Archive | July, 2014

Rain in Gdansk and Batman

14 Jul

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It was pouring rain in Gdansk. We didn’t do much sightseeing but we visited some nice coffee houses and had a great Turkish Kebab. There was a really cool jazz duo playing in the rain – bass and trumpet.
I was not planning on taking a photo of them. The camera was securely stored in my bag.
But then Batman appeared.

In the rain…

In Gdansk…

Admiral what?

14 Jul

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Spotted this boat moored at the Gdynia harbour.
Usually a boat is named after something inspiring.
Who was this admiral anyway?

English coast

13 Jul

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This is the English coast from about 10 kilometers above. I’d love to drop in for a proper pint as the beer selection on this flight is weak. Oh well, someday…

Not the famous Jeziorany

11 Jul

Believe it or don’t, but there is a famous Jeziorany in Poland.
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This is not the famous Jeziorany

Back in the day there used to be a famous radio program that originated in the famous Jeziorany. I’ve never heard that radio program and I have never troubled myself to find out where the famous Jeziorany are.????????
This one is tucked into the Mazurian Lakes area of Poland – roughly in the North-Eastern part of the country. It’s a quiet little town where my wife was raised.

This is the Police Station. It might seem decrepit,
but the dungeon scares the locals straight.

I used to joke that the town had three roads and each one left town, but it’s not that bad here now. If there is an argument for the positive influence of Europe – one can see it here. There has not been any European investment here, but there has been a bit of public and private investment and the town looks not bad.
As I was sitting in a field gazing at storks in the distance, I realized I had not heard the sound of an airplane since I got here.
Internet access is spotty here as well. The library has it but my netbook and my son’s iPod can’t connect to it. I use their computers which is not ideal.
It is great to live and relax without the connectivity.
Peace…

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Flocks of birds surround the church’s tower. The town was founded in 1335 in what was known as Prussia.

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 These are war graves of German soldiers that died in battles during WWI.

 

Weekly Vinyl – Nursery Cryme

11 Jul

Nursery Cryme
Genesis
(1971)
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Now this is progressive rock at its peak. Well near its peak.
Genesis is one of the main bands of this genre, and this album is very indicative of this.
Each song is a fantastic, surrealistic story. The music is dreamy and sweeps you away on an adventure that is in the story. The sound is lush and on occasion breaking out into a loud fury that denotes that this is still rock-n-roll and not some new age somnambulist music.
What marks this album and most of Genesis’ music is that there really are no big solos or much instrumental noodling. The songs are tight and the instrumental passages are there to convey emotion to the song.
Although perhaps not the strongest work of the classic Genesis line-up (Gabriel, Hackett, Banks, Rutherford and Collins) this is a solid album that does not fail to disappoint.

Weekly Wine – Copper Moon

9 Jul

SONY DSCCopper Moon Riesling
Year: N/A
Canada
750ml
11.5
% ABV
$9.95 (LCBO)

I’ve had some red wine from this winery and it was not bad. It cost more than ten bucks though. This wine fits the budget so I was looking forward to it.
I drank it quite cold initially and it did not impress. I had it in the freezer to get it down to proper temperature and it overstayed a bit. (It did not freeze though – it was just quite cold.) There was this sour presence that overwhelmed all else. As it warmed up to the proper temperature it became more palatable.
I noticed that there was another name to this wine, “Moonlight Harvest.” Reading the back label it claims to be “harvested under the light of the moon.” Really. This wine is a blend of Canadian and imported wines. And they were all harvested under the light of the moon? What if it was cloudy?
I did not sample this wine with the suggested, “pork, Thai cuisine, Cajun BBQ shrimp and orange or lemon chicken.” I drank this and dreamed of ketchup chips.
Funny how taste works.

No dreams on the Dreamliner

9 Jul

I was actually quite excited to be on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Here was the future of travel.
Here was comfort for all.
This was a new generation of aircraft that would make lying more enjoyable for the public, be more environmentally conscious, and more economical for the air fleets.
Besides some interesting technological advancements, I found it no different than the other Boeing long haul fleet – 747, 767 and 777.
Leg room – not much more. I had more on the Embrar 175 I flew later.
The entertainment system – Meh. There is still nothing really good to watch.
The ambient lighting – didn’t notice it.????????
Air quality – I found it to be much warmer and stickier than on other flights.
The self-shading windows. This is an interesting feature. I wasn’t a fan at first since the central control can override the personal choice and determine that all the shades are a. The shades are electronic polarizing thigamados. Kind of like eyeglasses that turn dark when it is sunny. I did not like the central control, but then the full polarized effect of the sunrise was spectacular. I did not want to wake my seatmates, who were sleeping, to attempt a shot. Oh well.
The Dreamliner is a plane. It’s nice but not much different when you are in economy.

Oh, I did really like the view of the wing. It is more organic and cooler than the older aluminium wings.

Writing about airports

8 Jul

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Waiting for  flight on uncomfortable chairs.
The glorious sunset made it all worthwhile.

I’m not an airport connoisseur as I am not a frequent flyer. I’m an infrequent flyer. Couple of flights a year. As an idle youth I used to go to the airport and watch planes takeoff and land. It was easy back then. You can’t really do that anymore.
I was walking down a long airport corridor recently and a Monty Python sketch popped into my head. It was not one of their most famous sketches but this one fit the situation very well.
In the sketch a committee has assembled to decide on the design of a block of flats. They are hearing submissions from architects and one, I believe it was Cleese, proposes an entrance way full of Mediterranean themes as the guests arrive at the rotating knives. More hilarity ensues…
What struck me, while walking through the airport, is that we are all commodities here. This is not a great revelation – I know.
But I wish that airports were more human friendly. I wish there was an outdoor deck where one can feel a breeze. Taste the air. Enjoy the sunshine or the rain.
From the moment you arrive at the airport you are breathing canned air. The math is not good. For a transatlantic flight of seven plus hours that means you won’t get a breath of fresh air for about 10 hours. More if you are connecting.
I walked along the corridor to greet the rotating knives. Which in this case happened to take the form of bad expensive food and no WIFI connection.

 

 

Baltic Sunset

6 Jul

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This serene sunset, belies the fact that a few hours earlier we were in a heavy windstorm.
As the sun started to set over the Baltic Sea, the wind died down and we had a peaceful night.

Weekly Vinyl – English Beat

4 Jul

I Just Can’t Stop It
The English Beat
(1980)

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I’m smiling as I listen to this album and write these words. SKA is such a joyous music, even when a song is about nasty stuff. The beat, for the most part, is slow, by modern standards, but very strong and purposeful.
This album has The English Beat’s big hit – Mirror In The Bathroom. Here the beat is quick and gets you moving. Even if you do not feel like moving. The bass is beautiful. The guitar simple and exquisite. And the melodious saxophone meanders through the whole song. What a great tune.
But that is not it. There are a bunch of great songs here. This is an album that you can say, without a hint of irony – Every song’s a hit. I’m not joking.
If memory three or four of the songs on this album were bona fide hits here in Canada. They were big in their home UK and even were well known in the US.
But whatever their ranking, the music is amazing – Full Stop.