Monday, December 28, 2009

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bathroom Gnome is Watching You.

Mr. Bathroom Gnome lives in my parents' bathroom. Don't worry — he only likes to watch.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

House of Como

House of Como
Originally uploaded by mrtoastey

Evansville's remarkable and unique House of Como with the fam

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Xmas Present from ACEWeekly

Well, golly — the fine folks over at ACEWeekly, Lexington's longtime beacon of culture and local activism, have once again honored me (alongside coolios like the Buster's folks), and I'm touched!

What a nice holiday prezzie to be called a "Model Renaissance Man" in our town, which has been in the thankful throes of a renaissance all its own,especially in the last year. And cheers to ACEWeekly, who we always count on for reminders of what's good here in Lexi (as well as what could use some work).

Here's a permalink to the e-version of their holiday edition.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Final beach morning

Lucy and I took a walk this am on the delightful Ocean Park beach that has been our delightful host for 3 days.. Almost time to head to the airport..

Kentucky Oak

Learned at Casa Bacardi that all their rum product is aged in — that's right — Kentucky oak barrels passed on from our beloved bourbon distilleries. For approaching 100 years. Is that cool or what?

Lucy ferry still life

Lucita at Casa Don Q

Our 2nd rum stop was Don Q, where more history and — oh yeah — free rum was found.. And consumed.

Casa Bacardi!

So impressive. My opinion of Bacardi has gone up magnitudes.

Ferry from Casa Bacardi

After a delightful trip to Casa Bacardi, we take the 50 cent ferry back to Old San Juan … and continued free rum at Casa Don Q

Tattoo hue

Neither are tattoo. Both are delightful.

Just this final morning

Somehow I've otherwise managed to stay off a laptop. Entire vacay chronicled on iPhone

Tattoo is also a rum

Neither are tattoo. Both are delightful.

Tatt Lu too

Tatt Lu

Neither are tattoo. Both are delightful.

Tattoo is also a rum

Neither are tattoo. Both are delightful.

Que Coincidence!

Vacation coincidences are fun.

On Vieques, it was fairly normal to recognize practically every single person we saw. We would even see familiar faces at beaches far removed from our digs, beaches that had literally less than half-a-dozen people on them. It's just when it continued past Vieques that things started getting weird. Puerto Rico mainland is quite sizable and populated. And we weren't staying in Old San Juan, the tourist mecca.

Here's some of Lucy's favorite coincidental sightings that we've had over the last several days.
  • A German family we were seated next to on Vieques showed up as house guests at Numero 1.
  • A Numero 1 guest family showed up seated next to us at Baru, one of Old San Juan's hundreds of restaurants, and "up the hill," off the beaten path.
  • Also, at Baru, we discovered ourselves to be two doors down from the place that Lucy and I spent Halloween a few years ago. A place who's name and location neither of us could have recollected.
  • On our second dinner occasion -- a place called Mohito's in Old San Juan, another guest family from Numero 1 rolled in. (Keep in mind: our guest house has a occupancy of maybe 2 dozen and we selected the place at the last minute from Yelp).
  • Our cab back from OSJ was the same friendly driver who took us to Baru the night before. (randomly selected from a cab queue)

Monday, December 21, 2009

People Get Ready

The tropics have made momentary Bob Marley fans of Lucy and I. Which leads to "One Love." Which leads to "People Get Ready."
Written by: Curtis Mayfield
Produced by: Johnny Pate
Released: Jan. '65 on ABC-Paramount
Charts: 8 weeks
Top spot: No. 14

People Get Ready

The Impressions

Posted Dec 09, 2004 12:00 AM

"It was warrior music," said civil-rights activist Gordon
Sellers. "It was music you listened to while you were preparing to
go into battle." Mayfield wrote the gospel-driven R&B ballad,
he said, "in a deep mood, a spiritual state of mind," just before
Martin Luther King's march on the group's hometown of Chicago.
Shortly after "People Get Ready" was released, Chicago churches
began including their own version of it in songbooks. Mayfield had
ended the song with "You don't need no ticket/You just thank the
Lord," but the church version, ironically, made it less Christian
and more universal: "Everybody wants freedom/This I know."

 blog it

Coconuts the size of acorns!


