Archive for the ‘Smörgåsbord’ Category

This Bucket Is Listing To Starboard

Business Insider Australia has listed 30 Things To Do Before You’re 30 (OK, most of these things happened after, but who cares)

Run a half marathon (it’s ok if you have to walk a little).

I give up, already tripped on the first hurdle. I did walk once from Ipswich (QLD) to Willowbank (about 1/2 a marathon) – I doubt I’d attempt that sober, especially now that I’m older budweiser.

Travel somewhere TRULY exotic – anywhere that feels like the end of the earth.

Does Australia count? I’d say it does.

Buy tickets to a music festival and rage with the best of them.

Magnus Uggla in Mariehamn, 2012

I’m pretty sure there were exactly two Finnish-speaking people in the audience.

Saw Magnus Uggla in Mariehamn back in 2012. That should cover it.

Go skinny dipping.

Pretty much every weekend at the cabin in the summer. This is supposed to be a bucket list thing?

Splurge on a once-in-a-lifetime meal at one of the world’s best restaurants.

Tip: try the sweetbread at Sea Horse – or Dizzy Gillespie’s signature dish, fried Baltic herrings and mash.

I imagine the seafood meal I once had in Tamatave, Madagascar was once-in-a-lifetime in more ways than one, in particular because I have no idea what the pre-kitchen twitching and post-kitchen delicious crablike creepy-crawly actually was.

Best Karelian stew this side of the Isthmus.

Best Karelian stew this side of the Isthmus.

A while ago I splurged on Karelian stew at Pelmenit in Harju, and it turned out to be the best Karelian stew I’ve ever had. This could be in part because Karelian stew isn’t exactly a staple of my diet.

Cook a huge meal and throw a dinner party for friends.

Again, this is a bucket list thing?

Test drive your dream car.

Getting there.

Well, that’s a start. Now about those Gatling guns…

My dream car converts to a helicopter, a submarine, and a bobsled at the touch of a button, has Gatling guns and ejector seats, and runs on methane harvested from the atmosphere. It also has a bitchin’ sound system that plays Ride of the Valkyries non-stop in glorious surround sound. Whale skin hubcaps optional. You build it, I’ll test drive it.

Grab the microphone and perform at a karaoke bar, even if you have stage fright.

That's the table.

That’s the table.

This one time at summer camp (Rel Week 2009) I sang Finland Song a capella and in spite of having to take cover under a table due to a deluge of empty beer cans, did all the verses too. I’d say that counts.

Stay up all night partying in a big city like Los Angeles, Tokyo, or London.

Are you saying Riga, Latvia is not a big city?

Watch a meteor shower.

Have done. Also, northern lights, which seems to be an endless source of curiosity for Aussies.

Go bungee jumping or skydiving – really, anything that involves heights and massive amounts of adrenaline.

I got to be free / Free as the wind / Free is the way / I got to be

I got to be free / Free as the wind / Free is the way / I got to be

I’ll see your skydiving and raise you skydiving naked.

Throw yourself a huge birthday party.

I think I have at some point, but if I remembered it, would it have been that huge?

Climb a mountain (it doesn’t have to be Mt. Everest).

Didn't climb this one.

Didn’t climb this one.

Got me there.

Learn to bartend.

There's bartending, and then there's bartending.

There’s bartending, and then there’s bartending.

Grab a bottle of beer and an opener, lift off the cap, enjoy. If it’s a twist top, skip the opener. That was easy, wasn’t it?

Go scuba diving – or at least try snorkelling.

Pterois volitans, as featured in The Spy Who Loved Me.

Pterois volitans, as featured in The Spy Who Loved Me. This specimen was happy to pose for pictures in Bootless Bay, PNG.

Been there, done that in Australia, Thailand, and Papua New Guinea. Water was wet in all three.

Homo sapiens and Carcharias taurus in Shark Alley, Stradbroke Island, QLD, Australia.

Homo sapiens (yours truly) and Carcharias taurus in Shark Alley, North Stradbroke Island, QLD, Australia.

Travel somewhere all by yourself. It’s not as scary as it sounds.

Two solo round-the-world trips should cover this one.

Eat something that makes you squirm (may we suggest bugs, pigs’ ears, or intestines?).

Enjoying fugu in Tokyo. Domo arigato MIka-san.

Enjoying fugu in Tokyo. Domo arigato Mika-san.

Now here’s a tricky one, very few things make me squirm. I refuse to eat any politicians.

Learn to speak a new language.

What’s the cutoff? I can order “two beers” in more than 10. Two, because then you don’t have to worry whether it’s Die, Der, or Das.

Spend a night camping under the stars.

Done in both hemispheres.

Join an intramural sports team, even if you’re not an athlete.

And the reason for this would be …? No thanks, I think I’ll pass on this one.

Splurge on an item that you technically can’t afford, but that will last for years.

