A funny thing happened on the way to this Monday… the Oscars! Huge lobster found off the coast of Maine

-o- The Oscars happened! -o-

Sacha Baron Cohen stole the show, in my opinion, plugging The Dictator in costume. No surprise there! A few hours after the photo below was taken, Samantha Murphy on Mashable Entertainment writes about his “shenanigans.” The actor and comedian dumped the fake ashes of Kim Jong Il onto Ryan Seacrest… here’s Murphy’s piece.

(Jason Merritt – GETTY IMAGES)

And the winners are…

Best Picture – The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius
Best Actor – Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Best Director – Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography – Hugo, Martin Scorcese
Best Actress – Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Best Original Screenplay – Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen

  • Coverage from The New Yorker throughout the year of Best Picture nominees; Archive.
  • Oscars “Snubs and Omissions”, according to ForbesAccording to the piece, the failure of any of these six films to receive a nomination is to be considered a notable omission: We Need To Talk About KevinThe Girl With The Dragon TattooDrive, Bridesmaids, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. Article. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo won Best Film Editing, though…
  • By 9:30 p.m., 3 book-based films had won an award.
  • Bonus from 2011’s ceremony: CollegeHumor’s “Top Ten ‘James Franco Is Stoned’ Oscar Moments”; video.

-o-  Toddler-sized lobster found in Maine, the Titantic’s final lunch menu up for auction -o-

Bon Appetit’s food blog Friday had some great entries: the Titantic’s final lunch menu is up for auction and expected to fetch 100,000 pounds, a 27-pound lobster was found and released of the coast of Maine, and astronauts, theoretically, crave spicy foods due to a compromised sense of smell.

Here’s the Telegraph piece on the menu auction, and here’s the MSNBC article on the huge lobster.  Find the other selections and links in BA‘s blog post.

(source: Reuters)

-o- Ebook variation strategies from The Guardian -o-

Political pamphlets, serial-style novels… what other tricks of the publishing trade are ebook marketers using to get readers interested and keep them there?

Here’s the piece by Benedicte Page.

-o- Ben and Jerry’s drop fortune cookie bits from Lin-sanity ice cream -o-

And it continues… after an ESPN writer was fired and a news anchor suspended for using and then repeating the phrase “Chink in the Armor” in regard to Jeremy Lin, Ben and Jerry’s just announced they’ve replaced fortune cookie pieces with waffle cone bits in their Lin-inspired ice cream, “Taste the Lin-Sanity.”

Here’s the article on CNN.

Ben & Jerrys Apologizes for Lin Sanity Fortune Cookie Ice Cream

(Image Source: Boston Globe)

-o- 10 Movie Poster Clichés -o-

You’ll be amazed and impressed and the number of examples Christophe Courtois has found for each of his categories. Among them? Large faces above small figures on a beach, people lying in bed, and a stark blue background with an image, often a silhouette, in the foreground of the poster.

From 22 Words: List, with numerous examples.

-o- Survival Books for the Apocalypse -o-

From io9.com, “Survival Books to keep on your bookshelf in case of the apocalypse”; here’s the list.

-o- Slutty Girl Brownies on The Londoner -o-

(Source: The Londoner)

Drooling. Seriously. Recipe (click if you dare).

Cross Country Tripping: Crater Lake, Oregon

During my youth, my parents took my siblings and I on summer road trips around the country. When I was eleven years old we visited Crater Lake National Park. My memories of the lake are clear and vibrant; I remember taking a boat to an island in the lake and looking down into the deep, able to see to the bottom. I remember thinking I saw a rock that reminded me of Skull Rock from J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan (okay, from Disney’s interpretation of it). So I was so so excited to share the experience with Brian. But when we got there…

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Crater Lake, OR – July 9-10, 2011

So we arrived in Crater Lake National Park after our longest day of driving so far – almost 10 1/2 hours. We saw most of Oregon, though! We got to the National Park in the evening to find that most of the campground, half of the road around the lake and almost all of the hiking trails were buried in snow. It turns out Crater Lake got almost 29 feet of snow MORE than usual in 2011 and the park was a few weeks behind schedule in their preparations for tourists. This was my first reminder that checking ahead for weather conditions before arriving at our next destination and planning to sleep outside was probably a good idea.

