Pulpology: Mark & Sonia's Intercontinental Absurdities!


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Re: Wanderfood Wednesday: Epicurean despot (by mark at 5/09 2:16 PM)
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28 August 2009
Photo Friday: purple people-eater

purple people-eater
more like a purple people-greeter

Next week marks the start of Burning Man, the wacky hippie-raver festival in the desert that defies explanation or description. While we're a bit sad to not be attending this year, today's Photo Friday seemed a good opportunity to wax nostalgic about some of the more surreal moments of last year's Burn. The gentleman in the above photo provides one small glimpse into the surreality: we encountered him one dusty afternoon while en route to something else entirely, got distracted by his purple ensemble, and proceeded to engage in a lengthy conversation about travel through India. At the end of the chat, he reached into his gold suitcase (one of TWO gold-spangled accessories) and gifted us with a set of George Bush voodoo dolls. And then he went on his merry way, possibly back home to the mothership via the spaceship art car you see behind him in the photo.

Just another day on the Playa.

There were many, MANY more such moments during our weeklong visit to what Mark often describes as "a 7-day-weekend on the moon." One of the beautiful things about Burning Man is that it's so huge, and such a personal experience, that everyone comes back with their own set of stories. It often seemed as though even the people we camped with had attended a completely different event. Hopefully we'll return to the Burn again someday... it's been one of our most extraordinary travel adventures to date!

alien street scene
alien street scene

The American Dream 2008
The American Dream 2008

Sonia & oktapodi at Center Camp
Sonia & oktapodi at Center Camp

The Man burns!
The Man burns!

Related links:
* browse all Burning Man 2008 pics
* read all Burning Man 2008 stories
* Mark Morford: The life lessons of Burning Man

* Be sure to check out other great Photo Friday pics on Delicious Baby!


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19 August 2009
The hunt is on!
Online Wine Scavenger Hunt, Aug 19-28

Wine Online Scavenger Hunt

Now is your chance to win a coveted "Whiney" award! (Oh, you know you want one!) The first Wine Whore Online Wine Scavenger Hunt starts today, and runs through August 28. Pour yourself a glass of your favorite grape juice, and start hunting for answers to the posted clues.

Sign up and submit your answers at the Wine Whore blog. You'll notice some very illustrious sites  among those hiding the clues. :)

Happy #winewednesday, and good luck, winos!

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14 August 2009
Photo Friday: poofy Guatemalan hairdos

poofy Guatemalan hairdos
poofy Guatemalan hairdos

In August of 2007, I happened to be in the town of Nebaj, Guatemala, during one of the biggest festival days of the year. The Feast of the Assumption is celebrated on August 15 through many Catholic countries, but it's an even bigger deal in Nebaj because the Virgin Mary is the town's patron saint. The traditional festival garb was pretty stellar, but by far my favorite part was the poofy hairdos sported by the women. Sometimes it takes me a while to get my hair done up for a special occasion, but daaaaaaaaamn, this was something else entirely!

I gotta learn how to do my hair like this...
I gotta learn how to do my hair like this...

Nebaj crowd watches the festivities
Nebaj crowd watches the festivities

Related links:
* browse all pics from Nebaj
* browse all pics from Guatemala
* read blog story about Nebaj festival

* Be sure to check out other great Photo Friday pics on Delicious Baby!

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12 August 2009
And the winner is...

OK, well, the winner is *us* for taking a month off to travel through Italy. :)

La Tavola Marche - cooking classesLa Tavola Marche - surrounding areaBut, more to the point, we've chosen a place to stay for the bulk of our trip. And the winner is: La Tavola Marche! Located in the "calf" of the boot, in a central region near Tuscany and Umbria, La Tavola Marche is an agriturismo run by an American couple who share much of the same slow food philosophy we espouse. I ran into Ashley and Jason in the Slow Food group on LinkedIn. To take a snippet from their web site: La Tavola Marche is run by a young passionate American couple who will cook for you, take you shopping in the local markets for the night’s dinner, direct you to the best wines and cheese of the region, and if you wish, give you cooking lessons.

