a TigerRAWk Film

Friday, March 8, 2019

A Shared Life: Elphie & Joel's Eurotrip 2018


This project is the video documentation of the trip to Europe that Elphie and I went on in May 2018. We planned the trip around an event in Leipzig, Germany that Elphie really wanted to go to called Wave Gotik Treffen. We planned out a trip that included several other stops around the continent in England, Sweden, Denmark, France, Switzerland, Germany, and Iceland. Elphie's friend Mel lives in Switzerland so we planned for the trip to include a visit with her and ultimately worked out that she could come to Wave Gotik Treffen with us. If I am remembering correctly, the vacation time she could take was in the week before Wave Gothik Treffen and dictated the rest of the planning of our trip. Sweden and Denmark were added in as part of the trip so that I could visit the places of my heritage. We added England so that we could visit with our friend Dougle and he was able to take some time off of work as well to spend with us. France was sort of an accident as the airport we flew into to go to Switzerland happened to be in France but we also were able go to a spot where Germany, France and Switzerland all meet. We had hopes of spending a day in Reyjavik, Iceland on our way home...maybe even a night but that wasn't in the cards for us. After the trip and a day to recover, we then drove to North Carolina over the weekend to see Elphie's niece get married then we returned to Chicago on Memorial Day to bring this trip to an exhausting end...it was all worth it though!


Last year, when working on the video project for the road trip Elphie and I took through the Northeast in 2017, I wanted to make an animated map to show where we were going so I researched at the time how to do a very basic animation. I took what I had learned before and tried to up my game a little bit on this end so I also added in images of the various modes of transportation that we used to follow the dotted lines to our destinations. I also tried some other effects to show movement from one spot to the next and zooming in and out of the map areas. I think that I made some progress in regards to this form of animation but I know that there will always be room for improvement. Along with maps showing movement from one place to another, I made one full map version which shows the trip in its entirety for an "opening credits" sequence that is also part of the teaser trailer linked above. Elphie had written a summary of the trip that included her highlights and favorite pictures we had taken so I thought I would integrate this into the opening credits and teaser as well. The idea I had was to make it look like the pictures were being dropped or dealt in like cards so I did my best to create that sort of an effect. I put the flags of the nations we visited in the background then wanted to add in one more shot of the flags changing quickly at the end. I put several hours into creating the maps and other title related clips over a period of a week or so in late January 2019. All this was done using Motion 4 which is part of the Final Cut Pro package. I had to use it on my Macbook due to an update rendering Motion 4 incompatible with the operating system on my Mac Mini.

I wanted to wait until I was close to finishing the project as a whole to release my idea of a teaser trailer. I waited in part because I was trying to determine some of the soundtrack and what would fit into the teaser trailer and I ended up going with "Trans Europe Express" by Kraftwerk with the traveling theme to Europe. The decision on text effects on fonts were made collaboratively with Elphie.

Part 1: Packing, Opening Credits, Leaving Chicago For The United Kingdom (O'Hare to Gatwick Airport); Swindon and Oxford, England; Oxford To London To Stansted Airport (May 3 - 7, 2018)

https://youtu.be/DNlGsBIUvgY
(or try this link if YouTube blocks you:  https://drive.google.com/open?id=1PSoK99R7AF-78DcAQa65gaHjynxfYLpl)
Though Elphie and I had been preparing quite a bit before this, on Thursday May 3rd, 2018 we began our final packing for our trip to Europe. Stein was in the middle of everything as we packed and decided to sit in our luggage before we closed it up. I decided to put this first before the opening credit titles which are the same clips I used in the teaser trailer. I used "Trans Europe Express" by Kraftwerk as the soundtrack again which continued into the footage from May 5th. It seemed appropriate with the traveling to Europe though the song seems to be more about train travel and set more in the central regions of Europe than flying over to Europe.

On Friday May 4th, 2018 we boarded our flight on Norwegian Airlines for our overnight trip to England. I worked during the day so I documented my commute into work and then from work to O'Hare Airport. I animated a map to show the general idea of the commute as well. I also animated a map of our flight to England. Elphie arrived at the airport before I did and we both got through the security checkpoints without much difficulty. The flight was in the mid evening. I wasn't too hungry at that point but Elphie got something to eat before we boarded in case the on-flight meal didn't satisfy her. Of the entire trip, I felt Norwegian Airlines was the best service we had. I thought that the meals we were provided were good, it was a mostly comfortable experience, and there were screens to watch things on the back of the seat in front of us. I watched through a couple movies...I found the language edits to be funny. I tried to sleep but struggled to really rest much.

We arrived at London Gatwick Airport on Saturday May 5th, 2018. From there, we passed through customs after a few questions and really no difficulty at all, then found our luggage, then found our way out of the airport to the proper area so that we could board a Megabus and make our way toward Swindon. It was on the bus that I was able to get some sleep. We had to switch buses somewhere along the way. We arrived in Swindon and met our good friend and host, Dougle McMysteron, then took a cab to where he lived and met his roommate and our co-host, John Derry, who made us some nice coffee. We found out that John Derry had become associated with Tommy Green and Revolution Reality ministry which is pretty cool. We didn't do too much this day but we did take a walk through a park to a grocery store to get some dinner and hung with Dougle at his home the rest of the evening.

We slept in fairly late on Sunday May 6th, 2018 so we missed out on some sight-seeing that Dougle had in mind but we went to the Derry family's residence and had a barbecue with the family. We also got to check out the nearby Barbury Castle, thanks to Chris Derry. This was an old medieval fort built on a hill using the natural elements of the hill itself. Dougle pointed out the change in the color of the grass as where the natural hillside becomes man made. There are no longer any buildings and it is basically just a mound now along an ancient footpath but it was cool to see. We also encountered a little bit of livestock and both Dougle and Chris told us about this area and some nearby sites that we unfortunately would not get to. That evening we went to a rave in Swindon at Boston Brothers. John Derry had been getting himself involved in that scene and his brother also has been part of the scene for a while. Elphie was excited about this opportunity so we went along with them. It was interesting. I noticed a young guy who had been asked to leave attempt several times to get back in which was amusing. Afterwards, we ate Kebabs from Korkys. Apparently I ate too much at the barbecue as I could not finish my Kebab so I gave what I had left to a guy who was living on the street nearby. This was about the only encounter we had with homeless folks during this trip. It seems to not be a big problem in most of Europe because of differing views on housing than in the United States of America. Because we are in the United Kingdom, I added "Anarchy in the UK" by The Sex Pistols into the soundtrack...I had to.

