Category Archives: travel

Newsletter! L.A. Zine Fest! Chicago Zine Fest! ZOE!

Ack! hello neglected blog!

I recently put out a new newsletter.You can read it online here. It has info about some of my new button designs, upcoming travel plans, and discount codes for both my Etsy and Small World buttons shops. I believe there is still a day or two to purchase things and have them arrive in time for Giftmas.

Speaking of travel! I found super cheap tickets to LA and snagged a table at the LA Zine Fest! So, I’ll be in Southern California over Presidents weekend in February, just in time to get a reprieve from the damp and gloomy Portland winter. I’m hoping to have a new zine done by then. I’m inspired by 90s zines and hope to make a travel zines about my trip to the UK a few years ago. I’m not going to worry too much about pretty layout and am just going to put it all together after hammering it out on my typewriter. hooray for zines!

I also registered last night for a table at the Chicago Zine Fest. I had so much fun last year that I want to do it all again! I’m also organizing another ZOE (Zine Organizers Event) It is a physical space for zine event organizers to meet and share ideas and experiences about running zine events. We had one last year and it was really fun so I’m looking forward to doing it again.

And all this talk about Zine Events reminds me, we really really really need people to help us organize the Portland Zine Symposium. The last two organizing meetings have been pretty empty. A lot of the old organizers are burnt out and we need some new blood. We should be having an open meeting at the beginning of the year.



East Coast trip: Part 4

October 5-6 Mechanicsburg, Pa—>Gettysburg, PA—>Washington, DC

Leaving Canastota was sad but we had adventures to get to! My friend Angel, who did my acorn and oak leaf tattoo, was working out of a shop in Mechanicsburg and I wanted a new tattoo! Paul and I got into Mechanicsburg early and walked around and found this silly sign that made me laugh.

In my mind there are rats and cats and dogs and iguanas and birds and llamas and sqwaking and running around the church. I also like that the pets and owners are pets by themselves.

To keep in theme with my acorn tattoo I have been thinking of adding more tree parts and foliage to my arm. I was either thinking of maple leaves down the back or a fir branch on the inner arm with a fir cone and that’s what we did…and hours later I had this pretty on my arm.

fir branch tattoo

I guess I now I have 2/3rds of a half sleeve…you do the math. We also schemed all the different leaves for the rest: Holly, Maple, gingko, and more! Angel will be back in Portland in February or March so if you admire her craft you might be able to get yourself some work by her. We were gonna get ourselves a motel room but Angel insisted we stay at the shop with her. This was my first slumber party in a tattoo shop!

Angel is into mopeds and was working on a moped rally ride of Gettysburg so we followed her down there and had her lead us on the path she was going to take the rally. This was my first time going to a battlefield. I understand that when you live on the east coast your parents drag you to battlefields for vacations, that’s not a thing that happens in the west. So, it was kinda cool. I had no idea how big the battlefield was! I also didn’t know that there was a monument every 20 feet to some group of dead people.

Eternal flame of peace moument.

Eternal flame of peace moument.


the leaves were changing and it looked nice from a tower on Culp's Hill.


I found this amusing "Dramatized in living stereo!"

After this we went to Pickett’s Charge. It was a defining point in the Civil War. It was a haunting spot where a lot of people marched to their death. It was weird, Angel said that last time they did a rally there people were asking her afterward what happened there because there was some bad energy. As we walked up to the monument there was a group of people on Segues and a girl looked at her mom and said “Are you crying?” and the mom said “No, my eyes just won’t stop tearing.” Clearly she was sensitive to the location and just didn’t know it.

Then Angel took us to a covered bridge that wasn’t an original covered bridge but a replacement covered bridge. I guess it is good luck to kiss under a covered bridge so Paul and I had a kiss. We figured it was probably sort of lucky thing because a covered bridge because it was probably one of the only places people could be alone.

Our last stop was Devil’s Den. It is a sort of ravine with huge boulders that you can climb up, over, under and on. After crawling around on it I had the revelation that I would not be surprised if this was the spot that inspired the battle of Serenity Valley scene from the beginning of Firefly.

Can't you just imagine Captain Tightpants Mal Reynolds scrambling over the rocks?

