Sunday, April 25, 2010

Delray Beach, Florida, April 21-25

Compromise. It is at the center of everything. We came home from Aspen and had three nights in our own bed before flying out to Delray Beach, Florida. I thought to myself, "You know, you just blogged a whole lot from Aspen in spite of the fact that you did not do all that much there. This is a wedding weekend. Maybe you should lay off the travel blog and, well, enjoy the wedding." Also, it occurred to me that said wedding might be special to the couple making the leap, and maybe being a part of a blog titled, "Colossal Waste," is not the right way to honor a wedding.

Then technology happened. At random, I discovered an iPhone app called Pano. Apparently it won the 2009 app of the year somewhere. I figured there was not much to lose and spent 99 cents on it. Suddenly, I was able to shoot iPhone panoramas with a supercool interface.

Thus, the math had changed. I would blog from the wedding but with a self-imposed rule: only panoramas, mister.

I nearly pulled it off, too. If I had thrown up a blog entry a day or two after returning home, I might have done it. But... you know... I cam home, waited a week, waited another week; all the while my mother kept reminding me to post the Florida trip. Today, going through the five day weekend's pics, I see that there are too many perfectly pleasant un-panoramic pictures to include. So there.

Theme, sheme.

The Virgin America terminal at LAX makes for a lovely panorama. This flight was made a little more fun by the fact that we were on the same plane as Marc, the Groom. In fact, had I taken this picture around 20 minutes later, directly in the center of this picture would be Barbie talking to the Groom. It is a fact that during a wedding weekend your self-worth is defined by your proximity to the couple getting married. Spend time with them and you Win. Barely get in a handshake and you Lose. This is why everyone at your wedding pulls at you from every direction.

That is not our plane. Our plane is behind me. As you can see, I am finding the panorama feature intoxicating already.

On board the flight to Ft. Lauderdale. The Groom lurks mysteriously in this one, trying desperately to sleep.

After using the restroom, I took a moment to grab a "from the back of the plane" panorama. The flight attendants next to me were predictably puzzled by my odd behavior. Though this was a Virgin flight, so perhaps in their minds it was odd, "behaviour."

We landed and had the privilege of driving the Groom from the airport to the hotel. Our self worth was literally off the charts!

Talk about self worth. I mean, when you are greeted at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport Hertz by your name digitally displayed above the rental car's parking spot, you have indeed arrived.

Standard operating procedure from here. Got to the hotel. Bride and Groom hug and kiss and such in the lobby. Everyone goes to their rooms. The Howards stay up until 4 A.M.

As Paul McCartney might sing, "Woke up, fell outta bed, took a panorama from the hotel balcony." This, my friends, is what Delray Beach, Florida looks like. By they way, it is finally time for me to say that, yes, I have a hard time looking at the word, "Delray," without thinking, "What White guy heard 'Del Rey' in Spanish and wrote it out in English like that?" I mean, at least in Texas they did not change the spelling of Guadalupe to, "Gwadaloop," even if they say it that way.

We met up with the Bride, Groom, Best Man, and our dear friends Andy and Rachel for lunch. Bride, Groom & Best Man? Are we insiders or what? Andy and Rachel, by the way, are called, "dear friends," because they are on the short list of people we can talk to all night about bodily functions.

Meal wise, this is not going to be a healthy trip.

I had to include this pic on the Waste. I mean, look at that expression. Could I have left it out? Never. However, I will resist typing references to soiled underwear and such. Instead, I will merely say that in this pic our dear friends Andy and Rachel are enjoying their lunch.

After lunch the seven of us walked straight to the beach. I am very proud of this group. If you are two blocks from the beach and do not visit it, you are a fool.

Marla and Marc, better known as Bride and Groom. In two days these two will be married. I submit this picture as evidence that they truly like each other. I took many more pictures on the beach, but I shall generally respect the privacy of everyone whose privacy I violated that day.

Bride and Groom and Best Man had to go do "wedding related" stuff, so after the beach and some time by the pool, Andy, Rachel, Barbie and I went for a walk along Atlantic Avenue.

Atlantic Avenue, sitting in front of Ben & Jerry's. I sat and took this pic while the others got their iced creams. I had eaten the above burger and did not feel the need for iced creams.

My wife opted to enjoy a frozen banana instead of iced creams.