On Monday May 7th, 2018 there was bank holiday being celebrated in the United Kingdom. We got up early and had breakfast at Sir Daniel's Arms before boarding a bus toward Oxford. Elphie had an English breakfast while I stuck to what I know by having an American breakfast. I animated maps for the traveling we would do on this day by bus. We passed through the Magic Roundabout on our way out of Swindon which we had hoped to experience after seeing it listed on Atlas Obscura. John explained how it does work more efficiently despite the appearance of chaos. Dougle pointed out to us the thatch roofs on some houses along the way. We did not consult Atlas Obscura before we went to Oxford, but in looking back, we found that we did see a number of sites listed including the Saxon Tower at St. Michael at the North Gate.  We stopped by Ashmolean Museum to drop our belongings on a locker. While in there, we watched John and Dougle play a game. We made our way through Oxford and the colleges of the University seeing Another Time II and the Sheldonian Theatre as we went along our way. We made a  stop to get coffee at Colombia Coffeee Roasters. As we continued, we checked out All Souls College before heading over to the Magdelen College. With the religious imagery and names of the colleges, I felt the song "Release" by Afro-Celt Sound System featuring Sinead O'Connor seemed appropriate. The stop at Magdalen College allowed us to see the Addison's Walk where J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis debated Christianity and ultimately led to the acceptance of the faith by C. S. Lewis. We had to hustle back to the Ashmolean to gather our belongings after this then we went to the Eagle and Child pub to sit and cool off for a bit. We sat in the front room of this pub where the Inklings would meet regularly. As we left the Eagle and Child we passed the Pusey House which we documented because we found it funny. We also encountered a telephone booth that Elphie explored closer than the rest of us. Both John and Dougle warned about the sanitary conditions of the telephone booths inspiring me to use "Dirty Old Town" by The Pogues for a soundtrack. It had been planned to have a picnic dinner so we went to the local grocery store to get some food. Because it was a bit crowded and we had our luggage, Elphie decided to stay outside. When we came outside, she was no where to be found. It turned out that Elphie had to use the restroom and it was becoming an emergency so she walked back to the Eagle and Child which was a bit longer of a walk than she anticipated. I tried to contact her but we were limiting our phone use to try to save on our costs. In Europe, restrooms aren't as accessible as they are in the United States of America. Public restrooms cost money and often require exact change. Elphie decided to go back to the pub because we had just been patrons so she figured she could use that restroom again. So while we started to get a bit concerned and searched around the general area and while I tried to contact her phone, Elphie walked back thankfully unscathed. We settled down then made our way to a nearby park which was a church yard with a cemetery to relax, hang out, and eat our meal until it was getting near our time to board a bus to London then onto Stansted Airport. We said our goodbyes then boarded the bus. I added "London Calling" by The Clash into the soundtrack at this point because of going to London.

I had hoped we'd have enough time to see a few things in London but it didn't really work out. When we arrived in London, we accidentally got off at the wrong location which was not too far off but we did have to walk to where our next bus would be. I needed to use the restroom so I tried to get change but the nearby Starbucks said they couldn't possibly do that for me. We saw the bus we would need to board so we just got on it and used the on-board restroom so the sites we saw were what we could see from the window of the bus...sites like the Parliament building with Big Ben under construction, The London Eye, and the Tower Bridge. We arrived at Stansted Airport around 1am or so and joined a large group of people who were also there essentially camped out for the night to wait for their early morning departures. I used the airport wifi to watch the final playoff game of the season for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

https://www.facebook.com/0rawr.go.away/media_set?set=a.10214497350561764&type=3

Part 2: Leaving England For Sweden (Stansted To Skavsta Airport), Sweden Visit, Sweden To Denmark by FlixBus, Denmark Visit, Leaving Denmark For Switzerland (Copenhagen to EuroAirport), arrive In Basel, Switzerland (May 8 - 11, 2018)

https://youtu.be/2n2nv0Ubu18
As morning came on Tuesday May 8th, we along with the hundreds of other travelers camped out at Stansted began to get in lines for our respective flights to wherever we would be heading next. For us, that was Sweden by way of Ryan Air. While waiting I found out that we needed to have printed tickets which we were not able to print before we left the United States of America so we needed to talk to someone with Ryan Air about how to get our tickets printed with hopes of not having to pay the 50 pounds charge. So we get in a line and are near the front...feeling tired and a bit irritable and I'm sure we weren't the only ones. We were standing in the line for an hour or at least close to it when the line begins to move over to another area but no one is saying anything to us, the customers. By the time we realize what is going on, we have lost our front of the line status. Elphie was not having it though, we went and stood near the new line and she went ahead of the customers so we could find out what we needed to do about our tickets. Then we were redirected to another line so frustration was mounting. We got in that line and thankfully it wasn't as long and moved quickly. We learned that besides our little issue, there were flight cancellations to Italy because of a union strike with their airports. When we got to the employee, in a hushed voice she explained to us to go to a kiosk where the person could print us our tickets and it would only cost us 15 pounds or something instead of 50 pounds each. So we go and get that taken care of fairly easily then get back in line to check our luggage and make our way to the terminal but we are told that we are too early but at least we have our luggage tagged so it should take a little less time when we come back in an hour. Elphie was hungry so we went to check out what breakfast options we had. Elphie ended up choosing Burger King but what she ordered or at least thought she ordered was quite different from what she got, which was disappointing. When it was time to go through security, we get our checked bag taken care of without difficulty then we go through the detectors with our carry-ons. They searched my bag and determined my full sized deodorant and toothpaste was not in complaince (even though they did pass through O'Hare). I said, "throw it away then if I can't have it" and the security person just looked at me like somehow I would remain in England instead of boarding my flight over a few dollars of wasted hygiene supplies so I repeated myself. Perhaps I had an irritated tone and/or look on my face. Anyway, he did throw it away and I repacked my bag and we were off towards the terminal through the land of the Duty-Free stores. I bought new toothpaste and deodorant that would be in compliance (hopefully) for the rest of our flights and continued on our way. We noticed this airport was on the "posh" side. At one point, Elphie decided to approach one of the ladies spraying samples of perfume for prospective customers...the lady turned her back on Elphie and began to adjust the fake plant near her to "look busy." We were humored by the snub, ha! We arrived in the terminal and waited to see what gate our plane would depart from. At this time, I began to feel hungry so I began to look to see what I could afford with our remaining pounds. I settled on porridge and it wasn't too bad. We finally were able to head to our gate and board Ryan Air and get out of Stansted Airport. We would prefer to not use that airport again if we can avoid it, ha! We boarded our flight on Ryan Air from the tarmac which was unexpected to me. Finally, we were on our way to the land of my heritage, Sweden! The soundtrack continued to be "London Calling" by The Clash in the airport.

We arrived at Skavsta Airport and went through customs again then got the information and boarded a Flygbussarna to Stockholm. I slept on the bus and Elphie spoke to some locals about where we could get lunch once we arrived in Stockholm. Based on that information, we decided to walk to KungsHallen for lunch. After we ate, we then walked to our AirBnB, taking in the scenery and churches along the way. We got the key from the gentleman working in the flower shop below the apartment and had a nice conversation with him for a bit before going to our AirBnB. I took the opportunity to shower and found Elphie asleep when I got out so I laid down as well...we ended up sleeping a few hours then met our host. I went back to sleep and slept through the night. Elphie woke up and watched some movies on Netflix. She got hungry but didn't realize how late it was so her only option turned out to be a Circle K hot dog from the nearby Circle K. The soundtrack I chose for the flight and the beginning of our time in Sweden was “Shekina” by Blindside. I chose it because Blindside is a Swedish band.

