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TRAVELS IN THE UK – Phil

MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY, MANCHESTER
Over the holiday period i had an opportunity to take a long trip back to the UK, the Sunday before christmas we took a trip into Manchester, England to take a look at MoSI‘s new exhibit. See more below.

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The MoSI is located a few blocks from the Hilton bang in the middle of Manchester. On a side note the Hilton skyscraper (tallest in Manchester) is a pretty cool building.

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Good old red phone box how we would miss ya. They also have a Doctor Who exhibit with the famous blue police phone box. The new series is so cool.

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How come phones don’t look like this any more, it used to be simple clean and green. Now its all feature rich just for differentiation.

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Nice media collection. Boring.

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Check out the audio collection, its a fascinating to see how alive and full of character the product were back then. Maybe we can all revive this?

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TATE LIVERPOOL

On my travels in the UK, we took a trip to Liverpool. No not to check out the Beatles but to take a look at the Liverpool Tate. Although we were not allowed to take photos inside. My impression of the Liverpool Tate was a big disappointment, the location was cool right in the harbor of the warehouse district but the galleries were small and their collection fair.

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WEST COAST TRAVELS – Travis

I began my trip with the only thing that any self-respecting traveler would need…contact info and minty fresh breath. The trip would last nearly three weeks, and be filled with many adventures and friends (both old and new).

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LOS ANGELES

The trip began in Long Beach, California. After a quick of all things notable LAX airport (namely the rollerskating guitarist on Venice Beach), Dan introduced me to his friend Ryan and the Haunted Queen Mary Ship. We enjoyed a few beers before getting into the dirty work of finding ghosts. We made it through the trip quite far before being escorted out by a security guard…of the un-dead.

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The next day was gorgeus and sunny…and perfect for riding around SoCal in a ’63 Mercury Monterey. We looked so gangsta’.

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Dan, Staci, Madeline and I drove to Culver City. Which is the art gallery area of town. It’s also home to The Museum of Jurassic Technoligy. It’s still hard to understand exactly what we saw in there. Maybe it was because most of the exhibit needed to be seen through these weird glasses.

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I remeber things like diaramas of the Los Angeles RV and Trailer scene of the 50’s and 60’s, a room devoted to cat’s cradle and other string games, a gallery of oil paintings of dogs who were sent into space by the Russian Space program, an exhibit on decaying dice, and a weird tea room on the top floor. There was also a room devoted to Napoleon…which featured these tiny portraits.

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We then went to Santa Monica. Ate burgers (which would only mark the first of several milestone burger enjoyments this trip), rode a ferris wheel (regrettably), and walked the boardwalk.

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Later that night, Dan’s neighbor let us borrow paddleboards (which are like very surfboards…but not). We went for a night ride through these canals, putting you basically on the back porch of some very fancy houses. I took no pictures, because paddleboarding (for me), means you lay with your face against the board and try not to fall into the dark water. It was very still, so we mis-named it “sheep’s glass”. Don’t ask.

The following day, we went for a long drive to many of LA’s finest beaches. There was really only one that I wanted to see, Laguna Beach. I was hoping to see some of MTV’s faux-reality stars complaining about life, in their home town. However, no luck. I did see some beautiful sea creatues and some amazing landscapes.

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On the way back, we stopped for some burgers (trip two if you’re keeping up). This time at In’N’Out Burger. It was delicious, and I may made this face. That’s joy.

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Dan was busy with work the next day…so Staci, Madeline and I enjoyed most of the day at the happiest place on Earth, Disneyland. I actually begged to do this. Staci basically re-wrote the rules of navigating a theme-park parking lot. And we were better for it. We eventually met up with some of Staci’s friends (who also have small babies), and I reminisced with them about Ohio, and rode Pirates of the Caribbean yet another time. Disneyland is like Disneyworld (where I spent every childhood vacation), except smaller and with a little less flash. Oh yeah, and it’s in California.

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I have several friends who are Downtown LA these days, and I couldn’t make a trip without seeing them. I rode the train about an hour, and hoped a bus to meet up with Ariel. The train took me through Compton, which woke me from a quick nap. I was worried I might get shot, but I was sitting next to a pregnant lady, and she was on the outside…so that felt safe. I met Ariel near the LACMA. A large park thing depicting some very sad things that could happen when prehistoric elephants and tar start hanging out.

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We also had our way with some sloth sculptures.

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Ariel, his wife Oti, continued a walking tour of Downtown LA. Including Hollywood and West Hollywood. At some point, we went to the tattoo shop where they film LA Ink. It was exciting, and Kat Von D is very tall. We also went to Pink’s for hot dogs. There was no line, and apparently, when that happens, you must jump on the opportunity.

