TV. I’ve been watching it.

March 4th, 2017

We’ll start with the most recent and work backwards.

1. Legion on FX. Anyone else watching Legion? I started because British McHotSauce from Downton Abbey was the lead and I’ve always liked his weird risky acting choices and piercing blue eyes. Dan Stevens. I met him once. Stabbed him in one of his pretty eyes with my antler. Photographic proof at bottom of entry:

http://design-newyork.com/blog/2012/12/19/santacon-2012/

I want to like the show, I really do, but it’s a bit too trippy. I realize it’s about a man called David Haller who has been told his whole life he’s schizophrenic when it turns out he’s got superpowers like telekinesis so they show-people want to make it resemble the chaos that mental illness can wreak. HOWEVER, enough is enough. On top of David being crazy-wait-not-crazy-just-magical other people are trying to go through his memories and you know how the inside of your head looks like your grandma’s garage, with crap and thoughts and bits of dreams piled up all over the place? We the viewer are trekking through many minutes of that. It’s only up to episode 3 so I’m hoping in the next few episodes we stop with the demons chasing characters down hallways that lead to nowhere and the epilepsy-inducing strobe effects. On a positive note, the atypical relationship David has with his girlfriend is charming and interesting to see developing.

legion-sweepstakes

2. The Crown on Netflix. It’s the story of the early years of the Queen of England. While I am fully aware that like with every docu-style series everyone on the show is way more attractive with better teeth and above-par conversation skills it was still cool to see a relatively non-fiction retelling of the beginning of Elizabeth the Two’s reign. I think any time a little girl says, “When I grow up I want to be a princess!” we should show them this. “Yes, Bryleigh, being a princess may sound appealing but actually it ends up being not fun at all. There’s lots and lots of paperwork, like a big box a day with your name etched into the box so you can’t give it to someone else to do. And you can’t behead your enemies anymore, in fact you might even have to make small talk with them at parties and tamp down your hatred for the sake of international relations.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LukyMYp2noo

Anyway, back to the show. I learned a series of things I previously had no idea about. First of all in the beginning we see surgery being performed on Elizabeth’s father, King George VI. I assumed kings of empires in the 20th century had their surgeries in hospitals but no, they have them in ballrooms.

ballroom-surgery

Do you see those chandeliers? How awesome are those? I can’t tell if it’s perspective but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were all twenty feet tall because why the hell not. I want all my surgeries in ballrooms from now on. Stained glass windows optional.

There were three things that I learned that blew my mind. One, there was a smog crisis in London in the 1950s where TWELVE THOUSAND people died. Not all immediately, about four thousand people died in the five days that the air was unbreathable, but the effects continued on for years and about twelve thousand people’s demises can be traced back to the smog. How… how have I never known about this? Why was this not taught to me in school in Social Studies as opposed to the gross national product of Belgium which has been of no use whatsoever in my life? (I don’t remember what it was. I assume it’s beer.)

Second, I had no idea that the next-in-line to the throne was not educated. I mean, there are shots of Elizabeth being homeschooled and learning about the Constitution of England but that’s kinda the length and breadth of what she’s taught. Later in the series Elizabeth bemoans the fact that she’s expected to speak to world leaders and she doesn’t know anything. She secretly hires a private tutor. I don’t know why but I assumed that she would be well-read and knowledgeable but it seems like they kept her ignant so they could keep control over her.

Third, okay, Philip, the Queen’s husband, he knew who he was marrying, right? Like, he knew she was going to be queen and the stuff the royal family did for the last bazillion years that hadn’t changed ever? Then why is one of the tropes of the series Philip being butthurt about being the second in the family? He knew he would have to bow to her. He knew he would have to walk two paces behind. I don’t understand where Philip gets off being all “oh no mah fragile masculinity be ouchy” when he clearly could see the future. Very few of us can anticipate what’s coming. He could. I don’t know if that’s true or amped up for the show but if it is true then dude, seriously. Maaaaaaybe don’t marry the future Queen of England, maybe? Yeah.