As did Rachel. Frozen bananas are terribly refreshing on a warm, humid day in Florida. The walk continued West, away from the Atlantic ocean.

Panorama of the Intracoastal. For those unfamiliar, the Intracoastal is a water highway for a combination of cargo ships and rich people's yachts that stretches, according to Wikipedia, from New Jersey to Texas. Obviously not uninterrupted, but still, that is some distance.

Yours truly posing with an attractive shopgirl on Atlantic Avenue. (Guest photographer: Rachel.)

Rachel and Barbie posing along the Intracoastal.

Andy standing on the Atlantic Avenue Intracoastal bridge, too damn lazy to join us down by the waterside.

We returned to the hotel... and did stuff. Eventually, it was time for the rehearsal dinner. More like an after rehearsal dinner, as only the wedding party had to do the rehearsal part while everyone was welcomed to the dinner part. These people know how to be hosts, I tell you.

The view from the upper balcony of Bostons during the rehearsal dinner.

The Bride came and sat with us at the table. Win! By the way, the Bride and I spent 12 weeks bowling in a league together five years ago. (We did not meet in the league. I was in it and our team needed a female badly, and the Bride's sense of adventure kicked in.) I submit this fact as proof of our closeness. In fact, I am probably closer to her than most of her bridesmaids, because bowling brings people together and creates an everlasting bond. Fact.

I submit this candid picture of the Groom and Bride (hey, he deserves to be named first once) as further proof that they do indeed like each other.

I cannot explain this expression. I can only share it with you.

What were the odds the Goodyear blimp would pass by during the rehearsal dinner?

After dinner came a late night at the hotel bar, sitting and talking and such. And the next day was very quiet, with most of the people involved in the wedding busy getting ready and such. This included Barbie, who had a special role during the ceremony. Suffice to say that none of the non-wedding wedding-day pics were blog-worthy. Three hyphenates in one sentence, without a forced-hyphenate.

Then came the wedding. At the last minute, yours truly was asked to help his wife hand out programs to guests entering the ceremony. "Bride on the left, Groom on the right." I still remember my line.

Since I had been so very helpful, and since I was unreasonably obsessed with taking panoramas of this wedding, I walked right up to the front of the chapel and stood there for 120 seconds so that I could take this picture.

Well worth it. I just wish I had waited until everyone was seated and the wedding was in progress. Yes, that would have been a shot.

Shhh... wedding in progress. Hey, who's the guy at the front holding his phone in the air and turning it every 10 seconds? What's with that guy? Jeez.

A great ceremony, filled with wonderful surprises, including planned laughter and unplanned laughter. The Bride and Groom sought to make it special and entertaining, and they succeeded magnificently. And I say that not just because my wife and the Bride's grandmother performed a short scene from When Harry Met Sally. The best surprise, by the way, was the Father of the Bride walking her down the aisle, then throwing on a black robe to officiate the wedding. It was simply awesome.

Time for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.

You might have picked up on it by now that the Bride and Groom are Marc and Marla. M&M. Perhaps now you understand the ice sculpture? The fact is that the entire wedding had a candy theme, and there was not a single flower injured for this wedding. The role of every bouquet and centerpiece was played by candy. Brilliant, really.

I went into the banquet hall early to take this one.

I soon realized a picture with people in it would be better.

You know me. I cannot resist taking a picture of a picture being taken. Featured in this picture are Mckenzie and Seven, whose sense of humor is sick enough that we invited them to our next game night. And they came. Score one for the deranged. One day we will rise up and vanquish our foes.

The reception was nothing but excellent. No surprise that the Bride and Groom, who planned the dinner the night before and the brunch the day after, also pre-planned an after-party for their own wedding. Yes, the room next door where the wedding ceremony had taken place had magically turned into a karaoke lounge during the reception.

These ladies Vogue'd the heck out of that room. Barbie and I had never done karaoke together before, but we were persuaded to give it a try at this wedding after-party. I had only done said activity twice before in my life, and both times had involved intoxication. But on the way to the stage to perform, "You Don't Give Me Flowers," Barbie whispered to me, "Let's start of serious then make it really dirty." We did. It went over better than we expected, though to be honest neither of us remember how much we cursed or how perverse we got. I have a feeling it went pretty far. We did get a standing ovation, which ironically is the first time that has happened for us as a couple since our own wedding.

