Tuesday, June 23, 2009


One of my favorite sketches from one of my favorite troupes. Mr. Show, we hardly knew ye.


Monday, June 22, 2009


(Yes, I know. I know it's not Friday)

Since I started writing about the Faroe Islands here, I've written a lot about music, but very little about Eivor (the "o" has a slash through it, but I can't figure out how to do that on this keyboard). This is a huge oversight that needs to be remedied with a much more extensive post one day.

But in short, Eivor is a 25 year old Faroese singer who is perhaps the most critically acclaimed artist from the islands. She has sung in rock bands, and with symphony orchestras. Many critics claim her singing embodies the Faroese spirit. Others have compared her to Bjork.

While she's a fixture in the Icelandic music scene and has toured extensively in Europe, she's not been seen much on the Pacific coast... until now. Eivor will be playing two music festivals in British Columbia in about a month. She'll play during the Mission Folk Festival on July 25th and 26th, and then at the Canmore Folk Festival on August 1st and 2nd.

While I'm excited she'll be performing in my neck of the woods, there is some irony regarding the timing of these two shows (ironic for me, not for her). While she's performing at the Mission Folk Festival, I'll be at the G! Festival... in the Faroe Islands. She performs at Canmore on August 1-2. On August, 3rd, I'll return to the Pacific Northwest.

Oh well. We may be ships that pass in the night this time, perhaps our paths will cross some other time.
This week's Faroe Photo is of the beach at Gota. I know Eivor lives near the beach, and the G! Fesatival takes place somewhere near here as well.

(29 days until I leave for the Faroes! Not that I'm counting.)


Wednesday, June 17, 2009


A year or two ago, a co-worker of Julie's got me some Wegman's cookies as a favor. You see, Wegman's is the greatest grocery store in the world, and they were an institution back in my hometown of Rochester. But I'm about 3,000 miles from the closest store, so any treat from their bakery makes my day.

The deal with that cookie shipment was that I would post some cute photos of Nate and Will as payment. So I did.

This week, another box of cookies arrived at my door, shipped FedEx overnight by the same co-worker of Julie's. This time I earned them by helping Julie out on a project, but I still feel like I owe some pictures. So here we go...
For the past several months, it has been extremely hard to get photos of Nate and Will in the same frame. In fact, Still photos of any kind have been difficult. They do like to run about. But now, it seems we have the opposite problem.

The photo above (Nate is on the left, Will on the right) was the first attempt to take any pictures of them for quite some time. With the exception of Will appearing to flip me the bird, the photo is pretty natural. But as soon as they realized the camera was out, they started with the cheesy smiles. Nate started first...
And pretty soon Will was infected, too...

Pretty soon, I was almost impossible to get Nate to stop. He just kept shouting, "cheese!"
Will, on the other hand, was able to pull off a slightly more natural smile...
But Nate was seriously in danger of breaking his face...
The smile-fest continued throughout breakfast.

But when mealtime was over, Nate was still on a mission to smile until it hurt.

By the end of the day we had to simply ice the guy's face down. Those smile injuries, they can be costly.


Sunday, June 14, 2009


Yes, I know it's not Friday anymore, but this is a very busy time for me.

This week, with my trip to the Faroes about five weeks away, we're concentrating on the press. First up, I was the subject of a news story in a Faroese newspaper.

Click the link if you please, but unless you can read Faroese, you may not get much out of it. From what I've been told, the article says I'm coming over there and that I like the Faroe Islands quite a bit. Both are true.

I'm somewhat amused by the photo they used for the story. I used it as as a profile image on Facebook a while back, and it makes me look like an extra on "Miami Vice." Boy, are they going to be disappointed when I arrive.

The second media story comes from the UK. The British newspaper, the Guardian, sent a reporter to investigate the Faroese music scene and do a preview of the upcoming G! Festival. The excellent article uses the music scene to explore larger issues in Faroese society. It is is probably the best thing I've read about the Faroes since the New York Times article two years ago.

The report has two elements, the first is the article:
You can read the article here (highly recommended)

The article is accompanied by an "audio slideshow" which has music and photos from the islands. It runs about 2:30 and is also pretty fun to watch:
The audio slideshow is here.
This week's Faroe photo comes from Arne List's collection on Flickr. It's of Hov on Sudroy. The article in the Guardian reports on a local legend that says the population on the islands is a mix between Vikings and Portuguese pirates who invaded the island hundreds of years ago. This is said to account for the dark hair of many Sudroy residents.

Usually, I'd follow up a paragraph like the one above by saying something like, "and I hope one day I can see that island and speak with the people myself." But that seems unnecessary now. I'll be there. In a few weeks. Am I excited? Yes. Yes, I am.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Longtime readers of this blog will know that I’m a big fan of British politics, specifically, Prime Minister’s Questions as aired on C-SPAN each week. It is wonderful political theater.

But to be honest, I haven’t tuned in for a while. Gordon Brown just isn’t as interesting to watch as Tony Blair was. Brown just isn’t as quick with his words and doesn’t seem to enjoy the verbal joust as much as Blair did. So I tune in last week and...holy crap... it’s a bloodbath over there!

Since I stopped paying attention, there has been a political scandal involving the expense reports of members of Parliament (MPs). From what I gather, the MPs have been too chicken to give themselves raises over the past few decades. So instead, they’ve developed an elaborate system that allows them to claim all sorts of expenses for items like second homes and moat cleaning (really).