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I was really happy to spot this Tim Biskup mural.

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LA concluded with many margartias. There remain no images of this…and that’s for the better.

SEATTLE

I took an early flight to Seattle, to meet up with my older sister, Day (no, our parents were not hippies…this is a shortened version of Danamarie. Our parents were yokels).

The pacific northwest was beautiful, and I was always amazed by the native artwork.

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And some less “native” artwork.

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We strolled along the Puget Sound, and the piers. But mainly, we were on a mission to find the house that the Real World: Seattle was filmed in.

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We made a trip to the Pike Place Market, in hopes of seeing fish being thrown all willy-nilley. But no luck. It was decided by the conclusion of this trip, that this actually does not take place (and may never have), much like the moon landing. I did pass this booth for hand-dipped corndogs…but don’t get too excited, they are not hand dipped in vanilla ice cream like the advertisement would have you believe. I learned that the hard way. We also discovered some amazing Asian fruit water. The packaging was the biggest reason for purchase. Think aluminum can meets plastic bottle. That’s right…yum!

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The following morning, we went to the Seattle Art Museum. Day made a good point that it was nice to see new art. The lobby was filled with the work of Cai Guo-Qiang. His work was also on exhibit at the Mass MOCA for a while.

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At the opposite end of downtown, there is the Olympic Sculpture Park. An outdoor sculpture garden with many nice pieces. One of my favorites was Split, by Roxy Paine. The piece is a towering stainless steel tree amidst actual trees.

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That night, we attended an opening party for Plush You! : 2007. This is a annual exhibit and celebration of plush art, hosted by Schmancy, Nancy and Fancy. Three qaunt little stores with great character, fantastic original art/wearables and amazing staff. Thanks for the Sapporo’s, Elaina. For more photo’s of the event, check out the GreenStarStudio blog.

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We were invited for beers at the the NiteLite. And while that offer was tempting, we passed it up for another gallery opening and the Space Needle. The Roq La Rue Gallery had a great show up. The weird totem pole sculptures by Ojimbo, where rather exciting. We followed that with the show next door, featuring some paintings comissioned for Scion by Travis Milliard, Jeff Soto, and James Jean (to name a few).

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The Space Needle is worth every scary moment of the 47 second ascent. The view is spectacular, especially at night. Another thing was spectacular, was the ridiculously drunk woman who shared the elevator ride down with us. The red-wine on her shirt was only the first indication that she was having a hell of a night.

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The following day was my birthday. The big 25! It was filled with hambugers (this time at Dick’s, a bit of a local hangout for hockey players), a tour of oddities and curiosity’s (including what appeared to be Noi’s long lost relative), and some time at the EMP, where Day and I recorded a 10 minute improve jam, under the moniker… Harry Potter Dies in the End (inspired by Somerville trivia night).

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Sometime over the course of the next day, I went back to the sculpture garden, and walked along the water. It was very beautiful.

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SAN FRANCISCO

The next morning, I headed off to San Francisco for the IDSA/ICSID Connecting Congress 2007. I met Evan at the airport, and after a short ride on the BART, we arrived at our hostel. The innkeeper was named Ryan, and it would take him many minutes to acknowledge us. We were patient, hoping to drop our stuff and find a bar that was playing the Sox game and some food (prefferably at the same place).

After much walking, we found Lefty O’Doul’s. Home to some very rowdy Indians fans, and one guy who got cut off for screaming “I’m drunk!”. The place had a bar on one side, and school cafeteria setup on the other. Evan opted for a plate of mashed potatoes…i think. I lost track, because I feared our life might be in jeopordy.

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The next morning was check-in day of the conference. We had several hours to kill before we could officially get set-up, so we spent the early part of the afternoon doing all the touristy things. Sea-Lions, China Town, and Lombard Street.

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We made our way back to the masonic center to get our badges. The glass mural behind the registration booth, was several floors tall and very impressive. As well, it made Evan make very curious faces.

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We were informed that the first sets of Derby car races would be taking place within a few hours. Which would be just enough time to get our cars all lubed up. We headed back to the hostel, where Evan performed Derby Car surgery on the bathroom floor. This is always were I noticed the real secret to our future success. Something called “Winter Crystals”. Evan brought this.

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dsc03930.jpgdsc03934.jpgdsc03946.jpgThe first day of racing was exciting. Both cars 11 and 13 finished 1st in thier heats, and car 12 managed a loss and a second place finish. Maybe some sort-of swing out coat-hanger weight would have helped.

