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South Island New Zealand – Picton to Franz Josef Rainy Days

October 31, 2006 by  

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Photo: Welcome to the Gray West Coast To view all snapshots from Picton to Franz Josef – click here! To view Photography of New Zealand – click here! We crossed the famous Cook Straight from Wellington (North Island) to Picton (South Island). The ferry was huge! I was expecting something similar to the Tanzania ferry that Cyndi and I took – so I downed my Dramamine that morning and went to catch the ferry (see Cyndi – I so actually learn from my past mistakes!). However – this ferry was more of a cruise boat – it carried hundreds of cars, people and even trains…crazy. The crossing was gray and chilly, but not too rough – it only took 3 hours to get to the South Island. A couple of days prior Wellington had terrible weather and it took the ferry 10 hours to cross and the swells were huge…thank God I wasn’t on that puke-fest! When I arrived in Picton all of my fellow nomadic backpacker friends were in tow and we met our new…

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David Bodanis: Passionate Minds

October 31, 2006 by  

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My British pal David Bodanis has a new book out: Passionate Minds. Why do I feel as if I’ve been going to weekly book launch parties lately…..whatever he is doing in London is too far to jump on a plane for, as much as I miss my old haunt. Passionate Minds gives a feel for the extraordinary life of Emilie du Châtelet, 18th century fencer and gambler; partner with Voltaire; brilliant scientist…. David recently sent me a snippet from the book worth sharing. It reminded me of why and how he could write a book like this one. The only thing missing is hearing him read a poem or two. For another time….. … They rode to an inn outside the city walls, they had chicken cooked in wine, there were candles everywhere, and Emilie raced in conversation, faster than anyone Voltaire had ever met, eyes sparkling as she teased and leapt against his words. This was special. He’d never even had a male friend like this, so what kind God had created this delightful woman, still just 27? Voltaire kept it a secret at first. To the mutual friend who’d brought Emilie, he merely wrote…

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When We Were Orphans

October 30, 2006 by  

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The New York Times says of Kazuo Ishiguro’s When We Were Orphans, “his fullest achievement yet,” and I’m not quite there. While I typically agree with their assessment and I like his storytelling ability, he doesn’t ‘take me,’ in the way that a ‘fullest achievement’ should. I realized half way through (kind of like the last two novels I read), that ‘ah yes, I’ve read this before, but many years ago.’ Ishiguro won the Booker Prize for “Remains of the Day,” so it is not surprising that I had read a second-tier classic again and yet……. I recall aspects of the story, stage by stage, and yet I’m not grabbed, captivated, dazed, taken away for days upon end. The greatest of artists have the ability to take you away for days upon end, you don’t need a reason why, how they got you there and best of all, you make up your own excuses for anything in the ‘real world’ you may have missed as a result of your temporary escape. Alas. An orphan myself, there were aspects of his early (not so trivial) memories of the stages he goes through after losing his parents (denial,…

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Political Bloggers Party

October 29, 2006 by  

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If on the east coast and playing in or interested in what’s happening in the social media space (particularly on the political front), there is a political bloggers party in Cambridge tomorrow night, Monday, October 30 at 5 pm: Berkman Center, 23 Everett Street, Second Floor, in Cambridge, MA. As Dave points out, with each election cycle of the 21st century, more and more citizen journalists have been getting in on the act of covering campaigns and the stories that swirl around them. The party is an informal and social celebration to honor all those who have been blogging the vote in Massachusetts in 2006.


Steven Levy’s Perfect Thing

October 28, 2006 by  

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I feel as if I move from one book launch party to the next……Despite the length of time I’ve been doing what “I do,” I remain amazed and grateful at how many authors I know and cherish the moments they celebrate in their published prize. Most in my circles, publish more than once. Steven Levy is on the west coast as part of his new book unleashing of “The Perfect Thing: How the iPod Shuffles Commerce, Culture and Coolness.” I’ve known Steven for years and not only is he a great writer, but he is full of integrity and as one Apple department shared with me at the event, “the book is so incredibly accurate.” Like I said, integrity coupled with quality reporting, research and writing. Drybrushfinal After admitting that I was a ‘somewhat happy’ PC user to the head of marketing for iPods, I found myself compelled to add, “I am now a proud owner of three iPods, all of which I use regularly.” (I even have funky hip cases for them – hard to believe I’m in a demographic that doesn’t quite match up to this…

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Do you believe in Magic? North Island New Zealand

October 27, 2006 by  

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Photo: Tangariro National Park
View snapshos of Auckland to Wellington View my New Zealand Travel Photography
When I arrived in New Zealand – I had no plan…very unlike me – but I was hoping for some magic I guess. The good news is that I found it – The Magic Bus! No – I wasn’t eating shrooms nor is this some cousin to Scooby Doo and the Mystery Van. The Magic Bus is a hop on/hop off bus company in New Zealand that I had heard about. I did some research online and then went to their offices in Auckland. There I was able to arrange my whole trip through New Zealand hitting the highlights that I wanted to hit, traveling around with other backpackers, and having some flexibility at the same time. I bought the north/south pass and was off!bus
Photo: Magic Bus looking out over Auckland – my home on wheels! Our driver’s name was Rangy – a big Maori-Kiwi guy that…

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The Street

October 25, 2006 by  

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I am recently reminded of Vivian Gornick again. I’m not really in love with her or her writing but I am in love with her ability to bring you to a place so sacred and real that it could have been you behind the pen or keyboard. South African Andre Brink has that effect on me, so does Hemingway, Oscar Wilde and so many other greats. Is she of that callibre? No, but from behind my lenses, I can’t stop thinking about her short story “The Street,” where she captures the culture of urban energy, urban living. I wrote about it a few weeks ago knowing I would be in New York soon. After re-reading the story, not only did I resonate with every encounter, but longed for The Street’s energy. New York isn’t new to me, nor is The Street. This trip, I needed The Street more than I normally do and for the first time, was forced to explain it to not just one person, but two. It should have been four, but I had a hard time admitting that I needed to not only understand it – out loud to myself

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The Sad Truth of Media Driven Beauty

October 25, 2006 by  

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Check out this link – replicated below, seen on YouTube. It reminds me of a sad moment I experienced on my way back from Costa Rica a few years ago. I was living on the East Coast at the time, so had to return via Miami. After experiencing several weeks of natural beauty, pleasure and respect for down-to-earth life above everything else, I heard a sad conversation in the ladies room among 4-5 late teen, early twenty year olds about their weight, the structure of their faces, the shape of their hips – it went on and on and on. Half were American, half were Latin American. Not yet anorexic, but it was only a matter of time. I have a good friend who is an actress living in LA and went through a similiar experience a few months ago. I met a well known actress (yeah, I still prefer actress over actor – sorry to anyone this offends), through this friend, who is half my size and while I’ve put a few pounds on since I moved to California, I still sit in a size 4, although less comfortably. (thank god for low hipster jeans :-) This…

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