After that we had some excellent Mexican food and Paul and I headed to DC where we reserved a stupidly expensive hotel room 3 blocks from the venue we were going to that night. It was on though, we hadn’t spent any money on places to stay so one was ok. We dropped off our stuff and took a shower after 3 days then headed over to the Black Cat to see Screaming Females! I saw them with Shellshag and some other bands in Chicago when I was on tour last year and I really wanted paul to see them live. But, like most bands from the east, they don’t venture to our coast.

The show did not disappoint! It was awesome and Paul was blown away as I expected. Good times! Then we slept in a bed in our own room and in the morning we ate a crappy breakfast in the lobby.

To be continued…

East Coast Adventures: part 3

September 30- October 5  NYC—>Philly—>Canastota, NY

We took the Megabus back to Philly then spent awhile trying to figure out how to get to the airport to pick up our car and all the people who worked at the Philly train station were unhelpful jerks. Finally we figured it out on our own and paid $7 to get to the airport that wasn’t that far away. WTF? Getting to the Portland airport is less than $3 from anywhere in the city. SEPTA, you are mean and expensive and your attendants smoke out the windows. What’s that about?

I almost forgot, in case you didn’t know, one of my favorite spectator sports is to watch the sinking ship that is Microcosm Publishing. It’s great that I don’t feel so attached at all these days but, I had to admit to myself that I must enjoy gossip because I find it pretty amusing to see the drama unfold from time to time. Usually my tip off is seeing hit spikes on this post and this post. This time it had to do with a space in Minneapolis asking not to have the latest Microcosm tour in their space. Then there was  someone posting their “sunshine is the best disinfectant” e-mail correspondent with Elly. Which lead to Ciara posting “extortion is so punk rock” on her blog. Maybe it is just me who has been banned from anything Joe puts on the internet, but does anyone else find it amusing that he never seems to be the person writing anything publicly anymore?


We drove north passing through the east coast’s sorry excuses for “mountains” listening to our ridiculous Spotify mix. We called it KJQ after the radio station we listened to growing up in Utah. The theme of the mix is if KJQ  had frozen in time in 1992. It’s 22 hours long and has lots of 80s and 90s college/alternative/modern/synthpop/etc. music from the Cure to Ministry to the Fixx to Material Issue and more! Go here if you have a Spotify account and appreciate that sort of thing and put it on random. Let me know if you would like and invite.

This part of the trip was the part of the trip that we weren’t too sure about. We were headed to upstate New York to visit Paul’s family that we had never met before. Paul’s dad was also going to be there visiting his girlfriend. I guess he didn’t seem to think to find a place for us to stay until a few days before even though we had told him months in advance when we were going to be there. A few days before we headed north he told us that he had secured a place for us to stay in a camper at Paul’s cousin’s he had never met before. Ok. We had some trepidations and figured if things didn’t work out we could head west to visit our friend Derek in Buffalo or take a peep at Niagara Falls.

Autumn was in full!

We got to Canastota , NY and met up with Paul’s dad and headed to Connie and Paul’s (Connie had a partner Paul, too!) In an instant all of our reservations were gone.  Connie and Paul were gracious and wonderful people. The camper we stayed in was so cozy and awesome and we just felt some comfy and welcome.

Our home away from home in Conastota!

We had many late night talks and were introduced to the wonders of cider and whiskey! Which we brought home:

so good!

to be continued…

East Coast Adventures: Part 2

September 26-30 New York, NY

Monday Paul and I took a Megabus from Philly to NYC. I too a scary Chinatown bus from NYC to Boston before and this was not scary at all. It was really nice. We got into NYC early and tried to go to the Met to stash our packs and look at cook stuff but it was closed. Totally stupid to close a major museum on Mondays. We ended up sitting in the park and reading books for hours then headed over the Paul’s friend Justin’s neck of the woods on the upper west side. This was my first time staying in the city. Every other time I have stayed in Brooklyn or Queens so staying in the city was new.

We found where Justin lives and headed into the bar across the street called the Ding Dong Lounge. Apparently they were doing some sort of filming of pairing bar food with wine. We were the only other people in the bar and it was sort of weird but everyone was nice and they gave us a free beer for our trouble! Then they gave us the left over bottles of wine. This was turning out to be a great NYC trip! Justin met us when he got off work and then we headed over to their tidy tiny apartment with their awesome basset hound, Gus.

In the late morning we headed back across the Park to the met again. We spent 3 or 4 hours and only got through Greek and Roman stuff before closing time. boo. but we did find this, which we found hilarious for some reason.

