Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Top 20 Albums

A colleague challenged me to name my favorite 10 albums. This is so difficult! Here is my 10, plus another 10 honorable mentions. There are certain songs on some albums that annoy me, but overall they are all excellent. I plan on reviewing all of these on Amazon if I haven't done so already.

Top 10

1) Kings of Convenience - Riot on an Empty Street
2) Ben Folds - Unauthorized Biography of Rienhold Messner
3) Craig Armstrong - As if to Nothing
4) Interpol - Turn on the Bright Lights
5) Death Cab for Cutie - Plans

6) DJ Tiesto - Just Be
7) Nelly Furtado - Folklore
8) William Orbit - Pieces in a Modern Style
9) Beth Orton - Daybreaker
10) Joan Osbourne - Relish

Next 10 - heavier and older

11) Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger
12) Days of the New - II
13) Stone Roses - Second Coming
14) Trail of Dead - Source Tags and Codes
15) Meat Puppets - Too High to Die

16) Alice in Chains - Jar of Flies
17) Phish - Billy Breathes
18) Dave Matthews - Crash
19) Charlatans - Some Friendly
20) Tears for Fears - Tears Roll Down

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Firenze / Florence

Had an unforgettable time with Megan and the kids in Italy for the past 6 days. We spent some time in Pisa and the rest in Florence. I have so many photos and so many things to glow about, but nary the time to blog about it. Here is my highlight... my 4 year old girl trooping to the top of Brunelleschi's dome with dear old dad. 295 feet and something like 450 steps to the top. You climb up narrow steep stairs between the two layers of the dome.

By the way, the images painted on the inside of that dome are scary!!! I'm talking people getting eaten alive and the condemned being sodomized by torches...not exactly what I'd want to daydream about on Sunday morning!

We visited many churches seeing all kinds of fresco / alter / grave / relics / gardens. We saw the art of Uffizi, Bargello, Acedamia, Piatti Palace, Boboli Gardens.

We toured the science center where you can see these excellent old contraptions like one an original Pascal calculator (and one even older), astroblades, lode stones, telescopes, etc.

Walking around town we saw lots of old town ruins and little statuary tucked here and there within the city. We sampled lots of wine and local food (gelato...mmmm), ate at streetside cafes under canopies, listened to musicians and watched street performers, bartered at open air markets, ugh... I am so tired just thinking of it all again! But it was a once in a lifetime experience that I'll always cherish.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Stoke on Trent

Today we went to a place called Stoke on Trent, its like the pottery capital of UK.

There are various museums in the town, we chose the Gladstone. It is obsolete as far as pottery production goes, but they've kept the old factory nicely in tact. You can look inside the old ovens, wander around and see what it was like for the workers, and best of all, you can get your hands dirty!

The boy took a shot at spinning a bowl. The girls made bone china flowers.

Its a great experience, highly recommended. I will fix up this stiched photo someday...not great exposure controls on my mobile phone ;-)

There is a nice exhibit on ceramic tiles. You can see arabic designs from 13th century, large mosaics, see presses and how making tiles has changed over the centuries. They also have a very strange exhibit on toilets through history...toilets as functional art? Never gave it much that much thought!