The main thing I liked about the series was the transition from Elizabeth being a person with thoughts and feelings to a masthead for a nation with no personal identity. There’s supposed to be a second season, I’m psyched to see her further development

 

Addendum: Dammit, Legion. I saw the fourth episode and not only were there tons of flashbacks and general craziness, now there’s a guy in an oldey-timey diving suit walking through a field of glowing grass and living in a hollowed-out ice cube. You keep this up you gonna lose me.

I have charts in my heart for you.

March 1st, 2017

1a9wt 1aji2 9db77asc0vu963gm-cp0x38x625x892-fram640x414x640x414xxxx constellations_2 mpw4jxz sticky-life-illustrations-about-adult-life-by-chaz-hutton-10 sub-buzz-10561-1478796957-3 sub-buzz-20693-1478796215-1  tumblr_o96c0matuo1r11jbho1_500  tumblr_odffm0pvjo1rir0h2o1_500 tumblr_ofkypaz3cs1qzfebyo1_1280  tumblr_ofpnn8fgte1qmoni4o1_500  tumblr_oh1m1gsykf1r6q8euo1_500 tumblr_oh3kcotzd51s24ep9o1_500tumblr_ofmkffyw1w1up1pz9o1_500tumblr_o0132qog9h1v2xt29o1_500 tumblr_ohds5uy5hg1r6q8euo1_500 tumblr_ohf6kwme2a1s2pegxo1_500 tumblr_ohx8u16edz1qlz5pmo1_500 tumblr_oifyv3bjup1qewacoo1_500tumblr_oir98ajc9s1ujz1ago1_500 tumblr_oj6gajutge1qewacoo1_500

Nuggets of Interest.

February 26th, 2017

1. McMansions. A blight on the eyes. There is now a website that explains why the architecture is so not great.
http://www.mcmansionhell.com/

Some helpful diagrams of the crappityness:

http://68.media.tumblr.com/0a36042f20db6d53ded10b73f0d48c3e/tumblr_inline_ogsoncC0vE1sppt0x_1280.png

http://68.media.tumblr.com/47c1b1c183099c7aa256c926d9a0b4ce/tumblr_inline_og2wcdHpM91sppt0x_1280.png

http://68.media.tumblr.com/ca0eda2a8c26bf39c7f922079e282928/tumblr_inline_ofeenzGhCV1sppt0x_1280.png

http://68.media.tumblr.com/f8dff9e65f22b732fc345de5b01741c6/tumblr_inline_ofef73vsHi1sppt0x_1280.png

http://68.media.tumblr.com/4cf3ea1e5379c82eb1791506a9668e1f/tumblr_inline_oeqv95rWjN1sppt0x_1280.png

 

2. There’s a psychotic piece of music out there that is impossible to play because, well, see for yourself.

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Yeah. Exactly. However, because human being love a challenge (stop climbing Mt. Everest! Seriously! You’re not supposed to be there!) someone figured out how to play it on a piano. And here it is. To me it sounds like the best video game music ever.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3Nc4iR7rGA

 

3. Google Maps was kind enough to find the saddest places on earth and collate them into helpful collages. Thanks, Google Maps.

sad-1 sad-4 sad-5

 

4. I can’t stop watching these cookies being painted. Who has hands this steady? Who? Where do these people exist? So phenomenal.https://youtu.be/Cs600U6OJJo

https://youtu.be/YZQiSEB60LM

 

5. The interwebs being amazing again. Someone posted this:

sub-buzz-12800-1476797742-18

The internet appreciated the mangling of “bon appetit” so much they made it a meme and it’s descended into madness and I’m enjoying it immensely.

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My personal favorite:

screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-3-05-49-pm

6. And finally, another architectural thing. Thomassons. Who knew.

http://www.messynessychic.com/2017/01/18/the-inexplicably-fascinating-secret-world-of-thomassons/

Warning: It’s gonna get disgusting.

February 23rd, 2017

But not too much. We’re going to dance around the disgusting, hint at it, and then dart away quickly. You’ll be fine.

