Posts Tagged ‘Fun Stuff’

Something Cool: Visited States Map Generator

The Visited States Maps Generator at the Defocus Blog allows you to create a map of US states (and Canadian provinces if you chose) that you’ve visited, color-coded by the amount of time and commitment you’ve given to each place.

Here’s the key:

Red means I’ve just passed through, maybe seen a thing or two.

Amber means I’ve at least slept there and seen a few things. I have a first-hand idea of what the state is like.

Blue means I’ve spent a good amount of time in that state.

Green means I’ve spent a lot of time in that state, weeks at a time on multiple visits – or lived there.

Here’s my map:

vsm-5dbdf88bbe40d5edf09237c8f10aedcb

I made the decision not to include states where I only changed planes at the airport (for me that would be Minnesota and Texas).  I also think that there should be a distinctive color for  states one has lived in compared to states that one has just visited a lot.  The states I’ve resided in are New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia, and Massachusetts.  I’ve also included New York, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire in the green category because I’ve traveled to those states frequently (the first two primarily due to family living there).

What does your map look like?  Go to http://www.defocus.net/visitedstates/ and find out.

Photopost: Wake Up The Earth 2013

Spring descended on Jamaica Plain this past weekend with the annual Wake Up the Earth Festival presented by Spontaneous Celebrations. This was the 35th annual festival, an event that grew out of the “highway revolt” of the 1960s & 70s when local activists opposed the construction of highway infrastructure in Jamaica Plain & Roxbury, leading to the creation of the Southwest Corridor as a system of train lines, bike paths, and parks that we enjoy today. Ironically, some people who want to create new prioritized highway infrastructure for cars marched in this year’s parade which I guess shows that this festival takes all kinds.  The festival itself was home to many tents of activists of many causes, food, games, and musical performances.  My family and I sang a few songs with the intergenerational chorus SingPositive, JP in preparation for our concert on May 19th.  We also danced to Maaak Pelletier’s jam band the Mystical Misfits as they played Grateful Dead classics.  Finally, the potato sack slide down the hillside was great fun for everyone.

DSCN1652

A peace sign and yin yang grow out of the hillside at Jamaica Pond’s Sugar Bowl.

DSCN1653

Peace and flowers!

DSCN1686

The Brendan Behan quote seems appropriate to the occassion.

DSCN1687

Spanish banner for the festival.

DSCN1688

Here comes the parade.

DSCN1689

The stilt walkers always impress.

DSCN1690

I’m pretty sure this woman participates every year.

DSCN1691

The theme of the year is snakes and these folks won the Best Family Costume award.

DSCN1693

Hula hooping is another big highlight of the festival.

DSCN1694

Mobile percussion unit.

DSCN1696

The wolf and the lamb dance in the street.

DSCN1697

A rocking marching band and dancing stilt walker.

DSCN1699

Scholars from my son’s school march.

DSCN1700

Getting brassy.

DSCN1712

The Mystical Misfits lead the dance.

More photos from the parade and festival on Universal Hub and JP Patch.

Previously:

Photopost: Wake Up the Earth 2012

Some photos from back on May 5th when Spontaneous Celebrations presented its annual Wake Up the Earth Festival in Jamaica Plain. This year we not only watched the parade but my son and I also participated in the festival, performing with Sing Positive JP.

Here’s a sample of our chorus’ singing:

Related Posts:

Wake Up the Earth

Today, Jamaica Plain woke up the earth at the annual festival sponsored by Spontaneous Celebrations.  I took my son to soccer practice this morning and afterward we biked to Centre St to watch the parade.  Stilt-walkers, bicyclists, drummers, dancers and lots of bunnies starred in the procession. After the  parade passed, my son wanted to follow on our bike.  I got a bit frustrated with the stop & go and having to put my foot down all the time so I took a shortcut to Stony Brook.  There we were able to watch the parade arrive at the festival where all the participants formed a circle with much rhythmic drumming and swaying.  The stilt-walkers and puppets were a little scary for Peter but it was cool to feel the drumbeats reverberating in the soil.  With a storm and naptime approaching we pedaled home but enjoyed a fun morning.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Related Posts:

Retropost: Confessions of a St. Patrick’s Day Curmudgeon

In honor of this special day let’s revisit one of my favorite posts.

While most kids look forward to Christmas, when I was a child, St. Patrick’s Day (along with Thanksgiving) was one of my favorite days of the year.  It was a big day in my family usually involving going to the parade in New York and seeing family and friends we hadn’t seen in a while.  Then there was the music, the stories of St. Patrick, the history of Ireland and the Irish in America.  Growing up in a town where the dominant population was Ital … Read More

Related Posts:

Wake Up The Earth Parade

This morning we attended the parade for Jamaica Plain’s annual Wake Up The Earth Festival.   The fun started at Ferris Wheels bike shop where I brought my bike for a tune-up and while there a woman dressed as a chicken came in to get air for her bike tires.  Only in JP.