On Wednesday, May 9th, we woke up, had some breakfast provided by the host of our AirBnB, then headed out to explore Stockholm. It turned out that Stockholm is a fairly easy city to walk around in...at least from where we were staying to the main parts of its downtown. We decided to start by going to Shock, an alternative rocknroll type store. It was on Drottninggatan which we later learned was a main commercial district with a whole lot of shops. We would end up stopping in a vintage store called Beyond Retro that had an old Steelers sweatshirt, then went to C.U.M. Clubwear before entering the House of Candy to get Swedish Fish in Sweden. We stopped in a few other stores along the way until I realized we had gotten a bit offtrack of where we wanted to go so we turned in the proper direction and encountered an old church and cemetery. We went from there to a hotel building that was once a bank that had been robbed and is cited as the first case of "Stockhom Syndrome." We found this on Atlas Obscura and had it among the sites we would try to visit. Due to the Stockholm Syndrome thing, I put in “Black Eye” by Derek Webb for the soundtrack. We took a short rest then started walking toward the Olympic Stadium from the Stockholm games of 1912. As we made our way, we passed the Wiener Cafeet that we found to be funny so we documented it. We also passed a barbershop called Sweeney Todd. We walked around near the Stadium while we waited for Sarah, a Stockholm native that Elphie met through Sadgoth.com and she offered to show us around for a bit. Our first stop was at a Subway so we could get some lunch and use the restroom. We walked a while and Sarah would point out interesting things along the way such as the first skyscraper of the city. We passed by the Battle of the Elms (an Atlas Obscura site) but I wasn't aware of it at the time. Sarah took us to the Royal Palace then we walked around Old Town. There was an interesting alley that becomes quite narrow at one end. We passed a strange little statue near on of the buildings but I'm not sure what it was about. While near the waterfront, Sarah told us of a Royal Ship that had sunk. I caught a clips of the Kastellet Stockholm while we were there. Some of the museums are free including the Medieval Museum so we went in there for a while. I put “Our Flags Held High” by Dödsmarsch (Scandinavian Black Metal Alliance) as the soundtrack. It seemed appropriate. Sarah took us to N3rds Arcade Bar and along the way we passed Katarina Elevator. We left the arcade around dusk so we saw the skyline with the sunset. The sun set much later than we were used to because we were farther north than we were used to. It also would rise earlier which Elphie had found out that morning around 3 or 4am. As we made our way back we happened to take Drottninggatan again and by chance we found Rag And Bone - a scultpure in honor of those less fortunate. We passed a lit up tower and a Saxophone playing man then found ourselves at Kungsgatan where we walked the first day. We were hungy for some dinner so we went to Max Burgers before returning to our AirBnB. I took a shot of the room before going to bed.

On Thursday, May 10th, we packed up and headed out to the bus station so we could leave our luggage in a locker then headed toward the Royal Palace to meet with Mikael, another person that Elphie met through Sadgoth.com. I put in “Faces” by Dark Valentine for the soundtrack...another Swedish band. We passed a church and cemetery along the way and then passed Rag And Bone again as well. We heard a guy playing cups on the bridge then arrived in the courtyard of the Royal Palace. Our plan was to see the changing of the Royal Guard but we thought we were a little too late. It turned out we were early due to the Ascension Day holiday. We met Mikael then watched the ceremony for the changing of the Royal Guard. Mikael took us to Riddarholmen, a church where nobility are buried, but it costs more than he felt it was worth for us to take the tour so we left. We ended up going back through Drottninggatan where I got some souvenirs and a Swedish Flag then we got ice cream at Stikki Nikki. We went through another street seeing some art pieces then we decided to ride transit to the Globen Arena where concerts and hockey games occur amongst other things. The Globen Arena is the "sun" for the Solar System model the covers the entire city. There is also a nearby stadium for soccer and apparently there had been a game so people were beginning to leave so we also left to try to stay ahead of the crowd. As we waited on transit, I noticed the Metro Art that graces all the transit stations in the city. Mikael too us to Garlic And Shots, a restaurant which serves garlic with everything. I went simple by getting Swedish Meatballs with mash potatoes...Elphie got a Bull Ball Burger and her meal came with a whole clove of garlic. I learned while eating this meal that parsley neutralizes the smell and aftertaste of the Garlic. From here, Mikael took us to Big Ben Stand Up Klubb for some English speaking comedy. In the restroom I noticed a peculiar sight of flys painted in the urinals. Mikael helped us navigate back into Stockholm and we made our way back to the bus station to wait on the FlixBus to take us to Copenhagen, Denmark. We rode overnight.

In the early morning of Friday, May 11th, as we rode the FlixBus we stopped at a toilet dumping site. We passed through the city of Malmo then crossed over a bridge that turned into a tunnel into Denmark. We arrived early in the morning in Copenhagen then began to walk around taking in the scenery. Even though they are Swedish and not Danish, I put “There Must Be Something In The Wind” by Blindside as the soundtrack for the soundtrack for remainder of this part of project. We took a picture with a man in the nude photobombing us ha! We passed Tivoli, an amusement park, many churches, and I believe the Royal Palace. We stopped in a coffee shop to get a little breakfast. We passed an ice cream shop with Cookie Monster in the window. We also passed by a park with ducks and other birds, one which was eating a small fish. We went into a cemetery and I came to realize we had gone too far in our attempt to get to Freetown Christiania. As we got closer, a problem began to brew where Elphie was in need of food. She had thought we'd find food at Christiania but if they did have food, we were way too early. In the midst of the chaos of this, I found a British breakfast place and Elphie was able to eat.

We then got on transit to the Copenhagen Airport so that we could fly to Basel, Switzerland. I took the time while in the airport to get some Danish souvenirs and a flag. This airport experience was pretty relaxed and easy. We had to wait in a main terminal to find out where we needed to go. During that time we found some food to eat as well. We flew using EasyJet. Once again we had to go on the tarmac to board the flight.

We arrived at EuroAirport in St. Louis, France. This was a bit of a surprise for us that we would end up in France on this trip, ha! We actually would end up going into France again during our visit to Basel with Mel. When we got into the airport, we tried to reach Mel. She ended up calling my phone and a short time later she pulled up to pick us up to take us to her house. Mel takes part in Couch Surfing so while she is a friend of Elphie's that gave us a place to stay...we technically participated in Couch Surfing as well.

https://www.facebook.com/0rawr.go.away/media_set?set=a.10214502926501159&type=3

https://www.facebook.com/0rawr.go.away/media_set?set=a.10214516304835609&type=3

Part 3: Basel, Guyeres, and Bern, Switzerland (May 12th - 16th, 2018)

https://youtu.be/K13mt-65dso
After getting settled in and getting rested, we woke up on Saturday May 12th, and Mel took us down to the Rhine River to watch a tightrope walker cross over the river. This was the first time I had seen something like this in real life and it was pretty cool. I added "The Balancing Act" by Cool Hand Luke to the soundtrack due to the tightrope walking. Afterwards we crossed to the north side of the river and sat along the water for a bit. We got something to drink then crossed back over on a ferry. Mel drove us to a place where France, Germany, and Switzerland all come together. We crossed the Three Countries Bridge and hung around that area for a bit before returning back to Mel's place then taking another short walk to a park to have a picnic with food cooked on her charcoal grill. That night a storm came in and I got a shot of some lightning in the area.

On Sunday morning, May 13th, we took a trip into Germany to have breakfast with Mel's boyfriend in his van that he lives in sometimes. It was a fun and interesting experience. From there we went to Gruyères, Switzerland and the H.R. Giger Museum. We got dinner at Des Ramparts restaurant before heading back to Basel.

On Monday, May 14th, we had breakfast with Elphie's friend Diana who she met during a mission project in Hawaii. Afterwards, we walked around Basel for a while. We saw some interesting scenery and I got some clips of street performers making music. There was a fountain with some interesting inventions shooting water around. I added “The Chronometers Of Switzerland” by Joy Electric to the soundtrack here in part due to the title and also due to those inventions in the fountain.  Elphie tried some edibles to see how they might affect her. Later in the afternoon going into the evening, she was very tired and went to sleep.

