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Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018
7:25 pm - south africa & swaziland 2018 - part 4: johannesburg, soweto, paris, seattle
12 Day Classic South Africa with Robben Island
part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4

DAY 11 - Saturday 4-14-18 - Soweto Tour
After an early breakfast depart on a half day tour of Soweto. Experience a fascinating glimpse of the bustling neighborhood life of Soweto, the most metropolitan township in the country, setting trends in politics, fashion, music, dance, and language. Drive by the former residence of Bishop Desmond Tutu and visit Nelson Mandela's former home, before proceeding to the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum, dedicated to one of the first casualties of the Soweto uprising of 1976. Continue to the Apartheid Museum, where you will journey through the racial segregation experienced by millions of South Africans. This evening enjoy a Farewell Dinner with your Tour Manager and fellow travelers.
Overnight: Johannesburg

the best part of breakfast was a chicken & peppers dish that seemed decidedly un-breakfast-like, & there was also beef liver, lots of fresh fruit, the vanilla-pear yogurt i had on safari, & south africa's version of lox - same stuff, but just called salmon. we were off at 8:45am to soweto.

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thanks for reading.

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Sunday, May 20th, 2018
11:57 am - south africa & swaziland 2018 - part 3: kruger national park, johannesburg
12 Day Classic South Africa with Robben Island
part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4

DAY 9 - Thursday 4-12-18 - Kruger National Park Game Drive
The day begins at dawn with coffee, tea, and rusks, a South African dry biscuit. Upon departure from the hotel, a pre-packed breakfast will be provided for you. Then, on to Kruger National Park for a thrilling full day open-vehicle game drive. Larger than the state of Connecticut, the park offers some of the best game and wildlife viewing opportunities in the world, and early morning is an optimal time of day. You may have a chance to see lion, elephant, giraffe, or zebra in their natural habitat. After stopping at a rest camp for lunch on your own, continue your game drive. With any luck, you may even see cheetah and leopard. After the day's excitement, relax by the pool and enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Hazyview

the game drive in hluhluwe was one of my favorite activities, so i was really looking forward to more at kruger national park. & i was in no way disappointed. we woke at 4:45am, snacked on rusks in the lobby (tasty as hell! also suuuuper crispy & dense, so i made a bunch of jokes about being unable to hear anyone while eating one), then left in the dark for kruger national park. ahmet chatted about the "big five", the "ugly five", & the "little five". there are 510 recorded bird species in kruger, & over 100 reptile & amphibian species. south africa has the largest "civilized safari"; kenya has wonderful safaris too but they're not so luxe.

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Wednesday, May 16th, 2018
10:21 am - south africa & swaziland 2018 - part 2: durban, kwazulu-natal, mbabane
12 Day Classic South Africa with Robben Island
part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4

DAY 6 - Monday 4-9-18 - Flight to Durban, Game Viewing Cruise on the St. Lucia Estuary
This morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Durban. Upon arrival in the early afternoon, drive to St. Lucia. Later, embark on a game viewing cruise that takes you on the St. Lucia Estuary. This tidal estuary is home to Nile crocodiles, hippopotami, sea turtles, and even sharks, making it a fascinating and uniquely diverse ecosystem. This evening, enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Hluhluwe

the wake-up call came at 5:30am for an 8:30am flight to durban, south africa. the durban airport was fine but ahmet told us there's a TON of theft, & it's by the staff - "they were caught on camera & they kept their jobs". he advised locks & not putting any electronics in checked bags. i was glad i had decided to pack tightly into a carry-on sized piece, since half of what i take anywhere are electronics, so i didn't risk checking anything. they served a surprisingly decent chicken omelet on the plane, & obviously my stuff was fine... but another woman on the tour had her lock removed... i don't know if anything was stolen from her.