Ancient Greek Deviled egg dish?

Ancient Greek Deviled egg dish?


Obligatory photo op on the steps of the Met. Check out my forehead scar!

One of the days we terrified ourselves by walking through Time Square’s monument to consumerism. In all my 6 trips to NYC I had never been. Then we headed down to Occupy Wall Street and took this photo of the library.

Books! Check em out!

The we headed over to Brooklyn to check out the Waypost, the bar with the TARDIS in it. The TARDIS is actually is bigger on the inside because it is the bathroom and sort of nestles into the wall.  here is a very happy Paul.

The detail was pretty amazing.


Obviously there is BAD WOLF graffiti in the bathroom!

East coast adventures: Part 1

I’ve been back home for a week and a half and yesterday was first day I left more than a mile radius of my house…it was also the first day I felt caught up enough to do so. I guess I didn’t post while I was gone so I’m gonna make a run down of our trip here:

September 21-26 Philadelphia, PA

Webly, Paul and I left Portland on a red eye on September 21st headed to Philadelphia. We were stoked to go to Riot Fest to make our inner 15 year old happy with some awesome bands like: The Dead Milkmen, Weston, and Plow United. We stayed with my friend Max and his housemate, Will, in West Philly.  Max lives around the corner and down the street from the Dock Street Brewing, which was our favorite brewery from the entire trip, probably because it tasted like NW ales.Max with his wiggle Muppet dog, Spocket.

Max has a muppet like dog named Sprocket. She’s a ball of energy bouncing all around and sitting in laps. The most ridiculous thing was her behavior with the cat, Lewis. Sprocket would try to play with the cat who would vacillate  between fighting back with paw swats or just  ignoring it. This would amount to the dog literally putting the cat’s head in its mouth and the cat would just let it. It was so weird! Occasionally the cat would retreat to the dog free space behind the West Philly window bars on the inside.

kitty jail is a safe space free of dog slobber.

Other amusing sites in West Philly:

I'm assuming this is what the east coas thinking being greee means? Small cap = less waste... uh hu, sure.

Stolen Skerple Revolution? I'm still kicking myself for not buying these! So ridiculous!

We checked out a bunch of awesome vegan restaurants and even tried to take a silly haunted tour. It didn’t end up being a haunted tour. It was more of a tour about the history of brothels and how there are dead bodies buried in all the parks. It was interesting, but not what we expected. On top of that we got caught in an east coast downpour and of course we didn’t have unbrellas. Oregonians don’t use umbrealls….but oregon doesn’t get rain that is like someone dumped a bucket on your head.

Oh! How could I forget! We went to the Mutter Museum! it’s a museum of medical oddities and it was pretty rad and totally worth the price to get it. The fetal skeletons and syphilitic brains and skulls were freaky. I totally suggest you check it out if you are in Philly.

Riot Fest was fun. It was like the Warped tour for adult punks in bootlegged Operation Ivy shirts. We tried to play a game of figuring out the ratio of  Black Flag tattoos to Misfits tattoos…but we gave up. Here are some photos:

Weston! I haven't seen them since 1995 in the basement of DV8. This big dumb stage was a far cry from that, but I still enjoyed it.

Paul and I sat on some bleachers and looked at a big dumb stage.

Philly sunset

Who in a million years would every have thought that Plow United would have been on a jumbotron?

Dead Milkmen in their hometown. It was excellent! I believe in swordfish!

More to come….

Good bye west coast! Hello east coast!


Tonight Paul, my sister Webly, and I are catching a red eye to Philadelphia. This weekend we are going to Riot Fest. It’s kinda silly but sometimes it’s worth going to shows that make you feel 17 again. I’m excited to see Plow United, Weston, and the Dead Milkmen. I can take or leave 7 Seconds, X, Hot Water Music or the Descendents. The Descendents used to be one of Paul’s favorite bands. Somewhere there is a photo of 20 year old me wearing a Descendents tank top and sharing fries with Milo at Warped tour about a million years ago. I’m stoked that there will also be other people I know at the show. I hope we can find each other.