Do these guys sound like our people, or what?

They have several different apartments on their property. Unfortunately, by the time I contacted them with specific dates, the smallest one was already taken. But they made arrangements for us to rent a slightly larger apartment at a very reasonable rate. So we'll be spending the middle section of our trip in the middle of Italy, cooking and visiting the wineries and markets of Le Marche and just soaking in the scene for two weeks. From what we've read on Ashley & Jason's blog we're gonna fit right in.

La Tavola Marche - nearby town

We're still working through the details of the rest of the trip, although a good bit of it will be left to chance and our whims of the moment. We'll likely start off in Venice and Florence, then go to Le Marche, then end up in Rome. I'm also toying with the idea of visiting Torino, which is the home of the Slow Food movement, and also has an active CouchSurfing community. We'll see. We will need to rent a car to get to La Tavola Marche, but taking the train between the major cities seems the sanest way to go. The goal is to couchsurf as much as possible, with some hotels/hostels on board for backup.

As I've said before, one of the nice things about going to Italy (as opposed to, say Malaysian Borneo) is that seemingly everyone's been there and has a recommendation or ten. These we take with a big grain of salt, but it's all part of the pre-trip planning and research. Some other great resources I've been using to help plan:

* a flotilla of fabulous Italy Tweeps

* a wonderful book we stole (ehm, borrowed!) from Mark's sister, called "One Hundred & One Beautiful Small Towns of Italy"

* ViaMichelin to help estimate drive times

* Italy Beyond the Obvious and Italy Travelista for great articles and advice

Watch the calendar/maps sections of this site as additional details evolve. And of course we'll be blogging and tweeting our way through the trip... trying to find that elusive balance of sharing the juicy detes and actually enjoying our travels!

(all photos are from Ashley's Flickr photostream)

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07 August 2009
Tweeps I like
tweet tweet!I'm skipping Photo Friday this week (but feel free to visit Delicious Baby's site anyway!) to finally bat out my list of Tweeps I Like. Gadzooks, there's lotsa fab folks out there in the Twitterverse! This is a long list with a lot to take in, but I broke it down into several categories:

* Travel Mavens - General
* Travel - all things Italy
* Greenies/Foodies
* Best DC info
* My favorite winos

Hope this helps you find some worthwhile tweeps to follow. Happy #followfriday!

Related links:
* All I really need to know about Twitter I learned in kindergarden
* Visit Delicious Baby's Photo Friday for great pics
* Don't tell me you're not already following ME on Twitter??? Shame on you! ;)


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02 August 2009
Weekend with da boyz

After last weekend's hectic beach junket, followed by a Photo Friday fulla flowers, this weekend was all about chilling out with the boyz.

ladies and gentlemen, American Giant!

On Saturday night, I performed my typical roadie-groupie-photog role for Mark's band as they played their first paying gig at Bunker Sports Cafe in Leesburg. It was American Giant's chance to make a good impression on both the booking agent and the club manager, two characters who are key to any band's success. It was just an opening gig, but the headlining act, Kelly Bell Band, is supposedly a pretty big name, so it seemed like a good opportunity.

Glenn and Bryan

Too bad nobody showed up.

Mark shreds another solo

OK, well, that's not entirely true, there were about 50 people there. It was a biiiiiiig bar, so it just seemed empty. But everyone present seemed to be enjoying themselves. *And* there were chix dancing. *And* there were no big throngs showing up for the headlining act either. So we'll consider it a success!

Boogie James, in a pensive moment

On Sunday, we babysat our 2-year-old nephew, James. He is one funny little dude. It was the perfect chance to get silly, play with cars, and read Dr Seuss. What more could you ask for on a Sunday afternoon? And just as he started to get cranky, we gave him back. That's what *I'm* talkin about. Life is good!

Uncle Mark's cyclops alter ego  Aunt Sonia & James have an unnecessary zoom

Related links:
* browse all AG/James photos
* American Giant web site | Facebook fan page | My Space page

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