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Saturday, May 12th, 2018
5:23 pm - south africa & swaziland 2018 - part 1: seattle, amsterdam, cape town, gansbaai
12 Day Classic South Africa with Robben Island
part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4

DAY 1 - Wednesday 4-4-18 - Depart for South Africa
DAY 2 - Thursday 4-5-18 - Arrive in Cape Town

Arrive in Cape Town, undeniably one of the most beautiful cities in the world. As you transfer to your hotel, you’ll see the towering symbol of the city - Table Mountain. The rest of the day is at leisure in this magnificent seaside city.
Overnight: Cape Town

another trip to a place at the end of the earth. i paid extra for a seattle departure, having learned that it's worth the extra cost to check my bag straight through & not have to pick it up in new york or LAX & transfer terminals before heading home. luke was kind enough to take me to the airport on top of his accepted reptile maintenance duties. the guy who checked in my bag at seatac was from cape town originally - what a huge coincidence. i had two ten-hour flights & they were pretty basic. i napped on both planes a bit - i had one quick transfer in amsterdam (smoking permitted in restaurants IN THE AIRPORT - doubly weird) - & customs was a breeze in the beautiful cape town airport. (also hey, delta's new baggage tracker is fucking awesome, especially considering the scare i had in ecuador.) adjusting to the time difference was pretty easy, as i was in a decent state to sleep when i got to the hotel at about eleven pm.

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Wednesday, January 17th, 2018
7:38 pm - minnesota 2017
this is super late because i haven't felt like writing. here are bullet points & photos for you.

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next up: i'm going to south africa in april (yes, including cage diving with great white sharks), then to greece, albania, croatia, & montenegro in september. bye!

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Sunday, July 16th, 2017
6:26 pm - guns & computers, mostly
so back in december i got my concealed carry permit, & since then i've been shopping various guns. with my fucked up back, i really can't carry much weight, but lightweight guns are often horrible to shoot. i love my 686+ partly because it has such low recoil, but it wouldn't exactly work for concealed carry unless i wore a parka every day &, you know, didn't have a fucked up back.

finally i tried a sig sauer P238 at the range, & it was great - good caliber (.380; read: not a .22), light weight (about a pound loaded), & while it considered jumping out of my hands when i fired it, it was plenty controllable. so i bought it! i didn't have a five-day waiting period due to my CCP - an unexpected bonus - & i brought home some hollow-points for it. also of import is the P238 in black - as i purchased - is listed on sig sauer's site as the NIGHTMARE MICRO-COMPACT, which is obviously my new nickname.

it was amusing at the range - i'm actually a pretty great shot, for no particular reason since this marked literally my fifth time at a range ever, & two of those were back when i was 19. so i'm testing out the range's P238 with the salesman behind me, showing me how all the parts of a semi-auto work (i've always been more into revolvers), & i fire the six-shot magazine at my favorite human-shaped target... i clear the gun & turn around, & he goggles at me, "ummmm, you put all of them in his neck & three of your bullets went through the same hole." i replied that yeah, i do okay. :D

i'm working on making a holster deal for concealed carry - can't carry above the waist for the sake of my spine; can't carry in or outside my waistband because i'm thin & it'll print like mad; ankle holsters aren't actually good... so i'm building a sort of thigh bag that will look maybe steampunk-ish/festival-ish & will allow quick access directly to my weapon without scaring the mundies. comment if you're interested & maybe i'll post pics when it's done.

on another note, seeing roger waters in person in june was fucking awesome. the visuals were exceptional, as expected, & there were only a handful of songs played from roger's solo work - it was nearly all floyd. plus they played one of my top favorites, "dogs", which was a huge surprise as it's 17 minutes long. it took forever to get home from the tacoma dome (I5 went from 4 lanes to 1 for construction, yay), but i didn't mind... it was 75-degree top-down weather & i was blasting billy joel, causing triple takes from those around me: you could see people going through "who the hell is blasting billy joel" to "what is driving that porsche?" to "WHATEVER IS DRIVING THE PORSCHE IS SINGING ALONG TO BILLY JOEL...?!??!" much fun.

morocco was sadly canceled due to low interest in the tour, so i'm watching for another good deal. i'm sure i'll find somewhere else to go this year.

