Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Week of Travels

I’ve been out of steady computer communication for the past week while Roxi and I have been touring Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris with Garrett and Nicole. We had a wonderful time with them on their first trip to Europe and were sad to head home, but we too are glad to be back in Enschede. Traveling certainly takes a lot out of you but we had a relatively good experience despite the sometimes frustrating nature of travel.

We left Enschede on Monday for Amsterdam where we spent two nights on a houseboat. Wednesday we took a train to Brussels where we spent one night in the heart of the city. On Thursday we took the high-speed train to Paris where we spent two nights a very short walk from the Moulin Rouge. We got back into Enschede about an hour ago and have got to get some rest...but not before watching the new episode of LOST!

I will start blogging about our trip soon and of course give my thoughts on an episode of LOST I've been waiting for all season!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oldenzaal Carnival

My brother Garrett and his girlfriend Nicole were able to get very cheap last minute airfare from Los Angeles and so decided make a spontaneous visit to Europe. They arrived in Dusseldorf on Friday afternoon and spent the evening and following morning there to see a little of Germany. On Saturday afternoon, they made the two hour train trip to Enschede where Roxi and I met them and welcomed them to the Netherlands.

We hit the ground running immediately and brought them to the weekly market to give them that experience. Later we returned to our apartment to relax and visit before heading back into town for some dinner and drinks. While we were home, we had a wonderful chat on Skype with the family who were all back in Louisiana for Mardi Gras. It was great to have the whole family together even though Garrett, Nicole, Roxi and I were thousands of miles away. I love the Internet!

This afternoon, we headed for Oldenzaal, a town only a few miles from Enschede, to participate in the annual Carnival celebration. It was just like Mardi Gras in Lafayette only the parade floats were much more elaborate and there were no beads.


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Friday, February 20, 2009

My Music at Last.fm

For the past few years, I've been using Download.com to host the songs that I've written and recorded, but I got an email yesterday informing me that they are shutting down their music site in a few weeks. Today, I've gone through the process of migrating my music to Last.fm. You can see my page and listen to my songs here. I've also created a page for my once and future band, The Hek-Atomic Cherries. Check out our catalog here. Happy listening!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"316"

I loved this episode of LOST! From the opening scene to the ending scene, I was excited! But I really can't say anything without spoilers so...

STOP READING NOW TO AVOID SPOILERS!!!!!

The opening shot was fantastic! I love good call backs and I think a lot of LOST fans have been expecting this shot for a while. I am still expecting the series to end with this shot as well. I wasn't fooled for a second either. I knew exactly where Jack was and what his situation was. I loved how he smiled when he realized he had made it back to the Island. I loved how he ran through the jungle to save Hurley. I loved it all!

We were introduced to another Dharma station, this one back in Los Angeles. It's called The Lamp Post and it is an overt reference C. S. Lewis' "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." When Lucy first entered the wardrobe and was transported to Narnia, she saw a solitary lamp post in the woods. The lamp post appeared many more times in The Chronicles of Narnia and was an icon of Narnia. Back in the world of LOST, The Lamp Post is a guide to the island. And I loved when Ms. Hawking said that Ben was probably not telling the truth when he said he didn't know anything about The Lamp Post. And who is the "he" that constructed The Lamp Post? I have a hunch that it could be Daniel Faraday.

So is this the last we'll see of Desmond? I doubt it. After all Mrs. Hawking told him that the Island is not done with him yet. I'm not sure how or when, but we will see Desmond again. And what other assignment does Jack have? On the return flight to the Island, he has to do everything he can to replicate Oceanic 815. This means he has to escort some posession of his dead father back in Locke's coffin. And wouldn't you know it, he finds some of Christian's dress shoes at his grandfather's retirement home. And how about learning the story of how undead Christian ended up in white tennis shows? I like!

So what happened with Kate, Sun and Ben after they left The Lamp Post? What the producers have done is perfectly execute a pivot back to presenting us with flashbacks in future episodes. I suspect by the end of the season, we will know what happened to Aaron, what Sun was doing, and who and why Ben got his ass kicked in their respective flashback episodes. My guesses are that Kate left Aaron with Sawyer's baby mama Cassidy. Ben probably got his ass kicked in the process of "convincing" Sayid to return to the Island. More on that later. As far as Sun goes, I'm not totally sure what she did, but I hope that it involved Ji Yeon. I don't think that she could leave her daughter behind especially if she is unsure whether Jin is even alive on the Island. I'm just trying to imagine what she would tell her mother and her daughter about why she would be leaving to probably never be heard from again.