On Tuesday, May 15th, we had breakfast with Elphie's friend Joel who she also met during her time doing missions in Hawaii. He showed us a music video of his music project. I added that song, “Bumerang Bum” by Chéjs Romero featuring N.D.A. and Grischa Engelhardt as the soundtrack here. After the breakfast, we ended up going to Germany again. This time for dinner which was raclette with Mel's boyfriend and his housemates.

On Wednesday, May 16th, we went with Mel to her parents home to return the car. We got a tour of the slaughter house that her family runs as well as the rest of the property. We had lunch with the family and their employees which included these really good chocolate covered marshmallow thigns. After lunch, we went to the nearby Kambly cookie factory. We headed back to Basel by train taking a slight detour to Bern to see the Child Eater statue from Atlas Obscura. We got back into Basel then prepared for our journey early the next morning by train to Leipzig. Due to the train rides, I chose to add "Eurorail" by Kevin Max as a soundtrack during this part of the project and continuing into the next part with the trip to Leipzig.

https://www.facebook.com/0rawr.go.away/media_set?set=a.10214525003093060&type=3

Part 4: Leipzig and Wave Gotik Treffen (W.G.T.) (May 17th - 21st, 2018)

https://youtu.be/3XBpJCoZirY
On Thursday, May 17th, we left Basel with Mel early in the morning by local transit then by train on the Deutsche Bahn to our next destination which was Leipzig. We bought the tickets for the Bahn online months before the trip with Mel's help but it was still a bit confusing. We ended up having to order twice because I made a mistake with the first order but we were able to board the train and had the seats that we had ordered so it all ended up good. Leipzig is in Germany (formerly East Germany) and the site of Wave Gotik Treffen which was the catalyst to get us to Europe on this trip. We arrived at the main train station in town then crossed the street to get our wristbands for the festival. It was a long line and what we heard seemed to be true...the whole town is taken over by goth people of all types from all over the world. After this, we went to our AirBnB and met our host. We would be getting the entire place for this AirBnB so once he made sure we were situated, he left us to do our thing. Next we went to Aldi to get some groceries before heading to the Ratskeller for the Sadgoth.com meet up. We found that Aldi had the chocolate covered marshmallow things we enjoyed at Mel's parents house so we bought some. We had dinner at the meetup and met Amy Black who connected us with the local goth club in Maine during our trip the previous fall. We also reconnected with Mikael from Sweden and Ted and Rose, also from Chicago, sat with us for dinner. We then tagged along with them to find the Moritzbastei for the Chicago meetup later in the evening. We ended up bailing on the Chicago meetup because the Moritzbastei was too crowded. We went back to the AirBnB and got a decent night's rest. From here and through most of the rest of the Leipzig part of the project I used "St. Glockenspiel's Science Faire" by Joy Electric as a soundtrack.

We got up and going on Friday, May 18th, and decided to go to the Victorian Picnic and see what we could see. We rode the tram to the park and took a walk through seeing the various ways people dressed up for this event. We returned to our AirBnB then headed toward the main spot of the festival: The Agra. Along the way, we stopped at the Pagan Village to see what was going on and what they had for sale. The music seemed to be celtic/folk based. We went on to the Agra and walked the merchandise area then got some food. We eventually went into the Agra Halle to see the band Schandmaul. I included a playlist with all the bands and further description in the next section. After Schandmaul, we walked around other areas of the Agra to find that there were DJs and parties going on. in Agra 4.2 we found the space that had the industrial that Elphie loves so she was excited and had a good time dancing. I believe the DJ was Thomas Rainer.

On Saturday, May 19th, Elphie and I headed toward the Agra again while Mel did something else. On the way, we stopped at a Goth Thrift Store and in a park nearby there was another festival going on called Gothic Pogo happening so we watched some people dressed as robots dance around to a DJ. We arrived at the Agra to see ZeroMancer, 3Teeth, Oomph!, and Front Line Assembly. Elphie had some trouble with the large crowd and constant flashing light so I helped her get out of the crowd during Oomph! Once she was settled we decided she could go sit and people watch while I went back in to see some of the Front Line Assembly performance.

On Sunday, May 20th, we got up and went with Mel to a church service called Gothic Christ which was held at Peterskrische. The church was an old beautiful building that had survived World War II. The damaged stained glass windows were not replaced with color but with grey panes instead. Some of the other damaged icons and decor of the building were preserved and on display along with information on the history of the building. The service was in Deutsche so I did not understand what was said but I enjoyed being there. I learned more about Gothic Christ and found that the service occurs during Wave Gotik Treffen each year. It focuses on Pentecost which is the weekend that Wave Gotik Treffen is scheduled each year. The religious holidays are remembered and celebrated in at least as much as getting a day off of work in Europe despite a more "secular" culture while most of these days are barely acknowledged in the United States of America. After the service we returned to our AirBnB and got ice cream at Cafe Yellow Brasil...I got the black ice cream! Mel suggested going to a restaurant that serves vegan burgers for dinner so that's what we did...we went to Curry Sud Burger then we went to Dark Flower to see The Pirate Twins DJ for a bit. We headed out at this point with intention to go to another party that had a Depeche Mode theme but the place was too packed. I was going to leave Elphie and Mel there to go see The Jesus And Mary Chain at the Agra but they ended up coming with me but staying outside while I watched the set. I tried to get a clip of a building we kept passing on our way back to our AirBnB that looked interesting but I wasn't able to get a good shot of it.

Monday, May 21st, was the last day of Wave Gotik Treffen. We decided to check out a different venue and Elphie believed it was where there would be industrial music all night. The venue was called Volkspalast and held two performance spaces called KuppelHalle and Kantine. I think most of the artists that performed were more experimental and noise but there was some industrial in it. We ended up seeing SARDH, Svartsinn, Author And Punisher, Trepaneringsritualen, and Teho Taerdo and Blixa Bargeld. We left and ended up meeting Mel a the main tram hub before walking through downtown Leipzig. We came to the Moritzbastei and it was packed again but I did go in and found the room called Veranstaltungstonne which had Industrial GNM going on and I think Elphie might have liked that the most if she could deal with pushing through the crowds to get there. We eventually went back to the AirBnB to get some good rest in before we finished up our trip with a night in Berlin.

https://www.facebook.com/0rawr.go.away/media_set?set=a.10215988314594933&type=3

This link is a playlist compiling all of the live music clips I captured during Wave Gotik Treffen 2018. Just below that is each clip individually with some thoughts on what I experienced.


Schandmaul LIVE @ Agra Halle during Wave Gotik Treffen (05.18.2018)

Schandmaul was the first set we watched during Wave Gotik Treffen. Mel described it as "pagan" but to me it just seemed like folk rock. I guess it's just a difference in cultures on how musical styles are labeled. We had heard a little bit of music earlier in the Pagan Village but this was the first full set we watched. This was in the Agra which was the main event area of the festival and also where merch could be found as well as an art gallery and some parties with DJs spinning good music.

ZeroMancer LIVE @ Agra Halle during Wave Gotik Treffen (05.19.2018)

https://youtu.be/BMZ9joWmqxk
Saturday night we caught several acts at The Agra Halle. First up for us was ZeroMancer, a Norwegian Industial band. We enjoyed their set and it was a good start to the night.

