Searching for Normalcy

"And finally, above all else, it is about leaving a mark that I existed: I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a good purpose and that’s why I made works of art…" – Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Miami: See It Like A Tourist December 5, 2010

Filed under: Photography,Travel,Video — Lulu @ 5:46 pm

WARNING: Super photo heavy!

Yesterday Fanless and I had a chance to take the Original Miami and Everglades Eco Adventure tour with Miami Tour Company. Miami Tour Company is owned by Gus and Michelle Moore, of MiamiBeach411.com, with whom we are personally acquainted. We had heard great things about their tour company and they’ve received really great reviews from past guests. So we booked our tour several months ago and I was really looking forward to it. (As it turned out, our very friendly and knowledgeable guide, Jim Moore, was none other than Gus’ father, but we didn’t find that out until the very end of the tour).

Our tour began when we were picked up right on time (9:35AM) in front of the Avalon Hotel on Ocean Drive in South Beach. The weather has been really beautiful lately and perfect for enjoying this kind of activity.

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We were part of a small group – approximately 28 people – and we got to ride in a very comfortable air-conditioned bus, with large windows on both sides. The bus also had two video screens that would show live video of the road ahead as we were driving. After a quick stop at Joe’s Stone Crab to pick up a few other guests, we were on our way. First we drove down Washington Avenue in South Beach.

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We paused at the Holocaust Memorial for picture-taking…

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before making a stop at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden.

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I had absolutely no idea this even existed, but it’s really lovely.

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We then exited the beach, via the 395 Causeway, and headed to Coconut Grove, where we saw the former homes of Madonna and Sylvester Stallone, along with a few other locations of note.

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We stopped for lunch in the Grove (Fanless and I made a beeline for Sandbar Grill and their delicious seafood tacos), and then drove around the Grove where we saw some interesting homes, the Bahamian Cemetery, and the Kampong Garden.

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From the Grove we headed to Coral Gables, viewing gorgeous homes along the way, prior to making a quick stop outside the Biltmore Hotel for a photo op.

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We headed down Calle Ocho into Little Havana, where we got to stop at Domino Park for a few minutes. Los viejos were so wrapped up in their games, I don’t even think they noticed the odd group of tourists taking their pictures.

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From Little Havana we headed back to downtown Miami to drop off a few guests that were taking a sightseeing cruise from Bayside.

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The rest of us continued on to Gator Park in the Everglades, where we took an airboat ride (check that off my bucket list).

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We saw a great blue heron just chilling out at the dock.

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We also saw a few gators – including a newborn! – and turtles.

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Our airboat guide was really nice and very funny, but I don’t remember his name.

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Following the airboat ride, we were treated to a live animal show where we got to see a really cute skunk named Paris…

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a not-so-cute alligator named Norman…

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and several wild peacocks.

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As that concluded the tour for us, we headed back downtown to pick up the guests from Bayside and start dropping everyone off at their respective hotels.

I think the only negative for us was just the fact that it was a really long day. We didn’t get back to the beach until about 530PM, so we were kind of beat by then. But all in all, we had a really enjoyable day. The tour went at a very relaxed pace and it was nice to just sit back and let someone else do the driving for once. It was also really informative, even for a native Miamian such as myself. There were several times when I found myself saying “I never knew that” to Fanless after a particular piece of information had been shared by either Jim or by the audio recording of the tour. For example, did you know that parts of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video were filmed in the Bahamian Cemetery? Yeah, me neither. It was little tidbits of info like that which kept the tour interesting for me.

I would definitely recommend this tour for out-of-town visitors, and even to locals that are looking for something fun and different to do.

(Oh, and here’s a video Fanless shot of the crazy animal guy sticking his hand in Norman’s mouth! Nutter!!)

Alright, that’s all. Peace out, yo!

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Back When MTV Actually Played Music… July 13, 2010

Filed under: Music,Random Thoughts,Video — Lulu @ 3:04 pm

For the past few days I have been totally obsessed with listening to these old songs that I loved in my teens and 20s. I don’t know if I’m feeling nostalgic because my birthday is in four days or what, but truthfully, they are pretty great songs!

 

“Disappear” – INXS

Man, I loved INXS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serously, listen to the lyrics of this song: “…But when I see you coming I can take it all, You’re so fine, Lose my mind, And the world seems to disappear, All the problems, all the fears, And the world seems to disappear.”  Love conquers all, baby! *swoon*  I was lucky enough to see them live at the old Miami Arena downtown, and Michael Hutchence ran down into the audience and passed right by me and my friend, and I remember thinking “wow, he’s so short!” But totally gorgeous. I was so sad when he died. =(

 

 

“Desperate But Not Serious” – Adam & the Ants

I looooved this song!! This was popular in the early days of MTV, but my parents refused to get cable, so I remember my neighbor and I would go to her house every day after school (this was probably around 7th or 8th grade?) and just wait for this video to come on. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In retrospect, I wonder if the character of Captain Jack Sparrow wasn’t at least a little bit inspired by Adam Ant, yeah?

