Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Colorado 12

Happy Leap Day! In celebration, here's another picture of star trails! Taken in the Eagle's Nest Wilderness in this case, if you're going to track down which stars are which based on declension or whatever.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Colorado 11

This handsome picture of the North Star would probably be nicer if you didn't know that the funny little hut there is the outhouse at the Lake Cowdrey recreation area. We should have thought of that before we camped south of the outhouse. Actually, just forget I said anything. Thanks.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Colorado 10

Same cabin, different day. Sorry for the less-than-aggressive editing there.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Colorado 9

A detail from the same old abandoned cabin as the last picture.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Colorado 8

We're away. For the next little bit, some pictures from in or just outside the Mount Massive Wilderness area. We were there to climb Mount Elbert, highest mountain in Colorado and second highest in the Lower 48. But we had some photo time to cool our heels the evening before the climb.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Colorado 7

Spotted somewhere outside Leadville, an old barn and slanting light that begged -- nay, demanded! -- that we stop the car and take a picture.

We're off on leave today. It's been hard working for six months in a row (well, mostly, except for Christmas week), after all those vacations from Afghanistan. Of course, it's also nice to get two days off every weekend. As always, we'll try to keep posting, but usually that doesn't work.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Colorado 6

Hey look! It's a bright yellow tractor! I wonder if it works.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Colorado 5

While we're showing shots of varied conditions at the same photo location, as we have the last couple days, we might as well throw in this picture, from basically the same spot as our very first welcome-back-from-Afghanistan-photo, posted exactly six months ago.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Colorado 4

Capturing lightning on film is not easy. Capturing lightning on digital camera is slightly easier, mostly because the cost of film drops to essentially zero so one can keep trying until he or she succeeds. The lightning storm that came in over Cowdrey Lake while we were camping on the eastern shore made it pretty easy, in that it was lightning-ing a lot. We managed to get several good lightning shots, of which this was the best -- even though the main strike is not as strong as in other shots, the offshoot heading to the right (more visible should you care to click on the picture above to see the embiggened version, which we take great pains not to suggest too frequently due to our severe aversion to self-promotion, but which is nevertheless always an option) is fantastic, stretching more than halfway across the frame.

Also shot at the same spot as yesterday's photo.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Colorado 3

We're suddenly wracked with guilt for the lack of Foreign Service-y content here. Well, maybe not wracked with guilt, but it's been months since we posted anything about living in a foreign country, perhaps because it's been months since we lived in a foreign country. If you are an American person who happened upon this blog because you are thinking of joining the Foreign Service, just remember that you will spend some time in Washington, a town that is not without its charms, but being exotic and foreign and such is not one of them.

So anyway, here is a different view from pretty much this exact place.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Colorado 2

Just outside Leadville, Colorado, on the road up to the campsite at the foot of Mount Elbert.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Colorado 1

For the next however long, but probably not every day, pictures we like from the greatest state in the union, Colorado. There will be mountains, there will be trees, there will be stars. Above, the Park Range across Cowdrey Lake.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Dangers of the Digital Age

There was a time when we cared about keeping our Flickr account clean. Pictures that we thought met some level of objective quality went to Flickr, and pictures that were just snapshots but were funny or illustrative or whatnot were hosted at a Flickr knockoff site called Zooomr. Why we ever trusted Zooomr with anything is a mystery, given that the reason we were using them was because they were free, and they were free because they sucked, which is not a very sustainable business model.

So now they've lost all the images anyone uploaded from 2009 and earlier, and have no plans to try to restore them or improve their service in any way. As a result, a bunch of the old posts on this blog have blank spots where there should be pictures that were hosted on Zooomr. We do get occasional people who find this blog by searching for some item that results in google pointing them to an old post, so if that's you, sorry. We barely find time to put up new content here, so I'm not sure when or if we will ever restore some of the older posts. Le sigh.

Anyway, if any reader should happen upon a post with a picture missing, we'd appreciate it if you'd tell us about it in the comments and we'll fix it. Of course, the odds that someone who found a problem would also find this post are pretty slim, but I suppose it can't hurt.

Friday, February 03, 2012

California Epilogue

One last thing, a teaser of one more sight from California, which we will present in greater detail some other time. Yeah, we were stretching on calling a lot of this California stuff worthy of publication, but this stuff will be worth it once we ever find time to edit it all...

Thursday, February 02, 2012

California 24

OK, that's pretty much it from California. Here's a picture of a view of The City (as The Chronicle calls San Francisco) from The Suburb (as nobody calls Alameda). Perhaps coming soon, stuff from somewhere else!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

California 23, or, Culinary Investigation Three of Three

Sorry we accidentally took some time off in the middle of January so our California posts are leaking into February and therefore ruining the nice monthly theme thing we had going for a few months there. C'est la vie.

So then, the A-number-one food item that is awesome in San Francisco and is crap in DC? The Burrito. DC has Chipotle, which I guess is mostly better than nothing. Mostly. But San Francisco has an embarrassment of burrito riches. That said, no matter how much we love Mission burritos (and I assure you, we like them a lot), unlike our Ice Cream Day and Muni-n-Sushi Day adventures we would probably die if we tried to eat three or more burritos in a day. Evolution just didn't prepare the human digestive tract for that kind of punishment. Maybe a hippo could do it. But a person? No. I beg you, do not try it. Please. For us.

So, we decided the next best thing was to have a double-blind Pepsi Challenge Mission burrito taste test. But we didn't want to put that much effort into it, so we did a not-even-really single-blind Mission burrito taste test.

The competitors, selected for their history in both winning "Best of San Francisco" Awards from the weekly alternative newspapers or for their history of being the burrito shop closest to where we used to live, were: Tacqueria Can-Cun, which won the Best of the Bay like twenty times; El Papalote, a relative newcomer that has usurped Can-Cun's weekly alternative rag title reign; and El Farolito, which has never won anything but has two convenient locations more or less on 24th Street.

We assembled a crack team of five taste-testers, and due to the particular tastes of some of the team, ordered a chicken burrito and a veggie burrito from each location. Chips were included as usual, but were not given any weight in the voting.

In the end, the clear winner with four votes of five was El Papalote, which is I suppose an indicator that if you get a bunch of yuppies in a room they're going to vote for the yuppie burrito place with the "fresh ingredients" and the fancy website with a statement of purpose that claims their taqueria is "based on memories of sunny Sunday afternoons spent in Chapultpec, in Mexico City." Bah. Your correspondent, not unlike that one dentist who does not prefer Trident gum, voted for El Farolito, which features "everything cooked in a vat of lard" and just barely has a website at all.

In any case, we hope that this information will help guide you to the right Mission Burrito for you should you ever visit the neighborhood.