Friday, July 30, 2010

So Much For Armour-Plate

Today I performed my yearly ritual of sighting in/target shooting with the 30-06 (my beast gun). I'm not sure why I did it, as I will for the first time ever, be gone for hunting season, and thus won't need it. Just knowing that it is sighted in somehow makes me feel better though.... So today, while mowing the lawn up at the Inn (a job that takes about two days a week) I decided to take a break and do some shooting.

The Inn itself, as I mentioned several months ago, burned to the ground. The massive stone chimney was still left standing, and I realized that it made a beautiful backdrop for shooting (you have to be careful about that sort of thing when you live on a hill. Rifle bullets can travel up to two miles, so you need to make sure there is something behind your target to stop them). I set the target up right in the fireplace and then set up some cinder blocks about sixty-five yards back to use as a rest. I was surprised how well the scope was adjusted already, and I only had to correct it a bit on the x-axis. Afterwords when I inspected the target I was surprised to find that the bullets had penetrated all the way through the 1/4" steel liner of the fireplace! For some reason I had always thought that that much steel would stop a bullet. Apparently not the 30-06 though!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Burning It Down In Buffalo

Summer isn't over yet, but I feel like it's now complete as far as things that I really had to do. That's because last night I did something that I have wanted to do for a couple years now: went to see a Tokyo Police Club show!

Yesterday I drove to Corning and left from there with my friend Chris around 1:30. We made the three hour drive to Buffalo NY... really the nearest big city to us. I had bought tickets online last week (which turns out to have been an excellent decision as the show sold out a couple days later) so we spent a the few hours before show time walking around the city. I don't think I had ever been to Buffalo before, and definitely not in the down town area, so it was cool to look around. As with most cities I've ever been in, it was filled with crazy people.

After a bite to eat at TGI Fridays, we walked back to my car to drop off our stuff and then headed over to the Town Ballroom. First we spotted TPC's bus parked behind the building. Then, as we were walking past, we saw some guys playing street hockey in an empty parking lot across the way. I remarked to Chris that they looked a lot like TPC. It wasn't until later that I realized for sure that they actually were! So it's too bad we didn't go over and say hi, but at least now I can say that I've seen them playing hockey!

Ever since I first listened to A Lesson In Crime on iTunes like two and a half years ago, TPC has been in my top five favorite bands. When they released their new album CHAMP this summer, I started seriously wanting to see them live. I wished I could see them with Passion Pit on their CHAMP tour, but none of the tours came anywhere near me. When they announced the new Headline Tour dates and I saw Buffalo as one of the first stops, I decided that I had to go.

The show got started a little late because one of the bands that was opening got held up in customs crossing the border (Buffalo is just across the lake from Canada). When it started though, it was phenomenal. The best concert I have ever seen. Period. First the Freelance Whales played, and they were very good. Much better than I had expected in fact. Then came the other Canadian band, who's name escapes me at the moment. They played a more standard rock style than Freelance or TPC, which isn't really my thing as much, but they did a great job at it anyhow. I couldn't believe it when started playing All The Lonely People by the Beatles, because Chris and I had listened to that song several times on the way up!

Then came TPC and wow. It was amazing! Chris and I had started conspiring with several people around us, and when they played Nature of the Experiment, we started this big dance circle in the middle of the crowed and just rocked out. The rest of the concert was some mixture of dancing, jumping up and down, and finally moshing toward the end, which I tried to stay on the edge of....

It was a great evening. And then we had a three and a half hour drive home... which wasn't as much fun, but then it wasn't bad really.

So, the moral of the story, if it can be called that, is that if TPC ever comes to your city, you should go see them.

Oh, and here's my paparazzi shot of a couple TPC guys playing street hockey:

P.S. Check out TPC's latest album:

- Andrew

Friday, July 23, 2010

Auctions for Food and for Art

First of all, I'd like to thank the people who commented on my last post! I was surprised how much interest it got even though it was (in my opinion) long and rather dense.