3Teeth LIVE @ Agra Halle during Wave Gotik Treffen (05.19.2018)

https://youtu.be/TnG-7mWhwAI
3Teeth opened for Rammstein a few years ago so I was already familiar with the band and their music. This would be the only act at Wave Gotik Treffen I could say that about.

OOMPH! LIVE @ Agra Halle during Wave Gotik Treffen (05.19.2018)

https://youtu.be/O_7fmtboRQI
OOMPH! seemed to be a favorite of the folks at W.G.T. They are a German band that seemed a bit more in the metal vein to me than industrial. Their vocalist was DJing before The Pirate Twins at Dark Flower on Sunday.

Front Line Assembly LIVE @ Agra Halle during Wave Gotik Treffen (05.19.2018)

https://youtu.be/Xlq4rbcZx94
I was interested in seeing Front Line Assembly. What I had heard had me interested as well as their stage set up. I watched most of the set before meeting back up with Elphie and Mel.

"SnakeDriver" by The Jesus And Mary Chain LIVE @ Agra Halle during Wave Gotik Treffen (05.20.2018)

https://youtu.be/tgnaumjCAxU
I wasn't sure I was going to get to see The Jesus And Mary Chain but when I saw the lineup, it was the one band that jumped out to me as the one I would most like to see. Thankfully it did work out to get over to their set and see the whole thing. I captured "Snake Driver" because it was the song I was most familiar with due to The Crow soundtrack.

SARDH LIVE @ Volkspalast KuppelHalle during Wave Gotik Treffen (05.21.2018)

https://youtu.be/4veps3R8toM
SARDH reminded me of some of the underground noise artists that I had booked and/or otherwise worked with while I lived in Cincinnati doing the shows at Covenant and Witler. It was very experimental, weird, and pretty cool.

Svartsinn LIVE @ Volkspalast Kantine during Wave Gotik Treffen (05.21.2018)

https://youtu.be/OcKKinOjAcA
Svartsinn also reminded me of those artists I worked with in the past with the experimental noise but an added element was a video production. Also strange but quite cool.

Author And Punisher LIVE @ Volkspalast KuppelHalle during Wave Gotik Treffen (05.21.2018)

https://youtu.be/QrDl2I_qaAc
Author And Punisher again reminded me of those experimental noise artists but also brought back some memories for me of Travelogue with the custom building of his instruments. This might have been the most interesting set to me and among my favorite things I experienced during W.G.T.

Trepaneringsritualen LIVE @ Volkspalast Kantine during Wave Gotik Treffen (05.21.2018)

https://youtu.be/WtYDjpWltjg
Trepaneringsritualen had some religious imagery in their video production. I also enjoyed this set of experimental, noise, industrial music.

Teho Teardo And Blixa Bargeld LIVE @ Volkspalast KuppelHalle during Wave Gotik Treffen (05.21.2018)

https://youtu.be/oHUdooPKUz4
Teho Teardo and Blixa Bargeld ended the night in Volkspalast. It was a more classical style of music than the rest of what we heard. I am not really familiar with either of these people or the acts that they are associated with but they drew a large crowd.

Part 5: Leipzig to Berlin, A Night Wandering In Berlin, Berlin to Iceland, Iceland to Chicago (Home!) (May 22nd - 24th, 2018)

https://youtu.be/z78AdsogOGo
(or try this link if YouTube blocks you: https://drive.google.com/open?id=13KpLhLu1r30AH4lvqydMpM9MxubH5Koq)
On Tuesday, May 22nd, we left our AirBnB stopping at Aldi to get some more of the really good chocolate marshmallow things we found and enjoyed throughout our trip then boarded a Flixbus for Berlin. Starting a little before in the Leipzig section and through the ride I used "Autobahn" by Kraftwerk as a soundtrack. We ended up having a detour through some small towns on narrow, windy roads due to an accident on the Autobahn. I researched a little bit using the footage we had and found that one of the towns we passed through was called Niemegk. As we entered Berlin I saw out the window the Tempelhof Airport from the Atlas Obscura page. Most of our night was spent searching out sites from Atlas Obscura. We arrived at Alexanderplatz with a dire need to find a restroom due to not being able to get the key for the toilet on the bus. Once that crises was resolved, we then sought out a locker to put our belongings in while we wandered the city all night. We took in the sight of the Berliner Fernsehturm, a large television tower with a revolving restaurant inside, then checked out the Weltzeituhr, a world clock. Wew passed the Rotes Rathaus and used the free wifi for a moment to figure out where we wanted to go next. We passed by Neptunbrunnen, St. Marienkirche, and one of many bear statues...this one appeared to be commemorating the German Olympic team for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, as we made our way to the AquaDom at Radisson Blu. This is the world's largest free standing aquarium. From here we walked passed museums, halls, and government buildings that seemed maestic and old. It seems that while writing this and looking at the history of some of these buildings, it is likely most were rebuilt after being damaged during World War II. We got quite a bit of footage of the architecture during our walk to Check Point Charlie. Checkpoint Charlie is a tourist spot that during the Cold War era while the Berlin Wall stood, folks had to pass through to get from East to West Germany. We got quite a bit of footage here as well. We spent a fairly long time here...we even heard some Dropkick Murphys playing from the nearby Murphy's Pub. We were fortunately permitted to use the restroom here then we made our way to the Berlin Public Transit system so that we could get some dinner at just after midnight. The soundtrack I chose for this portion of our night in Berlin was "Berlin" by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and "Berlin Kitty" by The Violet Burning simply because of the names of the songs.

We bought a ticket to ride the train in the early hours of Wednesday, May 23rd, and made our way to Burgermeister. The system was set up in zones and I bought the ticket for most of the downtown Berlin area for one ride for two people. We rode on that ticket the remaining hours that we were in Berlin including to the airport. We caught the last train running that route and got to Burgermeister where we ate some burgers and rested our legs for a while. We found out about this through Atlas Obscura. Burgermeister is a burger joint that is housed in an old subway station restroom. The seating was just a bar similar to that of a bike rack so it wasn't very comfortable but we were able to rest for a while. It turned out that right across the street was the Ramones Museum. It had closed a few hours earlier but we went over to it anyway. I felt it appropriate to include "Blitzkrieg Bop" by The Ramones in the soundtrack here. We also had to pee again so we took advantage of the dark night and used a vacant lot. We also encountered some strange statues in the area. We didn't have much of a plan at this point so we just started to walk and crossed over Oberbaumbrucke which is a cool looking bridge with lit art installation that play "Rock, Paper, Scissors." It gave nice night view of Berlin as well. After crossing the bridge we noticed a strange cow on the side of a building as well as a business called Pirates Berlin all next to a wall covered in graffiti and other art. It turned out that we happened upon the Vestiges of the Berlin Wall or the Eastside Gallery. It is a long stretch of the Berlin Wall that remains as an art exhibition. I choce to use "Holidays In The Sun" by The Sex Pistols here due to the mentions of the Berlin Wall.We walked along here for a little while then took transit to another part of the city to try to see "Return of The Cows" from Atlas Obscura which was on Dietrich Bonhoeffer Strasse. It was too dark to really see it well and even harder to get a picture or video of it. Also adding hindrance to this endeavor was that the area appeared to be under construction so getting close to the art installation was impossible. We got on transit again and figured out how to get to LegoLand Berlin as daylight began to show and found out it was just a store...not an amusement park as Elphie was expecting. Apparently that is somewhere else in Germany. We saw some more pieces of the Berlin Wall and markings of where it once stood. We got on transit again to head toward Bahnhof Berlin Zoologischer Garten. This transit station has a history with the drug culture that is documented in the music of David Bowie, Iggy Pop, U2, and others. There is also a book and movie about it. Just down the street was Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. This was the only ruin we saw that was a reminder of what the city would have been like when World War II came to an end. It was definitely a jarring site. Also nearby was the Mengenlehreuhr, a unique clock which tells the time with a series of lights and set theory. We were quite tired at this point but there was one more site we wanted to see and to get there we would need to ride transit again. This was the first time we encountered ticket checkers who looked out our ticket and moved on without saying anything. We arrived at Dahlem-Dorf U-Bahn Station and found the benches from Atlas Obscura that we came to see. We gave them a quick glance then got on the incoming train back toward Berlin. Elphie took a couple quick naps during these rides. While waiting for a transfer I could see the Siegessaule (Victory Column) from the window of the transit station. We also got a glimpse of a some workers doing their early morning duties. Upon our return to Alexanderplatz, we found our luggage locker was behind a fence. We hung around by the Brunnen der Volkerfreundschaft then got yelled at in German by a security officer for waiting in the hallway for Burger King to open so we went back outside for a couple moments until Burger King opened. Earlier when we stopped at a McDonald's and while we were sitting in Burger King waiting until it was time to try to get our luggage and board transit for the airport, I noticed the restroom signs were pretty funny so I documented them. After using the restroom, we went to try to get our luggage but the fence remained in our way. I tried to find a weak spot or a gap to get through. Finally, a person working came and directed us around the fence so we could get to our locker and get our belongings. We headed to the transit station and found the train heading toward Schönefeld Airport. Along the way we passed the Molecule Man scuplture in the river.