So what's the deal with Kate and Jack. She's going back to Island where, as far as she knows, Sawyer is still alive. So why the Jack hookup? Was it one last fling before returning to the love of her life? She certainly seemed conflicted the morning after but that could have more to do with whatever happened with Aaron.

So that leaves us with Sayid and Hurley. Like I said, I think that Ben "convinced" Sayid to return to the Island in only a way Ben Linus could. He forged Interpol documents saying that Sayid is a fugative in Guam and then turned him in. Of course, before Sayid was arrested, he beat the Island-loving crap out of Ben. Another reason why I think Ben had Sayid arrested was to further replicate Oceanic 815 as Ms. Hawking instructed Jack...Sayid is the stand in for Kate as the fugative on the plane being returned home. And what about Hurley? I think that the guitar case is a clue. I think that Charlie must have told him he had to return to the Island. So now we just have to wait and see their flashback episodes to get the whole story.

So now to my Oceanic 815 revelation based on what we learned in this episode. Ms. Hawking had concluded that Ajira 316 would pass directly over a future location of the Island and would get the Oceanic 6 back where they belong. She went further by urging Jack to make 316 as much like 815 as possible. A question popped into my head when Jack was checking Locke's casket in at the ticket counter: "What about everyone else who was going to be on Ajira 316?" I paused the show and asked Roxi what she thought and then it dawned on me: the survivors of Oceanic 815 were in the same position that the non-Oceanic 6 passengers of Ajira 316 are about to find themselves in. Suddenly it occured to me that there is a very strong possibility that one or more people were on Oceanic 815 knowing that it would intersect with the Island during it's flight path and all of our LOST castaways were just unlucky enough to be on the flight. But who? Roxi and I thik that it was Libby. There has been much specualtion that she has a connection to Widmore and I tend to agree.

When I started the show again and Hurley went to the gate agent to tell her that he had purchased all the empty seats on the flight, I thought my revelation was unfounded. That is until the Oceanic 6 were on the plane and the coach cabin was revealed to be full of unsuspecting people. So all those poor souls will end up on the Island and be as utterly confused as our castaways were and, to some degree, still are. The coldest line of the episode belonged, as usual, to Ben when he replied "Who cares!" to Jack's question of what was going to happen to the other people on the plane. Ben really is a bastard! The best line belonged to Hurley, also as usual, when he recommended that the non-Oceanic first class passenger might want to fasten his seatbelt before covering his eyes to miss the crash (?) on the Island. By the way, talk about a nice touch of having a clean shaven Frank Lapidus as the pilot of Ajira 316.

So having caught up with the way the episode started, I felt a little cheated by the post-"crash" bookends. That is until the Dharma van drove up. It confirmed my idea that the Island stopped flashing when Locke repositioned the donkey wheel and it stuck the Losties in time of the last flash, apparently the Dharma days. But who's driving the van? Why it's Jin! I'll admit that I wasn't too happy for him to have survived the freighter explosion, but during the week I was reminded that it has been established that the Island will not let you die if it is not done with you. Hence Jin's survival. And boy it was nice to see him there! Who knew that he had a part to play in the Dharma Initiative!?! And I loved the looks on everyone's faces when they recognized each other. What an ending! I can't wait for next week!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day in Den Haag

For five weeks, Roxi and I have been living in the city of Enschede on the campus of the University of Twente, but technically we've only been doing so as visitors. Dutch law allows Americans to visit the country for up to three months at a time without further permission from the government. To live and/or work in the Netherlands for more than three months requires a visa. A visa requires a lot of paperwork not to mention leg work. Roxi and I have spent the past two days going through said paperwork and legwork.

It all started on Monday afternoon when we were informed that we had to go into town and file our residency paperwork at city hall. After a few minutes on Google, we came up with the address of the office and planned our Tuesday accordingly. We've been into town several times so finding the office was not hard and the process seemed relatively easy. However, when we returned home in the afternoon we learned that we had another appointment on campus first thing this morning followed by a trip across the Netherlands to deliver the paperwork we would get in the meeting.

