Saturday, November 24, 2007

a simulated teaser

The editor's been getting a lot of complaints about the general gloominess of starfish and waffles lately, and he threatened to bite my arm if I didn't shape up. Fair enough. Well, as long as we've been online, there has been no better way to lighten the mood than with a snippet featuring Felicia's teddy bear, the most popular character of My Simulated Reality TV Life. Consider the following a little teaser of the upcoming new season.


Felicia's teddy bear explains the outcome of the court case to simulated Felix: "Three counts of theft, four counts of larceny, and six counts of breaking and entering ... acquitted, on all charges. Unbelievable! If I cross paths with that little bitch Goldilocks again, I will end her."

Sunday, November 18, 2007

sunday morning weather forecast


The Sunday morning fog. Lund, Sweden. (2007).

***
Didn't sleep very well, but woke up early anyway. Looked out the window, and everything was foggy.

Again.

Comments are out of bounds today.

Friday, November 16, 2007

lucky


The solitary pier at the water's edge in Landskrona, Sweden. (2007).

This morning, I picture two scenes, both of which I suspect to be more or less true:

One
Fifty years later, an old man is standing alone at the end of the pier, looking over the indigo waters. An ocean breeze stirs the stinging saltiness of the air. He closes his eyes to remember a lifetime of memories disappeared ... before slowly opening them again, to feel the vanishing tones of twilight.

Two
Fifty years later, an old man is standing alone at the end of the pier, looking over the indigo waters. An ocean breeze stirs the stinging saltiness of the air. He closes his eyes to forget a lifetime of events reappeared ... before slowly opening them again, to feel the vanishing tones of twilight.

***
Tributary-to-sea and all in-between, it doesn't seem to take much to veer this river to the wrong side of the continental divide. And despite doing everything we can with these chances we take - these breaks we make - to some extent, it's still left to the random whisper of four-leaf clovers.

Hope, faith, luck, and love.

I'll be waiting at the water's edge.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

prism


The Stockholm T-bana (subway) bullets through Stadion Station (or Rainbow Station, in my lexicon), deep underground the Swedish national capital. (2007).

***
An unidentified number lights up with the ringtone. Uncharacteristically, he answers.

"Hello," he says.

"Hi," she says, "It's me ... "

Shocked, he says nothing.

"I know it's been a long time and maybe this is a little weird, but I wanted to see how you were doing ... " she says.

And so it goes, for another 21 of the emptiest minutes that ever existed in the space-time continuum.

***
This far into it, the best I can determine is that time travels the path of a swirl. What's old inevitably spirals around again ... though it never quite reappears in exactly the same form as before. And there you are, left to apply those painful lessons learned from past lives and mistakes, wondering if maybe, this time, things could actually be different.

By now, I fully understand it can't all be sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows. But somebody please tell me the colours of this spectrum are real ... because I'm just too tired to weather another storm.

Friday, November 09, 2007

adventures in capitalism: it's a dingobear market

We were quite pleased when we got the nod from Alamy quality control last month, as this represented our inaugural toehold in the world of commercial stock photography. However, as excited as we are about growing with that particular opportunity, starfish and waffles has always been about everyday people (and everyday bears) ... and we're fully aware that not everyone out there is looking for photos for a national billboard campaign or the glossy magazine they edit.


The business-savvy editor and CEO of felix's daily starfish and waffles looks over a few financial projections for our new online store over at Red Bubble.

As such, we've been looking at ways of bringing our brand of original dingobear photography to a wider audience. And, after a bit of business development work, we're happy to announce that we've come up with something ... yes, that's right, today you're officially invited to the launch and grand opening of the starfish and waffles online store!

Established in conjunction with Red Bubble, an emerging Australian-based online art community, our little boutique is a place where you can browse some of the best photographic work we've posted here on starfish and waffles in the past. If interested, greeting cards and a variety of laminated, mounted, and framed prints are available for purchase ... prices, before shipping, start at US$3.33 for cards and US$19.99 for prints. Of course, we're still in the preliminary stages of stocking content so if you have any requests, just let us know. Yay!

Which way to the store, you ask? Click here or, the permanent link we have on the left side of this page.

Ok, thanks for letting us indulge in this shameless little sales pitch. Hope all's well with you, wherever you are.

Monday, November 05, 2007

the streets of urbanity

There's something about these city streets. Gritty, faceless, bold, and stirring, the gamut of urbanity is alive with mood and emotion. Everyone has a story, a purpose. Take notice and, for a fraction of a second, see the world through another's eyes.

