I went skiing at Vail today. It was (as usual) everything I had hoped it would be, and I even got a few knee-deep turns in my all-time favorite powder stash in the world. Here’s video of the snow, as seen from Lionshead at about 2:30pm today (along with some music I was listening to today: David Bazan).
Early in the ski season I was wondering if there were any apps out there that tracked your ski day using the GPS chip in an iPhone. All I had to do was look, and I instantly came across an app called Ski Tracks – which does everything I was hoping for, and even a little more. It’s super easy to use, you just fire it up and it starts tracking your day, including total vertical, max speed (which doesn’t really work right – there’s no way I went 70MPH yesterday), average slope steepness, total distance. You can also take photos in the app throughout your day, and it will create a great mashup of your day.
But the ultimate awesomeness is that the app exports a KMZ file and you can send it to yourself to view in Google Earth!
Here are some screenshots from my trip to Vail today.
The overview page (for some weird reason the date is incorrect, not sure if that was my fault or the app’s fault):
A GPS + Map mashup that shows exactly where you skied, and is broken up to lifts and runs automagically:
There are also awesomely nerdy graphs that show you your altitude and speed, which you can tap on each point to see what your exact altitude and (assumed) speed is:
It breaks down your day by the run and shows you vertical for each in an easy to read format:
Clicking on a run gives you a very detailed analysis of everything you did on that particular run. This happened to be Lodgepole
My only complaints are that it doesn’t seem to track everything perfectly, or at least the main overview page doesn’t reflect the data collected accurately. And it seems to really use up a lot of battery. But it’s still incredible. And only $0.99!
I had been to Amsterdam once before, back in 2007. We traveled there to both visit our friend Jesse & Arden, but also to go to the Jam In The Dam to see my favorite band Yonder Mountain String Band. This time around, I had a much better idea of what the city was all about and where I was going. Plus having my iPhone helped a lot, too. I’ll have a review on essential iPhone apps – complete with their strengths & weaknesses – in a future post.
The weather was above average, I thought, even though we didn’t really see the sun until the end. Gray skies were ok because it barely rained on us. We were such lucky travelers with the weather. The trees were mostly gold and lining the canals, it was a very special time to be there. Some days I didn’t even need my coat and left it wrapped around my camera bag for most of the day.
One weird thing was that we didn’t rent bikes. They person I was traveling with didn’t want to rent them and I didn’t want to force the issue (see how well that worked out by getting the dumpski when we got back!). But it was sort of a bummer to not have even rented them for one day. In some ways it was nicer. Walking slowed things down, and I was able to take the city in without having to worry about running into cars. Another weird thing was that the person I was with didn’t want to go to the Anne Frank house, which is a sad but necessary stop on anyone’s trip to Amsterdam.
I visited a bunch of museums, took a canal tour, saw the flower market, live free Jazz, a brewery tour, a Dutch Bock Beer fest (!), drank American beer that I designed the labels for in bars with 40 American craft beers on tap and another 100 in the bottle, stopped for a ton of coffee, and in general just soaked up all the sights and culture.
OK, on to the photos. As usual, you can click on each photo to see a larger version on flickr, and here’s a link to the entire photoset (with descriptions of each photo in the set, which is nice).
Fall in the Vondelpark.
Bikes bikes and more bikes. I like the pattern on the windscreen, and that the bike in the first one is called a “Gazelle“.
The roving carnival that is always in Amsterdam was near the city center this year, and I loved shooting it this time around. Last time I was there, the carnival was on the Haarlemmerweg across the street where we were staying. Here are a few of my favorite shots from the entire trip.
They had an Automat at the Centraal Station in Amsterdam. Until now, the only place I had seen one of these was in the movie “Dark City”. This is some sort of weird cheese or fish stick or something.
We went to free weekly jazz at the MuziekGebouw, on the water near the Centraal Station, and this a view on the way there. Great music with a great view.
