Spent Saturday gazing at the beautiful hot air balloons in Pennsylvania. It was a wonderful time and there must’ve been over 1,000 people there enjoying them too. Tomorrow is another great excursion and I can’t wait to show you where I’m going next! Stay tuned!
Blogger’s Note: I originally wrote this blog called “City of Darkness” on November 15th, 2011 after randomly coming across this interesting city. I wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested in it, so I procrastinated about publishing it. However, I’ll still post this because it is something I had never heard about and I think it’s good to know what life was like in “The City of Darkness”. I included a video in this post, but the complete documentary videos can be found on YouTube. People who thirst for interesting facts from around the world will appreciate this, just like me. I was just so fascinated by this story, I had to share.
My computer has been acting up lately, so when it’s not acting stubborn, I come online and check mail. I hope everyone had a wonderful New Years! I’ve been sick with a bad cold and cough, but am feeling much better now. This wasn’t exactly how I wanted to spend my 2 week vacation being sick and with a fever, but it is better then working and being sick. I’m already planning on things to do this Spring and even planning a vacation. I saw a great price for a cruise to Bermuda and am hoping I will be able to go on it.
Other than that, I’m determined to read more this year. Right now, I reading a novel considered one of the hardest literatures to understand called “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand. I like to challenge my mind and thoughts now and then. The “Forward” of the book was very interesting in analyzing the author and to read some of her journal entries. I understand what she was saying, even though she tended to repeat or even “clarify” her thoughts on paper numerous times which drove me crazy. I could write a whole essay on her just by what I gathered on her thoughts by the forward. The reason why I can understand her way of thinking is because she uses analogies and creates with her words just as an artist or photographer emotes their “reality” by what they write, paint or photograph. Does that make sense? I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the novel. I thought it appropriate to read this book in times that we are living in relations to how the world functions and all the “movers and shakers” within the circling society in this world of motion. Then to balance intellectuality to watching total stupidity (you have to have balance), I thought it would be random to watch “The Bachelor”. They have a lot of crazies on there and it’s so obvious the producers force the bachelor to leave the psychos on there. Nevertheless, a new show I like now is called “The Layover” on the Travel Channel—-love that show! Ok. Enough of a quick update on my life. Hope everyone is doing ok. I’ll be back soon!
I saw a documentary last night that just blew my mind. You know how most documentaries are raw and show you things that you can’t believe happens? Well, this one blew all other documentaries of living conditions out of the water.
Welcome to the Walled City of Kowloon in Hong Kong. I never knew about this city until yesterday. Even in High School, I never had to study about it. I’m not going to write an essay tonight about this unique community city, but if you ever get a chance, google it.
A quick synopsis of this community once known as the “City of Darkness”. Once considered as the world’s most densely populated place on earth, it no longer exists after April 1994 when it was torn down. When the Walled City of Howloon did exist, it was inhabited by thousands of residents all packed together in an extremely tight space. The city itself was once a military fort.
What I’m still trying to wrap my mind around was the living conditions of the residents. If you take some time to watch the video I include at the bottom, you will understand what I mean. The residents lived in a community where there were no laws. Senior citizens who lived at the 10th floor had to walk up 10 flights of stairs several times a day. If you a “rich” tenant, you were able to tap into the main water pipe, however; if you were not rich you had to walk down to the main water pipe to get your water on a daily basis. The apartments were built on top of each other with no regards to building laws. For all the 50,000 residents, there was one noodle factory (with three workers) and one weaving mill to name just a few businesses. Some of the apartments were built so close together, the tenants never saw light unless they walk through mazes and mazes of allies. If you can imagine Gotham City, this is it. The residents complained of constant water dripping from everywhere. If you lived in an apartment, there was a very good chance you would live with water running down your walls or from the ceiling. The mold situation and closed rooms that had absolute no ventilation must have wreaked havoc on the lungs and immune system. One Social Worker who lived there said she never knew what time of day it was because she never saw the sun from her apartment. Despite the incredible living conditions of the residents, they were hard workers (it was typical to work 12 hours a day 7 days a week) and passed this down to many generations who ended up living in their ancestor’s residence.
