brain farts

Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

[Note: More photos of Rome can be seen here and here]

As the plane descends into Rome, the captain awakes you by announcing clear, sunny skies and 12 Celsius weather. The Italian man sitting to your left awakes with a start, and you can’t help but admire his ability to sleep through an 11 and a half hour flight without stirring for either food or a bathroom break. He catches your eye and asks, in English, if you’re here on vacation.

“Si,” you say, tentatively trying your hand at Italian. You studied French in high school, but the romance languages share some similarities, grammar-wise and vocabulary-wise, and you decide you might as well give it a shot. The worst thing that can possibly happen is that you’ll both have a good laugh over a butchered phrase. “Sono qui in vacanza.”

He smiles, appreciating your effort, and says that he’s returning from holiday in Phuket, and that he had a fantastic time. “La Thailandia è molto bella,” he adds in Italian, complimenting the beauty of your home, and you don’t care if you sound biased — you have to agree. He is the quintessential Italian man, the kind you see in the movies, read about in the books, and hear about in the songs — tall, dark, and handsome, with sleepy, mysterious eyes (then again, he did just wake up). You can’t help but wonder if you approached those movies and books with a tad too much skepticism; maybe some of the cliches and rumors about this country are true after all.

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I’m in love with Italy. Butterflies-in-your-stomach, mushy-like-a-Hallmark-commercial, head-over-heels kind of in love. That’s the only way I can explain it. The colors feel more vibrant here. Food even tastes better here. Since I’ve arrived, there’s been a smile on my face that I can’t seem to wipe away. Anything seems possible here. There’s always something waiting around the next corner.

Rome was like nothing I’d anticipated; the hundreds of thousands of pictures of the Eternal City never prepared me for the sheer majesty of the real thing. Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica was a deeply personal and profound experience that this sometimes skeptical Catholic will remember forever. The lovely renaissance city of Florence stole my heart, as did the idyllic Mediterranean island of Capri, where the faint scent of lemons and oranges linger with you everywhere you go. Venice deserves all the hype she’s gotten since the days Casanova frolicked through her winding canals. La Serenissima she is sometimes called, and deservedly so; never have I seen her more serene than at the end of the day, when the lights come on and the throng of tourists retreat from the fringes of her shores. Light seems to shine brighter in Venice, glinting off the glimmering black gondolas and casting shadows along the fading terracotta buildings, giving her the famed romantic ambiance she is world-renowned for. An afternoon drive through the gently rolling hills of Tuscany was like driving through a sun-kissed postcard; the image of faded villas dotting the endless expanse of vineyards will forever be imprinted in my mind.

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My girl Caro dubbed me the Freak Magnet way back in high school, and as you can see, the nickname is most definitely here to stay.

[Along Kata beach, while Lynn attempts to play
the part of savvy professional photographer]

Excuse me?

(looks up from viewfinder)

You (points to Lynn)
take picture (slowly mimes camera movements
as if Lynn is mentally slow) for me and my friends?

(holds out hand for camera)
Um. Okay.

(walks a few feet away to join her two elderly friends,
one of whom is sunbathing…topless)

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To Last Term:

So when they said dental school was going to be tough, I thought it was just going to be tough. Not TOUGH-tough. Just tough. But now I know the truth. Now the shades have been lifted. La vie en rose and all that. Now, thanks to you, I have a very clear picture of what lies in store for me these next four years.


I can’t help but wonder if you were an extra in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. God knows you’re certainly tall enough. Plus, you’ve got that whole ominous look down pat. Sometimes, if I stare at you and concentrate really hard, I can almost imagine an army of orcs fleeing in the opposite direction, intimidated and scared shitless by your nefarious aura. Or maybe that’s just me. (I have a really active imagination.)

Despite our time together, I really don’t have much else to say to you, except thanks for ruining my social life. But all is not lost, for the exams have been penciled in, the wicked towers have toppled, and now the socially repressed dental student is FREEEE! Oh yes, I’ll have you know that you will be the last thing on my mind when I sit around bumming by the beach this Thursday.

Oh, and as long as we’re being truthful — having our warm little Dr. Phil moment here — I freely admit that during our hellish four months together I might have uttered a cuss word or two (hundred) in your name.

But I’m not sorry at all, you bastard!

Unapologetically yours,

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Last August, during Arwen’s visit to Thailand, we woke up at the crack ass of dawn to drive down to Hua Hin for the weekend.


So please excuse the bleary eyes and drowsy smiles.


But then we started talking about the demented things we used to do in high school (all of which require a separate entry of its own), and pretty soon the sleepy faces were gone. :)


When we finally arrived in Hua Hin, we found this quaint flower pot
in the condo lobby and decided to pose with it.


While waiting for the elevator, my eye wandered.


And although it was a cloudy day…


…the view from the condo was pretty fab nonetheless.
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“Happy in Phuket!”


As promised, here are the pics from our little sojourn to Phuket.


But before I get to that, let me tell you about the flight over. We sat in front of a young Japanese-American couple with three kids — the oldest being around nineish and the youngest being a couple months old. The middle child, a sixish-year-old son, was at that age where he tried to spell and read EVERYTHING in sight. And when I say everything, I MEAN EVERYTHING.


KID: Ma, what day is it today?
MOM: Saturday
KID: Saturday. Today is Saturday. S-A-D-E-R-D-A-Y. Right, Mom?
MOM: [Busy trying to get her baby to stop pulling my brother’s hair] Right, honey. No, no Takeshi. Don’t pull people’s hair.
KID: Ma, what’s this word?
MOM: Philosophy.
KID: How come you don’t call it pilosopy?
MOM: Whenever you see a P with an H, you pronounce it like an F. See? So this word becomes Philosophy.
KID: So how come we don’t call Phuket Fuk-it?
Mom: Because…that’s…an exception. Don’t ever call Phuket that, sweetie.
[A couple of minutes later]
KID: [Flipping through the music selection at the back of the Thai Airways in flight magazine, reading aloud the various music selections] Black Eyed Peas. My humps. Ma, what is a hump?
MOM: A hump? A hump is like a bump.
KID: Why would someone sing about a bump?
MOM: I don’t know, sweetie.
KID: [Putting his headphones on] Ma, help me find the song.
[Some twenty minutes later]
KID: Ma, what are lady lumps?


Needless to say, by the time we reached Phuket, my brother and I had nearly wet ourselves laughing. Kids — ya gotta love ’em.


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