Paul and I are going to be gone for 3 weeks. After Philly we take a bus up to NYC to see friends and hang out. I’m good at navigating big cities, I just don’t really like them. They have too many people moving too quickly but, it is nice to visit friends. My friend Jeska joked that I visit every other year…i kinda do but I was there last year so this means I won’t have to go back for 4 years? Paul has never been to NYC so I guess we gotta get that out of the way. At least I’ll get to see Cindy read from the new Doris book while I am there.

After that we are headed back down to Philly to pick up a rental car then up to the Syracuse area to meet up with Paul’s dad and paul’s extended family that he has never met. We aren’t sure how long we are staying up there but eventually we will head back south where we get to see the Screaming Females in DC on our way down the Richmond for the Richmond Zine Fest! Then we are headed to the Ocean for a day a before going back to Philly to hang out with our old housemate then back across the continent home to Portland.

I will miss my cat friends but our housemates will have to pet them enough for us.

My friend, and former housemate, Amanda, will be making custom buttons for me while I’m gone. I have taken down a lot of the things from my Etsy shop. All she will be making is custom 1″ and 1.25″ buttons. I have some copies of Stolen Sharpie Revolution and my new zines all packed up and waiting for stamps so she can pop those in the mail.

I ran errands this afternoon, packing is almost done, and I think I’m about ready for this trip. See you soon friends on the other coast! Get in touch if we haven’t already and you wanna show me the good beer in your town!

First, my friend Kurt interviewed me while he was staying in our guest cave a few weeks ago. Go here and hear what I have to say about stuff and things when someone else asks the questions. Kurt is pretty great. We knew each other on the internet for years and I just knew we’d get along well in real life. We had some good conversations. I hope to do it again sometime.

Paul and I spent the weekend and the Riverhouse. We took the bus up to Battleground and rode up and down 7 miles of hills to get to there and then we rode all 35 miles back. The ride back seemed more difficult than usual, there was something heavy on my mind.

Saturday night my housemate Marc, who had been up at the Riverhouse earlier, called to say that our friend Dylan Williams had passed away. Dylan was a friend, fellow Portland Zine Symposium organizer, and teacher in the Independent Publishing Resource Center comics certificate program who had been fighting cancer for awhile now. It’s hard to imagine this world without him. Dylan was the mastermind behind Sparkplug comics and I had seen his own comic, Reporter, for years before we actually met.

One of the first real conversations we had was after one of his first few meeting organizing the Portland Zine Symposium. He came up to me after the meeting and asked how it was that we were able to make a new organizer feel so comfortable and valued in the organizing process. I took that as a great compliment about the Portland Zine Symposium and about Dylan’s insight into PZS.  I remember answering something to the tune of saying that I believe that everyone has a valuable perspective to bring to to table and that the Portland Zine Symposium can only grow and become better by listening.

Dylan’s input in this world was very valuable. His help with the Portland Zine Symposium, his ethics in zines/comics and his business were honorable. I’ve been working on a zine about zine event organizing and with with that memory of Dylan in my mind I’d like to dedicate the zine to him.

I’m going to miss his insights, his playful (not mean spirited) snark, and maybe most of all, his knowing smile.

Dylan Williams, you will be missed.

I’m looking forward to Mercury going direct on the 26th. How about you?

Last week was expensive. I spent about $400 in button parts, $400 buying all new toner colors, new laser paper, and a bunch of postal stamps. There were a couple other small expenses. I had the money, I just hate it when I have to spend all of it at once. ugh. So, if you were thinking of ordering buttons, now would be a good time. I’d like to have a little extra cash before my trip east at the end of September.

Stuff that happened at my house this week:

-Paul and I ate the first tomoto from our garden. There are seriously few things tastier than standing in the garden barefoot and eating a freshly ripened sun warmed tomato. I planted lots of tomatoes because I’m going to can them to make soup in the winter.

-I have been picking blackberries from the tiny patch in our back yard and I plan to make jam out of them instead of pie. I always make pie, eat one piece, and then try to get other people to eat it because I’m just not a sweets person. I have all these scratches on my arms from picking blackberries and I worry that people will think I’m a cutter!

-We had two lovely folks staying in the guest cave for a few days. They just got back to the US from WWOOFing in New Zealand. You can check out their blog about their adventure here. On their last day they made us a great meal and then…

-OJ jumped up on the table to get attention/entertain us. We had this berry basket on the table with candy and weird toys left over from the symposium. There were 3 or 4 DumDum lollypops in it and OJ would pick them out with his paws and drop them on the table. Sometimes he would chew on the end of the stick, sometimes not. But, if you put the lollypops back in the basket he would fish them out again. What a silly cat!

