Showing posts with label 2009. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2009. Show all posts

Nov 18, 2011

Top Posts of 2009

In 2009 I was busy trying to balance two very different editing jobs as I felt I was prepping for big changes in 2010.  I was becoming more stable as I let go of a lot of my former student stress and began focusing on ways to set myself apart and further prove myself at work.    

By this time I was feeling more confident and self assured.  After several years of feeling like I was behind the curve, in 2009 I felt like things were moving quickly and I was gaining a lot of ground.  My change in tone and desire to connect with film students became even more apparent and my blog evolved to reflect that.  Here are some of my most popular posts from that year.

1. I Need Your Vote for the Gizmo Tree
Originally posted April 12, 2009
With my success in the Sasktel film competition in late 2007 and early 2008, I promoted my short the Gizmo Tree in the Yobi Film contest in 2009.  In the end I didn't win, but I did manage to advance through four rounds of voting.  Things worked out the next year when I tried my luck in Yobi Film again and finished as runner up for filmmaker of the year, beating out 38 other filmmakers.

2. Cinematic Acrobatic Presents: Alex Lamburini
Originally posted October 1, 2009
As part of my shift to help promote other up and coming filmmakers, I started interviewing young filmmakers who I'd met online through contests or on YouTube.  The post I did with Alex Lamburini became so successful largely because of his own promotion, but it was also the first time that I had added another voice to my blog and I think readers enjoyed the shift.

3. Advice for Aspiring Filmmakers
Originally posted May 19, 2009
This post was popular because it was a simple breakdown of everything that I'd come to appreciate from my time in film school.  There was really nothing surprising about the advice, but sometimes it's just helpful to reinforce the obvious. 

4.  We Two Kings
Originally posted December 12, 2009
This was a brand new short film I created for Christmas with my friend Tyler.  The popularity for this one was pretty obvious because of the timing.   

Mar 14, 2011

Buick to the Future DVD Menu

Creating DVD menus for my shorts and random edits used to be a big deal. It made an impression on those who I'd share my work with, and suggested just how much work went into the project. However, now that the basis for screening and previewing my work has shifted almost entirely onto the web, I haven't created a new menu in over a year. 

I was reviewing some of the videos that I have archived and found the components for Buick to the Future DVD that I made for my friend Tyler in 2009. This was really just a one off deal, where I was only making it because I wanted to give the four episodes to him as a gift for helping me make them. While the menu is comparatively straightforward when held up to some of the others I've done, what I love about this menu is how it highlights the buddy comedy aspect of the campy series along with some of the key scenes. 

This clip is really just a small slice of what the Buick to the Future project became, but hey, you can always watch the originals! And for more of the other random clips behind BTTF you can view the promo videos here

Apr 14, 2010

Chico Bandito: Lost Episode

About a year ago I considered getting back into making a new Chico Bandito episode. What resulted was this short, an unofficial fifth episode that I decided not to share.

The only reason this episode is technically unofficial is because there is a conclusion in the works to give this on-again-off-again series the proper closing I feel it deserves - a real escape story, not just a stepping stone. This 'lost' episode saw Chico make it outside in a garbage bag as part of his original scheme, only to discover that things were more bizarre than before.

I felt that the series needed to take a greater departure if I was actually going to make it last - as it turned out, I tired of the project to try new things anyway. Chico was becoming more of a chore and losing novelty after the first 4 shorts. Without much to go on, I didn't want to force myself to make the series more than it needed to be.

I decided it was worth sharing this episode still because it was complete and even just as a test, there are elements that I like in my editing here. Had the series continued with Chico outside, you can imagine that things would've become far more comic, playful, and I suppose 'trippy'.

Like I said, there are loose plans for a conclusion to give the series (episodes 1-4) the proper ending and send-off. I think not having the project as a complete unit has held me back from really doing anything else with these, and coming back to the project after a long break may actually make the Chico Bandito conclusion a far more significant undertaking.