Last night I went to a Pocket Vinyl show in Corning NY:

Pocket Vinyl is a piano rock/art band that features live painting while the music is being performed. Eric was awesome on the piano and singing, and the art was really cool!

The show was at the Soulful Cup, which is one of my all time favorite coffee shops, and I invited a couple friends to come with me from the Mansfield area. One of them was able to come, and while I was waiting for her in the parking lot of ThisWarmHouse, the most random and unexpected thing happened.

A big van pulled in and did a U-turn around the parking lot, stopping faced toward the road. As I looked at it with some puzzlement, the doors opened, and who got out, but several of my parent's friends from Grace Community Church in Corning. Jordan, my old neighbor was with them, and his Mom asked where I was going. When I told them, they asked if Jordan could come with me (apparently they were going a different way back). Of course I said yes. Before we left though, they showed me their van, and it was FILLED with food. apparently they had been at some kind of "food auction" down state in the Pennsylvania and had picked my Dad's office parking lot to drop off some of the food for one of them who lived in Mansfield.

So I ended up having two people with me on the way up after all, which was cool. After the show Nicole (my other friend) and I were invited to the "after party" at Alex's house, which was fun. I realized I hadn't been there in forever, which is kind of sad, but anyhow, it was good to see them again.

PS. After the concert there was bidding for the paintings (four of them) and my family, who had come up separately bought two... so maybe I'll post some pictures of them later.

All for now!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Reflection On My Experience Blogging That May or May Not have a Point

Well, it's been a while since I last posted. More than a week I guess. Mainly because I just haven't had a ton going on at all. I made a point some time ago of not posting unless I did have something going on; some interesting event or destination to talk about. I also decided that I should try and have photos or video of the said event or destination whenever I posted as well. I guess I was trying to make things more interesting and possibly increase traffic to my blog (although I have no pragmatic reason for doing this). The other, somewhat subconscious reason for this was to avoid talking about myself too much... something that often becomes overly introspective and probably burdensome, rather than fun for anyone who was reading it. Looking back on my posts however, I've started to realize that while the event based blog is more eye-catching, it probably doesn't have as much long term value and insight for myself looking back on it in the future as many of my older posts that had less of a predetermined point and more pure thought.

I'm afraid also that I've begun to increasingly adopt the western academic habit of insisting on knowing exactly what I want to say before I say it - having a thesis, as it were. Or, in the case that I start to say something that I had not planned to say when I began, to revise it so that it appears that I planned to say exactly what I said, even if I did not.

Over the last couple years I've come to see that the primary value of this blog, rather than entertaining other people, as I sometimes wish it would do, has been giving me, myself a bit of a journal to look back on. So, you ask, if the primary purpose of keeping this blog is for me to read it, why not just keep a journal? The answer is that I have before kept a journal, and it was always a disaster. If I have sometimes become overly introspective while blogging, it's nothing compared to the morbid, borderline emo fare that I end up producing when writing strictly for myself. When, on the other hand, I write for an audience, my general disgustingness is somewhat tempered by what I want you to think of me, the blogger, and I end up portraying my life more how I would want it to be seen by others. This is beneficial for at least two reasons.

First, I've noticed that writing often has a reflexive effect on me, particularly in the area of emotion. Rather than just writing down how I feel, I often began to feel how I wrote down that I felt. Thus, portraying a slightly overoptimistic picture of my mood, can actually change my mood for the better (and vice versa when writing negatively for myself as the audience). The second benefit is that since as I said, the primary thing I gain from blogging is the ability to look back on it from a point in the future, the person I am in the future gets to see me now as I would now want to be seen. Here the benefit depends on whether you think of yourself in the future as the same person you are now, or as a different person. I tend toward the perhaps unorthodox perspective that you are a different person... this is based only on experience though, and I'm not sure I could defend it philosophically or theologically or anything like that.