Sneakily snapped photo at the Van Gogh Museum. Incredible place, one of my favorite artists ever.
We visited the Stedelijk Museum and saw some beautiful and inspirational art. First up is a raft, neon and video from artist Renzo Martens’ journey through the nation of Congo. The neon spells “POVERTY”.
There was also an installation by Diana Thater that had put these blue screens over the windows of the museum creating these beautiful blue spaces. I captured this view of the building across the street.
A 360° panorama of master designer Barbara Kruger‘s type exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. HUGE type took up the entire room. It was beautiful and striking. Here are some more good photos of this installation.
At the Stedelijk museum, there was a cool temporary installation called “Measuring the Universe” by artist Roman Ondák – where museum workers measure and mark the heights of museumgoers. Over a period of time, a pattern forms, and looks like the Milky Way does to us on Earth, only the colors are inverted. A simple but elegant form of information design. It’s part of the MOMA’s permanent collection.
Apparently it’s ok for dogs to poop here. Unless I’m not understanding this signage properly.
Some fun graffiti on mailboxes in Amsterdam near the Museumplein.
Dogs are so well behaved in Amsterdam (Prague, too). This little guy was just hanging out on the street while his owner was working on something a few feet away. Pretty much the only portrait I took in Europe, and it turned out to be really cool.
Just a cool design on the facade of a building somewhere in Amsterdam. I’m a texture and geometry nerd, which is probably why I’m a graphic designer by trade.
Some folks doing the Dutch unofficial national activity: getting coffee. There’s a little more glare on the window than I had hoped for, that’s what I get for forgetting my polarizing filter in Denver.
Panorama from the inside of a really great bookstore focused on design, photography, and art called Mendo. Turns out it’s a design agency, too. An incredible store.
I also love that there’s a guy riding his bike outside and it’s awesomely blurry.
Somewhere I didn’t go the first time I was the Bloemanmarkt (the Dutch Flower Market). My folks had been a few weeks before I did and I loved their photos. So we walked down one morning and I snapped some photos. I love these Chinese Lantern Flowers.
Crazy but amazing flowers! Wish I knew what they were called in English.
One of the most unique museums we went to in Amsterdam was the Netherlands Media Art Institute (NIMk). The exhibit they had was called Space Invaders, which was an exploration of the virtual arenas that video games are played in. Some people even tried to bring these spaces into the real world.
This piece is called “Tetris” by Michael Johansson, and was built using items found in storage units (see more of his Tetris series).
We went to Broueri T’ij when we were in Amsterdam to do some drinking. After we tried all the beers they had, I chatted up the bartender there. And he offered to give us a private tour. It was really sweet to see how they operate. It’s a small brewery, but their beer is pretty tasty.
A bank of computers on the ground floor of the new library in Amsterdam. The lights in the background are over the children’s stacks, and look like jacks. Beautiful.
The view from the top of the new library in Amsterdam is INCREDIBLE.
This is the VIP sampling portion of the Dutch Bock Beer Festival. It’s a good thing that I know and have done business with the biggest European craft beer importer there probably is. I got to sample a few really wonderful bock beers, but more importantly I was able to speak to European brewers, distributors and craft beer bar owners about craft beer and its influence on the European beer scene. Thanks for the hookup and for getting me into the VIP party, Rick!
Just another beautiful Fall view of yellow trees and Dutch canals. This is an easy city to fall in love with when it looks like this.
What an amazing rooftop garden! In Amsterdam, where people are starved for space, a rooftop garden must be pretty expensive in this town.
We flew on 8 flights in 19 days, which was pretty overwhelming by the end of the trip. But I figured I’d take some movies of that part, too. Here we are taking off from Schiphol Airport on our way to Prague.
Next up, Prague. Another beautiful city during a beautiful (and uncrowded time of the year).