These are the streets of Stockholm as I perceived it ... no more, no less.


Coming ... or going? As Halloween day fades into Halloween night, faceless souls wander to and fro on Österlånggatan in Stockholm's Gamla Stan (Old Town) district.


"No one here really knows what Halloween is," says my Swedish friend Ebba. Indeed. This rather happy Kasper looking over the high-end shopping street of Drottninggatan is the only hint of Halloween I can find in Stockholm. I find it interesting that only one other person besides us stops to notice.


It's raining on Stortorget (Main Square) but no one seems to care. They must all be tourists.


Early in the afternoon, Trångsund is uncharacteristically quiet. Storkyrkan (the State Cathedral) towers in the background.


Soldiers march during the changing of the guard outside Kungliga Slottet, the King's palace.


All's quiet on Sergels Torg, late on a Sunday night. Stockholm's Kulturehuset (Cultural Centre) stands half-lit in the background.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

bhutan's pursuit of happiness in the modern world

Cloistered in splendid isolation high atop the majestic eastern Himalayas, the Kingdom of Bhutan is considered by some to be the world's last Shangri-la. For the rare traveler who's lucky enough to be granted a visa to visit, it must surely seem the case.


Just a couple of happy kids in Thimpu, Bhutan. The terrific photo was taken by Steve Evans and is published here on starfish and waffles under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

A land of pristine forests, sparkling lakes, and spectacular alpine geography, Bhutan is an eco-tourist's dream. Citizens are required by law to wear traditional Buddhist costume. TV and internet service has been available only since 1999. There are exactly zero traffic lights operating in the entire country.

Bhutanese society is nothing short of an anomaly in today's modern world. But make no mistake – Bhutan's measured approach to development has been by design.

After the Dragon King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, ascended to the throne in 1972, he made the maximization of "Gross National Happiness" (GNH) the country's priority, instead of focusing only on economic growth. At the center of all Bhutanese policymaking, the concept of GNH is essentially based on four pillars: balanced equitable development; environmental conservation; preservation and promotion of cultural heritage; and good governance.

Click here, for the full story at ethicaltraveler.org.

***
Felix, in his more ethical moments, writes for the Ethical Traveler news team. Ethical Traveler is a project of the California-based Earth Island Institute.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

180 degrees of freedom

Travelling in the offseason has become force of habit, and having to occasionally endure inclement weather is the trade-off for avoiding the tourist hoards. This is an exchange I'll take any day of the week, but it's been raining non-stop since we arrived in Stockholm, and the damp, icy cold is starting to wear.


The deliciously bohemian and trendy island of Södermalm, as seen from Skeppsholmen, smack in the middle of urban Stockholm. (2007).

Then, a reprieve: by late afternoon of Day Two, the heavens turn off and the clouds break. I head for downtown, settling on the western shore of the tiny urban island of Skeppsholmen, and look across the water at central Stockholm, Gamla Stan, and Södermalm, waiting patiently for some semblance of colour to reappear.

Eventually, it does. But for some strange reason inexplicable except perhaps for the mind-warping wind, my head isn't on the cityscapes in front of me, but instead Kay Hanley's shifty eyes in the music video for Letters to Cleo's Here and Now. Really. Weird, I know, but I never promised you I wasn't, see.

By now, Stockholm is aglow in sky and streetlights. I start shooting, and here's a small sample of the results ... a 180 degree and shifty-eyed view of Stockholm as I happen to see it as this particular moment in time. Or here and now, as it were.


Turning your head a little to the right, we have Södermalm on the left, and a corner of Gamla Stan (Old Town) on the right. (2007).


Further right still, a pink sunset over Gamla Stan, a little earlier on in the evening. (2007).


And cranking your neck all the way to the right, reveals Norrmalm, which is where the modern downtown of Stockholm resides. (2007).

Friday, November 02, 2007

stockholm sensibilities

It took almost two years, but I finally made it back to Stockholm earlier this week after me and my roommate, Jess, decided to hop on a last minute bullet train across the country. At the epicenter of all that's Swedish, Stockholm is a city of storied sophistication. However, the capital city sagas will have to wait as tonight, I'm bleary-eyed and sleep sensibly beckons. Time for bed.


Less than one metre (three feet) wide in parts, Mårtens Trotzigs Gränd is the narrowest alley in Stockholm and not recommended for claustrophobics. (2007).