I’ve lived in Brazil and have seen Favelas in Rio, but even their living conditions were much better compared to what I saw in the documentary of the Walled City of Kowloon. This documentary has haunted me in my mind of how people could live because they had nowhere else to go. You could find remote villages in the desert, jungle and caves, but they at least had sunshine. Imagine living in the dark all the time?
This city does not exist anymore and a park has been put in place of where the city once stood. Many still have good memories of the place while others say it was their worst nightmare. There are many books out that talk about this city that society has forgotten. People who have heard about this place and looked at the photographs come away with a new appreciation of the animalistic way of living these people had to live just to survive.
The 4 part video below is in German with English subtitles. The last part of the video does not include subtitles so I have no idea what they are saying. If you can understand German, please leave a synopsis of what the last video talked about. That would help me and others a lot more in understanding this city. Please let me know what you think of the documentary. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Video credit goes to Tuschan168. It is there you can see the rest of the documentary.
First and foremost, I just want to welcome my latest subscribers to my little land of blogging. I do check each and every subscriber I have, just to make sure none of them are spammers. A special hello to my faithful readers from around the world who always take a peek to my blog to see if I posted anything. I’ve not posted as much this month because I’ve been sick most of December. Just when I got over my last cold, I was slammed with another one, hence the random postings here and there. Welcome to my 145th blog post of 2011.
I began blogging back in March of this year to mostly document my life and world events that might affect my life as it may be. I’ve learned from other successful bloggers what to post and what not to post. I’ve also learned that it’s ok to post an indepth blog about feelings once in a while and allow complete strangers to read my very personal thoughts. I’m a private person to begin with and have the ability to write personable without really getting personal, but once in a while, I just can’t help it and I wear my heart on my sleeves. Thank you for understanding and letting me open my heart just a little more.
It hasn’t been quite a year yet of blogging, but for now, allow me to show you some interesting facts and personal thoughts regarding stats and blogs I’ve written during the year 2011.
If you are a WordPress blogger, you’ll understand these stats:
Top Referral: Google
My top blog post: Fun with Farside with 17,918 views to just this blog post and counting. This comic strip is well loved all over the world. It’s just fun to read comics that meshes well with my warped sense of humor.
Most searched terms (that would bring readers to my blog): The Far Side
Blog with most comments: What does this one mean? It means a lot that people commented on this one as it was a blog dear to my heart.
Now on to my personal thoughts and opinions of my own blogs.
Blogs I wish got more attention:
Two countries and one roll of film
Blogs I was surprised got attention:
The Way Back Movie Review
Where's the door to the underworld? (I like this blog, but is my least favorite because I wrote it on a whim.)
2 Blogs I got really fired up about:
Hater and Bullies
3 Blogs that were emotional to write:
Fathers be good to your daughers
Blogs with stunning photographs:
Jason Taylor's Underwater Sculptures
Blogs that took time because I had to research them first:
A blog I wish Dick van Dyke would read!
How my love for….
A blog I was overly excited about and took my time to write:
Dreaming of Mont Saint Michel
My favorite blog because I am in love with this man:
Blog I’m working on right now: City of Darkness (this is a very interesting blog)
Ok. So there you have it! Just a few blogs I picked that maybe you haven’t read yet. Hope everyone has a great New Year’s Eve. Be safe. Don’t get too crazy. For my readers as far as New Zealand Happy New Year! 2012 is just around the corner and I’m looking forward to a fresh New Year with my new WordPress friends! See you all next year!
This song and blog is dedicated to all my American soldiers who are fighting to protect our freedom here and overseas. Thank you to all who serve us here in the United States. I know you miss your family and loved ones during this special season. Merry Christmas to you and I hope you all make it safe back home for Christmas or as soon as you can.
