Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Hunger is Over

Dave here.....
A few months ago Holly was reading The Hunger Games trilogy. She could not stop talking about the books. I'd say a minor obsession formed. I wasn't sure I had any interest. I had pegged them as some form of Harry Potter look-alike so I had no interest.
Last month we went to the movies to see Beauty and the Beast 3D (yes we do own the DVD) and they played a trailer for The Hunger Games movie. It looked kinda interesting to me. So a few weeks ago, while on vacation, she convinced me to give the first book a try.
Hate to say it, I....was....hooked! I read on the train to/from work (usually I Facebook, work, blog, or play Where's My Water). I even read in bed one night. Holly kept my enthusiasm up by asking for updates.
Without giving anything away i'd say the series is a mix of Star Wars' war theme with Twilight's love triangle with Lord of the Flies "end of innocence" theme with Highlander's "there can be only one" theme.
Yesterday I finished Mockingjay. Great ending. I wish there was more to read. There, I said it. I'm looking forward to a "popcorn for dinner" night at the movies in a month when I can see The Hunger Games brought to the big screen.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Making Jost Van Dyke Ugly

A few months ago we posted how much Dave loves to use his iPhone/iPad to make photos artsy (ugly).   He did this in Colorado and on last year's Jost Van Dyke vacation.  This year on JVD was no exception.  Here's a sample of some "artsy" photos and the apps that made them:


Dave used Picframe to assemble the same pics of the mantis in the frames.  Snapseed helped to create the grunge images on the right.
Used Snapseed to slightly blur the edges on this one.

 Monet Monet

Used Mobile Monet to turn this into a water color

 Photo Toaster Jr

Toaster is a good overall editor to adjust colors and lomography effects.  Snapseed also applies effects, but is also a good basic editor that includes cropping, sharpening, ad selective adjustment.  Sometime Dave will process in Snapseed, then send through Toaster.


One of the best for lomo and tilt-shift. Easy to use, posts to your own page on Instagram plus integrates with main social media sites.

 Mixed Media


Any other good apps out there?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Up and Over

We've been vacationing on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands for a few years.   There are beautiful beaches, great restaurants, and friends that welcome us back every year.  There are hills too.  This tiny island, with a population around 200, requires visitors to navigate up and down hills by foot or car.   The other option is to boat around them.
There are two roads that lead into White Bay (the beach area).  The main road is paved, has some huge hills, and is well lit.  This is part of the JVD 5K course.  
The other road cuts steeply up from sea-level and is partly-paved.   For some unknown reason this year, we decided to walk to Great Harbour (town) on this road.   Leaving early was the key to fight off some added degrees.

The first part of the road was paved concrete and felt like we were climbing a 60 degree slope.   Probably not that bad, but it did require a couple of stops.   We marked break points by telephone poles.  BTW we stay in the little house in the top-center of this photo.
We found a house at the top of this hill and a sharp-right turn leading to another hill.   This is where the dirt and rock portion started.

A few more start-stops and we got this view of Tobago Island and the back-side of Jost Van Dyke.  Next, time for some more hills.

The pattern of walk-stop continued for some time.   The least rewarding part of the experience was the over-growth at the highest point, around 700 ft.  Dave was really hoping for a panoramic photo opp.
When we got to the start of the down hill portion, we had a little fear we missed the turnoff for Great Harbour.  Going back was not something we would look forward to.   We also didn't want to climb that big hill on the left in this photo.
Luckily, we did not miss the path and the rest of the trip was downhill.   There were places where walking down was treacherous because of erosion and washouts.  Lots of big rocks in one portion.

 Finally, Great Harbour came into view.

Here's the hill as seen from town.   We took the main road back - by cab.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The winner of the 3rd Annual Jost Van Dyke Invitational 5K is......


Big Event Today

Team Tizzel is on holiday in The British Virgin Islands.   We've been here before and have made many good friends over the years.  In 2010, our friend Dan was running The Boston Marathon.   Holly thought it would be fun to give him some training incentive while on vacation.  That was the birth of the Jost Van Dyke Invitational 5K.  
There are two people in the race:  Holly and Dan.   Dave is the Race Director.   There are race shirts, flyers, registration forms, race fee, medals, and this year some sponsor gifts.
Dan won in 2010.  Holly won in 2011.   The race is on right now.....
Videos from past races:

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

This is Reggae!

We love Jamaica!  It's a beautiful country with great beaches, delicious food, friendly people, and excellent music.  Jamaican music is played alot around our house and we thought we'd share a few videos from some current artists.   A good place to explore more is

Before moving on we’d like to tell the world that Jimmy Cliff is not dead.  A few years ago Dave noticed that a Jamaican hotel book (one where they highlight excursions, restaurants, and shopping) stated Jimmy Cliff was dead.   James Patterson also mentioned in an Alex Cross book that Alex was listening to: “the late, great Jimmy Cliff”.  Dave wrote both parties correcting them, and only the hotel book publisher wrote back.

Beres Hammond is a favorite in our house 

Tarrus Riley

Dave loves a good reggae cover song. Here's Da'ville singing Bryan Adams' Heaven (audio only)

In 2010 reggae legend Gregory Iaacs passed away.  Gyptian made this contribution to the tribute album (audio only)

Some reggae videos give you insight into everyday life in Jamaica.   Perfect's Hand Cart Boy is one of those videos (and also Dave's generic caller ringtone)

For more reggae check out itunes,, or