Nepal - Day 0 by Anthony Carpinelli

SeaTac. I forget the gate number, but it is isolated at an end of one of the wings.

SeaTac. I forget the gate number, but it is isolated at an end of one of the wings.

     Oh, the glorious life of the modern day first world traveler. Maybe it's just me, but I kind of long for the days of 1940's travel as seen in movies like Secondhand Lions and Indiana Jones. Maybe not domestically, I enjoy getting to my best friend in D.C. in 8 hours. But for international travel, I feel a lot is lost to being able to read my Kindle and veg out in front of the latest season of the Walking Dead, or re-watch the new Star Wars hoping it would impress me more this time around. The trip broke down into several stages.....

     Phase one: Getting to the airport. I live in the suburbs of Portland, but Portland International (PDX) doesn't have flights to Nepal, Seattle-Tacome (Seatac) however does. Phase one involved me leaving at 03:30 to drive to Seatac. Driving 3 hours in the dark and alone is never a great idea. There was an accident on I-5, making a 2 hour drive take closer to 4. Good thing I left myself extra time. Then, because of spring break the TSA lines were crazy. Crazy to the point that news crews filmed me being bored and playing soccer with my duffle bag. Then, there is always the giant fear I have that TSA is going to take some or all of my expensive camera gear just because they can. They never do though, thank god. It's amazing how there's always more time than you think there is when you're standing in the lines. It always feels like it's the end of the world, and you're going to miss all your flights, but I never do.

     Phase II: Seatac to Dubai (14 hours) air time. This route had some interesting points to it. We flew over the north pole, and Moscow. We get so used to seeing the world as a two dimensional map, and a warped one at that, that I think we tend to forget that we can go over the poles. I didn't see any penguins or Santa Claus from the plane though, so clearly this trip was a waste of time and money. Or, there is always hope for the return trip. I have to give Emirates a lot of credit. They kept me surprisingly not surly for 14 hours next to a man who didn't get the western "personal space" concept. I just had a good set-up going: Read (I'm trying to finish the Girl in the Spider's Web before I get home), nap, watch an episode of the Walking Dead, nap, repeat. Breaking occasionally to hit the bathroom, eat, or do standing bow pose in the aisle.

     Phase III: Dubai to Kathmandu (5 hour flight). The Dubai airport is semi-interesting. It definitely reminds you that you aren't in America or even the west anymore. No one really wanted to offer help. I don't think this stems from a place of arrogance as much as it does just that things will solve themselves when they're ready. For example, we were waiting for a bus at one terminal and kept asking when the bus was coming. The airport staff would just say "it will be here when it gets here." This was annoying as a response until the bus finally arrived. I swear we drove in a giant loop around the airport, just to arrive right back where we started. At least I got to see the Spire, the giant famous building in Dubai.

     Phase IV: Kathmandu and the Vajra Hotel. After a fair amount of time travel, I arrived in the future. 11 hours and 15 minutes ahead of the West Coast and 8 hours 15 minutes ahead of the East Coast. I won't complain about the 3 hour time difference between the East and West coasts again. The airport here is surprisingly small. Thankfully, Raj set us up well to handle the customs process. It isn't that hard, but help is always nice. You just stand in a line to fill out a form on a kiosk, take that print out to another line where you pay a man $25 US, he gives you a paper so you can stand in another line so a man can take that paper and give you a visa in your passport, so you can stand in the baggage line, then take your baggage to another line where they match up your baggage receipts with your baggage. I'm glad I'd run into a few people going on the trip. Travel buddies really helped here. After we got through the airport I was pushing the baggage cart and got my first experience with Nepalise natives. The guy driving us to the hotel helped me push the cart right out into oncoming traffic. It was a fun experience! I suspect there is going to be a lot of experiences on this trip that will give you a heart attack if you can't have faith in the people driving. I know they know what they're doing. It was a short ride back to the hotel, and it was time to check in and go to bed because it's too late to eat dinner. Everything is closed. The hotel is really nice though. This is going to be a good trip.

Project Aurora by Anthony Carpinelli

I wanted to take a moment to spotlight my computer. This isn't meant to be a review of a computer I built, nor is i meant to be bragging about the fact that I built a computer. It is just an excuse to get me writing. I just passed the 3 year anniversary of having this computer, so I feel I should brag about it. It is like a child to me after all. I take care of it and watch it grow and mature.

Why even build a computer?