A Soldier’s Silent Night
TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, HE LIVED ALL ALONE,
IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE MADE OF PLASTER AND STONE.
I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE,
AND TO SEE JUST WHO IN THIS HOME DID LIVE.
I LOOKED ALL ABOUT, A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE,
NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS, NOT EVEN A TREE.
NO STOCKING BY MANTLE, JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.
WITH MEDALS AND BADGES, AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBER THOUGHT CAME THROUGH MY MIND.
FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT, IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,
I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER, ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.
THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING, SILENT, ALONE,
CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.
THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE, THE ROOM IN SUCH DISORDER,
NOT HOW I PICTURED A UNITED STATES SOLDIER.
WAS THIS THE HERO OF WHOM I’D JUST READ?
CURLED UP ON A PONCHO, THE FLOOR FOR A BED?
I REALIZED THE FAMILIES THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,
OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.
SOON ROUND THE WORLD, THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,
AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.
THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,
BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS, LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.
I COULDN’T HELP WONDER HOW MANY LAY ALONE,
ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.
THE VERY THOUGHT BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE,
I DROPPED TO MY KNEES AND STARTED TO CRY;
THE SOLDIER AWAKENED AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,
“SANTA DON’T CRY, THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE;
I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM, I DON’T ASK FOR MORE,
MY LIFE IS MY GOD, MY COUNTRY, MY CORPS.”
THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
I COULDN’T CONTROL IT, I CONTINUED TO WEEP.
I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS, SO SILENT AND STILL
AND WE BOTH SHIVERED FROM THE COLD NIGHT’S CHILL.
I DIDN’T WANT TO LEAVE ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT,
THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR SO WILLING TO FIGHT.
THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER, WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
WHISPERED, “CARRY ON SANTA, IT’S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE.”
ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH, AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT.
“MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT.”
Photo credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Sarah E. Bitter
For this fun and wintery dessert, you’ll need the following:
White icing (for the “snow” and to hold the hat together)
Large marshmallows (for body and head)
Pretzel sticks (for the arms and to hold the body and head together)
Decorators’ gel or chocolate jimmies (to make the eyes and mouth)
Orange slice candy (for the nose)
Miniature Reece’s Pieces (upper part of hat)
Patty Mints (bottom part of hat)
Fruit rollup or a stretchy candy (scarf)
Decorative snowflakes (optional)
On the wax paper, smash a big marshmellow for the body.
Connect the smashed bottom marshmellow body to another marshmellow that will be the head.
Push the pretzel stick holding the head and body into the cupcake so that it stands on top of the cupcake.
Decorate the cupcake with white icing. Decorative snowflakes are optional. I just happened to have them around in my cupboard so I sprinkled a few on there.
If you have Fruit rollups, you can cut them in long strips and add some fringes like I did. I had more fun making the fridges as it added character to my snowman. I could not find any Fruit rollups, so I just used Airheads and it worked just as well.
With the orange candy slices, cut very small strips shaped as a carrot for the nose. Use a toothpick to poke a hole to stick the orange candy slice in the marshmellow. Doing this procedure will make you feel like a surgeon, so be very careful as this is a delicate food procedure. Any wrong movement will make the nose crooked and you will most likely be sued by the snowman upon waking up and seeing himself.
For the eyes and buttons, you can use food decorative gel. I didn’t have any, so I used chocolate Jimmies.
Next using the pretzel sticks, carefully stab the side of the marshmellow. This will be your arms. You might hear a scream coming from the snowman, but he’ll be ok.
For the hat, use the mint patty for the bottom of the hat and miniature Reeses to add to the top. With a little dab of white icing, use it to hold the top half to the bottom half. Allow to set for a few minutes.
Finally, add the scarf around the snowman’s neck and you’re done! I later put the buttons on my little snowman with the Jimmies. This is a fun little activity to do with family, friends or little ones. Hope you’re having fun cooking up delicious recipes and enjoying baking fun Christmas desserts. I’ll be back with two more recipes for the Christmas, so be on the lookout for that. I tried to finish this before midnight, but it took me longer than I initially thought with all the uploading and editing.
