Sunday, September 29, 2013

Maui land of contrast, home to amazing telescopes

As far as I can tell everyone romanticizes about spending a vacation in Hawaii. Before my last trip I realized that even after several trips to Hawaii I still do. And yet, during my last trip in Maui I noticed how much contrast there was in such a small place.

The first time I started to realize this contrast was while packing for our trip, one bag had all of our snorkeling and beach gear, the next bag had our beach clothing but I had to make room for our winter gear, yes you read it correctly, winter gear, let me explain.
Yes, Maui has beautiful beaches, and beautiful flowers, and amazing tasty tropical fruits like pineapple and papayas, and gorgeous resorts. Maui also has beautiful sunrises and glorious sunsets but Maui is also home to amazing scientific astronomical telescopes, all situated at the top of Mount Haleakala and this is why we packed all our winter gear. I mean, winter coats, hats, gloves, shoes, socks, warm shirts, warm pants, the whole package.

The top of Haleakala is 10,023 ft. above sea level and once the sun goes down it gets outright cold! I mean winter cold. We have visited when there has been snow on the ground.

Panoramic view of telescopes on Haleakala Mountain


The trip up to the top of Haleakala

The road to the top of Haleakala to see the telescopes is typical and I have been in quite a few of those. It is a very winding road, a series of switchbacks where you need to keep an eye on the road especially in Maui because there are no guard rails (go figure) and at places the drop is pretty far down. But the views are amazing!

To go from the beach (from the Wailea area) to the top of Haleakala takes about 2 hours. In that time you travel 38 miles and climb 10,000 feet which is to say you are climbing at a pretty good angle. Depending on how many times you stop to take pictures or if you run into local obstacles like cows on the road then it could take you a bit longer but on the way back, it is pretty fast.
Cows on the road to the top of Haleakala Mountain
The vegetation changes dramatically from the beautiful flowers, to where eventually it looks like you have landed on Mars! It is barren, full of unfriendly rocks, very windy and quiet. The road is paved but outside of that, the land is full of very sharp rocks which are actually lava and these are very sharp, so you better have good steady shoes.

The amusing thing is that, I always start out dressed with sandals, beach tank top and leggings with shorts over them. As we start to climb, during my picture stops, I start to dress up and by the time we arrive I am in full winter gear.
Me in full winter gear while in Maui
There is a visitor center at about 7000 feet which is a very interesting place to stop if it is your first time but we ignore it now.

Once you get to the top, it feels like you have arrived in heaven because the clouds are below you and if there is a break in them you can see all the land below you. It is kind of surreal. Also at that point you might feel lightheaded and having a harder time to breath, the air is thin but it feels pure and cold.
Above the clouds at top of Haleakala Mountain
Above the clouds at top of Haleakala Mountain in Maui
If it is your first time, then you will want to check out the crater and walk on the rocks a bit and take in the grandness of the location and amazing views. The whole area is very interesting and it feels a bit out of this world. Stop at the visitor center where you can learn the history of the area and see some very cool pictures.

On this trip, we headed to the private road taking us to see the Pan-STARRS telescopes, we had an invitation to see Pan-STARRS#2
Pan-STARRS telescopes. PS1 & PS2
Pan-STARRS telescopes. PS1 & PS2
Pan-STARRS, which is to say the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System is a telescope project developed at the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy. The telescope was designed to have a wide field of view of the sky with a state of the art imaging system that is to say a HUGE camera, the biggest digital camera in the world so far, 1.4 Gigapixels. The camera and a good set of optical mirrors (made by Rayleigh Optical Corporation) allow them to survey and document the whole sky every few days. This is a good thing when you are looking to discover and characterize near Earth objects also known as NEOs, such as asteroids and comets. One of the science goals for Pan STARRS is to look for NEOs that could pose a danger to our planet, which I think is pretty cool so we don't go the way of the dinosaurs.

The Pan-STARRS project involves 2 telescopes known as PS1 & PS2. Dr. Jeff Morgan gave us a tour of PS2 which is in the final stages of alignment. Dr. Morgan pointed out several areas of technical interest and achievement and let me tell you there are plenty of details to make a good telescope work properly. As usual it is pretty hard to take pictures of a telescope when is inside its dome because it is usually in very tight quarters and this one was no different.
Dr. Jeff Morgan and David Anderson inside PS2 dome
Dr. Jeff Morgan and David S Anderson from Rayleigh Optical Corporation inside the PS2 dome
The temporary control quarters are outside the dome, and while there Dr. Morgan proceeded to do a scheduled alignment test. What I witnessed and learned is that astronomers don't do observations the same way Galileo did, meaning they don't look anymore through the telescope using an eyepiece like many amateur astronomers still do, everything is done with computers and the camera I mentioned. Troubleshooting a telescope can also be done with team members at different locations. For the alignment test the software engineer was in Hilo, Hawaii and they were communicating using computer video conferencing. Wow, I wonder what Galileo would say if he saw all of this.

Temporary control quarters for PS2
Temporary control quarters for PS2 telescope
While watching Dr. Morgan perform the alignment test, I still had time to go in and out of the temporary office to watch the sunset, and watch the stars in the dark but I was always glad to come back to the warmer quarters. Looking at the night sky from a dark place and at a high altitude is quite an experience. Everything is so clear, and there are soooo many stars! The Milky Way looks gorgeous and if you are lucky enough, you get to see a shooting star or two. 

We left to go down the mountain around 10pm.

Sunset from the top of Haleakala Mountain
Beautiful sunset from the top of Haleakala mountain
Walking from the dome to the parking lot in the dark is never fun in these locations because it is cold, the wind makes it feel even colder, the terrain is sharp rocks and you can only use a flashlight as a light source.

Driving down the mountain is a faster trek, about 1.5 hours. Of course the minute I could, I took all of my winter gear off, it had once again become seasonably tropical and I was thankful for that. Another successful trip up the Haleakala Mountain and tomorrow it's back to the beach, hurray!

So when you go to Maui, absolutely do go up to Haleakala and see the telescopes up close, see the crater and enjoy the views, you will not regret it but for sure bring adequate clothing and your camera.

Happy Travels!

Discovering and Enjoying my neighborhood one event and one place at a time.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Another lucky restaurant pick from Restaurant Week in Washington D.C.

I have gotten to an age where going out to dinner is not quite desirable because I swear that by just looking at the food I gain weight. However, I have to tell you I have just thoroughly enjoyed a dinner at one of the local restaurants in D.C. a few days ago.

It so happens Washington D.C. also runs Restaurant Week and Agora was on the list. I feel I got very lucky since the list was extensive and the cuisine selections were quite broad, so it was hard to decide which restaurant to pick since I did not know anything about any of them. After reading many reviews and checking out several menus, I decided on Agora featuring Mediterranean cuisine, more specifically Turkish food.

Restaurant Week is an event where the participating restaurants agree to put together a lunch or dinner menu at a fixed price, preferably at a lower price. The idea is to give the new customer a taste of a new cuisine and a new restaurant and in this case Agora was both.

I selected Agora and made a reservation for three since our daughter was visiting. We made the trek from Baltimore to the restaurant by driving to the nearest DC metro station and then getting off at the DuPont circle station. It was a beautiful late afternoon so our walk from the metro station to the restaurant was quite pleasurable as we went through a neighborhood with interesting gardens on their front porches despite being small. It is a big city after all and these are town homes not big houses in the suburbs.

While I enjoy and prefer restaurants best that have white table clothes, the setting at this one was quite nice and clean, it had a Mediterranean flair. Our waiter, we learned was from Serbia, had a lovely accent and treated us to their bread and a little dish of fine chopped vegetables in olive oil that I must say was love at first bite. Sure, bread has quite a bit of carbs (I have become quite conscious of this) but tonight had to be an exception and this bread I was not going to pass up. I am not sure what they call it, or what is made from but it was just delicious.

picture of Turkish bread    
The complete dinner deal included a 4-course meal plus dessert for a fixed price of $35.13. The service style at Agora is more like tapas, small dishes brought at intervals and best shared with others and good conversation.

Our meal

Our first course included humus and Htipiti which is basically roasted peppers, feta cheese, with thyme and olive oil. We ate those with the bread which at this point we were already having our second serving but realizing it was best to slow down so we could taste the rest of our meal. Both the humus and Htipiti were tasty.

Htipiti dish

Our second course included salads which were quite normal but the Imam Bayaldi was nicely done. Imam Bayaldi is stuffed eggplant with onions, tomatoes, pine nuts and garlic, for me the onions made this dish but I think whatever spices they use, it just made them taste much better than usual.

Picture of Imam Bayaldi, a stuffed eggplant dish from Agora restaurant

For the third course, we all got Kibbeh that on its face just does not look like much but had quite a punch in the flavor category. A Kibbeh is ground beef bulgur dumpling, stuffed with ground beef, lamb, almonds and pipe nuts served over yogurt sauce. What is bulgur? It is wheat used very commonly in Middle Eastern cooking, anyhow Kibbeh was quite yummy!

Picture of Kibbeh dish, a ground beef bulgur dumpling

For the forth course, we had Shish Tavuk, essentially grilled chicken with grilled tomatoes and onions on pita bread. It was nice but not as good as the Adana Kebap which is skewered ground lamb and beef with grilled tomato and onions on pita bread. That was very good but by this point I think the bread was taking its toll and I wanted to leave room for dessert.

Picture of Adan Kebap a dish from Agora restaurant

For dessert I selected baklava, a favorite of mine that I only eat on special occasions when available which is usually from my brother-in-law at Christmas time.

While I would say I am an adventurous person trying new foods at restaurants, I find it harder to do if the meal is expensive and it turns out I don't really like it.  The Washington DC Restaurant Week like the Baltimore Restaurant Week, once again has allowed me to try a whole new cuisine and new meals and to my amazement I have really liked them! Maybe I am on a roll; I just hope my next restaurant pick will be this good and this tasty. Before that, I better start hitting that new elliptical machine my husband just got home.

Until then, I wish you all......... Happy Travels.

Discovering and Enjoying my neighborhood one event and one place at a time.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Recreating the Star Spangled Banner, my moment in history

Hello Friends,

My most recent local travel took me to the Maryland Historical Society and what a fun day it was!

I got lucky to be there during one of the two days the public could participate in the Stitching History Project. The Stitching History Project being run by the Maryland Historical Society is recreating the Star Spangled Banner flag flown at Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore also known locally and celebrated as Defender's day. The public is being allowed to help in the making of the flag by participating in the stitching of the flag.

What is so important about the flag flown over Fort McHenry is the fact that it was the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key in 1814 to write the Star Spangled Banner poem which in 1931 became the National Anthem.

The Star Spangled Banner flag being recreated will be of the same size as the original, 30 feet wide by 42 feet long, using authentic materials and sewn using the same stitching techniques as the original 200 years ago. The flag will be made in 6 weeks, the same amount of time it took Mary Pickersgill and her 4 helpers in the summer of 1813.

Once the flag is finished, it will be flown at Fort McHenry in September 2013 during the Defender's day celebration and in 2014 it will be part of the Bicentennial year festivities of the writing of the national anthem poem it inspired. Eventually this recreated flag will become part of the Smithsonian lying next to the original flag at the American History Museum. I also heard that it might be part of the Macy's Thanksgiving parade?

When I arrived at the Maryland Historical Society, it was a very festive and patriotic day. I got to see these guys dressed in revolutionary uniforms playing military tunes of the time.

picture of men dressed in revolutionary military uniforms

Once I signed in, I entered a waiting area where a lady dressed in colonial attire talked about how the original flag was made. Here are some of the facts I learned from her:
  • The original flag was 30 feet tall, 42 feet wide.
  • Each stripe was 2 feet in height.
  • There are 15 stripes, 8 red, 7 white.
  • Each star (15 at the time) is in a 2 foot square, point-to-point.
  • The original material was wool.
  • The original flag is located at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington D.C.
Before we went into the stitching room where we would do our own stitching on the flag, we were given anti-bacterial wipes to thoroughly clean our hands. Then we signed the guest book and given a pin to place on a map indicating where we were from. Once in the stitching room, we waited to be placed with a professional sewer who would instruct us how to stitch in the Mary Pickersgill style.

picture showing my 2 stitches on the flag done as Mary Pickersgill did 200 years ago.
My two stitches

Vilma sawing stitches on the recreated Star Spangled flag
Vilma sewing her stitches on the recreated Star Spangled flag part of the Stitching History Project.

picture of Elaine, a professional sewer and Vilma while participating in the Stitching History Project
Vilma and Elaine while at the Stitching History Project.