The campsite we found was the only one left with an even close-to-dry space for a small tent. We purchased firewood only to find our fire ring buried in snow. And, to top it all off, the mosquito population was denser and hungrier than anyone would expect when surrounded by snow.

So, for the first and last time in our trip, we put all of our stuff in the tent and slept in the van. It was actually kind of fun; Brian ran a clothesline all around the car and we hung sheets and buried ourselves in a nest of blankets, sleeping bags and clothes.

Before we went to sleep we drove to Watchman’s Overlook and saw the deep blue color of Crater Lake in the evening before snacking and watching the sunset over the snow-covered mountains. It was a lovely sunset: pink and gold.

The next morning, we moved around our reservations so we’d leave Crater Lake a day early and have an extra day in the Redwoods (though it was cold there, too!) Brian made a yummy breakfast of turkey bacon and scrambled eggs with cheese. We then drove to the Cleetwood Cove trail, the only one not buried in snow. However, it’s also the only trail I remembered from my first visit there; a mile-long winding pathway down to the lake and what would be the boat dock but was not quite, yet.

We should have brought bathing suits with us or at least dry clothes so we could jump in. Just look at this water!

The hike back up was waaaay tough.

We met a nice couple who recommended having drinks and appetizers at the lodge, which we did and was a super enjoyable post-hiking treat. We explored the lodge and then sat in the “Great Room” by the window so we could see the lake. We had French Onion soup, Northwestern Clam Chowder, a salad and a crab-and-artichoke dip. Yummy! Brian also tasted a local beer, which we tried to do in several of the places we visited. (Next time: Bourbon Trail.)

We left the park and drove south to the Crescent City/Redwoods Kampground of America (KOA) – feel free to mock me for this, but laundry facilities and showers are valuable commodities. As are ice cream bars and marshmallows. The drive was windy and we listened to the Council of Elrond chapter of Lord of the Rings on the way.

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Despite the snow and the bugs and the buried-ness(in mid-July), Crater Lake was just as I remembered it – one of the most beautiful natural treasures in the country.

A funny thing happened on the way to this Monday… Maryland House passes gay-marriage bill, 3500-year timeline of contraceptive use

-o- Maryland House passes gay-marriage bill… but it was close up until the vote -o-

Maryland’s attempt last year to pass this legislation died on the floor of the House of Delegates. This year the bill, sponsored by Governor Martin O’Malley, came within a hair’s breadth of failing again, and was only passed with support from some of those who had voted down the bill the previous year.

Well, good for them. Let’s hope this trend continues. Here’s The Washington Post‘s article.

-o- FBI says a plot was hatched – and thwarted -o-

According to court papers, Amine El Khalifi thought he was participating in an Al-Qaeda mission on Friday at the Capitol, but was truly involved in an FBI sting-like operation.

Here’t the timeline from The Washington Post, and here’s a related article for more information.

-o- 3500-year timeline of opinion, ruling on the use of contraceptives -o-

This is awesome… not to mention timely. Elizabeth Gettelman crafted a timeline reaching back 3500 years and highlighting information relating to contraception’s existence and status within different cultures.

A few notables:

  • In 1839, “Barrier-method contraceptives like condoms and diaphragms are revolutionized by Charles Goodyear’s invention of vulcanized rubber.”
  • In 1965, “The Supreme Court rules in Griswold v. Connecticut that contraceptive bans violate the ‘right to marital privacy.’ Unmarried peoples’ right to privacy isn’t recognized until 1972.”
  • In 2010, “100,000 condoms handed out to Olympians in Vancouver run out in less than two weeks; a last-minute shipment provides additional coverage.”

I had no idea about that last one! Here’s Gettelman’s piece on Mother Jones.

-o- 10 Reasons Pintrest reached over 10 million monthly users -o-

I must admit, I have yet to get into what seems to be currently the hottest new-ish internet trend. But the more I see stuff like this the more intrigued I am. Here’s the list of reasons Pintrest is such a buzzword by Anthony Wing Kosner on Forbes.

My favorite? “It’s like shopping.”

-o- Grand Canyon officials ban bottled water in the National Park -o-

Last night while playing Apples to Apples with friends, the red card chosen to match the green card “rich” was “bottled water.” Something about the packaging and branding of something available in most places in this country without all of that seems, to use one of many possible adjectives, luxurious.