Keep an eye-out for the final chapter and complete post sometime this year. In the meantime check out the lost episode below and revisit the old Chico Bandito episodes by scrolling the original posts here.

Apr 1, 2010

Indio Outio: The Complete Project (2010)

There was a point when all of this seemed so incredibly far-fetched. The trip, the location, then completing the edit, and so on; I questioned and hoped that something would pan out. I needed this experience I think.

So now, posting the complete edits over the last month and reflecting on the entire road trip that became Indio Outio, I'm actually a bit shocked that all of this actually came together. Granted it's been almost a full year from when this trip was first considered to the point of uploading and closing out all the trip footage. Still, what an incredible ride.

Indio Outio has come to represent a personal bookmark, another subtle transition from my former film school self into adulthood - a long journey in and of itself it seems. Ultimately, the trip helped me prove to myself that I could take a whim and make something defining from it. I'll say it again, I went into this with the specific goal of trying to create something unforgettable.

Traveling with my friend Dave proved to be another great lesson, both in how we could bring out the best in one another, and how our perspectives and goals could be unifying or alienating given the circumstance. It's always interesting to bond with someone in a new way even after you've known them for years. The dynamic between Dave and myself was fueled with nostalgia, but we didn't seem inhibited from creating new memories given the places we visited.

The entire trip, without making more sweeping generalizations, is a series best told in pieces. So that's exactly what I did. The entire evolution of the trip, from talking about what it could be, to editing it, and eventually debuting it, can be experienced by following the link at the end of each post to continue on to the next destination.

I've done my best to create something a bit interactive here. Through stories, pictures, and videos, I want you to feel like you were along for the ride all the way to California. As I say in the Indio Outio conclusion, "It's a trip that was best seen first hand, but best seen, regardless".

Mar 30, 2010

Conclusion: Indio Outio

Day Six and Seven (08.28.09-08.29.09) The road home was a breeze. After all the traveling, suddenly taking the same path home felt familiar and comfortable. We were both tired and anxious, not that we wanted the trip to end, but I think we were both eager to take a break to really think about the things we'd seen and done. I hadn't even had the chance to review any of the footage I'd shot, and looking back at all the edits I've uploaded, you can probably understand why I was excited to see what I'd captured.

I decided for this conclusion, because I'd already mixed all of the 'road home' footage with each of the edits, that a summary was in order. Instead of my typical quick cut type deal, I created a split screen/window pane effect to really emphasize just how diverse this road trip was. I've been saying it all along, but you really get the picture of just how contrasting all the locales were when seeing all this footage playing side by side. It literally was a patchwork, a mosaic of landscapes and scenes.

What a journey. Even though this won't be my last road trip, maybe not even my last time to Indio, I can say with a great deal of satisfaction that this road trip exceeded my expectations when it came to creating something memorable and unique. It was something that I wouldn't be able to duplicate the same way even if I wanted to - isn't that the mark of an incredible trip?

I'm not sure what else to say exactly, but I'm excited to think about how this series of blog posts and videos will give me a great deal of insight, years from now, when this trip becomes a blip as part of a much bigger story. I've said it's an experience I'll never forget, I suppose all this is the proof.

Thanks for sharing the road to Indio with me, again and again.

Mar 28, 2010

Leonard Knight: Indio Outio

Day Five (08.27.09) I never had any intention to interview Leonard Knight when I first thought about heading out to Salvation Mountain. The conversation we did end up having just struck up after we went to thank him for letting us tour his site.

Leonard lives in a little trailer right next to Salvation Mountain, and not surprisingly, the trailer is decked out in paint just like everything else in the vicinity. His lifestyle and focus have clearly defied convention.

You'll notice my low angles, and it's because I wasn't that concerned about my footage as much as I was about having a real conversation. Leonard is nearly 80 years old, and who knows how much longer he'll be around to talk about his mountain or give personal tours. More than just a subject for a video, I really do respect Leonard Knight for what he's accomplished in such a unique way.