For Leah

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Old San Juan

Old San Juan

City lights

Creepy Christmas



Old San Juan

Happy kids with amazing "bubble guns."

Pink bug

Tiles for Melissa muir

Portrait meta


We're in Old San Juan for a bite. Amazingly, we've: seen the Carnival Victory in port, and are eating down the street from a little bar that we coincidentally spent a memorable Halloween at on our last visit. Thanks, OSJ!

Carnival Victory

The last cruise ship we were on (really -- the last), coincidentally in port in San Juan

Fajardo ferry station

The sublime mayhem and bustle of Fajardo.

Ferry lines


When we came back from Vieques, I had made arrangements for our previous cab-guy, Luis, to meet us at the somewhat remote ferry station in Fajardo. Luis had gotten us at the airport (by random position in the cab queue), and he was personable enough that we made tentative arrangements to give him another $80 (yes, $80) to come fetch us when we returned, five days later.

The cab situation in San Juan is a little crazy. The place -- like so many places you just look at on the map -- is quite a lot larger than I thought. And there is seemingly no other way to get from the airport to the ferry station than to take an $80 cab ride. (you can take a puddle-jumper but it's even more $$).

Luis was chatty and friendly and full of cheer and observations, during the hour ride through San Juan traffic mayhem -- both the freeway and in-town versions. And beyond that, dude had gone to LA for Michael Jackson's memorial service. On his own. Without friends in LA. I know, right?

So -- flash forward
Gave Luis a call the night before our return and he happily agreed to meet us in Fajardo, proudly indicating that he would arrive a half-hour early and wait for our arrival. Nice.

I was curious about the ferry ride back. It's apparently the beginning of the "high season" on Vieques, so we knew the ferry to the island would be full. But on a Saturday, we guessed that the ferry back to mainland PR would be sparse. We were kinda wrong. It was fairly well attended, and we waited an extra 15 minutes while a salsa band loaded on, which was fine.

Fajardo ferry stationAn hour and a half later, when the ferry docked in Fajardo, we were greeted with what we're coming to understand is typical PR mayhem. Lots of people, hustle, bustle, etc. This is kind of funny because Luis (probably as a shrewd businessman) had previously painted a portrait of remote abandon, insinuating that we might be marooned in Fajardo if we didn't arrange for transpo ahead of time. Heh. Funny thing...

Stepped off the boat to taxis left and right, solicitations, etc. Plenty o' cabs, that was for sure.. But where was Luis? In the hubbub, he might be around the corner, but I dialed him up and learned that there was "some sort of accident" on the highway, and he was glad that I called, because he was going to have to turn back, and we should probably just get another cab. Hookay! Really, not a problem, just a surprise.

We immediately found another dude, who spoke little to no English, but offered us passage to our new digs, Numero 1 Guest House, for $75. New guy didn't have anything like the personality of Luis -- in fact, we were totally ignored, probably just due to the language barrier. Also, we quickly picked up a couple of extra riders, locals, I guessed and maybe friends of our driver? It was hard to say. It was all very murky, but I was kind of tweaked because I wondered if our fare should be full, if others were riding too. Wasted energy, I know, but still, that's where my mind was.

Probably because my mind was already there, it was a crazy, endless cab ride that Lucy and I increasingly couldn't wait to be done with. Almost no conversation and over an hour with a driver who:
  • talked delightedly with the two other peeps, while we sat quietly 2 feet behind him.
  • had the most amazingly distinctive and exasperating cell phone ringtone (a kid from a cartoon, I think, maybe playing "train" going "Choo-kah-choo-kah, CHOO-kah, choo-kah! Choo-kah! CHOO-KAH! WOO-WOOOOO!" which rang about every five minutes and he would answer flatly, "Buenos Tardes."
  • Ultimately had no idea where we were going -- including a trip down a dead-end alley that we practically had to back out of -- and thank God for my iPhone, because I actually got us there.
There was a point of cultural hilariousness, though, that inspired this post: Our cab was a passenger van. After we departed, our driver fairly immediately picked up another rider, a similarly aged man in his 60s, who was invited to sit in the front passenger seat. Ten minutes later, without fanfare, we picked up a mid-60s woman, who climbed in, ignoring my salutation of "hola!," and sat in the row behind us.