First, an inevitability has happened. I have found the only animal that grosses me so much I had to look away from the television. Let me explain what it is before I show it to you. It’s a plaque of barnacles that fell off of a pier or a boat and the living barnacles are opening and closing their front door which looks like a cat’s nictitating eyelid (already gross) and then instead of an eyeball being in there fingers come out. FINGERS COME OUT OF THE EYELID HOLES OF THINGS CLUSTERED ON A BLOB THAT LOOKS LIKE NEW YORK STREET GARBAGE. Nightmares for life. You ready? Here we go.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmfohJ7wMZA

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Second thing, I have a good old-fashioned stomach virus. I haven’t had one of these in twenty years! So exciting! They are pretty much how I remember from my youth. Someone I did not remember: vague hallucinating. Nothing drastic but juuuuuust enough to remind you of your unwell state, similar of how people describe pot (“Did you ever really look at your palm, man? I mean, really look?”). Two instances that happened today:

  1. When I was in the shower I realized I was doing that owl motion where your head moves back and forth, back and forth. Because I had just realized, guys, items in the foreground move more than items in the background! Trippy! And I probably should not have been showering without supervision! https://media.tenor.co/images/7f4af3eff9fe127d0bb3bdb41c08206c/raw
  2. I looked at the toilet paper roll packaging and it said “double roll” but I read it as “death roll” which made me think of crocodiles and how they kill their prey and then I might have dozed off on the can for ten or fifteen minutes. This has not been a day of peak excellence.

But I’m healing and soon I will be no longer infectious and that will be nice. Until then, Gatorade and Tums are my best buddies.

Iceland Part 9, Iceland and done.

February 22nd, 2017

In addition to gawking over the landscape all the time I also ate Icelandic food. No, I did not try puffin or whale. Puffin was not in season and whale is supposed to be gross so it was not a difficult pass for me. I ended up making a reservation for Cricket and me at an extremely fancy restaurant called Dill. Dill serves cuisine using authentic local ingredients and you eat what they’re serving. Five courses or seven courses. That’s it. I liked the scariness of no control but I trusted them. I was right to do so.

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Cricket and I ended up with the five-course meal because we were going to see the northern lights later and the seven-course took two and a half hours to serve (!). Here’s the menu.

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We missed out on the dung-smoked trout (the table next to us had it and said it was fantastic, I felt epic FOMO) and the 99% Omnom (Icelandic brand of chocolate). The little appetizers that are listed as a clump at the top were okay, I did not care for the chicken skin with yeast but the shredded wolf-fish with brown butter was yummers.

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Then there was the monkfish cheeks (known to be the softest part of the fish) cooked with artichokes and dulse which is red seaweed. I could have eaten a soup bowl full of that.

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Followed by Cricket’s favorite: pickled tusk (a white fish similar to cod) served with seaweed, black garlic and a splash of yogurt. SO DELICIOUS. Pickling and fermentation plays a huge role in Icelandic cuisine since they only have fifteen minutes of daylight a year. In fact, Dill’s front window is made up of pickled items in jars.

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Then my favorite: shredded fermented rutabaga, toasted rye bread crumbs and cod chunks. It had a faint vinegar flavor and in my photo some of it is missing because I forgot to take a photo first and immediately started snorfing it down.

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The last savory dish we had was the pork belly with cracklins on top and parsnip with honey. It was okay. I mean, it was really good but the other dishes were kind of amazing so it was difficult to appreciate it.

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And finally there was the dessert which was a fancy smore – cake made from rye, malted cream and prunes. I watched them make it (we were right next to the open kitchen) and the only concern I had was when the chef used the creme brulee torch on the cream. Please note the scorch marks on the wooden plates. Methinks maybe not wooden plates in the future, eh, chef?

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This place was so Icelandic-themed they even gave us the check in a knitted pouch. Iceland is big on the knitting because of the sheepies.

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The other place Cricket and I ate was magnificent, recommended by Snorth (thank you Snorth!). It was called Ostabudin and it’s kind of like a high-class delicatessen. We got the hot-smoked goose salad (may contain pellets) and the meat feast (also may contain pellets).

ostabudin1 ostabudin2

They were exquisite. And now I can say I have eaten horse! It tastes like bison. Red meat, very lean. If you’re down with cured meats (and I very much am) the meat feast was where it was at. You can also see they substituted the blue cheese for what they said translated literally to “ugly cheese” and they had built a little house of baguette slices over it to shield us from its ugliness (which I thought was overreacting, it looked like brie). I uncloaked the cheese for this photo.

