Two of the Coolest People in Iceland

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One of the cool things about Reykjavik is that it is both a sophisticated European capitol and a small town. It is possible to walk down the street and run into members of two of your favorite bands, as basically happened here during Airwaves 2012 when Gyða, the guitar player for Angist, and Gummi, the founding drummer of Sólstafir, posed for this picture. 

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Edda of Angist

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Angist is one of my favorite death metal bands, in large part due to Edda’s inhuman growl that sometimes give way to an eerie black metal wail. Although they don’t play live terribly often (the local scene just isn’t big enough to support a ton of heavy metal shows) I have had the good luck to see them perform each of the three times I’ve been to Iceland. This photo is from the first time – an official Airwaves show at a bar called Amsterdam in 2012.

But No Cigar (aka Reasons)

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I put a widget on my home page with a countdown to my self-imposed deadline for finishing a first draft of a kids’ fantasy story I’ve been working on (and off) since last fall. The idea was that I am a good and professional writer who always makes her deadlines. So I gave myself a deadline and made it public so that I would be accountable for finishing it. And then… reasons. Continue reading

Moss Wall

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In a country with no true forest, where volcanic activity has only recently allowed plants to begin to colonize many parts of the country, moss takes on special importance. Perhaps that explains this wall of Reykjavik’s City Hall building, where, on the day I visited, the dripping fibers of the moss had frozen overnight for the first time that fall.

Qingdao, the Glittering Emerald

I’ve been doing some research…

1001 Nights in Beijing 北京一千零一夜

With a little time off, we took a four-day trip to Qingdao over the weekend right before the Dumpling Festival holidays (端午 fell on a Wednesday and so the weekend was postponed to Monday and Tuesday to make it a three-day break for the Chinese). Beijing and many other parts of China had been experiencing gloomy weather for the whole week before our trip. Craving for sunshine, we decided on Qingdao as the weather forecast there looked the most promising.

Qingdao, in the Shandong province, is a coastal city overlooking the Yellow Sea, with Korea and Japan lying across the other side. Named one of the most livable cities in China, it is popular for its beautiful coastline, fresh air, quaint architecture, and last but not least, the famous brew that is Tsingtao beer. It was ceded to Germany as part of the Kiautschou Bay Concession from 1898 to 1914…

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Blue Cheese … And Then

800px-Salad_dressingI think blue cheese salad dressing is the key to good storytelling.

Blue cheese was my favorite dressing when I was growing up, until I found out the “blue” was mold. There were streaks of decay in my favorite food! It was almost enough to make me stop eating it. But it was so good I couldn’t resist, and eventually I realized that I didn’t like blue cheese despite the mold, but because of it. The characteristic blue cheese tang came from the mold. The decay threaded throughout the cheese was part of the perfection. Continue reading

Solstafir Seven

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Solstafir at Barboza in Seattle December 2014

Yesterday I saw Solstafir at El Corazon. It was Mother’s Day, and I’m sure I’ll do some kind of post about that later. For once, I didn’t spend half the show trying to get usable photos and I didn’t run a narrative in my head drafting the review I would write in the morning. I just watched the show. Continue reading