-Paul has to leave for work at 6:30am and he always comes up stairs to hug me and give me a kiss goodbye. Today, he came up stairs as usual and when he  let go he grabbed something under my pillow…there was a Sharpie there. Then he told me the Sharpie Fairy must have came to visit. I checked my mouth to make sure I had all my teeth! My hair is getting long enough again to put it up with pens so I think one must have fallen out in bed. it still made me giggle this morning to think about.

-I decided to tweak Brainscan: Nine Stories and Brainscan: it’s complicated and release them as issue numbers later this year. Hooray for tiny zines that require me to do a lot of work. I’m a glutton for that.

-I went to the book store at the community college down the street to buy a pen and a new notebook. I’ve joined a group on facebook where we plan to write 15 minutes everyday in September. Let me know if you want to join. I plan on using it to work on the fiction stuff for the split zine I agreed to do. I was also thinking I could spend a week using that 15 minutes to write down recipes for the cookzine I have been meaning to do.

Speaking of cooking…I’m going to go think about what to make for dinner tonight. We got out Organics to You box yesterday and we have some many vegetables!

International Zine Month Day 8

Happy International Zine month…from a stolen internet connection in the middle of Nowhere in SW Washington! I’m at the Riverhouse with Paul’s family and managed to wrangle up some wi-fi from their neighbor to get a little work done (thanks Jill!) I also took today’s photo.

International Zine Month Day 8 shirt: Fanziotheque in Poitiers


Today’s zine shirt is from the Faniotheque in Poitiers France. In 2009 I made my way over the the UK and France for a small zine tour and to celebrate teh 20th birthday of the fanziotheque and discussing zine libraries. Check here for old blog posts and photos.

Yesterday I chopped some wood and watched Paul and naomi fish (unsuccessfully!) then we had a big fire.

I took this photo from the porch. It is funny because it makes the river look so big!

When really it is more like this.

The saddest part was the fire. we have been chopping wood for weeks and stacking the bark up in the middle of a ring of stones for a bonfire. Well, last night we used to coals left over from the grill to light it.  I walked away for a few minutes and heard teh worst storuy when I got back. Paul said they heard a lot of screaming and all of a sudden 3 moles emerged from the flames and died! I guess they had been lving in the bark pile when they weren’t busy wrecking the yard with mole hills. it was super sad. Tonight is our last night and I have a lot of work to do when I get back.

2011 Portland Zine Syposium dates! Chicago Zine Fest! New Tattoo! More! More! More!

First things first:

The Dates for the 2011 Portland Zine Symposium are August 6-7, 2011

I got back from Chicago late Tuesday night and I have been playing catch up ever since packing zine orders and making buttons. What’s with all the international orders this week? Croatia, Finland, Norway, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, and Singapopre. My first thought is that the American dollar must have tanked?

Anyway, Derek Neuland and I took the train from Portland to Chicago and recorded an episode of Noby Cares About Your Stupid Zine Podcast while we were on the train. We discuss our anticipations and excitment with the sound of train and conductor announcements interrupting us. Listen to it here!

Bree Adorn and Rae Logios met us at the train station holding signs that say “nobody cares about your podcast thingie” and “nobody cares that you are from pdx. Put a bird on it!” We all made our way to Ramsey’s house and met up with Amy Leigh from twelveohtwo distro and then went eat at the Handlebar then I got to crash onto on something that wasn’t a train seat.

Friday we gathered everyone up and headed to the first day of zine fest where we had our first Zine Organizers Event (ZOE)! We had about 20 people talking about organizing zine events and sharing stories. Not a lot of new stuff came out of it and it seems that a lot of people struggling with the same things. It was good to be on the same page. We did start a google group to continue sharing.

After that was the Silver Tongue reading in the other room then the Q&A with Al Burian and Aaron Cometbus. It was interesting to hear what they had to say. I sort of wish they had been giving the questions before so that they could have given more thoughtful answers instead of the multiple blank stares and silences. Oh well.  (*edited to say that a Chicago Zine Fest organizer contacted me to say that were informed on the questions ahead of time and that the blank stares and awkward silences were all their own) After that we headed to Earwax for some food then to the big reading. The reading was awesome! It was so diverse in style and I hears a lot people read from their zines that I had never heard before so I was stoked to fine more good zines.  I met up with some more friends and met some new friends. I went and grabbed some beer before heading to Quimby’s for zinester karaoke. Zinester Karaoke turned out not to be zinesters reading from other zines 😉 it was just regular karaoke done by zine folks.

