Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

ISTANBUL
(NOT CONSTANTINOPLE)*

Thursday March 24 2011File under: travel, Turkey

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On the Way to the Blue Mosque

A funny thing happened on the way to the Blue Mosque...

Istanbul is a city full of mosques, many of them very very beautiful. I set out yesterday with the aim of making it to the Blue Mosque, one of the most famous. Being that it is one of the most famous mosques [in the world], I figured it must be the biggest one I see on the horizon so set off in that direction.

Once I arrived, after gawking at the spectacular innards, I realize that this isn't the famed Blue Mosque. Oh well. It's a wonderful sight I might not have visited otherwise, so I can't be mad. Instead, I take a gander around at the surrounding hills and spot the next most magnificent mosque on the horizon and set off on foot towards it.

Navigating by landmark in the distance in Istanbul leads to some less than traveled roads and paths, which is partially why I do it*. So while this second mosque also wasn't the Blue Mosque, not only was it again totally worth seeing, but it led me to some great out of the way places*.

Finally, I made it to the Blue Mosque, but so late that I couldn't visit the interior. But that's okay. Now that I know where it is, I will go back. Mosques are like cathedrals in Europe or temples in SE Asia—while they are all totally spectacular, seeing too many in a row can cause one's eyes to glaze over. So perhaps saving the Famed Blue Mosque for another day is what the universe's plan was all along.
Tuesday March 22 2011File under: travel, Turkey

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NYC Whittling

It feels like I've passed through New York City quite a few times in the last couple years. If I had to guess, it'd be about 5. In that time, I've slowly ticked items off the list of NYC activities. But it's a big city and it seems like my to do list grows despite my slow whittling.

While visiting wonderful friends is always highest my highest priority, I always seem to have enough time to throw a few other activities in the mix. This time around, I found a spare hour to ride the oft-touted Staten Island Ferry*. The highlight was a closer than expected view of the Statue of Liberty.

Another activity that was on my list for quite a while and am so glad to finally check off was a visit to Dube, Inc. juggling store. Over the years, I've bought more than a few props from them, all by mail order, and it was neat to simply be surrounded by props.

It was a low-key couple days in the big city, but wonderful nonetheless. Thanks to the friends that made it great, and thanks to the city itself for continually showing me something new (like these yummy donuts made with mashed potato dough from Wonder City Donuts!).
Sunday March 20 2011File under: travel, USA

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Hiking in Boulder

It turns out I really like Boulder, CO. Twice in the past week, I've been released solo into the town to see what it has to offer. Both times, my opinion of the town grew and I can't wait to go back.

The first visit was specifically to check out Chautauqua Park, mainly just because of the coincidental name*, but it turned out to be a great place to hike as well. While I didn't come away with many good hike pictures*, I did come away with a fun souvenir pic.

Visit #2, a couple of days later, I ended up on another great hike, this time following Boulder Creek Path from downtown. But what made this hike so fun was that it happened in the midst of a pretty good snowstorm (such that I ended up with some pretty awesome ice chunks in my beard). The way sound is dampened, that the light is different, and all nature seems to take on a completely different feel makes being out in nature so much fun.

Anyhoo, thanks Boulder. Hopefully I'll see you again soon!
Tuesday January 11 2011File under: travel, Colorado

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Pueblo Riverwalk

It turns out I really like riverwalks. Before on this here blog, I've posted about (or at least mentioned) the riverwalks in Naperville and San Antonio. Now I've got another one to add that, in my opinion, at least rivals if not surpasses them both.

The Riverwalk in Pueblo, CO is a great mix of commerce, open space, performance venues, water features, and more. While there isn't much action, esp. in the way of commerce, now that the temperatures are below freezing, it seems obvious to me that in the summer, this place would be hopping. But even now, there were quite a few souls out walking along the ample paths lining the manicured stream.

It both amazes and inspires me to see such a deliberate public space in a town like Pueblo. I give my high praise to the planners that made it so. The feel of the place, along with its functionality and its beauty guarantees that I will be back someday to enjoy it further. If you ever find yourself in Pueblo, I suggest you do too.
Wednesday January 5 2011File under: travel

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Snow Fun At All

I grew up in a place where snow wasn't a foregone conclusion every winter. In fact, I remember very few winters where there was enough snow to get out and play, sled, build snowmen, etc. Because of this, when I find myself in a situation where there is good snow on the ground. I feel like I have to get out and enjoy it.

Such is the case here in Colorado. There was a fresh blanket of snow awaiting me when I stepped off the plane coupled with single degree temperatures. The temperature has since risen enough to make for outdoor activities being reasonable. On a walk through Denver the other day, I couldn't help but stop and do a little snow construction. Not as good as that igloo on Garcelon Field back in the day*, but pretty fun.

The only downside of the whole thing was the inability to feel my fingers for a good while. Oh well. Totally worth it.
Monday January 3 2011File under: travel, USA

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Impressive Architecture

It's been a while since I've come across a building that I get down right giddy about, a building that I want to come back to again and again just to look at. Yesterday, I found one of those buildings.

I mean, look at it. It's big, it's impressive, and it's just plain awesome. Where is this Romanesque architectural spread? San Francisco, CA that's where. It's the Palace of Fine Arts which houses a theater and the Exploritorium* and is surrounded by a wonderful pond and lawns perfect for juggling.

Although I felt like a slack-jawed gawker doing it, I couldn't help but snap shot after shot. Hopefully next time I come back, all the construction will be done and I'll actually get to go inside!
Wednesday December 1 2010File under: travel, pics

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Canvas Fun 2 - Map Lines


Here are some further adventures with HTML canvas. For this one, I was trying to recreate an Indiana Jones style map to give someone a brief overview of my travels. Again, I realize this is by no means groundbreaking in terms of its display or anything, but the fact it is all done through HTML gets me pretty excited. Anyway, have a look and tell me what you think. Version #1, version #2

(As for the last adventure with canvas, I think I've isolated some of the issues, so hopefully it should load up correctly now. So go ahead and give it another look too, if you like. )
Wednesday November 24 2010File under: coding, travel

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Canvas Fun - New Kind of Slideshow

I've been playing with a new-to-me feature of HTML called canvas. It allows for new ways to draw, display pictures, do animations, etc. that HTML could never do before. Probably 95% of you will look at this and say "Big whoop. I've seen stuff like that (and better) on the web lots of times." Well, what you've probably seen before is all done in flash. The great thing about canvas is that it doesn't require external software to run. It is built into your browser. That said, it is only fancy modern browsers that support HTML 5.0 as yet. I've been told even Internet Explorer doesn't support it. So if things don't work, it might be your browser. (And I just found that it displays different in firefox than in chrome*, so consider this an alpha version.)

Anyway, you should check it out. If it works and you like it, let me know in the comments. If it doesn't work, let me know that too (and preferably what OS and browser+version you are using). I'm hoping to roll out another travel based canvas project next week.
Wednesday November 17 2010File under: travel, coding

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Me in Front of NYC Stuff


I'll admit I have a nasty habit of always mucking up an otherwise good view when it comes to picture taking. But what other way can I prove I've been somewhere? So here's me in front of a bunch of stuff in New York City.

Friday November 5 2010File under: travel, USA

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