& phil helped me sort out parts for my new computer, currently traveling to my home. it's been a while since the last upgrade, & it's definitely time once again. here's the new setup - wish us luck.

case: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811144275
mb: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813128841
proc: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117728
power: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817182044
mem: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231945
hdd x2: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822148907
burner: https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136250
edit: & the cpu cooler i forgot i'd need: Zalman CNPS5X Performa CPU Cooler. (i'm not linking to it because the major corporation i bought it from treated me like such utter shit that i ended up getting it free *&* getting their manager written up.)

off to minnesota soon...!

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Friday, June 9th, 2017
2:06 pm - status: alive + living
yeah, i finished upgrading the porsche's stereo because why not. so now it sounds pretty fucking awesome with its six speakers & the subwoofer all working properly. i am loving these warm evenings when i can go out driving with the top down & the music loud. (& i am still confusing the fuck out of people, judging by the neck-snapping double-takes i get.)

in my ongoing effort to experience everything awesome this world has to offer, i set up a two-hour tour of the quietest place on earth, & i am going to spend 30 minutes all alone in their anechoic chamber. :D guinness-certified NEGATIVE THIRTEEN DECIBELS of non-sound. i look forward to hearing the blood in my veins - no, really, that's a thing when there's perfect silence.

current culture schedule:
june: roger waters "us & them"
july: visiting the anechoic chamber at orfield labs, MN; "one laugh at a time" performance
august: dropkick murphys; #BlackTransMagick event
september: morocco trip with robinhoodvandal awww the travel company canceled ;_;
october: whose live anyway? (third time going, yay!)
november: down the rabbit hole - mythbusters alums doing science
december: christopher titus (second time)
january 2018: book of mormon (third time on this too!)
march 2018: shen yun
april 2018: south africa tour
may 2018: face to face (seen them a million times), reptile convention
june 2018: liz phair, godspeed you! black emperor, les miserables
august 2018: phantom of the opera
september 2018: balkans tour
october 2018: cirque du soleil "volta"
december 2018: lion king musical
march 2019: cats
august 2019: charlie & the chocolate factory musical

nothing much else is going on - just working & existing & being generally happier than not. so that's okay!

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Saturday, April 22nd, 2017
1:19 pm - iceland 2017 - part 3: southern & southeastern iceland
Iceland Glacial Exploration & Auroras
part 1 | part 2 | part 3

Sat, Apr 1 - Day 5. Southwest Iceland - Southern Iceland
Waterfalls and Glacial Horizons

Your travels today will take you along the south coast, one of Iceland's main farming areas. You'll see many farms and shaggy herds of Icelandic horses as you head along the Ring Road.

View the magnificent Skogarfoss Waterfall, then proceed to Vik village where you can admire stunning views of a black sand beach and the black basalt columns of Drangey.

Approximate driving distance: 179 miles
Check In - Nupar Fosshotel

breakfast featured a waffle bar with rhubarb jam, orange marmalade, chocolate sauce, & what i discovered was indeed NOT maple syrup but some kind of golden syrup. (the bottle was there, but though the back was written in three languages, none was english.) there was terrible orange juice, but excellent scrambled eggs, a lovely coffee cake thing with pumpkin seeds. i also tried a sausage that tasted so foreign i had to ask what was in it, returning me to memories of egypt's surprise camel sausage, but i was tricked by a mix of chicken, pork, & lamb. & here i'd been so hoping for more reindeer!

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that was a wonderful trip, made all the better by strfvr. :)

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Monday, April 17th, 2017
6:18 pm - iceland 2017 - part 2: southwest iceland
Iceland Glacial Exploration & Auroras
part 1 | part 2 | part 3

Thu, Mar 30 - Day 3. Reykholt
Borgarafjordur Valley and Langjokull Glacier

Today, explore the Borgarfjordur valley region and nearby areas. If you're interested in culture, visit nearby Reykholt, home of a medieval chieftain who penned some of Iceland's greatest Sagas. You can also visit scenic Husafell and stroll on paths with colorful stone paintings created by a local artist.