So, is my style of blogging going to change? What am I trying to say by all this? I really don't know. And that may be a step in the right direction.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Of Lakes, Locks & Crazy Contraptions

Last night Nicky and I decided that it being our last night of vacation together, we ought to do something a little crazy. He suggested we build a "crazy contraption", and several hours later, we had this to show for it:

Yesterday we went boating a second time on Saranac Lake. This time we came in the morning and packed lunch so that we could stay all day and travel through the lock into the next lake where there is a beach. Also unlike the first time, I remembered my SDHC card, and was thus able to take more than 12 pictures:

Here is our pontoon boat as my Dad circled it around an island he had dropped us off to explore:

This is the lock that we went through. I was always interested in locks when I was a little kid, but had never actually been in one. It was really cool, and operated by a lady who said that she comes to work every morning in a kayak.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Steep Stairways & Slippery Summits

Two days ago we went pontoon boating on Saranac Lake, which was lot's of fun. Unfortunately, I forgot my SDHC card, and while I was able to take enough photos on my camera's built in memory, I lack the correct cable to transfer them to my computer. We enjoyed the boating so much that we will probably go again before we leave, in which case I WILL remember my SDHC card and post the pictures.

Yesterday we drove up Whiteface Mountain as far as it's possible to drive, and when we could drive no further, climbed the twisted and slippery rock and metal staircase to the the summit:

The whole excursion was breathtakingly beautiful, from the drive up the side, to the castle like building that marks the entrance to staircase, to the view of Lake Placid from the top:

The downside of this however, was that we had to stop, what felt like at least ten times, to take pictures. I'm all for taking pictures (just as any of my traveling buddies from Europe!) but there comes a point when it just gets to be too much. The point at which you are slowing everyone down and really not taking photos that are much different from those you already have....

Here is a video that I had my sister Maryah take on the summit:

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Congratulations - You've Reached the Pretend Top of the Mountain

Yesterday morning we drove to the Adirondack Park Lodge where many of the parks famous hiking trails began. We decided to take the short but steep trail to the top of Mt. Joe. It was only .9 miles to the top, but the trail was as steep is it could possibly be and still be considered a "hiking" (rather than climbing).

Not long after setting out, our group became split in two. I ended up following the faster group, which kept moving and didn't make detours for photos every five minutes. The trail, as I said, was remarkably steep and covered in boulders, and we were all relieved when we reached a large stone bluff at the top with a sign next to it that said "Summit". It was a cool place, although we were all surprised that there wasn't really much of a view. Isaac and Nicky who were with our group decided that they wanted to hid and surprise the other group when it came. After nearly twenty minutes however, the second group had yet to show up, and we decided to head down the longer, not quite as steep trail. The trail that we had come up continued though, and Isaac and I had some doubts about whether or not we had reached the real summit. The rest of our group though didn't want to go further, so we ended up heading back down the mountain. On the way we ran into this toad:

We reached the lodge at the bottom only to find that the other group wasn't there. We waited for what must have been at least half an hour before they returned. And then we got the bad news: we had not been at the real summit. The rock we had reached, is what is known as the "False Summit" because many people stop there, when the real summit is several hundred yards beyond. When the boys had insisted we hide, the other group had apparently walked past us, not making the mistake we made.

So in the end, we had hiked up the mountain only to stop and come back down a few steps before getting to the top.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Flaming Parchutes, Flaming Stoves & Flaming New Yorkers

Early yesterday morning we left for Lake Placid New York for a week long vacation. We had a good trip up and were able to see the fireworks over the lake last evening. They were really good and they had fireworks on parachutes, which was something I had never seen before. The night was somewhat less pleasant, as I was awakened at 3:00 in the morning, not by the dog, as I would be at home, but by the lady next door swearing on the phone at her significant other in a loud and annoying NY accent for almost half an hour straight. I'm still a little tired today because of it.

Here is a view of the ski jump that they used here during the Winter Olympics:

On the way up we almost had a disaster when the stove my Dad was bringing up to show several potential customers came unscrewed from the pallet (apparently the Canadians use wimpier screws than the company we used to work with). It didn't fall though, and we were able to strap it well enough to complete the journey:

This morning we went swimming for the 2nd time so far in Lake Mirror, and the Spanos who had arrived late the last night met us on the beach.