What is this “can’t afford” thing you speak of?

Sign up to be a mentor, or spend some time volunteering.

Anybody keen to learn how to make a wicked chili con carne?

Go whitewater rafting.

OK, may do at some point.

Apply for your dream job – there’s no better time to try.

I will immediately when I spot an opening for a jazz listener.

Take a cross-country road trip. (Remember: it doesn’t have to be across the U.S.)

Driving around in Central Europe it’s pretty difficult to not do so by accident. Case in point: Luxembourg. Even more so: Liechtenstein. They might not count as Real Countries though.

Have also driven all the way across Denmark (a Real Country, yay SAS and Tuborg!) without once letting the pedal off the metal. Good thing the mobile home wouldn’t go faster than 110 km/h, also the limit.

Attend a major sports event, whether it’s the Superbowl, World Cup, or World Series.

Saw the Cowboys beat the $#!T out of the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium once. That’s as major as they come in my book.

Sign up for a summer share at a beach house, ski house, or lake house.

Way ahead of you, already got one.

Take a class that’s totally out of your element, like improv, golf, or pottery-making.

Gobbledy bloody goop.

Gobbledy bluddy goop.

Most of the classes I took at Uni would fall under this category. Perhaps none more so than “Basic Course in Mathematics S 2”. Sounds innocuous enough, right? I still have nightmares of helix integrals and solids of revolution.

Get lost in a foreign country. Sometimes, that’s the best part of the trip.

When you come to a fork in the metro line, take it.

When you come to a fork in the metro line, take it.

Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Although my “Lost in Helsinki” T-shirt has been lost in the mists of time.

Unplug for a full day…or even a full week if you’re feeling zen.

Enjoying a spot of Vonnegut.

Enjoying a spot of Vonnegut.

Yay brother!

Now let’s celebrate.

Yes, let’s.

Camera Obscura

“Don’t undertake a project, unless it is manifestly important and nearly impossible.” Thus spake Edwin Land, the man who gave the world instant photography with the Polaroid SX-70 camera. (More on the subject: Polaroid’s SX-70: The Art and Science of the Nearly Impossible @ Technologizer.)

According to Land, the SX-70 “incorporated 20,000 technological breakthroughs”. Alas, Land died in 1991, well before the advent of digital photography. Had he lived to see the world of instant photography completely transformed, he undoubtedly would have tried to tackle the following technological (and, to be fair, social) problems:

Flash photography at a stadium concert.

Typically, a built-in flash only has power to illuminate a subject that is less than 5 m away. If you’re taking a photo of someone that you think is Bono, but can’t be sure because you could only afford the cheap seats, your flash is not going to carry that far. Of course, Bono is going to be even tinier in the resulting shot, but hey, you might get a nice overall shot of the concert experience, right? Unless it’s dark, in which case you’ll get very artistic light traces and not much else, but at least you’re not annoying everyone else with your flash going off every ten seconds.

Tip: turn off the flash.

Flash photography with an integrated flash in general.

Any integrated flash, even on a very expensive DSLR, will be located so close to the lens that the resulting photo will be very much reminiscent of a deer in headlights. A red-eyed deer, at that.

Tip: turn off the flash and either turn up the ambient light, or take the shot with a suitably powerful lens.

Mirror self-portraits.

Unless you’re Annie Leibovitz, you’re extremely unlikely to pull off a very flattering shot of yourself in this manner, so Just Don’t.

Tip: get someone else to take the shot.

Self-portraits taken holding the photo apparatus at an arm’s length.

See above.

Too many photos of the same subject.

I was recently chatting with a professional photographer about a sporting event he covered. The event in question involved building a record-size formation that only remained complete for a few seconds. I asked the pro how many shots he took. His answer: “Two.” He knew where to be for the shot he wanted, and also knew when he needed to be there, so he made sure that was the case, and took the shot. I don’t know what the spare was for—but the point is, he didn’t take the shots he knew he wouldn’t need.

Not everyone has the patience and determination to develop such a keen eye that they can only go for the money shot, and that’s fair enough. It’s probably fair to argue that to get to the point where you only need one shot, you first have to take lots of shots that don’t make the grade.

But for Moloch’s sake, there’s absolutely no need to inflict all of them on the world on Facebook, Flicker, etc. just because it’s possible. By doing so, the photographer passes the job of culling the inferior shots onto each and every viewer, and diminishes the value of the good shots in the process.

Tip: Only publish the good shots.

“Wishful thinking” photos.

Aka “If I take 200 shots, one of them must be good”. Common in low-light performance situations, such as a concert, street parade at night, etc. While it’s true that one of the 200 shots might, as if by miracle, turn out half decent, the rest of the crowd is there to enjoy the performance, which is something that the hapless photographer will totally miss out on by viewing it through a LCD screen.

Tip: only publish the good shots, not the ones that would be good if not for the fact that they aren’t.