ostabudin3

On our last night in Iceland, Cricket and I decided to go to a performance at the Harpa. The Harpa is the large music hall similar to Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall. It was built to resemble the basalt columns and was covered in hexagons and lights. If you know me, you know my feelings about hexagons and lights (big big fan). So I adored the Harpa. I could not take an lame picture of it if I tried.

harpa12 harpa10 harpa6 harpa5 harpa4

It had a huge empty main space with several concert halls and theater spaces branching off from the primary area. There was a gift shop that sold your typical gift shop items, as well as some stranger choices. Like these books by the famous Icelandic cartoonist Hugleikur Dagsson.

harpa8

And then there were some Christmas ornaments and they were also pretty typical except for one. Listen to this description: it clearly was made from a model of Finding Nemo‘s Squirt the Turtle but painted as if it was a drag queen with a foil rainbow Christmas tree impaled into its head. Because that’s what the world needed.

harpa13 harpa14

Anyway, the show we saw. The only thing being performed during our stay in Reykjavik was a electronic dance band called… The Vagina Boys. I wish I was kidding. I am not. There were signs all over town.

harpa1 harpa2 harpa3

So Cricket and I bought tickets and we went. It took place in an enormous black box theater and because we got there at 7:50 when the show was supposed to start at 8:00 (it didn’t start until 9:00, Cricket and I are extremely cool and “with it”) we got to claim a small patch of floor and camp out on it.

harpa11

We were waaaaay older than all the other people there. It was mostly high school kids. And I do love me some electronic dance music but this sounded like 21 Pilots sung in Icelandic. The Vagina Boys were predominantly mixing behind a musician named Kef Lavik. I found some of the music to give you a taste of the experience.

https://soundcloud.com/vaginaboys

Cricket and I lasted about an hour and then we were both like, “This is very nice mellow uninspiring music and we’re good.” The next day we packed up and headed back to the U.S. A few things in the airport I noticed:

In addition to the giant dragon’s egg sculpture there is also a sculpture of the end of the rainbow. I thought that was pretty cool.

airport2

And two massive beautiful stained glass windows at either end of the interior space. Very Chagall / Picasso-esque.

airport3 airport4

That’s my trip to Iceland. I would love to go back, possibly in the summer when the sun is out all the time and the wildflowers are blooming. We shall see if that comes to pass.

Iceland Part 8, More Reykjavik. NSFW.

February 15th, 2017

You wanted to learn about a dick museum? Well, it’s your lucky day!

But first, a dick-free portion.

The Icelandic language looks like old, old, old, OLD English. Like Very First English. But you can see the similarities between the two languages.

geothermal-bakery9 geothermal-bakery13

Look at this fun poster encouraging Icelanders to learn French! I took this mainly for the sheep’s face.

fun-sign

Palate cleanser over. You prepared? Here we go.

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The Phallological Museum of Iceland is very small; It’s one room and it very clearly was started by one exceptionally creepy man who loved man junk and collected all the options. One day he said to himself, “Hey, Creepy Guy, I should make money by sharing this with the world,” and so he has. The first thought that comes to mind is “variety”. The second thought is “pickled naked mole rat” because dismembered genitals sitting in jars do not look their best. Let’s visit, shall we?

We got some horse dick:

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Elephant and whale dick:

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Big dicks, small dicks:

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Super teeny tiny dicks:

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Edible cured dick:

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Tired of side dick? How about straight-on dick?

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A goat head with no dicks in proximity and all the explanations were in Icelandic so no clue what’s going on here:

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Dicks as planters and scrotums as light fixtures because why should these dead animals have any dignity:

phallic-museum11 phallic-museum7 phallic-museum8 phallic-museum9

Dick bones (most mammals have them):

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And then people stuff. The people stuff bothered me a bunch. It felt very, “Heheheh, people are gonna be looking at my twigs n’ berries, look at ’em, yeah.” I felt like I was an unwilling participant in someone’s fetish. Therefore I will spare you a picture of the 95-year-old-man to donated his genitals and they are on display. If you want to know what they looked like, think of whatever you think a 95-year-old man’s genitals would look like. There you go. I did like the metal casts of the entire Icelandic handball team.

phallic-museum6

You get the gist. Are we good? Do we feel like I covered this? Excellent. Moving on.