I’ve certainly purchased and enjoyed bottled water, and am currently between filtered pitchers. Still…

Here’s an article by Alex Davies on Treehugger.com about the Grand Canyon’s decision, which came over a year later than many expected. According to Davies, this delay was due to pressure from Coca-Cola.

-o- Best and Weirdest Science Fiction Toys from Toy Fair 2012 -o-

Apparently, this E.T. hand was made for “caressing your loved ones’ cheeks while they sleep.” Yup, that deserves to be on a “weirdest” list.

The Best (And Weirdest) Science Fiction Toys from Toy Fair 2012

(photo credit: Cyriaque Lamar)

There are several awesome toys in this collection; check it out! Here’s Lamar’s story and gallery io9.com.

-o- Profile: Saffron -o-

Did you know? Saffron threads are actually the stigma of the purple crocus. Each flower yields only three threads. No wonder it’s so expensive!

I happen to be in possession of a large quantity of saffron, currently; a few months ago my mom sent me a whole bunch and I got some in my paella gift from my Aunt Susan. Here’s some useful info on the spice from FoodNetwork.com.

Here is a suggestion from the Food Network for roasting fish with saffron, and here is a recipe from Cooking Light I’m planning to make this week with shrimp, saffron, rice and peas!

Cross Country Tripping – San Francisco, California, Part I

San Francisco, CA – July 12-13, 2011

San Francisco was, in a sense, the destination point of our trip. It wasn’t midway through the adventure or the last place we stopped, but it was the furthest West we went and we spent more time there than in any other city in which we were strangers. Despite the fact that we were not prepared for the cool temperatures and that we did not plan excursions in advance, we loved our time there.

We left the Redwood National Forest early on the morning of July 12th. After a long drive, with two wonderful stops (one to put our feet in the Pacific Ocean, and one at a winery), we arrived at our hostel in San Francisco and parked the car in a garage. It was tough saying goodbye to so much of our crap for a few days, but also incredibly freeing. The hostel was nice; we stayed at Hostelling International San Francisco – Downtown.

After getting settled in, we did not have much energy, so we went on a short walk exploring the area around our hotel and had dinner at Chipotle (which made Brian’s trip).

The next morning, we woke up early to have bagels and coffee in the hostel for breakfast. Then, finally, we ventured out into San Francisco. We walked to Market Street to catch a bus to Golden Gate State Park, a place I remembered going with my family the summer I turned eleven.  The first building we came upon was the Conservatory, at which there is a special exhibit this summer called “Wicked Plants” which focused on poisonous, deadly and otherwise “evil” members of the plant kingdom.

We learned lots of interesting things. Among them: the cashew and the mango belong to the same family, and also in that family are poison ivy and other poisonous plants. In fact, all cashew nuts are steamed out of their shells in order to avoid human contact with the shells and skins before consumption. We also learned that the water hyacinth, native to Africa but abundant now on several continents, depletes clean water supplies, chokes other plant life and is so thick that it can provide cover for predators which then attack swimmers, etc.

The other exhibits in the Conservatory were lovely, but not very different from the ones we saw in Chicago or even in D.C. Next, we walked to the Japanese Tea Garden, which I remember visiting with my family, and which was a lot larger then. It was beautiful, though, and the koi in the water were quite as large as my memory served. Brian really enjoyed the structures, such as a large red pagoda and a small bridge.

We purchased a few souvenirs there too: a crane-shaped incense holder and green tea-scented incense for my friend Elisabeth, and some funny sort-toe socks for Brian’s sisters Cristin and Renee. We then left the tea garden and bought vegetable samosas from a truck in the park for lunch. They were among the best samosas I’ve ever had; when we finished, we bought more. I love food trucks.

We decided not to visit the Academy of Sciences, mostly for budget reasons, and hopped back on a bus to “our” area of town intending to walk around Chinatown. On the way, though, we passed a huge open-air market – one of my favorite things in the whole world. So we hopped off the bus. We saw a street performer opera singer who sang a few songs from “Les Miserables” and was just wonderful. We bought some dried fruit and some almonds for my Dad from Cipponeri Family Farms. We then walked along Market Street, marveling at the variety of people we saw. We bought more souvenirs for the wonderful friends babysitting our cats back home.