Once I completed my historical stitches, I was able to tour the museum for free. The best part was being able to see the original manuscript of the writing of the Start Spangled Banner poem by Francis Scott Key which is encased and can only be seen when the underlying protective casing opens showing the original, this happens hourly. A copy of the original can be viewed at all times.

So while I am glad I did not live in the 1800's, I am glad that I was able to be part of this historical event and the next time I visit the American History Museum at the Smithsonian and see the recreated new Star Spangled Banner flag, I can tell my kids and grand kids I put 2 stitches in that flag, at the bottom, about 13 feet from the right.

Wow, I am still amazed at my luck.

 picture showing the sawing room with volunteers for the Stitching History Project.
The sawing room with volunteers for the Stitching History Project.

Wishing you all..........Happy Travels.

Discovering and Enjoying my neighborhood one event and one place at a time.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Blueberries, blueberries Oh My!

I think I have discovered blueberries. Some of you are wondering, what do you mean by that? I mean, I think blueberries are my new favorite fruit. They are great to snack on, have with ice cream, make pies name it, and I have just realized that seriously!

Let me explain, I am Latin and as such, blueberries did not exist in my life until about 7 years ago. I never ate them as a child, I don't recall seeing them anywhere in the house, and basically they were not part of my Spanish upbringing even when it was mostly here in the United States. I am the tropical fruit type of person, I love (!!!) mangoes, pineapples, papayas, passion fruit, bananas........I tell you my mouth is watering as I write this, but of course these are hard to find.

My husband on the other hand loves blueberries among other fruits and as soon as we moved back to the east coast, he started to buy them and eat them with cereal which I thought was pretty weird and not appetizing to me but then again, I don't eat cereal. Anyhow, about eight years ago he suggested we go to a nearby farm where you can pick your own, whatever is in season and this is how I got introduced to blueberries. I have to say that I was not too enthusiastic about going to a farm but went because our kids had not been to a vegetable-fruit farm before. I actually had no idea how blueberries grew, a tree? A bush?

blueberries attached to the bush

Anyway, I tried them right off the bush and while it was not love at first taste, I am fully on board now. I love them! When we went with the kids, my daughter and I would have a contest as to who would find the biggest blueberries. And so, she and I always had bags with bigger blueberries than my husband and son.

bunch of picked blueberries

I must say now that the kids are grown and gone, I still look forward to when blueberries are in season and our trip to the farm. I think blueberries freshly picked are the best!! For that matter any fruit or vegetable freshly picked and eaten right away tastes the best. This is true for mangoes, pineapples, papayas, apples, peaches, you name it. Oh yeah, the best part of blueberry picking is that there are no thorns to deal with.

This year, once again when we went to the farm and while eating my share of them, I remembered kidding with my kids that blueberry picking was actually about me getting my yearly dose of whatever vitamins blueberries had.

That got me thinking, what are those blueberry vitamins? What is it about blueberries? This is what I found.
  • Blueberries are the second most consumed fruit in the United States, only after strawberries.
  • Blueberries are a native fruit of North America.
  • Blueberries are high in antioxidants ranking higher than many fruits and vegetables.
  • Blueberries are a good source of vitamin C, K, Manganese and some fiber.
  • Raw blueberries have the highest nutritional benefits.
  • Organically grown blueberries have the highest antioxidants.
  • Blueberries can be frozen without losing taste or antioxidant content. 
  • Blueberries can help reduce the total cholesterol, raising HDL and lowering triglycerides but you must consume 1-2 cups per day!
  • Blueberries can help you regulate your blood sugar especially if you are already a diabetic; otherwise it helps you achieve a healthy level of blood sugar.
  • In older adults, it has been shown to have cognitive benefits.
  • Blueberries can improve your memory.
  • Preliminary studies have indicated blueberries can help protect the retina of the eye from sunlight.
  • Blueberries are under study for anti-cancer potential benefits. Cancers include; breast cancer, colon cancer, esophageal cancer, and small intestine cancers.
I don't know about you but if you ask me, it seems to me blueberries are the perfect fruit except that now I got to eat 1-2 cups daily?! Hmmmm sounds like a challenge. Got to do the math to figure out what the yearly cost would be but then again, if this keeps the doctor away and keeps my memory healthy.......then what am I waiting for?