Until next time! xoxo
Tonight I was decorating my tree with my mom. She was kind enough to stop over and make cream of chicken and hang out for a while. As we were putting the ornaments on the tree, my mom would tell me about each one along with some funny stories. Sometime around the age of 23, my mom stopped giving me ornaments. Maybe I said I was “too old” to keep getting ornaments, but I haven’t gotten any since then. Perhaps we shall start that again. I think ornaments still can remind me of something about that particular year that made an impression that can be hung on the tree at the end of the year for me to remember years from now. In no particular order, here are a few I’ll share with you.
“The Baby Carriage”: This one was presented to me when I was 12, my last year as a child before becoming a teenager. Yes, it’s a baby carriage, but I’ll always be my mom’s baby in her eyes.
“Musical Notes“: I was 11 years old and loved playing the flute, hence the musical notes. I’m quite fond of this one. A pot of gold to whoever can tell me what song it is!
“Sweet 16“: This one was for being sweet and 16. At this age, I was still a little shy around guys I liked. Whispering to all my friends who I had a crush on was a favorite past time. Good times.
“Santa Rabbit“: I was 7 years old and check out the buck teeth on this rabbit! I’m not sure why I got the rabbit, but I might have gone through wanting to own a rabbit as some young girls do. I love how vintage he looks. That one ear has seen better days, but it does give it character.
“Hanging Drops“: These drops are so pretty. My mom and I both admired them as we put them on. There weren’t given to me during one of my years, but I just wanted to include them. If they were to be given a meaning, I’d say they represent tears of joy to tears of gladness. They will remind me of my visit to the new September 11th Memorial and Museum I went to in October.
“The Horn“: I just wanted to include this one with the rest of the pictures. I really like having musical instruments on my tree.
“The Little Drum“: Sweet.
“Glitter Snowflake“: I was 10 years old when this was given to me. I believe I had spent that year in the United States and enjoyed playing in the snow as most Brazilian girls would after spending endless days sunbathing on a paradise beach all her life. Each snowflake is unique and special just like all of my friends on here.
Hope everyone has a great time decorating their tree this year! I’ll be back with more pictures from this weekend as I have some special plans that I want to share with you.
In celebrating the last day of November 2011, I wanted to introduce you to a very special man who I admire. His name is Edward James. I’ve known about Edward for several years now since I love the unique artists of the world and was immediately gravitated to him. As you may know, I love surreal art and especially sculptures. Edward was even friends with one of my other favorite artist, Salvador Dali. When sculptures and garden are combined, it does wonders to one’s imagination. Gardens represent a place to reflect, walk around or just be one with nature. Edward James was able to create a dream garden that was expelled from his imagination in the deep jungles of Mexico which is now called “Las Pozas”. It is here that he felt at peace and tranquility from the hurried life of the outside world. Edward James was able to walk around his massive garden and enjoy the waterfalls and pools in his compound. Neighbors were allowed to come in and splash around in the pool with the “big eye”. If you have never heard of him, I would suggest reading up on his interesting and eccentric life and watch one of his documentaries of his garden. I’m still so fascinated by his works of art and his love for nature. Most of his work reminds of scenes from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But as nature has it, it consumes whatever gets in her way. If his garden is not taken care of, the jungle that has so gently nestled his artwork will disappear into the heart of the Mexican jungle. A man after my own heart; I would have loved to talk poetry, art and nature with him. I leave you with this poem he wrote.
I have seen such beauty as one man has seldom seen;
therefore will I be grateful to die in this little room,
surrounded by the forests, the great green gloom
of trees my only gloom – and the sound, the sound of green.
Here amid the warmth of the rain, what might have been
is resolved into the tenderness of a tall doom
who says: ‘You did your best, rest’ – and after you the bloom
of what you loved and planted still will whisper what you mean.