The docks! Cricket and I went to the docks. Not surprisingly as Iceland is a seafaring nation. At the Maritime Museum we got to take a tour of a boat used in the Cod Wars. I did not mistype. The Cod Wars was about fishing rights around England and Iceland. No one died but many boats smashed into other boats and several people needed to be rescued. The boat we were on was a Coast Guard boat and only recently retired.

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The item I thought was the coolest on board was the mine. Everybody see Finding Nemo? Remember the scene with the sharks and the pokey metal balls on chains that blew up? I got to see one up close and in person. It was left over from WWII and one of this boat’s jobs was to sniff these guys out.

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The museum itself explained the history of fishing in Iceland and they had real dead desiccated fish in their display.

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A lot of dead fish.

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And this jaunty poem.

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To end this post on a classy note the primary reason Cricket and Mishi wanted to go to Iceland in the winter was the see the northern lights. We expected to see them all week but there were clouds. Finally, on the last night, there they were.

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I probably would have enjoyed them more if I hadn’t been sitting in the car yelling about the Communists and the Illuminati. Let me explain. We were sitting on a mountain and all of a sudden there was a faint green glow. We all asked each other, “Is that it? Do you think that’s it?” and five minutes later the green glow had built into a giant stripe across the sky and bits of the stripes were dancing, DANCING, I tell you. Look:

northern-lights

Not right. Green lights dancing through the sky is un-right. Ergo me sitting in the car reacting like a flat-earth enthusiast. It’s beautiful, don’t get me wrong, it’s just… I can understand why ancient civilizations might be freaked out.

Next post: Food. And Harpa. Then done.

Iceland, Part 7: Reykjavik.

February 10th, 2017

Reykjavik is the Major City of Iceland with 150,000 inhabitants, about half of the island’s entire population. It’s a very nice city – not too big, not too small. A great many buildings are made of stucco and a delightful element of Reykjavik is the amount of artists that are allowed to paint murals all over town. There are tons of murals. The first one I saw was of a jacked-up looking bird pooping out a giant wad of string which wasn’t the best thing ever but many others were not a bummer.

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Our apartment was pretty great. It was on the top floor of a house. I was not fond of taking several flights of stairs while hoisting luggage but the view was stunning and the door handle had a whimsical charm.

reykjavik-attic-apartment1 reykjavik-attic-apartment2

A bunch of random things I saw walking around Reykjavik – first, a selection of buildings. Who knew that corrugated metal could be a tasteful and lovely house covering? I certainly didn’t until I came to Iceland. Thanks, Iceland.

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Sometimes the stores are tucked behind each other and in order to draw you in the store owners paint happy patterns on the sidewalk. I want to do that everywhere. It’s like the magical yellow brick road leading you places. Gets old never.

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There are no Starbucks so the Dunkin Donuts look like fancy coffee houses. Frank Sinatra and Norah Jones playing over the stereo and everything.

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It’s a pretty hippy-ish town. I passed several places that would have been totally appropriate in Brooklyn. Like the vegetarian restaurant right next to our apartment which had the weirdest choice written on the sign. “Ecstasy’s Heart-Garden.” They paid money to have that specific phrase, written in that specific way, put on their signs. I checked and it’s also on their menus. And their websites. As a design nerd this flummoxes and upsets me but if they’re okay with it I ain’t sayin’ nothin’.

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This was the other Williamsburgian place that caught my eye. It’s perfect.

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Many of the Christmas trees I saw were cleaved in twain. Like, split from top to bottom. I have a feeling that this is because Christmas trees are super-rare so if you split it and mount both halves to the front of your establishment you get twice as much tree for your buck.

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Cool shingles that look like dragon scales.

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Teeny-tiny adorable city garden.

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Iceland loves the English phrase “and stuff.” I noticed it all over and it delighted me every time.

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A painting of a lion on the side of a coffee shop.

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Tiny building that does… something. Cricket and I stared at it for a period of time trying to figure out what it’s for. We came to no conclusions.

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Window displays! Two dead giant taxidermied ravens. Not the only dead giant taxidermied ravens I saw as window dressing. They were not for sale. I was sad.

