Wednesday, May 30, 2007

koninginnedag, hippie music festivals, and gorillas

The last month or so has been pretty busy. We took a spontaneous five-day trip to Amsterdam for Queensday, carrying only one full luggage case of photographic equipment with us. Which was good, because Amsterdam is crowded around Queensday. You can tell the tourists from the locals, because the tourists are wearing gigantic orange hats [insert picture of Andrew in hat here] and attempting to look Dutch, while the locals are wearing blue jeans and chilling in their boats going up and down the canals. The World Press Photo competition's exhibit was in town, which was awesome. No trip to Amsterdam is complete without a visit to the Rijksmuseum to sit in front of the Night Watch for a while, but sadly, a horde of loud French-speaking tourists with a tour guide prevented peaceful contemplation.

The flight back involved Orbitz "accidentally" cancelling half our flight reservations (orbitz sucks!), so we ended up in Charles deGaulle airport for five hours while waiting for the next flight back to the states (CDG sucks!), where I made the best of the situation by working on a design doc on my laptop (productivity! yay!), but at least we were upgraded to business class for the international leg of the flight (reclining seats and champagne! yay!), after which we spent three hours in Atlanta (sucking much less than CDG), and after getting through the security checkpoint my laptop would no longer boot (productivity lost! x-rays suck!), and finally arriving home nearly 24 hours after leaving Amsterdam. So. No more Orbitz for me.

In mid-May we went to Lightning in a Bottle, a hippie music festival near Santa Barbara. We carried the full package of photographic gear this time: light rigs, extra cameras, light meters, loads of film, the cute reflector gadgets, and cables that I swear do not go with this camera but are on hand Just In Case; all of it requiring that it carefully be repackaged each time the setup has to move another hundred yards to get better "flow". I've always thought of camping as something you do with just the gear that fits on your back, but apparently that's not the custom in California. :) "Camping" involved an air mattress. With an electric gadget to inflate it. And pillows. Actually, it's kinda nice to have pillows. The music was pretty sweet too, lots of electronic stuff. Here's the pictures.

Last weekend I drove the gorilla crew around San Francisco to take promotional photos for the fun run coming up on June 10. (Photo gear filled the car trunk, but required no actual carrying on my part.) This will be my first fun run, and while we will be wearing gorilla suits, at least it looks like it will be a cold morning in SF. It's not too late to register, if you're into that sort of thing. Anyway, last weekend, the gorilla organizers and associated hangers-on dressed up in gorilla suits and drove go-cars around the touristy part of SF, periodically unloading to take photos, shoot video, and hand out flyers, (photos of the gorillas in action) and I got to hone my skills at veering in and out of city traffic on a holiday weekend, with various people hanging out the car windows with videocameras. This escape from Alcatraz moment is my favorite.

The cat is now hinting loudly that he wants attention.