Approximate driving distance: 31 miles
Hamar Icelandair Hotel

the breakfast buffet had fewer interesting things, but we still enjoyed eggs, bacon, beans, bread with jams, & dense silver dollar pancakes with ...maple syrup? it didn't taste quite like i'm used to, so maybe it wasn't maple, anyhow. now is a good time to point out that icelandic coins have fish on them! & there's a crab on the 50 krona coin. jon was pleased that "they're covered in fish & not dead white men." X)

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Friday, April 14th, 2017
8:57 pm - iceland 2017 - part 1: seattle, new york, western iceland
Iceland Glacial Exploration & Auroras
part 1 | part 2 | part 3

Sun, Mar 26 and Mon, Mar 27 - Days -1 and 0
in having to balance a show at the paramount & the PTO calendar at work, i ended up starting my trip two days before my trip started. i took the light rail to seatac sunday night, flew to NYC, then spent 8 hours monday in a paid lounge in JFK where I napped & waited & read & waited & internetted & waited. my friend jon lives in rhode island, & he was taking a bus down to meet up with me. he had a good passport retrieval story that i was pleased i didn't know sooner, & we flew out together to reykjavik on monday night. we both slept for crap, but we get along like gangbusters, so the suffering wasn't so bad. :)

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Saturday, April 8th, 2017
6:29 pm - zero g weightless experience 2017
another domestic trip, another set of bullet points (though i wrote up the actual flight properly). :)

i flew!Collapse )

next up: iceland with strfvr! & uh... i maybe bought a trip to morocco with robinhoodvandal in september. okay yes i did that. 2017 will be a very good travel year. :D

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Saturday, January 21st, 2017
2:55 pm - CAR STUFF & NEXT TRIP!
this post is mostly about the new vehicle because i am excited as. but also the next trip is now planned!

throwing money into the car
  • the stereo was factory & only read real cds, so it had to be upgraded. it's all fiber optic, so it was kind of a mess... but i found a guy who could work it out by sacrificing the oem subwoofer & two of the six speakers & going kenwood (KDC-X500) instead of my beloved sony (something about amperage, idk). the price came to just over $300 - which is great since a bunch of places were quoting me fifteen hundred. (it's basically free money i'm playing with since putting the car on my visa gave me about $350 cash back. X) of course, i then signed up for a discover card that gave me $75 free after making one amazon purchase, as i've been known to do, so that covers the rest of it. WHEE FREE SHIT.) i may end up unable to tolerate just having four front speakers though - he estimated $400 more to get the back two working (needs an additional piece of equipment), or $700 if i wanted the subwoofer back too... i'll see how it feels after i fuck with the settings a while.
  • but back to the joy of using usb, of course i had to buy a new pendrive for the new stereo in the new-old car. & LOOK HOW TINY. the future is now. but really, my entire music collection would fit on that thing. how crazy to just have everything in my car all of a sudden. (i actually bought the 32G at kenwood's suggestion, but that's still way more than enough for everything in regular rotation.)
  • new jumper cables. a friend (rich!) had given me my old set circa 1998, but i actually felt bad putting rusty old cables stored in a plastic grocery bag into the front trunk of such a pretty car. >_>
  • i also picked up a clever front license plate holder that threads into the tow hook instead of needing to drill the bumper. though i went ticketless all my ten years in washington without putting the front plate on my miata, i'm not tempting fate in a car that basically screams, "i have money, would you like some of it?" another benefit is the off-center plate will hide the small bite someone took out of the bumper before it came home with me. :)
  • & i got a cheap can of silver car paint to spray said license plate holder, 'cause it only comes in black. why not.

