Posts Tagged cowboys

Adventures in Aussie Art

Cow in Tree

I think this upside-down cow in the tree is supposed to be art, but I'm not sure.


Melbourne is a bit of an eclectic town.  Whereas Sydney seems more business-like with pinstripe suits in abundance, Melbourne is for artists in jeans.

We saw some strange stuff in Melbourne.  I think they call it art.  For example, take the upside-down cow in the tree along the waterfront.

Dinosaur in Melbourne

Ms. HalfEmpty is attacked by a dinosaur on the mean streets of Melbourne.

We also encountered a dinosaur in this area.  I was a bit scared.  But I really should have been quite well prepared for this.

Do you remember when Mr. HalfFull and I almost visited Natural Bridge in Virginia?  (We didn’t make it past the Visitor Center, but that’s another story.)  We also saw an open-mouthed dinosaur there.  But that one seemed slightly more tame since it was ridden by a cowboy.

Come to think of it, we also saw a dinosaur in Sydney.  But this one was next to a welcome sign.  So the juxtaposition of the fangs and the welcome sign made it seem slightly less menacing.

Dinosaur in Sydney

Mr. HalfFull welcomed by a dinosaur in Sydney

I guess the fear appeal of dinosaurs is rather universal.

Okay, back to Melbourne.  This city is full of artsy people, including musicians.  We saw tons of advertisements for local bands.  I think you could see live music every night of the week!

While we were in town, so was the AC/DC musical.  Mr. HalfFull is a fan and convinced me this would be another fun theatrical experience to add to our 30/40 World Tour theater count.  Even though this was our seventh play of the 30/40 World Tour, it would be our first musical.

Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be Poster

Show poster that lured Mr. HalfFull

Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be — The Story of Bon Scott is advertised as a musical.  But to me it was more like a rock concert scattered with flecks of narration.  The “play” chronicled Bon Scott’s life from Scotland to Australia.  This included his bands before AC/DC, most of which I had never heard of.  The early music was unfamiliar to me, but I did know most of the AC/DC songs.  The majority of the audience was older and probably remembered Bon Scott from their rock n’ roll party days.

I am keenly aware of kinesthetics and pay particular attention to how actors and musicians move.  The guys on stage moved well and seemed very comfortable as musicians since they are rockers in real life.  However, the lead who played Bon Scott was a bit awkward in his movements.  But I guess he was attractive enough to make up for it.

Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be show

The rock concert part of the "play" (Credit: Marty Williams)

I was disappointed because I was expecting a play, not a rock concert.  When the focus is on the music, rather than acting and choreography, I don’t find it very visually interesting.  I’m not opposed to concerts, they just aren’t as appealing to me.

I think the rest of the audience knew what to expect.  They were completely into the music from their heyday.  They were reliving their youth — alcohol and tattoos in abundance.  They probably felt the opposite of me and could have done without the narration!

Our final day in Australia was spent experiencing the artsy side of Melbourne — cow, dinosaur, and play rock concert included.  Stay tuned for our adventures in Mauritius next.

  • What art has caught your eye abroad?
  • Have you noticed an abundance of dinosaurs while traveling?
  • Do you prefer straight plays or musicals?  
  • Would you enjoy a narrated rock concert?  
  • Do you prefer theater or concerts?  Do you think it’s because you are more visual or auditory?

All posts in the 30/40 World Tour series

Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on halfempty4now.com, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!

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Who goes skiing for Spring Break???

Only a half full thinker would consider going skiing in the mid-Atlantic for Spring Break.  To top it off, the DC area even had an 80°F day in March.  But Mr. HalfFull convinced me that even if it was too warm to ski, we would still have fun.  So we set our expectations low, but still hoped for a ski opportunity.

As we were driving to West Virginia, the temperature gauge in the car read 75°F.  Had we made a horrible mistake?  We didn’t spot even a patch of snow on the entire drive up the lush green mountain.  At the top of the mountain, it was 55°F.  But in true half full fashion, we went to get our ski rentals (which were free that day since it was so late in the afternoon) and hit the slopes!  We got our ski legs back with about an hour of skiing before the lifts closed.  We also didn’t have to bundle up; I don’t think I’ve ever skied in such light layers!