Schönefeld Airport was the last stop on the line and apparently it is also in the zone we did not pay for...well we didn't pay for most of our transit because we really only paid for one ride for the both of us but anyway... A ticket checker came on and demanded to see everyone's ticket going to the airport. He got to us and informed us we did not buy the proper ticket. He reprimanded us slightly but let it go. The next person also did not purchase the proper ticket but he gave her a much harder time and we got off the train at the airport and went on our way without further incident with the ticket checker. We arrived at Schönefeld Airport hearing some accordion music on our way in. We got our luggage checked and tickets for our Wow Air flight from Berlin to Iceland. We decided to try to spend our remaining Euros on food and Elphie got herself a new winter hat as she lost the one she had somewhere during the night. I used "Berlin" by Relic Pop as a soundtrack because of the song title. I added "Care For You" by Wolfsheim because Elphie really likes the band and this song in particular, they are German, and felt like this was the best placement for the song as it continues through the flight and Iceland visit.

As we flew over the coast of Iceland I could see some of the snow on its mountainous terrain. When we landed Keflavik Airport we had hoped we could find a way to stay the night there so we could explore Iceland but it wasn't going to work out. We tried to see if there was a bus available to take us into Reykjavik as advertised but that also did not work out...it seems the bus service is much more limited than the website let on. So we just decided to wander around the area outside the airport venturing as far as the edge of the parking lot. There were a few strange sculptures and we could see some of the mountains in the distance on one side and almost see the ocean in the distance on another side. It was a bit cold so we decided to just go back in the airport, find some lunch, then rest. As we went through the first part of security, Elphie had to go again because she had forgotten to empty her water bottle. We got to the area where there was food and found out that there are apparently multiple food courts and you have to go to the proper one...we had to show our tickets as proof as well. Our moods weren't the best at this point so these policies added some aggravation. When we went to get to our gate area, we encountered yet another obstacle. I got to be one of those lucky people to be randomly selected for extra security screening and found out because Elphie got through the gate but my ticket would not allow me to go through. Someone came to see what the problem was then sent me immediately into a security room and I was searched a little more thoroughly than I had been so far. Thankfully it wasn't too bad nor did it take too long but it was unsettling for Elphie who didn't know where they took me or how long it would be. Once that ordeal was over, we found the basic area where our gate would be and found somewhat comfortable benches and laid down to take a nap. Elphie sent out a message to see if anyone might be willing to pick us up at O'Hare so we wouldn't have to ride CTA. Just before boarding or next leg on Wow Air, we tried to spend as much of our Icelandic Kronor as we could on some more food. For the first time since leaving Chicago, we boarded a plane directly from the building instead of walking out on the tarmac We also found that Nemiah had offered to pick us up at the airport! The captain said that we would be flying over Greenland then south through the Hudson Bay but I was too tired to watch and slept most of the flight. Elphie unfortunately got a cause of vertigo it seemed which affected her for some time afterwards.

We landed in Chicago at O'Hare and passed quickly through customs back into the United States of America. We gathered our checked luggage and went outside to see Nemiah there waiting for us. We thanked him and offered him one of those wonderful chocolate marshmallow things and he got us home nice and quick from the airport. We re-united with Stein and then we went to bed sleeping most of Thursday, May 24th, away other than getting some dinner at Bree Thai.

https://www.facebook.com/0rawr.go.away/media_set?set=a.10216015925765195&type=3

https://www.facebook.com/0rawr.go.away/media_set?set=a.10216021713469884&type=3

Part 6: A Wedding Roadtrip To North Carolina / End Titles/Credits (May 25th - 28th, 2018)

https://youtu.be/-o0fv6T7mvY
After one day to recoup, Elphie and I headed south for her niece's wedding in North Carolina. We hit the road on Friday, May 25th, and stopped at Albanese for gummies. We arrived in Cincinnati, Ohio to stay the night at the Sheehy's as we usually do on our way through. Lisa came over and we hung out for a while.

We got up early on Saturday, May 26th, to hit the road and encountered more and more rain as we went. Our GPS directed us off the interstate on some windy, wet mountain roads so our trip was a little more interesting. We arrived at the wedding site which was to be an outdoor wedding but had to be moved under a roof, unfortunately. They were able to take pictures outside at least and the reception and party that followed also could occur outside for those who wanted to be outside. That night we stayed with some of Elphie's friends who lived nearby.

Before we started to head back north on Sunday, May 27th, we got breakfast at a diner in Hendersonville and checked out a street fair. We drove back to Cincinnati to stay the night and I went out to see some friends for a bit.

On Monday, May 28th, I picked up some Skyline Chili as we returned to Chicago...exhausted but thankful for our trips and all that we were able to do throughout our travels.

For this trip to the south I decided to use the song "Sweet Tea" by The Gotee Brothers. It feels like an appropriate song for traveling to that area but we usually do that trip during Christmas. It has a feel that's more summer time so I was intent on using it for this trip.