    interesting/weird reactions i've had to the porsche
  • while i was sitting parked, about to leave a shop, a girl stopped in front of the car & made a gesture that i can only assume meant "what the hell?" i looked at her. she pointed at the car & mouthed something i didn't understand. i looked at her confused & waved, & she walked away. i guess she didn't expect to see a weirdo behind the wheel?
  • lots of fancy cars on the freeway lining up next to me & hanging out. one guy in an orange corvette flanked me for a few miles, passing on the right around slower cars & coming back to my side.
  • i've caught guys at work, who aren't in my department, discussing my car with other guys at work, who i barely know. lulz.
  • it is really fun to tell tinder matches, who have cars in their profile pics, that my car is faster. they inevitably tell me what exactly their car is before asking what i drive, & every time i've checked the 0-60 on theirs, mine's faster. X)

    an adorable thing
  • my friend peg said, "You upgraded your zoom zoom to varuum varuum!!!!"

    the next trip
  • okay, so my friend strfvr, who i got to meet a couple years back when he was traipsing around the country, asked if i'd want to travel with him. YES OF COURSE! he was lovely to hang out with & is independent & a no-impact houseguest, all of which bodes wonderfully for a travel companion. he's never been off the americas, so obviously we had to do that. we both want to [hopefully] see the northern lights before they're gone, so we're headed to iceland!
  • this is the trip - jon lives in rhode island & i'm in seattle, so we're meeting up in NYC to fly out together. it's a self-drive deal like i did in ireland, so everything's open. & jon might even get tattooed with me. :D

  • for caring about my shit enough to read it <3
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    Sunday, January 8th, 2017
    7:16 pm - i did something
    so the last time i bought a car was october 2004, & it was my well-loved little '99 miata. i truly enjoyed that car & it held up surprisingly well in the twelve years i owned it.

    but recently i came to realize that i'm at a place in my life where i could maybe possibly perhaps theoretically consider buying my original dream car, a porsche 911. the full dream was an '85, red with black interior, but i scrapped that since i didn't want to own a "classic car" as my everyday vehicle. insurance was quoted at about two hundred a year more than my miata, & i found some semi-reasonable prices on 911s in the area... reasonable enough that i could be a cash buyer.

    the two red/blacks i found were both '99s, which the internet (& my mechanic) told me to stay away from. & just as well, since i didn't want to pay what they were asking - low mileage is nice, but letting these cars sit idle for long stretches is Not Good, & they'll live to 200k if cared for. i looked at a few others online but wasn't stoked.

    then i found a silver/gray '04 carrera 4S cabriolet (meaning even more car - aj scoffed, "Regular 911 not fast enough? Why not add all wheel drive and more power. O_O"). this dealership was unique in my research as they had it priced at 20k - a thousand UNDER kbb value, & many thousands under what nadaguides suggested (they put average trade-in at 28.8k; clean retail 35.6). i tried to push a little anyhow, because i'm a bitch, & ended up paying asking price/tax/title, squirmed out of the bullshit paperwork fees by having them give me a good amount more than my trade-in was worth, & got a 5yr/100k extended warranty at dealer cost. once we made the deal & shared all our secrets, greg (my salesman) told me they'd just recently lowered it from 26k since it had been sitting for a few months with no bites. works for me!@

    the only issue is there's something wrong with the windshield wiper motor or fuse or something, so we signed that they'd pay to fix that for me. i'm dropping it off at my mechanic tomorrow for a full inspection & all, but i'm pretty relaxed with that warranty in place. i can tell you it was ~interesting~ driving home from tacoma in a rainstorm with no wipers. must've been very confusing for other drivers to see a 911 in the far right lane the whole way, doing 20 under the limit. X)

    so... wanna see it? :) it was raining when i bought it, so these are the dealer's pics i stole from their website before they killed the listing.

    i left the album public if you want to see more bits of it, & here are the specsCollapse ).

    so look, i know this kind of post - & indeed much of what i generally post - is pretentious, ostentatious, conceited, self-aggrandizing... all the half-dollar words that basically mean braggy. but keep in mind that i've earned every dollar i've spent since i was 18. i don't have family. i don't receive gifts. i've never had a trust fund. no relative has ever left me an inheritance. my lowest financial point was when i left california for florida back in january 2002, & i ended up with sixty bucks to my name & living with a friend for a couple months to get back on my feet. but i work my ass off, budget carefully, spend wisely, pursue opportunities while minimizing risk, & ...well, now i travel the world & own a porsche 911.