So very early this morning, we reviewed and signed our visa application paperwork prepared by the university. Thirty minutes later, we were on a train bound for Rijswijk to visit the national Immigration and Naturalization Office (IND). According to Google maps, Enschede is 203 km (126 miles) from Rijswijk and the journey by car takes approximately an hour and fifty-five minutes. However, we took the train which detours to Almelo and Rotterdam along the way adding an additional thirty minutes to the trip.

Driving From Enschede to Rijswijk

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Train from Enschede to Rijswijk

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This was our first venture out of Enschede since we arrived and it was nice to see more of the country but the glamorous notion of European train travel was shattered by the cattle-car like experience during the first hour on the trip. I'm not sure if it was travelers or commuters, but the train was crowded for a Wednesday morning. So much so that it took several stops before we could get a seat. In the meantime, we were crowded into one end of the car trying to move towards the seating compartment. Eventually we were able to get seats and admire the passing countryside. Between cities, it mostly looked like grazing pastures and farmland, not unlike the American countryside. As we moved further west towards the lowlands, we began to see canals and the occasional windmill (both the old fashioned type and the new power generating type).

The part of European train travel that can be disarming at first are the very quick train transfers required to get to your final destination. There is rarely an uninterrupted train trip over any significant distance within the country. Most journeys require one or more change of trains. Thankfully, the official travel website and the friendly employees at the ticket counters can give you the optimal transfers to get you to your final destination as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this sometimes assumes that you can switch trains within a minute or two. And the trains in Europe do seem to run on time. If you do miss a transfer, the train ticket is still good for the next train in the direction you are going. But today, we didn't have much time to spare if we were to make our appointment at IND. Thankfully, we had no trouble making our two transfers en route to Rijswijk.


We've come a long way baby!

Conveniently, the IND building was located only a few blocks from the train station in Rijswijk and we had even arrived early enough to grab a quick lunch before our meeting. The appointment at IND went off without a hitch. All the paperwork was done properly and we were given our visa stamps in our passports that will allow us to stay in the Netherlands! Once we were done with business and were so close The Hague, we decided to try and see something of the area before heading back to Enschede.

We embarked on the short train ride and tried to find something to see near the train station. That was harder than we thought being that we didn't really know what we were looking for. The map showed a lot of museums so we picked the closest one to the Den Hagg Centraal station and headed that way. What we ended up at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the national library, where several very interesting historical documents are housed.









Some of my favorites from the KB collection were:

Antwerp Polyglot - a Bible, printed in Hebrew, Greek, Chaldean, Syrian and Latin, commissioned by King Philip II of Spain.



Haagsche Courant - The oldest newspaper in The Hague. This particular issue is from August 20, 1798 (exactly 179 years before I was born!).



John Fletcher Bible - Bible with an ornate cover and fore-edge drawing of King Charles II of England designed by John Fletcher. This bible was the property of Mary Stuart, daughter of King James II of England and wife of Stadholder-King William III of Orange.





Peace of Munster - The treaty, signed in 1648 between Spain and the Dutch Republic, ended the Eighty Years' War and established the borders of the Dutch state. This is the Spanish copy of the document signed by King Philip IV. The Dutch copy is kept in Madrid.



After touring the display of archives, we were getting tired from our travels thus far, and knowing that we had another two and a half hour train ride back to Enschede, we decided to return to train station to begin our journey home. Our trip home started out very nicely as The Hague was the departure point of our first train. This allowed us to get on the train early and have seats on the soon to be crowded train. However, our connecting train in Amersfoort was already very crowded when we got on board. We were bummed because of the amount of time we would have to stand on this long leg of the journey when I noticed that this particular train had a dining car. Roxi and I happily headed to it to at least take our minds off the journey with a beer.



We toasted a day well done and after a few Beck's Beers and one last train transfer, we were back in Enschede. It was a long but fulfilling day and now we can relax knowing that we are allowed to stay in The Netherlands for a while.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Our Saturday Tradition

We made our weekly trip to the market in town this afternoon and again came home with a bountiful haul.