After a brief respite in the hostel and much unloading of packages, we went back to an enticing bar we’d passed earlier for happy hour. The bar was also playing the World Cup game we’d missed at 9:00 a.m. that morning; the U.S. beat France 3-1. I had champagne and bruschetta, and Brian had an Anchor Steam Brewery draft and oysters on the half shell. We met a young man there from Lexington, Kentucky traveling on business.

After our snack we walked to Chinatown—uphill, which means something direr in this city than in others—and had a lot of fun there. Brian got a real kick out of all the merchandise and wanted to go into every store. We wandered the street with the souvenirs for a while and then looked for what has also been, for me, the most memorable part of Chinatown: the food markets. We saw shark’s fins and ducks and turtles and frogs and fish in all stages of life and death.

On the way back to the hostel we stopped at a Swiss chocolatier and picked up two truffles for later. We had dinner at a Japanese restaurant near our hotel. This dinner was my favorite of the whole trip. We sat at the sushi bar and watched the chefs create the rolls and enjoyed miso soup, chicken yakitori, steamed tofu with shitake mushrooms and several rolls.

We went back to the hostel to rest in preparation for another exciting day, including a trip to Fisherman’s Wharf and a night tour of Alcatraz Island.

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Stay tuned for another post detailing the rest of our time in California. Thanks for reading!


Happy Valentine’s Day!

Illustration of red hearts.

Here are some cheerful love-related items for your day, whether you have found a valentine or have yet to find (or desire) someone deserving.

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-o- Google Valentine’s Day Doodles -o-

From 2000-2012. Here’s the gallery from Mashable. 

Here’s the 2012 doodle:

-o- 10 Best Love Letters of All Time – from The Guardian -o- 

Among them: Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s correspondence with her eventual husband, Robert Browning. Here’s the collection.

Interestingly, Elizabeth didn’t show her husband the sonnets she’d written while he was courting her, including “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways” until after the birth of their son in 1849.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

-o- A Brother and Sister Get Married: A love story -o-

A truly unusual story for the day. Comedian John Fugelsang tweeted this story last August, and NPR followed up on the extraordinary circumstances. Fugelsang’s parents were both in a convent, yet their love led them to eventually marry and create a family.

Here’s the piece from NPR.

-o- Valentine’s Day playlist from Mother Jones -o-

The Anti-Valentine’s Day playlist for “Satisfied Singles.” Here’s the playlist, complete with music videos. Enjoy!

-o- Writers choose their favorite love poems -o-

Check out this perfect piece for the day by Paddy Allen: Writers such as Seamus Heaney, Hilary Mantel, Jeanette Winterson and others chose the poems that inspired them, and Carol Ann Duffy wrote a new poem for the selection.

Find The Guardian‘s interactive display here. My favorite is the Donne poem cited by A S Byatt:

Air and Angels

Twice or thrice had I loved thee,
    Before I knew thy face or name ;
    So in a voice, so in a shapeless flame
Angels affect us oft, and worshipp’d be.
    Still when, to where thou wert, I came,
Some lovely glorious nothing did I see.
    But since my soul, whose child love is,
Takes limbs of flesh, and else could nothing do,
    More subtle than the parent is
Love must not be, but take a body too ;
    And therefore what thou wert, and who,
        I bid Love ask, and now
That it assume thy body, I allow,
And fix itself in thy lip, eye, and brow.

Whilst thus to ballast love I thought,
    And so more steadily to have gone,
    With wares which would sink admiration,
I saw I had love’s pinnace overfraught ;
    Thy every hair for love to work upon
Is much too much ; some fitter must be sought ;
    For, nor in nothing, nor in things
Extreme, and scattering bright, can love inhere ;
    Then as an angel face and wings
Of air, not pure as it, yet pure doth wear,
    So thy love may be my love’s sphere ;
        Just such disparity
As is ‘twixt air’s and angels’ purity,
‘Twixt women’s love, and men’s, will ever be. 

What’s your favorite love poem?

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This e.e. cummings poem is one of the poems Brian and I love, together.

