A letter to Const…

Dear Constantine.

I just wanted to write you this morning. I did a lot of thinking and a lot of crying last night and just wanted to follow up with you before we talk tonight. I hope that you understand how much I care for you and how much you mean to me. I hope that while you’re thinking of what you want, that you’ll go back through all the photos of us and that you’ll think of how much fun we’ve had and how close we’ve gotten over the last 8 months. I hope that you’ll think of the times in Europe when we’re just wondering around. I hope that you’ll think of the nights we spent there hanging out and drinking tea and talking and playing cards. I hope that you’ll think of that first day we met and watched the fireworks. I hope that you’ll think through all this.

I love you and every part of you. Every moment we are not together my body aches. I love it when you smile, I love it when you talk, I love your voice, I love to see your face in the morning and I love to see your face every night. I love that we can talk nerdy, but we can have fun as well. I love that you camp and are adventurous, I love your wardrobe, I love your taste in music, I love your deepness, I love that we can read books together. I love how smart you are and how much background you have. I love that you’ve been so devoted to one company. I love that you’re so talented and creative with photography. I love that you are not afraid to be WE.

I wish that I would have been telling you all these things before. I wish that I hadn’t taken advice from an asshole. I wish that I hadn’t been afraid to show you how much I really cared for you.

That first night we met, that most wonderful July 4th. I wish that we could have cuddled up more on that blanket on the beach under the stars. But I’m so happy that shortly after that we’ve had the chance to be so close and spend so much time together. I don’t want to see that end. We’ve both made mistakes over the last few weeks/months. I want to take this time to fix those mistakes and not to give up on WE.

I admit that I am jealous and I will try on that very hard, it’s hard for me to not get to see you so at all after we’ve spent so much time seeing each other every weekend and 2-3 nights a week. I admit that I am sad when you go out and have fun and I am sitting at home, but I will work on that. I feel like I am missing out on this part of your life while you are there, and that makes me sad. I want you to have fun while you are there and make those steps that you need to take so that when you come back we can be even closer and even more in love. I want you to get back to your roots of photography and find whatever else you’ve been missing while with me.

And once you find that, I don’t want you to lose that when you come back. I want to share in that part of your life. I want to see you go out and do more photography here, I want to start climbing with you. I want to share in these things with you, I want to learn and see how happy you are when you do them. I want to be happy with you. There’s nothing more in this world right now then that I want you to be happy. But I want you to be happy and be able to be WE. I want us to be happy together.

At the same time, I too have fallen away from a lot of the things that I like doing and that I used to spend a lot of time with. Programing random things, painting, doing various project, etc. While you are away I will work and am working on finding these individual things in myself again. I want you to share in these things with me too. I’d like it if you were to start biking with me. Even if it’s just a cruise up and down the beach. I’d love to share with you in painting the picture in my room. I’ve always loved photography as well and would love to learn a little bit from you. I’ll never be able to be as creative as you are, but I’d like to make my photos a little better.

I think the spark you talked about last night gets lost in every relationship. A spark of first meeting can never last, the fire eventually dies down, but as long as the coals are still glowing hot, the relationship survives. It’s the same as riding a roller coaster, the first time you have a huge spark, but by the 10th time, you just enjoy it and you become familiar with it. I think we’re at that spot in our relationship and now that you are 1,600 miles away we have to work a little harder to keep the coals burning bright. I feel that if we both work on this though, and work on the things we’ve discussed, that we can keep the fire burning and I hope that when you come back in April and when you finally return in the fall that we can have this amazing relationship and I hope that it will last for years and years.

In conclusion, I just wanted to get all this out there and say it in writing. I want you to know that I love you and that I’m terribly sorry for not expressing this earlier. I will work hard on the things we’ve discussed. I only want to be happy with you and for you to be happy.


Napa Valley Trip!

I love three day weekends…

This past weekend we had a great time. First was Jason’s birthday party on Friday. We had a great time, but left early. I felt bad about leaving so early, oh well.