The end titles and credits clips are fairly basic but I did use Motion 4 to create them. I took a screenshot from Elphie's fundraiser page to use as a thank you to those (you know who you are) that donated, helping to make this trip possible. There are others of you that helped make it possible in other ways as well and you also know who you are. We really do appreciate each and every one of you. Elphie offered to make bracelets and design mandelas and thank you cards for those who donated as an act of appreciation.. If you want to see Elphie's fundraising page and all the work she put into it, it is linked here. I also had another page to acknowledge and give further thanks to those who help us by giving tips or information or giving us a place to stay and the various companies that we utilized during the trip.

https://www.facebook.com/0rawr.go.away/media_set?set=a.10216028072068845&type=3

Additional Soundtrack: "Trans Europe Express" by Kraftwerk, "Anarchy In The U.K." by The Sex Pistols, "Release" by Afro-Celt Sound System featuring Sinead O'Connor, "Dirty Old Town" by The Pogues, "London Calling" by The Clash, “Shekina” by Blindside, “Black Eye” by Derek Webb, “Our Flags Held High” by Dödsmarsch (Scandinavian Black Metal Alliance), “Faces” by Dark Valentine, “There Must Be Something In The Wind” by Blindside, “The Balancing Act” by Cool Hand Luke, “The Chronometers Of Switzerland” by Joy Electric, “Bumerang Bum” by Chéjs Romero featuring N.D.A. and Grischa Engelhardt, “Eurorail” by Kevin Max "St. Glockenspiel’s Science Faire” by Joy Electric, “Autobahn” by Kraftwerk, “Berlin” by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, “Berlin Kitty” by The Violet Burning, “Blitzkrieg Bop” by The Ramones, “Holiday in the Sun” by The Sex Pistols, “Berlin” by Relic Pop, “Care For You” by Wolfsheim and "Sweet Tea" by The Gotee Brothers.

Filmed using an iPhone 6 and 8 by Elphie and Joel A. Swanson.
Animations created using Motion 4 on a Macbook by Joel A. Swanson.
Edited using Final Cut Pro on a Mac Mini by Joel A. Swanson

Thursday, January 24, 2019

A Shared Life: The Holidays 2018

This footage covers the holiday season from Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve in 2018 and all our travels to get where we needed to be for these holiday celebrations. Also included is the parts of November and December spent in Chicago between the holidays and those experiences.

A Shared Life: The Holidays - Thanksgiving 2018
We drove overnight as we usually do after work on Wednesday November 21st to Warren, PA arriving an hour or so before daybreak so we went to sleep for a few hours. Our usual Sorensen family gathering would not be happening due to a New York Championship High School football game the next day involving on of my cousins sons (which they won so congratulations Gerrit!) so we would be having Thanksgiving dinner with our immediate family. My aunt Rebecca with her kids, Erik and Jacob stopped by before dinner for a bit. After dinner, we went to see Doug, Justin, and Laura and played some card games to bring some level of normalcy to the holiday, Sorensen style.

After spending Friday getting some work done on the car in preparation for winter, we went to Pittsburgh on Saturday November 24th to see the Penguins beat the Blue Jackets as well as get ice cream at Klavon's and great food and hangs with Joe at Roland's. I documented the Apollo space capsule in front of the Dairy Queen in Franklin again as well from Atlas Obscura.

On Sunday, November 25th we returned to Chicago. We have come to realize due to this trip that Stein seems to get car sickness on the windy hilly Pennsylvania roads around Warren. As we drove back, Elphie saw that there was inclement weather forecasted. In Indiana we began to drive in rain that got worse and worse the closer we got to Chicago. Elphie had concerns about the reports in Chicago so I began to look up the possibility of a hotel through I really did not want to do this if I didn't have to. Eventually I paid $5 for an add-on to my GPS app that was to give warning, road conditions, and radar information. I did so to see how bad things were ahead of us and it appeared that the snow was not yet hitting where we needed to go in Chicago so we decided to finish our drive, slowly and cautiously into Chicago. As we arrived, so did the snow to the Southside.

A Shared Life" The Holidays - November/December in Chicago 2018
My morning commute on Monday, November 26th was snowy as it continued from the storm during our return home from Thanksgiving. On Wednesday, November 28th we went to the Chicago Theatre to see Conan O'Brien getting nearly front row seating on a side section for a bargain using Stubhub. It was a stand up show with some up and coming acts along with Conan. I snuck a little bit of video. As we left, it was snowing again...making it seem like this might be a very cold and snowy winter.

On Friday, November 30th Elphie came to Uptown during my lunch break. The Shaw's gave us some samples of Welsh chocolate and bread to taste. There appeared to be a lot of air holes in the chocolate but it was good. After work, I went to Lincoln Hall to see mewithoutYOU. It was the first time to see them since the new music has been released and I captured the first single "Julia (or Holy to the LORD on the Bells of Horses) on video. I also got a clip from The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die who played in my basement at 4114 Witler in Cincinnati in July of 2011 but it appears I do not have video evidence of that show for some reason...perhaps I had run out of storage with all the other shows I had put on that year...I don't know. I missed the first band and the place was packed and it seemed there were rules against filming so I was trying to do so covertly. Before mewithoutYOU started I moved to a spot where I felt I could see fairly well, get decent footage, and not be noticed if security were to enforce the no video rule. After the show I hung out with some Ollie Mob folks at a Mexican restaurant across the street where there was mariachi karaoke going on. It was cool to hang with some friends for a bit before heading home.


Julia (or Holy to the LORD on the Bells of Horses) by mewithoutYOU LIVE @ Lincoln Hall (11.30.2018)



On Saturday, December 1st Elphie and I were headed out to The Metro anyway for VNV Nation with Holygram and The Rain Within so we left a bit early so we could see the CTA Holiday Train as it passed through the 35th/Archer station. We got footage of the first one going through and as the second train pulled in but we boarded that train so we got some footage inside the train as well as experienced the riding of a Holiday Train. It worked out since the train was running a combination of the Orange Line and Brown Line so we were able to take it to Cheesies' for dinner before we went to the show.

Elphie was real excited to see VNV Nation so she had me purchase tickets well in advance...I believe it was the beginning of May before we left for Europe if not even in April. She was not disappointed by their set and I enjoyed it as well. I filmed "All Of Our Sins" which closed the night. I also got clips from Holygram and The Rain Within. The guy in The Rain Within had light up gloves that shot lasers out of the tips of the fingers.


All Of Our Sins by VNV Nation LIVE @ Metro (12.01.2018)


Holygram LIVE @ Metro (12.01.2018)


The Rain Within LIVE @ Metro (12.01.2018)

On Saturday, December 8th Elphie and I decided to go to a toy drive show put on by Sector Latino. Dissonance And Dissent was among the bands playing. Little Jessi Dills is in the band...a friend from the Ollie Mob as well as Cornerstone/Audiofeed world. It was a fun night of ska music...mostly in Spanish but still, a fun time!


Nahuales Underground LIVE @ Sector Latino (12.08.2018)




Malafacha LIVE @ Sector Latino (12.08.2018)



On Sunday, December 9th, we headed out to Brauerhouse for a Krampus Creepy Curiosities and Oddities Market. We didn't stay too long but some some interesting strange things while we were there. We then headed to Uptown to get dinner with friends at J.P.U.S.A. before visiting Simon's Tavern in Andersonville to taste Glögg for the first time. I enjoyed it but it was a bit strong for Elphie. It also came with a cookie. It was a nice little adventure and I began to make it at home now that I had gotten a taste of it.