And the ghosts of the birds I loved, will attend me each a friend;
like them shall I have flown beyond the realm of words.
You, through the trees, shall hear them, long after the end
calling me beyond the river. For the cries of birds
continue, as – defended by the cortege of their wings –
my soul among strange silences yet sings.
—Edward James, Poet 1907 – 1984
Scott from WordPress suggested to the bloggers who receive the PostaDay2011 emails to write about any
secret unusual structures from around the world or the recent design discovered in the remote area of China. I chose China. We were told to write whatever we thought about the structure we had chosen be it funny, serious or conspiracy theories.
Here are some of my theories. Do not take these seriously. It’s late at night and I know some people out there will actually believe what I think about them.
1. I think maybe perhaps it’s vaguely similar to our streets in Washington, D.C.
2. They may have halls underneath those white lines of streets and they practice walking daily blindfolded of how to move around those “streets” even in the dark.
3. They are hallways (not dark) 50 feet below ground level where there are offices and whatever else.
4. They are tunnels with small subways at some parts to transport workers from one area to the next.
5. The top design is just a decoy. I mean, come on. It’s so stark obvious with a design seen from space. Sheesh.
6. No, it’s not something for aliens to read when they are bored from their spacecraft. Really? Shakes my head.
7. I think it’s their version of our Area 51.
8. If you look at the design, turn it left, turn it upside down and make a 3 dimensional picture of it, then I’d be impressed.
9. It’s a Sudoku game gone horribly wrong.
10. Those two v shaped lines on the left are airstrips. A plane can easily land and then make a few turns and park itself in a big space made just for planes.
So, there you have it. Just some ideas thrown out there. There are many more posts written about this curious place on the internet and definately more thought provoking, but this is just a quick random blog.
So what do YOU think? Any other ideas I might have missed? I’m curious to know from all my imaginative blog readers out there!
Take care and hope you find a curious place in this world that makes you scratch your head.
Until next time!
Saturday my mom and I (with others) went up to the Delaware Water Gap in North Jersey. Basically, it’s a mountain ridge where a river runs through two mountains. 90% of all Autumn leaves had fallen off their branches, but I was able to find one tree still showing off (A Love Letter to Autumn). We took some time to overlook the valley below and enjoy the scenery before continuing on.
Along the way we stopped to look at “Indian Head”. When I took this picture, I thought I saw it. According to what I saw it appears to be two sunken eye sockets, a nose and pursed lips. However; upon researching other pictures of “Indian Head”, my view of the landmark was way off. Apparently, if I had just moved 200 meters more to the right, I would have had a better shot of the “Indian Head” formation from the rock ridge. The profile is small and is at the very top of the mountain. If you look closely, you can see the forehead, nose and chin. But I still my version of the angled “Indian Head” is easier to see. While editing this photo, I came across a very weird thing. If you look at my logo below “JavaGirl’s Life Photography”, between the “s” and “l”, run your finger up towards two green trees. Between the two trees and a rock, it appears to be a man wearing a white t-shirt and standing there looking straight at the camera. Maybe it’s just my wild imagination. Upon further investigation, I zoomed into my picture and the pixels didn’t really show a human, but more of a series of white rocks with brown things around it making it appear to look like a man standing there.
We stopped along the way and decided to overlook down at the beach where the river was. There was a very steep set of stairs leading down to the beach. One wrong mistep and I would have tumbled down at a faster rate than I would have wanted into the sandy beach below.
Once safely below with the soft sand, I was able to look around. I took this picture, but it still does not show the beauty of it. Since I like making my photos with a bit of vintage feel, this photo makes the beach from a time long ago, even though it was taken Saturday. The water was still, but deceiving. There was a huge sign before the steeps stairs that said “no swimming across the river”. To me, it looked innocent enough, but there is a strong current underneath the calm waters. I know why they put the sign there. Being there on the beach with the beautiful sky above, the wind rustling the tree branches and the echo of your voice in the mountains, one can only imagine wading through the river to the other side. The place is very enchanging in an almost hypnotic way. I like this photo because of the way the Fall leaves go from dry land to being submerged in the water. I just like that for some reason.