The parade was great fun.  We saw puppets, stilt-walkers, cute kids in strollers, dancers, marching bands, political activists, cute kids in costumes, and yes, chickens on bicycles.  Peter picked up some good loot: a water bottle from the Mosaic School and a handmade magic wand (made from a pipette).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One can’t get the true sense of the Wake Up The Earth Festival without sounds and action, so here are a few short videos too.

Dancing Kids:

Dancing Man on Stilts:

Marching band:

It was fun Waking Up The Earth, and we didn’t even have to give her a Box of Joe from Dunkin’ Donuts.  Now it’s time for a good nap.

PreviouslyWake Up The Earth 2009

Words that are fun to say

wicker

pterodactyl

borborygmi

dragoons

spatula

pusillanimous

damskippy

ratfuck

wassail

kibosh

theremin

Cornelius

bildungsroman

gigglesnort

patois

madness

Scary Frosty Wants You!

In Central Square,  Cambridge an angry snowman demands that you keep your sidewalks clear of snow.

I’ve actually noticed that the sidewalks in Central Square & Cambridgeport tend to be better maintained than other places in and around Boston. So this vindictive anthropomorphic mass of crystallized precipitation is doing his job. Respect his authority!

Two More Bits of Video Awesomeness

1. Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No by James Blagden

via No Mas.

2. The Cast of Spongebob Squarepants Dubs Classic Films

via Steve.
Previously: Two Bits of Video Awesomeness

Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No by James Blagden

Cities with Mountains

I’m a man of extremes.  I love urban living, but when I want to get out of the city I want to get way out of the city, skipping over all those suburbs.  Ideally my best vacation spot is on a remote trail hiking up a mountain.  Too bad that the best of both worlds is hard to find – cities with mountains.  Most cities are built on a plain by a river, not mountainsides.  Boston has some nice steep hills – and once had a three-peak hill the English called Trimountain (which was later torn down) – but nothing really mountainous.  So on this hot summer day in the city I’m going to write a tribute to four cities I’ve visited that have mountains within their environs.

First up is Eugene, which technically doesn’t have a mountain but a butte, but a butte is close enough.  I hiked up the trails of Spencer Butte on a visit in 1997 and it was a lovely escape from the city with a lot of typical public park ammenities with some added elevation.  Spencer Butte tops out at 2055 feet (626 m) although oddly it felt the least “mountainous” of the four urban mountains I’ve climbed.

Here’s a view in all its black & white beauty:

To be honest I'm not sure if this photo is of Spencer Butte or from Spencer Butte, but you get the gist

To be honest I'm not sure if this photo is of Spencer Butte or from Spencer Butte, but you get the gist

The following year I visited Edinburgh, Scotland which I wrote about on the tenth anniversary of the visit.  I was awed by Arthur’s Seat which may be the most urban of mountains with the city streets and buildings going right up to its foothills.  Arthur’s Seat is only  823.5 ft (251 m) but I’m certain its elevation rises most dramatically around the surrounding territory of any of the mountains in cities I’ve seen.

Im almost fell to my death trying to make this self-portrait.

I'm almost fell to my death trying to make this self-portrait.

Montreal, Quebec is actually named for its mountain Mont Royal.  I climbed the mountain with Susan & Camille in May 1999 and a few days later rode my bike to the summit.  Mont Royal gets bonus points for being in a park landscaped by Frederick Law Olmsted and a spiff cross near the summit. Mont Royal stands at 764 ft (233 m) and is the lowest of the four “mountains.”

Taking in the view of Montreal in my bright yellow bicycling jacket.

Taking in the view of Montreal in my bright yellow bicycling jacket.

Finally there is the city of Salzburg, Austria which Susan & I visited in 2003.  Located in the Alps, Salzburg is surrounded by mountains but the closest to center city is Mönchsberg.  This mountain is fortified with the ancient Hohensalzburg Fortress looming over the city but also felt the most wild, as if we may wander off into some primeval forest of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.  Mönchsberg may also be the steepest of the urban mountains I’ve visited including one section of sheer rockface with monk’s cells carved in the side.   Mönchsberg is 1,771 feet (540 meters) high.

The monks' cells carved in the side of Mönchsberg.

The monks' cells carved in the side of Mönchsberg.

So have you been to a good urban mountain? Does your city have a mountain of it’s very own? Share your stories below, I need some cool thoughts for these hot days!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 985 other followers

%d bloggers like this: