wir sind zurück gekommen

So, after very uneventful flights from K.C. to Chicago to Munich, we’re back. All flights were smooth and on time, and even our shuttle pick-up and drop-off was easy. Still, we learned a couple things along the way:

  1. Space Bags! Space Bags! Sure make the packing easier. Not sure what happens if TSA needs to open your stuff up, however. Do they have vacuum cleaners available to re-shrink your stuff? We packed 4 space bags full of clothing and of those, only one got torn. Bummer. Probably our fault, because we had a bunch of metal (cans of mexican food staples, primarily, plus assorted Bed Bath & Beyond goods) in our suitcases along with them.
  2. Apparently we purchased our tickets back when two checked bags per traveler were included in the price. We had one big suitcase each and were over weight (and so were our bags, ha!) but the ticketing agent suggested we purchase a cheapo bag from the gift shop to check. Fortunately, I’d purchased a new backpack while in KC and still had the old one (empty) in the one of the suitcases. So we pulled it out and filled it up with heavy stuff and easily skated under that 50 lb. per bag limit.

make stuff with your photos

I got an email from QOOP.com that they’re having a 20% sale on everything — use the coupon code “stimulus” when placing your order. And the offer expires on January 29th at midnight, so you don’t have a lot of time to think about it. Here‘s the email I got with the offer in it.

I have used QOOP.com to print luggage tags made from travel shots we’ve taken on location in Ireland, Greece, France, and our old apartment. I would have preferred moo.com, as they did such a great job on our postcards and minicards and are located in the U.K. (so the shipping doesn’t kill me). But moo doesn’t do luggage tags (AFAIK). There are a lot of other things you can make with your photos on both sites, so take a look. QOOP even lets you sell stuff you’ve made through their site, if you’re into that.

Couple things of note:

  • That Eiffel Tower shot I turned into a luggage tag came out even darker and much more purply than it looks on screen. It’s still cool looking, but not immediately recognizable by passers-by. Still works great as a luggage tag with our name and address on it, but your fellow travelers may have to study the tag a bit in order to discern what the image is.
  • QOOP only ships to Europe via DHL Worldwide Express (or something) and despite Deutsche Post’s ownership of DHL, they won’t deliver to Packstation addresses. I found this out the hard way. Our tags were supposed to be a little post-birthday/pre-trip surprise for Sarah, but they never arrived. I figured it out after we got to Kansas City. However, QOOP customer service via email was great and I was able to get them reprinted and sent to the in-laws’ house for use on the return trip — and beyond, of course. I would have been willing to cough up again for the reprinting and reshipping (since it was my fault for assuming DHL shipments would be compatible with our Packstation), but so far at least, it appears to have been done at no charge!

Panoramic Inauguration shot

This is neat: http://gigapan.org/viewGigapanFullscreen.php?auth=033ef14483ee899496648c2b4b06233c

I like finding little imperfections in it. For example, find Obama. Then go back and to the left (uh oh) up the aisle until you find Aretha’s big bow. There’s a ghosty-looking dude next to and in front of her, right behind the minister with the pleasant cadence.

Some others: start at Obama. Head up the aisle behind him to his right past the sparkly First Lady towards Al & Tipper Gore. Keep going three rows back and you’ll find an enormous toupée on some lady’s little head. One row behind her to her right is a ghastly two-faced dude!

I also liked zooming all the way in a checking out the faint people lining the rooftop of far-off buildings. What a neat effecting stitching all those images together!

K.C. haircut

fixed_mirror_selfportrait

I have this tendency to get a haircut while on vacation. I would have gotten it shorter, but since I’m workin’ the beard, and we’ve seen what happens when the hair on my face is too long compared to the rest of the hair on my head.

If you’re in Kansas City, needing a haircut, call up the Bellezza Salon and make an appointment for a haircut with Valerie. $20 and no charge on the beard work.