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite a new thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which I will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh…And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill
of under me you quite so new 

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I wish you all a safe, sweet and happy Valentine’s Day. Even if you don’t like the “holiday,” eat a heart-shaped candy or leave someone a sweet note. Spread love.

 Jennifer

A funny thing happened on the way to this Monday… ‘Supergiant’ shrimp-like crustaceans discovered, 10 free (and useful) iPhone apps

-o- Adele sweeps the Grammys, the community honors Whitney Houston -o-

Adele wins six awards, tying with Beyonce for most awards for a female artist in a single evening. Here’s The New York Times article on the award-winners.

Adele triumphs at Grammys with six wins

(Source: Reuters)

You can watch Jennifer Hudson’s tribute to Whitney Houston here on Idolator.

-o- Romney scores much-needed victory in Maine, but Santorum and Gingrich are still in the race -o-

Was this really a good week for Mitt Romney? Piece from The New Yorker, “Romney’s Unconvincing Victories.”

-o- Similarities between Chipotle and Apple -o-

D.C.’s lunch scene is dominated by three main types of eateries: the sandwich, soup and salad place (Au Bon Pain, Corner Bakery, Pret a Manger), the prep-your-own place (Chipotle, Chop’t, etc.), and the food truck. Sure, there are pho die-hards, sushi die-hards, etc., but I’m sticking with these three for now. That said, why aren’t business models like Chipotle’s touted in business journals and magazines to the extent that a tech company’s like Apple’s is? Read this Slate article for more.

ALSO, Chipotle aired their first national ad last night during the Grammys. Here’s the video, via Mashable. It may look familiar to you; the ad (or a version of it) has gotten over 4 million YouTube views.

-o- 10 free and useful iPhone apps -o-

Not that I need any more apps on my phone, but I have to admit I’m coveting a few of these. Here’s the Mashable piece.

Also, best new apps this week, compiled by Sarah Kessler, also on Mashable.

-o- VA school board to vote on banning “cross-gender dressing” -o-

I feel like someone has to say it: why oh why do people continue to think they will win the lawsuits that result from these rules? This particular vote wants to stop boys from dressing like girls… um, 14th amendment?

Read the blog post on  The Washington Post for more info.

-o- During all this birth control debate, have women been called upon to speak on the news? -o-

Not according to Mother Jones: Networks call on men almost twice as often as women to speak knowledgeably about the debate. Here’s the statistic.

-o- A Guide to Euphemisms from The Economist -o-

Fascinating: an exploration on the prevalence and nature of euphemism in Chinese and English cultures. Here’s the item from The Economist.

-o- Oh my goodness, what is that? -o-

Superhuge shrimps found. Article (and video!) on CNN.

Supergiant amphipod picture: crustaceans found in deep ocean trench off New Zealand
(Source: Oceanlab, University of Aberdeen, on NationalGeographic.com)

-o- Girl Meets Bowl, Closet Cooking, Scrumptious Pumpkin -o-

If you can even think about eating after seeing those giant shrimp… or maybe they made you hungry?

I found three fun new blogs to follow this week. Girl Meets BowlCloset Cooking and The Scrumptious Pumpkin.

What caught my eye on each of these?

Cross-Country Tripping: Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Badlands, South Dakota, July 2-3 2011

Driving through South Dakota was wonderfully entertaining. It was empty and hilly, with the 75-mile-per-hour speed limits we were just learning to enjoy. For hundreds of miles, Wall, South Dakota is advertised featuring the Wall Drug store… but few mentions of the national park that was our destination. Also advertised: dinosaur parks, reptile gardens, and antique stores.

Due to another instance of time-zone-change-unawareness (yes, you would think we would have been prepared for the second time this happened), we arrived in the Badlands early on Saturday, July 2nd. We spent awhile trying to pick a campsite with some shade. This was tricky, due to the few-and-far between trees in the campgrounds. After eating some pasta and some soup, we drove part of the loop around/through the park. We climbed on some rocks and had our first taste of the experience cautioned by several signs: “It’s easier to climb up than to climb down.”

We took a few short hikes: We hiked Notch Trail, Window Trail, and Door Trail. We agreed Notch was the most fun, as you had to climb a looooong wooden ladder and navigate a few tricky ledges. Also, the trail was marked with yellow arrows, but there were sometimes large gaps between them and/or they were hard to see, so we got to play around, backtracking and winding through the crevices. From the Door Trail, though, there was a lovely few of a large canyon, which we really enjoyed.

