Skyline Drive 2014 Images

Here are the pictures and videos I took from Skyline Drive 2014. Pictures are below; click on any of them to start a full-screen slideshow of all of them. Below them are the videos; click a video to start it. (Note: there appears to be a bug in the way WordPress associates captions with pictures, in that the caption from the previous picture in a slideshow is sometimes incorrectly repeated in the current one. For pictures for which that’s the case, I’ve added a (correct) description under the (incorrect) caption. Also note that the videos may take a while to load, but they will work eventually…)

Panorama at the summit of Old Rag:

Doyles River Falls trail second waterfall:

 

 

 

 

Australia Trip Images

Here are the pictures and videos I took from the Australia portion of my 2013 Pacific Rim trip. Pictures are below; click on any of them to start a full-screen slideshow of all of them. Below them are the videos; click a video to start it. (Note: there appears to be a bug in the way WordPress associates captions with pictures, in that the caption from the previous picture in a slideshow is sometimes incorrectly repeated in the current one. For pictures for which that’s the case, I’ve added a (correct) description under the (incorrect) caption.)

New Zealand trip images

Here are the pictures and videos I took from the New Zealand portion of my 2013 Pacific Rim trip. Pictures are below; click on any of them to start a full-screen slideshow of all of them. Below them are the videos; click a video to start it.

I just happened to get to my hotel near the end of a triathlon.

The Auckland Art Gallery’s Flower Chandelier. Made of fabric, plastic and metal, the flowers bloom and contract over time. The installation is large; at least 20′ in diameter.

Only the plate at the very bottom vibrates; the ring is large and thin enough that it moves simply through resonance. The plate switches on and off; when it was off (I didn’t know about the plate at the time) I put my head in the center and hummed a resonance frequency to see if I could make the ring move just by doing so. The plate started soon after, so when the ring really started moving I thought I had caused it, and was worried it would roll itself apart. I ran to get a staff member, but they just smiled and said it was supposed to do that. :)

My walking route took me past this field; it was such a lovely time and place I had to get some footage of it.

A 360° panorama at Mt. Eden, at 643 ft the tallest natural point in Auckland.

Penguins at Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE aquarium. Their underwater speed and maneuverability is quite impressive.

A shark glideover at the Aquarium’s under-tank tunnel. I took a lot of footage in hopes of getting something that adequately communicated the coolness of standing in a transparent tunnel and looking up at sea life; I think I succeeded. :)

This was from a smaller tank at the aquarium, designed to be seen from the side instead of below. Again, I waited a while to get a clip showing its coolness. :)

The Aviation Display Hall at the Museum of Transport and Technology.

A 360° panorama at Sky Tower, 1076 ft above mean sea level. The clip starts with the view looking northeast, and ends with the view looking north.

It was getting late when I finally made it to Tongariro National Park, so I took the lift instead of the much longer-duration trail. My two main thoughts on the way up were: “If I get a freak leg spasm that straightens them out, I’ll slide right between the seat and bar, and that’ll be the end of me”, and “Don’t drop your phone!”. :)

A 360° panorama most of the way up Mount Ruapehu, at 9176 ft the tallest natural point in New Zealand’s North Island. The clip starts and ends pointing north toward Mt. Ngauruhoe, the other major peak at Tongariro National Park.

I could still ascend above the trailhead where the previous video was taken, so I did so; this was as far as I could go without climbing gear. I was at the level of the clouds here; I watched them dissipate around me as they reached the mountain.

On my way down the trail at Tongariro, I stopped to film the sunset. Alas, the video didn’t do justice to the real thing.

Berlin trip images

Here are the pictures and videos I took from the Berlin portion of my 2013 Europe trip. Pictures are below; click on any of them to start a full-screen slideshow of all of them. Below them are the videos; click a video to start it.

As soon as I left the observation deck at Furnsehturm, the (unseasonably late) snow began.

The Ottobock Science Center Berlin, which specializes in prosthetics and orthopedics. I didn’t know that at the time; I just thought the architecture and light display was neat. :)

The Weltzeituhr (World Time Clock). The middle cylinder rotates (slowly) showing time vs. time zone. The upper spherical portion rotates too quickly to show location of the planets; perhaps it’s simply meant as Art.

An access tunnel leading to the Siegessäule. The light display was linked to motion sensors, so lights would follow you as you walked past the display. :)

On my last full day in Berlin I finally made it to the Siegessäule when its observation deck was open. This is a 360° panorama from that deck, looking out over the Tiergarten and the rest of the city.

A panorama at the Platz der Republic (Square of the Republic). At the start and end of the video is the Reichstag, which houses the Bundestag (German Parliament).

Ripped from the license plate!

I returned from the gym to find, instead of the usual un-mutiliated license plate adorning the rear of my car, the following:

I had never seen anything like this before, so I called the DMV. They told me it happens all the time, and all I needed to do was go to the local office and get a new plate and registration sticker (the assumed reason for cutting off the corner of the plate). After $5.50 and 30 minutes everything was as good as new, but I can’t help but imagine that, after my laptop/backpack/shoe theft almost exactly a month ago, I’ve somehow acquired an improbable-crime entourage.

Bad Timing

It seems my inadvertent ruining of my winter gloves (note to self; do not put gloves in the dryer without checking their label first) came at a particularly bad time: the very cold winter weather the US has been having has made new winter glove demand far outstrip supply. There are none at brick-and-mortar stores, and even the gloves I ordered online on January 23rd are out of stock, and have been delayed until 3/31/14. I am one small data point in a vast economic object lesson!

To prospective auto buyers

If you’re in the market for a car or truck, and you’re leaning toward one that’s bigger than your person/cargo carrying needs, please carefully consider your reason for doing so. For many people, the fundamental reason is fear: either of death/injury, or powerlessness.

If the former, note that although you may be a bit safer in an accident, the chances of having an accident in the first place are extremely low (so there’s no need to make it such a high priority in the buying decision), and that modern safety equipment has mostly negated the difference in safety between larger and smaller vehicles. Note also that whatever safety advantage you might have in an accident directly translates to equivalent increased risk to passengers in every other vehicle.

If the latter, note that there are far better (cheaper, more rational) ways to confront this fear.

Regardless of the reason, remember that your actions have consequences. In this case, the consequence of millions of people compensating for their fears with SUVs is that the environment is being destroyed. And though you may not live to see that consequence, your children, or the children of your friends or relatives, will.

So please think before you buy.