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Cool authentic Christmas lamps. Also not for sale. I was less sad than the ravens, but still a bit forlorn.

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Drawings made by children. The drawings, they were your standard kid drawings, whatevs, but two of the names caught my eye. Those are awesome names. I want to yell them out because they make me sound like a pirate. Try it. They have excellent mouth-feel.

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Dorky Norseman statue.

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Awesome painting on the front of a basement skateboard shop.

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And a neato sticker.

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I like this architect’s approach. “I want to put a window on the corner of this building but I don’t want to figure out – ah, screw it, I’ll make a flat bit and slap a window there, fine, good, time for lunch.”

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And this guy’s idea. “I love the basalt columns of our country. We should represent them in the city. Where’s the best place to put a basalt column-inspired sculptu– oooh, I know! In the middle of the road where it is guaranteed to get smashed into by vehicles who were not expecting freakin’ rocks to pop up out of the road like mushrooms. That is the best idea ever.”

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If you dig more than five inches into the ground in Iceland there is a chance you’re going to hit poisonous lava gases so this job site requires gas masks.

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Finally, there was an Icelandic dog. I loved this dog. I wanted to pet this dog for forever.

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Coming up next: NSFW museum and fancy fancy dinner.

Iceland, Part 6.

January 30th, 2017

Sorry, the earth caught on fire and I had to go deal with that for a little while. I’ll post about that shortly. In the meantime, moss! SO MUCH MOSS, GUYS.

But first, not moss.

Look at this panoramic pic I took of a corner of the gigantor glacier that takes up a fifth of Iceland.

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And while there are like four trees total in Iceland, that does not mean they are completely bereft of plants. Look at the beautiful colors of this random ground cover.

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We stayed at a sheep farm for two nights. It was wonderful as long as you’re okay with the intense smell of sheep poop. I’m fine with it so it didn’t bother me.

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Right out our front door was an enormous field and then the glacier. Helluva view, I tell ya.

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Our first night there I could not wait to meet the sheep so I snuck out by myself and went to the barn area. I was using a flashlight and totally forgot that retinas reflect back so I was startled by a barn full of demon sheepies.

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DEMON SHEEPIES!!!

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Not really. They were pretty chill. Small and stocky and rather disinterested in me and my delight at meeting them. Except for one, the alpha male. He was sitting on a cube of hay directly in front of me and was not behind any blockade of any kind.

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All was going well until he decided he had had enough of my company and stood up in a threatening way and I realized he could bolt directly at me if he wanted to and I was like heeeeeeey would you look at the time I gotta go.

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Big fan of the two broads on the left. We chatted briefly before I made my hasty exit. Well, I chatted and they looked at me. Still counts.

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So, the moss. As you already know, Iceland is made out of lava and some of that lava is in chunks, like this:

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Very jagged. Well, this feathery moss (it’s really a lichen but everyone calls it moss so we’ll go with that) found that it clung really well to these chunks and covered them completely so now the chunks look squishy and soft and round. These moss fields go on for miles and miles. It’s all you can see in any direct. With the mist it makes it extra-otherworldly. I adored it. Team Iceland Moss 4 Eva.

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Remember when I said I was going to share about twenty pictures of moss and everyone was thought no way? Look at all that there moss, y’all. I culled it down too. There was a solid hundred pics. Seriously, I really liked the moss. Has anyone watched The OA on Netflix? There’s a shot of the lead character visiting heaven or purgatory of some other plane of existence and they used the moss fields for that shot. I was so psyched to see it in the show, I might have yelled, “Oh, hello Iceland moss!” alone in my apartment when that came up on the screen.

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Apparently you can make an awful-sounding soup from the moss where you have to add a massive amount of sugar to make it palatable but hey, you got to get your chlorophyll from somewhere and there isn’t a lot of choices. (I almost wrote “chloroform.” Glad I caught that.)

moss-soup

Let’s finish talking about the countryside while we’re here and then in the next post we can move onto Reykjavik. In the first place we stayed, a massive village of about fifty inhabitants, we went out for a walk in the morning by the seaside. Note, it is before 11:00am so the sun is not out yet.

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And while we were walking by the sea a sweet small friendly cat D christened Socks decided to join us. I loved Socks.

