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I’ve noticed a continual trend whenever I visit Europe, and it’s getting downright bizarre: t-shirts with non-sensical English words on them.

I know that this isn’t new – there are entire blogs dedicated to this stuff, but usually it occurs in Asian countries that use a non-Roman alphabet, so the discrepancy sort of makes sense, and it’s very much a two-way street: I knew plenty of girls in college who didn’t speak a lick of Japanese but that didn’t stop them from getting tattoos of what they claimed were the kanji symbols for “harmony” and “happiness.”

I have no idea how they verified that.

But the thing is, practically everyone in Europe speaks English. And they speak it very, very well. And yet there are still lots of shirts like this:

It says (in case you have trouble reading it): “DON’T WORRY BE SEXY -1969- SUPREME LIFE.”

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Rand was in Hamburg last week, while I stayed home and watched American Idol. We were both happy with this arrangement, because he HATES American Idol, and I wasn’t quite feeling up to going to Germany for only two days.

Also, I was able to learn that I kind of hate American Idol, too, and that sort of important introspection can only happen when you are home alone, wincing at the sounds coming out of your TV.

On the way back to Seattle, Rand flew through Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, and he showed me this picture.

It’s hard to tell, but Rand is making a really awesome WTF face, which he happens to give me whenever I’m navigating us someplace.

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Remember how I said, like, just last week that even though I wasn’t a religious person, I could easily get behind the beliefs of those who are religious? Let’s keep that in mind, and remember that I am sometimes open-minded and loving, and accepting of the beliefs of others.

This, however, is not one of those times.

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From the moment Rand told me about the Salton Sea, I wanted to go.

I’m probably one of the few people in the last 50 years to have had that sentiment.

Here’s why:

The Salton Sea is not a hot getaway destination, or even a particularly nice place to kill a couple of hours, but it used to be. The sea was created by accident at the beginning of the last century. Engineers goofed up an irrigation route from the Colorado river, and flooded an area of the Coachella Valley which then became known as the Salton Sea.

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There has been a lot of talk lately about Rand’s facial hair. And not just by me. Other folks have been blogging about it, too.

He started growing it out after Thanksgiving, just to see what it would look like. And it looked pretty much the same as it always did – a bit shaggier perhaps, but that was it. But then, after a few months, the whole thing started to curl.

I, personally, thought this was hilarious. Rand was not as much of a fan. I remained fascinated at how much his look changed. Some days he resembled an old-timey-prospector …

There’s a joke here … something about how he could pan my river anytime …

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I know it isn’t Wednesday – I didn’t blog yesterday because I spent the entire morning and part of the afternoon downtown, participating in the largest gathering of people in Seattle, ever. It was strange and crazy and a bit magical.

And as I was flipping through my photos from Palm Springs, I came across a photo that was strange, and crazy, and a little bit magical. I took it in Niland, California, outside of the United Food Center. We were coming back from Salvation mountain (which is also strange, and crazy, et al, and I will be sure to tell you all about it next week), and I pulled into a parking lot so we could our bearings.

Rand saw him first, and as is his fashion, was able to distill the situation down to its essence in just a few words.

“That is clearly the greatest human being who has ever lived.”

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This is a cherimoya:

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This is NOT how you eat a cherimoya:

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The thing that I love about humanity, besides Thai food and the tendency to dress our young up as animals, is our commitment to the arts. That as a species, as soon as our basic needs are met (and even if they aren’t) we all hellbent on writing and composing and painting and sculpting and carving and decoupaging and etching and crocheting and just making things.

We are the species responsible for the Bedazzler and the Eiffel Tower, which is just kind of wonderful to think about.

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