 

 

Sweet Sixteen” – Billy Idol

Awesome. Just a perfect, perfect song. AND (bonus trivia for South Floridians) it’s about our very own Coral Castle! Which I have yet to visit. (Maybe later in the year when being outdoors doesn’t feel like walking on the surface of the sun!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also saw Billy Idol live at the old arena. His opening act was Faith No More! Remember them? With the goldfish? That was a fun show.

 

Dirty Boots” – Sonic Youth

This song is 100% responsible for making me want to wear Doc Maartens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plus, Kim Gordon is just about the coolest female on the planet. I’ve never had the chance to see them live though, so that sucks.

 

 

Vienna” – Ultravoxx

So, so cool. Haunting, almost. This was definitely a standout for me amongst all the other synth-pop, New Wave of the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midge Ure was a such a great frontman. Beautiful voice.

 

 

“South Central Rain” – REM

I really wanted to marry Michael Stipe. Heck, I probably still would.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m totally blanking out on whether or not I ever got to see REM live. I want to say I did, I feel like I did, but I honestly can’t recall.

 

Ahhh… good times. Alright, the trip down memory lane has come to a stop.

 

Peace out, yo!

 

Confession Time… February 8, 2010

Filed under: Miscellany,Random Thoughts,Video — Lulu @ 1:01 am

I did not watch the Super Bowl. Fanless and I had plans to hang out at Tere’s for the game, but he was doing a job for a client that was going to take most of the day, so we decided to stay put. But, thanks to the creators of Spike.com, I did get to see the Super Bowl commercials (and really, isn’t that the actual reason to watch?). So let me share my faves here.

 

1. Intel Robot – I want one! He’s so cute!

 

2. E-Trade Hustler – “Milka-whaaaa??”

 

3. Betty White Football – My favorite Golden Girl.

 

4. Shamu Bachelor Party – I can only imagine what they are going to tell the bride!

 

5. Doritos Kid – “Keep your hands off my momma!” LOL!

 

6. Parisian Love a la Google – *sigh* So sweet (Fanless brought this one to my attention)!

 

If you want to see all the commercials, go here: http://www.spike.com/superbowl

 

Why I Scrapbook… January 13, 2010

Filed under: Scrapbooking,Video — Lulu @ 5:05 pm

This video from Shimelle Laine is great at explaining why we do what we do. Enjoy!

 

Fascinating New Thing September 23, 2009

Filed under: Entertainment,Music,Video — Lulu @ 2:08 pm

 

Fascinating new thing
You delight me, and I know you’re speaking of me
Fascinating new thing
Get beside me, I want you to love me
I’m surprised that you’ve never been told before
That you’re lovely
And you’re perfect
And that somebody wants you
Fascinating new thing
The scene makin’, want a temporary saviour
Fascinating new thing
Don’t betray them by becoming familiar
I’m surprised that you’ve never been told before
That you’re lovely
And you’re perfect
And that somebody wants you
I’m surprised that you’ve never been told before
That you’re priceless
Yeah, you’re precious
Even when you are not new
I’m surprised that you’ve never been told before
That you’re lovely
And you’re perfect
And that somebody wants you
I’m surprised that you’ve never been told before
That you’re priceless
Yeah, you’re holy
Even when you are not new

 

I think I was blind before I met you September 8, 2009

Filed under: Music,Video — Lulu @ 9:13 pm

So sweet…

 

This is the first day of my life
I swear I was born right in the doorway
I went out in the rain suddenly everything changed
They’re spreading blankets on the beach
Yours is the first face that I saw
I think I was blind before I met you
Now I don’t know where I am
I don’t know where I’ve been
But I know where I want to go
And so I thought I’d let you know
That these things take forever
I especially am slow
But I realize that I need you
And I wondered if I could come home
Remember the time you drove all night
Just to meet me in the morning
And I thought it was strange you said everything changed
You felt as if you’d just woke up
And you said “this is the first day of my life
I’m glad I didn’t die before I met you
But now I don’t care I could go anywhere with you
And I’d probably be happy”
So if you want to be with me
With these things there’s no telling
We just have to wait and see
But I’d rather be working for a paycheck
Than waiting to win the lottery
Besides maybe this time is different
I mean I really think you like me

 

I Can Catch the Moon in My Hands July 5, 2009

Filed under: Entertainment,Video — Lulu @ 7:05 pm

I loved this movie in 1980.

I religiously watched every single episode of the TV show that ensued from it.

Now, 29 years later, there is a remake. I will HAVE to go see this in September. (Bonus: Debbie Allen is in it!!)