On Monday, December 10th all of the gifts Elphie and I got for each other arrived so we decided to open them. She got me a new printer to hopefully end my frustrations that came with the other printer. I got her the woodchipper snow globe from the movie Fargo and "Eat the Elephant" by A Perfect Circle on vinyl. On Tuesday, December 11th there was a Christmas party for those of us who work at Cornerstone Community Outreach and no party is complete without some Stewart Brown antics and dancing. On Wednesday, December 12th I went to the United Center where I witness the Penguins lose to the Blackhawks. I got fairly reasonably priced tickets through Stubhub and happened to be in a section where Tommy Hawk and the in house entertainment do some of their antics. On Friday, December 14th we got dinner and walked through the ChristkindlMarket. I got some poutine and Christmas soda...I may have upset one of the vendors by getting some ketchup for my poutine since there was no ketchup near the spot where I purchased it. Oh well. Saturday, December 15th we drove around getting almost all the rest of our Christmas shopping done and saw a puppet show going on outside then on Sunday December 16th Elphie created her prank gifts she would be giving her nieces and nephews. On Tuesday, December 18th Elphie built and installed a home for our local stray cat in hopes to give it somewhere to be safe and warm during the winter. It has certainly been used but we're not sure if the intended cat has been the one using it. On Wednesday, December 19th I checked out the Lincoln Park Zoo Lights. I went alone as Elphie was overwhelmed with all we had to do before leaving for the Christmas trips. I ended up with a lot of footage from this...seems more than usual. On Friday, December 21st we put on a Christmas party for the guys who are staying in the shelter at Cornerstone Community Outreach. It had to be delayed due to an unexpected to us but planned by Comed power outage. We were able to give the guys quite a bit of necessary clothing and toiletries for the shelter life and homelessness in Chicago as well as serve a decent meal. It was a good time.
A Shared Life: The Holidays - A Southern Family Christmas 2018
On Friday December 21st, after I got home from work, we departed for Cincinnati to stay with the Sheehy's for the night. We stopped near Indianapolis so I could get Primanti Brothers and as we approached the restaurant, Elphie saw a Krispy Kreme doughnuts truck and expressed her joy! We stopped at Meijer on our way into Cincinnati as well so I could replenish my Ale 8-1 stash and Elphie could get her last Christmas gifts. We got gas for under $2 at a Speedway then went to the Sheehy's house. I finally ate my Primanti Brothers sandwich as we hung out for a while. On Saturday, December 22nd we had breakfast at the Sheehy's and Lisa came by to visit. We exchanged some gifts before departing for North Carolina. We stopped at the Tennessee border but no Santa this year and stopped again near Asheville at Juicy Lucy's where we were able to visit with Brandon and Sarah Floyd and eat delicious burgers and get a good shake too. On Sunday, December 23rd we went to Tony's Ice Cream with Elphie's niece and nephew then went to pick up the hats she bought for them for Christmas. On the way back to her sister's we stopped at Krispy Kreme where a new batch was being made. Monday December 24th, we began having Christmas celebrations with the southern family which went through Christmas Day (where several folks did not get any sleep due to a certain young lady waking at 2:30am) as well as Wednesday December 26th. After all the celebrating was sufficiently had, we planned to go to South Carolina to get gas and stop at R.O.'s BBQ but warning lights came on the car and it shut down as we were driving down the road. It turned out that our alternator decided it was done working so we ended up with a project on our hands and an unexpected expense which put in doubt the chances of going to the Penguins game in Pittsburgh on our way though. Elphie's brother-in-law kindly helped pull the old one out and install the new one. This car isn't the easiest to get to things when you need to replace them but we finally got it done. On our way to get the part from O'Reilly's, he also kindly took me to R.O.'s so I could pick up some food. After we finished and got the car put back together, I gave it a quick test drive to charge up the battery hen drove to South Carolina to get gas for our journey north that would begin bright and early the next day.

A Shared Life: The Holidays - A Northern Family Christmas 2018
On Thursday, December 27th we began our journey from Gastonia, NC to Warren, PA with a planned stop in Pittsburgh. The chances of going to the Penguins game were very slim after the unexpected expense of the alternator replacement and the apparent high demand thus high cost of the tickets but we would still be stopping at Gavino's to get the Seafood Calzone. As we made our way through West Virginia and took a restroom pit stop, Elphie looked up where one of her friends lived and it seemed it might be close. As it turned out, we would be passing within a few minutes of his town so we stopped by for a quick visit along the way. I'm sure it was good for Elphie to see her old friend and he seemed happy that we stopped. We still made it to Pittsburgh around the approximate time we planned to in case any of our Pittsburgh area friends could come out to hang for a bit. We did not end up going to the game, unfortunately. We were intending to see Joe but he was still in Warren so I figured we might stop by his family's home as we entered Warren. After we ate, we continued north...we made it into Titusville, PA in time to drive through a holiday display in a park before continuing to Warren. Joe was free for us to stop by so we hung out with him for a while as he and some of his brothers played video games. It was a good visit. We got to my family's house, I finished what was left of my portion of the calzone and played with Mu a bit before going to bed. On Friday, December 28th we celebrated Christmas with my family opening gifts and eating pizza. There was a Garth Brooks concert on television throughout the opening of gifts. My brother bought my parents a Roomba and was chasing Mu with it. He also had quite the Christmas sweater. On Saturday, December 29th we went to the Rouse Home to visit with Grandpa for a little while. It was good to see him though it would be nice if he were able to still be at home. On Sunday December 30th we returned to Chicago. We installed a DashCam so I took the video clips I saved using the lock option as we crossed state lines. I liked how it turned out and will be easier in that aspect of documentation than doing it while driving with my cell phone or getting Elphie to do so. The trip though was a bit hectic. After the alternator problems in North Carolina, it seems that the battery was now going bad. We stopped at a rest area and I left everything plugged in and on but when I turned the ignition everything went off instead of the car starting. A nice, neighborly person gave us a jump start and we made it all the way to the Meijer in Highland, IN before we turned the car off again but this power situation seemed to be causing other issues like running our music through the radio adapter being staticy and the volume going in and out as I turned the steering wheel. In turn it was a stressful final couple of hours on the road. When we got to Meijer, Elphie went in and I got gas but I left the car running...which you aren't supposed to do. When I shut it off at Meijer, the battery was dead again so I bought a new battery and installed it. We got home quite late after all this. Elphie cuddled Stein while I unloaded the car. Stein also got to play with his new laser pointer for a bit. We stayed up a while...I was going to try to watch a movie on Netflix but it wasn't working either. When we went to bed we slept in quite late...it was great!
A Shared Life: The Holidays - New Year's Eve 2018
On Monday, December 31st we celebrated New Year's Eve at home in the quiet until the fireworks began. Well, not really quiet because Elphie bought a noisemaker and hat. Stein was not amused by this at all. We grilled venison steaks thanks to my uncle Steve and I made some Glögg to drink...and learned in the process that our microwave was no longer working right (remedied this about a week later. I rried to watch all the Sharknados but only got through three. Elphie watched the various network television broadcasts of the New Year and excitedly danced to New Kids On The Block while I was working on the dinner...she also excitedly celebrated the New York New Year. When the Chicago New Year kicked off, so did the fireworks in our neighborhood. We went outside to watch some of them but I think we missed most of it. It was a nice way to end the holiday season...the drive back was hectic with the car problems and exhaustion so sleeping in both on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day was niee before returning to the day to day life.

Additional soundtrack includes "Gloria" by the Psalters, "Stilla Natt" by Dark Valentine, "Still Still Still" Pers-Anders Kurenbach, "Weihnachtsfrieden" by Schattenspiel, "Oh Komm Oh Komm, Emanuel" by Verney 1826, "Chorus Noel" by Said Fantasy, "Christmas Unicorn" by Sufjan Stevens, "The Drummer Boy" by X1Stance, "Blood On The Banjo" by Destroy Nate Allen.

Filmed using iPhone 6 and 8 as well as Crosstour CR 900 dashcam by Elphie and Joel A. Swanson. Edited using Final Cut Pro on a Mac Mini by Joel A. Swanson