Bride and Groom pose in front of the karaoke audience. I am loving this picture. I wish I had kept it going. This could become a motif, starting a panorama with people posing and then continuing to their surroundings.

At some point we all went back to our rooms. I cannot even tell you when.

The next day was brunch at Boston's, where I failed to take a worthwhile picture. The truth is that we killed ourselves waking up early enough to go, all because Marla (the wedding is technically over so that I shall now use her name instead of Bride) made puppy dog eyes at us when we said that we would sleep through the brunch.

Andy and Rachel were interested in a ride to the airport, and Barbie was interested in an afternoon in Miami. There you have it... an impromptu couples' visit to Miami was born.

South Beach, Miami.

We walked along the beach and then grabbed a bite at Barbie's favorite hang out, The Clevelander. At night it is a hotspot for filth and disease. During the day it is still a hotspot for filth and disease, but you can see the filth and disease in the daylight and more easily avoid it.

Barbie, Rachel and Andy at The Clevelander. This may be my favorite panorama, the way each of them is their own panel.

Andy was sweaty and uncomfortable, but he turned that sweat into fashion.

We wanted to play it safe, and headed back to Ft. Lauderdale. Barbie managed to reach our friend Steve who owns a club there, and we headed to said club to hang out before heading to the airport.

La Playa, Ft. Lauderdale. Barbie starts the pic on the left. Look closely and you might see table dancers.

Before you knew it, it was time to head to that airport. Amusingly, around twenty people from the wedding were on the flight. I now officially regret not taking a panorama of them all waiting for the plane, but the truth is that everyone was crazy exhausted and looking their worst. I know how people react when you take their picture in that state. Still, I should have done it. Photo-regret is a higher price to pay than annoyed friends.

I did take this one almost completely uninteresting panorama at the airport. As you can see, I am improving at centering the subject.

Airplane Portrait. The time between being allowed to take off your seat belt while waiting for the plane to unload. This is the closest the living come to purgatory. Marc (the artist formerly known as the Groom) managed to once again be randomly featured in the center of a landscape.

There they are. A group of people who spent the last 96 hours enjoying themselves, emerging through a concrete birth canal into Los Angeles.

There. It took me an extra two and a half weeks, but I got this trip up on Colossal Waste. (For those who read this on Facebook, it may not even make sense when I talk about The Waste. But this is a blog at Full sized pics, italicized text, and more can be seen there.)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Aspen, April 2010, Day 7

Here it is. The day that we go home. All packed up the night before, all we had to do was wake up and get going.

Remember a few days ago when I apologized for not taking a picture of the breakfast Barbie cooked in the condo? With this pic I declare the lapse compensated.

Leaving the hotel, we see luggage racks, bronze wildlife, and people. After being deserted for most of the week, Aspen clearly went from 5% occupied Monday to a whopping 20% occupied Saturday.

A shot from the car of the Rockies, on the way to the airport. If you are holding a camera device in your hand and you see these mountains painted against a blue sky, it is impossible to not take several pics. This one was the best.

Aspen airport. There are advantages to small towns.

Our carriage to Denver.

I love snapping this kind of pic. Planes are cool. The closer, the cooler.

Your average Rocky Mountain airplane window pic.

Clouds casting shadows on the Rockies. Again, I challenge you to look at that view and not take a pic.

Our carriage from Denver to Los Angeles is right THERE.

Airplane portrait.

As we landed, the child in front of me reached out to touch Los Angeles with her fingers.

As carry-on only people, we normally shoot right through Baggage Claim and onto the street. Sean had checked his bag, which gave me an opportunity to notice this sign for the first time.

While we waited for Lon to pick us up, Barbie went and sat next to the dude with the iPad. She returned and said, "He's just playing some stupid game." A pretty safe bet, I assume.

Sean, Lon, Barbie and I grabbed dinner on the way home, and because we had yet to walk through the door of our home, I consider this meal still part of the "trip." A stretch, I know.

But the Spinach Enchiladas (with chicken) at A Votre Sante are so photogenic that I had to let them be the last pic of the week.

It feels delightful to be at sea level. Thank goodness the next trip is a wedding in Florida. I am fairly certain you cannot get too high above sea level in that state.