Morning view of the slopes from our condo

Morning view of the slopes from our condo

The day we arrived was warm, but the temperatures dropped significantly during the rest of the week, and you could barely tell it was spring.  It certainly felt cold and windy out there!  We even got two days of new snow including one the day after we arrived, where we woke up to a beautiful view from our condo.

When we booked the trip, we also booked discount lift tickets with our package, but later found out that we each got 5 days of free lift tickets since it was the end of the season and we had booked lodging on the mountain.  Sweet!  When I went to rent my demo skis, I was expecting them to cost $35/day for value season pricing, but they only cost me $16/day.  Another awesome deal!

Ms. HalfFull drinks coffee by the fire

Ms. HalfFull enjoys her tall skim latte by the fire

I got to start my days out with Starbuck’s coffee by the fire before hitting the slopes.  I did not bring my half full/half empty mug on the trip, so I didn’t have to decide which side to use.  But coffee was great fuel for my ski days (and all days).

Mr. HalfFull skiing

Mr. HalfFull on the slopes

The vacation was only Mr. HalfFull’s second ski trip ever, but he was impressive!  Look at him skiing parallel down the slope like a pro.  He must have had a wonderful, yet humble teacher (Ms. HalfEmpty). I had fun on the slopes too, and even caught a little air that Mr. HalfFull was able to capture.

Ms. HalfEmpty airborne after a ski jump

Ms. HalfEmpty catches some air

We got to see some interesting ski apparel on the slopes.  The kids were all dressed quite well, but we saw several adults with jeans or sweat pants that were visibly soaked.  I’ve never seen that in Colorado, perhaps it’s a West Virginia thing.  But it makes me wonder if we will be able to rent ski clothing in New Zealand since we will be unable to carry our own.  Of course you can rent uncomfortable boots and decent skis anywhere, but what about the clothing?  We’ll have to see.  But if skiing isn’t in the cards for us in New Zealand, at least we got to ski once this season!

Western Territory view

Spring Break, Western Territory style!

Since Mr. HalfFull and I are at different ski levels, we did not spend all of our time together on the slopes.  Sometimes I would venture off to the Western Territory (accessible by taking your skis off and carrying them across the main mountain road), which only has black and double black terrain.  The slopes were not crowded, so in general, if you were skiing alone, you rode the lift alone.  However, at one point in the Western Territory, which is even less crowded than the regular ski area, a guy asked if he could ride with me.  There was no line and it was a long ride up, so it seemed a bit strange, but we ended up riding together.  I found out that this guy was from my area (just a few towns away) and was quite a character.  I had watched him ski down the double black terrain with ease despite the ice, so I knew he was a good skier.  I also learned that he had gone bull riding the previous week in Dallas!  Apparently it was his first time, but he won the invitational competition, to the dismay of the professional cowboys.  He explained that it was a real bull, he got thrown seven times, and he had lots of bruises despite protective clothing.  I also learned that he was flying to Jackson Hole to ski the following day, so he was just in WV getting warmed up.

snow on trees in Western Territory

Snow covered trees in Wild & Wonderful West Virginia made it feel like winter

In between bragging about his skiing and bull riding exploits, he complained about the snow in WV.  He was hoping for 11 inches of snow, but they only got about 2, so he felt like he wasted money by paying for lodging on the mountain and getting a free ski day.  Some people just can’t be happy.  Mr. HalfFull and I were thrilled that we had gotten to make first tracks in the powder that morning.  It was a nice dusting of winter on top of the groomed snow and we waited with excitement for ski patrol to pull off the ropes at 9 AM!  However, the snow did not do much for the Western Territory, it got even icier with the cold temperatures and was just a light dusting of powder that blew around on top of the steep ice.  So I see Mr. BullRider’s point, but I was happy for any snow and thoroughly enjoyed first tracks!