When those Twitter memes start to get big, I like to take them as an opportunity to flex my brain muscle. Being a jack-of-all-trades kind of guy, my professional expertise extends far beyond my skills as a graphic designer. I particularly like branding and copywriting, even though I hold a degree in Studio Art.
This week’s fun meme was #fatindiebands. Everyone from my friend Katie to Alyssa Milano (Sah-man-tuh!) were spewing out fun remixes of indie rock band names. The meme is still going strong and you can see what everyone is coming up with in real time by watching the #fatindiebands hashtag on Twitter.
Late last night I decided to jump on the bandwagon with my own list of them. And (as usual) I got carried away. Here are my 19 mashups for #fatindiebands.
- PinBabyBackRibs #fatindiebands
- She & Him & A Side Of Bacon #fatindiebands
- DeVotchKake #fatindiebands
- Gregory Alan Isakoffee Ice Cream #fatindiebands
- The Candy Apples In Stereo #fatindiebands
- Cap’n Crunch Jazz #fatindiebands
- CocoPuffsRosie #fatindiebands
- The Flaming Baked Alaska Lips #fatindiebands
- The Hold Steady I’m Trying To Eat This Chocolate Sundae On This Tilt-A-Whirl #fatindiebands
- Iron & Port Wine Cheese #fatindiebands
- Kaki Burger King #fatindiebands
- Kings of Convenience Store Hot Dogs #fatindiebands
- The Magnetic Mrs. Fields #fatindiebands
- MariBurgerTime #fatindiebands
- Nada Surf ‘N Turf #fatindiebands
- Neutral Chocolate Milk Hotel #fatindiebands
- The Postal Room Service #fatindiebands
- The Promise Ring Pop #fatindiebands
- John Vanderslice Of Cheese Pizza #fatindiebands
Well, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve been back. I meant to get some blog entries about my trip to Europe up sooner, but figured it would make sense to wait a little.
You see, I went on this trip with my girlfriend. However, she broke up with me a few days after we got back and I thought that I should let the rage subside so I could focus on the trip and be less bitter about my experiences there. I’m still upset about it happening, not because she was “the one who got away” but because she was a fun person to hang out with, and her insights on our relationship made me realize a little better how people see who I am and all the faults I have.
Overall, I still think the trip was a success. However, coming home and getting dumped so soon afterward unfortunately will tarnish my experiences there.
Enough of this self-indulgent and introspective bullshit, time for the photos. If you want to see the entire 107 image photoset, here’s a link to that too.
Next up is Amsterdam. I’m still working on those photos, hopefully I’ll have something for you to see next week.
Some beautiful organic produce at the Burough Market.
Shocking to think about, but it was pretty sunny when we were in London. We even smooched in the sun on the Tower Bridge, which is probably something that’s rare for a couple to get to do. Perhaps it was a bad omen, though.
We saw Soulive at the Jazz Cafe. They were promoting their new album “Rubber Soulive” but my favorite cover they did was of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Lenny”.
A 360° Panorama of the Elgin Marbles, which was purchased from Greece. These sculptures were originally from the frieze at the Parthenon.
We happened to walk past Buckingham Palace right as they were doing the changing of the guards. It was crowded but was exciting to see. My favorite part was the marching bands. I snapped this shot when they were on their way back to the Palace. Note the guy on the left eyeballing me.
We saw the Gauguin exhibit at the Tate Modern. Granted, it was a Sunday, but it was much too crowded for my tastes. The kids were pretty awesome in London musuems. It seemed there were really good materials for them to stay interested in all this art, like this kid on the floor below a self-portrait of Gauguin on the cross.
Walking home after having met up for beers with my pal Matt Galligan, I came across this bloke, who was snoring really loud. He was also missing a shoe. It’s all fun and games until you pass out cold in an alley.
The Tower of London was pretty amazing, except for all the Crown Jewels stuff that I wasn’t interested in. I especially loved the inscriptions that prisoners from 500 years ago left to chronicle their imprisonment.