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He let me pick him up and sing to him! He wasn’t enthused but he tolerated it. Great cat. I wanted to stuff him in my luggage and take him with me but I was outvoted. Boo.

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Since almost all of Iceland runs on geothermal energy we also visited a power plant. I recommend going. It’s only about an hour outside of Reykjavik. Easy to get to.

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We took the tour and the lady was very informative. Here’s what she basically said: There is insanely hot poisonous water that they pump up from under the surface. A pipe filled with clean water is put in a bigger pipe filled with this hot demon water and that heats up the clean water. The giant pipes go to Reykjavik and only lose two degrees on the journey so the water is still crazy hot when it gets there.

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The poisonous death water is put back into the earth so there’s no collapse and it reheats and the circle begins anew.

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The hot water is also used to power massive turbines which in turn make electricity. It’s a pretty self-sufficient facility. There are 40 employees on weekdays and two on weekends. Two.

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The turbines come from Mitsubishi and the company thanked Iceland for buying their products with two very beautiful authentic Japanese crafts.

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This was my favorite chart on the wall explaining the lava under the city.

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They also had a display of all the indigenous rocks. I loved that the most to the surprise of nobody.

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Alright, onto the city.

Iceland, Part 5.

January 13th, 2017

I was so super-excited to go to swim between two tectonic plates. Remember? Remember that? How could I have known how depressingly south it would go for me?

Before delving into that sadness, let’s look at some other things.

“Coconut” is “Kokosnoot” in Norwegian. I vote we all move there solely based on this.

kokosnoot

Can anyone identify this meat? I’m guessing reindeer but I have no idea, really.

meat

The city closest to the basalt columns was Vik. I should have posted a picture of Vik earlier but I’m doing it now.

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You’ll note the church on the hill. Just about every single church in Iceland looked like that. Plain white building, one steeple, red roof. Here’s someone else’s picture showing a) how freakin’ small the town of Vik is, and b) how close it is to the beach with the amazing structures and the homicidal ocean.

http://cdn.c.photoshelter.com/img-get2/I0000aGd276FisUA/fit=1000×750/Vik-church-beach-Iceland-1975.jpg

And look! The volcano that ruined air travel back in 2010! Notice the big divot in the top.

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Alright, let’s tell the sad tale of how Jessica almost drowned in a truly sad manner. I was beyond psyched to go to where the plates came together. The video looked so enticing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qd1mv-wH5Pc

We arrived pretty early in the day and met up with the truck in the parking lot that had our dry suits. What’s a dry suit, you ask? It’s a suit designed for swimming in cold water. First, you strip down to your long underwear. Then you put on a pair of overalls made from sleeping bag material, so it’s puffy and warm. Everything was fine for me until the next step. You put on the dry suit. The dry suit is made out of a pretty rigid thicc-as-hell waterproof buoyant material so it is profoundly difficult to move your arms and legs. It’s also very heavy, so it’s like wearing a restrictive suit of armor. Mine was a tad too small so I could not exhale fully. In addition to being heavy and movement-resistant, there are TIGHT rubber gasket-like things around the wrists and neck to prevent water from leaking into the suit. The wrist ones were fine but the neck one made it hard to breathe. Like, to inhale. On top of that, mine was apparently a little too loose so the guy in charge put a RUBBER BELT around my neck to make it TIGHTER. I’m not making any of this up.

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At this point I’m beginning to panic very slightly and I think rightfully so because it was hard to breathe between the NECK BELT and the slightly-too-small suit. I had to consciously think about my breathing. We had to toddle over to the metal staircase into the water and it took me forever because I would immediately become out of breath. They put masks on us and flippers and we got into the water. The element most people were worried about was their exposed faces freezing from the 35-degree water but it was no problem, your face went numb after about thirty seconds. I floated pleasantly face down in the water and then I realized I was lagging behind the rest of the group so I attempted to catch up. This is the moment that changed everything. My snorkel got some water in it but because the suit was so rigid and buoyant I couldn’t flip myself upright to empty my snorkel and the guide said don’t touch the rock walls because they were covered with algae and touching them would dislodge the algae and cloud up the view. So I’m gurgling and trying to thrash (but I can’t) and I can’t take deep breaths and the neck belt is strangling me and that was my experience for the twenty minutes. I missed looking at everything because I was trying not to die. I finally had to be towed to shore by our guide because I was too pathetic to continue. If you’re wondering what I looked like this is a very accurate representation. I am the crocodile in this video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsRKYN8TeUg

And these are other pictures from the experience. I vaguely remember seeing this as the blackness took over my vision.