Now, I don’t sing karaoke. I have this thing. I have been in real bands and in real bands everyone has the ability to fuck up. With Karaoke, it’s just you. My brain can’t comprehend that.

Before the karaoke there was the Long Arm Stapler award presented by Quimby’s. I was notified a few weeks before that the award was going to Jerianne from Zine World and Zinewiki. Somehow I had been chooses to accept on her behalf because she wasn’t going to be able to make it. I had spoken with Liz at Quimby’s and to Jerianne and I was under the impression that Jerianne was going to call in on Skype to accept the award so I thought I had wriggled out of it. So, there I sat with Eryca and Megan drinking a beer not really thinking about it. Milo and Chris who had accepted the award last year for their works with QZAP were up with Liz reading the nominees. Well, apparently I was nominated for the award and I had no idea,  it was nice to hear people cheer when my name was said, but I already knew who the winner was. Then they annouced Jerianne and all of a sudden I got called up to accept the award on behalf of Jerianne! I was mortified! I did not expect it at all. I thought we had it squared away. So, I went up there beet red and stumbled through something about how much Jerianne deserved it and what a resource both Zine World and Zinewiki were. Then I disappeared away to my beer and my phone to send Jerianne and e-mail. Other than that the night was rad. I had some great conversations and had a good time but didn’t get to bed until 3 or 4.

Saturday we all dragged ourselves to the college again. The tabling was split between floors and I had heard I was on the 8th was kind of bummed but then the elevator doors opened and I was met with the glorious sight of Lake Michigan from 8 stories up as really great lighting with windows on 3 sides showing skyline. It was nice and the workshops were on that floor so people had to come up for those anyway. The tabling was pretty busy I think I made it down to the 1st floor twice and still didn’t see everything and only saw about half of the tables on the 8th floor. A few things struck me. There was a lot of people with cassette tapes to trade. I had a bunch of Copy Scams tapes and traded for a lot of mix tapes and original tapes too. There was also a lot of dudes with zines. It was really different than a lot of zine fests where there are lots of ladies. I got a lot of good trades and read them on plane ride home.

That night was the Out Of This World zine (in)formal. I brought the dress that packs easiest but since it was freezing I had to cover up in multiple layers to get to the dace. I had a great time dancing with zine friends and having chats. there are lots of ridiculous pictures that bring back fond memories. I also realized there are a lot of ex-Portlanders in Chicago. I can think of 4 people there who were ex zine symposium organizers.

Sunday I got a new tattoo on the back of my right leg.

The rest of the trip was record shopping, dropping off zines and Quimby’s and eating lots of food. Day by day a new person would leave. On the last day it was just Derek and I. We walked to the Flying Saucer diner and the guy behind the counter was super nice. We mentioned that we were from Portland to which he responded with “Put a bird on it!” it was the first time a stranger had ever done that to me. He also gave us a piece of vegan brownie for free. I guess Chicagoians (is that right?) like people from Portland because last time I was there with Paul the bartenders bought us drinks for being from Portland!

I have a new zine! but I only have a few left. Let me know if you would like one and we can arrange something. I wasn’t sure I would have any after the fest but I have some. they are 1/12th legal and it is just one story that happens between the 9 stories between the office of a divorce lawyer and the ground floor. it’s got my usual photocopier art and instrospective snapshot writing. You can send $1 and a stamp to the address on the side of my blog “while supplies last”

All the bits

Let’s see what else? We are still looking for a housemate but I’ve sort of decided not to make a decision while Mercury is retrograde. That sounds woo-woo but whatever. I always have  frustrating experiences when that happens. We just want to wait for the perfect person and I can hold out a bit longer with my bills so why not?

I have a new zine friend coming to town for a visit next week. I feel like I have sort of template of where to take zine friends but maybe I should start making a multiple choice type form to see what they can do depending on how long they are here. I’ll write more about that later. I just wanted to jot down some thoughts about my trip while they were still fresh in my head. Back to work now!