Journal

Raining parents

My day at the studio started as long and uninteresting. There are days when my job consists entirely of getting pillows and making sure that arm rods don’t swing out of control, but no actual manipulation. This afternoon I actually got to do some real work during the snow angel scene. More about that tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I should let you all know that Mr. and Mrs. Kowal arrived yesterday. I haven’t seen them yet, but my mom and dad went to lunch with them today and hung out in town while I worked. Where’s the justice in that?

Skaftafell

Mom, Dad and I drove out to Skaftafell National Park–about three and half hours out of Reykjavik–to see a glacier. On the way we stopped at Seljalandfoss and got drenched by the mist when we tried to walk behind the waterfall.

The landscape on the way there is absolutely stunning. This was out the left side of the car; the ocean was out the right side. The tiny white dots are sheep, and I fully expect a hobbit to appear at any moment.

The road to the glacier was a wild and varied landscape. We passed through a dessert of black sand, which blended into a terrain of moss that looks as if it were constructed of green plush throw pillows. Finally we arrived at Skaftafell to see the glacier.

Now, it is really hard to convey the scale of this so look carefully at the left side of the picture. Do you see Mom and me? We aren’t even a third of the way to the glacier.

Dad took a picture of me…

…taking this photo.

And here we are, walking on the glacier. The foreground is dark because the glacial silt is exposed and is all ground-up lava.

Touring the Country with Mom and Dad

We headed up to Þingvellir (pronounced Thing’vettlir, which means Valley of the Parliament) and stopped just after we passed into the rift between the North American and European tectonic plates. All of the pictures here were taken by my dad.

After we stopped flirting with the moss, we went on to the waterfall at Öxará which I’d gone to on my horseback-riding trip. It’s hard to get a sense of how big this waterfall is. It might help to think about it pouring over the edge of North America.

From there we went to the traditional site of the AlÞing (Allthing). The wind and rain was fairly intense, so we did not stay long. This church was built in 1859.

Then things got a little crazy. We drove from the AlÞhing to Geysir, the mother of all geysirs, or at least the one that all the others are named after. The road there started out fine, but being Iceland, we quickly hit an extended stretch without pavement. Like so–

At least the view was nice.

And we got to see some ‘wildlife’

It was almost dark when we finally got to Geysir. Geysir itself no longer erupts, but Strokkur, the geysir next to it, goes off every three to five minutes and is the size of Old Faithful. This is not fog around Mom and me; it’s steam.

That was plenty of activity for the day and we headed by to Reykjavik.

Presidential Debate

Last night a group of Americans all gathered to watch the presidential debate. Icelandic television broadcast it live, without commentary at 1:00 am. So, Mom, Dad & I didn’t get home till about 3 am. We’re all very tired this morning but glad we stayed up.

Today we’re going out to explore the countryside.

Touring the studio

I took Mom and Dad around the studio today and let them watch some stuff. There wasn’t much happening on set, because we’re just doing snow. Theoretically, we’ll do some actual performance, but I don’t know when. Meanwhile, I’ve sent Mom and Dad to the Blue Lagoon.

Mom and Dad arrive.

My mom and dad just arrived in Reykjavik. Hurrah! By astounding coincidence, I’m not called in to work today. Yay.

Throwing the Lollipop

I seem to spend a lot of time throwing things when I’m on set. This morning I had to throw a lollipop straight up. It kept going a little to the side. Try it. Put your hand over your head, and then try to throw something straight up. Now, do it without looking.

Last night our last shot was me catching the lollipop. That I could do everytime, and I couldn’t see it when I was catching. Because of placement, I could see the throw, the when the acutal catch happened it was in a space masked by the puppet. I can’t watch a monitor for things like this because there’s a three-frame delay, which means that everything that I do is a delayed reaction. Have to “look live”.

Sunset

There was a gorgeous sunset last night. One of the many reasons that I like my apartment is that I can watch sunsets, sunrises and the northern lights from the comfort of my couch.

Packages from Home

Today was a banner day for packages. One from Rob, including brownies and the New York Times. I’m fairly certain that people include newspaper just as a packing device, but I find myself smoothing out the pages to read them. It’s not like there isn’t material in English here, but it’s nice to have something that came specifically from home, even if the news is a month old.

I got part of the Willamette Week in a package from the Celsi’s. That was definitely packing material, but there are enough of us from Portland that it is being circulated in its crumpled state. However, the highlights of the package were two drawings. Thank you, Ben

Thank you, Rebecca

Yoga, Massage and Brunch

I’m not actually called to the studio until noon, but this morning was a yoga morning so we all came in. We’ve asked the massage therapist to go back to Jodi’s place (it’s five minutes from the studio) so we can have brunch and massage in a more welcoming environment. Yay!

Snow

No. Not real snow, but a snow test on set for the Christmas show. We came in to watch it snow and felt actually cold. That might have been because the large door was open, but I think it was the snow. Granted, it’s really shredded paper but it looks more exciting than that.

The Wind

The weather was lovely today, but incredibaly windy. I went for a walk, and the wind grabbed me as soon as I came out the door. It ushered me all the way into town, pushing me when I wasn’t going fast enough and stopping me in my tracks when it wanted to show me something. Sometimes the wind would spin me around like it wanted to dance.

Sam Paden’s Gallery Opening

The highlight today was Sam Paden’s gallery opening. He’s going to be reviewed on Wednesday in the Grapevine, which is the English language newspaper.

Afterwards I went shopping with Suzy and found a coat that I fell in love with. Today was Taxfree day, so the stores weren’t charging tax for anything that was made in Iceland. Pretty neat, huh?

Playing Tourist

Suzy, an friend of Sam and Jodi’s from Portland, was in town this week. I know her from Tapestry Theater, but this was the first time that I’d spent any time with her. The four of us went to the Turf Cottage for lunch. It’s delightful, and has a really wonderful fish soup. You see a lot of turf on rooves here, and this is a really picturesque example.

The Turf Cottage is just below the Pearl, which is one of the tourist destinations in Reykjavik. It’s a revolving restaurant built on top of four hot water tanks.

We didn’t eat there, but we did go up to the observation deck for a view of the city.

As we walked back down we went through a small forest covering the hill that the Pearl is on. By small, I don’t mean the area of ground that it covers, I mean the height of the trees. The lava bunnies in this photo are the size of your average small rabbit. That gives you an idea of how big the “trees” are, doesn’t it.

All the rabbits in Iceland are black, because they blend with the lava better. There are no predators in Iceland, except a very small population of artic foxes, so the rabbits are not particuarly timid.

A Day Off

Somewhat surprisingly, I have today off. I’ve been revising and printing out manuscripts of short stories and now I’m off to the post office to mail them. Postcards too!