A British newspaper, The Telegraph, has spent the last four weeks publishing lists of outlandish expenses claimed by MPs over the years. Not surprisingly, the British public hasn’t taken too kindly to these revelations and has demanded someone’s head on a pike.

What they got was Common’s Speaker Michael Martin. He’s not accused of doing anything wrong, but his role in the Parliament was to keep track of expense rules in the like. So he’s resigned effective a little bit later in the month.

You may think I’m joking when I say this, but I’m really upset that Martin is leaving the Speaker’s chair. For years, I’ve seen him work as basically the on floor referee during heated debates, and he’s always struck me as a decent and fair guy.

But the most important reason I’m sad Michael Martin won’t be Speaker has to do with his accent. That man has an amazing Scottish accent. And it’s his job to call out everyone’s name who is going to speak. I hardly ever understood what he was saying, but I loved it all the same.

So Martin’s on his way out , but it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop there. There’s blood in the water and I don’t think the British public will be happy until Gordon Brown is unemployed. I see that he’s survived the most recent call for his ouster, but I don’t think it will be enough. I will pass through London’s Heathrow airport in late July. I doubt Brown will be Prime Minister when I pick up a paper there.

Furthermore, it seems almost inevitable that Conservative leader David Cameron will be PM by the end of the year. Gordon Brown’s people keep saying that the country is in a crisis, and the best people to get out of the crisis are the people that got into it in the first place. That an argument that didn’t work for the Republicans here last year, and I doubt it will do Labor much good in the UK.

If you’re a nerd, it’s all pretty interesting stuff. And for once, it’s nice to be able to view a political mess from the sidelines rather than right in the thick of it.

Fight on, Limeys!

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Monday, June 08, 2009


Article in the Medford Mail Tribune about my upcoming travels to the Faroes...

Friday, June 05, 2009


On March 28, 2008, the question was posed by a flight attendant from Atlantic Airways: And today, that question can be answered: July 21st, 2009.

I've been contacted by the Faroese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and invited to visit the country as their guest. Or in other words, they're flying me out there and hosting me for about a week and a half. I'll get to attend the G! Festival and see the big national holiday, Ólavsøka.

Needless to say, I am thrilled beyond words. It's really a stunning turn of events. Two years ago, I stumble upon a country I'd not previously heard of and become deeply obsessed. As the months pass, I begin blogging about the place and eventually start a podcast about it. And now I'm going there.

While it's going to be a lot of fun, I'll be doing some work there as well. I'll be scooping up lots of sound and interviews for the podcast, and photos for the blog. In addition, I'll be traveling with my friend Thomas, who edits and produces materials for ABC. He'll have a HD camera with him and we'll be shooting some videos that we'll post at a later date. (Julie will be six months pregnant, that's why she's not coming with me.)

I'm also excited to meet in person some of the people from the Faroes I've gotten to know online and through the podcast. I will be traveling to a far off land for the first time, but in many ways I feel like I already have many friends there.

Some people upon hearing of my travel plans have said something to the effect of, "with all you've done for the Faroe Islands, you deserve this." I disagree. I don't know if anyone deserves anything so amazing. But perhaps, if Thomas and I can produce some really great work while we're there, I can become more deserving of this overwhelmingly generous thing that has been done for me.

And despite all the wordiness above, I really am speechless.

(Special thanks to my friends in the Faroes, Tollak Hansen and Elin Heinesen, without whom none of this would be happening.)


Thursday, June 04, 2009


From July 6, 2007, regarding Faroese tourism:
"We need some Americans to come here and spend some money," he says. Well, Unnamed Tourism Official, I'd like to be that American.

From August 31, 2007, after learning a Faroese town didn't have street names:
A note to the people of Tvøroyri: My current work contract ends in a few months. If you need someone to come over and name some streets for you, allow me to offer myself as a candidate. But be warned, at least one of your major roads will likely be called Workman Way.

From October 19, 2007, while describing a wintery day in the Faroes:
The green mountains are dusted with snow, and the villages take on a still, austere beauty. (Note to Faroe Islands Tourism Board: I can crank out copy like this in my sleep, call me.)

From February 15, 2008:
I'm dedicated to making 2009 The Year of the Faroes. Just don't tell my wife.

From March 28, 2008, after posting a picture of a Faroese flight attendant inviting me to the Faroe Islands:
Thomas put her up to writing the note, but I look forward to accepting similar invitation from the Faroese Tourism Board one day.

From May 10, 2008:
This week's Faroe photos come from the village of Gøta. Gøta plays(ed) host to the G! Festival and is a pretty spectacular setting for a music festival. Only 500 people live in the village, but they have their own football team. The area also figures prominently in an Icelandic saga.

As always, I hope I get to see it firsthand. (I'm looking at you, Faroese Tourist Board.)

More tomorrow.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009


I know I owe a Faroe Friday post and I'll have something in a day or two, but for now, I thought I'd post a quote from my very first post about the Faroe Islands.

On July 28th, 2007, I wrote:

I really want to check out the G! Festival. 20 bands playing in a remote North Atlantic village. Sounds like heaven. So if the Faroe Islands Tourist Board, or Faroe Islands Enterprise, or these people want to send a charming young man to cover this event, well, leave me a message.

Contemplate that, and I'll chime in in a day or two.


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