Matthew C Good : Musician, Software Engineer, Hobbyist.

Posts Tagged Travel

South Carolina Beach in Winter

Charleston is a pretty cool town. We rented bikes and cruised around on the beach, chasing seagulls, flying kites, and generally having a good time. Beaches in winter, who would have thought?

Steel Drums

So I was sitting at a fairly kitchy mall-adjacent caribbean-themed “seafood” loud hookupy barstaurant tonight, trying to amuse myself alone on business in Orlando, and suddenly, some dude started playing steel drums:

Yeah.  That.

I was also drinking wine, reading Barbara Kingsolver, and destroying a Cuban sandwich.  It was PREPOSTEROUS.

Introducing the “I Heart Heart Cat Cat Map Map App App”

Hello everyone! I’m rolling out a stupid little app for my greenville friends today. If you’re not in my Greenville circle of friends, you may need a little background here…
Actually, this origin story has become the stuff of legend over time, so the following may be totally inaccurate.
A while back, two of my friends Kate and Katie found this horrendous sweater-shirt thing at the Greenville thrift store. It’s clearly a sweater material, but it has short sleeves? What the heck is that all about? It has the letter “I” on it, two hearts, and two cats. The inexplicable monstrosity has been ever since referred to as the “I Heart Heart Cat Cat” shirt. We’ve all taken pictures wearing it – this has sortof become a hazing ceremony for joining our group of friends. It’s a right of passage thing.
Now that a lot of our friends are traveling the world and doing cool things, we decided to take some advice from the whole “traveling garden gnome” thing, and take pictures of us wearing the shirt in cool places, in front of historic and famous monuments, and the like. Of course, we need a Google maps mashup to keep track of all this, right? RIGHT??
Well, either way, I made one. I’m calling it the I Heart Heart Cat Cat Map Map App App.

Kristin looks awesome in that one.
From a technical standpoint, not too much interesting going on here. I did use MySQL’s spatial datatypes (only POINT, really) for storing the coordinates. This isn’t technically correct since MySQL only deals with planar points and lat/long are curvilinear, but I’ve been sorta geeking out over GIS technology lately, and I really just wanted to get used to the OpenGIS stuff. Any distance calculations I’ll have to do out of the db, but I don’t really think I’ll be doing much of those anyway.
The other kinda cool thing I did was set up an approval system. Instead of having users and junk to deal with (so not just ANYONE can post an image), The system accepts all images, thumbnails them and such, and sends an email with an approval code link. I check out the thumbnail in the email, decide if it’s cool, and click a link to either approve or reject it. Neato.
So there you have it. Check it out now and then, as we should have some new additions happening soon, coming from Turkey and London (hint hint kittermans).

Hawaii Pics, a short travel note

View of Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii
It is likely unnecessary to note that Kristin and I had a great time in Hawaii.

The first week we were on Oahu, staying in a house with a bunch of people, doing group things, going to a wedding. Theft is rampant in Hawaii, we were on beeches a lot, and being in a group meant fewer things got done – so there aren’t as many pictures of the first half of the trip.

This is Waikiki. Never go to Waikiki. It is hell.

Independence day fireworks.

After we got to the Big Island, the photos picked up a bit. We saw sea turtles on TWO OCCASIONS!

You can apparently die a lot of ways watching lava.

Cuz it’s mean.

And glowing evil reds

And photogenic.

Here I am, practicing my “Barack Obama” pose.

Stocking up on food. We climbed a mountain. It was tall.

Very much tall.

Have I mentioned exactly how tall it was?????

13,796 ft, that’s how tall.

It was also cold. WICKED cold. And windy.
Anyway, that’s just a very small, non-representative sampling of the photos I’ve got posted on my gallery site. Check it out for more pictures of incredible natural beauty and me being ridiculous.