Hail to the perfect fruit


Here are some fun facts.
  • About 550 million pounds are grown worldwide; 275 million pounds are grown in the United States.
  • The next largest producer is Canada, producing roughly 30%
  • Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, Oregon, and North Carolina are the main growers.
  • In 2007 the typical North American consumed on average 22 ounces of blueberries, in 1997 this was 13 ounces.

So if you live near a farm, go and visit them, support your local farmer by picking whatever is in season. It is healthy and the atmosphere is peaceful, beautiful to look at, fragrant and quite tasty. Being a farmer is not an easy life but I am sure thankful they do it.

Here are some pictures of the farm I like to go to, Larriland Farm.

photo of Larriland farm

another photo of Larriland farm

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A carnivore's delight.....still digesting

Everybody in my family knows I love steak and meat in general especially when is well prepared. I also enjoy going out to a nice restaurant that has white tablecloths and a pretty table setting.

Picture inside Fogo de Chao restaurant

I was delighted to find both in Fogo de Chao restaurant. Just by chance and because I am on the lookout for fun things to do in my neighborhood, I found out Baltimore Restaurant Week was about to start. The idea is the participating restaurants to offer a fixed price meal (or lunch) to lure visitors and locals to experience a new restaurant and perhaps a new cuisine that otherwise they may not.

So as soon as I found out, I checked the list of participating restaurants and with so many choices (about 100 of them) it was hard to pick one. Without much research, I selected Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse because I love meat and I was intrigued when they said the steaks were prepared the "gaucho" way. And what a pleasant surprise! Oh my, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

Before I go on, I want to tell you that Fogo de Chao is Portuguese for 'ground fire' in essence it means pit fire. Gaucho is Portuguese for cowboy. Brazil, the largest country in Latin American speaks Portuguese, not Spanish which to me it is pretty weird but they do. 

Anyway, dinner started with a trip to the salad bar and what a salad bar! My goodness, I had not seen so many choices that were not only beautiful to look at but also looked delicious even when sometimes I had not clue what I was looking at. All the vegetables looked fresh, the meats looked appetizing and there was the biggest Parmesan cheese bowl I had ever seen. I selected a few things and made it back to the table, and all tasted as good as it looked.

a plate of salad from Fogo de Chao restaurant
My salad plate

After the salad our waiter gave us clean plates; it was time for the entree. At this point he explains the meaning of the round paper coasters on our table. If on the green side, the gaucho chef would stop at our table and serve us what he is offering. If on the red side it would mean you do not want to be served and so the fun began.

I have to tell you that the selection of meats was fabulous, a true carnivore's delight! There were 3 different types of steaks plus lamb, pork, chicken wrapped in bacon, and pork sausage. All of them had a wonderful flavor but my favorite was the signature Fogo de Chao steak. It was moist, juicy and tender and covered with Brazilian spices that made it very flavorful. I would certainly go back just for that steak, it was amazing. It was yummy!! In tradition with most Latin American dishes, nothing was spicy, as in hot spicy, just very flavorful.

Gaucho serving a slice of steak at Fogo de Chao restaurant in Baltimore
Picture of a gaucho chef serving a slice of steak.

Oh yeah, the side dishes were corn, mash potatoes and my favorite, grilled bananas. Have you ever tried them? Do, the next time you see them in the menu. These were done very well, nice, moist, sweet just delicious.

Fried bananas and other side dishes from the Fogo de Chao restaurant in Baltimore
Fried bananas are at the top......yummmm!

Oh yeah, did I tell you the fixed price dinner also came with desert? We chose strawberry cheesecake and key lime pie but by that point, there was hardly any room for it and I don't regret it at all.

All in all it was a delightful dinner. I would absolutely go back. I am so glad I got a chance to try a new place. But first I need to digest this one.

Here is a picture of me after dinner walking the Baltimore harbor helping the digestion take place. It was a beautiful and lovely day for a walk.

