford, and then stay in hostels and backcountry huts the rest of the time. I wasn't the only one with this plan, as when I arrived in Queenstown, I found out that one of my roomates in the hostel was also taking the trip as well. After walking the Milford, I found that a couple that was on the track with me was also staying at the same hostel I did. The YHA system was pretty good in those days. I think it probably still is. Anyways, I think my trips to NZ ended up being cheaper than staying at home, except for having to pay for the airfare.

Back then you couldn't haul a digital camera with you. So, I took slide film with me and used my Pentax K-1000. I had purchased a Sigma 200mm zoom lens and hiked around with that heavy thing for this trip. On later trips, that was replaced by a 28-80 lens that worked much better. A few of the slides are a bit dark, but I think overall they turned out all right, considering I used a flatbed scanner to digitize them.

This is the slide-show that I put together when I got back. These are the best out of about 16 rolls of film I shot on my first trip.

From New Zealand 1993

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Alsatian Adventures

We've been out wandering around Alsace the past couple of days. Had a tasty dinner, saw some nice castles. We found out that Hohlandsburg doesn't open for another week.
From Alsace April 07

The three castles over Eguisheim seem to have been closed to visitors for quite some time, but you can still have a good look at them.
From Alsace April 07
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