The following day, we ran into Phil doing some crazy robot dance near the bookstore. I guess talks of sustainability and connecting will do that to a man.

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The night was filled with several great open studios and parties hosted by local design firms. We took a cab to Smart Design, and held on for our lives. The cab driver nearly got an accident several times, and told us he just laughs them off at this point. We weren’t laughing.

Smart did it well. Taco carts, hipster dj’s, and Anchor Steam beer.

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We went from there to Astro Studios. It was warm and very hard to get a drink…but we managed. Boy did we manage.

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We thought it wise at this point to get a cab. This proved more difficult than we had anticipated. So much so, that some of us resorted to desperate measures. What’s worse, is that once we got a cab, a young lady across the street explained to us (in a very loud and belligerently drunk voice) that we would all have bad karma for stealing her cab, and then showed Evan what she thought of his methods.

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The next day, we attended a fancy lunch hosted by Eastman Innovation Lab. There was a presentation by Yves Behar, and a raffle. Evan won a beautiful purse. He later confesed to me (in private), that this would be were he would store the “Winter Crystals”. I think he should just give it to Becca.

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By Friday, all of our derby cars had been eliminated from competition…however, not without a fight. Actually, so much so, that car number 11 was awarded “People’s Choice”. This made Evan very happy. He was honored later in the evening at a Virginia Tech Alumni party. I heard there was free beer, so I rode his coattails in. The party would last about an hour (or three beers), at which point it was time for Evan, Jessie and myself to head to the Core77 party. This would prove more difficult than anticipated.

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We hailed a cab somewhere along California Ave., and immediatley the cab driver tried to pick a fight. After we decided to stay in the cab anyways, he told us he was just joking, and that he had was really smitten by the girl he had just dropped off. He played us a cd, and sang to us the way he had sung to her, apparently. (VIDEO FOOTAGE COMING SOON). There was a lot of difficulty finding the event, because as the cabbie explained, the address did not exist. He turned off the meter and let us hang out with him for a bit while he radioed for help. This is when we ran into four more people who were also lost (but on foot). He told them ot get in the cab, and we would find it as a team. That’s right, get in the cab…with us. And they did. So 8 of us sat squished up on each other for a few more blocks. Then we spotted a taco truck and knew we were in the right place.

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The party featured many pleasent surprises. Including, a milk-crate robot sculpture and several kegs, and a half naked marching band. I also ran into an old classmate, Michael Carrow. He enjoys dancing.

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We went from there to an “exclusive” party at the Parkside. It was so exclusive that we couldn’t get in. However, at some point I was taking pictures, and then we were inside. Still not sure how this happened. It was packed, and while waiting for a drink at the bar, we noticed a photo booth. Phil, Evan and I all piled in for some pictures. I ended up as a furry blur in the foreground.

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We made our way to the patio, which was far less crowded, and very comfortable. I was introduced to a very interesting messenger bag, and spent much of my time chatting it up with Tim Wallack and his pals over at Smart Design. One of them tried to take a picture of both of us standing together with each of our cameras pressed against the sides of his head. Makes, sense? Yeah, not for me either. But it was fun, and I’m still waiting to see how Tim’s turned out.

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The final day of the conference concluded with a massive party at Fort Mason. There were circus performers, something called “chocolate land”, and about seven rum and cokes to be had. This party was super fancy feeling, and I felt bad that I was wearing Levi’s (not even the expensive ones, or even the dark ones). Oh well, wearing a raincoat inside was a pretty designer-y stunt to pull.

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Sunday was my last day, and I opted to meet up with a friend who works over at Massive Black now. Wes showed me around some of the best parts of town. The Mission, Lower and Upper Haight, Delores Park.

We went to 826 Valencia, which features a beautiful Chris Ware mural.

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Needles and Pens.

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Saw this amazing mural, of San Francisco through the years.

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I also finally made it to Ameoba Records. It was everything it had been built up to be. Maybe someday they’ll expand to the East Coast.

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We walked past Giant Robot on the way back to Wes’s apartment, and there was some good art in the little gallery. I was really excited by these egg figures, courtesy of John Pham.

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The trip could not be complete without one final photo opportunity. So we climbed to the apex of a very special park as the sun was setting, and looked out upon the houses made famous by the opening credits of Full House. This was truly San Fransisco for me.

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One Comment

  1. wow that was a crazy trip , I like how you went for things that are related to TV shows LAink , realworld seattle , and full house .

    Dude you went to a lot of parties in San Fran.

    cheers,
    Fij


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