    ...which i charged, by the way. did i forget to mention that? i fucking put it on my visa. i could not be more entertained by that fact. hey, i offered to pay cash if they'd take down the price another few hundred to offset what they'd pay for the charge... but they wouldn't, so i made 1.5% cash back on the deal. so amused. ^_^

    hi. i'm lish & i'm your favorite brat.

    amusing postscript: capital one is usually ON. THE. BALL. about potential fraud. i regularly receive texts from them asking me to confirm purchases. but they were just cool with this transaction going through, no question, no problem. i guess they don't expect someone to charge an entire car? or maybe they know i'm the only one with the gall to do so. X)

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    Monday, December 5th, 2016
    3:10 pm - here are some things
    upcoming events, continued from the last entry & kept updated until the next, as events & travel are my favorite parts of having a good career:

    december: hedwig & the angry inch (my third time going), local reptile expo
    january: henry rollins spoken word (my 73493th time going), pdx reptile expo
    march: zero-g parabolic flight (!!!), red hot chili peppers, shaping sound (a dance show with travis wall, whom i adore)
    april: cirque du soleil luzia (i coordinated a bunch of friends going too, yay)
    june: roger waters "us & them"

    & speaking of the last entry, i got to meet christopher titus. he hugged me & called me baby. can't go wrong there. ^_^

    okay let's talk about that parabolic flight now. soooooo i've been watching zero-g for a couple years now, wanting to experience it, & in that time i've never seen them do a promotion or discount. then for black friday, they sent out a 20% off coupon - apparently their first ever. that's over a grand in savings; how could i NOT pull the trigger? so yeah, i'm flying down to long beach for a quick overnight & a nice long ride on the vomit comet where i will get to be weightless for a combined total of 5-7 minutes & i'm pretty sure the zero-gravity dreads pics alone will be worth the cost. X)

    in less exciting but still oddly exciting news: i purchased a giant stuffed pony. i've been looking for some big pillows to provide additional comfort/seating when i host movie nights, & found an ad for this guy at a pawn shop in kent. they were asking just $25! impatient_hands picked him up for me & clearly this is the best of all possible worlds.


    i named him cinnamon. also he's like a $400 stuffed animal & isn't at all scarred from his time in kent OR at a pawn shop (read: not stuffed with cocaine or semen, et cetera) so idk how i got that crazy deal??!

    finally, i will leave you with something that has been troubling me. so, the word woman - one human female - is pronounced wuh-min. the word women - more than one human female - is pronounced wih-min. but both start with "wo" & end differently, so the first syllable should be the same with differing second syllables??! but that is not reality?!?!? how did this happen

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    Friday, November 25th, 2016
    12:51 am - vegas trip 2016
    this was just a little domestic birthday trip. i didn't go to vegas for any of the proper vegas reasons - i went to ride top-of-building rollercoasters & eat gordon ramsay's food, & aj was kind enough to go along with me. have some bulletpoints & most of the snapchats i did while there. :)

    go on thenCollapse )

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    Friday, July 29th, 2016
    2:51 pm
    so now that ecuador is in the annals, there are some past updates & future updates to update on.

    in early june, i took an aerobatic ride in a tiny plane. :D after strapping in, including a parachute, i was taken out between mount rainier & mount baker & we performed aileron rolls, barrel rolls, hammerheads, various types of loops, & gary (my pilot) even let me perform an aileron roll on my own. we hit 4.5G & it was pretty epic. i may or may not bother putting videos up - gary gave me two go-pros worth of footage, but i'd have to edit & i am le tired.

    in late june, i received three small wounds by samppa: a cutting on my right shoulder (right where my bra strap sits, so that's been fun to avoid), a cutting on my left temple, & a scar revision just under my navel (one of my laparascopic tubal ligation cuts healed poorly, so samppa basically cut out the old scar tissue & sewed the new edges back together with his perfect sutures). i'll probably put up pics of the artistic cuttings once everything settles more - as of this posting, i'm in love with my divoted temple scar, but the shoulder piece still has a giant honkin' gross scab on the area that was flesh removal. yum!