Throughout under grad and grad school, I'd always used macs. That is what happens when do a lot of photography and layout. As my macbook pro started showing it's age, I looked into buying a mac pro. You know, that giant metal tower. I quickly realised the price was really high for what you got. I then looked at the computer companies out there, and was indifferent to most of the offerings. Then, I thought how hard can it be to just build my own!? I'd always wanted to build one. I found the parts I'd wanted, starting with ones that wouldn'tget outdated, and just started purchasing parts as I had money and found them on sale. A case I liked, power supply, a harddrive, DVD burner.... Then, black Friday I found the remaining pieces on sales, and jumped on them all. Motherboard. Video card. RAM. I had all the parts I needed early December, and set to work.

I had a few reasons to build a computer:

  1. Photo editing. Photo editing is a computer intensive activity. You can do it on slower computers, but the programs will crawl and are more likely to crash.
  2. Video games. I was a gamer growing up. I had all the consoles from the Atari 2600 to the wii/xbox 360/ps3. I realised that building a PC was probably the better way to go. A lot of the games I wanted were split between the ps3 and 360 but most were available on PC. So, since I was going to build one anyway, I might as well game on it as well.
  3. Explore a new hobby/check a bucket list item. I had daydreamed for years about building a computer. I had pieces of the skill set, but never a complete picture. Now I do. 

But the build was hard, right?

I am constantly fascinated by the amount of knowledge the internet can bestow on us. I literally just watched a 10 minute youtube video on how to assemble the parts. The hardest part in my mind was overcoming the fear of thinking I'd break expensive fragile electronics. I did recruit help of my uncle who builds a lot of computers because I thought I was going to break the CPU. What I realized later was that I'd been practicing for years. I got this practice by just taking care of systems I'd already had. In my mind it was a lot easier than I thought it would be.

What's the current system stats?

  • CPU: Core i5 3.6 ghz
  • Video Cards: 2 Nvidia Geforce 660TI
  • Harddrives:
    • 120 GB SSD
    • 1 TB HHD
    • 640 gig HHD
  • RAM: 32 Gig Corsair Vengance
  • Optic Drives:
    • LG Blu-Ray Burner
    • Sony DVD Burner
  • Monitors:
    • 27 inch HP
    • 24 inch Dell
  • Operating System: Windows 10 x64

2015 In the Rearview Mirror by Anthony Carpinelli

Some people will say that you have 20/20 vision in hindsight, but I disagree. Through an array of lenses we will always use in life, very few of us will ever experience 20/20 vision at all. Putting that aside though, it's hard to finish a year without looking back. I normally don't do that sort of thing, but what a year it has been, and I do have a blog after all. So clearly, everyone needs to know all of my thoughts.

Oregon (March)

I was fortunate enough that early this year, UPS promoted me and moved me across the country to take a new position here In Portland, Oregon. Even now I am struggling to grapple with the reality that "I did it. I can't believe I pulled it off," is something I find myself thinking in the car a lot. This is usually brought on by a drive through any number of scenic PNW drives, especially the I-5 Corridor near Mt. Saint Helen's. Or those times I'm driving through SE Portland and Mt. Hood just stands solid white contrasted against a clear blue sky.

Having been an East Coaster for the first 26 1/2 years of my life, moving to the west coast was an interesting experience. Movers showed up at my apartment in South Carolina and packed my life up, and I just boarded a plane, de-planed 9 hours later in my new life, picked up my apartment keys, and "went home." That was it in a nut shell. It was sad in many ways because I feel there is always a catharsis to moving. You have to stop and take a hard look at the emblems of your life to this point and ask: "Does this material object still serve me? Do I need it here and now in my life's journey?" and you get to sell, donate, chuck the "no" in the garbage and move on with life. You lose a lot of that when someone does the move for you. It's the same with getting across the country. I had wanted to drive, solo, from coast to coast. Just me and my Subaru. However, because of winter weather in the rockies and that I would have had to drive 9 hours a day for 6 days, I didn't think it'd be enjoyable so I opted for the easy route instead. 

As an explorer, the most exciting thing to me about living here is that I have a whole new part of the world to explore. A world that once felt inaccessible to me from the other coast. This year, I made it to LosAngeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver (British Columbia), Crater Lake, and some other places I thought I'd never be able to just up and drive to, or catch an hour flight if I ever went at all.

Portland has been fantastic to me, and I can't thank everyone and everything that contributed to that. That includes voodoo doughnuts.

