Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Best of The Mr. Hunter Wall: April - June 2011

Revisit some of The Mr. Hunter Wall's greatest hits.

Space Shuttle Launch                                                                                   

Ever since I was a little girl, I've dreamed of seeing a Space Shuttle launch. My wish came true on June 5, 2002, when I got to view the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on mission STS-111

Continue reading A Girl Can Dream

Florence, Italy                                                                  

The Baptistery in Florence is home to Lorenzo Ghiberti's famous Gates of Paradise doors, which feature bronze panels that illustrate various Bible stories.  The doors on the Baptistery itself are now replicas, and the original panels can be seen nearby in the lovely Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. 

Continue reading Mr. Hunter and Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise, Part One

The Oltarno district of Florence is on the opposite side of the river here.  If you're lucky enough to find yourself near the Ponte Vecchio someday, make sure to visit Caffe delle Carrozze's gelateria, which is located quite close to the Ponte Vecchio on the Signoria side of the river. 

Continue reading The Ponte Vecchio

We were standing in front of the Duomo cathedral, watching the portion of the Festa di San Giovanni parade that traipsed into the Baptistery.

Continue reading People I Have Asked: The Carabiniere Who Looked Like My Cousin

Of course Mr. Hunter and friends visited the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence so that they could bask in the glow of Michelangelo's David.  But the Accademia has these rules lately that you can't take photos in the museum!  (This is pretty typical of museums in Italy.)
Continue reading David

Civil War Reenactment                                                        

In the summer of 2001, Mr. Hunter traveled back in time to the 1860s.  How so?  He'd been invited to see a Civil War reenactment.  After watching the battle itself, he had a chance to walk around the camp and pose with some Civil War "generals." 

Continue reading The Civil War: General Lee and Stonewall Jackson

After Mr. Hunter had posed with Stonewall Jackson and General Lee, we went in search of the man whom we thought was portraying General Ulysses S. Grant.  My friend and Mr. Hunter and I kept going to different tents and asking where General Grant was.  It might have been a good clue when more than one person answered that they didn't know if General Grant was there.  Nevertheless.

Continue reading A Civil War Faux Pas!


An entry for the Hall of Fame, and one of Mr. Hunter's favorite photos.

Continue reading Imitations: Gabriel

Salzburg, Austria                                                                

Naturally, Mr. Hunter is a big fan of The Amazing Race, and he was tickled this week to see teams directed to the city of Salzburg.

Continue reading Drive Yourselves to the City of Salzburg

Carmel, California                                                             

Mr. Hunter made a connection with St. Anthony at the Carmel Mission.

Continue reading Their Eyes Met...


Mr. Hunter must be a charming fellow.  Look how some people have tried to smuggle him away in their bags. 
Continue reading The Temptation to Put Mr. Hunter in Your Bag

Map of Mr. Hunter's Travels                                               

I'm excited to show off the new map of Mr. Hunter's travels.  And yes, this map also features the travels of flat friends of Mr. Hunter.

Continue reading Introducing the Map of Mr. Hunter's Travels

Ghetto Mr. Hunter in Singapore                                          

Teresa was getting ready to leave on a business trip to Singapore and Japan, and she asked me about taking a Flat Mr. Hunter along.  The only problem was that she was leaving the next day, and I wasn't in the office to provide her with an official Flat Mr. H.

Continue reading Introducing Ghetto Mr. Hunter

Ghetto Mr. Hunter enjoyed some Singapore-style snacks at  the Marsiling Food Centre.

Continue reading Ghetto Mr. Hunter Dines at Marsiling Food Centre

Before he posed with the main Merlion, Ghetto Mr. Hunter enjoyed hanging out with the mini Merlion at Mount Faber Park.  (The Merlion, which has the head of a lion and the body of a fish, is a mascot or symbol of Singapore.)

Continue reading The Mini Merlion

Warning: Park at your own risk.  If you're visiting Sentosa Island, your car may find itself facing off with a peacock!

Continue reading Warning: Possible Peacock Attacks

Don't be too shocked.  Ghetto Mr. Hunter is just posing with some geoduck clams (prounounced "gooeyduck") while he visits the Jumbo Seafood Restaurant at The Riverwalk.

Continue reading Geoduck Clams

Ghetto Mr. Hunter samples another famous Singapore delicacy: the stinky durian fruit.

Continue reading Durian

Next up on Ghetto Mr. Hunter's restaurant tour of Singapore: Five Star Hainanese Chicken Rice.

Continue reading Singapore Meals: Five Star Hainanese Chicken Rice

Cinco de Mayo                                                                     

Getting into the Cinco de Mayo spirit with a Mr. Hunter-sized sombrero.