On Saturday the lift lines got a bit crowded, but people didn’t seem to understand the concept of joining groups and the lift operators did not see that as part of their job description.  Out West, they have specific lines for singles, doubles, triples, quadruples and the lift operators beautifully orchestrate the traffic patterns to keep the lines moving fairly.  But in WV, it was a free for all.  To make matters worse, they put the singles line farthest from the lift, which made no sense at all.  The point of the singles line is to jump in easily when a chair has an extra spot or two, so you need to be close to the front to do that.

I tried to jump in where I could.  On one lift that serviced mostly black terrain, but did have a green route, I asked a couple (male and female boarders) if I could join them.  For the first time in my life, they said no!  I was really surprised and I guess I looked it, so the guy followed up with, “We’re more comfortable just the two of us…we might fall.”  So it was hard to tell if they just wanted to be alone on the lift as a romantic couple of if they were new snowboarders who didn’t have much control exiting the lift.  But it was a four person lift and they were only two people.

After my lift line rejection, the two skiers behind that couple graciously let me ride with them.  I learned that one had driven from Indiana to pick up his buddy in Louisville, Kentucky.  He arrived in Louisville at 4:30 AM and got to the slopes that afternoon.  Woah, that’s quite a drive.  I’m pretty sure I would be asleep after that, not skiing.

pond skimming snowboarder makes it across the pond

Snowboarder skims across the pond as crowds cheer

Since it was the last weekend of the ski season, the resort had a pond skimming competition.  The staff created a small pond and groomed snow into a large hill near the pond for speed.  Many of the competitors wore costumes as they attempted to skim across the pond and jump out on the other side. Whenever a contestant had enough speed and balance to make it all the way across the pond, the crowd erupted in cheers.  It was especially exciting when some of the contestants were able to do 180° jumps off the final ledge of the pond.

Pond skiiming contestants

Costumed pond skimming contestants

Some of our favorite costumes were a sumo wrestler, half-naked cowboy, sword wielding Caesar, gorilla, 2 hot dogs (a kid and an adult armed with what Mr. HalfFull tells me was a “beer bong”), Teletubbie, and old man with cane.  The sumo wrestler turned around backwards before entering the water, which didn’t give him enough speed to skim the pond and his costume deflated underwater.

hot dog contestant

HalfEmpty Hot Dog descends the slope on his way to the pond (note oversized costume)

A little kid in a hot dog costume was super cute, but did not have enough speed to skim the pond either.  He ended up sinking and was short enough that he was completely submerged with the weight of a snowboard pulling him down.  To top it off, his hot dog costume had a lot of space at the top between his head and the top of the hot dog.  When he went under water, his head got lost in the costume.  When he didn’t resurface, a ski patrol woman jumped in to pull his head out of the water and then rifle through the costume to find his head and drag him to the side of the water where others lifted him out.  Scary!  Lesson learned:  if you find yourself dressed as an extra long hot dog, steer clear of the water or resize to fit the bun.

cowboy with guns prepares to skim the pond on skis

HalfNaked Cowboy with cap guns blazin' prepares to skim the pond

Mr. HalfFull especially enjoyed the scantily clad cowboy as he did his run with orange cap guns blazing into the air!

It turned out to be a fun half full trip with some interesting characters and a few surprises.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • How do you manage expectations when the weather may not cooperate with your trip plans?
  • Would you ski without appropriate pants or in a hot dog bun?
  • Have you ever rented ski clothing?
  • Do you enjoy riding with strangers on the chair lift?
  • What would you wear if you were in a pond skimming contest?

Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on halfempty4now.com, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!

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Crêpes, Castles, and Creationism?

On Friday night, Mr. HalfFull and I attended Shoot, Busk, and Blog: The Ins and Outs of Writing, Shooting, and Playing on the Road, a free travel event in DC.  [Aside from Mr. HalfFull:  what the heck is busk???  According to dictionary.com:  “to entertain by dancing, singing, or reciting on the street or in a public place.”]