Saturday morning we got up early and headed out to Napa Valley. On the way up there we stopped at Pinnacles National Monument. The drive from the freeway to the monument was tons of fun. But we only spent about an hour there. It was pretty and I’d like to spend a little more time there.

Got up to Napa late that night, went out to eat and while we were
eating this girl next to us saw that we were looking over maps and stuff and talked to us about the winery she worked at called Mumm Napa.

Sunday morning we got up and headed out at 9ish. Our first stop was a few parks and what not. First was Bothe-Napa Valley SP. It was a nice park, but nothing exciting. After that we headed to the Old Faithful of California. That was also fun, but again not that exciting. It was neat to ee though. Then we headed to the petrified forest. Here’s a pic of Const at the Petrified Forest:

From there we headed out to the winery’s! First was Sterling, which was probably my favorite in terms of the overall experience. First you arrive and take a tram ride up the side of the hill to the top of the winery. You are greeted with your first wine tasting and then you go on a self-guided tour of the winery. Here’s a shot of the HUGE wood barrels they ferment the wine in:

As you make your way through the winery you get to try a few different wines, on the balcony you get some wonderful views of the valley and you can just chill and talk and drink your wine.

Once you get through the winery you can take a seat in the main building and you get to try three more wines. On the day we were there they had some AMAZING Truffles there as well from a company called Truffle Gateau. I HIGHLY suggest going and buying some of them!

After this place we headed out and and drove to Burgess Cellers. Apparently you needed reservations or something, because the guy seemed very confused that we just walked into the door that said “OPEN”. So we just left. Headed from there to Sutter Home, which we went to because I really liked the building. Tried a few wines, but nothing I really liked.

Headed from there to V. Sattui Winery. This was another GREAT winery. But only because of all the foods and cheese they had at the shop. Oh my god. The cheese was wonderful! We also ended up buying 6 bottles of wine from them. From there we headed to Mumm beacuse of the girl we met. We didn’t taste anything there, but saw the art gallery and bought two small bottles of wine just for the hell of it

Our last stop of the day was Peju (only because it was basically the only one open past 5). I really enjoyed the modern art they had outside, inside we found this great pic which is just exactly like Tuxedo!! How cute:=

We got a great guy to taste with and basically a private tasting room because they were so busy! We bought two bottles of the Provence wine which was really good.

But this whole wine tasting thing. I really don’t get it. “In this wine you’ll taste hints of bannana and mango and this and that and the bottom half is a little bit sassy!”. Umm, really!? WTF!

We went home and were just so tired from all the tasting that we went to the hot tub and then just ate dinner and hung out at the hotel for the night.

Monday we headed home and stopped at the Golden Gate bridge for some pics.

From there we headed south to the Winchester Mystery House. This place was really cool. Very crazy stuff.

Of course, you can download our Google Earth Tracks here or you can download our GeoTagged photos here.

And photos of the trip are all here.

Old LA Zoo – Griffith Park

This past weekend, Constantine and I set out to go exploring a few different abandoned areas of Los Angeles, we started out with the one we thought would be the easiest to find and sure enough it was.

The Old LA Zoo first opened in Griffith Park in 1913, the zoo didn’t do very good and had many animal escapes and was poorly funded, during world war I many of the animals died due to food rationing. In 1965, the zoo was moved to it’s present location just south of where this one is located. This past year during the Griffith park fires, the old zoo was nearly destroyed, thankfully it survived the fires and is still amazingly well kept.

We headed up the I-5 early Saturday morning and got off at the first Griffith park exit and parked in the Merry-Go-Round parking lot. Head back across the street and up the road (away from the merry-go-round). Here you will find a trail that heads to the right along the ridge and through some trees. Go up the trail just a little ways and you will find the first group of buildings. It’s really very easy to get too. This is the back side of what appeared to be the Lion cages. There were plenty of holes in the fence that you can get through to climb around. In fact the day we were there there was some group filming a movie, which included a large fake tiger!

We continued to hike around for a while and found a few different ways to get there. In fact if you don’t want to go through the hiking part, you can actually get to the front of the zoo by going around the Merry-Go-Round to the right of the parking lot and then just follow the larger parking lot to the left.