The Dutch shoes in the picture are not actually made of wood but rather are slippers made to look like traditional klompen.

King Cake

Thanks to my parents, Roxi and I received a King Cake today! My parents bought it at the famous Southside Bakery in Lafayette, LA. Needless to say, it is a very welcome taste of home and the Mardi Gras season. As you can see, we are already really enjoying it!



Thursday, February 12, 2009

"This Place is Death"

This week's episode of LOST was good and there were some story advancements, but it seemed more like the whole episode was a big setup for future episodes.

STOP READING NOW TO AVOID SPOILERS!!!!!

So Jin is back and he got to meet Rousseau and her team back in 1988. It was interesting to finally see a bit of Danielle Rousseau's back-story from Jin's perspective, but it left me a little unsatisfied. I'm hoping that we are not done with Rousseau's story because the part that I'm most interested in is not why she went crazy, but rather how Ben ended up with Alex! I guess it was somewhat fulfilling to see how Montand lost his arm after all these years of me not wondering, but I would have preferred a flash showing the Others stealing an infant Alex from Rousseau.

One intriguing thing about the events that Jin witnessed was the building that the Smoke Monster retreated under. It appeared to be a temple and was even referred to as such by Robert before Rousseau shot him. So is this The Temple also referenced by Ben in his directions to Richard Alpert at the end of Season 3 and also to Alex, Karl and Rousseau in Season 4? I kind of think it is, except that the map that Ben gave to Alex showed a Dharma logo marking the location. The building and the hieroglyphics look far older than the Dharma Initiative. Of course, Dharma could have requisitioned it for their own purposes not unlike the "exotic matter" that they apparently harnessed in The Orchid. If this is in fact Temple and the Smoke Monster is a security system, what could The Temple hold? Perhaps it is where reincarnation happens explaining why Robert et al came back to Rousseau's camp, but were "changed." Could this also explain Eko's brother Yemi or Christian Shepard walking around? And could this be how Locke is brought back from the dead after his body is return to the Island?

It was nice to see Jin reunited with Sawyer and company but also sad to see him so concerned with Sun and Ji Yoen's safety that he made Locke promise to tell them that he was dead. Of course back in the real world, Ben used Jin's ring to convince Sun that he was still alive and perhaps entice her back to the Island. Sun asks Ben why Locke never gave her the ring when they met and Ben claims that he probably didn't have the chance to. I think that is total BS. I have a feeling that Ben killed Locke when he learned that Locke was back in the real world. I don't think that Locke would have broken his promise to Jin. I think that Ben is still jealous of Locke for being a chosen by the Island. So why would Ben kill Locke? Because like Sayid said, "the only side Ben is on is his own." Ben wants to be the ruler of the Island.

My favorite part of this episode was the scene between an injured Locke and undead Christian Shepard. It helped me confirm (for now) that Ben is not a good guy. If Christian really does speak for Jacob/The Island/whatever, he all but told Locke that Ben is not a good person. Christian reminded Locke that he was the one who was told to move the Island, not Ben. Roxi thinks that Ben did it so that he could be the chosen one, i.e. steal the Island from Locke. Christian even says that nothing good has come to Locke for listening to Ben. So for all the "help" that Ben is giving to get the Oceanic 6 back to the Island, he is being completely selfish. Does this happen to everyone that leads the Others? Is this why Charles Widmore was expelled from the Island at some point in the past? Is this why Ben was trying desperately to confuse and distract Locke from what we really should have been doing since Season 3? It sure looks that way to me right now.

How about Christian telling Locke to "say hello to my son." When will Locke find out who his guide through the Island really is? I'm betting on the final episode of Season 6.

Sadly we lost one of our main players but not before an interesting reveal. It turns out that Charlotte has been keeping a little secret. She remembers growing up on the Island and remembers leaving... and she just remembered who told her she could never come back: Daniel Faraday! Then she died. So Daniel's appearance at the construction of The Orchid might not be an isolated event. Apparently, he was around at other times in the Island's past as well. But how is that possible now that Locke has apparently fixed the frozen donkey wheel and stopped the Island from flashing through time? There must be another way for people to time-travel on the Island, besides The Orchid because, as was mined from the in Room 23 video, "Only fools are enslaved by time and space."