    & i'm pleased to note that my concert/show calendar is quite full. i love having all these great things to look forward to, especially since people in general are so reliably terrible. right! but look! :D

    july: star trek marathon at the imax, modest mouse
    august: flogging molly, yo la tengo, portland reptile expo
    september: bumbershoot, atmosphere, the monkees
    october: dinosaur jr, voracious food awards, christopher titus, face to face, failure (performing "fantastic planet" in its entirity!), puyallup reptile expo, whose live anyway? (loved this last year)
    november: dylan moran, pansy division
    december: hedwig & the angry inch (my third time going)
    january: henry rollins spoken word (my 73493th time going)
    march: red hot chili peppers, shaping sound (a dance show with travis wall, whom i adore)
    may: flogging molly

    beyond that, i'm thinking i'll probably take another trip this year, but i'm not sure where or when, so i'm keeping an eye out for groupon & livingsocial deals. i want more europe, so maybe i'll take a week in iceland or scotland or england... my last three trips had me speaking spanish (costa rica, argentina, & ecuador), so it'd be nice to go somewhere that english is widely used. anyone want to come with? :D

    oh, & i might end up in LA again if i can't find a practitioner in washington for a thing i want to do. testing4l, be warned! :D

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    Tuesday, July 12th, 2016
    8:48 pm - ecuador & the galápagos trip 2016 - part 3: plaza, santa fe, punta pitt, quito, los angeles, seattle
    Galápagos - West, Central and East Islands
    part 1 | part 2 | part 3

    Day 7 - June 17: Islas Plaza/Isla Santa Fe
    South Plaza
    Visit South Plaza, one of the smallest islands in the Galápagos, which has one of the largest populations of land iguanas. Walk along a path through a cactus forest and view a combination of dry and coastal vegetation on this lively island, home to a wide range of fauna, including incredible birdlife. Spot red-billed tropicbirds and indigenous swallow-tailed gulls resting on the cliffs, and sea lions playing in the waters.

    Isla Santa Fe
    Lace up your hiking boats to explore the island's flora and fauna. Trek toward the cliffs along the island's northern shore to see a forest of giant prickly pear cacti (Opuntia). See endemic land iguanas lounging in their favourite forest, and feasting on Opuntia pads and fruit.

    i rolled out of bed at 7am for breakfast (cranberry-watermelon juice again, a favorite), then at 8 we disembarked for a dry landing at south plaza island. it looked like the noobs made us have our first rainy morning, but it dried up before we left the boat.

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    Saturday, July 9th, 2016
    1:12 pm - ecuador & the galápagos trip 2016 - part 2: chinese hat, rábida, egas, santiago, seymour, baltra
    Galápagos - West, Central and East Islands
    part 1 | part 2 | part 3

    Day 4 - June 14: Chinese Hat/Isla Rábida
    In the morning, the boat arrives at a small uniquely shaped island off the southern tip of Santiago called Chinese Hat. Here it is often possible to see Galápagos penguins, and the marine life is fantastic for snorkelling. There is also a large sea lion colony as well as many marine iguanas that can be seen while walking amongst the volcanic scenery. Trek to see good views of the island's volcano.

    Isla Rábida
    Arrive at a red sand beach at Rábida to explore its trails. A short trail leads to a saltwater lagoon; another trail goes past the lagoon to the interior, where the revered palo santo trees grow. (When burned, the branches of this tree give off a pleasing aroma and ward off mosquitoes.) Head back to the beach to see prehistoric-looking pelicans nesting among low-lying bushes - it's a rare treat to watch parent pelicans return with gullets full of fish for the squawking youngsters.

    breakfast was scheduled for 7am & the first excursion at 8, but neither janet nor i needed an hour to eat, so we didn't roll out of bed until 7, which was great. we set off after eating to a little cove where birds were all over the place, diving for the huge swirling masses of sardines near the water's edge. i saw pelicans, great herons, several blue footed boobies, & tons of frigatebirds, plus sea lions eating big red fish (perhaps soldierfish), & blacktip sharks circling & driving the sardines inland. the zodiac then took us to chinese hat island. we made our way over the fine white sand to the lava rocks & tubes everywhere, & i made my favorite discovery - a tiny racer snake, also called the galápagos snake, who slipped out of view just after i finally got one clear photo of him. i only spotted him because i saw his tiny tail sliding under a rock, & recognized it as longer than a lava lizard's tail would be. so happy!