Mr. HalfFull scales castle gate @ Medieval Times

Mr. HalfFull scales castle gate @ Medieval Times

Amazingly, the free event had free food and an open bar!  While we were enjoying our hors d’œuvres and drinks and waiting for the presentation to begin, we noticed the flyer rack at the hostel and had to laugh.  It lauded such attractions as Medieval Times, Calvert County, Natural Bridge, and Leesburg Outlets.  Is this the best that Western civilization has to offer?  Are these really the top advertisements for people visiting our nation’s capital???  None of these gems are even in Washington, DC!  In fact, they’re all a 1-4 hour drive outside the city.

Let’s consider the actual attractions.  Medieval Times is a fake castle in a shopping mall in the suburbs of Baltimore for children’s birthday parties and drunk adults eating without utensils.  See, it’s possible to learn historical facts, while being cultured!  Mr. HalfFull may or may not have thoroughly enjoyed this event for his 39th birthday.

Mr. HalfFull with cowboy riding dinosaur @ Natural Bridge Visitor Center

Mr. HalfFull with cowboy riding dinosaur @ Natural Bridge Visitor Center

What about Natural Bridge?  It’s almost 4 hours away in Virginia!  We’ve been there.  Well, not exactly all the way to the bridge.  Upon arriving at the visitor center, you are greeted by a cowboy riding a dinosaur out front.  You think I’m kidding?  See photo at left.  How’s that for historical accuracy?  We have renamed it the “unnatural bridge” based on the statue and were a bit turned off by the visitor center and $20 ride to see the actual bridge.  This was a good reminder for our 30/40 World Tour:  don’t put too much stock in the flyer rack.

It turned out to be a lucky night for me!  I won a super soft American Apparel t-shirt for being one of the first registrants.  Then my raffle ticket was drawn and I picked The Lost Girls: Three Friends. Four Continents. One Unconventional Detour Around the World as my prize.  The three Lost Girls were speakers at the event and graciously signed my book!

When I was talking to Lost Girl Amanda Pressner after the event, she asked about my blog.  I sheepishly told her that it was only a week old, said it’s called Half Empty for Now, and explained that I am Ms. HalfEmpty and my husband is Mr. HalfFull.  She immediately responded, “Oh so you’re trying to see things from his point of view.”  Exactly!  I loved that she got it immediately and it made me feel good about the concept and naming.

The Lost Girls book cover

My impetus for travel is very similar to The Lost Girls.  Perhaps I am a lost girl too.  I’ve only read a tiny part of their book, and already it resonates with me.  The Lost Girls

shared the desire to take a giant step away from our goal-oriented worlds to get a better sense of who we were — and what we really wanted from our lives.  Up until then, we’d successfully hit the milestones that are supposed to give young women a sense of purpose:  Moving away from Mom and Dad.  Graduating from college.  Getting our first jobs.  Falling in love. …we all wondered:  Were the paths that we were heading down the right ones for us — or were we simply staying the course because we thought we should?

After the travel event, Mr. HalfFull and I tried to get a table for dinner at Brasserie Beck, but they were booked.  Disappointedly, we walked toward the Metro and spotted Point Chaud Café and Crêpes.  J’adore crêpes!  We split one savory and one sweet crêpe to top off a wonderfully half full night.  [Mr. HalfFull saw my notes for this post where I had written “crêpes (half full)” and commented that he thought the crêpes were very full and generously stuffed…haha!]

  • Did dinosaurs and cowboys really exist at the same time?
  • What type of flyers would you put in a DC hostel?
  • Do you prefer sweet or savory crêpes?
  • Are you a lost girl/boy?

 

Ms. HalfEmpty is a 30-something introverted realist, perhaps a pessimist. But she’s trying to see the world half full on halfempty4now.com, which she started in February 2011. Her worldview may not be all bad, as it probably helps keep her husband, Mr. HalfFull, grounded and out of trouble!

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