Exhausted from wandering, driving, and the intensity of the summer sun, we ate and then fell asleep, only to awake with the tent collapsing on us in the middle of a massive thunderstorm! Brian was extremely heroic and went out into the storm to resurrect our tent. I huddled in the tent for most of the battle, but finally went out to “help” in the end, as the monsoon was ebbing. That was the last evening we used the large tent we’d borrowed from my family… we switched a much smaller and more manageable tent when we arrived in Yellowstone a few days later.

The next day, we went on a long hike in the morning. Park rangers advise waking early, before the sun’s heat becomes brutal, if a long hike is your intention. Our plan was to take Castle Trail to Medicine Loop Trail, then to the Saddle Pass Overlook, which promised both a lovely view and fun rock-climbing. On our way back, we took the Castle Loop the way we hadn’t come in.

The hike was enjoyable and eventful. We ran into a rattlesnake during the first half mile of the hike! I almost stepped on the snake, but heard it hissing just in time. I SCREAMED and jumped backwards.

Brian, thank goodness, trusted that this was one of the times I was being for serious scared and also gave the snake a wide berth. After calming down a bit, we managed to get a few pictures before leaving the rattlesnake to lie in wait for the next unsuspecting pair to come up the path.

We spent the next thirty minutes of our hike consulting the first aid guidebook we had and making plans for action if one of us were to be bitten. We read the instructions for poisonous snake bites and learned a few things we maybe should have learned before hiking alone: one, the person bitten should stay very still. Two, persons accompanying them should NOT try and suck out the venom. We debated whether it’d be better for me to be bitten, so Brian could carry me, or for him to be bitten so I could sprint and get help. Ridiculous, right? We were obviously very shaken, and for the rest of the hike (a good five more hours) we could each hear rattling and hissing in the tall grass.

The trail was dry and hot, but we liked the feeling of being all alone in the world as we found ourselves in seemingly unoccupied parts of the park. There are few things that make me feel more alive than feeling like I am alone and unmoored in a natural place.

We made it to the Saddle Pass Overlook, which was truly stunning.

After the long hike back to our car, during which we attempted to stay far away from the rattlesnake we’d seen, we ate and then slept most of the afternoon away. In the evening, we headed back out (and by the way, this is all without showering… no showering facilities at our campground in the Badlands) planning to drive around the park and stop at each vista point to see what could be seen. We saw two wild turkeys and befriended another couple from Florida who had also stopped to see the birds and then asked us if we too were naturalists. When we left them they told us to watch out for antelope on the ridges, and as we rounded the bend we saw, silhouetted against the setting sun, five antelope including a baby atop a nearby cliff.

We stopped to watch the sunset over the peaks on an outcropping of rock over a valley. There we met a sweet young family that had visited this same spot there years ago when their son, now eight years old, was a nine-month-old baby. They took our picture:

We returned to our campsite for the last evening in the Badlands. We were stargazing on the roof of the car when we had our first real encounter with a stranger on the trip. And man, he was strange. He asked us if we were copulating on the car, despite the fact that we were clearly separate and fully clothed. Then, he advised us to do the following things: apply to work at the Badlands National Park, visit a web site that would inform us where to find all of the nude bathing spots in the country, at which we could engage in all sorts of sexual “swapping,” and, finally, to watch for him in the middle of the night as he streaked by our tent. Yes… a self-proclaimed recurrent streaker. Brian ended the conservation around that point and we went to sleep, somewhat uneasily… Plus, I was very upset to have been robbed of my stargazing. Have you ever seen the clear night sky in South Dakota? Unforgettable, like so many American skies. When I was an adolescent and road-tripping with my family I remember thinking what a pleasant job it would be, to photograph nature.

We spent a rain-free night and left the next morning for Gillette, Wyoming. I was very excited for a shower, but Brian could have stayed a few more days. He really loved the Badlands in South Dakota and cites the time there as among his favorite in our trip. He liked their history-ridden and desolate nature, among many other aspects.

We did stop at Wall Drug for breakfast, pictures and souvenirs. I highly recommend it, and doubt you’ll be able to avoid it, if you ever take our route through the state.