This edit over all the others was interesting to construct because Dave was using my mini-cam to capture footage also. It made it a lot more interesting to cut between dialogue. All around, this experience proved to be a great cap to an already amazing road trip.

Mar 26, 2010

Salvation Mountain: Indio Outio

Day Five (08.27.09) Of all the places we visited, Salvation Mountain was the one that made me realize I was never going to forget this road trip. Much like the Salton Sea in general, this man-made mountain of paint is so incredibly different and unique, it's almost dream-like when you find yourself practically alone in a setting like this.

Created by Leonard Knight, I first came to know of Salvation Mountain from the movie Into the Wild. There's a scene where Emile Hirsch's character is given a tour by Knight and I was captivated. I never really pictured myself getting there necessarily, but it's funny how those plans came together - how my interest in Indio lead to the Salton Sea which lead to Salvation Mountain.

Another interesting fact about this site is that it's built on government land and for years had been threatened with removal. Until 2002 when senator Barbara Boxer took interest and helped Salvation Mountain gain special designation as a national treasure - an honour held by only one other landmark, Mount Rushmore. The coincidence in this is that the last major road trip I went on before this one was to Mount Rushmore - you can see the edits here.

Dave and I took full advantage of the experience. When we arrived Leonard was giving a tour to a group of girls, and we all met up as he told us we could walk the yellow path up to the top of the mountain if we wanted to. Naturally we said yes, we had no idea he'd let us walk on his art, but when considering how hands-on the construction must've been there's really no better way to experience it.

We walked the winding path, marveling at the intricate details (like the litte coloured flowers) and were rewarded with a spectacular view at the top.

The setting sun gave the desert a rich golden hue, and the colours of Salvation Mountain only looked further saturated by the contrasting monochromatic landscape that surrounded it. There were miles of desert, hills, and small glimpses of civilization. None more present than Slab City - a community of nomads, off the grid. But ultimately, it was quiet and refreshingly secluded. A scene that almost forces you to be alone with your thoughts; comfortably at peace.

While the messaging (God is Love, etc.) is strong, and the display eccentric, there was nothing scary about Leonard himself. If there was one word I'd choose to describe him it's passionate. He really just wanted to make his mark, to express love, and devote his life to a higher purpose - whether religious or not you have to value his commitment and vision to make a positive impact. After we came down from the mountain and had our private look around, we approached Leonard to talk (see the next video).

I'm still pinching myself that several thousand kilometers from home we found ourselves talking casually, face to face, with the man who built this hidden treasure in the middle of nowhere. 

Mar 23, 2010

Salton Sea: Indio Outio

Day Five (08.27.09) I first heard about the Salton Sea and the crazy history surrounding it on a Discovery Channel show in the months when the trip was still just a raw idea. The show mentioned Palm Springs and having familiarized myself with the geography, I quickly learned that Indio was a few short miles from the Salton Sea.

If you've never heard of it before you may be thinking that the Salton Sea is just a giant lake in the desert. In reality, it's a remarkable (if not haunting) story about an accidental man-made lake that in the 1950's seemed to be on the verge of becoming California's riviera. Resorts, marinas, and residential development sprung up all around the lake - things seemed to be booming.

What followed over the course of several decades was a continued increase in salt levels of the sea due to no fresh water access. This resulted in massive fish and bird deaths (in the millions) only worsened by the impact of the sea being contaminated by agricultural run-off. The shift started to impact the 'glamour' of the locale as the area gained a unique smell. Several floods also delivered crippling blows, and by the mid-80's much of the 'dream' of what the Salton Sea was intended to be was now in ruin.

It was the story and history that really attracted me. To get more of a sense of the impact check out these two great videos. The first is the Discovery Channel clip from No Reservations that initially educated me on the Salton Sea, and the second clip is an original promo for the North Shore Yacht Club - just in the early stages of restoration when we visited - but a site that had been sitting abandoned for well over a decade.

