May 18

Where are we?

This guy just sits up there all day and keeps time. Him, a roller and a lonely squeegee. I wonder how long it took to create that. At least an hour, right? And when does that guy gets a break, who keeps things on schedule up there?

This particular art is in the Amsterdam airport:

Oh, by the way, we’re traveling. And Amsterdam was a layover, but also your first hint. We left Indianapolis this evening — it was supposed to be this afternoon, but that flight got canceled for whatever reason. So, instead of going through Detroit, we went through Minneapolis:

We saw cool clouds. I sent a picture of this to one of my former students:

He said that’s a virga cloud, which produces rain, as we see here, but the dry air evaporates it before the rain gets to the ground. He said that is what often creates the classic wispy look in clouds.

Anyway, our flight cancellation meant we got an upgrade. So we had those nice first class seats that all but turn into beds. This became a red eye, but I can’t sleep on planes. So I watch movies. Only this time the inflight selections were, I felt, somewhat lacking. I did watch Darkest Hour:

I fell asleep in the last few minutes, just before Gary Oldman’s big speech before Parliament. But I woke up in time to have breakfast, or lunch, or who knows, and watched the end of the movie. And then we landed in Amsterdam. And then another flight. And a car rental, and a brief drive and checking in and then dinner. Oh, finally food and sleep.

Where are we?

Here’s your second hint:

We didn’t have calzones, because the regional food here is bistecca fiorentina. (That’s your third hint.) Our host recommended a place, we went there, and had the bistecca fiorentina. And that was a delicious steak.

And now, the jet lag. Tomorrow we’ll figure out where we are.

Dec 17

We’re back

Apple juice, the official drink of my airline flights, for some reason.

Good to be back. And since we’ve been gone for a while, that meant dinner was Chinese. And that means fortune cookies, which means:

Guess who is sitting next to me?!?

(Update: She got the same fortune.)

More on Instagram and, of course, on Twitter.

Dec 17

Christmas Eve

schlaf in himmlischer Ruh, schlaf in himmlischer Ruh.

A post shared by Kenny Smith (@kennydsmith) on

More on Instagram and, of course, on Twitter.

Dec 17

People we saw today

We ran in the cold, wet, early morning air. It was a 5K run benefitting the Houston food bank. I was in brand new running shoes. I bought them Thursday, laced them up and then shuffled through the 30-degree morning.

But before that, we met two Santas!

We got those hats and red shirts with a giant Santa beard print on the front.

This evening we went into New York City to have dinner with our friend Emily:

She’s an art scholar and world traveler and a wonderful person and it has been too long since we have seen her. (She’s probably been to two more countries by the time I finish writing this sentence.)

More on Instagram and, of course, on Twitter.

May 17

Today’s slow motion videos

Of course I shot more of these. They are rather hypnotic and fascinating, wouldn’t you agree? Check ’em out:

The first video was on the journey on Cape Wrath. We were sitting on the van and the road bottoms out to the Daill River drainage basin. I shot this through the glass, thinking you don’t see places like too often:

For an American, though, I suppose you could say that a lot about this part of the world. Check out this terrain:

Science is just a few steps away from proving that bodies of freshwater just look more exotic if you call them lochs:

Of course those hills and mountains and clouds making such a dramatic backdrop don’t hurt, either:

You’d have to work hard to top a view like this: