June 17, 2008


My blog today is about expectations. Case in point...
M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening. We went to see it last night. PLEASE, DO NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE! It's really a pretty bad movie. The acting is flat, the plot is mediocre and the characters have no depth. The bulk of the film consists of a long series of extremely graphic suicides; plants are somehow releasing some sort of something into the air that for some reason makes some people stick hairpins in the necks and lay down in front of lawn mowers and bash their faces through glass windows. Now the thing is Mr. Shyamalan has built up some expectations over the years. His movies in the past have had great twists and amazing suspense plus great acting. I never expected him to resort to shock-value violence. So after the movie we went out and got a couple pints of Ben & Jerry's to take a bit of the edge off. On to our next subject: Coldplay's new album Viva la Vida.

Coldplay started out as the perfect alternative word-of-mouth British band that all your cool friends listened to. Now they're one of the most popular groups in the world. The great thing is their music has grown in step with their following. Paracutes was intimate, beautiful and simple. Rush Of Blood was bold, skillful and adventurous. X&Y was powerful, touching and anthemic. So where do you go from there? I didn't really know what to expect and I've only heard Viva la Vida through once so far and it's too early for me to tell just what I think about it. They seem to be expanding their sound with different instruments and a wide variety of tempos and moods. This I know... Coldplay is not the kind of band that disappoints. And now finally, Charlie The Unicorn.

What the heck was that? I mean, really... what was that? How did... what were they... I don't get... huh? I have my dear sister-in-law Becky to thank for introducing me the the world of Charlie The Unicorn. It's these kind of addictive random tidbits in life that defy even the idea of expectations. So there you go. I expect I should probably go do something more productive now.

"We're on a bridge Charlie!"

June 11, 2008

Honeymoon Birds

Sarah and I saw a lot of cool birds on our honeymoon. We traveled through NY, VT, NH and ME; our total for the trip was just over 100 species. Our first notable bird was a PEREGRINE FALCON in downtown Amsterdam on our way to Burlington. On May 29 we did some hiking in the White Mountains near Franconia, New Hampshire. We heard a very probable Bicknell's Thrush calling near the trail but never got a look at the bird so we decided not to count it (would have been a lifer). We arrived in Lubec, Maine on May 30 and I was very excited to find several BLACK GUILLEMOTS (Life Bird) off the shore of West Quoddy Head State Park. We spent several days hiking in downeast Maine; the Bold Coast trails were especially nice. Highlights included YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCER (heard and seen... finally!) and brief looks at male and female(!) BAY-BREASTED WARBLERS. On June 2 we took Andy Patterson's boat tour out to Machias Seal Island, 10 miles offshore. On the way out Sarah spotted two WILSON'S STORM-PETRELS (Life Bird) flying out over the water. We never got a great look at them but a big, white rump patch was obvious and it was the most likely species. Looking forward to getting more experience with petrels and shearwaters. Once out at the island we had tons of great looks at ARCTIC and some COMMON TERNS, RAZORBILLS, COMMON MURRES (several 'Bridled' birds) and of course ATLANTIC PUFFINS (Life Bird). We even got to land on the island to watch and photograph the birds at very close range from a blind. It was a wonderful experience. I picked up a few other year birds during the trip, bringing my total to 275.

Black Guillemot
Common Murres (with a Razorbill)
Atlantic Puffin
Arctic Tern with fish

June 08, 2008


So in case you haven't heard yet, Sarah and I got married on Memorial Day! It was a wonderful weekend. We just got back a few days ago from our honeymoon! We were gone about 10 days and traveled through Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. It was an incredible trip! We stayed in some beautiful places, had tons great food and saw lots of cool birds (more on those later). Here are some pics...

Here we are at The Lang House B&B in Burlington, VTEvening on Lake ChamplainTwo of my favorite places to eat:
1) The Skinny Pancake - crepes for all walks of life2) Papa Franks - chronically addictive garlic breadWe spent a (long) day hiking in the White Mountains, NHHere we are at the eastern most point in the continental United States: West Quoddy Head State Park near Lubec, MESpent another day hiking along The Bold Coast just north of Cutler, METhe tide was roughly 18 ft and rose 5 ft per hour!On our way home we camped for a night on Hermit Island near Bath, MEMy beautiful wife showing off her prodigious pancake-making skills
Married life is pretty sweet...