I was a little surprised that Desmond was not more shocked by seeing Eloise Hawking at the church in LA. I thought he would have lost it altogether when he realized she was the same woman who told him not to get engaged to Penny back in Season 3. And Ben was only able to convince Jack and Sun to return to the Island? What about the "God help us all" reaction from Ms. Hawking when Ben asked what would happen if he couldn't get all of the Oceanic 6 together? No Hurley, Kate, Aaron or Sayid? I doubt it but they really shouldn't drag out the off-Island story much longer because it honestly just isn't as good as what's happening on the Island.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Whale Watchers: Episode I

The mixture of more snow and rain kept me inside yesterday giving me the opportunity to continue editing video from Roxi and my honeymoon in Hawaii. Today, I present to you the prequel to Whale Watchers: Episode II. Unfortunately, like most prequels, this movie fails to live up to the original!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Samoan Fire Knife Dance

I've been continuing my editing of videos from our trip to Hawaii last January. This is a pretty amazing performance of a traditional Samoan Fire Knife Dance at the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu. What trip to Hawaii would be complete without seeing a guy dancing with flaming batons?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Snow!

We woke up to find that it snowed overnight!



Saturday, February 07, 2009

Another Saturday Market

It was a very dreary day here in Enschede, but that didn't stop Roxi and I from making our second trip to the Saturday market. It wasn't that cold when we left our apartment, but by the time we made our short bus ride to the city center, a light drizzle had started. Roxi and I had both planned on having lunch at the market this week, so we made our way up and down the aisles of tents checking out the various food vendors and started by splitting some sort of chicken dish. I'm not sure what kind of seasoning was on the chicken, but it was pretty tasty. I guess you could say that it was Dutch chicken, but I wouldn't know what that means! We were still a little hungry and found a little Vietnamese stand and sampled some of their wares. We split a couple of vegetarian egg rolls and a very odd looking, but delicious bread roll stuffed with beef. By the time we had finished eating, the light drizzle had turned into a cold and steady rain. Thankfully, most of the vendors were under tents or at least had awnings to protect us from the rain while we shopped.



Based on our experience last week, we decided to branch out from the fruits and vegetables and get a few other items. We started by looking at the fish and were very overwhelmed by the selection as well as the amount of work it would potentially take us to prepare them in our very limited kitchen.













Seeing as how most of the fish still had heads, we decided to forgo them and move onto something a little less daunting. We headed to a cheese stand and made three selections: pesto, walnut and tomato basil. After choosing our cheese we moved on to a meat stand where we bought some cooked beef patties, cooked meatballs and minced beef. We followed that up with a stop at a sausage stand where we sampled and purchased a delicious aged salami.



Finally we wrapped up our afternoon at the market with a trip down the produce aisles. We couldn't resist getting more clementine oranges (5 kgs), gala apples (5 kgs) and Asian pears (3 kgs). We balanced the fruit with a couple of stalks of celery and we were on our way home.



We certainly felt like it was another successful day at the market. The only problem was finding room in our tiny fridge for what we had left after our last trip and what we bought today. But after some creative arranging, everything just fits!

Friday, February 06, 2009

LOST Island Tour

In January 2008, Roxi and I went to Hawaii for our honeymoon. We spent a week on Oahu doing just about everything that there is to do on the island including taking a guided tour of many filming locations for LOST. Here is the second (long overdue) video project that I have completed since arriving in the Netherlands:

WARNING: These videos contain Spoilers about Seasons 1 - 4 of LOST.

Whale Watchers: Episode II

As some readers of this blog may know, Roxi and I made a trip to Mexico in December to attend the wedding of our friends Cari and John. The trip was a great week-long adventure to an all-inclusive resort in Puerto Vallarta. The day after Cari & John's wedding, Roxi and I took an excursion in Banderas Bay for whale watching and snorkeling. I've already posted links to the raw footage that I shot that day, but I've always wanted to edit them into a much more user friendly video. Now that we are in the Netherlands where I can't legally work at this point, I have lots of time to devote to this and other video projects that I have been putting off for more than a year in some cases. Without further ado, here is the first video that I have completed:

Thursday, February 05, 2009

"The Little Prince"

Great episode of LOST this week! So many developments. So many threads coming together. That's not to say that I need complete closure by the end of LOST but it's nice to see the story contracting and coming full circle.