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The scenery was absolutely stunning. I loved how the rock still showed the folds of the lava.

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However, the whole day was not disappointment for me. I got to go to a indoor tomato farm! That was super cool. We went there for lunch.

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The menu is very limited and contains only tomato products but everything we had was absolutely delicious. Since electricity is pretty much free due to the volcano juice they can run those crazy grow lights twenty hours a day. This particular tomato farm supplies 18% of Iceland’s tomato needs.

Each table had a basil plant (also grown there) with a wee pair of scissors and a vessel of cold water that had two cherry tomatoes in the bottom.

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To start I got the “Mary Christmas” (all the drinks had the word Mary in them, based off of the Bloody Mary) which was a very sweet breed of tomato mixed with wine and mulling spices and served warm. It tasted almost exactly like spiced cider with a little alcohol. It was delicious and wintery.

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Then we all got the never-ending soup bowl with bread which was a brilliant decision because YUM.

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And I insisted on getting all three desserts because they all had tomato in them and I needed to understand how they worked. And they were all served in flower pots! There was apple and tomato cobbler with corresponding whipped cream pot, ice cream with candied green tomato and two kinds of tomato syrup, and cheesecake with green tomato jam.

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I took this picture of the ice cream so you could see the candied green tomato embedded in there.

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It all tasted wonderful. Tomato is very versatile.

After I had gorged on all the tomato wonderfulness I walked around the facility. Since tomatoes are not native to Iceland, these are from the Netherlands. And in order to pollinate the plants there are imported Dutch bumblebees! They live in filing boxes with their queen.

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It was so nice to see how to make food without putting too much stress on the earth. And this was the definition of farm to table. The tables were in the farm. I highly recommend the Iceland Tomato Experience.

 

Iceland, Part 4.

January 8th, 2017

Guys, I got to hug a glacier. A GLACIER, GUYS. It was amazing. But first, a canyon. It’s not mind-blowing or anything but I climbed a fairly steep hill to look at it so y’all gonna look at it too. Pretty pretty scenery.

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First we walked out to a glacier that was breaking apart at the edge in massive pieces, like yacht-sized pieces.

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I took a stop-motion video for about five minutes of the frost-barges heading out to sea.

That was lovely but my heart was set on snuggling with the ice so imagine my surprise when we walked about 100 feet to the beach and they they all were! Hanging out on the black beach being viciously pummeled by the ocean! It looked like a ship filled with tortured glass sculptures crashed and sunk and its booty washed up on shore. I was in heaven.

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Some chunks were cloudy with bubbles and some were blue and some were crystal clear. I loved all the kinds equally.

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But I think my most beloved type was the clear ones with soft pockmarking. Oh, so beautiful.

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I took a ton of close-up photos. The way the light reflected through them was intoxicating. I wanted to stay all day, possibly forever.

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Cricket and Mishi found a particularly cool piece. It was the size of a rowboat. Half of it was clear/blue and the other half was filled with dirt. Where is the dirt from? How old is the dirt? That dirt could be really old and from far away. The mind boggles at what that dirt has seen. It’s totally possible that it might have met the first settler from Norway in 800 A.D.

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The ocean is so powerful and untamed it was batting these multi-ton chunks around like tennis balls. It was so humbling to be in the presence of raw nature.

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Look at the gif below. As the wave comes in it shoves that ice boulder on the left like nothing. That thing was the size of an SUV, and the wave is all like, “Move, you’re in my way.” And the wave is practically on the beach and finished. Imagine the strength of the water further out.

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To finish off “All Glaciers All The Time Talk,” the other three went on a glacier cave hike one day. I did not accompany them because climbing with crampons and sticks on an icy surface is not my jam but here are the pictures they took. Very beautiful. Very blue.

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Coming up in the next post: fun story about how I almost drowned in the lamest way possible.