the adventure continues

December 2008: Graduated from university January 2009: started getting sick December 2009: worked on beating cancer January 2010: TBA

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Location: Seattle, WA, United States

newly minted alumnus of the Art Department at the University of Idaho; BFA in studio art, with a history minor


further more...

In late September a couple van loads of Vandals will be staging an invasion of our neighbor-- Oregon. I've signed up for the tour; there are plans to see play and go to a couple of museums in Portland. I know a couple of friends are going, and I'm sure I'll make a few new one's on the ride down the Gorge. Huzzah for travel :D

Also, take a look at this story.


on the road again!

Now that I'm back in my 'academic habitat' I have need for a vehicle for commuting to class:

It was the quality of ride and ease of use that first interested me, but I must say I am growing fond of the color, too.



I had a wonderful time in Europe, I'd like to extend a big thankyou to my friends who helped me get there, my friends that helped me while I was there, and all my friends who read this blog and kept in touch (or at least read it :)

The real vacation started when I got home a week ago. I have spent most of it thoroughly kicking back and relaxing; tomorrow I will start packing again. School starts on the 21st, and duty calls me back to Moscow (geez, I'm sounding all Party Member-ish here...). It has been really nice to see many of my friends from the Tri-Cities, and I am looking forward to getting back to my usual haunts in the Palouse. If you are from another region besides those two, and/or want more juicy details on this trip-- send me an email (or a real mail).

I will try to cull a selection of photos out of the massive number I shot abroad and post them here for your continued enjoyment. People have been asking for "the [best/worst/most interesting/fantastic/odd] [moments/events/foods/things/artifacts] [that happened/which were/who..." etc. I am trying to keep track of the top couple of questions and will post the answers later, as well.

Right now I will try to catch some Zs before I have to jump out of bed and run out the door on my next great adventure in life ^.^


Breaking news:

I'm back in Kennewick, WA today (tuesday), more details after this commercial break.


and a few more where that came from...

Adventure in Ostia (from “The Lost Years of Robert Harder)


My life is starting to sound like a Bond movie from Hell.

“...elite world traveling super artist/archeologist, Harder (Rob Harder) is trapped in the most devious contraption he has faced yet. The Roman Airport “Leonardo Da Vinci” at Fulmicino; constructed by the nefarious...”

On the other hand, I discovered that the road my hotel is on gets you no-where if you’re on foot. It isn’t exactly isolated (there are several bars and small shops within a few blocks) but after that, you really need a bus, car, or bike to get anywhere. There is NO shoulder to speak of on pretty much any street/road over here. Contrast that to where I grew up, with shoulders and ditches and space for a fleet of vehicles big and small. I ended up getting on a bus that took me back to the airport, where I then waited for an hour to get on the bus that would take me past my hotel.

I keep spotting jets out of the corner of my eye; mostly they are flying-- I think more were going away than landing. They look beautiful with the sun sparkling across the hull and wings. I wish I was on one.

The hotel in question:

“The way is SHUT.”

That’s a “no-no”


the Day after Tomorrow...


Similar story-- only I got a hotel room with the random Brazilian (Eddy, from Naples Florida) who also happens to work for Delta back in the U.S. He was able to place a call to a co-worker who listed me for a flight tomorrow afternoon. I’m still going to get up at 7am and have breakfast and get to the airport at 8:30-ish, but hopefully I’ll make it into the flight this time. If I don’t-- I know where to go for a decent nights sleep.

I gave mom and dad the # of my hotel and my room, so I’ve heard from them recently. Right now I’m kicking back watching the news-- in Italian. We also get MTV, in Italian; I saw some “Smallville” in German; and some 1950s/60s programming in Spanish. CNN gives me a dose of English, and keeps me up to date on the current Middle Eastern conflict. Check out “” for another view on that issue.

This evening saw us out for dinner around 5:30pm, except the Italians don't start eating until 7:30pm at the earliest. The hotel receptionist said there was only a bar up the street, but we stumbled upon a closed restaurant and then a small cafe and a tiney grocery store. Looks like bread, salami, Philidelphia Cream Cheese, and a liter of pineapple juice is what's for dinner. If I'm stuck here for another day or two, at least I know where I can get supplies :)

PS: Eddy has met three hot chicks in the last couple days-- and coincidentally they were all from Candada. Although he’s trying to get to Brazil to visit family, he’s considering re-routing through Toronto...


Tomorrow becomes today



I finally got to sleep around 1am after packing up most of my stuff. I really don’t have alot with me on this trip-- but after carrying it around for a few hours, I have grown tired of it. That’s right-- I’m still in Rome. 

When we got to the airport a bit before 8am, I was introduced to a huge mass of travelers and an understaffed and poorly informed crew of Delta employees. The upshot is this: there have been 2-3 planes cancelled in the last two days, the internet is not reliable, and neither is Delta. I met a number of interesting folks; a couple young ladies also on standby trying to reach Atlanta, Eddy-- from Brazil, Dave-- probably taking a train to Munich by now, and a random Australian waiting for a friend on one of the delayed planes.