Standing on the edge of the sea, the heat was sweltering. Easily reaching 40 degrees celsius, the humidity in the air just stuck to your skin. It was still a beautiful setting, perhaps more so because of my understanding of what this place had once been. I tried to picture a marina full of boats, people water skiing, people coming and going from the yacht club - and here we were now all alone in the desert, that reality a distant past.

An abandoned motel had actually stood right next to the yacht club and was just demolished at the end of 2008. The scene was a photographers dream, and I was disappointed when I realized it wouldn't be there - Google Earth was still showing the motel standing.

Dave and I headed further south, down the shore to Bombay Beach. Talk about post-apocalyptic. The flood zone is now a scene of rotting buildings and scattered possessions. An old trailer, an Airstream now without it's metal casing, is said to be the most photographed Airstream in the world - I followed suit. If you look it up online you can actually see the trailer over the years, including when the flood zone actually still had water in it.

All around us was proof that so much had just been given up. Whether it was residents leaving after the floods, the death of the local tourism, or the environmental toll that was making the area a write-off, it all seemed so sad and wonderfully fascinating. It seems an unfortunate upside, but the decline has actually created a novelty and experience that many travel to see and photograph first hand - just like Dave and I did. It really is a place like no other; a series of stories and plans gone wrong all linked around this suffering body of water.

We continued our journey south, passing signs hinting at the approaching Mexican border, hoping to find enlightenment at Salvation Mountain.

Mar 17, 2010

Nightswimming: Indio Outio

Day Four and Five (08.26.09-08.27.09) While in Indio, Dave and I had his parents' vacant vacation house to crash at. Really, it was the entire reason that Indio was even a destination - or the motivation for the road trip initially. It was so much better than a hotel, not just because it was free, but because it proved to be the perfect escape after a long day of driving, exploring, and generally wearing ourselves out.

The house gave us space and time to ourselves. We had a pool, which we each took advantage of to relax in at the end of the day. But probably why memories of the house (and pool specifically) stick with me, is because it was the only part of the trip where we actually did nothing - in the best sense of the word. I'd be swimming while Dave was on his laptop, Dave would be in the house while I sat out by the pool, I'd be going through my souvenirs inside while Dave swam, etc. 

It was the perfect way to decompress and try to register what we had just done that day. I remember saying to Dave several times that I'm not going to be able to process the entire trip until we actually get back because everything is so new and we just keep adding to the list. It was no surprise that the house proved the perfect location to play catch up and ponder about a little bit of everything. The evenings by the pool allowed me to at least wrap my head around what we'd seen that afternoon, and for a moment, slow things down.

I remember the drive back from the Aerial Tramway and because we had a bit of distance to cover to get back to Indio, we went in search of a Walmart so that I could buy a swimsuit and maybe something that said 'Indio' on it - we ended up in La Quinta but found a Walmart anyway. The next night we ended up eating at a restaurant in Indio shaped like a castle with mini-TVs at each station - the combination of the beer, castle theme, and ridiculous TV shows seemed to create a campy mix of awesome.

This edit, Nightswimming, is specifically about those relaxed evenings by the pool and the downplayed evenings that we spent driving back to the house or around Indio itself. While not an epic destination perhaps, the trip wouldn't have been what it was without this time to recollect, to swim, to enjoy the cooler evenings and desert air, and to simply remind ourselves exactly where we were.

Mar 16, 2010

Tramway Raccoon: Indio Outio

Day Four (08.26.09) Walking around outside of the Mountain Station of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, Dave and I stumbled onto a raccoon digging through the trash. He'd dive in and come out with a cup or napkin and head back in again. It was a quick sighting, but it was entertaining to stumble upon.

This is just a mini-edit in comparison to the others that I've made for Indio Outio, but the brief encounter seemed worth including and sharing.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway: Indio Outio

Day Four (08.26.09) We were losing sunlight as we made the exit for Palm Springs. As you enter the city, a short distance after leaving the interstate, the first thing you notice is a giant Palm Springs Aerial Tramway sign. It seemed like the easiest thing to find, although after noticing there were no tram cars we realized (obviously) that we needed to head further up into the mountains.

The incline of the drive didn't seem that bad at first, but you quickly realize just how far up you really are when you see the valley become more prominent behind you. As we pulled into the parking lot of the Valley Station of the Aerial Tramway it was clearly printed above the door of the building that we were already 2600ft. above sea level. Just walking up to the door of the building felt like a funhouse because of the steep and misleading incline.

We bought our tickets and were quickly ushered into the loading area. It was soon after that that we found ourselves slowly rotating in one of the famous cable cars, surrounded by jagged rocks and steep embankments, heading from the floor of the Coachella valley up to the Mountain Station of the San Jacinto Peak (8500ft. above sea level).

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway seemed enticing just from what I'd read online before the trip, but to see it and experience it in person felt ethereal.

It was so quiet, everyone seemed content to gaze and whisper to the person they were with. The light breeze from the open windows further reinforced a connection with the expansive and awe-inspiring views. It's difficult to explain, but easy to recognize, that the scale and beauty of something like this is challenging to process. I was very much in the moment.

While the footage I shot is a great memento, something like this is meant to be witnessed - the visual reality suddenly makes you feel so small. The atmosphere, ambiance, and even the shift in temperature as our altitude rose, seem essential in completing my memory. It was so much more than just a pretty picture.

By the time we reached the top and had something to eat it was dark. Patches of city light filled the valley, and from our perch we could see the lights trail all the way down to Indio. If our goal of taking an unforgettable road trip wasn't yet fulfilled, here we were quite literally on top of the world.

Mar 12, 2010

Newport Beach: Indio Outio

Day Four (08.26.09) Energized by our arrival and a morning where we weren't rushing to make good time, Dave and I had made plans to drive from Indio to Newport Beach that day. This was to be our glimpse of greater Los Angeles and the traffic that comes with it, but more importantly, this was a chance to add an ocean and an afternoon of relaxation to our eclectic and rapidly growing list of destinations.

The drive from Indio isn't that bad at around 2/2.5 hours to Newport Beach, but in that time you notice significant changes. The interstate gains several lanes, the commuter traffic snowballs, and concentrations of overpasses start to resemble bowls of spaghetti. The arid desert also transitions into the humid coastal climate, which in turn affects the types, colors, and amounts of vegetation you see everywhere. Not to mention that when you reach Newport Beach, everything is relatively on the up and up and designed to appeal to a more selective income bracket - although to be fair, the beach itself is a mish-mash of everyone and everything in between.

The first thing Dave and I did upon arrival is make our way through the narrow streets between the miniature (but clearly expensive) beach front homes to get to the Newport Pier. My motivation for making the drive out to the beach after all was to grab a bite to eat in the restaurant at the end of the pier. In 2004 I had previously come to Newport Beach on vacation and regretted not getting the chance to do this.

Sitting upstairs in a cubby with the stairs behind us and a huge bank of windows stretching out in front of us, we marked the occasion with a couple of beers and wings (Dave got something else but I can't remember what). It was nothing fancy, but with a view like that it didn't need to be. From our perch on the pier we could see all the way down the beach, straight down the pier, out into the open ocean, and could even see Santa Catalina Island on the horizon.

Like I mentioned in the Indio Outio: Introduction, this was a moment of awe and euphoria - not simply because of the scale and ambiance that the ocean was providing, but because it had only been 4 days and we'd already seen so much. It also had a lot to do with recognizing the difference between just flying somewhere and experiencing the distance by driving. It was tough not to appreciate just what it took to get here. Memories of being in this same spot 5 years prior only emphasized the novelty of the entire road trip.

We spent the afternoon sitting around the beach, getting our feet wet in the ocean, checking out the surf shops (picking up some new sunglasses), and generally just filled the time as casually as we could.

It was around 4pm by the time we decided to head out to Palm Springs for the evening, which for the record is the perfect time (almost anywhere really) to experience the local rush hour traffic. L.A. certainly puts the competition to shame. Thank goodness for carpool lanes.

Mar 11, 2010

Cabazon Dinosaurs: Indio Outio

Day Three (08.25.09) As the sun started to set, bright oranges and yellows stretched across the Coachella valley. The strong shadows created depth and empahsized the sea of windmills that began to surround us in all directions.

Dave and I were cautiously scanning the road ahead to spot the giant dinosaurs, not quite sure where along the interstate they were exactly. I think we listened to the campy single 'Send Me An Angel' about 10 times in a row just so that it would be playing when we finally did spot them on the horizon.

Made popular by The Wizard and Pee Wee's Big Adventure, you get the feeling from those movies that the Cabazon dinosaurs are a roadside tourist trap standing in the middle of a blank desert. This isn't the case anymore. Cabazon has expanded around them, and not only is the area landscaped now, but there's a Burger King right out front.

When we finally did spot the dinos we didn't have an exit to take so we had to to make our way back again. It actually created a great reveal because of how the sun silhoutted the T-Rex. Call it childish, but I was pretty excited to see those giant tourist traps.

Our stop at the dinosaurs was brief, but somewhat surreal. This had been an image that I'd had in my head for quite a while leading up to the trip, so to finally see the landmarks in person I was able fill in the blanks left by my imagination. We took pictures, some of the best from the trip of ourselves, and generally just wandered around to let the moment sink in.

Since the gift shop inside the Apatosaurus was closed, we made plans to return the next morning on our way to Newport Beach, which would also give us a view of the dinosaurs in a new light. The revisit also lead to Dave buying a rubber T-Rex head puppet. It came in handy, allowing me to make more of a scene when I wanted to poke fun at Dave for hitting the rumble strips on the edge of the highway.

Regardless of how much time had been spent in the car, there were a lot of reasons to celebrate at this point. Indio was just around the corner. We'd made it.

Mar 10, 2010

California Roads: Indio Outio

Day Three (08.25.09) Blazing sun and miles of interstate in front of us, we left the neon of Vegas behind for the scorching heat and stark beauty of the Mojave desert. It was blistering in the middle of the afternoon, but in my mind this is exactly how I had pictured the road to Indio.

We played Send Me An Angel by Real Life and You Don't Get Much by BoDeans, both songs becoming the undisputed theme songs for the trip thanks to a not-so-classic-movie called The Wizard. You may remember it starred Fred Savage, a Nintendo Power Glove, and featured a scene with the infamous Cabazon Dinosaurs (coming up next).

Dave and I couldn't help but use The Wizard, a piece of childhood nostalgia for each of us, as inspiration during our own trip. This often lead to us quipping about Jimmy running off or one of us slowly pronouncing every syllable of California like he did in the movie. As Joshua trees started to appear we also had to play, no surprises here, U2's Joshua Tree album to further remind ourselves of our location.

Of all the road time we had, this was probably the most defining. We knew we'd be in Indio by the end of the day to relax, drink, swim, and shoot the breeze. At the same time we had already seen some pretty memorable things in both Salt Lake and Vegas, which only helped to fuel our conversations and keep us guessing about the remaining days ahead. The foreign landscape around us created a rare ambience, and with good (or campy eighties) music playing and a willingness to explore, there didn't seem to be anything to distract us from being in the moment.

I had made it clear early on that I was interested in picking up some kind of Route 66 souvenir, so as we reached Barstow we stopped at a roadside convenience store and I picked up a shirt. Not quite satisfied, I actually found a large wooden Route 66 sign the next day in Newport Beach that was more in tune with what I had in mind. There's nothing quite like a stereotypcial memento to mark the occassion.