Quick Insightful Travel Statistics

Hello, everyone. Kristin and I are back from Hawaii. I’ve got a series of follow-up posts (with pictures) planned, so I’m not going to say much about it here. But while we were there, we spent all of one day hiking to the top of Mauna Kea. The Onion has, of course, already provided a wonderful bit of context for that trek with their recent article:
Going To Tops Of Things Still Favored By Nation’s Tourists
Soo true.


Hawaii Sunset - Kona, HI - 1993, from Flickr user ConceptJunkie.  (CC licensed)
Well, tomorrow Kristin and I leave for Hawaii for two weeks. We’re going for her old roommate’s wedding, and then staying a while to see the place (and climb mountains). It’s going to be great, but I’m a little stressed out about it right now. We are staying on Oahu for the first week, and then jumping to the big island for the second week, and that leg of the trip doesn’t have any firm plans at this point. We have a pretty good idea of what we’ll do there and when, but as far as actual tickets or reservations…. I’ll feel better once those plans are firmed up a bit.
We’ve got some ambitious goals for this trip. The first week won’t have too much going on aside from the usual pre-wedding planning, beach-bumming, museum-going, and sight-seeing — Not to trivialize those things. I can’t imagine they will be anything less than spectacular.
But I think the 2nd week will be where it really starts getting crazy. The big island has practically all ecological environments in the world, in a very small amount of space. It’s got desert, rainforest, mountains, snow, coral reefs… We plan on seeing a LOT of those. It also is home to the world’s largest mountain, which we hope to climb. It’s not the tallest, mind you, but from the base of the sea floor to the summit, it dwarfs mount everest by quite a bit, I think. Luckily, most of it being beneath the sea makes our jobs much easier, and it actually only qualifies as a pretty hardcore day hike. Kristin and I have bought more outdoor gear than I ever thought I would in preparation for it… As a very nerdy computer programming bookworm, I still don’t really know how I feel about that. I think its good. I like being active, but all the accouterments that come with still confuse me. There was a lot of “what is this? why do I need that?” going on while we were walking around various outdoors stores…
This trip will be heavily documented, to say the least. Kristin and I are now the proud owners of a very nice Nikon outfit. I don’t plan on bringing a computer along, so I stocked up on CF cards before we left, and we’ve got 10 gigs now. We’ll weed out the bad shots as we go, and hopefully that will be enough. Kristin’s dad also got me a few photographic toys for my birthday. He got me a Holga – a cheap, fun, unique medium format camera that takes really cool pictures. I’ve only got one roll of film for that right now, so we’ll have to conserve. But that should offer a whole new perspective on the trip. On top of that, Kristin’s dad also got us a pinhole attachment for the Nikon. Which is really crazy. Pinhole cameras do not use lenses. They “focus” the light by making it pass through a very small hole in an opaque medium of some sort. Light is weird, and this works, and you don’t have “focus” or “depth of field” like you would with a traditional lens. The pics (I think) tend to be a bit softer, and you have to use super-long exposures on them (the pinhole only lets a small amount of light through), but they’re a really interesting idea that I haven’t explored yet.
We’ll be screwing around with the lo-fi panorama technique that I was working on in Mexico and Paris. We want to get a good one like this that we can print and mount on gatorboard and hang in our living room. The beauty of the lo-fi collage is that you can get HUGE prints from stitched-together 10.2 megapixel images. HUGE.
I’m also curious to see what kind of stuff the Holga kicks out. Medium-format film can theoretically be blown up larger than 35mm, but when you’re shooting something like a Holga, image quality is typically pretty far back in your mind. You’re just worried about getting something fun and unique instead. We’re shooting 120-size t-max at 100 speed.
We should have internet the first week and then off-and-on the 2nd week, so I will probably post a few blogs on the run down there, hopefully I’ll be able to upload some photos while I’m down there, too.
If anyone has ever been to Hawaii and has travel tips, leave them in the comments. Or if you want me to take a particular kind of picture or something, leave it in the comments. Thanks for reading!