STOP READING NOW TO AVOID SPOILERS!!!!!

Perhaps the biggest development this week was the surprise return of Jin rescued by Danielle Rousseau and her science expedition of sixteen years ago. And boy is Jin confused. Now I like Jin and think he has developed so much as a character since the first season, but his survival of the freighter explosion seems pretty ridiculous. But I suspend my disbelief a lot with LOST so why stop now? Who knows? There could be a reasonable explanation for his survival. It will indeed be interesting to see Rousseau's story now (or whatever part we'll get before the next flash). I have to hand it to the writers and producers of the show to creatively tell Danielle's story despite the fact that her character was killed last season.

Speaking of Jin, Sun was a little too helpful with Kate and Aaron. Of course Kate wouldn't necessarily suspect anything but it is obvious that Sun has an ulterior motive(s). Here's the thing...the story so far makes it seem like she is out to kill Ben. She's said as much to Charles Widmore, she has surveillance photos and now she has a gun. But Jack was also in every single one of those photos and she specifically asked Kate about Jack in "The Lie" right after she damned Kate with faint praise about doing anything to save Aaron. Even the preview of next week made it appear that Sun is out to get Ben, but I think that they are going to surprise a lot of people next week when Sun draws a bead on Jack, not Ben. I think that it is Jack who she blames for Jin's apparent death because of his unwillingness to return to the freighter to pick up Jin in "There's No Place Like Home" last season. You heard it here first!

Meanwhile on the Island, time keeps on slippin' for those left behind. Miles and then Juliette joined Charlotte in having nosebleeds and, from what Daniel theorized, the longer you've been "exposed" to the Island, the worse the flashes are for you. So that all but confirms that Miles was Pierre Chang's baby that we saw in "Because You Left." So is Sawyer going to be afflicted with nose bleeds next? Roxi says no. She thinks that this has to do with finding your Constant more than it has to do with exposure to the Island. As described by Faraday last season, each of these people need to choose a Constant, like Desmond has done with Penny and Daniel has done with Desmond. So who is Sawyer's Constant? Kate. He saw her this week when the Island flashed to the night that Boone died/Aaron was born/Locke regained faith in the Hatch. So will this keep Sawyer from suffering the same fate as Charlotte, Miles and Juliet? Only time will tell but I like Roxi's theory!

Speaking of Kate, I have to say that I was masterfully manipulated by her story so far this season. Before the season premiered, a clip from "Because You Left" was released revealing that someone had a court order to test Kate and Aaron's blood for maternity. Of course my initial thought was that it must be Ben trying to scare Kate into being willing to return to the Island. But I was swayed by events of "Because You Left" and "The Lie" into thinking that it was someone else. But it was Ben...of course! And by the way, Ben's lawyer is good. He's quite a manipulator himself. But I guess I should have expected no less from Ben's legal representation.

Back on the Island, the remaining survivors found the camp and all the food was gone but outrigger canoes were on the beach. An Ajira water bottle in one of the canoes made me curious. I've been waiting for the reference since an offical website popped up a few months ago. When I first heard about Ajira, I figured that it must be the airline that the Oceanic 6 will use to return to the Island. However thinking about it now, Juliet was quick to inform Sawyer that it is an airline from India. So does it have something to do with the Others? According to Lostpedia, Ajira is Hindi for "Island" and is Sankrit for many things including "The Body." So maybe this was always Ben Linus' plan to get Locke's "dead" body back to the Island with the Oceanic 6? What does all this amount too? My guess is that this was a flash from the future of the Island and that the outrigger canoes were used by the Oceanic 6 to get back to the Island from the runway on the Hyrda Station island. But who was shooting at the survivors on their way to the Orchid? That is something I don't have an answer for yet.

Speaking of the future, or the past for that matter, where are Rose, Bernard and Vincent? I hope they're okay!