About 20 minutes (and much joyful chatter between the two gentlemen) later, the one fellow got dropped off (with his large, nearly-empty suitcase? For work? For what?). After he sauntered off, the woman, once again without fanfare, climbed out from behind us, and out the side door ... just as the driver began to pull away. She literally had one foot out the door and we began rolling.

Somewhat alarmed -- as our highly-developed American sense of caution has taught us to be -- Lucy and I both kind of sounded off as did the woman who was about to be dragged by a moving vehicle.

The driver looked back... a glance of recognition passed between he and the woman (we were once again ignored completely) -- and they both began roaring with laughter, as he came once again to a complete stop, and she relocated to the front seat.

It was a nice reminder that alarm and concern are shades that vary in hue from culture to culture. And the weirdest moment of our weird cab ride.

Thank you, Numero 1 Guest House for saving us.

Número 1 Dirty Pussy

Lucy's new friend at our swank mainland digs, Numero 1 Guest House, near Old San Juan PR

Ferry portraits

I was powerless not to photograph the various personas of repose on the fajardo-vieques ferry. Our return trip to mainland Puerto Rico, and subsequent taxi-ride-of-eternity to Numero 1.

Christmas ghosts

Yard ornaments in Ocean Park, near our digs.

Goodbye to Vieques

Five wonderful days on the delightful and slightly peculiar island of Vieques. The popular maxim "who cares what time it is? You're on Vieques!" is multifaceted, hilarious, relaxing, and occasionally crazy.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy SantaCon Lex!!!

Ho! To our Lexington Santas who are on the move tonight!!

Leaving Vieques

Some ferry quadcams seem like a good idea. We're headed for the highly anticipated Numero Uno guest house, near Old San Juan.

Row boats

Dock Boy v2

Near sunset, we watched as a boy, a girl (siblings? Mother and son? Hard to say) and their dog showed up and fooled around.

Sunset — Esperanza, Vieques

The visitors and the locals are both prone to gaze reverently into the sinking sun.

Dock Boy v1

Near sunset, we watched as a boy, a girl (siblings? Mother and son? Hard to say) and their dog showed up and fooled around.

Poolside — Casa de Tortuga

Mornings are time for coffee and iguana-watching

Thee photographer repose

iPhone iPhone iPhone. The entire trip on iPhone, folks. Never dis I expect to do that, but the introduction of apps like Photogene, Best Camera, Genius, TiltShift Generator and Pixelpipe have completely redirected my photobliss.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A fine line

Lucy and I never grew tired last night of supposing what life was like for this lovey-dovey "dreadlock rasta" (our christening) couple. And that was well before the dude strung up this rope and started doing crazy balancing stuff, attracting a crowd so his woman could hawk her knitted wares and jewelry. Completely mesmerizing.

Rasta rope-walking

Lucy and I never grew tired last night of supposing what life was like for this lovey-dovey "dreadlock rasta" (our christening) couple. And that was well before the dude strung up this rope and started doing crazy balancing stuff, attracting a crowd so his woman could hawk her knitted wares and jewelry. Completely mesmerizing.

The Bili

Dining in Vieques has been as odd and unpredictable as much of our other experiences here. Most of the food has been unremarkable, but our first meal! We randomly decided on a nouvelle looking place called Bili, mostly cuz they had some nice window views and an appealing drink special (made-from-scratch Mojotos). But the food — cheap and generously-portioned tapas — was extraordinary. In fact, we've fretted every day since, because they weren't open, again an again. I even feared at on point that maybe they'd quietly gone out of business, and we had their Last Supper. Finally last night Bili opened their doors again. The food was again amazing. The cocktails handmade and fabulous. This is The Bili, fresh fruit juice and rum infused with vanilla and cinnamon. I probably couldn't drink more than one, but sublimely unusual. A tip of the hat to Alexander, our personable and talented server/barkeep, and also to the mesmerizing, rope-walking dreadlock rasta kids across the street that kept us deeply entertained through dinner, though they probably didn't realize.