You can download or tracks for Google Earth here, and see just how easy it is to see. You could easily spend 30 minutes or a few hours exploring this old compound and the areas around it.

Our pictures of the Old LA Zoo are here. Or you can view the GoogleEarth GeoTagged photos here. Lastly you can view the other hard data from the weekend here.

Here’s some more references:
Marilyn Carolyn
Boing Boing
Zoo Zoo Zoo

On the way home we saw this cute little PokeMan bug… Crazy LA people:

(Notice the mini one on the dashboard!)

Death Valley!

What a weekend!

Friday night was the typical Dinner with friends. We all met up at Jason’s house and he had Meatballs cooking. However, he was no where to be found! So we made the rest of the dinner and ate it without him. He showed up just as we were finishing dinner. Overall it was a great night. Jason got me a Gift card to Apple for my birthday!

Saturday morning Const and I got up and headed out to Death Valley. On the way there we stopped at Randsburg and Alotia mines. They are both abandoned mines/towns. Very cool. Alotia was the only one that was open for us to really run around in. It’s just amazing to me that RIGHT off the road way are these open pit mines with ladders and stuff still leading down them. We didn’t go down the mines because we didn’t have any safety gear. Perhaps on the next trip we can actually go down them.

From there we headed through some tiny little crazy towns and out to Death Valley. First thing we did was climb the sand dunes which was really cool. Then we headed out to the Badwater Salt flats which is exactly what I was expecting Death Valley to be like. They were sooo cool. We got there right at sunset, so it was really pretty to watch the sunset over the salt flats. I really want to go back there on a full moon night some summer to see how pretty it would be with all the stars and stuff. After that we headed back to the hotel, ate dinner and then went to bed.

Sunday we got up and had breakfast and then headed out to Zabriskie Point which was just a wonderful view of the valley in the early morning. We didn’t stay too long because the wind was CRAZY and it was freezing cold. We headed down the back road from there and stopped at some more abandoned mines. These were really cool and it was a HUGE complex of mines. We went into a few of them, but not very far because it’s very scary with only the two of us and we had very week flashlights. Perhaps when we go back with a bigger group we can do them again. I really enjoyed the mines.

From there we headed down to Dante’s View which was a really cool overlook of the Badwater salt flats we had been at the day before. We headed on down back into the valley and on our way out stopped at an old Borax mine which had been preserved by the park.

There are tons of other things I want to do while there, like Racing Rocks, Scotty’s Castle, and the Crater. But we didn’t have a 4 wheel drive vehicle to take off road. This really does suck with us both having new cars, we don’t want to take them off onto dirt/gravel roads! I was thinking that maybe I can find a truck that I like, or maybe just a cheap user explorer or something that we can take on trips like this.

On the way home I got a very upsetting phone call from my cousin. My grandma was on her way home from Des Moines when she got into some bad snow, lost control of her car and hit a semi head on. Thank god she’s ok. They took her to the hospital because she was sore and they kept her overnight. They were supposed to be doing another CAT scan today but I haven’t heard anything new. I’ve tried calling a few times to her cell phone, but no answer. I assume she’s probably pretty out of it. Just hearing the news made me cry a little, but since I was driving I had to really hold it back. I’m very interested to see pictures of the car though.

The drive home was pretty good though overall. We ran into some REALLY bad dust storms, it was nearly whiteout conditions. And then some rain, but no traffic which was really nice. Got back to my house and the power was out, so we had to make due for a few hours before that came back on.

Today I am working from home. My car is supposed to be done. I sure HOPE that it does get done. I want my car back!

Photos from the weekend are here.

I did the GeoTagging again on this trip and it turned out MUCH BETTER! Download the Google Earth file here, check out the Google Maps Version (without photos) here or check out all the different files here.

Prague and Vienna Photo Tour Movies

Well I’ve been spending a lot of my free time arranging these and going through all 1,500 photos. But here’s a movie of my favorite sites in Prague and Vienna.

You can download the FULL movie here. (Please note, it’s 350megs, so it’ll take a while).

Or watch it individually in the following two youtube clips