Continue reading Mr. Hunter Celebrates Cinco de Mayo

Eugene, Oregon                                                                   

Terry and Ana feel the power on Mr. Hunter's first visit to Eugene, Oregon.

Continue reading All Hail Mr. Hunter!


We saw Grinderman on their first North American tour.  Naturally we got there early so we could be at the front of the line and stand right in front of the stage.  The show was--of course!--raucous and astonishing and frenzied and everything else you'd expect from Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, and Co.  And at some point it occurred to me that I had a Flat Mr. Hunter with me.   Continue reading Concerts: Grinderman

His Royal Flatness went with us to see His Royal Highness.
The Purple One introduced himself by saying, "My name is Prince.  Everything you heard is true."
Our response: "!!!!!!!!!!"

Continue reading Concerts: Prince

Munich, Germany                                                                  

Where was Mr. Hunter when he met this beer-bellied statue?  At a beer garden, of course!

Continue reading Where in the world is Mr. Hunter? The Answer

Erik and Krumbs                                                                  

Krumbs and Erik showed up at work one day wearing unintentionally coordinated brown t-shirts.  These guys are so in tune!  Mr. Hunter thought this moment deserved to be recorded for posterity.  And he gave Erik a kiss for good measure.

Continue reading A Special Moment with Erik and Krumbs

Ring Around the Sun                                                            

Mr. Hunter was visiting the Ridge winery when he noticed this ring around the sun.

Continue reading Ring Around the Sun

Star Wars                                                                             

My Flat Mr. Hunter encountered a pair of Ewoks when he was visiting the forest moon of Endor.  No, wait.  He was at Star Wars in Concert.

Continue reading Yub Nub

Kauai, Hawai'i                                                                       

Mr. Hunter stopped by the side of the Kuhio Highway in Kauai so that he could pose with the Kalalea Mountain, which was featured in the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Continue reading A Paramount Picture

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Paramount Picture

Mr. Hunter stopped by the side of the Kuhio Highway in Kauai so that he could pose with the Kalalea Mountain, which was featured in the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Kalalea Mountain is also famous for its resemblance to King Kong's profile.  
It's funny; back when I took this picture I couldn't really see the King Kong profile, but now it seems pretty clear to me.  (Look at the left side of the mountain.)

June 12 marks the 30th anniversary of the premiere Raiders of the Lost Ark.  (Thirty years!!)

Here's a blog entry about this "Paramount Peak" from an Indiana Jones fan page.  Here's a discussion of the opening shots from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Kalalea Mountain
Kuhio Highway near Anahola
Kauai, Hawaii
October 2000

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Girl Can Dream

Ever since I was a little girl, I've dreamed of seeing a Space Shuttle launch.
My wish came true on June 5, 2002, when I got to view the launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour on mission STS-111.  

Me and Mr. Hunter a few minutes after the launch.
That's the smoke from the launch plume in the background.

Space Shuttle Endeavour clears the launch pad!

My father worked on an experiment that flew to the ISS on the previous shuttle mission (STS-110) and that was set to come back down on Endeavour.  Because he'd worked on this experiment, he got VIP passes to both launches.  I can't even begin to express how thrilling this was.  That VIP section was at the wondrous Saturn V building, located about three miles from the launch pad (39A).

My mom and dad went to the initial launch of the experiment, in April 2002, and then my mom and I traveled to Florida for the Endeavour launch.  Space Shuttle fans will know that, ahem, endeavouring to actually be at Kennedy Space Center for a shuttle launch is partly a matter of luck, especially if you don't live in Florida.  

STS-111 was originally scheduled to launch on May 30, so we'd traveled to Florida on May 29 and had our return flight scheduled for the morning of June 5.  We went to that first launch attempt on May 30, but it got scrubbed. And then we had to wait each day and call a special NASA number to find out: would the shuttle go tomorrow?  It kept getting delayed, delayed, delayed.  Finally we called the airline to see if we could change our airline tickets without having to pay a ton of money.  Miraculously, we could.  Which meant that we could be there on June 5, when the next launch attempt was scheduled.

Even once we'd actually made it back to the bleachers outside the Saturn V building (they were comparatively empty, since many would-be shuttle watchers had had to go home), we had to wait it out to see if the weather would cooperate (no "anvil clouds"!) and if no technical issues would arise. You can literally get to the last few seconds of a countdown and see the launch get scrubbed.  But our luck -- and Endeavour's luck -- held.