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    Sunday, July 3rd, 2016
    11:48 am - ecuador & the galápagos trip 2016 - part 1: seattle, quito, mosquera, isabela, puerto villamil
    Galápagos - West, Central and East Islands
    part 1 | part 2 | part 3

    Day 0 - June 10: SEA to LAX to PTY
    since my flight out wasn't until 6:30pm, i took my luggage to work with me & bossed until 3pm. aj was kind enough to truck my suitcase uphill to the light rail, & i made it to seatac without incident. that was the last smooth travel i'd experience getting to ecuador, though - the flight out of seattle was delayed an hour thanks to LAX air traffic; LAX was slammed & i had to stand forty minutes waiting for a boarding pass (which i then had to bully out of some highly incompetent woman at copa air) (& don't miss that they were filming a fucking reality show at my gate, so i had to deal with about thirty particularly gross-smelling backpackers with huge cameras & obnoxious attitudes); once i finally got on the copa flight to panama, we had to deboard thanks to a position light that needed maintenance; we boarded again an hour after THAT, which i knew would cause me to miss my connection to quito. yay!

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    Tuesday, May 10th, 2016
    6:13 pm - i'm alone forever, but i can buy toys
    my old phone, a galaxy s4 mini, was taking forever to load anything, ran really hot & had to be recharged twice a day, & a bunch of apps i liked were starting to break down without proper support... so i bought an s7. this is the first time i've been at the cutting edge of cell technology, & it's weird. the first week was all about disabling the oddest notifications:

    - "hey there's wifi here! *text message sound*"
    - "hey it's 2am & your battery is fully charged! *text message sound*"
    - "hey you have one minute until your alarm goes off! *text message sound*"
    - "hey you opened your shopping list app! *text message sound*"
    - "hey you opened the SETTINGS for your shopping list app! *text message sound*"
    - plus one that i haven't sussed yet because it's not giving a notification with the tone, just "*text message sound*" out of nowhere. THANKS? (actually, i think i got it; it did not *text message sound* me at the end of the block today.)

    for some reason it insists on using my default messaging tone as the default SYSTEM tone, instead of using the system tone i set... so each of those stupid notifications made me think someone was texting me. BUT NOPE, NO ONE LOVES ME. my favorite was the battery full notification, which for some utterly unknown reason was set as a PRIORITY notification, which meant it disobeyed the 'do not disturb' setting i use overnight... but wasn't even in the list of apps that 'do not disturb' allowed me to set as priority or not, so i had to wait for it to notify me & then long-press on the notification to THEN have the ability to shut it down. OKAY WHY

    but on the upside, it's fast as fuck, i like being able to unlock it with a fingerprint, it charges quickly, discharges less quickly than the s4 (the battery still only lasts about a day, or only most of a day depending on usage, but i can work with that), can do slow-mo video (oh there will be a slow-mo montage of my snakes striking f/t prey - the s4 didn't support this), has functional apps (i can snapchat on mobile data now; no clue why it only worked on wifi before), & i've extended it with a 64gb micro SD card which will be delightful when i travel (in the past i've put extra movies on my netbook or 16gb pendrive, but i won't have to do any pendrive-to-netbook-to-phone jockeying mid-flight anymore).

    no boy, next toy?!?! i'm considering an oculus rift or gear vr or whatever. why not immerse myself further in my absolute solitary confinement? anything that distracts me from my starving isolation in this world for a minute right?!?!?! YAY



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