Finally Sayid was stll being persued by someone else with a tranquilizer gun. So who's behind all these attacks? I want to think it was another one of Ben's ways to coerce someone into returning to the Island. But it could just as easliy be Charles Widmore and/or the unseen Economist from last season. Will these attacks stop now that Sayid is with his Oceanic 6 bretheren? And will Hurley be let out of lockup as easily as was claimed by Ben's lawyer? I'm looking forward to finding out that and more about Danielle Rousseau's story (hopefully) next week!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Jupiter's Adventure and the Wet Snow

There hasn't been a whole lot going on this week here in Enschede for us. Roxi's been busy working on some of her academic writing so I've been taking advantage of the time to do some long overdue video editing. I've been working on editing videos from our trips to Hawaii and Mexico from the beginning and end of last year. I hope to have them up on YouTube soon.

There were a couple of interesting events of note though here at our apartment. Since we've been here, Roxi's cat Jupiter has become very comfortable sitting or sleeping on the sill of the window and occasionally looking outside at her new world. We have tried, a few times, to coax her out of the apartment, into the stairwell and outside so that she can explore the new world for herself. This has only resulted in her cautiously trekking up the stairs and not down. But she loves to be outside on the balcony and even on the balcony ledge, much to our chagrins.

Last week, we were video chatting with our friend Charles back home in Louisiana and Jupiter was outside sitting on the balcony enjoying the cold evening air as she is wont to do. We had been talking for a while when Roxi looked up to the open curtains on our living room picture window to see that Jupiter had not only managed to get onto the outside windowsill from the balcony, but she was halfway across the ledge and moving quickly to it's end. Roxi ran to balcony and talked Jupiter into returning on the very narrow ledge. The sill was actually so narrow, that our cat could not even turn around but rather had to walk backwards to return to the balcony ledge. I must say I've never seen a cat walk backwards let alone as fast or gracefully as Jupiter did. So all was well but we couldn't help but think about Jupiter loosing her footing and falling off the ledge.

On Tuesday night we were both at our computers, Roxi working on her academic writing and I working on some video editing, when we noticed that Jupiter had gotten onto the outside window sill again. We tried to get her to come inside, and she did, but returned to the balcony a few minutes later when the door was open. We couldn't get her to come back in, so we left her to sit on a chair, again in the cold evening air. A few minutes later, Roxi said she heard scratching and thought that Jupiter had fallen off the balcony. I said she probably hadn't and that the noise must have been something else. When I went to investigate though, there was no sign of Jupiter on the balcony. I was thinking that she had probably just slipped back inside without our noticing but looked over the edge just to check, and sure enough, I was met with her cat eyes looking up from the ground about fifteen feet below.

I quickly ran down the stairs and around the side of the building to make sure that Jupiter was okay and for an instant, saw no sign of her! Then rustling leaves in the darkness caught my attention. Jupiter was playing in a small pile of dead leaves. She seemed okay and was enjoying exploring this new place. Roxi met me outside a minute later and we strolled around our building as Jupiter cautiously investigated her surroundings. After about ten or fifteen minutes, we corralled her back into the apartment to get her collar with a bell and ID tag in case she pulled this stunt again. We had plans to take her back out for more exploration but after getting the collar on, she wasn't too interested in going out in the stairwell again. Thankfully she was not injured in her fall and she got to see outside for herself. I only hope that next time, we can convince her to take the stairs instead of the fifteen foot leap to see the outside world!

Another event of note, though not nearly as exciting as Jupiter's adventure, happened today. This afternoon I was sitting at my computer facing our large picture windows in the living room working on one of my videos when I glanced up to see snow falling! Now this might mean nothing to any readers of this blog seeing as how it's been snowing everywhere this winter including my hometown of Lafayette, LA where it only snows about once every ten years. However, Roxi and I missed this decade's snowfall by a day due to our trips to Mexico for Cari and John's wedding. I was excited to see snowfall but I have seen it a couple of times in the past few years when I lived in both Austin and Nashville. Roxi on the other hand hasn't seen snow in much longer and was very excited to see this, our first snow in Enschede.

We went out on the balcony to enjoy the fact that we could experience it while being comforted by the fact that we were not out walking around in it either on campus or in the city. Once I got outside though, I realized it was only wet snow, melting immediately when it came in contact with the ground. So unfortunately there was absolutely no accumulation and it didn't last for more than a few minutes, but we did enjoy seeing it though and it made for a nice afternoon treat for the two of us.