In another 45 minutes I will go find another pay phone and see if my agents have found anything for me. I’ll probably be camping out in front of a check-in booth tonight (or maybe in or on one..). Hope your morning commute was better than mine :)

If you ever go to Rome-- avoid the airport at all costs. The Detla staff haven't been much help-- I suppose some of it could be the language barrier, but mostly it's my standby-passenger status. Several other flights had been delayed or cancelled in the last few days, so there was a literal horde camping out at the gates waiting to get on any plane.

Right now I am holed up in a hotel not far from the airport, which has many amenities (including this internet connection). My reservation gets me breakfast, and I will probably cart some off for snacking in the queus. It's about 10pm over here, I am going to go brush my teeth, pray for all my lost traveling brethren, and hit the sack.


In brief: the rest of it

Part III: famous fountains and piazzas [wednesday]

Where the hell is San Sebastiano?
Hiking through the outskirts of Rome; nice trees...
On the bus, again
Look at the BONES!@#$
hanging out in Barberini square
I love fountains, and some are potable, too
through the back door w/ Matt
A word on tour agencies: Find small group tours with knowledgeable guides who don’t carry flags and will drink wine with you :)

Part IV: ...and Col. Sanders! [thursday]

the Obelisk
Our guide annoys me
...and another dead guy in a box.
Swiss Gaurds & “NO CAMERA!”
Vatican Postal Service rocks my socks
no lines for the awesome stuff: Going to Musei Vaticani
Very cool, not so cool
Where’d everybody go?
Dinner and a photoshoot



Part II: the big bang [tuesday]

Finding the right gate was a bit tricky; first of all, we’d just been napping on the train for 3 hours and were kinda groggy. Then the ancient cabbies told us we were headed to the wrong gate and proposed we pay them a few Euro to get to the front gate. And they were ancient-- the youngest had to have been 65 if he was a day. His dad probably remembers when Vesuvius blew it’s top in ’74. By the way; Pompei is not Pompeii-- one ‘i’ refers to the present city, two refers to the ruins.

I have begun to really resent tourists; ask me why sometime, and we can discuss the finer points of “what and what not to do when visiting archeological sites, really old buildings, and sacred ground."

Tuesday in the ruins = dust, rocks, and the bitter sun. Temperatures probably eased up into the 90s, and there wasn’t much shade. Fortunately some of the ancient cities fountains have been replumbed and allow you to refill your water bottles. They have a similar system in Rome-- little pillars of iron and miscellaneous fountains all over the city for all your hydration needs. Early on in the ruin-romp we split the group up; eventually we completely lost touch with the others, and nearly had to leave them behind from the train station-- except we had a brave adventurer who was able to track them down. Talk about lost and found :D

Getting back to our hotel in Rome was also an adventure-- we missed our first train from Naples, but were able to get on the next one-- only there were no "second class" compartments. The entire train was glassed in air-conditioned-adjustable seating, so the seven of us camped out in one and played cards, laughed at bad jokes, knitted, read, and napped. By the time we got back to the Termini station in Rome (which they treat more like an airport than a train depot), the metro had closed down for the night. We were pretty hungry anyhow, so we grabbed pizza and let the night roll on around us (amazing who is running errands at 11pm). Next we hunted down a pair of cabs-- the two guys were freinds or coworkers at least and ended up racing each other across the city to our destination-- chatting through the windows when we had to pull up at a light. I thought it was awesome (of _course_ they know what they're doing!) but not everyone was so entertained.

Tomorrow we have a bit of free time, and then meet a guide to see some famous fountains, plazas, and palaces.


Part I: Veni, Vidi... Vici? [monday]

It’s been over 24 hours since I got to Rome at the time I write this. On Monday alone, I have climbed two of the seven hills, walked through the Forum, stood at the head of the throne room in the Imperial Palace, walked through Septimus Severus’ arch and past Constantine’s, perused the famous Colosseum, and eaten authentic Italian pizza. Though the weather is scheduled to bring us more high temperatures, I find it quite bearable considering WHERE WE ARE. The Colosseum was a bit of an underwhelm on the tour, oddly enough. I suspect I’ve read far too much about it and seen way too many TV specials on Rome to be surprised-- and I am rarely impressed by sports or sporting venues. That said-- it does look pretty cool at night, and music echoes nicely on the old rocks that once rang to the cries of beasts and gladiators. Yes, there was a concert-- Bryan Adams played a set and was followed by Billy Joel. The stage was set at the bottom of an avenue where the Colosseum could provide it’s best face for the performance: they light it with floods and different colors. Someone had brought sparklers, which came out every time there was a lighter waving moment in a song, and though the speakers were loud enough to knock down what’s left of the amphitheatre it was tolerable.

I will be waking up in about 6 hours to head off for Pompeii on an early train. Hopefully there’ll be time to drop by Naples, too.

last night in Brussels