For lunch, we stopped at the cutest little farmer’s bakery in the small and rustic village in the mountains.
It’s getting to look a lot like Christmas.
They have the best grilled cheese sandwich I’ve ever tasted! I am definately coming back there to have it again. They are known for their pies as you can see. The entire store is full of delicious pies, cookies, candy and artwork. You can even watch them make the pies in front of you. I love the feeling of authenticity of a small village when I walked in.
After wolfing down our lunch, we didn’t have much time to see the waterfalls, so we rushed to make it in time to see the wolves at Lakota Wold Preserve.
There must have been about 80 people there for the afternoon visiting session. Due to strict rules, my mom had to stay behind with her dog along the side road. Dogs are not allowed in the wolf premises even though the wolves are a mile away. Once on the bus, we rode (one mile into the mountains) on a very bumpy road much reminiscent of the ride I took down at the animal safari in Animal Kindgom. Once there, we got out and handed our tickets to the lady at the entrance. It was fun to see the wolves waiting for us as the rest of the crowd oooh’ed and ahhh’ed at their mere sight. Here is one of them being a bit shy.
This wolf was waiting for her dinner. They are such beautiful creatures. Sorry about the cage fence. If I had taken photos without any fence in the picture, I would have had to pay $250 dollars for a one hour photo session minus the fence. Nevertheless, the picture still came out alright. There were also foxes and bobcats at another area of the property. The information the caretakers told us about the animals there was extremely informative and interesting. Most of the animals there were “pets” that people had but couldn’t take care of them anymore. Lakota Preserve does a lot to help these wolves, bobcats and foxes. All animals are seen by the vet, take their vitamins, are given healthy “fun” food (much like our pizza nights) on Fridays and rotate their cages so they don’t get bored.
By the time the wolf session was over, the sun had almost disappeared into the mountain side and it was getting dark. We returned back to the cute mountain farmer’s bakery and I got myself a delicious Shepard’s Pie which was perfect for a cold night up in the mountains. We packed up and got back on the road for our long drive back home. I will return once summer rolls around to see the mountains in full greenery. There are lots of hiking trails and waterfalls nestled in the mountains to check out, we just ran out of time. I feel the yearning to return once again to the Delaware Water Gap park. Below is the video of our short trip. Hope everyone had a nice weekend!
Haha! Yeah right.
Looks innocent enough, right? Ordinary pool. But wait. It’s not. If you want to dive into this pool, you better know how to swim and I mean, really swim. Or you’ll have a very, very, very long journey to the bottom of the pool.
Welcome to the World’s Deepest Pool!
This pool is located in Belgium in a diving center called Nemo 33. There are several depths ranging from 16 feet, 32 feet and a sudden drop to 108 feet. If you feel adventurous enough in your scuba gear, there are areas in the pool that can feel like you are exploring a cave minus the rocky terrain. The non-chlorinated water is constantly warm at 86 F for your comfort. There’s even areas at different levels in the pool where you can watch from a window your friends swim in the deep waters.
I’m a former lifeguard and when I was training to be one, I had to do a bottom floor test rescue with my orange tube. This test rescue was part of many for the final physical test of being certified. I was also being tested to become a “non-surf” lifeguard which meant I could lifeguard at a bay or lake. My teacher suggested going all the way and becoming an ocean lifeguard, but I said battling sharks and strong rip currents was not my thing. Anyways, so my teacher picked the tallest (and heaviest) guy in the class for me to “rescue” at the bottom of the pool. We all went to the deepest part of the pool and I had to perform my rescue in front of everyone. Luckily, I “saved” my classmate and I went on to become a bonafide lifeguard. I’m just staring at the last picture and thinking how insanely deep it is. I think I’ll just stick to my local YMCA if I want to learn scuba diving.