As we headed further west it wasn't long before the terrain started to change. We hit the Cajon Pass and the expansive desert was replaced with richer hues of lush vegetation and a steady increase in traffic; the pass itself acting as a funnel between the populous of southern California and the desert to the north. We were just barely skirting the greater Los Angeles area, but as tall palms, overpasses, and billboards appeared, the interstate became expectantly urban.

Through the pass and San Bernadino, the traffic cooled somewhat as we changed direction, heading southeast towards the entrance of the Coachella valley. It was all happening pretty fast. The signs and sprawling urban landscape became a quick reminder that over the last couple days we had traveled across the USA, north to south, roughly 1500 miles (2400km) and 22 driving hours. And then there it was, the first hint of our destination clearly marked - Indio 64 miles. 

Las Vegas: Indio Outio

Day Two (08.24.09) As we hit the Vegas city limits I was both excited and stressed out. Half of the interstate seemed to be under construction and the traffic was fairly chaotic. I was still driving, and I have to say that even after being to Las Vegas twice before this, the experience of driving myself around was still nerve-racking. However, it also broadened my view of the place as I hoped it would.

Dave was actually shooting footage as we drove down the strip while I was busy trying to navigate our way to the entrance of Harrah's. I had both my HDV and mini cam with me on this trip, which is why throughout many of the videos you'll notice a transition between widescreen and a smaller fullscreen image - I emphasized the difference for effect and because the quality isn't nearly as high. You'll also notice that the footage for each location is often a mixture of what I captured both coming and going, the Indio sign on the dash is often a giveaway. 
Anyway . . .

There was nothing about Las Vegas that was really surprising after having fully explored it before, but that's not to say it wasn't awesome to be there again. That night we had some drinks, went to Beatles Love (purchasing the tickets was the first thing I did to confirm with Dave that we were actually going to Indio) and then had some more drinks as we tried our luck.

Our stop was brief, but memorable, and my night ended with me laying drunk in the bathtub of our room just to use the little TV in the bathroom.

To complete the stay we picked up a few souvenirs, and this was the moment that created a new running joke for the trip. Telling me about someone who he forgot to get a birthday gift for, Dave picked up a Chihuahua-sitting-in-a-birthday-cake ornament sculpture thing - it was pretty ridiculous, but a funny gag gift anyway. Well the gag gift had no price tag and actually ended up costing $20, which was fairly ridiculous when it looked like something from the dollar store. Dave still got it. For the rest of the trip if we happened to be looking at the things we had picked up we'd have to comment on that stupid dog.

"Do we have our map?", "Yup". "Do we have our money?", "Yup". "Do we have a Chihuahua dog with a party hat coming out a birthday cake sculpture that cost $20?" (groan) "Yup".

Before leaving the next day we explored the Forum Shops, toured our hotel once more, and walked around Caesar's and the Bellagio to get in a bit of last minute gambling. It was fun, it was quick, and then it was on to California.

Mar 8, 2010

Arizona Corridor: Indio Outio

Day Two (08.24.09) On route to Las Vegas from Salt Lake, I-15 briefly cuts through the northwest corner of Arizona before leading into Nevada. While I didn't think much about this when reviewing the map before going, I was amazed at just how significant this stretch of road really was.

This brief section of interstate through Arizona was only about 30 miles long, an unexpected surprise between Utah and Nevada, but pretty much as soon as we hit it, the canyons and cliffs appeared. On the way down, this was actually a brief section of the road trip that I drove. It was incredible.

Dave and I rolled the windows down, the heat radiated through the car immediately, and I cranked up Vega4 on my iPod as we weaved through the towering rocks. It was exactly what you'd expect Arizona to look like, hinting at how spellbinding the Grand Canyon must be, and ultimately lasting no time at all.

I shot this video on our way back through (with Dave driving obviously) and it proved to be one of the most scenic stretches of interstate that we saw on the entire trip. Leaving Arizona and entering Nevada the terrain shifted immediately once again. The canyons stopped and a vast desert appeared before us.