My mom with the countdown clock.
We'd just heard that they anticipated no weather issues,
so we felt like maybe, just maybe,
we could let ourselves believe we'd see a launch.

Endeavour speeds into the sky behind a pleased Mr. Hunter.

It's tricky with a shuttle launch.  It happens fast.  I knew that I wanted to take pictures, but also I wanted to simply watch the shuttle ascend toward space.  So I snapped only a few photos, including a couple of quick attempts at getting Mr. H in the same frame with the shuttle.  (At the time, all I had was a film camera.)

The whole experience was actually a Zen sort of exercise.  I couldn't anticipate for sure that I would see the launch, but I also had to trust that I might.  I remember realizing that I felt more in the moment because of this.

Me, Mr. Hunter, a bit of the countdown clock,
and Space Shuttle Endeavour on the launch pad in the background.

The shuttle burst forth from the launch pad so quickly that its initial movement was too fast for my perception.  My first sight of Endeavour in flight was actually just after it had cleared the launch pad.  I remember suddenly seeing this space between the launch pad and the shuttle.

My parents had seen the previous shuttle launch in April, and I'd asked my mom, "How did it sound?  Was it loud?"  She told me that no, unexpectedly, it hadn't been loud.  This set me up to think that it wouldn't be very loud at all, so then I was surprised and pleased at the sound of the launch when I experienced it for myself.

In the first seconds of the launch, we couldn't hear anything, but then the sound began to travel toward us across the water.  I have synesthesia, so when I hear things I also get visuals of how these sounds look.  The sound of Endeavour launching from three miles away was a black sound to me, coming low across the water in waves, and there were spaces in between the black.  I remember standing on the bleachers and feeling the sound reach us.

I remember also how bright and sharp the light from the engines' fire was.  It was the sharpest, most piercing light I'd ever seen.  

Hard to see in a photo this size, but in the bottom right,
an alligator has just raised its head out of the water.
We'd noticed it before the launch, too, when it flopped up out of the water --
presumably catching something to eat.
        ..........the alligator is right up there ^

Back at home a few days later, my parents and I went out one night to see the International Space Station and Space Shuttle Endeavour cross our corner of the sky.  It was funny.  For some reason I'd grabbed a pair of binoculars, just to see if they'd give me a better glimpse, and I could actually discern the white triangle of the shuttle as it passed overhead.  I felt such a connection to that shuttle.  I remember my mom and I saying affectionately, "That's our shuttle."

Our Endeavour has finished its career now, and there's only one more shuttle launch to go before the fleet is retired.  It's a bittersweet time for a lot of us whose hearts have tagged along on these space shuttle journeys.

Anna Fisher,
from May 1985 issue of Life Magazine
via My Delineated Life blog

I include this image of astronaut Anna Fisher because when I was a girl, I saw this photograph in a magazine and was so inspired that I cut the picture out and kept it my box of special things, inspiring things.  For a long time I dreamed of becoming an astronaut.  By the time I'd hit my thirties, I realized that I probably didn't have the nature for it this time around.  But I was lucky enough to see a shuttle launch, at least, and even though I stood Earth-bound on the bleachers near the Saturn V building, a part of my soul sped up into the heavens with the astronauts.

Hail Endeavour!

Saturn V Building (and Launch Pad 39A)
Kennedy Space Center
Cape Canaveral, Florida

June 2002

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Where in the world is Mr. Hunter? The Kripalu Center

Where was Mr. Hunter when he posed with this stone sculpture?
At the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the Berkshires.

At one entrance to the Kripalu Center's property, Mr. Hunter found this pleasing ruin of an old stone house.  (Can you see Mr. Hunter on the stoop?)

the view from Kripalu's main building

Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health
Stockbridge, Massachusetts
September 2007

Where in the world is Mr. Hunter? (Stone Sculpture Edition)

Mr.  Hunter felt pretty peaceful after he stopped by this place.
It's a spot that might be recognizable to some yogini.

Where might Mr. Hunter be?

(See the answer here.)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Yub Nub

My Flat Mr. Hunter encountered a pair of Ewoks when he was visiting the forest moon of Endor.  No, wait.  He was at Star Wars in Concert.
The Ewoks had traveled to Earth to tour with an orchestra and many notable Star Wars costumes.

Does the expression in the eyes of the Ewok on the left fill you with dread?
Or perhaps these two critters have inspired you to start singing the original "Ewok Celebration" song from Return of the Jedi.

Celebrate the love!

October 2009

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ring around the sun

Mr. Hunter was visiting the Ridge winery when he noticed this ring around the sun.

 Here he is with an airplane contrail entering the picture.

The Ridge Winery
May 2007