Photography

Photography has always been a passion of mine, and one I am thankful to be able to do as I please with as far as assignments. 2015 has taken me a lot of places with photography I didn't think I would go ever again. I had lost my direction while I lived in the South, and worried that my peak creativity years were behind me.

Yoga Teacher Training

The most important thing I accomplished this year is my 200 (plus an extra hundred hours) yoga teacher training. I also think it was the hardest thing I've ever done. It may sound cliche but it changed me in a lot of ways, and I'm still watching the whole experience shake out really. I strongly believe that this was the time and environment that I needed.

2016

I have a lot of plans for 2016. Most importantly to this website, I plan to work on this blog more. I have a few different products I plan to post reviews of. Beyond that, just travels, 500 hour yoga teacher training, and work planned so far. Oh, and another move.

San Francisco by Anthony Carpinelli

This weekend I went to San Francisco on a whim. Basically, it had been a long week and I needed an adventure. I have a lot of to say on having a restless soul and other related topics, but those can be separate posts and I continue to wrestle with what the point of this blog should be. This post is meant to be about the trip itself.

What does one base the success of a trip on? This is a question I think about often.  Normally, I spend days looking online at places I want to photograph, random things I want to do, watch Anthony Bourdain episodes to find out where to eat, and so on. This time I just went on priceline, found a great mystery deal, booked it, and had to run to the airport. So when I first got back, everyone kept asking how was the trip. I genuinely didn't know how to answer because I didn't know how to feel....

One side of me was excited. I mean, after so many attempts and years I finally got to see the golden gate bridge, the palace of the fine arts, and drive a rental car too fast through the streets of Bullit. On the other hand, I wasn't really sure how my pictures had turned out. It is interesting to think about what we deem worthy to define the success or failure of a trip, or anything really.

I guess, if nothing else, Anthony Bourdain would approve of my return to in-n'-out burger.

Washington, D.C. by Anthony Carpinelli

A quintessential angle of the Washington Mall.

A quintessential angle of the Washington Mall.

     I find myself having a very human moment. I am on my best friend's couch, trying to sleep. A best friend who now lives 4,000 miles or so away on the other seaboard. I just days ago finished my 300 hour combination vinyasa and hatha yoga teacher training program, and am still semi feeling the hurt of my hernia surgery. It's been an interesting time in my life to say the least. I didn't think this trip was going to happen, work once again let me know at the last minute that I didn't have to work on Black Friday, so I jumped on the world's most expensive flight to spend a long weekend with my best friend.

     D.C. is a place that holds a lot of impact for me personally and professionally. I always try to have a "second city" when I live somewhere. In Greenville, SC I had both Charleston and Asheville, NC. When I use the term second city, I just mean a place that I can fairly quickly get to from home that also kind of feels like home. D.C. was that city for me. I've been there countless times for personal and professional reasons.

     There was one trip in college with a good friend at the time that brought a lot of staples into my life. We went for the Cherry Blossom festival. I wasn't aware of what that was, but she was driving and it seemed like something I could get a picture or two of. That trip taught me a lot Japanese culture, and got me one of my favorite pictures. It also marked the end of my film shooting days, and I sometimes I credit it with my wanderlust.

     I wouldn't go back to D.C. for years after that. I got busy with other cities. NYC. Austin, Portland, etc. But years later I made it back in Grad school with the college basketball team. Here I was with honed photos skills and better equipment in a place that had a profound effect on me.

     Then, I was back with better skills, less equipment. Then, better skills and better equipment. The moral of the story is that D.C. seems to be a place I come back to more than any other and I guess I use it as a benchmark for life.

     This has been an interesting time in my life. Teacher Training caused me to take a few steps back and just reflect on my life. It sounds stupid, but I never think much about the past. I tend to see it as just something that happened, and thinking about it won't change anything. I sit here in a city that I have an on and off relationship with, one that I consider a benchmark for my self growth and my thought pattern changes.

     I miss my adopted city and my adopted yoga family, but I know when I go home I'll miss my D.C. life. I'm thankful for everyone I have in both my lives, and I'm thankful for my personal strength as well. Every time I tell my story about moving, people are taken back and tell me how strong of a person ittakes to do something like that. I never understood in the past. I just always saw moving as what I had to do, and there was just no other options. As I sit here though, seeing two possible lives worth living, but on different coasts, suddenly I get how things like this can be a dilemma.

     I'm not sure if anyone else has these kinds of problems, but I think this trip was exactly what I needed to have an epiphany. And if nothing else I wrote in this post was worth being thankful for, this paragraph is enough for me.

     Happy Thanksgiving.