Fogo de Chao is a restaurant chain, have you gone to any of the others? How was your experience?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Forks are not just eating utensils anymore

I just discovered that forks can be used to depict an artist idea. For sure they can be transformed into conversational pieces. This is what I found at one of the booths while at Artscape. I was quite surprised in a good way. The medium for their creativity was forks shaped into figurines, or put together in such way that you could call it modern art.

This dragon was actually very nice, the picture does not do justice to it. Now what you must understand, which I thought was the amazing thing, is that there is no glue involved, no soldering of any kind, no welding, no nothing to keep the pieces together. It is just in the bending and how it is put together.

Again this piece is held together by how each of the forks bends and intersects with the others. Honestly, I did not dare to touch or hold it in my hands, I did not want to find the Achilles heel in the structure in case there was one. It was very interesting to look at.

All in all I think the pieces would be a terrific conversational piece in any house or office.

These are the folks making these pieces. They are called Fork Art. The wife mentioned that her husband has developed a good set of biceps doing this work and I believe it.

And the forks are your typical inexpensive utensils. I had to see and feel them for myself.

But maybe forks are a new trend because I also ran into another artist at a different art festival doing crafts from forks. Here is a picture from one that I liked. This crab almost looks like it wants to talk to you, doesn't it?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Escaping to Artscape

Hello friends, this past weekend I had the opportunity to attend Artscape in Baltimore.

Artscape is a huge art festival held every year. It features several outdoor stages for music, many tents for craft vendors from all over the country, a car art parade and exhibition, fashion tents, hands-on crafts for children and families, free shows at the Lyric Opera house, Corpus Christi church and others; car painting, and lots and lots of food vendors. The best part is that it is all FREE, not the food of course.

And while this event has been happening for many years (since 1982), this is my second time in a while that I have gone and what I found was a much bigger festival than before with many enjoyable venues. I was also very glad that several events were held indoors which allowed me to have some relief from the hot weather. Yes, it was freaking hot and humid, just your typical hot summer day in the east coast.

I started out early in the day to try to see it all which I almost did. My day started by visiting the craft vendors which I enjoy. I like seeing the creativity of people especially those that use natural materials in ways that I would have never imagined which in fact is pretty easy to do since I am not an artistic. I also like to see the whimsical, the quirky and just interesting categories.

Art by Chris at H.C. Warner

These airplanes were made from metal cans. While I thought it was interesting, I cringed at the thought of finger cuts while making these especially when just starting out so I asked the artist and she did say she had her share of cuts.

Art from Can do planes

These bugs were really cute. I found the ones mimicking an Opera aficionado rather fun. I love the bugs reading.

Also, I am always fascinated by crafts that use glass pieces in vases and candle holders such as these. They are just pretty.

In the clever category is this lamp from old golf clubs and boy do I have several of those around, if only I knew how to make one but seriously I have no inclination.

 Yes, there was pretty art. I found this particular artist theme pleasing to my eyes. Maybe I liked the simplicity of it and the introduction of color with the umbrellas. I would have loved to have learned from the artist what inspired this theme but she had lots of people wanting to speak with her.

Art by Kendra Baird

Because the event was held around the Maryland Institute College of Art in Midtown Baltimore, several of the college buildings were open to the public holding more artistic showings. This is one of the buildings in the campus.

In one of the buildings it was all about video games. I went in to see several video games that I have never seen but there was this one in particular that I found amusing. I don't know what the game is called and I don't know if it in fact is out in the market, I forgot all about those details because I was just amused and distracted by what I was seeing. So imagine this, a guy hugging a pretty large teddy bear in front of the screen. Then I see him moving and squeezing the teddy bear so the teddy bear in the game (the screen) would move, jump or walk. If you did not look at the screen, all you would see is this guy mishandling a poor teddy bear which was rather comical to me. In fact, I could not hold back and told him that it looked like he was brutalizing the teddy bear, we both giggled.

I did see some of the old favorite Nintendo games like Pac Man, Space invaders, Donkey Kong, Asteroids you know the good old days of simple video game fun. Personally I would love to have a game room with games like that and an old juke box.

There were large murals done by the public which turned out rather well. Earlier I had seen groups of people over these easels and what a pleasant surprise to see at the end of the day what they had accomplished.

But of course what is an art festival without the strange, borderline weird, quirky and this will be in my next post.